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TeachNet 2008 Grant Winner       << Back to all Grant Winners
Harlem Renaissance Writers and Artists

Subject:ESL/American History/Art

Grade Level: 10-12

Materials: Poems: "Mother to Son," "Dream Deferred," "Dream Variations," "Theme From English B," "I, Too, Sing America," and "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" by Langston Hughes and "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar; play: "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry; Slides: "Blues" by Archibald Motley and "Into Slavery" by Aaron Douglas; prints of artwork by other African American artists; article: "Bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church"; recordings of various African American performing artists: Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.

About: Students read, analyze, and discuss poems and relate them to their own life experiences, as well as to what they have learned about the African American experience in their history classes. They write original poems about their own experiences, using the poems we have read as models. They select other poems by African American writers, and study and teach them to the class, using methodology they have learned in class. Students examine artwork and describe what they see. They learn how to analyze a work of art in terms of composition, color, theme, etc.

Students are asked to choose a topic for a PowerPoint presentation and written report. Topics have included: "The Cotton Club of Harlem"; "The Abbysinian Baptist Church"; "Louis Armstrong"; and "Paul Robeson." The first part of the project is a two-page typed report that include a bibliography. The second part is a Power Point presentation that include visual images and, if relevant, audio. The presentation must include 10 homework questions as well as as five new vocabulary words.

This program draws materials and ideas from across the curriculum. Students get a sense of the interrelation of history, politics, personal biography, art, and music. They use the computer as a tool for learning and teaching, rather than just for entertainment. By working independently on a subject of their choosing, students learn how to do Internet research and to evaluate the reliability of the information they find.

In implementing the PowerPoint segment of the syllabus, teachers establish and enforce a strict timetable. Students work at different rates, of course, but too often time on the computer is used inefficiently. They need to know the due dates for each section of the project. It really helps to break down the project into benchmarks with understood completion dates, and to have students do the research before they begin working on their slides. This way, their work can be edited before it is transferred to the slide.

Students will be able to make connections between different areas of study: art, music, politics, history, and literature.
Students will develop the ability to think critically about works of art and literature.
Students will learn how to plan and execute a research project.
Students will learn how to use the Internet effectively, while examining and evaluating the reliability of various sources of information.
Students will learn how to use PowerPoint software for effective presentations.
Students will develop writing and reading skills.
Students will gain an appreciation for the role of African Americans in American cultural life.

The website of the American Academy of Poets contains work of the Harlem Renaissance poets.
This site contains text of "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain."
This site is a research and reference guide to American literature.
A series of lesson plans on the history of rock and roll show the connection between blues and rock and roll and includes lessons on Langston Hughes' blues poems.
A website with information about the Harlem Renaissance artists, as well as valuable links to other sites.

Students listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding.
English As a Second Language
Students listen, speak, read, and write in English for literary response, enjoyment, and expression.
English As a Second Language
Students demonstrate cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.
English As a Second Language
Students respond to and analyze works of art.
Art Appreciation
Students understand the cultural dimensions and contributions of the arts.
Art Appreciation
Students use digital media to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Information Technology
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Research and Information Fluency

Day 1: Finding and evaluating Internet sources
To provide students with relevant websites to begin their research.
To enable students to independently locate and assess the validity of information on the Web.
Handouts of websites relevant to the topics specified above.
Laptop computers and LCD projector
Students are walked through procedures for checking out and returning laptops to cart.
Students are taught log-on procedures.
Teacher shows students various websites and comments on their reliability and relevance to the assigned projects.
Students work independently to locate additional websites and save them to a document file.
Go to the school or public library and find three additional websites relevant to your topic.

Day 2: Reading materials and summarizing information
Students will be able to read source material and extract information relevant to their topic.
Material gathered from websites in Lesson One and homework.
Teacher distributes model paragraph.
Students are asked to extract and summarize main idea in one or two sentences.
Students share their summaries with one another and with the class. Class comments on the quality and precision of each summary.
Students select one of the articles they have in their portfolio. They summarize the main ideas in that article.
Write a one-paragraph summary for each of the Internet articles you have.
Review of summary for accuracy, completeness, technical errors (spelling and grammar)

Day 3: How do we find images and music for our projects?
Students will learn how to locate and download web images and music and integrate them into their PowePoint presentations.
Laptops with Internet connection, LCD projector
List of websites with images and music of the Harlem Renaissance
Teacher uses LCD projector to walk students through various websites and demonstrate how to cut and paste to PowerPoint files.
Students practice locating and downloading images and music to their PowerPoint files.
Find two additional websites with images and/or music relevant to their projects.
Students will send the addresses to teacher for review.

Day 4: How do we put it all together?
Students will create PowerPoint slides, using their summaries and the images and video they have found on the Internet.
Students organize their information and create storyboards for their text, images, and audio input.
Teacher reviews the storyboards for organzation, accuracy, spelling, and grammar.
Rewrite your storyboard based on the teacher's suggestions.
Teacher reviews the revised storyboards.

Day 5: Presentations
To assess and grade student work.
LCD projector
Laptop computer
Student leads class through his or her PowerPoint presentation.
Student teaches five new vocabulary words related to their project.
Student will distribute homework questions for review.
www.ga..k12pa.us/curtech/WEBQPRE/assesspp.htm - 6k - Cached

Beth Elstein


Louis D. Brandeis H.S.
145 West 84th Street
New York, NY 10024

Beth Elstein, a former CPA who began teaching high school ESL twelve years ago, is currently on the staff of Louis D. Brandeis High School. Her professional activities have included writing and evaluating test items for the NYSESLAT examination and review of questions for the ELA Regents exam. She has worked extensively with both Theater Development Fund and the Shakespeare Society, as well as the school arts program at Lincoln Center, to bring teaching artists into her classroom. She and her students regularly attend New York Philharmonic School Day Concerts and open rehearsals, as well as exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They have also taken literary tours of Salem and Concord, Massachusetts.


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