In this lesson, I want to share how I differentiate instruction for the book clubs in my historical fiction unit. I gather a group of six advanced students and assign an independent project. They will use google earth to participate in a virtual tour of Henry Brown's amazing journey from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A total of 350 miles that took over 24 hours from start to finish.
Students selected are students with high vocabulary skills, ability to work independently and are eager to improve their vocabulary by learning lots of new words. They will be exposed to historical writing.
Say, "Today students use will use ipads and go on a virtual tour. You will become time travelers. You will travel along the route that Henry Brown traveled on his quest for freedom. Please log in to this website.
Once here, click on the Google Earth File. That will download a file that you will explore by zooming in on Virginia and Pennsylvania. Click on the first box and read the file.
You will notice the text sounds different than how we talk and write today. Your job as a time traveler is to take turns reading carefully, and picturing in your mind what is happening. You will come across lots of words that might sound odd to you or are new to you. See, if together you can figure them out. After you read each description click on the link that says next event. This way you will travel along with Henry as he makes his way to freedom."
Once you are finished, I will give you a transcript of the entries and I want you to mark up the text to show your thinking. Draw pictures, write comments and ask questions of the text. Underline any new words and write a synonym for them in the margins.
Have fun, and be thinking of how this account is the same and different from the picture book, Henry and the Freedom Box.
Make a Venn diagram and list 3-4 ways the two accounts are the same and 3-4 ways they are different in your reading response notebook.