Tag Archives: Black History

The Great Debaters: Lesson 8

Finally, here is the eighth and last lesson plan of “The Great Debaters” unit plan here on Mark’s Text Terminal. This is the assessment; I sought to create a document that measures thinking and memory rather than students’ ability to get the “right answer.” I wanted students to think about the readings, the movie, and, indeed, their own impressions and thinking about the unit’s content. This is my attempt (and I’ll concede happily and readily that it could use improvement, so by all means–and please!–chime in with your comments on this) to create a metacognitive assessment. I want students, again, to think about their thinking, especially in the way they used their prior knowledge of the real-life figures in the film better to understand the film itself.

I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun cognition; if the lesson goes into a second day–and I planned that it would–here is another on the noun metacognition. I would like students to walk away from this lesson with knowledge of metacognitive assessments, which I think, and research supports, are an important way of helping students to internalize and commit to memory the contents of this or any unit plan.

And, finally, here is the final assessment worksheet itself. I think there are any number of ways to use this. I prefer to conduct this as a group discussion and note-taking exercise during which students can range freely over the material and their reactions to it. Like just about everything else on this blog, this document is in Microsoft Word, so you can alter it to you and your students’ needs and circumstances.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Annie Allen

“Annie Allen: (1949) A book by Gwendolyn Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. Its three parts fom a connected sequence about a black girl growing to womanhood. ‘Notes from the Childhood and the Girlhood’ includes eleven poems which provide glimpses of Annie’s birth, her practical and didactic mother, and her response to racism, killing, and death. ‘The Anniad,’ a mock heroic poem in forty-three stanzas, and three ‘Appendix’ poems, reveal Annie’s dreams of a gallant lover who goes off to war, returns home, marries her, leaves her, and returns home to die. The fifteen poems of ‘The Womanhood’ show how Annie looks bravely at a world she would like to reform. By the end, her outlook on life has changed from egoistic romanticism into realistic idealism.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 7

Here is the seventh lesson plan (of eight) of “The Great Debaters” unit plan here on Mark’s Text Terminal. This lesson describes and rationalizes the second day of watching the film. Here is another note-taking blank with which students can record their thoughts and recollections while watching the film.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Ralph Ellison

What is novelist Ralph Ellison’s middle name? Waldo

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 6

Moving right along this morning, here is the sixth lesson plan in “The Great Debaters” unit plan here at Mark’s Text Terminal. This lesson initiates the viewing of the film.

So, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun montage, a cinematic term that describes the compression of exposition into a series of fleeting images that supplies deep context for the narrative without the sacrifice of a compelling pace of narration. The main document for this lesson is this simple note-taking blank that asks students to jot down responses to a single who, where and what questions.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Claude Brown on Escaping the Promised Land

“For where does one run to when he’s already in the promised land?”

Manchild in the Promised Land Foreword (1965)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 5

Here is the fifth lesson plan of the unit plan on the Denzel Washington film “The Great Debaters.” This lesson addresses the attempts of the Communist Party USA to enlist Americans of African descent in the class struggle in the United States. This is a complex and fraught topic, and I believe an entire academic career might be profitably spent on this topic. A good place to go to get a general sense of it is Richard Wright’s superlative memoir Black Boy. Because of Melvin Tolson’s involvement in labor organizing, and his possible membership in the Communist Party (a fact, I find, very hard to pin down), there are scenes in the film of Tolson (played, once again, by Denzel Washington) organizing farmers and farmworkers), I wanted students to understand the allure of the Communist Party to oppressed Black people.

Unsurprisingly, I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun socialism. In the event the lesson continues into a second day, here is another on the noun communism. Finally, here is the reading and comprehension worksheet at the center of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Manchild in the Promised Land

“Manchild in the Promised Land: (1965) An autobiographical novel by Claude Brown. Set in Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s, the novel is a coming-of-age story in which Sonny, the author, escapes the ghetto and the drugs, prostitution, and violence that plague it. Having sought refuge in higher education, the author conveys a sense of warmth toward the Harlem ghetto while simultaneously contributing to the spirited social criticism of the time.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 4

Okay, here is the fourth lesson plan of a total of eight in “The Great Debaters” unit here at Mark’s Text Terminal. This lesson is on James Farmer Jr., the legendary Civil Rights activist, who is a key figure in the narrative of this unit and in the film in which this unit culminates. It’s worth mentioning here that Mr. Farmer’s father, James Farmer Sr. (played in the film by the estimable Forest Whitaker), was a truly heroic figure and probably worth a lesson in this unit. Unfortunately, when planning such a unit, one must make choices. I may return to this unit at some point and add a lesson about James Farmer Sr. What do you think?

I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the verb matriculate, which is used both intransitively and transitively. In the event the lesson goes into a second day (depending on the length of your class period and how you choose to teach this material, there is a good chance it will), then here is another on the noun labor union, a concept and concrete assembly of people that is a key aspect of the biography of Melvin Tolson.

Finally, here is the reading and comprehension worksheet on James Farmer Jr. that is the gravamen of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige on Dietary Prudence

“Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.”

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige

“How to Keep Young,” Colliers, 13 June 1953

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.