Lesson Number: 4

Maine Song and Story Sampler

Curriculum Connections Series

Lesson Number: 4

Standards Connection: Social Studies Maine Learning Results – Parameters of Essential Instruction (standard B-1).  B. Civics and Government.  1. Knowledge, Concepts, Themes, and Patterns of Civics/Government.

Geographic Region: Northwoods

Grade Level: 5-12

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.  An important part of civics education is the study of citizens’ motivations and the types of expressions these motives have given rise to in public discourse.  The Maine folklore tradition celebrates the various ways that Maine citizens, particularly Maine’s poor and working-class population, have made their voices heard in the public forum.

Materials: The following materials are required for this lesson:

  • Digital and sound projection equipment, e.g. a MLTI laptop in one-to-one computing environments OR a teacher-directed LCD/sound projection system in traditional classrooms.
  • Access to the Maine Song and Story Sampler website.
  • Writing materials.

Pre-Teaching: The teacher should introduce the concept of labor advocacy and its history in Maine.  In particular, students should be aware of changes in the lumber and forest products industry since its heyday in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  A teacher-directed discussion or introduction on working conditions in Maine’s lumber camps is necessary for this activity.

Activity: Students should view the MS&SS website documents, “Camp Interior Early 1900s” and “Teamster Outside Lumber Camp 1900” and make note of their impressions of camp life.  In a class discussion they should compare their expectations of their future professional lives with the experience of woods workers in Maine at the turn of the century.  In a short constructed response (suggested >500 words) students should explain how the experience of camp life might have motivated workers in the early twentieth century to advocate for better working conditions, broader professional opportunities or greater access to education and public services. More importantly, students should address the reasons why loggers did not collectively advocate for these things. A useful comparison for this lesson may be the photos of urban life by Jacob Riis (or other realist photographers) and their socio-political impact.

Assessment:  Teachers may choose to assess student writing based upon the rubrics or standards of their respective districts.  Mastery of PEI B-1 may be assessed through a review of the content of the student’s essay.

Download pdf: MSSS-B-1