Looking at the Boston Tea Party through Primary Sources

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On December 16, 1773angry colonists, dressed as American Indians, destroyed 342 chests of tea to protest recent tax hikes imposed by the British Parliament. High Tea in Boston Harbor” was the headline of the Boston Gazette.

Here’s an idea for a related teaching and learning connection:

After reading that headline of the Boston Gazette aloud, ask students to create a political cartoon for this event. Political cartoonists demonstrate a particular point of view in their cartoons. Students may decide to create their cartoons from the perspective of one of the colonists, King George III, or a fish in the Boston Harbor! See this cartoon as an example.

Make copies of the student-generated political cartoons and distribute them to small groups of students. Have each group of students work collaboratively to develop higher-level response questions for the political cartoons.

This activity can be adapted to other events in history, paired with primary sources from the Library of Congress.

Curious about the NCTE and Library of Congress connection? Through a grant announced recently by NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE is engaged in new ongoing work with the Library of Congress, and “will connect the ELA community with the Library of Congress to expand the use of primary sources in teaching.” Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.

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