1. to give the students the feel of an “old fashioned quilting bee”
2. to develop a sense of cooperation
Materials necessary: crayons/markers
construction paper shapes and squares
large construction paper
newspaper for stuffing
Method: Individually the children will make their own designs on construction paper shapes that have been glued into and onto paper squares. These are the quilting squares.
As designs are finished, they will break into larger groups and decide how each piece should fit on the larger construction paper being used as the quilt back. They would then glue their square into place, leaving an opening on the top so the quilt can be stuffed. When stuffed and flattened enough, the top will be glued shut and the quilts will be hung in the room.
If enough show an ability to do so, I may work with a small group with material they have dyed and decorated, and then show them how to actually sew them together and stuff it with rags. This will depend on the make-up of the group. It will also be an interesting activity to have our fifth grade buddies help out with.
1. to show the children why clothing in colonial days were not as colorful and decorative as today;
2. to demonstrate the natural materials and the process used to dye fabrics
onion leaves regular and red ones
spinach leaves—goldenrod weed
pots with water
Process: remove enough skins from yellow and red onions to make about 1 cup of skins. Boil in 2 cups of water for a half hour. Remove skins from the dye pot and add 1/2 cup vinegar to the water. Place WET cotton fabric in the pot and simmer over a low heat until material reaches desired color (15 minutes for yellow; 30 minutes for brown.) Lift out and lay on paper on paper towel to remove excess moisture, then hang to dry. Experiment with the other natural materials for other colors. Since each piece has to be dyed in only small batches, this process will take some time, so the children should be able to get the understanding that this was not a quick thing to do.
I would discuss with the children their feelings about the colors that the materials have now become and the amount of time involved in this process. It may be possible to use some of these pieces to make a small friendship pillow.
1. to show how fruit was preserved for the winter months
2. to compare the weight of both fresh and dry fruit
3. to estimate the number of slices that we can get from each apple
4. to estimate the length of time it will take for the fruits to dry
Materials: cored apple slice
any other available fruit for drying
twine to hang the slices on to dry
Method: students can help out fruit and string on the yarn to dry. On a chart, each student will estimate the number of days they think it will take to get the fruit dry. Before we slice the apples, we will estimate the number of slices we can get from their apples and chart this with actual amount they get. We will then weigh each slice (or several slices) before stringing and include this in the chart. When the fruit is dry, we will reweigh the slices and compare the weights. We will also taste the dried fruit (hope to dry peaches and grapes but without the weight and estimation lessons). We will discuss the taste and how the colonists restored the fruit to a plump, moist state. (SOAK IN WATER)
From this dry fruit, we will make apples fritters. We will also make a batch of fritters using fresh fruit, and then compare the taste of the two. I won’t tell them which one is made from fresh or restored fruit, but rather let them taste and guess.
Geography and Map Skills
1. to develop a better understanding of geography and map skills by use of the globe, world map and map of the United States
2. to be able to identify specific areas on a map
Method: Throughout the unit we will be using the map and globe to trace the progress of the Pilgrims. We will begin with a description and understanding of what specific colors mean on the maps and globe e.g. blue for water, green for land.
We will discuss the use of the compass rose on the map and that not all directions are just north, south, east or west, but can be a combination. We should be able to label them around the room where things are located such as my desk in the southern part of the room.
Using our wax markers, we can trace the progress of the Pilgrims on their voyage to America via England, Holland, the Cape area in Massachusetts and down into Connecticut. We will locate certain cities on the map by going in all directions, e.g. from Hartford travel down to New Haven—what direction do you need to travel? This can become a game in the reading learning center in the room which I have set up.
Learning Centers are an individual study area set up in the room. It is usually set up for one child, but no more than five. I plan to use dioramas, math and listening areas to incorporate some of the ideas in this unit. The science area will be a great place to observe the fruit drying and for the children to write down their observations as the fruit is drying. These centers are student directed, the teacher only establishes the ground rules and provides the necessary materials and occasional guidance.
Creative Writing and Journal Keeping
Writing and journals have become an integral part of the first grade curriculum. The New Haven schools even have Writing to Read Labs where the children are taught to use the computers and word processors and not to be afraid to use creative, phonetic spellings. In the classroom and in the lab, there is a writing area where the children are able to put their ideas on paper before putting them on the word processor. In my room also, we have begun to use journals, even if just a picture journal at the beginning where I write in the words for them.
1. to get children to express feelings about living in Colonial days
2. to get them to write stories about themselves as a child living in early Connecticut
3. to incorporate these stories into a booklet for each child, as printed on the processor in Writing to Read.
4. to include in this unit a printed cookbook with class illustrations for the food we cooked.
5. to use my polaroid camera to take snapshots of the class doing cooking activities etc. and
6. to have the students write sentences explaining processes or feelings.
This would be displayed on a chart outside the room for all to see.
Method: This process will involve the help of the Writing to Read aid so that she can help in the lab and/or even in the room if time permitted. It will be an ongoing activity throughout the unit and will necessitate designating a period for writing in their journals. A center in the room and the lab will be designated the writing station so that the children may write or draw pictures of the work done to date.
With the use of my Polaroid camera, we can take action pictures of the class cooking, dying fabrics, making quilts etc. Using large sheets of butcher block paper or large construction paper this will become a record of the unit in progress for all to see. It will also encourage the children to discuss what they were doing and how they felt. They can either write their own sentences or I will chart it for them (spelling is not counted until the final drafting of anything that is to be displayed—this is part of the Writing Process).
A final aspect of the unit will be our own Colonial Cookbook which will incorporate all the recipes that we have tried in the classroom. Pictures of the cooking process and the children’s comments about the foods made will be included, whether negative or positive. Included in the book will be such recipes as: hot spiced cider, flummery, apple fritters, butter, succotash, maple sugar candy, plum pudding, honey egg nog, pumpkin soup and cookies and maybe even stew.
This unit provides writing and reading and each child will be able to take home a recipe book and their own books to share at home with their parents. They can also share this unit with their fifth grade buddies and others in the school. We may even donate copies of the books we make to the school library for others to read.
This unit will incorporate the help of the art teacher who has already agreed to work with me on any aspect of the unit, especially customs and making the hornbook. We also will attempt to make a quill pen.
Aim: to show the actual learning processes used in the early classrooms.
Materials: crates or benches with no backs
lots of patience
Method: Ground rules for this lesson must be established early. The teacher is in charge at all times, there is not a sound or movement in the room, most lessons will be done by rote and out loud, youngest will be in front and the oldest towards the back. Only those who have completed their written lessons can sit near the heat (November and heat is on, but I will not have them sit close. We can also work with the lights out since there was no light then). Copies of the lessons will include short vowel sounds, addition practice (1 + 1 =2, 2 + 2=4 etc.) and practice of the alphabet and consonant sounds B=ball, C=cow.
The girls will be shown how to draw fancy pictures within this time frame (if we can), just to demonstrate how girls were excluded and to see if they can tell how they felt not doing the learning.
This lesson will incorporate the morning time period, and most of the lessons for the morning will be taught this way.