"This teacher's guide gives many wonderful suggestions of how to integrate subjects with the historical content of this novel. . .[and] suggests questions that challenge higher level thinking."—Susan Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University; Literacy and Curriculum Development This guide is for Dorothea Jensen's award-winning (Literary Classics, Purple Dragonfly, eLit Awards, etc.) historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette. It contains bulletin board ideas, vocabulary exercises, varied student handouts, puzzles, games, reading comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, and both individual and class projects. Its cross-curricular activities include language arts/reading, social studies, mathematics, health/safety, art, music, dance, drama, recipes, and suggestions for real and virtual field trips. A full answer key is provided.
The main topics covered are the American Revolution, Lafayette's role in our War of Independence, Lafayette's Farewell Tour of America in 1824-5, and everyday life and customs in rural America in the 1820s.
Dorothea Jensen was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois. She majored in English at Carleton College and earned an MA in Secondary Education at the University of New Mexico. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America, taught middle and high school English, tutored refugees in ESL, and written grant proposals for various arts organizations
Her first historical novel for young readers, THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM, was named an IRA Teachers' Choice Selection soon after publication. It has been used as an enrichment resource in classrooms all over the U.S. for many years.
Dorothea's second such novel, A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, is set in 1825 in the small town in New Hampshire where she has lived since 1991. It has won a number of awards, detailed in its book description on this site.
Dorothea is working on a new story set in 17th century Massachusetts called A SCALP ON THE MOON.
Dorothea also writes modern Christmas stories in verse. Modeled on the 19th century classic poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" these award-winning Santa's Izzy Elves story poems feature decidedly 21st century elves savvy in modern technology.
This is another "before reading" question for getting students ready to read or hear the story in the classroom. BTW, I struggled with this title, as most people do NOT know what a BUSS is. I ended up using BUSS because I thought it gave it an "antique" feel. I also didn't want to give the impression that Lafayette was a "dirty old man" for kissing a young girl. I tried to make it clear in the book that bussing was perfectly acceptable under the circumstances. Besides, I myself received a buss from Lafayette - 4th or 5th-hand. This happened when I met woman whose great grandmother had been kissed by the famous man, and the buss had been passed down through her family. Of course, I asked for a buss - - -and got one!
A Buss From Lafayette Teacher’s Guide
• Share the title of the book. Define what a “buss” is (an old-fashioned English term for a playful, smacking kiss on the cheek or hand, from the French word “un baiser,” a kiss, pronounced “uhn beh-zay”). Ask the students if they can guess what the story might be about based on the title and the cover.