From Colonies to Country: Supporting Common Core with A History of US offers classroom lessons adapted from curriculum developed by the Johns Hopkins University Talent Development Secondary (TDS) program to accompany Joy Hakim's award-winning 10- volume series, A History of US. These lessons accompany volume 3 of that series, From Colonies to Country. The lessons provide opportunities for students to closely examine challenging nonfiction text
(including primary source documents), engage in collaborative discussion and team learning activities, and create a variety of written products. They align with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) ELA
Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12 and Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies for grades 6-12. Several lessons feature close analysis of documents listed as exemplars in CCSS (the Preamble and 1st Amendment to the Constitution are cited as 6th-8th grade exemplars; Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech is cited as a 9th-10th grade exemplar.) The informational text overviews for lessons in this volume are written on a 6th-9th grade reading level.
Primary source documents often present challenging vocabulary, so the lessons provide additional scaffolding suggestions for these readings. All materials needed for the lesson are included in the
Teacher's Manual and Student Discussion Guide.Teachers can select lessons from From Colonies to Country: Supporting Common Core with A History of US based on the time period being studied in students' history and social studies classes or on themes in the fiction they are studying. For example, the study of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare may be followed by nonfiction readings in "Salem Witch Trials." Students reading Johnny Tremaine by Esther Forbes
or other fiction about young people's vocational choices would benefit from analyzing primary source documents about apprenticeship in "Colonial Williamsburg and Southern Town Life." Novels dealing
with slavery, such as Nightjohn by Gary Paulson, or civil rights, such as The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963 by Mildred Taylor could be paired with nonfiction readings about the history of enslavement in the lesson "From Free to Unfree." This curriculum provides multiple opportunities for English Language Arts or history/social studies teachers to fulfill CCSS mandates with challenging, engaging lesson plans.