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Paula's Poetry Page

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Module 4: Poetry Break 16

A Poem Relevant to the Social Studies 

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Introduction:  Ask the students if they have ever heard the phrase, "Put your John Hancock on the paper," and what they think it means.
 
"John Hancock" by Lee Bennett Hopkins
 
"There,"
he said,
signing
his name
 
BIG,
 
BOLD,
 
FAT.
 
"King George
won't need
spectacles
to see
that!
 
He can read
it from here
to his
British dock,"
 
proclaimed
the rebellious
 
John Hancock.
 
Taken from:
 
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 1994. HAND IN HAND: AN AMERICAN HISTORY THROUGH POETRY. Illustrated by: Peter M. Fiore. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN: 067173315X.
 
Extension:  Have students look at a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Point out the size of John Hancock's signature. Why is this significant? Have a contest to see which student can make a John Hancock look-alike signature.
 
An excellent nonfiction book to accompany this poem might be:
 
Fritz, Jean. 1997. WILL YOU SIGN HERE, JOHN HANCOCK? Illustrated by: Trina Schart Hyman. New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Children. ISBN: 069811440X.  A biography of the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, outlining all that he did for himself as well as what he did for Massachusetts and his new nation.
 
 
 
 

Module 4: Poetry Break 17

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