American Revolution....My FAVORITE!!!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! (did you sing that as you read it?)  The American Revolution has begun in my classroom and I am SO excited.  I LOVE this unit.  I think I teach history all year long *just* so I can get to this unit.  There is just something about the story of these little patriots going up against big bad England that gets me every time (I know, I know...not that simple, but it is fun nonetheless)

Anyway, I thought I would share with you a few of the things we have been doing in class over the past week or so, just in case you are working on this unit too.

Great way to introduce the revolution through the 13 colonies foldable.
To begin, I had the students think about what they have learned about colonial times.  Since the Revolution takes place in the colonial era, I thought it was important to bring up some of that knowledge.  They created this foldable as a way to jog their memory and search back into their Social Studies book.  My kids did it with plain paper, but I created this "cheat sheet" for you.  You can actually copy this back to back and it will fold the same way.

Since I am using this not only as a history unit, but a language arts as well, I have been doing quite a bit of comprehension work with the stories and books we are reading.  We read On the Road to Revolution (Scott Foresman Social Studies Readers) (affiliate link) by Ann Rossi.  While the kids were reading, they had sticky notes.  On these notes, the students took notes about the events leading up to the war.  I had them focus on the major things that were causing the colonists to get upset.  Since I *love* Thinking Maps, they took their notes in Flow Map form.  (so sorry for the HORRIBLE picture!!)



teachinginroom6.blogspot.com
Next, we began to read If You Lived At The Time Of The American Revolution(affiliate link) We have only started, but this helped us, in combination with the first book, to lay out some of the reasons for the war.  The students then created a multi-flow map listing the causes for all of the Acts and taxes by Britain, and all of the effects those acts had.  (We are currently working on a Cause and Effect essay in class using this.)



This was followed by a fun little diddy known as the "1776 Hand Jive" by Jim Marshall.  It is just a poem that has been put to music.  The kids really enjoyed this and were doing some great movement.  We then dissected this simple poem, looking for the hidden and more complex meaning in each pair of lines.  The kids are working on a foldable right now in which they have to write the historical facts behind the fun poem lines.   This one isn't complete (it needs to be colored) BUT you can get the idea from the picture.

5th grade activities












Today, we focused on the Boston Tea Party.  I read the students a graphic novel, The Boston Tea Party (Graphic History)  (affiliate link) and they worked on their listening comprehension, as well as note-taking skills.  As I was reading, the students created a divided Circle Map, again focusing on the cause and effect relationship of what was happening politically to drive these people towards rebellion.   They really enjoyed listening to this "different" sort of novel, which showed in the discussion we had afterwards.  The internalization of the causes was great!




One last thing we are doing.  The kids are currently on a search for "artifacts" related to the Revolution.  They can be creative (i.e.: bring in a tea bag to represent the Boston Tea Party, or a dollar bill with George Washington's face on it) or literal (a replica of the Declaration of Independence).  They haven't come in yet, but since it was part of the unit opener, I thought I would give you the sheet too...just in case you wanted to do it.  :)
American Revolution artifact form so the kids can find artifacts to display in the room

So there you have it folks.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  For more ideas, here is a post I did with things from farther on in the unit last year.  I really am having a ball in my class right now.  I only hope the kids are enjoying it as much as I am!


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19 comments

  1. I also love teaching the American Revolution! We do it centered around South Carolina's involvement but it is so much fun to teach and the kids always get so into it!

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  2. I teach 5th grade social studies and the American Revolution is my favorite also. We make time lines of the revolution, word document of a famous person from this time, and I then have each student read one book about the war and take an ar test. Jean Fritz has some wonderful books about this time period.If you have access to Horrible History videos, there's a great one on the revolution. There are videos from Amazon called Liberty Kids (I think), but my students like the horrible history ones best. I also use If you Lived... since my text books are really old and I don't have enough.

    Pat

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    1. Which Horrible History video on the Revolution did you think was the best? I see a few.

      Cara

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  3. This was my favorite unit as well! I'm teaching abroad now, so it's no longer in my curriculum, but I still snagged a few of your ideas for the future. My absolute favorite activities were The King's M&Ms about unfair taxation and Revolutionary Tug of War to summarize the disadvantages the Patriot's faced and how they overcame them. Both can easily be googled, if you're not already using them. Have fun!

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  4. I love your enthusiasm for teaching fifth grade. U. S. History is my favorite.
    http://artistryofeducation.blogspot.com/

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  5. I love all of your ideas. Teaching the American Revolution is also my favorite part of the year! Where did you get the 1776 hand jive? I would love to have a copy of the words, song, and motions. Sounds cute!

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    1. Thanks! The Hand Jive came with our ELD program. Into English! I am not sure if it is anywhere else...

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  6. I loved your last post on the American Revolution and this one!!! Fabulous and so creative - thank you for sharing. I'm definitely going to do the Scavenger Hunt. That sounds like a lot of fun. I just did a blog post myself about the ABC American Revolution books my students created. They are so informative. Anyway - thanks again.

    Mrs. Lyon's Blog - Teaching: The Art of Possibility

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    1. Thanks! I am off to find your books. They sound great!

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  7. Once again, you've really nailed this unit--SO FUN! I just finished my Rev. War unit, but will definitely incorporate some of these activities next year!! Have you been including the reading portion you mentioned during your reading time, and do you do guided reading? Just wondered how you managed it all...always a struggle of mine! :-)

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    1. I do include the social studies instruction in my reading. I don't do guided reading...I do...well, I am sure there is a fancy name for it but it is escaping me now ;) I am using literature to teach the American Revolution. Everything is all connected, otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get it all in!

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  8. This stirs my pondering of changing to teaching history!! :) The American Revolution Scavenger Hunt is a great activity! Good job, Steph!

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  9. How can I gain access to the "cheat sheets" to print for myself?

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    1. You should be able to access it through the link.

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  10. Love your ideas!! I've been looking for a few more ideas to add some more pizazz. I especially love the artifacts activities. One of my favorite things to do is divide the class into groups of Red Coats and Colonists. The colonists get "taxed" during the day for different things such as carrying their Red Coat's food tray, etc. The kids can write petitions to the king (me) but that usually gets them extra taxes - that really gets them going! Teaching American history is the best !!!

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  11. Here's a QR code Scavenger Hunt that I posted around the school for "Important People of the Revolutionary War"!

    http://www.classtools.net/QR/qr_generator.php?fold=28&fname=meB7A&diff=0

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  12. Thank you very much. I just began home schooling my fifth grader. He loves learning about History and I want to make it fun. Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas

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  13. Could your lessons be applied to 5th grade Gifted students? Or too low level for them? Just curious! I love all your ideas, so creative!

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    1. These lessons are not too low for Gifted students, in my opinion. Try them out and see what happens. You can always up the level of them if you need to.

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