A WebQuest for 5th
Grade (Language Arts)
Suzanne Bare, Lavonne
Fortner, Julie Hedrick, & Sandy Speaks
| Learners | Standards
| Process | Resources |
| Conclusion | Credits
| Student Page
This year we are studying orphan trains and preparing
for point of view/clarificatoin writing.
You are to read A Family Apart
by Joan Lowery Nixon and prepare a point of view essay.
New York City in the mid-1800's
is a rough place to raise six children alone. When the widowed Mrs.
Kelly realizes that she can't keep her children from starving, or from
breaking the law. she makes the agonizing decision to send them west on
the Orphan Train. At least they'll be raised by families who can
care for them.
The children do not understand
the love behind her decision. The oldest child, 13-year-old Frances
Kelly, is further dismayed when she realizes that her siblings will be
divided among different families. In order to care for her youngest
brother, Frances disguises herself as a boy and becomes "Frankie."
When she joins her new family, she finds herself not only in a new environment,
but also right in the middle of breaking the law-helping slaves to escape
on the Underground Railroad. This exciting adventure story takes
readers on a thrilling ride through one of the darkest chapters in American
By Michael Foster, Seneca, KS
Websites containing related information
on Orphan Trains.
PRIOR KNOWLEGE - READ TEXT - A FAMILY APART
This lesson is designed for fifth graders and involves
reading, language arts, and social studies.
Also, expository writing
is taught using a prompt related to A Family Apart.
The lesson discusses
genre with a focus on historical fiction.
The lesson also explains what the word sacrifice
means since it is such an important part of the book, A Family Apart.
The art activity is the
diorama depicting a scene from the book.
Study the genre-historical
Historical Topics Mentioned in
A Family Apart
Irish Potato Famine
Buffalo Bill Cody
Election of 1860
Border Wars ("Bleeding Kansas")
Fugitive Slave Act
Create newspaper using
historical facts found in A Family Apart.
Title: St. Joseph Weekly West
Key Word: Sacrifice
Create your own version of a diorama.
Depict an important event. Show the setting and characters in 3-D
format. Be prepared to show and explain the event shown in your diorama
to the class.
Students in fifth grade expand and deepen concepts,
skills, and strategies learned at earlier grades. They make new connections
as they experience more sophisticated ideas and begin to study subjects
in more formal ways. They read and write a variety of texts with greater
breadth and depth, critically analyzing and evaluating information and
ideas. Fifth graders revisit and refine concepts and their knowledge of
English Language Arts conventions as they become more sophisticated, independent
learners. The learner will:
Use reading and writing to learn about and understand
their world and other cultures.
Evaluate text to determine the authorís purpose
and point of view.
Increase vocabulary knowledge through wide reading,
word study, discussion, and content area study.
Use print and non-print media to persuade an audience.
Use metacognitive skills to accomplish a task
independently or as a group member.
Research multiple sources to deepen understanding
and integrate information and ideas across varied sources and content areas.
Apply comprehension strategies critically, creatively,
Use media and technology as resources for extended
research and as tools for learning.
Strands: Oral Language, Written Language, and Other
Competency Goal 1 The learner will apply enabling
strategies and skills to read and write.
1.02 Select key vocabulary critical to the text
and apply appropriate meanings as necessary for comprehension.
1.03 Increase reading and writing vocabulary through:
content area study.
writing process elements.
writing as a tool.
examining the authorís craft.
Competency Goal 2 The learner will apply strategies
and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
2.01 Use metacognitive strategies independently
and flexibly to monitor comprehension and extend vocabulary (e.g., skim,
scan, reread the text, consult other sources, ask for help, summarize,
2.02 Interact with the text before, during, and
after reading, listening, and viewing by:
supporting answers from textual information, previous
experience, and/or other sources.
drawing on personal, literary, and cultural understandings.
seeking additional information.
2.03 Read a variety of texts, such as:
fiction (tall tales, myths).
nonfiction (books of true experience, newspaper
and magazine articles, schedules).
poetry (narrative, lyric, and cinquains).
drama (plays and skits).
2.07 Evaluate the usefulness and quality of information
and ideas based on purpose, experiences, text(s), and graphics.
2.09 Listen actively and critically by:
delving deeper into the topic.
elaborating on the information and ideas presented.
evaluating information and ideas.
making inferences and drawing conclusions.
2.10 Identify strategies used by a speaker or
writer to inform, entertain, or influence an audience.
Competency Goal 3 The learner will make connections
through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
3.01 Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry,
and drama using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes by:
analyzing word choice and content.
examining reasons for a characterís actions, taking
into account the situation and basic motivation of the character.
creating and presenting a product that effectively
demonstrates a personal response to a selection or experience.
examining alternative perspectives.
3.03 Justify evaluation of characters and events
from different selections by citing supporting evidence in the text(s).
3.06 Conduct research (with assistance) from a
variety of sources for assigned or self-selected projects (e.g., print
and non-print texts, artifacts, people, libraries, databases, computer
4.02 Use oral and written language to:
evaluate information and ideas.
present and support arguments.
influence the thinking of others.
4.03 Make oral and written presentations to inform
or persuade selecting vocabulary for impact.
4.05 Use a variety of preliminary strategies to
plan and organize the writing and speaking task considering purpose, audience,
4.06 Compose a draft that elaborates on major ideas
and adheres to the topic by using an appropriate organizational pattern
that accomplishes the purpose of the writing task and effectively communicates
4.09 Produce work that follows the conventions
of particular genres (e.g., clarification, essay, feature story, business
Social Studies Standards Addressed
Social Studies Curriculum
Grades 4-5 Introduction...
Goals and Objectives: Grade 5
The Western Hemisphere: The United States,
Canada, and Latin America
In fifth grade, students build on the concepts,
generalizations, and skills developed in the fourth grade North Carolina
study as they extend their focus to geographic regions of the United States,
Canada, and Latin America. They will learn about the peoples of the Western
Hemisphere and the physical environments in which they live. As they examine
social, economic, and political institutions, they will analyze similarities
and differences among societies.
As fifth graders learn about the Western Hemisphere,
they refine concepts developed in the fourth grade study of North Carolina.
These concepts will be further refined in sixth and seventh grade studies
of other world regions. Concepts for this study of the Western Hemisphere
are drawn from history and the social sciences, but the primary discipline
is geography, especially cultural geography. Given the swiftness of change
and our global information systems, students' examinations of these concepts
must require continuous reference to current events and trends.
2.3 Analyze economic, social, and political
situations which involve ethical and moral dilemmas.
6.1 Analyze the movement of people, goods,
and ideas within and among the countries of the United States, Canada,
and Latin America and between the Western Hemisphere and other places.
Competency Goal 11 The learner will analyze
changes in ways of living and investigate why and how these changes occurred.
11.1 Identify and describe changes which
have occurred in ways of living in the United States, Canada, and Latin
11.2 Identify examples of cultural transmission
and interaction within and among the regions of the Western Hemisphere.
Using information from the book. Complete the following
chart to assist you as you choose your point of view.
|Reasons Ma Kelly should send her children on the
||Reasons Ma Kelly should keep her children:
Point of View Writing
* Class set of books
* Graphic Organizer - Thinking Maps - Tree
* Construction Paper
* Crayons & Markers
Other Resource -
text - Looking
For A Home from Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story
by Andrea Warren
The Expository Composition
Focused Holistic Score Scale
Score Point 4
The response exhibits a strong command of expository
writing. The writer has focused on the subject matter and has provided
specific relevant reasons and details to support reasons as a means of
elaboration. The writer's organization provides a clear strategy
or controlled plan with a clear sense of logical progression and overall
completeness. The composition is coherent.
Score Point 3
The response exhibits a reasonable command of
expository writing. The writer has focused on the subject matter
and given reasons to support the main idea. Some responses contain
a few well-elaborated reasons or more reasons with less elaboration.
The writer's organization provides a reasonable sense of logical progression.
THe response is generally coherent and complete overall, although minor
weaknesses are present.
Score Point 2
The response exhibits a weak command of expository
writing. The writer has focused on the subject matter and given
at least one or two reasons or else a list of reasons with little or no
elaboration. These responses may be poorly organized and may not
establish a logical progression, but some sense of strategy exists.
Some responses introduce reasons and ideas which are not explained or related
to the subject matter, causing the reader to have to make inferences.
Score Point 1
The response exhibits a lack of command of expository
writing. There is evidence that the writer has seen and attempted
to respond to the prompt. However, the response may not sustain focus
on the topic. The writer may attempt to support ideas, but there
may be no sense of strategy or control. Many responses exhibit skeletal
control but may be too sparse to be scored higher than a "1."
This code may be used for compositions that are
entirely illegible or otherwise unscorable: blank responses, responses
written in a foreign language, restatements of the prompt, and responses
that are off topic or incoherent.
How will you know that this lesson was successful?
Describe what student products or performances you'll be looking at and
how they'll be evaluated. This, of course, should be tightly related to
the standards and objectives you cited above.
You may want to just copy and paste the evaluation
section of the student page into this space and add any clarifications
needed for another teacher to make use of this lesson.
This lesson helps to prepare fifth graders for
the seventh grade expository writing test. It also helps the students
to reflect on there readings and put themselves in the place of the characters
in the book therefore reaching a deeper understanding of the text.
Credits & References
Text: A Family Apart
By Joan Lowery Nixon
Websites containing related information on Orphan
Rubric was developed from the following website:
Animated image provided by:
Book image provided by:
Barnes and Noble
Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template
from The WebQuest