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HistoryFix: Lady Liberty: A Symbol of America
 

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from HistoryFix
Historical Topic: Lady Liberty Students Write: A paragraph about symbols

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Lady Liberty:
A Symbol of America

This writing across the curriculum lesson was created by Nevada teacher Christy Hodge.

Christy considers this history lesson to be appropriate for students in grades 2-6.


Lesson Overview:

Objectives/Overview: The students will have a better understanding of the hard labor necessary to make the Statue of Liberty through the use of primary source documents. The students will associate primary source documents to those pictures represented in the story.

The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States over one hundred twenty-two years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. The students will learn about the symbolism represented by the Statue of Liberty through the children’s book Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares and be able to describe it. The students will write a journal entry reflecting on how seeing the statue of liberty would make them feel as an immigrant coming to America for the first time.

Time Needed: four 90-minute class sessions.

Writing skills (traits) to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Idea Development (writing with a clear, central idea or theme in mind; putting researched ideas into one's own words)
  • Organization (beginning the writing with a strong introduction; ending the writing with a satisfying conclusion by linking theconclusion back to the introduction)
  • Voice (conveying passion towards the message of the writing or the topic; making decisions based on awareness of audience)

Background Information:

The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States over one hundred twenty-two years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty's symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as an international friendship.

Edouard De Laboulaye, a professor of law, thought up the idea of the Statue of Liberty in 1865. He shared his dream of making it with a sculptor Auguste Bartholdi. Ten years later Napoleon III would no longer rule France. The two men could make this dream of building a symbolic figure representing friendship and a celebration of independence, a dream come true. Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was set to design a sculpture by the year 1876. The Statue was to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The Statue was an effort between America and France. The Statue took longer than expected due to lack of funds. It was completed in France in July of 1884, and arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885. The Statue was made into 350 individual pieces and placed into 214 crates, all carried by boat to America. It took four months for the Statue to be re-assembled on the pedestal. On October 28th 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place. She has become a symbolism of freedom and America to so many.


Materials List:


Teaching Instructions:

Day One: Prior Knowledge and use for final evaluation

The teacher will ask the students what symbolism means to them. They will briefly write their answer down on a piece of paper to refer back to later in the lesson. (Prompt is page one of the lesson packet)

Day Two:

1. The teacher will begin this lesson by putting the students into groups of four. Each group will receive a copy or two of the building of the statue of liberty primary source document, and a photo analysis worksheet. The teacher will not tell the students what the unit of study is, nor will the teacher give any clues as to what the picture entails. The students analyze the picture writing down as many details as he/she can on the analysis worksheet. (This worksheet is page two of the lesson packet)

(See directions for preparing the primary sources above)

The teacher will ask the students to share out what they found in the picture. The students will share the details they found and what they think the picture may represent. The teacher may want to write the facts shared by the students on a sheet of chart paper. (Ask the students what they think the picture represents?)

The teacher will then pass out the second primary source document, the re-construction of the Statue of Liberty. The students will compare the two primary source documents. They will discuss with their group clues that may or may not have led them to believe it was a picture of the Statue of Liberty. At this point they will determine that the first document was the making of the Statue of Liberty.

The teacher will then pass out third primary source document, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. The teacher will ask the students what they think the picture represents. After listening to the story the students will be able to tell that the picture represents the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on October 28th 1886.

2. The teacher will read aloud Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares. The book represents the history of the Statue of Liberty. The teacher can stop and discuss important events. The students will also notice that the primary source documents studied are similar to the pictures represented in the book.

3. The teacher will chart down the symbolic feature represented on the Statue of Liberty. These can be found in the book. It will make the symbolism of the statue more meaningful if the students understand the details sculpted onto this beautiful statue. (For example: What do the shackles represent? What does the torch represent? etc.)

4. The students will create their own drawing of the Statue of Liberty and label all symbolic parts discussed and represented on the statue. The students should label the picture with the key dates and people that worked on the statue. (There is a coloring page on page three of the lesson packet, if you choose not to have the students draw the Statue of Liberty.)

Day Three:

At the end of the book, many stories are shared by those Immigrants coming to America, and how they felt seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time. This was a symbol of coming to America.

Writing Lesson:

Have your students find something in their community that is symbolic to them. The students will find a picture in a magazine, on a post card, the internet, or the students can take a picture of the symbol. The students will write about the symbolic feature represented within their community.

For example: A student living in Anaheim, California, may take a picture of Disneyland and write about it.

Have the students answer the following questions about their symbolic feature within their community:

What is it?

Where is it located?

Why or how is this symbolic to you?

Do you think this is a symbolic representation of your community to others? Why or why not?

Day Four:

Have the students share their picture of the symbolic feature they chose and read what they wrote about it to the class.

Assessment:

The students will be asked to write what symbolism in America has come to mean to them. There is a prompt on the bottom of the first page of the lesson attachment. The page can be used to represent prior knowledge before the lesson and knowledge gained after the lesson.

 


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