Look at the cherry blossoms!

   Their color and scent fall with them,

   Are gone forever,

   Yet mindless

   The spring comes again.

         - Japanese poet, Ikkyū (休宗純1394–1481)


Touring the Capital

Planning to visit the Capital in person this spring?  If so, there's a new official National Park Service   app for the National Mall and Memorial Parks that can be used to explore many of the most cherished cultural and historical sites in the United States—from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House. The app includes a total of 70 sites.

Not traveling this year, but interested in taking your students on a virtual tour of the Capital sites from home? Here are a few digital resources to help.  The National Park Service’s resources include Icons of the Nation’s Capital with details about visiting the National Mall and Memorial Parks including the A Gift of Beauty and Friendship and History and Culture.  A map of the National Mall and Memorial Park can be found on the NPS teachers’ page. An EDSITEment Tour of the National Mall provides additional background for armchair travelers.






The Architect of the Capitol building offers an interactive through the Architect’s Virtual Capitol where students can Discover, Explore, and Learn.  A Landmark Lesson: The United States Capitol Building asks what makes the U.S. Capitol "symbolically important" and has students investigate the Capitol's story using primary sources presented as “mysteries,” with a challenge to tie together the information through research.

While the White House in-person tours have been suspended this spring due to sequestration, students can still enjoy an interactive experience and explore: Inside the White House.  As part of President and Mrs. Obama’s commitment to open the White House to as many Americans as possible, they have partnered with the Google Art Project and allowed 360 Street View cameras to capture the rooms that are featured on the public tour. Take the virtual tour to discover the history and view the art in “the people’s house.”  Picturing First Families offers students a ticket to the National Portrait Gallery, the White House, and the Library of Congress, with a side trip to the University of Virginia. This lesson has students gather clues about America's original First Families, their lives and periods in American history. Women in the White House lesson contains activities to learn about the contributions to American society made by recent First Ladies.

From the White House of Yesterday to the White House of Today (3 Lessons) Students take a close look at the design of the White House and some of the changes it has undergone. They also reflect on how the “President's House” has been and continues to be used.
      Lesson 1: How Was the White House Designed?

Lesson 2: How and Why Has the White House Changed?

Lesson 3: A President's Home and the President's House

What Happens in the White House? (3 Lessons) Students take a close look at the White House in recent times and throughout our history.

Lesson 1: What Is the Purpose of the White House?

Lesson 2: What Has Happened in the White House?

Lesson 3: What Happens in the White House? A Timeline

Viewing Cherry Blossoms

digital file from original

Cherry trees along the Tidal Basin with Japanese Lantern placed in the park in 1954. Washington, D.C. Photographer: Carol Highsmith [between 1980 and 2006]  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA


The Japanese springtime tradition of viewing cherry blossoms (“sakura” ) has been a cultural event for over a thousand years. Wonderopolis provides a helpful resource  “Did you know?” What are Sakura? explaining that Sakura is the Japanese term for flowering cherry trees… an icon of cultural identity for Japan. The Japanese celebrate the cherry blossoms for both their innate beauty and the symbolism they contain. In the Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking beauty and brevity of the blossoms symbolizes the transient nature of life.  The form and color of the blossoms reflect the cultural values of simplicity and purity. Happily the Japanese annual tradition of hanami (picnicking under the cherry trees once they come into bloom) has been adopted in America. Each year in early spring thousands converge on the nation’s capital for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This event is a spectacle providing cultural experience of the cherry blossoms for the 1.5 million visitors who make the pilgrimage to view them.

This ritual in the nation's capital was initiated one hundred years ago with the gift of 3,020 cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan in celebration of the nations' then-growing friendship. The National Park Service provides a timeline where students can trace the fascinating history of this cultural exchange. On March 27, 1912 the two original trees were planted by First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, on the bank of the Potomac River's Tidal Basin. The others were placed along the shoreline near the site of the future Jefferson Memorial and on the grounds of the White House. Many of these same trees have survived and may be viewed today!  In 1965, the Japanese government contributed an additional 3800 trees to the United States. On that occasion again the First Lady and wife of the Japanese ambassador (”Lady Bird” Johnson and Mrs Ryuji Takeuchi) presided over  the planting ceremony and placed the trees on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

The Library of Congress offers Selected Internet Resources — Cherry Blossoms including STEM resources along with The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration Webcast by Ann McClellan. Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers takes up the topic "Cherry Trees" with sample articles including one published 100 years ago, "Japanese Cherries Adorn Park Drive" from The Washington Times, April 6, 1913. The story describes the cherry trees along the tidal basin as “Fragrantly beautiful and riotous with spring!”  The same description could be penned today and reflects the timeless quality of the sakura: “The blossoms, however, are as beautiful now as they will be in years to come and make the observer forget the shape of the tree…In appearance the blooms are a delicate pink shading almost to white in some instances, Each cluster is made up of dozens of individual blossoms which are formed somewhat like the wild rose.”

Egg-Rolling on the White House Lawn

b&w film copy neg. Mrs. Coolidge exhibits her pet raccoon [Rebecca] to crowds of children gathered for Easter egg rolling  1927 April 18 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Another spring ritual unique to the Nation’s Capitol is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This public event is now held every year on the South Lawn of the White House on the Monday following Easter.  The origins of this event are murky - some note that Dolley Madison originated the idea of holding a public egg roll, but there is very little evidence to support that claim. What is known is that by the early 1870s, Washingtonians began to congregate on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to celebrate on the day after Easter with picnics and children rolling dyed hard-boiled eggs down the slope. A concern for the landscape being torn up by the children's games soon led Congress to enact the “Turf Protection Law,” a bill that banned the practice.  As the story goes in 1878, the rollers who were ejected by Capitol Hill police headed up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House in the hope that their egg rolling games would be permitted there.  President Hayes instructed his guards to let the youngsters through the gates and thus the official egg roll was established.  By 1880, an article in the Evening Star reported that eager egg rollers had taken “absolute possession of the grounds south of the White House.”  

Learn more about the history of this holiday event which continues to evolve with every Administration. Over the years the First Ladies as well as the White House children and pets (including "Rebecca" First-Racoon pictured above) have participated and left their unique stamp on the event. On occasion over the years the egg roll has had to be suspended due to wartime or relocated due to renovations. This year the White House is again playing host to the 136th annual Easter Egg Roll with the theme "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!" The National Park Service provides an overview of the history of the White House Egg Roll and the White House hosts a photo gallery illustrating “An American Tradition since 1878.”



Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, premiered on Broadway on this day March 11th 1959.


Never before had so much of the truth of black people’s lives been seen onstage.—James Baldwin

The play was as much a milestone in the nation’s social history as it was in American theater. The first play written by a black woman to debut on Broadway, it was also the first Broadway play directed by a black man, Lloyd Richards. Centering upon the aspirations of a working-class African American family in one of Chicago’s south side neighborhoods as they try to break out of the poverty that seems to be their fate, it is a play about the American Dream, about the ambition to better one’s own life and that of one’s children.

EDSITEment Lesson plan, A Raisin in the Sun; The Quest for the American Dream assists teachers in raising these essential questions with students:

  • How does the play A Raisin in the Sun mirror the social, educational, political, and economical climate of the 1950s.
  • How does the play illustrate the impact this climate had on African Americans' quest for "The American Dream"?


This presentation demonstrates how teachers can use EDSITEment resources to satisfy the expectations of the Common Core while meeting the diverse needs of students in the classroom. More insights into Analyzing the American Dream for Common Core: "A Raisin in the Sun" can be found on the Community Hub.



This Women’s History Month introduce your students to Lucille Clifton a former Maryland poet laureate and National Book Award winner, whose collection Quilting: Poems 1987 – 1990 was widely acclaimed. She used “quilts as a metaphor for life - each poem is a story bound together through history and figuratively sewn with the thread of experience.” For more on this poet turn to the Poetry Foundation and the American Academy of Poets.

Clifton quilting.jpg

March 16th is National Quilting Day ~ this year’s theme is “Celebrate America”


“We Americans have adopted quilts as a symbol of what we value about ourselves and our national history,” so writes Laurel Horton in special presentation “Speaking of Quilts: Voices from the Late 20th- century” available from the American Memory Project. We refer to quilts as evidence of our nation’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. The patchwork quilt has replaced the melting pot as the metaphor for the cultural diversity of our population. However, just as our national motto, E pluribus unum, "One, from many," encompasses the collective history of individuals from many backgrounds, American quilts have many stories to tell.  Read more on Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996 from the Library of Congress including a Gallery of Quilt photographs.


EDSITEment has resources for all grade levels using quilts as a means to tell stories. 


Geared for K - 2, Stories in Quilts |EDSITEment asks: How are quilts used to tell stories? What kinds of stories can be told through quilts? How are art and history connected through quilts that tell stories?  A second lesson, Family and Friendship in Quilts | EDSITEment, explains what a quilt is and describes some of the historic purposes and uses of quilts, such as friendship and family record quilts.


History in Quilts | EDSITEment contains activities designed for the elementary school set (though it can be adapted for use with older or younger students.) This lesson poses questions: What is a quilt? What elements make up a quilt? How are art and history connected through quilts? What are some of the purposes and uses that quilts have served in different places and cultures in the past? What function do quilts have today?


Picturing America: Quilts 19th through the 20th centuries is an NEH resource relating to image 10-B Quilts: 19th through 20th Centuries in the Picture gallery.


An NEH resource which represents A Patchwork of History” is the Quilt Index. Born out of the "explosion in quilt scholarship over several decades which highlighted the need for an independent expanding bibliography," the index features thousands of historic and contemporary quilts for research and inspiration. This resource includes lesson plans for all levels such as Be A Quilt Detective (Keeping Us in Stitches Activity) which teaches students that history can be recorded in a handmade object. Quilt Around the World has students learn about a different country of their choosing and challenges them to represent the culture of this country using geometric and organic shapes out of different fabrics.  STEM applications abound in these lessons such as Quilt Dilations which uses quilts to explore Mathematics and Dye Sample Journal which teaches the arts of dyeing fabric and the chemical process of using modern dyes to imitate colors once produced from plants. 


A theme of interest to older students may be the AIDS Memorial Quilt now made up of 48,000 panels representing more than 94,000 victims. The quilt when laid end to end would extend for 50 miles and require 33 days to view.  In late July, 2012, some 100 volunteers handled thousands of panels when laid out on the National Mall during the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.  The AIDS Memorial Quilt has an interactive website which allows students to participate in the memorial.  Professor Anne Balsamo of the University of Southern California, starting with a grant from the NEH and then working with Microsoft Research Connections and the University of Iowa Digital Studio for the Public Humanities, has made the quilt accessible on desktop, tabletop, and mobile app.

Seven Southern Quilters from UVA American Studies includes the story of Harriet Powers born into slavery in Georgia in 1837. Harriet Powers created two quilts which are the best known and well preserved examples of Southern American quilting tradition still in existence. Using the traditional African applique techniques along with European record keeping and biblical reference traditions, Harriet's quilts render local legends, Bible stories, and astronomical phenomena into physical form.

Harriet Powers Quilt.jpg


How can you use quilts with your students to learn about American stories?



Mardi Gras is the love of life.  It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living.  All at once. - Chris Rose, 1Dead in the Attic



Carnivals are of ancient origin and virtually all peoples in all eras have organized carnivals to mark or celebrate different events. Carnivals can be magical, political, satirical, or purely entertaining; some even poke fun at death. In the Catholic tradition, Carnaval refers to the riotous festival atmosphere and feasting that goes on during the days leading up to the beginning of Lent.  This year, Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday falls on February 12th. "Fat Tuesday" or "Pancake Tuesday" as it is sometimes called, carries a tradition of making pancakes for supper.  In this way, all the rich items in one's larder (eggs,sugar and butter) get used up before the lenten season of fasting commences.  This last hurrah of feasting and play occurs on the eve of Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter.


In many carnivals, and certainly in Mardi Gras, masks are key ingredients of the public spectacle. The prominence of masquerading devils during Carnival is understood by many as an ancient reference to the contest between good and evil. See EDSITEment K-2 Lesson The Meaning behind the Mask, where students explore the cultural significance of masks. After recalling some of the contexts in which masks are worn in the United States including Mardi Gras, students discuss the use of masks in stories. Students then investigate the role masks play in ceremonies and on special occasions in various African cultures. For older elementary and middle school students, EDSITEment offers What Masks Reveal. In this lesson, students explore the cultural significance of masks by investigating the role they play in ceremonies and on special occasions in societies from widely separated regions of the world. They then reflect on masking behavior in American society, such as Mardi Gras celebrations.


For use with older students, EDSITEment reviewed Poetry-Foundation has a number of poems with masks as a central image:


Carnival by Rebecca Lindenberg : The Poetry Foundation

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar : The Poetry Foundation

Winter Mask by Allen Tate : The Poetry Foundation


Additional background on the history of the Mardi Gras festival is available from the History Channel.. For insight into how Mardi Gras masks figure in the traditional island culture of Puerto Rico, turn to A Vision of Puerto Rico: Carnival, an EDSITEment-reviewed site from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


These resources from the National Endowment for the Humanities include activities and images for use in the classroom:


American Experience:


Mardi Gras Indians | Entries | KnowLA, Encyclopedia of Louisiana

NEH on the Road travelling exhibit: iCarnaval!

Museum of International Folk Art; Museum Hill, Santa Fe - iCarnaval!

Shelley, Program Specialist EDSITEment



"Shakespeare Uncovered"

Posted by snituama Jan 25, 2013

Shakespeare Series on PBS

Shakespeare-Uncovered.jpgSince the six-part series, Shakespeare Uncovered, debuted on PBS last winter, the EDUCATION section of the series website continues to develop a number of resources to shine a new light on the "Bard of Avon".  You and your students will receive the full treatment in the NEH-funded series, as you revel in the back story of each play and the world of William Shakespeare. Tune in to explore the impact these plays, written 400 years ago, continue to have on our lives today. 

Each program featured two hour-long segments focusing on one or two plays, each with a celebrity host. Shakespeare Uncovered series is built around interviews with actors, directors, and scholars and includes clips from screen versions of the plays and live performance segments filmed at the reconstructed Globe theatre.


EDSITEment teamed with a master teacher and advisor/director of the Shakespeare troop at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, PA. and veteran NEH Summer Scholar of the Foldger Library Institute, Susan Biondo-Hench, to produce a guide for teachers on how to use “Shakespeare Uncovered” in the Classroom.

Part 1. Ethan Hawke explores Macbeth

Part 2. Joely Richardson and her mom, Vanessa Redgrave, investigate the Comedies, Twelfth Night and As You Like It.

Part 3. Derek Jacobi examines Richard II with clips from a PBS film of the play.

Part 4. Jeremy Irons leads a consideration of the History plays Henry IV and Henry V — with clips from the Great Performances version.

Part 5. David Tennant takes on Hamlet

Part 6. Trevor Nunn focuses on The Tempest with Helen Mirren and Julie Taymor among the interviewees.

Additional Resources:


EDSITEment Lessons:

Folger Shakespeare Library

PBS: Shakespeare Uncovered 


               Merely Players ~ Lesson Plan

               “Speak, I Charge You”: Macbeth On Your Feet, Not In Your Seat ~ Lesson Plan

               Supernatural Shakespeare and Macbeth ~ Lesson Plan

               Women’s Roles in As You Like It ~ Lesson Plan


A Whale of a Reading!

Posted by snituama Jan 3, 2013****-marathon19th century engraving of a sperm whale hunt

Pursuing Melville: “A Dead Whale or a Stove Boat”


"I have swam through libraries and sailed through oceans."

—Herman Melville, Chapter 32, Moby-D ick


On January 3, 1841, twenty-one year-old Herman Melville boarded the Acushnet, a New Bedford whaler, bound for the South Seas and the Pacific whaling grounds. He would spend 18 months on the Acushnet, learning to be a whaler. This would also be his coming-of-age passage and an education. As he later wrote about his character, Ishmael, "... a whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard." On this voyage, Melville would take part in all aspects of the hunting, harvesting, and processing of whale oil aboard the ship. He would absorb the lore of the veteran seamen who made up the Acushnet's diverse and colorful crew. His first-hand experiences on this and several subsequent voyages would percolate to become the basis for his later seafaring novels, most notably his masterpiece, Moby-D ick.

4chaplins_0031Take part in the 18th annual Moby-D ick Marathon, the longest continually running readathon of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.











The first watch begins Saturday January 4th at 12 noon EST and continues through the night to Sunday January 5th at 1:00PM EST. Follow along the reading live streamed here: Moby-**** Marathon Livestream 2014 | New Bedford Whaling Museum New Bedford Whaling Museum. A portion of the reading will be conducted across the street at the Seaman’s Bethel which is featured in the novel.


Students will enjoy a virtual excursion through the museum by taking the Jacobs Family Gallery Audio Tour to learn about the whale skeletons, and how Herman Melville describes them in the novel, Moby-D ick.

NEH funded multimedia presentation, From Pursuit to Preservation: The History of Human Interaction with Whales | New Bedford Whaling Museum New Bedford Whal…, offers an audio Gallery Tour which explains and explores the human fascination with whales and the history of whaling in New Bedford in a global context






“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits, which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.” —Cor. Agrippa, Occult Philosophy, Book v.


This quote is taken from the opening of "Snow-bound: A Winter Idyl" By John  Greenleaf Whittier available from the Poetry Foundation | EDSITEment.  For more Poems for Winter- see Academy of American Poets | EDSITEment.  Explore Analyzing Poetic Devices: "Those Winter Sundays" By Robert  Hayden.


Winter is right around the corner!  This year we will see winter’s earliest arrival since 1896 when the winter solstice occurs at 6:12 A.M. on December 21st 

For the ancient Romans, the winter solstice was a time of the Saturnalia festival, marked by gift giving and revelry, as well as bonfires and a practice of topsy-turvy role reversals between master and servants. Like Kwanzaa, Saturnalia centered on giving thanks for the fruits of the earth and plentiful crops that would ensure continued prosperity in the coming year. Business transactions were forbidden and relaxation was the watchword for servants as well as masters. The Romans had a tradition of exchanging ceramic dolls called sigillaria, which they hung on the branches of evergreen trees. Similarity has been drawn between the pointed felt hats worn by department store Santas and a brimless hat, called a pileus, worn by the Romans during this festival.

In Northern European folklore, the twelve days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany (January 5th) were thought to be a time when evil spirits were especially active. To combat these forces as well as celebrate the victory of light over winter darkness, people would go out to the woods to gather evergreen plants and trees such as pine, ivy, and holly and decorate their homes with them along with all manner of lights. The practice of putting up a Christmas tree seems to be of rather recent in origin, as late as the 16th century. It originates with the Germans who began to bring small fir trees into their households and ornament them with fruit, tinsel, and small candles.

A holiday custom from Mexico is the practice of creating pathways of light known as las luminarias, or los farolitos in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. This tradition has its origins in the 16th century. It harkens back to the Spanish tradition of lighting bonfires in churchyards and roads to guide people to the church for midnight mass, known as “Misa de Gallo” (“Rooster Mass”)—based on the belief that the only time a rooster crowed at midnight was when the Christ child was born. Today, luminarias involve lit candles placed inside brown paper bags with sand lining to decorate walkways during the Christmas season. Luminarias as a symbol of welcome have also been integrated into mainstream American culture, though this custom is most often practiced in New Mexico. Read more....

In a similar way, the Yule log was kindled on Christmas Eve in European countries and was kept burning through Twelfth night. The Yule log is a remnant of the bonfires that were lit by pre-Christian people during the winter solstice to symbolize the return of the sun. It was traditional to retain a small piece of unburnt Yule log to kindle next year’s Yule fire. This annual ritual lighting was intended to guarantee prosperity in the coming year, extending from the whole cosmos to the natural world to the family circle. Read more on these customs ~ open the Gift of Holiday Traditions: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas!

Today electric light decorations adorn communities all across the country flooding our neighborhoods and civic buildings with festive light displays to stave off the early darkness of winter nights.  The Library of Congress answers an everyday mystery: Who invented electric Christmas lights?! Learn about America's national light display in the History of the National Christmas Trees. Check out images and information on the 2012 White House Christmas Tree and tour the History of the White House Christmas tree themes though the years.

Finally we celebrate the arrival of a new little candle on the block ~ an original fairytale has just surfaced! This little moralistic tale written by Hans Christian Andersen when he was a teen is called "The Tallow Candle."  Enjoy more Fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen

May your holiday be filled with light!


The Evergreens

Winter is good — his Hoar Delights

Italic flavor yield

To Intellects inebriate

With Summer, or the World —

Generic as a Quarry

And hearty — as a Rose —

Invited with Asperity

But welcome when he goes.

- Emily Dickinson (1316)




The cold temperatures getting you down? Delight in winter's embrace "hearty - as a Rose" with Emily Dickinson. Widely known and loved this American Poet for All Seasons continues to enchant each new generation with her unique style of verse.  But are you aware of the other ways Emily expressed her creative gifts? Discover a new multifaceted Emily who was renown in her hometown of Amherst Massachusetts as an accomplished baker and gardener as well as a poet!

The Baker

"I am going to learn to make bread to-morrow. So you may imagine me with my sleeves rolled up, mixing flour, milk, salaratus, etc., with a great deal of grace. I advise you if you don’t know how to make the staff of life to learn with dispatch.” - Emily Dickinson to Abiah Root, September 25, 1845 

For a new and different way to celebrate the life and work of Emily Dickinson try baking the poet's own signature Black Cake! The recipe is available through EDSITEment-reviewed Folger Shakespeare Library who serve it every year at their annual event in honor of her birthday.  Poet’s House in New York City has exhibited Emily Dickinson manuscripts including her original recipe for Coconut Cake.  The New York Times describes this facet of the “spectral titan of American poetry” as Sweet Genius.  For more background on the poet’s culinary talents turn to Emily Dickinson and Cooking from the Emily Dickinson Museum.

The Gardener

"She knew the wood-lore of the region round about, and could name the haunts and habits of every wild and garden growth within her reach.  Her eyes were wide open to nature's sights and her ears to nature's voice." - Mrs. Gordon Ford (daughter of Professor Fowler of Amherst College ) reflects on time spent with Emily as a girlhood friend

For a fresh approach to Emily's world, EDSITEment extends this bouquet of Flowers from Emily to share with students!  Cold weather won't diminish these nature poems. On the contrary, they continue to bloom and grow even through the darkest days of winter…. Visit Dickinson Properties: The Landscape and take a virtual tour of the actual garden and the flowers Emily Dickinson cultivated.  As you travel through this narrated clip, "Grounds of Memory," consider her use of flowers as metaphor. Think about how she translates her love and delight in the natural world into poetry that expresses her deep understanding of human nature and the meaning of life.

The Poet

“Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life is of limited value. The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning passionate part of you will not be met there. That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as fact is so liberating. The wider we read the freer we become. Emily Dickinson barely left her homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, but when we read 'My life stood -- a loaded gun' we know we have met an imagination that will detonate life, not decorate it.” - Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?   

Many students wonder why Dickinson did not title her poems. For insight into why Dickinson Didn't Title turn to EDSITEment-reviewed Modern American Poetry's series of essays on Emily Dickinson.  There students can revel in audio recordings of British actress Julie Harris's moving portrayal of the poet as she delivers the poems and letters of Emily Dickinson. These readings, recorded in 1960, were originally presented on the stage by this actress in the one woman performance,The Belle of Amherst, which won her a Tony award for Best Actress in a Play.

Emily Dickinson's classic winter poem begins "There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons— (258).  It is available from EDSITEment-reviewed Academy of American Poets. EDSITEment's Lesson 3: Emulating Emily Dickinson: Poetry Writing from the unit: Letters from Emily Dickinson: 'Will you be my preceptor?' offers a guided close reading of this poem and an analysis of its elements.  The lesson contains an activity inviting students to "Emulate Emily" with their impressions of the poem.  Extending the Lesson section offers a different take on the poet "Emily Dickinson" by contemporary poet Linda Pastan available from Titanic Operas, Folio 1 on the Dickinson Electronic Archives. Note how Pastan addresses and then challenges the myth of Dickinson.  Ask students to consider that perception, then have them pen a poem that reflects their own perceptions of Dickinson and her influence on them.

A Valentine

Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,

Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine! - Emily Dickinson (1850)

This time of year I like to return to this little verse of Dickinson that I used to include in my homemade valentines to schoolmates. In researching the origin of these lines, I learned Valentines Day in mid-19th-century America was celebrated not for just a single day, but for a whole week!  During Valentines week, friends who were not involved romantically would engage in writing and sending notes to each other.  In 1850, Emily penned this verse which opens a longer poem in a note to Elbridge Bowdoin, a law partner of her father. It is a poem in the genial comic tradition of many 19th-century valentines. In it Emily gives advice to Bowdoin, a confirmed bachelor, urging him to marry with tongue-in-cheek suggestions about who to wed.  Bowdoin who had the foresight to save that letter for forty years would have understood it was written in that spirit.  It reflects the whimsical side of Emily and serves as a reminder that even this most sublime poet was not above engaging in a little mischief!


Additional resources on Valentines Day as it was celebrated in the mid 19th-century:

Victorian Web: Love and Derision “By the Bushell”

Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington:




[Image: The Evergreens in winter.  The house next door to Emily Dickinson's home in Amherst MA was called "the Evergreens." Built in 1856 by the poet's father, Edward Dickinson, it was a wedding present for her brother Austin.  The lives of the two Dickinson families were intertwined and unfolded in both houses as well as in Dickinson's poetry.]

These words mark the frontispiece of  the 1899 edition of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a Halloween classic that has entertained people for over a hundred years.  Do students know Washington Irving was a beloved and influential American writer during the nineteenth century?  Irving penned one of the most popular and long-lived ghost stories in American literature as evidenced in its countless film, television and popular culture adaptations. So what is it about this author's spooky tale that continues to capture the imagination of readers and viewers today?


EDSITEment’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow explores the artistry that made Irving our nation's first literary master and ponders the mystery that now haunts every All Hallows Eve -- What happened to Ichabod Crane? 

Ichabods chase crop.jpgWashington Irving’s story about a gullible and self-centered schoolteacher was first published as part of a collection know as The Sketchbook in 1820.  The Library of Congress has named "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" one of the "Books That Shaped America" citing “Irving’s vivid imagery involving the wild supernatural pursuit by the Headless Horseman has sustained interest in this popular folktale through many printed editions, as well as film, stage, and musical adaptations. The bold cover art of the 1899 edition is the work of Margaret Armstrong (1867–1944), the preeminent designer of decorated cloth publishers’ bindings between 1890 and 1913.”


In our contemporary culture, place and story - literature and image often merge in the form of motion pictures and television programs. Irving's village in Sleepy Hollow New York was one of the film sites for Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollows, a recent film interpretation. Students may be surprised to see how Burton's version chose to characterize the teacher, Ichabod Crane, and his nemesis, the Headless Horseman, differently from Irving's original conception.  And this fall there is a new incarnation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in a TV show that is quite unlike any other variant of this terrifying tale. Set in modern day Sleepy Hollow New York, the plot twists Crane into a Revolutionary soldier who wakes up in 2013 along with the Horseman (one of the four from the Apocalypse.) The two adversaries carry on their centuries old battle in contemporary America, though each episode includes historical flashbacks to life in 1776!


The New York Times Learning Network articles “Rediscovering a Giant” and  Sleepy Hollow Capitalizing on Legend” transport students back to the village where Washington Irving set the tale over 200 years ago (it has since changed its name from North Tarrytown) and rediscover this 19th-century literary "Giant"! Sometime after Washington Irving wrote his story, another little town, Milford CT, earned the nickname "Sleepy Hollow." Exactly why is something of a mystery, but students will uncover interesting connections between the story and the town in Connecticut's Sleepy Hollow in the state encyclopedia, Connecticut History.


Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31.jpgStudents who want to know how Halloween was celebrated in America in the late 19th century through turn of century may peer back in time through historic newspapers of the day.  See Chronicling America's topical essay on Halloween. One article from 1907 Los Angeles Herald, "Hallowe'en--A Holiday Tradition," highlights well-known, holiday customs still practiced nowadays like mischievous pranks and Jack-O-Lanterns.  It also includes obscure, old-fashioned rituals, like divinations to forecast the matrimonial futures of lovers. 


Originating as a blend of mythology and Christian superstitions, Halloween is celebrated on October 31st every year on the eve of All Saints’ Day (November 1) otherwise known as All Hallows Eve.  It is believed that on this night the veil between the worlds is permeable and spirits of the dead (like Irving's terrifying Headless Horseman) can cross over to the land of the living to pay a visit...or to haunt! Delve into the ancient Celtic roots and learn the Latin American traditions of this holiday in EDSITEment's feature Origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead.


By the way, Halloween is not the only red letter calendar day to benefit from Washington Irving's fertile imagination....we also have him to thank for a certain jolly character who lands on rooftops and makes his way into many homes on Christmas eve....Yes, it was Washington Irving who penned "dreams one night that the good St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees, in that self-same wagon wherein he brings his yearly presents to children..." and conjured up the image that has come to exemplify our modern day Santa Claus!  But that is another story....maybe a subject for next month's post?



Sep Civic AwarenessDale Nichols The Foundation c  1940.gif

During the national celebration of Civic Awareness Month this September and beyond, EDSITEment offers a series of student launchpads designed to guide students as they explore these civic themes within classic American short stories and speeches.


Civic Awareness is at the core of the What’s So Proudly We Hail: The Meaning of America curriculum.  An essential question facing educators:  How can we produce citizens who are attached to our country, devoted to its ideals, and eager to live an active civic life? Scholar/educators Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass  believe studying our documents and learning our history can surely help.  But American stories are even better!


What’s So Proudly We Hail: the Meaning of America Curriculum is a ten lesson topical discussion of the following: National Identity and Why It Matters, Freedom and Individuality, Equality, Enterprise and Commerce, Freedom and Religion, Law Abidingness, Self-Command, Courage and Self-Sacrifice, and Compassion.  Here the Kass's demonstrate how short stories can be used to enhance civic education and how learning though inquiry can make primary sources come alive for students of all ages.   Using the themes of American identity, American character, and American citizenship they seek to tap the hearts as well as minds, and garner the soul-shaping powers of story, speech, and song.  EDSITEment joins them in this effort to make Americans more appreciatively aware of who they are as citizens of the United States.


EDSITEment feature, The Meaning of America: A New Approach to Civic Education, introduces teachers to this civic awareness curriculum.



National identity and why it matters

Hale’s morality tale, “The Man Without A Country”, was published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly in 1863, during the dark days Civil War.  Through this story the author hoped he would contribute “towards the formation of a just and true national sentiment, or sentiment of love to the nation.”


American Character


Freedom and Individuality

"To Build a Fire" is Jack London’s unforgettable story of survival in the Alaskan wilderness.  His anonymous adventurer is forced to face the elements all alone in the dead of winter as he searches about for a profitable business opportunity.


Kurt Vonnegut’s story, "Harrison Bergeron" paints a picture of a society that few of us would embrace, even those of us who care deeply about social equality.  It thus invites us to think about the society presented and its rebellious genius, as well as Vonnegut’s purpose.

Enterprise and Commerce

In "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," satirist Twain offers a biting commentary on America's "Gilded Age." Hadleyburg offends a passing stranger—how, we are not told—who, bent on revenge, devises a plan to expose the hollowness of the town’s reputed virtue.


Freedom and Religion

Consider “The May-Pole of Merry Mount,” which appeared in Hawthorne’s first collection of stories, Twice Told Tales. Hawthorne morality tale set in Puritan New England takes us deeply into the American soul, with its ulterior motives, conflicting aspirations, and moral struggles.


The virtues of civic life


Benjamin Franklin’s “The Project of Moral Perfection” is a passage taken from his Autobiography written in his 79th year.   Franklin looks back to when, at age 22, he undertook “the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection.”


In her story, "A Jury of Her Peers," Susan Glaspell raises questions not about the justice of the law but about its proper enforcement, not about the obligation to obey it but about how to judge those who allegedly have violated it.

Courage and Self-sacrifice (part 1.)

  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s speech to the troops before the Battle of Gettysburg

This chapter from Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels relays a speech of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, commanding officer of the 20th Maine Regiment of the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg to mutineers.  It asks the question: "How do you force a man to fight- for freedom?" How, then, to persuade them to do so?

Courage and Self-sacrifice (part 2.)

  • George S. Patton’s speech to the troops before D-Day

General Patton's speech to the Third Army was given on June 5, 1944; the eve of the Allied invasion of Europe is taken from The Unknown Patton, by Charles M. Province.  How does Patton seek to spur courage while appealing to the honor of his men?  And how does he succeed?



How do we respond to those maimed in soul and spirit—the homeless, helpless, and hopeless in our midst? No story presents this problem more powerfully than Melville's “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”

Making One Out of Many

Cather's story, "The Namesake" is set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century.  In portraying the story of a great sculptor's own American homecoming it illuminates the deep sources of artistic creation,  The subject leads to reflection on the relation of the flag to our American identity.






"But Are Mermaids Real?"

Posted by snituama Jul 31, 2012



This question was posed earlier this month by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. The answer NOAA gave included a little overview of the mythological and literary significance of "those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea" including their first appearance "in cave paintings some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and presumably, began to sail the seas."


NOAA stopped short totally denying the existence of these creatures of mystery and myth stating: "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found."  They followed it with: "Why,  then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring  peoples?  That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists." NOAA's sidebar links to an animated feature on Manatees 101 your students may enjoy viewing along with this whimsical Ocean Fact page.


In this line of questioning we find a complementary intersection of the STEM and the Humanities disciplines. In it, we find an opportunity to provoke classroom discussion and reflection in both Science and Humanities classes.  Moreover, this theme can inspire imaginative expresssion as your students return to school fresh from their summertime activities including beachcombing (if your students are like my kids and still spend some of their beach time searching along the shore for shells?)


Interestingly, NOAA has a history of addressing legends relating to oceans, including Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle. One part of NOAA’s mission is public outreach, and if they get enough queries on a given topic (even a mythical one) they will address it.  Keeley Belva, spokesperson for NOAA, called this "a fun way to talk about it and to have information up about mermaids in different cultures and to draw people into our website and learn more about what NOAA and the National Ocean Service does. NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them."


Of course, this question also lies in the domain of the Humanities. It is the subject of many masterworks and characters in literature, folklore, art and film.   We hope your students will join us in celebrating the mystery of the sea and the lure of the underwater world in the figure of the mermaid. 


The following EDSITEment and NEH resources can be adapted for all ages:


Grades K - 2:

Unicorns, Dragons and other Magical Creatures takes advantage of students' interest in all things magical by helping them learn about fantastical creatures within a cultural and  historical context.


Grades 3 - 5:

Hans Christian Andersen's Fairytales discusses the orginal,The Little Mermaid or `Den lille Havfrue' (1837) along with several other classic tales.


"Far out in the ocean the water is as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower, and as clear as the purest glass. But it is very deep too. It goes down deeper than any anchor rope will go, and many, many steeples would have to be stacked one on top of another to reach from the bottom to the surface of the sea. It is down there that the sea folk live.


Grades 6 - 8:

Chronicles of EDSITEment: Beyond the Wardrobe on the occasion of the release of the long-awaited episode of the C.S. Lewis saga, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Students climb aboard to encounter a host of dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors, EDSITEment provides additional ways to engage their creative imaginations!


Grades 9 - 12:

Lesson 3: Navigating Modernism with J. Alfred Prufrock This lesson is the third part of the curriculum unit, Introduction to Modernist Poetry,  and leads students through a close reading of this T.S. Eliot poem,  "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"You might ask students if they identify with the speaker and no longer hear them "singing" as they consider the ending passage of the poem:


I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water and back.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

- T.S. Eliot


NEH online exhibit,  Arts for Water Spirits and Its Diasporas: Mami Wata, opens a window through artistic representation into a cultural experience of the mermaid.  Students can view the many faces of Mami Wata ~ Mother Water, Goddess of oceans, river and pools of West and Central Africa with manifestations throughout the African Americas.  This resource is available from EDSITEment-reviewed National Museum of African Art.



But remember always, as I told you at first, that this is all a fairy tale, and only fun and pretense; and, therefore, you are not to believe a word of it, even if it is true.

-The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley




Wonder. Go on and wonder.”

     - William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury


I’ll never forgot the summer afternoon in 9th grade sitting on my grandmother’s porch in Massachusetts opening Faulkner for the first time - I think it was his novel, As I Lay Dying. This was indeed a culture shock,  I felt I could taste of the dust of the South.....and wasn't able to put the book down till I finished with darkness falling, the porch light turned on....  Years later in college, I recall my Literature professor describing his pilgrimage to Oxford MS to visit Faulkner's home as he unlocked The Sound and the Fury for the freshman students assembled before the fire in the living room in Vermont where we held class ...I have since enjoyed many of his novels....still can taste the dust and still can't put them down till I finish!   Thank you Mr Faulkner ~ for encouraging such wonder....for shedding a little light on the mysteries of the human heart....for introducing this girl from small town New England to the culture of the American South....


This Friday, July 6, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962)

A number of educational and cultural organizations in his homestate including the NEH affiliate Mississippi Humanities Council and U Mississippi will join together to pay homage and remember their favorite son with a marathon reading of  Faulkner’s final novel, The Reivers, on the grounds of his home in Oxford,
Rowan Oak. 


If you have never had an opportunity to read it, this is a perfect occasion to open Faulkner's 3 minute speech upon his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.


EDSITEment offers two Curriculum Units of five lessons for English teachers and students to explore the worlds created by this master storyteller.

As I Lay Dying: Form of a Funeral 

Students will also explore the context of the novel, examine background information on social and economic conditions in the rural South in the first decades of the twentieth century drawing parallels between Faulkner's life and the life depicted in the text.



The Sound and the Fury: Narrating the Compson Family Decline and the Changing South

Upon completing this curriculum unit, students will have a solid understanding  of the novel and of the changing South, and they will be able concretely to  analyze the novel in spoken and written forms.





Photo of Walt Whitman during Civil War

Today we celebrate this beloved American poet born May 31, 1819EDSITEment offers resources on Walt Whitman whose poetry and notebooks convey the Civil War in a most direct and poignant manner.  Through his writing students gain insight into the human experience of suffering and grief in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the War.  His Civil War experience along with other episodes from his fascinating life are featured in the NEH funded American Experience PBS documentary on Walt Whitman (no longer available online) including The Teacher's Guide.



In his early writing, Walt Whitman set out to explore ideas universal in scope. EDSITEment lesson Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Poetry: the Sweep of the Universe directs students to seek clues to this poet’s effort to create a new and distinctly American form of verse. Of special interest to English teachers using this lesson is Activity 2. Whitman and the Civil War.  Here students work with Walt Whitman's words in three different formats—notebooks, prose, poetry—to deepen their understanding of Whitman's process. Using Whitman's writing as well as Civil War photographs and poems created from Whitman notebook entries, student groups are challenged to create a presentation for the class that demonstrates the connections between the materials they have analyzed.


Another EDSITEment lesson Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy explores the historical context of Whitman's concept of "democratic poetry" and examines daguerreotypes taken circa 1850. Both lessons illustrate how Whitman was determined to express truth through verse using authentic American situations and settings with language that appealed to the senses. The Civil War would provide him with ample opportunity.

Walt Whitman’s notebooks available through the EDSITEment-reviewed American Memory Project illustrate the Poet at Work and capture wrenching images that war evoked for him. The article, Daybreak Gray and Dim: How the Civil War Changed Walt Whitman’s Poetry from NEH Humanities magazine, characterizes Whitman’s first response to the call of war: “BEAT! beat! Drums! — blow! bugles! blow!” Haunting scenes of human suffering shape his maturing response to the war and find their way into this tender musing upon “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim,” available at the NEH-funded Walt Whitman Archive, that will lead him to minister to soldiers through the end of the war.

Was Whitman prescient when he declared his early ideals in Democratic Vistas (available on the EDSITEment resource American Studies at the University of Virginia)? “In the future of these States must arise poets immenser far, and make great poems of death. The poems of life are great, but there must be the poems of the purports of life, not only in itself, but beyond itself.” Whitman was himself destined to write the nation’s quintessential poem on life, death, and rebirth. When Lilacs Last in the dooryard Bloom’d articulates America’s grief upon President Lincoln’s untimely death in this lament of a stricken nation as it watches the train with Lincoln’s body make its way across the country to its final resting place. A critical discussion of this elegy with its three archetypal symbols — the lilac, the star, and the hermit thrush — is found at the Whitman Archive.




CentralPark maypole4a05712r.jpg

The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
-  Philip Larkin, The Trees


Maypole dance, Central Park, New York 1905 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA  

As we enter the month of May, it's well to heed the advice of the poet and like the new spring-green tree canopy: "Begin afresh!"

Jennifer Cutting from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is "Bringing in the May."  She shares the origins of the maypole and Morris dance along with other old world customs to celebrate this merry month. Hear her relate the folklore that surrounds May Day and narrate video clips of these customs being performed.

Engage your students in a close reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne's,“The May-pole of Merry Mount.” This short story illustrates the difficulty old world customs had finding a place in early American society. The Puritans authorities first frowned upon, then banned outright, these frivolous seasonal activities. EDSITEment Launchpad: "The May-pole of Merry Mount," by Nathaniel Hawthorne adapted from the What's so Proudly We Hail Curriculum provides a discussion guide with questions aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Framing the discussion around themes of Freedom and Religion | What So Proudly We Hail enhances students comprehension of the story. After thinking about and discussing the questions, click on the videos to hear editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass converse with guest host Yuval Levin (National Affairs). These videos are meant to raise additional questions and augment discussion, not replace it.



EDSITEment resources related to the Knights and Legends of King Arthur’s Court:

Exploring Arthurian Legend | EDSITEment This lesson surveys the stories surrounding Arthur from their beginnings in the oral tradition in Medieval Europe, through the Renaissance and Victorian England, and concludes with T. H. White's modern retelling The Once and Future King, which was the basis of the Lerner and Lowe musical. The story of Camelot is perhaps the most beguiling romantic dream of them all, persisting from the 5th century, when the historical Arthur may have lived, to present day stories, films, and even presidential administrations.




John Collier. Queen Guinevre's Maying 1900 Current location Cartwright Hall Art Gallery , Bradford, England.  A scene from Malory, is recast by Tennyson in his 'Idylls of the King' (1859) poem 'Guinevere.'


Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library


Launchpad: Exploring Arthurian Legend Students resource to independently work through sources of myth and history in the world of the Round Table.

Tales of King Arthur - EDSITEment   Lesson with activities related to the stories of King Arthur and his Court that have entertained young and old alike for over a thousand years.


The Autumn of the Middle Ages: Chaucer and Dante newly refreshed feature. The opening lines of the Canterbury Tales are essentially a "reverdi," a medieval lyric that heralds the coming of spring after the long severe winter.  Songs like this go back to earliest antiquity - providing assurance in the annual return of vegetation and fertility, and of the sun!


When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root

And bathed each vein with liquor that has power

To generate therein and sire the flower...

Medieval Sourcebook: Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales : Prologue [ParallelTexts]







Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin

Mirror Mirror opened this weekend, the long-awaited Hollywood's revisionist take on the Snow White story.  It will be followed by several more feature films with fairytale storylines scheduled to be released later this year and early next.  Currently there are at least two weekly prime time TV shows with fairytale themes receiving high ratings.  In light of this media blitz and generational interest, we might want to ask ourselves (and explore with our students) what is the appeal of such tales - full of enchantment and magic - for young people in our technology driven 21st century?

Open this discussion and extend your students understanding of these archetypal stories with the following EDSITEment lessons and resources:


The Magical World of Russian Fairy Tales

In this lesson, students meet the iconic witch-like character of Baba Yaga who inhabits several imaginative and exciting Russian fairy tales. This  old crone is both wise and cruel, lives in a house standing on chicken  legs, with servants who bring with them the day, sunset and the night.


Baba Yaga

This student interactive, from an EDSITEment lesson, invites students to use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the Russian fairy tale, "Baba Yaga.


Fairy Tales Around the World

In this unit of six lessons, students become familiar with fairy tales. They read and learn to understand fairy tales so that they can better comprehend the structures of literature as well as for the sake of the wonder, pleasure, and human understanding these stories can provide in their own right.

Hans Christian Andersen

Sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen in New York's Central Park.

The memorial was built primarily with funds raised by Danish and American schoolchildren in memory of the author.

Credit: Georg J. Lober, 1956

Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales note Hans Christan Andersen's Birthday is  April 2nd

The Little Mermaid, the Ugly Duckling, and the Emperor who paraded naked through his city are characters well known to most of our students. In this series of lessons, they meet the 19th-century author Hans Christian Andersen, who created these vivid characters, and hear and read the original texts of several of his stories.


This page features resources relating to the C.S. Lewis saga, "The Chronicles of Narnia", and provides additional ways to engage their creative imaginations!


Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Plot and Setting and Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Character

In these lessons, students compare and contrast several versions of Cinderella stories told around the world to find differences and similarities. Five hundred versions of the tale have been found in Europe alone; related stories are told in cultures all over the globe. In America as well, the classic tale, re-envisioned in print and other media, continues to be popular. What changes does the Cinderella story undergo when it's transported from one culture to another? What remains the same? Why do we love the character of Cinderella so much more than her own stepmother does?

Argentina Mundo Niños Spanish-language resource

From the Secretaría de Educación de Mendoza, a site with games, recipes, short  stories, proverbs, interactive riddles, and classic fairytales.



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