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Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac is a seminal American text, perhaps best known for its use of aphorisms. In order to help my students understand aphorism, I designed three activities. First, I built a matching worksheet. Included in this resource you will find a paper-pencil version and a fully editable, self-grading Google Form. This worksheet is perfect for checking for understanding, independent practice, or homework. I also use this with visual and verbal learners. For my tactile, aural, and kinesthetic learners I turned the matching worksheet into an old-school concentration or matching game. Print the game cards, and students will match Franklin's original aphorisms with modern-day paraphrases. Finally, my favorite version of this activity turns the matching game into inquiry cards where students work backwards from examples to develop their own definition of "aphorism."
This is the perfect addition to a unit on the American Enlightenment. Use this resource before teaching Thomas Paine's "The Crisis No. 1," which relies heavily on aphorism for rhetorical effect.
Check out these other resources for teaching American Enlightenment literature:
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