Chapter 12: Retreat

Teacher's Guide Chapter Author: Shana Prue, 5th grade teacher, Bendorf Elementary School, Clark County School District

Chapter Overview: Sallie Fox's father, Alpha Borwn is buried in the river. Salllie lay injured from an arrow wound as the wagons headed back toward the Baley train. The travelers were hopeful another wagon train would travel the Beale Trail adn be able to help with food and supplies as well as transportation. Sallie's family had to join another wagon as they could no longer take theirs. They made one wagon the sick wagon and the sick and injured rode while everyone else walked. Despite the heat and their physical distress they reached the Baley wagons. When they returned to the camp they discovered that another team of animals had been lost and water supplies were dire. After the adults held a council to discuss the situation they decided to head back to Albuquerque. Only the sickest and most injured rode in teh wagon and again everyone else had to walk. They journeyed for three days when Sallie's puppy Pedro dies of heat and lack of water. After desert mirages play tricks on the settlers eyes they finally catch sight of another wagon train. The wagon train was lead by a friend of Mr. Rose and were happy to help out the desperate settlers. They rested for a day and then helped the troubled wagon train head back to Albuquerque. Sallie's brother was sick with heat prostration and her Mama was worried about him.

Chapter Themes: The theme in this chapter is survival. The pioneers are up against terrible odds. They have few supplies, many injured and sick and not enough water and yet they keep their optimism and do their best to survive.

Chapter Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Activity Idea 1 Create a journal.
      • Description: Students will create a journal as if they are Sallie Fox. This journal will describe the trek back to the Baley wagons and then the three day trek until they were found by the new wagon train.
      • Standards Addressed
        • Standard 1: ElA 3.5.2 Make inferences about character traits and predict conflicts.
          • Standard 2: ELA 6.5.3 Write paragraphs and essays with main ideas, supporting details and conclusion.
      • Activity Idea 2 Word Power!
        • Description: Students will create a tree map identifying different types of figurative language in the chapter. They should have sub headings of Imagery, Simile/Metaphor, Personification and Onomatopoeia. In groups of four they will comb the book and create posters out of the tree maps.
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1: ELA 3.5.5 Identify and interpret figurative language.
          • Standard 2: None
    • Mathematics
      • Activity Idea 1 Read Thermometers
        • Description: Students will work on a page of drawn thermometers and identify what the new temperature is after it drops in the evening when the sun goes and when it goes up during the course of the day in the hot desert sun.
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1: (This is the power standard this falls under but I don't have the CEF's at home and dont' have the exact wording of the standard that is on our second trimester IDMS test. 3.5.1 Measurement reading thermometers and using negative numbers in the context of a number line.
          • Standard 2:none
      • Activity Idea 2 Word Problems
        • Description: For morning work students will solve distance traveled word problems written by me using reasonable miles traveled by Sallie and her family converted to feet or yards. An example might be: Sallie rode for 10 miles in the wagon back to the Baley camp after being hit by an arrow. How many feet was traveled by those who walked?
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1: 3.5.1 Estimate and convert units of measurement.
          • Standard 2: none
    • Social Studies
      • Activity Idea 1 Who is the "real" Sallie Fox?
        • Description: In the computer lab, students will research Sallie Fox. Students will then fill in a graphic organizer that includes, early life, life on the trail and life in California
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1:(5)4.28 Read, interpret and analyze historical passages
          • Standard 2:none
      • Activity Idea 2 Go West, Young Man or Wagons East?
        • Description: Students will be placed in groups of three. In these groups they will decide whether they should convince people in the 1840's to go west to California and settle the new land or to convince people that going west was dangerous and too risky to make a family do. After deciding they will design and create a poster that will convey their point of view and hopefully convince other people to their state of mind. They will then present posters to the class. Every student will have a job: a getter, a reporter, and a starter/timekeeper.
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1: (5)3.22 Identify push/pull factors influencing human migration and settlement.
          • Standard 2: none
    • Science
      • Activity Idea 1 Circle Map/Double Bubble of Desert Ecosystem
        • Description: Students will create a circle (thinking map) demonstrating all knowledge of all living and non living things contained in a desert ecosystem. Students will then do a pair/share comparing the two circle maps. Teacher will then call a discussion and create a class circle map including all relevant knowledge. Students will then create a double bubble (or Venn diagram) comparing the desert ecosystem to a more favorable ecosystem like the prairie's of Kansas.
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1: L5C3 Describe how some environmental conditions are more favorable than others.
          • Standard 2:none
      • Activity Idea 2 Human adaptations for desert travel.
        • Description: In groups of 4, students will compile a list of possible adaptations humans would need to make in order to survive better through the desert. They will then create a drawing that labels their selected adaptations.
        • Standards Addressed
          • Standard 1:L5C5 Describe animal adaptations that allow them to survive in specific ecosystems.
          • Standard 2: none
    Historical Overview of Chapter Themes

    Women took on quite a bit of work onto their plates while traveling in covered wagons over the Oregon trail and any other trail they traveled. They worked with ingenuity to create homey environments while on the trail and cook food that made them seem like they were at home for the 6 months they were on the trail. Women worked during the day doing “man’s” work by helping lead the teams on the wagon and helping for rivers etc. and they still watched the children. Women then worked hard in the evenings again caring for children and cooking and doing household chores like laundry. Women were cheerful and hopeful about the upcoming lives they were soon to lead and took their children (even babies) to experience this harsh life knowing they would be rewarded for taking on the challenge. Women’s journals of the time period seemed to focus on this sunny outlook and downplayed hardships. Unfortunately, life wasn't quite so sunny. Many women became widows on the trail as did Sallie's mom. The dangers were abundant; illness like cholera, drownings, wagon accidents, septicemia (from lack of antibiotics when minor wounds happened) and of course, Native American attacks.

    Additional Resources

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Cynthia C. Spence said...

I enjoyed reading your activities. There were three that I really thought I would like to try with my class. First, I loved the Who is the real Sallie Fox activity. I see this as a chance not only to broaden students' research skills but a great way to open a discussion about historical fiction.

I also think the Desert Ecosystems activity would be interesting for my students because they are already familiar with the desert, however, they have probably not really thought about how it would impact them if they could not go into their air-conditioned homes or cars. I think this would be a great launch lesson for understanding the geography that surrounded the Fox party and my students.

Finally, I really liked the Reading Thermometers activity. If this can be done in the summer it would really be fun. I think I would modify it slightly by allowing a roving thermometer and journal so that each student in the class would have an opportunity to be responsible for the taking and recording of a day and night temperature.

Robyn Brodhagen said...

I really enjoyed your activities. I really liked the activity about creating a journal as Sallie Fox. I think this is a great way for students to really understand how Sallie must have felt. I think having students research the real Sallie Fox is a terrific way to get to know the real Sallie. Great Job!

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

I thought your sample word problem was quite good - could you include more samples?

I'm not sure students will be able to list ALL living and non-living items in a desert eco-system. Perhaps they could list common organic/non-organic items?

I like the idea of having students research and then try to persuade others to stay east or go west. Perhaps some could create tri-fold brochures using Microsoft Word templates) to add-in variety and a technological component (of course, they could make their posters with Word, PhotoShop, KidPix, ...).