In Revolutionary War on Wednesday, The Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to Colonial America. They arrive just as General george Washington is planning the crossing of the Delaware. Before they know it, Jack and Annie are in a boat with the Father of Our Country as history is made!
WHY DID WE fight the Revolutionary War? What is the Declaration of Independence? What was it like to live in the 13 colonies? Find out the answers to these questions and more in American Revolution: A Nonfiction Companion to Revolutionary War on Wednesday, Jack and Annie’s guide to one of the most important events in our nation’s history.
In her introductory letter to Revolutionary War on Wednesday, Mary Pope Osborne points out several "errors" in Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware," including Washington's standing position, the size of the boat, and the flag depicted. Introduce the term "artistic license" to your students, noting how accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to the portrayal of a feeling or emotion. How do these and other "errors" in Leutze's Romantic portrayal of this event communicate the artist's feelings for what Washington and his men were undertaking rather than depicting the accuracy of the moment?
Using library and/or Internet resources, compare Leutze's portrayal of this scene with those of other members of the Romantic School including George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Sully. Look at the paintings' organization, light, balance, and position of figures to illustrate how "artistic license" was used by each painter to emote feeling rather than portray reality.
Colonists came to the United States from several countries. Have readers ask family members to identify the country from which their relatives came. Make a graph that shows the countries of the students’ ancestors, and indicate the number of students with ancestors from each country identified. Encourage readers to research to learn something unique about their country of origin, and share that with the class.
Several different jobs in colonial America are described in this research guide. Have students write a “Help Wanted” ad, seeking someone to fulfill one of the colonial jobs. Remind them that in their ad they need to include such things as job description, qualifications, salary, benefits, and how to apply. Students should read want ads in their local newspapers to learn additional details typically put in a job announcement.
Have each student select one of the people associated with the Revolutionary War and research that figure’s personal life and accomplishments. Then have students get into costume and play the role of their character for a recorded interview. Some possible questions for the interview include: What was your childhood like? What is your profession? How would you like to be remembered?
Thomas Paine wrote that ordinary people could do amazing things. Ask students to select one of the ordinary people from the revolution and describe an amazing thing that person accomplished. Using paper plates, students should create the face of the person they have selected, adding details with markers, construction paper, and other supplies. On the back of the plate, have them write the extraordinary thing the person did.
Teaching ideas by Rosemary B. Stimola, Ph.D., professor of children's literature at City University of New York, and educational and editorial consultant to publishers of children's books, and Dr. Peggy A Sharp, a national children's literature consultant.