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December 28

Poor Richard's Almanack was first published in 1733.

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Poor Richard's Almanack was first published in 1733.

Grades 3 – 8
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

In 1733, Benjamin Franklin, using the pseudonym Richard Saunders, began publishing Poor Richard's Almanack, which included agricultural predictions, charts of the moon's phases, and a series of proverbs, such as "haste makes waste." Franklin, acknowledged as one of America's Founding Fathers, especially for his role as a statesman, continued to publish his Almanack until 1758.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Share some of the following proverbs taken from Poor Richard's Almanack with your students:

  • There are no gains without pains.
  • At the working man's house, hunger looks in but dares not enter.
  • Industry pays debts while despair increases them.
  • Plough deep while sluggards sleep and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.
  • One today is worth two tomorrows.
  • Have you something to do tomorrow? Do it today.
  • Trouble springs from idleness and grievous toil from needless ease.
  • The noblest question in the world is: What good may I do in it?
  • Hear no ill of a friend, nor speak any of an enemy.
  • Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure when he is really selling himself a slave to it.

Ask students to give their impressions of the person who would write these statements. Then, have students choose one saying, paraphrase it, and explain why they agree or disagree with its message. As a final activity, ask students to write their own mottos for life. These mottos can be illustrated and displayed in the classroom or made into bumper stickers or t-shirts.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • The Complete Ben & Verse

    This site pairs Franklin's quotes with a "translation" into verse. The quotes are arranged by topic and can also be searched through an index.

     

  • Pages of 1753 Poor Richard's Almanack

    Gettysburg College offers electronic access to pages from the original Almanack. Additional pages are also available.

     

  • Franklin Funnies

    This webpage developed by PBS is part of their Benjamin Franklin resource. It offers information about Franklin's satirical writing style and the humor found in Poor Richard's Almanack.

     

  • The Franklin Institute

    While devoted to science and technology rather than reading per se, this institution promotes discovery and ongoing inquiry-the cornerstones of an inquiry-based classroom. Included is a list of resources for studying Franklin.

     

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Proverbs: Contemporary Proverbs

This lesson challenges students to craft more apparent meanings for traditional maxims by updating proverbs from around the world and writing proverbs of their own.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Proverbs: At Home and around the World

In this lesson, students work with proverbs from home and from around the world, exploring how these maxims are tied to a culture’s values and everyday experience.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Proverbs: An Introduction

Students are introduced to proverbs and explore how proverbs are often tied to a culture’s values and everyday experience, although their meanings are not always readily apparent to us today.

 

Grades   2 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

History Comes Alive: Developing Fluency and Comprehension Using Social Studies

Let the power of imagination and inference serve as a “time machine” to bring Benjamin Franklin into the classroom! History and science come to life in a dialogue with Franklin the inventor, developed through lesson activities that incorporate research, imagination, writing, visual arts, and drama.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Weather Detectives: Questioning the Fact and Folklore of Weather Sayings

Students adopt a skeptical stance and become weather detectives who ask “Why?” and “Why not?” as they investigate the history and validity of some common weather sayings.