Skip to Content
  • Language
  • End User
  • Educational Use
  • Time Required
(146)
(334)
(422)
(369)
(467)
(10)
(194)
(148)
(81)
(238)
(95)
(126)

Found 480 Collections

 

National Letter Writing Day- December 7

Learning resource collection introducing some letters in the Smithsonian's collections to provide inspiration for celebrating National Letter Writing Day! Letters can be written for a number of purposes. Here, a few examples are explored including a professional inquiry, a condolence letter, opinion sharing and a love letter.

You’ll have access to the transcript of the text, as well as the primary source. Highlight some key facts about each letter to determine its main idea and purpose, by answering some guiding questions.
Ashley Naranjo
8
 

Innovations in Coffee Cup Lids

Sometimes innovations are about something completely new and sometimes innovations are about small refinements in design. What can we learn about innovation from looking at something as ordinary as a coffee cup lid? Read the article about coffee cup lids and write a description for one of the lids, capturing its unique qualities. How do changes in coffee cup lids reflect larger changes in our society? Predict what will be the next innovation .
Stephanie Norby
57
 

Giant Panda Baby - Video resources to complement nonfiction book

A collection to complement "Welcome, BaoBao," a Smithsonian nonfiction book published by Penguin Young Readers, 2015. The book presents facts about pandas and their care at the National Zoo and describes their natural and zoo habitats. The videos in this collection allow children to see the baby panda in motion, hear the noises it makes, and find out what its fur feels like. The video "Sleepy Panda" shows the animal's habitat in China, with a map to indicate where it is on the continent. The final resource connects to the National Zoo's live "panda cam."
Michelle Smith
7
 

Thanksgiving for English Teachers

A learning resource for students about Thanksgiving. The images in this collection are different portrayals of aspects of Thanksgiving from 1863 during the Civil War to the 1970s.
Michelle Smith
12
 

Perspectives on China: Looking at Photographs to Understand Point of View

This teaching collection includes photographs of China during the first half of the twentieth century by different photographers. First analyze a photograph answering the questions on the handout -- just by looking closely. Then, open the label for the photograph and add additional information. Next, discuss the point of view of the photographer based on your analysis. Finally, research the photographer to learn more about her or her perspective. Why is it important to investigate a topic from more than one perspective?
Stephanie Norby
6
 

Investigating a Place: Texas, a U.S. State Collection

This state collection utilizes stamps, artworks, photographs, and videos in the Smithsonian's collection to highlight 65 iconic people, places, events and symbols of Texas' history and culture. Students might explore one resource in depth, or conduct a comparison of multiple resources. Follow-up questions might include: What sub-themes can you identify within this collection? What do these resources as a collection tell you about Texas? What marks someone as a "Texan"--is it birthplace alone? What other resources would you want to include to tell a more complete story of Texas history and culture?
Ashley Naranjo
65
 

The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American fighter pilots in the United States military. This collection describes their work and training during an era of segregation, as well as their contributions to World War Two, through videos, photographs, art, and poetry. At the end of the collection, students are asked to write a poem of their own using one of the artifacts as inspiration.
Kate Harris
8
 

Early Alphabet Books

A collection of alphabet books to inspire students to create their own. Alphabet books can be created using any subject and completed with any grade. They can be completed individually (one student makes a page for each letter of the alphabet) or as a group or class (each student takes one letter). Here are some ideas for topics or use with your students:
Kindergarden-1st--Pick a letter, write a sentence using that letter and illustrate.
2nd-4th--The class takes a topic such as insects and each student takes a page, researches and illustrates it.
5th-12th--Students take a topic (biography, historical topic, memoir about themselves, book that they've read) and creates an alphabet book with each page telling the story or giving information about the subject.
Annette Hibbert Nelson
13
 

Visual Thinking Strategies

The goal of teaching visual thinking strategies is to encourage students to observe independently and back up their responses with evidence.
Annotations for each image contain key questions to help students practice visual thinking.
Linda Muller
5
 

Great Ideas, Modern Art, and Advertising

This collection consists of advertisements created for the Container Corporation of America in the 1950s. Each advertisement pairs a quote from a "Great Idea of Western Man" with a work of original art. After reviewing the collection, students will create their own art work to reflect a "Great Idea" that they think is important and meaningful in the world today.
Kate Harris
11
 

The Art of Writing and Calligraphy

This collection includes a variety of resources representing styles of writing from around the world. It encourages viewers to consider writing not only for its ability to communicate through letters and symbols, but also for its artistic value. The collection includes a video on Sumerian writing, a website on African writing systems and art, and artifacts that are examples of the writing of East Asian, Arabic, Cherokee, Hebrew, and Modern European alphabets. In addition, a few tools used for writing are included. There is some background material on each type of writing as you read through the collection.

Questions for classroom discussion and research might include:
-What is the purpose of writing? Why use hand-writing or calligraphy instead of using a computer?
-How do alphabets differ?
-How can a style of calligraphy (or font change) the interpretation of a written work?
Kate Harris
29
 

Proud Publisher: Heritage Bookmaking Activity

The Smithsonian has joined with book artist Sushmita Mazumdar to create a series of easy-to-do book projects designed to get families talking and creating together. In the "Today I am Here" storybook, students explore their heritage by identifying a person, place, and object to tell the story of their own personal history. Included here is a video demonstration and accompanying downloadable instructions to make your own “Today I am Here” storybook!
Ashley Naranjo
13
 

Women's Suffrage

The Woman's Suffrage movement in America began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in an effort to enfranchise women.
Jason Smith
30
 

Decoding Lincoln: Vocabulary Coding with the Gettysburg Address

This collection provides background knowledge for students while they analyze Abraham Lincoln's word choice in his speech the Gettysburg Address. Students will then participate in a vocabulary coding activity to build comprehension of the message in the speech.
Steps in Vocabulary Coding:
1. Start with a gateway question (a question to get students into the text in a non-threatening way that requires no prior knowledge or comprehension) Which word appears most often in The Gettysburg Address? Identify the word. Is it used in the same form or part of speech throughout the text? Present the text as a puzzle to solve.
2. Read aloud the Gettysburg address while students follow along.
3. Practice Coding: Directions: Code important words with a plus sign "+" above known words, and a minus sign"-" above unknown words.
Get with a partner and compare words, then list them in a T-chart.
4. After teams have selected words, the teacher briefly provides a 5 W’s and H background for the text using the slides in the collection: Who wrote it, What was it about, When was it written, Where was it set, Why was it written, and How was the text presented. For more rigor and if time allows, give teams of students one image from the collection to research and present as background knowledge for the class.
5. Group defines words: Partners whip around to share word choices, then chart words (tally repeated words.)
Choose at least six "minus" words to chart as a class and briefly define with synonyms or short phrases.
6. Teacher assigns one section of the text per group. Group finds and selects shortest definition for that word in the context of the text and summarizes the main idea of that section of text.
7. Teams share word definitions and summary while class annotates.
8. Finally, each team picks at least three of the important vocabulary words to write a group summary of the text in 1-2 sentences (starting with 5 W’s + H). Then each individual student writes a personal response to the text (how they feel, the historical impact, the meaning of the text today, etc.) using at least three new vocabulary words from the text. Highlight vocab words, and share writing with partner.



Kathy Powers
24
 

Through Bud's Eyes: An exploration of the history behind the novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

The historical fiction novel Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, is the story of ten year old orphan Bud's quest to try to find his father in Michigan during the Great Depression. Bud may be an orphan on the lam from a cruel foster home, but he's on a mission. His mother died before revealing who his father was, but she left a clue: posters of Herman E. Calloway and his famous jazz band. With the help of a kind librarian, Bud sets out to hit the road and find his father. It is often difficult for students to discern fact from the author's fiction in historical fiction. This collection will provide background knowledge of the history behind the story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Orphan, migrant, segregation, mission, soup kitchen, Pullman Porter, Redcap, Negro Baseball League, shanty, Hooverville, jazz, and Great Depression

Student partners or small groups each select an artifact to research and present to the class. This may be done before staring the novel, after sections of the story, or after completing the novel.
Kathy Powers
29
 

Writing Inspiration: Using Art to Spark Narrative Story Elements

The Smithsonian museum collection inspires many to research the history behind artifacts, but this collection explores the use of art and artifacts to spark creative story writing. Students will choose artifacts to craft characters, a setting, and a plot conflict to create and write a narrative story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Narrative, protagonist , antagonist, character, character traits, setting, plot, climax, and conflict.

After reading and analyzing several narrative stories for story elements such as character, setting, plot, climax, and conflict, students will use this collection to begin planning their own narrative stories.
Individuals or partners will first view the portraits and discuss possible stories behind each face before choosing a protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. They may begin to discuss and imagine character traits for each subject.
Next, the student will select a landscape setting in which the story may take place. The writer will describe the landscape, imagine a time period, and name the location.
Finally, the student will either choose an action artifact around which to build a major plot event, or have that slide as a minor scene in their story.
Students may use the Question Formulation Technique to garner ideas for background stories behind the faces. http://rightquestion.org/
Once the story elements are in place, the students may begin to draft narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

With the artifacts selected as the major story elements, the students may begin crafting their narrative story. The artifacts can then be displayed as illustrations in the published narratives.
Kathy Powers
66
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 1

Set 1 of 4
Jeff Holliday
42
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 2

Set 2 of 4
Jeff Holliday
44
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 3

Set 3 of 4
Jeff Holliday
32
 

Expansion (1800-1860), Set 4

Set 4 of 4
Jeff Holliday
38
 

Creative Writing Exercise: Photograph Analysis for Descriptive Writing

This collection is adapted from a teacher's original collection of seven photographs of a single person, spanning several decades of the 20th century. In this activity, students can express their unique responses to the photographs in the collection by writing stories inspired by the people in them. Before they put their imaginations to work, students will have a chance to get to know the photographs by observing them closely, making a list of details, and writing a description of each. Such an exercise will help them understand the value of careful observation as a precursor to descriptive and creative writing.
Ashley Naranjo
14
 

Lewis and Clark: an expedition across America

Who were Lewis and Clark? Where did they go? Why did they go? Who sent them? Who did they meet along the way? What dangers did they face? Did anyone help them?
This is a Collection of resources including images, videos, text, online exhibits, and a lesson plan that support Lewis and Clark's expedition across American in the early 1800s.
mrsjoyce
38
 

Civil War Deaths, Pictured and Remembered

Inspired by a reading of The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust, this is a collection that shows some of the shocking images the public saw of battlefield death, memorials to the dead, and a lesson plan on the art of memorials.
Michelle Smith
11
 

Student Activity: Music as an Environmental Advocacy Approach

In this student activity, explore five musical artists and their connections to environmental advocacy as shared by a Smithsonian Folkways archivist. Inspired by these songs about water issues, you will write lyrics for a song on an environmental theme, incorporating relevant words and imagery.
Ashley Naranjo
9
1-24 of 480 Collections