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Painting a Portrait through Time Using Words and Images: The Revolutionary War

Medea Lamberti-Sanchez

Contents of Curriculum Unit 11.01.07:

To Guide Entry


This unit presents a variety of ways to teach the Revolutionary War that can be adapted to address the needs of all learners ranging from students with learning disabilities to students who are high-leveled learners with rich vocabularies. This month-long unit highlights: people, events, and war terminology. This unit is primarily designed for middle school students in grades five to eight, ages ten through thirteen, but the visual stimuli like the portraits and maps may be modified and adapted to fit the curriculum of high school students in grades nine through twelve, ages fourteen through eighteen. The unit serves to engage the auditory, kinesthetic, linguistic, and visual learner.

The unit is a focused, intensive unit applying the meta-cognition comprehension or thinking-about-thinking strategies introduced by Dr. Nancy Boyles (predicting, connecting, wondering, figuring out, picturing, and noticing) and used widely in the New Haven Public School District Language Arts curriculum to the visual content of the Revolutionary War to heighten students' interest in and curiosity about the war.

In addition to these strategies, the unit will include an arts-integrated approach that can include music, dance, and theatre to visually connect content to comprehension retention. The arts-integrated approach allows students to develop their own interpretation of an event or person through dialogue, role-play, or songs. All of these approaches help to paint a vivid image in the students' minds of what might have happened and what the people might have looked like during the time of the Revolutionary War.

Throughout the unit, words and images will be presented in a variety of different ways according to theories of Scott McCloud, Richard Lanham, Edward Tufte, and John Berger. These particular theorists were chosen because each has a unique way to illustrate written information that is highly relatable and entertaining. Scott McCloud explains the relationship of words through the use of comics, in a kid-friendly pictorial representation, both with and without words; it is highly effective for younger students because cartoons are relatable. Richard Lanham makes a case for digital text. Students are used to substituting words for images through texting, and searching internet websites for images to represent themselves on Facebook. Students are always looking for "cool" ways to present their information, whether it is through stories or poetry. Shape poetry, the kind of poetry that takes the shape of its subject, is particularly "cool" to students because the poem has a shape that they can write their text in, color the shape, and illustrate the shape, thus creating a sense of ownership. All these theorists explain how to catch the students' interest and prompt them to become actively engaged in their own learning experience.

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Background Information

I am a Regular Education fifth-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut, an Inter-district Magnet School with an emphasis on the arts. Betsy Ross is an inner-city school that is open for both urban and suburban students from surrounding areas beyond the New Haven Public School System. Our middle school serves students in grades five through eight. Betsy Ross is founded on the principle that through the arts, they will learn, think, and see their academics in an innovative, challenging way. The students attend five academic classes and one art class every day.

I teach in an inclusive classroom setting with both regular and Special Education students. For this reason, there are two teachers present in the room, modeling the co-teaching principle. I am the Regular Education teacher, and there is a Special Education teacher with whom I collaborate and consult with for the modification and adaptation of curriculum. This year there are nineteen students in my classroom, nine of whom have individualized Education Plans, which call for many adaptations and modifications to the regular curriculum taught in the classroom. All subjects are taught in my classroom, and both my co-teacher and I teach our subject areas together, taking turns teaching the academic subjects. Our students' abilities vary in functional levels. Their abilities extend from basic learners to advanced level learners. The disabilities present within the room range from a high-functioning autistic student to students with various learning disabilities such as Tourette syndrome and attention deficit disorder. My class is also rich in diversity and ethnicity. My students fall into four categories: Caucasian, African American, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic. Each category of students has offered personal experiences that stimulate wonderful conversations about countries where they are from and their cultures and traditions.

Language Arts fifth-grade curriculum exposes students to both nonfiction and fiction texts. Social Studies themes are present within the shared reading texts. Two texts are historical non-fiction texts while five texts are historical fiction. The historical non-fiction texts are great bridges to history because they ask students to build prior knowledge, set a purpose for reading, and use the six comprehension strategies (predicting, connecting, wondering, figuring out, picturing, and noticing) on a daily basis. Each text in the curriculum is accompanied by a shared reading planner in which students are actively encouraged to use the six comprehension strategies. The Revolutionary War is a part of the curriculum that is taught though both historical non- fiction and fiction texts.

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After looking at the New Haven Public School's district curriculum for Language Arts and Social Studies, recent Connecticut Mastery Tests, and district mini assessments, I found that the standard strand that presented the most difficulty in our school and state was the one involving making reader/text connections. That strand focuses on getting students to connect with the text they are reading, connect to a personal experience that the student had while engaged in the text, and then connect the text to an outside experience. This strand presents students with the opportunity to apply what they are reading to a particular feeling a character might have had or a particular situation that the character and they themselves might have been in, then write a personal response to the text either in the form of a journal entry or a letter about the real world experience. The strand also asks the students to form questions about the text that has real meaning to them and try to answer the question based upon what they think the answer should be.

History presents a lot of challenging questions that we are forced to try to answer based on dates and facts, but we do not know how the people of that time period felt or even if the event is as accurate as it is in our textbooks.

The idea of this unit is to challenge students' thinking by prompting them to think about the war, its events, and its people in a way that promotes student-centered conversations and stimulates a mental picture that each student can see in their imagination. It is through these conversations that the students are engaged in their own learning and become eager to find out more through the internet, books, or magazines.

Student-centered discussions increase comprehension and build personal experience to the text by allowing students to decide which information is the most meaningful to them and using it to promote more learning about the subject. This method is called the inquiry-based method. According to Boise State University's Jeffrey Wilhelm, "Lessons are designed so that students make connections to previous knowledge, bring their own questions to learning, investigate to satisfy their own questions and design ways to try out their ideas." In his book Inquiring Minds: Learn to Read and Write: 50 Problem Based and Literacy and Learning Strategies, Wilhelm stated that "By bringing the students' background knowledge to the learning table, students will find ways to connect to the topic and will have activated some basis for creating meaning for the text they are reading."1 Students are in charge of their own learning through questions about and discussion of the topic with their peers, teachers, and families. It is through inquiry-based learning that the students can connect to a feeling one of the soldiers could have had being away from friends and family for a long time, or connect to the meaning of what the Fourth of July represents rather than just connecting to the barbeque in their backyard.

Why is teaching history, more specifically the Revolutionary War, such a challenge to teach to my fifth-grade students? I have asked myself this question every time I teach the Revolutionary War. Is it the way the textbook presents the information; is it done in a manner that is kid-friendly? Either way, the most difficult part about teaching the war is getting the students to understand the relationship between past events and the present they live in. Another difficulty in teaching history to students is the act of separating facts from fictional ideas or speculations heard from non-historians or through movies like National Treasure, that tell children that there is a secret on the back of the Declaration of Independence, when that really is not so.

I decided to ask my students what they knew prior to studying the war and what they felt was difficult for them to grasp. Here are their responses: first I asked them what they knew about the Revolutionary War, and they told me that the Americans were trying to become free from Great Britain, and George Washington was the President at the time of the war. They knew very little about the events because there were too many to keep track of, too many locations in the war, and too many differences between the loyalists and the patriots. My students felt overwhelmed by the amount of dates and vocabulary that I presented to them during our study. Later, I asked if the students can connect to any part of the war, and I was told by one student that she can connect to her uncle being part of the army, but could not expand on a feeling that her uncle might have felt during a war. The response given was an indirect indication that she could relate to a soldiers' life during war times, but just did not give enough information to complete the response. Other responses included Fourth of July celebrations, barbeques, and patriotic songs embracing freedom. It was because of their responses that I decided that there must be another way to teach the Revolutionary War that makes sense and is accessible to all of my learners in the classroom.

Our United States, the main text used in this unit, is the staple book that is used to teach the Revolutionary War; however, other texts in conjunction with the staple text need to be utilized in order to convey the details of the powerful, visual images of the Revolutionary War. My unit will utilize a variety of classroom resources like the internet, where students can access websites such as http://www.pbs.org and http://www.kidinfo.com, where the students can play games about the Revolutionary War while learning about events, people, and locations. There is also an interactive map that the students can click on a specific place during the war, such as Boston, and information is given about the city. The students will also have access to non-fiction books like If you Lived during the Time of the Revolutionary War and Fight for Freedom, two books in which text is attached to illustrations to explain the war. Other resources include animated videos of George Washington called Animated Hero Classics-General George Washington, American Heroines and Heroes-George Washington, and a great Revolutionary War video called Events Leading up to the War-Revolutionary War. All videos are geared toward younger children and streamed live through a site that teachers can access called http://www.unitedstreaming.org.

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The Language Arts and writing objectives for this unit are that the students will be able to use a variety of sources that incorporate words paired with images to learn about the background, people, the battles of the Revolutionary War, and define vocabulary associated with it. The students will be able to use the Cornell note-taking system, developed by Professor Walter Pauk, at Cornell University. Cornell note taking allows students to condense and organize their notes.2 The students will be able to write a brief summary to review the information learned on a particular day. These notes will be used in the final project at the end of the unit. The students will also be able to keep a folder for all important handouts presented to them, as well as a journal for writing about portraits, poetry, events, and other texts.

Prior to the start of the unit, students will have practiced Cornell note taking, read the background information of the war, and will have explored vocabulary terms. Students will have also practiced organizing information with graphic organizers like the Venn diagram, which assists with comparison and contrast, and charts that ask what the students know, what they want to know, and what they will have learned, known as (KWL) charts.

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Storyboard Objectives

Students will work cooperatively in groups of five to write, illustrate, and create a storyboard to explain the cause-and-effect relationships and/or events of the Revolutionary War. The students will have to use all of their knowledge that they were presented throughout this unit to verbally and pictorially present the events of the war using the appropriate vocabulary terms associated with the war. The students must choose how they are going to present the information on the storyboard. For example, they may choose to draw a sequence of events with no words, or they may choose to insert the events in comics. They must plan with their group what will be pictorially presented in their piece and the way in which they will present the written information.

Students will be given a model to follow, as well as a specific rubric, which will serve as their guide of what to include in their final culminating project. This rubric will serve not only as a guide for them, but also as a teacher's assessment tool that will tell the teacher if the students have followed the directions successfully.

The standards for this unit will align with the Connecticut Mastery 4th Generation fifth- grade strands. The standards for Reading Comprehension objectives include:

Forming a General Understanding

Developing an Interpretation

Making Reader/Text Connections

Connecting and Responding

Connecting Content and Structure

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Introduction to the Theorists

I will present the visual information of the Revolutionary War based upon the techniques of Scott McCloud, Edward Tufte, Richard Langham, and John Berger.

Richard Langham states in his chapter "What's Next for Text?" that "When we see text move, we are drawn into the movement, and when the movement takes us to a land where meaning has visual embodiment, we pay invigorated attention to it."3 His idea is for the reader to bring the elements of literacy to a third dimensional world. The elements of the text are brought to life by the reader who reads it through an abstract world of its own. The object and the text are placed into an abstract world, one that the reader alternates back and forth between text and words. Langham states "We want to bring the world of literacy, and all that literacy brings with it, into a world of objects and oral conversations."4 The object is placed in an abstract world that is familiar to the reader and recognizable in our everyday lives. Words and text are brought together with an applicable meaning by a third dimensional shape.

In a similar way, the students will pay attention to a poem if it is in the shape of a Liberty Bell or a flag because they are two symbols of freedom. Their ideas for what these two objects mean will outline the inside of the poem. This idea is called pattern poetry, or a poem whose shape refers to its subject.5 Teachers can download templates of flags, bells, and other related shapes for use with this unit on the following websites: http://www.readwritethink.org and http://www.teachervision.fen.com. Students will enjoy illustrating them after the text has been written in the outline of its shape. Teachers can also choose to draw their own template of an iconic symbol for the students to write their poetry in. The websites are the most helpful for reproducible templates.

Scott McCloud's Show and Tell6 uses cartoons as way to explain words and images. Students can retell history through a comic strip that will tell the story of the Boston Tea party. The cartoon strip will depict the colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians, throwing 342 crates of tea overboard. This idea is more creative than just discussing the Boston Tea party. Here, students can invent their own dialogue and express their own feelings about the event through the characters that they create. The students can choose to write a script and act out the scene that they have created. Now, the students have made a connection to the subject matter because they are placing themselves into the action of the event.

John Berger's Ways of Seeing7 shows how students can make their own meaning of various paintings and portraits of the people of the Revolutionary War. Students will view portraits of life in England during the 17th and 18th century from the Yale Center of British Art on its website at http://www.britishart.yale.edu. Some interesting portraits for students to look at are: Charles Stanhope, Third Earl of Harrington by Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of a Group of Children by Arthur Davis, and Two Gentleman Shooting by George Stubbs. These paintings represent social class, leisure activities, and even an idealized view of a British soldier who once fought in the war, all of which are especially helpful when trying to get a sense of what the people were like and how they looked. Students can develop their own interpretation of the Portrait of a Group of Children and verbalize their thoughts about what they think the picture means, while raising questions. For example, are these children similar to or different from the children of today? And would you like to be friends with any one of the children? Tell why. The students will write thoughts, ideas, and feelings they have about the portrait in their journals and then draw the child they would want to be friends with.

Edward Tufte's chapter on "Images and Quantities" will promote understanding of location in relationship to where we live8. Tufte explains that maps express quantities visually by location and by surface coverage, but the maps in this unit are on a small scale, so that the students can see the location and use their cardinal directions to point out the next destination of another event. The reason why maps are most useful to students is because they are important tools in understanding the world around us. Maps have symbols that show information like mountains and highways and a map key to explain the pictures. Information is apparent to the students because the data is highlighted by color, or special symbols to show how much area of land there is and how much of the Earth parts of United States cover. I will use a map of the world from the Our United States textbook atlas pages to show where Great Britain is in relationship to the United States. The teacher can use an atlas of his or her choice to demonstrate the relationship between Europe and the United States.

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Background Information for the Revolutionary War

I will begin this unit with the questions, what does the word revolution mean, and what do you know about the Revolutionary War? I will pass out a KWL graphic organizer and have a big piece of chart paper posted in the classroom to keep track of the students' responses. My students will generate responses about the war, and the people participating in the war. Students will discuss the idea of revolution and how it applies to this unit that I am teaching.

As we move forward in this unit, the students will add to their KWL chart in their journal, as we will facilitate discussions on the purpose for a revolution and why America needed a revolution to change the perspectives of those participating in the war. This conversation will serve as a springboard for the next couple of weeks discussing the events of the Revolutionary War.

The main textbook, Our United States, will provide the necessary background of the Revolutionary War for my students, but if teachers do not have access to the textbook, then they can use the following websites: http://www.americanhistory.about.com, http://www.historytoday.com and http://www.theamericanrevolution.org. All of these websites have a plethora of articles for teachers to read through in order to get enough background information needed to supply students with for their notes.

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Visual, Musical Vocabulary Lessons

Students will receive new background knowledge at the start of a new lesson, and they will also learn new vocabulary that they are encouraged to highlight and play around with by creating word search or crossword puzzles. Students can also play a matching game in which they can write terms like minuteman, Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, and militia and their meanings on one side of an index card, and then on the other side, draw a picture of the vocabulary term. Students can take turns showing the pictures of the terms while the others try to guess what the term is and provide a brief definition of it. They can also act out the vocabulary word, like the game Pictionary, as another effort to get to know the vocabulary with the guidance of the teacher, supervising and providing the words for the students to act out in their teams.

Another visual activity to generate discussion and excitement is to give the students a set of ten vocabulary words or fewer, and ask them to make up a song or a rap to help them remember the terms, and perform it for the class. The students can make up their own beats or choose to sing the song without music, and present it like a choral reading. In addition, traditional songs like The Star-Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and My Country Tis of Thee are other songs that the students can hear to learn their meanings. Before listening to the songs, the teacher can provide the students with the lyrics of the songs, which can be found on the following website http://www.earlyamerica.com/music/revolution, discuss, and then listen to the songs. This website provides background information on the music as well as the song. Teachers can prompt students to think about and visualize the song and jot down in their journals what kinds of pictures they are getting from the songs. Students can choose to draw their responses instead of writing on another sheet of paper, and then color them, if there is a particular vivid image that they wanted to describe.

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Patriots and Loyalists Visual Vocabulary

Background information is important in laying the foundation for the start of the war, but it is also important to discuss the "who's who" of the Revolutionary War. The teacher can use a chart organizer labeled with different categories for clothing and everyday life paired with pictures taken from the text If you lived during the time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore to show how life was very different for the Patriots and the Loyalists.9

The teacher will use the same text to sort out the two groups of people. This will help the students associate the word with the image that represents the loyalist or the Patriot. Students can also paste phrases like "freedom from England," "Redcoats," "Daughters of Liberty," and "Lobster backs" into the chart. Phrases are also an acceptable means to learning new vocabulary terms. In the textbook, the students will also see how the vocabulary is used in sentences to convey the appropriate meaning of the word. Then they will be asked to use the vocabulary in their own sentences. Every day there will be a "Do now" which will have a vocabulary word posted on the chalkboard to review previous terms and learn new terms.

Higher-level vocabulary knowledge will increase the comprehension of the unit's content and eventually result in higher testing scores for close reading of passages like the Degrees of Reading Power Test and the Connecticut Mastery Test dealing with non-fiction text.

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Locations of the War

I will present a world map to show the country of Great Britain and the United States since a good amount of the events took place in Boston, Massachusetts. The map will be taken from the website http://www.mapsofworld.com. On this website teachers can access a blank map of Great Britain and the United States that can be used later on in the lesson. On the teacher's map, cities where the events took place will be highlighted, there will be a map key to show important symbols, and color coded scales will represent the routes the soldiers took. A smaller map present in the textbook does not allow students to trace the routes on the map using color coded highlighters, but if I give them a larger scaled map, then they can see for themselves the locations of the events and mark them off using a blue or yellow highlighter.

The students can use the blank map of Boston from the same website as listed above to illustrate the battle of Lexington and Concord where the first shot was heard around the world. The students can draw the routes taken by the British militia from Boston to Concord to meet up in Lexington.

Maps are helpful in this unit to pictorially present key data such as the number of lives lost in the war, the number of soldiers who fought, and the population of living during this period of time.

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Classroom Activities

The three activities presented here help strengthen the visualization component of the unit and help students make better sense of the information that they are being presented. All three lessons can be adopted and modified to fit the needs of your students if necessary.

The first activity helps the students to see how the city that they live in and go to school in was a place in which some of the events of the Revolutionary War happened. This will make the past seem a bit more relevant to their everyday lives because the students would have seen or walked down these streets, if they are from New Haven or if they have visited New Haven. The students will be able to connect an event to a street that is familiar to them, such as Whalley Avenue, Goffe Street, and Dixwell Avenue. Some students may even live on the streets that the teacher will point out while looking at the maps.

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Activity One: Lesson on Making Connections to the Real World using Maps

Time: 60 minutes

Objective: Students will use a map of downtown New Haven from http://www.cityofnewhaven.com and a map of the United States and http://www.mapofworld.com and read an article on Benedict Arnold from the website http://www.benedictarnold.org and Nathan Hale from http://www.biography.com/articles/NathanHale.com. Students will locate familiar places and high-light them on the maps. Students will discuss their ideas with the class about their experiences with these particular places and imagine what it must have been like for the soldiers marching down the streets of New Haven.


Map of downtown New Haven

Map of the United States (can be bought at an educator's store or downloaded)

Article on Benedict Arnold

Article on Nathan Hale

Highlighters or crayons

Do Now:

Students will move into groups of four and listen to the description of the lesson.


1. Students will be distributed both maps, one of the United States and one of New Haven.

2. Students will be distributed one article at a time to read.

3. In small groups, the students will look for places in the articles that are familiar to them and highlight them in the text.

4. Students will mark the locations on their maps and discuss in their small groups why they have chosen these particular places. On the United States map, the students can trace the route of Nathan Hale's regiment from Boston to New York to New London, etc. Students can do the same for Arnold.

5. Teacher will ask the class to begin discussing the places that were highlighted and why they were important to them. The teacher will ask about their experiences with these places and the relationship these places have to the war. The teacher will explain the significance of those key places the students' highlighted on their maps.

Closure (Teacher- and student-generated discussion)

"What are some of the connections I can make to these locations? Are there places that I visited before that remind me of the places that these two men visited or lived in? Can I think of what it must have been like in New Haven in the 1700's compared to what life is like in the present in New Haven? Were the streets as busy as they are today? How did the people react when the troops marched through the streets of downtown New Haven, and how do you think we would have acted or felt like if troops marched down our busy streets with guns? What feelings were present? Can I connect to the feelings of the troops?


Students will pretend that they are soldiers from the Revolutionary War who were transported to present-day New Haven marching down the streets of downtown New Haven. Students are asked to write about what they think the soldiers might have seen in 2011 that they might have not seen in the 1700's. How do you think the soldier might have felt? Tell why.

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Activity Two: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere according to John Berger

Art critic John Berger suggests that when an individual views a portrait, the original meaning is no longer attached to it, and that the person modifies or changes the meaning according to his or her perspectives. In essence, the people viewing the painting in its entirety develop their own interpretation of the portrait, reaching the conclusion that the elements of the piece (i.e., tone, setting, colors) all come together as one cohesive unit.

Time: 60 minutes to 120 minutes

Objective: Students will use a KWL graphic organizer to write down what they know about the ride before reading the Real Story of Paul Revere's Ride. This story is short and can be accessed on the website http://www.paulrevere.org. Students will view three different images of Paul Revere riding his horse from http://www.paulrevere.org and then view Grant Wood's interpretation of Paul Revere's ride from the website http://www.metmuseum.org and develop their own interpretation of the portrait. Students will create their own poster of Paul Revere. If teachers do not have a technology center in their building, then perhaps they can use an LCD projector in the classroom or computers in the building.


A copy of the story of the midnight ride of Revere (http://www.paulrevere.org)

Crayons, markers, or colored pencils

White paper (large)

An enlarged photo of the ride, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art website, will be shown on the computer in the classroom or at a technology center.

Do Now:

Students will enter the room and view the images on the Paul Revere website: http://www.paulrevere.org


1. Students will quietly view one image (teacher's choice) from the Paul Revere website and jot down any words that the picture conjures up.

2. Teacher will generate a discussion about the event happening in the picture.

3. Teacher will ask questions about the photo and ask students to discuss why the artist decided to interpret the event in this particular way. Students will generate responses to the questions and begin to point out things that they notice in the picture that may contribute to the meaning of the image.

4. Teacher will ask the students to try to look at the elements of the picture like the mood or the specific colors, and construct an idea about what theme may be represented in Wood's interpretation.

5. Next, the teacher will provide of the Real Story of Paul Revere's Ride, also from the Paul Revere website, and in groups of three to four, the students will read it and summarize the key points of the ride, or use the KWL chart to complete the information they have learned.

6. The teacher and the students will discuss the significance of the ride and generate a discussion of whether or not the picture and the story's meaning are alike or different.

7. Students will plan their poster of Paul Revere.


Finally, in small groups, the students will work on their own portrait interpreting the Midnight Ride and present it to their classmates. What would the portrait look like now that we understand the significance of the ride? I would ask my students, "How would you tell the story of Paul Revere's Ride?"

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Activity Three: Boston Tea Party, A Cartoon in the Style of Scott McCloud

For lesson plan three, students will be asked to represent the Boston Tea party using cartoons, comic strips, or symbols. I will share an excerpt of McCloud's comics to show the students how he uses captions, dialogue, and pictures with and without words to present his idea about the relationship between words and images. By showing the students a clip of his chapter, they will see how to construct their own cartoon frames.

Time: 60 to 120 minutes or two class periods

Objectives: Students will read about the Boston Tea Party in Our United States, take notes using Cornell note-taking, and visually present the events in a cartoon.


White paper


Our United States textbook

Social Studies journal/notebook

Our United States audio tape

Sample comic strip from newspaper

Example of McCloud's Show and Tell showing text with and without words

Do Now:

Students will set their papers up for Cornell notes and open their textbook to the lesson on the Boston Tea Party.


1. Students will listen to the audio tape of the lesson while the teacher assists them in the note-taking process.

2. Teacher will discuss the event and the students will answer questions based on the teacher's notes.

3. Teacher will ask the students about the significance of the tea being thrown overboard and why the patriots chose this item to focus on.

4. Teacher and students will put the event in sequential order using time order words: first, next, then, and last.

5. Teacher will show examples of comic strips and dialogue within the comic.

6. Teacher will show an example of how the cartoon can be done and ask students to share their ideas so that others who are struggling can be assisted.

7. Students begin to plan and illustrate their comics through symbols, colors, and dialogue.


Students will illustrate the Boston Tea Party and verbally present the information in their comic strip. This activity will become the bridge for the culminating storyboard project.

Note to teachers: The topic in the lesson plans may be substituted with other subjects that the teacher may want to focus on. The teacher may use another portrait for the students to construct meaning, and the teacher may use another event for the students to visually depict.

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Beck, Isabel. Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. New York: Guilford, 2000. This book provides the teacher with techniques and strategies for developing vocabulary within a given text.

Berger, John. "Ways of Seeing." McQuade and McQuade, Seeing and Writing 4, 689-711, New York and Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. John Berger's essay on visual images that examines the way we look at art.

Durkin, D. "What Classroom Instruction has to say about Reading Comprehension Instruction." Reading Research Quarterly 14 (1979): 481-533. An interesting article outlining how classroom instruction determines how well a student comprehends the text that he or she is reading.

Ediger, Marlow. "Reading and Vocabulary Development." Journal of Instructional Psychology 1 (1999): 200-220. An article on teaching children to possess a rich vocabulary based upon the reading materials that are presented to them.

Johansen, Bruce E. "Mohawks, Axes and Taxes: Images of the American Revolution." History Today 35, no. 4 (1990): 528-535. The article examines the symbolic use of the Mohawk Indian as the patriots' disguise during Boston Tea Party.

Kelly, Martin. "Causes of Revolutionary War: The Colonial Mindset and Events that Led to the Revolt." American History (2011). http://www.about.com. A great article on the beginning of the American Revolution and the causes of the war for independence.

Lanham, Richard. "What's Next for Text?" The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2006. http://www.rhetoricainc.com. This article focuses on shape poetry.

McCloud, Scott. "Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art." McQuade and McQuade, Seeing and Writing 4, 711-735. Scott McCloud presents the relationship between words and images through visual representations.

McQuade, Donald, and Christine McQuade. Seeing and Writing 4. New York and Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin, 2010.

Moore, Kay. If You Lived During the American Revolution. New York: Scholastic, Inc, 1998.

Moulton, Margaret. "Pattern Poems: Creative Writing for Language Acquisition." Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching 5 (1997). The article explains how pattern poetry is a great visual representation of information.

Pauk, Walter. Taking Effective notes preparing to take notes starting with the Cornell System Gathering Information tying things together. Section 10. How to Study in College, 8th Edition. New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2007. This section of Pauk's book focuses on how to use Cornell note taking.

Smith, Carl B. "Vocabulary Instruction and Reading Comprehension." Eric Digest. Bloomington, IN: Eric Clearinghouse on Reading English and Communication [ED412506] http://www.ericdigest.org. This is a great article on teaching vocabulary through reading context clues.

Stempler, Ephraim. "25 Ways to Get Kids Writing." Instructor: Back to School, no.1. Scholastic, Inc (2010). This is a short article summarizing twenty-five creative ways for getting students to write more often using story maps and graphic organizers.

Tufte, Edward R. "Images and Quantities." Visual Explanations, 13-27. Cheshire: Graphics Press, 1997. This section discusses maps and charts.

Wilhelm, Jeffrey." Inquiry based learning" Inquiring Minds: Learn to Read and Write: 50 Problem Based and Literacy and Learning Strategies. Canada: Scholastic, Inc. 2009. This section of his book focuses on inquiry based learning in the classroom.

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Student Reading List

Bobrick, Benson. Fight for Freedom: The American Revolutionary War. New York: Simon and Shuster, 2004. This book provides a detailed description of the wars, the battles, the events, and the people of the Revolutionary War.

Gin, Silver Burdett. Our United States. New York: Harper Collins, 1997. The Social Studies textbook used for fifth-grade curriculum focusing on the American Revolution.

America: The Making of a Nation. New York: Roar Publishing, 2008. Little, Brown, and Company, Inc. This pop-up book details the story of America's historical past beginning with the Declaration of Independence and ending with the story of Ellis Island.

From Sea to Shining Sea. United Kingdom: Parragon Publishing, 2006. Welcome Enterprises, Inc. A book of poetry, songs, facts, letters, and essays about historical events in America ranging from the American Revolution to World War II.

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Internet Sites for Students


This site includes an interactive game that allows students to test their knowledge of the Revolutionary War.


This site offers many links to information regarding battles, events, and key people of the Revolutionary War.


An inter-active map showing the cities/towns of the key battles of the war.


This site explores the Liberty Bell as an iconic image of the war.


An informative site on Paul Revere.


This website is the site for the three images of Revere's ride and also the short story on Paul Revere that the students can read. There are also maps that depict his route for the ride.

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Teacher Internet Sources


This site provides a variety of articles on historical events by distinguished historians.


This site provides lessons that teachers can use in their classrooms using images of George Washington, Valley Forge, and the Continental Congress.


This site explains inquiry based learning and arts integration.


This site includes articles about the Revolutionary War.


This site includes lots of historical information about the War for Independence.


This site provides the map of downtown New Haven to print for students.


This site provides a biography of Benedict Arnold.

http://www.biography.com/articles/Nathan hale/

This site provides the biography of Nathan Hale.


This site provides background on the patriots of the Revolutionary War.


The website for the chapter in Understanding Comics called "Show and Tell."


This site is for reproducible shape poetry templates.


This site is for shape poetry templates.


This is the Yale Center for British Art website.


This website is for downloading videos to show in class.


This site has the templates for blank maps used for the United States and Europe.


This website is for finding music on the Revolution.


This website is for accessing Richard Lanham's "What's Next for Text?" on shape Poetry.

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Images of the Revolutionary War: Teacher Resources

Valley Forge: Washington and Lafayette. Winter 1777-78.

http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/revolution-images/images/valley- forge.gif/

George Washington and His Committee of Congress at Valley Forge. Winter 1778.


Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, October, 1781, whereby over 17,000 British and Hessians became prisoners.


The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/modern_art/the_midnight_ride_of_paul_revere_grant_wood/

The following four images can be used to depict the people, places, and activities of those living in England in the 17th and 18th century from the site of the Yale Center for British Art called Britain in the Age of the American Revolution. They give students an idea of what life was like, and teachers can access them on this website: http://www.british.art.yale.edu

Arthur Devis: Portrait of a Group of Children, c.1743. The portrait depicts the life of wealthy children and their homes in England.

Joshua Reynolds: Charles Stanhope, Third Earl of Harrington, 1782. The portrait is an idealized view of a British soldier who fought in the War for Independence.

Jan Siberechts: Wollaton Hall and Park, Nottinghamshire, 1697. The portrait is an example of the kind of extravagant lifestyles of the upper class that ruled England.

George Stubbs: Two Gentlemen Shooting, 1769. The portrait showcases hunting as a popular sport in England.

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Implementing District Standards

Forming a General Understanding:

A1: Students will identify the main idea of the text.

A2: Students will use relevant information from the text in order to summarize ideas from the text.

Developing an Interpretation:

B-1: Students will use information/evidence from the text to draw a conclusion.

Making Reader/Text Connections:

C-1: Students will make connections between the text and outside experiences and knowledge.

C-2: Students will select, synthesis and/or use relevant information within a written work to write a personal response to the text.

The three CMT 4th Generation strands will be used throughout the unit. After each lesson the students will be asked to make a connection to the text or find something in the text that could be relatable, and use outside experience to discuss the connection more widely with their peers. In addition, students will have the opportunity to draw a conclusion about the text lessons that the class is reading. Each lesson will also be equally important in the comprehension of the material as it pertains to the connections the students make by using what they have learned.

These learning objectives are implemented during the phase of writing in which the students will plan their storyboard to pictorially and verbally present to their classroom audience. The students will be used to using graphic organizers to clearly organize their information appropriately according to people, places, and key events of the war. The writing lessons will focus on writing about events using sequential order or presenting the events determining the main idea.

Writing Objectives/Indicators of Mastery:

Students will use graphic organizers and notes to plan and write their ideas/piece.

Students will write about historical events, people, and places by using facts and details.

Students will participate in writing lessons about historical events.

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1 Wilhelm, Inquiring Minds, 125.
2 Pauk, How to Study in College, Section 10, "Taking Effective Notes," 250.
3 Lanham, "What's Next for Text?" section 6, Liberating Shape and Motion http://www.rhetoricanic.com.
4 Lanham, "What's Next for Text?" section 3, Shape Poetry http://www.rhetoricanic.com
5 Lanham, "What's Next for Text?" section 3, Shape Poetry http://www.rhetoricanic.com.
6 McCloud, "Show and Tell." http://www.scottmccloud.com., Seeing & Writing 4, 711-735.
7 Berger, "Ways of Seeing," in McQuade and McQuade, Seeing & Writing 4, 689-711.
8 Tufte, "Images and Quantities." Visual Explanations, 13-27.
9 Moore, If you lived during the time of the American Revolution, 19-25.

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