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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: 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.