Florida History Online: An Introduction to the Teacher’s Guide
This teacher’s guide is designed to accompany the Florida History Online website. Materials are intended to be age appropriate by grade level, for elementary, middle school, and high school students. Student activities are directed to help students develop analytical skills at all grade levels. By incorporating reading, movement, research and higher level thinking, teachers can help students achieve lifelong learning.
Using the Florida History Online web pages listed above, teachers can design student activities to bring history alive. Students are asked to act as historians as they examine historical evidence in the form of primary source document on the various web pages. Teachers are encouraged to assign research projects and/or to role-play the actions of the early settlers of Florida.
Students create their own “Travel Diary”
Day in the life essay or role-playing
Elementary: The teacher reads various journal entries and students view the photos, have the students create drawings of the story. Students should list the number of participants in the expedition. Students should describe the jobs each did and assign names where appropriate. Who was not named? Who had the hardest job? Compare the photo with the map drawn by Bartram. Locate Goodby’s Creek on a Jacksonville map.
William Bartram’s Illustration of a Soft Shelled Turtle
Click here to view the Powerpoint
Discuss the various ways the British hoped to make Florida profitable. Compare and contrast Spanish Florida and British Florida. What crops did the British hope to grow and why? Why did they turn to large scale planting? What was needed to organize the new colony for the British to manage it? Discuss the environmental changes to the St. Johns River valley that resulted from the British occupation and plantation developments. Discuss the repercussions of the labor system (slavery) that Governor James Grant urged the British planters to introduce in East Florida.
Explain the techniques and procedures and the importance of each of the following:
Have students research and design models of British plantations. There are several maps on Florida History Online that students can examine. Ask them to study the maps of Governor Grant’s two plantations: Grants Villa (his indigo plantation six miles north of St. Augustine) and Mount Pleasant (his rice plantation twenty miles north of St. Augustine). Several maps of Dr. Andrew Turnbull’s Smyrnea Plantation at today’s New Smyrna and Edgewater, Florida can also be examined. Have students view the aerial photographs of the rice field at White Oak Plantation at the juncture of the St. Marys River and the Little St. Marys River and ask them to speculate on the reasons for the canals and divisions of land in between. All of these locations can be compared with the current configuration of these sites as viewed on Google Earth. Students can research Spanish Land Grants documents and the United States Township Maps on the Florida State Archives website and plot them on modern maps.
Students could also be asked to create a “Plantation Inventory” based on tax rolls, census documents, or probate files from a county court house or a historical society. Examples can be found on Florida History Online. For another intriguing assignment, ask students to compose a “Day (or week) in the Life of an Enslaved Man or Woman” at the plantation of Farquhar Bethune on the St. Johns River in Duval County. “The Plantation Journal of Farquhar Bethune,” transcribed on Florida History Online,” will provide students with documented examples of the daily life of enslaved African Americans in the 1820s and 1830s. Teachers might also suggest that students imagine themselves as plantation overseers in Florida during the 1763 — 1784 era, and then write a letter to an absentee owner of the plantation in England or Scotland, describing current events and conditions.
Ruins of Slave Quarters at Kingsley Plantation, Fort George Island
Colonel James Grant, First Governor of British East Florida
James Grant of Ballindalloch, Scotland,
the First Governor of British East Florida
Dozens of complete or partial transcripts of letters written by or to Governor James Grant can be found in projects on this website. The letters and related documents provide opportunities for students to sharpen their analytical skills by working with primary source documents.
Point of view analysis is a high-level skill in social studies. Students should be encouraged to explore the background of the person who created the document and the purpose of the document.
Working with Documents
This website is designed to encourage students to work with and interpret historical documents.
Interpreting historical documents is a pivotal skill. As students enter the upper levels of elementary school they need to realize that documents are a historical snapshot of the time they are created. Matching maps with contemporary photographs, or viewing William Bartram’s watercolor drawings and then comparing them with photographs or drawings made today provides the student with an opportunity to experience historical analysis on a personal level.
Students can be encouraged to examine primary source documents such as the daily entries of John Bartram’s journal on the Florida History Online webpage, and to draw conclusions regarding the author’s point of view, and the nature of historical evidence. The same can be done with letters of the period, with land grant documents, and census data, to encourage students to make conclusions as regarding point of view, historical evidence, and the veracity of the evidence. Depending on the grade level of students being taught, teachers can vary the difficulty of the documents. Teachers might begin with small quotes that are familiar to students and ask questions regarding the author’s purpose for the quote and its underlying meaning? Examples can be chosen from Governor Grant’s letters or statements. Once students are familiar with documents and analysis, teachers can introduce longer sections of Governor Grant’s letters and more challenging concepts.
Using the above-mentioned research and analysis techniques students will explore the experiences of the indentured laborers at Turnbull’s plantation at New Smyrna.
Using the Florida History Online website and other sources the teacher can show students how historical biographies are created. Older students could compare and contrast historical biography with historical fiction. Students will research Black Floridians and link them to actual historical events. Students will then connect the facts into a narrative. The teacher should also give instruction in proper notation and how to avoid plagiarism. Students should illustrate their work with photos, maps, charts, and various other visuals. The final copy of each student’s “chapter” can be placed in a notebook. The class can use it as a resource for years to come.
Soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts,
a Regiment of United States Colored Infantry
Eartha M.M. White
and her mother Clara White:
Jacksonville, Florida (1910).
Clara White, born a slave at a plantation on Amelia Island, married a black soldier who escaped from slavery in South Carolina during the Civil War to join the 34th Regiment of United States Colored Infantry. Eartha White, the adopted child of Clara and Lafayette White, became a famed social worker, teacher, opera singer, charitable figure, and founder of a mission, orphanage, and old folks home in Jacksonville. Valuable documents relative to their lives can be researched at Special Collections, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, the University of North Florida.
Using the Florida Post Card archive of finding old photographs from the State Archives, students can create a visual display by comparing old Florida and our state today.
Post Card Archives: http://www.floridamemory.com/PhotographicCollection/Collection_page.cfm?PR_ID=23
In Middle School, the class can be divided into groups and assigned projects concerned with living conditions, food, dangers, tools, weapons, etc. Area road maps can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce or local realtors. On these maps, students can trace their travels.
For Elementary age students the teacher can provide segments of butcher block paper to map the St. Johns River. The maps should be made in sections as they are divided on the website. Students can mark the travels on the map and discuss what would be found at each section. Student should make three cornered hats, native dress, or indigenous animal costumes to help tell the story as related in the journal. When the project is finished, the teacher will assemble all the sections on the floor. The class will retrace the steps of the Bartram Trail and at each stop the class will have a presentation of the various groups as to what they might see there.
Large brown grocery bags can be used to make native costumes
Discussions can focus on local history, community, habitats, groupings of people, food patterns, diet and health. Games can be structured to remember places on the trail. A good review would be to list the places on the Bartram Trail.
Florida History Online http://www.unf.edu/floridahistoryonline/
Florida State Archives http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/
P.K. Young Library http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/fhmaps.html
Florida Post Card Project http://scholar.library.miami.edu/cards/index.html
Exploring Florida http://fcit.usf.edu/Florida/lessons/bartram/bartram.htm
Tri Cornered Hats
Ft. Caroline National Park