literature

Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Role of Women in the 1950s

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Explore the role of women in the 1950s in this video from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. Incorporating footage of women in the 1950s, Lorraine Hansberry’s life, and scenes from the film version of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry’s choices are compared to the choices of female characters in the play. Support materials include discussion questions and a handout asking students to compare the life of women today versus the 1950s.

How to Be a Good Dog

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In this video segment from Between the Lions, Bobo tries hard to be a good dog. He likes to hear that he is a good dog and get treats, but sometimes being a good dog is difficult for Bobo: he rummages through the refrigerator, eats books, and barks loudly. Mrs. Birdhead, Bobo's owner, sends Bobo outside for being bad. Bobo misses Mrs. Birdhead and Cat. Cat misses Bobo too, and so she reads a book on how to train dogs to be good. When Mrs. Birdhead leaves the house, Cat teaches Bobo how to shake, fetch, heel, sit, lie down, roll over, and stay. Bobo does very well until Mrs. Birdhead comes home with groceries. Cat tries to hold Bobo and hollers commands to Bobo, but Bobo can't wait to show Mrs. Birdhead that he's a good dog now. Bobo crashes into Mrs. Birdhead, but before she can get mad, Bobo shows her how he can shake, sit, lie down, roll over, heel, and fetch. Mrs. Birdhead tells Bobo he is a good dog and he stays inside the house. Featured vocabulary words include: good, dog, fetch, cat, commands, shake, heel, sit, lie down, roll over, and stay. This video segment provides a resource for Fluency, Text Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Language and Vocabulary Development.

Jamaica Louise James

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In this story from Between the Lions, Jamaica Louise James is an eight-year-old girl who loves to draw and paint but doesn’t like subway stations. She decides to surprise her grandmother, who works at the subway station, by painting beautiful pictures and hanging them on the station walls.

Max’s Diary: Who’s at the Door | KIDS Clubhouse Adventures

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Max’s imagination takes viewers on amazing adventures. In this segment of KIDS Clubhouse Adventures, Max is just about to enjoy a delicious s’more when he hears a knock at the door. This unique feature is a great example of poetry, rhythm, and rhyme!

Character's Feelings and Events | English Language Arts Strategies for Students with Cognitive Disabilities

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In this self-contained elementary classroom, students work as a group with a teacher to complete an an "Internal States Chart" that identifies events, characters involved, and the feelings of the characters in a text. Students are supported in labeling the feelings with a communication board that offers picture symbols and words for twelve different emotions. The teacher might continue the lesson by having the students change an event in the story and analyze how that change would affect the characters' feelings. This will help students to determine the significant events in the story and the way those events influence characters' feelings and actions. The video demonstrates effective strategies for engaging students with significant cognitive disabilities in literacy instruction.

Patricia & Frederick McKissack

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Patricia and Frederick McKissack are a writing duo that got their start when they decided they wanted to do something about the lack of children's stories about African Americans. In this interview, the McKissacks talk about finding inspiration for their writing, their favorite books, their commitment to writing African American stories, and the power of reading to children. Watch the interview, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Patricia and Frederick McKissack, or see a selected list of their children's books.

Voices in the Conversation | Engaging with Literature

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Witness read-aloud teaching techniques to generate thoughtful discussions about literature. Katherine Bomer's 5th-grade class responds to and asks meaningful questions about the text in this 20-minute video.

Jerry Spinelli

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Jerry Spinelli still remembers the Sunday night when he was awakened by a phone call. His novel, Maniac Magee, had just won the 1991 Newbery Medal. Jerry and his wife, Eileen, were so excited that they stayed up all night and went out to a local diner to celebrate. "Life hasn't been the same since," Spinelli recalls. Indeed, for decades Jerry Spinelli had sacrificed financial stability in pursuit of his dream to become an author. While raising six children, Jerry and Eileen were forced to make tough decisions when money was tight. "Nobody ever told me how impossibly hard that was going to be," Spinelli says. "It's one thing to write a book. It's another to get it published. It's yet another to sell enough to make enough money to pay a few bills." Watch the interview, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Jerry Spinelli, or see a selected list of his books.

Mother's Day, by Daisy Zamora

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This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features native Nicaraguan poet Daisy Zamora reading her poem "Mother’s Day" at the Dodge Poetry Festival. In politics, Daisy Zamora fought for equality and justice by opposing the dictator Somosa in her native Nicaragua, a stance that led to her banishment until the dictator was overthrown. In poetry, Zamora fights for equality and justice by opposing the norms that are dictated to women by society.

The Gray Heron

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How is the poet's eye like—or unlike—that of the scientist, the photographer, or of the small child first rambling around the natural world? In this environmentally-themed, visually splendid video excerpted from Poetry in America, host Elisa New is joined by evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson, poet Robert Hass, environmental photographer Laura McPhee, naturalist Joel Wagner, and kids at a Mass Audubon summer camp on Cape Cod in a wide ranging discussion of Galway Kinnell's "The Gray Heron." Kinnell's brief glimpse of a heron delivers us back into the history of science and the history of photography—but into humor and error, magic and wonder, as well. This resource is part of the Poetry in America Collection.

Find out more at the series' website.

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