The story of America—its founding, its shaping, its mythology—is told in many ways. Their influence may not always be obvious, but artists and their works have played an essential, powerful role in telling some of these stories.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is an exemplary author whose essays may be used to fulfill the ELA informational texts requirement for the Common Core. Here are some ways teachers can engage 21st-century students with Emerson’s thinking and rhetoric.
On the same day when the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national media outlets announced the reopening of the Emmett Till case, 36 K-12 educators from across the country were gathered for a panel discussion in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, where the Till murder trial took place in 1955.
When we think of using primary source oral histories in our classrooms, there is one resource that is often overlooked but ideally suited to the world history, civics, or global studies curriculum -- the oral histories of our diplomats.
In 2003 the National Geographic Society published a memoir called Facing the Lion by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton in which the author describes growing up on the savannah in northern Kenya along the southern border of Ethiopia and leading a nomadic life as a member of the Maasai people. The memoir—included on NEH’s list of favorite nonfiction titles—has elements of interest to middle grade readers from age eleven to fifteen, including adventure and danger.
The 2017 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, Olio by Tyehimba Jess, “melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry,” explains a statement from the judges, “to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.” English teachers will find a wealth of source material in the book’s bibliography—from slave narratives to histories of the music of black Americans—to supplement the study of the poems themselves, which offer vibrant typography, innovative and highly original forms, and a collection of voices that sing of both the pain of enslavement and the joy of freedom.
Fifty years ago, many young men like Tim O’Brien, author The Things They Carried—published in 1990—were drafted into the army and later served in what was increasingly becoming an unpopular war. Today, in times of a volunteer army, many aspects of the military have changed. For one thing, women now serve in combat roles, too.