Free and Independent State [2019-2020 edition] is the new Tennessee History for Kids booklet that meets the 2019-2020 eighth grade social studies standards.
Free and Independent State covers all the Tennessee-specific topics in the new eighth grade social studies standards. It is meant as an "ELA supplement" to the U.S. history textbook or resource that the teacher is using.
"Free and Independent State is an outstanding resource for eighth grade social studies teachers," says Sean Lares, who teaches in Jefferson County. "It is tailor-made to address most of our Tennessee history standards in a concise yet thorough manner."
Each chapter of Free and Independent State was written as if it is a "stand-alone column" intended for eighth grade audiences. It contains interesting and original chapters about topics such as the Lost State of Franklin, the process under which Tennessee became a state, slavery in Tennessee, the Battle of Shiloh, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and others.
Each chapter concludes with a section of questions that tests whether the student understood the chapter--especially in the context of U.S. history.
"The booklet contains SO many primary sources, quotes and photographs," says Carla Sells, a teacher in Hawkins County. "Students enjoy primary sources, and at least in my experience, tend to retain more from them than just a textbook.
"Most of the eighth grade curriculum could be taught using this booklet as a starting point and not just to reinforce the Tennessee portion of the standards."
Other topics covered in the booklet include Fort Loudoun, longhunters, the incredible journey of the Donelson Party, the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Battle of New Orleans, West Tennessee's "land rush," the Trail of Tears, the arrival of railroads, the Battle of Franklin, Sam Watkins and the Constitution of 1870.
"I love having researched and interesting stories such as these to share with my students!" says Suzi Constantine, an eighth grade teacher in Williamson County.