Quill, Parchment, and Post
Author InfoHarrow Strickland
Pick Elementary School
1320 N. College Street
Auburn, AL 36830
Type of Lesson
Students should be able to identify character traits based on inferencing skills from prior literature lessons.
Students should have an understanding of Thomas Jefferson's role during the American Revolution.
USI.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the factors that shaped colonial America bydescribing colonial life in America from the perspectives of large landowners, farmers, artisans, women, free African Americans, indentured servants, and enslaved African Americans;
USI.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution by describing key events and the roles of key individuals in the American Revolution, with emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry;
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.1Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.5Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.9
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably
Students will read multiple personal letters from the collection of Thomas Jefferson to infer character traits.
Students will choose character traits that describe Thomas Jefferson.
Students will justify their choices when writing by using text evidence from the letter to support their reasoning.
Additional Learning Outcomes
What evidence can be used to describe someone's character traits?
How do character traits influence one's relationships or actions?
How do Thomas Jefferson's character traits change over time?
Print appropriate number of copies of the Character Traits Worksheet found in Handouts and Downloads. Organize students into groups of 3-4. Pass out the Character Traits Worksheet. Review the list of words with the students. Explore the idea of postive, negative, or neutral traits. Ensure they understand the definition of each word on the list.
Print appropriate number of copies or secure enough iPads/laptops to display the letters from the Thomas Jefferson as a Young Man collection which can be found in Handouts and Downloads. Give each student a printed copy or iPad displaying a letter from the Thomas Jefferson as a Young Man collection. Ensure that all the letters in that collection are represented by the groups. For example- Group A, which contains four students, should all have a copy of From Thomas Jefferson to John Page- December 25, 1762 while Group B will have a different letter to read. In particular, the letter From Thomas Jefferson to John Page-December 25, 1762 has 3 distinct sections that different groups should focus upon- one group should focus on paragraph one (this would work best with your more capable readers), another group focus on paragraph 2, and another group focus on paragraph 3. This will provide opportunties for multiple perspective examination using the same primary source document. Allow students time to read the letter or excerpt of the letter. Students may need guidance with vocabulary and sentence structure. Encourage close reading strategies to help them comprehend what the letters or excerpts are saying.
Create a chart to hang in the classroom labled Thomas Jefferson as a Young Man. Once students have read the letters, instruct the groups to use their Character Traits Worksheet to determine which character traits Thomas Jefferson is exemplifying in the letter assigned to their group. Encourage group discussion to arrive at a consensus of at least five traits but no more than ten. Instruct students to complete the Thomas Jefferson as a Young Man section on the Thomas Jefferson Character Traits with their group information. As each group finishes their discussions and completing their worksheet, invite them to record their group's character trait choices on the class chart labeled Thomas Jefferson- A Young Man
Bring the whole class together. Review the class chart that was created. Discuss similarites and differences found on the chart. Allow students to share insights they learned from reading these letters. Allow groups to summarize the contents of their letters for the class.
As their exit slip, have students record their top character trait choice to describe Thomas Jefferson using a quote from their letter to support their choice. This will be recorded on the Thomas Jefferson Character Trait Worksheet in the Thomas Jefferson as a Young Man section, and turned in as class is dismissed. These worksheets will be used again to complete the remaining sections.
The previous steps will be repeated over the next 3 days with the remaining collections of letters- Thomas Jefferson as a Husband, Thomas Jefferson as a Father, and Thomas Jefferson as a Grandfather. Class charts will be created for each collection. At the end of the week, guide students to review all four charts and reflect on how Thomas Jefferson did or did not demonstrate a change in his character over time.
Handouts and Downloads
From Thomas Jefferson to John Page- December 25, 1762
From Thomas Jefferson to William Fleming- October 1763
From Thomas Jefferson to John Page-January 23,1764 Thomas Jefferson as a Husband
From Thomas Jefferson to Elizabeth Wayles Eppes- October 3, 1782
From Thomas Jefferson to Chastellux- November 26, 1782
Lines Copied from Tristram Shandy by Martha and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson as a Father
From Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson (1st daughter)- November 28, 1783
From Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferston (1st daughter)- December 22, 1783
From Thomas Jefferson to Marth Jefferson (1st daughter)- December 23, 1790
From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson (2nd daughter)- September 20, 1785
From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson (2nd daughter)- February 7, 1799 Thomas Jefferson as a Grandfather
From Thomas Jefferson to Ellen Wayles Randolph (1st granddaughter) November 27, 1801
From Thomas Jefferson to Cornelia Jefferson Randolph- April 3, 1808
From Thomas Jefferson to Cornelia Jefferson Randolph- January 23, 1809
From Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes- September 9, 1814
From Virginia Jefferson Randolph to Thomas Jefferson- February 17, 1809
Accommodations - Students with Special Needs
Accommodations - Advanced Learners
Students who need advanced accomodations can be shown how to search the National Archives Founders Online website to explore more letters written by, to, and about Thomas Jefferson.
An additional advanced accomodation would be to allow students to record readings of the letters and develop a podcast to further explore Thomas Jefferson's character.