Highlighting Our History: Colonial Times Read-alouds PLUS for the Common Core
Connections to Other CCSS Standards
Meet other CCSS as extensions of your Read-aloud PLUS using some of these ideas.
- Assign an argumentative piece. (CCSS Standard 1 for Writing) The claim: ”Early settlers did not have an easy time in the New World.” Students make a case stating reasons based on things they have learned through the texts. In younger grades, brainstorm a list of reasons together on your interactive whiteboard.
- Assign an opinion piece (CCSS Standard 1 for Writing). Prompt students with “I think/do not think it would have been fun growing up in the colonies.” Students synthesize the information they have learned about both the daily chores and recreation for the time period and write a paragraph or series of paragraphs stating the reasons for their opinion, elaborated with specific details, and with a sense of closure. In younger grades, change the requirements to a few sentences rather than paragraph(s).
- Since there are many opportunities to look at “Then and Now” using the books on this list, do some direct instruction about the compare-and-contrast text structure. Model for students the writing of a multi-paragraph piece on a familiar classroom topic that lends itself to the comparison of two things. Show how writers can organize this type of writing in an AAA BBB paragraph pattern (same-same-same, different-different-different) or an AB-AB-AB (same-different, same-different, same-different) paragraph pattern. (Classroom or library books about frogs/toads, butterflies/moths, alligators/crocodiles might provide exemplars here as well.)
After this whole-class and guided practice have students write an informative/explanatory piece (CCSS Standard 2 for Writing) that compares and contrasts one aspect of daily colonial life with contemporary American life—schooling, cooking and food, clothing, chores, etc. Use this as an assessment for your social studies goals and to drive further instruction with explanatory writing.
- Provide some direction instruction about discussion norms, and consider having students take part in collaborative conversations (CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard 1) about some of the content knowledge they have gained, either as an alternative to or in addition to some writing. (The writing prompts above could work well as discussion prompts, too.) The Teaching Channel blog offers tips for taking class discussions beyond the “Turn and Talk” strategy.
- Your school library may have an assortment of books about colonial occupations—miller, cooper, silversmith, wigmaker, etc. Students could read about one of these trades during independent reading and record a brief statement about their services using Audacity (free download) or Online Voice Recorder, reviewed here at TeachersFirst. (CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard 4). This is a great option for younger students since speaking is required rather than writing. Read the story (or stories) as a class and then allow students to independently record their statements.
- For CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard 5 students could prepare an audio recording of one or more diary entries from Patricia Hermes's books about Elizabeth Barker, practicing fluency and expression.
- As a challenge for advanced readers, or as a whole-class or family homework activity, provide additional reading and listening practice using A Colonial Family and Community, an interactive website from the accredited Henry Ford museum. Students learn to be history detectives as they gather evidence to answer seven questions that reveal information about the Daggett family and daily life in mid-1700's Connecticut.