Lesson Plans

14 Result(s)
Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Exploring Emancipation

This lesson plan uses A. A. Lamb's painting Emancipation Proclamation and resources from BlackPast to explore the successes and shortcomings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Reconstruction amendments, as well as the roles played by Black people in securing their own freedom.

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Paths from Enslavement

Use Aaron Douglas’s mural Into Bondage to introduce the stories of famous Harlem Renaissance figures, including Langston Hughes, and to explore the history and importance of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the end of Black enslavement in the United States.  

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Mapping Journeys

Kerry James Marshall's painting Voyager, depicting two partially obscured Black figures standing aboard a ship, refers to an actual ship, Wanderer, which was among the last slave ships in the United States, illegally transporting more than 400 individuals from West Africa to Georgia in 1858—even though the importation of enslaved people had been banned in 1808. Use the painting as an entry point to discuss the Transatlantic slave trade and introduce students to the NEH-funded database Slave Voyages project. 

Grade Range
6-12
“Remember” by Joy Harjo

This lesson plan is the ninth in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series. It provides a video recording of the poet, Joy Harjo, reading the poem “Remember.” The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.

Grade Range
6-12
“Translation for Mamá” by Richard Blanco

This lesson plan is the eighth in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series. It provides a video recording of the poet, Richard Blanco, reading the poem “Translation for Mamá.” The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.

Grade Range
6-8
Vengeful Verbs in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Expose middle school students to a first taste of Shakespeare from the angle of the ghost story and launch into the subject of verbs. In this lesson, they learn how Shakespeare uses verbs to move the action of the play. Students then distinguish generic verbs from vivid verbs by working with selected lines in Hamlet’s Ghost scene. Finally they test their knowledge of verbs through a crossword interactive puzzle.

Grade Range
6-12
Shakespeare's Othello and the Power of Language

By means of group performances, writing exercises, and online search activities, students learn about the sometimes dangerous and destructive powers of language, particularly when wielded by such an eloquent and unscrupulous character as Shakespeare's Iago.

Grade Range
6-8
Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series: Removing the Mask

In this lesson, students analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.

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?

Grade Range
6-8
A Story of Epic Proportions: What makes a Poem an Epic?

Some of the most the most essential works of literature in the world are examples of epic poetry, such as The Odyssey and Paradise Lost. This lesson introduces students to the epic poem form and to its roots in oral tradition.