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Bird's eye view, Placerville, Cal

[Detail] Bird's eye view, Placerville, Cal

Lesson Procedure

  1. Demonstrate the basic search features of the Library of Congress. Show students how to compile a "bookmark" or "favorites" file to collect and organize their research results.
  2. Students will search California As I Saw It, 1849-1900 for at least four documents depicting the motivations, expectations, fears, and realizations of settlers who immigrated to California between 1849 and 1900.
  3. After selecting four documents from California As I Saw It, 1849-1900, students should search additional collections for related pictures, movies, maps, and sound recordings to inform and illustrate their script.

Homework: Writing the Script

After searching the collections and locating relevant documents in California As I Saw It, 1849-1900, students write their scripts. Students should keep in mind the texts, images, motion pictures, and sound recordings that they have selected and indicate the points in the text where these items will be linked.

Students construct a dramatic scene that includes the following elements:

  1. Scene Description
    Students should include the scene's time period and geographic location, a description of what is visible on stage, and a physical description of the characters and their clothing. This component should contain at least one reference to an illustrative photograph or print from the Library's Collections.
  2. Characters
    Students should include at least two characters in the dialogue. Include physical characteristics, age, gender, personality characteristics, and clothing for each character in the cast.
  3. Author's Note
    Students should write a paragraph at the end of their dialogue to explain how the primary sources they have selected illustrate the motivations, expectations, fears, and realizations of settlers in California during the time 1849-1900 period.

Students create the following connections within their script:

Connect their script to textual documents found in California As I Saw It, 1849-1900 to provide an example of one of the four themes identified in the answers to the questions:

  1. Why did people leave their homes to come to California?
  2. What did they expect to find in California? How did they expect resettlement to change their lives?
  3. What fears did they have about the journey and their lives once they got there?
  4. Was their experience what they had expected? If not, how was it different?
  5. Links to at least four images found in American Memory that relate to the subject matter of their script.
  6. Links to at least two sound recordings or motion pictures found in American Memory that relate to the subject matter of their script.

Extension

The lesson may be extended by performing the students' scripts. In addition, students may research and create printed materials for distribution to the audience that provide further historical background and details.

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