Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive February 4, 2016
Personal Reflections on the Poetry of Maya Angelou – Lesson Plan
English, social studies
One 50-minute class
Middle and High School
Warm up activity
- Distribute copies of the PBS NewsHour article “Maya Angelou, Renaissance Woman, Dies at 86” to the entire class. Teachers may read the text aloud or request students read the poem independently.
- Use these questions to start a short discussion after students have read the article:
- What does it mean to be a “Renaissance woman”?
- Maya Angelou was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. How did she use poetry to deal with it?
- What were some of the challenges she probably faced as a young African American woman growing up during segregation?
- How did Maya Angelou share her talents with the world? Do you think her work changed lives? Why or why not?
- Write the sentence “On the Pulse of Morning” on the board and ask students to write down as many images that come to mind. Give them three minutes to work silently. Remind the students that there are no right or wrong answers.
- Have students share their answers with the person next to them, comparing and contrasting what they wrote with the other person. Ask each pair to pick one answer to share with the class and go around the room.
- As a class, see if there are any themes or imagery that repeatedly come up in the class’ answers. Write them on the board. Ask students to keep in mind their own answers.
- Now pass out Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning” to each student.
- Play the VIDEO of Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” and ask students to follow along.
- Immediately after the poem is finished, ask students to individually write down any strong reactions they had to the poem.
- In pairs, ask students to share their immediate reactions to the poem and try to analyze why certain aspects of the poem triggered a reaction (could be positive or negative) in them. Did they have a connection to a word, a phrase or an image? In pairs, have students discuss their answers.
- Finally, ask students to select a phrase from the poem they felt a strong connection or reaction to and examine it. On their own, students should:
- Copy down the phrase
- Explain why they felt strongly about it
- Illustrate what the phrase looks like to them in pictures
Celebrated author, poet, artist and activist Maya Angelou passed away May 28 at the age of 86. She is known across the globe for her elegant language and passion toward civil rights.
By Katie Gould, PBS NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer
The Materials You Need
Tooltip of materials
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Celebrate 100 years of National Parks with these PBS NewsHour stories
For the U.S. National Park Service centennial, use these NewsHour Extra classroom resources to teach students about the importance of conservation.conservationnational parksNational Parks Servicenature
Jill Stein and the role of third party candidates in presidential elections
The third party candidate Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party says she remains the only candidate in the presidential race who is not corrupted by lobbyists’ money, corporate money or super PACs. Continue readingAl GoreBernie SandersCivicsDemocratic PartyDonald TrumpGeorge W. Bushgreen energyGreen PartyHillary ClintonJill SteinpollingPollsRalph NaderRepublican PartySocial Studiesthird partiesThird-Party
Campaign spending reports show Clinton outspending Trump
The large disparity in campaign spending between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump highlights the differences between the candidates’ campaign strategies.campaign spendingDonald TrumpElection 2016Hillary ClintonPolitics
All refugee team competes in 2016 Olympic Games
The first-ever Refugee Olympic Team competed in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Continue reading2016 Olympic GamesrefugeesRio 2016Rio de JanieroUnited Nations
Is climate change to blame for extreme weather?
July was recorded as the planet’s hottest month since records began more than 100 years ago, prompting some to question the influence of climate change will have on weather. Continue readingclimate changeextreme weatherfloodingnatural disasterwildfire