Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What Should I Wear Today? Pilgrims Didn't Ask

Carolyn Mannis


The students compare everyday dress of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, to the dress of modern Americans today. They discover that clothing denoted more information about a person of that time period than it does today.


The student prepares for writing by recording thoughts, focusing on a central idea, grouping related ideas, and identifying the purpose for writing.

The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student uses electronic technology, including word-processing software and electronic encyclopedias, to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.

The student understands how individuals, ideas, decisions, and events can influence history.


-Reading material about the Pilgrims such as text books and library books that are available from the Media Center , City Library, Internet Web Sites
-Audio Visual material that may be available from the Media Center
-Computer with word processing software
-Drawing paper, ( white, unlined copy paper works great) crayons, glue
-Notebook paper and pencil
-Stapler for putting booklet together
-Magazines for pictures of current day dress brought in by the students and teacher
-Folder for each student to keep all work in


1. Gather books and videos for Pilgrims information. Visit web sites listed.
2. Decide which books you will read orally to class.
3. Copy all rubrics needed for lessons.
4. Have students bring in magazines prior to beginning lesson. Tell them what you want to find in the magazines so the right type will be brought in.
5. Make sure you have printer cartridge to do the printing on the computer.


Introduction to the lesson:
Read aloud.........-When they arrived, the Pilgrims fell on their knees. They thanked God for bringing them over the great and dangerous oceans.-

1. On a wall map locate England, the Atlantic Ocean, North America, the United States, and Massachusetts. Discuss the dangers of the open waters at sea and the fact that very little was known about the land to which they were headed, North America.

2. At this time the students will see and hear about the way the Pilgrims dressed in England and, therefore, in their new land, America, from the books the teacher reads and pictures found in the books.

3. Make sure the students realize that the Pilgrims did not always wear dark clothes. Rich people wore gold, red, and purple. The less wealthy wore brown, yellow and other bright colors. The servants usually wore blue. The men and boys wore long-sleeved shirts, wool jackets and pants callled breeches.

4. After discussing current day dress in America, guide the students to observe that color in today's clothing does not denote classification of people.

5. Explain to the students the assignments they will be responsible for in this lesson. Give them the rubrics for each. Make sure they make a folder at this time to keep all of their Pilgrim work in, including the rubrics. This folder may be a store bought one they already have or one they make from construction paper. A folder is an absolute must for keeping all of their work together. Clear, simple directions at this point will help the students feel comfortable in knowing what is expected of him/her. Do not rush this time and give time for questions and answers.
Give directions for:
1. The compare and contrast chart. Go over the rubric slowly and clearly. 2. Ways to gather information... books you have gathered, web sites and encyclopedia on the web, where two people may work togerher, videos the class will view together. Model for them how to list information found in a book you read to them eariler. This is to be done in list form, all on one or two at the most sheets of paper.
3. Discuss the two paragraphs they will write. Go over the rubric with them. Remind them that they must have a main idea topic sentence and three to five detail sentences to support the first sentence. They need a summation sentence to end the paragraph.
4. Go over rubric for using the word processer to create the final copy of their two paragraphs. Explain to them the system you will use to determine who will use the computers and when they will be used. Everyone will have a chance.
5. Explain that the research notes will be taken up and assessed by the teacher.
6. Explain how the students will use the magazines brought in to cut out pictures representing today's dress by men, women, boys and girls. These pictures will be glued on white copy paper and labeled. This will be a page in their booklets.
7. Give directions for drawing the dress of the Pilgrims, men, women, boys and girls. Students may work in pairs to read, do their drawings and cutting and pasting.
8. The teacher must be available to help students while working on this lesson. This would be a very good time to use parent volunteers also. Encourage them to find their own information but they many may need reminders, extra directions, and -staying on task- help.


The students' charts comparing and contrasting the dress of the two time periods will formatively assess the students' understanding of this concept. The students' booklets will provide evidence of clarified understandings for summative assessment purposes.

Model for the students how you want the paper to look:
Fold paper down the center and draw line with crayon or marker.
Label each side: The year 1620 The Year 2000

Stress how important neat handwriting is, especially when making a chart such as this one.

-At least five facts for each time period (excellent)
-four facts on both sides of the chart (satisfactory)
-three facts listed on both sides of the chart (could be better)
-two, one, or no facts listed will need additional help from the teacher or appointed student help until the above points can be given.
Listed below is information for the teacher. This information will probably be found by the students but the teacher may use it as questions or guided reading ideas to look for in their research.

The year 1620
1. childred dressed like adults
2. colors told the class they were in
3. men and boys wore long sleeved shirts
4. Women and girls always wore long desses
5. boys and girls never wore the same type of clothing
The year 2000
1. children's dress is often different from adult's dress but sometimes the same
2. anyone can wear any color
3. men and boys wear both long and short sleeved shirts
4. women and girls usually wear short dresses but long is sometimes in style
5. boys and girls and men and women sometimes wear the same type of clothing such as: jeans and tee shirt, and slacks and shirts

The students' understanding of how individuals and ideas influence history will be formatively assessed during group discussions. Their two paragraph writings will summatively assess their understanding.

Students explain why people in 1620 could not wear the clothes they chose in one paragraph. They explain why people today can wear what they choose in their second paragraph.

Rubric for paragraphs:

Accurate Facts: 1-3 pts. incorrect or little facts
4-6 pts. some accurate facts
7-9 pts. substantial amount of facts
10-12 pts. exceptional amount of facts

Clear Focus: 1-2 pts. vague and unclear
3-4 pts. some facts but not well organized
5-6 pts. well organized and clearly presented
7-8 pts highly organized and easy to follow

As students gather information from books, web sites, and videos, information will be written down and this information will be used to complete their assignments for this lesson.
This will be formatively assessed all during the lesson.

Students publish their two paragraphs using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. They also make a cover for their booklets on the computer. They show their abillity to change font styles and size and insert graphics while making their booklet cover.

Rubric for booklet cover:

Two font styles used ---- 10 points
Two sizes of fonts used---- 10 points
Two colors used for fonts---- 10 points
Two graphics used ---- 10 points


Before doing this lesson, the students must know how to use the functions of font selection and size selection of the fonts when using their word processing program. They must also be able to insert graphics into their work. Otherwise, this benchmark may be omited and this part of the lesson may be done with pencil and paper.

Web Links

Web supplement for What should I wear today? Pilgrims didn't ask.

Web supplement for What should I wear today? Pilgrims didn't ask.

Web supplement for What should I wear today? Pilgrims didn't ask.

Web supplement for What should I wear today? Pilgrims didn't ask.

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