Resources for Grades 6–8

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how to write fiction that comes alive

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TKSST

Video

grades 6–12

How to Write Fiction That Comes Alive

Learn how writers use descriptive language to engage a reader's senses. Then try some of the techniques from the video in your own writing.

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evolution of the book

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TKSST

Video

grades 5–12

Evolution of the Book

What makes a book a book? Learn about the origins of bookmaking from design and fonts to paper and spines.

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book cover art

Audio

grades 1–12

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Listen to all two hours and 44 minutes of Scarlett Johansson reading this classic tale of madcap adventure.

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a hero's journey

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TKSST

Video

grades 6–12

A Hero's Journey

Learn about the story structure of the hero, from ancient warriors to modern-day Harry Potter. The variations come from the same template: the monomyth.

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telling stories without words

Article/Ebook

grades 3–6

Telling Stories Without Words

Take a closer look at what it's like to be a photojournalist, and read what one photojournalist has to say about her job.

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Lord of the Flies

Video

grades 7–12

Why You Should Read Lord of the Flies

Explore author William Golding's motivations for writing his most notable novel. Then read the novel and decide whether you agree with the novel's worldview.

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ellen bass

Article/Ebook

grades 3–8

Lost and Found

After you read the poem, think about what it's like to find something that was lost. Create something (poem, art, etc.) that captures that feeling.

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latinx, hispanic, and chicano geniuses

Website/App

grades 6–12

Latinx, Hispanic, and Chicano Genius

Browse and read—or learn about—the work of Latinx, Hispanic, and Chicano artists, activists, and more. (Note: Some texts require sign-in.)

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person writing in a journal

Article/Ebook

grades 6–12

Family Legends

After you read the poem, write about your own family legend or story with as much detail as you can.

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Picture of Langston Hughes

Video

grades 6–10

Langston Hughes' "Harlem"

Introduce yourself to Hughes' most famous poem and his use of figurative language. Then write your own "Harlem"-inspired poem.

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penguins

Article/Ebook

grades 5–6

Penguin Census

Discover how scientists are counting chinstrap penguins in Antarctica. It's part of a global penguin census that will help researchers better understand the Antarctic environment.

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sonia sanchez

Article/Ebook

grades 6–12

How Big Is Your Voice?

Read this poem and consider the voice or perspective it represents. What voice might you describe? Use this poem as inspiration to write your own.

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diy comic book

Activity

grades 3–8

DIY Comic Book

Dream of writing your own graphic novel or zine to share with friends? Learn how to start with a single sheet of paper. Then start creating!

Activity

grades 6–12

Family Newsletter

Make and send out a family newsletter. It can be digital or just stapled paper. Try including a variety of stuff: news, interviews, history, recipes, and more.

Wide Open School's logo
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interview a relative promo pic

Activity

grades 3–6

Family Interview Project

Use these questions (or write your own) to interview a family member. Write down or record their answers, and share with the whole family.

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story sparks

Activity

grades 7–12

18 Story Sparks to Get You Writing

Create your own short story inspired by photographs and illustrations.

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where would you live

Activity

grades 6–12

Where Would You Live?

Choose three cities to research, and use the Quick Facts website at the top to answer the questions. Which city is your "winner" and why?

Activity

grades 6–8

Make Mad Libs

Create your own fill-in-the-blank story. Then ask an adult or sibling to come up with some nouns, verbs, and adjectives to fill it in.

Wide Open School's logo

Activity

grades 6–12

From Thought to Story

Get a pen and one sheet of paper. Find a quiet place and start writing whatever comes to mind without stopping. Now try to make that into a story with a clear start and end.

Wide Open School's logo

Activity

grades 3–8

Media Matters

Write down your favorite things to watch, read, or listen to. Why do you like each of them? Do they all share a common theme?

Wide Open School's logo

Activity

grades 6–12

Book Club

Create conversations with friends, family, or community members around books. Pick your reading list and schedule time for discussions.

Wide Open School's logo
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your role model responding to your letter

Activity

grades 3–6

Your Hero Writes You a Response Letter

Imagine your hero responded to a letter you wrote them. What might they say?

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two kids eating ice cream

Activity

grades 8–12

Watch and Discuss Short Films

Watch short, thought-provoking documentary films. Use the double-entry journal to take notes while you watch and the discussion questions to dig deeper.

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Thank you for being my light!

Activity

Preschool–grade 12

Thank You Cards

Show you care by sending a thank you card. Choose to print, color, or send electronically.

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telling stories without words

Article/Ebook

grades 3–6

Telling Stories Without Words

Take a closer look at what it's like to be a photojournalist, and read what one photojournalist has to say about her job.

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ellen bass

Article/Ebook

grades 3–8

Lost and Found

After you read the poem, think about what it's like to find something that was lost. Create something (poem, art, etc.) that captures that feeling.

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person writing in a journal

Article/Ebook

grades 6–12

Family Legends

After you read the poem, write about your own family legend or story with as much detail as you can.

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penguins

Article/Ebook

grades 5–6

Penguin Census

Discover how scientists are counting chinstrap penguins in Antarctica. It's part of a global penguin census that will help researchers better understand the Antarctic environment.

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sonia sanchez

Article/Ebook

grades 6–12

How Big Is Your Voice?

Read this poem and consider the voice or perspective it represents. What voice might you describe? Use this poem as inspiration to write your own.

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picture of Nikki Giovanni

Article/Ebook

grades 3–8

Which Season Do You Like Best?

Read the poem and think about the feelings and images the list creates. Then, write a poem or list about your favorite season.

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A nurse at work

Article/Ebook

grades 6–12

It's a Fact: Nurses Are Amazing

Read this article about nurses in Albania, identify the main idea, and find three facts that support it.

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Wilma Rudolph

Article/Ebook

grades 3–12

Essential Black History Texts

Browse, select, and read from this great collection of nonfiction and fiction texts written by Black writers, artists, and activists.

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seaweed solution

Article/Ebook

grades 3–6

Seaweed Solution

Can kelp farming help slow climate change? Learn about the pros and cons of producing this underwater resource.

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sheet of paper with a heart-shaped coffee stain

Article/Ebook

grades 7–12

Importance of Love

After you read this poem, write one sentence that captures its theme. Then write about the role of love among our basic needs.

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and the winner is

Article/Ebook

grades 3–6

And the Winner Is …

Find out who declares the winner of an election, and how they can declare a winner before all the votes are counted.

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people working together

Article/Ebook

grades 5–6

In It Together

Read about efforts in four countries to keep people healthy during the pandemic. What can you do to help lift people's spirits?

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book cover art

Audio

grades 1–12

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Listen to all two hours and 44 minutes of Scarlett Johansson reading this classic tale of madcap adventure.

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cartoon drawing of Sacagawea

Audio

grades 1–6

Who Was Sacagawea?

Listen to this audiobook to learn about an amazing teenager who made some of the exploration of North America possible.

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drawing of wizard of oz

Audio

grades K–12

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Listen to the first volume of L. Frank Baum's classic story as you imagine yourself traipsing through a magical land. Free on iTunes.

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Kodak photos

Audio

grades 6–12

Anne Frank

Take some time to listen to this stirring story of a young girl hiding from the Nazis during WWII. Free on Hoopla with a library card.

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person sitting on the grass

Audio

grades 4–6

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Listen to this award-winning podcast performed by kids and see if you can solve the mystery.

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grow your imagination

Audio

grades 6–8

Grow Your Imagination

Tune in to one of these delightful podcast episodes where popular writers create stories dreamed up by kids.

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novel's cover art

Audio

grades 7–12

Solo

Listen to this novel in verse narrated by the author, Kwame Alexander, about the life of a troubled rock star.

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cartoon girl floating on water

Audio

grades 4–6

You Go First

Enjoy this story of two middle school kids, separated by geography, who bond by playing Scrabble online. Free on Hoopla with a library card.

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cat hiding in grass

Audio

grades 3–7

Warriors

Listen to the first book in this adventure series about fantasy cats and their elaborate worlds. Free on Hoopla with a library card.

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evil spy school title cover

Audio

grades 3–7

Evil Spy School

Explore the Spy School series with this fun, action-packed sequel. Free on Hoopla with a library card.

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drawing of a cherry blossom tree

Audio

grades 7–9

Untwine

Listen to this poignant story of grief and resilience as a sister deals with the loss of her twin. Free on Hoopla with a library card.

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book cover art

Audio

grades 7–12

The Bone Witch

Listen to this dark, lyrical fantasy story about raising the dead. It's the first of a trilogy that parents and teens might enjoy together.

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an old theater

Interactive

grades 6–12

Visit a Famous Theater

Take a 360-degree online tour of the Globe Theatre in London, where Shakespeare's most famous plays were performed.

Interactive

grades 3–8

Dictionary

Take turns choosing weird words from the dictionary. Have everyone write a pretend definition and try to guess the real one.

Wide Open School's logo
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Interactive

grades 7–12

BBC iReporter

Play this game, and then share what you learned with a family member or teacher. What'd you learn about newsrooms? What’s one way to be more critical and responsible online?

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child writing a letter

Lesson

grades 4–12

Letters of Gratitude to Essential Workers

Write a meaningful letter of thanks to essential workers that returns their acts of service and kindness.

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various pictures that tells a story

Lesson

grades 3–6

Storytelling with Words and Pictures

Learn all about the elements of storytelling, then write your own story with a clear setting, conflict, and resolution.

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students studying

Lesson

grades 5–8

Literary Analysis: The Diary of Anne Frank

Examine what Anne Frank’s writing reveals about how living in hiding changed her over time.

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video title screen

Lesson

grades 1–6

A Truly Creative Curriculum

Move and create along with these high-energy video lessons that are sure to tap into your inner artist, writer, and performer.

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what is grammar

Lesson

grades 6–12

Grammar Groundwork

Ever wonder if your modifier is dangling? And how semicolons work? From parts of speech to proper punctuation, get all your grammar answers here.

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Lesson

grades 6–8

Exploring Sensory Details

Watch these videos focused on Richard Blanco's poem "Looking for the Gulf Motel." Use the handouts to analyze how the poem uses sensory details.

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Lesson

grades 5–7

Sixth Grade Reading and Vocabulary

Choose your own pathway for this reading course. You can learn by topic or select an area of focus: reading literature, informational texts, or vocabulary.

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lyricism

Lesson

grades 7–12

Rap Lyricism 101

Work through these five lessons, full of creative activities that connect core writing skills to hip-hop history and technique.

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Lesson

grades 8–12

Dig Deeper Into Science News

Use this video and discussion guide to understand how headlines shape the way we interpret science–and health–related news.

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Lesson

grades 6–10

Your Social Identity

Read up on the concept of social identity, then apply it to your own life. What social identities do you have? Draw and describe them.

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Lesson

grades 6–12

The Great Depression, Ken Burns in the Classroom

Examine this gallery of photos taken during the Great Depression. Use the Photo Analysis Worksheet to guide your thinking.

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Lesson

grades 6–12

Letters, Undelivered

Write a letter to someone important that you'll never actually send. Afterward, reflect on the experience.

Play button
how to write fiction that comes alive

Selected by

TKSST

Video

grades 6–12

How to Write Fiction That Comes Alive

Learn how writers use descriptive language to engage a reader's senses. Then try some of the techniques from the video in your own writing.

Play button
evolution of the book

Selected by

TKSST

Video

grades 5–12

Evolution of the Book

What makes a book a book? Learn about the origins of bookmaking from design and fonts to paper and spines.

Play button
a hero's journey

Selected by

TKSST

Video

grades 6–12

A Hero's Journey

Learn about the story structure of the hero, from ancient warriors to modern-day Harry Potter. The variations come from the same template: the monomyth.

New tab
Lord of the Flies

Video

grades 7–12

Why You Should Read Lord of the Flies

Explore author William Golding's motivations for writing his most notable novel. Then read the novel and decide whether you agree with the novel's worldview.

New tab
Picture of Langston Hughes

Video

grades 6–10

Langston Hughes' "Harlem"

Introduce yourself to Hughes' most famous poem and his use of figurative language. Then write your own "Harlem"-inspired poem.

Play button
making sense of spelling

Selected by

TKSST

Video

grades 7–12

Making Sense of Spelling

Ever wonder why "two" sounds like "to" even with the "w" added? Watch and discover the relationship between words and spelling.

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Alain Locke

Video

grades 8–12

Locke's Legacy

Learn about the life and point of view of Alain Locke, whose work set the stage for the Harlem Renaissance and who battled against racism.

Video

grades 8–12

Whatever it Takes to Speak Your Mind

Watch the Virtual Cipher where youth perform through spoken word, rap, and poetry.

Video

grades 6–12

A Young Poet's Perspective

Listen to this 12-year-old's poem and identify the images and repetition that get his message across. Then create something that shares your perspective.

Video

grades 6–12

What Makes Something a Poem?

Watch this video to learn if your favorite song or an especially poignant post or tweet could be considered poetry.

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how texts are structured

Video

grades 3–8

How Texts Are Structured

Learn about the essential elements and techniques of well-structured texts. After, find a nonfiction book or article and identify some of these elements.

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hip hop fundamentals

Video

grades 3–8

Hip-Hop Fundamentals

For aspiring rappers: Learn about the three essential qualities of the art form of hip-hop.

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latinx, hispanic, and chicano geniuses

Website/App

grades 6–12

Latinx, Hispanic, and Chicano Genius

Browse and read—or learn about—the work of Latinx, Hispanic, and Chicano artists, activists, and more. (Note: Some texts require sign-in.)

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Website/App

Preschool–grade 12

Libby

Check out ebooks and audiobooks from public libraries for free. Read and listen to your selections directly within the app.

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discover her story

Website/App

grades 6–12

Discover Her Story

Choose a theme to explore behind-the-scenes videos, stories, and objects featuring women who have shaped America as we know it.

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funny studying

Website/App

grades 6–12

Studying Has Never Been Funnier

Check out the "free stuff" for math, English, and more. As you learn, enjoy the sometimes sarcastic commentary about studying.

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math in various languages

Website/App

grades 3–12

Math in Three Languages

Choose a language -- English, Spanish, or Portuguese -- then click on a math concept to get some information. Explore other topics, too!

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Boy working on problem - Knowledge on the Go

Website/App

Preschool–grade 12

Great Minds: Knowledge on the Go

Build knowledge with these high-quality, daily instructional video lessons for ELA (grades K–8), math (grades K–12), and science (grades 3–5).

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TIME for Kids magazine cover

Website/App

grades 5–6

TIME for Kids

Read these kid-friendly articles about current events, cool science facts, and more.

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illustration of people in a classroom lab

Website/App

grades 4–10

Frontiers for Young Minds

Read and discuss articles on cutting-edge science discoveries written by scientists and reviewed by kids and teens.

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Website/App

grades 1–9

Personalized Writing and Grammar Help

Flex your grammar muscles with this interactive tool. Take the diagnostic quiz, then try some writing activities that are just right for your level.

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Website/App

grades 8–12

Share Your Knowledge

Think of something you know and read a lot about. Use Hypothes.is' annotation tool to add your insight to something you've read.

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Kids holding books

Website/App

grades 6–8

Book Club for Kids

In each episode, middle schoolers chat about a popular middle-grade or YA book and share their favorite book recommendations.

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Website/App

grades 6–12

Grammarly

Compose clear, mistake-free writing that makes the right impression with Grammarly’s writing assistant.

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recipe zine

Worksheet

grades 3–8

Recipe Zine

With a little folding and loads of creativity, use this template to make a recipe for yourself, a family member or friend, or anything!

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writing hour

Worksheet

grades 1–8

Writing Inspiration

Print out this packet of activities that get you writing and thinking in new ways.

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Worksheet

grades 6–12

No Writer's Block Here!

Print this packet and use it to break through writer's block. Along the way you'll practice writing, develop your skills, and create cool stuff.

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being smart about the coronavirus

Worksheet

grades 6–12

Thinking Critically About COVID-19

Complete these three thinking and writing activities to get a handle on some of the key terms and concepts associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Worksheet

grades 3–12

Creative Quick-Writes

Choose (at random) one of the prompts and spend some time writing. If it goes well, carve out some time each day to do more.