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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Disney & Social Studies???

Since I've been away for awhile, I wanted to rewind a bit and share some of my lessons that I meant to blog about but never quite got around to during the school year.

In the mix of testing we also started our Colonial Times Unit. (One of my favs!) We spent a lot of time talking about Jamestown (partially because I visited Jamestown last summer and had some fun resources that I brought home with me!)

Let me first preface this in saying that I completely understand that Disney's Pocahontas
  is NOT an accurate depiction of the life of Pocahontas. I discussed this with my students and they had completed an accurate study of the life of Pocahontas during our Native Americans unit. 

To start of the discussion about Jamestown I started off by using this movie clip form Disney's Pocahontas
 (Yes, again, I know this movie is NOT historically accurate, but it was a great hook!): 

The clip is only about two minutes long so we actually watched it several times. 

Round 1: 
The first time we watched just to watch it no expectations. The students then pair-shared with there neighbors and discussed what the video clip was about. Lost of students recognized the clip.  "I've seen this before!" 

Round 2: 
Before playing the video for a second time I asked the kids to focus on making OBSERVATIONS. I was clear that these should be observations and NOT inferences. The students were supposed to look for the who and what when and where and why of the video. Some observations: "They're are getting on a boat", "I see mostly men", "They are in a city". 

After discussing the observations they could make inferences: "I think they are leaving England because of the flag on the ship and also because of their accents." Some students also made predictions:  "It looks like the mean are the only ones going because they are kissing the women and children goodbye. I think they might be going to work for the Virginia Company." 

Round 3: 
This time  as we played the movie they were given the lyrics and told to highlight anything that was repeated. From this they gathered lots of information: gold, Virginia Company, New World. Again, they had time to discuss this with their neighbors.                                                               
After 3 rounds of the video clip and discussions (all of which took about 15 minutes) we were ready to dive into our social studies books. My students were deeply engaged (which is not usually the case when we open up our textbooks). 

As we read the information about Jamestown, the students filled out a graphic organizer. They did an excellent job comprehending the information in the textbook and were quick to point out the historical inaccuracies in Disney's version. 

Round 4: 
After the reading, I had them watch the video one final time, this time looking for specifics like the date of the voyage. 

After this initial lesson, the students completed this reading comprehension sheet from I love double dipping with reading comprehension in the content areas and this site is great for that! 

We also spent time working on some of the Jamestown computer lab activities I blogged about <HERE>. 

We completed Jamestown back in Mid March and April but the students were still talking about it as we wrapped up the year last week. I will call that a success!

Hope you are all on summer break and enjoying yourselves! If your still in school I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel! :) 


  1. This sounds like such a fun lesson. It is amazing how many misconceptions the kids have of Jamestown and Pocahontas from the movie. Thanks for sharing your lesson.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

    1. It IS amazing how many misconceptions our students have! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow, what a great lesson! Thanks for sharing, and yes, I would say that was a very successful lesson :)
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition


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