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MSSS Curriculum Connection Series - Lesson Number: 5

Maine Song and Story Sampler

Curriculum Connections Series

Lesson Number: 5

Standards Connection: Social Studies Maine Learning Results – Parameters of Essential Instruction (standard B-2).  B. Civics and Government.  2. Rights, Duties, Responsibilities, and Citizen Participation in Government.

Geographic Region: Statewide

Grade Level: 10-12

Instructional Time: Approximately one to one and one-half hours

Introduction: Citizens participate in government, exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities in formal and informal ways.  The history of citizen governance in Maine is robust.  Maine’s people have articulated the republican virtues of local governance, citizen advocacy and educated participation for nearly two centuries.  Maine’s democratic tradition spans generations and has crossed regional and class boundaries.  In this exercise students will have the opportunity to learn how citizens in Maine’s working class communities have seized the opportunity to make change and fulfilled their obligations as community leaders.

Materials: The following materials are required for this lesson:

Pre-Teaching: Students should be familiar with the diversity Maine’s resource-based economy and the geography of Maine.  At a minimum, they should understand where Maine’s seafood, agricultural, dairy and lumber industries have traditionally been based.

Activity: The teacher will explain how Maine workers have affected public policy through protest, strikes, negotiation and public information campaigns.  Students will be guided to the MS&SS website shown documents “John Roberts,” which tells the story of the death of a river driver and the humorous song “Canaday-I-O” sung by Robert French (Franklin), which describes a winter working in the Canadian woods gone awry.  In MLTI equipped or other one-to-one computer-based classrooms students will review the documents independently.  In traditional classrooms the teacher will project the documents.  Students should be instructed to take notes on the content of the documents and their impressions of the participants.

Students will then have a short time (suggested time limit < 30 minutes) to compose a comparative essay in response to the prompt: “Which forms of work song do you think have been most effective in changing the work environment in Maine, ballads like “John Roberts” or humorous songs such as “Canaday-I-O”?

Students will then be paired to summarize their conclusions with a partner.  Each student will be responsible for reading and commenting in writing on his partner’s essay, as well as discussing the documents and prompt with their partner.  Teachers should note who is partnered with whom in order to assess mastery of this standard.

Assessment:  Teachers may choose to assess student writing based upon the rubrics or standards of their respective districts.  Mastery of PEI B-2 may be assessed through a review of the content of the student’s essay and through a review  of the student’s critique of his partner’s work.

Download pdf: MSSS B-2

Back to MSSS Curriculum Connection Series


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Maine Folklife Center
5773 South Stevens, Room 112B
Orono, Maine 04469-5773
Phone: (207) 581-1891 | Fax: (207) 581-1823E-mail: folklife@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System