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Lesson Plan



Unit of Study

Native Americans: First Inhabitants of New York State

Focus Question

What are the geographical features of New York State?

Teaching Points

Students will use sensory images to visualize, interpret and enhance comprehension of texts.

Why?Purpose - Connection

To develop sensory awareness, help students visualize what New York looked like 400 years ago as a context for their learning.

Standards Addressed
CCLS Reading History.1 (Citing specific textual evidence), RH.6 (Integrating visual information)
CCLS Writing History & Science T.9 (Drawing Evidence from Informational Text).
CCLS Reading Informational Text 4.6 (Compare and contrast first hand account
CCLS Speaking & Listening 4.4 Report on a topic

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Students: 1. Creativity & Innovation, 2. Communication & Collaboration, 3. Research & Information Literacy, 4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision Making.

Materials - Resources & Readings

  1. Enlarged quotes from Gotham: A First Hand Account of New York 400 Years Ago

  2. Excerpt from Gotham: A First Hand Account of New York 400 Years Ago

  3. Pencils, watercolor paints, watercolor paper or other supplies.

Model - Demonstration

  • Divide the class into group of 4 or 5 students

  • Distribute quotes from Gotham, one quote per group.

  • Explain that they are to read the quote and discuss amongst themselves. Decide which region of New York State is being described.

  • Ask the students to use their five senses to imagine they are part of the scene described in their quote.

  • What do they see, hear, taste, feel and smell?

Student Exploration & Practice

  • Distribute paint and watercolor paper to each student.

  • Instruct students to paint the scene they visualized.

Share - Closure

  • Bring the class together in the reading area.

  • As a read-aloud, share the entire excerpt of the eyewitness ac count of New York 400 years ago.

  • Read the selection a second time.

  • Ask the students to practice their listening skills by raising their hands when they recognize the quote they used.

  • Explain that what was just read was an eyewitness account of what Manhattan looked like 400 years ago.

  • Facilitate a discussion of how New York has changed and why.


Rotate among the groups during the discussion to evaluate student need for addition support, and to evaluate the groups on managing their time, how well they worked independently and collaboratively.

Next Steps

  • Call attention to the last 2 lines of the text. They read, "There are some persons who imagine that the animals of the country will be destroyed in time, but this is an unnecessary anxiety."

  • Ask the students to discuss this comment in light of progress, the present and endangered or extinct animals.

Making Inferences

Have the students make inferences as to how the geography of New York City affected the daily life of the Lenape.

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Directions Using the iPad


  • After students have created their paintings, take photographs of them, using the iPad camera.
  • Go into the Camera Roll and edit - crop - enhance and save.

Then Using an App


  • Using the Educreations app, make a new lesson.
  • Click on the "+", then the mountain icon, then the camera roll.
  • Go to the camera roll and access the image of your handmade drawing.
  • Click on it and put it on your page in Educreations.
  • Click on the "+", then the "A" and type your first name and class on your page.
  • Record. Follow a script like this:
    • " Hi!. My name is ............ and this is my project on New York City 400 Years ago."
    • "Did you know that New York City was very different before the Europeans came?"
    • "We've read what Adrien Van Der Donck said where he first saw Manhattan in the 1660's.
    • "Here's what I think it would have looked like back then."
  • Press the Save button above the red record button and type in your name and class.
  • Click on the email button and email your work so it can be published on the wikispace.

Supporting Materials

Download and print a copy of the quotes. Cut them into strips and distribute to teams.

Read the entire excerpt aloud twice with your students

Native Americans:First Inhabitants of New York State - Grade 4: Unit 1 - page 69
New York City Department of Education
Office of Curriculum and Professional Development
Department of Social Studies

Technology Component Written by Frances Newsom-Lang, October 2014.
All images are copyright free.

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