Life in the Colonies: A Focus Workshop
November 22, 2008

Web Resources
  Website: Description:


Colonial Williamsburg’s History Page


This website has many relevant pages, so it pays to explore the whole site. It includes mostly background information, but there are also some fun activities in the Kid’s Zone. One of the best places to start for information is in the Experience the Life Section, while the Multimedia page has slideshows, podcasts, games and more. The online exhibits include a tour on maps in colonial America.


The Plimoth Plantation

The official website for the plantation: the For Kids section includes pictures, recipes, crafts, stories, cute dialect exercise and essays for kids about daily life. Under Educational Programs, the teachers’ page features bibliographies, maps, timelines, helpful links, and an interactive online lesson on the first Thanksgiving with accompanying Teacher’s Guide.


The Settlement at Jamestown

Information on settlement and early colonial life. A mix of archeology and history, including pictures of sites and artifacts. The History of Jamestown section is very thorough with links to more information, a timeline, lists of settlers and occupations. There are also digital versions of past exhibits, including some daily life material.


Jamestown Online


An interactive Flash game that allows you to set up your own colony and Jamestown and make decisions regarding policy. Short, with only five questions, but provides a reasons behind all of the correct answers.


Stratford Hall Plantation

This site has many relevant pages of information. It is recommended that you spend some time looking at the general history, the pages under Research, especially the essay on Africans, and the pages under Education. In the Education section, there are also some activities that can be done with younger children.


The University of Groningen Outline of American History


An incredibly comprehensive overview of American history from settlement through colonial times and the Revolution to the 21st century. Historical descriptions are supplemented by the Essays section contains works by historians analyzing the culture; any links contained within the descriptions are coded to let you know where they will lead you, including links to primary sources.


Archiving Early America

An amazing collection of primary sources and background information, including settlement, daily life, the Revolution, lives of early Americans, maps and early newspaper pages.


The American Colonist’s Library


A collection of the major works that would have influenced the educated colonist’s conception of the world, this website also contains contemporary documents including, orations, sermons, American Revolution military texts.


The Center for History and New Media


A site devoted to interpreting probate records for Virginia and Maryland from 1740-1810, it includes lesson plans for older classes to work closely with the primary sources. The documents are searchable by time period or city/country.


Famous American Trials

Background information on the Salem witchcraft trials, biographies, images and other primary sources.


State University of New York at Stonybrook

An extensive collection of maps of New York from 1556 to 1895, complete with descriptions.


Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities

Accounts of Ann Hutchinson’s biography and trial, including links to the full transcript of her trial.  


The Diary of Martha Ballard


An interactive case study based on the research that went into the book and film A Midwife's Tale, which were both based upon the remarkable 200 year old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. The site includes great background information, especially on the roles of women, as well as interactive activities such as transcribing the original diary, and working with official court, church and town records to compare the story of the rape of a minister’s to the story as told in Martha’s diary. The site also includes a bibliography and website list for future research.


A-Z Teacher Stuff: Lesson Plans for Colonial America

Lesson plans for teaching colonial life to all different age groups, can be sorted by age group.


The Teachers’ Corner: Teaching Colonial America

Lesson plans and worksheets for various age groups, on a variety of topics regarding colonial life.


Scholastic Teacher Resources

Fun mix of primary sources, background information, and hands-on activities for younger kids, including arts and crafts and diary entries from colonial children.


The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute


The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute is an educational partnership between Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools. This lesson plan for comparing life in the colonies with life today, includes activities for younger kids, but it’s good for teachers of all age groups because includes a good general background of daily life.


The Yale- New Haven Teachers Institute

Another Yale- New Haven lesson plan; this one focuses more on literature than on historical detail, but focuses specifically on women in the colonies, using Anne Dudley Bradstreet, Anne Hutchinson and Pocahontas as case studies.


PBS: Africans in America

This website is designed to accompany a PBS mini-series on Africans in America;  different sections orient you to the history of the era, provide annotated images, stories, and commentaries, while the Teacher's Guide helps you use the website and TV series in the classroom.


PBS: Colonial House

Interactive games and quizzes that reveal background information on daily life in the Northeastern colonies in the 1620s, shortly after settlement. The For Teachers section at the bottom contains a series of lessons. The lessons contain comprehensive instructions for classroom implementation, downloadable student handouts, and suggestions for cross-curricular extensions.


Searingtown School: Passport to Colonial America

Originally designed for a class holding a colonial fair, this site contains extensive background material for life in the New York colony, as well as information on daily life in all of the original colonies. In addition, there are links to colonial arts and crafts and recipes.


Colonial Kids

Very cute presentation of day to day colonial life aimed at younger kids; it provides very accessible background information, and also includes some crafts and videos


You Be the Historian

“You Be the Historian” An interactive website that encourages kids to examine objects, draw their own conclusions and compare them with historians’ conclusions. A decent introduction to the uses of material culture.