Smithsonian

Notes for the Teacher

Colonial Symbolism
In Document B, students read about an effigy hanging of a stamp collector. With the effigy are hanging a boot and a figure of the devil. The devil was often hung with an effigy to indicate that the devil was an appropriate companion for the person represented by the effigy. The boot is a play on words and represents John Stuart, the third earl of Bute. He was the prime minister of England at the time of the Proclamation of 1763, and was a much hated and ridiculed confidant of King George III.

Making Inferences
When an author’s ideas are implied, rather than presented directly, students need to reason from the stated facts in order to go beyond the literal meaning of the text. Skillful readers often use background knowledge and information from the text to reflect on what the author is really trying to say. Model for students how to make connections between texts and their background knowledge in order to form tentative theories about the meaning of the text.

  • Document B – Students should infer that the hanging of the figure of the tax official demonstrated sympathy with colonial opposition to the Stamp Act in neighboring Nova Scotia. They can also infer that the Canadians would do more to support the Americans if they weren’t dependent upon Great Britain.
  • Document C – Students should infer that the colonial courts in Virginia did not want to enforce the Stamp Act. They should also conclude that the colonists did not have money to pay the tax. Be careful here—students need to understand that this doesn’t imply poverty, but a lack of actual money. Finally, they can infer that if the courts in Virginia are shut down, British merchants will also want the Stamp Act repealed.
  • Think – Pair – Square
    This is a variation of the cooperative-learning strategy Think-Pair-Share. The difference is that pairs, after sharing once with one another, share again in a square formed by two pairs. In addition to the usual benefits of Think-Pair-Share—built-in wait time and greater opportunities for student involvement—students are given an additional opportunity to test out their thinking and to interact with another pair of classmates. This second sharing opportunity allows students to clarify their ideas and to receive feedback from peers before sharing with the entire class.