Putting It All Together
In the lesson, students learned about the first battles of the Revolutionary War and the ways people remembered them through art. Through the following activities students will expand on these topics to explore revolution and commemoration through art.
Activity 1: Rebellion -- Then and Now
Ask students to use U.S. history textbooks to make a list of reasons the British colonists rebelled against the British government. Then, ask them to use newspapers, magazines, or news reports to make a list of countries that have recently undergone or are currently undergoing a revolution or change in government. Have the class choose one of these countries. Then divide the students into two groups, and have one group defend the government before the revolution and the other group present reasons why the rebels want change. Ask students from both groups if they find any parallels between America’s revolution and what is happening in the countries they studied. Then hold a general classroom discussion about the effectiveness of revolutions as a way to settle serious issues. Ask for other ways. What factors do people need to consider when deciding on the most appropriate or necessary course?
Activity 2: Recitation: “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”
Have students read the entire Paul Revere poem. After completing this lesson plan, what do they think is accurate in the poem and what is not? Hold a class discussion about why Longfellow might have written the poem the way he did. What might be the values or use of any of the inaccuracies that Longfellow writes? How skeptical should we be of popular culture portrayals of history? Do all authors seek to shape history to their own advantage? Next, ask students to pick a current or recent event they think is important enough that it should be remembered by posterity. Ask them to think about how future generations should view this event and why, and then have them write a poem about it. Ask for volunteers to read their poems in class.
Activity 3: Local Commemoration
Ask students to work in groups to identify and research residents of their community who made positive contributions either locally or more globally. Have them consider more than those who serve in the military and have each group select a different person. The person that they research may be living or deceased. After they finish their research, ask each group to prepare a proposal to erect a suitable monument for this person and to present that proposal to the class. The proposal should include a testimony as to why the community should raise such a memorial and a description of the form the memorial should take. Have the class decide which of these people they would like to sponsor for such a memorial. If that person is still living, ask the students to submit a design for a memorial to the community member that they want to honor. With the permission of a living person, or if the person is deceased, have the class polish its proposal and submit it to the town council, city board, or other appropriate governing body.You might consider arranging for students to testify in person to community elected officials.
An alternate approach could be to have students design a community memorial to an event, movement, or cause that affected their community or to a group of people important to their community. Students should research their chosen subject and prepare a proposal for the memorial design.