Author Visit/In-House Field Trip for Schools GRADES 3-5
""Westward Migration with a focus on the Gold Rush is maybe the least likely subject for me to introduce now: The cliched story of a bunch of white people headed west in covered wagons. Except that it's not. It's a story of nuance and diversity writ large, of how history challenges us to think from multiple contradictory perspectives, and (a favorite theme of mine) how people can be both sympathetic and villainous all at once. It's at once an epic journey, a human and environmental disaster, and a very human tale or, rather, set of tales. It's my longest program yet. And it makes full use of video, animation, images, physical movement, humor, empathy, and imagination."
Overview: Students in Grades 3-5 go on an epic time-travel journey of imagination, as we follow in the footsteps of westward migrants headed for Gold Rush California, using video, photos, animation, movement, and imagination. This is also a journey that will make us uneasy. First, just like the actual migrants, we only realize from experience how hard it is to cross America on foot. Second, we become aware of the mental baggage the migrants brought with them, how they acquired it, and how the journey challenges their assumptions, especially about indigenous peoples. We see how the journey changed quickly from a fun jaunt to a terrifying and tragic experience. We also embrace the perspectives of American Indians who watched this staggering parade of people and wagons with growing concern and, ultimately, how they came to the terrifying realization of what it meant for them. In this presentation we will:
"Walk" from Independence, MO to Sacramento, CA, sometimes literally by marching in place.
Experience the landscapes and challenges of the overland trail, through video, photos, and animation, and with help from primary sources.
Examine the impact of the drastic and rapid change that westward migration brought to life on the Great Plains and in the West, and how Indian peoples responded.
Connects with: forthcoming novel set on Overland Trail
PLEASE NOTE Program Length: Two hours (BEGINS after audience seated: please allow at least 10 minutes in addition for students' arrival); Max. Two Sessions per Day.
Recommended Audience Ages: Grades 3-5
Recommended Audience Size: Up to 150 per session For the best possible experience for students, divide a single grade into two sessions for the day. This allows more students to participate as volunteers, a closer view of the artifacts, and the best rapport between Annette and the audience.
Maximum Audience Size: 150. This is negotiable. If you have access to a sloping auditorium, where students can sit and stand comfortably and see the screen clearly, this is the best venue for a large group.
Special Notes: All of Annette's programs make full use of audiovisual aids, but Gone West depends on sharp imagery more than most. A Promethean board or newer projector and large screen, and the ability to shut off some or all lights at times, are highly recommended.
Social Studies Curriculum Relevance: Connects to study of Westward Migration. Develops critical thinking skills and historical literacy. Connects 19th century to understanding of current events.