Lesson Plans

Workshop resources and handouts are developed by CREES experts as supplementary materials for educators who attend our annual workshops or anyone interested in the topic. More lesson plans coming soon!

Five Stalks of Grain

A lesson plan and other resources on Five Stalks of Grain, a graphic novel that explores tragedy and survival during the 1930s famine in Ukraine known as the Holodomor. This lesson plan was created using standards or 8th grade but can be expanded/altered to target other grades.

Five stalks of grain by adrian lysenko. black and white cover. drawing of young girl and boy holding hands walking through the woods at night

Learning Shapes with Ukrainian Pysanky

The art of making pysanky (decorated eggs) is an ancient tradition in Ukraine and other Slavic countries. They are made with a wax resistance technique where hot wax is written on the shell of the egg and then the egg is dyed. This lesson teaches kindergarteners how to name and identify six two-dimensional shapes featured in traditional pysanky designs. They count shapes, identify shapes in their surroundings, and describe the location of shapes using basic prepositions. Students learn a little bit about Ukraine as part of the lesson.

Twelve Ukrainian pysanky (decorated eggs) in a variety of colors and designs.

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

"The Nose" is a short story written by Ukrainian author Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol. It tells the tale of civil servant, Platon Kovalyov, who awakes one morning in March to discover that his nose is missing. When he ventures out into the city of St. Petersburg to contact the police, he sees his nose walking, talking, and wearing the uniform of a State Counsillor. The absurd tale of the missing nose presents a comical critique of 19th century Russian society.

Nose wearing a hat and uniform running into a building.

Prince Ivan and the Firebird

"Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf" is one of the most well-known Russian fairytales. Ivan, the youngest of the Tsar's three sons sets out on a journey to capture the firebird that was stealing his father's golden apples. The story tells of Ivan Tsarevich's trials and triumphs during this quest.

Prince Ivan and the Firebird illustration by Ivan Biliban: young man dressed in red pulling a tail feather from the firebird

The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito

The Safest Lie is a fast-paced, inspiring account of nine-year old Anna Bauman, one of thousands of Jewish children rescued from the Warsaw, Poland ghetto. The novel’s inspiration is based on the life of Irena Sendler, the Catholic social worker and spy who rescued more than 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Her story was little known until four high school students from Uniontown, Kansas wrote a play entitled "Life in a Jar" based on her inspirational work saving children

Consider a visit to the inspiring exhibit on the life of Irena Sendler at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, KS. Contact conardnorm@gmail.com to schedule a tour.

book cover

Liberation, Activism, and the Power of Media (2021)

A professional development workshop for K-12 teachers was organised by the KU Area Studies Centers to explore themes of liberation, activism and the power of the media globally to make connections with current anti-racist movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Experts from the Area Studies Centers at the University of Kansas discussed instances where iconic photographs have documented how people around the world continue to valiantly struggle against oppression. This was through examination of case studies from South Africa, Guatemala, China, and Lithuania.