Lesson Plans

One Today

Students analyze primary sources from presidential inaugurations of the past to deepen their understanding of presidential inaugurations, then read and listen to the inaugural poem, One Today, that Richard Blanco wrote and delivered at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013. After, students consider their  to hopes and dreams for the United States and create…

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Setting the Pace for Racial Tolerance

Students analyze an historical newspaper article to learn about a 1944 conference on building better race relationships and identify the claim that keynote speaker first lady Eleanor Roosevelt made about the need for the U.S. to set the pace for the rest of the world and provide supporting evidence for that claim. After, students consider…

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Did the Founders Want Government to Work?

Students analyze primary source texts, including excerpts from the Federalist papers, to investigate the purposes of the Necessary and Proper Clause, the ways in which the separation of powers limit government, and how factions and personal liberties affect the functioning of government. Next, students will write an essay or produce another type of product to…

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Did the Attack on Pearl Harbor Unify America?

Students analyze oral history interviews recorded shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor to investigate the perceptions of different groups of Americans and determine if this was an event that ultimately brought many Americans together. After, students will look into a current issue where people may have perspectives that are being overlooked, conducting and sharing…

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Making a Mark: Marching & Leaping Towards Reform

Students make connections between protest, reform, and legacy through investigation of the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, the poem “Crossing” by Jericho Brown, and an excerpt of a conversation about leaving a legacy to your country with poet, teacher, and activist Sonia Sanchez. After, students consider civic…

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Civic Actions to Impact the Future

Students make connections between the past, present, and future of the environment through their own imaginings, analysis of a primary source image, and the poem “Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now” by Matthew Olzmann. After, students might assess waste or pollution in their school or local community, then consider actions they could take…

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The Importance of Voting

Students consider the importance of voting as they analyze primary sources and the poem “One Vote” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. They then learn more about the connection between poetry and the women’s suffrage movement. After, students may investigate a contemporary politician or activist advocating for voting rights and present their findings to the class.

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A New National Anthem

Students analyze the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, then investigate how a 1991 musical rendition of the song by Whitney Houston and a poem by Ada Limón provide them with deeper insights and understanding of the U.S. National Anthem. After, students create a new version of the national anthem by either creating an erasure…

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Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

By pairing primary sources with poetry, students consider the proverb, “Good fences make good neighbors” in the context of their own lives as well as in a local, national or global context.

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