Teaching Cleveland
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Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 35

Entertainment - 1896


Students will review newspaper advertisements from 1896 to discover the different types of entertainment people enjoyed in 1896.



  1. What types of amusements, vacations, entertainment, did people enjoy in 1896?
  2. How are these similar or different than what we do today?


  1. Survey students on what they or their families do for entertainment. Try to categorize their activities such as music, live shows, day excursions or trips, sports, etc. Ask them how they might find information about these activities. (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio) What information would they need to know? (cost, time, location, etc.) You may bring in a magazines such as Cleveland Magazine or the "Friday" section of the Plain Dealer as examples.
  2. Ask students how someone in 1896 might get their information about entertainment activities. Distribute Handout #1 to students (this works well in groups) or reproduce the handout on a transparency to work with the whole class. Have students read through the ads looking for information such as: types of entertainment, costs, special features, events or celebrities, location and times. Have students categorize the ads according to the categories they established for present-day entertainment. For each entertainment ad of 1896, have students identify a similar entertainment in 1996. Have students then choose one of the 1896 entertainment activities they think they would enjoy seeing or doing today, explaining why they think it would be fun.
  3. Have students brainstorm ideas of an activity or entertainment they think they would enjoy seeing. They will need a description, cost, special feature, location, time, etc. Then direct students to design a newspaper advertisement for their "dream" entertainment. Encourage students to be creative and to keep in mind that they are trying to get the interest of the reader to come to their activity.

Alternate Activity for Younger Students: Have them draw a picture of their favorite site or activity they have done or would like to do in Cleveland today.

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