California History - Fourth Grade

During the Mexican era of California's history, the Mexican governor was giving land grants to anyone who wanted it. All they had to do was write a convincing letter and draw a diseno (map) of the area that they wished to acquire. Many settlers were coming to the area to gain hundreds, even thousands, of acres of land to start ranchos (ranches) and farmland. Have you ever wondered why so many areas in California begin with the word "Rancho"? This is why! The fourth graders traveled back in time and took on the role of a settler, writing a letter to Governor Valencia to request land. Whether or not Governor Valencia approved of the land grant request was based on how convincing each student's letter was and how detailed the diseno was drawn. The kids' creativity and imagination really came through in this project. Some students even brushed up on their Rosetta Stone and Google Translate skills to write the letter completely in Spanish! Governor Valencia was happy to approve all of the land grant letters submitted by the fourth graders!