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Sleds on Boston Common
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  • Culminating Assignment
    • What lesson does Henry learn from his encounter with General Gage? Cite evidence from the story to support your answer. Include at lease three quotes from the story to support your answer. Be sure that your ideas are expressed in a comprehensive paragraph that includes an opening and concluding sentence.

      Possible Answer: 

      Henry learns that just because someone has a different viewpoint on how a country should be run, that doesn’t mean he is not a good person. “We were Americans now, my family and I. We were Boston patriots hoping to win a war against a king. But we’d never forget the tall British general that we’d met on my birthday. General Gage had given us back a pond and our sled runs on Boston Common because he had children of his own. Indeed, he was a good man.” General Gage was sent by the King of England, the king we were in a war against, but Henry states that he is “a man of his word,” meaning that he kept his promise to let the children sled and skate. That is another reason why I believe Henry respects General Gage. Also, the illustration shows Henry and General Gage shaking hands, which is another example of how someone shows respect for another.

  • Additional Tasks
    • The five stories we have read all include aspects of communicating beliefs in order to change or transform a situation. Give examples from each text of how this is demonstrated.


      “Goin’ Someplace Special”  — Tricia Ann builds confidence in herself through her interactions with and reactions to the people and situations she encounters throughout the story.  

      •    Her Grandma constantly encourages her to believe in herself and not to believe what others say.  
      •    Mama Frances
      •    Peace Fountain experience
      •    Jimmy Lee
      •    Southland’s Hotel situation
      •    Blooming Mary in the garden
      •    Grand Music Palace
      •    Public Library

      “Shiloh” — Marty believes that people need to speak out against unjust acts, such as cruelty to animals.
      •    Marty brings Shiloh home.
      •    He takes him to Doc Murphy’s.
      •    He cares for him.
      •    He speaks up to Judd Travers.

      “Maya Lin” — Maya Lin communicates her beliefs through art.
      •    Civil Rights Memorial
      •    Vietnam Memorial


       “Night of San Juan” — The sisters want to include Jose Manuel in all their activities and fun. They believe he should have friends to play with.
      •    The sisters come up with a plan to get Jose to go to the beach with them.
      •    Amalia speaks to Jose’s grandma, asking if he can go to the beach with them
      •    By taking this chance, the sisters find that Jose’s grandma is not so mean, and she gives permission for Jose to go with them.


      “Sleds On Boston Common” — Henry Price believes that the Common belongs to the people and so he stands up to General Gage. He is calm and reasonable in his arguments and General Gage listens and grants his requests.

      His arguments were:
      •    The Common belongs to all the people of Boston.
      •    Children need a place to play.
      •    It is his birthday.
      •    He wants to try out his new sled given to him by his father.

      In each story, we witnessed the characters engage in “acts of courage.”  Compare and contrast these “acts of courage” in each of the five stories. Cite evidence from each story to support your thinking and conclusions.


      “Goin’ Someplace Special”
      •    Tricia Ann speaks up to the girl at the music hall.


      •    Marty speaks up to Judd Travers.


       “Maya Lin”
      •    Maya Lin showed courage by creating works of art that were controversial because of their subject matter and what they represented.


       “Night of San Juan”
      •    The sisters stand up to Jose Manuel’s grandma.


        “Sleds On Boston Common”
      •    Henry Price speaks up to General Gage.


      In “Goin’ Someplace Special,” the main character is being judged by people. In “The Night of San Juan” and “Sleds On Boston Common,” the main characters make judgments about other people. What lessons does each character learn? Cite examples from each text.


        “Goin’ Someplace Special”
      •    The character Tricia Ann is judged by the color of her skin. She has to deal with unfair laws and treatment by others. She learns to believe in herself and not let other people’s judgments affect her.


       “The Night of San Juan”
      •    The three sisters perceive the grandma as mean, judging her because she “never smiled” and never let Jose Manuel play in the streets. They learn that his grandma is just concerned about Jose and that she is actually generous. She shares a meal with them. They learn not to judge others, but rather to approach them to find out who they really are.


       “Sleds On Boston Common”
      •    Henry Price judges General Gage based on others’ opinions of him. Also, Gage works for King George, who has ordered the closing of Boston Harbor, which has hurt Henry’s family and many others, so Henry believes he has good reason to distrust and dislike him. After seeing what General Gage’s troops have done at the Common, Henry decides to approach the General and voice his concerns. During and after this encounter with the General, Henry learns that Gage is a reasonable man, comparing him to his father. He learns not to make assumptions about a person, but rather to find out who they really are.

  • Notes to the Teacher
    • For EL/SEL support:

      • To support ELs in understanding setting:  Have students read the title of the story and the first sentence. Then pose the question: Where and when does the story take place?
      • Stopping at points for clarification with questions like: 
        - What problems are the people of Boston having and why? Cite evidence from the story.
        - Based on what you have read, who is telling the story (narrator) and what have we learned about him so far?
        - What does the narrator mean when he says, “Thomas Gage is a powerful man indeed”?

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