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JSTOR for secondary school educators

Teaching the news with JSTOR Daily

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JSTOR Daily ( is an online magazine that provides context and background to news stories and current affairs. It publishes short and long posts from journalists and academics, and all pieces link to journal articles on JSTOR for deeper reading. 

We're constantly updating the site with blog posts, columns, long-form essays, and interviews with scholars, so there's always plenty of new material to use as fodder for classroom discussion. Plus, each story provides open links to the content housed in JSTOR, so anyone can explore the underlying scholarship even if their school doesn't  subscribe to all JSTOR collections.

The stories—written by journalists and academics—cover scholarship from a wide array of disciplines and are organized by topics: Arts & Culture, History & Politics, Business & Economics, Science & Technology, and Education & Society. Here are links to some of the most recent articles:

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Research Basics: a free, open, academic research skills course

Take advantage of a free course designed to help high school students build research skills and college-readiness.

Research Basics is a research fundamentals series developed by JSTOR in conjunction with librarian partners. The course has a scope broader than JSTOR-specific instruction. Its three, standalone modules include self-paced video lessons, interactive learning activities, and mastery quizzes to help high school students acquire knowledge and develop skills in the area of general academic research. As learners complete each module, they earn badges to share. Research Basics is open to everyone.

JSTOR lesson plans

In 2015 JSTOR held a Lesson Plan Competition that seeked to award creative and reproducible lesson plans that incorporate content from JSTOR into teaching at the secondary school level. The entries selected for awards include high level of student engagement, creative activities, and tips on integrating content from the JSTOR Secondary School package into teaching. The plans also provide useful notes on adapting the lesson to other topics or grade levels. All of the plans are freely available in PDF format.

The winning entries:

Frankenstein: Alive and Well Today

Lesson summary: After having read and discussed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, students will choose one scientific article from the list to read, summarize, and connect to a scene in the novel, asking themselves how learning about this topic leads to a new, different, or deeper understanding of Victor Frankenstein, the Creature, or a theme.
Recommended grade level: 11-12
Subjects covered: Ethics, Literature
JSTOR Collections: Archival Journals; Related disciplines: Social Sciences, Biology, Health Sciences

Author: Jenny Nauss, The Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center (Washington, DC). With over twenty years of high school teaching experience in San Francisco and Washington, D. C., Jenny Nauss most recently taught at Maret School, a private K-12 school, where she developed this lesson for her junior/senior Ethics and Literature class. She recently embarked on a new phase of her career in the role of Instructional Manager at the Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center, which offers an academic and workforce program for 17-24 year students who are preparing to take the GED.

From Archive to Platform to Discussion to Scholarship: The Dynamic Use of JSTOR’s Collections in the Study of Nadine Gordimer’s Work July’s People

Lesson summary: Students will immerse themselves in a close analysis of the anti-apartheid novel July’s People. They will then be introduced to the depth of scholarly research, the précis and summary, incorporating research into technological platforms, use of research for literary analysis. In the end, students will gain historical context and cultural knowledge of literature.
Recommended grade level: 11-12
Subjects covered: Literature and Cultural and Political History
JSTOR Collections: Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa primary source collection

Author: Christian Gregory, PhD Candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University. For over 15 years, Christian Gregory has been teaching high school English and Philosophy in private schools in NYC and Boston. He holds two degrees in literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and was recently awarded a full fellowship to Teachers College, Columbia University, where he is pursing a PHD in English Education. Mr. Gregory was the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and his culminating lesson plans for each have been published electronically through the NEH. He was also a semi-finalist for the Bechtal Award through Teachers and Writers in NYC and is currently an adjunct professor at Mercy College.

Learning History Through Research: Religious Belief Systems of South and East Asia

Lesson summary: In a multi-week lesson, students will learn the historical research process via activities that guide them through selection of primary and secondary sources, forumulation of a thesis, selecting resources to support the thesis, synthesis and analysis, and writing a short research paper.
Recommended grade level: 9
Subject covered: History, Religion
JSTOR Collections: Archival Journals; Related disciplines: History, Philosophy, Religion

Authors: Lisa Lopez-Carickhoff, Director of Libraries and Information Services, The Baldwin School; Jennifer Cutler, Upper School History Teacher, The Baldwin School. Lisa LopezCarickhoff is the Director of Libraries and Information Services at The Baldwin School, a PreK12 allgirls independent school, in the suburban Philadelphia area. Much of her research work with students centers around the Upper School History curriculum. Through a partnership with colleagues in the Department of History, she is able to contribute to a deep research experience for students, that both builds their information literacy and writing skills and encourages an authentic curiosity about history. Lisa has worked in education for twelve years, as both a teacher and a librarian in independent and public schools, primarily at the secondary level. Jennifer Cutler is an Upper School History teacher at the Baldwin School. Previously, she taught Upper School History at The Chapin School, a private allgirls school in Manhattan. Jennifer began her teaching career in the D.C. suburbs at McLean High School, where she taught History and French. Jennifer teaches history through inquiry and project based learning and has made presentations about these methods at EdCamp and PAIS (Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools) conferences.

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