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West Virginia Lesson and Classroom Resources
Are you looking for fun worksheets, books, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about West Virginia? Included are links to wonderful worksheets, book suggestions for children, YouTube videos, and more -- all related to the state of West Virginia! Whether you're a school teacher, homeschooling parent, involved parent, librarian, lifelong learner, or a student searching for ideas and books on West Virginia, look no further! This is part of a series of pages I created while teaching about the fifty states. You can find the links for my pages for each of the 50 states at Teaching the 50 States of America .
I have been to West Virginia. Have you?
What Makes This State Special: Natural Springs
West Virginia has more than 200 natural springs. One of its most famous natural springs, Berkeley Springs, was a favorite vacation spot of George Washington. The springs flow out at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit and were once believed to help relieve various maladies.
Berkeley Springs State Park Warm Mineral Springs
What Makes This State Special: Coal Mining
West Virginia is known for it's coal mines. It is the second biggest coal producing state in the country (after Montana), producing 15% of the nation's coal production. Coal mining has shaped the lives of those living in the state for many years, and it continues to do so today.
This shows a coal mining operation in PA rather than WV, but it is the best clip I could find on coal mining.
What Makes This State Special: The New River Gorge Bridge
The picturesque New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the world. Every October on Bridge Day, the bridge is closed to traffic to allow people to parachute & bungee cord jump off the bridge.
What Makes This State Special: Golden Delicious Apples
In 1905 the Golden Delicious variety of apple was created on the Mullins' family farm in Clay County, West Virginia. It is locally known as Mullin's Yellow Seedling. Fun fact: As of 2010, the Golden Delicious apple has the highest number of genes (57,000) of any plant genome.
What Makes This State Special: Tall Tale Figures John Henry and Tony Beaver
John Henry was rumored to have raced and won against a steam-powered hammer while working on a railroad tracks through West Virginia. Tony Beaver was the supposed cousin of Paul Bunyan.
What Makes This State Special: Harper's Ferry
Harper's Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia is most well know for John Brown's Raid in 1859 when the abolitionist led 21 men to raid the arsenal.
What Makes This State Special: The invention of the Steamboat
In 1787, James Rumsey launched his new invention, a steamboat, on part of the Potomac River in what is now West Virginia.
West Virginia's State Flag and Quarter
West Virginia's State flag is white (symbolizing purity) with a blue border (symbolizing the Union.) It has Rhododendron maximum wreathes, which are the state flower and includes red ribbons with the state's name and its Latin motto which translates to mean "Mountaineers are always free."The center has an boulder covered in ivy and includes the date of West Virginia's admission to the Union as a state. It has two crossed hunting rifles and a Phrygian Cap of Liberty to represent its fight for liberty. A farmer (with an ax, plow, and cornstalk) and a miner (with a pickax, anvil, and sledge hammer) represent agriculture and industry.
West Virginia's State quarter features the New River Gorge Bridge.
Our Favorite Children's Books on West Virginia
Our Favorite Picture Books on West Virginia
This is my favorite series on individual states. Each page has a simple rhyme concerning the word starts with that letter and then includes a bit more about that particular regional animal, location, etc. It provides a wonderful overview of what makes each state unique. Both modern and historical aspects of the state are includes. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful!
This is the story of the childhood of the author living with her grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. In the story her grandfather is a coal miner, her grandmother kills a large snake, she gets baptized at the local swimming hole, and more.
More of Our Favorite Picture Books on West Virginia
John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio CD Included) (The John Denver & Kids Series) by John Denver includes the lyrics of John Denver's song set to quilt-like illustrations of the county roads of West Virginia. The illustrations follow a family as they head to a family reunion. A CD with John Denver's song is included.
John Henry (Picture Puffins) by Julius Lester was our favorite picture book about John Henry. My children love tall tales, so we also read "John Henry, Hammerin' Hero: The Graphic Novel" by Stephanie True Retold by: Peters, "John Henry" by Brad Kessler, and "John Henry: An American Legend" by Ezra Jack Keats.
Tony Beaver Griddle Skater by Elizabeth and Carl Carmer was our favorite book on Tony Beaver. We also enjoyed reading "Tony Beaver - West Virginian" by Mary E. Cober and "The Song of Paul Bunyan and Tony Beaver" by Ennis Rees.
A is for Appalachia: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager Pack has delightful, folksy illustrations and focuses on the history of West Virginia.
Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant is a sweet description of life in Appalachia.
Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant tells the story of a boy's anticipation of annual visit of "The Santa Train," (which does actually exist) as it brings gifts to the poorest children. After he grows up, he returns to his hometown to assist with bringing joy to the local children.
The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills is about a young girl who cannot attend school after her coal-mining father dies of lung disease - because she does not own a coat. Local moms quilt a coat for her, so she can go to school. The children tease her abourt her coat, but she explains how the community came together to make her coat.
Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant describes the common nighttime scenes of the Appalachian area including fireflies, cool nights, and more.
How to Draw West Virginia's Sights and Symbols (Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Stephanie True Peters is a wonderful book that combines geography with simple art lessons. Each page includes a photo of a symbol of the state, a description about that item, and them step-by-step instructions on drawing it.
Great Picture Books on Coal Mining
You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have by John Malam provides a humorous but educational look at what life was like for coal miners in the 1800's. It is a longer picture book but even my younger children enjoyed listening to the book, and my oldest child loved the comical illustrations and comments. It takes place in England, but the information about coal mining is the same as what a coal miner in West Virginia would experience. We also enjoyed reading Shovelful of Sunshine (Mom's Choice Award Recipient) by Stacie Vaughn Hutton, Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace, America at Work: Mining by Ann Love, and In Coal Country by Judith Hendershot.
Chapter Books Related to West Virginia
(144 pages) This Newbery Award winning book is about an 11 year old boy in West Virginia. He comes across an abused beagle and must decide between keeping the dog or returning it to its unkind owners. This book describes aspects of living in rural West Virginia.
More Chapter Books Related to West Virginia
A Blue-Eyed Daisy by Cynthia Rylant (112 pages) is about a young girl living in a coal-mining town in West Virginia. Her father, a coal miner, drinks too much, and her family is not supportative. It includes her struggles as she grows into a teenager.
But I'll Be Back Again by Cynthia Rylant (80 pages) is an autobiography about the author growing up in West Virginia.
The Coffin Quilt: The Feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys by Ann Rinaldi (240 pages) describes the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys along the Kentucky - West Virginia line.
Star Fisher by Laurence Yep (160 pages) is about a fifteen year old girl who is a Chinese American. Her family moves to a small town in West Virginia in 1927, and they must make many adjustments as they come across prejudice. Also look for Dream Soul, which is the sequel to this novel.
If you're looking for chapter books related to coal mining, try to find Coal Camp Girl by Lois Lenski, Canary in the Coal Mine by Madelyn Rosenberg, and Up Molasses Mountain by Julie Baker.
Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages We Used When Making a Notebook About West Virginia
All About West Virginia provides great links to printable worksheets, book suggestions, and activity ideas about West Virginia.
West Virginia for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.
Lapbook for "When I Was Young in the Mountains" offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for "When I Was Young in the Mountains" by Cynthia Rylant. This is the story of the childhood of the author living with her grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. In the story her grandfather is a coal miner, her grandmother kills a large snake, she gets baptized at the local swimming hole, and more.
West Virginia State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about West Virginia. The site also includes a number of helpful worksheets, links, and information.