Lesson Plan

Dear Diary

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Colonial History, Language Arts, Literature, Military and Wartime History, Reading, Revolutionary War, Women's History
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
Gr. 4: The Rev War in NYS
Gr. 5: Hist. of US
Gr. 7: Un. 2, Sec. 1, Obj. 2; Un. 2, Sec. 3, Obj. 4; Un. 3, Sec. 4, Cont.A2
NYSED Standards:
US Standards:
Gr. 4: 1 A,B; 2 A,B; 3 A,C,D,E
Gr. 5,7,8: Era 2 St. 1 B; 2 A,B,C; Era 3 St. 1 A,C; 2 C
Battle of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, Saratoga Battlefield, Revolutionary War, American Revolution, geography, maps, military history, history, social studies, primary sources, PDQs


The Battles of Saratoga not only had significant effects on national and world history, but also deeply affected those directly and indirectly involved.  “Dear Diary” uses primary source documents—journals—to examine this crucial event through the eyes of participants.


 Students will be able to:

  1. analyze journal entries and discern factual data
  2. analyze these journal entries to evaluate some of the effects the Battles of Saratoga had on participants


The journal entries use original spelling, grammar, and syntax, and may be unfamiliar to many readers. Reviewing the content before classroom use will be important.  Also a good teachable moment to discuss how dictionaries with standardized spellings were not commonplace at the time.


 Downloadable PDF documents:

"Dear Diary" worksheets

Teacher's answer key



 Downloadable PDF answer key available.

Park Connections

 Journal entries are from participants in or witnesses to the Battles of Saratoga.

School groups are able, in season, to sign up for free, self-guiding battlefield tours and for free, ranger-led education programs.


 Have students keep their own journals, or a class journal, for a set period of time as a writing assignment.

Additional Resources

 Downloadable PDF document: Student Resource Packet.


RECONNAISSANCE --scouting mission to find information
SENTRIES --guards watching over a camp or fortification
PIQUETS (pickets) --small listening posts with a few soldiers, positioned ahead or outside of a camp or fortification
RANK AND FILE --compact lines and rows of soldiers on the battlefield
LIGHT INFANTRY --specially trained soldiers acting as scouts, not usually involved in heavy fighting, working more spread out than the rank and file formation of soldiers
PENCE --pennies
SAVAGES --old term for Native Americans, reflects misunderstandings of its time

Last updated: February 26, 2015