One by one the students stopped working, peering up in confusion. Our Library Media Specialist (Alison Smithwick) and a Technology Coach (Elizabeth Benno) had slipped quietly into the room. They appeared to be in a boat, and were pointing and pausing to confer and take notes. After sailing down the coast of our classroom, they quietly disappeared.
|The blue tape line for de Pineda's path.
Students had to figure out what the strange visitors were doing based on the observations kids made. They were able to infer that our visitors were on a ship drawing a map. It turned out that my tribes had just witnessed Alonso Alvarez de Pineda sail along the coastline of Texas! A fantastic discussion ensued using the following criteria:
Based on your research of your specific tribe's customs, beliefs, and culture, how do you think your tribe reacted to seeing Pineda's ship go by?
The students' in-depth understanding of each tribe was phenomenal and contributed to the lively discussion. They were thoroughly engaged and ready to write their first journal entry recording the historic event...from their tribe's point of view.
- Today a large canoe made out of wood, crossed the ocean. It was very chaotic. As soon as someone saw it they called a meeting. The women and men gathered around the campfire. As the men argued the women decided it was best left alone. ~Katie
|The growing timeline.
Along with the journal entry, they began a Google Slides presentation within Google Classroom to record each explorer's name, home country, motivation, achievements, and impact (if any) on the settlement of Texas. We then added each event to a timeline with 1-3 corresponding journal entries attached. Each explorer's path through Texas was recorded on the floor with colorful tape.
|Mr. Smith as a hungry, shipwrecked deVaca.
- Today a person but not a person came. He was like us but the skin was totally different. He spoke the weirdest kind of language. It sounded like gibberish. This could be the start of something new. What if more come, what if they try to take us? I think I’m gonna just go hide in my hut and stay there in case they do come back. Even though my tribe is kind, how are they going to be kind with this happening? ~ Campbell
|Mr. Parker as de Niza
- Today a man named de Niza came with Esteban. I was happy to see Esteban while traveling for some meat, but then an arrow struck him in his heart and there was nothing I could do. The other man ran away yelling a strange word: gold. ~Paari
- Today a new ghost came. Luckily we had our new friends the Atakapa with us, but we couldn’t do anything to stop them from walking right into our camp. He said he was looking “oro” which I don’t know of. He said this to us, “Oro, oro, gold, De Niza.” Now we understood he was looking for the Seven Cities of Gold. We told him that the mountains bathed in sunlight were gold. I hope he goes away. ~Olivia
|Mr. Knoerr as Coronado
- Today a whole group of ghosts appeared! Now it seems that they come every year! Before we could do anything, the Chief said to us, “They are hathe (men). You know that even if there are wocpe (ten) of them and only hannik (one) of us, we will win! By the power of the cāmc (wolf), cako (bear), and lāns, let us be safe.” After that, we just had to keep night shifts and carry on our business. The leader sent out two men, and when they got back, they said, “Coronado, we found a beautiful canyon. Sadly, we found no City Of Gold.” The leader got very angry and stormed off with his men. We are safe for now, but the people coming will only get worse. ~Haley
From Mrs. Smithwick to Mr. Knoerr, the school came together to help my students witness history in action. Students responded with high levels of engagement and reflections that went above and beyond expectations. The ownership they displayed for their tribes and territories continued to grow. This makes the next section of the lesson even more powerful.
Stay tuned as students react to their lands being taken away, and others transition into the role of settlers. The perfect recipe for lively debate!
If emotion makes meaning and drives learning, how are we doing so far?