Learning about the 13 original colonies of the United States takes place in many ways. Interactive lessons, textbooks, activities, videos-all of them are tools for teaching. Another, often over-looked tool is the classroom bulletin board. As you teach your students about the early history of America, think creatively when you design your boards.
Using a template of a hornbook, like the one found on this site, print 26 hornbooks on colored paper. Fasten them together, two by two, to create a book. This creates 13 hornbooks. Write 13 questions, one per book, on the cover of each hornbook. Raise the front panel and write the answer underneath. Cover the bulletin board with colorful fabric and pin the hornbooks on the board. Let students quiz themselves or each other with the questions on the hornbooks.
Cover the paper by laminating it. If you want to change your questions, laminate the paper first and write the words on top of the lamination with an erasable marker.
Laminate a large map showing the location of the 13 original colonies that does not have the names of the colonies on it. Place a pad of sticky notes and an ink pen in a paper pocket. In free time, allow students to try their luck at correctly naming the colonies. This allows the teacher to have a quick assessment tool and gives the students a fun learning opportunity.
This bulletin board could also be used to locate other places in the 13 colonies. For example, Plymouth Rock, the state capitals, or the location of the early settlements.
Put attractive pictures depicting various aspects of colonial life. Create worksheets students can complete with information available on the bulletin board. Don’t make boring answer the questions type worksheet; turn them into treasure maps or seek and find type activities to increase the interest for the kids. Staple a bright colored folder to the board as a holder for the worksheets.
Let go of the total control of your bulletin board about the 13 original colonies. Let students work together to create an attractive educational board for the rest of the class. Rotate the materials on the board to give each group an opportunity to share what they have learned. Divide the time frame for the unit by the number of groups and determine how long each group’s work can remain on the board.
Interactive bulletin boards are exciting and fun. Use yours to your greatest advantage when you teach your students about the 13 original colonies.