The Road to War (December)

     We know that England controlled the original 13 Colonies that eventually became the United States.  Since we're no longer ruled by England, we know that something must have caused the Colonies and England to disagree and decide to become two separate countries.  But what happened?  We'll be looking at the events that caused friction between the Colonists and the British.  More importantly, we'll be studying how perspective and bias effects the way authors write about the events leading to the Revolutionary War.

     As we continue to look at two points of view, we'll also strengthen our writing skills.  We'll be writing persuasive letters to King George, asking him to reconsider his actions toward the colonies.  When King George writes back, will we be able to see from his perspective?

The 13 British Colonies (October & November)


     Were all of the 13 British colonies the same?  Did they have any similarities?  What factors affected the way each colony developed?  That's what we're learning in Social Studies class.  Each student has joined a group of four students to research one of the 3 colonial regions: New England, Middle, and Southern.  They learned all about the jobs, lifestyle, land, government, much more.  Now, each student is using the information they've learned to write an HISTORICAL FICTION piece about colonial times.  As we write these stories, we'll be focusing on the following skills:
**Strong leads that grab readers' attention
**Focusing and zooming in
**Using show, not tell
**Incorporating historical facts
**Literary Elements (setting, conflict, resolution, and theme)
**Literary Devices (onomatopoeia, alliteration, similes, and personification)

     Once we complete our historical fiction writings, we'll begin studying how the colonies interacted with England.

Author's Skill in Social Studies: Use a Strong Lead

     Good students use the skills they learn in language arts in every subject they can: including social studies!  In class, we looked at the following introduction to a colonial story:

    I had been a baker in the colonial town of Philadelphia for twelve years, but never had I experienced such trouble before.  My shop was small, but smelled of fresh biscuits and bread.  Each day, I woke up at three in the morning to make sure that the colonists had something fresh to eat at breakfast.  Unfortunately, it seemed like everyday some local boy would sneak out of my shop with a loaf of bread without paying.  I was furious, and I was determined not to let it happen again.

     I squinted my eyes as a young boy walked into my bakery.  I had seen him around before, and while I was sure he was one of the thieves, I had never caught him in the act of stealing from me.  Today would be different; today I would make sure he learned a lesson.

     We discussed the introduction and agreed that it had a good conflict (problem) and a good cliffhanger, but we thought it could be improved.  In small groups, the kids wrote stronger leads for the story.  Check them out below!

Team SC
     The fresh smell of biscuits roamed in the warm Philadelphia air as I peered into the eyes of a young boy walking into my bakery.  I knew he was the one; the question is how do I catch him?  I acted natural, seeing if I could get him in the act.

Team JA
     At 3:00 I wake up.  The smell of sweets and bread fill my nose.  I slip on my bathrobe and trudge down the stairs.  I hear the dough being pounded, thump, thump, thump in my ear.  I take off my robe, put on my apron, and walk to the counter.  
     I hear the bell dinging and then I see the child walk in.  My employees are back behind the stove, so I look and see how they’re doing.  When I turn back around, the loaf of bread on the counter is gone and the little rascal is too!  I swing open the door to the shop to see him darting down the road.  
     I ran outside onto the cobble stone street.  The town was quiet and dead at this hour.  The wind was bitter cold and as it nipped at my neck, I walked back to the inside knowing that I will catch that kid.  When I do, well, he will pay.  Yes, he will pay.

Team AAM
    Ding!  Ding, ding!
      “Good morning!”  The man ignored me.  Swish, I turned around and the best, most expensive bread was gone.  I looked out the window and saw a man with a black coat flying and running with something tucked in his arm.

Team CS
    Ding, ding, ding!  The creaky door swung open as a skinny boy walked in.  You could tell by his squinted eyes and greedy expression that he was ready to steal as he looked over at the fresh, steaming bread.

Team CM
When I woke up, I saw a boy stealing my bread.  I exclaimed, “Stop, stop!” but he tore out the door.  I ran after him, but he jumped into the back of a supply carriage.

Team SP
     I jump out of my bed, checking the time.  “3:10!  How will I ever make it!”  I shouted.  I jumped into my clothes and rushed out the door.  Soon, I was at my bakery.  I opened my door to the fresh smell of bread.  Suddenly a little kid rushes into my bakery and steals the loaf of bread that was lying on my counter.  It was freshly baked.  
      “Hey!” I yelled after him.    

Team TS
     Time is running out!  I need to get to work before my costumers do or I’ll be in trouble.  If I am late again, my boss will be frustrated.

Team ZZ
     I got up, slinked to the door, and caught him in the act.  But he shot away and out the door.  I ran after him, but my large bulk prevented me from grabbing him as I could not slip through the throng like him.

Team FM
     Crash!  I heard a big boom as I turned to see the little squirt running out of my splendid little shop with my taste-bud tingling bread.  It was the most scrumptious thing in my shop, and of course the most expensive.  I could not believe it!  How do you think I felt about that? 

Team EH
     I was hiding behind the counter, waiting to hear the door open.  I was only 28-years-old and I had to deal with kids stealing my biscuits out of my bakery. 

Intro to American History

UNIT ONE: (September)

Who REALLY discovered America?  We always credit Christopher Columbus with America's discovery, but should he really get the credit?  We'll be looking at others who explored the New World and the circumstances under which Columbus himself discovered the New World.  Then, we'll explore early North American settlements.  The brave families who relocated to the American wilderness faced many, many obstacles...would we have been so brave?  Hunger, disease, fighting, and poverty greeted new settlers, but those who overcome those battles were often profitable.  They learned how to minimize the risks by creating joint-stock companies, selecting wise settlement locations, and working as a team.  By the end of this unit, we'll be able to identify key traits of a successful colony.