Who is Tom McCall?

Sample Lesson 1

This lesson plan is based on a 45-60 minute time period and may be used as a stand-alone lesson or as part of a continuous unit. This lesson can be used by substitute teachers, classroom teachers and community organizations. Lesson plans and activities may be adapted to student ability, grade level and interests. Note: Because this is individual lesson plan that may or may not be part of a larger unit, there is no service component.


Governor Tom McCall left an indelible mark on Oregonians. We go to other states and shake our heads at the soft drink bottles and cans that get thrown in the garbage. We take for granted that we can play on Oregon's beaches, and don't understand how it is that in other places, individuals actually own the beaches, disallowing public use.

The policies of Tom McCall affect every Oregonian every day. Yet many Oregonians, though familiar with his name, are clueless to his role in Oregon's history.

Essential Questions

Who is Tom McCall? How do Tom McCall's decisions, policies and rhetoric impact the lives of Oregon's young people today?

Student Objectives

  • Recognize pictures of Tom McCall and his role as Oregon's Governor
  • Understand McCall's role in creating Oregon's reputation as an environmental leader for the nation.
  • Identify and be able to explain the principal bills associated with Tom McCall
  • The Bottle Bill
  • The Beach Bill
  • The Bicycle Bill
  • Land-Use Planning

Classroom Activities

  1. Introduction: Ask students the following series of questions. Questions might need to be altered depending on locale. (5-10 minutes)
    • Do you drink soda and/or bottled water? Do you take bottles/cans back to the store to get a deposit refund?
    • Do you (your family) go to local farmer's market or buy produce direct from farm stands?
    • Do you/your family go to Oregon's ocean beaches? (Note: Some students have never been to the beach.)
    • Do you use bike paths? sidewalks?
    • Show a picture of Tom McCall? Do you know who this man is? Quickly chart the response to this question on chart pack, white/black board. The most likely student response will be a reference to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
  2. Show the Tom McCall Montage video, twelve minutes of Tom McCall video footage. As students watch the video, they write down any fact that they consider critical to answering the question, Who is Tom McCall?" (12 minutes)
  3. In small groups students list the 3-5 most important facts that they now know about Tom McCall. Small groups share with the entire class in a "round robin" format. (15-20 minutes)
  4. Debrief activity by going back to the original questions and talking about the Bottle Bill, the Beach Bill, the Bike Bill and Land Use Planning (BBBLUP) (5-10 minutes)
  5. Evaluation/Summary: Show a picture of Tom McCall (from the OHS Slide Show). Who is this man? Why is he important? (5-10 minutes)


Interview an "older" parent, neighbor, grandparent, about Governor Tom McCall. Were you living in Oregon when he was governor? What do you remember about him? Were you supportive, not supportive, of BBBLUP?

Oregon Essential Skills

  • Listen actively and speak clearly and coherently
  • Think critically and analytically
  • Use technology to learn, live, and work
  • Demonstrate personal management and teamwork skills

Common Core State Standards

These Focus Standards have been selected from the Common Core State Standards.

  • RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of several word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
  • RI.9-10.3: Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
  • W.9-10.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • SL.9-10.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
  • L.9-10.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.