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This unit explores how American society has been established in relation to the individual and examines whether the interests of every citizen are equally treated. The unit focuses on the impact of Brown v. Board of Education on America’s evolving ideology, as it relates to the principle of equality and the changing strategies for interpretation of the Constitution. The film "Fahrenheit 9/11 is used to bring the theme of the individual in society into the present, and to question the actions of the government in relation to the "consent of the governed".

(Recommended for English, grade 11)


Revolving around a selection of fairy tales from around the world, this unit features activities designed to help third graders develop insight into different cultures. Unit culminates as the students write their own fairy tale.

(Recommended for Reading, Writing, and Social Studies, grades 2-6)


This unit examines Cinderella stories from China, Korea, France, Vietnam, Israel, Native America, and Egypt, in order to explore different cultural aspects of the story.

(Recommended for Language Arts, Social Studies, and ESL, grades 1-5)


Using children’s detective fiction ranging from simple riddles to entire chapter books, this unit attempts to build comprehension skills. It uses stories containing characters representative of a multicultural society.

(Recommended for Language Arts and Reading, grades 3-5)


While helping students to understand the complexities of their own lives with due regard to the world we live in, this unit employs animal stories. Though not its primary focus, this unit gives us a caring look into the customs and cultures of several North American cultures. Places an emphasis on creative writing.

(Recommended for Creative Writing and Language Arts, grades 9-12)


This unit offers students of U.S. History the opportunity to view and analyze art while learning the skills to do so. It focuses on artistic interpretation couched in historical critical analysis, specifically featuring daily life in the U.S. during the antebellum period. It fits nicely into a U.S. History curriculum, but could be used elsewhere.

(Recommended for U.S. History, World History, English, or Humanities, grades 9-12)


In this unit students have the opportunity to study Colonial America through paintings and literature. Students will become active participants in the interpretation of art by noticing images, colors, hues, shading and lighting, figuring out the artist’s message, making connections to historical events, and asking questions and predicting. This method will allow students to begin to think about art in a more analytical manner.

(Recommended for Social Studies, grade 5)


The goal of this unit, intended for intermediate fluency ESL students, is to introduce students to the documentary photography of Lewis Hine and how it records the life and conditions of individuals and their communities. Students will discuss the subject of immigration as a theme in photography and have the opportunity to compare, contrast, and photograph their communities. Students will translate into English their initial verbal reactions to the photographs in the unit.

(Recommended for ESL, grades 4-8)


Students will develop an understanding of American History through examining art produced during the period of the 19th century continental expansion and its relationship to the national identity of that time period. Students will explore the role of art as it relates to national identity. For example, answering the question: could the sentiments of politicians and orators be found in the paintings of the time? Also, through writing critically about their analyses and interpretations of both art and history the students will become better writers.

(Recommended for U.S. History and World History, grades 9-12)


This unit will interweave skills used to understand art and literature with the hefty idea of taking charge of oneself and becoming aware of choices one can make to be an individual. Students will be pushed to look objectively at society, especially U.S. society of the mid-1800’s, and make decisions about the difference between themselves and the ‘whole.’ Students will learn to ‘read’ a painting as one does an essay or a short story, and from there they will deepen their understanding and mirror those themes on individuality that they will have studied previously in the unit.

(Recommended for English and Honors English, grades 8-12)


This interdisciplinary unit features the story of the African Diaspora with a focus on the Caribbean islands. Students will be exposed to cultural expressions in the Caribbean through music, paintings, and storytelling. Selected literature will enable students to understand how immigrants from the Caribbean assimilate in the United States. Social Studies and Language Arts teachers will also find useful information in the narrative of this unit that includes historical information. As a final project, using one of the mediums studied, students will create a piece of art through which to explain life on a Caribbean island of their choice.

(Recommended for Reading, Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, grades 6-8)


The goal of this unit is to teach elementary school students about black history through the eyes of children. Resources include works of art centering on African American children and literature related to the works. The unit focuses on desegregation and concludes with a celebration of diversity.

(Recommended for History and Art, grades K-4)


The aim of this unit is to teach students the skills for discerning invisible people, groups, and movements in American culture through paintings, sculpture, murals, and photographs, enhanced by short stories, poetry, storybooks, and documentaries. Just as we continue to design strategies to teach students the skills for text-rendering, so I have designed strategies to teach students skills for art-rendering, or for visual literacy. For a final project, students will re-create a piece of art, or create an original work of art that represents an individual or group that is invisible to the majority of our society.

(Recommended for English, Literature, Art, History, grades 9-12)


This unit is designed to accompany a reading of excerpts from Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage. Students will extend their reading by examining a number of artists’ depictions of Native Americans from the time of Lewis and Clark to the end of the 19th century. Students will discuss the artwork as a class, reflect in journals, and, in a final project, create their own interpretation of Native Americans during the nineteenth century.

(Recommended for English and Language Arts, grade 8)


Through diverse, influential paintings and writing, this unit explores the development of American identity in it infancy, from the end of the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. This is an art and literature course, using pioneering methods of teaching both in order to make some difficult texts, and a difficult period of American history, more exciting and accessible to students who usually find this material challenging if not downright off-putting.

(Recommended for U.S. History and Literature, grade 10)