I am living an educators dream, a mother’s hope for her daughter, and a personal pursuit of passion.
After writing my thesis on the Myths and Misconceptions of the Pilgrim Story, the transition from what had been a written document to the implementation of a K-12 curriculum became reality.
On September 6, 2008 in Plymouth Massachusetts, in front of over 675 delegates from the United States, Canada and England. My K-12, “Mayflower and Me”, Curriculum was introduced nationally. The reception was one of, “it is about time” to “everyone needs to have one”.
This story is deeper than 102 saints and strangers crossing the Atlantic that gave us our mythological Thanksgiving Story of today, it is a story of faith, forgiveness, religious diversity, cultural differences, historic cornerstones, mathematical calculations, journal writings, scientific weather conditions, self motivational decisions and consequences…. This is a story that is everyone’s duty to learn and pass on today, tomorrow and perpetually.
The Mayflower and Me K-12 curriculum is a MUST for all educators, schools and organizations throughout the world, a MUST for adventurers searching myths and misconceptions in history, a waste if not utilized and passed on.
Details (Newly Revised for 2012!)
Mayflower and Me K-12 Curriculum
Pilgrim DVD (1600 to 1621)
Contemporary Pilgrim DVD
Up to Date Information
State Standards released throughout the first year
Complete lesson plans for all grade levels K-12
F2F-classroom, Online and Hybrid lesson plans
Most materials needed included
References and Additional Readings
Words to Remember (Vocabulary List)
Ease of use and Support
Contributors of pictures include Sue Allan and Roger T. Vorhauer, Jeremy D. Bangs, PhD,
Education Department of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Plimoth Plantation and Debra G-Miller
Proceeds benefit the SMDPA's Plimoth Plantation classroom visits. $20.00 plus 5.00 S&H
Why a K-12 Curriculum based on “Mayflower and Me”?
The intent of this K-12 curriculum project, “Mayflower and Me,” is to develop one special curriculum on the “Pilgrim Story,” and offer it through the Education Committee of The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (SMDPA).
What is meant by “Special” is something that is a “pure,” “true,” and “factual” story. It is a story that is exempt from myths and misconceptions.
Portions of “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum will be available through the Education Committee, and here at www.sail1620.org. All who are interested in learning or contributing to the wave of truth and prosperity sweeping throughout our SMDPA, are encouraged to continue to participate.
Pilgrim Program: Mayflower and Me
It is strongly encouraged that all educators view and review “The Pilgrim Video.” It is recommended that all levels (K-4, 5-8 and 9-12) of students view “The Pilgrim Video” as a prerequisite to all lessons.
Note: If you feel the DVD is too advanced for your classroom, there are several picture books listed in the reference section, which can be used as teacher tools, along with “The Pilgrim Video.” (Example: “The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving” by Ann McGovern). Other suggestions for reading to K-4 are (*) on the reference page at the end of this introduction.
Contemporary Pilgrim Program: Mayflower and Me, Journey Across the Seas
This DVD is a present-day view of the Mayflower and Pilgrim story. The contents of this video are based on the travels of Mayflower descendants, Joan, Don and Debra Miller along with the General Society Historic Sites Committee Chairperson Barbara Williams, and 37 others, for a total of 41 people who traveled in September 2007 across the Atlantic to England and across the North Sea to The Netherlands to research our Mayflower and Pilgrim legacy. This DVD takes a widespread view of the period of time (late 1500’s to the early 1600’s) and what was going on while the Separatist were struggling for religious freedom and making plans to journey to the New World in 1620. The DVD also addresses the dedication to Henry Samson (Mayflower passenger) in Henlow, England where he was baptized on January 15, 1604, William Shakespeare and the Globe Theater, Rembrandt’s Life in Amsterdam, and much more. An individual is missing the joys of life if he does not know his past.
What subjects will be covered throughout the “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum:
Early American History
Levels of “Mayflower and Me’ K-12 curriculum:
K-4 (Peaches the Pilgrim Pup)
5-8 (“The Mayflower and Me” in Your School)
9-12 (The myths and misconceptions surrounding the Pilgrim and Thanksgiving story)
Note: The purpose of this curriculum is not only to embrace and understand the diverse past of the Pilgrims (Separatist) but also to learn about men and women who were a part of this great journey, which continues today. We cannot forget the roles of the monarchs, the ships’ captain and his crew, the merchant adventurers, the Separatists left behind, the role of their religious faith and convictions, and by all means we cannot forget the roles the Native Americans have played in this story and continue to play a part in today’s society.
Features of the Curriculum Design:
Throughout the curriculum design, the following aspects are covered in detail:
The rationale for “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum: What is the significance of understanding, what is the reason for selecting this type of curriculum, and why is it important to learn about this particular topic? This particular curriculum will create an awareness as well as an understanding of a student’s own genealogical background by connecting to many valued areas:
The problem or challenge for each student is to tell authentically “The Mayflower and Me” story to their friends and family and see who knows the story and who does not know the story authentically.
The student will learn the importance of the history of the Pilgrims and how it relates to them as an individual, making this a very active learning process. The student will express his individuality through his verbal explanation of the Pilgrim story to his friends and family and through diaries/journals and writings.
Through the concept of bricolage, the student will learn how to develop his/her own strategies to be creative, learn how to try and test by trial and error, and learn how to solve problems.
This curriculum relates extensively to the value of one’s society, culture and environment in the past and present. The curriculum focuses on the importance of preserving our own family heritage. This curriculum will encourage and develop discussions among family members about their own heritage and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, it will influence genealogical research.
Ideas students will learn from “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum are as follows:
The student should be able to make a connection between his life and that of a Pilgrim.
The student should know the journey, step by step, of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims.
The student will recognize the elements of writing and skills needed to accomplish writing in a diary/journal or term paper.
The student will become an independent, enthusiastic writer by composing his own original diary/journal entries and papers.
The student will use basic math skills to learn about the layout and the physical dimensions of a ship that might have been similar to the Mayflower ship.
The student will learn how weather conditions influenced the path of the Mayflower over the Atlantic by studying the weather.
The student will learn to work collaboratively within a student-centered learning group.
The student will recognize that opinions, dreams, and insights are important to everyone.
The student will practice listening, speaking and interpersonal skills.
- Key lessons for the teachers: What inspiration will a student experience once he has completed “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum?
The knowledge and understanding of the Pilgrim story, that it is not just about a “Harvest feast.” Rather it is a journey made by many (including animals) for many different reasons, with one powerful force of faith.
Each student will learn to develop critical thinking skills. Not only will he use decisive thinking in relaying the story several times throughout the lessons but he will use his critical thinking in his diary/journal writings and when expressing to the class his own journey through some of the lessons.
The students will learn that we all have “a history” and “a journey” to tell.
The classroom disposition and attitude will be one of excitement and anticipation. The students will develop a sense of ownership as they research, compose and tell about their explorations.
In the process of “The Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum, the students will learn and develop numerous skills, such as writing skills, collaborative skills, verbal communication skills, and listening skills.
Words to Remember: At the end of the Introduction is a list of “Words to Remember”- Vocabulary words. The words can be used for all levels of education- K-12. Add, delete, and accommodate the words to fit into any program of education within your school.
- Assessment plan: Assessment of the student’s learning can be made in many different areas;
- The teacher will evaluate observable behavior to determine students’ learned knowledge.
- How they tell their story in a group environment will demonstrate the students’ knowledge of the curriculum.
- What they write in the diary/journal and papers independently will exhibit their understanding of the skills necessary to write in a diary/journal and to create term papers.
- Web based resources for students and teachers: “The Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum will offer a list of web-based and other resources for students and teachers to use throughout the K-12 curriculum.
Reflection: In September 2004, USA Today claimed that the top reason that (30%) of parents removed their children from being taught in public schools and pubic education is because of the lack of morals, values and religion. Is this not one if not the main reason the Pilgrims not only fled to Holland but to the New World? What an opportunity to teach our children how strong faith, determination, and perseverance can change 102 passengers on a ship but also resonate over 375 years later into modern day celebrations and beliefs.
Note: ALL lesson plans can be used for all grade levels and student academic
levels by making simple accommodations and appropriate modifications.
About the creator of “Mayflower and Me” K-12 curriculum:
Adult Education for 11 years
Teacher of High Risk Youths for 4 years
Public education, Home and Hospital teacher for 2 years
Emotional Support teacher for 4 years
Active member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (SMDPA) Education Committee of Pennsylvania for 3 years (worked one-on-one with Plymouth Plantation Actors (re enactors) in the Pennsylvania school system), Past Susquehanna Colony Secretary, Assistant Governor of the Susquehanna Colony, SMDPA board member and Elder, Henry Samson Kindred Education Chair, and have written several articles for the SMDPA.
Attended summer workshops at Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts
York College of Pennsylvania Graduate
Masters Degree in Instruction and Curriculum with a certificate in Online Instruction and Curriculum (continuing to take educational courses yearly)
Wrote thesis on, “The Influence of the Provisions of Authentic Resources on Social Studies Teachers’ Knowledge Base about the Pilgrim and Thanksgiving Story in one School District.”
Currently teaching History at York County School of Technology, in York PA.
Content Editors: Stacy B.C. Wood, Jr., past Governor of the SMDPA and author of numerous articles, John M. Hunt, Jr., PhD, Director of Graduate studies and coordinator of Classics Program at Villanova University, Villanova, PA, Editor of the SMDPA award winning quarterly newsletter; Joan C. Miller, past SMDPA Education Chair, Governor, Susquehanna Colony, (SMDPA), Governor PHSK and author of numerous articles; Mary King, Historian-Archivist of the Susquehanna Colony; David H. Hunt, Jr. past Governor of the Susquehanna Colony, Assistant Treasurer SMDPA; Arthur E. Chapman, PhD, Education Chair for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants; John R. Howland, Historian-Archivist of the Pilgrim John Howland Society, and Captain of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maine; Jeremy D. Bangs, PhD, author of numerous articles and publications, of which many can be viewed on www.Sail1620.org.
Writer Editors: Sue Allan and Roger T. Vorhauer, author and co-author of “The Mayflower Maid” the first of 3 historical novels.
Educational Editors: Wendy Frey teacher within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Robert J. Heinsohn, PhD, retired Penn State Professor
Web Editor: Joseph H. Wood, web master of the award-winning website www.Sail1620.org
Technology and Video Editor: Joshua Hummel, student at Penn State, majoring in Sound Design and Technology. Spiritual Contributor: Pastor Dennis A. Hummel, Yorkshire Methodist Church, York Pa. Much of my inspiration has come not only from my past religious teachings of my mother Joan Miller and my father Don Miller, but also from the numerous motivational and stimulating sermons of Rev. Hummel.
Thank you to all who contributed in capacities too abundant to list.
“My hope after completing this curriculum is to contribute and pass along the philosophy of not holding onto to ones knowledge for oneself, but rather spreading what we know and learning what we do not know. If we do this, an educational transformation will spread to those hands that are closed from those whose hands that are open.”
-- Debra G. Miller
During the process of collecting and writing the “Mayflower and Me K-12 Curriculum” (MAM), many editors, educators, professionals, and reviewers contributed feedback. Some suggested deletions while others suggested additions to the curriculum. To follow are some comments before the curriculum was published and distributed nationally. I intentionally set the curriculum in a three ring binder, not only for ease of use but for future add-ons or deletions as suggested by you and approved by the Education Committee. So please feel free to contact us with any recommendations.
Dr. Robert J. Heinsohn: “The educational materials are very good and tell the story with accuracy and balance”.
Stacy B.C. Wood, Jr.: “I have never looked at a curriculum before and hadn’t realized what an undertaking writing one was, especially if you want it to apply to various grade levels! It looks like you have a fine one here”.
Dr. Arthur E. Chapman: “Took some time to review this as I am so proud of you that I wanted to share what you are doing with the board which met in Orlando. Great Work”.
John R. Howland: “A must for all schools in the United States K-12 grades”.
Sue Allan and Roger Vorhauer: “Apart from the minor points I will mention shortly, we find this teaching pack truly inspirational. At a time when the story of the Pilgrim Fathers has been ‘Disneyfied’ and sanitized out of all recognition and in the process often rendered as dull as ditchwater, this package embodies just the approach that is so desperately needed, not only to engage teachers and our young people alike with these important events in history but also to help them appreciate the enormity of the endeavor embarked upon by the Mayflower Pilgrims and the courage and suffering of this extraordinary band of people in the rightful pursuit of their beliefs”.
Mary King: “You’ve done a tremendous job! This is amazing, and I wish I could have had the opportunity to learn this way.”
Click here to download this introduction to Mayflower and Me as a PDF document.
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