CHF Education Library

CHF's rich archive of past Festival programs is a fantastic resource for your classroom and curriculum. Peruse our library for study guides, lesson plans, and multimedia resources.

Select a Category to Browse Lesson Plans

Arts and Culture

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (Art & History)

  • Topic: Art, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”; links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright

This lesson encourages teachers and students to explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s.

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (English/Language Arts)

  • Topic: Literature, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”, links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

These activities explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s with explorations of self-portraiture and Hollywood movie monsters and the relationship of the body to the self in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Kindur (7-9)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: 7-9
  • Components: Components: BBC Radio clip about Iceland’s sheep, article concerning energy renewal in Iceland, links to cultural and historical information about Iceland, and three classroom activities.

The activities explore Iceland’s unique culture, history, and landscape, encouraging students to engage with familiar topics such as first person narrative and renewable energy in creative ways. Emphasis on research, writing, verbal communication skills, and collaborative work and can be done all together as a short unit on Iceland, or can be adapted separately to fit an English, social studies, or geography classroom.

Kindur (for Elementary School)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: Pre-K through 3rd
  • Components: Components: Videos about the Kindur production and Iceland’s cultural and environmental facets, images of famous artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt, four classroom activities that explore body movement, expression and discussion of visual emotion.

This lesson encourages students to explore different emotional states and the strategies of storytelling through performance techniques and guided classroom discussions. By experimenting with different physical displays of emotion as well as writing and discussing these emotions, students will learn to better express themselves and understand each other.

Performance in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens

  • Topics: Drama/Theatre, Plot and Story Elements, Theatre Genres, Physical Comedy, and Comedy of the Absurd
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Multimedia links to clips of the show and articles about performance and theatre, four activities for pre and post-show purposes, and links and references to additional reading.

This study guide provides pre-show exercises to help prepare students to be active and involved audience members for Theatregroep Max’s comical performance, as well as a post-show activity prompting students to do a close reading of the production, analyze key elements of the show, and write short arguments supporting their conclusions about the show.

Baobab

  • Topic: Storytelling, community-building, imagination, environmentalism
  • Grades: K-2
  • Components: Video excerpt from the production of Baobab; videos and multimedia links to information about the Baobab tree; activities in which students will learn acting techniques and writing and discussion skills.

This guide will give students the opportunity to experiment with Théâtre Motus’s performance techniques, consider their role in their community, and discuss environmentalism.

The Man Who Planted Trees

  • Topic: Environmentalism, Storytelling
  • Grades: 2-4
  • Components: Jean Gioco’s short story, “The Man Who Planted Trees”; lessons on the importance of trees and tree investigations.

Using Jean Gioco’s fable, "The Man Who Planted Trees", students will engage in hands-on activities that foster an understanding of and an appreciation for our environment while also learning the importance of individual responsibility and the positive impact we can make on our planet.

Food and Culture

  • Topic: Food, Culture, Nutrition, History
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Video of the panel discussion, “The Perfect Meal”, with Paul Kahan, Mindy Segal, and Alpana Singh; links to current articles about food and nutrition; amusing aphorisms about food.

In this lesson, students will write about and discuss their reactions to activities that motivate them to slow down and consider the complex role food plays in our lives. We begin with aphorisms from 19th-century French writer Jean-Anthelm Brillat-Savarin, after which we examine artist Mark Menjivar’s photographic portraits, not of people, but of their refrigerators to help form students’ interpretations of “the perfect meal.”

Artists on Time

  • Topic: Time and Art
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Three lesson plans with accompanying primary and secondary text and image sources featuring Henri Cartier-Bresson, Salvador Dalì, and Andy Goldsworthy.

Using textual and visual sources, students will explore the relationship between time and art. They will focus critically on the moment an artist creates a piece of art and explore the length of time a piece of art can last.

Black Humor: Reflections on an American Tradition

  • Topic: Culture
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Four lesson plans, including a writing excerpt from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; essential questions to guide a conversation about race; and excerpts of humor routines by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. Optional audio component.

Using historical and contemporary sources, students will consider the question: how do we successfully desegregate our society if our art forms change in meaning and tone depending on who is in the audience?

Cassandra and Urban Environment: Structures of Our Lives

  • Topic: Mythology and writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Articles about Anne Carson and her work; essential questions; comprehensive lesson plan for teaching Aeschylus’ Oresteia; and optional link to Anne Carson audio presentation.

Showcasing the translation work of Anne Carson, this lesson plan allows students to explore both the physical and non-physical—societal—structures in which they live.

Chicago’s Legendary South Side

  • Topic: Chicago’s South Side
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt from “Can Bronzeville Reclaim its Soul?” by Patrick T. Reardon; list of prominent writers, thinkers, artists, and poets from Chicago’s South Side; web resources and links to organizations that explore the history and culture of the South Side; and a bibliography of South Side resources.

This guide provides a wealth of resources for teaching, exploring, and analyzing the culture, history, and importance of Chicago’s South Side. It aims to provoke deep critical thought about issues facing the South Side and its future in relation to its past.

Dancing in the Streets: The Sociology of Joy

  • Topic: Culture
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Writing by Barbara Ehrenreich; William Butler Yeats; and a lesson plan to help students explore the nature of synchronous group activities in our lives. Optional audio component.

Using an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, students will research and define joy as well as find ways through a written paper or organized activity to assess the value of synchronous group activities in our culture.

Exploring Time in Film

  • Topic: Films and Filmmaking
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Short background on filmmaking; lessons plans for analyzing several films.

Using Citizen Kane, La Jetée, and others, students will learn how filmmakers can manipulate scenes or use techniques to portray time in certain ways. The activities found in the lesson plan will allow students to apply what they have learned and manipulate time in their own films or storyboards.

Graphic Art

  • Topic: Graphic Art and Design
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Article about Edward Tufte and the value of his work and expertise; lesson plans about graphic art and its effectiveness.

Using Edward Tufte as a model, students will learn to analyze everyday graphic art. They will determine if it is effective in conveying its message or how it can be improved.

Graphic Novels

  • Topic: Creative Writing, Storytelling, Illustration
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Components: Lessons on the creation of comics and graphic novels; links and reading recommendations.

Featuring the work and teachings of Josh Elder, these activities introduce students to an alternate way to approach narrative through graphic novels.

Graphic Novels & Comic Books

  • Topic: Storytelling, Illustration
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This two part lesson plan provides students with the tools for analysis and creation of comic books with an excerpt of writing from veteran illustrator Jules Feiffer. Optional audio component.

What are the opportunities and limitations for storytelling through comic books or graphic novels?

He Sees it in His Joy

  • Topic: English/Language arts
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lesson plan includes an excerpt from Director of the National Institute for Play Stuart L. Brown; a poem by William Wordsworth; and a lesson plan that examines personal histories. Optional audio component.

In his book, Stuart Brown argues that “Play lies at the core of creativity and innovation.” He says humans are ‘built to play and built through play.” Students will experiment with Brown’s own techniques of developing “play histories” to understand the role of play in their own lives.

Installation Art

  • Topic: Contemporary Art and Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Robert Irwin biography; supplementary poem; and a lesson plan complete with essential questions; optional Robert Irwin audio available.

This lesson plan introduces students to installation art and challenges them to analyze artwork and its setting. Students will then be prompted to create their own piece of installation art in a setting familiar to them.

Malingerer in the Modern World

  • Topic: Language/Literary Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan, features writing by art historian Jennifer Greenhill and a poem by Isaac Watts. Optional audio component.

Using the work of the artist Winslow Homer as an entry point, students will assess the myriad cultural representations through literature, visual art, music or film of the contemporary idea of the word “slacker.”

Physical Music

  • Topic: Linking Sound, Motion, and Musicality
  • Grades: K-4
  • Components: Three activities on sound, music making, and teamwork; links to performances by Lelavision.

The world around us is a rich resource for creating sound and music. Through lessons on collaboration, students will have the chance to explore using everyday objects creatively while developing their listening and critical thinking skills.

The Mural as “Slice of Life” History

  • Topic: Art, History, New Deal/Depression
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt by art historian Erica Doss; images of 1930’s America; and lesson plans; optional link to Doss audio available.

An excerpt outlining the basics of New Deal era photographs and mural. The lesson plan provided aims for students to analyze murals and the ways they reflect life, while exploring the historical context of WPA murals.

Exploring Inclusion and Diversity

Diversity and Inclusion: A Lesson Plan for Business Professionals

  • Topics: diversity boundaries, organizational culture, including other perspectives, race and racialization, the power of the spoken word, hip-hop, internal conversations, lean into discomfort
  • Audience: Business people who wish to improve productivity through more effective conversations and/or more diverse perspectives in decision-making
  • Components: Components: 3 activities for group settings, with supplemental video from the 2011 CHF Diversity Day event

Purpose: To engage participants in a conversation about inclusion and diversity using video clips and pertinent questions. To stimulate critical thinking. To explore inclusion using a framework offered by seemingly unrelated academic disciplines. To practice having uncomfortable conversations while listening carefully for what is left unsaid. Help participants find the courage to ask unusual and sincere questions. Encourage participants to recognize those who summon the courage to ask awkward questions.

Experiential Explorations

Kindur (for Elementary School)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: Pre-K through 3rd
  • Components: Components: Videos about the Kindur production and Iceland’s cultural and environmental facets, images of famous artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt, four classroom activities that explore body movement, expression and discussion of visual emotion.

This lesson encourages students to explore different emotional states and the strategies of storytelling through performance techniques and guided classroom discussions. By experimenting with different physical displays of emotion as well as writing and discussing these emotions, students will learn to better express themselves and understand each other.

Baobab

  • Topic: Storytelling, community-building, imagination, environmentalism
  • Grades: K-2
  • Components: Video excerpt from the production of Baobab; videos and multimedia links to information about the Baobab tree; activities in which students will learn acting techniques and writing and discussion skills.

This guide will give students the opportunity to experiment with Théâtre Motus’s performance techniques, consider their role in their community, and discuss environmentalism.

Artists on Time

  • Topic: Time and Art
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Three lesson plans with accompanying primary and secondary text and image sources featuring Henri Cartier-Bresson, Salvador Dalì, and Andy Goldsworthy.

Using textual and visual sources, students will explore the relationship between time and art. They will focus critically on the moment an artist creates a piece of art and explore the length of time a piece of art can last.

Exploring Time in Film

  • Topic: Films and Filmmaking
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Short background on filmmaking; lessons plans for analyzing several films.

Using Citizen Kane, La Jetée, and others, students will learn how filmmakers can manipulate scenes or use techniques to portray time in certain ways. The activities found in the lesson plan will allow students to apply what they have learned and manipulate time in their own films or storyboards.

Installation Art

  • Topic: Contemporary Art and Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Robert Irwin biography; supplementary poem; and a lesson plan complete with essential questions; optional Robert Irwin audio available.

This lesson plan introduces students to installation art and challenges them to analyze artwork and its setting. Students will then be prompted to create their own piece of installation art in a setting familiar to them.

News and Media

  • Topic: Sources of News
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt outlining news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris; a lesson plan and essential questions; optional Robert Darnton audio available.

This lesson plan compares news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris to news transmission in a student’s society—his school. Students will also discover the differences between media outlets and compare types of media to analyze credibility and trustworthiness.

History, Social Studies, and Current Affairs

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (Art & History)

  • Topic: Art, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”; links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright

This lesson encourages teachers and students to explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s.

Online Research: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning

  • Topic: Literacy, Online Research, Library Science
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Online links from DePaul Research Librarian Paula Dempsey and focused procedures for online research and final presentations.

This lesson plan helps teachers and their students cultivate thorough online research skills with exercises on pre-research, stopwatch searching/advanced search engine skills, and final presentations.

Facing History and Ourselves with Paul Farmer and Jeffrey Sachs

  • Topics: Global Health, Economics
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: In this lesson plan, students will discover how varied approaches to global health—economics in the case of Jeffrey Sachs and medicine in the case of Paul Farmer—still reach some of the same conclusions about these public health challenges. Includes links to lectures by Farmer and Sachs, and the UN’s Millennium Goals.

This lesson plan will provide students with a forum for a conversation about the basic of global health, issues of poverty, and the myriad advocacy organizations working against poverty and disease.

The Promise: Barack Obama Year One by Jonathan Alter

  • Topics: Current Affairs, History
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan features video from Jonathan Alter talking about The Promise: Barack Obama Year One, audio from historian David Kennedy of FDR, and a link to FDR’s first inaugural address.

In this research project oriented guide, students are asked to consider how American presidents have responded to times of economic crises. By comparing and contrasting the initiatives of FDR and Obama, students can consider the differences between campaign rhetoric and the challenges of actual governing.

Kindur (7-9)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: 7-9
  • Components: Components: BBC Radio clip about Iceland’s sheep, article concerning energy renewal in Iceland, links to cultural and historical information about Iceland, and three classroom activities.

The activities explore Iceland’s unique culture, history, and landscape, encouraging students to engage with familiar topics such as first person narrative and renewable energy in creative ways. Emphasis on research, writing, verbal communication skills, and collaborative work and can be done all together as a short unit on Iceland, or can be adapted separately to fit an English, social studies, or geography classroom.

Performance in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens

  • Topics: Drama/Theatre, Plot and Story Elements, Theatre Genres, Physical Comedy, and Comedy of the Absurd
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Multimedia links to clips of the show and articles about performance and theatre, four activities for pre and post-show purposes, and links and references to additional reading.

This study guide provides pre-show exercises to help prepare students to be active and involved audience members for Theatregroep Max’s comical performance, as well as a post-show activity prompting students to do a close reading of the production, analyze key elements of the show, and write short arguments supporting their conclusions about the show.

Food and Culture

  • Topic: Food, Culture, Nutrition, History
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Video of the panel discussion, “The Perfect Meal”, with Paul Kahan, Mindy Segal, and Alpana Singh; links to current articles about food and nutrition; amusing aphorisms about food.

In this lesson, students will write about and discuss their reactions to activities that motivate them to slow down and consider the complex role food plays in our lives. We begin with aphorisms from 19th-century French writer Jean-Anthelm Brillat-Savarin, after which we examine artist Mark Menjivar’s photographic portraits, not of people, but of their refrigerators to help form students’ interpretations of “the perfect meal.”

Sex Ed in America

  • Topic: Sex Education/Health, History, Sociology, English
  • Grades: 11-12
  • Components: This lesson includes excerpts from Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” presentation and Paula Treichler’s “The History of the Condom,” along with 21 other multimedia links to videos and articles concerning the history of sex education in America.

Featuring the opinions of sex advice columnist Dan Savage, these activities introduce students to new approaches to sex education in America, encouraging students to seek more effective and pertinent forms of sex education by gaining insight into past and present methods.

A Slave No More: Using Historical Imagination to Understand the Civil War

  • Topic: Civil War
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Newspaper column; two primary source texts; and optional audio with Yale historian David Blight.

Using the Emancipation Proclamation and personal letters from a former slave, students will do a critical reading of primary source documents and generate creative content.

Animal Intelligence

  • Topic: Scientific research, human and animal intelligence
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with scientist Irene Pepperberg.

Consider definitions of intelligence, human and animal relationships

Beowulf: Themes in Opposition

  • Topic: Mythology and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: List of academic standards; list of Beowulf internet resources; five comprehensive lesson plans exploring the themes and history of Beowulf.

These lesson plans highlight a variety of dichotomous themes within Beowulf, such as war and peace, warrior and citizen, and good and evil. The lesson plans aim to provide students with an introduction to the text and its place in history.

Bibliography of African-American Chicago Writers

  • Topic: Writers
  • Grades: All Levels
  • Components: Two bibliographies of African-American Chicago writers.

One annotated bibliography of prominent African-American Chicago writers and their works; one extensive bibliographic listing of African-American Chicago writers, with some listings of renowned works.

Black Humor: Reflections on an American Tradition

  • Topic: Culture
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Four lesson plans, including a writing excerpt from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; essential questions to guide a conversation about race; and excerpts of humor routines by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. Optional audio component.

Using historical and contemporary sources, students will consider the question: how do we successfully desegregate our society if our art forms change in meaning and tone depending on who is in the audience?

Chicago’s Legendary South Side

  • Topic: Chicago’s South Side
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt from “Can Bronzeville Reclaim its Soul?” by Patrick T. Reardon; list of prominent writers, thinkers, artists, and poets from Chicago’s South Side; web resources and links to organizations that explore the history and culture of the South Side; and a bibliography of South Side resources.

This guide provides a wealth of resources for teaching, exploring, and analyzing the culture, history, and importance of Chicago’s South Side. It aims to provoke deep critical thought about issues facing the South Side and its future in relation to its past.

Journalism: Understanding the Rapidly Changing Media Landscape

  • Topic: Writing, Current Affairs
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Lessons on journalistic vocabulary, critiquing the media landscape and news coverage; and understanding satire.

Featuring the work and teachings of journalist Natalie Moore, these activities challenge students to consider the veracity and sources of the news and information they consume.

Making Inferences from Literature and Poetry

  • Topic: Literature
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist; two poems in juxtaposition; essential questions; and a lesson plan with varied activities based on student skill level. Optional Colson Whitehead audio is available.

The lesson plan focuses on making inferences from setting and character description. Students will make inferences about characters, their relationships, and the authors responsible for these characters.

Malingerer in the Modern World

  • Topic: Language/Literary Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan, features writing by art historian Jennifer Greenhill and a poem by Isaac Watts. Optional audio component.

Using the work of the artist Winslow Homer as an entry point, students will assess the myriad cultural representations through literature, visual art, music or film of the contemporary idea of the word “slacker.”

News and Media

  • Topic: Sources of News
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt outlining news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris; a lesson plan and essential questions; optional Robert Darnton audio available.

This lesson plan compares news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris to news transmission in a student’s society—his school. Students will also discover the differences between media outlets and compare types of media to analyze credibility and trustworthiness.

Political Satire: Laughing at What Isn't Funny

  • Topic: Journalism, Current Affairs
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lesson plan includes an excerpt from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and lessons on identifying and writing satire; optional audio of Robert Reich.

It’s rumored the Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Stand back a little further and laugh.” This activity is designed to help students do just that. Using current events from Reich’s blog, students will learn how to turn pressing economic and political concerns into satires.

The Grail of Laughter

  • Topic: A Scientific and Literary Exploration of Laughter
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with neuroscientist Robert Provine.

Does literature corroborate or contradict the scientific findings about laughter?

The Mural as “Slice of Life” History

  • Topic: Art, History, New Deal/Depression
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt by art historian Erica Doss; images of 1930’s America; and lesson plans; optional link to Doss audio available.

An excerpt outlining the basics of New Deal era photographs and mural. The lesson plan provided aims for students to analyze murals and the ways they reflect life, while exploring the historical context of WPA murals.

The Things They Carried

  • Topic: Literature and History
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Discussion questions; thematic lesson plans; and supplemental activities and resources. Optional link to Tim O’Brien audio.

A lesson plan and series of discussion questions meant to provoke deep thought about the Vietnam War, the lives of military personnel, and the myriad meanings of words such as ‘home’ or ‘mission.’

K-8

Kindur (for Elementary School)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: Pre-K through 3rd
  • Components: Components: Videos about the Kindur production and Iceland’s cultural and environmental facets, images of famous artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt, four classroom activities that explore body movement, expression and discussion of visual emotion.

This lesson encourages students to explore different emotional states and the strategies of storytelling through performance techniques and guided classroom discussions. By experimenting with different physical displays of emotion as well as writing and discussing these emotions, students will learn to better express themselves and understand each other.

Baobab

  • Topic: Storytelling, community-building, imagination, environmentalism
  • Grades: K-2
  • Components: Video excerpt from the production of Baobab; videos and multimedia links to information about the Baobab tree; activities in which students will learn acting techniques and writing and discussion skills.

This guide will give students the opportunity to experiment with Théâtre Motus’s performance techniques, consider their role in their community, and discuss environmentalism.

The Man Who Planted Trees

  • Topic: Environmentalism, Storytelling
  • Grades: 2-4
  • Components: Jean Gioco’s short story, “The Man Who Planted Trees”; lessons on the importance of trees and tree investigations.

Using Jean Gioco’s fable, "The Man Who Planted Trees", students will engage in hands-on activities that foster an understanding of and an appreciation for our environment while also learning the importance of individual responsibility and the positive impact we can make on our planet.

(7x1) Samurai: An Epic Tale... Told by an Idiot

  • Topic: Emotion and Physicality
  • Grades: 3-4
  • Components: Links to performances by David Gaines

How can our bodies be used to convey emotion? Using performance exercises and language students will explore how we translate feelings through actions.

Animal Intelligence

  • Topic: Scientific research, human and animal intelligence
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with scientist Irene Pepperberg.

Consider definitions of intelligence, human and animal relationships

Artists on Time

  • Topic: Time and Art
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Three lesson plans with accompanying primary and secondary text and image sources featuring Henri Cartier-Bresson, Salvador Dalì, and Andy Goldsworthy.

Using textual and visual sources, students will explore the relationship between time and art. They will focus critically on the moment an artist creates a piece of art and explore the length of time a piece of art can last.

Emotional Chorus

  • Topic: Emotion and Sound
  • Grades: 4-5
  • Components: Links to performances Redmoon Theater’s performances and to creating shadow puppets

These lesson plans help students explore voice and emotion.

Graphic Novels

  • Topic: Creative Writing, Storytelling, Illustration
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Components: Lessons on the creation of comics and graphic novels; links and reading recommendations.

Featuring the work and teachings of Josh Elder, these activities introduce students to an alternate way to approach narrative through graphic novels.

Jason & the Argonauts

  • Topic: Mythology, Creative Writing
  • Grades: 4-5
  • Components: Character list from Jason & the Argonauts; a Myth Map worksheet

This lesson plan, using the Greek myth Jason & the Argonauts, helps students understand the role of myths in literature and to explore the genre by writing a myth of their own.

MeTube: Exploring Autobiography

  • Topic: Creative Writing
  • Grades: 8-9
  • Components: Links to identity maps and resources on creating personal reflections on video

This lesson plan, using Yuri Lane’s MeTube performance, challenges students to write creatively and compellingly about themselves in short essay or video format.

Physical Music

  • Topic: Linking Sound, Motion, and Musicality
  • Grades: K-4
  • Components: Three activities on sound, music making, and teamwork; links to performances by Lelavision.

The world around us is a rich resource for creating sound and music. Through lessons on collaboration, students will have the chance to explore using everyday objects creatively while developing their listening and critical thinking skills.

Poetry: Experimenting with Form

  • Topic: Poetry, creative writing
  • Grades: 3-5
  • Components: 4 lesson plans; poetry excerpts; and links to poetry sites.

These lessons help prepare students for a formal study of poetry through reading and writing exercises.

Saving + Spending: Children's Book Guide

  • Topic: Literature
  • Grades: K-8
  • Components: Two lists of children’s literature consistent with the theme of “Saving + Spending.”

Two lists of children’s literature, compiled by librarian Peggy Sullivan, surrounding the theme of managing money. One list is appropriate for elementary grades and the second for middle grades.

Storytelling Through Alphabiography

  • Topic: Creative Writing
  • Grades: 3+
  • Components: Lesson plan; sample alphabiography

This lesson, using a performance by Israel’s Galilee Multicultural Theatre Company, helps students express their autobiography through the letters in the alphabet.

Super-Heroes: The Cape & Squiggle Society

  • Topic: Emotion and Physicality
  • Grades: 5-6
  • Components: Links to performances Redmoon Theater’s performances and to creating shadow puppets

These three lesson plans help students explore physicality and emotion; become creators and performers with shadow puppets; and consider how to develop characters through “creating your own superhero.”

There's a Rabbit in the Moon

  • Topic: Understanding the rhythms and science of daytime and nighttime.
  • Grades: K-1
  • Components: One lesson plan

This lesson, using a performance by Vélo Théâtre, helps students to relate planetary movement with the rituals of their own lives.

Math and Science

Kindur (7-9)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: 7-9
  • Components: Components: BBC Radio clip about Iceland’s sheep, article concerning energy renewal in Iceland, links to cultural and historical information about Iceland, and three classroom activities.

The activities explore Iceland’s unique culture, history, and landscape, encouraging students to engage with familiar topics such as first person narrative and renewable energy in creative ways. Emphasis on research, writing, verbal communication skills, and collaborative work and can be done all together as a short unit on Iceland, or can be adapted separately to fit an English, social studies, or geography classroom.

The Man Who Planted Trees

  • Topic: Environmentalism, Storytelling
  • Grades: 2-4
  • Components: Jean Gioco’s short story, “The Man Who Planted Trees”; lessons on the importance of trees and tree investigations.

Using Jean Gioco’s fable, "The Man Who Planted Trees", students will engage in hands-on activities that foster an understanding of and an appreciation for our environment while also learning the importance of individual responsibility and the positive impact we can make on our planet.

Animal Intelligence

  • Topic: Scientific research, human and animal intelligence
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with scientist Irene Pepperberg.

Consider definitions of intelligence, human and animal relationships

Graphic Art

  • Topic: Graphic Art and Design
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Article about Edward Tufte and the value of his work and expertise; lesson plans about graphic art and its effectiveness.

Using Edward Tufte as a model, students will learn to analyze everyday graphic art. They will determine if it is effective in conveying its message or how it can be improved.

The Grail of Laughter

  • Topic: A Scientific and Literary Exploration of Laughter
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with neuroscientist Robert Provine.

Does literature corroborate or contradict the scientific findings about laughter?

The Sand-Man

  • Topic: Literature, Reality, and Fantasy
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Synopsis of sand-man stories throughout history; lesson plans; essential questions surrounding reality and madness in literature. Optional Neil Gaiman audio available.

This lesson plan explores the distinctions between reality and fantasy, with a special focus on the story of the Sand-man and his manifestations in different works of literature. It will spark discussion about artificial intelligence and the history of science.

Multimedia

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (Art & History)

  • Topic: Art, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”; links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright

This lesson encourages teachers and students to explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s.

Facing History and Ourselves with Paul Farmer and Jeffrey Sachs

  • Topics: Global Health, Economics
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: In this lesson plan, students will discover how varied approaches to global health—economics in the case of Jeffrey Sachs and medicine in the case of Paul Farmer—still reach some of the same conclusions about these public health challenges. Includes links to lectures by Farmer and Sachs, and the UN’s Millennium Goals.

This lesson plan will provide students with a forum for a conversation about the basic of global health, issues of poverty, and the myriad advocacy organizations working against poverty and disease.

The Promise: Barack Obama Year One by Jonathan Alter

  • Topics: Current Affairs, History
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan features video from Jonathan Alter talking about The Promise: Barack Obama Year One, audio from historian David Kennedy of FDR, and a link to FDR’s first inaugural address.

In this research project oriented guide, students are asked to consider how American presidents have responded to times of economic crises. By comparing and contrasting the initiatives of FDR and Obama, students can consider the differences between campaign rhetoric and the challenges of actual governing.

Food and Culture

  • Topic: Food, Culture, Nutrition, History
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Video of the panel discussion, “The Perfect Meal”, with Paul Kahan, Mindy Segal, and Alpana Singh; links to current articles about food and nutrition; amusing aphorisms about food.

In this lesson, students will write about and discuss their reactions to activities that motivate them to slow down and consider the complex role food plays in our lives. We begin with aphorisms from 19th-century French writer Jean-Anthelm Brillat-Savarin, after which we examine artist Mark Menjivar’s photographic portraits, not of people, but of their refrigerators to help form students’ interpretations of “the perfect meal.”

Sex Ed in America

  • Topic: Sex Education/Health, History, Sociology, English
  • Grades: 11-12
  • Components: This lesson includes excerpts from Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” presentation and Paula Treichler’s “The History of the Condom,” along with 21 other multimedia links to videos and articles concerning the history of sex education in America.

Featuring the opinions of sex advice columnist Dan Savage, these activities introduce students to new approaches to sex education in America, encouraging students to seek more effective and pertinent forms of sex education by gaining insight into past and present methods.

Animal Intelligence

  • Topic: Scientific research, human and animal intelligence
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with scientist Irene Pepperberg.

Consider definitions of intelligence, human and animal relationships

As I Lay Dying

  • Topic: Fiction, Narrative, and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three lesson plans; strategies and themes to explore in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying; optional audio with Northwestern professor Julia Stern.

These lesson plans and thematic strategies will help students engage with the strengths of the text. Students will be encouraged to do a thorough close reading of the text and analyze it through writing and presentation.

Cassandra and Urban Environment: Structures of Our Lives

  • Topic: Mythology and writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Articles about Anne Carson and her work; essential questions; comprehensive lesson plan for teaching Aeschylus’ Oresteia; and optional link to Anne Carson audio presentation.

Showcasing the translation work of Anne Carson, this lesson plan allows students to explore both the physical and non-physical—societal—structures in which they live.

Making Inferences from Literature and Poetry

  • Topic: Literature
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist; two poems in juxtaposition; essential questions; and a lesson plan with varied activities based on student skill level. Optional Colson Whitehead audio is available.

The lesson plan focuses on making inferences from setting and character description. Students will make inferences about characters, their relationships, and the authors responsible for these characters.

Dancing in the Streets: The Sociology of Joy

  • Topic: Culture
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Writing by Barbara Ehrenreich; William Butler Yeats; and a lesson plan to help students explore the nature of synchronous group activities in our lives. Optional audio component.

Using an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, students will research and define joy as well as find ways through a written paper or organized activity to assess the value of synchronous group activities in our culture.

Frankenstein

  • Topic: Novels and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three lesson plans; strategies and extension activities for teaching Frankenstein; optional audio from a lecture on Frankenstein with University of Chicago faculty Heather Keenleyside and Timothy Campbell.

The major themes of Frankenstein are explored in these lesson plans which enable students to creatively judge characters, settings, and the historical frame of the novel.

Installation Art

  • Topic: Contemporary Art and Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Robert Irwin biography; supplementary poem; and a lesson plan complete with essential questions; optional Robert Irwin audio available.

This lesson plan introduces students to installation art and challenges them to analyze artwork and its setting. Students will then be prompted to create their own piece of installation art in a setting familiar to them.

Malingerer in the Modern World

  • Topic: Language/Literary Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan, features writing by art historian Jennifer Greenhill and a poem by Isaac Watts. Optional audio component.

Using the work of the artist Winslow Homer as an entry point, students will assess the myriad cultural representations through literature, visual art, music or film of the contemporary idea of the word “slacker.”

News and Media

  • Topic: Sources of News
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt outlining news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris; a lesson plan and essential questions; optional Robert Darnton audio available.

This lesson plan compares news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris to news transmission in a student’s society—his school. Students will also discover the differences between media outlets and compare types of media to analyze credibility and trustworthiness.

Political Satire: Laughing at What Isn't Funny

  • Topic: Journalism, Current Affairs
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lesson plan includes an excerpt from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and lessons on identifying and writing satire; optional audio of Robert Reich.

It’s rumored the Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Stand back a little further and laugh.” This activity is designed to help students do just that. Using current events from Reich’s blog, students will learn how to turn pressing economic and political concerns into satires.

The Grail of Laughter

  • Topic: A Scientific and Literary Exploration of Laughter
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with neuroscientist Robert Provine.

Does literature corroborate or contradict the scientific findings about laughter?

The Mural as “Slice of Life” History

  • Topic: Art, History, New Deal/Depression
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt by art historian Erica Doss; images of 1930’s America; and lesson plans; optional link to Doss audio available.

An excerpt outlining the basics of New Deal era photographs and mural. The lesson plan provided aims for students to analyze murals and the ways they reflect life, while exploring the historical context of WPA murals.

The Sand-Man

  • Topic: Literature, Reality, and Fantasy
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Synopsis of sand-man stories throughout history; lesson plans; essential questions surrounding reality and madness in literature. Optional Neil Gaiman audio available.

This lesson plan explores the distinctions between reality and fantasy, with a special focus on the story of the Sand-man and his manifestations in different works of literature. It will spark discussion about artificial intelligence and the history of science.

The Things They Carried

  • Topic: Literature and History
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Discussion questions; thematic lesson plans; and supplemental activities and resources. Optional link to Tim O’Brien audio.

A lesson plan and series of discussion questions meant to provoke deep thought about the Vietnam War, the lives of military personnel, and the myriad meanings of words such as ‘home’ or ‘mission.’

Writing and Literature

Poetry: Alive and Well, Thriving in a Digital Age!

  • Topics: Poetry, poems, online research, technology, multimedia, digital artifact
  • Grades 9-12
  • Components: exploring poetry websites, multimedia production, video-poem project

In this series of lessons, students will learn how to access the rich online resources of the Poetry Foundation (among others). Additionally, students will explore poetry in the digital age by fusing words and images to create a digital artifact, such as a video-poem.

Deconstructing Dracula, the Original Vampire

  • Topic: vampires, epistolary novels, original research, literary tradition and adaption, pop culture
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: An online text of Dracula, three activities, and a link to Project Gutenberg

In these activities, students will engage closely with the text of Dracula, developing original research and formulating an understanding of the epistolary genre, while simultaneously considering the powerful allure of vampires over our collective imaginations.

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (English/Language Arts)

  • Topic: Literature, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”, links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

These activities explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s with explorations of self-portraiture and Hollywood movie monsters and the relationship of the body to the self in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Visual Culture of Horror: Ivan Albright’s Gothic Bodies (Art & History)

  • Topic: Art, history, art history, the body, visual culture, the Gothic body, horror, memory, self-portraiture, the self, transformation
  • Grades: 9-12 and College
  • Components: Lecture excerpts from art historian Sarah Burns’s lecture on “Corruptible Flesh: Art and Necrophilia in Chicago”; links to work by visual artist Ivan Albright

This lesson encourages teachers and students to explore the relationship between Ivan Albright’s paintings of Gothic bodies, and the ‘perfect storm’ of horror that gripped Americans in the early 1930s.

Online Research: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning

  • Topic: Literacy, Online Research, Library Science
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Online links from DePaul Research Librarian Paula Dempsey and focused procedures for online research and final presentations.

This lesson plan helps teachers and their students cultivate thorough online research skills with exercises on pre-research, stopwatch searching/advanced search engine skills, and final presentations.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

  • Topics: Humans/Robots, history/ethics, the Holocaust, the Tuskegee Experiment, Animal testing, religion, dystopian fiction
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three activities that encourage close reading and critical analysis of Philip K. Dick's sci-fi classic

These activities on Philip K. Dick’s landmark science fiction novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? explore some of science fiction’s most timeless questions: what makes us human? What could the unforeseen consequences of our technology be? With a focus on humans vs. robots, history and ethics, and literary allusions.

Kindur (for Elementary School)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: Pre-K through 3rd
  • Components: Components: Videos about the Kindur production and Iceland’s cultural and environmental facets, images of famous artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt, four classroom activities that explore body movement, expression and discussion of visual emotion.

This lesson encourages students to explore different emotional states and the strategies of storytelling through performance techniques and guided classroom discussions. By experimenting with different physical displays of emotion as well as writing and discussing these emotions, students will learn to better express themselves and understand each other.

Kindur (7-9)

  • Topics: Icelandic culture and traditions, storytelling and oral history, Icelandic history, renewable energy, geology, persuasive speaking
  • Grades: 7-9
  • Components: Components: BBC Radio clip about Iceland’s sheep, article concerning energy renewal in Iceland, links to cultural and historical information about Iceland, and three classroom activities.

The activities explore Iceland’s unique culture, history, and landscape, encouraging students to engage with familiar topics such as first person narrative and renewable energy in creative ways. Emphasis on research, writing, verbal communication skills, and collaborative work and can be done all together as a short unit on Iceland, or can be adapted separately to fit an English, social studies, or geography classroom.

Performance in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens

  • Topics: Drama/Theatre, Plot and Story Elements, Theatre Genres, Physical Comedy, and Comedy of the Absurd
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Multimedia links to clips of the show and articles about performance and theatre, four activities for pre and post-show purposes, and links and references to additional reading.

This study guide provides pre-show exercises to help prepare students to be active and involved audience members for Theatregroep Max’s comical performance, as well as a post-show activity prompting students to do a close reading of the production, analyze key elements of the show, and write short arguments supporting their conclusions about the show.

Sex Ed in America

  • Topic: Sex Education/Health, History, Sociology, English
  • Grades: 11-12
  • Components: This lesson includes excerpts from Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” presentation and Paula Treichler’s “The History of the Condom,” along with 21 other multimedia links to videos and articles concerning the history of sex education in America.

Featuring the opinions of sex advice columnist Dan Savage, these activities introduce students to new approaches to sex education in America, encouraging students to seek more effective and pertinent forms of sex education by gaining insight into past and present methods.

A Raisin in the Sun

  • Topic: Playwriting, Theater, Literary Forms
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three lesson plans; resources on literary approaches, readings, and interpretations; optional audio with DePaul faculty on Lorraine Hansberry’s classic.

Using A Raisin in the Sun, students will do a close reading of the play and use their analysis to create images inspired by the text.

As I Lay Dying

  • Topic: Fiction, Narrative, and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three lesson plans; strategies and themes to explore in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying; optional audio with Northwestern professor Julia Stern.

These lesson plans and thematic strategies will help students engage with the strengths of the text. Students will be encouraged to do a thorough close reading of the text and analyze it through writing and presentation.

Beowulf: Heroes and Monsters

  • Topic: Mythology and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Four lesson plans which explore various elements of Beowulf and ancient Anglo-Saxon society.

Using Beowulf’s setting and character development, this guide explores the Anglo-Saxon account of an epic hero and his journey.

Beowulf: Themes in Opposition

  • Topic: Mythology and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: List of academic standards; list of Beowulf internet resources; five comprehensive lesson plans exploring the themes and history of Beowulf.

These lesson plans highlight a variety of dichotomous themes within Beowulf, such as war and peace, warrior and citizen, and good and evil. The lesson plans aim to provide students with an introduction to the text and its place in history.

Bibliography of African-American Chicago Writers

  • Topic: Writers
  • Grades: All Levels
  • Components: Two bibliographies of African-American Chicago writers.

One annotated bibliography of prominent African-American Chicago writers and their works; one extensive bibliographic listing of African-American Chicago writers, with some listings of renowned works.

Cassandra and Urban Environment: Structures of Our Lives

  • Topic: Mythology and writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Articles about Anne Carson and her work; essential questions; comprehensive lesson plan for teaching Aeschylus’ Oresteia; and optional link to Anne Carson audio presentation.

Showcasing the translation work of Anne Carson, this lesson plan allows students to explore both the physical and non-physical—societal—structures in which they live.

Making Inferences from Literature and Poetry

  • Topic: Literature
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist; two poems in juxtaposition; essential questions; and a lesson plan with varied activities based on student skill level. Optional Colson Whitehead audio is available.

The lesson plan focuses on making inferences from setting and character description. Students will make inferences about characters, their relationships, and the authors responsible for these characters.

Fiction Writing

  • Topic: Writing
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Definitions and guidelines for shaping works of fiction; writing exercises; and literary resources for young writers.

Featuring the work and teachings of Bayo Ojikutu, these activities will enhance students’ understanding and personal experimentation with fiction writing.

Frankenstein

  • Topic: Novels and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Three lesson plans; strategies and extension activities for teaching Frankenstein; optional audio from a lecture on Frankenstein with University of Chicago faculty Heather Keenleyside and Timothy Campbell.

The major themes of Frankenstein are explored in these lesson plans which enable students to creatively judge characters, settings, and the historical frame of the novel.

Graphic Novels & Comic Books

  • Topic: Storytelling, Illustration
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This two part lesson plan provides students with the tools for analysis and creation of comic books with an excerpt of writing from veteran illustrator Jules Feiffer. Optional audio component.

What are the opportunities and limitations for storytelling through comic books or graphic novels?

Graphic Novels

  • Topic: Creative Writing, Storytelling, Illustration
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Components: Lessons on the creation of comics and graphic novels; links and reading recommendations.

Featuring the work and teachings of Josh Elder, these activities introduce students to an alternate way to approach narrative through graphic novels.

Jason & the Argonauts

  • Topic: Mythology, Creative Writing
  • Grades: 4-5
  • Components: Character list from Jason & the Argonauts; a Myth Map worksheet

This lesson plan, using the Greek myth Jason & the Argonauts, helps students understand the role of myths in literature and to explore the genre by writing a myth of their own.

Journalism: Understanding the Rapidly Changing Media Landscape

  • Topic: Writing, Current Affairs
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Lessons on journalistic vocabulary, critiquing the media landscape and news coverage; and understanding satire.

Featuring the work and teachings of journalist Natalie Moore, these activities challenge students to consider the veracity and sources of the news and information they consume.

Malingerer in the Modern World

  • Topic: Language/Literary Analysis
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: This lesson plan, features writing by art historian Jennifer Greenhill and a poem by Isaac Watts. Optional audio component.

Using the work of the artist Winslow Homer as an entry point, students will assess the myriad cultural representations through literature, visual art, music or film of the contemporary idea of the word “slacker.”

MeTube: Exploring Autobiography

  • Topic: Creative Writing
  • Grades: 8-9
  • Components: Links to identity maps and resources on creating personal reflections on video

This lesson plan, using Yuri Lane’s MeTube performance, challenges students to write creatively and compellingly about themselves in short essay or video format.

Narrative Non-Fiction: Honing the Art of the Personal Essay

  • Topic: Creative writing, reading analysis
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lessons on structural analysis; narrative mapping; and essay form.

Featuring the work and teachings of writer Lawrence Weschler, these lessons provide strategies for advanced readers and writers.

News and Media

  • Topic: Sources of News
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Excerpt outlining news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris; a lesson plan and essential questions; optional Robert Darnton audio available.

This lesson plan compares news transmission in eighteenth-century Paris to news transmission in a student’s society—his school. Students will also discover the differences between media outlets and compare types of media to analyze credibility and trustworthiness.

Poetry: Experimenting with Form (3-5)

  • Topic: Poetry, creative writing
  • Grades: 3-5
  • Components: 4 lesson plans; poetry excerpts; and links to poetry sites.

These lessons help prepare students for a formal study of poetry through reading and writing exercises.

Poetry: Experimenting with Form (High School)

  • Topic: Poetry, Creative Writing
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: 4 lesson plans; poetry excerpts; and links to poetry sites.

Featuring the work and teachings of Chicago poet cin salach, these lessons help prepare students for a formal study of poetry through reading and writing exercises.

Political Satire: Laughing at What Isn't Funny

  • Topic: Journalism, Current Affairs
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lesson plan includes an excerpt from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and lessons on identifying and writing satire; optional audio of Robert Reich.

It’s rumored the Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Stand back a little further and laugh.” This activity is designed to help students do just that. Using current events from Reich’s blog, students will learn how to turn pressing economic and political concerns into satires.

Saving + Spending: Children's Book Guide

  • Topic: Literature
  • Grades: K-8
  • Components: Two lists of children’s literature consistent with the theme of “Saving + Spending.”

Two lists of children’s literature, compiled by librarian Peggy Sullivan, surrounding the theme of managing money. One list is appropriate for elementary grades and the second for middle grades.

Setting the Scene- Playwriting as Form

  • Topic: Creative Writing
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lessons on introducing and exploring playwriting; links and reading recommendations.

Featuring the work and teachings of playwright Stuart Flack, these activities introduce students to the challenges and art of playwriting.

Storytelling Through Alphabiography

  • Topic: Creative Writing
  • Grades: 3+
  • Components: Lesson plan; sample alphabiography

This lesson, using a performance by Israel’s Galilee Multicultural Theatre Company, helps students express their autobiography through the letters in the alphabet.

Teaching Time and Poetry

  • Topic: Poetry and Creative Writing
  • Grades: 7-12
  • Components: Four lesson plans designed to teach students about timing, cadence and poetry.

Written by authors cin salach and Christopher Merrill, these lesson plans allow students the opportunity to create their own poetry and writings while exploring rhythm, timing, and pace of written words.

The Grail of Laughter

  • Topic: A Scientific and Literary Exploration of Laughter
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Two primary source texts; and optional audio with neuroscientist Robert Provine.

Does literature corroborate or contradict the scientific findings about laughter?

The Iliad

  • Topic: Mythology and Writing
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Nine lesson plans which use the characters and text of The Iliad. Optional Derek Collins audio.

Using these lesson plans, students will translate the text to images, models, and physical scenes. They will also explore the power of persuasion and common tactics of persuasion.

The Limitations of the Imagination

  • Topic: English/Language, playwriting
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Lesson plan includes an excerpt from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; “Jubilat Agno” by Christopher Smart; a link to work by William Blake; optional audio of Kushner’s 2009 Chicago visit.

Students will debate the question: is there a limit to imagination?

The Sand-Man

  • Topic: Literature, Reality, and Fantasy
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Components: Synopsis of sand-man stories throughout history; lesson plans; essential questions surrounding reality and madness in literature. Optional Neil Gaiman audio available.

This lesson plan explores the distinctions between reality and fantasy, with a special focus on the story of the Sand-man and his manifestations in different works of literature. It will spark discussion about artificial intelligence and the history of science.

The Things They Carried

  • Topic: Literature and History
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Components: Discussion questions; thematic lesson plans; and supplemental activities and resources. Optional link to Tim O’Brien audio.

A lesson plan and series of discussion questions meant to provoke deep thought about the Vietnam War, the lives of military personnel, and the myriad meanings of words such as ‘home’ or ‘mission.’