Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Having a Great Time - Wish You Were Here

Nancy McGalliard


This is an overview of colonial life in America focusing on the social, political, religious, and economic developments of the New England, Middle colonies, and Southern colonies.


The student understands how religious, social, political, and economic developments shaped the settlement patterns of the North American colonies.


-Writing utensil
-Text (any ninth grade American History text should do)
-Access to the Internet


1. Gather materials. (See Materials.)
2. Distribute texts.
3. Bookmark URL address on computers.


1. Use the following questions to engage students in a discussion about colonization:

a.Why do you think people came to America?
b.Why do you think people settled where they did in America?

2. Students should define the following social studies terms: economy, society, religion, and political. Teacher will review terms for understanding.

3. Students read from their American History text about the original thirteen colonies and how they developed.

4. For further investigation of the colonies, students should go to the World Wide Web.

5. After researching, students should organize their information on a chart.

6. Teacher and students should share information and discuss the specific traits of each colonial area. Advantages and disadvantages of each area should be discussed.

7. Students will choose one area (New England, Middle, or Southern) and write a letter to a relative or friend explaining why they live in the area they do. For example, a student may choose the New England colonies because of the economic opportunities found there,for example, fishing industry or the Middle colonies because of the religious freedoms. Letter must include reasons based on the social, political, religious, and economic developments in their colonial area.

8. Before students begin writing their friendly letter, review basic parts of a friendly letter and share the criteria (in the Assessment section) of how they will be scored.
a. Heading including address and date
b. Greeting with a comma
c. Body or main text which is indented
d. Complimentary close with a comma
e. Signature

9. Evaluate letters. (See Assessment.)


1. Formative Assessment: Teacher will stop students after ten to twenty minutes and check studentsí charts.
2. Students will choose one colonial region and write a friendly letter explaining the political, social, economic, and religious aspects of one of the colonial regions. Letters will be evaluated on their form (heading, greeting, main text, and complimentary closing) and whether the letter contains information about the four aspects of colonial life. Students should be able to explain why their particular colonial region suits them.


1. A teacher-prepared chart will be provided for ESE/ESOL students.
2. ESE/ESOL students may find all of their information on the web address provided if they have difficulty using the Internet.

Web Links

This web address is a starting point for regular students and challenged students. Students may find other appropriate sites to use. Advanced students should do their own search.
World Book History

Attached Files

A teacher-prepared chart template for ESE/ESOL students.     File Extension: pdf

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