Lesson Plans Lesson Plans

Longfellow Studies: The Writer's Hour - "Footprints on the Sands of Time"

Marian R. Carlson, Munroe Center for the Arts



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

5 days

  • 1775-1850
  • 1851-1920
  • Arts

These lessons will introduce the world-famous American writer and a selection of his work with a compelling historical fiction theme. Students take up the quest: Who was HWL and did his poetry leave footprints on the sands of time? They will "tour" his Cambridge home through young eyes, listen, and discuss poems from a writer’s viewpoint, and create their own poems inspired by Longfellow's works. The interdisciplinary approach utilizes critical thinking skills, living history, technology integration, maps, photos, books, and peer collaboration.

The mission is to get students keenly interested in what makes a great writer by using Longfellow as a historic role model. The lessons are designed for students at varying reading levels. Slow learners engage in living history with Alice’s fascinating search through the historic Craigie house, while gifted and talented students may dramatize the virtual tour as a monologue. Constant discovery and exciting presentations keep the magic in lessons. Remember that, "the youthful mind must be interested in order to be instructed." Students will build strong writing skills encouraging them to leave their own "footprints on the sands of time."

  • Discover Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as a historic role model
  • Identify how his childhood, home, family, community, and nation influenced his work
  • Develop an appreciation for the role of curators, the value of museum collections and primary documents
  • Analyze how classic literature touches our lives today
  • Learn to brainstorm, write, and revise poetry with a partner
  • Increase knowledge of poetry forms, rhyming patterns, rhythm, repetition, language
  • Use web links to find literature

Download Lesson Plan

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