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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 PoetÂ’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.'