Classroom Resources:
Introductory Lessons

These great KCAC writing activities can be squeezed into almost any busy teacher's schedule. Some of these lessons take as little as 15 minutes to complete but provide outstanding learning opportunities.

The Highlighted lessons below indicate lessons proven to work well for either introductory or intermediate applications.

  • Atlanta Confronts Sept. 11: This study asks students to move beyond the traditional museum (and textbook!) depictions of historical events (using artifacts and text-based interpretation) to examine how we can use images, audio, and design to convey a particular mood or emotional experience. This study may be adapted to address any region and/or life-changing regional or national event.

    Communities at Work: This lesson is designed to encourage students to work as a community of learners to reach a goal. The lesson is designed to generate thought about different roles in a community, what obstacles prevent people from working together as a group and ways to help any community work successfully towards completion of a goal.

    Future Artifacts: Students assume the role of archaeologists in the year 3001. Most history has been erased due to an aggressive computer virus in the early 2000s. Starting over, their challenge is to determine and explain the uses of the many artifacts left behind by the lost societies.

    Imag(in)ing History Across Generations This activity offers students a creative opportunity to reflect upon their own reaction to this tragedy as they craft a letter to their future grandchildren.

    The Law: Your Rights and Responsibilities: Use this activity to introduce students to a study of the Bill of Rights, or simply to promote divergent thinking, problem solving, and provide basic knowledge of our First Amendment rights and responsibilities.

    Making Meaning from the Past: Students use Ella Lyon’s autobiographical poem, "Where I’m From" as the impetus to critically reflect on key images, memories, and events from their own lives and communities.

  • Reconstructing Reconstruction: This exercise in critical reading encourages students to see history from multiple perspectives, especially in voices underrepresented in their survey textbook. The activity also encourages students to interrogate assumptions and biases that shape the presentation of history in their survey text.

  • September 12 Journal Writing: After viewing hours of television coverage of the September 11 attack on America, this teacher had to gather herself to enter her classroom the next day.† Life in had to continue.† This journal writing activity could be adapted to help ease the transition from any difficult event, local or national, and to make the classroom experience relevant to studentsí lives.

  • Show and Share: This opening activity helps the student focus on his/her own personal history and helps promote a team-building spirit for the entire class. The atmosphere of the class usually improves as the students share their personal stories. Creating such a community of trust and sharing fosters a positive working relationship among students.

  • Student/Teacher: Using Student-Generated Writing Prompts: Let your students get the ball rolling each day with this creative alternative to the same old writing prompts.

  • Talking Heads: This engaging activity helps students process notes from research or an interview and turn the information into a script or dialogue for narrative, persuasive, or expository text.

  • Utopia: What would Utopia be for you? This warm-up writing activity gives students the chance to explore this age-old idea as it applies to today's society.

  • Where I'm From: Personal and Cherokee Voices: This activity encourages students to consider both their personal community and the community of those who came before them through research and poetry.

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