The Meaning of America

What kind of citizens are likely to emerge in a nation founded on individual rights, equality, and freedom of religion? What virtues are required for a robust citizenry? The Meaning of America, a ten-part curriculum, explores American character and identity through the use of imaginative fiction. Includes short stories by Jack London, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Willa Cather, and Kurt Vonnegut. Discussion guides and video model conversations. Common Core-aligned.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Flag Day

How does the American flag make one out of many? Our ebook, “The Meaning of Flag Day,” explores the history and significance of the American flag with selections from American authors and statesmen, including Francis Scott Key, Walt Whitman, Stephen Crane, Abraham Lincoln, and John McCain. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. This ebook includes a lesson plan on the American flag and the First Amendment by teacher Anne Continetti.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Labor Day

In this ebook, we consider the origins and traditions of Labor Day, the role of the labor movement in America, and the satisfactions of the working life. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Includes short stories, speeches, and other writings from Samuel Gompers, Jack London, Mother Jones, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and more.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Veterans Day

Each November 11, our nation commemorates Veterans Day. But what does the holiday mean, and how do we properly observe it? In this ebook, we examine the evolving meaning of Veterans Day, with selections by American authors and statesmen such as Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. A model conversation is also featured.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is a venerable and much beloved American holiday. But what do we celebrate on Thanksgiving? In this ebook, we examine the meaning of Thanksgiving Day, with selections by American authors such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jack London, Langston Hughes, Sarah Orne Jewett and O. Henry, to name just a few. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Also features lesson plans and a model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Reading Guide for Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Materials for this guide include background information about George Washington and discussion questions to enhance your understanding and stimulate conversation about the proclamation. In addition, the guide includes a series of short video discussions about the story, conducted by Christopher DeMuth (Hudson Institute) with the editors of the anthology. These seminars help capture the experience of high-level discourse as participants interact and elicit meaning from a classic American text.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Reading Guide for “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen” by O. Henry

“Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen,” like so many of O. Henry’s other stories, is rife with irony, mocking humor, and his signature surprise endings. These qualities make it difficult to say with certainty what O. Henry is up to: is he satirizing the tradition of Thanksgiving, or is he showing us and celebrating its redeeming essence? This guide include background information about the author and discussion questions to enhance your understanding and stimulate conversation about the story.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The American Muse: Poems for Free Men and Women

How can poetry contribute to our shared national memory and help shape our national identity? The American Muse: Poems for Free Men and Women examines classic American poems, both to understand their words and to explore how reading poetry can join individual and community in a unique and powerful way. Includes poetry by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Billy Collins, Langston Hughes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Hayden, and more.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Law-Abidingness: Reading Guide for “A Jury of Her Peers”

Does our obligation to uphold the law admit of exceptions? Debate the elementary civic virtue of law-abidingness and the appropriateness of civil disobedience as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Susan Glaspell’s story with Christopher DeMuth. Includes discussion guide and model conversation. Common Core-aligned.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Equality: A Lesson Plan for “Harrison Bergeron”

What kind of equality should we care about? Examine the difference between equality of outcome and equality of opportunity as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Kurt Vonnegut’s story with James W. Ceaser (University of Virginia). Includes discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12