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HistoryFix: Moving West Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from HistoryFix
Historical Topic: Immigrant Trails Students Write: concept poem

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Moving West

This writing across the curriculum lesson was created by Nevada teacher Denise Boswell.

Denise considers this history lesson to be appropriate for students in grades 4-12.

Lesson Overview:

Objectives/Overview: Students will research an immigrant trail, write down descriptive and interesting concepts, and turn it into a concept poem. This lesson can be extended from a poem into a picture book. Moving West is a fun way to integrate research skills and poetry writing.

Time Needed: two 45-minute class sessions.

Writing skills (traits) to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Idea Development (writing with a clear, central idea or theme in mind and putting researched ideas into one’s own words)
  • Word Choice (using precise nouns to assist the reader’s understanding, incorporating interesting adjectives into the writing, and using strong verbs to keep the sentences interesting)

Materials List:

Teacher Instructions:

  1. Read Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails to the class
  2. Assign a trail to each student and pass out information about the trail along with the Fact Finder graphic organizer.
  3. Students will fill in the fact finder as they research their trail.
  4. Reread Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails. Copy example concept poem, put on overhead or chart paper. Ask students what they notice about the poem (It is long and thin, only two words on each line).
  5. Read the poem aloud and then have students read a loud with you.
  6. Have students identify the describing word/adjective and naming word/noun.
  7. Students will choose ten events from their research to write a poem.
  8. Pass out Concept Poem graphic organizer.
  9. Students complete the graphic organizer writing a sentence for each piece of research. Choosing a describing word and a naming word that matches their sentence topic.
  10. Students write the poem on the Rough Draft graphic organizer. They will revise and edit their poem by answering the questions on the graphic organizer. Students choose a shape for their poem. (Wagon, Oxen, Mountain, Trail, Campfire, etc…)
  11. Students write/type the final draft of their poem on their concept shape.
  12. Use the rubric to evaluate students' writing.


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