National Identity and Why It Matters: A Lesson Plan

Why do people need national identity and attachment? Explore the meaning and significance of national identity in general and American identity in particular as editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass discuss Edward Everett Hale’s story, “A Man without a Country,” with Wilfred M. McClay (University of Oklahoma). Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

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

Songs for Free Men and Women

How can songs—moving speech, set to rhythmic music—shape hearts and minds? What do America’s national songs mean, and what feelings does singing them inspire? “Songs for Free Men and Women” carefully examines our major national songs, both to understand their words and to discover what they contribute to making attached citizens. Includes discussion questions for the National Anthem, “God Bless America,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and more.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 5, 6, 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

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

Making One Out of Many: A Lesson on “The Namesake” by Willa Cather

Of what use is the American flag in promoting national attachment? Explore the meaning of the flag as a symbol of the nation as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Willa Cather’s story with William Schambra. Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

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

Lesson Plan for Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez

This lesson is designed to be used in a unit on immigrant experiences or integration of peoples, but it can easily be adapted for general discussions on characterization and character changes in a story. The son of Mexican immigrants, Richard Rodriguez grew up in a mixed-race neighborhood in California. In this opening chapter of his autobiography, Hunger of Memory, Rodriguez describes the tensions of navigating the Spanish-speaking world of his home and the English-speaking world of school.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • 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 Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a most unusual American holiday, as it commemorates an event that occurred well before the United States was even a nation. In this ebook, we explore the historical Columbus as well as the man as symbol for American life, tracing connections between Columbus Day and the discovery of the New World, the spirit of exploration, and the immigrant experience. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • 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