In partnership with the American Writers Museum, we have created a variety of activities for grades 6 and up that bring our Shared Inquiry™ method of learning together with the museum’s American Voices and My America exhibits. Simple, flexible resources enable you to engage students in one or more activities of your choice:
- Discussing an essential question rooted in exhibit materials
- Sharing and comparing inquiry-based notes about a short text by a featured author
- Developing their own connections and responses to a featured author’s work
Short videos focused on Shared Inquiry make it easy to introduce students to the activities, and provide pointers for you as well. Visit our curriculum page any time to get started!
In this exhibit, students explore the influence of modern immigrant and refugee writing in America on our culture, history, and daily lives. Great Books activity guides focus on exhibit video clips of authors addressing significant topics, and include opportunities for individual reflection, discussion, and writing. Themes addressed include:
- What motivates authors to share their immigrant experiences through writing
- How coming to the United States shapes how authors understand their identities
- How the authors define being “American” and how they see themselves in relation to that idea
This exhibit traces the development of American writing from the 17th Century to the present, reflecting the richness and complexity of the nation’s literary heritage. Great Books activity guides help students analyze the life and works of three noteworthy writers:
- Sojourner Truth—Born a slave, Sojourner Truth had a passion for freedom and a commanding personal presence that made her one of America’s leading advocates for equal rights.
- William Apess—William Apess’s 1829 memoir A Son of the Forest was one of the first published works by a Native American.
- Louisa May Alcott—Louisa May Alcott embarked on a writing career while still in her teens, and her novel Little Women features one of America’s most influential heroines.
We are proud to partner with the American Writers Museum to make these outstanding exhibits even more accessible to teachers and students. As students explore the many ways and periods in which American writers have grappled with important questions, they develop important reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Most importantly, students come to see themselves as participating in the shaping of what America will become.