Archive for November, 2009

Holiday Writing Contest 12/17



Above are two story maps you can use to write your holiday stories.

Stories can be be fiction or non-fiction (true).

For example you could write a story about an elf (fiction) or you could write a story of how you spent the holidays last year.

They should be no longer thatn  1 page. Include story title, Authors name and class and grade.

Poems are permitted. Last time we had

Deadline is December 17th.

Goodluck to all my wonderful writers.

Claudette Colvin

On that supercharged day in 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., she rode her way into history books, credited with helping to ignite the civil rights movement. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times Claudette Colvin’s historic stand preceded that of Rosa Parks. Enlarge This Image Michael Appleton for The New York Times Phillip Hoose, with Claudette Colvin, accepting a National Book Award last week for “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.” Enlarge This Image The Montgomery Advertiser, via Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux Ms. Colvin around 1953. But there was another woman, named Claudette Colvin, who refused to be treated like a substandard citizen on one of those Montgomery buses — and she did it nine months before Mrs. Parks. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his political debut fighting her arrest. Moreover, she was the star witness in the legal case that eventually forced bus desegregation. Yet instead of being celebrated, Ms. Colvin has lived unheralded in the Bronx for decades, initially cast off by black leaders who feared she was not the right face for their battle, according to a new book that has plucked her from obscurity. Last week Phillip Hoose won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice,” published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The honor sent the little-selling title shooting up 500 spots on’s sales list and immediately thrust Ms. Colvin, 70, back into the cultural conversation. “Young people think Rosa Parks just sat down on a bus and ended segregation, but that wasn’t the case at all,” Ms. Colvin said in an animated interview at a diner near her apartment in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. “Maybe by telling my story — something I was afraid to do for a long time — kids will have a better understanding about what the civil rights movement was about.” Ms. Colvin made her stand on March 2, 1955, and Mrs. Parks made hers on Dec. 1 that same year. Somehow, as Mrs. Parks became one of Time Magazine’s 100 most important people of the 20th century, and streets and schools were named after her, Ms. Colvin managed to let go of any bitterness. After Ms. Colvin was arrested, Mrs. Parks, a seasoned N.A.A.C.P. official, sometimes let her spend the night at her apartment. Ms. Colvin remembers her as a reserved but kindly woman who fixed her snacks of peanut butter on Ritz crackers. “My mother told me to be quiet about what I did,” Ms. Colvin recalled. “She told me: ‘Let Rosa be the one. White people aren’t going to bother Rosa — her skin is lighter than yours and they like her.’ ” Ms. Colvin said she came to terms with her “raw feelings” a long time ago. “I know in my heart that she was the right person,” she said of Mrs. Parks. Unlike Mrs. Parks, whose protest was carefully planned, Ms. Colvin was just a 15-year-old who couldn’t stomach the Jim Crow segregation laws one second longer. Ms. Colvin was riding the bus home from school when the driver demanded that she give up her seat for a middle-age white woman, even though three other seats in the row were empty, one beside Ms. Colvin and two across the aisle. “If she sat down in the same row as me, it meant I was as good as her,” Ms. Colvin said. Two police officers, one of them kicking her, dragged her backward off the bus and handcuffed her, according to the book. On the way to the police station, they took turns trying to guess her bra size. At the time, the arrest was big news. Black leaders, among them Dr. King, jumped at the opportunity to use her case to fight segregation laws in court. “Negro Girl Found Guilty of Segregation Violation” was the headline in The Alabama Journal. The article said that Ms. Colvin, “a bespectacled, studious looking high school student,” accepted the ruling “with the same cool aloofness she had maintained” during the hearing. As chronicled by Mr. Hoose, more than 100 letters of support arrived for Ms. Colvin — sent in care of Mrs. Rosa Parks, secretary of the Montgomery branch of the N.A.A.C.P. But Ms. Colvin was ultimately passed over. “They worried they couldn’t win with her,” Mr. Hoose said in an interview from his home in Portland, Me. “Words like ‘mouthy,’ ‘emotional’ and ‘feisty’ were used to describe her.” Mrs. Parks, on the other hand, was considered “stolid, calm, unflappable,” he said. The final straw: Ms. Colvin became pregnant by a married man. A second Montgomery teenager, Mary Louise Smith, was also arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat — after Ms. Colvin’s arrest but before Ms. Parks’s — and she was also deemed an unsuitable symbol for the movement partly because of rumors that her father had an alcohol problem. Although Ms. Colvin quickly left Montgomery, she returned during the peak of the bus boycott that Mrs. Parks had subsequently sparked, and testified in federal court in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that effectively ended bus segregation. “It’s an important reminder that crucial change is often ignited by very plain, unremarkable people who then disappear,” said David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Dr. King. Even Mrs. Parks was forgotten for the better part of 20 years, only re-emerging as a world-famous figure in the early 1970s after magazine articles and attention in several children’s books. Ms. Colvin, who relies on a cane to steady herself, retired in 2004 after 35 years as a nurse’s aide at a Manhattan nursing home. She contributed to her own obscurity: after settling in New York, she never talked about how her arrest helped prompt the famous bus boycott. “She continued to heed her mother’s advice, and worried that drawing attention to herself would result in the loss of her job. “I wasn’t going to take that chance,” she said. So she settled into living an average life. She never married. The son she had in Montgomery died at age 37; a second son is an accountant in Atlanta. She watches television — “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is a favorite — and is a regular at the diner. Ms. Colvin said she reads two newspapers every day to keep up on current events, chatting about recent Nobel Prize winners. She likes Chris Rock and Alicia Keys. Aretha Franklin could stand to lose a few pounds, but she wore a good hat to President Obama’s inauguration. Don’t get Ms. Colvin started on Sarah Palin. She has fond memories of Dr. King. “He was just an average-looking fellow — it’s not like he was Kobe Bryant or anything,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes. “But when he opened his mouth he was like Charlton Heston playing Moses.” Mr. Hoose said he stumbled across Ms. Colvin’s story while researching a previous book, “We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History.” Several sources told him to investigate what had almost become an urban myth: that a teenager had beaten Mrs. Parks to the punch in Montgomery. He eventually tracked down Ms. Colvin, who has an unlisted telephone number. She refused to talk to Mr. Hoose for almost four years. Mr. Hoose won over his reluctant subject over a long lunch at the diner. It was clear, he said, that she yearned to have her story told despite protests to the contrary. “It was easy to find the rebel girl inside of her,” he said. One of her first questions: “Can you get it into schools?”

Start to Finish Book -Death At Jamestown

Notes from Chapter 1

The story starts aboard the Susan Constant two boys meet Jeremy a boy who’s family owns a shipping company, and Anthony a beggar boy from the streets of London.

The year is 1607 and they are both headed to the New World. The London company is paying for the voyage.

It is more than 100 years since Columbus “discovered” the New World for Europeans in 1492. Since that time, people from Spain, France and England have sent explorers to the New World ( North America and South America). Everyone wants a piece of the New World for themselves. The Spanish have started colonies in Florida and South Carolina. Also just like Columbus they are hoping to find a shorter way to China. This  time by finding a river that cuts through North America/South America and takes them to the Pacific Ocean and on to the Indes.

The English want to start Colonies as well. These two boys 15 years old we tell us the story of this Colony. So far we have met Master Wingate an important man from the London Company, and Captain John Smith, a soldier who gets arrested aboard the ship for mutiny. The charges are dropped. We also met his page boy Samuel, a boy some years younger than Anthony and Jeremy.

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Jamestown From National Geographic


What was the most important event in U.S. history? Was it the Pilgrims� landing at Plymouth Rock? How about the American Revolution? Or was it the Civil War?

It�s hard to decide. They�re all important. Yet the founding of Jamestown may have been the most important. After that, everything in America changed�even worms.

You�re probably wondering what worms have to do with history. We�ll get to that later. First, we have to learn about Jamestown.

You may think you already know about Jamestown. You may have even seen a movie about it. Well, the real story is very different. So let�s burrow into the history of Jamestown.


On May 14, 1607, three ships full of colonists came to shore along the banks of the James River in what is now Virginia. The people on board had sailed from England to found a new colony. They called it Jamestown.

The colonists couldn�t have chosen a worse place to settle. It was marshy and filled with mosquitoes. There was little drinkable water. Worse yet, the area was in a drought.

They also faced other hardships. They had to protect themselves from two enemies. First, they were fearful that ships from Spain would attack them. England and Spain were fighting each other at that time.

Second, they were afraid that a Native American group, the Powhatan, would attack them. To protect themselves, the colonists built a fort. It was triangle-shaped. Inside the fort, the colonists thought they would be fairly safe. They were wrong.

The new environment threatened the colonists even more than the Native Americans did. Indeed, it nearly wiped them out.


The drought caused many hardships. Water was scarce. Crops wouldn�t grow. Animals couldn�t find plants to eat. The colonists were often hungry and thirsty.

Out of food, the colonists started to eat anything they could find. They wolfed down cats, dogs, horses, and rats. They even boiled starch from some of their clothes to make a thick soup. Still, they starved.

Thirsty, the colonists drank water from the James River. That was bad. The river water was often muddy and salty. It made the colonists very ill. Many died from drinking the water. Others died from starvation. They called this period �the starving time.�

Nearly two years after the colonists founded Jamestown, they decided to head home. Worn out, they loaded a ship and got ready to leave. In the nick of time, supply ships arrived. The colony was saved.

Things now started to get better for the colonists. More colonists moved from England to Jamestown. One of them was a man named John Rolfe.


John Rolfe settled in Jamestown three years after the colony had been founded. Things were finally starting to look up. Soon the drought ended.

Things continued to get better. In 1614, Rolfe married Pocahontas. She was the youngest daughter of Chief Powhatan, the leader of the Powhatan. The marriage brought peace between the colonists and the Powhatan.

Rolfe also got a shipmaster to bring tobacco seeds to Jamestown. Before long, the colonists were growing and selling tobacco. A plant grown to be sold is called a cash crop.

More and more people moved to Jamestown. Many wanted to come. Others were forced. Kidnappers brought people from Africa to Jamestown. There they were forced to work. After a few years, some of these Africans were freed. Others remained slaves.

Slaves worked in the tobacco fields. They built houses for their owners. They did much of the work to build the colony. Yet they were never paid. For them, Jamestown and America did not offer a better life.


The colonists changed the land around Jamestown in many ways. For starters, they cut down forests and grew crops.

The colonists also brought new animals and plants to America. Domestic cattle, chickens, goats, horses, and pigs all made the journey to Jamestown. None of these species lived in the Americas before the colonists brought them.

Some of the smallest alien animals brought by colonists made the biggest changes. Take worms and honeybees, for example.

Before 1607, worms didn�t exist in some parts of America. Nightcrawlers and red earthworms didn�t crawl through the soil.

These tiny worms made big changes. They ate leaves that littered forest floors. Those leaves fertilized and protected the soil. Without the leaves, rainwater washed away nutrients. That made it harder for some native plants to grow.

While worms made it harder for some native plants to grow, bees made it easier for some alien plants to take root. Busy bees helped pollinate watermelon, apple trees, and peach trees. Without bees, these plants would never have survived in America.


The Jamestown colonists weathered some tough times, but they survived. Jamestown was the first English colony to succeed in America. More colonies followed.

The people in these colonies changed the land in many ways. So did the plants and animals they brought. Together, these colonies, plants, and animals helped make America what it is today.

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Links for Jamestown

Jamestown Colony

A Brief History of Jamestown

The founding of Jamestown, jamestownAmerica’s first permanent English colony, in Virginia in 1607 – 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts – sparked a series of cultural encounters that helped shape the nation and the world. The government, language, customs, beliefs and aspirations of these early Virginians are all part of the United States’ heritage today.

The colony was sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, a group of investors who hoped to profit from the venture. Chartered in 1606King-James by King James I, the company also supported English national goals of balancing the expansion of other European nations abroad, seeking a northwest passage to the Orient, and the creation of settlements in the New World.

The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery,3218246332_289ece792f carrying 105 passengers, one of whom died during the voyage, departed from England in December 1606 and reached the Virginia coast in late April 1607. The expedition was led by Captain Christopher Newport.newport_cover On May 13, after two weeks of exploration, the ships arrived at a site on the James River selected for its deep water anchorage and good defensive position. The passengers came ashore the next day, and work began on the settlement. Initially, the colony was governed by a council of seven, with one member serving as president.

Serious problems soon emerged in the small English outpost, which was located in the midst of a chiefdom of about 14,000 Algonquian-speaking Indians ruled by the powerful leader Powhatan. Relations with the Powhatan Indians were tenuous, although trading opportunities were established. An unfamiliar climate, as well as brackish water supply and lack of food, conditions possibly aggravated by a prolonged drought, led to disease and death. Many of the original colonists were upper-class Englishmen, and the colony lacked sufficient laborers and skilled farmers.

Made up of townsmen and adventurers more interested in finding gold than farming, the group was unequipped by temperament or ability to embark upon a completely new life in the wilderness. Among them, Captain John Smith johnsmithemerged as the dominant figure. Despite quarrels, starvation and Indian attacks, his ability to enforce discipline held the little colony together through its first year. His rule was for these people that were not used to doing physical labor, no work – no food. In other words you had to work to eat, if you refused to do your share you would not be fed.

In 1609 Smith returned to England, and in his absence, the colony descended into anarchy. During the winter of 1609-1610, the majority of the colonists succumbed to disease. Only 60 of the original 300 settlers were still alive by May 1610.

The years between are know as “Starving Time”. The initial small group of 104 men and boys chose the location because it was favorable for defensive purposes, but it offered poor hunting prospects and a shortage of drinking water. Although they did some farming, few of the original settlers were accustomed to manual labor or familiar with farming. They failed to plant crops early enough to ensure a successful harvest. Hunting on the island was very poor, and they quickly exhausted the supply of small game. The colonists were largely dependent upon trade with the Indians and periodic supply ships from England for their food.

Winter 1609–1610

At Jamestown, a drought earlier in 1609 during the normal growing season had left the fields of the colonists of Virginia barren. Between the lack of trade with the Indians, and the failure of the Third Supply to arrive with expected supplies, the colony found itself with far too little food for the winter. With the new arrivals, there were many more mouths to feed. Faced with impending disaster the colony attempted numerous attempts to break the Powhatan siege with armed foraging expeditions, diplomatic expeditions, and trading expeditions. All attempts were beaten back by the Powhatan’s, with most of the expedition personnel captured or killed.

There are few records of the hardships the colonists experienced in Virginia that winter. Arms and valuable work tools were traded to the Powhatans for a pittance in food. Houses were used as firewood. Archaeologists have found evidence that they ate cats, dogs, horses, and rats. In early 2007 at least three respected authorities concluded, based on some credible evidence, that the starvation conditions were so severe that corpses were dug up, and human flesh was eaten.

Why Colonists Settled in the New World

There are 3 reasons that people from Europe came to the New World.

1. To make money

2 to be free in terms of religion.

3. to work for other people as slaves or indentured servants.

There is actually a 4th reason: For Adventure.

After Christopher Columbus discovered the New World many Europeans followed. They wanted to claim the New World for their own  Cou country. Countries such as Spain, England, France, and Holland all began starting settlements in the New World. The first Settlements were by the French and the Spanish in what is now Florida and South Carolina. The First English Settlement was in what is now Virginia. This was called the Roanoke Colony started in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh.This colony did not survive. In 1590 Sir Walter Raleigh Returned and the only thing found was a sign with the words CROATION . No one knows what happened to the Roanoke colony Perhaps they went to live with the Croation Tribe. After a few years the colony dissappeared. The next English settlement was the Jamestown Colony also in Virginia

Notes on the Lost Colony of Roanoke

The Lost Colony of Roanoke
Under the sponsorship of Sir Walter Raleigh,England’s first American colony began in 1585. It was on
Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. Undertheir charter they were to establish a colony and look for gold. No gold was found at Roanoke. The colonistsfought with native peoples and found life difficult. After amiserable year, the survivors begged passage home on a relief ship.John White, a talented artist, convinced SirRaleigh to try again. This time, the nearly 100 settlers included women, with the hope that families would investsome of their own money into the colony. Each settler was to receive 500 acres of land. Among the settlers wasWhite’s married daughter Eleanor Dare. These colonists landed on Roanoke in July, and on August 18 Eleanor gave birth to a daughter. She was named Virginia, in
honor of the Virgin Queen Elizabeth. She was the first English child born in America. When the group reached Roanoke they started repairing cottages left by the earlier settlers. It became
clear to White that he would have to get more supplies.
White did not want to leave Roanoke. He now
had a newborn granddaughter and looked to his future at
Roanoke. The other colonists were concerned about the
supplies and their chance for survival and convinced
White to make the trip back to England for the supplies.
He departed for England in the late summer of 1587.
White was not able to return to Roanoke as
quickly as he had hoped. Although he intended to return
promptly with a relief ship, he was stuck in
England because of the attack of the Spanish Armada.
Other delays followed and White did not get back to
Roanoke until 1590.
When White finally returned to Roanoke, he was
shocked at what he found. Not a soul remained at the
settlement. All that remained was some rusted debris and
the letters CRO carved on a tree and the word
CROATOAN on a door post. White assumed that the
settlers had gone to the friendly Croatoan Indians. Storms,
however, kept him from reaching the Croatoan and forced
his return to England. He was never able to discover the
fate of his family and the other colonists. Future colonists
heard rumors about the “lost colonists”. Some Indians
claimed that the Roanoke settlers had gone to live with the
Chesapeake Indians and were killed when another Indian
tribe attacked the Chesapeakes. There were stories that
the settlers were victims of Spanish pirates, and some
believed that the survivors of the “lost colony” remained
among other Indian groups.
The truth was never discovered, and to this day no
one knows for sure what happened to the “lost colonists”
or Roanoke.