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The Name Jar: Discussion Guide for Grades Pre-K–1

For Teachers Pre-K - 1st Standards
A lesson spotlights the story, The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi. After a read-aloud, the class retells the story using puppets or dress-up. They participate in a thoughtful discussion about the story, answer questions relating the book to...
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Addressing Hate Online: Countering Cyberhate with Counterspeech

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Cyberbullying is the focus of much discussion. Here's a instructional activity that offers suggestions for addressing cyberhate. After groups examine different examples of cyberhate, the class adds their suggestions to a list of ideas...
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Who Was César Chávez?

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Scholars complete a KWL chart to indicate what they know about Cesar Chavez and then research what they want to know about this farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist. To complete the lesson, scholars research modern civil...
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Understanding and Analyzing “The U.S. of Us” by Richard Blanco

For Teachers 8th - 12th Standards
Current immigration issues and the rhetoric surrounding the controversies come into focus with a lesson that uses Richard Blanco's anthem, "The U.S. of Us," written after the August 2019 attack in El Paso, Texas, to open a discussion of...
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What Is the Dream Act and Who Are the Dreamers?

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is the focus of a lesson that asks high schoolers to investigate the act's provisions and read statements by individuals who support and oppose the act. They then...
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“Walling Out the Unwanted”: Understanding the Barriers that Perpetuate Anti-Immigrant Bias

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
As part of a study of immigrant bias, high schoolers investigate the language used in blogs, readings, media reports, and current legislation whose language perpetuates xenophobia. They then consider ways they can get involved in...
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“They Don’t Know Me”: Exposing the Myths and Establishing the Facts about Immigration

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Middle schoolers engage in a lesson plan that teaches them to distinguish myths from facts about United States immigration. Class members take an immigration quiz, watch a "What Would You do" video, and discuss how they could be an ally...
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"What is it Like to be an Outsider?”: Building Empathy for the Experiences of Immigrants

For Teachers 3rd - 5th Standards
This lesson highlights the struggles of immigrants and the importance of showing empathy. Beginning with a read-aloud of a book in another language and a poem, scholars take part in a thoughtful discussion. Then, the class examines a...
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Building Alliances

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Bystander or up-stander? The final lesson in the "Looking Back Reaching Forward" unit asks participants to consider how they can become involved in encouraging change in their school and community. 
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Sixty Years Later

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Has any progress been made in desegregating schools since 1954's Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education? To find out, class members examine charts and graphs representing U.S. schools' racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic...
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With All Deliberate Speed

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Has the integration of U.S. schools proceeded "with all deliberate speed?" Has progress been made? Those are the questions young historians must consider as they examine the barriers to and opportunities revealed in a study of timelines...
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The Road to Brown

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
As part of the study of segregation in U.S. schools, scholars research and create a timeline of events that led to the historic Supreme Court case, Brown V. Board of Education. Groups research a topic or event that led to the decision,...
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The Problem We Still Live With?

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Norman Rockwell's painting "The Problem We Still Live With" launches a unit study of racism in the United States and segregation in U.S. schools. In the first lesson, scholars discuss the painting, review key elements of the Supreme...
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Stereotypes of Girls and Women in the Media

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
A two-part lesson has scholars researching the stereotypes in portraying women and girls in the media and the impact of these representations. To conclude the lesson, participants write a letter of praise to sources that present positive...
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Why are Children’s and Young Adult Books Challenged and Banned?

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
September's "Banned Books Week" brings attention to the number of books that are challenged, censored, or banned each year. After watching a video about banned book week, reading articles about the history of book banning, and examining...
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Robert Frost Prompts the Poet in You

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
A great poem begins with an idea, an image, or an event that evokes a feeling. Middle schoolers read biographical information about Robert Frost and then identify details in three of his poems that reflect his life. Using suggestions...
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What is Poetry? Contrasting Poetry and Prose

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Introduce middle schoolers to the different strategies used when reading prose versus poetry. Groups use a Venn diagram and a poetry analysis handout to compare the characteristics of an informational text and a  poem on the same subject...
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Writing Free Verse in the "Voice" of Cesar Chavez

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Introduce middle schoolers to free verse poetry with a lesson that has young poets read two free verse poems and list the common characteristics of the form. They then read a passage from Cesar Chavez's biography and a free verse poem...
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Persuasive Essay: Environmental Issues

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Young environmentalists learn how to craft a persuasive essay about an environmental issue they consider important. After studying the components of a persuasive essay and examining a student model, writers brainstorm possible topics and...
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Let It Grow: An Inquiry-Based Organic Gardening Research Project

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
How does your garden grow? An inquiry-based, organic gardening unit asks young scientists to research a vegetable or flower, create an environment for it, and then plant and tend to the seedling. Gardeners develop their own research...
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García Márquez’s Nobel Prize Speech: “The Solitude of Latin America”

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
To conclude a study of One Hundred Years of Solitude, class members analyze Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Nobel Prize in Literature acceptance speech. After a whole-class discussion of the main ideas in the speech, individuals draft a...
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The Realism in Magical Realism

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
A lesson plan on magical realism has young historians research how Garcia Marquez weaves historical events and his own experiences into One Hundred Years of Solitude. Using historical records and information found in a biography of...
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Teach This Poem: "When Fannie Lou Hamer Said" by Mahogany L. Browne

For Teachers K - 12th Standards
After watching an excerpt from a video of Fannie Lou Hamer's testimony before Congress, pupils do a close reading of Mahogany L. Browne's poem "When Fannie Lou Hamer Said," annotate words and phrases that draw their attention and list...
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Teach This Poem: "Alice Paul" by Katharine Rolston Fisher

For Teachers K - 12th Standards
Powerful women need not look like Wonder Woman. After writing a paragraph about a strong woman they know, young scholars examine images of Alice Paul and then do a close reading of Katharine Rolston Fisher's poem "Alice Paul." Finally,...