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Project Plan of "Assumed Colonial Identities"  by Rob Curry

Name of Project: Assumed Colonial Identities - 21st Century Students Take the Identiiity of an 18th Century Virginia Colonist
Unit Author: Rob Curry  5th Grade teacher, Vinci Park School, San Jose, CA.

Rationale: Students will develop a greater empathy for the ways of life and the role of social class in the Colonial era and compare that with their own lives today.

Enduring Understanding:  Students will better understand the connection between the past and the present and relate it to their own attitudes and actions, applied here to making choices between loyalty to the established authority or the cause of liberty from tyranny.

Major Goal(s) and Associated Standards.

·    Students will better appreciate the issues of liberty or loyalty facing people of the British colonies in America. 
·    Students will work collaboratively with fellow members of their groups and with students in other classes and with experts they communicate with. 
·    Students will synthesize the information they find doing research and will create presentations and other products that communicate their learning. 
·    Students will summarize their learning in written compositions. 
·    Students will be encouraged to express their feelings using music, poetry and art. 

OBJECTIVES: The students will understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in
                        the colonial era.

1. The students will  Understand how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of political
                        self-government and a free-market economic system (California Social Studies
                        Standards 5.4.5)

2.The students will understand the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the
                    original 13 colonies (California Social Studies Standards 5.4.1)
3. The students will describe the introduction of slavery into America, the responses of slave families to
              their condition, the ongoing struggle between proponents and opponents of slavery,
                    and the gradual institutionalization of slavery in the South.(California Social Studies Standards 5.4.6)
4. The students will explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial
              period, including the significance of representative assemblies and town meetings. (California Social 
                        Studies Standards 5.4.7) 
      1. The students will Create multiple-paragraph expository compositions: 
                 a. Establish a topic, important ideas, or events in sequence or chronological order. 
                  b. Provide details and transitional expressions that link one paragraph to another in a  clear line of thought. 
                  c. Offer a concluding paragraph that summarizes important ideas and details.
                        (California Language Arts-Writing Standards 1.1.2) 
Language Arts>Writing California Content Standards:
2.0 Using the writing strategies of grade five outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students: 
2.1 Write narratives: 
         a. Establish a plot, point of view, setting, and conflict. 
         b. Show, rather than tell, the events of the story

      1.3 The students will use organizational features of printed text (e.g., citations, end notes,  bibliographic references) to locate relevant information. 
        1.4 The students will create simple documents by using electronic media and employing organizational  features (e.g., passwords, entry and pull-down menus, word searches, the thesaurus, and  spell check 


ISTE National Technology Standards

 1. Basic operations and concepts  
        Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and  operation of technology systems.  
  2. Students are proficient in the use of  technology. 
   3. Technology productivity tools 
           Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.  
           Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare  publications, and    produce other creative works  

(In addition to those included in the current California State Framework) 
                    1.The students will use Power Point to create a presentation 
                    2.The students will create a simple publication using Microsoft Publisher. 
                    3.The students  will  create a simple web page using web editors such as  MS Word and/or Netscape Composer. 
                    4.The students will create a summative essay on what they learned doing this activity using Microsoft Word. 

(In addition to those included in the current California State Framework) 
                    1.The students will use artistic discrimination in designing and creating a panel of a patchwork quilt
representative of the person whose identity they assune and their social or occupational status 
                    2.The students will create a life size tableau related to the occupation of their assumed character based
on visual representations of such settings for a school colonial fair. 
3.The students will create a costume representative of the historical occupation of their assumed character based
on visual representations of such clothing for a school colonial fair.


Essential Questions
  • What were some historical perspectives of the various groups in the 1770's on the issue of     Independence and how does that relate to life in our nation today?
  • What are the most important elements of researching primary documents/resources?
  • Who were the colonial characters whose narratives were studied?
  • How does the historical period effect the experiences related in the narratives?
  • What are primary sources and documents?
  • How are primary documents useful in studying the past?
  • In what ways can historical fact be presented?
  • How can historical primary sources be used to develop historical fiction?
  • What can we learn from the past that can be useful?

    • Brainstorm Using K-W-L Charts ~ We will create a K-W-L chart as the class discusses what they know about slavery and racism (Baseline)
    • Students will keep project journals to keep track of their work.  (Formative)
    • Student Products: (Formative & Summative)
                        Power Point Group Projects
                        Oral Presentations 
                        Written Summative Composition
    • Rubrics used for self, peer and teacher assessments for each main section of the project.  Rubrics included are for Research, Power Point Story Map, Power Point, and Summative Composition.
    • Student ePortfolios (Formative & Summative)
    • Unit Test as created by the teacher (Summative)

    Additional Project Elements:

    Real World Connection
    Students, especially the recent immigrants or children of immigrants who comprise most of the student population of our school, deal with making choices continually in daily lives.  By doing this activity, they will be challenged to examine their attitudes and reaction to the issues of the modern day and how their class status impacts their perspective.

    Technology Integration

    Technology will be integrated throughout this project.  Students will obtain much of their resources from the Internet including those which are woven into or linked from the project web site.  Students will develop presentations using Power Point which will be displayed, some on the Internet.  The students will post their product and self-assessment on their e-portfolios.

    Target Population and Number of Participants
    This project will be done with about 30 5th grade students.
    Estimated Timeline:
    This is an extended project, running from February through the end of the school year in June.

    August/January:   Students will be given some background information through the activities in the Social Studies book/program.  Further background knowledge will be attained through viewing of videos and activities from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and in viewing the PBS video, Africans in America, and doing many of the lesson plans developed for the program.  Also, during the Back-to-School night, I will explain the project to the student families and show a sample product.

    Students will be placed into heterogeneous groups and they will each choose a colonial character to study and do a presentation on from the provided resources for each.  Students will then research the primary documents and sources to develop a profile of the historical character.

     Students will either further develop the non-fiction presentation story of their character and then create an embellished historical fiction narrative for the character based on the historical record (primary sources). They will finish the story board by mid February.  Following that, they will create and revise (as needed) the Power Point Presentation.

     The finished Power Point Presentations will be done with an oral report to the students and perhaps to the larger school community.  Students will also upload the product to their e-Portfolios and they will each write a composition on what they learned by doing this project.


    This project requires students to work on a collaborative team of 3-5 students.
    We will  network with teachers from other schools who will also do this project and provide students with the opportunity to collaborate with other students at those other schools through email and participation in ePals.
    Students also have the opportunity to email Colonial Williamsburg tradesmen.

    Accessibility for All Learners

    Lessons will include a variety of modalities to address the needs of all students.   Images and drawings will include visual information.  Journals will include written notes as students work through this project.  Music and the recorded narration of actual former slaves will address the needs of verbal learners. Power Point Presentations will incorporate many learning elements. Participation in a Colonial Fair will include drama, music, costume making and cooking Colonial food.

    The project can easily be adapted to meet special needs students. 

    For English Language Learners in our school community, I have provided some tools to help bridge the language gap between school and student families.  The main project page has links translating the project into Spanish and Chinese and it has online dictionaries for English-Vietnamese and English-Tagolog.

    Estimated Budget

    In order to get 4 classroom computers with the needed software (Microsoft Office 2000 or XP), MovieWorks and Adobe Flash, the budget needed would be $6,000.

    ·    Proposed method of getting funding for this project (if needed) I will look into funding sources, such as Smart Valley, district funding, grants, etc. If no funds are available. I will do the project in a modified form, using the 25 minute lab time the students have every other week or the limited number of antique classroom computers.

    Biographical Information

        Now starting his fifth year as a fifth grade teacher at Vinci Park and his 22nd anniversary as a teacher, Rob Curry works hard to cover all the required state standards in as exciting ways as possible. He is known for all the field trips his class goes on, all of which are directly related to the curriculum. Likewise, he uses the internet and video extensively to help students do research and present their work. 
        He serves on the Berryessa District Curriculum Council and he was recently elected to the post of Elementary Representative in the teachers' union. He is on the district committee which plans Professional Development and he has presented workshops on integrating technology into the curriculum.
       In developing the Social Studies units, Rob takes seminars or other Professional Development programs.  In 2001, he took part in the Colonial Williamsburg Summer Teacher Institute and in 2003, he won a fellowship to study at a Gilder-Lehman Foundation for American History seminar at UMD at College Park, Maryland on the topic, North American Slavery in Comparative Perspective.
       Mr. Curry loves to travel, especially to historical locations in Europe, the United States and to Yosemite National Park.  Of Mr. Curry and his four brothers, three of them are teachers. Mr. Curry and his wife are part of the community he teaches in and they live in the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose, California. 


    Student Directions
    Students will use the directions contained on the project web site.


    1©Copyright 2003 by rdcurry