Literarture2018-04-06T16:24:46+00:00

Lesson Plans
– Literature,
the Hub of the Curriculum

Literature, the Common Core of It All

NEXUS connects history, art, music and science to great works of literature that reflect key periods in history. Each Common Core aligned volume exercises cross-curriculum thinking skills and includes pre-planned lessons, teaching guidelines that help teachers connect literature to history, art, music and science, and stimulating interdisciplinary exercises for students. NEXUS books are inspiring brain workouts and include FREE, downloadable supplements. Our Shakespeare series features downloadable plot quizzes, Julius Caesar, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet tests, vocabulary exercises and quizzes, explication exercises and highly motivating learning activities and unit plans

“All NEXUS volumes emphasize the critical skills and analogical thinking that are crucial for success on the SAT.” – THE COLLEGE BOARD

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Exciting Lessons that Make Figurative Language Accessible, Relevant and Inspiring

Learning to Read Shakespeare’s Figurative Language

In an interview, Kenneth Branagh (the director of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet) recalled that as a student reading The Merchant of Venice, he may as well have been reading wallpaper

If students cannot read figurative language, they cannot decipher Shakespeare—and many other writers. Most students can follow the plot line of great literature, but typically they miss the poetry and insights into human nature that they should be connecting to their own experiences.

With NEXUS students learn to read and appreciate figures of speech by Nexplicating them and linking the author’s insights to their own experiences (real or vicarious).  If done in a dry, academic way, explications can be tedious, turning off rather than turning on students.  Every NEXUS book includes exciting figurative language exercises and lessons that use a classroom-tested, 4-step explication method (the nexplication) that inspires students to mine metaphors and other figures of speech enthusiastically and link them resonantly to their own lives.

Online Shakespeare Study Hall (Coming Soon)

A Simple Way to Teach Shakespeare’s Language Without Simplifying his Text.

Shakespeare is the only writer that the Common Core Language Arts Standards specifically name as an author who should be taught. Unfortunately, Shakespeare’s language seems inaccessible and off-putting to most students.  The Shakespeare Study Hall (SSH) will transform their negative reaction to his language into an enthusiastic appreciation of it. Students use Graphics, Cartoons, and a Four-Step Explication Method – the Nexplication – to identify, interpret and appreciate Shakespeare’s rich figurative language and to link his powerful insights to their own experiences.

The SSH will dramatically increase students reading and critical thinking skills across the board.

The Online Shakespeare Study Hall opens this fall. Classes of teachers who order two or more class sets of any one of the NEXUS Shakespeare volumes – Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance, Macbeth and the Dark Ages, or Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire – will be entitled to one semester of FREE access to the Shakespeare Study Hall. One-Term Admission Keys will be provided.

The Study Hall will feature three distinct rooms: The Romeo and Juliet room, the Macbeth Room, and the Julius Caesar Room. The classes of teachers who order class sets of Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance will enjoy one semester of free access to the Romeo and Juliet Room. Similarly the classes of teachers who order class sets of Macbeth and the Dark Ages or Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome will have free access to the corresponding room for one semester.

NEXUS Shakespeare Units – Lesson Plans – Cross Curricular Connections – Figurative Language

Romeo and Juliet Unit Plans – Figurative Language Exercises and Interdisciplinary Connections

Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance – Connecting Shakespeare to history, art, music and science.

The materials in this title, wide in scope but nicely detailed, are valuable to any teacher, and, as the editor points out, can be used with a variety of period texts. The magazine format is appealing, especially to younger students. – The College Board

Word Games – Learning Tools, Fun Exercises and Stimulating CCSS Lesson Plans for Interpreting Figures of Speech
Using games, rock lyrics and links to modern life, we help students tackle the challenging metaphors, personification, oxymorons, etc. in Romeo and Juliet. This section prepares students for the Shakespeare Study Hall where students rigorously explore more of Shakespeare’s language. (Also see “Word Wars,” Macbeth and the Dark Ages, NEXUS and “Shakespeare, Caesar and Mysteries of the Mind,” Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire, NEXUS.
Italian Family Feuds
Students meet the real Capulets and Montagues. This chapter and the accompanying Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance Guidelines include lessons for exploration of the politics behind the historical Capulet-Montague feud which helps students understand the change of heart of Lord Capulet regarding Juliet’s marriageable age after the death of Tybalt.
Mercutio’s Fashion Statements and Romeo’s Outfits
”There’s a French salutation to your French slop.”
Students explore Mercutio’s deprecating allusions to French fashions and learn about Renaissance fashions that reflect social mores and period history.
Mythology in Renaissance Literature and Visual Art
This chapter, which is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7, examines the mythological references in Shakespeare’s great love story as well as depictions of Greek and Roman myths in Renaissance art. The Romeo and Juliet Guidelines include activities and lessons that further deepen students’ understanding of mythological Renaissance art.
Shakespeare’s Theater
What did a Romeo and Juliet performance look and feel like in Shakespeare’s time. We take students inside the Globe Theater.
Leonardo Lessons – Observation/Analogy Activities in Art and Science
“The section ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ examines Leonardo’s methods of observation and investigation briefly but well. Outlines an activity for learning to ‘think like Leonardo.’” – The College Board. For details see Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance, NEXUS.
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE ROMEO AND JULIET AND THE RENAISSANCE.
Macbeth and the Three Witches, Theodore Chasseriau, 1855, Musée d’Orsay, Paris NEXUS Macbeth and the Dark Ages cover

Macbeth – Common Core Lessons – Cross-Curricular Connections

The wonderfully rich historical background in the Macbeth and the Dark Ages volume—colorful anecdotes & clear, conversational accounts of family ties, political motives, events, & phenomena—will definitely enhance students’ study of the play.  The illustrations for the 14 short sections (one to three pages) of this volume are stunning: maps, production photos, beautiful reproductions of tapestries, and manuscript illuminations. —THE COLLEGE BOARD

Staging Shakespeare – A Model with Exercises and Lesson Plans for Student Productions of Macbeth Scenes
How a Stratford director gives a modern Macbeth a Split Personality.
Word Wars – A Blueprint for All Figurative Language Lessons
In this exciting chapter students learn graphics techniques for identifying and explicating the figurative language in Macbeth. In addition, this section prepares students for the Shakespeare Study Hall where they will rigorously explore more of the Bard’s language. (Also see “Word Games,” Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance, NEXUS and “Shakespeare, Caesar and Mysteries of the Mind,” Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire, NEXUS.
Explication Exercises are Embedded in the Text.
Macbeth Themes and Lessons
In this interactive chapter students compare themes in Macbeth to similar themes in Doctor Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, The Nutty Professor, Star Wars, and The Mask, and they closely explore figurative passages that reflect character development and plot progression in the play.
The Historical Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
Books of Light – Illuminated Manuscripts
“A fine introduction to the purposes and production of manuscripts. Two activities explore connections to literary and musical composition.” – The College Board
The Macbeth Guidelines include lessons for reading the visual narratives in medieval manuscripts.
The King and the Saint
“Concise account of the long-term effects of the Norman invasion on the fortunes of Scotland explains reasons for frictions and alliances between England and Scotland. (Supplements deepen the investigation with material on Braveheart.)” – The College Board
Edward the Confessor, the “Holy King.”
Students contrast the “Holy King” with the Hell-hound Macbeth
Vikings in Macbeth
Students explore the Viking (Norsemen) invasion that launches the Scottish play. See “Vikings in Macbeth,” Macbeth and the Dark Ages, NEXUS
Witches and Familiars in Macbeth and History Lessons
This fascinating chapter examines the roles of the witches’ in great depth as well as the significance and functions of their assistants, Paddock, Graymalkin and Harpier. The Macbeth Guidelines and Lesson Plans suggest activities and resources for further investigation into actual witchcraft trials and prejudice against and persecution of women. See “Cauldron of Chaos,” Macbeth and the Dark Ages, NEXUS
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE MACBETH AND THE DARK AGES.

Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire

Shakespeare’s tragedy is explored in relation to Roman History and Roman Culture. For details see Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire, NEXUS

Julius Caesar, Father of the Roman Empire – Unit Introduction
“Four pages expand on Cicero’s assessment of the emperor as a man who, ‘by a mixture of intimidation and indulgence…inculcated in a free community the habit of servitude.’ This chapter draws on compelling details from Sallust, Appian, Dio Cassius, and Plutarch to illustrate Caesar’s brilliance as well as his deviousness. A subsection on Caesar’s self-confidence and his vanity sums up his contradictions smartly, concluding where Shakespeare’s play begins.” – The College Board
Shakespeare and Caesar – Exercises for Conquering Shakespeare’s Figures of Speech
Simple graphic techniques that help students identify figures of speech; and cartoons humorously that illustrate the passages with humor without sacrificing any of the subtlety of Shakespeare’s language. For more, visit the Online Shakespeare Study Hall (Coming Soon).
In this chapter students explore Shakespeare’s insights into human nature and the psychological observations of the historical Julius Caesar (quotes taken from Caesar’s The Civil War) – insights and observations that help teens address their own challenges.
Brutus, the Noblest Roman – An Object Lesson in Liberty
“This section looks at the relationship between Caesar and Brutus, the character and Republicanism of Brutus and Antony, and the establishment of the Republic, with generous quotations from Shakespeare’s play.” – The College Board
Blood of the Republic, Battle of Philippi (with Common Core exercises)
“An exciting narrative re-enactment of the battle, based on ancient accounts and modern scholarship, elucidates Act V of Shakespeare’s play.” – The College Board
Sample Assignment from the NEXUS Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome Guidelines: “After reading and assessing either “Blood of the Republic, Battle of Philippi,” “Aftermath of the Assassination,” “Noblest Roman,” or “Julius Caesar, Father of the Roman Empire” in NEXUS, as well as at least two ancient sources and modern scholarship on the same topic, have students write an essay explaining how Shakespeare’s play reflects and/or distorts history. Ancient sources students can refer to include…(see NEXUS guidelines for details).” This lesson is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.9, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9, and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.7 as well as Common Core History/Social Studies Standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.9
Lesson in Roman Art: Reality or Mirage? (with critical thinking exercises embedded in the text)
“Reinforces figurative language reading skills through wonderful illustrations of illusionistic mosaics, portraiture, and sculpture.” – The College Board
Love Lessons, Censorship, and the Politics of Roman Poetry
Includes exercises for interpreting poems by Horace, Catullus, and Ovid that reflect Roman politics in the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The accompanying Guidelines feature lessons for further exploration of political Roman poetry. This chapter is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7 as well as Common Core History Standards CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.6 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.9.
Seneca’s Influence on Shakespeare
Aftermath of the Assassination
“From Cicero’s Philippics, this section explores the realignment of principal players: Cicero’s loyalty to Caesar’s heir, Octavius, against Antony; resistance of Antony and of Brutus; the cycle of revenge; and Antony and Cleopatra. Points out some differences between historical accounts and Shakespeare’s play.” – The College Board
Gruesome Game
“Examines the gladiators, arenas, and the political function of the games, with reference to the film Gladiator and a supplement on Spartacus.” – The College Board
Catapults
“Looks at the physics and math of the catapult, including how to extract cube roots using calipers and calculate firing distances based on the weight of armatures. Also includes a supplement on Roman solar heating.” – The College Board
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE JULIUS CAESAR AND ANCIENT ROME, FROM REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE

More European Literature, Cross-Curricular Connections and Lesson Guides

Woman Sacrificing, red-figure kylix, ca 480 B.C., Makron Painter, Toledo Museum of Art; NEXUS Antigone and the Greek World cover

Antigone and the Greek World

This chapter “describes the Greeks’ worldview: their pantheon, attitude toward nature, the development of tragedy, and science as responses to an unpredictable world.” – The College Board

Roots of Drama
“’The Roots of Drama’ evokes the atmosphere of the Dionysian rites and the movement from ritual to drama, with sections on theaters and dramatists and the elements of Greek tragic form.” – The College Board
Antigone’s Challenge
“This chapter uses the play’s language alongside contemporary parallels to situate Antigone’s defiance of authority. Sections detail Sophocles’ use of contrast and introduce the play’s theme, language, plot, and character. A section on maxims provides a lead-in to the ‘NEXUS four-step method of explication.’ Another section explains how plays taught Athenians to debate, reason, and make decisions democratically.” – The College Board. (See “Antigone’s Challenge: Democracy of Dictatorship,” Antigone and the Greek World, NEXUS)
Critical thinking exercises are embedded in the text.
Recipe for Tragedy
“‘Recipe for Tragedy’ uses Oedipus Rex as the text in this overview of Aristotle’s tragic theory (The Poetics): recognition, reversal, necessity as a crucial element of plot, and, in the development of characters, the ‘tragic flaw.’” – The College Board
Reading Greek Vases and Cross-Curricular Art Lesson Plans
This section “invites students to enter the stories told by Greek vases. It also outlines the stylistic features and iconography of sixth- and fifth-century art and suggests an art project.” – The College Board
Students learn to read the narrative, contrasts and symbols on a Greek vase that illustrates the climax of Euripides’ Medea. This chapter is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7 – “Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment.”
SAMPLE TEXT: “By exploring Greek art we can learn to see through ancient eyes. We can almost step across the ages to attend 5th-century B.C. Olympic Games and festivals, sit in on an Athenian play, or tour an ancient pottery factory. Scenes like these are depicted on Greek vases and sculptural works. In his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, the 19th-century poet John Keats invites us to walk with him into the life depicted on a Greek vase. He resurrects the past as if it were a sleeping world waiting for someone to appreciate it to awaken…The urn is a doorway that allows Keats to enter a strange, long-ago world. Let’s step through that doorway with him and see if we can bring some ancient vase scenes back to life.”
Sculpture and Symmetry
“‘Sculpture and Symmetry’ shows the evolution of sculptural style over 200 years. Three statues, from an early kouros to Polykleitos’s Doryphoros, illustrate different ways of expressing harmony and balance” while contrasting equal but opposite forces. – The College Board
Olympic Odyssey
This chapter “cites passages from Pindar and Philostratos, ‘the sportswriters of their day,’ to support a detailed depiction of the games. Students use the Oxford Classical Dictionary to interpret Pindar’s connections between athletes and mythology. A section describes the Panhellenic Heraia, women’s competitions.” – The College Board
The Antigone and the Greek World Guidelines recommend related activities and lessons, including tracking Antigone’s lineage in Pindar’s second Olympian Ode and explicating metaphors and similes in Pindar’s Pythia 2 using the NEXUS four-step method.
The Wizard of Syracuse
“‘The Wizard of Syracuse’ presents a profile of the life and achievements of Archimedes that packs great detail into two pages. Includes an Archimedean geometry problem for students and a sidebar on Archimedes’ determination of pi.” – The College Board
The Art of the Muses
“The Art of the Muses” teaches students to transcribe ancient Greek music into modern western musical notation, describes Greek string and percussion instruments, and teaches students to make a panpipe.
Resources for further study of Ancient Greek music are recommended in the Guidelines.
The History of Fifth-Century Greece
This chapter, written in an exciting narrative style, “includes sections on the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars and Athenian democracy. It also highlights relevant terms: tyranny, oligarchy, arbitrator, tyrant.” – The College Board. (See excerpts from “The History of Fifth-Century Greece, Antigone and the Greek World, NEXUS.
The Guidelines include Greek history lesson plans and recommended ancillary readings in related sections of Thucydides’ History (books, chapters and page numbers are listed), Herodotus and others, and comparison of rhetorical styles among ancient Greek writers.
Greek Myths and Modern Man
“This brief chapter surveys appropriations of Greek myths from Homer to Freud to Disney. An activity: Reinterpret a myth as ‘a poem, movie, cartoon, or as a reflection of a psychological state.'” – The College Board.
The Trojan Women, a Supplement on Euripides’ tragedy
John Keats’s Greek Odes, NEXUS Supplements
Ode on a Grecian Urn
A highly engaging exploration of Keats’s famous poem that compares the Ode to a rock song with a similar theme and to the relief on an ancient sacrificial altar.
Ode to Psyche
This supplement ties in to “Greek Myths and Modern Man” (see above).
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE ANTIGONE AND THE GREEK WORLD.
The Lion in Winter, film, starring Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, and Anthony Hopkins; NEXUS The Lion in Winter and the Middle Ages cover

The Lion in Winter and the Middle Ages – Activities and Interdisciplinary Connections

Chapters in The Lion in Winter and the Middle Ages provide any creative teacher with a cornucopia of ideas from which to draw lessons that cross the lines that usually separate subjects. Breaking Ranks, NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals).

The play is accessible and often funny. The teenage sons of Henry II will appeal to students, and the fine Hepburn/O’Toole film is widely available on dvd. The play is decidedly modern: witty anachronisms and ironic asides make that fact impossible to forget. Even if the play is not your principal focus, this unit is a good introduction to medieval life and literature. – The College Board.

Students learn to see various aspects of the Middle Ages through the eyes of characters in The Lion in Winter, from Feudalism, the 2nd Crusade, Gregorian Chant and the birth of Gothic Architecture to Arthurian romances, the birth of Heraldry, courtly love, troubadours, Magna Carta, and the physics of the crossbow (which centuries later, Leonardo da Vinci used to analyze the secrets of flight).

The Play’s the Thing
A director takes us through the steps of staging The Lion in Winter.
A Feuding Royal Family and Feudalism
Explores how feudalism exacerbates the family feuds in The Lion in Winter.
Courtly Love and the Troubadours
Students learn Eleanor of Aquitaine’s role in spreading good manners and the legends of King Arthur across Europe. Also, we explore the troubadour tradition that Eleanor’s grandfather William IX of Aquitaine launched and how courtly love language reaches across the ages, from Romeo and Juliet to Cyrano de Bergerac. [see “Mercutio and Mr. Manners,” Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance, NEXUS.]. The Lion in Winter Guidelines include interdisciplinary activities and lesson ideas in literature, history, art, music, and science.
Troubadours of Rock
We trace the American troubadour tradition to its roots (Woody Guthrie) and analyze the figurative song lyrics of modern troubadours like Sting, Sheryl Crow, and Tori Amos.
Arabic Astronomy – Naming the Stars
Medieval Medicine
Students investigate medieval medical practices and learn the role of medicine and Arabic discoveries in fostering the 16th and 17th century scientific revolution.
Motets to Thomas Becket
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE THE LION IN WINTER AND THE MIDDLE AGES .

20TH-Century American Literature

Rise, Shine For Thy Light Has Come, Aaron Douglas, Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; NEXUS The Harlem Renaissance cover

The Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plans and Cross-Curricular Connections

Songs of the Seventh Son is one of many thoughtful chapters in The Harlem Renaissance volume of NEXUS…Each volume…is a hybrid of a well-written interdisciplinary textbook and a lively, attractive magazine.” Classroom Notes Plus, NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

In The Harlem Renaissance volume of NEXUS, students study the history of the Great Migration and related literature (poems by Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Arna Bontemps and Helene Johnson, short stories by Zora Neale Hurston and others, and black theater), metaphorical and narrative visual art by Aaron Douglas, and the birth of blues and jazz. They also investigate Harlem Renaissance writers’ creative responses to what W.E.B. Dubois called “double consciousness.”

The Harlem Renaissance Guidelines provide chronological unit planning, ancillary readings, interdisciplinary activities and projects, including an illustrated blues poem project modeled on an actual collaboration between a Harlem Renaissance poet and painter. Each step of this project – from writing a personal blues poem that employs irony, to designing stylized drawings, selecting supporting colors, and composing blues music – is outlined in the FREE lessons that accompany this NEXUS volume.

Yusef Komunyakaa examines Langston Hughes for NEXUS
The Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American poet explores the influence of blues and jazz on the poetry of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes Plus Poetry Equals Blues
Hughes’s Influence on Later Poets
When Harlem was Heaven – Roots and Rent Parties
“’When Harlem Was Heaven’ is an exuberant three-page overview whose atmospheric approach does not fail to acknowledge that during that period, as Langston Hughes put it, ‘the Negro was in vogue.’ While recognizing that the ‘marketability’ of African American culture was driven by white tourists, the introduction still gives a good accounting of the achievements made possible by the ‘vogue’ and includes recollections of Harlem life from Hughes, Dorothy West, and others.” – The College Board
Harlem Rap, Figures of Speech
We explore figurative language in Zora Neale Hurston stories and modern rap and rock lyrics. Includes explication exercises. This chapter is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4
Stories of the Great Migration
This chapter deconstructs short stories that reference and respond to the Great Migration. Exercises are embedded in the text. The Harlem Renaissance guidelines provide suggested lessons and related activities for other Harlem Renaissance fiction including stories by Zora Neale Hurston, Rudolph Fisher and Jean Toomer. This chapter meets CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.1
Songs of the Seventh Son
We explore Harlem Renaissance poetry that was shaped by W.E.B. Du Bois’s notion of “double consciousness.” This chapter is aligned with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.9
Langston Hughes
Arna Bontemps
Arna Bontemps
Reading Visual Metaphor and African-American History in Aaron Douglas Murals
We teach students to read metaphorical visual art and historical narrative murals and paintings. The Guidelines include lessons, instruction maps, recommendations for research and inspiring art/literature activities. See The Harlem Renaissance, NEXUS. This chapter aligns with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE.
The Grapes of Wrath, film, starring Henry Fonda, John Carradine and Jane Darwell; NEXUS The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream cover

The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream

A sure-fire hit with students.  — THE COLLEGE BOARD

The exercises in this exhilarating volume focus on observation skills; theme, variation, and repetition in the novel; period music, and art. Its eleven chapters reveal the social production of art in action by showing the interpenetration of all the arts—painting, music, film, journalism, theater, and novels—to produce social change. A sure-fire hit with students.  — THE COLLEGE BOARD

In this NEXUS volume students explore Steinbeck’s artistic response to the Great Depression, FDR’s alphabet programs and labor strikes, and then compare and contrast Steinbeck’s response to that of other 1930’s activist artists: WPA mural painters, Federal Theater Project playwrights, and film makers, giving students a broad and thorough understanding of the period and novel.

John Steinbeck
Steinbeck: his influences, innovations and motivations.
Steinbeck’s Symbols – A Turtle Tour
We track the turtle’s journey (and other migrating symbols) through The Grapes of Wrath. This chapter satisfies Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.2 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.4.
Steinbeck Observation Skills
Are your observation skills as well-honed as Steinbeck’s and the truck driver’s in chapter 2? We provide exercises for students to improve their “art of seeing.” See “Steinbeck in Focus – The Art of Seeing,” The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream, NEXUS. The Guidelines include more observation exercises, activities, and lessons.
When the Land Blew Away
Reading Metaphors, Irony, and Symbols in New Deal Art
This chapter includes embedded exercises and end-of-chapter activities. The Guidelines recommend a wide variety of interdisciplinary art-literature lessons from interpreting symbolic and metaphoric WPA murals to “reading” the stories in Dorothea Lange photographs. See “New Deal Art, for the People, by the People,” The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream, NEXUS
Uncle Sam in the Limelight – The Federal Theatre Project
Students explore and create their own news plays based on the Living Newspapers of the Federal Theater Project in the 1930s. These interdisciplinary projects link literature, drama, history and art. See the Guidelines and “Uncle Sam in the Limelight, the Federal Theater Project,” The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream, NEXUS
FDR and the ABC’s of the New Deal
Theater with a Message and The Method
Robert Hethmon discusses the highly influential Group Theatre and activist People’s Theaters of the 30s. See “Steinbeck, the Group Theatre, and People’s Theaters,” The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream, NEXUS
WORD PORTRAITS
Students hone their writing and observation skills by writing character sketches in the manner of John Steinbeck. See the Guidelines for exercises and observation-writing lessons.
America Transformed, the WPA and the Arts
Theme, Pattern, and Repetition in The Grapes of Wrath, Music and Ecclesiastes
Students learn to identify the use of repetition in two pieces of extremely well known classical music – Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah – to Steinbeck’s musical use of repetition and variation in the global chapters of The Grapes of Wrath and the poetic use of repetition in the biblical book Ecclesiastes.
FOR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE OTHER CHAPTERS IN THIS VOLUME, SEE THE GRAPES OF WRATH AND THE AMERICAN DREAM.

Lesson Plans (including a menu of FREE lesson plans) and Downloadable Quizzes and Tests (Coming Soon)

Antigone

Romeo and Juliet

Macbeth

Julius Caesar

The Harlem Renaissance

The Grapes of Wrath

The Lion in Winter

For our three Shakespeare units, we also offer downloadable:

1) Vocabulary exercises and quizzes for all the challenging, non-archaic vocabulary in the first three acts of each Shakespeare play;

2) Plot quizzes and a unit test for each play.