Teaching Resources

Unsheltered lives lesson plan


Unsheltered Lives is a curriculum guide developed by COTS for students in grades K-12. It is filled with exercises and ideas designed to get students thinking about homelessness.

Please note: This guide is currently being updated with new statistics and additional resources, but the curriculum ideas remain current.


Talking to students about homelessness can be difficult but teachers might find this guide helpful for picking age-appropriate literature for students learning about hunger and homelessness. Try integrating a service project for COTS into the lesson as well, or enhance your discussion by inviting a member of our Speakers Bureau to your classroom.


star city bookA Day In Star City

Illustrated and Inspired by Kids at the COTS Family Shelter, Words by Julie Samara

I got to spend many afternoons reading good books and doing art projects with kids at COTS Family Shelter last summer. One day, the activity I’d planned was for the kids to design and map out their own city. When I arrived, a “Star City council meeting” was in progress out back by the sandbox. After watching the kids fill up pads of paper with characters and scenes they’d imagined – all the while playing cops, firefighters, elves, dragons, and superheroes on the side – the kids’ Star City game instantly struck me as the best way to capture the amazing spirit and creative potential they showed every day. I would like to thank all of the fantastic kids who responded to the idea of “the book” and made it happen – you’re all stars!

Hunger & Homelessness Text Set for Kids

This colorful brochure gives six examples of books related to hunger & homelessness that would be appropriate for kids in grades K-3.  Originally created for a Children’s Literature Class at Saint Michael’s College, the brochure was updated in 2013 to be a resource for parents and classroom teachers.


Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America

by Jonathan Kozol 

Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey

by Richard LeMieux

Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America: My Story

By Michelle Kennedy

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

by Barbara Ehrenreich

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America

by Alex Kotlowitz


Check out this more extensive List of Books about Homelessness.

Check out our Video Library and Helpful Links.