The Meaning of America: Self-Command

Even for one of the most accomplished men in American history, there was room for improvement. Challenge high schoolers to use Benjamin Franklin's Project for Moral Perfection to analyze text, make inferences, connect to historical context, and reflect on their own lives with discussion questions.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Create a cross-curricular project in which social studies classes focus on the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin, while language arts students grapple with discussion questions and writing prompts
  • Assign small groups one video seminar each, and have them watch at home or in class before summarizing the information for their peers
  • Encourage class members to keep a journal with a similar setup to Franklin's, marking their own progress toward goals and personal improvement
Classroom Considerations

  • Lesson provides access to an online discussion board, which is not necessary for the activity itself
  • Video seminars are embedded in the lesson and can't be shown in full screen; access the links for the videos with the share icon or in the attached materials
Pros

  • A thorough and thoughtful examination of Benjamin Franklin's character and writing
  • Designed for Common Core standards in literature and literacy in history
Cons

  • None