Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Colonial American Days

To design a Colonial American Day program, I recommend offering six stations with one or more adult volunteers manning each station. Each station would have a different theme and each activity at that station should take 15-20 minutes to complete. Teachers at Hayes Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada, led by Shauna Harris, designed a program to match this description. You can view their 90-minute rotation plan here and the accompanying Pilgrim's Passport (a sheet for student reflection on at each station) here. Alternatively, teachers may choose to dedicate one day to an individual station's theme, doing all the activities from that station in a whole class or small group setting throughout a single day.

Station possibilities include art, cornhusk dolls, science, games, cooking, and household chores/trades. Examples of centers for each of these stations appear below and are also available as a downloadable document. The downloadable document is editable and includes needed materials for 72 participants (12 per station at one time). Pictures of these activities taken on September 16, 2009 at Green Valley High School as part of the Clark County School District Teaching American History Grant appear below.


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Cornhusk Dolls
  • Place a tarp on the floor and place a large tub of water in the middle to pre-soak cornhusks.
  • Materials: Version: Corn husks (enough for each participant to have about 10 husks), Ball of string or twine, Scissors, Large tub filled with water (place corn husks in water before class), Rubberband ball, Tarp
  • Use the instructions available at http://www.teachersfirst.com/summer/cornhusk.htm
Here is a video of third graders in Ms. Graham's classroom at Staton Elementary School making cornhusk dolls.


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Science

Sundials
Measuring Tree Height
Making Compasses
Candle Making
  • Place melted paraffin into clean cans placed on beverage warmers (to keep wax melted). Have students wrap the end of an approximately 12" string to one end of a pencil or popsicle stick and wet the string to give it some weight. Have students dip their string into the wax and then immediately into the water. Repeat this process until the candle forms to a reasonable size. Use hands to massage the candle into the proper shape.
  • Materials: Ball of white string, Popsicle sticks, Household paraffin wax, Scissors, Beverage warmers, Cans (fill half with water), Aluminum foil (to cover beverage warmers to keep them clean)
Here is a video of third graders in Ms. Graham's classroom at Staton Elementary School making candles.

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Games

Jacks
Jackstraws
Hoop Roll
Marbles
Stick Toss

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Household Chores/Trades

Sewing a Pocket
Sailor Stitches
Rag Rug
Fishnet Making
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Art

Quill Writing
Here is a video of third graders in Ms. Graham's classroom at Staton Elementary School writing with quill pens.


Stenciled Notecards
Paper Quilling
Stitch a Sampler
Knit a Patch
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Cooking

Gingersnaps
  • Use instructions from Carlson, L. (1997). Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World (A Kid's Guide series). Chicago Review Press, page 41.
  • Materials: Parchment paper, Brown sugar, Butter, Eggs, Molasses, Ground cloves, Flour, Sugar, Baking soda, Wipes, Wooden spoon, Toaster oven, Oven mitts, Hot pad, Spatula, Plates, Mixing bowl, Cookie sheets (small for toaster oven), Measuring cup, Teaspoon, Cinnamon, Ground ginger, Knife, Paper towels
Butter
Here is a video of third graders in Ms. Graham's classroom at Staton Elementary School making butter.


Berry Red Ink

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