U.S. History Lesson Plan from Reno Teacher Paul Heller Based on Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride

Paul Heller teaches 7th grade in Reno, Nevada and recently started teaching a unit on the American Revolution. He decided to use Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride as part of a lesson. “Here is the lesson plan I came up with for this week using the Ansel & Clair app. The kids had a really good time using it…”

Creator: Paul Heller
Lesson Title: Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride iPad App Exploration
Content Area: Social Studies
Grade Level: 7
Timeline: 3 days
Learning Goals: Students will compare factual information from the iPad app Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride with Longfellow’s poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

Common Core Standards:

  1. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  2. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  3. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.
  4. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.


21st Century Skills & Themes:

  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency/Literacy
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability

Project Overview: Students will be asked to identify 2 main inaccuracies in the poem, backed up by evidence from Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride. Students will view the app in its entirety, which includes a reading of the poem. Then, using the poem (a copy will be posted on the teacher’s website) and app in conjunction with each other, students will identify two things in the poem that are either inaccurate and/or left out when compared to the facts of the event. Using the Notes Plus app, students will write a one paragraph explanation in their personal notebook.

Assessment: Students will email their paragraph to teacher and/or teacher will read student paragraphs directly on their iPads.

Resources: iPads, Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride app, Notes Plus app, digital copy of poem, earphones (if available)

Management: Students will work independently with their iPads and the apps necessary to complete the activity. Teacher will monitor students and work with individuals as needed. Though working independently and viewing the app on their own iPads, students will be encouraged to discuss together once the app has been viewed in its entirety (most of the first day).


  1. Introduce the activity. Explain that this event occurs before the official beginning of the war, but that it is a very important event in the buildup to war.
  2. Explain the basic navigation and functionality of the Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride app. Invite students to use earphones if they have them. Otherwise, tell students that they should keep the sound as low as possible so we don’t drown each other out (if possible, use team room so kids can spread out).
  3. Spend most of day 1 with students navigating the app.
  4. As students finish at different times, have them read the digital copy of the poem on teacher website.
  5. Beginning with Day 2, spend some time with whole class instruction guiding students through the poem.
  6. Once students have a solid grasp of the poem, have them work in groups to identify 2 inaccuracies based upon information in the app. Students will be encouraged to revisit the app.
  7. Students will be asked to jot down ideas as they go in their Notes Plus notebook.
  8. When ready, students will take their digital notes and create their paragraph (using a new page in their notebook).

Closure: Take 10 minutes at the end to have students share their paragraphs with the class and have class discussion about the responses.

Reflection: On reflection, I would expand the time frame for what I did (compare the poem to the facts) as kids could have used a little more time on poem analysis.

Do you have a lesson plan using an Ansel & Clair app? Email it to shara@anselandclair.com.


About Paul Heller
Paul Heller began his teaching career with a service program called Inner-City Teaching Corps, in Chicago, in 1997. After two years teaching fifth grade on the southwestern side of Chicago, he moved to the Bay Area and worked for the educational technology company Classroom Connect for four years. Deciding that his true calling was in the classroom, he returned to teaching in 2004 and has been at Cold Springs Middle School in Reno, Nevada, since 2007, where he teaches both English and Social Studies to 7th and 8th grade students.