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American Literature & American War for Independence Review for Kids

Updated on August 14, 2018
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

American War for Independence Review Lesson
American War for Independence Review Lesson

This is the 11th lesson in a series of 28 hands-on lessons covering American History through 1865. This lesson focuses on reviewing the Colonial Period & the American War for Independence. I used this plan while teaching a 45 minute history class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes a biography report, history notebook page, history song, our favorite children's books, YouTube video, a joke, & a variety of hands-on activities (cooking, painting, dramatizations, etc.) to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

What do you love learning about the most in history?

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Student biography presentation on Washington Irving
Student biography presentation on Washington Irving

Student Biography Presentation: Washington Irving

1. Student biography presentation on Washington Irving

Review & American Literature

2. Review: Who was in American before Europeans came? (American Indians) Who landed in America in 1492 & is considered by some to be the first European to "discover" America? (Christopher Columbus) What is the name of the first successful English colony? (Jamestown) When you think of Jamestown, you should think of which 2 people? (John Smith & Pocahontas) In Plymouth, Massachusetts which group of people arrived in the Mayflower? (Pilgrims) Who helped them? (Squanto) Eventually how many colonies were there? (13) A war broke out between the French & British. What was it called? (French & Indian War) Because of that War, King George III allowed the British parliament to collect taxes in America. What was one event that was a response to that? (Boston Tea Party or other event) Some American colonists decided they needed to break away from England & form their own country. What letter did Thomas Jefferson write staying this? (Declaration of Independence). Then they had to fight for 8 years to win their independence. Who lead the American Continental Army? (George Washington) Tell me something about when General Washington & his men had to spend the winter in Valley Forge (no boots, firecakes, Baron von Stuben drilled them, etc.) What was the last major battle of the American War for Independence? (Battle of Yorktown) Who had to surrender to General George Washington? (Cornwallis)

3. Open your notebooks to your 13 Colonies map. Together sing 13 Colonies Song (Tune: Yankee Doodle) while pointing to each colony on your map.

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, little Delaware…
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina
South Carolina, Georgia, thirteen colonies!

4. Just like [student's name] shared with us during his/her presentation, Washington Irving was a well-loved American author during this time period.

  • One of his books, Rip Van Winkle, talks about someone in New York when it was a colony. Rip is lazy and falls into a deep sleep. When he wakes up, everyone and every thing has changed. [You can show a picture from this story or you can show the book.]
  • Another one of his books, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was based on a true story he heard about a Hessian/German solider who was fighting for the British during the American War for Independence. His head was cut off. [If you have sensitive children, just say that he died.] A nearby farming couple buried him. Washington Irving wanted to have some fun with that information, so he made up this story. Read a shortened version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Be sure to end with, "Who do you think dressed up like the headless horseman?" so that children are less likely to be left feeling scared.

You will need:

  • Rip Van Winkle's Return by Eric A. Kimmel or other book showing the story of Rip Van Winkle
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (First-Start Tall Tales) by Patsy Jensen or other book (with mild illustrations) sharing the tale

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (First-Start Tall Tales)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (First-Start Tall Tales)

This is a short version of the story with illustrations that are silly looking enough that they are not overly scary, which is ideal for the younger children. "The Headless Horseman" (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3) by Natalie Standiford is another good option, though the illustrations are just a tiny bit scarier.

 
Creating a mini-book on the American War for Independence
Creating a mini-book on the American War for Independence

5. Now that we finished studying the American War for Independence, we're going to create a miniature book so you can take it home & share it with your family. Allow children to cut out & then the pages of the book. Walk around and hole punch & staple together the pages as children color. The booklet can be added to their 3 ring history binder.

You will need:

6. Review game: Print out some or all the questions from the end of each of the past 10 lessons. Cut the questions onto individual pieces of paper. Divide the class into 2 teams. (I did boys vs. girls.) Have each child take a turn, draw a piece of paper, & try to answer the question. If they can't answer it, the other team gets to guess to steal the point. Record the points on the board. The winning team gets their first pick in a treat at that time: fruit leather. The losing team gets to pick second.

You will need:

  • Some or all the questions from the end of each of the past 10 lessons printed on individual strips of paper
  • A fun looking container to hold the strips
  • A prize such as fruit leather or fruit roll-ups, which was a common treat during this time period (optional)

7. Since we'll be having a class party next week, there will not be an assigned biography report.

A Book to Read Each Day

Optional Homework

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff - Book images are from amazon .com.Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don BrownMolly Pitcher: Young American Patriot (Graphic Biographies) by Jason GlaserPatience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea - This image is from goodreads .com.Yankee Doodle by Steven KelloggNathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy (Graphic Biographies) by Nathan OlsonRebel with a Cause: The Daring Adventure of Dicey Langston, Girl Spy of the American Revolution by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff - Book images are from amazon .com.
Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff - Book images are from amazon .com.
Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don Brown
Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don Brown
Molly Pitcher: Young American Patriot (Graphic Biographies) by Jason Glaser
Molly Pitcher: Young American Patriot (Graphic Biographies) by Jason Glaser
Patience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea - This image is from goodreads .com.
Patience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea - This image is from goodreads .com.
Yankee Doodle by Steven Kellogg
Yankee Doodle by Steven Kellogg
Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy (Graphic Biographies) by Nathan Olson
Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy (Graphic Biographies) by Nathan Olson
Rebel with a Cause: The Daring Adventure of Dicey Langston, Girl Spy of the American Revolution by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Rebel with a Cause: The Daring Adventure of Dicey Langston, Girl Spy of the American Revolution by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Even though we didn't introduce new information (beyond the Washington Irving & American Literature information, there are a few other great children's books on the American War for Independence that can be included. These were some of our favorites:

  • Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff
  • Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don Brown
  • Molly Pitcher: Young American Patriot (Graphic Biographies) by Jason Glaser
  • Patience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea
  • Yankee Doodle by Steven Kellogg
  • Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy (Graphic Biographies) by Nathan Olson
  • Rebel with a Cause: The Daring Adventure of Dicey Langston, Girl Spy of the American Revolution by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Liberty's Kids The Man Who Wouldn't Be King

Joke: What do you call an American revolutionary who draws cartoons?

Yankee Doodler!

Looking for all of my American History Lessons?

(My middle school level

American History lessons can be found at https://hubpages.com/education/TeachingAmHistory .)

© 2018 Shannon

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon 

      8 months ago from Florida

      Thank you so much!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      This is a fascinating series. Great for keeping children interested in history.

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