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Lesson plan: Remembering Sidney Poitier

January 9, 2022

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Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94. Poitier transformed how Black characters were portrayed on screen and became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance. Throughout his life, the star carved a path for generations of black actors to come. Geoff Bennett looks back at his life and legacy.

Two options for teaching about Poitier’s life and legacy: You may choose to complete the Five Facts and focus questions below or use this hyperdoc lesson by teacher Kate Stevens:

In this hyperdoc lesson, students will be guided through an article and be given space to record their reactions and observations. Students may also explore additional videos and resources available through the doc. You can make your own copy and edit the assignment as needed, or assign the lesson through Google Classroom and collect student work. If you haven’t seen a hyperdoc before, the goal is an interactive Google Doc where students can explore media, capture thinking and collaborate with others. Learn more here.

Five Facts

  • Who is Sidney Poitier and what is his background?
  • Where was Poitier born, and when did he come to the United States?
  • What are some of the qualities that Poitier is known for as an actor and leader?
  • Why is Poitier considered and an important figure in the history of moviemaking?
  • How did Poitier break barriers in Hollywood?

Focus Questions

What was most notable to you about Poitier’s legacy? What do you think he will be most remembered for doing?

Media literacy: What did you learn about American history through this memorialization of Sidney Poitier?

For More

For more on Sidney Poitier’s life and legacy, see this piece.

American actor Sidney Poitier posed on a balcony in London on 8th September 1980. (Photo by United News/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.