Tried It Tuesday: Oregon Trail Journals

Hello again, BBBs! I just LOVE Holly’s linky party! Have you linked up yet? Join in the fun! (Or at least go read everyone’s awesome ideas! My brain was on overload last week with all I wanted to do!!)

This week, I’m going to share something new I am trying this year with Westward Expansion. (Are you sick of hearing about this topic yet?? LOL Hopefully you see how much my social studies is integrated into my language arts based on all of the stuff I’ve shared for this unit over the last couple of weeks! Integration is the only possible way I can ever get it all in!)

I used our amazing poster maker at school to blow up the map. A friend of mine created the journal entry ideas for each stop along the Oregon Trail, but I had to “cute” them up with frames. (I am not sharing them here though since they aren’t my creation, but you can get some GREAT ideas for journal entries from this book if you are interested.

I used it last year and we actually did the simulations, but as I said, they could easily be made into “journal ideas.”) At each stop along the way, they “experience” something that would have really happened on the Oregon Trail – fording a river, buying supplies from a fort, people getting sick, seeing landmarks, like Chimney Rock… etc. To give them background information that they can use to write their entries, I’m reading parts of this book to them.

 I read only the parts that are valid for that day’s entry- for example, today in their entry, they crossed a river on a ferry so I read to them about that. Then we list the things we think are important to include as a class, and they get busy! 🙂

Here is a sample of one of my sweet girl’s first entry in her journal. The starter said they had arrived in Independence, Missouri and they were waiting on other wagons to come so they could form their wagon train. They were to talk about the things they brought with them, the family that was there, and how they felt about the move:

As any good teacher does, I must reflect on what is working and not working… I love that they are getting background information before writing because I feel like their writing is more authentic. I don’t love that I waited until the week before Spring Break to start this. SIGH. We managed to get two entries done today instead of just one, but there won’t be enough time to make our whole journey this week. I wish I would have started last week! But, oh well. 🙂
I hope this post provided you with something you could take away!! I look forward to reading everyone else’s Tried It Tuesday posts!