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

byLynnette Shouse


How many times have you heard the idea that if we do not know our history we are doomed to repeat it?  I have noticed in my students a lack of engagement with the complexities of history beyond just knowing some famous people and some specific events that may be important to the publishers of social studies texts. I noticed in using a fictionalized account of the Valley Forge encampment last year that the students were struggling with the discrepancies between what was said in their text book and some of the primary source quotes in this narrative. Knowing the history of the country in which you live is a key to being an active and involved citizen of that country. I want my students to go beyond just the rote memorization of facts, people and places.  I want them to interact with the history of the United States of America and, as citizens, to connect history and current events.

Many of my students are very capable academically, but they do not always make the connection between historical facts, people and places, and their current lives.  My goal for this unit is to develop their critical thinking skills in analyzing image-texts, and drawing conclusions based upon that analysis.  I also want them to be able to discuss their suppositions with other students in a Paideia approach to Socratic seminar format. Students will also work on writing a traditional five-paragraph essay to practice the constructs of this type of writing. In keeping with the seminar’s theme of image-text relationships, students will look at a copy of a picture book and the Bayeux Tapestry to see the relationship between text, image, and image-texts.

This is why the focus of my unit will be the winter spent at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. In keeping with our theme I will use two key texts with students:   the narrative text of Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, and the image-text George vs. George, The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer.  To present the analysis of visual literacy, I will use two paintings, “Washington bids Adieu to Lafayette” by Frederick Kemmelmyer, and “March to Valley Forge, December 19, 1777” by William Trego. I will include excerpts from Founding Myths, Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past by Ray Raphael. Additionally, portraits by John Trumbull, Valley Forge: March, 1777 by Felix O. C. Darley, and broadsides from this era will be used to make the image-text connection.  These image-texts will provide multiple perspectives and a chance for students to engage with each media in reference to a critical time in the war for independence from Great Britain. It will give students the opportunity to see that history comes from multiple perspectives and this unit of study will encourage students to connect their own life with history and provide their own perspective.

The image-text connection is relevant to our study because my site is an Oklahoma A+ Demonstration school. The Oklahoma A+ process is a blending of the arts within curricular units whereby students and teachers are using creativity daily (music, dance, theater, art, and story-telling) to express what and how they are learning. 


My fifth grade students have been with me as their gifted teacher for the past four to five years.  I have the opportunity to work with them as they mature and grow as both individuals and as students over the course of five to six years. They are academically advanced, but many times they struggle in engaging with their peers socially and struggle as well working in collaborative groups where the opinions of all should be taken into account.  They can sometimes have the fixed mindset, “I’m smart and I want to make sure that I get the right answer.” If they are challenged in their thinking many times they cannot explain how they arrived at their conclusion.  They say, “I don’t know how I know, I just know.”

My students have been identified as gifted based upon their classroom performance and/or criteria established by the district to signify advanced potential.  They are often characterized by their teachers as “out-of-the-box” thinkers; however,  they tend to take their textbooks as absolute truth. Due to their age and limited life experiences, they do not question the materials that are used to teach them about American history.

My fifth grade students come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and have academic abilities that are advanced when compared to other students in their age/grade levels.  Their advanced abilities however do not always translate into content areas such as science and social studies. Many of them are excellent readers and have superior mathematical understanding but do not always use advanced reasoning skills to discover a deeper meaning. They are sometimes defined by their giftedness, and they feel that they have to know the right answers at the beginning of a study. They are afraid of being wrong and demonstrating to their peers that they do not always know the correct answer. They are not comfortable challenging their own thinking on a topic.  They are used to being “smart,” which in their minds means, “If I don’t know the answer then it is not worth studying.” Using the Paideia method will assist them in breaking out of that fixed mindset and move towards a more growth mindset that says, “The more you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow.” (1)

I want to challenge my students to use that “out-of-the-box” thinking to question the content of the text and images that provide them with background knowledge about the Revolutionary War, specifically the winter at Valley Forge narrative, and the important people involved in this pivotal time period. As Ray Raphael states, “These stories, invented long ago, persist in our textbooks and popular histories despite advances in recent scholarship that disprove their authenticity.” (2) It becomes paramount for students to realize that where information originates is as important as the actual information.  Is this image text accurate in its portrayal of actual events or is it a tale that “is too good not to be told.”? (3) This question will be a key question during our discussions and investigation into this history of an often-told narrative about Valley Forge that appears in many student social studies texts. But is it true?  How do we, as citizens, know that this particular retelling is the actual turn of events? Raphael argues that we can feel more comfortable in this ever-changing society as a people if we continue to draw upon honored traditions and stories that are the hallmark of American history.  But this limits the full truth to be revealed and it also leaves out details that allow for individuals to study and participate in civil discourse that may lead to deeper understanding of who we are as a nation. This is why I want students to participate in a Socratic seminar method where they will learn ways to engage in civil discourse that takes others’ opinions into account before stating their own assumptions and puts an emphasis on listening first before responding.

I also want them to feel comfortable being able to defend their positions in small group discussions that will require them to provide evidence to back up their opinions and positions. This modeling of asking questions and learning how to respond to other’s conclusions appropriately are also necessary life skills that, unfortunately, are not being modeled by current political commentators. 

The Unit

This unit will be approximately a six to eight week period and will share time with other classwork. The first four to five weeks will focus on the events at Valley Forge, reading and discussing what is included in their social studies text, which is limited in scope and is only roughly three paragraphs long.  Additionally, reviewing quotes from primary sources, looking at some familiar paintings about this time, including portraits by John Trumbull and Valley Forge: March, 1777 by Felix O. C. Darley, as well as the previously mentioned paintings, will extend the study to greater depth. This initial foray into student research will begin with the citations noted by Anderson in her appendix and the resources cited by Raphael. Simultaneously students will be organizing the notes from their research to begin the drafting of their first five-paragraph essay.

The second part of the six to eight weeks will be focused on dissecting parts of the Bayeux Tapestry as an artifact and watching the YouTube video created about it as a model of historical significance since it will provide a model of their culminating project. The Bayeux Tapestry will showcase the embodiment of image text and give the students a visual reference for their work on a similar video or graphic depiction of events during the encampment at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778.

Content objectives

My lessons center on fiction, non-fiction, and image-texts that provide a particular perspective.  But are these sources all creating the same narrative story/image when they are about the same historical event?  Are there discrepancies that exist between primary sources related to the same event in history?  What do readers do when they discover these discrepancies? Why would writers/engravers/artists create narratives that are myths? What were the authors’ trying to conceal?  These are the central questions that provide the basis of this unit and will guide the students’ reading and writing, thinking and creating as they work with primary sources.

Fifth graders at my site participate in a Document-Based Questions unit (DBQ) where they must analyze primary sources to answer a conceptual question.  I am modeling this unit around those same basic tenets.  We will be analyzing the main resource that students are given as curriculum content, their social studies textbook. They will research to discover if they agree/disagree with the facts and images that are presented, and then use this information to participate in a group discussion and write their individual essays. In conjunction with the analysis of the text/images provided in the social studies curriculum, students will also be reading the excerpt from Raphael’s book and discussing his claims that the common narrative about the events of the winter at Valley Forge is one of the myths of the American Revolution. We will end with an emphasis on creating an image- text that will demonstrate their understanding that history is a matter of perspective and that the students’ perspective is also valid with evidentiary support.

Background information

The reality of the winter of 1778 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, was that soldiers were in a fertile and bountiful area of the colonies and yet they were starving by the thousands. One segment of this myth is that soldiers endured this hardship without grumbling or complaining due to their belief in their country. But, according to John Rhodehamel, “Hundreds of officers resigned their commissions or took long furloughs to escape the grimness and squalor of Valley Forge,” (4).  Washington did stay in camp throughout the winter, petitioning the Continental Congress and the states to provide the necessary supplies and rations to sustain the troops camped throughout the region. But the troops took to foraging the surrounding countryside to find food for survival.  The local farmers preferred to sell their food provisions to the British military, because the British paid in gold, whereas the Continentals paid with their own script or in IOUs. Private Martin stated that “he received orders direct from the quartermaster-general to go into the country on a foraging expedition, which was nothing more nor less than to procure provisions from the inhabitants for the men in the army…at the point of the bayonet.” (5) Although not originally sanctioned by Washington, he later declared foraging to be necessary for their survival and he allowed the troops to clear the countryside of food and supplies. If this method did not solve their problem of food poverty many soldiers just ran away and went back to their homes. In several reports it was noted that eight to ten men deserted every day from Valley Forge. This paints a very different picture of daily life from the conventional one:  where troops endured their pain and suffering with tremendous resolve, putting all their faith in their cause.  Soldiers repeatedly demanded that they be fed, clothed, and paid as promised.  The soldiers were very focused on their own existence and the treatment they were receiving from the Continental Congress and superior officers. They did not just joyfully go about their tasks each day, subsisting on fire cakes and water, instead, they cried “No Meat! No Meat!” continually threatening to mutiny which created even greater concern for Washington and the officers. “If these matters are not exaggerated, I do not know from what cause, this alarming deficiency or rather total failure of Supplies arises; But unless more Vigorous exertions and better regulations take place in that line, and immediately, this Army must dissolve,” wrote Washington to the Continental Congress on December 22, 1777. (6)

There is another story that General Washington, at a desperate time during the winter, knelt down and prayed to Almighty God to watch over his soldiers and to assist him in leading his troops with wisdom.  This myth is debunked by the fact that “General Washington had not been known to kneel down because it would have soiled his uniform which he detested. He was also not known to kneel in prayer even during church.” (7)  This was a tale developed by Parson Weems in his seventeenth edition of his book about the life of George Washington. This false information has since been turned into paintings, prints, stained glass window displays and even statues. This is a prime example of one person’s suppositions being taken as the absolute truth about an experience and this narrative being passed down through generations and then becoming truth to those who hear it or see it depicted.

Text Selection

Even though we will be using some adult literature to examine the differences in historical perspectives, the student’s primary narrative text will be Forge, which has as its protagonist Curzon. He is a young African boy who is recently escaped from his owners, and who through a series of events ends up in the Massachusetts militia and eventually comes to Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778.  Each chapter begins with a quote from a primary source that gives an apt prelude to the chapter’s content. These quotes will provide students with an awareness of less well-known people during this era. The quotations are from letters to family members, correspondence between military officers, political writings of the day, and petitions of slaves desiring freedom from their masters. As the plot moves along, told in Curzon’s voice, the reader gets the sense that this is more than just a novel about the winter at Valley Forge; it is also a treatise on the struggle of different groups of people to become free from their chains.

Curzon initially begins his escape with Isabelle, another slave who wants to find her sister who has been sold away to another family in the South. Their competing ideas about where to run and what should take precedence in their decisions compel Isabelle to leave Curzon and take all their collective money. He makes the decision to join the Continentals in an effort to further his advance towards Albany and to escape the danger of return to slavery. He endures many skirmishes as a soldier and the regiment eventually makes its way to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to join other troops in the winter camp.  This is where the story takes a dramatic turn.  As the story progresses, Curzon is spotted by his former owner, Bellingham, who is now in a position of authority with the quartermaster, and Mister Bellingham decides that Curzon should resume his enslaved position, “I own you.”(8) And as fate would have it, Isabelle is also reunited with Curzon as she comes to the Moore House in service to Lady Greene, wife to General Nathaniel Greene.

This text will provide students with a protagonist similar in age struggling to use the known information along with the speculations about his future.  If they stay and take their chances, is there a possibility that they will indeed be granted their freedom as promised in the Declaration of Independence?

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.(9)

In addition to reading our fictionalized story and the historians’ perspectives, students will investigate and analyze the image texts from Schanzer’s book about King George III and General George Washington, as well as the broadsides and paintings from this period.  As Schanzer says in her biographical information, “…during the time I spent researching this book, I realized that the truth is much more complicated.” (10) This book centers on the lives and ideals espoused by Washington and King George. The author/illustrator provides details in paintings that include both image and text.  The merging of visual and word gives a heightened sense of contrast between these men. Even though they both believed in their own cause, there were also differences in their methods and eventually results that neither could have predicted. They both believed they were right and that frames the story for students as they discriminate between the effects of the war on both Great Britain and the new independent America.

Visual Art

In keeping with the topic of The Illustrated Page focusing on both image and text, students will examine the way in which information is arranged in both for a richer experience. Students will analyze whether one type of media may be more misleading or considered more reliable and they will note their assertions of this discussion. During the Revolutionary War, images and text were used to air local grievances as well as to assist colonies in communicating with each other. Literacy during this time for white males in the New England and Middle colonies was “estimated to be around 85% between 1758-1762 and rising to 90% from 1787-1795; however the rates in Southern colonies and in more rural areas were lower than in urban centers.” (11) The rates for female literacy were about half of the percentages listed for white males.  These facts may assist students in understanding how the use of broadsides, historically defined as posters announcing proclamations or events, would be considered useful by leaders wishing to gather support for a the cause of freedom from British rule. It may also explain why some of the “facts” used to create an image-text would be skewed to manipulate public opinion. These broadsides were possibly propaganda used to misrepresent actual realities which would sway public feelings and conversations in support of the rebellion against Great Britain. Students will continue discussion about when each piece was created and the larger political context surrounding the time period in which it was created. How did the current events influence the creation of this media from the past?

The examination of the techniques used by the artist/author, as well as the “story” that these paintings tell will give the students additional information about connections to the history and the specific knowledge that has been transmitted as factual accounts. Some of the best-loved accounts of the founding of this nation; however, were not created during the actual events or immediately after the events.  Several of the most beloved classic revolutionary tales were crafted by authors and artisans decades after the Revolutionary War and the colonial time period to “create” a history that romanticized the birth of a nation or sought to conceal facts and details that may not be as flattering or patriotic. Winter at Valley Forge is just one among these tales that has been remastered to provide us with a hero in the form of General Washington and to align the events of the American Revolution with a storyline that has a happy ending.  

Background Building Strategies

We will use these strategies to build background knowledge for students in this study of history.  Students have difficulty understanding the differences in time periods and the sometimes linear fashion in which history unfolds. It is important that students have some knowledge to hook their new learning to, otherwise it is just an exercise in regurgitating information.  We will use these activities to increase their historical perspective and to use different learning styles to facilitate their deeper understanding.

Exploratory/research activities

Initially just using the index in their textbooks and the citations noted by the authors of Forge, Founding Myths, and George vs. George, students will work on researching, with the assistance of our school librarian, to find some relevant primary source documents and prints/broadsides to use for comparative discussions.  They will also be working within small groups to determine the discrepancies that they may find within these documents. The second step will be determining their level of understanding by conducting some whole class discussions, in a seminar format, so that I can support them in delving deeper into this study to be able to reason and think as well as provide resources to support their conclusions.

Mapping the story

Students are unaware of where Valley Forge, Pennsylvania is located and the geographic features within this valley. We will use a map of Pennsylvania and locate this basic area and then use some basic research skills to find out about the natural features surrounding the original campsite. This will complement the standards of integrating visual information with other textual information. It will also provide clues as to why the military would have chosen this site, and the human to environment connections.

Reading Strategies

We will study these texts to focus on author’s purpose, text structure, characterization, use of imagery, and theme to enhance student comprehension.  The use of these structures will provide students the opportunity to focus on some of the nuances of the text that draw the reader into the story and visuals.  Reading aloud will allow students to focus on the content of the text and not the decoding of unknown words or getting lost in the dialogue.  


Students need to be able to discern whether a character is reacting based upon an internal dialogue or due to external circumstances.  The students will use a simple T chart to track instances where the main characters use either of these two types of characterization. These exercises assist students in describing a character’s personality accurately based upon textual evidence. By realizing that characters in books make decisions based upon either internal or external circumstances, students begin to analyze their own reactions in a similar fashion.

Graphic organizers

By using graphic organizers students will be able to organize their thoughts about the text structure and author’s purpose.  Graphics also help to tie the visual representations of ideas to actual textual references. We may use the cause-effect relationship graphics to focus on the character’s motivations and the events as they unfold.

Visual Literacy

“Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be ‘read’ and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.” (12) Students live in a picture-saturated world where images are everywhere and can be taken with you electronically. So to learn how to read a picture they need strategies to help them discover and access meaning for themselves.


We will work with the art teacher to focus on analyzing the artists’ technique and analyze why this technique, medium, and materials were used to communicate an image. Who are the audiences for each of these paintings or art work? What are the clues? What are one or two adjectives that could describe each image? We will chart this discovery on large charts for the students to use for future reference when they are creating their own art. These reflections and adjectives will propel students into creating their own art when working on the tapestry creation.

Read an image quad

This is a technique which will help students to work through some steps that will allow them to be able to interpret an image. Students will study the image and note some descriptive words.  Then they will try and connect it to other images or experiences to create a sense of meaning.  One way to accomplish this is to just draw a simple representation of the image(s) in the center of your notebook page, divide the surrounding page into quadrants, and then jot down your ideas in each of the four corner areas.  This will allow for thoughts in each quadrant about that section of the art. What did they see, notice or wonder while viewing this piece, those are the ideas that will be written on this note-taking sheet. This exercise could even be color-coded by quadrant to helps students to access their thoughts and ideas at a later time period.

Writing Strategies

Students will be noting their observations from primary sources listed above and doing some independent research to locate other sources of information and learning about proper text citation. We will be using note cards color-coded by source to allow students to write down key phrases or ideas that they will want to remember when writing their own essay. The format for the essay will be a standard five-paragraph essay which is required by the state’s writing standards. The topic addressed will be: why would there be different versions of the same historical event?

Documents Based Question (DBQ)

Our initial focus in writing will be to create a thesis statement and then topic sentences to construct some expository writing. This is where I will use the DBQ strategy of having students take their note cards and put them into “buckets” of similar information.  I will model by using my own notecards and actual plastic buckets/pails to organize my thoughts into larger categories such as: propaganda, patriotic expressions, identity creation or oral traditions. After students have created their own bucket ideas then they will use those reasons to draft their thesis statement in answer to the question noted above.  Each of the bucket ideas will generate a topic sentence for each of their paragraphs in the informative essay. This writing process will coincide with their research and reading time in their language arts class.  The process of writing their essay may continue after the initial readings and images have been analyzed and evaluated.  Students will be using rubrics to self-assess, and the rubrics will provide me with the guidelines to provide feedback to students on how to strengthen their writing of an informative essay.

Creativity strategies

“Creativity is something that can be taught and should be a tool in preparing students for 21st century learning.” (13) The following strategies are useful in allowing students to access information and then take the ideas, thoughts, and plans and put them together in unique ways. Each of these strategies fosters some self-directed learning and cooperative learning within the class as they experience the actual artifacts and work to create their own tapestry.

Paideia Seminar

“Through this type of discussion, students practice how to listen to one another, make meaning, and find common ground while participating in a conversation.” (14) These are the fundamental constructs of a civil discourse and I want to expose students to this higher-level thinking. “By focusing on a specific text, Paideia Seminar creates an entry point to engage students with more abstract ideas.” (15) To facilitate a successful use of the Paideia format the students will view two videos about this type of discussion and how to prepare in advance to ensure a productive use of the time. The first one will discuss how to conduct a group discussion, and the second one will discuss the constructs of the seminar itself. These visual models will help students to experience how this type of group discussion will look and feel. The focus question of our Paideia seminar will be: why is American history sometimes invented? In addition to viewing the videos, the class will video a  seminar discussion near the beginning of the unit and then again at the end of the unit to compare their own understanding of this type of discourse.  It will also provide opportunities for reflective thinking when viewing themselves on video, and hopefully will generate unique ways to augment their grasp of the content. They may hear something they missed during the course of the discussion, which now resonates in a new way while viewing the replay of the discussion.

Field trip

Students will go on a field trip to Thomas Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, which has many artifacts, prints, and paintings in its collection related to the Revolutionary time period. Paintings included in this collection are:  an oil painting, Washington at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777 by William Tylee Ranney, an engraving on paper, The State House in Philadelphia, 1778 by Illman Brothers, and the bronze statue Nathan Hale by Frederick William MacMonnies, as well as a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and this will allow students to see the artists’ techniques up close and provide them with knowledgeable museum staff to enhance their comprehension of how these artifacts are created and to learn from the docents about visual literacy skills.

Culminating project

Since working with text and image has been a focus throughout this unit, students’ culminating work will be to generate an artifact using the Bayeux Tapestry video (16) as a guide. I would like the students to generate a similar compilation of text and pictures to document their conclusions around the key event studied during this unit.  A brief introduction to the tapestry and why it was created will be a mini-lesson to accompany the video version. We will focus on the connections between the text and images and how they are both used to create a message to the viewer. We will pay special note to the borders on the tapestry as well as the action portrayed in the center panels. Students can generate their rendering electronically, like creating a YouTube video, or using the Green Screen app to produce a visual presentation of both text/pictures about Valley Forge.  The second option would be to design and create a similar “tapestry” that could be produced using a variety of mediums (paper, painting, 3D creations, and/or using fabric). This product would be a small group project with approximately three-four students per group. This interpretation would be the assessment that I would use to evaluate the effectiveness of the unit.  Even though there is an approximate timeline for this unit, the completion of the culminating project may extend past the end of the unit itself. The creations would be presented and displayed in our library showcase and would also meet criteria for an A+ school project.


Oklahoma Academic Standards

Process and Literacy Skills Standard 1: The student will develop and demonstrate Common Core informational text reading literacy skills.

A. Key Ideas and Details

3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in United States history primary and/or secondary sources based on specific information in the texts.

C. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources (e.g., timelines, maps, graphs, charts, political cartoons, images, artwork), demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question or to solve an historic problem.

8. Identify and explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

9. Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Process and Literacy Skills Standard 3: The student will develop and demonstrate Common Core speaking and listening skills.

A. Comprehension and Collaboration

1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 5 United States History topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

B. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in United States History presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Content Standard 3: The student will examine the foundations of the American nation laid during the Revolutionary Era through the contributions of historic individuals and groups, the spreading of the ideals found within the Declaration of Independence, and the significant military and diplomatic events of the Revolutionary War that resulted in an independent United States. (CCRIT 1, 3, 5, 6, and CCW 7, 9)

5. Analyze and explain the relationships of significant military and diplomatic events of the Revolutionary War including the leadership of General George Washington, the experiences at Valley Forge, the impact of the battles at Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown, as well as the recognition of an independent United States by Great Britain through the Treaty of Paris. (CCRIT 3)

Common Core State Standards


Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.


Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.


Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).


Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

End Notes

  1. Carol Dweck and Lisa Blackwell, “You Can Grow Your Intelligence,”
  2. Ray Raphael, “The Winter at Valley Forge,” Founding Myths, Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. 5.
  3. Ibid., 5
  4. John Rhodehamel, “Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth,” George Washington, The Wonder of the Age. 158-159.
  5. Ray Raphael, “The Winter at Valley Forge,” Founding Myths, Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. 89.
  6. Library of Congress, There Was a Choice of Difficulties, December 22, 1777.
  7. John Rhodehamel, “Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth,” George Washington, The Wonder of the Age. 159.
  8. Laurie Halse Anderson, “Friday, February 13, 1778,” 162.
  9. National Archives, Declaration of Independence.
  10. Rosalyn Schanzer. George vs. George, The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides.
  11. Jack Lynch, “Every Man Able to Read,” Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Winter (2011):
  12. Andrew, Miller, “Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity,” Edutopia,
  13. Ibid.
  14. National Paideia Center, “What is Paideia?”, National Paideia Center,
  15. Ibid.
  16. The Animated Bayeaux Tapestry,

Annotated bibliography

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Forge. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.

This books tells the story of Curzon, an escaped slave, who joins the Revolutionary War and must decide if he is willing to risk everything for his freedom.

American Antiquarian Society. “Online Exhibitions.” Accessed June 12, 2017.

Website contains many different topics related to the history of the United States.  The focus of reference was on the news media and the making of America.

Bial, Raymond. Where Washington Walked. New York: Walker and Company, 2004.

This picture book provides some detailed intimate glimpses into the private life of George Washington. The book also has some beautiful pictures from Mount Vernon.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “The American Revolution.” Accessed June 12, 2017.

The website contains many resources for teachers and parents concerning the history of the American Revolution and colonial history.

Dweck, Carol. Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006.

This documents Dr. Carol Dweck’s pioneering research about mindsets, and how those mindsets connect to our work, play, and life.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell. The Signers:  The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence. New York:  Scholastic, 2002.

Each of the signers has historical and biographical information provided in terms that students can use and reference for further study.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “Primary Sources.” Accessed July 15, 2017.

The official website of President George Washington’s estate Mount Vernon.

Herbert, Janis. The American Revolution for Kids. Chicago:  Chicago Review Press, 2002.  The author provides some lesser known information about the American Revolutionary period.  Also activities for school implementation are included.

Malam, John. The Founding Fathers:  Creators of the United States. New York: Scholastic, 2014.

Biographies of the key figures in the American Revolutionary period of United States history.

Massachusetts Historical Society. “The Coming of the Revolution.” Accessed June 7, 2017.

This website provides information about key people and places associated with battles, conflicts, and engagements during the American Revolution

National Humanities Center. “Education Programs:  Primary Sources.” Accessed June 14, 2017.

A collection of primary sources from different periods in American history.  Free and accessible to teachers and parents.

Paideia Active Learning.  “12 Paideia Principles.” Accessed June 14, 2017.

Paideia is another way to teach students to talk together and discuss issues and ideas.  It provides structures for students to lead and guide their own discussions.

Raphael, Ray. Founding Myths:  Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past. New York:  MJF Books, 2004.

The ideas presented in this text debunk some of the most famous stories from the American Revolution. Excellent source for primary references.

Rhodehamel, John. George Washington:  The Wonder of the Age. New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press, 2017.

In-depth biography of George Washington from his childhood to his Presidency, with some less familiar stories and anecdotes.

Ricci, Mary Cay. Mindsets in the Classroom. Waco, TX:  Prufrock Press, 2013. A resource for classroom teachers to use in implementation of Carol Dweck’s mindset theory.

Schanzer, Rosalyn. George vs. George:  The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides. Washington, D.C:  National Geographic, 2004.

Picture book about how George Washington and King George III of England viewed the American Revolution. “Frontier Forts in the American Revolution.” Accessed June 17, 2017.

A website full of resources, but this page specifically relates to the how forts were constructed and used by soldiers during the American Revolution.

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