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Transcript
Propaganda during the American Revolution Era
Teacher: Dave Szabo, Missisquoi Valley Union Middle School
Grade Level: Middle School
Time Required: 3-4 Class Periods
Topic: Propaganda used during the American Revolution
Context and Differentiation: This lesson is designed for students with a good
understanding of the acts and events leading up to the American Revolution. After reading
for information and discussing propaganda as a class, students analyze a collection of
propaganda posters. Then students design an original propaganda poster utilizing their
knowledge of an act or event that occurred between 1763- 1770. In terms of
differentiation, the RAFT (Role – Audience – Format – Topic) strategy will offer students
choice in their culminating project.
Content Standards:
H and SS 6.6c - Students use primary resources in building original historic interpretations
of Revolutionary War Era propaganda
Historical Process:
H and SS 6.5a Students interpret Revolutionary era events through various perspectives.
Common Core Standards:
Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12: Analyze a case in which two or more texts
provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on
matters of fact or interpretation.
Essential Questions: What is propaganda and how is it different than an unbiased
account? How did the Sons of Liberty (in particular) utilize propaganda to their advantage
during the Revolutionary War Era?
Culminating Assessment: Students demonstrate their understanding of propaganda during
the Revolutionary War Era by designing their own original propaganda posters.
Formative Assessment: Teacher leads discussions and offers guidance and support during
work periods. Teacher models political poster analysis. Teacher collects and assesses
student work to offer feedback and conference as necessary.
Teaching and Learning Activities:
Before you begin, students should have an understanding why the British felt that they
needed to take these actions at this time and how some colonists were beginning to
(increasingly) react to these British policies.
 Students visit http://www.bookrags.com/research/boston-massacre-pamphlets-andpropa-aaw-01 to read and take 2 column notes from an article about the Boston
Massacre and the increasing role that the Sons of Liberty are playing in the
colonies.
o ( for instructions on 2 column notes, visit this web page:
http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/two-column-note-taking )

As a class, discuss the reading, students’ notes, and the role Sons of Liberty are
playing in the colonies.

Introduce the term propaganda. Use a method that makes sense for your students
to explore the concepts. If you use a vocabulary wall or chart, certainly add this
term. Together, craft a working definition that your students can access to
understand the concept of propaganda.

Using “Think-Pair-Share” (students partner up, discuss information presented and
prepare to share something they find/answer a question etc.), students discuss
propaganda and how it differs from a news report.

Together, the class completes a Venn Diagram comparing news to propaganda.
(Appendix A)

Practice analyzing propaganda posters from a variety of historical eras.
o Distribute graphic organizers (Appendix B) and project a propaganda
poster from any historical era.

Do what makes sense for your students. Consider using posters
from periods with which they are familiar or offer necessary context
for students to explore propaganda posters through the ages.

Sites to consider
 http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/index.html
 http://www.historyextra.com/posters
 http://thinksmartdesigns.blogspot.com/2010/06/greatpolitical-posters-that-changed-us.html
o As a class, examine the projected poster carefully, identifying the details and
the creator’s purpose. Look at exaggeration and persuasive components.
o Practice modeling thorough examination and interpretation with several
posters.
o When students are ready, have them, independently or in partners, analyze
multiple sources from the Revolutionary War era. Use Paul Revere’s
engraving of the Boston Massacre (http://www.bostonmassacre.net ) and
additional images of your choice. Visit the Library of Congress for some
images you might include. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/british/brit-2.html
o Discuss student interpretations as a class.
o Collect organizers and return to students at the start of next class with your
feedback. Check for understanding and identify misconceptions;
conference with students as needed.

Introduce the culminating assessment –
o Create a propaganda poster illustrating an event/act from the American
Revolution era shown from one side’s perspective.
o Distribute and review rubric (Appendix C) as a class. Answer clarifying
questions. Be clear that poster should be well-planned, organized, neat, and
complete, but artistic ability is not being assessed.
o Schedule in-class work time for students to complete projects. Teacher
provides necessary supplies and circulates to offer assistance and encourage
students.


Follow- up Activities:
Teacher displays completed posters at stations around the room. Students use
Appendix B to analyze classmates’ posters. At the end of activity, students share
findings and offer positive and constructive feedback.
Students read a variety of sources regarding the Boston Massacre, looking to identify
words and phrases that illustrate bias.
Resources:
Primary

Primary Paul Revere’s Engraving of Boston Massacre
o

"Boston Massacre Pictures." Boston Massacre Historical Society. N.p., n.d.
Web. 21 Sept. 2012.
<http://www.bostonmassacre.net/pictures/pictures7.htm>.
Propaganda Posters
o "The American Revolution (John Bull and Uncle Sam)." The American Revolution
(John Bull and Uncle Sam). Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.
<http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/british/brit-2.html>.
o "Featured Exhibits." National Archives Oline Exhibits. The National Archives, n.d.
Web. 21 Sept. 2012.
<http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/index.html>.
o "Great Political Posters That Changed U.S. History." Think Smart Designs Blog: Great
Political Posters That Changed U.S. History. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.
<http://thinksmartdesigns.blogspot.com/2010/06/great-political-posters-thatchanged-us.html>.
o "Political Posters." BBC History Magazine. BBC, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.
<http://www.historyextra.com/posters>.
Secondary

"Boston Massacre: Pamphlets and Propaganda." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 21 Sept.
2012. <http://www.bookrags.com/>.

"Two-Column Note Taking." Home. Facing History and Ourselves, n.d. Web. 21 Sept.
2012. <http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/two-column-note-taking>.
Materials
 Appendix A - Venn Diagram
 Appendix B - Analysis Chart
 Appendix C - Propaganda Poster Project sheet/rubric
Appendix A:
Venn Diagram
News
Propaganda
Appendix B:
Poster Analysis
Which details in this poster
are exaggerated?
Are there words on the poster?
What do they mean?
How is the message
communicated visually with
symbols, shapes, and color?
What emotions does this
poster evoke?
Who might have created
this poster?
What is the message?
What techniques are used
to persuade?
What is the purpose of this poster?
Who is the target audience?
Do you think this poster is effective?
Do you think it would have persuaded people in the era in which it was created?
(Cite evidence from the poster to answer these questions.)
Appendix C:
PROPAGANDA POSTER PROJECT
Role
Perspective / Point
of View – Who is
designing the
poster?
Ex Daughters of
Liberty
Audience
Who do you expect
to persuade with the
poster?
Format
Presentation Style
(propaganda poster)
** no choice**
Topic
Historical Event
(Pre-Revolution act or
event – your choice )
Ex Colonial
homemaker
Propaganda Poster
Ex. Quartering Act
ASSESSMENT RUBRIC: AMERICAN REVOLUTION PROPAGANDA POSTER
Dimensions
#1
4
3
2
1
4 + examples
used
2-3 examples
Used
1-2 examples
Used
0 or 1 examples
Used
creative/original
uses of
symbolism
some originality
evident
little creativity/
originality
little/no
originality
Well planned
out/clear effort
Effort and
planning
evident
Rushed/
some effort
Messy/poster
done quickly
Bit messy?
Little
originality/
effort
Symbolism
#2
Presentation
Eye catching
/very colorful
Creative/
original poster
Good color/
some blank
spots
Good, solid
poster
Fairly clear
perspective/
message
Clear to
#3
understand
Perspective
perspective
(poster/summary)
original message good, solid
* see below*
summary
well written
summary
Some color/
more needed
Little to no
color
-Somewhat
difficult
perspective/
message to
understand
summary
unclear/ limited
unclear
message/
perspective
limited/ no
summary
attached
** Please attach a ½ page summary of your poster, including an explanation of your Role,
Audience, and Topic.