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Lesson Plan: Comparing Accounts- Oregon Trail

Subject:  ELA- Reading

Grade: 4

Lesson Objective: To compare and contrast a first-person and a third-person account from the Oregon Trail

Common Core Standard:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.6- Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.




  • What is the difference between hearing a story from the person it happened to and hearing about it from someone who wasn’t there?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • When we hear about something that happened from the person it happened to, we get a lot of details and information.  This is called a first-person account.
  • When we hear about something that happened from someone who wasn’t there, we only know what some of the information.  This is because that person wasn’t there to see everything that happened.  This is called a third-person account.
  • Most fiction and nonfiction that we read is written in third person.  There is a narrator or someone telling the story and telling about what happened.
  • Autobiographies are books about a person’s life written by that person.  Autobiographies are first-person accounts.
  • Other first-person accounts are letters and diaries.
  • When comparing a first- and third-person account, you can compare some of the details about what happened, where things happened and the people who were involved.
  • Now, you are going to be reading both a first-person and third-person account of the Oregon Trail.  After you have read both, you will be comparing and contrasting what you read about in a Venn Diagram.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



  • Who would like to share your answers?  (Allow the students to share and go over the answers.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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