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Lesson Plan

Exploring Cross-Age Tutoring Activities With Lewis and Clark

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute tutorial sessions, plus preparation time for high school students
Lesson Author

Debra J. Coffey

Knoxville, Tennessee

Publisher

International Reading Association

 

Student Objectives

Session 1: Preparing for the Journey

Session 2: Beginning the Journey

Session 3: Adventures on the Journey

Session 4: Reaching the Goal

Session 5: Celebrating Success

Alternate Procedures

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

  • Use interactive strategies to comprehend and analyze texts

  • Use print and online resources to increase understanding of the expedition of Lewis and Clark

  • Engage in critical discussions of shared readings

  • Record new discoveries and respond to shared readings in their response journals

  • Create stories about the adventures of Lewis and Clark in connection with shared readings

  • Share stories about the expedition of Lewis and Clark in a literacy community

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Session 1: Preparing for the Journey

Community meeting

During this initial community meeting, discuss the cross-age tutorial project with elementary and high school students. Ask questions to activate elementary students' prior knowledge and discern their familiarity with the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Turning a knob on the "time machine," invite the high school tutor playing the role of Meriwether Lewis to begin his presentation. Have the student acting as Lewis introduce himself and talk about his adventures with the Corps of Discovery. Details of this presentation might include events from his childhood in Virginia, his age, his relationship with President Jefferson, and his friendship with William Clark.

Tutorial activities

1. Following the teaching procedures modeled during the training sessions, high school tutors introduce the book, How We Crossed the West by Rosalyn Schanzer. They activate prior knowledge by discussing any trips the elementary students have taken in the past, and ask questions to determine the students' familiarity with the journey of Lewis and Clark. Vocabulary study during this session focuses on matching the names of key members of the expedition with their pictures and information in the book. Tutors should encourage students to make predictions about the reading by engaging in a picture walk through the first section of the book.

2. Tutors begin reading the book How We Crossed the West, alternating pages with the elementary students. As they read about Lewis and Clark's preparations for the journey and the selection of the Corps of Discovery, they should together discuss and analyze what they read.

3. After reading and discussing the text, elementary students should record their discoveries about the expedition in their response journals.

4. Tutors access the website Lewis and Clark Maps to show the elementary students a map of the journey of Lewis and Clark.

5. Tutors use the News Reporting Sheet to ask key questions about this portion of the book and assist the elementary students as needed with the answers.

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Session 2: Beginning the Journey

Community meeting

Turn the knobs on the "time machine" and invite William Clark to visit the class. The high school student portraying Clark introduces himself and explains his background. Details of his presentation might include his age, the place of his birth, and his friendship with Meriwether Lewis.

Lead the class in a brief discussion about Clark's role in the expedition.

Tutorial activities

1. Before reading, tutors should activate the elementary students' prior knowledge, discuss key vocabulary words, and encourage the students to make predictions by picture walking through the next portion of the book.

2. Tutors continue reading How We Crossed the West, alternating pages with the elementary students. In this section, they read about the beginning of the journey, wildlife of the plains, and interactions with Native Americans. Have students discuss and analyze what they read.

3. Tutors and elementary students work together using the online interactive Timeline to create timelines of the journey using dates and information from the book and their own analysis of the events.

4. Using information from the timeline activity, elementary students can record any new discoveries from the discussion and activity in their response journals.

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Session 3: Adventures on the Journey

Community meeting

Turn the knobs on the "time machine" and invite York to emerge. The student acting as York introduces himself as a member of the Corps of Discovery and describes his background. His presentation might focus on his relationship with William Clark and his interactions with the Indians.

Review information about York's background and lead a discussion about his role in the expedition.

Tutorial activities

1. Before reading, tutors activate the elementary students' prior knowledge, discuss key vocabulary words, and encourage the students to make predictions by picture walking through the next portion of the book.

2. Tutors continue reading How We Crossed the West, alternating pages with the elementary students. In this section, they read about the meeting with the Shoshoni Tribe. Have students discuss and analyze what they read together.

3. Each tutor-student pair works together to compare and contrast the characteristics of two members of the Corps of Discovery using the interactive Venn diagram. Additional information about members of the Corps of Discovery is available on the Corps of Discovery Profiles website.

4. Elementary students use their completed Venn diagrams to write journal entries about the two selected members of the Corps of Discovery.

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Session 4: Reaching the Goal

Community meeting

Turn the knobs on the "time machine" and invite Sacagawea to visit the class. The high school student portraying Sacagawea introduces herself, describes her background, and talks about her first encounter with Lewis and Clark. The text Who Was Sacagawea? provides helpful information for the presentation about Sacagawea.

After the presentation, engage the whole group in a review of what they have learned about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Tutorial activities

1. Before reading, tutors activate the elementary students' prior knowledge, discuss key vocabulary words, and encourage the students to make predictions by picture walking through the next section of the book. This section describes the adventures of Lewis and Clark as they cross the Bitterroot Mountains and reach the Pacific Ocean.

2. Tutors continue reading How We Crossed the West, alternating pages with the elementary students. They discuss and analyze this segment of the journey, imagining the explorers' response to reaching the Pacific Ocean, their final goal.

3. Tutors and elementary students can then explore the activities on Go West Across America with Lewis & Clark, a National Geographic website.

4. Tutors then help elementary students write about their favorite adventure during the Lewis and Clark journey. The adventures can be recorded in the students' response journals.

5. Have elementary students brainstorm ideas for their own adventure stories, based on How We Crossed the West, to share during the next session.

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Session 5: Celebrating Success

Community meeting

Explain plans to combine the classes for a sharing session in which elementary students share their own adventure stories with the high school tutors.

Tutorial activities

1. Tutors review How We Crossed the West with students and help them to create their own adventure stories to share with the class. Students may want to review their response journals and base their own adventure stories on their favorite adventure from the Lewis and Clark expedition. Encourage elementary students to pretend they are members of the Corps of Discovery and write about events that actually took place. Be sure to emphasize historical accuracy in their writing.

2. Have students develop their stories using the interactive Story Map. This online graphic organizer is a beneficial prewriting tool, which will help students develop the characters, setting, conflict, and resolution for their own stories. After stories are completed, have tutors and elementary students proofread them for historical accuracy, clarity, and readability.

Host a festival in which high school tutors and elementary students enjoy refreshments as they celebrate their cross-tutoring success and share their adventure stories.

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Alternate Procedures

  • The activities in Session 5 can be spread across two days to allow more time for story development and process writing.

  • This lesson can be conducted with high school freshmen and seniors if an elementary school is not nearby or readily accessible.

  • The activities in this lesson can also be conducted using similar books, such as Lewis and Clark: Explorers of the American West (Holiday House, 1996), or another historical event.

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EXTENSIONS

  • If time allows, the festival can be expanded to include ideas from the online lesson plan, Putting It All Together: A Lewis and Clark Festival.

  • The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory provides excellent material for research and a wide variety of extension activities. For instance, students may want to make bullboats or design Mandan lodges similar to the ones Lewis and Clark saw during their expedition.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Teacher observation and anecdotal notes based on class discussions and cross-age tutoring sessions

  • Student journals, indicating reading comprehension levels and analysis of the shared readings

  • Student responses on the News Reporting Sheet

  • Student responses on the interactive Timeline, Venn diagram, and Story Map

  • Student's adventure story, incorporating historical details from the Lewis and Clark expedition in a creative manner

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