In-School Programs

Can’t come to us? We can come to you!

In addition to providing these programs as part of your field trip experience, any of our writing workshops or other presentations can be brought to your school. We also offer teacher workshops. Book your program today by calling our Educational Program Manager:

Craig Hotchkiss
call 860-280-3146 or email craig.hotchkiss@marktwainhouse.org

 

Our programs meet some or all of the Connecticut Curriculum Standards as set by the State of Connecticut:

Social Studies Standards:

#1 Historical Thinking; #2 Local, U.S. and World History; #3 Historical Themes; #4 Applying History
English Language Arts Standards:

#2 Writing, #3 Reading Literature; #4 Reading for Information; #6 Materials for Instruction; #8 Teaching Strategies

Writing Programs for Students


Serving the Clemens Family (Grades 6-12)

Older students who tour the Mark Twain House can experience this 45- to 60-minute writing program in which small groups of students analyze period photos and images of manual labor typical of the Gilded Age, and then co-write a short story that describes the drudgery inherent in the lives of the African American and immigrant servants who maintained the affluent lifestyle of the Clemens family. Students will appreciate the difficulty of working class employment during the period and the theme of social and economic stratification caused by industrialization.

Sam’s Biographies (Grades 6-12)

During this 45- to 60-minute program, small groups of students are given binders containing primary and secondary source materials related to an individual who knew Samuel Clemens very well - a family member, a friend and/or a servant of the Clemens family. Drawing from conclusions that the students reach during a discussion of these sources, they then co-write a biography of their subject that explains how that person’s relationship with Samuel Clemens enhances their understanding of both individuals.

U.S. History Advanced Placement Program
Mark Twain: An American Life, 1835-1910

This two-part classroom program is designed to give A.P. students of U.S. History an in-depth “jigsaw” exercise in the analysis of primary sources as they prepare an essay response to questions related to the life and legacy of Mark Twain. Two major themes of American History are explored: race and imperialism. Part I is titled The Shame is Ours: Mark Twain from Slavery to Jim Crow, and Part II is titled Mark Twain and the Rise of American Power. Parts I and II are each 90 minutes in length. One or both parts may be done during a visit to the Mark Twain House & Museum, or for an additional fee one part may be done as an outreach program at your school.

Interactive Presentations


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An American Story (Grades 7-12)

This 45-minute presentation underscores the importance of Twain’s masterpiece by placing it within the context of the larger history of race relations in the United States from slavery to the modern Civil Rights movement. The program demonstrates how the book continues to be a catalyst for positive social change when properly framed within a larger curriculum.

Stowe & Twain: Effecting Social Change (Grades 7-12)

During the 19th century, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain were two of the most famous Americans in the world. Surprisingly, they lived as neighbors in Hartford. In collaboration with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, this program offers students the opportunity to tour both of their homes and experience this 45-minute classroom presentation that places their greatest works, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, into historical context. Your students will understand and appreciate how these small books had such a profound influence on race relations 150 years ago and today.

The Adventures of Tom and Huck – A Boy Comes of Age

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) are two “boys’ books” that helped to make Twain rich and famous, but they are radically different in both substance and tone.

The audience will have an opportunity to learn what motivated Mark Twain to write a sequel composed of two such distinct stories, and to see how both the joy and tragedy of Samuel Clemens’ own maturation as a businessman, husband, father and writer spurred him to pen perhaps his two most popular books. 60 minutes.

Mark Twain in Hartford, 1871 - 1891

Audiences explore how a “Missouri ruffian” like Samuel Clemens who, as a consequence of his having resided in Connecticut’s capital city for twenty years, was transformed into the “Hartford luminary” known as “Mark Twain.” Clemens once said of Hartford that “I think this is the best-built and handsomest town I have ever seen,” and this judgment had a great deal to do with why he and his family settled here in a remarkable house located on Farmington Avenue in the fashionable Hartford neighborhood of Nook Farm. If time permits, a 20 minute DVD can also be viewed to see how this home, which the Clemens’ left in 1891, was saved from demolition and eventually became The Mark Twain House & Museum we all treasure today. 60 minutes.

“Base Ball” as Mark Twain Knew It

Mark Twain once said that baseball was “the very symbol of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century,” a very apt description of the national pastime during the Gilded Age which echoes his lifelong interest in the struggle of America to achieve a “more perfect union” with regard to ethnicity, race, gender, class and the use of American power abroad. As an owner of Hartford’s own minor league baseball club, Twain was aware of how the “national game” mirrored the best and the worst traits of our national character, developing these themes most comprehensively in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. 60 minutes.

Travel is Fatal to Prejudice

In his celebrated 1869 travel book The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote that: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” The mature Mark Twain was the most recognized American in the world, and was perhaps the best “good will ambassador” we have ever had as a nation. This 30-minute presentation surveys the far-flung journeys of Mark Twain and illustrates how a boy with a parochial and bigoted upbringing was gradually transformed into a far more enlightened and tolerant man who came to champion human rights and equality across the globe. 30 minutes.

Life on the Mississippi (grades 5-8)

This 45-minute activity allows middle school students to analyze and evaluate vintage photographs, period songs, regional maps, and other source readings to enhance their understanding of Chapter Four in Mark Twain’s classic, non-fictional work Life on the Mississippi, an evocative description of the heyday of steamboats on America’s greatest river system. A follow up activity allows them to expand their learning through poetry and/or song. Life on the Mississippi is specifically designed to afford visiting school groups an excellent opportunity for enrichment of their Social Studies and English classroom learning consistent with the learning objectives cited in the new Connecticut Common Core Standards.

Professional Development for Teachers


Teaching Mark Twain in the Modern Classroom (Grades 4-12)

Although Twain’s life offers many useful avenues for the study of American History, Literature and Social Studies, they are often avoided because Mark Twain was so deeply involved with many of our nation’s most controversial subjects, especially with regard to race relations. The Mark Twain House & Museum can craft a professional in-service program to suit the specific instructional and budgetary needs of educators who are interested in enriching the resources and techniques available for teaching the life and works of Mark Twain to diverse students in the modern classroom.

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For printed information about the many educational programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum -- or at your local library, historical society or club -- click below.

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Writing at the Mark Twain House

Improve and develop your writing where Twain wrote. Our Writing at the Mark Twain House programs, launched in 2010, have created deep bonds among participants and instructors alike. Click here.