Teaching About Colonial Virginia

If you are a fourth grade teacher in Virginia, then chances are you teach your students about Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite books, activities, and resources to help you with this standard.

Best Books for Colonial Studies

Virginia history begins with studies of the Jamestown Colony, and this post is filled with ideas for teaching about Colonial Times across the curriculum. Check it out on Virginia is for Teachers.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. Using text sets to teach your social studies standards is a highly effective teaching method for addressing both reading and social studies skills. The books included in my list 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.

One 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:
If I Lived in Colonial Times - song made from "If You LiveMolly's Pilgrim (Barbara Cohen) Novel Study / Reading Comp

Activity Ideas

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.

Tech Resources:

Check out these great Colonial Times Websites:

What are your favorite Jamestown/Colonial Williamsburg activities? Do you have special resources you enjoy using? Please take a moment and describe in the comments.
See you next month!

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