Subject: US History (1877 to present)
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Unit Focus: Events of the 1920s and 1930
Lesson 1: Length of lesson 1 day
Standard(s): Virginia Standards of Learning. World History “6.4.: The students will describe the ideas and events of the 1920s and 1930s with emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance (Virginia Standards of Learning, 2002, p. 3).
Lesson Topic: The Harlem Renaissance – Afro-American Revival
Objectives: are written on the board
Language: Students will –
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- Define and train the use of new lexemes (words) and phrases visually as well as in writing.
- Students will read about the Harlem Renaissance and speak about it
Content: Students will –
- Get a basic idea of the notion of the Harlem Renaissance
- Define basic themes of art and literature during the studied period
- Get the knowledge about three personalities that were significant participants of cultural life during the period of the Harlem Renaissance
Key Vocabulary: Harlem Renaissance, music hall, revival, jazz, racial pride, stereotype.
Materials: poster, photos, cards with poetry, reproduction of a painting, music record, book of poetry, vinyl record.
- bring any book of poetry, bring a reproduction of any painting, bring a vinyl record.
- Bring cards with Gwendolyn B. Bennett’s poem under the title “Song” (Appendix 1), a reproduction of the self-portrait of Jacob Lawrence, painted in 1977 (Appendix 2), music record by Luis Armstrong and his photo.
Motivation: The content and language objectives will be written on the board. The teacher asks students to read the objectives set for the lesson and the explanation of the essence of the objectives. A teacher may choose to ask language students to read the objectives aloud or to read to themselves. “Let us have a look at the language objectives that is the aims of our today’s lesson. Let us read them to ourselves (students read). Now let us have a look at the content objectives you are going to attain today (students read)”. A teacher explains the importance of the objectives in terms of the present lesson, in terms of the whole course, and terms of general importance for all intelligent people.
Warm-Up/Building Background (5 minutes):
- A teacher shows the objects that have relation to culture on the whole and art in particular and asks the students to comment on the importance of this particular type of art and its meaning for society. The teacher shows the book of poetry and asks about the aspect of culture it symbolizes. Then the teacher shows the reproduction of the painting and a vinyl record and asks the class the same questions.
- The teacher shows the class the poster with pictures and a large inscription saying “The Harlem Renaissance”. The teacher asks the students to disclose the meaning of the term Renaissance that is familiar to them already and to give their suggestions as to the meaning of the term “the Harlem Renaissance”. (Students are expected to know about the period of Renaissance and they should state that it symbolizes cultural revival. As for Harlem, they should guess that it was the place of its location).
- Ask about the state of African American culture before 1920s.
- Summing up, give a precise definition of the Harlem Renaissance.
Presentation (10 minutes):
- A teacher reads aloud basic information of the Harlem Renaissance, its origin and defines significant personalities among the African American community of that time.
- The teacher checks for the comprehension of information using asking questions in the course of reading.
- The teacher discusses unknown words and concepts.
Practice (20 minutes):
- The students are divided into three groups. Each group gets a short text that contains key vocabulary of the lesson and the object that refers to their task. These are the short text about Gwendolyn B. Bennett and her poem “Song” (en excerpt), the short text about Jacob Lawrence and his “Self-portrait”, a music record by Luis Armstrong and a short text about him. The students are asked to read the texts and to listen to music/look at the painting/read a poem.
- Each group makes a presentation about their significant personalities (Armstrong, Bennett, and Lawrence) based on the texts and the visual aid they have received.
- During the presentation, the rest of the class writes the words they hear during the presentation which refer to the topic of the lesson.
- After three presentations the teacher conducts a discussion with the class, asking them to define the basic themes of art during the Harlem Renaissance as they see them in the presented works.
Review (5 minutes):
- The teacher conducts a final discussion of the objectives set for the lesson and asks students to decide if they have managed to attain the objectives. To ensure that the objectives have been met, the teacher asks the students to sum up the material relevant to the objectives and to do this, the students may use the words and phrases they have put down while they were listening to the presentations of the groups.
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
I am weaving a song of waters,
Shaken from firm, brown limbs,
Or heads were thrown back in irreverent mirth.
My song has the ush sweetness
Of moist, dark lips
Where hymns keep company
With old forgotten banjo songs.
Abandon tells you
That I sing the heart of race
While sadness whispers
That I am the cry of a soul…. (Honey, 2006, p. 6).
Honey, M. (2006). Shadowed Dreams: Women’s Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. NY: Rutgers University Press.
Virginia’s Social Studies Standards of Learning. (2002). Brea, CA: Ballard & Tighe. Web.