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The Diary of Col. William Fairfax Gray

Instructional Objectives (4th Grade)

1. The students will learn facts and opinions given by William Fairfax Gray in his diary.
2. The students will use prior knowledge to compare/contrast ideas expressed in his diary.
3. The students will use higher level thinking skills to express opinions using correct language arts skills.
4. The students will calculate answers to given mathematical problems.




The students will use several excerpts from William Fairfax Gray’s diary to reason, compare, calculate, and express opinions and facts in writing.

Getting Ready for the Lesson

Background Information:

William Fairfax Gray (1787-1841) soldier, lawyer, and author, was born in Fairfax County, Virginia. He served in the Virginia Militia and was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel. After leaving the militia he generally engaged in the practice of law. In 1835 as land agent for Thomas Green and Albert T. Burnley of Washington, D. C., Gray visited Mississippi and Texas. Upon arriving in Texas he attended the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and attempted to obtain the position of secretary. He failed in this, but in his diary he kept a faithful record of the convention’s proceedings, in some cases more complete than the official journal. In 1837 he moved his family to Texas and settled in Houston. In addition to practicing law, he served in several political offices until his death in 1841.
(Source-The New Handbook of Texas)

Teaching Activities

The following are several activities each dealing with separate excerpts from William Fairfax Gray’s diary. The activity will begin with the date of the entry. Next you will find the quote from the diary and the activity. These are written for fourth and seventh grade students, but because seventh graders have more knowledge and maturity, they will be able to take these discussions to a higher level.

Thursday and Friday, February 11-12, 1836

Sunday, February 14, 1836

Sunday, March 20, 1836

Friday, April 8, 1836