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I developed this activity for the beginning of the year. I have generally taught US History Constitution - Reconstruction, and so this forms a nice thread to keep referencing back to.
In his Farewell Address, President Washington announces his retirement and then gives the nation guidance for how to proceed without him as its leader. This activity provides 22 annotated sections of the Farewell Address (there are two versions, one with guiding questions, one without) and challenges students to boil down the sophisticated vocabulary and figurative language into a "text message" while preserving the meaning of the passage.
This is also a great activity for getting students used to tackling complex primary sources.