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"Journey to the West: Exploring Columbus’s World" is an interdisciplinary, thematic fourth grade English/Language Arts, Social Studies and Science unit. It provides students with the opportunity to learn more about Christopher Columbus, his world, his motivation and his legacy. Columbus’ successful expedition across the ocean started the Age of Exploration, which led to the colonization of the Americas. It also brought disease and slavery to the native tribes. Students will be given the opportunity to think about the effects of the voyage from both the perspectives of the Spanish and the native peoples, through creative writing. Students will step into Columbus’s shoes as he attempts to persuade Queen Isabella to finance his voyage by writing a persuasive letter. Students will explore the machinery that enabled Columbus to travel across the ocean by participating in an experiment that will result in the building of an Archimedes screw. Throughout the units gives students the opportunity to research the man and his world.
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Students will be exposed to a wide variety of historical fiction surrounding the Revolutionary War time period. These texts will help students gain a better understanding of the events leading up to and into the Revolutionary War. Four different texts will be used to help reach the needs of all learners based on their comprehension abilities. Students will work on comprehending texts while applying metacognition to their work through visualizations and summarizations. With interactive work between students in each text, children will gain a better understanding of the Revolutionary War and truly experience life from the inside. With this novel study, students are able to look at the events through fictional individual's eyes and begin to put themselves into the various situations that led to the freedoms they are still privy to today. Students will be exposed to new vocabulary, writing activities, character development, summarizing, and visualizing strategies. With a wide variety of activities to stimulate all learners, students will walk away with an abundant amount of skills to help them fine tune their reading abilities.
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Seeking the Nightingale

by V. Hinkle Redwood Middle School

Web Quest: When you read literature from another cultural setting, comprehension can be a challenge. What does the setting look like? Why do the characters think and behave the way they do? Have you had similar problems? In their shoes, would you have made the same decisions? Just as knowing a language will help you to understand a person's message, understanding the culture of a time and place will deepen your interpretation of the literature, and strengthen your connections to the march of humanity. Work together with your team to create a 10-minute presentation about the novel Of Nightingales That Weep. This interdisciplinary project combines the skills of reading, interpretation, research, writing, visual art, and speaking. Your oral presentation, combined with your writing and a poster as a focal point, will help your classmates understand their study of Japan and its place in world history.
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