Learning About History and Paul Revere

23 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT analyze how particular lines of incidents in a poem propel the action, aspects, and decisions of Paul Revere.

Big Idea

Tracking Revere's Ride through the Horse's Gallops

Bell ringer

10 minutes

Paul Revere’s fame came from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Paul Revere's Ride. In this poem, Revere is transformed from a locally known figure to a national folk hero whose midnight ride to Lexington on April of 1775 yields a great victory for the British. Students must understand that it takes a person of good character to have the job of warning the townspeople about the British invasion. Before students can analyze Revere’s character, they must have some prior knowledge about the American Revolution. 

To hook students into this lesson, I will read portion of Paul Revere's Ride to students. I want them to predict Revere's role in the American Revolution prior to reading the poem. 

"The regulars are coming! The regulars are coming!" shouted Paul Revere at the top of his lungs as he rode through town. At his call, minutemen armed themselves. Indeed he was right for the British armies were landing in Boston and coming by sea.

Students will take this information and list the possible job Paul Revere had during the revolutionary movement. Students will need to make many inferences about Revere although personal traits Revere contained included him being adventurous, trustworthy, smart, etc. A class discussion will be held to unfold the attributes of Paul Revere prior to reading a story about his life.

From the initial question, students can say that Revere could have been a spy, solider, or revolutionist. 

Independent Practice

30 minutes

This is the second lesson that students have had on early heroes during the American Revolution. There are different ways to build students’ knowledge about who Paul Revere was to this time period. Since this lesson has students comparing and contrasting the ride of Revere through a primary and secondary source, I will just remind students that primary sources contain information from the actual person who witnessed an account unlike secondary sources which contains information from second-hand people or sources.

The class will be divided into two groups. One side will read Paul Revere Poem and the other side will read Paul Revere Actual Account of Ride about his ride to Lexington.  As students read their selection silently, they will answer the questions from the handout entitled Keeping Track of Paul Revere. When introducing literature, I loved to discuss or read selections told from different perspectives. In this interdisciplinary unit, students learn in their ELA class that historical documents can be easily comprehended if a skill or strategy is the focus of the reading. For this particular read, students will use the skill of summarizing to understand each paragraph of their selection.

Using reliability as the means of discussion and literature selection allows students to engage more in higher order thinking processes in the classroom. The Keeping Track of Paul Revere questions asks students to track the ride of Paul Revere. Because each account is told in two different formats, some questions may not be answered from just the reading of one source. However, students can partner up (one from each selection) to answer all questions about the midnight ride.


2 minutes

I will tell students that tomorrow's lesson will require them to complete a compare/contrast graphic organizer on Longfellow and Revere’s account of his midnight ride to Lexington. To conclude the lesson, students will explain in a written fashion why we remember Paul Revere’s ride in the way we do.

A sample response from a student included the following statement:

The Battle of Lexington was the first battle where the American militia and British troops went head-to-head to fight for victory. Because there was no armed resistance to the British prior to this time, the colonies were able to show their willingness to fight against British forces for what deemed important to them. Even if the winner of the battle isn't important, standing up for what one believes out weighs any win in a situation.