Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

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Teacher Resources

paul revere statue in town square
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Background Knowledge


Research Scenario

One of the most well known episodes leading up to the American Revolution is the story of the "midnight ride" of Paul Revere. Many people have learned about this historical event by reading the narrative poem "Paul Revere's Ride," written by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860. A narrative poem is a poem that tells a story by including both narrative elements (characters, setting, plot events) and poetic elements (rhyme, rhythm, figurative language).

In this research model, you will be analyzing the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" and comparing it to primary and secondary source accounts of the actual events to answer the essential questions:

Is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem
"Paul Revere's Ride" historically accurate?

What really happened on the midnight ride?

First, let's build our background knowledge about "the midnight ride" by viewing and listening to the video:

Paul Revere, Messenger of the Revolution (2 minutes)

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Task and Product

1. In order to determine whether Longfellow's poem is historically accurate, you will first need to read and analyze "Paul Revere's Ride" to identify the poetic and narrative elements.

2. Then you will do some research using primary and secondary sources to find accurate information about the real ride.

3. You will compare and contrast the events described in the poem to the historical information you gathered in order to evaluate the historical accuracy of Longfellow's poem.

4. Finally, you will compose several additional verses for the poem, imitating Longfellow's poetic form and including some historical details from your research.

Your Library Media Specialist or teacher may have you share your poem verses using one of these technology tools:

  • Word-process and publish your verses digitally on a Paul Revere wiki page, or on paper for a class anthology or display.
  • Add your verses to a "Paul Revere's Ride" VoiceThread created by your Library Media Specialist or teacher.
  • Use Audacity to create an audio recording of your verses.
  • Use a Flip Camera create a video of your poetry reading.
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation or PhotoStory of your verses with images to illustrate the action.

paul revere warning on his midnight ride

Image retrieved from SIRS Discoverer


The following scoring tools may be used or adapted by your teacher to evaluate your research process and your final product and presentation.

Research Process Assessments:
  • Daily (Formative) Assessments
  • Research Process (Summative) Assessments:
    Student/Self | Teacher

Group Collaboration Assessments
(if needed):

Final Product Assessments: 


paul revere escaping capture

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Essential Question:

Is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem
"Paul Revere's Ride" historically accurate?

What really happened on the midnight ride?

Focus Questions:

1. According to the narrative poem "Paul Revere's Ride," what happened on the night of April 18, 1775?

2. According to reliable secondary and primary source accounts, what happened on the night of April 18, 1775?

3. How do the historical accounts of Revere's ride and the story told in Longfellow's poem compare?

route of paul revere's midnight ride

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Analyzing the Poem "Paul Revere's Ride"

1. First, read the text of the poem as you listen to a digital audio recording. Also, you might want to share the reading using this YouTube video with both text and visuals.

2. Visit the Entrance Foyer of the Midnight Rider Virtual Museum. Enter Exhibit Hall 1 and select Activity A - Reading “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Revisit the text to do a closer reading and analyze the narrative elements:

  • Use the graphics to help you visualize the events. Use the linked notes and vocabulary definitions to help you comprehend the story.
  • Use this Sequence Chart to summarize the plot events as you read the poem.
  • Share your Sequence Chart responses in small groups and then with the whole class.

3. As a class, complete this Story Map to summarize the narrative elements of the poem: characters, setting, problem, and resolution.

Gather Historical Information about the Ride:

4. Read the Student Directions at the top of this Compare-Contrast Worksheet: Two Views of the Midnight Ride. Review the summary of events from Longfellow's poem on the left side of the chart.5. Use a variety of primary and secondary sources from the Student Resources page to gather historical facts about the ride and complete the right side of the Compare-Contrast Worksheet.

Midnight Rider Virtual Museum, Exhibit Hall2/Activity B- The Real Midnight Ride.

  • Consider the Web site author's note that "The words in italics are from Revere's own account of the ride." Therefore, this Web site is a secondary source which includes primary source material.

6. Use information from the timeline of events in the Virtual Museum's The Real Midnight Ride to complete the second column of your Compare-Contrast Worksheet. Use The Real Story of Revere's Ride as an additional resource.

Be sure to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for a bibliography.

paul revere warning john adams

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Analyze your summary, research notes, and compare and contrast chart to identify what you have learned about the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" in comparison to actual events of Paul Revere's ride. This information will be the basis for composing your new verses to add to Wadsworth's poem.

Synthesize your findings by composing several new verses for the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" using accurate historical facts you gathered during research. working to create an oral or multimedia presentation to share with your classmates showcasing the new verses that you wrote.

Evaluate your research-based poem verses according to this scoring tool.


portrait of paul revere in older years

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Present your research findings to your classmates by reading your verses orally or by presenting in another multimedia format.

Use your new knowledge to answer the essential questions in a class discussion, Voice Thread discussion, or BCR (as directed by your teacher). Support your responses with details from your own research notes and from the other students presentations.

    How does Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" compare to historical accounts of these events?

    Do you think Longfellow's purpose for writing the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" was to teach Americans a history lesson, or to celebrate the contributions of a patriotic American by telling a story through poetry?

Extension Activity:

View exciting videos, take a quiz, read a bio, and see more pictures of Paul Revere.