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Title: Postcards from Afar

Grade: Six

Timeline: 2 periods
including assigning homework to complete the task(s)

Curriculum Area: Language Arts, Art, and Social Studies - Heritage & Citizenship

Title of Unit: First Nation Peoples & European Explorers

Mental Set:

Conduct a short visualization to help students go back in time. I will ask them to pretend for a few minutes that they are traveling with Cartier from Europe to North America in search for trading partners, land, resources, and the pure joy of adventure. The students will close their eyes and step back in time as I walk them through a scenario. They will be expected to sit back and think about their experiences.


1)Students will be asked to step out of the visualization and take out their workbooks to begin writing.

2)Students will be given a set of cards (8.5 X 5.5) which will be distributed following the instructions. The students must imagine that they are traveling with one of the European explorers. They will be encouraged to think about traveling with someone other than Cartier which was used in the visualization activity. I will post a list of some of the explorers who came to Canada on exploration expeditions to help students with selecting an explorer.

Part A-

Students will be asked to write a set of postcards home including 3 facts and 3 impressions about their travels to North America. They can describe the following; 1) activities they participated in while traveling; and 2) physical environment; and 3) people they encountered while traveling and their ways of life; and 4) events that took place in the foreign land.

*Students will be asked to produce a draft copy and take time to edit their draft before preceding to write on postcards.

Part B-

Once they have completed the writing activity they can proceed to draw illustrations of the places they visited, people they met along the way and activities they participated in during their travels. These drawings will be on the cover of each of their postcards. Each postcard must be different, with a different illustration and a different piece of writing.

3) Postcards will be assessed and included in their portfolio of work for the unit.

*I think this is an excellent activity for ESL learners because it does not demand a great deal of writing, nor does it demand a great of complex writing, however, it does involve the student describing the experiences of the explorers so that one can assess understanding and it enables the student to further demonstrate their understanding through drawings which is another way to communicate what they have learned.

The accommodations I might suggest for ESL learners are encouraging peer editing, show students excemplars, providing students with both written and verbal instructions and checking in with the student on a regular basis to determine level of understanding and address any questions and/or concerns.

Submitted by: Erika Carlson

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