The Apprenticeship of Isaiah Thomas

The Apprenticeship of Isaiah Thomas

Level:  Basic: Day 3 - Follow-up activity

Time:            25 minutes

This Indenture Witnesseth - Thomas’s Contract of Indenture
indenture, apprentice, matrimony, taverns, ale-houses, doth, aforesaid, places of gaming, sufficient, wholesome, expiration, apparel

To introduce Isaiah Thomas and the conditions of his early apprenticeship.
For this activity, the teacher will preview vocabulary, read aloud the Contract of Indenture, and allow time for questions and discussion.  Students will write responses on the Student Worksheet.

Next, ask 2 – 3 students to find some facts about Isaiah Thomas from the Short Biographical Essay.  Have them share these facts with the class.

Then show them the copy of Thomas’s Contract of Indenture, signed on July 7, 1756, when Isaiah was 6 years old.  Read the contract aloud.  Take time to explain each part and encourage questions.

Following this reading and explanation, read the entire contract again.

Students should then answer the following questions on the Student Worksheet:
  1. For Isaiah Thomas, what were some good things about this contract?
  2. What are some bad things about this contract?
  3. Do you know of any people, anywhere in the world today who must work while they are very young?
  4. Describe how someone is trained for a job in our time.
  5. What kind of work would you like to be skilled at?
Additional activity for the Isaiah Thomas performance:

Select 2 or 3 students to serve as reporters who will take notes during Thomas’s visit.