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posted: Fri, Jun 17th, 2016

Writing historical fiction

Click on the image to see an interactive colonial map done by Kaitlyn Liamero 

Tricia Mitchell's fifth-graders recently took what they had learned about Colonial America and crafted detailed stories set in that time period. The project was a fusion of language arts and social studies that reinforced knowledge and also allowed students to show off what they had learned in both subjects.

The regional areas of America’s 13 original colonies were incredibly different. Those differences transcended the obvious such as climate and natural resources. The countries of origin of the immigrants, their occupations, their cultures, and their belief systems all varied from region to region. 

Mrs. Mitchell’s students immersed themselves in the lifestyles of the New England Colonies, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies, studying their differences and similarities. They looked at the types of jobs, schooling, religions, communities, and foods that would typically be found in each area. YouTube videos and information on Ducksters.com as well as other websites were the prime sources. 

The students each chose one colonial region to research in detail. They found maps of colonial communities on the internet that corresponded to their regions of interest and imported the maps into the website ThingLink.com. In Thinglink, they labeled the structures on the maps with pop-ups that provided detailed descriptions of the uses of the buildings, or linked to videos or photos.

Now here’s the cool part: Each student wrote a fictional narrative about the life of a typical colonial child growing up in the selected region and used the map he or she labeled as the setting for the story.

“This was a great project because I want to be a writer when I get older and I love history,” said Julia Kapitula. “I’m a big history buff.” 

You can see a village layout that Kaitlyn Liamero created at

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Sandshore School
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