Picturins America
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12-B Childe Hassam, Allies Day, May 1917, 1917
Svetlana Makarova


Activity 1. - Warming up (class discussion).

Show the students four flags - the US flag, the Red Ensign (unofficial flag of Canada), French and British flags.. If you want you can add Russian and German flags (All flags can be easily found in the Internet). Ask the students:

  • What countries do these flags belong to?
  • What do they have in common?
  • What historical event or events join the flags together?

Activity 2. Pre-text activity - Opening questions.

a) Show your students the picture by Childe Hassam “Allies Day, May 1917” (1917). http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/. First, do not tell the students the name of the picture. Start brainstorming the ideas:

  1. What event was happening when the picture was painted?
  2. Where was it happening (country, city)?
  3. When did the event take place (what century)?
  4. Why can we see so many people in the street? What do they celebrate?

b) Now tell the students the name of the picture  “Allies Day, May 1917”. Ask your students if they know what historical event/events have taken place in the world arena in 1917. 

 Activity 3. Pre-text activity – guessing the inspiration.

a) Draw your students’ attention that Childe Hassam depicted his work “Allies Day, May 1917” the same year. Ask them what inspired Childe Hassam to draw it. How did he feel about all that changes happening in the world? Was he optimistic or pessimistic about future? How can you prove it?

b) Now ask the student to read the text about what inspired Hassam to depict the picture and
check if their guesses were right.


When America officially entered World War I, the nation largely regarded it as cause for support and celebration. Along New York’s Fifth Avenue, flags of the allied nations were hung in a welcoming gesture, creating a patriotic pattern of red, white, and blue. Childe Hassam prominently placed the American flag, affirming his belief that America was now engaged in a morally imperative “fight for democracy,” as he put it, throughout the world.  http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/  (gallery 12B)

Activity 4. While-Reading activity.

a) Read the text “Allies Day, May 1917” http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/
. Find the words in the text to match each of these definitions given in the table. Fill in the table.

1. engarland


2. decorate or cover


3. expensive ceremony


4. go beyond, surpass


5. accurately


6. leaves


7. bustle, excitement


9. culmination


10. churchly


11. truce, cessation of arms


















b) Think of your own examples with these words. Share your sentences with the group.

Activity 5. Post-text activity – language focus.

a) Draw an ALLIES DAY spidegram. In the text ask the students to find the words which define how the people of that time felt, the words which define America’s spirit in 1917 (students work in pairs or groups). Give them 2-3 minutes to enlarge the list of “Allies Day words”. Then students share their ideas.

b) Russia also participated in war actions with Germany in 1917. Was the Russia’s spirit the same as America’s? What events were happening in Russia that time?

Activity 6. Post-text activity – discussion.

  1. What was the purpose for Hassam to create the flag series.
  2. C. Hassam defined his painting’s significance as “the fight for democracy”. How do you understand that?

Activity 7.  Listening - Music.

a)Star-spangled banner is a national anthem of the USA. Ask students to listen to it (you can give your students to listen 1 or 2 verses) and say what American people are mostly proud of about their country? About their flag? Give the examples from the song.
The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics By Francis Scott Key 1814 (http://www.usa-flag-site.org/song-lyrics/star-spangled-banner.shtml )

b) Then ask students to compare Russian and American anthems and find what words and word-expressions in the national anthems create the patriotic spirit. Are the ideas of patriotism and love for the country the same in Russia and the USA? Is their anything special about both anthems?

Video clip can be found on youtube.com site – different versions (traditional or modern)

1. You can ask the student to compare 2 anthems.
2. Ask them to find a picture depicting some historical event in the Russian history and make a presentation.