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MarkJarrett, Ph.D.
10 Folin Lane
Lafayette, CA 94549

Tel. 925-906-9742
Fax 925-939-6557

Gateway to Early American History
with Revised Civics and Government Standards


What truly distinguishes Gateway to Early American History is its unique combination of: (1) the closest alignment to Florida's learning standards; (2) a compelling narrative; (3) a chapter organization that facilitates learning; and (4) multiple references to Florida's Civics and Government Standards, laying a solid groundwork for performing well on the EOC in Civics in a later grade.

Based on the landmark findings of the National Research Council’s How People Learn, Robert Marzano’s Classroom Instruction that Works, and other recent research, Gateway to Early American History is especially designed to facilitate student learning. Both the program and the book help  unmask student preconceptions, organize information around key concepts, and take a metacognitive approach to skills instruction. The structure of this resource eases the assimilation of new learning schemata and provides opportunities for students to reinforce and apply their learning. At the same time, it introduces all of Florida’s benchmarks for middle school United States history in a logical, coherent and comprehensive way.

In this program, your students will follow a chronological narrative of the most important events in U.S. history from the colonial period to Reconstruction. Each chapter begins with a list of Benchmarks that it covers, a list of any Civics and Government standards from other grades covering the same or related content, and a word wall of important terms and concepts. This is followed by the Florida “Keys” to Learning—a one-page advance organizer of numbered paragraphs that provides a complete overview of the chapter. The chapter itself then presents important concepts, events and details—based on Florida’s Benchmarks. Terms from the Content Focus Vocabulary section are bolded when they subsequently appear in the Florida Keys' to Learning, in the text, and in the end-of-chapter review cards.  Special pop-ups and yellow highlighting draw students' attention to content that is also covered in Grade 7 Civics and tested on the Civics EOC Assessment.

Student activities, known as The Historian’s Apprentice, appear at the end of most major sections. Some of these activities ask students to interpret primary source documents that are found in the Major Tool. Many of the primary sources in this new edition are based either on the revised Civics and Government standards or Florida's B.E.S.T. ELA standards and include student literacy activities: see, e.g., colonial/Patriot and British/Loyalist views of the Stamp Act; Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments”; Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address; a comparison of the Florida State Constitutions of 1838 and 1868.  These new primary source sections are indicated by red borders along their margins.

Other activities ask students to conduct their own research and to present their findings to their classmates. These activities provide teachers and students with scaffolded learning opportunities, such as class discussions, debates, oral presentations, and conducting short and extended research projects.

Each major concept is thus presented to students in multiple ways—in the advanced organizer that lists the relevant Benchmarks, the Content Focus Vocabulary in This Chapter, the Florida “Keys” to Learning, the explanation of the concept in the chapter text, The Historian’s Apprentice activities, the chapter concept map, the review cards, and the practice test questions.

Using these different features, teachers are able to provide differentiated instruction, while students are able to assimilate, apply and reinforce new information for an authentic learning experience. The many Historian’s Apprentice activities and additional activities suggested in the Teacher’s Guide provide many opportunities for students to engage in analyzing primary and secondary sources, conduct their own research, and present their findings in exciting and challenging ways.

In the online program, your students can highlight text and make their own annotations, which they can keep for the rest of the school year. Teachers can assign student work and end-of-chapter tests. The online version also includes audio files and will automatically score and report students' responses on the end-of-chapter tests.

The major strengths of this program are its laser-sharp focus on Florida’s benchmarks, its logical organization, its engaging and cutting-edge historical narrative, and its many special features to facilitate student learning. There is no better way to teach your students early American history or to lay a foundation for the Civics EOC in the event they are studying early American history before taking their middle school Civics course.  Many districts already successfully use Gateway to Early American History in sixth grade.

The advanced edition of our program includes an additional online chapter with a Capstone project. More emphasis can also be placed on the Historian's Apprentice activities and primary sources with advanced students.

Our new enhanced online edition provides a series of scaffolded activities using excerpts from primary sources. Each activity includes historical background, before and during reading tasks, an excerpt from a primary source with a word helper, and post-reading questions. Several primary sources are presented together to provide multiple perspectives on an event or to show how an event unfolds.

We are also currently translating this book into Spanish. It will be available as part of our online program at no additional charge.

A Brief Summary of Gateway to Early American History

Chapter 1. Two Worlds Collide: Europe and the Americas
Students learn how the voyages of Christopher Columbus and other European explorers brought two worlds together—the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Then they learn how religious conflicts spurred Western European rulers to make claims to parts of North America and how Spain, France and the Netherlands established their own colonies there.

Chapter 2: Strangers in a Strange Land: How the English Colonies Began
Students learn how England established its first colonies in North America and the impact of colonial settlement on Native Americans.

Chapter 3. Life in the British Colonies
Students compare conditions between the New England, Middle and Southern colonies.  They explore forms of colonial government, the role of English traditions, religious toleration, and the role of key groups like Africans, children and women.

Chapter 4. The Road to Revolution
Students learn about the French and Indian War and how British attempts to tax the colonists in the aftermath of the war led to increasing disagreements.  They are also introduced to John Locke’s views of the social contract and other Enlightenment ideas.

Chapter 5. “The Times That Try Men’s Souls”: The Story of the American Revolution
Students learn how armed conflict between the British and the colonists broke out in Massachusetts in 1775, how the Second Continental Congress formed an army and appointed George Washington as its commander, how the colonists won the Revolutionary War, and how the colonists declared their independence.

Chapter 6. The Critical Period: America under the Articles of Confederation
Students learn how states drafted their own state constitutions and how the Second Continental Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation, creating our first form of national government. Students also learn how difficulties quickly arose because our first national government was too weak.

Chapter 7. “Miracle at Philadelphia”: The Story of the Constitution
Students learn how delegates from the different states met in Philadelphia met to revise the Articles of Confederation but wrote a whole new Constitution instead. They learn about the compromises at the Constitutional Convention, the structure of the new federal government, three of the core principles of our Constitution (separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism), the debate over ratification, and the Bill of Rights.

Chapter 8. Launching the Ship of State: The Presidency of George Washington
Students learn about the administration of our first President, George Washington, and how his actions created precedents for later Presidents. They learn about the first Cabinet, Hamilton’s financial plan, the rise of the first political parties, the impact of the French Revolution on American political parties, and President Washington’s “Farewell Address.”

Chapter 9. The Young Republic: America under Presidents Adams and Jefferson
Students learn about the disagreements between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans during the Presidencies of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—including the “XYZ” Affair, the “Quasi-War,” the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, the “Revolution of 1800,” the Louisiana Purchase, the Supreme Court decision of Marbury v. Madison, and the Embargo of 1807.

Chapter 10. The War of 1812 and the “Era of Good Feelings”
Students learn about the causes, course and consequences of the War of 1812. Then they learn about the collapse of the Federalist Party and the subsequent “Era of Good Feelings,” including the Tariff of 1816, the chartering of the Second Bank of the United States, Henry Clay’s “American System,” the annexation of Florida, the Missouri Compromise and the Monroe Doctrine.

Chapter 11. Andrew Jackson and the Age of Reform
Students learn about the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, including the election of 1828 and the rise of Jacksonian Democracy, the Indian Removal Act, Jackson’s “War” on the Bank, and the Nullification Crisis. They also learn about the Second Great Awakening and “Age of Reform,” including the rise of the abolitionist and temperance movements, the push for prison and educational reform, and the demand for women’s rights.

Chapter 12. An Expanding America: Manifest Destiny and the West
Students learn about the settlement of parts of Texas by Anglo-American settlers, the Texas Revolution, Manifest Destiny and the election of James Polk as President, the settlement of the Oregon controversy, and the Mexican-American War and the Mexican Cession. They also learn about Florida during the territorial period, including the Seminole Wars, the movement of Florida’s capital city to Tallahassee, the drafting of the state constitution, and Florida’s admission to statehood.

Chapter 13. The Industrial Revolution and its Consequences: North and South
Students learn about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and how Samuel Slater and Francis Cabot Lowell established textile mills in New England. They also learn about the “Transportation Revolution,” including turnpikes, canals, steamboats, trains and the telegraph.  Finally they learn how Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin and the demand for raw cotton by British and American factories led to an extension of the system of slavery in the South.

Chapter 14. A House Divided: The Story of the Civil War
Students consider how slavery, sectionalism, states’ rights and the struggle over the balance of power in the U.S. Senate eventually led to the outbreak of the Civil War once Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Then they learn about the advantages held by the North and South at the beginning of the war, military strategies, key battles, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Northern victory and the immediate consequences of the war.

Chapter 15. The Reconstruction Era
Students learn about the struggles over the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War, and how rights extended to African Americans during the Reconstruction Era were quickly taken away when Reconstruction ended in 1877.  They also learn about the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and how different groups of Americans, including women, later won their voting rights by Constitutional amendment.


  • $189.50 plus 10% shipping for a set of 10 books
  • $9.95 per student for a one-year license to the online program
  • $12.95 per student for a one-year license to the enhanced online program with primary source activities


To see a PowerPoint introduction to both of our middle school resources, click below:

To see the correlations between the State’s learning standards and the new Gateway to Early American History, click below:


To see a video on both of our middle school resources, click below: