1. WHAT WAS LIFE IN VERMONT LIKE IN THE 19TH CENTURY?
(USING HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS ON CHRONICLING AMERICA)
LESSON PLAN FOR 6TH GRADE (ADAPTABLE FOR ALL AGES AND TOPICS)
Students should understand at least three ways of how culture in Vermont has changed over time.
Students should know that historic newspapers are a valuable primary source.
Students should be able to cite several aspects of how life was in Vermont in the past.
Students should be able to determine main ideas from a historic newspaper page.
RATIONALE AND CONTEXT:
Historic newspapers are a vital primary source for learning about history, particularly in regard to culture, technological advances, society, historical events, contemporary perspectives, and more. The ability to read a historic newspaper and understand its usefulness for learning about the historical past is also a useful skill for history research.
Vermont Standard(s): Diversity and Unity
Concepts of Culture
6.13 Students understand the concept of culture, including the cultures of indigenous peoples, in various times in their local community, in Vermont, in the United States, and in various locations world wide. This is evident when students:
(5-8) 6.13aa Investigate the factors that make us human in different cultural and
Common Core: Literary in Social Studies
Key Ideas and Ideas
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
2. LEARNING PLAN:
Print off pdf pages from Chronicling America, enough for each student. See following list of examples. Vermont historic newspaper pages can be searched and downloaded for free on chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. A handout is attached that could be used by students.
INTRODUCTION: Newspapers, like today, were a primary way of communicating in the past. However, they were of even more importance than today as there were no televisions, cell phones, or computers. People learned news by word-of-mouth, a device called the telegraph, and mostly by reading the paper. Life in Vermont was certainly very different in the past, and newspapers that were printed in the nineteenth century are a primary source (that is, a document from that particular time) that show how Vermont society and culture were at the time. They are like a snapshot of time. The advertisements, news, and even the language of the page show what life was like for Vermonters.
INSTRUCTION: After an overview of the value of historic newspapers, students should be divided up. They can select a newspaper page to read over in pairs or invidually. Students should receive a handout to fill out as they read. Dictionaries should be made available, and students should write down words they are unfamiliar with.
CLOSURE AND CONNECTIONS: At the end of the period, gather students to share their findings. Possible prompting questions:
o Why do you think this particular find shows how life was like in Vermont?
o What did you learn about in regard to the 19th century culture and society in Vermont?
o Does this exist today? Why do you think it does/does not?
o What is the modern equivalent, if any, of this today?
o Based on your findings, how has Vermont culture changed since the 19th century? How has it stayed the same?
o What was it like trying to read these historic newspaper pages?
Students could make their own class newspaper, including news and cultural aspects of life today in Vermont.
Students could compare newspapers from different periods, such as the 19th, 20th, and 21st century in a particular place.
Students could compare historic newspaper content about a particular event to a secondary source recounting.
Visit the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project’s website at: library.uvm.edu/vtdnp/
VTDNP Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VTDNP
VTDNP Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vtdnp/sets/
VTDNP Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vtdnp/boards/
Chronicling America’s website: chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
WHAT DO THESE 1840 ADVERTISEMENTS TELL YOU ABOUT TRANSPORTATION IN THE MID-19TH CENTURY IN VERMONT?
3. NEWSPAPER EXAMPLES (WITH LINKS)
Students can learn about life in Vermont from most any aspect of newspapers— culture, technology, politics, economics, and so forth. Just looking at a single page from a paper can offer great insight into life in the past for Vermonters. You can give students specific articles or have them search at random Vermont newspapers—they will be bound to find something new! Use our Interactive Google Map to browse newspapers by your town: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210420886320788903557.0004d79d6bafb9285fc5a&msa=0
“Vermont as a Place to Live In,” The Vermont watchman., August 19, 1891, Supplement, Image 9: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86071719/1891-08-19/ed-1/seq-9/
Advertisements, local news, and town meetings: Burlington weekly free press., February 27, 1880, Image 4: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072143/1880-02-27/ed-1/seq-4/
Advertisements: Lamoille newsdealer. volume, April 06, 1864, Image 4: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023428/1864-04-06/ed-1/seq-4/
Industry in Manchester, Vermont (3 page supplement with photos of the village): Bennington banner and reformer., September 24, 1903, Image 9: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98060016/1903-09-24/ed- 1/seq-9/
On farm life: Vermont farmer., September 10, 1875, Image 1: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023255/1875-09-10/ed-1/seq-1/
Fashion, entertainment, recreation: St. Johnsbury Caledonian. volume, July 20, 1898, Page 3, Image 3: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1898-07-20/ed-1/seq-3/
Advertisements on technology, dry goods, real estate: Burlington free press., November 30, 1838, Image 4: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023127/1838-11-30/ed-1/seq-4/
“Johnson: A Progressive Lamoille Town (with photographs of the town),” News and citizen., May 07, 1896, SPECIAL JOHNSON EDITION, Supplement, Image 2: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn97067613/1896- 05-07/ed-1/seq-1/ [See image above.]
The Interstate Fair at Billings Park, White River Junction,” The United opinion., August 30, 1895, Image 2: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038102/1895-08-30/ed-1/seq-1/