Sleds on Boston Common A Story from the American Revolution
Where is Boston? • Boston is a city in Massachusetts near the Atlantic Ocean. • Boston was the settlement started by the Puritans in 1630. • Boston is a harbor city and valuable as a location for importing and exporting goods. • Boston was the center of the rising of the American Revolution. Most of the trouble began in Boston and most of the troublemakers lived there.
Why was the American Revolution fought? • The English Colonies wanted to become their own country and replace the King of England with their own government. • Of course, the King did not want to lose the colonies because the resources in the colonies were making the King very rich. • The Colonists protested some of the King’s laws. • The King sent soldiers to stop the protests and protect his territory.
What is “Sleds of Boston Common” about? • King George III is punishing the town of Boston after the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against the King’s high taxes on tea. The Colonists didn’t want to pay the tax, so they threw 90,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor.
What is “Sleds of Boston Common” about? • The Colonists of Boston and the Redcoats had different points of view as to the problems of the situation. • The Redcoats were irritated that the Americans would not behave themselves and the soldiers had to come all the way to America to baby-sit them. • The Colonists were irritated that the soldiers were everywhere. They were bossy and rude and always in their way. The Colonists didn’t want to be baby-sat.
What is “Sleds of Boston Common” about? • In this story, we meet a young boy who lives in Boston at the time of the trouble. His family has become poor because of the punishment King George gave to Boston. • Henry and his friends want to go sledding on their favorite hill on the Common, or park, only to discover the British soldiers have camped on the hill and have destroyed the skating pond. • Henry cannot take any more and marches up to General Gage, the most powerful man in the Colonies. • What will happen to this brave, headstrong, and possibly foolish young man?
Time to Read • Open your textbook to pages 264-265. • Notice on the bookmark that this story is in the historical fiction genre. This means that the story is made up, but the characters take part in actual historical events. • It is true that British soldiers and officers were in Boston. It is true that many of these soldiers were camped at Boston Common. • General Gage was the commander of the British soldiers in Boston. • Whether or not he had a conversation with Henry Price is unknown and completely made up by the author.
Time to Read • As you read the story, pay attention to the details the author includes. • Put a post-it note next to information that makes you think in a certain way or form an opinion. The date of the story is 1772. I know that this date is before the American Revolution began. This story must show me what it was like in Boston before the fighting started.
Look for the Text Clues • Read the statement and discuss what it makes you think of: The British closed Boston Harbor; times are hard for the people of Boston.
Look for the Text Clues • Read the statement and discuss what it makes you think of: Henry’s father told his children to “look sharp, but don’t look like you’re looking.”
Look for the Text Clues • Read the statement and discuss what it makes you think of: General Gage knows his own children would like to go sledding.
Look for the Text Clues • Read the statement and discuss what it makes you think of: Henry says he would never forget the first time he came down the hill on a sled of his own.
Look for the Text Clues • Read the statement and discuss what it makes you think of: Henry says, “Our new country was at war, ...”
Think About It • Setting is very important in historical fiction stories. How does the author help us understand the setting in “Sleds of Boston Common?” • Why would the closing of Boston Harbor lead to hard times for the people of Boston? • Page 271 “Our sister, Kate, was waiting for us outside the school door with three slabs of corn bread and apple jam.” Why wasn’t Kate in school with her brothers?
Think About It • What clues does the author give on page 271 that the Price family is going through hard times? • What are the different points-of-view that are shown on page 272? • Put yourself in Henry’s place. Would you have been able to walk up to the General and tell him what you wanted? • Writers make use of repetition when they use certain words or phrases in a paragraph over and over again. What words does the author repeat in the second paragraph on page 278 to help suggest the speed of movement of Henry’s sled?
Think About It What is your opinion of the story? Be prepared to give specific reasons for your feelings.