Settlement and Colonial Life

New Places, New Faces

2017-2018, First Grade

The Great Stone returned to first grade to continue the story of the earth for the hunter boy. He awaited the hunter boy, but was surprised when he heard unfamiliar footsteps coming and saw a man in strange clothing, speaking a different language. Who is this person? Why is he here? Through primary source documents and field studies, students discovered who this man and his family were, why they came to settle in this area, and how one of the earliest Rochester communities was established. First graders made connections between the character traits the early settlers used and character traits first graders use as we neared the end of the school year and students prepared for their transition to second grade.

Stake Your Claim!

2017-2018, Second Grade

Why did people make a long arduous journey from “back east” to Rochester? Why did the first settlers settle in specific spots along the banks of the mighty Genesee? What did they need to do to create a sustainable life for their families? The class learned about the first seven settlements along the Genesee River. They visited the locations of the settlements, studied old maps and city directories, and worked with a local historian and historic texts to piece together the history of the settlements, paying special attention to the strength of each specific location (bridge, mill, boat building). To simulate the interdependence of early settlers and experience daily life in the early 1800’s the class embarked on a camping trip in Webster Park. Each crew was responsible for creating specific structures needed in a particular settlement. Crews decided what materials they need to build their structures and barter with the storekeeper – Jebediah McCracken. Exhibition Night took the form of a “Town Square Fair” where students shared songs and dances, games, their opinion writing, and their maps and town plans. Bonnets and kerchiefs were required!

Taking Liberties

2015-2016, Fifth Grade

Many of the early colonists came to the new world as British citizens who held their kings in high regard. Fifth graders worked throughout the expedition to understand why and how these sentiments changed. Building a deep understanding involved understanding events from a variety of perspectives – colonists, British government, Patriots, Loyalists, and those where were neutral or undecided. As they learn about the American Revolution and the long road to independence from Great Britain, fifth graders worked with cause-and-effect relationships from the Stamp Act to the Treaty of Paris. They explored what the Founders believed about government and why they structured our government the way they did. This expedition was rich in primary documents and compelling historical characters and included a field study to historic Boston, Massachusetts to understand – from multiple perspectives – how our nation was born. Just as historic figures raised their voices, fifth graders used powerful words and raised their voices at Exhibition Night.

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