New for April at EDSITEment

This month, EDSITEment celebrates National Poetry Month by looking at Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and The Canterbury Tales; examines how LBJ managed the crisis with the Dominican Republic; explores Shakespeare; and remembers the Holocaust.

Foxgloves in bloom at the Emily Dickinson Homestead

National Poetry Month

Widely known and loved, Emily Dickinson continues to delight each new generation with her unique verse. But are your students aware of the other ways she expressed her creative gifts? They may be interested to discover though Dickinson only published a handful of poems in her lifetime, she was renown in her hometown of Amherst as an accomplished baker and gardener!

By the time Geoffrey Chaucer was writing The Canterbury Tales, his narrative poem about a group of nine and twenty “sondry folk” making their leisurely way to Canterbury, pilgrimages of that sort had acquired a dubious reputation. Moralists such as the Lollard preacher William Thorpe complained that pilgrims were merely out for a good time, their minds on partying, not penance and prayer. Find out more about the poem and its era with The Autumn of the Middle Ages: Chaucer and Dante.

Finally, in a blog post titled “De-Frosting Poetry for the Common Core,” EDSITEment celebrates American poet Robert Frost, one of two poets (along with Emily Dickinson) whose poems appear on the list of CCSS text exemplars for every grade level. Little surprise there, as Frost has been deemed “the American bard” and remains one of the most beloved and widely taught poets of the twentieth century. Learn how to unlock the grade-level poetry of Robert Frost.

LBJ and the Dominican Republic

A crisis in the Dominican Republic would force President LBJ to choose between his commitment to anti-communism and his desire to maintain positive relationships with Latin American nations. In Lyndon B. Johnson and the Crisis in the Dominican Republic, students will look at the history of the United States’s relationship with Latin America, and they will then evaluate the competing priorities that shaped the American intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965. They will hear President Johnson discuss the intervention with his top advisers, and compare this to his presentation of the issue to the public.


In a unique series of six films, PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts—Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson, and David Tennant—to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

EDSITEment’s Shakespeare lessons help teachers unlock the Bard for students of all ages. From the complex nature of revenge in Hamlet to the happy/unhappy endings in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these lessons provide teachers with many activities to guide students through the close and deep reading of the plays required by the Common Core State Standards initiative. Students will revel in Shakespeare’s language, including his use of puns, and explore multiple interpretations of the plays.

In addition, Folger Digital Texts offer meticulously edited, accurate texts in a beautifully readable format with the added power of in-depth, behind-the-scenes coding. The texts—including full source code—can also be downloaded at no charge for noncommercial use. The first Folger Digital Texts include a dozen of Shakespeare’s best known plays, including Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest.

Holocaust Remembrance Week

Marked each April during the National Days of Rememberance, the Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies in modern history. Its enormity is difficult for students to comprehend, particularly if it is presented as a general historical event. One effective way of approaching this topic is for students to hear the testimony of individual survivors. Coming of Age in the Holocaust—Coming of Age Now is a free, interactive curriculum for middle and high-school students and their educators created by the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York in collaboration with Yad LaYeled—The Ghetto Fighters’ Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum in Israel. EDSITEment also offers a guide to using the Coming of Age website.