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"Sleepy Hollow" Ichabod Crane: Comparing and Contrasting Different Medium

Lesson Overview

 Overview: Students will read an adapted version of Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow. Before students read the story, they will analyze a cartoon sketch of the character Ichabod Crane. Using an analysis tool, the students will analyze the sketch noting anything unique. The lesson will continue with discussion of the classroom, as well as a quick lesson on classrooms in the 18th century. By the end of the lesson, students will have a better understanding of how fiction is influenced by real events and people, as well as being able to compare similar content in different mediums.
 Grade Range:  6-8

After completing this activity, students should be able to:

  • Understand the history behind a short story prior to reading the material.
  • Differentiate between the historical fiction of the short story Sleepy Hollow and
    the historical fact.
  • Compare and contrast different mediums containing similar content (i.e. short
    story and cartoon sketch). 
 Time Required: Two class periods of 45 minutes.
 Discipline/Subject: Short Story/Literature
 Topic/Subject: Culture, Folklife and Literature
 Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815



Illinois Learning Standards:  
  Common Core Standard:   Standards for ELA &Literacy in History/ Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects: 7th Grade Students: 
Goal #8: Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or altar history.
W.7.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences



Handouts: Assessment Worksheet  (page 6 of PDF
Analysis Tools: Cartoon Analysis (print page 7 of PDF
Books: Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
PowerPoint: PowerPoint available on page 2-3 of PDF 
Library of Congress Items: Title of Source:Ichabod Crane's Classroom 
Online Resource: Title:American Elementary Schools in the 1700s 



 1. Introduction to Sleepy Hollow. Pass out books to be read over the next week.
 2. Pass out the LOC primary source Ichabod Crane's ClassroomHave students spend a few minutes looking over the cartoon. 
 3. Students will use the cartoon analysis tool to analyze the primary source. They will answer the questions and write additional comments on the back of the paper. (Note: If you do not have the text, take out any questions on the form comparing the primary source to the story. Compare and contrast the picture to the actual life of an 18th century teacher/school). 
 4. The teacher will go over the analysis, noting anything of interest. Students will ask questions focusing on any piece of the cartoon that may be confusing or thought-proviking. 
 5. Using the webquest, the teacher will go over American Elementary Schools in the 1700s giving the students an insight into real schools of the 18th century. 
 6. Students will read the short story Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. After reading, students will fill out the assessment piece, answering the questions comparing the depiction of Ichabod Crane in the story to the primary source as well as to the life of an actual school teacher. 
 7. Time for class discussion and to reflect. 



When finished, the students will fill out the assessment form and answer the questions. The questions pertain to both the sketch, analysis tool, and the reading. They will be comparing the sketch to the stories by writing an extended response, while also reflecting on the usefulness of the sketch to help them visualize the setting. The students will also be able to theorize as to which portions of the story/sketch are based on a true sketch of the 18th century classroom.


Research the "real" Ichabod Crane and other inspirations for fictional characters. A writing extension: After learning some background of 18th century schools, have the students pick one of the students in the sketch and write a narrative as if they were that character. 

Author Credits:
East Prairie School