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Teacher Feature

Lexington and Longfellow


In honor of the 1925 Concord sesquicentennial commemorative half dollar, students will learn about Paul Revere and the events that led up to the first two battles of the Revolutionary War, fought in Massachusetts in Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.


After reading the April 2006 Coin of the Month, using a Massachusetts state map, review with students the location of Lexington, and Concord, Massachusetts.  Tell the students that a system of signals and word-of-mouth communication was set up by the colonists to forewarn militia men of the approaching British troops.  A lantern was displayed in the steeple of Old North Church on the night of April 18, 1775, as a signal to people of the town.

Locate a copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" and read aloud to the students.  Locate a recording the reading and play the poem again.  Trace Revere's path on an overhead transparency of the Lexington-Concord area, pausing the recording where necessary to discuss contextual details with the students.

Then, using a variety of mediums such as watercolors, colored pencils or markers, have the students illustrate various scenes from Longfellow's poem on drawing paper.  Display the illustrations in chronological order or compile as a class book for the students to retell the famous story to others.

Explain to the students the significance of the battle that took place in the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, on the Lexington Square which was the start of the Revolutionary War.


  • Discuss the quote "the shot heard around the world" and why it is associated with the Lexington-Concord battles.
  • Have students explore other systems of non-traditional communication such as the Underground Railroad and Morse code.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Language Arts:  Students will employ a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.  They will draw on their prior experience, their interaction with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places and Environments:  Students will create illustrations showing key features about Paul Revere's Ride.

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