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We’re Going West Like the Pioneers!

April 22, 2012

I’ve been working on our next unit for our students and it dawned on me that I usually put up all the information after it is all done, so maybe I’ll to try uploading it as I go – that makes me already behind!  It’s incredible the amount of information I can go through fleshing out a unit.

As I found websites I liked or pictures and maps I could use, I would copy the site and emailed the list to myself so I could access it from school or home. Then I went through past information from other simulations of our pioneer past.  Then I listed all of the information on a mind map so I can see them all on one place. I have found it works well for me to be able to put my thoughts together in an organized manner.

So the topics I came up with so far to cover, in random order, like my brain works:

  • Cooking – Johnny Cake, Pemmican, Hasty Pudding, Jerky or Corn Bread
  • Square Dancing!
  • Pioneers that make a difference: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Jim Bridger …
  • Events during that time period: gold rush, Pony Express, Trans-Atlantic Railroad…
  • Why did the pioneers take on all the hardship that they had to face?
  • What supplies would the pioneers take when the wagon could handle only 2,500 lbs for a 6 month trip?

Venee and I are now making choices and getting the overview of what we are going to expect to cover and when.  I love putting it all together and figuring out new ways for our students to become part of history.  We’re also going to take our students to a 1 room schoolhouse and have lessons and activities like they would back in the 1800’s and then, the cherry on the top, a simulation of pioneer’s going west, complete with covered wagons (their Red Rider outfitted with a canopy) and farm animals!

But first we have to introduce the unit! So Monday morning we will not let the students into the room until 8:30 (they usually can drop off their lunches before class).   We open the door, ring the bell and have them line up boys and girls in two separate lines – so unlike what we usually do.   Since our students usually have the flexibility to sit at tables throughout the room, we are going to rearrange the room so that everyone will be sitting at a “desk”.  They will be shocked and know that something special it happening.  I guess they will really know that when they see Venee and I dressed as teachers from the 1800’s. Then we will have them stand up in rows to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” and sing “Oh, Suzanna”.  We’ll have captured their attention and they will be ready for the adventure ahead!  I’m excited about Monday morning!

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