Grades 6-8


  • Developing Empathy Through Retold Fairy Tales

    In this lesson, students watch a video that explores how a Native American saying, “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins,” relates to the practice of empathy. As a class and in small groups, students examine a well-known fairy tale, Cinderella, to try to “walk a mile” in the shoes of each character.

    This resource is part of the Transformative Teachers collection.

    Find out more about The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT.

    Grades: 5-8
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Setting: A Portrait of a Southern Town in the 1930s

    In this video from American Masters: Harper Lee: Hey, Boo, learn about the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee’s hometown and the inspiration for the fictional town of Maycomb, the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird. Through archival interviews, photographs, and present-day commentary (including an excerpt from an interview with Harper Lee), students will learn what life was like for people living in the South during the Great Depression.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Who Owns a Sound?

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the debate over electronic sampling in music and look at how copyright law affects people on both sides of the issue. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on gathering information to form an opinion. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Baseball and Social Change: The Story of Roberto Clemente

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about baseball legend Roberto Clemente, his early years in the United States during segregation, and changes in the 1960s that made the U.S. culture more open to Clemente’s Latino culture. Students develop their literacy skills through a social studies focus on how culture shapes individual identity and how a culture changes when new groups of people enter it. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Brian Selznick

    Brian Selznick feels that his illustrations are more authentic when he immerses himself in his subject matter. For the picture book Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, Selznick spent six months in Washington, DC conducting research at libraries and museums. For his Caldecott-Honor-winning illustrations in The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, he traveled to London to sketch, photograph, and climb inside the famous dinosaur replicas. For his best-selling 533-page illustrated novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick watched old French films, interviewed experts, and traveled to Paris three times. That book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for it's groundbreaking "cinematic" illustrations. Learn about his research methods, how he ended up as a children's illustrator, and his childhood inspirations in this series of Meet the Author videos.

    Grades: 4-7
  • Grace Lin

    Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of more than 20 books — from picture books to young adult novels — for kids. Most of Grace's books are about the Asian-American experience, she believes, "Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal." You can watch the interview, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Grace Lin, or see a selected list of her children's books.

    Grades: PreK-7
  • Author Tim O'Brien Recalls Vietnam War Experiences Video

    Marking the 20th anniversary of its publication, author Tim O'Brien reads an excerpt from "The Things They Carried," a novel about the experiences of a group of soldiers in the Vietnam War.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Author Francine Prose Unlocks the Life & Diary of Anne Frank

    Jeffrey Brown talks with author Francine Prose about her new book, "Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife," in which she reexamines the classic diary.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Character Conflict: Language Immersion

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch videos that tell the story of Moises, a fictional Spanish-speaking young immigrant who faces conflicts in his English-immersion school in the United States. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore an English language arts focus on internal and external conflict as a plot device. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8

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