“Pardon This Interruption-Columbus Has Landed!!!”

By mel ruth, November 13, 2006

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

Four or five fifty-minute class periods


After studying Chapter One: The Meeting of Cultures*, the students will be required to research, design, rehearse, record, and present a 60 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) on main theme number 3: The collision of cultures in North America that yielded many biological and cultural exchanges and remade both the Old and New Worlds. The student must utilize the design process in every collaborative step.
*note: This lesson can be applied to any other subject or main theme. The collision of cultures in North America is just an example.

National Standards

Historical Understanding
Standard 2. Understands the historical perspective
Social Studies
II: Time, Continuity, and Change III: People, Places and Environments
 Language Arts
Standard 1. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process Standard 2. Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing Standard 3. Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions Standard 8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
Standard 1. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer hardware and operating systems Standard 2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Through this activity, students should:
  • understand the chosen topic
  • be able to identify major themes represented in the topic
  • understand how to use the design process in order to create a PSA about the theme
  • write a coherent and clear script
  • use performance and public speaking skills
See attachment for objectives when using the topic of “The meeting of cultures.”


  • computer
  • textbook readings
  • additional sound effect instruments
  • PSA design handout


  • recording equipment (computer, tape recorder)
  • playback equipment for presentation


*For "The Meeting of Cultures" Capitalism-An economic system based on the investment of resources (money, capital) in various enterprises in the hope of making a profit.
Conquistador(s)-Spanish for "conqueror." Conquistadors (pl.), such as Hernando Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, led military expeditions in the New World in order to claim lands and resources for Spain and to subjugate the Native American empires they encountered on their way.
Coureurs de bois-Adventurous French trappers and fur traders who penetrated far into the North American wilderness and developed an extensive trade that became one of the underpinnings of the French colonial economy.
Demography-The statistical study of human populations, especially with reference to size, density, distribution, and vital statistics such as sex or family size. Using computers to store, sort, and retrieve the considerable data available to them, historians have conducted complex demographic studies and shed new light on social life in early America.
Encomiendas-The Spanish right to exact tribute and labor from Native Americans on large tracts of land, granted by Don Juan de Onate to favored Spaniards in what would become the American Southwest.
Feudalism-a system of political organization (as in Europe during the Middle Ages) in which a vassal served a lord and received protection and land in return
High Church-The party within the Church of England that retained many of the Catholic ceremonies and practices that the Puritans opposed and wished to purge from the church.
Mercantilism-Economic philosophy popular in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe which argued that one person or nation could grow rich only at the expense of another, and that a nation's economic health depended, therefore, on a "favorable balance of trade" (selling as much as possible to foreign lands while buying as little as possible from them).
Mestizos-People of mixed Spanish and Native-American blood, who came to numerically dominate the colonies of the Spanish Empire.


1. Have a class discussion covering the main points in the chapter. Use different mediums in order to capitalize on what works best for your students; examples include lectures, worksheets, small projects, outlines, and short essays. Tell the students that they will be broken into groups in order to make a Public Service Announcement about a theme in the chapter. 2. With the class, cover information about Public Radio, scriptwriting, sound effects, pacing, presentation, use of tone, etc. Discuss examples of PSAs and encourage the students to describe any that they have heard on the radio or seen on TV. Encourage them to describe what would make a PSA successful and what would make them boring (use of tone, subject matter, creativity, etc.). 3. Break the class into groups of 3 or 4 and have them pick a main theme from the chapter that they find interesting. Each group should approach the video and PSA as a solution to the questions: What is a main theme in this chapter and why? What is interesting about the theme and why? 4. Pass out the attached worksheet (PSA Design Worksheet) and have each group fill it out. Once each group has completed their worksheet, each group should present their ideas to the teacher and class. Encourage constructive criticism or suggestions throughout the class. 5. Have groups type and rehearse their script.
6. Record the PSAs and play them back in front of the class.
  • Students should present (pitch their idea and what they hoped to achieve in the PSA) their PSA to the class.
  • Students will play their PSA to the class.
  • Hold a class-wide critique of the PSA.


Students will be graded on the following items on a 10-point scale:
1. The group identified a main theme 2. The main point was conveyed 3. Vital information was included in the PSA 4. The PSA was 60 seconds 5. The group followed the typed script 6. The group used strong presentation skills in their PSA: use of sound effects, voice, clarity, etc. 7. The group presented the main points for their PSA in class

Enrichment Extension Activities

Relate the current content to an area of the world that still exploits and discriminates against people for various reasons. Examples include South Africa and mining, China and the countryside labor force, and illegal immigrants in the USA.

Teacher Reflection

Everything went according to plan.Daily I reflect on: -The deliverance of my expectations -Whether my directions were clear and concise -Whether my students were able to get on task in a relatively short period of time -Whether there were relatively few off-topic questions and behavioral interruptions -Whether there was sufficient time to achieve my daily objective -And the overall “give and take” between student and teacher
If I could change one thing, I would have probably saved this concept for later in the year after the students had some "preliminary" projects to build their confidence and organizational skills. However, I was impressed by the results.

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