I am working on a student and teacher’s manual to go along with my new novel, History Questers’ Colonies Trek, so I am fully immersed in the Colonial Period. I have created many engaging activities for teaching about the 13 English Colonies. I will save most for the manual, but I want to share a Readers’ Theatre that I wrote based on the novel. Information about it and how to download it for free will be further in this post.
First let me tell you a little about the book, History Questers’ Colonies Trek. Though the novel is an exciting story that kids will want to read, it is also designed for classroom use. I am passionate about creating literature that will engage students in history. As a Social Studies Instructional Coordinator for a Texas school district, I (and the teachers I worked with) were frustrated by the lack of time available to teach social studies. I became convinced that an interdisciplinary approach would be the most effective solution. The advent of the Common Core Literacy Standards just reinforced this resolution. So I began a series that includes all of the elements of literature, but also sneaks in all of the social studies content our state required at grade 5 and 8.
The book is still in manuscript form at this time, but I hope that it will be ready for students by next school year. You may read the first 3 chapters by clicking here. However these chapters just set up the story and introduce us to the main characters. I would love to have some pre-release reviews by real teachers, so if you would be willing, I would be happy to e-mail the manuscript. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The book is about a team of four kids who spiral back in time via a Q-pad app created by their teacher, Ms. McQuester who believes in hands-on history lessons. Braxton, the point of view character, is the shy new member of the team. His journey of self-discovery and growth parallels the story of the growth of the colonies. The other members of the team also have well-developed characters with whom kids will relate. There is a lot of team drama along with the drama of the historical events and people the kids interact with.
The kids are supposed to just witness the events, but end up getting quite involved. They visit Jamestown, Plymouth, Boston, Salem, and Philadelphia and have a lot of adventures along the way. Though the story is fiction, the history is authentic and is aligned with the Common Core Literacy Standards, The Texas 5th and 8th grade U.S. History TEKS (which are similar to most states) and the National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards.
One of the themes of History Questers is the relations between Native-Americans and Colonists. I have condensed 5 scenes from the book and formatted them as a Reader’s Theatre Play that students can perform. It has characters from the book as well as real historical figures, but it can stand alone without reading the book. I have also created a number of higher order thinking discussion questions to go with each scene. The goal is to have students analyze colonial-Native relations from different perspectives. The Reader’s Theatre, which is called The Wampum Belt, is just one of the activities which will be in the Student and Teacher manual. It is copyrighted, but you may download the Readers Theatre , my discussion questions and the key now to use with your students. Please let me know what you think of it-- and remember if you would like to preview the entire History Questers, email me at email@example.com