In each unit, I like to have my students complete a RAFT in their notebooks - this is a creative writing activity that the students design themselves by picking ONE item out of each column. The "R" column is for role of the writer (who are you supposed to be); the "A" column is for determining your audience (who are you writing to); the "F" column is for format (letter, diary entry, newspaper article, etc.), and the "T" is the topic focus of the writing. For this particular raft, the kids will be writing in reference to the effects of the Lewis and Clark expedition, allowing settlers to begin moving westward for fresh starts and new land. I teach my kids to respond with "a half page minimum, full page maximum" length of response. There are several RAFTS on one page to reduce copy numbers - I usually pre-cut these into strips and have the kids glue at the top of their notebook page. When they are done, we share with partners and pick 3 to share in front of the class. It's a great way to let the kids pick their own writing parameters and show you their knowledge. Enjoy!