To see full class description click here: American Girl Class
A small sample of the ways to extend your Learning Exploration at home (see full list below).
- Please have each student bring back their folder, as we will build on its contents each week.
- Please have each girl finish her sign and bring back for show and tell.
- If you have not paid for the session in full, please contact me to make arrangements.
Hello American Girl Families,
We had a great start to our American Girl Club. The girls started a word search with words from the “Meet Felicity” book, such as apron, candles, soap, spices, tea, etc.…. We then met the doll Felicity and learned about her time period (18th century/ 1774 to 1776). We learned that Felicity Merriman is a spunky nine-year-old girl growing up in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Her stories take place between 1774-1776, just as the Revolutionary War is starting. Felicity comes from a Patriot family—a family that wants the colonies to independent from England. We then turned to an introduction game and learned each other’s name, age/grade, their favorite American Girl, and how we like to learn (I will use this information for future lesson planning to make sure the girls get to do some of their suggestions, in example crafts, color, and baking). We then viewed a short 5-minute video on Brain Pop Jr. titled “Thirteen Colonies.” I believe in interactive and experience-based learning (plus so many other approaches), so I had my Mac hooked up to the Big Screen for easy viewing (we also used this later in the meeting when we played Merchant Match-up…the girls were able to interact with the game live and match various trades by dragging and dropping matching names with their store sign images). We learned how many colonies there were, what a colony is, who the loyalists (loyal to Great Britain) and patriots (want independence from Britain) were, the Boston Tea Party, and why the thirteen colonies were not called states at first. The word “colony” describes a territory under the control of another country, usually one that is fairly far away. Before America won its independence, the first 13 states were colonies of Great Britain. They didn’t become independent states until the colonists won their freedom from England. We then looked at a map of the 13 colonies and where England is in comparison (across the Atlantic Ocean). We also briefly discussed where the goods were shipped from-tulips came from Holland, tea from China, and cotton from India. Then it was time to learn some new vocabulary words (definitions are currently in their folders they took home), our words this week was: apprentice and colony. We learned that Ben, from Meet Felicity, was an apprentice and how a master craftsman was teaching Ben a craft. Ben was an apprentice in that he was in a contract (written agreement) in that he promised to work for the craftsman (Felicity’s father) for seven years. In return the craftsman would teach Ben his trade and also made sure that Ben would learn how to read and write. We learned that being an apprentice was hard work and one that kept Ben busy from sunup to sundown. However, when Ben’s contract was fulfilled and his contract ended, he could go out and work on his own. We also learned what an indentured servant is. In addition, we learned in Felicity’s time most things people used—like shoes, clothes, dishes, wigs, books, candles, and furniture—were handcrafted, or made by hand. I then posed some questions before reading chapter one in order to allow for active listening, examples include:
1) Who told Felicity she was wearing a lovely hat?
2) What kind of candy did Felicity’s father give her?
3) From where did the ships with goods come?
4) What does Felicity need the ginger for?
5) When had Ben come to live with the Merriman’s?
We then read chapter one, while the girls colored a shoemaker sign, the covers of their folders, and enjoyed a colonial snack. They enjoyed Hermit Cakes, a colonial snack that sailor’s wives would make for them when they went out to sea. They were named hermit cakes because, like hermits in shells, they were tucked inside tins and kept well for several days. See Recipe Here: American Girl_Colonial_Hermit Cakes
After reading the girls answered the questions and then we compared life from the 18th century to life today. I then turned to showing pages from “Welcome to Felicity’s World” book (found at your local library). We learned typical jobs that women may have done back in the 18th century. We also discussed a fun fact about George Washington and how he did not get his cheese sandwich one day because his servants sold all his cheese in the market that day. The girls also were able to see a “Picturing America” portrait of George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait). I also shared about my visit at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) and how I got to go down into where they filmed the movie National Treasure. Finally, I shared how George Washington’s servants cut ice from the Potomac River in the winter, so George Washington could enjoy ice year around (it was stored in a special contained underground). We also briefly discussed Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride (to be discussed in depth at a later meeting). We then read a small section of “If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days” again about jobs women may have done back then. Jobs included: a milliner (dressmaker), a tavern keeper (offering beds, food, and entertainment), a teacher, a midwife, storekeepers, working for the printing press, and a silversmith. We also briefly discussed penmanship and stitchery and ladies in training skills (drinking tea properly, etc.…). Some topics above were just introductions to subjects we will cover in depth in later weeks. Finally, I asked the girls, “If you were a tradesperson or shopkeeper in eighteenth-century Williamsburg what trade would you do? I told them they had rented a shop and now they needed to design a sign or symbol for their shop (remember, even though many people could read back then, there were still people who could not and they needed to understand what your shop offered through images on your sign).” Their signs should tell what their shop offers. I gave each girl a brainstorm sheet to assist them in creating their sign. I also have included some ideas (see below) to assist them in their signs. HOMEWORK: These signs should be completed at home and brought back next meeting to show and share. I showed them examples of colonial signs and the images the signs had on them. The girls then took turns matching names with images in order to figure out what shop offered what. Each girl was given a handout, which included ways to extend their learning exploration at home (inside their folders). This is only suggestions and to be used at home (should you so choose). Lastly, within the course of the meeting, I gave each student glimpses of things they can look forward to in coming meetings (in example, making mob caps). You can ask them if they remember any other activities they can look forward to in coming meeting weeks. I would sincerely like to thank Mrs. Emily (Phoebe’s mom) for staying and helping out- thanks so much!
*** I welcome feedback and would LOVE to know how the girl’s liked/disliked today’s meeting. Thank you so much for attending and I look forward to next week’s meeting: Next Tuesday, September 11th from 10:30 a.m. to12:00 p.m.
Occupations and Trades of the Eighteenth Century
Note: This is to be used for the sign the girls are designing.
These are some of the occupations and trades that were a part of daily eighteenth-century life:
• Apothecary – acted as pharmacist, doctor, dentist, and general storekeeper
• Barber – cut hair; also was a surgeon
• Blacksmith-Armorer – made things from iron and repaired weapons
• Breechesmaker – mades breeches
• Cabinetmaker – made and repaired furniture
• Carpenter-joiner – built interiors of ships and houses
• Chandler – made candles
• Coachmaker – made coaches and wagons
• Cooper – made containers of wood, such as barrels
• Cutler – made, sold, and repaired knives and scissors
• Farrier – shoed horses and acted as a veterinarian
• Goldsmith – made hollow ware (bowls, cups, and vases) and jewelry
• Leather dresser
• Mantuamaker – dressmaker
• Milliner – made dresses and hats and sold accessories
• Music Teacher
• Printer – published the newspaper, sold books and other printed materials, and often served as postmaster
• Saddler – made saddles, harnesses, and other leather items
• Tavern Keeper – provided meals, drinks, entertainment, and lodging
• Wheelwright – made wheels and carts
• Whitesmith – made things of iron and steel, then polished them to make them look like silver
Ways to Extend the Learning Exploration at home:
Extras Handout: To extend your Learning Exploration here are some ideas:
- Go to: http://www.history.org/kids/ and explore
- Watch Liberty Kids (available for streaming through Netflix)
- Watch Drive Thru History (available through Netflix for DVD mailing).
- Research different types of horses, their accessories, and how horses were used in Colonial times. Add this information to the memory compilation folder.
- Watch for Hermit Cakes recipe in your email: Add this information to the memory compilation folder.
- Research Trade Routes during Colonial Times (ties into Sailors and our snack, Hermit Cakes).
- Johnny Tremain
- Sisters in Time
- Courage of Sarah Noble
- The Cabin Faced West
- Toliver’s Secret
- A Lion to Guard Us
- Research major events and what happened during that time period and add to a timeline at home or put in your memory compilation folder (Suggest: Homeschool in the Woods Figures).
Some links we visited during the meeting to aid in designing our shop signs: