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American Dreams
& the 60s

A Soldier's Letters

Create a 60s Mural

Create an American Dreams Talk Show

Compare Your
Advice to Meg's


Create an American Dreams Talk Show!

Overview: In this activity students will create an imaginary American Dreams talk show using some of the program characters. The purpose of the activity is to help students develop develop an understanding of, characterize, and to think critically as they synthesize information from varied perspectives.

Grade Level: Middle School & High School

  1. Tell the students that they are going to create an imaginary American Dreams talk show.

  2. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group one character to research. Each group will be assigned one question for its character. Ask the students to discuss how they imagine their assigned character might respond to the question. .

    Prior to beginning the small group discussions, ask each group to watch this video, in which the actor or actress is asked the question "Do you relate at all to your character? How?"

    Group 1: Meg
    What do you think is the most challenging part of growing up?

    Group 2: J.J.
    Why do you think people's dreams and expectations change as they grow older?

    Group 3: Roxanne
    Why is it important to try new things?

    Group 4: Helen
    What advice would you give to your daughters?

    Group 5: Jack
    How can you learn to listen to family members who disagree with you?

  3. After the students have finished generating answers to their questions, ask each group to choose a student to act as an American Dreams cast member in the staging of the mock talk show.

  4. Select a host and assemble the cast in the front of the classroom. Ask each question, and allow the selected student to answer based on the group discussion. Encourage interactions among the different students. Invite the students who are in the audience to ask questions. If possible, videotape the students' performance.

National Education Standards
Language Arts

Grade 6-8 Writing

Standard 4
Gathers and uses information for research purposes

Level III
6. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations)


Standard 9
Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

Level III Grade : 6-8
1. Understands a variety of messages conveyed by visual media (e.g., main concept, details, themes or lessons, viewpoints)
7. Understands reasons for varied interpretations of visual media (e.g., different purposes or circumstances while viewing, influence of personal knowledge and experiences, focusing on different stylistic features)


Standard 10
Understands the characteristics and components of the media

Level III Grade : 6-8
1. Knows characteristics of a wide range of media (e.g., television news favors messages that are immediate and visual, news photographs favor messages with an emotional component)
2. Understands the different purposes of various media (e.g., to provide entertainment or information, to persuade, to transmit culture, to focus attention on an issue)
Standard 10 Standard 10
Understands the characteristics and components of the media

Level IV Grade : 9-12 1. Understands that media messages have economic, political, social, and aesthetic purposes (e.g., to make money, to gain power or authority over others, to present ideas about how people should think or behave, to experiment with different kinds of symbolic forms or ideas)

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