The Colonial Alphabet Book Lesson Plan



Content Areas Addressed: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Technology
Grade Levels: Grades 2-5

Description
This lesson represents an example of project-based learning in the classroom. The topic of this lesson is Colonial America, however, the discovery process could be used to create any lesson. In this lesson students will work together to create a colonial alphabet book in the form of a collaborative online website (wiki). This wiki will address the needs of 21st century learners.

Method
Group students into effective working groups. I would suggest no more than five students in a group and no less than three. Assign each group 4-6 letters to research. In this way, the alphabet book can be created in parts to create a finished product for all students to share in the end. Students use the websites listed on each page to write about their topic. If possible, it would be best to allow students to choose their own wriitng genres. This will lead to more interesting articles. Students write and attach appropriate images for their assigned pages. After all pages have been completed, students break into new groups using the Jigsaw method. (Click here to learn more about this method). In their new groups, students will educate each other about their alphabet book pages and colonial life.

Preparation
The teacher must create a wiki for students to use collaboratively. Wiki spaces that only allow members to edit are the best for this type of project to avoid external tampering. To use a site like this, however, the teacher would need to invite all students to the wiki and the students would need to set up accounts. Please go to www.wikispaces.com for more information on setting up wikis. If you are interested in using the format of this website, please send me an email at teach@allisonarcher.com. I would be happy to share materials with you if I am properly credited.

Justification
I began teaching at a new school last year. In my previous teaching positions, I had never taught about colonial America before. Last year, I followed the lead of my co-teacher as my lack of experience prevented me from feeling comfortable teaching this subject. My Master’s thesis topic was constructivist education and its ramifications in technological environments. As I completed my research, I began to see my curriculum in a different light and used the summer to create a project-based unit on colonial America.

Importance
This lesson is more than a content lesson about colonial life; it is also a process lesson which educates students in how to gather information from a variety of different sources and medium. The social, collaborative nature of this lesson leads to authentic learning experiences and the promotion of social cognition. The skills that students will learn in lessons like this one promote a lifelong love of learning through discovery and collaboration.

Diversity
Our school has developed a significant diversity initiative this year, including sending many teachers to “Schools Attuned” which focuses on differentiation and addressing learning styles in the classroom. This lesson, through its social implications and the variety of research media, including video, audio, images, and print materials, caters to all learning styles and abilities.



Our Resources


Alphabet Book To Illustrate



Example of online colonial alphabet book
Book:
Colonial Life From A-Z


Apothecary
Slideshow
Apothecaries
Williamsburg Apothecaries
Colonial Apothecaries

Bootmaker
Shoemaker Podcast
Shoemaker Photo Essay
Williamsburg Shoemakers
Shoemakers

Clothing
Dress The Part Interactive Site

Clothing Video
Men’s Clothing
Women’s Clothing

Dress
Paper Doll Tutorial and Adventure
Dress Up Activity
Layers of Dress With Audio

Education
School Video
Colonial School
Hornbooks

Fire
Colonial Fireplace Video
Xmas Fireplace Kitchen Video
Colonial Home
“Hear Ye! Hear Ye!”

Gristmill
Gristmill Video
The Miller Slideshow
Grist Mills For Kids
The Miller
George Washington’s Gristmill

Hoops
The Cooper Slideshow
The Cooper
The Hoop as a Toy

Inn
Step Into The Past: City Tavern
Colonial Inn History

Shops and Inns
Tavern Life

Jamestown
Jamestown Colony Video
Jamestown Online Adventure
Time For Kids: Discover Jamestown

Jamestown

Kitchen
Colonial Kitchen
Colonial Home
George Washington’s Kitchen

Leather Worker
The Shoemaker
The Saddler
The Saddler and Harness Maker

Milliner
Milliner Photo Essay
Milliner
A Modern Milliner: Louise Green

Neckwear

Men’s Neckwear
Women of the Gentry Clothing

Outbuildings
Outbuildings
Peyton Randall’s Outbuildings


Plantations
Plantations
Great Hopes Plantations
Boone Hall Plantation

Quoits
Video of Modern Quoits
Early Quoits
How To Play Quoits

Reel
Colonial Spinning Bee
Skeining
How To Make Yarn Video

Stocks
Justice
Stocks and Pillories


Trades
Colonial Trades

Trades
More Trades
Trades Sampler

Goods of the Trades

Undergarments
Women’s Undergarments
Colonial Reports


Vegetable Garden
Tending the Garden
Kitchen Garden at Mount Vernon
Cooking From The Garden

Wigmaker
Wigs
Wigs: Photo Scrapbook


Xmas
Perry Como Video 1
Perry Como Video 2
Perry Como Video 3
Perry Como Video 4
Colonial Christmas
Colonial Customs

Your Colonial Interest
The Daggets
Colonial Kids
Colonial House

Colonial Williamsburg

Zinc
The Founder
Founders
The Foundry Trade Slideshow

Sites to consider:
http://www.lakelandschools.org/lt/colonialhomes/research.htm
http://www.hfmgv.org/education/smartfun/colonial/intro/intro.html
http://library.thinkquest.org/J002611F/school.htm
http://www.memorialhall.mass.edu/activities/index.html
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/colonialhouse/history/index.html
http://www.pocanticohills.org/tradesmen/shoemaker.htm
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/SCHOOLS/FORESTOAKMS/site%20pages/Academics/Social%20Studies/Colonisl%20Times/index.html
http://www.history.org/Almanack/places/places.cfm
http://www.history.org/media/index.cfm
http://www.ohlone.pausd.org/Williamsburg/index.htm
http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/staff/erinkeller/pilgrimwq/plimouth_trip.htm