Complete Solar Eclipse (8/21) and English Class

On Monday, August 21st, North America will experience a solar eclipse. For the first time since 1918, the eclipse will be visible from the United States. Here in New Jersey, we will only experience a partial eclipse.  We should see 70-75% of the sun covered by the moon beginning around 1pm and peaking a little after 3pm. The path of totality will stretch across 14 states, many of which will be in school on August 21st. You can find out more about the eclipse and your view in this Vox article.

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The NASA-provided map above  shows the zone of totality. The moon’s shadow will enter the United States near Lincoln City, Oregon, around noon EST/9am PDT. Totality will begin in Lincoln City, Oregon, at 10:16 am PDT. The total eclipse will end in Charleston, South Carolina, at 2:48 pm EDT. Many people are planning to travel to cities in the zone of totality, but even if you can’t bring your students to the total eclipse you can bring the eclipse into your classroom.

I’ve put together an annotated list of books and short stories that can be used by English teachers to include the eclipse as part of the curriculum.  There’s a dearth of accessible books that deal with eclipses, but I’ve found a handful of tales that can be used.  I’d love to hear your suggestions, too!  There will also be many newspaper and magazine articles about the eclipse during the next few weeks; these can be great for article of the week or current events activities.

Regardless of how you plan to celebrate the eclipse, I encourage you to bring the event into your class. Read about the event and, if possible, bring your students outside to experience the event!  This is also the perfect opportunity to collaborate with other content area teachers!

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