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ThunderQueen's Thanksgiving:
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Lesson Plan


RATIONALE: To expose the children to the importance and various uses of
journal writing through reading Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim's
Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 by William Bradford and Others of
the Mayflower Company, edited by Margaret Wise Brown, and writing their own
journal of what they're learning and feeling during the unit on Pilgrims.

OBJECTIVES: The student will be able to:
1. understand what a journal is by reading one and studying the various
parts of it.
2. write a journal with the necessary elements about the unit on Pilgrim
life. Emphasis will be on empathizing with Pilgrim life, giving opinions
about what happened at Plymouth Plantation, defending why the student would
or would not want to be a Pilgrim, and expressing feelings about the unit's
different aspects and as a whole.

1. Introduce journal writing by reading an excerpt from the Bradford
journal. Be sure to not give the title away before reading. Have the
children talk about some of the distinctive qualities they heard in the
reading (i.e., date, first-person, narrative, emotional, story-like).

2. After discussing the excerpt, ask the students to give suggestions for
a title based on the excerpt read. Discuss what type of literature this
may be and why. Then reveal the title and authors and discuss them.

3. Pass out a copy of one of the pages of the journal. Have the students
read it independently. Give them the focus of trying to understand how the
author may have been feeling when he/she was writing or experiencing what
was written. Have the students write on a piece of notebook paper their
reactions of the reading based on the focus.

4. When everyone is finished, discuss some of the reactions. Ask the
students what they think they should do with their papers. Should they be
graded? thrown out? passed around? discussed? put into their own

5. Make that reaction the opening piece to the students' "Life As A
Pilgrim Unit Journal." From there discuss different things that can be put
into the journal - feelings, thoughts, questions, answers, stories,
pictures, newspaper clippings, etc.

6. Everyday thereafter have some time (approximately 15 - 20 minutes) set
aside for journal writing. Various topics could be used or a free writing
time on something related to the Pilgrims could be the focus. (See the
"Objectives" for necessary components to include.)

7. Have the Bradford journal available and read aloud a couple of times a
week by different students. Have each student peruse the journal and find
an excerpt that particularly excites or interests him/her. Each student
will share their piece of the Bradford journal as an oral reading
8. Provide the children opportunities to share from their journal if they
would like to as much as possible.

9. Do journal writing everyday (or as much as possible) for the duration
of the "Life As A Pilgrim" unit.

10. As a closing or culminating activity, ask the children to have an oral
discussion about what they've learned from their journal writing
experiences. After the discussion, provide some time for a final entry
with the topic of how they liked their activity with journal writing.

MATERIALS: the book, Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim's Journal of
Plymouth Plantation in 1620 by William Bradford and Others of the Mayflower
Company, edited by Margaret Wise Brown
-notebook paper or (preferably) a notebook/journal
-handout of selected piece of the Bradford journal

Plymouth, Massachusetts
others may be found in the book that could be added to
this list

EVALUATION: Did the student:
1. demonstrate understanding of journal writing by reading one, discussing
it, and writing one of their own?
assessment: student's participation in discussion and completed

"Life As A Pilgrim"
Social Studies Lesson Plan