Alex Haley Teacher Resources
Find Alex Haley educational ideas and activities
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Historical novels, such as "Roots" by Alex Haley, can make the past come alive.
Based on Alex Haley's moving essay "My Furthest Back Person: The African," these 11 questions support comprehension and prepare readers for discussion of the text. Use this tool, and the essay, as a nonfiction addition to units on slavery, African-American studies, autobiography, or family trees. Your class could conduct genealogical research and report about it using the essay for inspiration.
Help your class see the connection between events in Alex Haley's story "My Furthest-Back Person" with this awesome graphic organizer. Individuals write a brief description of 10 major plot events in a series of boxes. The first and last plot points are provided and should ultimately be connected through the events filled into the other boxes. The layout of this worksheet, as well as the activity itself is well-designed to show how one event causes another in fictional story.
Students read The Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa. They view video from Roots by Alex Haley on the capture of Kunta Kinte and reenact household slavery as practiced by the Igbo people. The make a list of major differences between slavery in Africa and slavery in the New World.
In this The Autobiography of Malcolm X worksheet, students determine the answers to a series of questions pertaining to the life of Malcolm X as presented in the work by Malcolm X and Alex Haley.
Students create a genealogy book tracing their heritage many generations back. They examine their own ethnicity, attitudes, and self-awareness. They examine new American trends regarding family structure and ethnicity.
Tenth graders explore the self through a study of autobiographies. By writing daily in their journals, they improve their writing skills and write reflection pieces at the end of the year. Through a series of writing assignments, 10th graders explore various cultures and describe their personal reactions to the scenarios.
Students examine autobiographies and biographies through a series of reading and writing exercises. By writing journals during this semester-long course, they improve writing skills and discover their own voice. Among other activities, students complete interview sheets, evaluate social problems, present photographs to the class and explain their importance.
What a great way to incorporate current social trends and a historical research project. The class completes to win the title of "American History Idol." They each choose a historical figure from a list of 100, research, evaluate informational text resources, and create a skit they will perform for the class. Each skit will be voted on and the winner receives an "American Historical Idol" t-shirt. Sounds like a blast.
First graders discover the contributions of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges in the Civil Rights Movement. Books and recordings are used to help students explain how important they were in the movement.
After reading and analyzing two narrative memoirs, middle schoolers engage in a variety of activities, including writing an essay, developing a story map, and creating character charts. They then compare and contrast story maps, and match character descriptions with the characters. The lesson is designed for adult education, but could easily work for writers of any grade level or age.
Are you working on an autobiographical or narrative writing unit? Bring this lesson to your class, as it takes young writers through the process of drafting and sequencing an autobiography. After observing and demonstrating steps of the writing process, they read and discuss examples of poetry, and write a letter to themselves. Additional activities include reading a passage from a memoir, creating a friendship graffiti wall, and writing about an adventure.
Sixth graders make a two column chart listing ten African Americans in one column and their detailed contribution to our society in the second column. Then, they select one of the famous African Americans to research and then create a six slide PowerPoint presentation according to the criteria in the handout provided. Finally, 6th graders write a one-page personal narrative regarding their knowledge and opinions of discrimination.
Students research their family history. In this genealogy instructional activity, students research their own family. Students use storyboarding to organize their information. After gathering information students create a Powerpoint presentation to present on parent night.
In this online interactive literature worksheet, students respond to 7 short answer and essay questions about The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Students may check some of their answers online.
Twelfth graders compare and contrast the work of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In this racism instructional activity, 12th graders read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and discuss how Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. approached ending racism.
In this literature worksheet, students respond to 12 short answer and essay questions about Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Students may also link to an online interactive quiz on the novel at the bottom of the page.
In this online interactive reading comprehension worksheet, students respond to 14 essay and short answer questions about Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Students may also use the provided link at the bottom of the page to access a multiple choice quiz based on the selection.
Students read sections of Malcolm X's autobiography. In groups, they create a poster which highlights the events in his life and explains his philosophy on race relations. They present their poster to the class and answer any questions posed to them.
Students read a variety of biographies to gain insight on the experiences of an African-American's life. Individually, they try to determine the time period it was written and compare the event with ones that occured in their own lives. In their journals, they create a list of the contributions and achievements of African-Americans of which they read.