In preparation for our upcoming trip to Sacramento, 4th Grade just completed Sid Fleischman’s novel By the Great Horn Spoon. This is an exciting story about two characters, Jack and Praiseworthy, who leave the comforts of Boston to go to California during the Gold Rush. Once the adventure begins, Jack and Praiseworthy find themselves in many sticky situations. With the quick thinking of Praiseworthy, the two are able to get out of being stowaways, being robbed by highwaymen, getting lost on the way to the gold towns, and losing all of their earnings in a bad business deal. The gold panning winds up being prosperous, but only for a moment.
In Social Studies, our 4th Graders have been learning about the Gold Rush and the history of California becoming a state. Some of the cross curricular activities we have been focusing on are completing writing activities, acting in skits, and engaging in great dialogue using reading strategies including: questioning, determining importance, using schema, visualizing, and synthesizing information from the novel. Students have also incorporated similes into their writing, as Sid Fleischman so eloquently weaves into his own.