Free Lesson Plans for Roosevelt & Rufus: Educational Edition

Roosevelt and Rufus by Rosamond Parrish


DVD available from Amazon

Music available from iTunes


Classroom Activities: Florida State Standards for Social Studies and Language Arts


Social Studies: 4th grade SS.4.A.3.3: Identify the significance of St. Augustine as the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States.


Before you show the DVD, have the students look up the word settlement in the dictionary. Ask the class or a student to read the definition aloud. Ask the question, "Can anyone name a place that you think is a settlement and explain why?” Ask them to name or describe the type of people who live there. Can they explain who a European might be? Ask them what they think the word permanent means.

Tell the class they are going to watch a DVD about the City of Saint Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is known as "the oldest permanent settlement in the United States." Say that you would like them to remember and be able to explain a part of the DVD that helped them understand this statement.

SS.4.3.Su.c: Recognize that St. Augustine is an old settlement.

Before you show the DVD, tell the students that there will be many examples in this DVD indicating that St. Augustine is an old settlement. After they watch the DVD they will be asked to write and discuss some of the examples they saw.

SS.4.3.Pa.c: Recognize that people live together in the same location (settlement).

After watching the DVD, have the students create a "settlement" (either St. Augustine, or another of their own creation) in the classroom. For example, they might rearrange the furniture. If there is a fort, why is it there? They might also pick or assign who they will be. They will explain what importance they have to each other and to the settlement.

Social Studies: 4th grade: SS.4.A.1.2: Synthesize information related to Florida history through print and electronic media. (Use after watching the DVD.)

SS.4.1.nb and The activities above meet this standard for both SS.4.1.nb and SS.4.1.Su.

Additional activities for both SS.4.1.nb and

Find appropriate reading material for your class that relates to the history of St. Augustine (magazine articles, short biographies, diaries).

Either in class or for homework, ask them to write a story about what they learned that would be fun for a second grade student to read.

Show maps of old St. Augustine and present-day St. Augustine and have the students write or tell how and why the city has changed.

SS.4.1.Pa : (This activity will need additional class time.)

In teams or individually, using the Internet, have the students locate websites that tell about places visited with Roosevelt and Rufus. Tell them they are on "an information treasure hunt." Each will have 10 minutes on the computer. They are to list as many new interesting facts as they can. Later the class will share their "treasure chests" of new information.

Social Studies 4th grade: SS.4.1: Identify explorers who came to Florida and the motivations for their expeditions. and Recognize an explorer who came to Florida.

After the DVD ask the students to name two explorers who came to Florida (Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez). Divide the class into two groups--one for the study of Ponce de Leon and one for Pedro Menendez. Hand out the printed information to each group from the website (or another of your own choosing). Have them answer who, what, when, where, how and why questions that you have created from the biographical information.

SS.4.A.3.p.a: Recognize the people who came to Florida a long time ago.

Access the website and copy maps which show the routes of early explorers of Florida. Ask the students to list these explorers' names, where they went, and when they explored Florida.

Social Studies 4th grade: SS.4.3.7: Identify nations (Spain, France, England) that controlled Florida before it became a United States territory.

SS.4.3.In.q: Identify different nations that came to Florida. Ask the students to name the countries that ruled St. Augustine that were mentioned in the DVD.

SS.4.3.Su.q: Locate and display the flags of the nations that ruled St. Augustine. Have the students research each flag and explain the meaning of the flag's symbols. Have them explain how one or more of the symbols relate to that nation and to St. Augustine. Recognize that different people lived in Florida a long time ago.

Access the website and copy maps that indicate where people have lived in Florida long ago. Have them research who these people were, where they came from, and why they were in Florida.

More Social Studies Activities:

The students will create a word search using ten words they learned that relate to the history of St. Augustine.

The students will go online and create a crossword puzzle using facts that they have learned about St. Augustine. Some crossword websites are:,,

The teacher will copy a map of Florida from the time of the early explorers. The students will draw on this map where they would settle and built a fort. On a separate sheet of paper, they will draw a bird's-eye view of their fort. They are to list possible dangers to their settlement. What enemies might they have and why? They are to create a list of what they will need to survive for a year.

The students will write or tell the class about their favorite part of the DVD. Why is it their favorite part? What new historical information have they learned?


Language Arts 4th grade: LACC.4.SL.1.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in group, and teacher-led) with diverse partners in grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly (after watching the DVD).

The teacher will divide the class into 3 or 4 groups. The teacher will create name cards for members of each group. Each student will draw a card. The cards will name the following roles: explorer, soldier, immigrant, store owner, teacher, doctor, stable owner, and builder (depending on the number of students in the group). Each student is to read what role they have and then write why they are important to a new settlement that is to be created. The year is 1565, and the settlement is to be in a far-away place called Florida. It is near an ocean and has a river flowing through it. The group is to get together and first read why they are important to the settlement. Then they are to decide who will be their leader and write why that person was chosen. They are to name the settlement and be able to explain why they chose that name. The other groups are to do the same. The teacher is to designate a specific time for the activities above. It is suggested that it be no longer than 20 minutes. Each group is to have the leader give the name of the settlement. The others are to tell who they are and why they are important to the settlement. A discussion will follow. Points for discussion: Who gave the most detailed description of who they were, and why? What did you like about one of the settlements? Did you have problems picking a leader, and if so, why? Do you think older settlements and modern communities had problems when they were being created? Why?

Language Arts 4th grade:LLAC..4.SL.2.4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes. Speak clearly at an understandable pace (after watching the DVD).

Tell a story: You had a blind friend come to visit. Tell the story of how you gave him a tour of your neighborhood and what you told him.

Recount an experience: Tell the class about a tour you had on a special vacation.

LACC.4.W.1.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic or convey ideas and information clearly.

Think of Rufus as your horse and yourself as the carriage driver. Write a story that explains how you would take care of Rufus before and after the tour.

Pretend you are Rufus. Write a story about how you feel about your carriage driver, Roosevelt, and why he is a special person to you.

You are a gatekeeper of St. Augustine. You somehow were locked out. Explain who you are, how important your job is, and how you got locked out.

You are a builder of the fort at St. Augustine. Explain how you built the fort. What it is made of, and why is it important to the settlement of St. Augustine?

You are a teacher at the oldest school. Describe your schoolhouse and what you teach your students.

You are the teacher of your class. Write about the important facts you would want your students to remember about the history of St. Augustine.

LLAC.4.2.6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others: demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting (student activities).

Create a single page web page about the history of St. Augustine for second grade. Give dates, facts, and short interesting stories with pictures. Use the Internet and websites for your information. All text must be in your own words. With a team member, create a web page, power point, or newspaper article about Roosevelt and Rufus. Each of you will select your favorite facts or stories about Roosevelt and Rufus. Choose the ones you want to report on, and then create your project for your class to see and/or read.

Using the Internet as a historical resource, create your own "I bet you didn't know" page where you record interesting, little-known facts about St. Augustine and/or early Florida history.

LANC.4.w.3.7: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

The teacher is to write a short topic for investigation on a note card. Each note card should have a different topic (examples: carriage horses; carriage drivers; horse care; St. Augustine; Ponce de Leon; Pedro Menendez; oldest wooden school house; September 8, 1565; coquina wall; Castillo de San Marcos). Have each student select a card, research the topic, and present findings to the class in written or verbal form.

More Language Arts Activities:

Have the class create a play about St Augustine.

Have the class create historical charades. They will pick a note card created by the teacher that tells what they must act out. Each card will have something they learned about St. Augustine (examples: building a fort, driving a carriage, teaching in the old wooden school house, Menendez founding St. Augustine, guarding the city gate, the flags of nations that claimed St. Augustine, the cannonball getting stuck in the wall).

The student is to be someone from St. Augustine history or someone in the DVD. They are to tell the class about who they are, what they have done and/or do, and tell why they are important to history.



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