Unit: English Colonization of North America
Level: 6th grade

The first step to planning a unit is to have your mind clear on what you want to teach and how you want to teach it.
So I built a mind map.

In this Wiki, students will find the information and the links they need to complete their tasks. This unit is especially difficult because it's hard to remember facts in history for our students in their mother tongue so imagine how difficult this can be in a foreign language. That's the reason why the unit is full of revising and recapping activities.

0. What do you know , what do you want to know about ...

We will do this activity with the whole class and the teacher is going to write what students say on the board. We will also create a new page in the wiki to write it. This will help us to always have in mind what they want to know.

1. Introduction

Reading the short text and observing the map, students will realize why so many languages are spoken in America. We will concentrate on the English colonization because I want them to know a little bit of the history of England and the USA.

Let's start with two of the most important British Explorers: Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh.
We'll start with a reading comprehension activity Early European Settlements .

As it is the first time we're studying history in English, students will act out the story to understand it better. We will need the Queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, the settlers, the natives and Sir Francis Drake.

Now it's time to read about the Explorers and locate on a map of North America: Newfoundland and Roanoke Island.

Activity 1: Early British Explorers
Students will also make a big history timeline for the classroom to locate the main facts each time they will appear during the unit. They can start with these dates:

October 12, 1492. Columbus lands in what is now The Bahamas

July 30, 1583. Sir Humphrey Gilbert lands in Newfoundland. (Canada)
1585. 1st voyage to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) organized by Sir Walter Raleigh

2. Roanoke, The Lost Colony
The story of Roanoke Island is really motivating for the students. It's so mysterious and suspenseful. We are going to start watching the first part of a documentary. After talking about the story to check their comprehension, we can watch the second part.

Next step is reading the worksheet with the summary of the mystery of Roanoke Island.
Now it's time for a discussion in groups.
Try to find the answer to the next question: What happened to the colonists Governor John White left in Roanoke Island? Give them enough time to think about the answer. If they need help these are five popular theories.

1. The people of Roanoke simply left the settlement.

2. The whole population of Roanoke Island was killed by a disease.

3. The village was destroyed by a severe storm such as a hurricane.

4. The people of Roanoke decided to leave Roanoke Island to live with the Natives.

5. The colonists were killed by the Native Americans

Next session can start with a Revision game about Roanoke Island. Students in pairs have to cut out and match words and sentences.

There are two more possible games that can be played individually as homework or with the whole class as a recapping activity.

Roanoke quiz 1
Roanoke quiz 2

Now it's time to add a new date and fact on the classroom timeline
July 22, 1587
Second Voyage to Roanoke Island

3. Jamestown
This is a very important part of the unit because Jamestown was the first successful English colony in the New World. We are going to start reading the worksheet and completing the activities. Jamestown Comprehension

History timeline
14 May, 1607
Settlers landed in Jamestown (Virginia)

To revise all the content we've been working on, now it's time for a game. Jamestown revision game.
We need to print it, cut it out and give one piece of paper to each student. One student starts reading aloud the sentence in his/her piece of paper. A different one has got the answer (person, place, word) and says it. This one reads the answer and then the sentence he/she's got. Another one has got the answer. They have to make a chain.

4. Pocahontas
This is a very famous episode of American history because of the Disney film. But real history was a little bit different.

Pre-reading. What do you know about Pocahontas' life? Try to match dates and facts in her life. It's an activity where students have to apply their previous knowledge about the unit and use their common sense. They can do it in pairs and then discuss their answers with the whole group. To finish the activity we are going to read the text and check their answers.

History timeline
Pocahontas was born

March 1617
Pocahontas died
This is a quiz we can use to start the next session as a warm up and revising activity. Pocahontas quiz

Questions contest. By now, students know lots of new things about American History so they can prepare questions to ask their classmates. Each student is going to prepare two questions, write them on strips of paper and put them in a box. We'll divide the class into two groups. In turns, a student from each group takes out a question from the box and tries to answer it. If it's right, we'll give one point to the group, if it's wrong the other group can try to answer it.

5. The pilgrims and the crossing of the Mayflower.
To introduce this part of the unit we are going to start watching the videos (about 20 minutes). They can give students an idea about how hard the voyage was. They can go on with the Mayflower activities and to finish they can read the worksheet where they can find a summary about the voyage and some information about who the pilgrims were. The best way to finish is a revision game. .Mayflower four in a row

History timeline
21 November, 1620
Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod (Massachussets)

6. Trivial Revision
To prepare the final test we are going to play this trivial revision game in small groups. There are four groups of questions: Explorers (blue), Roanoke (red), Jamestown (green) and Pocahontas (orange). I also prepared a board game to play it (Tools for educators) with colours, go back 5 spaces, go forward 3 spaces, go back to start...

7. Colonization Test

To finish the unit, as usual, students will have to do a test. They will be asked to answer all different types of questions (fill in the blanks, choose the right answer, true or false, classify...) about colonization.

8. What have you learnt?

This is the last activity in the unit. The main objective is to check what our students have learnt about colonization . We will compare what they knew before and what they know now. It can be done with the whole class, in small groups or individually as an assessment activity.