An American Myth: How Pictures and Texts Have Changed the Narrative of the American Revolution

byLynnette Shouse

The overall goal of this unit is to use both texts and images to discover the real history behind one of the most famous stories from the American Revolution.  Students will discover that the events of the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania did not occur exactly as stated in their social studies textbook. Narratives and pictures surrounding history can be inaccurate for many reasons, including but not limited to:  skewed perspective of the author, creation of political propaganda, or an attempt to create a collective patriotic memory.

The unit consists of a variety of texts, images and activities that will help students make connections between history and the media used to record it.  Students will be reading texts, researching primary sources, participating in discussions, and learning to respond to differing views with respect. Connections between the past and the present will be a targeted focus of instruction. This unit is geared towards students in fourth through sixth grade and the resources could be modified to align with other state or district standards.

(Developed for Language Arts and Social Studies, grade 5; recommended for Language Arts and Social Studies, grades 4-8)

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