National Poetry Month arrives on April 1, and the Whittier Home Association in Amesbury, Massachusetts will celebrate by proudly introducing a special curriculum which honors the life and legacy of poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier.
Several years in the making, the curriculum was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, and was created to facilitate and promote a connection between the Whittier Home and schools and the local community through engaging, historically relevant, and fun educational programming.
Teaching Whittier can be downloaded at no charge from the Whittier Home’s Museum Shop . The three-part PDF package provides printable instructional materials, programming, and a walking tour which helps teachers, historical societies, librarians, and museum curators share Whittier’s place in the pantheon of writers who shaped history with their pens and their deeds. In particular, the curriculum is designed to offer a variety of activities, lesson plan supplements, and materials for use in a classroom setting and/or on a site visit. Work sheets, ideas, and projects can be used as building blocks in tandem with a field trip to the Whittier Home, or can stand alone as complimentary curriculum-based materials and information.
“Oftentimes Whittier is not recognized except as the man who wrote the magnificent poem, Snowbound,” says Whittier Home Association president Cynthia Costello. “His place in the Abolition movement and his vocal and heroic stand against inequality must be remembered as well.”
The Teaching Whittier curriculum features a script developed specifically for students, but anyone with an interest in Whittier’s life is welcome to download the materials. The materials in the binder provide preliminary information which enables educators and their students to become familiar with Whittier and the artifacts before they pay a visit to the museum. Once on-site, WHA docents will guide them through a more meaningful tour. “Our first implementation of this curriculum will be with Amesbury’s eighth graders when they come to visit in June for annual History Days,” Costello adds.
By placing the curriculum on the Whittier Home Association website for free download, the organization is able to expand its reach beyond the miles to inform and enlighten audiences throughout the world, thus fulfilling its mission to be a non-profit educational organization striving to engage diverse audiences in the life-story of Whittier in his roles as Quaker, Writer, Legislator and an Abolitionist.