Forming Opinions

3, 4, 5

The students read and interpret and analyze various points of view. They discuss benefits of philanthropy, including justice, common good, fulfillment, and empowerment.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Thirty to Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • watch or present a short skit depicting an event from Gentle Annie, Chapter 4.
  • explain points of view held by Annie, Sophie, Will, Mr. Hammer, and Mrs. Hammer in Chapter 4.
  • write persuasive letters as one of the characters from the novel
  • Gentle Annie (see Bibliographic References).
  • Props, paper and pencils
Teacher Preparation 

Prerequisite Knowledge: The students will have finished reading Gentle Annie, Chapter 4. The students will have previous experience in writing a friendly letter.

Synopsis of Scene:

A military band begins to play outside the Hammer home during dinner. The discussion at the table turns to the impending war. Mrs. Hammer feels that it is inappropriate dinner talk. Mr. Hammer beckons Annie to the window to "see the real world." As the scene progresses, Mrs. Hammer retires to her room with a headache. Eventually, Sophia becomes infuriated at the continuing conversation and runs from the room.


Shura, Mary Francis. Gentle Annie: The True Story of a Civil War Nurse. Apple paperback, 1997. ISBN: #0590435000.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to explain the phrase, "see the real world."

  2. Students will re-create, act, and/or observe a skit of the dinner scene in Chapter 4. Students will be assigned the parts of Annie, Will, Sophie, Mr. Hammer, and Mrs. Hammer. They may use their books (to read their lines) and available props in the classroom to represent the dinner table, etc.

  3. It may be useful to have several groups do a dramatic interpretation of the dinner scene passage. Divide students into five groups. Each group will be assigned one of the five characters, Annie, Will, Sophie, Mr. Hammer, or Mrs. Hammer.

    Each group will be asked to construct from five to ten "I think (or feel)…because…" statements for their character. Responses will be written on paper.

  4. As a whole group, the class will discuss/analyze the position taken by each character. Possible open-ended questions might include:

    a.) Why does this character feel the way he/she does?

    b.) What is this person likely to do in the future (and Why)?

    c.) Which character would you be in this scenario? Why?

    Note: The open-ended questions above could also become good journal questions.

  5. Optional: write persuasive letters as one of the characters from the novel:

    • Annie is a young woman looking for a fulfilling purpose in life.
    • Sophie is a young, sheltered socialite, who doesn't want to hear anything about the war.
    • Will is a young man, anxious for the adventure of doing his patriotic duty.
    • Mr. Hammer is a well-educated and politically informed older man, who would probably join the military if he were not so old.
    • Mrs. Hammer is fearful of the war and fearful of losing her son in the war.

The students will be asked to write a persuasive letter as the character of either Annie or Will. The letter will be sent to the character Sophie explaining their decision to join the military.

The letter must include the following for full points: Correct friendly letter form, correct paragraphing, complete sentences, and correct spelling of known words. The letter must include the following content: What their character intends to do? Why they feel that this action is necessary? What benefits they will personally attain as the results of their decision?

Cross Curriculum 

See Lesson One Extension.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.6 Identify and describe fundamental democratic principles.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.