Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

September 19, 2013

New High School Program Targets History and Language Arts Classes

Colonial Williamsburg has expanded its history and citizenship education reach to English language arts students with a series of digital tools called Quill Common Core Series, designed for students in grades eight through 12.

“Reading and analyzing our founding documents and the primary source literature of our national heritage helps students expand their critical thinking and writing skills,” said Bill White, the Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president of productions, publications and learning ventures. “These are the vital skills they need to become the active citizens our republic requires.”

Designed equally for the history and the English classrooms, the Quill Common Core Series units use guided close readings of historical nonfiction to set the stage for students to respond with their own guided writing. By analyzing the writing techniques used in primary source documents, students can make comparisons and write their own essays using these techniques.

The series consists of three interactive lessons:

  • Declaring Independence – an analysis of the Declaration of Independence as a persuasive argument;
  • Stories of Immigration – a comparison of the narrative of a Chinese immigrant from 1868 with the stories of other immigrants;
  • The Trail of Tears – an examination of Andrew Jackson’s 1835 speech advocating Indian Removal and the Cherokee response.

    Teachers who use one or all of these units gain access to Colonial Williamsburg’s digital history curriculum, “The Idea of America,” providing additional primary sources and multimedia resources to support the development of critical thinking and writing skills. Additional information available at

    Media Contact:
    Barbara Brown

  • Footer