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10-A Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Robert Shaw Memorial, 1884-1897
Evgenia Sotskaya


Theme: Freedom, Leadership

Lesson Plan Title: People would always remember what you did for their future.

Skills Covered: analyzing primary source documents, interpreting written information, comparing and finding similarities and differences, making conclusion, expressing opinion.

General Goal(s): analysis of the historical events of a certain period in the history of the USA, integrated analysis of the work of Art based on combination of factual picture and the background knowledge.

Specific Objectives:

  • Studying in detail the historical period of the Civil War in the USA, some higher military officers, heroism of people who took part in the war.
  • Revision of some grammar phenomenon: prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs, degrees of comparison and ways to express comparison.
  • Vocabulary work with words related to architecture and interpretation of a work of art.
  • Enrichment of students’ vocabulary by introducing and reinforcing arts related terms.

Materials/ Visual Aids:

Instructional Procedures:

  • Warm-up or lead-in:

The history of every country has a great number of events which will never fade in people’s memory. They can be proud of these facts as their output influenced and still influences the whole pace of history. These events give us better understanding of who our ancestors were, what we now are, and what kind of future we can expect for next generations. People who lived many generations before contributed to our modern life and we should always remember that the way we live nowadays can change the life of our grandchildren and other descendants.

  • Step-by-step procedure:
    • Activity 1 (3 minutes). Look at the picture. You are sure to know it. Answer some questions on the picture. The words and phrases in Appendix A can help you. Appendix A.

 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Suvorov_crossing_the_alps.jpg Surikov V.I. (1848-1916) Russian troops under Generalissimo Suvorov crossing the Alps in 1799.1899.)

  • Who’s the man on the left?
  • What’s his position?
  • Where is he in the picture?
  • Who are the people moving down?
  • What historical event is described in the picture?
  • What do the mountainous landscape and the weather look like?
    • Activity 2 (5 minutes). Use additional expressions to describe the picture and to interpret the message of the artist. Appendix B.


  • What are Suvorov’s evaluations of the situation?
  • What are the soldiers’ emotions? What do they feel on the occasion? Why?
  • Characterize the picture as a work of art in terms of its influence on people, their mind and outlook.
    • Activity 3 (minutes). But Surikov wasn’t the only one who depicted heroism of common people. For example, in the USA there were many artists and sculptors whose works show the glory of the people, their devotion to their country, to the ideas of freedom and liberty. One of them was Augustus Saint-Gaudens whose sculptures and reliefs brought him world fame. Study the text about this famous sculptor. Study the information about him and complete the sentences.


  • Augustus was inspired with …
  • … influenced his work as a sculptor.
  • His most famous works include …
  • Robert Gould Shaw Memorial is …
  • Commemorative postage stamp issued on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth…
    • Activity 4 (7 minutes). One of Saint-Gaudens’s masterpieces is Robert Shaw Memorial in Boston. It is a fine example of relief sculpture which Saint-Gaudens praised so much for its expressiveness. Read an article what a relief is. Explain the difference between the types of reliefs.


    • Activity 5 (minutes). Why did Robert Shaw become a character for Saint-Gaudens’s work? Study the text and answer the question.


    • Activity 6 (3 minutes). Answer some more questions on the text.


  • How were African Americans recruited to the Army? Were they well taught soldiers?
  • What was Fort Wagner? Where was it situated?
  • Why was the battle at Fort Wagner a dramatic defeat? Name the reasons and the consequences.
  • How did this doomed heroism influence the pace of the Civil War?
    •  Activity 7 (3 minutes). Fill in the prepositions at, for, to, on, with, in. Find examples with these expressions in the text.

Assault _______; accord _______; border _______; stand ________ the edge; dedicate _______; fight _______; object _______; enlist _______; rally _______; produce _______ clay; _______ a different way; account _______; give rise _______; inscribe ________; participate _______.

    •  Activity 8 (2 minutes). Insert appropriate phrasal verb from the list: come to, turn out, shoot down, be accounted for, search something out.


        • I was busy the whole evening _________________ my dictionary.
        • He _____________________ to be a talented sculptor.
        • Their _____________________ poor behavior didn’t satisfy Aunt Polly.
        • Sam and Nick have been arguing for two hours already but haven’t ______________________ any agreement yet.
        • He tried to contribute to the cause but all his ides and suggestions were shot down by the commissioners.
    •  Activity 9 (minutes). Look through the text again and fill in the chart with the words and word combination to describe the relief. Appendix C.


    •  Activity 10 (10 minutes). Use the chart and in small groups discuss the details of the relief. Then you will tell about the relief and its history.
    • Activity 1 (5 minutes). Have a close and detailed look at the relief. Answer the questions.


        • Who is the commander? How do you know?
        • What is he holding?
        • How are the foot soldiers dressed? What do they carry on their backs? Compare the foot soldiers’ dress to Colonel Shaw.
        • Where are the flags? Where is the drum?
        • What is the winged figure in the sky hold? What does it symbolize?
        • How does the sculptor create a sense of rhythm in the relief?
        • How does Saint-Gaudens create a sense of depth in the sculpture? How do you know that some soldiers are closer to viewers than others?
        • Why was the monument made of bronze rather that marble or wood?
    •  Activity 12 (2 minutes). The feat of the soldiers under the command of Colonel Robert Shaw gave rise to self-conscientiousness of Americans. They were very proud of the event and could tell you many warm words of gratitude and pride. “There they march, warm-blooded champions of a better day for man. There on horseback among them, in his very habit as he lived, sits the blue-eyed child of fortune, upon whose happy youth every divinity had smiled”

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Gould_Shaw)
These are the words by William James at the exercises in the Boston Music Hall, May 31, 1897, upon the unveiling of the Shaw Monument. What do these words mean?

    • Activity 13 (3 minutes). There is one more picture with similarities and the battle scene at Fort Wagner. Study the picture and find differences and similarities.


    •  Activity 14 (2 minutes). The Glory of the soldiers at Fort Wagner inspired many other sculptors, artists, film makers to develop their own versions of this brave feat. Here are some examples of the works created on the basis of this historical event.


    •  Closure:

And there are many other works of art dedicated to Robert Shaw, his soldiers and their assault, during which Robert Shaw himself and many of those who fought with him died. But the memory of what they did won’t fade in the memory of people as they heroically fought for freedom and justice.

  • Extra-Class Work (Homework):

1. Study the list of works created by the historical event and find additional material about one of them. Be ready to report on it.
2. Find a picture of a relief on a military issue and describe it in written form. Give as much detail as you can.
List of References:

Appendix A.

Historical background

Characters / Objects

Adjectives / Adverbs

Give life for / to
Fight for
Recruit for service
Enlist at
The cause
The outcome of war
Give rise to
Establish one’s reputation

Infantry = foot soldiers
Gaze / Look



Equestrian = on horseback
Casted / cloudy

Verbs and word combinations

Call up     
accomplish a feat   
be close to common life of soldiers
be afraid of

Appendix B.

Expressions to interpret a work of Art

Legendary Alpine crossing
To accomplish a feat
A brave / heroic feat
Bond with masses
Military heroism
Lack of food and clothing
Shortage of ammunition
Combination of fateful events
To endure the hardships
(To have) historical significance (of)
Military glory

With great talent
Deep psychological understanding
Interpretation of the characters
By artistic means
With the aid / help of
To convey emotional state
To show strength of mind

Appendix C.

Robert Shaw


The soldiers


The figure above


The clothing


The background


The atmosphere


The influence