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ESL examples: Daily Life in Colonial Massachusetts through Primary Sources (3rd Grade)

a round metal pan with a curved lid with many round holes and wooden handle
Bedpan image from contributor Algont, Dutch Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,
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Year End

In this lesson sequence, students will explore primary source documents to learn more about what daily life was like in Colonial Massachusetts. Students will practice posing questions about primary source documents and artifacts and then analyzing the resources to learn more about life in Colonial Massachusetts. Students will summarize their learning in the final lesson. 

Although this series of lessons utilizes sources from colonial times, the topic of focus could be changed to better support student needs or to better align to your topic of study.

The timing of this lesson sequence can be tailored to the 3rd Grade Social Studies curriculum mapping in your district and the delivery of Social studies curriculum in your multilingual learners’ classroom. This lesson sequence would be most beneficial for multilingual learners after they have completed foundational lessons about the arrival of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts from England and before their classroom/Social Studies teacher begins instruction about the Revolutionary War. Coordination with the classroom/Social Studies teacher regarding when these language lessons should be taught is important.

This is framed as a multi-day sequence of lessons, that can be taught as a sequence of lessons or teachers can select the most salient lesson(s) from the sequence. Throughout the lessons, multilingual learners will develop the language necessary for success in the content area of Social Studies. Students will practice with language at the discourse, sentence, and word/phrase level while exploring primary sources connected to daily life in colonial Massachusetts. These lessons were framed around the driving language demands embedded in the expressive language expectation: students will construct Social Studies statements that include relevant information to support their claims with evidence from multiple sources. Exploring timelines, reading dates aloud and constructing their own personal timeline helps multilingual learners to connect new content information to their own life and identity using historical tools. Asking their own questions based on observation and analysis of artifacts will deepen their connection to the work of a historian and add to their knowledge of the lives of colonial people of Massachusetts.