3. Gathering Data and Determining Author Purpose and Structure: How Cultural Values Impact Places

(This is the Lesson Plan 3 for Shana Brown (Yakama)’s curriculum, “A Thousand Celilos: Tribal Place Names along the Lewis and Clark Trail.)

Weekly CCSS Focus/Objective

Students will practice their reading skills by identifying text structure and distinguishing bias from fact.

CCSS Focus/Objective

Choose an area of research; identify the text structure of at least two different texts. Summarize the texts by determining main idea and supporting details; determine author’s point of view and how it impacts readers.

    • RL.4.6 Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
    • RI.4.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
    • RI.4.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between Lewis and Clark and the Northwest Tribes they encountered based on specific information in the text.
    • RI.4.6 Analyze multiple accounts of the description and purposes of Celilo Falls, noting important similarities and differences in the points of view they represent.

Essential Questions

  • How did members of the Lewis and Clark expedition describe and interpret this place?
  • How did American Indian peoples describe encounters with members of the Lewis and Clark expedition?


Preparation: Make sure students have had a chance to find texts in your classroom or school library on the same topic. They may decide to read about something in their “Observation Chart” or keep going with the place they read about last week.




  • Markers
  • Chart paper
  • Tie-In: Last week we learned about the importance of learning the history of the places around us. You learned about Celilo Falls, the Columbia River, and you learned to pronounce their traditional names.
  • Entry Question: Is it possible to have two different ideas about the same place?
  • Lead-In: Today we are going to learn how to determine point of view and factors that contribute to the author’s perspective. We will practice this very important skill over the next three days.
  • Lesson: Recall Grandma’s description of Celilo from “I Wish I Could Have Seen the Falls.” from Lesson Plan 1 (reread select descriptions from the text). Now, let’s read from Lewis and Clark’s journal. They were there and traded there, too. As I read, draw what you envision.
  • Read the journal entry, especially the parts where they describe the commerce of “The Great Mart.”
  • Make a “T” chart and put Lewis and Clark on the left and Grandma on the right. What is missing from each? (Lewis and Clark miss the dancing, playing, sensory description; to them it is just a trading place; in fact, Clark is worried more about the mice in his sleeping quarters than the beauty and use of the falls.)
  • What does it mean that these two descriptions focus on different things? (We write down what we think is important. Lewis and Clark did not know or spend enough time to know what else Celilo was used for and what it means to tribal people.)
  • Introduce page 1 of the handout “Loaded Words Point of View.” Complete it together, noticing how language affects our opinions of people, places, or events.
    1. Focus on the advertisement portions as well as the parent points of view and loaded words before moving onto Celilo or student research texts.
    2. Point out that words are chosen on purpose to have an effect on readers. Be careful of “loaded”words.
  • Today when you go book shopping, choose another text that is about your same place or at least the same area.
  • Assessment: Exit ticket “How does the author’s point of view affect the description of a place or event?”
    1. They want us to believe as they believe and will choose words to persuade our opinions.
  • HOMEWORK: Complete the “Loaded Words Point of View” worksheet. Begin taking notes from the texts you got today and prepare to share them with your group when you’ve finished (this will be early next week).



Teacher models and reads aloud the difficult text so that students can then practice in pairs. *NOTE: You may only get through one or two sections of the large article; this is okay.



Carol Craig (Yakama) gathered this and many other images from postcards and photographic prints she found at yard sales and other unknown, ambiguous sources during the 1990s. At the time she was employed by the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, which is based in Portland, Oregon, and serves tribal members that reside within the Columbia River Basin.

  • Tie-In: Yesterday we discovered how an author’s point of view can really affect how we as readers understand and feel about a certain place or event. We saw how Lewis and Clark’s journals and Grandma’s story describe the same place very differently, and you practiced your comparing skill with two pieces of writing from different authors about the same place. Take out your “Loaded Words” worksheet. Share what you discovered with your partner. (Share with partner, then with class.)
  • We now know that an author’s point of view really affects the description of places, people, and events. Authors use language to persuade us to believe what they believe. It is sort of easy to identify these loaded words when we are familiar with the situations.
  • Entry Question: So, when an article is difficult—you will encounter a lot of writing whose intended audience is much older—how do you tackle that difficult text and still determine point of view and loaded words?
  • Lead-In: Today we’ll practice with a relatively simple text we saw yesterday: Lewis and Clark’s journal entry about Celilo, and now we’ll tackle a more difficult text: “Childhood Memories of Fishing at Celilo Falls.” We’ll do this so that you know how to tackle the tough texts you will encounter over the next three weeks as you research a place in our community.
  • Lesson
    1. Follow the Close Reading lessons in Episode 5 of the Celilo Storypath.
    2. Model questions as a class, then partners will ask each other, too.
    3. Close: See how asking yourself questions and comparing different articles gives you a better idea of a particular place, person, or event.
  • Assessment: Exit Slip: Use “Childhood Memories…” and “I Wish….” Why are they so different from the journals of Lewis and Clark? Exit Slip: Identify the differing points of view of Celilo Falls. Explain how authors’ experience (or lack of it) impact their points of view.
  • HOMEWORK 1: In your reading journal or on a piece of paper, sketch what you feel each of the authors really sees (depending on students’ reading and abstract thinking levels, you can define “sees” as what they physically see or what they value).
  • HOMEWORK 2: Keep reading your research texts and taking notes on the information. Complete the “Loaded Words”handout for early next week to share with your research group.



Students will define and identify author’s purpose and perspective using YouTube commercial examples, their own writings, and mentor texts.


  • Mentor texts for Week 2
  • YouTube
  • Tie-In: Yesterday, we tackled a difficult text that showed another perspective about Celilo Falls. This was really different from the Lewis and Clark Journal entries that describe Celilo. You also drew pictures last night about how Pinkham and Lewis and Clark “saw” the falls. Share them now. Why are they so different?
    1. Lewis and Clark weren’t there very long.
    2. Pinkham and Craig had generations of stories and personal experience
    3. Pinkham and Craig view the place as home, whereas Lewis and Clark were visitors and did not learn about the importance of this place.
    4. Entry Question: Once you understand a different author’s point of view, what do you do next? What is the author’s purpose?
  • Lead-In: Once you understand an author’s point of view, you can better identify their purpose. When you do that, you have a better idea of what to believe—and to know when you are being manipulated.
  • Lesson:
    1. Recall some favorite commercials (have some humorous ones loaded on YouTube or use this video on author’s purpose commercials or an elementary explanation of logos, ethos, and pathos.
    2. Stop on each commercial (using two or three should be enough). What is the purpose of each commercial? (One is a political ad, one is to support the San Diego Zoo.)
    3. Recall three basic purposes
      • Inform
      • Entertain
      • Persuade & Types of Persuasion:
      • Ethos.
      • Pathos.
      • Logos.
    4. Identify purpose of Grandma in “I Wish”; Allen Pinkham, Jr., Lewis and Clark
    5. What are their purposes?
      • Grandma: To teach/inform (Carol Craig: to inform/entertain).
      • Pinkham, Jr: To inform, persuade.
      • Lewis and Clark: To inform.
    6. Combine their purpose with their perspective/point of view.
      • Native authors: to inform audience about cultural, spiritual, and generational importance, as well as economic.
      • Lewis and Clark: to inform audience about economic importance.
    7. Assessment: Exit Slip: What are author’s purpose and perspective of the texts we read in class today? Of one of your research texts?
    8. HOMEWORK: Continue taking careful reading notes on your research text. Make an entry tonight about the author’s purpose and perspective.



Students will determine how an author’s purpose and perspective inform their reading.

  • Tie-In: Yesterday we identified author’s purpose and perspective. We saw videos on how purpose makes a difference on how we see commercials, for example. We have also seen how author’s perspective can affect the way someone presents information.
  • Entry Question: Why is this important for us to know?
  • Lesson: Today we will talk about just that: why readers need to know how author’s perspective and purpose affect how we read and how we make meaning of a text so that we can draw accurate conclusions about the things we read.
    1. Recall the purposes and perspectives of the authors we have read so far:
      • Pinkham
      • Craig
    2. Model analysis with Pinkham’s section 1.
    3. Have students continue reading, asking each other questions about the article— section 2 (higher level learners might get through section 3; emerging learners will need to work with the teacher in small reading groups).
    4. HOMEWORK: As you read your own work, create at least five really insightful response Post-It Notes. Be prepared to share with your partner.
    5. On your own, identify purposes of the authors of your research texts. Put them all together on one journal page with three columns OR you can make duplicates of the “Author Purpose Perspective Reading” handout:
      • Perspective.
      • Purpose.
      • What does knowing author’s purpose and perspective teach me about how to read the text?
  • Typically, you believe the one who has had the most experience in a certain place, but not always. In order for us to really understand a place and its importance to people, we have to analyze documents.
  • Lesson



Students identify how bias and perspective impact the interpretation of a place or event.


  • Class set of Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes, excerpt from p. 89, Clark-Conner Accounts handout.
  • Chart paper.
  • Class set of Lewis’ 1806 journal entry.
  • Class set of handout 3.4, “Thought Prompts.”
  • Tie-In: Yesterday we began taking a closer look at historical documents and accounts. We saw that who writes or tells about a place is as important as the history around the place itself. We learned that we have to look carefully at authors and their expertise. Just because people are well known (like Lewis and Clark) does not mean that they are necessarily or completely correct. We read Allen Pinkham, Jr.’s memories of Celilo—a man whose family has been fishing there for generations. Lewis and Clark spent just a few days there and could not see the cultural or spiritual value of the place—only that it was “A Great Mart.”
  • Entry Question: Today, we are going to learn how to compare two differing perspectives in order to make meaning and draw conclusions. This all leads to a better answer to yesterday’s question, “Who do you believe?” And so another part of that question must be, “Who has expertise?” (Explain what expertise means and have students write it in their journals).
  • Lead-In: No one can tell you who or what to believe. You get to decide that. When you read about the places around here that you are researching, you get to decide what perspectives are more important. That will lead you to the conclusions you draw. Let me show you one way it’s done.
  • Lesson
    • Distribute Clark-Conner Accounts handout. Read Clark’s account of his “visit” with the Walla Wallas in 1805. Make sure students understand it, identify any loaded words, and determine his perspective and purpose.
    • Now, read an excerpt from p. 89 of the chapter “We Have Always Been Here,” from Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes.
    • As you read, have students describe Conner’s perspective of the “visit.” Have students discuss who appears more believable? Why? Why not? Based on what?
    • The answer is expertise.
    • Draw a chart to compare the observations, but also EXPERTISE, so it looks something like thisscreen-shot-2016-12-11-at-12-07-16-am
    • Ask students to copy the chart in their journals.
    • As you read, complete the chart.
    • Use the handout so students can reread texts as needed.
    • Ask students to turn and talk about who has greater expertise as you read accounts.
    • Ask students, “What makes Ms. Conner a greater expert on Celilo Falls?”
      • She’s been there a lot longer.
      • Family has been there for thousands of years.
      • She’s from the culture who thrived/s there.
    • Are there any conclusions we can draw from this lesson today?
      • Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re right.
      • Just because you did not live during the same time does not mean you are any less an expert.
      • Living in a place gives you greater expertise than just visiting and observing and drawing conclusions based on observation alone.
      • Take those conclusions with you as you research your place. Make a chart just like I did today. You might have more than two sources, so make sure you make enough columns for each.
  • Assessment of last night’s homework: Have students turn in their best Post-It Notes about Pinkham’s or their own researched articles they have been reading. Determine how many students are at Level 1 (refer to the handout) and re-teach nonfiction reader response in small groups tomorrow as needed.
  • Assessment for today: Exit slip: What makes an “expert” truly an “Expert”? Why?
  • Weekly Assessment:
    • Short vocabulary quiz on the following terms
      • Expertise.
      • Perspective.
      • Author’s Purpose.
      • Write paragraph on why it is important to consider these three terms when drawing conclusions about what you read.
    1. HOMEWORK: Complete your own reading and notes. Use handout 3.4, “Thought Prompts.” (Roberta Conner)

Lewis and Clark at Celilo Falls, Columbia River (mural at the Oregon State Capitol, Salem, OR) http://franceshunter.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/lewis-clark-the-s­hip-home-that-never-came/