Archive for the 'biography' Category

Harriet Tubman




Harriet Tubman was an incredible part of American History. She led a challenging life, but was still strong enough to rescue around 300 slaves from captivity. Her strength and courage remain an inspiration, even to this day. Students will learn about her childhood, and her work with the underground railroad and the Union Army. Students will connect her life and experiences to the events that were occurring in American history at that time.


Text Sources

Who was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough

This book is recommended for students ages nine through twelve, though it would be appropriate to read aloud to younger students as well. Who was Harriet Tubman is a wonderful story that gives students the history of this incredible woman. McDonough details Tubman’s life as a slave, then a worker of the Underground Railroad, and later as a nurse. The book gives a history of the time period in which Tubman lived, letting students understand the context of her story. McDonough has also written “Who was…” books about Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, and many other historical figures. This book, and author, are highly recommended for classroom learning.


Harriet Tubman by Kem Knapp Sawyer

This book gives students a first look at reading historical biographies. This book, also recommended for students ages nine through twelve, is very factual, though it includes interesting illustrations, photographs, and notes.  It includes a history of her life in slavery, but also of her incredible contributions to society after the war ended. This book is strongly recommended for students doing an assignment for their class.


Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling

 Freedom train will be loved by students of all ages, whether as a read-aloud or a solo read. Written as historical fiction story, students will become engrossed in the fascinating life led by Harriet Tubman. The story details her life as a life and discussed the conditions that she lives in her entire childhood and early adult years. While it does not focus a lot on the history of the country during this time period, it gives students a very real idea of what it would have been like to be working in the Underground Railroad. This real life story includes enough suspense to capture even reluctant readers.

 A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David A. Adlertubmangroupbybarnweb.jpg

This picture book is better suited for students of lower reading levels. Its beautiful illustrations in addition to short sentences detailing the important aspects of Tubman’s life give students are brief overview of the subject. Though it won’t give readers an incredibly detailed account of her life, it is perfect for students who are just beginning on the subject of slavery, and the civil war. Without overwhelming beginning readers with too many words and facts, it outlines this important historical figure’s life. Adler’s book is a great jumping off point for students.

Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder (Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)

One of my favorite books as a child, Minty is a beautiful historical fiction book about the early life of Harriet Tubman. Coupled with gorgeous watercolor paintings by Pinkney, the story gives real feeling to young Harriet’s difficult life. Young readers will be entranced by her story, as she moves from working in the house to out in the fields, and they will be fascinated by Harriet’s father’s guidance on living in the wilderness. As Harriet plans her eventual escape from slavery, students will find themselves learning about the life the slaves led nearly 200 years ago.

 Web Sources


 America’s Story from America’s Library

A kid friendly website with information and graphics about many historical figures, including Harriet Tubman. Students can read the intro with basic facts, or they can explore deeper, depending on how far the teacher wants them to research. This site is easy to use and to navigate. Its bright colors and pictures will keep students entertained and focused as they research. None of the stories are particularly long, and they use appropriate vocabulary for elementary students. This website is funded by the Library of Congress.

 Harriet Tubman Biography

 This site is recommended to fourth through sixth grade students. A sidebar offers links to a biography, time-line, photos, and other resources concerning Harriet Tubman and the history of America during her life. This site gives a very factual and detailed account of her life. One fascinating aspect is the list of some of the people who Harriet helped escape from slavery. The site gives names of the rescued slaves as well as the dates of their escapes. Students have the option of looking at a brief outline, focusing on her family life, or learning about “Tubman’s civil war.” This is perfect for a research project; it is easy to read and to navigate.


The Underground Railroad

This interactive site gives students a chance to really be connected with the plight of escaping slaves. Set up similar to a “choose your own adventure book” students are able to choose where they want to go as the escape with Harriet Tubman. Small paragraphs, accompanied by photographs and illustrations, describe each scenario to the students. At one point, they must choose to approach a house, or to hide in the woods. Later, they must choose to cross an icy river or stay back and risked being exposed to slave hunters. As they “travel,” the site describes the cities and historical figures that they meet.

Harriet Tubman Biography: TFK Challenge

This site gives a short quiz about Harriet Tubman. In eight questions, the quiz covers the basics of Harriet’s life. This quiz could be used either before teaching the unit to see where students are, or after the unit as a quiz or a study device. Students have the opportunity to retake the quiz of they don’t get all the answers; they are shown which questions were answered incorrectly, but not given the correct answer so they can go back and try again.harriet-tubman-sarah-bradford_a.jpg

Pathways to Freedom

This is another interactive site perfect for students learning about Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. This site takes students through the life of Harriet Tubman before she escapes from slavery. By scrolling over certain objects in the pictures, students learn more about her family life, and gather clues that will help when they try to escape.

Teacher Resources


Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman

This website can be used after students read the story Minty. This site has about 6 activities recommended to use during and after the story is read. It suggests activities such as songs, map games, and interviews. Students will love these follow up activities because the story is so fascinating.

Lesson Plan: Harriet Tubman

This link will bring you to a full lesson plan created by Bruce Helgeson for fourth and fifth grade students.  It details a mini unit for teachers, including a background, objectives, references, and assessments. Teachers might not need to use all of the activities, or they may enjoy exploring all the different ideas for their students.

Harriet Tubman: printout/quiz

 This link brings teachers to a print out and questions for students. The printout gives students a short history of Harriet Tubman, explaining why she is an important historical figure. It is followed by comprehension questions, which teachers could give as a quiz or included with the printout. This is a perfect activity for students to practice their reading and comprehension skills. It could be used as a partner project as well.

 On the Road to Freedom: Lesson Plan

 This lesson plan gives suggestions of many books to read to the class for this unit. It also suggests many discussion questions and further exploration activities for students. After reading these books (or any other preferred books) students will use critical thinking to to explore ideas such as; what was the most important event in Harriet’s life? How did she feel when she heard that slavery was abolished?



Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
was a civil rights leader that played an important role in the 19th century women’s suffrage movement. Although she died fourteen years prior to its passing, her work was pivotal to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The resources posted below are intended to be used in an elementary level classroom to teach students the significance of Susan B. Anthony’s life and work.
(VA Social Studies SOL 2.11)

Text Annotations-
If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights
by Anne Kamma
A story that allows readers to find out what life was like for girls during the suffrage movement. Along with Susan B. Anthony, you meet other figures of the movement such as: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and Alice Paul.

Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Women’s Rights
by Deborah Hopkinson
A quick and easy to read book about the like of Susan B. Anthony. It follows her from her Quaker upbringing to her teaching career and beyond.

Susan B. Anthony: Champion of Women’s Rights
by Helen Albe Monsell
This is a great book for higher level readers. It follows Anthony throughout her life and the difficulties she had in.

Susan B. Anthony: A Photo-Illustrated Biography
by Lucile Davis
This is a book that shows the life of Anthony in photographs. It is a great resource for early readers that is simple and to the point.

Susan B. Anthony
by Martha E. H. Rustad
This is a great book that provides a time line of the important events in Anthony’s life. It also provides a summary of what was covered on the last page.

Web Annotations-

Not For Ourselves Alone- The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
This is a site that can used to explore what it was like to be a kid back in the early 19th century.

Girls Explore Susan B. Anthony
A short, easy to understand biography on Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony- Garden of Praise
Provides a slide-show on Anthony’s life.

Kids.Net.Au- Susan B. Anthony
This site provides a short bio on Anthony’s life along with interactive links.

Women’s Fight for the Vote: The Nineteenth Amendment
This site provides an overview on the creation and passing of the 19th Amendment.

Teacher’s Resources-

Susan B. Anthony Coloring Pages
This site provides many different printable pages to use as handouts in the study of Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony Resources
This site provides different links to information about Anthony and a few lessons plan from multiple grade levels to use in the classroom.

Susan B. Anthony Day
This is a lesson plan that is intended to be used on Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, February 15th, which is now a commemorative day to remember the great leader and work she did for the women’s right movement.

Susan B. Anthony House
This is a link to Anthony’s home located in Rochester, New York. It is now a historic landmark and tourist destination that provides information on Anthony’s life.

Eleanor Roosevelt

This blog post includes resources regarding the 1st Grade Social Studies SOL on American leaders and their contributions to the United States, specifically, the life of Eleanor Roosevelt (VA SOL 1.2).This post includes five different books that are great for the first grade level. These books provide the teachers and students with great information about this amazing first lady. The blog also includes five kid-friendly websites and five extra teacher-specific resources. I hope these books and websites are helpful in teaching a lesson(s) about the great Eleanor Roosevelt!BOOKS Eleanor (Picture Puffins)Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney


 This book, written by the award-winningauthor Barbara Cooney, is a storybook biography about Eleanor Roosevelt’s childhood and all of the hardships she had to deal with, such as being orphaned at the age of nine and being made fun of for being unattractive. This book also briefly illustrates some of her achievements that she made later in life. This is a great book to use when introducing this great American leader.A Picture Book of Eleanor RooseveltWritten by David A. Adler & Illustrated by Robert Cassilla


This biography provides great insight into Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. Key parts of her life are highlighted and written in a way that is easy to understand and great for early elementary schoolers. The pictures are beautiful watercolors and make the book very enjoyable to read aloud to students.


Stateswoman to the World: A Story About Eleanor Roosevelt

Written by Maryann N. Weidt & Illustrated by Lydia M. Anderson



This book is fictional in the beginning, but ends up being a biography summing up her strict childhood and life as the first lady. It includes quotes from primary sources, such as letters.  The black and white drawings are a great addition to this informative book about the great Eleanor Roosevelt.


Eleanor Roosevelt: A Photo- Illustrated Biography

By Lucille Davis



This biography explains the amazing life storyof Eleanor and her huge influence on human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt

By Sally Lee



This biography illustrates Mrs. Roosevelt’s childhood, education, and life as the first lady and all that she accomplished. Kids will really enjoy this book because of the great photographs.




Kids Konnect: Eleanor Roosevelt

This website is very kid-friendly and includes many important dates and facts starting from her childhood through until after President Roosevelt died.


Dear Mrs. Roosevelt

This website includes examples of letters written by thousands of young people during the Great Depression. Many sent Mrs. Roosevelt requests, asking for clothing, food, and other forms of assistance. This website is very informative and helps the students to understand what it was like during the Great Depression, while Mrs. Roosevelt was the First Lady.


US History Webquest: Eleanor Roosevelt

This Webquest is fun and helps the students master the material. It was created for grades 4 and up and is very informative and forces the students to work together and come up with their own opinions and impressions from a radio program and photographs.


Eleanor Roosevelt Online Quiz

This quiz includes questions regarding facts about Eleanor Roosevelt. Students may work alone or in groups to complete this short 10 question quiz. This can be used as a form of summative or formative assessment.


A Student’s Summary of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Life 

This great and short summary will definitely help the students to easily understand the great Eleanor Roosevelt and her life. It includes important facts and dates that would be very helpful for students learning about this First Lady.

ADDITIONAL TEACHER RESOURCESLesson Plans- Eleanor Roosevelt website offers a handful of very helpful lessons, this one in particular is great for younger primary school students. This lesson compares the popular picture book series, Olivia, to Eleanor Roosevelt. It is a very fun and interesting way to teach the material that the students will love.Lesson Plan: A Leader Who Helps People website provides a series of great lesson plans regarding the great Eleanor Roosevelt. This lesson, in particular, includes a few of the books that are listed above. This is the perfect lesson to use when introducing this material to the students.Who is Eleanor Roosevelt? website helps the teachers to get a better grasp on this American leader. There are many sections to this site such as: biographical essays, Q&A’s, quotations, and a glossary.Lesson Planet- Eleanor Roosevelt Lesson Plans Planet is a great resource that provides ten lesson plans regarding Eleanor Roosevelt. This site is very helpful for teachers who need to find some fun and interactive activities dealing with this well-known American leader.Youtube Video- Eleanor Roosevelt Story five minute video clip sums up Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and is very helpful for both teachers and students when learning and/or getting ready to teach a lesson on Mrs. Roosevelt.

Robert E. Lee


This blog provides teachers with a wealth of resources to draw from as they delve into the strategic brilliance and leadership of Robert E. Leea pivotal player in the Civil war. Children come face to face with E. Lee as they tackle the Civil War component of SOL USI.9d). As you journey through the realm of information that this website has to offer open your minds to the endless opportunities that you as a teacher have in teaching this content to your children in an exciting and fun way. Gone are the days where history has to be boring. It is all about how you present the information to your children.

Text Annotations

The Picture Book of Robert E. Lee by David Adler 51sqe0vmpal_sl500_aa300_.jpg

Through the use of great pictures this book presents the stories of war along with numerous quotes that will help its readers understand our history. It explains the Civil War so that it is easy for the kids to understand. Alder did a wonderful job of displaying the war and allowing children to understand the concept on a very neutral level while also outlining his life. In doing this he helps children really visualize the order of events.

Robert E. Lee: Brave Leader by Rae Bains 51b7wc6n1kl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou01_.jpg

This book traces the life of the highly respected Confederate general, with an emphasis on his difficult boyhood in Virginia. It presents the content in an interesting manner and encourages its readers to love history.

Promise Quilt by Candace Ransom 51st6dm25yl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou01_.jpg

This picture book is told from the point of view of a Virginia girl, Addie, during the Civil War. When her father leaves the family farm to be General Robert E. Lee’s guide, Addie finds ways to remember him–even when he does not return at the end of the war. The author’s note describes the issues of slavery and states’ rights that divided the northern and southern states and that led to the war.

Robert E. Lee, young Confederate (Childhood of famous Americans) by Helen Albee Monsell  books.jpeg

These classics have been praised by adults, parents and teachers alike. They bring the biography of Robert E. Lee to life in an inspiring, believing way, sweeping young children right into history.

Robert E. Lee: Southern Hero of the Civil War by Mona Kerby 9780894907821.gif

This biography describes the life of the famous Confederate general who fought for Virginia during the the Civil War. It provides children with all the information they need to know about this figure in a clear and concise manner.

Web Annotations

  1. Seize the Night– Is a website that provides background information on Robert E. Lee, and describes his accomplishments and ventures as a leader. It doesn't just provide information of Lee's leadership but the conspiracy theories of other leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and J.F. Kennedy as well as a wealth of information on other military leaders allowing discussions to be sparked on how Robert E. Lee's accomplishments compare to other  well renown military leaders.
  2. Video on Robert E.Lee– This video walks you through Robert E. Lee’s journey as a confederate. These are facts that our children need to know and so by displaying them in a visual and auditory context it helps children learn their history in a more exciting way.
  3. Powerpoint tutorials– This website walks children through the "how to" of creating a powerpoint. The idea behind this website is that you get your children to make their own powerpoint on the information that they have learned about Robert E. Lee in a learning style that helped them learn the content.
  4. Games– This website provides teachers with a variety of games that they can use to incorporate the information on Robert E. Lee. Learning history doesn't have to be boring when you can provide your children with all these games to play. Encourage them to create their own game to learn the content.
  5. Jeapardy game– By clicking on the icon, Government and Civil War, you will be taken to a jeopardy game that encompasses many social studies questions on a variety of topics including questions on Robert E. Lee. It is a fun way to test your children’s knowledge after the unit.

Additional Resources for teachers

  1. DVD on Robert E. Lee– Another way to make sure that your children are retaining information about important players in the civil war. This dvd could serve as a refresher after a lesson on Robert E. Lee and his role in the war. The biography traces the life and accomplishments of U.S. Civil War general Robert E. Lee – the son of Revolutionary War hero “Light Horse” Lee — who led the ailing Confederacy through a lengthy period of survival long after its last resources were seemingly tapped.
  2. Arlington National Cemetery– The Arlington National Cemetery if close to your school could be an excellent place to take your children for a field trip. The estate has a fascinating history that is tied to the families of George Washington, Robert E. Lee and events of the Civil War. But even if you cannot personally attend this site with your children you can point them in the direction of this website allowing them to explore their own history in a fun and interactive way.
  3. NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive– Provides archive information that were attached to Robert E. Lee's Confederate career.
  4. Robert E. Lee– provides a wealth of information from powerpoint presentations, to lesson plans and online games to help children interact with their confederate forefather in an interesting and fun way.
  5. Lesson plan– A well planned lesson that introduces Robert E. Lee and the pivotal role he played in the confederate war.
  6. Thinkquest– It provides a timeline, an all about Lee and Letters by Lee. It presents a wealth of information in a structured way for children to share with their friends.

Carving Out a Name for Himself

George Washington Carver made a name for himself with peanuts. He is world-reknowned for having beaten the odds€”as an African-American in the post Civil War era in America in the late 1800s€”to become a scientist and successful inventor. He was director of agriculture at the prestigious Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama and is credited with creating not only 300 uses of the peanut, but also medicines, soaps, buttermilk, ink, shaving cream, and instant coffee, to name just a few. The following books, websites, and resources cover VA SOL 1.5.

Books on George Washington Carver

   George Washington Carver

Written as a Buddy Books First Biography, George Washington Carver by Rebecca Gomez, is chocked full of information for the budding reader. With 29 pages broken down into 8 chapters, this book captures the salient facts on Mr. Carver’s life and accomplishments in easy-to-read prose.

 Great African Americans

George Washington Carver: The Peanut Scientist, one book in a series written about Great African Americans, was written by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack.  This book would best be used by a first grade teacher to introduce the subject of Mr. Carver. It is filled with wonderful black and white photographs of Mr. Carver, depicting him in his various endeavors, that provide good primary resources for examing his life and times.  This book also has the requisite timeline and glossary for young readers if used in a group research activity.

Ingenious Inventor 

Written by Nathan Olson and illustrated by Keith Tucker, George Washington Carver, Ingenious Inventor is a graphic novel depicting the life and times of Mr. Carver. In a clear and visually appealing way, this book sets itself apart from other biographies by its use of first person dialogue and the use of comic book style illustrations. I highly recommend this book to grab the attention of reluctant readers.

 The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science and Invention in America

The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science & Invention in America was written and illustrated by Cheryl Harnass. The original pen and ink block prints and running timeline along the bottom of every page make this book an excellent resource for teachers. Excerpts can be shared with students as the level of detail in this book is much deeper than in the young reader selections.

A Picture Book of George Washington Carver

Written by David Adler and illustrated by Dan Brown, A Picture Book of George Washington Carver is more than just a picture book. Watercolors depict Mr. Carver’s life and the author cites Mr. Carver’s own words on several occasions. This book is a brief introduction to Mr. Carver’s life and accomplishments.

Websites about George Washington Carver


Excellent resource for quick information on Mr. Carver. This website shows some his artwork and how he used it to teach farmers about pests. It also has some background information on The Jesup Wagon, a rolling teaching cart, that Mr. Carver designed was filled “with soil samples, farm equipment, recipes, plants, and anything else that could have been used as a teaching tool”.


Large type, a well-written first grade script, and an uncluttered page make this website a good choice for first graders studying Mr. Carver. It includes links to discover Mr. Carver’s achievements, like one of the educational booklets he wrote, Help for the Hard Times. At the bottom of each webpage, there is a thought-provoking question for students to consider before clicking to read more (e.g., “What other ways could farmers make money?”).

gwc_quia.jpg gwc_quia_rags2riches.jpg gwc_quia_firstquestion.jpg

This website features an online game called Quia. It is available through subscription, but as one of its complimentary games, there is an excellent, trial version of a Who Wants to be a Millionaire-type gameshow featuring questions about Mr. Carver. Not only does this site provide the question-answer game, but it also provides background and facts about Mr. Carver as well.


Everyone keeps talking about all those uses of the peanut that Mr. Carver discovered, so what are they? This website lists the 105 recipes of Mr. Carver’s from his How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption publication in 1940.


A&E Biography showcases Mr. Carver in a mini-bio. There is a brief history of his life along with a very well-produced (A&E-style) mini-biographical video. Many parts of the video would be entertaining for a young crowd, however it does reveal a striking image of a hooded figure wrapped in a noose when describing a lynching that Mr. Carver witnessed in his early years.

Additional Resources for Studying George Washington Carver



From, this bio-cube is a fun way to help remember the facts about historical figures. Older students will enjoy typing the information online where younger first graders would benefit from a blank printout and entering the information manually. The software asks students to report a notable quote, personality of the individual, pertinent facts, and his/her significance to society. Once the information is entered, the worksheet can be cutout and made into a 3-D foldable of a cube.


Video has a short video with a brief history of Mr. Carver’s life. The video shows rare footage of Dr. Carver receiving an award at the age of 80 in 1941. Students will get a sense of Mr. Carver’s humble nature and hear how his throat was ravaged by whooping cough in his youth leaving him with a high-pitched voice.

Teach the Children

George Washington Carver Song

George Washington Carver Song

From the album, Teach The Children, Medicine Man Ya Ya sings an upbeat song about ‘The Peanut Man’. Playing this little ditty in the classroom, while completing your art activity during your George Washington Carver lesson plan, will surely help kids remember Mr. Carver and the contributions he made to science and society. Click on George Washington Carver Song to hear a 30 second introduction to the song. In addition to the Mr. Carver song, Teach the Children, also features songs about Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks.

gwc_coloringpagewebsite-sm.jpg gwc_colorpage.jpg gwc_colorpage2.jpg

Coloring Pages

The USDA has a great collection of worksheet activities perfect for ‘morning work’. Among the handouts depicting Mr. Carver himself are the anatomy of a peanut plant (Science SOLs!), a dot-to-dot peanut, food pyramids, and cross-word puzzles for older students.

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1736. He was a huge part of America's struggle from British rule to self-government.Patrick Henry was a lawyer, patriot, orator, and helped form every aspect of  founding of America. His most notable attribute was his speech in which he said, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

Books For Children


Written by Jesse Jarnow

This book features six chapters on Patrick Henry. It gives a brief overview of his life and gives a very detailed account of his Liberty speech.  I like that the book features a glossary and an index for children to use.


Written by David A. Adler and Illustrated by John and Alexandra Wallner

This book would appeal to younger readers. I liked the way that it told the story of Patrick Henry, but was illustrated in a cartoon like way. The pictures are very detailed and children would truly enjoy the artwork. There was an easy to follow timeline in the back of the book that the children would find helpful.


Written by Stuart Kallen

This book was by far the best for children because it was broken into many small parts. It would be a great resource for children who are writing a book report or just need a little more knowledge about Patrick Henry.


Written by Ann Heinrichs

This is a great resource for children. This book contains actual pictures of important documents like, The Constitution, and The Virginia and Kentucky Resolution.  This book also shows how Patrick Henry’s contributions directly helped

Patrick Henry

Written and Illustrated by Rod Espinosa

Espinosa takes a spin  on telling history. He tells Patrick Henry’s story by using a comic strip making Patrick Henry into a real0life super hero. I enjoyed his fun take on telling the story. I also liked that he included a map of the territories, timeline, and further reading sections in the back of the book.

Web Sites For Children

Liberty Kids

This site has a short biography of Patrick Henry and has some Revolutionary Games as well.

Listen to Patrick Henry’s Speech

Richard Schumann interprets the character of Patrick Henry for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Listen as he re-creates Patrick Henry’s powerful words spoken March 23, 1775 at St. John’s Henrico Parish Church in Richmond.

Color Mr. Henry

This page takes children to an interactive coloring page.


This timeline outlines important dates during the Revolutionary War.

Revolutionary War

This page explains how the war got started and what Patrick Henry’s contributions were.

Resources For Teachers

American Revolution

Liberty Speech

Lesson Plan: Essay

Patrick Henry

Abraham Lincoln

The following resources are for teachers and students to refer to when exploring the life and times of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. The Virginia SOLs included are K.1(a), 1.2, 2.11, U.S. 11.3c, US1.9d.

Abraham Lincoln

Who Was Abraham Lincoln? By Janet Pascal
This "big head biography" is perfect for elementary school- aged children. There are over 100 black-and-white illustrations and maps. The text is easy to read and very informative. Young readers will learn all about Abraham Lincoln in a fun, interesting format and will be encouraged to check out the other historical biographies in this series.

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) By Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer
This book is not only a great read, but also a great read aloud. The straightforward style and use of humor makes it enjoyable for students in elementary school. There is colorful art on every page and the text completely draws the reader in, making them eager to learn all there is to know about our 16th President.

Abraham Lincoln the Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches and Letters By Harold Holzer
This book is geared to the older elementary student. It is a compilation of Lincoln’s writings, including personal letters, notes on the law, excerpts from speeches, debates, and inaugural addresses, letters to parents of fallen soldiers, and telegrams to his family. Reproductions of period photos, portraits, and documents illustrate the text effectively. This book is highly interesting and a fine resource for students seeking quotations or for those wanting to meet Lincoln through his own words.

Abraham Lincoln (DK Biography) by Tanya Lee Stone
DK brings historical biographies to life with this new series. Full-color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add dimension and relevance to stories of famous lives that students will love to read. This book helps the reader explore the extraordinary life of Abraham Lincoln in a way that is exciting and interesting.

Abraham Lincoln (10 Days That Shook Your World) by David Colbert is an exciting look at our sixteenth president told through an eyewitness account of ten crucial days in his life. This book, part of a series of historical biographies, is best for upper elementary students.

Resources for Teachers
Abraham Lincoln
This site is chock full of links to lesson plans, classroom activities and other educational resources. It is nicely organized and has many historical pictures and references. Everything you ever wanted to know about Abraham Lincoln can be found on this site.
Primary Sources
This site is an excellent resource for primary sources. This site includes interpretive materials, featuring a brief Lincoln biography and discussions of eight major historical themes. This helps visitors raise historical questions and formulate hypotheses, thereby searching the primary materials more constructively.
Lincoln Printables
Here you will find printables, interactive worksheets and activity pages associated with President Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln Lesson Plans
This website has lesson plans, suggested readings, and primary resources that are helpful in teaching about Abraham Lincoln.
More Primary Sources
This site is helpful for primary sources and what to do with them. It provides the source and activities and other informative links.

Resources for Students
A scrambler is a program that chops up an image and scrambles up the pieces (requires the java plugin). The object of the game is to swap 2 pieces at a time until all pieces end up in position to form the completed picture. These scramblers all come with a 4 minute timer. Can you beat the clock? These games require a keen eye for detail!
An interactive quiz about Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln's Crossroads is an educational game based on the traveling exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War, which debuted at the National Constitution Center in June 2005. It invites students to learn about Lincoln's leadership by exploring the political choices he made. An animated Lincoln introduces a situation, asks for advice and prompts players to decide the issue for themselves, before learning the actual outcome. At the end of the game, players discover how frequently they predicted Lincoln's actions. A Resources Page keyed to each chapter provides links to relevant Websites on Lincoln and the Civil War, permitting students to explore issues in more depth.
Lincoln Scavenger Hunt
This is an interactive treasure hunt that students print out and answer as they explore the website.
Lincoln Listen and Read
This is an interactive Listen and Read page that students can use on the classroom laptop or personal computer.

George Washington


This topic introduces second and third graders to George Washington the First President of the United States.  Through a variety of children books student learn about the life of George Washington from childhood, to commander of the military, to President.  The material encourages them to learn more about the revolution and the Father of Our Country (VS.6a).

Text Annotations:

A Picture Book of George Washington, by David A. Adler

The picture book life of George Washington.  George Washington was called “Father on Our Country.” “First in War, first in the hearts of his country men.”   George liked to fish and go boating, and his favorite subject was arithmetic.  At the age of 11, George Washington’s father died and he helped his mother run their farm and watch his younger sister and brothers.  George liked surveying and at the age of 16 he was given a job surveying land of the Virginia wilderness.  George joined the Virginia army at the age of 21.

American Heroes George Washington Our First President, Sneed B. Collard, III

George Washington the hero.  George Washington was known for three gifts:  he knew how how to lead, he learned from his mistakes, he had common sense.  George Washington made the revolution succeed.  He only had a few years of basic schooling.  George Washington became the first president and made the important decision of serving only two terms as president (8 years).  Slavery was an importance issue during his presidency.  George did come up with a way to free his own slaves; his will stated that after his death his slaves would be free.

George Did It,  Suzanne Tripp Jurmain

George Washington was NERVOUS about being president.   At the age of 57, the country wanted George to be president.  Americans trusted George, he was honest and dependable.  The Americans ask George Washington to be the first president and George said “No, Thank you.”  Thinking about being president made George NERVOUS.  Some Americans said they’d be willing to support the new U.S. government only if George was elected.  George Washington finally said he’d take the job if Americans thought it was absolutely necessary.  On Inauguration Day, George Washington was NERVOUS his hands shook, and his voice trembled during his 20 minute speech.

Where Washington Walked, by Raymond Bial

Walking through the life of George Washington, and learning more about his family.  George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, on a small plantation known as Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland, County, VA.  George Washington’s half brother Lawrence, who lived at Mt. Vernon, married into a Fairfax family, and these prominent Virginian, later helped launch George’s career.  George’s half brother Lawrence became ill with tuberculosis and George went with him to Barbados in hopes that he would be cured in the warm climate; however, Lawrence died in 1752 and George Washington inherited the Mt. Vernon Estate.

George Washington, by Cheryl Harness

More about the live of George Washington.  George Washington rode horses and dreamed of adventure and set his heart on a military career.  At the age 17, George became a professional surveyor.  He saved his money and took fencing lessons and read books so he could be quick with a sword and with his mind.  George spent a lot of time with wealth neighbors and determined he wanted to be somebody and make his own way in the world.  Also, it was George’s decision to be called Mister President.  George Washington chose the spot where the President’s house still stands in Washington, D.C.  The only ceremony that George and Martha Washington attended at the White House was the 16-gun salute at the unfinished stone mansion.

Web Annotations: – Website contains kid friendly item about George Washington such as:  quick facts, activities, games, scramble puzzle, chapter book biography, coloring pages, interactive computer games, time line of his life, and trivia questions. of  Web site contains George Washington facts for kids, you can view a slide how of pictures, complete a jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle, word scrabble, and play a Jeopardy game online.  Website contains portraits of George Washington.  Kids are given clues to solve a mystery of what items are missing in the portraits. – Website contains fun facts for kids. Did you know that George Washington’s favorite food is ice cream. – Website contains fun facts and games for children.– Website is called George Washington’s World for kids which contains interactive jigsaw puzzles, audio sound, and interactive videos.

Additional Resources for Teachers:  Website contains helpful tools for teachers such as:  cut and past patterns, lesson plans, slides covering the major event of George Washington’s life, printable quizzes, worksheets, puzzles, and the Paper of George Washington.

www.educationalworld.comWebsite contains lesson a recipe for a Washington cake, brief time line of George life, passages from George Washington’s Journal, and a virtual tour of Mount Vernon.  Website contains fun activities kids and lesson plans for teachers.  The section the Patriot Papers contain activities, games, and puzzles. Website contains teacher tools such as:  printable pictures, George Washington Cloze Activity, Washington time line Quiz, and President’s Day Activities.

Jackie Robinson


As the first African-American player in the major leagues of baseball, Jackie’s actions helped to bring about other opportunities for African-Americans.  (SOL 2.11)  The resources given below will help a 2nd grade student learn about the life and times of Jackie Robinson.  There are sources that highlight his career and its milestones, and others that focus on what Jackie Robinson meant to the civil rights movement.  Through his accomplishments on the field and his strides to improve the lives of African-Americans in all walks of life, Jackie Robinson can be seen through these resources to be a very influential individual in American history.

Scholastic News Video
This video takes place on Jackie Robinson Day at Citi Field in New York and is an event for children.  There are several interviews in which children learn about Jackie’s contribution to not only baseball but civil rights as a whole.  People who are interviewed give their views on Jackie Robinson as a person and enunciate the ways in which he influenced others.

Jackie Robinson Game Footage
This video gives students a primary source of Jackie Robinson’s game-day exploits.  Along with seeing his prowess as a baseball player, there is also a song that regales Jackie’s accomplishments and shows his influence into popular culture.  Students will have a better understanding of the time period Jackie Robinson lived in and what the atmosphere of a baseball game was like during that era.

Jackie Robinson Biography
This biographical site gives kids a ton of information about Jackie Robinson’s career and firsts as an African-American baseball player.  There is a timeline on which his career highlights are put in chronological order.  There is another timeline that enumerates special events in the life of Jackie Robinson.  There are also links near the top of the page to a photo gallery and a video of Jackie Robinson’s last public appearance.

Jackie Robinson At Bat Craft
Crayola provides directions at this site on how to build a three dimensional paper replica of Jackie Robinson.  Included in the craft are several aspects of the time period surrounding Jackie Robinson’s baseball playing days.  This craft is meant to be a commemoration of the first African-American to play professional baseball.

Jackie Robinson on Britannica Kids
Here, Jackie Robinson’s life and career are laid out as an encyclopedia entry.  Facts are given that begin with his birth date and place and continue through to his death.  Included are facts about his playing career and contributions to society based on his work for civil rights.  An extremely helpful aspect of this web page is an interactive dictionary provided by Merriam-Webster.  if a child does not understand or recognize a word used in the encyclopedia entry, double-clicking on the word will open a small window in which the word is defined as in a dictionary.

Testing the Ice
Written by Sharon Robinson and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This true life story is written by Jackie Robinson’s daughter and includes paintings to enhance the action of the book.  Upon retirement, Jackie Robinson moves his family to Connecticut where his children play with other kids in and around the nearby lake.  Jackie curiously does not go near the lake because, unbeknownst to his family, he does not know how to swim.  After making the rule that the children cannot go onto the frozen lake in the winter without having an adult first check its stability he finds himself faced with a dilemma.  He musters up his courage and, as a metaphor to his career, Jackie walks out to the middle of the frozen pond and okays it for the children.


Time For Kids
Written by Editors of Time for Kids and Denise Lewis Patrick
This reading offers a detailed biography of the first African-American baseball player to play professional baseball, describing the hardships and racial barriers he had to overcome to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This is an easy read to older kids and gives great information when read to younger children.  The text informs readers about complex issues, such as segregation, while remaining relevant to grades 2-4.  Also included in this reading are pictures from the Time-Life collection that depict Jackie Robinson’s career.

Time For Kids Website
As an add on to the above reading, this website gives teachers an additional resource to pull activities from.  Included in this site are open ended questions, vocabulary words, journal questions, and extended readings.  This is a educator focused site and has links to many other educational opportunities for teachers.

Picture Book
Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Robert Casilla
Recounts the life and career of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues.  Easily read text is complimented by full and double page water color paintings.  There are images from his childhood, his days as a collegiate athlete, as a major leaguer, and finally includes his contributions to civic equality.  This book is a good introduction to the life of Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson
This is a website for young children to navigate.  It includes simple, basic facts of Jackie’s life, a timeline of important events, and other facts.  With large writing and only one or two links, this website is set up for young elementary school children to use.

Stealing Home
Written by Burleigh and illustrated by Mike Wimmer
In 1955, during the World Series, Jackie Robinson did the impossible: stole home.  This book recants this legend in great detail, using extremely vivid imagery through very descriptive writing.  Along with the elegantly described story, there are biographical boxes throughout the book to add background information.  Oil Paintings enhance the story and are presented on each two page spread.  Potentially, this book can be read to or with a wide range of children; the facts included in the baseball card style boxes are good for older readers and  the pictures with the main story can be read to younger children.

News for You
A short read, this page allows students to get the information fast.  Important facts are given about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, but the main purpose is to help the child relate to the feeling of exclusion.  A vocabulary word bank is given as is an open ended question at the end of the reading.  This reading is targeted at younger elementary aged students.

He Led the Way
Written by April Jones Prince and illustrated by Robert Casilla
This book is a biographical depiction of Jackie Robinson’s life that is written to be read by children.  It is a level 2 in the All Aboard Reading series and includes smaller words and sentences that enable young readers.  There is a mixture of paintings and pictures that go along with the words to assist children in reading He Led the Way.  While learning valuable reading skills and practicing phonetic concepts, children acquire knowledge about Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson, A Black Hero
Within this website are a lesson plan, quiz, and a list of the academic standards per state.  This particular lesson plan was written for a Catholic elementary school, but can be used in the public domain as well.

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: Christopher Newport

  Captain Christopher Newport

Captain Christopher Newport (1561-1617) was a major figure is the Virginia Company’s voyage to the New World and the establishment of England’s first permanent settlement there. Previously, Captain Newport was a successful sailor with Sir Frances Drake, seized fortunes from the Spanish and Portuguese as a privateer for Queen Elizabeth I, where he lost his arm. As the Admiral of the voyage to establish Jamestown, Newport lead the three ships to the New World choosing the site to establish the settlement. He lead the initial explorations for King James, and established peaceful relations with Chief Powhatan. Newport then kept Jamestown alive during their crucial adjustment period, where all other settlers had died, out before by going on four resupply voyages. During the last of these missions, where the ship SeaVenture became shipwrecked in a hurricane in Bermuda, Newport arranged the 150 colonists on board to reconstruct two ships so they could continue on to provide Jamestown the much needed provisions.

Curriculum Connections
The study of the leader Captain Christopher Newport connects to Virginia Studies SOL VS.2 & 3,as he played an integral role in the establishment of Jamestown.

Literary Resources:

The Jamestown Journey

The Jamestown Journey by Bentley Boyd is an easy and captivating read for students in comic book style. Using humor and clever illustrations this graphic novel will engage even the most reluctant readers. This book highlights Christopher Newport’s adventures before leading the voyage to plant Jamestown, comparing him to a pirate! It also gives an overview of the reasons Jamestown was financed- to find gold, how John Smith never really married Pocahontas, and how the colony traded tobacco leaves in place of coins.

 The Adventures of Young Sam Collier

Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Sam Collier  written by Gail Langer Karkowski and illustrated by Paul Casale is a great historical fiction book who’s main character is the apprentice to John Smith. Following Sam’s adventures students can learn about the voyage to Jamestown, Captain Newport and his role in choosing and replenishing supplies for the settlement, and much more about the events that took place. This book also includes great full page pencil illustrations. As this book is appropriate for grades 5-7 it may be appropriate for a group of good readers who need a challenge, for less advanced readers this may be best presented as a group read aloud.

Captain Christopher Newport

Captain Christopher Newport by . Bryant Nichols, a great resource for all the facts and detail about Christopher Newport’s life including his early years as a sailor and a privateer, leading the initial Jamestown voyage and his heroic Sea Venture rescue. This book navigates all his adventures, showing how he was such and integral part of expanding the English empire not only to the New World but to Persia and India, as well as all over the world. As a true leader of men Christopher Newport is highlighted, as he is so often downplayed in Jamestown history.Excerpts of this book could be used to show more detail about the captain, bringing him more to life in the minds of the students.

The Story of Jamestown

The Story of Jamestown by Eric Braun is a good graphic novel on Jamestown giving a good overview of the topic. This book could be used at the beginning of the unit. The class could create a KWL chart and then read this book on their own to wet their appetites on what Jamestown was all about and what events took place. This book shows Captain Newport’s role in founding Jamestown which can be discussed  as you go more in depth in the unit.

Blood on the River

Blood on the River: Jamestown 1607  by Elisa Carbone  is another great historical fiction novel about Sam Collier the page assigned to Captain John Smith. His account of the events leading to the settlement of Jamestown and of its early struggle for survival accurately depict in great detail an overview of everything the students need to know. Captain Newport’s character, a voice of reason,is the leader of the voyage and choosing the site, and then later returning with provisions and a dose of sanity when everything seems to be going to pieces. This is great book for independent reading during language arts, a great way to expand the study of Jamestown across subjects.

Web Resources:

Interactive Jamestown fort map and the Powhatan village of Werowocomoco map.

From the National Geographic website, this interactive map is full of interesting facts about the colonists as well as the native indians. Kids can explore with a magnifying glass and then click on certain areas to learn more with videos and other resources that give more facts and details.

The Jamestown Adventure

Students get to be the captain of the Jamestown voyage by choosing the site of the settlement,who will be forced to do labor, what crops to plant, how to interact with the natives and more. At the end of the game they are scored on how well they did in several different criteria  with an explanation on what we know now, and what choices the Jamestown settlers made that cost them many lives.

 Jamestown Rags to Riches

This game allows students to answer multiple choice questions, seeing how far they can make it to 1,000,000, in Who Wants to be a Millionaire-style. This is a great quiz/test review game.

Jamestown 400: Explore Jamestown

Students can click on different tabs to explore aspects of the Jamestown Settlement each of which has audio telling them about the voyage, the James Fort, the Indian village, the Chesapeake bay. Featuring maps and visually attractive, interactive features, this is a great site for students to explore on their own.

Virtual Jamestown

This site includes tons of info on Jamestown including primary documents, virtual panoramas, and time lines. A great place to explore more in depth on what the town, structures and area was like, the sequence of events and what the official documents sounded like.

Additional Resources:

Historic Jamestowne, the archeological site that  is jointly administered by APVA Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service, provides lesson plan ideas for educators. These lesson, meant to be in conjunction with a tour of the site, are useful whether you make it in or not.

“You Shall Do Your Best Endeavor”

Students will read and interpret an original document instruction the settlers on what type of site they should choose for the colony. In small groups the students will read the document and then answer questions based on what they gleaned from it.

“Finding the James Fort”

The students will read original documents and discuss how archaeologists were able to find the exact location of the Jamestown Fort and why the exact location was left out on original maps of the area.

Lorri Glover Lecture on the Sea Venture

Clips can be shown of Lori Glover talking about Christopher Newport’s role in saving the shipwrecked Sea Venture, delivering the goods to the colonists who may have died out with out these provisions.