For units on travel, foreign lands, and journeys, how about having students write a postcard from whatever location you're studying from the point of view of the people you're studying. For example, First Grade Journeys and Fifth Grade Going West.
Students can create a postcard, a travel brochure, a postcard, a letter, a mock myspace page with information synthesized from what you're studying. In terms of higher level thinking I think this gets there better than simple regurgitation of facts, no?
Here's an online postcard creator
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