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Lesson Plan

Jacob Have I Loved


English Language Arts (2005), Social Studies, The Arts

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade


One to two class periods


Jacob Have I Loved slide show
Photographs of scenes from the real world in which Katherine Paterson's Jacob Have I Lovedis set, taken in the 1930s and 1940s mostly around the Chesapeake Bay by photographers working for the U.S. government.

Dorothea Lange slide show
In the 1930s a photographer named Dorothea Lange was hired by the United States Office of War Information to travel through Mississippi recording daily life. Below are some of her photographs which may help students visualize Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Katherine Paterson Official Web Site

The following reading guide will help students understand and remember important events in the book Jacob Have I Loved. Some students may use the guide to identify important details in each chapter, while other students may use the questions to guide their reading responses.



Students' curiosity will be sparked as they develop:

  • a visual image of the place described in words in their reading.
  • a visual image of the activities described in the book and in their further studies of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • a visual image of costume and appearance of the time.


1. Choose photographs from America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935 - 1945 and cut each into several pieces. Have enough pieces for each student.

2. Give each student a piece of a picture and tell them to find the other pieces of their photograph.

3. Students find group members who share portions of their photograph.

4. When the photo is complete, students exchange it for a whole one and examine it using the "Photo Analysis Guide."

5. Groups present their photos and their observations.

6. Each student receives a copy of the slide show .


  • Students follow this activity with reading and discussion of Jacob Have I Loved (New York: Crowell, 1980).
  • Students see movie of Jacob Have I Loved (Wonderworks. 1989. 57 minutes) and compare the l980s movie and its costumes with the black and white pictures from the 1930s in the collection.
  • Students visit the Lore Oyster House at the Calvert Marine Museum in southern Maryland to see a shucking hall and tonging rakes as well as other oystering equipment and boats.
  • Students and their teachers take pictures on their southern Maryland trip which illustrate the ways that area is similar and different today.
  • Students look again at the slide show and their own pictures and reflect, in writing, on the similarities and the differences.
  • Students work with the Dorothea Lange slide show from American Memory in a similar fashion for the book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.


In this lesson plan, pictures from "America From the Great Depression to World War II" in American Memory provide visual images to introduce and spark curiosity about Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson, a novel about jealousy set on an island in the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1940s.


Kathy Isaacs


Reproduced from the Library of Congress web site for teachers. Original lesson plan created as part of the Library of Congress American Memory Fellows Program

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