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Beginning of American Colonial Period Outline

Updated on December 10, 2015
Captain and Explorer John Smith
Captain and Explorer John Smith | Source

How I Used This American History Review Outline

This is part of a series of outlines I used with my 8th grade U.S. History class the week before they took the state standardized exam. I did not have my students take formal notes in this fashion throughout the entire school year, and I do not think my "at-risk" students would have learned much from taking notes in this fashion if I had done this on a regular basis. I used these notes as a way to review everything we had learned over the course of the year. I printed off copies of the notes, leaving blanks where the underlined words are below. The students filled in that information as we went through the notes. I used PowerPoint slides to project the information (the first slide with blanks and the next slide with the blanks filled in).

Before I showed the slide with the filled in blanks, I'd ask the class if anyone knew what should go in the blanks. We had a competition between the guys and the gals as to who came up with the most answers. Whoever shouted out the correct answer first got a point for their team.

As the students copied the notes from the filled in slides, I would briefly discuss further what was in the notes.

The only reason why this is effective is because I never teach this way throughout the year. This would be a dreadful way to teach American History, but it works well as a "cram session review."

How did my students actually do on the exam? Every year my "at-risk" students had the same passing rate as the "advanced" students in our school on the history portion of the state standardized exam.

*In order to make the worksheets for the students, you will need to remove the answers from the outline wherever you see a word or words underlined. You can do this easily by copying this outline, pasting it into a Word document, and then editing it from there.

Colonial Explorations

Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada | Source

I. Causes for English Colonizing in America

A. 1588 - English defeat of Spanish Armada opened North Atlantic to British exploration

London Company
London Company | Source

B. Changes in English economy.

1. Rise of merchant class = business leadership & wealth for investment in colonies

2. Joint-stock company (London Company, Plymouth Company, Virginia Company) = pooling of money with smaller risk

3. Farmers forced off their lands = overpopulated cities

St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre when the Catholics party slaughterd almost 100,000 Huguenots across France
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre when the Catholics party slaughterd almost 100,000 Huguenots across France | Source

C. Protestant Reformation

1. Priesthood of all believers = religious dissidents

2. Persecution of Puritans, Catholics, & Quakers by Church of England = flee to America for religious freedom

Virginia Company
Virginia Company | Source

II. Jamestown and Virginia

A. 1607 - King James I granted Virginia Company a charter (guaranteeing settlers the same rights as Englishmen who lived in England) for settling in America.


1. Find gold

2. Convert Native Americans to Christianity

3. Find an all-water route to the Indies

Smoking tobacco
Smoking tobacco | Source

B. Unsuccessful: laziness, starvation, malaria, & hostile Native Americans. Saved by leadership of John Smith.

1. Raised cash crop of tobacco, grown successfully by John Rolfe & others.

2. Problems with tobacco farming:

a) Only crop grown in Virginia

b) Soil eventually depleted

c) Led to large plantations which required large workforce = slavery

House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses | Source

C. Importance of early Virginia

1. Model for further economic investment in America

2. 1619 - 1st representative self-government: House of Burgesses

3. 1620 - Slavery: 1st Africans sold by Dutch as indentured servants)

Signing Mayflower Compact
Signing Mayflower Compact | Source

III. New England Colonies

A. 1620 - Separatists/Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on Mayflower after initial settlement in Holland.

1. Mayflower Compact -- 1st colonial self-government document in America.

2. After 1st winter when 44 of the 102 survived, Pilgrims flourished under leadership of Governor William Bradford & with the help of friendly Native Americans (such as Squanto)

Puritans | Source

B. 1630 - Puritans settled Massachusetts Bay Colony for economic & religious reasons

How I Review for the State Standardized Text

I cram the entire year of American History in one week. I have the students fill in the blanks on worksheets that I have printed out as we go over the notes together on Power Point Slides. This is the first power point presentation set of notes I use.

I read the words on the slides, get to a blank, and then ask if anyone knows what to fill in the blank. As the students write in the missing words, I explain it a bit more.

The day that the students take the history portion of the standardized exam, I have all the teachers on my team (who have my students taking the test in their classrooms) project the "Cram Sheet" below and read it to the students just before they take the exam. You can see the cram sheet at .

The above outline is based on the outline found out .

Looking for My American History Lessons?

I have posted my entire lesson plan book with the daily lesson plans for the entire year of 8th Grade US History. I posted each unit on a different page. You can see the lessons I posted for the first few weeks of school by clicking on the below links. After that, you can follow the links toward the bottom of each page in order to move to the next set of lessons.

Weeks 1-2: First Week of School & Geography Lesson Plans for 8th Grade American History

Weeks 3-8: Thirteen Colonies Lesson Plans

If you'd like to know what to say as you review, you can listen to this lecture on every single event we taught this year -- summarized in 18 minutes

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    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 2 years ago from Florida

      I have all of my lessons posted for 8th grade American History. If you search for 8th grade American History and my user name of iijuan12 here at hubpages, you should be able to find them.

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      Samantha Markley 2 years ago

      I would love to get in contact with you personally. I am at a turn around school in Memphis, TN and currently have 7th &8th social studies. For the first unit I planned for 7th and it has been going great but I am about to take over 8th where they look at the constitution, shays rebellion etc. I love what you have already done with the unit and was wondering if I could get a glimpse at the others? One class in particular needs individual instruction for all 39 kids but I am at a lose at how to find time for that. My personal email is and I would really be interested in previewing stuff and paying for anything that would benefit my students.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 3 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much!

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      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Superb timeline and Hub, iijuan12. Excellent job and very informative.