literature

Literary Elements and Techniques | Theme

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Learn how to identify theme in a literary work in this short animated video from WNET.

Looking for Alaska | The Great American Read

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Looking for Alaska is a young adult novel about first love, unrequited love, tragedy, and the intense experiences during the teenage years. Author John Green speaks about his process in writing the novel, including the autobiographical elements.

Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions
  • Build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills with a list of words explored in the video

6th Grade Explicit Comprehension Lesson: Informational Text Structure: Sequence

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Discover how a 6th grade teacher helps her students build comprehension skills by learning to identify sequential structure in science text.

Much Ado About Nothing and the Roots of Romantic Comedy | Shakespeare Uncovered

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Learn how Shakespeare invented the structure and character types we have come to love in modern romantic comedies in this video from Shakespeare Uncovered. In the play Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick banter back and forth as sparring partners who seem to hate each other, but underneath it all, are actually in love. Helen Hunt reveals how the play inspired countless romantic comedies in Hollywood and gave voice to a new kind of heroine, full of wit and the power of words.

Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. To learn more and view full episodes, visit the Shakespeare Uncovered website and collection page.

Literary Elements and Techniques | Setting

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Explore how authors use setting to establish the time, place, and social conditions in which a story takes place in this short animated video from WNET.

The Call of the Wild | The Great American Read

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Enduring love is the underlying theme of Jack London's story of a dog, Buck, who is kidnapped and forced to pull a sled in Alaska, and who is ultimately saved by the trapper John Thornton. Chelsea Clinton speaks of her fondness for the book, which she first read in junior high school; her perspective on the novel was different from the boys, who saw it as strictly an adventure tale.

Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions
  • Expand vocabulary and reading comprehension using a list of words introduced in the segment

 

Pulitzer and the Roots of Modern Journalism | Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People

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The 19th century was the world of print, and the master of that world was Joseph Pulitzer. Discover how Joseph Pulitzer transformed the newspaper industry in this video from the American Masters film Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People. Learn how Pulitzer reshaped journalism, from the visual presentation to the stories covered, and used his newspaper to fight for the interests of everyday people. Support materials include discussion questions and teaching tips which ask students to evaluate Pulitzer’s journalism strategy, and learn to become effective journalists themselves.

American Masters – Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People explores the remarkable man behind the prestigious prizes. A Jewish immigrant from Hungary, Joseph Pulitzer began as a gifted journalist before becoming a successful publisher and businessman. Pulitzer was famous in his own time for his outspoken and cantankerous editorial voice and his newspapers’ striking illustrations, visual style, national circulation, and financial success. Against the context of America’s explosive growth as a world force during the Gilded Age, Pulitzer emerges as the country’s first media titan, reshaping the newspaper to bear witness to and even propel that transformation. Joseph Pulitzer tirelessly championed what he regarded as the sacred role of the free press in a democracy.

Gulliver's Travels | The Great American Read

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Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, was published in 1726. It describes the misadventures of Lemuel Gulliver, who unintentionally finds himself in places inhabited by strange people and beasts, of different shapes, behaviors, and philosophies. It is known for its social commentary satirical perspective on science and society. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals why this is his favorite book of all time.

Rumpelstiltskin | Fairy Tales Old and New

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This video is designed for parents and learners to sit down and watch together. As you watch this updated snippet of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, take note of the characters, setting, and what happens in the story.

After the video, check out the additional activities below for the classroom and for the home, and watch the “Guided Viewing” version for parents to get additional tips for helping your child understand the English Language Arts concepts in the 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).

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole | The Great American Read

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Ignatius J. Reilly is the unlikely, and unforgettable hero of the Pulitzer prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces. Set in New Orleans, the novel follows Ignatius, an obese, thirty-year-old, unemployed scholar who lives with his mother. He launches a crusade against modernity—which he thinks is the downfall of humankind.

Learning Objectives

Student will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions.
  • Build vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension skills.

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