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Tips to Get Started

  1. Create a login to have access to the Teacher side of the curriculum.


Log In


Then hover over the Teachers button at the top of any page, and select a lesson from the drop-down menu.



On the Overview page, check out the Lesson Introduction page to see the lesson’s organizing questions and objectives.



Go back to the Overview page and click on the Materials and Teacher Preparation page to see what equipment, materials, and instructions you’ll need for the different components of that lesson. Also note that you can use this page to print handouts as either a PDF or Google Doc.


Go back to the Overview page and browse through the Close-Up readings, Activities, Videos, and Assignments to select what you’d like to teach your students.


Defining Civic Engagement



Civically Engaged Students



Civically Engaged Americans



Reflecting on Civic Engagement



In the classroom, you can direct students to the web page you’d like them to visit or project the pages on a screen for everyone to see at the same time.


Let's Get Started

Welcome to "What Does It Mean To Be An American?," a free web-based curriculum designed for high school and college level students. It was developed by curriculum experts at Stanford University and each lesson fulfills a variety of curriculum standards. Originally designed as an onsite classroom resource, it also works well for distance learning situations. 

Video Tutorials

Get the most out of this curriculum with these simple tips.

Getting Started

Each of the six thematic modules blends readings, primary source material, images, videos, activities, and assignments.

Each of the lessons are stand-alone so that teachers may choose to use as many or few as they like.

Each lesson has a separate Teacher and Student version; the Teacher version can only be accessed with a login and has additional notes and instruction only visible to teachers. Students do not need to login to access the Student version.

How-to Overview

Although we think each lesson is important and valuable, there are a few we’d like to spotlight:


In Immigration, Day 1 features the Close-Up reading Immigration to the U.S.: A Brief History. This reading is a prime example of blending text, graph analysis, primary source images, and photographs with a vocabulary list and resource list for further research.


In Civil Liberties & Equity, go to the Day 2 video What Does It Mean to Be a Young Black Man in America? We organized a panel of 4 college-age Black men to talk candidly about the issues they face and what they want people to know about them.


What is justice? Students examine different aspects of justice when they’re asked to categorize famous quotes in Quotes About Justice, a drag-and-drop activity on Day 1 of the Justice & Reconciliation lesson.

quotation mark on blackboard.jpg

Need more help?

If you have any questions about the curriculum or specific components, feel free to share your questions or comments with us. 

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