Access American Writers Museum’s online educational resources and choose from a variety of activities that are designed for Grade levels 3-12. Available by exhibit and also by grade level, select the activities that best suit your class curriculum.

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Inquiry-Based Curriculum

In partnership with the Great Books Foundation, we have created a range of activities for grades 6 and up that bring their Shared Inquiry™ method of learning together with the American Voices and My America exhibits. Whether you want to lead your students in discussion of an open-ended question, engage them in inquiry-based close reading, or help them develop their own connections and responses to an author’s work, you’ll find simple, flexible resources in our activity guides.

To begin:

  • Watch the first video on this page, which provides basic information for teachers about using the Shared Inquiry stance.
  • Watch the three shorter videos on this page to orient students on what to expect.
  • Choose the exhibit you’d like to focus on in your lesson, and download your chosen materials from the next page.
  • Have students watch the orientation videos, and get started using your free materials!
New exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today is now open at the American Writers Museum

My America: Immigrant & Refugee Writers Today

Explore how modern immigrant and refugee writing in America has influenced our culture, history, and daily lives.

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Explore new virtual exhibit American Voices, from the American Writers Museum

American Voices

Explore the evolution of American writing from the colonial period to the twentieth century, with a focus on key writers and events.

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Exploring the Writing Process with Primary Source Materials

Funded by a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, Exploring the Writing Process with Primary Source Materials complements classroom writing instruction with activities using primary source materials from the Library of Congress’s digital collections that inspire, motivate, and empower students to write.

Exploring the Writing Process with Primary Source Materials

Using primary sources coupled with complimentary learning materials, students will learn more about the steps of the writing process, including journaling, drafting, revision, editing, collaboration, and publishing. Exploring the Writing Process with Primary Source Materials offers teacher-created lesson plans as well as student exercises that can be incorporated into class curriculums or be used for individual study.

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Write In Extended Curriculum

2 young students listening to headsets in front of a screen showing R.O. Kwon speaking.

Write In Extended Curriculum: My America (6th-8th Grade)

Teacher-designed, this unit plan celebrates all students’ unique experiences and encourages students to create their own writing identities. By centering student identity and creative expression, students have the opportunity to cultivate their voices and develop critical writing skills that can be transferred across a variety of contexts.

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A group of 8 elementary school children discuss papers they are holding in the Dark Testament exhibit at the American Writers Museum

Write In Extended Curriculum: Dark Testament (9th-12th Grade)

This writing unit plan explores Black history & writing with engaging, flexible, dynamic, and meaningful instructional materials and learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to explore their identities, learn with and from their peers, and use the beauty and power of Black writers to inspire their own creative stories.

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Resources by Exhibit

My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today

My America: Immigrant & Refugee Writers Today

Immigrant writers have helped to build the foundations of American literature. Explore the contemporary immigrant and refugee experience in the United States with resources for grades 5-12.

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Frederick Douglass: Agitator

Frederick Douglas changed his times, but he never changed the clarity of his mission: equality for all. Interact with the timeless power of his words with resources for grades 1-12.

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American Voices. New virtual exhibit from the American Writers Museum now open!

American Voices

Explore American history through the plethora of writing voices and forms that have shaped the country. Choose an era spanning from colonial times to the late 20th century and learn more about themes that define the American voice. Resources for grades 5-12 available.

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Resources by Grade Level

Grade levels are recommended, but it is up to your discretion as a teacher which materials are most appropriate for your students. These materials are particularly useful as activities following your American Writers Museum field trip.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor with 4th graders from Horace Greeley Elementary School

Elementary School (Grades 3-4)

Materials for elementary students focus on the activity “My Personal Bookshelf.” With the goal of sharing and exploring a wide variety of authors and styles the Museum hopes to inspire a love of books in children from an early age.

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Students on a field trip interact with the Featured Works touch tables at the American Writers Museum in Chicago

Middle School (Grades 5-7)

Materials for 5th through 7th graders focus on the American Voices exhibit. They aim to encourage students to explore various authors and their writings, and determine what purpose or motivation each author had to write.

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A group of teen students posing on a couch at the American Writers Museum in Chicagp

High School (Grades 8-12)

Materials for upper level students ask them to critically think about essential questions around American identity. Students will explore subjects with a focus on a subtheme of the American identity: race, religion, gender, or national origin.

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