They Were People Like Us

by Michael Porter
Fourth grade students are learning that the American Revolution was fought by individuals who had different ways of thinking. The Loyalists favored remaining under the rule of King George III, while the Patriots were for separating from the British Crown and establishing their own nation under their own rule.
The 4th graders worked in partnerships to research and make a presentation on a Patriot or a Loyalist. Students utilized the TCI program as well as approved websites to determine if their assigned person was for or against American independence.
Armed with pencils, paper, and iPads, they spent the better part of a week researching and writing. They delved into the personal lives of their subject, and where they stood on the question of American Independence.

In the process of doing their investigating students learned about what the circumstances were like in Colonial America and why their selected person believed the way they did.
"I would probably be a Patriot," said Colin W. "I know what the Loyalists were doing was wrong and I would want to stand up to them."
Parker S. made some discoveries about things the Colonists were angry about.
"Like tea that the Colonists loved and they hated the taxes on tea," Parker said. "And they started the Quartering Act which allowed soldiers to just knock on the door and live in your house. And you had to feed them and wash their clothes."

The project really made the students think about these moments in history, and the characters involved in this great epic story of the birth of the United States.
After their research, the students worked together to create an informational poster and to prepare a speech. 
For some students, standing before a group of peers and giving a speech may be daunting. The ability to communicate thoughtfully and effectively is one of the core beliefs at JCDS that make up our Portrait of a Graduate. In the end, our 4th graders were up to the task!
"I was so impressed by the fact-finding as well as the partnership of each group," said 4th-grade teacher Emma le Comte.