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American Revolution: Writing a Breakup Letter to King George


History and/or Social Studies


6th to 8th grade

Lesson Objective

To identify the purpose and key points in the Declaration of Independence.                  

Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


  • Printouts of the Declaration of Independence
  • Highlighters
  • Paper
  • Pencil     


Say: "Now, I know some of you have a significant other... and don't lie, I see you making goo-goo eyes with each other during lunch, but have you ever felt like breaking up with your significant other? (Allow a response). Without getting too personal, what was the reason for wanting to break up? (Allow a reply).

Possible answers may include:

  • Not spending enough time with each other
  • Like someone else
  • Don't want to be in a relationship anymore
  • Want more freedom as a single person


Say: "Those are all excellent answers, but wait, uhhh, what is this? Who dropped this note with hearts on my table?" (The students will be unaware that you had placed the note on the table before the lesson began). "Should I read it aloud??" (Your students will be giddy at this point, proceed with opening and reading the note).

Say: "I'm not sure where to begin, but I need to get this off my chest. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about us. Things used to be fantastic, and I truly believed we would last forever, but things have changed. I feel like I lost value in your eyes, and you don't consider my opinion anymore. And worst of all, you do whatever you please without thinking about us as a couple. I deserve Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. So, I've been thinking about it for a while, but we need to break-up." (At this point, your students will be interested to know who wrote the letter, so wait for them to convince you to read out the name). "Sincerely, the 13 Colonies."

(Students will be rowdy thinking that you really received a note from a love interest, but this is a fun way to introduce the lesson.)

Say: "Today, we will learn about one of the most famous break-up letters in history, known as the Declaration of Independence. The 13 Colonies wrote this break-up letter to King George." The word "declaration "means to announce, while the word" independence" means self-rule. The Declaration of Independence was written because the 13 Colonies felt that the British government wasn't supporting their rights, so they wanted to rule themselves."

Say: "Before you write your own break-up letter to King George, we need to explore the Declaration of Independence. We will divide the Declaration of Independence into three parts. 

  1. The first part includes the preamble, which inspired and united the 13 Colonies by envisioning a better life. 
  2. The second part is a list of grievances that the 13 Colonies weren't happy about. 
  3. The last part is the declaration of separation from Britain and its King.

Say: "As we read the Declaration of Independence together, pay attention to the three parts and underline/highlight any words that stand out to you. When we finish reading the Declaration of Independence, you will read it again but to yourself." 

Proceed with reading the Declaration of Independence together. This may take time as students ask questions or as you define various words. Don't rush this step, as students need to understand the ins and outs of the document.


Say: "Now that you understand the Declaration of Independence, it is time for you to write your own break-up letter. Your break-up letter must include the following parts:"

  1. State your ideal relationship
  2. State your rights that are being denied and express your grievances
  3. Declare your independence

"You may choose to write a break-up letter to the following entity or person:"

  1. Your favorite fast food place
  2. Your favorite sports team
  3. Your neighbor
  4. Your homework
  5. Your chores
  6. Your cell phone

"You have a few rules you must also follow:"

  • Get approval from me for a break-up for things/person not on the list above.
  • Include at least one line from the Declaration of Independence in your break-up letter.
  • Be respectful; no unkind words. This is meant to be fun!


Your students can write their break-up letter in class or as a homework assignment. Make the activity fun and allow your students to be creative. For extra credit, students can read their break-up letter aloud.

Written by Emmanuel Apollo
Education World Contributor
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