Picturing America

Art can inspire writing. Picturing America, an initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings masterpieces that reflect our history into your classroom.

Picturing America, through paintings, sculpture, architecture, photography, and more provides visual insights into our heritage and who we are as a country.

Picturing America is a far-reaching new program from the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association. I encourage you to visit, especially so if you are a middle school social studies teacher who plans with a language arts teacher. This website offers so many possibilities, not only through the visuals, but through the accompanying resources for teachers.


My Life in Seven Stories

My Life in Seven Stories (visual list examples from National Day of Writing at http://www.emuenglish.org/ndow/my-life-in-seven-stories/) is a challenge taken up by writing groups and offers numerous opportunities for adaptation. It’s the start of a school year–why not:

1–Have have your writers write 50-100 word (or no limits at all) stories of their lives in the preceding grade. This will introduce you to them and provide you a peek into what was memorable. So, if you teach sixth grade, ask your students to write My Life in Fifth Grade in Seven Stories.

2–Rather than write the stories, have them make their seven stories into a topics list to launch them immediately into creating writing topics

3–Adapt in other ways–instead of My Life in ______Grade in Seven Stories–just invite them to take on the original challenge: My Life in Seven Stories.

What a great way to launch writing this year!! Don’t you think? Let me hear if you try it!