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Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & Harriet Beecher Stowe

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
As a graduate of Bowdoin College and a longtime resident of Brunswick, I have a distinct interest in Longfellow. Yet the history of Brunswick includes other famous writers as well, including Harriet Beecher Stowe. Although they did not reside in Brunswick contemporaneously, and Longfellow was already world-renowned before Stowe began her literary career, did these two notables have any interaction? More particularly, did Longfellow have any opinion of Stowe's work? If so, what was it?

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Longfellow's poem "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" opens up the issue of the earliest history of the Jews in America, and the significant roles they played as businessmen and later benefactors to the greater community. The history of the building itself is notable in terms of early American architecture, its having been designed, apparently gratis, by the most noted architect of the day. Furthermore, the poem traces the history of Newport as kind of a microcosm of New England commercial cities before the industrialization boom. For almost any age student the poem could be used to open up interest in local cemeteries, which are almost always a wealth of curiousities and history. Longfellow and his friends enjoyed exploring cemeteries, and today our little local cemeteries can be used to teach little local histories and parts of the big picture as well. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the Jewish cemetery in Newport, RI on July 9, 1852. His popular poem about the site, published two years later, was certainly a sympathetic portrayal of the place and its people. In addition to Victorian romantic musings about the "Hebrews in their graves," Longfellow includes in this poem references to the historic persecution of the Jews, as well as very specific references to their religious practices. Since the cemetery and the nearby synagogue were restored and protected with an infusion of funding just a couple years after Longfellow's visit, and later a congregation again assembled, his gloomy predictions about the place proved false (never mind the conclusion of the poem, "And the dead nations never rise again!"). Nevertheless, it is a fascinating poem, and an interesting window into the history of the nation's oldest extant synagogue.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: The Elms - Stephen Longfellow's Gorham Farm

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
On April 3, 1761 Stephen Longfellow II signed the deed for the first 100 acre purchase of land that he would own in Gorham, Maine. His son Stephen III (Judge Longfellow) would build a home on that property which still stands to this day. Judge Longfellow would become one of the most prominent citizens in Gorham’s history and one of the earliest influences on his grandson Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's work as a poet. This exhibit examines why the Longfellows arrived in Gorham, Judge Longfellow's role in the history of the town, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's vacations in the country which may have influenced his greatest work, and the remains of the Longfellow estate still standing in Gorham today.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie"--Selected Lines and Illustrations

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Maine's native son, is the epitome of Victorian Romanticism. Aroostook County is well acquainted with Longfellow's epic poem, Evangeline, because it is the story of the plight of the Acadians, who were deported from Acadie between 1755 and 1760. The descendants of these hard-working people inhabit much of Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The students enjoy hearing the story and seeing the ink drawings. The illustrations are my interpretations. The collection took approximately two months to complete. The illustrations are presented in a Victorian-style folio, reminiscent of the family gathered in the parlor for a Sunday afternoon reading of Evangeline, which was published in 1847. Preparation Required/Preliminary Discussion: Have students read "Evangeline A Tale of Acadie". Give a background of the Acadia Diaspora. Suggested Follow-up Activities: Students could illustrate their own poems, as well as other Longfellow poems, such as: "Paul Revere's Ride," "The Village Blacksmith," or "The Children's Hour." "Tales of the Wayside Inn" is a colonial Canterbury Tales. The guest of the inn each tell stories. Student could write or illustrate their own characters or stories. Appropriate calligraphy assignments could include short poems and captions for their illustrations. Inks, pastels, watercolors, and colored pencils would be other appropriate illustrative media that could be applicable to other illustrated poems and stories. Each illustration in this exhibit was made in India ink on file folder paper. The dimensions, including the burgundy-colors mat, are 9" x 12". A friend made the calligraphy.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: The Village Blacksmith - The Reality of a Poem

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
"The Village Blacksmith" was a much celebrated poem. Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem appeared to celebrate the work ethic and mannerisms of a working man, the icon of every rural community, the Blacksmith. However, what was the poem really saying?

Lesson Plan

Portland History: Mapping Portland, 1690 - 1900

Grade Level: 6-8 Content Area: Social Studies
Historical maps, like all historical documents, can be interpreted in many ways. This lesson plan uses five maps to trace the development of Portland from its earliest settlements.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow Amongst His Contemporaries - The Ship of State DBQ

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Preparation Required/Preliminary Discussion: Lesson plans should be done in the context of a course of study on American literature and/or history from the Revolution to the Civil War. The ship of state is an ancient metaphor in the western world, especially among seafaring people, but this figure of speech assumed a more widespread and literal significance in the English colonies of the New World. From the middle of the 17th century, after all, until revolution broke out in 1775, the dominant system of governance in the colonies was the Navigation Acts. The primary responsibility of colonial governors, according to both Parliament and the Crown, was the enforcement of the laws of trade, and the governors themselves appointed naval officers to ensure that the various provisions and regulations of the Navigation Acts were executed. England, in other words, governed her American colonies as if they were merchant ships. This metaphorical conception of the colonies as a naval enterprise not only survived the Revolution but also took on a deeper relevance following the construction of the Union. The United States of America had now become the ship of state, launched on July 4th 1776 and dedicated to the radical proposition that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights. This proposition is examined and tested in any number of ways during the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. Novelists and poets, as well as politicians and statesmen, questioned its viability: Whither goes the ship of state? Is there a safe harbor somewhere up ahead or is the vessel doomed to ruin and wreckage? Is she well built and sturdy or is there some essential flaw in her structural frame?

Lesson Plan

Portland History: "My Lost Youth" - Longfellow's Portland, Then and Now

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow loved his boyhood home of Portland, Maine. Born on Fore Street, the family moved to his maternal grandparents' home on Congress Street when Henry was eight months old. While he would go on to Bowdoin College and travel extensively abroad, ultimately living most of his adult years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he never forgot his beloved Portland. Years after his childhood, in 1855, he wrote "My Lost Youth" about his undiminished love for and memories of growing up in Portland. This exhibit, using the poem as its focus, will present the Portland of Longfellow's boyhood. In many cases the old photos will be followed by contemporary images of what that site looked like 2004. Following the exhibit of 68 slides are five suggested lessons that can be adapted for any grade level, 3–12.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Maine's Acadian Community: "Evangeline," Le Grand Dérangement, and Cultural Survival

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce students to the history of the forced expulsion of thousands of people from Acadia, the Romantic look back at the tragedy in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous epic poem Evangeline and the heroine's adoption as an Acadian cultural figure, and Maine's Acadian community today, along with their relations with Acadian New Brunswick and Nova Scotia residents and others in the Acadian Diaspora. Students will read and discuss primary documents, compare and contrast Le Grand Dérangement to other forced expulsions in Maine history and discuss the significance of cultural survival amidst hardships brought on by treaties, wars, and legislation.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Sporting Maine

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Health Education & Physical Education, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce students to myriad communities in Maine, past and present, through the universal lens of sports and group activities. Students will explore and understand the history of many of Maine’s recreational pastimes, what makes Maine the ideal location for some outdoor sports, and how communities have come together through team activities throughout Maine’s history.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

What Remains: Learning about Maine Populations through Burial Customs

Grade Level: 6-8 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
This lesson plan will give students an overview of how burial sites and gravestone material culture can assist historians and archaeologists in discovering information about people and migration over time. Students will learn how new scholarship can help to dispel harmful archaeological myths, look into the roles of religion and ethnicity in early Maine and New England immigrant and colonial settlements, and discover how to track changes in population and social values from the 1600s to early 1900s based on gravestone iconography and epitaphs.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Building Community/Community Buildings

Grade Level: 6-8 Content Area: Social Studies
Where do people gather? What defines a community? What buildings allow people to congregate to celebrate, learn, debate, vote, and take part in all manner of community activities? Students will evaluate images and primary documents from throughout Maine’s history, and look at some of Maine’s earliest gathering spaces and organizations, and how many communities established themselves around certain types of buildings. Students will make connections between the community buildings of the past and the ways we express identity and create communities today.