For Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts
Walt Whitman on Abraham Lincoln Manuscript Division, LOC

Teacher’s Guide to the 150th Anniversary of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Discover how the American people coped with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago.

  • Harriet Jacobs and Elizabeth Keckly: The Material and Emotional Realities of Childhood in Slavery

    Created March 24, 2015
    Harriet Jacobs and Elizabeth Keckly: composite image

    In this lesson, students learn firsthand about the childhoods of Jacobs and Keckly from reading excerpts from their autobiographies. They practice reading for both factual information and making inferences from these two primary sources.

    Rickwood Field, Alabama

    Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America

    Sports are an indelible part of our culture and community. Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America shows how sports reflect the trials and triumphs of the American experience and help mold our national character. Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. The online exhibition includes educational resources for grades 6–10 aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

  • Henry “Box” Brown’s Narrative: Creating Original Historical Fiction

    Created February 5, 2015
    Henry Box Brown resurrection

    Slave narratives are a unique American literary genre in which former slaves tell about their lives in slavery and how they acquired their freedom. Henry “Box” Brown escaped from slavery by having himself shipped in a crate (hence, the nickname “Box”) from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1849.

    Constitutionally Speaking logo

    Constitutionally Speaking

    Constitutionally Speaking, a collaboration of the New Hampshire Humanities Council and several New Hampshire nonprofit organizations offers a suite of civics resources for K–12 teachers, including award-winning lesson plans and videos on the nation's founding document and its application in 21st-century America.

    Launchpad: “The Grand Inquisitor” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    By Ed Marks and Dan Cummings, revised by Joe Phelan

    About the Author

    In the spring of 1849, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) faced a Russian firing squad. He had been accused of the political crime of promoting utopian socialism, a popular ideology that threatened the deeply conservative government of Czar Nicholas I. Just as the order was being given to the firing squad to shoot, a messenger appeared with an edict from the Czar commuting the sentence to four years of hard labor in Siberia.

  • Man in the Middle: Thomas Day and the Free Black Experience (video)

    Created December 10, 2014
  • Man in the Middle: Thomas Day and the Free Black Experience

    Created December 3, 2014
    Thomas Day mantlepiece detail

    This lesson uses Day as a focal point for students to learn about ways that free blacks attained their free status and “crafted freedom” for themselves and others through their craft and entrepreneurial skills, through political activities, through leveraging their social position and contacts, and through their art and creativity.

  • Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative:” Myth of the Happy Slave

    Created October 8, 2014
    Frontispiece of original edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

    In 1845, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and Written by Himself was published. In it, Douglass criticizes directly—often with withering irony—those who defend slavery and those who prefer a romanticized version of it.

    Tryptich of Roosevelts, Franklin, Eleanor and Teddy

    The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

    Ken Burns’s new seven-part PBS series chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor: three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. Premieres September 14.