Incorporating more non-fiction is a consistent goal within most English curriculum planning. Common Core expectations focus on literary non-fiction and analyzing rhetoric as does AP, Honors and IB curriculum.
But supplements can be difficult and time consuming to find. Trolling through websites can eat away at my sanity especially as we march closer and closer to the end of the year. Between AP tests and state mandated testing it can feel as if there just isn’t time. No time to find material and certainly no time to implement it. It’s easy to give up, become frustrated and revert back to all “Gatsby” all the time.
Never fear. Letters of Note is an excellent online resource for a classroom teacher of English or History. Shaun Usher, website curator, has compiled over 700 letters that span centuries and whose topics range from Stark Trek to the Civil War. While letters include the handwritten notes of celebrities and iconic historical figures, some of the best correspondence is that of people we do not know.
With a post per day, it’s more than likely you will be able to find a new non-fiction supplement each week for things you already teach.
This week we’ll highlight some of the best letters and discuss how to seamlessly employ them within your preexisting classroom structure. Expect letters from Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, John Adams, Steinbeck and more. Expect letters ready made for teaching style. But most important, expect assignments about the role of correspondence in modern culture. All will be easy to implement, and all will help enrich literature and rhetorical analysis.