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Old river boat docked at Memphis, Tennessee.

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Twain: Steamboat's a-Comin'
Examining the mystique of rivers as inspiration for creative expression it shows us the powerful influence the Mississippi River had on Mark Twain’s writings
America, Literature

Mark Twain

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Twain: Icon and Iconoclast
This lesson asks students to examine samples of Twain’s work in the context of pre- and post-Civil War America
America, Literature

Tom Sawyer

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Twain: Tom Sawyer—Mythic Adventurer
Learn about the source for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Read, and analyze the novel, with attention to character and style.
America, Literature

Chivalry and Courtly Love

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Chivalry and Courtly Love
Explore the Arthurian codes of chivalry and courtly love in art, modern films, books, and poetry. Examine the way in which these ideals have influenced modern concepts.
Movies & Movie Stars, Literature, America, Theater, Popular Culture

Firefighter at Ground Zero

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Art from Tragedy: Remembering 9/11
Students will interview their peers about their memories of September 11th, 2001, and use those memories to craft a one-act play for performance
America, Theater, Tragedy, Playwrights & Plays, Movies & Movie Stars, Literature, History

Scene from Eugene O'Neill's 'The Hairy Ape'

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Broken Worlds
This lesson provides a variety of options for conducting comparative analysis between Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire
Literature, America

Scene from 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Fractured Families in American Drama
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Long Day's Journey into Night, explore the tension, tragedy, heartbreak, and love within flawed and fractured families.
Family, Literature, Tragedy, America

Lewis and Clark Compass.

Grade 5 Lesson: Lewis And Clark Prized Possessions
In this lesson, students explore Native American crafts and design and create their own wampum belts
America, Geography, Native America, Visual Arts

Dancers in silhouette

Grade 5 Lesson: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Explore and analyze Lift Every Voice and Sing, a poem by James Weldon Johnson.
History, Music, Poetry, Blues, America

Paul Bunyon

Grade 5 Lesson: Tall Tales Today
In this lesson, students are introduced to the genre of American tall tales and will create an original tall tale featuring a "larger-than life" main character.
America, Folklore, Literature

President Obama being sworn in.

Grade 5 Lesson: Who Can Vote for President?
In this lesson, students will learn general facts about the voting process and its importance in a democratic form of government.
America, History

Civil War Letters

Grade 5 Lesson: Civil War Letters
Using letters written during the Civil War students develop an understanding of the message of the letters. They will create a dramatic reading based on their letter.
America, History, Theater

U.S. Army band on steps

Grade 5 Lesson: Civil War Music
Learn how music was used in the Civil War
America, History, Music

I Like Ike

Grade 5 Lesson: US Presidential Election Process and the Campaign Trail
Students will create an original political campaign song for a fictional presidential candidate.
Presidents, America, History

Appomattox Court-House

Grade 5 Lesson: A Light in the Storm: A Personal Look at the Civil War
Create a historical timeline and personal event timeline based on the historical fiction book and play A Light in the Storm and its main character, Amelia Martin.
America, History, Literature, Theater

Still Life in Winter

Grade 5 Lesson: An American Scene Painter
Students learn about American artist Charles Burchfield. Students capture information and sketches in a journal, then use these ideas to create an original watercolor
America, Nature, Visual Arts, Animals, Plants

Political Cartoon

Grade 5 Lesson: Political Cartoons as Part of the Election Process
Students will organize the information they researched on the U.S. presidential election process and constitutional rights.
Presidents, America, Visual Arts, History, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation

Paul Bunyon and his Big Blue Ox, Babe

Grade 5 Lesson: Exploring American Tall Tales
Students will explore the common elements of folktales and tall tales while learning how these tales built the spirit of the American people
America, Folklore

Weaving Rug

Grades K-2 Lesson: Navajo Weaving
Through guided reading of Ten Little Rabbits and hands-on activities students will explore aspects of Native American cultures and Navajo weavings
Native America, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Folklore, America

The American Flag

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Oh, Say Can You See…
Students will learn about the history behind the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Geography, History, Military, Music, Poetry, America

Apartments

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Understanding Tenement Life
Through online stories and photographs, students will explore what daily life was like for the millions of poor Irish, German, Jewish, and Italian immigrants
America, History, World Cultures

Pioneers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Pioneer America: Pioneer Living
In this lesson, students will learn about what life was like for early American pioneers
America, History

Bessie Smith

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Musical Harlem
Students will learn to identify musical styles and musicians associated with Harlem, focusing on jazz
Geography, History, Jazz, Music, America

Annie Oakley

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Pioneer America: Legendary Westerners
In this lesson, students will work in pairs to research legendary westerners
America, Folklore, History

American Pioneers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Pioneer America: Journey West
In this lesson, students will learn about the early pioneers in America and their motivations for moving West
America, Geography, History

Drinking Gourd

Grades 3-4 Lesson: What Does This Song Really Say?
Students listen to, sing, and read the lyrics to various African American spirituals. They discuss the coded messages in the songs, and the purpose of these codes.
Africa, America, Folklore

Day of the Dead figurines

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Tolerance: Comparing Cultural Holidays
Compare the artistic and cultural traditions of the U.S. celebration of Halloween and Mexico's Day of the Dead
America, Latin America, World Cultures, Folklore

Mrs. Larocca

Grades 3-4 Lesson: America, A Home for Every Culture
Students will discuss and explore the cultures that have contributed to making the United States the unique and diverse country it is today.
America, History, World Cultures, Language

Breaker Boys

Grades 3-4 Lesson: A Lens Into the Past
Students will gain a deeper understanding of the early 20th century American immigrant experience through photography and create their own photo collection for students of the future
America, History, World Cultures

Harriet Tubman

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Harriet Tubman: Dancing on the Freedom Trail
In this lesson, students are introduced to the emotional struggles Tubman faced as she helped slaves escape and travel north along the Underground Railroad.
America, History, Folklore, Dance

Harriet Tubman

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Harriet Tubman: An Informative and Impressionistic Look
Examine the life of Harriet Tubman through a comparison of informative resources and impressionistic art
America, History, Folklore, Visual Arts

The Great Migration

Grades 3-4 Lesson: The Great Migration
In this lesson, students will learn about the migration of African Americans to Harlem
America, Blues, Geography, History, Jazz, Music

Landing at Ellis Island

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Immigrating to America
Students will learn what it was like for new immigrants to come through Ellis Island—a symbolic heart of American immigration—at the turn of the 20th century
America, World Cultures, History

The Drinking Gourd Constellation

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Harriet Tubman: Secret Messages Shared through Song
In this lesson, students are introduced to the African-American spiritual and its use of a secret language to share information within the slave community.
America, History, Folklore, Music

Levi Coffin's home in Fountain City, Indiana, formerly Newport. Known as Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Harriet Tubman: Illustrating History
Using collage, students create a scene from the life of Harriet Tubman
America, Folklore, History, Visual Arts

What's Going On... Now

Website: What's Going On... Now
The Kennedy Center presents "What's Going On...Now," a national youth campaign to inspire young people to share their art and expression by telling us "How have things changed?" since Marvin Gaye's album "What's Going On" was released.
America, Controversial, Music, Music Legends, History, Young Artists, Popular Culture

Sounds Historic

Flash Interactive: Sounds Historic
Explore the relationship between history and music with the pieces and activities from the Sounds Historic concert, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra. Learn how music can be inspired by history, capture history, or even make history.
America, History, Orchestra, Music, Folklore, Jobs in the Arts

Drop Me Off in Harlem

Interactive: Drop Me Off in Harlem
Drop Me Off in Harlem will give students the opportunity to explore the art, music, and people that changed Harlem from a neighborhood into a historical landmark
Jazz, Music, History, Poetry, America, Music Legends, Art Venues

Jackie and Caroline reading

Slideshow: Discovering American Scrapbook
Bringing poetry to life through performance
America, Poetry, Presidents, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

Red curtain

Audio Series: Musical Theater in America
Through examples of the best that Broadway musicals have to offer, explore the history of musical theater in America; its structure and elements of a musical; musical theater's role in making social commentary, and its legacy.
Broadway, Musicals, America, Jobs in the Arts, History, Theater, Young Artists

Violin head

Audio Series: Classical Music in America
Follow the course of classical music in America from colonial times to the present in a series of NPR podcasts.
History, Music, America, Composers, Orchestra

Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, 1939

Audio: Marian Anderson: Of Thee We Sing
The road to racial equality was a long one and the battle for equality had many heroes; some of them made history just by opening their mouths to sing.
America, Controversial, History, Music Legends, Opera

voyager record

Audio: Voyager: Art/Space
There's music floating in Outer Space--two disks filled with songs that are floating out beyond the planets that are most distant to Earth. The disks are strapped to the sides of the Voyager probes which were launched to explore the outer edges of our galaxy and whatever lies beyond them.
Music, Space, Science, History, America

Musical theater kids

Audio: Write Your Own Musical
Heather Nathans, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Maryland, is joined by Joe Stein and Sheldon Harnick (writers of Fiddler on the Roof) and Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Pippin, Godspell, and Wicked) to talk about how a musical gets written.
America, Art Venues, Backstage, Composers, Music, Music Legends, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Young Artists

US Air Force buglar Jari Villanueva

Audio: Ceremonial Brass
Musicians have always played an important part in the military. This series explores not only the history of military music, but also the diverse ceremonial and entertainment roles of musicians in the military.
Jobs in the Arts, Military, Music, America, Musical Instruments, History

JFK in Berlin

Audio: Cultural Diplomacy
Even while the United States was entering the Cold War with the Soviet Union in 1961, the Kennedy administration strengthened their commitment to cultural diplomacy. This audio story highlights some of the important ways President Kennedy used the arts to help improve the image of the United States around the world.
Presidents, Music, Military, History, America, Europe

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Patriotic Puzzler
Time to update an old classic. For fun, write a new Pledge of Allegiance. Recite your version out loud for a friend or family member. How would yours sound at the beginning of each school day?
America, Poetry

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Joan Mondale
"The arts are the signature of a nation."
Art Venues, Education, America

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Og Mandino
"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new."
America, Literature, Education

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Thomas Merton
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
America, Literature

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