Lesson Plans

13 Result(s)
Grade Range
9-12
Jazz Ambassadors: A Model for Cultural Diplomacy

When you think about diplomacy, you may first imagine ambassadors or even the Secretary of State. But the U.S. has a long history of using the arts and humanities to influence international opinion—a practice known as cultural diplomacy. This lesson plan unpacks the principles of cultural diplomacy through an exploration of  the Cold War “Jazz Ambassadors.” Students also investigate differing viewpoints of this program through historic newspapers and other primary source documents. Finally, students are asked to design their own program for cultural diplomacy.  

Grade Range
9-12
The Music of African American History

This lesson traces the long history of how African Americans have used music as a vehicle for communicating beliefs, aspirations, observations, joys, despair, resistance, and more across U.S. history.

Grade Range
9-12
Scottsboro Boys and To Kill a Mockingbird: Two Trials for the Classroom

This lesson is designed to apply Common Core State Standards and facilitate a comparison of informational texts and primary source material from the Scottsboro Boys trials of the 1931 and 1933, and the fictional trial in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird (1960).

Grade Range
9-12
Lesson 1: Magical Elements in Magical Realism

In this triumph of magical realism, "One Hundred Years of Solitude," chronicles a century of the remarkable Buendía family’s history in the fictional Colombian town of Macondo. The three lessons presented here explore the fantastic elements of this imaginary world, the real history that lies behind them, and García Márquez’s own philosophical musings on writing about Latin America.

Grade Range
9-12
The Freedom Riders and the Popular Music of the Civil Rights Movement

The American civil rights movement incorporated a variety of cultural elements in their pursuit of political and legal equality under law. This lesson will highlight the role of music as a major influence through the use of audio recordings, photographs, and primary documents. Students will participate in their own oral history, examine lyrics, and work with case studies such as the Freedom Rides to gain an appreciation of how music influenced the early 1960s.

Grade Range
9-12
Learning the Blues

Take a virtual field trip to Memphis, Tennessee, and explore the history of the blues.

Grade Range
9-12
Lesson 2: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: Benjy's Sense of Time and Narrative Voice

In the first chapter of William Faulkner's emotionally charged novel, "The Sound and the Fury," Benjy Compson, the son with intellectual disability who narrates this section, matters in a most profound sense. It is through his voice--childlike, detached, and often disorienting--that readers are confronted with the reality of time as a recurring motif and how time affects and informs human experiences.

Grade Range
6-8
Thomas Hart Benton: The Sources of Country Music

In this lesson students will learn how to describe Benton’s artistic techniques; identify the roots of country music as well as some of the early performers; and discuss how changes in art and musical style reflect changes in society.

Grade Range
9-12
Folklore in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Learn how writer Zora Neale Hurston incorporated and transformed black folklife in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. By exploring Hurston’s own life history and collection methods, listening to her WPA recordings of folksongs and folktales, and comparing transcribed folk narrative texts with the plot and themes of the novel, students will learn about the crucial role of oral folklore in Hurston’s written work.

Grade Range
6-8
Jack London's The Call of the Wild: Nature Faker?

A critic of writer Jack London called his animal protagonists “men in fur,” suggesting that his literary creations flaunted the facts of natural history. London responded to such criticism by maintaining that his own creations were based on sound science and in fact represented “…a protest against the ‘humanizing’ of animals, of which it seemed to me several ‘animal writers’ had been profoundly guilty.” How well does London succeed in avoiding such “humanizing” in his portrayal of Buck, the hero of his novel, The Call of the Wild?