Sunday, February 3, 2013

We Have Declared Independence

For the past two months my students have been involved in a rather complex interact game about the American Revolution.  Throughout these months, they've read, dramatized, crafted, debated, basically lived a part of their day in the 1700's.
We began by creating some props to help us get into our parts.  The boys made tricorn hats from Dollar Tree pirate hats and sewed a neck ruffle to wear.  
My girls mad a kettle cap and an apron.  All of the student's did a tin punch lantern.
First, we broke into tavern groups and they created a secret handshake, tavern name, a sign, etc. Each tavern group was responsible to reenact an event that stirred up the revolution.  I turn them loose with boxes, construction paper and their imaginations and am ever floored by their creativity.

Throughout the many weeks of activities and research, they created a time capsule with artifacts that represented this time frame.  It was really astounding to me how the sharing of these capsules revealed how very much they learned of the events leading up to the war.
They even had an opportunity to be spies and create codes, hide them, find their contacts and try to figure them out.
Through the daughter of a friend, I met a gentleman who is a Son of the American Revolution (and I thought there were only daughters) who visited in full patriot regalia and shared with the students for an entire morning.
We read Johnny Tremain and My Brother Sam is Dead, watched Hollywood's rendition of "Johnny Tremain" and some of "1776"and compared them to what we had learned.
We ended by reenacting the debate, casting votes and signing the Declaration of Independence, traitors all!
While the material I used from the book Patriots was  a bit pricey,  thankfully my principal trusted that it would be worth it and it was.  I learned more about the American Revolution than I'd ever known and my students know ten times more than I knew as a fifth grader and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
All state standards fulfilled, never a text book opened, which to my notion, spells success!  


  1. I have said it before but it is worth repeating -- you are a wonderful teacher and your students are fortunate to have you. Bet they will remember you many years from now.

  2. I bet they will remember what they learned about the American Revolution! What a wonderful, creative way to teach!