Teaching the Harlem Renaissance Essay

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Harlem Renaissance

How does literature contribute to history, and what does the Harlem Renaissance reveal about U.S. History?

Modern U.S. History

Content Learning Objective (content and product):

e.g., students will be able to [content analysis] by [product and activity].

What historical content will students know at the end of the lesson?

At the end of the lesson students will know the literary significance of the Harlem Renaissance within a historical context. Specifically, they will understand how the literary aspirations realized through the Harlem Renaissance contributed to United States history in terms of literature and the fine arts.

State using Formal Objective format.

Historical Thinking Learning Objective (thinking skill and product):

e.g., students will be able to weigh [historical thinking learning objective] by [activity].

Describe what students will know and be able to do at the end of the lesson related to your chosen historical thinking skill.

The students will be able to name some of the more notable authors of the Harlem Renaissance -- specifically Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Helene Johnson. Moreover, the students will identify works of literature which these authors composed and denote how their literary style affected both the Harlem Renaissance and literature in the U.S.

Historical Thinking Skill, California Content, and Common Core Standards Addressed:

List the historical thinking skill(s) addressed.

List the old California Content Standard addressed (10.4.

List the Common Core Standards Addressed

Narrative Summary of Tasks / Actions:

Summarize the step-by-step parts of the lesson with time estimates for each part.


1. Warmup (5 min) Students will begin by free writing about notable authors and poets with which they are familiar.

2. Mini Lecture (10 min) The mini-lecture will include a verbal overview of the three most noteworthy authors of the Harlem Renaissance: Hurston, Hughes, and Johnson.

3. Group Inquiry Activity (30 min) Students will research information about each of the three authors and compose a presentation about their respective authors.

4. Group Presentation (10 min) Students will issue their presentations to the class.

Materials / Equipment:

List everything you will need to teach this lesson:

Helene Johnson's This Waiting For Love

The Poetry of the Negro edited by Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps

Wi-Fi access

Tablet devices such as iPads

Inquiry-Based Lesson Plan for History-Social Science

1. Anticipatory Set


Describe the warm-up activity students will complete at the start of class:

Students will begin by free writing about notable authors and poets with Then they will write about the importance of such people, and how both, fiction, and literature is a mechanism to depict history.

2. Central Historical Question for Lesson


Student-friendly question that captures what students will know at end of lesson.

Should be engaging.

Which author of the Harlem Renaissance which we studied today has had the greatest impact on your understanding of what that movement was, and why so? The objective is for the students to use one of the three authors they learned about as a use case for underscoring the historical importance of this literary movement.

3. Teacher Input (delivery of historical context)


The general focus of this lecture is that the students must understand that literature is a.....

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