Grades 9-13+


  • How and Why We Read | Crash Course English Literature #101

    In which John Green kicks off the Crash Course Literature mini series with a reasonable set of questions. Why do we read? What's the point of reading critically? John will argue that reading is about effectively communicating with other people. Unlike a direct communication though, the writer has to communicate with a stranger, through time and space, with only "dry dead words on a page."

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Poetry of Emily Dickinson | Crash Course English Literature #108

    In which John Green examines of the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Sure, John explores the creepy biographical details of Dickinson's life, but he also gets into why her poems have remained relevant over the decades. John discusses Dickinson's language, the structure of her work and her cake recipes. He also talks about Dickinson's famously eccentric punctuation, which again ends up relating to her cake recipes. Also, Dickinson's coconut cake recipe is included.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Odyssey | Crash Course Literature #201

    In which John Green teaches you about Homer's Odyssey. John teaches you the classic, by which I mean classical, epic poem, the Odyssey. The Journey of Odysseus as he made his way home after the conclusion of the Trojan War is the stuff of legend. John will teach you about the double standard in Greek culture, Odysseus as jerk/hero, ancient PTSD, and cycles of violence.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance | Crash Course Literature #215

    In which John Green teaches you about the poetry of Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was a poet and playwright in the first half of the 20th century, and he was involved in the Harlem Renaissance, which was a cultural movement among African Americans of the time that produced all kinds of great works in literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, music, and other areas. The Harlem Renaissance mainly happened in Harlem, the traditionally black neighborhood in upper Manhattan in New York City. Langston Hughes was primarily known as a poet, but he was involved deeply in the movement itself as well. John will teach you a bit about Hughes's background, and he'll examine a few of his best known poems.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Othello with David Harewood

    Having played Othello at London's National Theatre, David Harewood returns to the play to discover how the centuries have changed our views of it in this episode from Shakespeare Uncovered.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Romeo and Juliet with Joseph Fiennes | Shakespeare Uncovered

    Joseph Fiennes has a unique perspective on Romeo and Juliet, having played William Shakespeare, and Shakespeare as Romeo, in the Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love (1998). In this episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, the actor examines why Romeo and Juliet remains the most frequently performed of all of Shakespeare's plays.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Talking to Myself | Shakespeare Uncovered

    In this lesson from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will examine William Shakespeare's use of soliloquies in Hamlet, focusing on the famous "To be or not to be" speech. (This lesson is best used during or after a reading of Hamlet.)

    Grades: 9-13+
  • American Authors in the Nineteenth Century: Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow, Stowe, and Poe

    This primary source set showcases five prominent American authors and includes examples of the different media that promoted, and sometimes significantly altered, their public images and literary works. Looking at these primary sources provides an opportunity to explore both the authors’ literary texts and the ways in which those works, and the authors themselves, were portrayed in the media at the time of their renown.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Great Expectations 1: Setting the Scene

    This video excerpt is the opening scene from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. A man mysteriously emerges from a marsh to ominous music. A young boy, Pip, is shown briefly in a church graveyard, reading the sad gravestone of his parents and five brothers and sisters. Suddenly frightened, Pip runs off, but not to safety. Instead, he goes towards the marsh, right into the path of the hulking escaped convict Abel Magwitch, who is coated with grime and mud. Magwitch grabs Pip. "Scream again," Magwitch says to Pip, "and I’ll cut your throat."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Great Expectations 2: Becoming a Gentleman

    In this video excerpt from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, months have passed since Pip received the news that a mysterious benefactor has provided money for his education as a gentleman. When Joe Gargery—the kindly blacksmith who helped raise Pip—unexpectedly comes for a visit, Pip, embarrassed by Joe's shabby clothes and working-class accent, can hardly look at the man who befriended him and taught him a trade. Joe remarks, "You look different." Pip tries to dismiss the comment. "It’s just a suit," Pip replies. But Joe understands that Pip is not only ashamed of him, but doesn't want to be reminded of his humble beginnings. Pip's unkind treatment of Joe allows the viewer to begin to see how money and a rise in status alone may not create a true gentleman.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Iago: The Ultimate Villain

    This video from Shakespeare Uncovered examines the character of Iago and how he drives the plot of Othello. In this video, learn about Iago’s motivation to destroy Othello, explore why he’s a successful villain and examine the language he uses to manipulate Othello.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Romeo and Juliet: Teens Act It Out

    Use these videos to show how modern teenagers can practice and connect with the language of Romeo and Juliet in this lesson from Folger Shakespeare Library and Shakespeare Uncovered. This lesson is best used before a reading of Romeo and Juliet. Using video, text, graphic organizers and text-dependent discussion questions, use these teaching tips from the Folger Shakespeare Library to get teens acting out Shakespeare.

    Grades: 6-12
  • J.D. Salinger: The Early Years

    This media gallery from American Masters: Salinger features a series of videos that explores how Salinger felt about his writing, his struggle to be published in The New Yorker magazine, and how Holden Caulfield was a reflection of his own life. The associated materials include a background essay, discussion questions and a student activity.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Write Type of Mentor

    When it comes to mentoring second graders, the fifth graders at Marshall Hill Elementary School know how to do it write! The ongoing collaborative writing project between the two grade levels not only supports the formation of better writing, revision and editing skills, but also fosters relationship building and tolerance. Second grade students are taught about certain writing elements, such as personification, and then practice their writing skills. Fifth graders then offer revision and editing ideas before the written products are typed for publication in the computer lab. 

    Grades: 13+
  • Authors' Day

    Each year, creative writing teachers at Ocean Township Intermediate School hold an "Authors' Day," where published writers and illustrators teach sixth grade students about their crafts. On the day of the event, the students rotate through various workshops in the school library. The teachers' hope is that hearing from "the experts" will encourage their pupils to continue sharpening their writing skills. The aim isn't necessarily to inspire future authors, but instead to help mold students into "effective communicators for life."  

    Grades: 13+
  • Authors & Educators

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, educator and author of "The Silver Linings Playbook," Matthew Quick discusses the power of reading. He joins current and retired educators to discuss balancing writing with teaching and how each informs the other.

    Grades: 13+

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