Discovering Ruth's Boston (Grades 9-12 Lesson Plan)
Students will use a map to take a digital walking tour, in order to discover and imagine what Ruth's Boston may have felt like. Students will browse through a digital scrapbook, find specific items that relate to physical locations, and improve navigation and mapping skills, as well as exercise their creative writing skills.
- Students will improve their research skills as they browse and search through Ruth's scrapbook.
- Students will learn to visualize and understand mapping and navigation concepts by using the printed map that notes some sites of interest based on Ruth's scrapbook.
- Students will begin to connect the past to the present by relating historical items found in the scrapbook to buildings and places that still exist today.
- Students will practice creative writing by composing a short story or essay inspired by an item found in the scrapbook and/or building seen on the walking tour.
- Ruth D. Gates Digital Scrapbook
- Ruth D. Gates' Boston map PDF, enough copies printed out for students
- Computer lab or library with enough computers for students
- Internet access
- Google Maps
- Before class, spend time with both the Ruth D. Gates scrapbook and Ruth D. Gates' Boston Map.
- During class, have students visit the computer lab or library, find a computer, and receive a printout of the map. (10 minutes)
- Then have students follow the link provided to retrieve the Ruth D. Gates digital scrapbook and browse the site. (10-15 minutes)
- After spending some time on the site, have the students refer to the map and the locations noted on it. Have the students try to find 2-3 items in the scrapbook that relate directly to sites on the map. (15 minutes)
- After locating a couple of items of interest, have the students visit Google Maps and find the addresses related to these items. What do the locations look like now? (10 minutes)
- As a homework assignment, have the students think about the items that they found as well as the locations that they looked up and connected to these items. Then have them use these items and locations as inspiration to write a short story, poem, or essay about Ruth, the 1920s, or perhaps something personal that they connect with through these historical findings.
Review with Ruth: 1920s Theatre (Grades 9-12 Lesson Plan)
Students will examine Ruth Dorcas Gates' scrapbook, particularly with an eye to the programs of the theatre shows she attended and the notes she took concerning the shows she had seen. Students will research one of the performances, generating a bibliography of at least four sources (which can include theatre reviews, information touching on where it was first presented, and text, musical recordings, or adaptations pertaining to the play or musical). They will also read the script of the play or musical, and will write a critical review of the show from the perspective of Ruth, as if they had actually seen it, along with a brief historical background.
- Students will learn how to conduct research using primary and secondary sources.
- Students will learn to think critically, and imagine how a person such as Ruth might have experienced theatre shows in the 1920s.
- Students will learn more generally about theatre in the 1920s.
- The Ruth D. Gates Digital Scrapbook
- School library
- Internet access
- Access to a public library
- Secondary historical material concerning pertinent plays and musicals
- Theatre reviews
- Scripts of plays and musicals
- Review the assignment.
- Schedule time for students to examine the digital scrapbook and select a theatre program about which to research and write. (10-15 minutes)
- Remind students about primary and secondary sources, and what constitutes an appropriate secondary source. (15 minutes)
- Review how to cite various kinds of secondary sources. (15 minutes)
- Schedule a visit from the school librarian to review how to use the computers to search for appropriate sources. (15 minutes)
- Schedule a class period in the library specifically for searching for secondary sources. (50 minutes)
- Allow students three weeks to complete their review before handing it in.