In this lesson, students analytically read “Learning to Read,” a poem by Francis Watkins Harper about an elderly former slave which conveys the value of literacy to Black people during and after slavery. The activities help students examine the experiences of enslaved people, the history of literacy, and 21st century values on the power of reading.
Through close readings of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, students will analyze how Hurston creates a unique literary voice by combining folklore, folk language, and traditional literary techniques. Students will examine the role that folk groups play in both their own lives and in the novel.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during a time of change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, "class struggle" is portrayed as an intensely personal affair, as much a tension within the mind of a single character as a conflict between characters. This lesson activities asks students to consider Gatsby's experiences as not only those of an individual, but as those of a society and culture. Students will closely study the text and exam some of Fitzgerald's letters and other statements.
This lesson plan is the fifth in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series. It provides an audio recording of the poet, Minnie Bruce Pratt, reading the poem “The Great Migration.” The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.
Known as both a Southern and a Catholic writer, Flannery O'Connor wrote stories that explore the complexities of these two identities . In this lesson, students will challenge these dichotomies while closely reading and analyzing "A Good Man is Hard to Find."
This lesson concentrates on Anne Frank as a writer. After a look at Anne Frank the adolescent, and a consideration of how the experiences of growing up shaped her composition of the Diary, students explore some of the writing techniques Anne invented for herself and practice those techniques with material drawn from their own lives.
As some of the foundational texts for beginning readers, fairy tales are a staple of many classrooms. This lesson allows students to engage with fairy tales from different regions around the world and compare important cultural elements of these stories.
In this lesson, students explore the historical context of Walt Whitman's concept of "democratic poetry" by reading his poetry and prose and by examining daguerreotypes taken circa 1850. Next, students will compare the poetic concepts and techniques behind Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again," and have an opportunity to apply similar concepts and techniques in creating a poem from their own experience.
Clues to Walt Whitman's effort to create a new and distinctly American form of verse may be found in his Notebooks, now available online from the American Memory Collection. In an entry to be examined in this lesson, Whitman indicated that he wanted his poetry to explore important ideas of a universal scope (as in the European tradition), but in authentic American situations and settings using specific details with direct appeal to the senses.