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“Mr. Friday and Friends: A Prospectus of Early Pioneer Life Through Film”

Geraldine Martin

Contents of Curriculum Unit 98.01.04:

To Guide Entry

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Motion pictures become the basis for analysis of historical information as young children glean factual information from biographies, legends and documentaries through the aid of a puppet. Are children able to grasp a sense of the past and its connection to the present? Do children bring any thoughts and pictures in their young minds about early pioneer life and what those children must have experienced as they sat and played on the very soil we walk on today? Or do they see only a Hollywood version captured through cartoons with grotesque figures that portray only fanciful and fictitious pictures far removed from human life?

With these questions in mind, I will explore ways in which young children can gather historical information about early pioneer life, creating mental pictures and developing a more critical eye for viewing films. I will integrate various forms of literature, drama and film for helping children learn and appreciate historical stories based on factual information. As a key component to my unit, I will emphasize the active participation of children through the aid of a puppet in retelling and analyzing historical significance via film.

I have chosen three films, “Daniel Boone,” Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier,” and “Johnny Appleseed” from which I will develop strategies and classroom activities centered around critical analysis of historical information presented in these stories via film. More specifically, the unit will include activities suitable for children in first through third grades. Along with reading and the language arts, the lesson plans would cover curriculum areas such as reading, social studies, math, science, music and art.

The art of ventriloquism has been in my repertoire of teaching for many years. I have developed a family of characters with unique personalities, interesting voice variations and a flare for flashy, colorful appearances. Many of my characters have been used in numerous programs that have been presented at schools, churches and birthday parties with the main theme on entertainment. However, many characters have evolved in my first grade classroom, centered around pertinent curriculum areas. For example, most popular of all is Willie Sunday, who is an encouragement to all and is compelling in bringing the best out in most of us. His main emphasis in the classroom is his expertise in phonics, or lack of it, as he misses letters and letter sounds to the delight of the children. Not only does he encourage the children to take risks, but they prompt him in doing likewise. He, also, takes our class on a delightful journey through the early times of Pocahontas and how her people lived and related to the early settlers of Jamestown. I am sure that he will be able to relay a lot of information about early Native Americans to our class that will be most helpful in viewing our early pioneer films. Then there is Tuesday’s Cup of Sugar who is always doing her little antics in helping to present our writing for reading curriculum in class. Of course, Wednesday Delight would be saddened if she were overlooked because she plays a very important role in not only helping the children to develop their own puppet characters and voice variations, but in bringing various pieces of poetry to our class on a weekly basis. Did I forget Blue Monday? How could I? He has played a very important role in helping the children to gather information and experience traditions based on Jewish holidays. He certainly cannot be missed with his indigo face and hot pink hair!

With all of these characters in mind I will pull out Friday Funtastic who does not have an active role in the classroom, call him Mr. Friday and allow him the opportunity to assist the children in their critical analysis of historical facts in film. Mr. Friday will bring factual information pertinent to the story that the children will be viewing in class. For example, before the children view the film “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier,” Mr. Friday will present information and help to read Davy Crockett from the A Discovery Biography series. Other books and resources will be used in obtaining information about clothes, food, housing, etc. from that time period. George and Ellen Laycock present a beautiful book called, How The Settlers Lived which gives a fascinating account about early pioneer days depicting aspects of the early settlers daily lives and challenges.

I teach first grade in a self-contained classroom at L. W. Beecher School on Jewell Street in New Haven. My classroom contains approximately 26 children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds with varying abilities in the six to eight year old age range. Along with a need for improved vocabulary, many children exhibit poor self-images and have difficulty conveying their thoughts and feelings. I want the children to be able to draw upon their inner strengths, enhance their academic skills and strengthen their overall social-emotional development.


My overall objectives for the course of my curriculum unit are:

(1) To provide an interactive experience through the use of puppetry and film in :

a. self-expression
b. in small groups of two or four
c. large group interaction
(2) To help the children stimulate intellectual and cognitive development about early pioneer life in a classroom setting:

a. with creative puppetry
b. through written works and illustrated art work
c. by a play production
(3) To improve auditory reading and listening skills of participants through:

a. written language
b. oral language
(4) To encourage confidence and a positive self-image while participating in class activities.

a. as listeners
b. as narrators
c. as actors
d. as members of an audience
(5) To connect the classroom unit with the school curriculum:

a. reading, language arts and the music curriculum
b. science and social studies curriculum
c. socialization skills


Mr. Friday is a duck who resides in a brown draw-string bag. The children are soon caught up in the magical illusion surrounding Mr. Friday as he begins to bemoan the fact that his voice is a bit “scratchy” while perched on top of his brown bag. However, it doesn’t take very long for the children to discover that this is no ordinary duck. For believe it or not, that “scratchy” voice goes on and on, giving a wealth of information about a film that the children are about to view. You might hear him ask the children if they thought a guy would actually wear a cooking pot on his head because his backpack was full of apple seeds. Then too while introducing Johnny Appleseed, you never know what he may have hidden in that bag. Could that bulge in his bag be due to a hidden apple? Or perhaps after discovering the apple, Mr. Friday tells the class that they will use apples for learning about fractions and then put them in a pie or two.

Mr. Friday will introduce his film friends about Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Johnny Appleseed to the class each Friday, or around there, for a total of three or four weeks. Besides talking about early pioneer life to the class, Mr. Friday will give suggestions for critical analysis of the story. One example might be: “Do you think the people in the film are dressed appropriately for that particular time frame?” Follow-up activities will include cooperative learning activities where children are paired and discuss themes from the film then report back to class. Journal writing will be included whereby the children take notes while watching the film then record their critical feelings about the story.

The children will also retell a story through their own puppet creations and illustrated works. For example, in the story film about Johnny Appleseed, the children will make puppets representing Johnny Appleseed, focusing on factual information rather than representing a mere legend.

Art activities will also be included in the lessons. One example would be illustrating the story in sequential drawings. This activity will tie into the fact that film follows a sequential pattern. Sequencing will also be important for developing our own animated movie. We will attempt to make an animated movie based on factual information gleaned from the biographies read in class.

A visit to the New Haven Historical Society Museum will be in order whereby the children receive additional information and hands on experience about early pioneer life. This information will be very helpful while viewing the films and critically analyzing the story presented via film.

My unit will be part of a team effort including teachers from L. W. Beecher School whereby we will help students utilize film to examine major movements in American history. In addition, a collaborative effort will be held in regards to our animated movie whereby students from grades two and three pair with first graders in making a video about Daniel Boone. Our Media Specialist will contribute resource information from children’s biographies and other resources used for getting factual information in making the film. The children will write various parts of the script, illustrate the background scenes for their assigned parts and make the movable characters for the movie. Teams of children will collaborate in reading the scripts and moving the figures. Other teams will be involved in providing the background music, lighting and filming of our production.

Another collaborative effort will involve a story that the classroom teacher, puppet and children have developed that will be suitable for a school play. The play will be rehearsed in the After School Program by children from grades one through third and performed on stage for a school-wide assembly. This particular program meets once a week for a period of one hour and generally consists of 10 to 15 children.

Pioneer Life Through Film

“Daniel Boone”

Daniel Boone was born in 1734 in the state of Pennsylvania near

the present day city of Reading. He made friends with the Delaware

Indians who helped him to be a skilled woodsman and hunter.

Young Boone moved with his family to the state of North Carolina

where he helped in the French and Indian War by driving

a supply wagon. Shortly after, he married his neighbor, Rebecca

Bryan. She was a courageous pioneer woman who often guarded

the cabin and family while Boone went hunting. Boone spent two

years exploring Kentucky before going home for his family. On

their journey into Kentucky, Boone’s oldest son, James was killed

by Indians. The group turned back to safer areas. However, after

Kentucky was bought from the Cherokee Indians for Judge

Henderson, Boone and a few friends blazed the Wilderness Road

and built a fort by the Kentucky River. Boone’s wife and daughters

were the first pioneer white women to see this part of Kentucky.

Later, Shawnee Indians captured Boone, and Chief Black

Fish adopted Boone as his son. Boone escaped from the

Shawnee village, running four days to warn the fort, called

Boonesborough, that the Shawnees were planning an attack.

Rain helped to save the fort from the Indian’s fire darts. After

the Revolutionary War ended, in which the Indians were

compensated by the British to fight the settlers, Boone

decided to move to Missouri where he spent his last days. 1

(Week One and Two, First Two weeks of November)

As an introduction to our unit, Mr. Friday (i.e. a classroom puppet) will introduce his pioneer box. The pioneer box will be an integral part of our project, bringing new items pertaining to the daily lessons. Mr. Friday will announce our study of Daniel Boone and early pioneer life and tell the class that Boone was born in Pennsylvania. Today’s pioneer box contains an inflatable ball which we soon discover turns into a globe. After helping the children find their home state and the state of Pennsylvania, Mr. Friday tells the children to bounce the ball around the circle. Those catching the ball have to find, first their home state, and then the area where Daniel Boone was born. Classmates on either side of the “catcher” make sure their neighbor has identified the areas correctly. North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri are also identified as places where Daniel Boone spent considerable time exploring and living with his family.

On subsequent days, Mr. Friday’s pioneer box may contain a sampling of items such as a miniature log cabin, an old black felt hat, coonskin cap, fringed deerskin top and pants, candles, braided rugs, etc. Each item will be carefully handled and used as a lead to open discussion about early pioneer life. Paul Burns and Ruth Hines have written a beautiful book with illustrations called, To Be A Pioneer. The book will be used a reference along with How the Early Settlers Lived, by George and Ellen Laycock for learning about the items in Mr. Friday’s pioneer box. For example, we will discover that pioneers made their own clothing at home. Clothes similar to those of the Indians were used by the men. A loose deerskin shirt, caps made of raccoon or fox skins and deerskin moccasins were common clothing of the early settlers. The women wove their own cloth and made dyes for adding color to the material. Quilts and braided rugs were important because the cabins were very cold in the winter. It was impossible to heat the whole house from the fireplace.2

A Discovery Biography: Daniel Boone by Katharine E. Wilkie will be used for guided reading lessons along with Daniel Boone In the Wilderness by Matthew G. Grant. These books are chapter books and will be read in class over the two week period. Along the way, we will celebrate our own pioneer days by making butter, eating an early pioneer breakfast, braiding material for a rug and participating in a song and dance. A visit to the local Historical Society Museum will help us understand candle making, weaving of flax, school days, and many other cultural aspects from early pioneer days.

Along with the chapter books, we will use John Mack Faragher’s book, Daniel Boone as a reference book. Faragher gives a detailed documented historical account of the life of Daniel Boone. He has gathered his information from many and varied resources, including his travels and journeys into the towns and states where Boone traveled and lived. The book, although a reference for teachers, will be invaluable in helping us to separate fact from fiction. Portions can be read to the children; for example, the story relating the kidnapping of the Boone’s daughter, Jemima along with her two friends.

The last two days of this period will be utilized by watching the film, “Daniel Boone,” produced by Hanna-Barbera Home Video, Inc. The story is depicted cartoon style and covers Daniel Boone’s childhood, exploration of Kentucky and friendship with the Shawnee Indians. The story begins with Boone as a very old man, wanting to set the record straight about all of the tall tales of his life, while his son wants to include only the legendary side. The story attempts to cover many facts about the life of Daniel Boone. However, a legendary strain runs through the story. For example, when White Top, the Indian tries to outsmart Boone, he and his friend jump over a huge falls. One sees a picture of a sapling coming out of the falls. The next scene shows Boone and his friend under the falls on a rocky ledge. How did they get there? How did they get down?

The children will take notes while watching the film and come to their own conclusions about the authenticity of the story and illustrations. They will share their conclusions in small groups of four or five, coming to a consensus in their small group and sharing that information with the first grade class.

As a culminating activity, we will engage in a collaborative effort with second and third grade students whereby students will be paired with first graders, making an animated film about the life and times of Daniel Boone. By this time, first grade students are adept in ways pertaining to early pioneer life and will guide second and third grade students in depicting illustrations and written material for our film. Our finished product will be shared with family and friends during our team’s celebration day in early spring where curriculum studies come “alive” on stage showing scenes from our units through plays, narratives, film and dance. “Davy Crockett”

Crockett was born in 1786 and grew up in Greene County, Tennessee.

At the age of thirteen, he ran away from home for three years. When

he returned home, he worked to pay off a debt owed by his father,

an innkeeper. At the age of 18, he married Polly Finley. When she

died, he married a widow lady, Elizabeth Patton. The Crockett family

moved four times, moving further and further into the wilderness of

Tennessee. Crockett volunteered as a scout for Andrew Jackson, who

was trying to subdue the Creek Indian Nation. Later he won the rank

of colonel in the Tennessee militia. His first political office was justice of the peace.

Crockett’s funny stories and sincere mannerisms

won him an election as a legislature in Tennessee. While campaigning for

U.S. Congressman, a flock of noisy guinea hens wandered into the

meeting. Crockett said the birds were saying, “Crockett, Crockett.”

The story was repeated everywhere and he won the election. While

in Washington, Crockett spoke up for the rights of poor people in

western Tennessee and ardently spoke out against President Andrew

Jackson’s Indian policies. Crockett’s outspoken tongue cost him the

election after serving for three terms. He never finished his

third term in the U.S. Congress. He decided to move with the

western frontier and joined the Americans in the Alamo at San

Antonio. There Crockett died in the final assault when 5,000

Mexicans besieged them.5

(Week Three Monday through Friday)

Mr. Friday continues his lessons with his pioneer box. As he begins his first lesson of the week, the children discover that Mr. Friday’s pioneer box contains deer antlers, a rabbit tail, raccoon tail and bear fur. He is quick to explain that these were common animals, hunted by early pioneers. However, the early pioneers were not the only hunters in the woodland areas. Indian tribes inhabited the woodlands and often felt threatened by the early pioneer’s journeys and settling down in their territory. Some of the tribes were friendly and showed the early settlers how to hunt and prepare foods. While others were hostile, interested only in stealing and attacking the settlers. Nevertheless, Indian tribes, as well as, early pioneers enjoyed common food and meat staples. Mr. Friday feels that since venison was one of the common meat products of early days, first graders should have the opportunity of tasting this dish, also. Sure enough, hidden in a dark corner of his pioneer box, the children find a dish of venison meat to enjoy. In his book, Daniel Boone, Faragher suggests that even though early pioneers ate venison on, they felt venison was inferior eating, and basically used the deerskins for clothing. Bear along with opossum and raccoon were considered prime meats. Other foods enjoyed by both Indian tribes and early settlers, included squash, pumpkin, beans, corn, tomatoes, etc. Cultivation of these vegetables were tended to in similar fashion by pioneer women just as they were done in Indian villages.4

Some of these foods would be great to dissect, compare, illustrate and taste. Therefore, the children will be grouped into small groupings of four or five. Each group will be given a food item to dissect and describe. Every child will be given a data sheet and asked to describe the outside peeling. For example, they will state the color, shape, size, and texture, along with drawing a picture. After their group’s food item is cut, the children will proceed to describe the inside, stating color, number of seeds, smell and finally taste.

Again, as we did for our study of Daniel Boone, a chapter book entitled, Discovery Biography: Davy Crockett by Elizabeth R. Mosley will be used as a guided reading on subsequent days for the remainder of this time period. The children having acquired a knowledge of early pioneer days through our journey with Daniel Boone, and now having heard the story of Davy Crockett are ready to view two films about Crockett and his adventures as a frontiersman. The last three days, Wednesday through Friday will be used as viewing days for our first grade class. “Davy Crockett” produced by Rabbit Ears Productions is a cartoon style film, and depicts the legendary Davy Crockett, his rise to fame in Congress and his fight for freedom at the Alamo.

The story is told in first person as if Davy Crockett is telling his own story. It begins with Davy as a young boy, who is stuck in a log eating honey, and comes face to face with a bear. The bees begin to sting Crockett, as he talks to the bear, asking him to move aside so that he may crawl out and allow the bear a treat of honey. Finally, after much persuasion, the bear moves aside, Davy crawls out and the bees attack the bear. As in most of the legendary stories told by Crockett in the film, he finds himself in very difficult circumstances, but always finds ways for escaping and arises the hero. The stories are very funny and told in a witty manner. Crockett is clever with words, always wooing his audience until he meets the Mexicans at the Alamo. There he is not able to smile down his enemy or use witty stories to keep them at bay. Instead, the battle is lost and Crockett looses his life.

The second film is a Walt Disney movie called, “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.” In contrast to the Rabbit Ears Production, the story uses live actors and depicts the legendary woodsman as an Indian fighter, bear wrestler and leader of the fight for freedom at the Alamo. The story begins with Crockett as a grown man in a patch of tall grass, grinning down a bear. He is asked to serve as a scout and locate Indians for Major Andrew Jackson. There are many Indian war scenes, both with Crockett and preparation for war in the Indian camp. Cherokee Indians are used as actors and portrayed as anti-social and very hostile. Quite the opposite from Emilie Lepthien’s The Cherokee where she contends that the tribe consisted of hardworking, intelligent and peaceful people. Cherokee Indians play the part of the Creek uprising for which Crockett was recruited and asked to subdue. However, facts are not clearly defined. When Crockett says that it looks like Red Stick finally convinced the whole nation, perhaps he was referring to Chief Tecumseh. Tecumseh was the son of a Shawnee chief, who wanted all the Indian nations to unite in hopes of defeating the Americans.4 Throughout the movie, the Native Americans are referred to as Red Sticks. According to Elizabeth Moseley, in her biography of Davey Crockett this term was used by the early settlers because they carried clubs that were painted bright red.5 Hence, the name Red Sticks. Crockett is seen killing many Indians along the way, but when he does not kill Red Stick in a tomahawk duel, Red Stick asks Davy why he saved his life. Crockett answers. “The Bible says thou shalt not kill.” The story continues with his role as magistrate in a small town, run for state legislator and winning a seat in Congress. Crockett’s views opposing President Andrew Jackson’s Indian policies are clearly enacted and stated. While serving as a legislature, he receives word that Polly has died. Several scenes are interspersed with Crockett at their log cabin, either by the fireplace or outside the cabin. The story does not mention Crockett’s second marriage to Elizabeth Patton nor does the film depict family life in general. Most episodes depict violent scenes with Indians, small town brawls, and the huge battle at the Alamo.

Again, the children will take notes while watching the films, drawing conclusions about the authenticity of the story. At this point, Mr. Friday interjects and tells the children that he feels they need more facts concerning the Cherokee. He just happens to have a copy of Lepthien’s, The Cherokee by his side and proceeds to show pictures from the book, reading episodes from the chapters, “Broken Treaties,” and “The Trail of Tears.” Small groups of children will be given discussion questions, while a team leader records feelings and sentiments from the group. Questions may include: “Do you feel the Disney film shows too many violent scenes?” “Why or why not?” “What impression did you get about the Indian tribes?” “Do you think all of the Indians were hostile towards the early settlers?” “Do you think either group had a right to be angry?” “Why?” “Do you feel either film shows family life about the early pioneers or the early Indians?” “Do you feel the film gave us facts about Davy Crockett?” What facts did it give and what facts were missing?”

“Johnny Appleseed”

Johnny Chapman, (Johnny Appleseed) was a pioneer born

in the state of Massachusetts in year of 1774. It appears

that he was a mixture of plant nurseryman, herb doctor, and

religious zealot. Around the early 1800’s, he became an ardent

distributor of apple seeds and seedlings along the Ohio River, and

there obtained the name, “Johnny Appleseed.” He preached the

teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, combining his sayings with

herbs and medicinal plants which he distributed along with his apple

seeds. Swedenborg was a scientist, inventor and mystical religious

leader. He claimed to have direct contact with the spirit world, thus

enabling him to interpret Bible teachings. He taught that if one

accepts his teachings, Jesus Christ will make his second appearing

in spirit, not in person. During the war of 1812, Johnny Appleseed served

as a frontier messenger. His distribution of apple seeds and apple trees

helped to improve the farming economy of northern Ohio and Indiana.7

(Week Four Monday through Wednesday)

Apple orchards are barren this time of the year, (i.e. when our unit will be introduced); therefore, Mr. Friday reminds the children of their visit to the apple orchard in the early part of October. Mrs. Bishop of Bishop’s Apple Orchard, North Brandford gives the children a lovely tour, where they are able to pick their own apples, view the modern-day processing plant and taste freshly squeezed apple cider. The Apple Grower’s of America, Washington, D. C. put together a filmstrip which is a lovely introduction to the growth of apples in the orchards and how they are processed for shipping to the stores. This filmstrip will be used before we visit the Bishop Farm.

Mr. Friday continues his lesson by sharing the story, Johnny Applseed by Jan Gleiter and Kathleen Thompson. Vocabulary words from the book are discussed such as cider mill, pulp, blacksmith, etc. The children are asked to contrast the city from the countryside, and record their statements on chart paper. Mr. Friday asks the children to draw sequential drawings from the story that he has helped to read. He, also, reminds the children that a “first-start” reader, Johnny Appleseed Goes A Planting by Patsy Jensen is in our classroom library and can be used during our morning’s silent sustained reading period, along with our apple shaped book that our class made from our trip to Bishop’s farm.

Our children are excited and so is Mr. Friday as he introduces our film, “Johnny Appleseed” on Tuesday of our final unit’s week. The film is a cartoon style story about Johnny Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) who distributed apple seeds across the early Midwest and how he became a legend along the Ohio River Valley. The film shows Johnny talking to the animals, blowing the trumpet in the wilderness as he warns the early settlers about upcoming danger from the War of 1812, and ends with Johnny watching the stars and then going to meet his angel brides in the sky.

By this time, the children do not need reminders about taking notes. They are eager to begin and are asked by Mr. Friday to write about parts that they liked or disliked in the film. Following the film, a discussion will take place, comparing the film to the story that Mr. Friday read in class.

The children will make their own puppet creations with the art teacher. These Johnny Appleseed puppets will be used for retelling the children’s stories.

Mr. Friday has a surprise on our final day. From his pioneer box, he pulls out a bag of apples and tells the children that they are going to study fractions. Each child is given an apple and told to cut it in half. Mr. Friday encourages the children to guess how many seeds their apple contains; count the seeds, and compare their estimate with the actual number. The children are told that each piece represents one half, and after the apple has been cut into four equal pieces, each one represents one fourth.

Mr. Friday is not finished with surprises for the day. It is almost Thanksgiving and he has decided that the class will bake apple pies as a final class treat.

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Sample Lesson Plans

“Daniel Boone Early Pioneer Days”

Lesson Summary:

Early settlers had to work very hard. However, they did find time to play. Many times, they gathered together to help each other, and then made a party at the end of their work day. These work days included, quilting bees, husking bees, corn shellings, house raisings, stump pullings, harvestings, and threshings. It was a time to catch up on the family news, with a big dinner, and often ended with story telling and dancing. Dances were held outdoors, as well as, indoors. Sometimes, dances were held in barns. The dances were kind of like square dancing and folk dancing.8


The children will enjoy a simple dance routine while singing the song, “Shoo Fly.”


1. Couples form a single circle.
2. Children join hands and take four steps toward the center of the circle.
3. Couples take four steps back to original position.
4. Take four steps forward and four steps back backward.
5. Children keep hands joined while one couple lifts hands to form an arch.
6. Couple on the opposite side starts across leading everyone else, keeping hands joined under the arch.
7. Everyone continues to hold hands, keeping the circle intact with all of the players facing out. All players walk backward during this part.
“Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier”

Lesson Summary:

The story film portrays Davy Crockett as a legendary woodsman, grinning down a bear and wrestling it too, tackling an alligator, Indian fighter and leader of the fight for freedom at the Alamo.


The children will be able to utilize the information they have gathered from their study of Davy Crockett and early pioneer days, and write an evaluation concerning the authenticity of the Disney film, “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.”


1. Mr. Friday will open his pioneer box containing the Disney version of “Davy Crockett.” He will tell the children to listen carefully to the content of the story while viewing the film.
2. The children will take notes in their journals while viewing the film. Each child will give an evaluation of the film at the end of their journal. “Do you feel that the content was portrayed accurately? Why or why not?”
3. The children will gather in groups of four or five, discuss issues related to the film, and, report back to class. Discussion will center around the following questions:
1. Do you feel the Disney film gives you enough facts about Davy Crockett and the early settlers?
2. Why do you think the Indians were hostile towards the early settlers? Do you feel that all of the tribes were hostile? Why or why not?
3. Do you think either group (early settlers or Indian) had a right to be angry? Why or why not?
“Johnny Appleseed”

Lesson Summary:

It becomes very hard to differentiate between fact or fiction when it comes to the story of Johnny Chapman (Johnny Appleseed). Johnny Appleseed is best known for the person who distributed apple seeds across the early Midwest. Along the way, stories became tall tales as they state how he talked to the animals while nursing them back to health. Once a cow told Johnny that her master was starving her, and one time Johnny helped a wolf who was caught in a trap, and then would not leave his side even though he was capable of making it on his own. Even the bears liked to rub his back, and the wolves rubbed his beard.


Mr. Friday will share a guided reading of the story, Johnny Appleseed by Jan Bleiter and Kathleen Thompson.


1. Mr. Friday will open a discussion by asking the children what they remembered about the cider mill on the Bishop Farm. Why do you think the cider mill was important to Johnny?
2. Mr. Friday will assist in reading the story, Johnny Appleseed. The children will talk about parts that they liked or disliked.
3. The children will complete a fan book, (fan fold a large piece of paper) sequencing the story and illustrating their pictures with crayon and magic markers.
4. Johnny Appleseed puppets will be used for retelling the stories in class.
1. The World Book Encyclopedia.

2. Burns, Paul and Hines, Ruth. To Be A Pioneer.

3. The World Book Encyclopedia.

4. Faragher, John Mack. Daniel Boone

5. The World Book Encyclopedia.

6. Moseley, Elizabeth. A Discovery Biography: Davy Crockett.

7. The World Book Encyclopedia. 8. Burns, Paul and Hines, Ruth. To Be A Pioneer.

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Teacher Resources


“Johnny Appleseed,” published by Rabbit Ears, Rowayton, Ct., 1992. (30 min.)

The story (cartoon style) tells the story of Johnny Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) who distributed apple seeds across the early Midwestand made him a lengend.

“Daniel Boone,” produced by Hanna-Barbera Home Video, Inc., 1981. (50 min.) Story (cartoon style) covers Daniel Boone’s childhood, his exploration of Kentucky, friendship with the Shawnee Indians and service in the newly formed U. S. Congress.

“Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier,” published by Walt Disney Home Video, 1992. (93 min.) Story entails the legendary woodsman, Indian fighter, bear wrestler and leader of the fight for freedom at the Alamo.

“Davy Crockett,” published by Rabbit Ears Productions, Rowayton, Ct., 1992. (30 min.)

Story (cartoon style) of legendary Davy Crockett and his rise to fame in Congress and his fight for freedom at the Alamo.

“Fun With Character Voices” published by One Way Street, Inc., 1991. (65 min.) Liz Von Seggen gives examples of many voice variations that can be used for many different puppet voices.

For more information on puppetry write:

One Way Street, Inc.

P.O. Box 2309

Littleton, CO 80161


*One does not have to be a ventriloquist to implement this unit. If puppetry is used any voice variation or use thereof will be effective.

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After School Program

The After School Program meets for approximately six to eight weeks, three days a week for an hour session. Children may sign up for this program on a voluntary basis with their parent’s permission. They are chosen on a first come basis until enrollment reaches approximately twelve to fifteen children.

The following scripts will be rehearsed during the After School Program and used during our team’s spring program. The program is a collaborative effort where each team’s class performs exerts from their curriculum unit.

Narratives and Scenes For: Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone (The animated video made about the life of Daniel Boone will be shown on the large screen.) and Johnny Appleseed


Children’s choir enters auditorium, beating drums and waving flags, while parts from the movie “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier” are shown on a large screen. The children go on stage and sing a song: “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”

(Davy Crockett enters looking from side to side, as he comes down the isle of the auditorium.)

Davy Crockett: (He points to the side.) I see a deer; oh yes, and there is a mother bird with her little ones under her wings.

Mother Crockett: (Goes to the edge of the stage.) Da-a-vy! Da-a-vy! Come to supper! Now where could that boy be. The food will get cold. Da-a-vy! Da-a-vy!

Davy Crockett: (Davy answers in a loud whisper.) Yes, ma’am, I’ll be right there. Oh, no there goes the young quail and her little ones. I scared her. I’m so sorry, please come back.

Mother Crockett: Davy Crockett, I want you come this moment. Supper is ready.

Davy Crockett: (Davy answers in a loud whisper.) Yes, ma’am, I am a-coming.

Mother Crockett: (Goes into the house on stage. His five brothers and three sisters were already at the table waiting for Davy.) That’s the second time that I called that boy. He would live in the woods with the animals if he could.

Davy Crockett: (Enters the house and stands beside his father.) I’m sorry Pa.

Pa Crockett: Why didn’t you answer your mother?

Davy Crockett: I did answer her, Pa.

Pa Crockett: Did anyone at this table hear Davy answer?

(Everyone shakes their head and looks down at the table.)

Pa Crockett: Davy, when we call you it is important. Not everyone in those woods is friendly. When we call you, we want you to come. And, also, you knew your ma couldn’t hear you when you called. That wasn’t honest.

Davy Crockett: I’m sorry, Pa. I won’t do it again. (Davy sits down beside his sister.)

(The family begins conversation about their day’s activities for a few seconds then freeze their actions.)

Narrators dressed in period clothes stand on either side of the stage: Davy Crockett lived with his family in eastern Tennessee. His mother and father operated a tavern that was located on a trail between Knoxville and Abingdon, Virginia. It was 1795 and most of the land was wilderness. They were very poor. There were very few paying guests who stayed at their tavern. At the age of 12, Davy was hired out to a family in Virginia to help meet the needs of the family. Davy missed his family. He slipped away one night, and found his way home. As Davy got a little older and two of his older brothers got married, his father became very desperate again. Davy went to work for a neighbor to help pay his father’s debts. In 1806, Davy met and married Mary Finley. They had two boys and a girl. Mary died when their little girl was about six months old. Later, Davy remarried to a widow, Elizabeth Patton who had two young children. By this time, Davy had moved several times and was living near the border of northern Alabama. He had been assigned to a scouting party in the military who were trying to protect the early settlers from unfriendly Creek Indians who lived in the area. (Three or four soldiers come down the isle beating drums.) It was referred to as the War with the Red Sticks. Davy gained a reputation as being a skilled woodsman, as well as honest and dependable. He became a colonel in 1818. When he became a candidate for the Tennessee legislature, many people came to here his speeches. They loved his remarks about politics and the funny stories he told of his adventures in the woods.

Davy Crockett: (Comes to the edge of the platform.) Why, just the other day I was walking through the woods and spied an old coon sitting on the limb. I raised my old Betsy (raises a toy rifle to his shoulders) to shoot him. But the coon pleaded with me not to shoot and promised that he would come right down. Gentlemen, I was embarrassed that he gave up so quickly.

Narrator: Davy had a brush with death when his barge carrying barrels down the Mississippi went out of control and sank. In 1827, Davy Crockett was elected to Congress and went to work in Washington. Andrew Jackson was elected president and held a conference with the Creek Indians. He forced the Creeks to give up their land and move across the Mississippi. Andrew Jackson was a friend of Davy. However, Davy could not support President Jackson. Davy supported the Creeks and said that the land belonged to them. Davy was not re-elected to Congress again. In 1835, Davy moved to Texas. There he fought and gave his life fighting in the Alamo, a war against the Mexicans and those defending the Texas territory.


(Johnny Appleseed comes down the aisle, cooking pot on his head and a knapsack on his back. A scene from the film “The Story of Johnny Appleseed,” narrated by Garrison Keillor plays on the big screen.)

Johnny: Hello, hello, my name is Johnny Chapman. I guess your wondering why I’m wearing this cooking pot on my head. Well, you see, I got nicknamed Johnny Appleseed. People began telling stories about me. They claim that my pack was so full of apple seeds that I had no place for my cooking pot. So I wore it on my head. I liked that so here I am today with my cooking pot on my head. Did you know it is the year, 1800? That’s right and here comes my mom and dad. Hello folks.

Mom and Dad: (Mom and Dad enter from the back.) What are you up to now, Johnny?

Johnny: Well, you see Mom and Dad, New England is a fine place to live. But you see there is a place called the Ohio River Valley and they have no fine apple trees as we have here. So off I go to spread apple seeds in that fine Ohio Valley.

Mom and Dad: Good-bye Johnny. Take care and don’t let the bears eat you up.

(Johnny Appleseed leans on his wood walking stick and freezes actions.)

Narrator: The early settlers had brought appleseeds with them from their homeland. However, as people moved west, they had other things to do beside planting apple trees. There was land to be cleared, houses to be built, and crops to be planted. Who had time to worry about apple trees? Well, that’s when Johnny Chapman came on the scene and decided to do something about planting apple trees in Ohio during the early pioneer days.

Johnny: Hello, Mr. Apple Cider Man.

Apple Cider Man: (Enters from the back.) Hello Johnny. What can I do for you?

Johnny: Do you have apple seeds in your sack?

Apple Cider Man: I sure do and I was just going to give them to the pigs to eat.

Johnny: Please, may I have your apple seeds.

Apple Cider Man: You want these throw away seeds? Well, of course, you may have all of the seeds that you can carry. (Gives the sack to Johnny and leaves.) Good-bye Johnny.

(Johnny freezes his actions.)

Narrator: Johnny Chapman packed a few things in his backpack, and set out on a new adventure. He stopped at a farm now and then, working on the farm for a few days in return for his meals and a place to sleep. Of course, before he left, he would plant a few apple seeds. Sometimes he worked in a lumber mill or in a blacksmith shop. Whenever, he went into a town, the children would shout and call him Johnny Appleseed. Soon people everywhere were calling Johnny Chapman, “Johnny Appleseed.” As time passed, many apple orchards were seen all over the Ohio River Valley, and people knew that Johnny Appleseed had stopped by to plant a few seeds.

Johnny: And that’s how the tall tales began, right here with my cooking pot upon my head.

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Children’s Bibliography

Burns, Paul and Hines, Ruth. To Be A Pioneer. New York: Abingdon Press, 1962.

An excellent resource book for young children covering topics such as: housing, clothing, making rugs, making soap, pioneer farm, school, church, etc.

Gleiter, Jan and Thompson, Kathleen. Johnny Appleseed. Milwaukee: Raintree Children’s Books, 1987.

____A factual account of Johnny Appleseed along with beautiful colored illustrations.

Grant, Matthew G. Daniel Boone In The Wilderness. Mankato: Creative Education, 1974.

____A delightful account of the life and times of Daniel Boone.

Jackson, Louise. Grandpa Had A Windmill Grandma Had A Churn. New York: Parents Magazine Press, 1977.

____A great book for the young child to read that explains many things used in early farm life.

Jensen, Patsy. Johnny Appleseed Goes A Planting. Troll Associates, 1994.

____Story of Johnny Appleseed, colorful pictures and easy reading for first graders.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Christmas. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1981.

____A delightful book about the Christmas holiday from early pioneer days.

Kalman, Bobbie. The Early Family Home. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1982.

Lovely pictures and information about early life with the family and their housing.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Health and Medicine. New York: Crabtree Publishing, Co., 1983.

____A delightful book with pictures covering topics of health and old wise sayings concerning health and sickness.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Schools. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1982.

Children will love the pictures and information concerning the schools of early pioneer days.

Langstaff, John. Oh A-Hunting We Will Go. Hartford: Connecticut Printers, Inc., 1974.

____A folksong that is a delight for small children. They can make up verses of their own and make their own published books.

MacDonald, Fiona. First Facts About The American Frontier. New York: Peter Bedrick Books.

____Presents facts about life for the nineteenth century pioneers on the American frontier. A great resource book for children with colored pictures.

McCall, Edith. Pioneers On Early Waterways. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1980.

A book of adventures on early American waterways. Includes a story of Davy Crockett.

Moseley, Elizabeth. Davy Crockett. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991.

Mosely gives an interesting biography written for the young child about Davy Crockett.

Radin, Ruth Yaffe. A Winter Place. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1982.

A delightful book for the young child to read about early winter in the country.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Going To Town. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

Laura and her family make their first visit into town to visit the general store.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Deer In The Wood. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995.

____A delightful story for the young reader about Laura’s father and how he could not shoot a deer for their dinner.

Wilkie, Katharine E. Daniel Boone Taming The Wilds. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991.
Factual information interwoven into the narrative. Can be read to the young child.

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Teacher’s Bibliography

Dorian, Edith and Wilson, W.N. Trails West. New York: Whittlesey House, 1955.

Stories about famous pioneer trails that have become major highways today. The “Wilderness Road” chapter is a story relating the adventures of Daniel Boone.

Faragher, John Mack, Daniel Boone, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992.

An absolute must for the study of Daniel Boone. After reading the biography of Daniel Boone, one feels like they have followed behind this great frontiersman with a wealth of knowledge about his life and times.

Hanff, Helene. Early Settlers in America. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1965.

____The book covers stories of early settlers pertaining to areas of Jamestown, Plymouth and Salem.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Artisans. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1983.

Pictures and information concerning crafts and special skills of early pioneer days.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Pleasure and Pastimes. New York: Crabtree Publishing

Co., 1983. Includes many games and traditions around special holidays.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Settler Storybook. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1982.

Includes stories and poems as seen through the eyes of early settlers, e.g. “Missing Mother,” “Hannah Waits By The Spring Alone,” “Braving The Blizzard,” “The Medicine Cat,” etc.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Stores and Markets. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1981.

Begins with life before there were stores, up to the organized stores of the 1800s.

Langdon, William Chauncy. Everyday Things In American Life 1607-1776. New York:

Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937. Covers early pioneer life giving sketches and pictures of many articles used in early pioneer days.

Laycock, George and Ellen. How The Settlers Lived. New York: David McKay Company, Inc. 1980. Covers topics concerning early pioneer life such as: food, clothing, health, recreation, housing, hunting, etc.
Lepthien, Emilie U. The Cherokee. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1985.

____Gives the history of the Cherokee with colored pictures.

Loeper, John J. Going To School In 1776. West Hanover: Halliday Lithograph, Corp, 1973.

____Covers topics about early school such as: teachers, textbooks, games, etc.

Miers, Earl Schenck. The Rainbow Book Of American History. New York: The World Publishing Co., 1955. Covers topics from Columbus, 1492 through the birth of the atomic age, 1945.

Putney, Walter. Team-Work In Colonial Days. Boston: W. A. Wilde Company, 1938.

A book of stories relating old tales of colonial heroism and team-work when the author was a young boy.

Rich, Louise Dickinson. The First Book Of The Early Settlers. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1959.

____A great resource book for the young child that gives an overview of early pioneer life, particularly in the areas of Plymouth, New Amsterdam, Delaware and Virginia.

Savage, Jeff. Pioneering Women Of The Wild West. Springfield: Enslow Publishers, Inc.

____A book with pictures showing the hard life of early pioneer women.

Scott, John Anthony. Settlers On the Eastern Shore. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

____The book covers topics such as: Early settlers in New England: The woods of William Penn; Virginia in the seventeenth century; songs the people sang, etc.

Stewart, Gail. Rivermen. Vero Beach: Rourke Publications, Inc., 1990.

____A reference boo with colorful pictures concerning the rivermen exploring the early west. Begins with the early settlers of 1770 and ends with the railroads of 1887, which replaced steamboats.

Tunis, Edwin. Frontier Living. New York: The World Publishing Co., 1961.

Gives information about frontier living. Black and white sketches help to understand terms and information given in the book.

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Contents of 1998 Volume I | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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