Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts
Island in Loch Gill. Photo, Oliver Dixon, 2008

“The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W. B. Yeats: A Common Core Exemplar

Teacher guide to Common Core Poetry exemplar, “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W. B. Yeats. The guide includes the poem; information about the poem; discussion questions. Supplementary documents provide suggested answers to the discussion questions and contextual background information from Irish traditional sources including Celtic mythology and influences of Irish aisling to shed light on the poem.

  • 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.

    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.

  • Lesson 2: Man and Superman

    Created January 12, 2015
    Portrait of the Writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1972, Vasily Perov

    Students examine the theory Man vs. Superman as it is revealed in several scenes within the novel and tackle the larger questions it bring up: Are humans really divided into two distinct categories, the ordinary and the extraordinary? Is this division a figment created by an overactive intellect? What did Dostoevsky think? Then they learn the theory differs radically from Dostoyevsky’s fictional reality—and reader’s—uncover yet another split in the world of the novel, one between intellect and emotion/instinct.

  • Lesson 1: Dualistic Portrayal of Characters

    Created January 12, 2015
    Portrait of the Writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1972, Vasily Perov

    Students examine the divided nature of Raskolnikov’s character and personality. Then they uncover the divided natures of other characters—a fact that becomes increasingly evident as the novel progresses to go beyond character analysis to comprehend Dostoyevsky’s underlying themes. What does the novel imply about human nature? Dostoevsky clearly perceived that people are neither simple nor easily classified; they are often torn in opposite directions by forces both inside of and outside of themselves, sometimes with catastrophic results.

    James McNeill Whistler's "Girl in White"

    How to Make the Most of “James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty” in the Classroom

    “James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty” is a treasure trove of information for the classroom on this pivotal American artist, tracing his life and development as an artist. Connect with a streaming version of the film, classroom resources aligned with Common Core and the new arts standards, and more.

  • Lesson 3: “The Metamorphoses” and Later Works of Art: A Comparison of Mythic Imagery

    Created November 10, 2014
    Metamorpheses unit image Apollo and Daphne

    Students survey works of art derived from many different eras and schools based on myths from The Metamorphoses. They compare the imagery in the artworks with the passages detailing Ovid’s original tales to understand the artists’ frame of reference and choices.

  • Lesson 2: “The Metamorphoses” and Modern Poetry: A Comparison of Mythic Characters

    Created November 7, 2014
    Metamorpheses unit image Apollo and Daphne

    Students compare two versions of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Ovid’s version in (Bk X: 1–85) tells the story primarily from an androcentric point of view through the character, Orpheus. In the version expressed by 20th –century a poet H.D. offers the story from a woman’s point of view and articulates the emotions of a broken-hearted, and downright angry, Eurydice.

  • Lesson 1: “The Metamorphoses” and Genesis: A Comparison of Creation-Flood Stories

    Created November 7, 2014
    Metamorpheses unit image Apollo and Daphne

    Students compare the stories of creation as told by Ovid in Book I. of The Metamorphoses with the Biblical narrative of creation as told in Genesis: 1–2. They identify the significance of those elements and the emphasis placed on them.