Grades 6-12

  • 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
  • Can Reading Boost Your Intelligence? | BrainCraft

    Can active reading of Jane Austen make you more intelligent? Find out in this edition of BrainCraft.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Great Gatsby Part 1 | Crash Course English Literature #104

    In which John Green explores F Scott Fitzgerald's novel of the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby (video one of two). John introduces you to Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, and the other characters in the novel and tries to look beyond the surface story to figure out what this thing is ABOUT. Set in the 1920's against a conflicted backdrop of prohibition and excess, The Great Gatsby takes a close look at the American Dream as it existed in Fitzgerald's time. It turns out, it had a lot to do with money and status, and it still does today. John will cover the rich symbolism of the novel, from the distant green light to the pale gold of wealth and decay.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Great Gatsby Part 2 | Crash Course English Literature #105

    In which John Green continues to explore F Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby (video two of two). In this installment, John looks into the titular Gatsby's purported Greatness. Gatsby's single-minded pursuit of Daisy, his checkered past, and his checkered present all play a role in determining whether he was, in fact, great. Here's a hint: you don't have to be good to be great. It turns out greatness doesn't have much to do with whether you're a good person. Along the way, John explores the relentless forward march of time, the use of poetic language, and ironic titling of novels.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Part 1 | Crash Course Literature

    In which John Green teaches you about Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This week, we'll talk a little bit about Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who wrote under the name Mark Twain, and how he mined his early life to produce his well-loved body of work. By far the best of Twain's novels, Huckleberry Finn has a lot to say about life in America around the Civil War, and it resonates today with its messages on race, class, and what exactly freedom is.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Raft, the River, and the Weird Ending of Huckleberry Finn | Crash Course Literature

    This week, we're continuing our discussion of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This is part two of our talk about Huck Finn, and this time we're looking at the metaphors in the book, a little bit about what the metaphors like the Island and the River and the Raft might mean, and why you should pay attention to said metaphors. We'll also look at the ending of the book, which a lot of people (including us) believe isn't up to the standards of the rest of the novel.

    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
  • 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
  • The Many Plots of A Midsummer Night's Dream | Shakespeare Uncovered

    This media gallery from Shakespeare Uncovered will help your students understand the many plots in A Midsummer Night's Dream, how they move the play forward, and how they are intertwined. Videos, text-dependent questions, and graphic organizers will highlight what students need to know about the play's Athenian court as well as its lovers, fairies, and rude "mechanicals."

    Grades: 5-9
  • Storytelling: Tales of Everyday Life

    Students explore how events from everyday life can become stories, and how different types of narratives—such as ships' logs and journals—can tell the story of the same event. This is one of four storytelling lessons.

    Grades: 4-6, 13+
  • Mixtapes | Soundbreaking

    Musicians describe how the mixtape allowed listeners to customize a listening experience and create their own “albums."

    Grades: 9-12