Author Visit/In-House Field Trip for Schools GRADES 3-5
An epic time-travel journey for Grades 3-5 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 learn from experience how hard it is to cross America. 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 an exciting 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 amazement and an eye for opportunity, and ultimately, how they came to the overwhelming and terrifying realization of what it really meant for them. It's all based on current historical scholarship and primary sources. In this presentation we will:
- "Walk" from Independence, MO to Sacramento, CA, in 1849 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
Virtual Visits Available
Gone West is a fast-paced interactive imaginary field trip along the California Trail in 1849. During the trip, students learn just how rough life could be and all the unexpected problems that could plague their journey.
As a media specialist, I found the aftermath even more exciting. For weeks afterwards, students came to me with requests related to their trip. They wanted to learn more and read more, they wanted to keep living the journey. Students asked for books about the trail and about the Gold Rush. I loved learning along with them and really hope we can load up the wagons again for next year's fourth grade!
Media Specialist / Union Elementary, Temple, GA
I loved how Dr. Laing engaged students in Gone West! I love the way she challenged students to make decisions about which precious possessions they would have to leave along the journey. Maps, artifacts, and costume made the presentation even more authentic.
Literacy Coach / G.O. Bailey Elementary, Tifton, GA
Dr. Laing is a wonderful teacher. She kept students interested and learning the entire time. She provided wonderful, age-appropriate information that allowed students to feel the journey!
4th Grade / Liberty Elementary, Midway, GA
It was great the way you captured and held the students' attention. I loved how you made connections to things the students could relate to from their lives. You painted a picture as you told the journey.
4th Grade ELA / Len Lastinger Elementary, Tifton, GA
I like to call myself a Brit from Sacramento. I first lived in the US in California's capital, and so my American journey has taken me from West to East. That's one of many reasons why this exciting new program is close to my heart. Gone West! takes kids on an active journey of the mind from Independence, MO to Gold Rush California in 1849, and it's my most ambitious program yet.
Gone West! is at once an epic journey, a human and environmental disaster, and a very human tale. And it makes full use of video, animation, images, physical movement, humor, empathy, and imagination. By the end of two too-brief hours, kids will feel that they really have Gone West!
- PLEASE NOTE Program Length: Two hours (BEGINS after audience seated: please allow at least 10 minutes in addition for students' arrival); PLEASE NOTE: Max. Two Sessions per Day for this program only.
- Virtual version of Gone West is 60-75 minutes
- Recommended Audience Ages: Grades 3-5 (especially Grade 4)
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 possible 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, move in place, and see the screen clearly, this is the best venue, especially for a large group. All students should be in the same grade: 4th is strongly recommended.
- Special Notes: All of Annette's programs make full use of audiovisual aids, but Gone West more than most depends on sharp imagery. Either a Promethean board (for smaller groups) or newer projector and large screen with newer projector/bulb is strongly 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.
- Cost: Please contact us. We have a holistic approach to pricing, and will want to know some details about your school. Be assured that prices are very reasonable!
It's a testimony to you that my students remembered your Could You Be A Colonial Kid? presentation from last year, and were super-excited to miss their favorite time of the day--recess--to share Gone West! with you! A two-hour presentation always makes me a little nervous, because that's a long time for my group to "stay put", yet you always produce such an informative and entertaining presentation that my kids stayed engaged the whole time. Your excitement is contagious, and you inspire me to want to learn more about westward migration, so I can "spice up" my unit!
4th Grade / Flowery Branch Elementary, Hall County Schools (metro Atlanta)
Why Don't We Just Give the Price? Each school is different. We don't want to announce a rack rate and frighten you away if you have limited resources. There are discounts and alternatives to make Annette's programs accessible to every school, and many of our clients are Title I schools in rural areas. Asking questions doesn't commit you, and we want to hear from you!
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