Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


"An important warning:"
Only the brave will thrive; the rest may merely survive.
Which will you be? Are you a pioneer?

Woe unto you, or congratulations! Which greeting you receive will be determined by the nature of your journey. The crew of the Seahawk has chosen you as its record-keeper as they sail across the Atlantic from Liverpool, England to Providence, Rhode Island. The year is 1832, and the journey is sure to involve many unpredictable turns. If you make it, you could be a hero, showing the true character of many on the ship and documenting important lessons for future brave sailors. You also will be the first child to have ventured on this voyage alone. Godspeed!

Before you can begin, you must learn all about your boat and fellow sailors. As with most new sailors, it will also be in your best interest to check out the captain and officers in charge. Luckily, you will have a source book for much of this information, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which you may use as a guide, and you will need to learn about its author, who can give you insights as a fellow writer.

I hope that you will be a credit to the discipline of language arts and to the generation of children who may follow in your wake. Let us just hope that your wake is not the result of being thrown overboard! Good luck on your journey!


To complete this task, you will be creating a Travel File of your experiences and findings.

In some cases, you may make your trip more challenging but glean more from your experience; in others, you may choose to take what appears to be an easier way; finally, as is true in life, sometimes, you will have no choice. I advise you to do the best you can to survive, use the tools provided, and learn as much as you can if you dare. Be sure to keep your materials organized to show the boss at the end of your trip. Best wishes for an enlightening and safe voyage.


Use your reading and the websites provided to complete your journal entries, artwork, mapping for your notebook, vocabulary, and paragraphs.

1. Begin with the pre-voyage activities. Look at all of the activities. Choose to research topics under each category that you find interesting. Use the websites and book to research responses, and begin completing two pre-voyage activities. You will also complete one stereotyping activity in class. This will not be included in your webquest.

2. Each day, you will be given reading assignments in The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. You should complete these readings before you come to class. In class, you will have time to complete some of the Webquest activities and participate in discussions related to your reading. You will need to keep all activities and assignments related to this webquest in a folder. You will be responsible for this folder, so take good care of it and all of the work you have done as an observer before, during, and after the voyage.

3. For each chapter of your reading, you must make up a heading, succinctly summing up that segment of your journey. These chapter headings should be listed on the chapter heading form passed out in class.

4. Also, for each reading assignment, complete the assigned tasks and activities, using the websites provided. By the end of your trip, you will have a complete view of your (and Charlotte's) nautical adventure.

5. Create a floor plan map of the boat. Use clues from your book to try to figure out where rooms and areas are in relation to one another. You should be sure to include the following: Jaggery's quarters, Charlotte's cabin, mast climbs, bowsprit events, location of the trial, the underbelly of the ship and events there, crew members' quarters. You may use the websites below to investigate brigs and possible designs, but you will need to use your imagination and information from the book to position each location. Then, write up 10 important events from the trip, and place these descriptions next to their appropriate location on the boat. You may type these descriptions in small font, and cut and paste them onto your diagram. You must have at least 10, and they should include the more important events or turning points in the book.

6. Make a list of 10 vocabulary words, besides the nautical and literary terms we will have done as part of the website. Use the websites below to look up the definition of each word; include this list with your other list of terms, provided in class.

7. Your Trip File, including all of the following items, which are explained in the chapter tasks:

  • Two pre-voyage activities--one on Avi and one on the setting
  • Three journal entries, showing your experiences and reflections
  • A jigsaw of chapters 8-12, showing responses that reflect your thoughtful consideration
  • A plot chart and story chart, demonstrating your understanding of the flow of activities you witnessed.
  • The definitions of various nautical and sophisticated terms
  • One piece of artwork to document the scenes you experience
  • A diagram of the boat document your experiences and important events; see above #5 for description.
8. When all tasks and activities are completed, create a cover for your Trip File. Your cover should be colorful, neat, and should reflect your understanding of the book. One idea might be to focus on one aspect of the novel and illustrate that one thing. On the cover include your name, your class period and the date.

Pre-voyage Activities

Pre-voyage Activity #1

The following list includes resources to find further information about Avi prior to your reading of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Access these web sites in order to answer the questions for some of the pre-reading activities or to learn about Avi further in any way.

For Avi--Using each of the following websites, research Avi's life, upbringing, and other books. Complete the questionnaire about Avi, OR write a paragraph about some aspect of his life that you find interesting. If doing the paragraph, be sure to include important details to support your topic sentence and a concluding sentence sharing the significance of your reading.

Pre-voyage Activity #2
The 1830s, Women, and Stereotypes

Use the websites that follow to investigate the time period that is the setting for your trip. After learning several details of this time period, in England and America, write a coherent paragraph sharing what you have learned, including at least three new facts you have learned about this period. Write your paragraph in the first person, including the facts about these historical elements from your perspective and finishing with your thoughts of the upcoming voyage. What will it be like as a girl on this ship? What are you considering as you veture forth?,,6044-609876,00.html

Nautical terms (ships' terms)

Chapters 1-3
1. Begin to investigate the boat on which you are travelling and the nautical terms you will encounter on your trip. Using the copy of the boat provided to you in class and the list of nautical terms, color the diagram of the outside of your boat, and neatly label each part. Then look up the other terms that you will need to understand using the language arts websites above.

2. Using the first 40 pages of the book, write your first journal entry as a person on the boat with Charlotte. Be sure to include important details of events that have occurred so far, specific locations on the boat where they occurred, AS WELL AS your feelings about each. This is a journal, so it should not be just a reporting of facts but also an opportunity for you to reflect on what is happening and the people you have met.

Chapters 4-7

1. It's time to begin making your map of the inside of the boat. Use the website above and the picture in your book to research brigs and begin your diagram. You will use this map throughout your journey as a visual aid, proving to authorities on shore each important event that you witnessed. As you experience an important event, you must label it on this diagram, with a short description of the people involved and outcome of the situation. By the end of your journey, you must have at least 10 events documented. See a more detailed description of this part of your assignment under the task section.

Chapters 8-12

1. Continue to update your map of events on your boat diagram.
2. Complete the jigsaw homework and in-class sharing to document your understanding of the book so far.
3. Complete one Artistic Endeavor. See below.

Chapters 13-15
Characters, setting, and conflicts--Today we will talk about internal vs. external conflict.

1. How well do you understand the characters, setting, and conflicts of your trip so far? Using the above website, make and print a setting, character, and conflict map for your reading so far. Be sure to print this and include it in your documents to show the land boss at the end of your journey.

Chapters 16-18

1. Today you will learn about plot diagrams and where different elements of your journey might fit on such a diagram. Play with the website below as you consider the various plot elements from your journey. Place one significant event at each place on the diagram, showing where the action has turned on your voyage.

Chapters 19-21

1. Complete a journal entry as Charlotte's defending attorney. You must write a minimum of one page persuading the crew of Charlotte's innocence, using specific reasons and facts from the book. Remember, Charlotte is your friend, but you do not want to resort to emotional blabber to convince the others on the ship of her innocence. Organize your paragraph with a clear, persuasive opening sentence; follow that with specific examples of your case for Charlotte's innocence; and close with a convincing re-statement of your point.
Your paragraph could be the deciding factor determining Charlotte's "end" to the trip.

Chapters 22-end

1. Finalize your boat diagram and documentation of events.
2. Write a final journal entry, reflecting on Charlotte's decision about traveling in the future. Do you agree with her decision, or not? What would you have done? Why? Finish your journal entry indicating your own decision relative to your time with Charlotte. Will you continue to accompany her, or is it time for you two to part? How do you feel about that?


How has your trip gone so far? Have you experienced any storms, mutiny, or rats? You have no camera. Somehow you must convey the excitement, terror, chaos of your voyage. Fortunately, you still have your fingers and have not been blinded by a crew member. Use these tools and the materials you have in the classroom to help others visualize your experience. You must complete the mandatory assignment (cover for journal) and one choice activity (below); you choose which one you would like to complete to make your trip memorable.

Be brave and creative! Choose one activity below to express yourself!

1. Using an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper, paint or draw a picture that expresses the terror and chaos of the storm in chapter 15. Your picture may represent exact details (look realistic), or it may be more abstract, representing your feelings and experiences. Use color, shading, the medium of your choice, and strong effort to depict your scene or convey your sensory extravaganza. On the back, paste a typewritten or very neatly written explanation of your artwork and why you chose to draw it or paint it the way you did.

2. Make a collage using magazine and newspaper articles, headlines, artwork, relevant items, and an 8 ½ x 11” piece of paper to depict any scene or your feelings at any point during your voyage. On the back, paste a typewritten or very neatly written explanation of your collage and its different parts, explaining why you chose to use the materials you did as they relate to The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

3. Make one scrapbook page (8 ½ x 11”) showing your experiences during a point in your trip or of your experiences overall. The page should clearly relate to events in the book, be neat, and have images reflective of the people, items, and memorable experiences you have had.

4. Create a storyboard with 12 frames using an 8 ½ x 11” paper divided into 12 neat squares. Illustrate each square in color, depicting a scene or scenes from the book. Create a title for your storyboard that indicates which scene(s) you chose. The storyboard should get to the most important points in the scene(s) using few, necessary words to show what happened. On the back, paste a typewritten or very neatly written explanation of the scene in no more than one paragraph.

5. Choose five main characters from your experience, using the book and an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper, and draw in colored pencil what you think they looked like based on descriptions in the book. Label each character you chose, and underneath their picture, write a short description from the book, listing the page number you used to obtain that description.


How have you fared since you went out on your own? You have traveled for more than two weeks on a brig without your usual comforts. Could you keep track of your journal? Did you complete the requisite number of entries to detail your experiences, complete artwork to reflect your trip and wave of emotions, learn anything about the sea, gather intelligence about your resource book and its various techniques, and gain any self-knowledge? Two resources to help you evaluate your performance follow. Use them to monitor your work and adjust your work level to satisfy your boss. If you survive, you may be given opportunities of a lifetime; if you fail, you may be thrown off the boat by the crew or fired for future exciting journeys. The former could earn you a fine reputation among the elite, move you up to first mate or captain, find you as editor of the Providence Press or the London Daily. The latter? Well, who knows if you will even make it home. Use your rubric wisely.

Pre-Voyage Activities—(30 points)

How many activities did you complete? (3 points per activity = 6 points)

Avi paragraph or questionnaire--

option 1--How clearly written is your paragraph on Avi? (16 points)

1 2 3--Topic sentence indicating clear point of paragraph
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9--Body of paragraph has three interesting and clearly stated examples
1 2 3--Concluding sentence answers the so-what of the sentence, summing up what was said.

option 2--Questionnaire on Avi's life (16 points based on complete answers, complete sentences)

How clearly written is your paragraph on your perspective of the times (clothing, location, etc.)? (15 points)

1 2 3--Lead sentence indicates clear point of paragraph, using first person narrator
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9--Body of paragraph has three interesting and clearly stated facts learned
1 2 3--Punctuation and spelling show clear understanding of rules studied in class

How neatly did you complete your work on paragraph 1? (1 point per activity)
1--completed my work very neatly, with proper formatting (double spaced, includes name)
0--completed my work in a messy manner

How neatly did you complete your work on paragraph 2? (1 point per activity)
1—completed my work very neatly, with proper formatting (double spaced, includes name)
0—completed my work in a messy manner

Journal Entries—(15 points)
1. How many journal entries did you complete? (15 points)
1-5 points per entry will be awarded based on the quality and detail of the writing and use of first-person perspective.

Chapter Activities--(45 points)
Plot chart--
Diagram of plot in book must have examples for each part of chart, accurately reflecting understanding of different stages in the development of the story (10 points)
Story Map--Print outs of conflict, characters, and setting elements include significant detail and show understanding of the difference between internal and external conflict, the various aspects of setting, and unique features of three main characters. (15 points)
Jigsaw--Answers reflect thorough consideration of each question, even on those chapters where you were listening to someone else express their expertise. (20 points)

Chapter Titles--(30 points)
Did you include a heading for each chapter? (22 points)
Does each heading appropriately reflect the significant development in the chapter? (5 points)
Is the list of headings neatly written? (3 points)

Diagramming Activity—(45 points)

1. Does the map include 10 significant events scattered throughout the book? (10 points, 1 point per event mapped.)

2. Are the events diagrammed accurately given the action in the book? (30 points; you may earn a 1, 2, or 3 on each event based on the accuracy of information you provide and the thoroughness of the account.)

4. Does diagram include all of the following: a title and an author’s name; is it in color? (Total 5 points)

Artistic Endeavors--(25 points)
1. Is your artwork in color, on an 8 1/2" x 11" in. piece of paper? (5 points)
2. How well do you convey your understanding of a scene in a visual way? (1-20)--Artwork will be evaluated on effort and understanding of a scene, impression, or character(s) in the book as conveyed by use of materials, filling of page, and explanation of artwork and connection to the book on the back.

Nautical and Literary Terms--(40 points)
1. How many terms did you define? (10 terms and 10 individual words= 20 points)
2. How well did you show your understanding of the word/term? (20 points)

Cover (20 points)
1. How neat, complete, and colorful is your cover? Points will be awarded based on creativity, neatness, and color used on cover.

Is the cover in color? (2 points)
Does it have a title? (2 points)
Does it have original artwork relating to a theme, feeling, or event/scene in the book? Is it completed neatly? (15 points)
Does it have your name on it? (1 point)

Attitude and Effort in Class--(20 points)--You will be evaluated on your use of time to work on the webquest during class depending on how you stay on task, attend to your own work, clean up materials used, and complete part of your project each class.

Beyond the Call of Duty--For those of you who would like to do more, please do so. Submit any extras--writing assignments, artwork, mapping information, poems, whatever you would like that would enhance the land boss's impression of your learning. These will be considered on an individual basis and may enhance your evaluation.


If you are reading this message, you have made it home alive. With luck, you have learned about the 19th century, historical fiction, sailing on the Atlantic as a young person to find a new home amid risk, toil, storms, mutiny, and starvation. Congratulations for making it to the end of this journey in whatever form you have. Best wishes for a fine rest in preparation for your next adventure.