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Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



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Lesson Plan

Chasing the Dream: Researching the Meaning of the American Dream

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Chasing the Dream: Researching the Meaning of the American Dream

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susanne Rubenstein

Susanne Rubenstein

Princeton, Massachusetts


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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  • The Center for Steinbeck Studies

    This website, The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, is a university archive focusing on Steinbeck’s life and work and offering a variety of materials for teacher interesting in teaching Steinbeck’s work.

  • The American Dream: A Biography

    This article discusses how the idea of the American Dream has changed society and  traces the history of the American Dream.

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  1. Familiarize yourself with the concept of the American Dream and its history.  An excellent resource is “Keeping the Dream Alive” by Jon Meacham (Time, July 2, 2012 Vol. 180  No.1).
  2. Prepare student copies or plan access to the two readings listed above by Steinbeck and Sidel and prepare discussion starters.  (Sample starters for the Sidel reading are included.)
  3. Make class copies of the assignment sheet The American Dream Project.
  4. Determine the appropriate number of groups to divide the class into.  (Note: there should be a minimum of 4 students per group, but 5-7 is optimal.  If class size is too small to allow for six groups, one for each decade 1950 – present, it is best to omit the most recent decade where interviewees often offer less material.)

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