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Lesson Plans pertaining to Language Arts
Runaway Journeys
Eyewitness to History Lesson Plan: Fugitive Slave Narratives
Grade levels: Middle school, grades 6-8
Concentration area: Language Arts, Geography
The narrative, Runaway Journeys, names two of the best known and readily available narratives written by fugitive slaves: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent/Harriet Jacobs. "Eyewitness to History: Fugitive Slave Narratives" is a lesson plan that may be used in History or Language Arts classes in conjunction with or as a follow-up to reading the narrative. Students will read two slave narratives, taking notes on their migration to freedom on a Venn Diagram (so that similarities and differences emerge) and on a map (to compare and contrast the distances, geographical barriers, and population centers that each fugitive encountered).
The Domestic Slave Trade
Three Coffles Lesson Plan
Grade levels: Middle school, grades 6-8
Concentration area: History, Language Arts
This lesson examines the history of enslaved men, women, and children who were chained or tied together and marched across the U.S. countryside from market to market until they were sold. The "Modes of Transportation," "Victims of the Trade," and "End of Domestic Slave Trade" segments of the narrative, The Domestic Slave Trade, describe three coffles over a broad geographic range and over time. Students will read about three coffles to create three expressive pieces of writing (all in the same format) to form a "triptych" of emotions of the enslaved.
The Second Great Migration
From Hope to Despair Lesson Plan: Changes in African-American Expression from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present
Grade levels: Middle and high school, grades 6-12
Concentration area: History, Language Arts, Performing Arts
The Second Great Migration highlights the shift in tone in the media and visual and literary images of the African American's migrant experience from novelty, excitement, and creativity to deterioration, lament, loss, and despair. From Hope to Despair is a lesson plan that may be used with or as a follow-up to this narrative, either in a language arts, performing arts, or visual arts classes, or as a collaboration across the curriculum including social studies. Students will select and pair examples of music, poetry, literary prose, drama, film, visual arts, or other expressive media. One example should be from the era of the Harlem Renaissance and the second example should be a contemporary work. Students will analyze both samples, looking at composition, tone (through color and line or literary devices), theme, setting, and/or characterization to evaluate whether their examples support the thesis of the narrative's author.
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