In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Use the following lessons to introduce students to world folklore and to explore how folktales convey the perspectives of different world cultures.
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When children hear, write, and recite poetry, they understand more deeply the qualities of verse — the importance of sound, compactness, internal integrity, imagination and line. Working collaboratively on poetry provides a safe structure for student creativity. Using resources available through EDSITEment, make poetry exciting for your students as they listen to, write and recite poems that are sure to please.
Allegories are similar to metaphors: in both the author uses one subject to represent another, seemingly unrelated, subject. However, unlike metaphors, which are generally short and contained within a few lines, an allegory extends its representation over the course of an entire story, novel, or poem. This lesson plan will introduce students to the concept of allegory by using George Orwell’s widely read novella, Animal Farm, which is available online through the EDSITEment-reviewed web resource Internet Public Library.
The purpose of this project is two-fold: first, to encourage students to make the reading of poetry a creative act; and, second, to help students appreciate particular literary devices in their functions as semaphores or interpretive signals. Those devices that are about the imagery of a poem (metaphor, simile, personification, description) can be thought of as magnifying glasses: we see most clearly that upon which the poet focuses our gaze. Similarly, those poetic devices that are about the sound of the poem (alliteration, consonance, enjambment, onomatopoeia, and repetition) can be thought of as volume buttons or amplifiers: we hear most clearly what the poet makes us listen to most attentively.
This lesson invites you to supplement your students' reading of The Diary of a Young Girl by connecting the diary to the study of history and to honor the legacy of Anne Frank, the writer, as she inspires your students to use writing to deepen their insights into their own experiences and the experiences of others.
Though the web pages and other items specifically featured in this lesson plan have been selected with care, they inevitably contain—as they relate to the Holocaust—potentially disturbing material. Should students explore the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website on their own, they may come across material of a graphic nature. The teacher should set guidelines for the class and be prepared to help students.
The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
Australian Aboriginal art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling—including narratives that were spoken, performed as dances or songs, and those that were painted. In this lesson students will learn about the Aboriginal storytelling tradition through the spoken word and through visual culture. They will have the opportunity to hear stories of the Dreamtime told by the Aboriginal people, as well as to investigate Aboriginal storytelling in contemporary dot paintings.
Beatrix Potter's charming animal stories are as popular today as when they were published in the early 1900s, owing largely to Potter's beautiful artwork and the simplicity of her characters and themes. By studying Beatrix Potter's childhood and her artwork, students gain insight into the unusual, solitary world of Victorian childhood and can compare/contrast it with their own world to understand why Potter wrote such simple stories and why she wrote about animals rather than people. Students can also learn the difference between an author and an illustrator and practice some of the same artistic techniques used by Potter to create masterpieces of their own.
Noh, the oldest surviving Japanese dramatic form, combines elements of dance, drama, music, and poetry into a highly stylized, aesthetic retelling of a well-known story from Japanese literature, such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike.
This lesson provides an introduction to the elements of Noh plays and to the text of two plays, and provides opportunities for students to compare the conventions of the Noh play with other dramatic forms with which they may already be familiar, such as the ancient Greek dramas of Sophocles. By reading classic examples of Noh plays, such as Atsumori, students will learn to identify the structure, characters, style, and stories typical to this form of drama. Students will expand their grasp of these conventions by using them to write the introduction to a Noh play of their own.
Ben Franklin, signer of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution was also a philanthropist, a community leader, patriot, and Founding Father. This lesson plan exemplifies all our new country fought for in the Revolutionary War: individualism, democracy, community, patriotism, scientific inquiry and invention, and the rights of “We the People.”
Huckleberry Finn opens with a warning from its author that misinterpreting readers will be shot. Despite the danger, readers have been approaching the novel from such diverse critical perspectives for 120 years that it is both commonly taught and frequently banned, for a variety of reasons. Studying both the novel and its critics with an emphasis on cultural context will help students develop analytical tools essential for navigating this work and other American controversies. This lesson asks students to combine internet historical research with critical reading. Then students will produce several writing assignments exploring what readers see in Huckleberry Finn and why they see it that way.
This lesson plan's goal is to examine the ways in which Miller interpreted the facts of the witch trials and successfully dramatized them. Our inquiry into this matter will be guided by aesthetic and dramatic concerns as we attempt to interpret history and examine Miller's own interpretations of it. In this lesson, students will examine some of Miller's historical sources: biographies of key players (the accused and the accusers) and transcripts of the Salem Witch trials themselves. The students will also read a summary of the historical events in Salem and study a timeline. The students will then read The Crucible itself.
For Black History Month 2016, EDSITEment offers a revised and updated version of our Guide to Teaching Resources a comprehensive collection of free NEH-supported, vetted websites and EDSITEment-developed lessons on African American history and literature arranged roughly by historical period. These resources help bridge the gap between the expanding academic scholarship of the black experience and the need for this history to be more widely taught at the K–12 level.
While African American history should be taught throughout the year as part of American History, February’s Black History Month is the perfect time to investigate more deeply the struggles, challenges and achievements of African Americans.
In this special listing, teachers, parents, and students will find a range of vetted multimedia resources to understand and appreciate the 400 year long history of African Americans. Along the way, they will also encounter some of the most influential voices and the most memorable images in all of American history and culture.
The lessons in this unit provide you with an opportunity to use online resources to further enliven your students' encounter with Greek mythology, to deepen their understanding of what myths meant to the ancient Greeks, and to help them appreciate the meanings that Greek myths have for us today. In the lessons below, students will learn about Greek conceptions of the hero, the function of myths as explanatory accounts, the presence of mythological terms in contemporary culture, and the ways in which mythology has inspired later artists and poets.
The most important festival in the Chinese calendar is the New Year or Spring Festival. One of the annual events used to commemorate the festival is a colorful parade complete with animated dragon and lion figures.
In the first activity the student will learn the major differences between Eastern and Western dragons and discover why Eastern dragons are associated with Chinese New Year. They will hear a story about how the dragons came to rule major rivers of China. In the second activity, they will also learn about the Chinese New Year Dragon Parade and discover why firecrackers are used to drive off evil spirits, especially one called the Nian. In the third activity the students will see images of parading dragons, including sound-enhanced video and read poems about the New Year. In the fourth lesson the students will discover that the Chinese lion has imaginary characteristics similar to the dragon. They will view images of the lion and hear about how this highly stylized beast once fought the ferocious Nian. They will learn about the lion dancers in the New Year parade and compare them to the dragon dancers. Finally they will make their own lion masks.
Paul Revere's ride is the most famous event of its kind in American history. But other Americans made similar rides during the American Revolution. Who were these men and women? Why were their rides important? Do they deserve to be better known?
Help your students develop a broader understanding of the Revolutionary War as they learn about some less well known but no less colorful rides that occurred in other locations. Give your students the opportunity to immortalize these "other riders" in verse as Longfellow did for Paul Revere. Heighten your students' skills in reading texts critically and making defendable judgments based on them.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is the focal point for discussion of "The American Dream" as students explore how the social, educational, economical and political climate of the 1950s affected African Americans' quest for the good life in the suburbs.
Read the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry with your students and you can enhance your discussion of "The American Dream" even while you and your students explore how the social, educational, economical and political climate of the 1950s affected African Americans' quest for "The American Dream."
This lesson plan highlights one episode in the Divine Comedy to provide students with an introduction to Dante's great poem. After a brief introduction to the opening of the Divine Comedy, which portrays Dante as a pilgrim guided by the poet Virgil on a journey through the Christian afterlife toward God, students read Canto 5 of the Inferno, which comes near the beginning of Dante's descent into Hell. Students refer to a diagram of Dante's underworld to understand the role of Minos at the start of this canto, then analyze Dante's description of the storm-tossed souls he encounters in order to gain further insight into his allegorical method. Next, students identify the famous lovers who set the stage for Paolo and Francesca, and consider how they lend a literary dimension to our perception of this pair. Finally, students examine Francesca's "confession," comparing the philosophical style in which she first describes her love affair with the story-telling style she uses to describe what actually occurred.
This lesson will introduce students to the epic poem form and to its roots in oral tradition. Students will learn about the epic hero cycle and will learn how to recognize this pattern of events and elements- even in surprisingly contemporary places. Students will also be introduced to the patterns embedded in these stories that have helped generations of storytellers remember these immense poems.
Some of the most well known, and most important, works of literature in the world are examples of epic poetry. This lesson will introduce students to the epic poem form and to its roots in oral tradition.
In this lesson, students study issues related to independence and notions of manliness in Ernest Hemingway’s “Three Shots” as they conduct in-depth literary character analysis, consider the significance of environment to growing up and investigate Hemingway’s Nobel Prize-winning, unique prose style. In addition, they will have the opportunity to write and revise a short story based on their own childhood experiences and together create a short story collection.
This lesson plan explores elements of wonder, distortion, fantasy, and whimsy in The Nursery "Alice," Lewis Carroll's adaptation for younger readers of his beloved classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
In Lesson 1, students focus on the first stave of the novel as they identify the meanings of words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to them. This activity facilitates close examination of and immersion in the text and leads to an understanding of Scrooge before his ghostly experiences. In Lesson 2, students examine Scrooge’s experiences with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future and discover how Dickens used both direct and indirect characterization to create a protagonist who is more than just a stereotype. In Lesson 3, students focus on stave 5 as they identify and articulate themes that permeate the story.
This lesson invites students to reconfigure Meg’s journey into a board game where, as in the novel itself, Meg’s progress is either thwarted or advanced by aspects of her emotional responses to situations, her changing sense of self, and her physical and intellectual experiences.
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet presents "star-cross'd" lovers whose plight has become the subject of many of today's novels, plays, films, and television dramas. Explore with your students the techniques that Shakespeare uses to capture the magic of the couple's first meeting and to make that meeting so memorable. This lesson plan complements the study of plot and characterization in Romeo and Juliet in its focus on lyrical form and convention that heighten the impact of the action on the stage.