Lesson Plan

Franklin’s Philadelphia: Another Point of View

This Franklin’s Philadelphia: Another Point of View lesson plan also includes:

The impressive story of Benjamin Franklin, including his rise from a printer’s apprentice to a statesman, color upper-level scholars’ understanding of the possibilities of life in colonial Philadelphia. But not everyone had the opportunities or success Franklin enjoyed. Pupils read and discuss a biography of Moraley, an indentured servant who arrived in Philadelphia shortly after Franklin. Readers follow up with research and prepare portions of a fictional autobiography of a Philadelphian whose experience contrasted with Franklin’s.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Invite learners to consider why one city in a particular era might seem to be a quite different environment to two different people
  • Before students begin the writing segment of the assignment, share with them some selections from diverse eighteenth-century autobiographies to consider as possible models
Classroom Considerations
  • Learners benefit from prior knowledge of Benjamin Franklin's life and experiences
  • Part of a longer series on Benjamin Franklin 
  • Reading aloud in mixed-ability groups in class benefits struggling readers
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  • Uses a well-known figure as the basis to introduce the more diverse community of colonial Philadelphia, using comparison and contrast
  • Encourages the class to take a fresh look at Benjamin Franklin by viewing his accomplishments through the eyes of his fellow citizens
  • Some links for materials, including the main reading, do not work, but they can be found online with a little searching