Think elementary school students are too young to incorporate"Hamilton"
into the classroom? Think again!

Lesson plans and resources inspired by Hamilton for inclusive humanities education.

Image Credit: Pixabay/ 12019

Image Credit: Pixabay/12019

Teaching History With Hamilton Lesson: The Science Behind Natural Disasters and How Hamilton Wrote His Way Out

__________________________________________________

Natural disasters affect everyone. No matter what region of the world you reside in, you will probably experience a natural disaster or extreme weather, such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, blizzard, tsunami, forest fire, dust storm, or a flood. Alexander Hamilton, an important Founder of the United States, experienced first-hand the hardship and devastation of natural disaster. As a teenager living on St. Croix he witnessed a hurricane strike the island on August 31st, 1772. Destruction spread through the neighboring islands of Nevis and St. Kitts with earthquakes and tidal waves that same afternoon. Hamilton was just seventeen years old.

This interdisciplinary lesson combines science, writing, and history. Explore the science behind natural disasters by starting with Alexander Hamilton’s letter to his father after the hurricane that hit St. Croix in 1772.  Students will then be given the opportunity to write their own letter depicting a natural disaster.

Grade Levels: 3-5

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.9

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1

Image Credit: Jim Bowen

Image Credit:Jim Bowen

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: Frenemies: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

__________________________________________________

Washington and Jefferson were important founding fathers that were great friends, who fought together for separation from England. But, after the war, they did not agree on much. See what came between these two great men.

 

Grade Levels: 3-5

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.9

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Edsitement Lesson: Declare the Causes: The Declaration of Independence

__________________________________________________

Through the lens of the human propensity to complain, you can encourage students to recognize the principles, motivations, and precedents that underlie the Declaration of Independence. Help your students understand the development of the Declaration as both a historical process and a compositional process through role play, creative writing, an introduction to important documents and a review of historic events.

Grade Levels: 3-5

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.8

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.9

2358755289_fa7dd0319e_b

Image Credit: 

Engage NY Lesson: More Perspectives During the Revolutionary War

__________________________________________________

In this lesson students have the opportunity to consider the perspectives of black colonists and slaves on the Revolutionary War and the roles they either choose or were forced to play during the war. This allows students to consider a perspective that is not typically addressed in most texts about the Revolutionary War, which may intrigue many students.

Grade Level: 4

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4

6265019163_843d9bb970_b

Image Credit: 

Edsitement Lesson: Then and Now: Life in Early America, 1740–1840

__________________________________________________

Using archival materials, re-creations, and classroom activities, help your students think about which aspects of everyday life — and the people who’ve lived it — have changed and which have stayed the same in the last 200 years.

Grade Levels: K-2

Common Core Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.9

HamilTeaching Moments

Short activities that use Hamilton  songs, themes, and individuals to spark discussion and learning

Slavery & The Founders

Hamilton Song Used: “Cabinet Battle #3 (Demo)”

Articles Used: Benjamin Franklin biography, Slavery and the Founding Fathers article, Colonial America: Slavery article (optional)

Grade Level: Upper Elementary

Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.6, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.9

The subject of slavery and the Founding Fathers can be difficult to address. The Founders fought the American Revolution, wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and launched American democracy. So how could they personally own slaves and/or support the system of slavery? When Jefferson wrote, “all men are created equal,” how did he believe this to be true when he kept an estimated 141 African-Americans enslaved at his Monticello estate? Knowledge that the Founders were slave-owners complicates our views of them.

In this lesson plan, students will explore the role that slavery played in the lives of the Founders by listening to the song and reading activities. In this activity, students will be able to come to terms with the reality of slavery in a land devoted to liberty and equality. This activity will also create a platform to discuss how the musical Hamilton engages with the issue of slavery and the Founders.

Videos

Ladies of the Revolution: Let's Include Women in the Sequel

Click on the name to find teachable resources discussing the courageous women of the Revolution

Sybil Ludington

Video Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Liberty Kids Episode: Sybil Ludington

Book Pairing:

Have students popcorn read this book, or read it to the class and ask students to summarize the main points from the book with a partner.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride by Marsha Amstel

“The story of Sybil Ludington’s ride on horseback to rouse American soldiers to fight against the British who were attacking Danbury, Connecticut during the American Revolution.

Introduce young readers to history through the stories of both real and fictionalized people. By focusing on a single important episode that describes a historical event, these books engage readers’ interests and imaginations. Written in a story format, each account relates events that really happened, often followed by a brief summary of the historical event to further explain the significance it had on history” – Goodreads

Poem Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.5
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.

Most people have heard or read the poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But few have heard the poem, Sybil Ludington’s Ride, by Berton Braley.

Longfellow’s poem begins: 
“Listen my children and you shall hear
of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive,
Who remembers that famous day and year.”

Braley’s poem begins:
“Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of a lovely feminine Paul Revere
Who rode an equally famous ride
Through a different part of the countryside,
Where Sybil Ludington’s name recalls
A ride as daring as that of Paul’s.”

Source: http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2010/08/sybil-ludington.html

Questions following the poems:

What similarities do you see between the two poems?

What differences do you see between the two poems?

In what ways does the second poem borrow elements from the first poem?

Article Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient
accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Have students popcorn read the article in small groups.

Deborah Sampson

Video Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Deborah Sampson video

(optional video)

Liberty Kids Episode: Deborah Sampson, Soldier of the Revolution

Book Pairing:

Have students popcorn read this book, or read it to the class and ask students to summarize the main points from the book with a partner.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

 

The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson by Ann McGovern

“Deborah Sampson wanted to travel and have adventures, but since she had no money, the best way to do that was to join the army. This is the exciting true story of a woman who became a soldier during the American Revolutionary War, by dressing and acting like a man.” – Goodreads

Poem Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

Have students work through the poem in pairs. After reading, instruct the students to summarize the poem. You can also use this poem to teach poetic devices.

Article Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient
accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Emily Geiger

Book Pairing:

Have students popcorn read this book, or read it to the class and ask students to summarize the main points from the book with a partner.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

Access the digital pdf and the teaching guide that follows

Emily Geiger’s Dangerous Mission

By: Dyana Stan

Poem Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

Have students work through the poem in pairs. After reading, instruct the students to summarize the poem. You can also use this poem to teach poetic devices.

Given the length of this poem, it might be better to chunk the poem.

Article Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient
accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Have the students popcorn read the biography in small groups.

Phillis Wheatley

Book Pairing:

Have students popcorn read this book, or read it to the class and ask students to summarize the main points from the book with a partner.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

A Voice of Her Own: Candlewick Biographies: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet

By: Kathryn Lasky

“In 1761, a young African girl was sold to the Wheatley family in Boston, who named her Phillis after the slave schooner that had carried her. Kidnapped from her home in Africa and shipped to America, she’d had everything taken from her – her family, her name, and her language.

But Phillis Wheatley was no ordinary young girl. She had a passion to learn, and the Wheatleys encouraged her, breaking with unwritten rule in New England to keep slaves illiterate. Amid the tumult of the Revolutionary War, Phillis Wheatley became a poet and ultimately had a book of verse published, establishing herself as the first African American woman poet this country had ever known. She also found what had been taken away from her and from slaves everywhere: a voice of her own” – Goodreads

Article Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient
accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Have the students popcorn read the biography in small groups.

Song Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Rap Opera for Kids, “Phillis Wheatley for Kids Biography Song”

Question after Listening:

After reading the biography and/or book on Phillis Wheatley,  is there any information that you would like to include in the song that you felt was missing? Why do you think this information should be included?

Poem Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

Given the difficulty level of this poem, it might be best to read it to the class just to expose students to her poetry and her feelings towards George Washington.

Primary Source Pairing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Given the difficulty of this text for lower level elementary students, you can just read it aloud for the class and have students summarize what George Washington was trying to say.