Name: __________________________ Subject: Reading as a Historian


American Spirit


  The Reading as a Historian : Connecting Past to Present web quest examines and analyzes the American Spirit as reflected in historical fiction.
The following "Banner Questions" are discussed for each piece of literature.
1. Is the literature an accurate representation of historical event(s)?
2. Is the literature relevant to young people today?
The reader will analyze the text in order to understand the author's historical portrayal of the culture, motives, and the traditions of the ethnic group. Ultimately, the reader should come to a recognition as to why the group came to America, how they reflect the American Spirit, and make connections to their own lives.
  How does your self-selected text illustrate the American Spirit?
1. Select a novel, read and discuss it in literature circles.
2. As a group, select a project that illustrates the determination to survive seen within the ethnic group represented in your novel.
  Step One:
Select a novel based on your personal interests from the following:
Lyddie by Katherine Patterson
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Nory Ryann's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff
Roll of Thunder by Mildred Taylor
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdich
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
Pacific Crossing by Gary Soto
Novel of your choice with teacher approval
  Atlantic Slave Trade

Secrets of the Dead: Slave Ship Mutiny - PBS Video

Westward Expansion

Manifest Destiny

Industrial Revolution

Civil War
The Civil War A Film by Ken Burns A PBS Video

Civil Rights

Irish Immigration

Chinese Immigration

Mexican Immigration

American Indian Removal Act

  Choose ONE of the following as your final product.

Write and illustrate an original picture book.

Create a museum exhibit.

Write a research paper.

Create a Power Point or Prezi presentation.

Create an I Movie.

Create a display board.

Each product must meet the following criterion:

Answer the Banner Questions about the novel you read.
Is the literature an accurate representation of historical events?
Is the literature relevant to young people today?

Make connections between oneself and people group characterized within the chosen novel.

Illustrate how this novel exemplifies the American Spirit. Read the "The American Spirit In Literature" (see last link under resources). Address each of the following:
Has the culture you have researched "long endured"?

Are they "...strangers in an inn, but passengers in a ship"?

Are they "venturesome"?

Are they "physically and morally daring"?

  Email your teacher with the following reflection:
Discuss the three most important facts or lessons you learned from this unit.
Discuss two ways these lessons have or will impact you now and in the future.
Discuss one thing you would like to have added to this product to make it better.

This Web Quest is available at (