Florida 500 Years: Session Two Resources


February 26 Session 2: Dr. Gary Mormino,  author of  “Florida Land Of Sunshine, State of Dreams”  discusses his book.

Here is a resource list for lessons:


How does the tourist industry impact the Florida Economy?

1) Begin with excerpt from Gary Mormino’s book:

What does the title “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams” mean?

Read excerpt from pp 44-45 (below is a shortened version)

“In 1986, tourism officials unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at luring young and middle-aged adults who had perceived Florida as a retirement home for their parents, an insipid stretch of fuddy-duddy theme parks and alligator farms.”

The article then names two of those most infamous advertisements: “When you got it bad, Florida’s got it good,” and “Come to Florida. The Rules are Different Here.”

“Florida has always straddled the line between respectability and scandal, between honest toil and an easy buck, between strict adherence to the Protestant work ethic and games of luck and chance . . . Self reliance, free enterprise and a distaste for tax collectors and politicians bound Floridians philosophically in ways the state’s long coastline and hinterland would never unite them geographically. In such an environment, booms and busts rewarded and punished sinners and saints. In a state where the sun was enshrined in optimism, the land between speculation and investment is very thin. To be a Floridian was to gamble on the future.

Historically, land in Florida represented both place and vision: To Americans and Europeans, a grove or homestead in Florida involved an exchange of capital, but it also involved a spiritual investment, with the hopes that a tropical climate and sea breezes might rehabilitate weakened bodies and rejuvenate dreams.”

2) Ask students to read closely to find evidence of Florida tourism. Then have them watch the following historic tourism advertisements:

Before Viewing: Ask questions about the source of these videos. One is from the Florida Memory Project and contains source information. The other is posted on YouTube. Are these original? What evidence can you find about the sources?

During Viewing: Ask questions: What claims do these videos make about Florida Tourism? As students watch, they can read or view like a detective, searching for evidence. They record claims on a graphic organizer .Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 2.53.01 PM

Second Optional Viewing: You could focus on literary techniques and word use (language of persuasion) used in these advertising videos. This could be valuable if you wish your students to complete their own Florida advertising activities as a writing project. Uou might want to have your students evaluate the persuasive techniques used in these advertisements using the ReadWriteThink Persuasive Techniques form or by using the techniques listed on the Media Literacy Project: Language of Persuasion.

After Viewing:

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Students create their own advertisements for Florida. They find evidence and create a persuasive video. In order to plan their persuasive writing, they use the persuasive map above and then the PSA Outline to plan their video. For more information on teaching students how to create advertisements and public service announcements, use the ReadWriteThink Lesson: My Tube

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3) Small group activity: Students get in small groups and analyze some advertisement broadsides from the Florida Memory Broadsides collection.

Provide students with hints for how to “read” primary source photos by using the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tools. In particular, the guides below provide questions to ask about primary sources in general and for books and other printed texts. 

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Remind students that their reason for reading & viewing is to find evidence of the importance of tourism as an industry in Florida. They can also look for persuasive techniques using the ReadWriteThink Persuasive Techniques form or by using the techniques listed on the Media Literacy Project: Language of Persuasion. Have students record their findings on a graphic organizer like the one below. Students list the source, name the type of source (in this case, Broadsides), list their evidence about the tourism industry as based on the evidence they found. They discuss their findings in small groups or with the class. They will use this evidence later in their writing.

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6) During a group discussion session have students discuss the evidence they found. Other students can fill in more details on their own organizers.

Students write an opinion piece where they cite evidence to describe claims that Florida Tourism was an important economic influence. They can use the Persuasion Map as a graphic organizer to plan their writing.

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