This is a very innovative and enriching cross curriculum adventure integrating social studies, reading/language arts, writing, art and drama.
First, your students are assessed on their knowledge of facts about Columbus and the vocabulary definitions of your choice (or you can use the ones I’ve provided, which are from the story The Sign Maker’s Assistant). This allows you to track their progress and monitor their growth throughout the lesson. You can individualize this part and use your own pre-assessment of something else you may be teaching.
Next, they read a truly inspiring story about how one becomes big and strong enough to really get their dreams, something too few of us ever do.
Then they make a replica of one or more of Columbus' ships out of paper or Popsicle sticks. (instruction links included)
Finally, they write and act out a skit based on the story using critical information about Columbus and the vocabulary words from our weekly reading story. You may choose to use whatever words you are working on from any subject.
This integrated project can be used week after week and addresses Common Core standards and Marzano elements (learning goal and scale).
Most importantly, it provides the opportunity for you to stretch your students' minds academically through activities that are so much fun they will remain in the hearts and minds of your students for a long, long time.
Thank you and I hope you really enjoy teaching this lesson as much as I did, and may your students find the hero in them along the way!
Adam and the School of Athens ~ Mind Adventures