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Lesson Plan

Immigration: U.S. Immigrants and the Land of Opportunity

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
Learn about immigration in the United States using primary sources from Maine Memory Network and the Library of Congress.

Lesson Plan

Jews in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Postsecondary Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson presents an overview of the history of Jews in Maine and the U.S., including some of the factors that led to Jewish immigration to the U.S., examination of the prejudice, discrimination and anti-Semitism many Jews have experienced, and the contributions of Jews to community life and culture in Maine.

Lesson Plan

Chinese in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Postsecondary Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson presents an overview of the history of the Chinese/Chinese Americans in Maine and the U.S. including some of the factors that led to Chinese immigration to the U.S., the history of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a look into the xenophobia, racism, and discrimination many Chinese Americans have experienced and continue to experience, and the contributions of Chinese Americans to community life and culture in Maine.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow and the American Sonnet

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Traditionally the Petrarchan sonnet as used by Francesco Petrarch was a 14 line lyric poem using a pattern of hendecasyllables and a strict end-line rhyme scheme; the first twelve lines followed one pattern and the last two lines another. The last two lines were the "volta" or "turn" in the poem. When the sonnet came to the United States sometime after 1775, through the work of Colonel David Humphreys, Longfellow was one of the first to write widely in this form which he adapted to suit his tone. Since 1900 poets have modified and experimented with the traditional traits of the sonnet form.

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

Longfellow Studies: The Birth of An American Hero in "Paul Revere's Ride"

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
The period of American history just prior to the Civil War required a mythology that would celebrate the strength of the individual, while fostering a sense of Nationalism. Longfellow saw Nationalism as a driving force, particularly important during this period and set out in his poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" to arm the people with the necessary ideology to face the oncoming hardships. "Paul Revere's Ride" was perfectly suited for such an age and is responsible for embedding in the American consciousness a sense of the cultural identity that was born during this defining period in American History. It is Longfellow's interpretation and not the actual event that became what Dana Gioia terms "a timeless emblem of American courage and independence." Gioia credits the poem's perseverance to the ease of the poem's presentation and subject matter. "Paul Revere's Ride" takes a complicated historical incident embedded in the politics of Revolutionary America and retells it with narrative clarity, emotional power, and masterful pacing,"(2). Although there have been several movements to debunk "Paul Revere's Ride," due to its lack of historical accuracy, the poem has remained very much alive in our national consciousness. Warren Harding, president during the fashionable reign of debunk criticism, perhaps said it best when he remarked, "An iconoclastic American said there never was a ride by Paul Revere. Somebody made the ride, and stirred the minutemen in the colonies to fight the battle of Lexington, which was the beginning of independence in the new Republic of America. I love the story of Paul Revere, whether he rode or not" (Fischer 337). Thus, "despite every well-intentioned effort to correct it historically, Revere's story is for all practical purposes the one Longfellow created for him," (Calhoun 261). It was what Paul Revere's Ride came to symbolize that was important, not the actual details of the ride itself.

Lesson Plan

LGBTQ+ History in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Postsecondary Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson presents an overview of the history of the LGBTQ community in Maine and the U.S., including the ways in which attitudes towards the LGBTQ community have changed over time, some of the ways LGBTQ people have faced discrimination and unfair treatment, and some of the moments in Maine and U.S. history that inspired LGBTQ people and their allies to fight for equality and LGBTQ rights.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Integration of Longfellow's Poetry into American Studies

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
We explored Longfellow's ability to express universality of human emotions/experiences while also looking at the patterns he articulated in history that are applicable well beyond his era. We attempted to link a number of Longfellow's poems with different eras in U.S. History and accompanying literature, so that the poems complemented the various units. With each poem, we want to explore the question: What is American identity?

Lesson Plan

Irish and Ulster Scots in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Postsecondary Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson presents an overview of the history of the Irish and Ulster Scots/Scots Irish in Maine and the U.S., including some of the factors that led to their immigration to the U.S., a look into the prejudice and discrimination many Irish and Ulster Scots/Scots Irish experienced, and the contributions of Irish and Ulster Scots/Scots Irish to community life and culture in Maine.

Lesson Plan

Black History and the History of Slavery in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Postsecondary Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson presents an overview of the history of the Black community in Maine and the U.S., including Black people who were enslaved in Maine, Maine’s connections to slavery and the slave trade, a look into the racism and discrimination many Black people in Maine have experienced, and highlights selected histories of Black people, demonstrating the longevity of their experiences and contributions to the community and culture in Maine.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith" and "Whitman's Song of Myself" - Alternative Constructions of the American Worker

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Most if not all of us have or will need to work in the American marketplace for at least six decades of our lives. There's a saying that I remember a superintendent telling a group of graduating high-school seniors: remember, when you are on your deathbed, you will not be saying that you wish you had spent more time "at the office." But Americans do spend a lot more time working each year than nearly any other people on the planet. By the end of our careers, many of us will have spent more time with our co-workers than with our families. Already in the 21st century, much has been written about the "Wal-Martization" of the American workplace, about how, despite rocketing profits, corporations such as Wal-Mart overwork and underpay their employees, how workers' wages have remained stagnant since the 1970s, while the costs of college education and health insurance have risen out of reach for many citizens. It's become a cliché to say that the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" is widening to an alarming degree. In his book Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips says we are dangerously close to becoming a plutocracy in which one dollar equals one vote. Such clashes between employers and employees, and between our rhetoric of equality of opportunity and the reality of our working lives, are not new in America. With the onset of the industrial revolution in the first half of the nineteenth century, many workers were displaced from their traditional means of employment, as the country shifted from a farm-based, agrarian economy toward an urban, manufacturing-centered one. In cities such as New York, groups of "workingmen" (early manifestations of unions) protested, sometimes violently, unsatisfactory labor conditions. Labor unions remain a controversial political presence in America today. Longfellow and Whitman both wrote with sympathy about the American worker, although their respective portraits are strikingly different, and worth juxtaposing. Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith" is one of his most famous and beloved visions: in this poem, one blacksmith epitomizes characteristics and values which many of Longfellow's readers, then and now, revere as "American" traits. Whitman's canto (a section of a long poem) 15 from "Song of Myself," however, presents many different "identities" of the American worker, representing the entire social spectrum, from the crew of a fish smack to the president (I must add that Whitman's entire "Song of Myself" is actually 52 cantos in length). I do not pretend to offer these single texts as all-encompassing of the respective poets' ideas about workers, but these poems offer a starting place for comparison and contrast. We know that Longfellow was the most popular American poet of the nineteenth century, just as we know that Whitman came to be one of the most controversial. Read more widely in the work of both poets and decide for yourselves which poet speaks to you more meaningfully and why.

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: The Exile of the People of Longfellow's "Evangeline"

Grade Level: 6-8 Content Area: Social Studies
Other materials needed: - Copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Evangeline" - Print media and Internet access for research - Deportation Orders (may use primary document with a secondary source interpretation) Throughout the course of history there have been many events in which great suffering was inflicted upon innocent people. The story of the Acadian expulsion is one such event. Britain and France, the two most powerful nations of Europe, were at war off and on throughout the 18th century. North America became a coveted prize for both warring nations. The French Acadians of present day Nova Scotia fell victim to great suffering. Even under an oath of allegiance to England, the Acadians were advised that their families were to be deported and their lands confiscated by the English. This event was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "Evangeline", which was published in 1847.

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

Longfellow Studies: "Christmas Bells"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
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.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "The Poet's Tale - The Birds of Killingworth"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This poem is one of the numerous tales in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Tales of the Wayside Inn. The collection was published in three parts between 1863 and 1873. This series of long narrative poems were written by Longfellow during the most difficult personal time of his life. While mourning the tragic death of his second wife (Fanny Appleton Longfellow) he produced this ambitious undertaking. During this same period he translated Dante's Inferno from Italian to English. "The Poet's Tale" is a humorous poem with a strong environmental message which reflects Longfellow's Unitarian outlook on life.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "Haunted Houses"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Longfellow's collection The Courtship of Miles Standish and other Poems was published in 1858. It sold 250,000 copies in two months and over 10.000 copies in London on the first day; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was extremely popular during his lifetime. "Haunted Houses" is a work from that collection. It is a poem that is especially appealing around Halloween. The poem welcomes the reader to a place where "The spirit-world around the world of sense floats like an atmosphere . . ."

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "The Slave's Dream"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
In December of 1842 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poems on Slavery was published. "The Slave's Dream" is one of eight anti-slavery poems in the collection. A beautifully crafted and emotionally moving poem, it mesmerizes the reader with the last thoughts of an African King bound to slavery, as he lies dying in a field of rice. The 'landscape of his dreams' include the lordly Niger flowing, his green-eyed Queen, the Caffre huts and all of the sights and sounds of his homeland until at last 'Death illuminates his Land of Sleep.'