literature

Anne of Green Gables | The Great American Read

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Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, shares her love of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. This classic series of books, first published in 1908, follows young redheaded Anne from when she is first adopted to her eventual marriage to neighbor boy Gilbert and into her adult years. It encompasses many forms of love, from familial to romantic to enduring love. Atwood explains that author Montgomery did not have a happy childhood, and so she wrote the story she wished for herself.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Watch a video and answer contextual questions
  • Build listening comprehension skills

The Chronicles of Narnia | The Great American Read

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The Chronicles of Narnia follows a group of children who are evacuated to the English countryside during WWII. The books tell of the their adventures in the imaginary kingdom of Narnia, guided by a talking lion named Aslan, as they fight the White Witch and restore the throne to its rightful line. Tennis great Venus Williams shares her love of the books and experts speak of author C.S. Lewis and his use of allegories for war and religion in the series.

Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer a series of contextual questions.
  • Understand the difference between a myth and mythology.
  • Build vocabulary, reading and comprehension skills by using the vocabulary list.

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” | Great Performances: Julius Caesar

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Analyze Mark Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech using two videos from Great Performances: Julius Caesar. This resource works best after students have read Act III, sc. 2, to ensure they are already familiar with Antony’s speech. Support materials engage students with contemporary connections through discussion questions, teaching tips, and handouts that ask them to think critically about persuasive language and Mark Antony’s motivations.

Check out additional classroom resources by visiting the Great Performances: Julius Caesar collection page and the Great Performances and Donmar Warehouse websites.

How Fantasy Reflects Our World | It's Lit!

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Fantasy novels are more than just hundreds of pages worth of swords and magic! Okay, there's some of that. But it's also a lens to what our society finds important to our pasts, our presents, and future.

Rumpelstiltskin for Parents: Guided Viewing | Understanding Fairy Tales Old and New

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The Miller's Daughter and star of the show sits down and takes you behind the scenes of the learning concepts embedded in this modern retelling of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. This video is designed for parents to watch without their children to learn valuable co-viewing tips and tricks such as discussion questions, pausing points, and questions to ask children during and after the fairy tale video.

Designed to meet Grade 4 English Language Arts Standards: Reading Literature: Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

The Journey of the Jewish Americans

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In the 19th century, most Americans had little or no contact with Jewish people.  Jews who immigrated to the United States were met with a mixed attitude of suspicion stemming from prejudice, stereotypes and awe as people associated with Biblical stories and events. For the most part, the early 19th century Jewish immigrants were regarded as outsiders who were both tolerated and sometimes despised. Many began as peddlers, the traditional occupation of Jews in Europe. In this segment from The Jewish Americans, learn how their arrival was well timed to supply Americans with the goods and supplies they would need as the United States expanded west.

Shakespeare’s Language | Great Performances: Julius Caesar

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Reading Shakespeare can be challenging and may seem daunting for many students. Use these videos from Great Performances: Julius Caesar to see how professional actors approach Shakespeare’s language and gain confidence performing his works. Discussion questions, teaching tips, and activities allow students to practice different strategies for better understanding Shakespeare’s plays. 

Check out additional resources by visiting the Great Performances: Julius Caesar collection page and the Great Performances and Donmar Warehouse websites.

The Apology | Lesson Plan Clips

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In this lesson students will learn the history of an often-overlooked part of World War II—the girls and women forced into military sexual slavery under the occupation of the Japanese army. In The Apology, three of the surviving women, nicknamed “the Grandmas,” Adela Barroquillo from the Philippines, Cao Hei Mao from China, and Gil Won-Ok from South Korea, relate their experiences as young girls during the war and reflect on the scars this violence left on their entire lives.

Doctor Atomic | The Metropolitan Opera

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On July 16, 1945, an atomic bomb was tested for the first time in the deserts of New Mexico; within a few short weeks, the entire world would have to confront what this monstrous invention meant for humanity. Yet in Doctor Atomic, composer John Adams takes the audience back to the days immediately before the bomb’s first test to explore a more intimate side of this momentous event. The opera’s music is an excellent example of Adams’s signature “minimalist” style, while the libretto spotlights the complex feelings and conflicted loyalties of the Manhattan Project physicists—a small group of people tasked with developing the most destructive weapon the world had ever seen.

Watch John Adams’s opera Doctor Atomic, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Met’s production, and use the accompanying Educator Guide to explore a defining moment of the twentieth century through the work of one of America’s greatest living composers.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | The Great American Read

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The Queen of Hearts is the most notorious villain in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She is in charge, but her unchecked power makes her act like a child. In fact, there is humor in her villainy, and she even has a catchphrase. Experts and Seattle musician Debbie Miller explain why the Queen is such an effective and memorable bad guy.

Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Consider the role a villain plays in the plot of a story
  • Explore the concept of power and characters that abuse their power
  • View a video segment and answer contextual questions
  • Write a short essay that argues for or against a statement about power
  • Build vocabulary, reading, and listening comprehension skills 

 

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