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Grade: Elementary

#3907. A Colonial Classroom

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Feb 10 10:43:47 PST 2007 by Andy Rodgers (
Central Elementary School, Central, SC 29630
Materials Required: Book – …If you lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern
Activity Time: Two 45 minute periods

Brian “Andy” Rodgers

I. Social Studies/Language Arts 4th Grade

II. Objective:
The students will be able to compare and contrast historical colonial education with education of present day. The students will be able to do this by simulating a colonial school day using hornbooks and bench seating.
A. South Carolina Language Arts Standards
The students will be able to:
4-R1.18 – Demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast his or her findings on a particular topic after having extracted that Information from two or more pieces of graphic or written material.

South Carolina Social Studies Standards
Unit of study: History: Time, Continuity and Change
4.2 Compare and contrast the lives of European, African and North American families in various regions in colonial times.

B. The value of this lesson is to use a simulation of a colonial school day to allow the students to make real connections to schooling of the past. The students will be involved in creating their own hornbooks, and they will have the opportunity to use the hornbooks in an actual lesson.

III. Procedures:
A. Transition/Focus
1. The teacher will begin the activity by discussing goals and objectives of the lesson with the students. The teacher will then ask if any students have prior knowledge about school during the colonial era. The teacher will list ideas students have on the dry erase board. This will form the beginning of a KWL chart the students will include in their ongoing “Colonial/Revolutionary War” notebook.

B. Advanced Organizer
• The teacher will then introduce excerpts from the book …if you lived in Colonial Times. The teacher will then discuss passages with the class.
• The students will work in cooperative groups sharing things they learned during the reading of …if you lived in Colonial Times. They will then record newly learned information in their notebook.
• The teacher will introduce the hornbook by showing the students a model.
• The teacher will distribute blank hornbook templates and have the students glue parts on to their hornbooks.
• The students will tie yarn through the hole of the hornbook. This will allow the students to wear the hornbook around their neck during the following day.
• Hornbooks will be collected and the students will be instructed that they will be taught a lesson during the next day using the hornbooks.
• The teacher will close the lesson by questioning the students on how colonial classrooms operated and how hornbooks were used in the classroom.


• The teacher will rearrange the classroom while the students are at their activity break. Desks will be replaced by bench seating. The students’ hornbooks will be placed in alphabetical order with the boys on the front row and girls on the back row.
• The students will be informed that this will simulate many of the characteristics of a colonial school setting.
• The teacher will start the second lesson by accessing the students’ prior knowledge of previous lesson. Excerpts of …if you lived in Colonial Times may be re-read to refresh the students’ memory.
• The teacher will create a dialogue discussing the strict rules of no talking out of turn and how good colonial manners were expected.
• Examples of consequences such as DUNCE CAPS, etc. will be discussed.
• The teacher will then discuss how “rote” memorization was a key way of learning during the colonial period.
• A short spelling lesson will be given using the hornbooks.
• The teacher will then discuss what a proverb is. The teacher will also give an example of a proverb. (“A penny saved is a penny earned”)
• The teacher will then place two proverbs on the board and have the students choose one and write it on the blank side of their hornbook.
• The students will then be encouraged to practice “rote memorization” to learn their proverb.
• The teacher will then pass out Venn diagram templates for students to make comparison and contrasts of colonial schools versus present day public schools.

1. Pacing: 2 day lesson 45-60 minutes for each lesson
2. Assessment criterion: Orally through discussion and questioning techniques (observation) and completion a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting colonial schools and present day public schools.

C. Input
1. Instructional Strategies
b. Definition
c. Modeling
d. Exploration
e. Reading for specific content
g. Teacher-led discussion
i. Independent practice
j. Questioning
k. Maps, graphs, charts, diagrams
n. Teacher Observation (informal)

2. Guided Practice
Teacher will list newly learned information to model note taking.

3. Independent Practice
The students will record information learned using a Venn diagram to make comparisons.

4. Group Activities
Discussion of Colonial schools
Oral questioning to the class

5. Early Finishers
The early finishers will have the opportunity to complete a 3,2,1 activity. The students will write in their colonial journals, 3 things they learned about colonial schools, 2 things they disliked about colonial schools, 1 thing they liked.

IV. Assessment
1. Formal
The students’ hornbook and Venn diagram will be evaluated.

2. Informal

V. Materials
Book – …If you lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern
Glue sticks
Hole punch
Venn Diagram
Overhead projector
Overhead markers