Emma Lazarus Project: Curriculum

Emma Lazarus Curriculum

Pull a Lesson from the Shelf to get started!

Possible Pathways

Possible Pathways

This curriculum offers teachers a modular digital framework which gives them the agency to make choices about what fits into their curriculum and time constraints. Within each step students are encouraged to make interpretations, debate ideas, and state their convictions. 
This Curriculum has Three Steps
Overview

In 1883, Emma Lazarus wrote The New Colossus, a poem now affixed to the Statue of Liberty and a vital part of America’s story and identity. Emma’s life and message will inspire your students to participate in the ongoing conversation of what it means to be an American.

Download the Curriculum Overview for information on the lessons involved.

 

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Step One

Download The Discovering "The New Colossus" Activity

This activity encourages students to explore Emma’s poem and reflect on her message. Students are then encouraged to generate their own questions about Emma Lazarus which will be revisited throughout the next steps.

We have also created an extension activity which dives deeper into how Emma used langauge and poetic devices to communicate her message. Download The ELA Extension Activity

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Step Two

Possible Pathways Through the Archive

  • AJHS has created a 12 minute film and digital storybook that brings AJHS’ archives to life through animation which you can shate with your students.
  • AJHS has created two model lessons for how to utilize The Archive: Emma & Me and A Statue’s Meaning
  • We encourage you utilize The Archive to mix and match sources to deepen and enrich your own lessons!
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Step Three

Download Writing The New "New Colossus" Activity

In this lesson students create their own New “New Colossus,” expressing their vision and ideals about America. AJHS has created a national poetry contest that asks students "If you could write a poem for the Statue of Liberty today, what would you say?" Visit our poetry contest page to learn more about how to submit your students original work to the poetry contest. 

From The Archives 1

From The Archives 1

The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. The AJHS has an unparalleled collection on the Lazarus family, as well as material on immigration, anti-Semitism and freedom of religion. AJHS has created an online archive of scaffolded primary sources that have been tagged based on overarching themes (i.e. immigration, American identity, Jewish identity, inequality). 

We encourage you to utilize our model lessons, or mix and match sources to deepen and enrich your own lessons!

 

 

From the Archives 2

From the Archives 2

The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. The AJHS has an unparalleled collection on the Lazarus family, as well as material on immigration, anti-Semitism and freedom of religion. AJHS has created an online archive of scaffolded primary sources that have been tagged based on overarching themes (i.e. immigration, American identity, Jewish identity, inequality). 

We encourage you to utilize our model lessons, or mix and match sources to deepen and enrich your own lessons!

Virtual Visits with AJHS

Virtual Visits with AJHS

AJHS has developed a series of virtual programs designed to teach about immigration, American ideals, and civic participation.   From virtual visits with the famous poetess, to interactive zoom workshops with an acclaimed poet, students will have the chance to read and discuss Emma’s words and immerse themselves in the issues of the time. At this time all virtual sessions are being offered to classrooms for free.

Virtual Visit with Emma Lazarus

Step back in time and into the sitting room of Emma Lazarus, a fifth-generation American Jew caught in an important turning point in American history. In this live interactive program, children have the opportunity to engage with the famous poetess about her life and the issues of her time. Emma will encourage families to identify a cause that they care about and discover their own creative voice. Recommended for Students age 7 – 12.
Email rmiller@ajhs.org to schedule your free program. 

 

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Digital Media Collection

Digital Media Collection

Explore the multi-media resources available to augment your classroom experience. From a 13 minute film that traces Emma Lazarus' life story and explore the context in which she came to write "The New Colossus," to recordings of contemporary poets responding to Emma's words with their own original poems; this collection of media can be used to enhance your lesson.

Digital Storybook

This interactive digital storybook bring's AJHS' archives and Emma Lazarus' story to life. 

Access the Digital Storybook

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AJHS' Digitized Collections

Teachers can explore The American Jewish Historical Society’s digitized collections online, including the Emma Lazarus papers.

Visit AJHS's Digitized Collections

 

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92 St Y’s “A New Colossus”

In July 2017, 92nd Street Y paid tribute to Lazarus’s iconic poem by hosting a week-long online festival using the hashtag #ANewColossus. Nineteen of the nation’s best emerging poets wrote poems that explored both the stories Lazarus’s poem invites, and those to which it may have blinded us.

Visit the 92nd St Y's A New Colossus

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Watch the Film

Teacher's Guide 

Bring the story of Emma Lazarus to your classroom. Most famous for writing The New Colossus, Emma’s life and legacy 
will inspire your students to participate in the ongoing conversation of what it means to be an American.

 

Who is this for?
  • Educators looking for resources to teach social studies, American history, American-Jewish history, civic engagement, English language arts, or poetry and to build skills like inquiry, historical analysis, writing, and creativity
  • Ideal for middle and high school students, but can be adapted to inspire all ages
What will my students do?
  • Examine and interpret primary sources
  • Make connections between the past and present - Emma’s life and theirs today
  • Use their voice to engage in the issues that matter to them
  • Write a poem that expresses what it means for them to be American
How can I use this?
  • Pull a folder from the shelf to get started with the materials. The curriculum is flexibly designed so that you make choices to best meet your needs and goals - whether you are looking to enhance one lesson or build an entire unit
  • Materials are tagged to help you find what you are looking for and make connections across the resources. Tags include: Statue of Liberty, inequality, immigration, antisemitism, freedom of religion, arts and letters, Jewish identity, American identity 
What’s included?  
  • Digital story book that tells the story of Emma’s life and her most famous poem
  • Primary source collection which turns your students into historians
  • Activities that give your students a pedestal from which to share their thoughts
What’s this about a contest?
  • Just as Emma responded to issues by writing a poem that addressed American identity, we are inviting middle and high school students to write their own poem that speaks to their vision of America 
  • The deadline is July 22, 2021
  • Winners will be announced in October 2021
Where should I start?
  • Watch this 13-minute video for an overview of Emma’s story and to see how her work can inspire your students to contribute their ideas to American identity
Can I book a virtual field trip?
  • We offer a Meet Emma Lazarus live interactive program that invites students to travel back in time and engage with a costumed interperter portraying the poet herself. 
  • Recommended for children ages 9-12.

The Covenant Foundation
 

This curriculum was made possible (in part) by funds granted by The Covenant Foundation. The statements made and views expressed, however, are solely the responsibility of the author(s).

Re-imagining Mibration
 

Re-imagining Migration was created to foster understanding and the successful inclusion of migrant youth across the globe. Re-imagining Migration equips teachers to engage the children of migration and their peers to learn from one another in reflective learning environments.

Facing History and Ourselves Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization. FHAO equips teachers with strategies that help young people wrestle with current events and difficult issues through the lens of history.