Whether completing a unit on European colonization of North America or in beginning a course in American history, teachers often need to cover the founding of each of the original thirteen English colonies. While the story of each colony is unique, there are also many important common themes which emerge from this study. When I taught American history, I found the task of providing an introduction to the history of these English colonies in an efficient manner to be a daunting undertaking. My solution was to condense three days of lecture into 40 minutes of podcasts. What had previously taken a significant investment of classroom time could now be completed faster with time remaining for more extension activities!
Step One: Thirteen Colonies Podcasts – have the students watch each of the Thirteen Colonies Podcasts.
- New England Colonies – this podcast focused on the history of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
- Middle Colonies – this podcast described the history New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
- Southern Colonies – this podcast explained the history of Virginia, Maryland, North & South Carolina, and Georgia.
Step Two: Extension Activity – have students complete an activity that will ask them to either build on the information they have learned or else prompt them to seek deeper knowledge about a particular topic. For example:
- Students could create an advertisement for a particular colony which would attempt to entice more colonists to make the journey to the New World. They would need to incorporate knowledge about colonies in general as well as details about specific colonies.
- Students could create a diary written from the perspective of a colonist living in one of the colonies. Again, students would be asked in incorporate facts and details in order to make their diary realistic.