This Freedom Could Kill Us: Teaching Novels about the American Revolutionary War Era

Alexandra Edwards, History, Bailey Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


I believe that reading should be at the forefront of any History class. As students enter eighth grade they will be faced with many primary source readings such as speeches, journal entries, letters, and broadsides. They also have to examine political cartoons, works of art, drawings, music, and songs. In addition I wanted my students to read works of modern fiction that deal with a particular historic period of time. I think a combination of primary and secondary sources can support my students in their quest to unearth a certain era, such as the American Revolution, and validate that what they have discovered is actually true. I have developed a unit that gives my students an opportunity to read a novel of their choice about the American Revolutionary War era. The novels cover all the faces of the Revolutionary time period: Loyalists, Patriots, British at home in London, slaves, traitors on both sides, and families torn asunder by the war within their own family as the Revolution drags on for years. The unit combines the visual and textual sources and employs close reading techniques to truly unearth the time period in a more realistic method.