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Teacher Materials

65 E. Central Boulevard 407-836-8580

History Center 2008

Dear Teacher, Thank you for scheduling a History on the Go program with the History Center. Florida Cracker Family was created to help meet the needs of you, the teacher. This packet was designed to assist you as you continue to teach the subject of Florida pioneers to your students and to better prepare the students for our visit. IMPORTANT: To enhance the programs educational experience, please read the Before Our Visit section of this packet prior to our arrival. If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the educational staff at the History Center at 407-836-8580 or e-mail We look forward to seeing you! Sincerely, The History Center

Table of Contents

Important Note ... 6 Pre-Visit Activity Suggestion . 7

RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM 12 A Short Historical and Cultural Look at Florida Pioneers . 13 Vocabulary Words to Know ... 17 Cracker Recipes ... 18 Cracker Laundry Day . 20 Document Evaluation Worksheet . 21 Horse Breed Characteristics ... 22 Responsibilities for Each Member of a Cracker Family .. 23 Instructions for Building a Cracker Gingerbread House 24 Examples of Cracker Architecture . 25 Non-Fiction Books for Teachers ... 26 Books to Help with Lessons .. 26 Non-Fiction Books for Students 27 Historical Fiction 27 Music 29 Websites ... 30 Where to Find Lesson Plans .. 30 AFTER OUR VISIT . 32 Post-Visit Activity Suggestions .. 33 Standards Based Questions .... 38 Answer Key .. 42


INTENDED AUDIENCE 1st Grade and up SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS Completion of this program and its correlating activities meets benchmarks SS.A.1.1.1, SS.A.1.1.2, SS.A.1.2.1, SS.A.1.2.2, SS.A.2.1.2, SS.A.5.2.1, SS.A.6.2.2, SS.A.6.2.3, SS.A.6.2.4, SS.A.6.2.5, SS.B.1.2.1, SS.B.2.1.3, SS.B.2.2.2, SS.D.1.2.2, LA.A.1.2.1, LA.A.1.2.3, LA.A.2.1.1, LA.A.2.1.3, LA.A.2.2.1, LA.A.2.2.2, LA.A.2.2.3, LA.A.2.2.6, LA.A.2.2.8, LA.B.1.1.2, LA.B.1.1.3, LA.B.1.2.1, LA.B.1.2.2, LA.B.1.2.3, LA.B.2.2.3, LA.B.2.2.5, LA.B.2.2.6, LA.C.1.2.1, SC.B.1.2.1, SC.C.2.2.1, SC.D.1.2.4, SC.G.1.2.1, SC.G.1.3.4, MA.B.1.2.1, MA.B.1.2.2, MA.C.3.2.1, MA.E.1.2.1 BLOOMS TAXONOMY Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, & Evaluation CHARACTER EDUCATION Respect, Responsibility, Caring, & Citizenship PROGRAM OBJECTIVES Students will understand the cultural history of the Crackers. Students will understand daily life of pioneers on the Florida frontier. Students will understand the architecture developed by Crackers. Students will investigate Floridas natural wildlife. Students will investigate the agricultural importance of Florida. Students will work cooperatively with one another. Students will increase reading, writing, and math skills.


IMPORTANT NOTE Please prepare your students for the Florida Cracker Family History Theatre production. This engaging production gives students a chance to hear about life on the Florida frontier. William and Mary Prescott are composite characters, but they accurately represent an average Cracker family living in Florida during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The History Center would like to encourage you, the teacher, to regard this visit as an excellent teaching opportunity. Remember, your excitement and interest is contagious! You are encouraged to utilize these curriculum materials to enhance your students experience. You will find both research materials and activity suggestions that provide you with tools to engage your students in learning about Floridas Cracker pioneers. If you should have any questions regarding the program, Cracker pioneers, or suggested activities, please contact the History Center Education Department at 407-836-8580 or e-mail

PRE-VISIT ACTIVITY SUGGESTION 1. Have students compare their lives to those of nineteenth century pioneers. Procedures: 1. Create 5-6 stations in the room. This can be done with small tables or arranging the desks into 5 or 6 groups. ** Make sure that it is easy to move from one station to the next. 2. Make copies of the sketches found on the following pages, cut them apart, and put one sketch at each station. Consider laminating the sketches for greater durability. 3. Assign students to 5 or 6 groups, and put one group at each station. 4. Give each student a copy of the Daily Routines worksheet found on the next page. 5. Tell students that they will be looking at sketches of objects and activities in the pioneers lives. Each sketch matches a topic on their worksheet, and students must decide where each sketch fits. 6. Once they decide which sketch belongs in each box, have students describe what they see in the sketch and then describe what THEY do or have that would fit that category. **For example, the sketch of the crops is for Food. Students, most likely, get their food from the store. In their box, they will describe the crops and then the grocery store. 7. Have groups stay at a station for three minutes AT THE MOST. Have students rotate to the next station after the three minutes and repeat the process for the next sketch. ** Hints ** Make the rotation a logical one clockwise or counter-clockwise. That way, students know exactly where to go and transition time will be minimal. Play music as a signal to move. Either play the music while they work at each section and then stop when its time to rotate. Or, start the music when students are to move and stop it when they get to the next station. (Look at the music suggestions in RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM for western/pioneer themed music.) 7

DAILY ROUTINES WORKSHEET As you move from one station to the next, match the sketches with the correct topic listed in each box. In the boxes, describe the sketch and then describe what YOU do or have that matches that topic. COOKING LIVING SPACE









A SHORT HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL LOOK AT FLORIDA PIONEERS Excerpted from Orange County Regional History Center Exhibit Essays, OCRHC Archives Pioneers moved into Central Florida throughout most of the nineteenth century. Before the Civil War, most newcomers migrated from North Florida or nearby southern states, encouraged by land availability and the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. The Armed Occupation Act hoped to create a force of residents who would keep the Seminoles in check but, in fact, the settlements were too vulnerable and some disappeared. 1 After the Civil War, northern migrants joined those from southern states. Northerners came for open land and mild winters. Southerners often came to flee the conditions of Reconstruction. 2 Central Florida served former Confederates as an escape from military government and the presence of recently freed African Americans. Residents of middle Florida talked of moving to Brazil, and a few did, but migration to Orange, Brevard, and Hillsborough counties was more feasible. 3 The Homestead Act of 1862 assisted both northern and southern pioneers in acquiring land after the Civil War. 4 Recently emancipated African Americans, however, found little welcome in the region from either southern or northern pioneers. But, they came to the region and made it on their own in segregated communities, such as Eatonville in Orange County. Pioneers arriving from the North farmed intensively in Florida to harvest the maximum they could from an area. A scientific and measured approach to farming in Florida was evident in the books printed for dissemination in the North attempting to attract people to Florida. Wishing to replicate their familiar lifestyle, pioneers from the North also gathered together to perform popular dramas, play popular sheet music, discuss recently published books, and organize special interest or benevolent groups. 5 In the mid-nineteenth century, Florida was a sparsely settled region and, in Grady McWhineys words, ideally suited for the clannish, herding leisure-loving Celts, who relished whiskey, gambling, herding, and who despised hard work, anything English, most government, fences, and any other restraints upon them or

Joe Knetsch and Paul S. George, A Problematic Law: The Armed Occupation Acts of 1842 and its Impact on Southeast Florida, Tequesta 53 (1993) : 77. 2 Michael Gannon, The New History of Florida (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1996), 257. 3 Jerrel T. Shofner, Florida Portrait: A Pictorial History of Florida (Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 1990), 253. 4 The Homestead Act of 1862 provided settlers up to 160 acres of land for an extremely small fee, provided they improved the lands productivity. The Homestead Act targeted pioneer families moving West, but some settlers took advantage of the opportunity to move into Floridas frontier. 5 William F. Blackman, History of Orange County (Chuolta, FL: Mickler House Publishers, 1973), 211-220.


their free ranging livestock. 6 Crackers were reared to believe that a frequent change of country was good and many of them relocated three or four times during a lifetime. 7 The social type known as the Cracker existed throughout many rural areas of the Southeast. The origin and meaning of the term Cracker is ambiguous. Many theories abound dealing with the meaning and history of the term. The word was first used in England to denote loudmouths and braggarts as seen in Shakespeares use of the word in his play, King Lear. A Spanish governor of Florida used the term in 1790 regarding lawless and itinerant newcomers into the colony from the United States. The definitions most often equated with the term include the sound a cow-whip makes, the corn cracking these southerners did which could refer to making grits or moonshine, and the Scot-Irish ancestry most of these southerners claimed. Some people today broadly apply the term Cracker to just about any native of the South who lives an average or ordinary lifestyle while others use it in a derogatory fashion. 8 Whatever the original etymology of the term, Cracker in general refers to those southern pioneers who settled in Florida during the nineteenth century. The requirements of overseeing herds of animals were a major influence in the development of Cracker ways. Needing to remain mobile to seek out new pastures, Crackers acquired only necessities and lived in rudimentary homes that allowed easy relocation. Most Crackers used every resource and product available to them on the Florida frontier to create everything needed on a daily basis. Unlike their northern counterparts who purchased many material items, Crackers produced everything from clothing to furniture to tools and required almost no manufactured goods. With few material items to declare their importance and status, Crackers came to rely on their own kinetic abilities to impress others with the intangibles of story telling, boasting, and fighting. What often perplexed outside observers was a Cracker tendency to value the enjoyment of free time over work or the accumulation of material possessions. 9 Observers of Crackers admitted that in the Florida environment only moderate physical exertion produced both contentedness and self-sufficiency. The architectural style of the Crackers rudimentary homes has become one of the most defining legacies of these southern pioneers. Originally begun as simple one-room houses made of wood and shingled roofs, this architecture evolved into a highly popular style that included multiple floor plans and served to design homes for rural pioneers and plantation owners. The size of the home most often reflected
Grady McWhiney, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1988), 8. 7 Ibid., 12. 8 Cracker has been used as a racial slur throughout the twentieth and now into the twenty-first centuries. The connotations of the word often depend on the speakers regional location. Dana Ste. Claire, Cracker, Forum: The Magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, Winter 2006, 5. 9 James M. Denham, A Rogues Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 18211861 (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1997), 17.


the socio-economic position of the family, but the construction included similar features such as the wood frame, square rooms, and large porches. 10 The Cracker diet consisted of anything they could plant, hunt, or gather. Crackers consumed pork, beef, grits, sweet potatoes, syrup, whiskey, game, fish, and coffee made from cubed sweet potatoes. Crackers relied upon themselves to produce foodstuffs, buying as little as possible from stores: mostly salt, pepper, and tobacco. Some Crackers disliked store-bought, prepared foods and referred to them as monkey foods. Hoppin John, a savory mixture of black-eyed peas and rice; or of rice, corn, and lima beans (perhaps sweetened with syrup) were favorites. Like all Cracker customs, cooking was accomplished by simple means. In fair weather, Crackers cooked out of doors near the cabin on a fire built between three stones that supported kettles. 11 Housewives usually began the days cooking before dawn to avoid the heat of the day. Crackers ate a hot breakfast after which dishes were washed and placed in the proper position for the next meal. The cooked food was placed in the middle of the table and the entire set-up covered by folding the sections of the tablecloth over the top of the table. The custom of permanent board was gratifying to the men and young family members who could raid the ready fare. Travelers were also welcome to take their share even if no one was at home, cleaning up their own dishes when finished. 12 Food and communal meals dominated the Florida Crackers daily and social lives. One important social event was the cane-boiling in the fall at the time of the sugar cane harvest. The cane mill was rather like an old flour mill with a pole extending out some feet to which they hitched a horse. The horse walked around the mill, providing power to grind the cane. Folks sat around a large fire and sang, told stories, chewed cane, and drank the hot cane juice being boiled into syrup. A very potent cane beer was made from the skimmings of the boiling syrup. The purloo party or pilau picnic was another Cracker social celebration. Families brought chickens that they added to huge pots of rice after both had been cooked separately. A dance or frolic was sometimes held in the evening but more often during the day. A fiddler provided the music, and a dance maybe had a caller for localized versions of square dances. Frolics often took place after weeks of work in citrus groves. Fish fries were also popular especially with older folks. Fish were fried in deep fat usually in laundry kettles, then followed by the frying of hush puppies also called corndodgers or down doggies. Fish fry menus could include squirrel and rabbit as well. The most formal of gatherings was the barbecue and was often an occasion for political stumping. Beef or pork was cooked from 8 to 14 hours in
Ronald W. Haase, Classic Cracker: Floridas Wood-Frame Vernacular Architecture (Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 1992). The names of the different floor plans also reflect the Cracker culture, such as dog-trot and saddlebag. An example of a Cracker plantation home is the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, Florida. Cracker style architecture is becoming increasingly more popular among contemporary architects. 11 Clifton Johnson, Highways and Byways of Florida (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918), 131-32. 12 Dana Ste. Claire, Cracker: The Cracker Culture in Florida History (Daytona Beach, FL: The Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1998), 238.


earthen pits over hardwood fires. Sliced as soon as removed from the heat, the meat was served between slices of bread. Today, the number of Floridians who identify themselves as Crackers grows scarcer as urbanization and development continue to encroach on Floridas land and cultural mindset. The legacy, however, of Crackers is undeniable. The names of important Crackers or Cracker activities grace roadways and landmarks around the state. Foods served in homes and restaurants around Florida and elsewhere in the South are versions of staple Cracker dishes, though diners are usually ignorant of that fact. The few remnants of Cracker culture and lifestyle seen around the state give insight into Floridas rural heritage. These men and women lived tough but simple lives on Floridas frontier, and the mark left by these pioneers is indisputable.


VOCABULARY WORDS TO KNOW Andalusian Cow: cattle that can withstand the tough conditions of the Florida prairie. Come from the original Spanish cattle introduced to Florida in 1521. Also known as a cracker cow or scrub cow. Brushpopper: Cracker slang for a cattle thief Catch Dog: cracker cattle-herding dogs trained to literally "catch" a cow. Cooters: turtle eggs. Corn pone: a hoecake made with milk instead of water, then fried. Cow-whip: tool used by cowmen to round up cattle. Makes a loud cracking noise. Cracker: a pioneer in Florida beginning in the 1800s. Usually set up family farms, became cowmen, or both. Fatback: a type of grease used for cooking, comes from bacon. Folklore: the traditional beliefs, myths, legends, tales, and practices of people passed down through oral history. Frontier: an area of land just past the last settled area. Grits: dried, coarsely ground corn. Hominy grits are white in color. Hoecake: cake made of cornmeal, salt, and water and cooked in an iron griddle or skillet. Homesteading: the act of a settler claiming land and building a home on it. House Snakes: a harmless snake that ate the bugs in the cabin. Might also eat rodents. Marshtackie: a small horse brought to Florida by the Spanish; they have adapted to the Florida wilderness and are smaller in size. Pilau/Purloo: a thick stew made of rice, chicken, and small game. Scrub chicken: gopher tortoise. Varmit: small animal, usually a rodent. 17


Hoppin John
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained lb salt pork, slashed 1 large red bell pepper, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced salt Cayenne pepper to taste 1 cup uncooked rice In a deep skillet, saut the onion, red bell pepper and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in the salt pork, black-eyed peas, and rice. Cover with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the rice and beans are cooked through, about 45 minutes. If the liquid is not completely absorbed, continue to cook, uncovered, until it evaporates.

Orange Fritters
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned 1 cup flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 Tbsp powdered sugar tsp salt cup milk 1 egg 1 Tbsp butter Mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add milk gradually, egg well beaten, and melted butter. Dip sections in batter and fry in deep hot fat.


Hush Puppies
2 cups corn meal 1 Tbsp baking powder 1 Tbsp salt 1 Tbsp sugar 1 cup flour 1 cup milk 3 eggs 3 large onions, chopped 1 small green pepper, minced Mix all dry ingredients. Add milk and eggs, then onion and green pepper. Drop by spoonfuls into deep hot grease. Add water if batter is too stiff as hush puppies will be too dry inside. Fry 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipes for Hoppin John, Orange Fritters, and Hush Puppies from Nancy S. Clark, ed., Florida Cracker Cooking and Other Historical Tidbits (DeLand, Florida: West Volusia Historical Society, 2000), 23, 33, 3. Used with permission of West Volusia Historical Society, Inc.



1. Haul water from well or river. There must be enough water for washing and rinsing, so use two large kettles or washtubs. 2. Heat the water for washing and add a bar of soap.* 3. Sort clothes and then soak in hot soapy water. Use a long stick to stir the clothes and then pull the clothes out of the kettle. 4. Scrub clothes on a washboard with more soap to remove the dirt. Rub up and down on the washboard, dipping in the wash water occasionally. (This takes a while to do well.) 5. Rinse the clothes in the cold water. Two separate rinse tubs might be necessary. 6. Once all the soap is rinsed off, ring out the clothes. 7. Hang the wet clothes on rope lines outside to dry. 8. When clothes are dry, some will be ironed. 9. Heat the metal iron over the fire. Iron is ready if it sizzles when touched by a drop of water.
10. Sprinkle clothes with water, then run the hot iron over the

clothes. When iron cools, return it to the fire, then repeat.

* There are many available resources on making soap; check the library for various books, such as The Soap Book: Simple Herbal Recipes by Sandy Maine. Making soap as the pioneers did can be difficult and hazardous. If making the soap, please use extreme caution and always have an adult available to help. 20


1. What kind of a source is this? (i.e. a newspaper, a book, a legal document, letter, etc.) ________________________________________________________________ 2. Is it a primary or a secondary source? ____________________________________ 3. Who is the writer? ____________________________________________________ 4. What kind of a person is the writer? What characteristics can you find? What evidence supports your idea? ___________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 5. When did the author write? ____________________________________________ 6. What was going on in history at the time the document was written? _________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 7. Where was the document written? ______________________________________ 8. What facts does the document give you? _________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 9. What opinions does the document give you? ______________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 10. What is the authors purpose in writing? _________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 11. How does the writer describe Florida? ___________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 12. Does the writer find any differences between their native home and Florida? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________




AVG. HEIGHT (hands high) 13-15 15 14-16 18 15-17 14-15 15-16 14-17 15-17 16

AVG. WEIGHT (lbs) 750-1000 800-1000 900-1200 2200 1000 900-1100 1000 900-1000 900-1200 1100

1 hand high (hh) = 4 inches The height of a horse is measured from the ground to the withers. The withers is the highest part of the back at the base of the neck of the horse, located between the shoulder blades. An average ten-year-old child is about 14 hh or a little over 4 feet, six inches tall.


RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH MEMBER OF A CRACKER FAMILY Father: Building the home and other buildings Hunting wild game including gators, snakes, bears, and deer Fishing Breaking the land then plowing the fields to grow crops such as peanuts, beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Tending the livestock, which included all the cattle and hogs Protecting his family and lands Helping husband clear the land Tending the crops that her husband planted Cooking the meals (usually got up around dawn to start preparing food) Gathering food from the wild Cleaning the home and trying to keep out the bugs and animals Spinning the thread and making the cloth Sewing and mending all the clothes Doing the laundry Educating the children before 1830 (Public school provided education after 1830) Making medicines and administering them when needed Making soap and candles Helping parents clear the land Helping mother plant and tend the crops Collecting the milk Helping mother make candles and soap Churning butter Learning to read and write (going to school after 1830) Helping to take care of the younger children (this is the older childrens responsibility) Doing whatever chores they were asked to do




INSTRUCTIONS FOR BUILDING A CRACKER GINGERBREAD HOUSE Materials/Ingredients: paper plates or cardboard sheet 1-3 small milk cartons, can vary in size royal icing (or peanut butter*) graham crackers, cut-to-size pretzels all varieties different kinds of nuts or nut shells (walnuts, peanuts, etc.*) oatmeal black licorice dark colored candies i.e. M&Ms and Reeses Pieces any kind of chocolate candy crackers Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc. cereal Cheerios, Captain Crunch, Chex, etc. brown sugar or crushed graham crackers for dirt

* Be aware of any children who may have food allergies, especially peanut allergies. (These are suggestions for more rustic-looking decorations. Students can use any type of candies they desire.) 1. Rinse the milk carton. Cut the boxy portion from the triangular top, and glue the cartons original opening shut. 2. Cover the outside of both carton pieces with royal icing. ** If using peanut butter instead of royal icing as the glue, please remember that it will not harden but it is sticky enough to work. 3. Attach graham crackers to the outsides of each carton section so that, when combined, the entire carton is covered with graham crackers. Give sufficient time for the icing to dry. ** If you are creating a multi-room home, for example the dog-trot or saddlebag, you will need to repeat the process above for each room and attach the separate rooms together as needed. 4. Place the graham cracker covered cartons on a paper plate or cardboard section, which will serve as the ground. ** Paper plates can be very flimsy, so make sure the support for the houses is sturdy. A decorated gingerbread house can be very heavy. 5. Once the icing has dried, attach any decorations you desire to create your house. Make sure to define where doors and windows might be. Build a chimney. Create a porch and yard area. Be as creative as you want or have time for. 24


Photo credit: The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida



Cracker: The Cracker Culture in Florida History

By Dana Ste. Claire An excellent source on Cracker information. Each chapter gives a focused look at Cracker society and culture. By Al Burt This book gives a portrait of Florida through the lives of native Floridians from the 1800s to today. Each chapter is digestible, and Burts style is engaging.

The Tropic of Cracker

Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings A collection of Rawlings memories of life on Cross Creek. She had a farm and a small citrus grove in the area and wrote about her experiences and the community around her in the 1930s. Although not covering the pioneers of the late 1800s, this book gives an excellent look into Florida country living.

Classic Cracker: Floridas Wood-Frame Vernacular Architecture

By Ronald Haase Great resource for understanding and illustrating Cracker pioneer homes. Includes blueprints and historical and contemporary photos of Cracker architecture that show the evolution of the Cracker style and its use today.

The Soap Book: Simple Herbal Recipes

By Sandy Maine Gives step-by-step instructions on making soap as well as various recipes to use. BOOKS TO HELP WITH LESSONS

A Land Remembered, Goes to School: A Teachers Manual for A Land Remembered: Student Edition by Patrick D. Smith

By Tillie Newhart and Mary Lee Powell Includes many lesson options for language arts, social studies, and science classes, grades 3-5. Each lesson coincides with sections of A Land Remembered text. Assessments are included as well as hands-on activities, vocabularies, and worksheets. All lessons are aligned with the Sunshine State Standards.


Dinah Zikes Foldables for Grades 1-6

By Dinah Zike Foldables are three-dimensional graphic organizers that give students a creative outlet while providing greater analysis and synthesis. Although written for elementary classrooms, this book is also excellent for secondary teachers use.

By Jennifer Jacobson and Dottie Raymer There are many resources available to teachers dealing with graphic organizers; this is just one. Jacobson and Raymers book is easy to navigate quickly based on the subject matter of the teachers lesson. NON-FICTION BOOKS FOR STUDENTS

The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers: 50 Great Templates to Help Kids Get More Out of Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and More

Skillet Bread, Sourdough, and Vinegar Pie: Cooking in Pioneer Days

By Loretta Frances Ichord Gives examples and recipes of what was eaten by pioneers, cowboys, and gold miners in the West.

Pioneer Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes
By David C. King Designed for grades 3-6, this includes instructions for hands-on activities that exemplify life as a pioneer.

** NOTE ** There are very few non-fiction books for children on this subject; however, some resources exist for pioneer life in general, like those listed above. Probably the best resource on Cracker families available to students is A Land Remembered. Although the plot and characters are fictional, the descriptions of daily life on the Florida frontier are extremely accurate and accessible for students. HISTORICAL FICTION By Patrick D. Smith Originally published in 1984, this new edition divides the story into two volumes and is an interesting read for students. It follows the MacIvey family that settled in the Florida frontier in the mid-1800s, began raising cattle and eventually growing citrus. It gives a great insight into life on the Florida frontier.

A Land Remembered, Student Edition


Brave the Wild Trail

By Millie Howard Written for grades 4-6, this book follows a father and son team that travels with their cattle across the Florida peninsula. By Annette J. Bruce This book is a collection of tales written for the purpose of reading aloud. Each tale includes information about time length, suggested audience, and information to enhance the tellers knowledge and style. Some are based on fact while others are fictional. She has a second edition called More Tellable Cracker Tales.

Tellable Cracker Tales

Strawberry Girl

By Lois Lenski A Newbery Award winner, this book tells of a familys experiences upon moving to the Florida backwoods. Describes the difficulties of living there and the relationship they have with their neighbors.

The Yearling

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings A Pulitzer Prize winning classic appropriate for middle school ages and older, The Yearling gives an excellent representation of Floridas natural appearance and life for a frontier family.

Panther Girl

By Maity Schrecengost Follows a young girls life on the Florida frontier during the 1840s and her friendship with a Seminole boy. Winner of the Patrick Smith Historical Fiction Award.

Nine Man Tree

By Robert Newton Peck The story centers on a young boy who faces multiple difficulties while living in the Florida backwoods. Robert Newton Peck has written multiple novels for children and young adults (ages 10 and up) dealing with the Florida frontier, cattle ranching, and Depression-era life. Some stories include difficult subject matter (i.e. abuse and alcoholism), but Peck handles the material in an appropriate way for the reading level.




Performed by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra An excellent collection of traditional western songs, animal noises, and famous instrumental pieces. Includes the themes from such shows as Bonanza and Rawhide. Although students might not recognize these musical selections, they will notice the western theme running through them all.

Happy Trails

Performed by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra This is mainly a soundtrack of Western movies theme songs, but it does include a performance of Orange Blossom Special, a song from the Florida frontier. By various artists The State Library and Archives of Florida produce this CD and a complimentary CD is available by contacting the State Archives. Contact information can be found at:

Music From the Florida Folklife Collection

More Music From the Florida Folklife Collection

By various artists This is a second collection produced by the State Library and Archives of Florida and is also available for free from the State Archives.

Heartworn Highways

By various artists A documentary soundtrack with stories and songs performed by folk performers around the United States. Includes two tracks performed by Florida folk performer, Gamble Rogers.

Aaron Copland: Billy the Kid and Rodeo Suite

By Aaron Copland, conducted by Morton Gould This is a fairly famous collection of music and might be recognizable to students. Advertising groups, in particular, frequently use the Rodeo Suite. (i.e Beef, its whats for dinner. commercials)


WEBSITES The Florida Memory Project The site was created in association with the Florida Department of State and the State Library and Archives of Florida. This a great resource for materials to enhance lesson plans on more topics than just Florida Crackers. (i.e. Florida in the Civil War, Florida governors, and World War II) Teachers and researchers have access to primary sources including letters, diaries, maps, and federal documents as well as video clips that range in topic from alligators to presidential visits. The Florida Memory Project, Highlights of Florida History Offers digital copies of primary documents including letters and diaries written while on the Florida frontier. The Florida Memory Project, Florida Photographic Collection and Video Clips This search engine allows teachers to search any topic and find both photos and videos to show their students, allowing them to visualize the Florida Crackers, Cracker houses, Kingsley Plantation, pioneers coming to Florida, and more. Cracker Cowmen Timeline The timeline begins with the introduction of the Andalusian cattle by the Spanish and extends to the 1950s. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial This site gives access to information about the Kingsley Plantation, an example of Cracker architecture utilized by the slave-owning classes. (Also, Anna Kingsley, the wife of the plantation owner, was herself a freed African slave. Information on her could be an interesting biographical sketch to consider using during February, Black History Month.) WHERE TO FIND LESSON PLANS Exploring Florida: Social Studies Resources for Students and Teachers This website was created by The Florida Center of Instructional Technology in the College of Education, University of South Florida. It is an excellent resource for documents, videos, music clips, and even 3-D tours. It also provides an encyclopedic guide to Florida and links to other valuable websites. 30

Exploring Florida: Florida Then & Now This website was created by The Florida Center of Instructional Technology in the College of Education, University of South Florida and includes a variety of lesson plans designed around reading passages. They cover important historical events, people, and time periods in Florida. These lesson plans are complete with assessments modeled after the FCAT tests. The lessons pertaining to the Florida frontier are titled, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Harriet Beecher Stowe. National Park Service: Kingsley Plantation, Curriculum Materials Has activities and lesson plans designed as pre- and post-visit activities. Although your class will not likely travel to Kingsley Plantation, the lesson plans are easily adaptable. National Park Service: Everglades, Curriculum Materials Has activities and lesson plans organized by grade levels and subject matters. Some lessons are designed for use before or after a visit to the Everglades National Park, but others are very useful on their own. Teachers will find a wide variety of science and social studies lesson plans.

HISTORY CENTERS NOTE: The selections above were chosen on the criteria of quality, age appropriateness, readability, and availability.




POST-VISIT ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS 1. Access one of the following primary documents from the Highlights of Florida section of the Florida Memory website found at: Primary Sources 1. Harriet Randolph Letter 2. Daniel H. Wiggins 1838 Diary Entry Have students read the document (or a portion of the document) and complete the Document Evaluation Worksheet found in the RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM section. ** Hints ** Questions 1-10 are generic questions for evaluating primary sources, so you can adapt this worksheet to fit other primary source activities you desire. Questions 11-12 are specific to the two documents listed above but could work for other Florida based documents. If you desire more documents from the time period, the following resources include some primary source documentation:

Come to My Sunland: Letters of Julia Daniels Moseley from the Florida frontier, 1882-1886 Edited by Julia Winifred Moseley and
Betty Powers Crislip

Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives: The Florida Reminiscences of George Gillett Keen and Sarah Pamela Williams Edited by James M.
Denham and Canter Brown, Jr.

Echoes from a Distant Frontier: The Brown Sisters Correspondence from Antebellum Florida Edited by James M. Denham and Keith L.
Huneycutt (more difficult to locate a copy)

Cracker: The Cracker Culture in Florida History By Dana Ste. Claire

This activity will be more difficult for younger students to complete please use discretion. There are many ways to alter this activity suggestion. You could shorten the text used, use only some of the questions on the worksheet, design your own document analysis questions, or have students work cooperatively to complete the worksheet. Estimated time of activity: 20-30 minutes Materials needed: Copies of the primary sources, copies of the Document Evaluation Worksheet, and pen/pencil


2. Have students pretend they are Cracker children who are writing to a family member. Ask students to choose any family member they want, then have them write a letter telling about their day. They should use Cracker vocabulary they heard during the theatre production or found on the Vocabulary Words to Know handout included in the RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM section. Encourage students to be creative, but realistic. For example, they should write about a chore or task they would have actually done on a Cracker farm no watching TV, etc. Also consider allowing the students to add illustrations in their letters. If you are able, try to get one of the letters into your schools newspaper or post it on your website. You could also have students send the letter to a family member and ask for a response. Estimated time of activity: 15-20 minutes Materials needed: Vocabulary Words to Know handout, paper, envelopes, and crayons 3. Have students complete a comparison of two notable residents of Floridas frontier. Have students write a short biography on each individual they compare and then have students create a list of similarities and differences between the two. Two possible pairs: Cowmen Jacob Summerlin and Morgan Bone Mizell Writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings When researching the individuals, students should consider: Where did they live? Were they natives of Florida? If not, where were they from? What was their connection to the Florida frontier? What was their contribution to Floridas history? ** Hint ** This activity works in conjunction with curriculum outside Floridas Crackers. Stowe and Rawlings have had a significant impact on the literary world, and a comparison done of these two women would be an excellent Womens History Month project or an excellent extension of a lesson centering on their literary publications. A Summerlin/Mizell comparison could accompany a lesson on the Florida cattle industry. Estimated time for activity: 45 minutes 2 days Materials needed: Available research materials, paper, and pen


4. Have students research the agricultural industry in Florida today. Have them look for: a. What are the major crops and livestock raised in the state? b. Where is it grown/raised? c. How does Floridas industry compare to similar industries in the nation? d. How does it compare to similar industries in the world? ** This will be a more difficult task. One place to look for countries that produce similar products is the World Factbook on the CIA website. That address is: (Do a ctrl-F word search for citrus and it will show you each country that grows citrus in a substantial amount.) Estimated time for activity: 10-40 minutes (depending on teachers desired depth) Materials needed: Resources for further research and paper 5. Have students create a wildlife brochure that includes birds, insects, and mammals that Cracker families encountered on the frontier. Encourage students to include where the wildlife is located, the wildlifes scientific name, and a diagram of the ecosystem or food chain that the wildlife belong to. If students fold the brochure as you would a business letter, each flap could be dedicated to a new topic. Have them write the information and then illustrate. Estimated time of the activity: 20-35 minutes (longer if teacher desires to embellish the suggestion.) Materials needed: Construction paper, markers, and pictures cut from old magazines (optional) 6. Have students create either a bar graph or line graph (or both) that plots both the height and weight of the different horse breeds. (Use the chart included in RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM.) Students can also chart their own height and weight to compare to the horses. Be sure to have the students measure their height in hands. Estimated time for activity: 15-25 minutes Materials needed: Graph paper, ruler, and Horse Breed Characteristics handout. 35

7. Have students (individually, in pairs, groups or as a class) create a three dimensional map that shows Floridas native wildlife and natural habitats. Steps: 1. Have students draw a large-scale Florida outline map. (Maps should be AT LEAST poster size, but preferably larger.) One way to produce an outline map on this scale is to project a transparency of Florida onto the poster or paper and then trace the peninsulas outline. If a Florida outline map is unavailable in your school curriculum, use for this and many other outline maps. 2. Then have students color-code the map to show the different types of natural habitats that exist in Florida (i.e. swamp, prairie, and coastal). 3. Make sure each map has a legend. 4. Either give students a list of Floridas natural wildlife to research or allow students to choose. Have the students find out which habitat each animal or plant belongs to, descriptive characteristics, what they eat, and any other information you would like students to discover. 5. For each animal or plant they research, have them create a small (i.e. 5 7) information sheet with facts and a picture or drawing. 6. Then cut a flap into the large outline map in an area where the wildlife exist. (i.e. alligator in swamp land) The flaps should be slightly smaller than the size of the information sheets. 7. Attach the information sheet to the backside of the map so that when the flap is opened, the information is visible through the hole like a picture through a mat. ** Make sure that glue is only applied to the outside edges of the information sheet. Upon its completion, the students will have a reference map that is interactive and informational. ** Hint ** To make a greater connection to the Prescotts visit and Florida Crackers, be sure to include the names of those animals that they mentioned to the students in the list for them to research. Information on Floridas wildlife can be found at:


8. Have students write a creative story about life as a Cracker on the Florida frontier. Give students a copy of Responsibilities of Each Member of a Cracker Family found in the RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM section to refer to as they write. The story should include a factual representation of family members responsibilities on the frontier. Once they complete a rough draft of their story, have students create a final draft in a booklet form. (Use the Dinah Zikes book on Foldables for instructions on making different styles of booklets.) The final draft should be neat and include colorful illustrations. Estimated time of activity: 40 minutes 2 days Materials needed: Copies of the handout Responsibilities of Each Cracker Family, paper for final draft, markers or crayons for illustrations. 9. Have students create models of Cracker homes with graham crackers. Give students copies of various Cracker floor-plans. (See Classic Cracker: Floridas Wood-Frame Vernacular Architecture by Ronald Haase) Students can work individually, in pairs or groups. Have students choose a variation of the Cracker house and construct it as they would a Gingerbread House. (See RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM for instructions on making a gingerbread house.) ** Hints ** This is a great lesson to use around the holidays. A suggestion is to make the roof, or a portion of the roof, removable so the floor plan is revealed. This is particularly useful for homes with multiple rooms. If using the classic milk carton center for construction, just cut off the top of the carton, so you have an open box. (The instructions include this step.) You can also create separate rooms for the Cracker homes by including multiple milk cartons in the construction process. * Please be aware of any food allergies, especially peanut allergies. Cracker houses do not need to be made of edible materials. Materials such as popsicle sticks and twigs, etc, also will produce a successful Cracker home construction. Estimated time of activity: 45 minutes 2 days Materials needed: Examples of Cracker home floor-plans, materials to construct homes, space, and cleaning supplies.


STANDARDS BASED QUESTIONS Reading Prompt My Trip to the Farm This past summer, I went to stay with my Aunt Mildred and her family on their farm down in Florida. I was visiting from Atlanta where my daddy is a doctor, and we live in the city. Ive been to the farm before but never without my folks. Now, while I was there, Aunt Mildred had me help with some of the chores. Its very different in Florida than in Atlanta, and my chores were different, too. One of my chores on the farm was making butter. Since we dont have a cow in the city, this was all very new to me, but by the end of the month I was an expert. I churned the butter as good as my cousin Clarice, though maybe a tad bit slower. As everyone knows, to make butter you start with milking the cow. That was my cousin Jacks job each morning, though Clarice and I helped sometimes. Butter starts off as milk, but really the cream is what makes it. You have to let the milk sit awhile and then all the cream floats to the top, kind of like suds in the bathtub. Once the cream came to the top, Clarice and I skimmed it out of the pail and set it aside in the coldest place the farm had, the root cellar. When we had enough cream, we poured it all into the butter churn and then I churned it. It could take hours! I moved the plunger up and down, up and down. Eventually, after I had plunged over and over again, the cream became butter and buttermilk. Clarice and I took the butter out of the churn and put it in a bowl. Then Clarice took over. She took a paddle and worked the butter back and forth while pouring a little cold water on it. This helped get any buttermilk out of the butter, so it wouldnt go bad. She was washing it. When the water wasnt clear anymore, Clarice poured it out and added more cold water until all the buttermilk was out. Then we added some salt and put it in a mold. When it was all done, we had butter for cooking and eating. 38

Now, answer the following questions. Base your answers on the story, My Trip to the Farm. 1. According to the passage, why was the authors life in Atlanta different from her life on the farm? a. There are more roads in Atlanta than on the farm. b. It was colder in Atlanta than in Florida. c. They have more cows on the farm than in Atlanta. d. Children have to do chores on the farm, but not in Atlanta. 2. Read the following sentence from the passage: Eventually, after I had plunged over and over again, the cream became butter and buttermilk. According to the sentence, what does the word plunged mean? a. to jump or dive into a liquid b. to push down and pull upwards on a stick repeatedly c. to rush into something d. to throw over the edge of something 3. Which of the following titles would work as a substitute for the current title? a. Clarice and Jacks Chores b. My Chores in Atlanta c. How to Make Butter d. How to Make Cream Writing Prompts 1. When the characters William and Mary Prescott came to your school, they told you about life on a Florida farm. Do you think it would be hard to live on a farm? Use details from the Prescotts visit and your own knowledge to support your answer. Be sure to include information about daily activities. 2. Think about one of the chores you do at home or one of the chores pioneer children did. Chose one and write instructions on how to complete the task. Write each step out, paying attention to details.


Science Questions 1. Cracker farmers were able to grow more months during the year in Florida than they could when they lived up North. This helped them grow a lot of crops. Why were Crackers able to grow more during the year than northern farmers? a. There were a lot of clouds to block the sunshine. b. Florida has a lot of cool weather, which keeps the plants cool. c. Florida gets a lot of sunshine, which gives the crops energy. d. Florida has a lot of droughts during the summer. 2. When gathering water from a well, which simple machine did a Cracker use? a. Inclined plane b. Screw c. Lever d. Pulley 3. Which type of weather pattern would Crackers be LEAST worried about? a. Blizzards b. Hurricanes c. Tornados d. Droughts


Math Questions A Cracker Dog-Trot Home

Area of a rectangle = length width

Answer the following math problems using the diagram above. 1. What is the area of the entire dog-trot structure? a. 64 sq. feet b. 128 sq. feet c. 144 sq. feet d. 216 sq. feet 2. What is the perimeter of the entire dog-trot structure? a. 60 feet b. 92 feet c. 216 feet d. 224 feet 3. What is the area of the entire boardwalk? a. 36 sq. feet b. 72 sq. feet c. 88 sq. feet d. 216 sq. feet 41

ANSWER KEY Reading Questions 1. c. 2. b. 3. c. Science Questions 1. c. 2. d. 3. a. Math Questions 1. d. 2. a. 3. c.