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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Themed Resources  > Literature and Poetry > Lesson Plans
Walt Whitman holding a butterfly on his finger

[Detail] Walt Whitman holding a butterfly on his finger

Use these lesson plans, created by teachers for teachers, to explore literature and poetry.

1900 America: Primary Sources and Epic Poetry (Grades 9-12) Students work in groups to express themselves creatively through a multi-media epic poem.

The American Dream (Grades 6-12) Students complete an interdisciplinary WebQuest to learn the story of a decade in American history, as they help define the American Dream. In this lesson, students can take the role of a poet.

The Civil War Through a Child's Eye (Grades 3-8) Students use literature and photographs to view the Civil War from a child's perspective.

Found Poetry with Primary Sources: The Great Depression (Grades 6-12) Students create poetry based on the language found in Depression Era oral histories.

The Grapes of Wrath: Voices from the Great Depression (Grades 9-12) Students create a scrapbook from the point of view of a migrant worker. This lesson can be used in connection with a unit on The Grapes of Wrath.

The Grapes of Wrath: Scrapbooks and Artifacts (Grades 6-12) Students conduct ethnographic research to show how cultural artifacts from The Grapes of Wrath support one of the book's many themes.

Photographs from the Great Depression: Jacob Have I Loved (Grades 6-8)Students use visual images as an introduction to Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.

Marco Paul's Travels on the Erie Canal: An Educational Voyage (Grades 3-8) Students trace Marco Paul's 1840s journey through the Erie Canal.

The Great Gatsby: Primary Sources from the Roaring Twenties (Grades 9-12) Students create newspapers recording significant events and attitudes of the 1920s related to The Great Gatsby.

Japanese American Internment (Grades 5-8) Students learn what the World War II experience was like for Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. This lesson includes a poetry activity.

Recreation Yesterday and Today (Grades 6-12) Students research entertainment and recreation in the early 20th century and then compare the rural experience for this time period to the national experience and to their own experience. This lesson features excerpts from From the Hidewood: Memories of a Dakota Neighborhood, a book by Robert Amerson reflecting life in Deuel County, South Dakota, during the late 1920s and 1930s.

The New England Fishing Industry: Sea Changes in a Community (Grades 6-12) Students study photographs, maps and interviews with two New England fishermen of the early 20th century, construct "found poetry", and research in Thomas to understand legislation restricting the fishing industry.

Thomas Jefferson's Library: Making the Case for a National Library (Grades 6-12) Students examine a Thomas Jefferson letter and identify techniques he used to persuade Congress to purchase his personal library. Students then consider a selection of those books and write their own persuasive letters urging the books' purchase.

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective (Grades 6-12) Students are guided on a journey through the Depression Era South in the 1930s. They become familiar with Southern experiences through the study of To Kill a Mockingbird and the examination of primary sources.

Mark Twain's Hannibal (Grades 9-10) Using both primary source documents and print materials, students analyze life around Hannibal, Missouri, during the latter half of the 19th century to determine what effects this location had on the writings of Mark Twain. This information is integrated with the reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Out of the Dust: Visions of Dust Bowl History (Grades 3-8) Students gain an understanding of Dust Bowl history through the eyes of a child, using Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust.