Lesson Plans Lesson Plans

Longfellow Studies: "Christmas Bells"

Gail Roller, Biddeford Public Schools, York County


6-8, 9-12

  • English Language Arts -- Reading
  • Social Studies -- History

2-4 days

  • 1775-1850
  • 1851-1920
  • Arts

The words of this poem are more commonly known as the lyrics to a popular Christmas Carol of the same title. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" in December of 1863 as the Civil War raged. It expresses his perpetual optimism and hope for the future of mankind. The poem's lively rhythm, simple rhyme and upbeat refrain have assured its popularity through the years.

  • This lesson was developed for seventh graders.
  • The lesson plan can stand on their own or can be integrated into language arts, social studies or even a science curriculum.
  • The objectives and activities are suggested as a starting point. It is my hope that after teachers and students are exposed to this sampling of Longfellow's poetry they will be motivated to read and study more of his works.

Teachers should feel free to adapt and use this plan to suit their needs.

Download Lesson Plan

A resource developed through the "Longfellow & the Forging of American Identity" program funded by NEH