November is a great time to look at all thirteen of the original colonies. Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Founded in 1607 the settlers suffered through many hardships as they established their settlement on the banks of the James River.
This was an incredibly interesting and exciting time in American History. Students are fascinated with ways of life in colonial times. Encourage their interest by focusing on the resources—or lack of resources—the settlers had at hand.
Before you begin your unit on the thirteen colonies, ask students to make a list of all the things they would miss if they lived at that time. Would they miss television, computers, computer games, indoor plumbing, cars, school buses, air conditioning, skateboards, rollerblades, DVDs or MP3s? What else?
After your unit on the thirteen colonies, ask students to make another type of list. What might they have found interesting about life at that time? For example: there was so much land that had yet to be explored and settled, differences between the original colonies and cities we have today, sheep sheering, riding a horse all day, shoeing a horse, barn raisings, how they cooked a meal, making furniture, riding in a wagon, early government—just to name a few!
When your unit on the colonies is finished, have your students write an essay on what they would have liked to experience from this time period. Ask them to incorporate into their writing what they could give up from our time. What could they actually live without for a few days or a week? Challenge them to give up a favorite item or passtime for one week, and then write about the experience!
There are lots of ways to make your Colonial America unit exciting and fun for your class. To bring history to life in the classroom is to transport your students through time! Hands-on projects are often a hit with students. From Roanoke mini-scroll books to New England seaport dioramas, Easy Make & Learn Projects: Colonial America is an amazing book for grades 3-5 that zeroes in on each of the 13 colonies, and features 18 fun-to create projects!
Plays are also a great way to show the "story" in history. Grades 4-8 students might enjoy reciting a read-aloud play such as those found in Read-Aloud Plays: Colonial America. One of the five short plays in this resource, Four Homes, illustrates how different life was from colony to colony. Four Homes looks at daily life in a French Colony, a Spanish Colony, and two English-Speaking (New England and Southern Slaveholding) Colonies.
Students in grades 1-3 might very well enjoy making a Peek-inside Mayflower ship, or comparing Pilgrim and Wampanoag clothing. All this and more can be found in Easy Make & Learn Projects: The Pilgrims, the Mayflower & More!
For even more great ideas and resources, just click right here: Colonial America