When developing this unit and determining the design of lessons I looked to the New Haven School District Social Studies curriculum guide for fifth grade. Colonial America is the required unit of study for the fifth grade. The skills which students are expected to develop include: interpreting, understanding, and creating maps; gathering, interpreting and synthesizing data; discussing events, people, problems, and issues from multiple perspectives; analyzing cause and effect; communicating knowledge through oral, written, artistic or other means. Essential questions to ask when developing lessons and assessing knowledge are:
How does local government work?
What are the characteristics of a map, globe, and other geography tools?
What are characteristics of people today compared to people of the past?
Who are the settlers? Where did they settle and why?
Why did they come to New Haven?
The lessons I developed for this unit comply with national content standards in particular Standard 1 which states:
Content standard 1: Historical Thinking
Students will develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time; contextualizing, comprehending and analyzing historical literature; researching historical sources; understanding the concept of historical causation; understanding competing narratives and interpretation; and constructing narratives and interpretations.
I will begin this unit by giving each student a journal. I will ask that all their notes and reflections will be kept in this journal. I will ask that each student adopt a family from the list of New Haven settlers and pretend they are ten or eleven years old and are coming on the Hector with John Davenport to settle in New Haven. This journal will be used as assessment tool to evaluate each student's comprehension of the lessons in the unit.