Virtual Guided Learning Library

InsideOut At Home was created to help ensure youth, families and educators have access to high-quality, virtual creative writing lessons that engage, inspire, and frame this changing world.

The lessons below are crafted to help students grow creatively and academically, with great attention paid to the Michigan Department of Education standards. These culturally diverse lesson plans address the social and emotional needs of youth, helping them to express their fears, frustrations, and hopes.

Youth can follow most lessons independently or with the help of an adult. We also have an InsideOut At Home Story Time playlist on Youtube for our youngest students to follow along with!

For Elementary Students

Video Lesson

“The Hand,” On Stretching Out the Sentence

Senior Writer Peter Markus shows how nouns, verbs, and details all contribute to building a powerful sentence and poem.

Video Lesson

Sounds of Emotions

Award-winning singer/songwriter Audra Kubat invites students to think through how emotions are felt in the body and then use their emotions to write lyrics in a collaborative song.

Video and PDF Lesson

My Tree Is…Imaginative Writing

Using imaginative writing, students will be able to explore sensory detail and descriptive language with Writer-in-Residence Kyle Hunt, including a reading of “When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree.” Download and print the lesson here.

For Middle School Students

Video Lesson

Turn The Speakers Up: Decoding Figurative Language in Lyrical Poems

School Programs Manager Shawntai Brown shows students how to break down symbolism and metaphor in songs.

Video and PDF Lesson

You Belong Nowhere But To Yourself: Safe Spaces

Using the theme of home, Lead Teaching Artist Fellow Jassmine Parks shows students how to make effective choices in their own writing based on a series of prewriting exercises and close reading of “Group Home Before Miss. Edna’s House” by Jacqueline Woodson. Download and print the lesson here.

Video and PDF Lesson

Sometimes I Feel: Similes & Metaphors

In this lesson, students will be able to express how they feel using similes and metaphors with Senior Writer Peter Markus. Download and print the lesson here.

For High School Students

Video Lesson

“To Fade or Not to Fade”: Using Visual Thinking Strategies

Lead Teaching Artist Fellow Jassmine Parks guides students through how visual art “speaks” through Visual Thinking Strategies and through a close reading of a poem that allows students to question, analyze, connect, and then write a poem of their own.

Video and PDF Lesson

Black Excellence Sounds Like: Figurative Language

With Lead Teaching Artist Fellow Jassmine Parks, students will explore strategies employed by the black power movement and utilize similes, metaphors, and imagery to construct a poem. Download and print the lesson here.

PDF Lesson

Ramadan Traditions & Personification

Focusing on the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, Writer-in-Residence Hannah Webster helps students to identify personification in a poem and write a poem that includes their own personifications. Download and print the lesson in English here and Arabic here.