Colonial Times…Coming Alive with Thematic Thursday

Where you live on the west coast, in the midwest, or on the east coast, you most likely spend a little time on the history of the first Thanksgiving, Colonial history, or the Revolutionary War. Here in Virginia, Colonial history is our history, and today’s post will pull together ideas to make that history come alive for your students.
To start with, I have pulled together a list of great literature you might ask your librarian for or pull for your students to read during your unit. They are on a variety of levels, so some would be for student reading and some would be used as read alouds. Using literature helps your students visualize the time and better grasp what life was like..
colonial2bamerica2bliterature-8031978One of my favorite books to use during studies of Jamestown and the colonial period is the book, A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Bulla.  It has wonderful details of the period and yet the book is controlled and perfect for struggling fourth graders. [This unit] may be helpful if you wish to give it a try.

Other favorites of mine include:

The Courage of Sarah Noble
The True Story of Pocahontas
The First Thanksgiving
Molly’s Pilgrim
If You Lived in Colonial Time

As a read aloud, I’d highly recommend Blood on the River. It is a high level book, but my colleagues have used it with reports that the students totally loved it and could not wait to hear the next chapter.

These resources may be helpful with the books I mentioned:

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Half the fun with colonial studies is the hands-on activity options you have. Below, on the Pinterest board I set up, you’ll find many, many great options that you can use independently or together for a special Colonial Day. We had Colonial Day for many years when I taught fourth grade, and I’d highly recommend it.

Interested in going all in with colonial time? Check out [this post] from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6. I just loved it. She walks through her whole unit, and I love how the kids set up colonial stores, displayed their projects, and made their learning come to life. You can just tell it was lots of fun. Here are a few images of colonial art you might try out.

If you are wanting to carry this theme across the curriculum, you might include colonial games during your PE period, and colonial songs in music. There are so many fun options for extension. I love these project ideas. There are also great lapbooks and foldable options on my Pinterest board above.
From First Grade Parade
I think this could be done with the ships to Jamestown too
Many other great ideas you might adapt to Colonial Life in this post..
This pin did not have a link with it. I always enjoyed making
Jamestown models with my fourth graders like this.


Check out these great Colonial Times Websites:

Whether you are teaching the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, Virginia History, Colonial History, or are tying in activities to go with historical fiction, I hope you can use these resources.

What ideas do you have?  Please share them below.


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hi Carla,

    I love all the ideas you shared in this post! The model of Jamestown is so cute, and so is the ship. Students would love making those! I will have to check out the book A Lion to Guard Us. I've never read that one!
    I just linked up some of our Colonial America ideas. Thanks for letting us join in!
    Collaboration Cuties

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