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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

Wabanaki Studies: Out of Ash

Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This lesson plan will give middle and high school students a broad overview of the ash tree population in North America, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) threatening it, and the importance of the ash tree to the Wabanaki people in Maine. Students will look at Wabanaki oral histories as well as the geological/glacial beginnings of the region we now know as Maine for a general understanding of how the ash tree came to be a significant part of Wabanaki cultural history and environmental history in Maine. Students will compare national measures to combat the EAB to the Wabanaki-led Ash Task Force’s approaches in Maine, will discuss the benefits and challenges of biological control of invasive species, the concept of climigration, the concepts of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and how research scientists arrive at best practices for aiding the environment.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: An American Studies Approach to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was truly a man of his time and of his nation; this native of Portland, Maine and graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine became an American icon. Lines from his poems intersperse our daily speech and the characters of his long narrative poems have become part of American myth. Longfellow's fame was international; scholars, politicians, heads-of-state and everyday people read and memorized his poems. Our goal is to show that just as Longfellow reacted to and participated in his times, so his poetry participated in shaping and defining American culture and literature. The following unit plan introduces and demonstrates an American Studies approach to the life and work of Longfellow. Because the collaborative work that forms the basis for this unit was partially responsible for leading the two of us to complete the American & New England Studies Masters program at University of Southern Maine, we returned there for a working definition of "American Studies approach" as it applies to the grade level classroom. Joe Conforti, who was director at the time we both went through the program, offered some useful clarifying comments and explanation. He reminded us that such a focus provides a holistic approach to the life and work of an author. It sets a work of literature in a broad cultural and historical context as well as in the context of the poet's life. The aim of an American Studies approach is to "broaden the context of a work to illuminate the American past" (Conforti) for your students. We have found this approach to have multiple benefits at the classroom and research level. It brings the poems and the poet alive for students and connects with other curricular work, especially social studies. When linked with a Maine history unit, it helps to place Portland and Maine in an historical and cultural context. It also provides an inviting atmosphere for the in-depth study of the mechanics of Longfellow's poetry. What follows is a set of lesson plans that form a unit of study. The biographical "anchor" that we have used for this unit is an out-of-print biography An American Bard: The story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, by Ruth Langland Holberg, Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, c1963. Permission has been requested to make this work available as a downloadable file off this web page, but in the meantime, used copies are readily and cheaply available from various vendors. The poem we have chosen to demonstrate our approach is "Paul Revere's Ride." The worksheets were developed by Judy Donahue, the explanatory essays researched and written by the two of us, and our sources are cited below. We have also included a list of helpful links. When possible we have included helpful material in text format, or have supplied site links. Our complete unit includes other Longfellow poems with the same approach, but in the interest of time and space, they are not included. Please feel free to contact us with questions and comments.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: The American Wilderness? How 19th Century American Artists Viewed the Separation Of Civilization and Nature

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
When European settlers began coming to the wilderness of North America, they did not have a vision that included changing their lifestyle. The plan was to set up self-contained communities where their version of European life could be lived. In the introduction to The Crucible, Arthur Miller even goes as far as saying that the Puritans believed the American forest to be the last stronghold of Satan on this Earth. When Roger Chillingworth shows up in The Scarlet Letter's second chapter, he is welcomed away from life with "the heathen folk" and into "a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people." In fact, as history's proven, they believed that the continent could be changed to accommodate their interests. Whether their plans were enacted in the name of God, the King, or commerce and economics, the changes always included – and still do to this day - the taming of the geographic, human, and animal environments that were here beforehand. It seems that this has always been an issue that polarizes people. Some believe that the landscape should be left intact as much as possible while others believe that the world will inevitably move on in the name of progress for the benefit of mankind. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby – a book which many feel is one of the best portrayals of our American reality - the narrator, Nick Carraway, looks upon this progress with cynicism when he ends his narrative by pondering the transformation of "the fresh green breast of a new world" that the initial settlers found on the shores of the continent into a modern society that unsettlingly reminds him of something out of a "night scene by El Greco." Philosophically, the notions of progress, civilization, and scientific advancement are not only entirely subjective, but also rest upon the belief that things are not acceptable as they are. Europeans came here hoping for a better life, and it doesn't seem like we've stopped looking. Again, to quote Fitzgerald, it's the elusive green light and the "orgiastic future" that we've always hoped to find. Our problem has always been our stoic belief system. We cannot seem to find peace in the world either as we've found it or as someone else may have envisioned it. As an example, in Miller's The Crucible, his Judge Danforth says that: "You're either for this court or against this court." He will not allow for alternative perspectives. George W. Bush, in 2002, said that: "You're either for us or against us. There is no middle ground in the war on terror." The frontier -- be it a wilderness of physical, religious, or political nature -- has always frightened Americans. As it's portrayed in the following bits of literature and artwork, the frontier is a doomed place waiting for white, cultured, Europeans to "fix" it. Anything outside of their society is not just different, but unacceptable. The lesson plan included will introduce a few examples of 19th century portrayal of the American forest as a wilderness that people feel needs to be hesitantly looked upon. Fortunately, though, the forest seems to turn no one away. Nature likes all of its creatures, whether or not the favor is returned. While I am not providing actual activities and daily plans, the following information can serve as a rather detailed explanation of things which can combine in any fashion you'd like as a group of lessons.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Wabanaki Studies: Stewarding Natural Resources

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce elementary-grade students to the concepts and importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK), taught and understood through oral history to generations of Wabanaki people. Students will engage in discussions about how humans can be stewards of the local ecosystem, and how non-Native Maine citizens can listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of Wabanaki neighbors to assist in the future of a sustainable environment. Students will learn about Wabanaki artists, teachers, and leaders from the past and present to help contextualize the concepts and ideas in this lesson, and learn about how Wabanaki youth are carrying tradition forward into the future.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Nation to Nation: Treaties and Legislation between the Wabanaki Nations and the State of Maine

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan asks high school students to think critically about and look closely at documentation regarding the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Wabanaki Tribes/Nations and the State of Maine. This lesson asks students to participate in discussions about morality and legislative actions over time. Students will gain experience examining and responding to primary and secondary sources by taking a close look at documents relating to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (MICSA) and the issues that preceded and have followed the Act.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Celebrity's Picture - Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
"In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?" Englishman Sydney Smith's 1820 sneer irked Americans, especially writers such as Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Maine's John Neal, until Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's resounding popularity successfully rebuffed the question. The Bowdoin educated Portland native became the America's first superstar poet, paradoxically loved especially in Britain, even memorialized at Westminster Abbey. He achieved international celebrity with about forty books or translations to his credit between 1830 and 1884, and, like superstars today, his public craved pictures of him. His publishers consequently commissioned Longfellow's portrait more often than his family, and he sat for dozens of original paintings, drawings, and photos during his lifetime, as well as sculptures. Engravers and lithographers printed replicas of the originals as book frontispiece, as illustrations for magazine or newspaper articles, and as post cards or "cabinet" cards handed out to admirers, often autographed. After the poet's death, illustrators continued commercial production of his image for new editions of his writings and coloring books or games such as "Authors," and sculptors commemorated him with busts in Longfellow Schools or full-length figures in town squares. On the simple basis of quantity, the number of reproductions of the Maine native's image arguably marks him as the country's best-known nineteenth century writer. TEACHERS can use this presentation to discuss these themes in art, history, English, or humanities classes, or to lead into the following LESSON PLANS. The plans aim for any 9-12 high school studio art class, but they can also be used in any humanities course, such as literature or history. They can be adapted readily for grades 3-8 as well by modifying instructional language, evaluation rubrics, and targeted Maine Learning Results and by selecting materials for appropriate age level.

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.