Commencement Level Lessons | Symbols, Sayings and Slogans

Paintbrushes45.png Commencement
One or two class periods

Program Segments

1810 – 1811 Calls for War (7 ½ minutes) – Native Americans
June 1812 Declaration of War (6 minutes) – Canadian Colonists, British, New Englanders, Southern Americans
Summer 1812 The Americans Invade (18 ½ minutes) – Militia, Native Americans, Women
Autumn 1812 Campaign in the West (6 minutes) – Western Americans, Native Americans
Spring 1813 The British Invade (7 minutes) – Native Americans
September 1813 Showdown on the Great Lakes (9 ½ minutes) – “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” “We have met the enemy and they are ours”
September 1813 The Americans Invade Canada – Again (7 ½ minutes) – Canadian Colonists, Women
Summer 1814 The American Capital Burns (10 ½ minutes) – African Americans, New Englanders
Autumn 1814 Secession Threat in New England (9 minutes) – “The Star-Spangled Banner”

NCSS Themes

I: Culture
II: Time, Continuity, and Change
IV: Individual Development and Identity
V: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Canadian (Ontario) Concepts

Interactions and Interdependence
Change and Continuity

Canadian (Ontario) Specific Expectations – Seventh Grade

Describe the major causes and personalities of the War of 1812
Describe the impact of the War of 1812 on the development of Canada

Students will be able to:

  • describe how different groups felt toward the War of 1812
  • understand the value of slogans and the meanings they hold
  • analize the effectiveness of symbols, sayings and slogans

Focus Questions

  1. What is a slogan/symbol/saying?
  2. When does a slogan/symbol/saying become part of one’s culture?
  3. Does the slogan have to be catchy or just a part of something special that stuck?
  4. What is it that makes a slogan stick?

Key Concepts

Slogan, Symbol, Saying

Instructional Resources

The War of 1812 DVD


  1. The teacher will use a contemporary slogan found in a modern day commercial or advertisement that relates to a current product or marketing scheme your students will know. For example, Nike uses “Just Do It”, and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies uses “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”
  2. The teacher will discuss the focus questions with the students and make the connection to the War of 1812 by using the segments of the program which highlight the “Star Spangled Banner.” “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” and “Don’t Give up the Ship” (
  3. The teacher will share the fact that these particular legacies are still around today. Sayings from the War of 1812 have become part of our heritage. The teacher will list these sayings on the board so they are visually apparent to the class.
  4. The teacher will explain that a slogan or saying can be associated with a person or an entire group of like-minded people. Then, the teacher will divide the classroom into different groups, each having their own specific group of individuals to work with. The teacher will designate these groups: African Americans, Women, Native Americans, Militia, British, Canadian Colonists, Southern and Western Americans, or New Englanders.
  5. Each group will have to come up with a slogan for that group, draw or describe a symbol or icon that would properly represent that group, and lastly create a poem that would represent the views of that group.
  6. After the groups have completed the assignment, each one should present their “side of the story” for the class. These mini-presentations should be monitored closely by the teacher to ensure the presentations are at least historically accurate.
  7. The teacher will conclude the lesson with a class discussion that will examine the different view each group had regarding the same conflict. 

Assessment Tasks
Understand the views of various groups well enough to formulate a slogan, symbol, and saying about that particular group’s viewpoint with relation to the War of 1812.

Related PBS Resources

Revolution: Debate & Political Symbols
Explore the rhetoric of British American colonists during the American Revolution and its application to the lives of enslaved Africans and free blacks. Understand that both fought for freedom and liberty against similar causes.

Remember the Alamo: Civics
Research well-known slogans and quotations from U.S. history and create a poster depicting the circumstances in which the saying arose. Explore the importance to the battle of the area's 4,000 Mexican Texans, or Tejanos, and describe their fate.

A Slogan that Captures America’s Best Identity
Consider how vacation spots develop their own identities, and explore the perceived images of different countries. Develop a slogan that captures America's best identity.

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Icon Symbols, Sayings, and Slogans Lesson Plan (402.2 KB)

The Legacy of the War of 1812 and the impact it had on Native nations in North America.

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The star spangled banner

Image - shop_warof1812.jpg


Slogan – “Don’t Give Up the Ship”