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Day 9: Riding the Rails:Personal Journeys to Freedom
Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Social Studies
Title – All Aboard! Exploring the Secrets of the Underground Railroad – An Interdisciplinary Unit
Day 9 Lesson: Riding the Rails: Personal Journeys to Freedom
Note, this is one part of a larger unit which can be found here .
By – Elizabeth Hodgson and Rachel Vogelpohl
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts, Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 4
1.04 – Evaluate ways the people of North Carolina used, modified, and adapted to the physical environment, past and present.
2.03 – Describe the similarities and differences among people of North Carolina, past and present.
2.04 – Describe how different ethnic groups have influenced culture, customs and history of North Carolina.
3.02 – Identify people, symbols, events, and documents associated with North Carolina’s history.
3.04 – Compare and contrast ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved in the past with their movement today.
4.02 – Identify religious groups that have influenced life in North Carolina and assess the impact of their beliefs.
4.05 – Identify and assess the role of prominent persons in North Carolina, past and present.
5.02 – Describe traditional art music and craft forms in North Carolina.
English Language Arts
1.04 – Increase reading and writing vocabulary through: wide reading, word study, knowledge of homophones, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, knowledge of multiple meanings of words, writing process elements, writing as a tool for learning, seminars, book clubs, discussions, examining the author’s craft.
4.02 – Use oral and written language to: present information and ideas in a clear, concise manner, discuss, interview, solve problems, make decisions.
4.07 – Compose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using self-selected and assigned topics and forms (e.g., personal and imaginative narratives, research reports, diaries, journals, logs, rules, instructions).
5.09 – Create readable documents through legible handwriting and/or word processing.
3.01 Create, format, save, and print a word processed document.
- Two Tickets to Freedom by F. B. Freedman
- Computer w/ Microsoft Word software
- Tape recorder
- Blank tapes
Two Tickets to Freedom by F. B. Freedman
Read Two Tickets to Freedom , a true story of fugitive slaves William and Ellen Craft, whose beautifully-detailed dangerous escape will inspire students as it also makes travel on the UGR even more “real” for them. The true story elements will help the students in their following writing activity.
Personal Diary Entry
Individually, students must create a diary entry from the perspectives of young slaves who are traveling to freedom on the routes the students have created with their North Carolina mapping projects. Students should refer back to their focus sheets for information to include in their fictional diary entries, information that will help each entry to seem more authentic.
The entry must include a retelling of the young slave’s escape–descriptions of: day and night travel, time of year, whether a disguise was used, references to geographic landmarks and regions, the hardships encountered, conductors and abolitionists who helped, signs and coded encountered, feelings, etc.
To create the entry, students have the choice as to whether they’d rather utilize Microsoft Word, pencil and paper, or they can “storytell” their account with a tape recorder. Permission of the teacher will be needed to “storytell.”
Verbal/Linguistic: (reading, discussing story, writing own story/diary)
Intrapersonal: (creation of own diary entry)
Note: Activity also appeals to auditory (listening to and discussing story) learners.
Informal assessment of students’ diary entry progress, as they will complete the entry tomorrow.