Trail of Tears Essay

Title of the Lesson: Trail of Tears Content Area(s): Social Studies, Literature, Technology Unit of Study: Trail of Tears/US History Grade Level: 4-6 Time Frame: Comprehensive Unit/Lesson scheduled to take 3 weeks including reading of novel and a few different projects NCSS Themes: 1. Culture, 2. Time, Continuity and Change 3. People, Places & Environment 4. Individual Development and Identity 5. Individuals, Groups, and Institutions 6. Power, authority, and governance Standards: Social Studies Standards: Native American Indians of New York State Purposes of government Industrial growth and expansion

ELA Standards: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding. Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression. Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation Lesson Objectives: Students will: -Read and understand how “Weasel” relates to US and Native American history -Explore the history and culture of Native Americans -Read and understand primary and secondary documents that coincide with this time period -Demonstrate their understanding of experiences of the trail of tears Research various parts of the trail of tears focusing on the reason the Native Americans were removed and consequences of the removal Essential Questions: How and Why were Native Americans “Americanized? ” Why did the US Government propose the removal of Native American Indians? What was the trail of tears? What were the conditions like? What incidents led to the Trail of Tears? What is your perspective of the event? Why is it important to remember this and celebrate Native American History? Teaching Point: “Big Ideas” – Enduring Understandings – What is important for students to understand about the topic

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Materials: “Weasel,” by Cynthia DeFelice Computers Paper, Pens, Pencils, Markers and other Art supplies http://ngeorgia. com/history/nghisttt. html http://www. allthingscherokee. com/Articles/hist_050101_trailoftears. html http://www. cherokee. org/Culture/HistoryPage. asp? ID=2 http://www. powersource. com/cherokee/burnett. html http://www. nps. gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/118trail/118trail. htm http://nativeamericans. pppst. com/trailoftears. html http://kirbytd. tripod. com/totimgsindex. html http://www. firstpeople. us/FP-Html-Legends/TheTrailOfTears-Cherokee. html http://www. rkansasheritage. com/in_the_classroom/lesson_plans/american_indian/cherokee_lesson_plan01-10-2003. pdf Vocabulary Terms: rouse, beckon, dignify, molt, fester, hectic, trail of tears, Native Americans, Removal Act, civilized, obligation Introduction: I am planning on introducing the Unit in an unconventional way. I plan to work with all the 4th grade classes together and have one teacher get in front of the room and announce the 4th grade must relocate because the another grade want their rooms. They have to leave their stuff behind because the other grade wants to use it for their benefit and are going to ake credit for everything we worked hard on all year. I expect a couple students to say how unfair it is that they put in the work and they are not getting the credit for it. That it is unfair for another grade to just take over their things and claim it as their own. This is how I want to introduce the Removal Act. I will explain the act to the class then introduce the historical fiction book, Weasel. Ask the students, an important question “Does the United States government have the right to make you move out of your house? Why or why not? ” Give students a chance to brainstorm and write down their feelings.

Ask students to share their opinions with the class. As a follow up, ask students what they would do if they were required by the government to leave their home. Teaching: 1. Read the Book “Weasel. ” Over the course of a week (give or take) we are going to read the book both out loud and for homework. We are going to discuss events, people, places, and vocabulary from the book. We are going to take what we learned about Weasel and Ezra’s job and apply it to further learning about the Removal Act and Trail of Tears. (Can discuss how Nathan could represent those who stand up for what is right, and felt it unfair to take someone else’s land. 2. In groups, students will design and create a poster containing facts about the Trail of tears a. Have students investigate maps of the trail of tears by using the computer, books, journals, pictures and other sources b. Make sure students understand how long the journey was c. Each group will make a poster of the trail of tears i. Information on poster includes: what was the trail of tears? Where, why? Who? When? How? ii. The map needs to include a key or legend and look beyond just the trail itself iii.

Make sure on their posters they include where the Native Americans settled after the trail iv. The groups can be as creative as they want as long as they include all necessary information. 3. To gain a more personal connection, the students will create a journal. a. They will write a journal as though they are a Native American forced to relocate and follow the “trail of tears. ” b. They will write daily (short) or weekly (long) excerpts of what they are feeling and witnessing along the journey. They will track their experiences, observations, and emotions. c. They should include a map, drawing, poetry or story. . They are to use the websites above for ideas of stories, pictures, maps etc… e. They are expected to use at least two primary sources and two secondary sources to complete the journal Differentiation of Instruction: If necessary, the journal can be anywhere from simple to extremely complex. Some students may only draw pictures and write one word emotions from the journey while others write long, thought out pages. Assessment(s): Informal Assessment includes watching to make sure all members work collaboratively in the group. The group poster will be graded where each member of the group receives the same grade.

There will be three grading levels on this: Not completed to standards required, completed addressing only the requirements, and completed with additional information and research. The journal is going to be used as a formal assessment where the students will be graded on their understanding of the time period. There will be a brief quiz following the reading of Weasel to ensure that all students not only read the book but understand the connection between the story and the Removal Act. Closure and Extensions/Follow-up/Next Steps: After completing their work, have an informal discussion with students what they have learned.

Be sure to ask the question “could another removal of an ethnic group happen in the present-day United States? What about another country? Is this the only time an ethnic group has been forced out of their homes? ” Make sure students are aware that it has happened many times and that if you don’t learn from history you are bound to repeat its mistakes. As an extension, students may research other parts of the country where Native Americans live today and how long they have lived there. Make sure students know that there are reservations in other places than the Midwest.