Language Arts & Media Communications

Index - LANGUAGE ARTS & MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS - Inquiry-based Projects

Projects are numbered and indexed in top section Click on the title, or scroll down to find the matching number & full text of the activity below.

Listed at top are full format, formal LESSON PLANS.


Other Project listings are adaptable to various grade levels and can be differentiated.  Many are interdisciplinary:  be sure to look in related subject area pages (listed at left) for more ideas.  For example, numerous additional essay and writing projects are contained in other sections of the Flint Hills Education Program. Search write and writing.

Click here for CURRICULUM STANDARDS to projects listed below.

Main Subject Area
Related Subject Areas
Prairie and Grassland Readings (DOC) LESSON PLAN (2-3)
language arts, reading, writing
Flint Hills Research Project Unit - (High School) Full 16-day unit:  LESSON PLAN (10-12)
all subjects; language arts
All subjects
Flint Hills writers
language arts, literature, reading, writing, speaking, video

Opportunities for publication
language arts, writing
business, entrepreneurship; social studies, economics
Folklore of Flint Hills cowboy and cowgirl culture - Interview & video 
language arts, speaking, writing, video
social studies, sociology
Local folklore - write story or play 
language arts, reading, creative writing
social studies, history
Art of storytelling - write a story 
language arts, literature, writing, speaking
social studies, history
Letters and diaries of local pioneers - Interpretive essay 
language arts, reading, writing, speaking, grammar and language skills
social studies, history
Research tallgrass prairie animal, bird, or insect species - informative, documented essay 
language arts, reading, writing
science, biology and zoology
Argumentative (persuasive) essay - controversy in Flint Hills
language arts, writing
social studies; science
Definition essay - tallgrass prairie, sustainability, Flint Hills culture, etc.
Language arts, writing
science; social studies
Romantic Era poet William Wordsworth - “The Tables Turned”
language arts, literature, speaking, writing
social studies, psychology
Writing in iambic pentameter - character description
language arts, literature, writing

Creating a promotional publication
language arts, media, writing
art, graphic design
Travel planners and tour companies - persuasive speech 
language arts, speaking
business, entrepreneurship; social studies, economics
Earth cycles in the Flint Hills - Informative essay/presentation 
language arts, reading, speaking
science, earth science
Research the practice of pasture burning - Persuasive essay or speech 
language arts, reading, speaking
science, agronomy
Your community: people, places, past & present - Interview; cause & effect 
language arts, reading, writing, speaking 
social studies, history
Areas of Local Beauty  - Narrated Video 
language arts, media, writing, speaking
art, photography; business
Providing information technology services to local organizations
language arts, writing, video, web
art, graphic design; business; social studies, history
Photography collections - narrated video 
language arts, writing, speaking, video
art, photography; social studies, history
What is a “sense of place”? - essay 
language arts, reading, writing
social studies, geography, psychology
Relationship between place and personal identity - cause and effect
language arts, reading, writing;
social studies, psychology, geography
If you grew up in a different place - comparison and contrast
language arts, reading, writing; social studies, geography, psychology
social studies, geography, psychology
Imagery of the Flint Hills - shaping sense of “beauty - descriptive essay or poem 
language arts, reading, writing
Concept of “taking your home for granted" - personal response essay 
language arts, writing

Interpret a quotation about the prairie and grassland.
language arts, writing

Language Arts & Media Communications - Projects

Involving Literature, Folklore, Reading, Writing, Language Skills, Speaking and Listening, Journalism, Video, Web.

Numerous additional essay and writing activities are contained in other sections of the Flint Hills Education Program.

1. Prairie & Grassland Readings

In this Prairie and Grassland Readings (DOC) LESSON PLAN (grades 2-3), students will read nonfiction text, discuss and brainstorm prairie facts, then write an informative summary about what they learned. (language arts; reading, writing)

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Blue Flower

2. Flint Hills Research Project Unit

This Flint Hills Research Project Unit LESSON PLAN (grades 10-12), a fully developed documented essay unit, contains a 16-day class schedule, includes all ready-to-use materials, teacher guides and management tools, rubrics, etc.: Contains Cause and Effect analysis on place-based topics - see wide range of Topic Choices. Includes Primary Source Interview activity, plus background writing skill lessons and exercises: steps in research, types of evidence, keywords, citations and documentation, quoting, paraphrasing, avoiding plagiarism, outlining, introductions, conclusions, cause and effect topic sentences, revision. (all subjects; language arts)

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3. Flint Hills writers

Students will read essays and poems by Flint Hills writers of past and present. Who are some of these writers? Which are no longer living? Where can you find their work? What makes them “Flint Hills” writers? Students will choose one writer and read some of his/her work. Students will discuss and then write an essay analyzing the author’s structure, purpose, style, tone, and main ideas, and identifying ways in which the Flint Hills landscape and culture influenced his/her writing. The class will create a video compilation on Flint Hills writers in which individual students each give a presentation of a writer including a brief introduction, an oral reading of an excerpt from their writer’s work, and interpretation of how the Flint Hill region affected his/her work (language arts, literature, reading, writing, speaking, video) WA White & FH Prairie; Sky poems Flint Hills poem  Fire poem Sky poem Birds song lyrics June essay Mustang poem Laredo song lyrics Place poem Town elegy   Herders poem Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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4. Opportunities for Publication

Students will explore contemporary local Flint Hills authors’ opportunities for publication. In what media are they choosing to publish? What book publishers are publishing their work? What is involved in self-publication of a book? What are other choices for publication (i.e. online)? How do these writers market and distribute their work? How do these writers network and share ideas? What is the “Tallgrass Writers Workshop”? Where is the closest place to buy books? Students will write a marketing plan for a new book on a topic of their choice. (language arts, writing, business, entrepreneurship; social studies, economics) See Tallgrass Writers Workshop Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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5. Folklore of Flint Hills Cowboy & Cowgirl Culture - interview & video

Students will conduct research in the folklore of Flint Hills cowboy and cowgirl culture. How are the lives and values of these people different from others in your area? What special objects (clothing, horse tack, equipment and supplies) are valued and utilized in their culture? What special terminology do Flint Hills cowboys and cowgirls use - what words, idioms, expressions, nicknames, slang, etc. are unique to this culture? What are their forms of recreation and hobbies? What legends or stories do they tell of their work and experiences? How do they feel about their life style and culture? Identify aspects of Spanish influence on cowboy culture and how this is evidence also in Flint Hills cowboy culture (origin of terms, leatherwork, etc.) Students will either research past persons and write a biographical summary, or interview and video local individuals today and prepare a transcript of the interview, share highlights with the class, and donate the video to the local historical society. (language arts, speaking, writing, video; social studies, sociology) Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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6. Local Folklore - write story or play

Students will investigate local folklore in the form of legends and stories, by interviewing local residents and/or reading primary documents from historical society. Students will write a short story or play dramatizing one of these local legends. (language arts, reading, creative writing, social studies, history)  See Rogler Reality Show Teter Rock Remington  
 Kafir Corn Carnivals Tree story Children’s Recess Games Grasshoppers + folklore Folktale Humans & Fire (Australian grassland) Tehuelche creation story (South American grassland) Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing Flint Hills Info Resources - Geog-Maps-History-Culture-Economy 
See also Lang Arts No. 3, 7.  See also Soc Studies Learning Activities No. 23-24-25

7. Art of Storytelling - write a story

Students will explore the art of storytelling. Who are good storytellers in your community? Interview this person and record one of their stories. Think of a good story from your experience that you enjoy telling. What makes a good story? Think of plot elements: basic situation, conflict, complications, climax resolution. How was storytelling important in the earlier cultures? Read some stories recorded from your community in your local historical society. What makes a good live (oral) storyteller? What delivery techniques increase the effectiveness of a speaker telling a story? How does the audience age-group influence the speaker’s techniques? Students will each develop a story to tell (original or adapted from a local source) that reflects a significant aspect of the local community’s history and culture. Students will tell their story to the classroom (or to a class of younger students). (language arts, literature, writing, speaking; social studies, history)
See also Lesson Plan - Local Story-telling Through Ballads.
Pioneer story Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing Flint Hills Info Resources - Geog-Maps-History-Culture-Economy  Rogler Reality Show 

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8. Letters & Diaries of Local Pioneers - Interpretive essay 

Students will discover details of early life as they read the letters and diaries of local pioneers (from local historical society). How have daily experiences, values, and attitudes changed since that time? How have language conventions and common usage changed since that time? Why is it important to preserve these original documents in their original form? As a language activity, students will “translate” these earlier documents into contemporary language and usage by proofreading and “correcting” the grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and spelling. Students will conduct a comparative reading of an excerpt of their source in its original form and edited form. Students will write a interpretive essay explaining how these documents reflect the life experiences and cultural values of the time. (language arts, reading, writing, speaking, grammar and language skills; social studies, history) Pike’s journal  Harriet Jones  Libby Custer  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing Flint Hills Info Resources - Geog-Maps-History-Culture-Economy  Rogler Reality Show 

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9. Researching Prairie Animals, Birds or Insect Species - informative, documented essay 

Students will practice research and writing skills by researching information sources on a tallgrass prairie animal, bird, or insect species.  Students will choose a species.  What is its anatomy and physiology, habitat, diet, reproductive cycle, ecological niche, perception in human culture, etc.  How will reader know your facts are accurage and believable?  Students will record sources as they conduct research in order to create a bibliography/Works Cited and citations.   How can you avoid committing plagiarism?  Paraphrase ordinary facts by changing sentence structure and writing style.  Quote where especially well-put or meaningful, embedding phrases in your own writing where possible.  Students will write a two-page informative, documented essay. (language arts, writing, reading; science) Flint Hills Info Resources - Nature-Science
See Science activities No. 28 (animals),  No. 27 (birds)  
See also Language Arts Lesson Plan No. 2 - Flint Hills Research Project Unit.

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10. Argumentative (Persuasive) Essay on Controversy in the Flint Hills

Students will write an argumentative (persuasive) essay supporting their stated claim within the context of a local controversy in the Flint Hills. What are some of the issues in this region over which people disagree? i.e. burning, conservation easements, zoning, energy development - oil and gas, solar, wind, fragmentation of the prairie, water quality, endangered species, absentee landownership, loss of population, rural poverty, etc. Create a T-chart of the major arguments and counter-arguments. What evidence can you gather to support your ideas? What would be an engaging attention-getter to begin the essay? Students will create and outline and write an essay stating their claim, supporting it with arguments and evidence, and rebutting counter-arguments. (language arts, writing, social studies; science)  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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11. Definition Essay - tallgrass prairie, sustainability, Flint Hills Culture, etc.

Students will write a definition essay explaining the meaning of a Flint Hills-related term such as tallgrass prairie, sustainable agriculture, extractive economy, conservation, fragmentation, succession (ecosystem), prescribed burning, invasive species, eco-services, folklore, Flint Hills culture, viewshed, eco-therapy, biodiversity, increasers (plant), decreasers (plants), carrying capacity (pastures), food desert, and activity desert. Students will research the term, obtaining different perspectives and examples.  In their essay, students will analyze the term, put it into meaningful context, give examples, use antithesis (tell what it does not mean). (language arts, writing, social studies, science) 

Sustainable Prairie:  

Human cultures adjust to the prairie-Learning in the Prairie LESSON p. 199

 Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

12. Romantic Era poet William Wordsworth

Students will identify the author’s purpose in the poem “The Tables Turned” by Romantic Era poet William Wordsworth (or other author/poem), and apply it to their environment of the tallgrass prairie. Students will discuss how humans can learn from observing nature. Students will conduct research on how nature can help heal emotional problems. Students will apply these concepts to the Flint Hills and write an analogous poem about the importance of going outside into our Flint Hills environment. (language arts, literature, speaking, writing, social studies, psychology) Poem “The Tables Turned” Flint Hills Info Resources - Outdoor-Recreation-Travel-Tourism

13. Writing in Iambic Pentameter - Character description 

Students will practice the skill of writing in iambic pentameter by writing a Canterbury Tales-type profile of a local character or stereotype within their community. (language arts, literature, writing)  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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14. Promotional Publication

Students will practice persuasive writing and technical skills in graphic design by creating a promotional publication (print or online) for an attraction or event in their area. (language arts, media, writing, art, graphic design)  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing Flint Hills Info Resources - Outdoor-Recreation-Travel-Tourism

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15. Travel Planners & Tour Companies  - Persuasive speech 

Students will explore local opportunities for the business model of travel planners and tour companies. What attractions and activities are available in your area? Why would travelers enjoy the Flint Hills? What is unique about this region? Students will prepare a persuasive speech to convince an audience of travel planners that they should bring tour groups to the Kansas Flint Hills and also to their particular area. (language arts, speaking; business, entrepreneurship; social studies, economics) Flint Hills Info Resources - Outdoor-Recreation-Travel-Tourism

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16. Earth Cycles in the Flint Hills - Informative Essay/Presentation

Students will research various aspects of the four Earth cycles in the Flint Hills. Students will prepare an in-depth essay or power-point presentation explaining one of the cycles - rock, water, carbon, and nitrogen - and how it is manifested in the Flint Hills environment. (language arts, reading, speaking; science, earth science) Flint Hills Info Resources - Nature-Science

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17 . Research the Practice of Pasture Burning - Persuasive essay or speech

Students will research the practice of pasture burning in the Flint Hills. Students will explore information sources on the history of this practice. Students will answer these questions on the contemporary practice of burning: who-what-when-where-why-and-how. Students will prepare a persuasive essay or speech on burning in the Flint Hills - how and why it is done.  Target audience will be "hostile" audience, i.e. urban residents with no background knowledge of the practice, and who think it should be stopped. (language arts, reading, speaking; science, agronomy) Attitudes toward fire Flint Hills Info Resources - Nature-Science See also Science #41 Prescribed Burning Career & Ag Prescribed Burning-Process of Burning a Pasture

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18. Your Community:  People, Places, Past & Present - Interview; Cause & Effect

PEOPLE:  Students will investigate past leaders and interesting citizens in their community. Students will identify early day community leaders using local historical society documents and other primary and secondary sources. Why did this person succeed as a leader? What important actions did he/she take that makes him/her remembered?  How has his/her life shaped your community? Students will research and write a short biography of a local person from the past of prominence in the community. OR Students will interview and video a local individual in their community today and prepare a transcript of the interview, share highlights with the class, and donate the video to the local historical society
PLACES:  Students will research interesting places in their community including buildings, structures, statues, bridges, landmarks, monuments, and natural features. What unique features and stories make these places important? Do people make a point of visiting this place? How does this contribute to the sense of place in your community? See Art #20 Local Structures of Architectural or Historic Value. Students will write a short summary of this place and how it is important to their community. (language arts, reading, writing, social studies, history) Wiser Barn Exploring your community - ex. Emporia  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing  Flint Hills Info Resources - Geog-Maps-History-Culture-Economy  See also Social Studies Projects #23 & #24 

19. Areas of Local Beauty - narrated video

Students will investigate and make a presentation on areas of local beauty for tourism purposes. Students will create a narrated video to highlight local areas of scenic beauty, for use by their local Convention and Visitors Bureau. For examples of outstanding Flint Hills documentaries, see Prairie Hollow Productions - excerpts available to view. (language arts, media, writing, speaking; art, photography; business) Flint Hills Info Resources - Outdoor-Recreation-Travel-Tourism

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20. Provide Various Information Technology Services

Students will provide various information technology services to assist local nonprofit organizations: creating or updating websites, i.e. assist local Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau by adding photos and descriptions of local attractions; helping a local historical society scan some of their primary sources and upload to website for public use; videoing special presentations (i.e. of speakers on historical or cultural topics) (language arts, writing, video, web; art, graphic design; business; social studies, history) Flint Hills Info Resources - Outdoor-Recreation-Travel-Tourism

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21. Photography Collections - narrated video 

Students will explore the photography collections of the local historical society. Which photographs are of the best quality and have the most significant subject matter to tell the story of your area? What would be the best captions for these photos? Students will create a narrated video documentary on local history by scanning and incorporating early photographs from the area. (language arts, writing, speaking, video; art, photography; social studies, history) Flint Hills Info Resources - Geog-Maps-History-Culture-Economy 

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22. Sense of Place - Definition essay

What is a “sense of place”? An essay from The Art of states: "It is a combination of characteristics that makes a place special and unique. Sense of place involves the human experience in a landscape, the local knowledge and folklore. Sense of place also grows from identifying oneself in relation to a particular piece of land on the surface of planet Earth.     Another way of looking at sense of place is contrast: places like strip malls have little sense of place because they more or less all look very similar, often have no name and no one who wants to spend any time there or write anything about them. Whereas places that exhibit a strong sense of place have an identity and character recognized immediately by a visitor and valued deeply by residents.     Writers and geographers have been thinking about the subject for some time. Wendell Berry famously said 'If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are'. Wallace Stegner interprets this as "... talking about the knowledge of place that comes from working in it in all weathers, making a living from it, suffering from its catastrophes, loving its mornings or evenings or hot noons, valuing it for the profound investment of labor and feeling that you, your parents and grandparents, your all-but-unknown ancestors have put into it. He is talking about the knowing that poets specialize in."    That is a sense that requires time, energy, and paying attention to realize. Many people in the 21st century spend so much time online, in their cars, at Starbucks, or in an office that they may have little connection to any unique place. Is the sense of place becoming a lost sense? Perhaps, although you can always go to Las Vegas to see shiny replications of the Eiffel Tower or Luxor pyramids.   Some of the tools for recording facets of the sense of place include maps, photographs, virtual reality, neogeography sites like Platial, stories, poems, interpretive displays, paintings, and other evidence of the human experience in a landscape. Examining these entry points can get you started appreciating the sense of place, but it is not anchored until you experience a place personally. So step outside and build up your placeness quotient."

Apply this concept to your local area. First, define your local area. What are the unique visual or physical features of the landscape, natural or human-made, that give it “a sense of place”? What aspects do not? What is the “local knowledge and folklore” of your place, that make it different from others? Students will write an essay about the “sense of place” of their local home area. (language arts, reading, writing, social studies, geography, psychology)  Place poem Road to Ivanpah Exploring your community - ex. Emporia

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23. Relationship Between Place & Personal Identity - Cause & effect

What is the relationship between place and personal identity? Wendell Berry writes, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Are you aware of your place? What do you know about it? What do you not know about it that might help you understand it and yourself better? How has your home place in the Flint Hills shaped who you are and your identity? What is it about the area that has made you - you? Briefly research some aspect of the Flint Hills that you think has shaped your environment and shaped who you are (i.e. the natural landscape, some aspect of the culture, economy, history, etc.). Then write a cause and effect essay about how this factor(s) has made you who you are. (language arts, reading, writing, social studies, geography, psychology)

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24. If You Had Grown up in a Different Place - Comparison & contrast

What would your life have been like if you had grown up in a different place? Write a comparison and contrast essay about how your life growing up in the Flint Hills is different than if you had grown up in ____________. Choose three main aspects of your life and compare them in the two geographic contexts. You may wish to do some research on the two areas to have factual evidence for examples. (language arts, reading, writing, social studies, geography, psychology)

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25. Imagery of the Flint Hills - Descriptive essay or poem

How has the imagery of the Flint Hills shaped your sense of “beauty”? What do you think of as a “beautiful” landscape? The Flint Hills don’t have high mountain peaks or dramatic sea shores. Why then do many people find them beautiful? Author Jim Hoy has written, “The Flint Hills don’t take your breath away; they give you a chance to catch it.” What does this mean? Have you had a chance to visit beautiful parts of the Flint Hills? Where are the most scenic places you have been in the region? What details do you remember? What did it look, sound, smell, feel like? Write an essay or poem using imagery to describe the visual, physical aspects of the Flint Hills landscape and how it appeals to your sense of beauty. (language arts, writing, art) My Response to Prairie (using 5 senses) -Learning in the Prairie FIELD TRIP LESSON p. 47  Flint Hills Info Resources - Art-Photo-Music-Writing

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26. Concept of “Taking Your Home for Granted" - Personal response essay

Students will analyze the concept of “taking your home for granted.” What does it mean to “take something for granted”? John Ed Pearce wrote, “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” Explain the irony of this statement, and why it is often true. What does age have to do with it? What might young people in your community miss about their home area if they move away? Apply this to your life: do you plan to move far away or stay in the area? What will you miss? Where do you want to go to college or take your first job? Where do you want to live most of your adult life and raise a family? Explain the reasons why. Students will write a personal response paragraph about issues related to “taking your home for granted.” (language arts, writing)

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27. Interpret a Quotation About the Prairie & Grassland

Students will interpret a quotation about the prairie and grassland. Explore the quotations section in this website’s Flint Hills Information Resources on: Flint Hills and Tallgrass Prairie and Grass. What is your favorite quote? Why do you think it is true? Why do you think the author wrote it? What does it mean to you personally? Write a personal response paragraph interpreting the main point of the quotation. (language arts, reading, writingInfo Resources:  Quotations - Grass

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