Curriculum Materials

Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site offers three downloadable packets enabling teachers to bring lessons from the historic Longfellow house and collection into the classroom. These materials can be used to develop stand-alone lessons, or in conjunction with pre-visit materials supporting on-site school programs.

Packets include biographical information on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, bibliographies for students and teachers, lesson plans, and a variety of primary source materials, including historic photographs, poems, and excerpts from family papers. The packets are available to download as one large file, or in sections. Please click on the appropriate link below to download the desired document.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance as you strive to introduce your students to the life and legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Charley Longfellow: Coming of Age in a Time of Turbulence

In this unit, 8th grade students learn how to “read” an historic house by drawing inferences from primary sources to learn about the people associated with the house and their role in the broader social and cultural context. Using the historic home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, students explore architecture, collections, poems, and transcriptions of archival documents, with an eye toward developing an historical understanding of the forces at play in antebellum America.

The content of the unit focuses on Charley Longfellow (the nonconforming son of a famous father) and how he navigated his way through adolescence in the shadows of a profound family tragedy, a larger-than-life father, and a nation at war. Lessons ignite students’ historical imaginations and push them to shape factual content into humanistic stories that give meaning to the past.

The lessons can be used together, in order, as a cohesive chronological unit or used separately as needed. Teachers are welcome to download the PDFs and print as needed.

Unit Overview (.pdf file, 258 KB)

Lesson 1: Longfellow Family (.pdf file, 2.15 MB)

Lesson 2: Antebellum Issues (.pdf file, 0.99 MB)

Lesson 3: Family Tragedy (.pdf file, 1.2 MB)

Lesson 4: Charley's Quest for Independence (.pdf file, 1.07 MB)

Lesson 5: Lieutenant Longfellow's Wartime Experience (.pdf file, 1.65 MB)

Lesson 6: Personal Decision Making (.pdf file, 445 KB)


Longfellow's Life & Legacy

This packet, Longfellow’s Life & Legacy, includes biographical information on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for students of all ages. In addition the packet includes an extensive bibliography with suggested readings for teachers and students, and a variety of primary source materials – historic photographs, poems, and quotes – suitable for classroom use.

Longfellow's Life & Legacy - full packet (.pdf file, 2.211 MB)

Table of Contents & Introduction (.pdf file, 93 KB)

Biographical Information (.pdf file, 152 KB)

Poems & Primary Sources (.pdf file 2.040 MB)

Additional Resources (.pdf file, 41 KB)

About the National Park Service (.pdf file, 47 KB)


Poetry and the Imagination

Poetry and the Imagination: The Legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow introduces students in grades 3 to 6 to the poetry and life of one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved poets, and cultivates skills essential for reading, writing, analyzing, and appreciating poetry and the creative process.

The unit includes a series of teacher-directed activities and a rubric for assessing student achievement of intended learning outcomes.

Download the entire packet (.pdf file, 3.53 MB)

Table of Contents and Unit Overview (.pdf file, 164 KB)

Learning about Longfellow (.pdf file, 167 KB)

The Poet's Toolbox (.pdf file, 173 KB)

Drafting and Editing Poetry (.pdf file, 324 KB)

Compiling a Writer's Magazine (.pdf file, 2.03 MB)

Assessment (.pdf file, 116 KB)

Additional Resources (.pdf file, 1.19 MB)

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    Last updated: March 21, 2022

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