Saturday, April 23, 2016

Virginia History Standards Changes

My colleagues know that Virginia history is my love! It is what I enjoy teaching most in the classroom. So, I was looking at and comparing the changes to the curriculum, and made some notes for myself. Mainly I was evaluating what I would need to change, add, or take out for my BIG Virginia history bundle. Although, I am thinking about leaving the old activities in, just in case a teacher wants to use them. Let me know in the comments whether you think I should take them out or leave them in the bundle. Most changes just seem like words added, replaced, or taken out to enhance the curriculum.  

Below I only documented the lines that are completely new and what they may have replaced. I didn't put the ones that changes the wording or added a few words. To see ALL the changes click here. Virginia history for fourth grade starts on page 121.

Essential Understanding and Essential Knowledge are still included. The column with Essential Questions has been taken out.

I like what they did here. It looks like they completely reworded this section, but the essential skills remain the same. The big difference is they included examples of the activities in a more specific manner for they teachers to recreate in their classroom. Some are similar to things in the bundle, and some of the ideas, I am going to work to recreate for the bundle.

The words in the standards were changed. In most standards they changed demonstrate knowledge to demonstrate an understanding.
VS.2c - Took out: George Washington explored and surveyed the Dismal Swamp
VS.2d - Added: American Indian identities have always been closely connected to the land. American Indians did not believe in land ownership.
VS.2e - Added to Essential Understanding: Many American Indians lived in towns situated along the rivers, which made for good farming, good fishing, and easy travel.
VS.2g - Changed almost completely. Is now: describing the lives of American Indians in Virginia today.
Took out the 11 different tribes and the regions they were from.
Added: -Virginia Indians live and work as modern Americans. They practice ancient traditions and crafts while incorporating new customs over time.
-The tribes maintain tribal museums and lands on which they hold public festivals called pow wows. -The pow wow is a way of teaching American Indians and visitors about their culture, past and present.
-The current state-recognized tribes are located in regions throughout Virginia.
-Today, Virginia Indians maintain their strong cultural heritage. Virginia Indian cultural heritage continues through drumming, singing, dance, art, jewelry, clothing, crafts, pottery, and storytelling.
-Virginia Indians contribute to American society as active citizens who vote, hold office, and work in communities.
VS.3b - Added: Natural resources from Jamestown included timber and iron.
VS.3c - Added: define the physical boundaries of the colony
VS.3f - Added: A drought at the time of settlement reduced the amount of food available to everyone in Virginia.
Added: The development of new settlements that spread away from the unhealthy environment of Jamestown
VS.4c - Took out: Moving the Capital to Richmond (moved to VS.5d)
Added: Williamsburg was an already established town.
VS.4d - Added: Essential Understanding: Because Virginia was agricultural, farmers could not pay for goods until their crops were harvested. This made credit important.
VS.5b -  Added: The Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman, volunteered his service to the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The king of France provided French troops, ships and money. The Marquis de Lafayette contributed to the victory at Yorktown.
VS.5c - Took out: Everything on Great Bridge and Jack Jouett (personally I am sad about Jack, I like this one and had a song and activity for it)
Added:While this victory did not end the war, it was the last significant military battle involving British forces and the Continental Army.
Added: The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
VS.5d - Added: Reasons why the capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond (Reasons are the same)
VS.6c - Added:The development of the cotton gin led to the opening of new lands in the south and attracted settlers from Virginia.
Added: The mechanical reaper allowed farmers to grow more wheat with fewer workers, which forced many Virginians to leave the state in search of jobs.
Added: Many enslaved African Americans were sold to people who lived in other southern states.
VS.7c - Added: Some free African Americans joined the Union Army and Union Navy.
VS.8a - Added: Businesses needed to be rebuilt.
VS.8b - Added: experiencing unfair poll taxes and voting tests that were established to keep them from voting
Added: Segregation and discrimination had an impact on: Housing, Employment, Health care, Political representation, Education
VS.8c - Tazewell County changed to Appalachian Plateau
VS.9a - Added: Mechanization (the tractor) and improvements in transportation changed farming.
Took out: Old systems of farming were no longer effective.
Took out: People have moved to Virginia from many other states and countries.
Added: Virginia’s population has become increasingly diverse as people have moved to Virginia from many other states and countries.
VS.9b - CHANGED COMPLETELY - Took out the two on Marshall and Wilson
Added: The U.S. Constitution was amended in 1920 to give women the right to vote. Maggie L. Walker was an African American leader from Virginia who supported equal rights for women.
Added: The Great Depression was a period of worldwide harsh economic conditions during the 1930s. Many Virginians lost their jobs, farms, homes, and businesses. The federal government established New Deal programs to provide employment and ease many hardships.
VS.9c - Added: Barbara Johns, a 16-year-old high school junior in Farmville, Virginia, led a student strike against segregation in 1951. The case, Davis v. Prince Edward, became of one of the five cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court when it declared segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
VS.10b - CHANGED COMPLETELY -  Took out: ALL the products and industries related to a specific region.
Added: Selected examples of products and industries important to Virginia’s economy
Top products and services for Virginia include:
  • Architectural or engineering services
  • Banking and lending
  • Computer programming or systems design
  • Food products
  • Shipbuilding 
The service industry is important to Virginia’s economy. Virginians earn income through jobs in
  • Private health care, computer programming or systems design, and engineering. 
  • Government services including operation of public schools, hospitals and military bases.
Manufacturing (making goods on a large scale using machinery) is also a top industry. Top manufactured products in Virginia include:
  • Ships 
  • Tobacco products 
  • Beverages (such as soft drinks) 
  • Chemical goods 
  • Motor vehicle parts and trucks 
Fertile soil and a favorable climate make agriculture an important industry in Virginia. 
  • Chickens (broilers), beef, milk, turkeys, and hogs are Virginia’s leading livestock products.
  • Soybeans, corn, tobacco, tomatoes, apples, and peanuts are among Virginia’s leading cash crops. Tobacco, once the basis of Virginia’s economy, has been replaced by livestock and livestock products as the state’s most valuable source of agricultural income. 
Access to deep water ports and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean make shipbuilding, fishing, crabbing and oyster harvests possible. 
Historically, the success of Appalachian coalfields is due to the expansion of railroads that transport coal to piers in Tidewater for shipment to both domestic and international markets. Today, coal is less crucial to Virginia’s economy as businesses and individuals shift to other sources of energy.
VS.10c - Added: Virginia has increased trade relationships with other countries.

Looks like I have a lot of work to do this summer. 

Comment below: What do you think of the changes? I think that VS.10b will be the hardest to change, personally, I have taught it for 13 years one way, so I am going to have to think differently and not compartmentalize the products and industries by region.


  1. Aaagh. I don't like change... :) I just finished making classroom sets of all the flashcards. When I think about all the card stock and time -- but they are so helpful for the kids to study... May I ask that you add the new/changed questions as a separate updated section for us older tpt customers so that we can just run those pages rather than reprint all the cards? (Of course some sections will just have to be redone altogether and that can't be helped.) Anyway, I would leave the Jack Jouett things in -- the kids LOVE to hear about Jack. It's very exciting for them -- that's a Virginia "regular guy" that they can relate to. :)

    1. I am SO glad you said that! I LOVE Jack and want to teach it regardless. I make a "big deal" that everyone knows Paul Revere and no one knows Jack Jouett...I get super dramatic about it.
      I like the idea of doing a separate page of flashcards for just the changes...great idea! It is going to be a lot of work, but that is for me and not you :-).