Lessons & Units

Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art 5th Grade Unit

Genre
Poetry
Concepts Taught
Author's Purpose, Figurative Language, Genre, Main Idea, Theme, Voice

Lessons

Genre Lesson Poetry Identify elements of poetry.
Lesson 1 What’s the Main Idea? Explain the main idea of a poem.
Lesson 2 The Tone of a Poem Describe the emotion or tone of a poem.
Lesson 3 A Poem’s Theme Identify a theme in a poem.
Lesson 4 Author’s Purpose Identify the author’s purpose in a poem.
Lesson 5 Figurative Language Classify various types of figurative language found in a poem.

Build Background Knowledge

Build background knowledge for this unit by introducing your students to African American art and artists that accompany the poetry in the book. For example, Romare Bearden's painting "Family" can be found next to the poem "Little Brown Baby." Ask students why they think the poem is paired with this picture. Provide background information about this famous African American artist. Romare Bearden grew up in the South, but migrated North to Harlem as a child. There, Bearden worked as a social worker and painted the world around him. Bearden loved music, and during the Harlem Renaissance, a time of great African American creativity centered mostly in Harlem, he was inspired by the jazz and blues music of New York City. Not only did he paint city scenes, but he also painted stories from literature. Share some of Bearden’s works with your class, and explain that Bearden not only painted, he also incorporated collage into his work by cutting out images and pasting them together in artistic ways.

Pacing Guide

Pacing Guide for Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art

Day 1

Begin Genre Lesson

Day 2

Genre Lesson (continued)

Complete the Genre Lesson Independent Practice in the Student Packet

Day 3

Begin Reading “Auction Street,” “Incident,” “John, Who Is Poor,” “Your World,”

Begin the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 4

Finish Reading “Auction Street,” “Incident,” “John, Who Is Poor,” “Your World,”

Complete the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 5

Begin Lesson 1

Day 6

Lesson 1 (continued)

Complete the Independent Practice for Lesson 1 in the Student Packet

Day 7

Begin Reading “Women,” “Those Winter Sundays,” “Listen Children,” “Fifth Grade Autobiography”

Begin the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 8

Finish Reading “Women,” “Those Winter Sundays,” “Listen Children,” “Fifth Grade Autobiography”

Complete the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 9

Begin Lesson 2

Day 10

Lesson 2 (continued)

Complete the Independent Practice for Lesson 2 in the Student Packet

Day 11

Begin Reading “Little Brown Baby,” “We Alone” “Rhapsody,” “Aunt Sue’s Stories”

Begin the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 12

Finish Reading “Little Brown Baby,” “We Alone” “Rhapsody,” “Aunt Sue’s Stories”

Complete the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 13

Begin Lesson 3

Day 14

Lesson 3 (continued)

Complete the Independent Practice for Lesson 3 in the Student Packet

Day 15

Begin Reading “Primer,” “How Poems are Made,” “This Morning,” “Night”

Begin the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 16

Finish Reading “Primer,” “How Poems are Made,” “This Morning,” “Night”

Complete the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 17

Begin Lesson 4

Day 18

Lesson 4 (continued)

Complete the Independent Practice for Lesson 4 in the Student Packet

Day 19

Begin Reading “Growing Up,” “Legacies,” “My People,” “Human Family”

Begin the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 20

Finish Reading “Growing Up,” “Legacies,” “My People,” “Human Family”

Complete the Student Packet Worksheets

Day 21

Begin Lesson 5

Day 22

Lesson 5 continued)

Complete the Independent Practice for Lesson 5in the Student Packet

Day 23

Review for the Unit Assessment

Day 24

Unit Assessment

User Comments

I noticed that some of the poems use "the N-word", and while it may fit in context some may have a problem with it. I definitely wouldn't use it with my 5th graders.

I used this unit and the poem as written. I feel students will come in context with many different words and it is our job to teach that our authors write in many different ways and they use language that may not be appropriate in every setting. I teach my students to think of other words that could possibly fit in the inappropriate word's place.

We are reading a biography of Jackie Robinson and my fifth graders were given a talk before we started about seeing an offensive word such as n****r. There are also other negative words just as offensive. In the context of the time period and having background knowledge of the slavery during the Civil War era and Civil Rights movement, students can handle the reality of the use of this word. They understand the seriousness of the topic and appreciate the struggles suffered by so many. If we are teaching children to be tolerant, we must also show the ugly side to contrast it against a future of equal opportunities for all.

That is our history.

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