Washington's Farewell Address: Common Core Text Analysis Lesson

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Washington’s Farewell Address is a great document to use in a common core style lesson in which U.S. History students analyze text. This document touches on topics that resonate with students because students can look at what Washington’s advice was for our nation in 1796 and then judge how in modern times we have, or have not followed this advice. Washington mentioned foreign alliances, public education, political parties, national unity, and the national debt along with other topics. Students work in 8 groups examining 8 excerpts from this document and work on in depth analysis of the text while learning annotation skills. Each group is given handouts with one copy of the entire Address, their assigned section of text with step by step instructions, and an annotations guidelines sheet. First they read their assigned text individually and put a box around any words that they are not sure of the meanings. As a group they then either look up the words or infer the meaning and write it in the margin. Second, the group decides what they feel is the “GOLD” from the excerpt. To do this they come to an agreement on what is the most important piece of information from their excerpt and they highlight it in Gold. Next the group creates a “Billboard” by making a 3D box with a few word description of the topic of their reading. Finally the group is ready to paraphrase and summarize their text. As a concluding activity, each group writes their Billboard up on the board without identifying which number excerpt they were assigned (teacher puts 8 sections on the whiteboard for this using letters A – H) and the groups using their copy of the 8 excerpts try to match the correct Billboard to each excerpt. At the end each group reveals their Billboard to the class and explains their Billboard and summary of the text. This lesson is perfect for a block day activity or as a lesson that goes over two days for single period schedules. Another quality lesson from Professor Presley Educational Products!
Total Pages
12 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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