The novel, Christopher Columbus. Mariner by Samuel Eliot Morison will become the central focus of our curriculum unit. The text lends itself very nicely to classroom usage because the story is divided into twenty-one chapters. This will permit me to teach this unit over a period of four months, developing one chapter per week.
Students will be challenged with silent readings for homework purposes and selected oral readings during class to seek out various themes and main ideas, and to identify major characters and their involvement in each story. As we travel across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean with Columbus on his voyages, we will seek to present an overview of his “achievements” as discoverer, explorer, conqueror and entrepreneur. Finally, we will attempt to gauge the reactions of the Spanish Crown and the Arawak Native Indians to each voyage as well as to offer some modern day perceptions and reflections of these encounters.