Header image

Professional Development For Elementary and
Middle School Teachers



“This experience has been very meaningful to me as a classroom teacher.  My eyes have been opened-up to presenting different sides of recorded history and developing strategies to select materials that are meaningful for my students.” 

Bill Robbins, Lulu Ross Elementary

This ThinkQuest site is an educational site built by students.  It focuses on kids during colonial times in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  Information includes:  home life, clothing, chores, school, transportation, future jobs, and relations with the Native Americans.  Interaction is vital, as students “click” on to pictures to learn more information.  There are also video clips of kids (dressed as colonial kids) explaining information about daily life.  A glossary is also available to define specific terms.

This site has a variety of links to historical organizations, places, and people important to the Philadelphia area.  Descriptions, biographies, and other materials are provided.

The colonial times section of this website offers information about Jamestown, the Pilgrims, the 13 American Colonies, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the colonists’ religious practices, farming techniques, and more information regarding daily life.  The links to these areas provide maps, early American paintings, biographies, and timelines.  Many of them are interactive; students can “click” on items for further descriptions. A pop-up allows students to compare/contrast various aspects of life (then and now) including:  farm, food, church, school, and park).  In addition, the site has links to current events, cultures, languages, religions, economics, geography, timelines, world and United States history, as well as archaeology.

The Colonial Williamsburg site offers information in a variety of languages including English and Spanish.  The site lets students “meet” a variety of people who lived in the city during the colonial days.  These people include:  African-Americans, children, influential families such as the Randolphs and the Geddys, among others.  Biographies are provided for each of these people.  Numerous primary sources are available for use.  Furthermore, it offers a colonial dateline, teacher’s resources, and electronic field trips.

Students investigate the daily lives of the Daggetts, a colonial family from northeastern Connecticut, by collecting clues to seven questions.  They must use these clues to determine what is wrong with the “colonial” picture.

American Notes:  Travels in America, 1750-1920 (Library of Congress) is a series of narratives by Americans and foreign visitors of their travels through the colonies and the United States.  These narratives give their opinions, descriptions, and observations of the American people, places, and society.

This website is affiliated with the PBS television series that will air this May 17, 18, 24, and 25 (2004) from 8-10p.m.  Families (of today) will go and live just as the early colonists did.  The site provides a map, photographs, and video and audio clips of the “colonists” involved in the project.  In addition, there are three quizzes for students to take to test their knowledge of colonial information.  Also, there is an interactive “Fantastic Voyage” where students are appointed as governor of a new land.  They must decide many things during their voyage beginning with what type of ship to take. Also visit the PBS Colonial House Special Lesson Plans

University of Georgia Libraries:  Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library provides a wide variety of maps from the 1600 and 1700’s that can be downloaded. 

This website, Liberty!  The American Revolution has a wealth of information regarding the Revolution including headlines, timelines, resource materials and links to other sites.  Also, there is a game entitled, “The Road To Revolution”.  It is a series of questions of how the Revolution began.  Each answer (correct or incorrect) is highlighted with noises (celebrating or not the answers).  In the answers, there are also links to other sites giving additional information about the topics or people.  One section, Perspectives on Liberty, gives information about the daily life in the colonies.  This section is interactive as students can click on items in the “farm setting” and learn more about the colonists’ lives. 

This WebQuest allows students to journey back to colonial times, “take on a character”, and research information about this character.  Examples of characters include:  colonial woman, printer, student, merchant, baker, cooper, etc.  They are to create a tri-fold brochure using the Microsoft Publisher program (obviously, this can be modified).  Some of the links are not up to date.  However, some of these other sites listed could be of use.

Dover Publications provides books (for a fee) of colonial fashions paper dolls.

This site, A Look At Life In Colonial Times, supplies information about education in the various colonies as well as apprenticeships.

The Idea of Women’s Equality and its Migration throughout American History is a History day Project web page created by eighth grade social studies students.  It gives information about the women and their fight for equality.   The Colonial Times section (1700-1800) recounts their struggle during this time period.

Archiving Early America has a variety of resources including:  short films (The Ben Franklin Story, The Life of George Washington, Molly Pitcher:  An American Heroine, etc.), music of time era, famous obituaries, biographies of famous Americans, and portraits.  In addition, one section has media of the day (newspapers, maps, magazines, and writings) that can be printed.  One part, How To Read a 200 Year Old Document provides information to better understand these documents (for example, their differences in spelling).

This website offers information about Colonial Times as collected by students in 15 classrooms from around the world.  It is divided into sections (e.g. Exploring Early America or Life On A Colonial Farm).  Clicking onto these areas link you to additional resources (websites).

Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site provides a list of children’s literature and novels of the colonial time period.  In addition, there are ideas for discussion starters and further research.

This website provides links to almost 30 additional websites for teachers and students regarding the colonial time period.  Descriptions are provided of these websites that have lesson plans, printable worksheets, primary sources, and interactive adventures for the students. 

A series of lessons regarding colonial kids’ lives depicted by the games they played.  This information is also provided in Spanish and has curriculum ties and objectives for History, Science and Technology, Mathematics, Art, and ESL.

Education World’s website has authentic lessons from colonial times and similar lessons – updated for the technology today.  It also provides links to WebQuests in which students create Hyperstudio projects, assume the character of a child traveling to America on the Mayflower, and another that allows them to compare and contrast their lives with those of the colonial children.

The Library of Congress presents America’s Story.  This website is divided into five categories:  Meet Amazing Americans, Jump Back in Time, Explore The States, Join America at Play, and See, Hear, and Sing.  Each category is interactive allowing students to hear music from different areas, access interesting information and facts about the 50 states, and “travel” through time to learn more about different time periods.

Colonial America Theme has great outline maps (of the entire world), WebQuests, lesson plans, and worksheets for teachers to customize as they see fit.

FirstGov for Kids has links to government sites for students including America’s Story, American Memory, National Museum of American History (interesting historical facts by clicking on the alphabetical list), Not Just for Kids (Hands On History Museum), among others.  It also includes Organization, Education, and Commercial sites (45 in all).

This website is a compilation of links (regarding colonial times) to other websites that include historical information on the 50 states, colonial occupations definitions, diseases, and Colonial America 1600-1775 K-12 resources (including primary sources).

The following websites were provided by Dr. Brooke Hunter:

American Memory
American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections on topics as wide-ranging as agriculture, art & architecture, business & economics, geography, performing arts, religion, sports, and technology. 

Avalon Project at Yale Law School

The Avalon Project posts digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government from the pre-18th century to the present. Major collections include colonial charters and the Constitution.


The National Endowment for the Humanities maintains this site with links to best history, language arts and social sciences sites. In addition to primary sources, there are online lesson plans and other digital learning materials.

Explore PA History
Stories about Pennsylvania's past and present. Includes resources for students and teachers.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the New-York Historical Society, contains more than 40,000 documents detailing the political and social history of the United States. The collection's holdings include manuscript letters, diaries, maps, photographs, printed books and pamphlets ranging from 1493 through modern times. The searchable database of rare and important American historical documents contains nearly 400 annotated transcripts from the Collection. Authors include George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln. The documents span the years from Columbus's arrival to the end of the Civil War and represent topics as varied as colonial frontier life, the Boston Massacre, the "Amistad" affair, and the role of African American troops in the Civil War.

History Matters
More than 144 first person narratives of average Americans in extraordinary times. Can be searched by time period/topic. Strong in the WWI period. A project of the Center for Social History and the New Media, and George Mason University. Also includes lesson plans and teacher resources in US History.

Past Portal: Colonial Williamsburg’s Portal to American History
An impressive and growing archive of page images of 18th-c. American newspapers and books, including the full run of the Virginia Gazette (1736-1780).

Plymouth Colony Archive
This section of the Plymouth Colony Archive presents studies and images of various items of material culture and the built environment related to the Plymouth Colony. These studies and illustrations are drawn from archaeological excavations, historical "reconstructions," and documentary records. Based on the work of James Deetz.

Virtual Jamestown
Interactive site full of information about England’s first successful colony in the new world. Includes both secondary and primary source materials as well as extensive teaching tools.


Copyright © 2005 by University of Delaware. All rights reserved.