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Maya Teacher Resources
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“Still I Rise,” is the focus of a two-day exercise that asks learners to trace the development of the theme of emotional opposites (hopelessness/rising above adversity) by highlighting details in Maya Angelou’s poem. They then craft their own antonym poem of negative and positive emotions (left out/chosen, ugly/beautiful) that shows how they feel. Links to the poem and a short biography of Angelou are included.
Students explore the culture of the Mayans through a variety of activities. In this lesson plan about Maya, students analyze pictures in books and on websites, produce scale models of Maya architecture, and create Maya mosaics. Students study Maya myths, analyze and create glyphs or pictures, role-play as warriors, write to a Maya pen-pal, and finally enjoy a Maya feast. Students develop a true understanding of the Maya people by the close of this lesson plan.
Eighth graders respond personally to poetry. In this poem analysis instructional activity, 8th graders analyze the biographical poem of Maya Angelou titled "Still I Rise." Students elaborate on the language and theme of the poem as they respond to discussion questions about it. Students then write antonym poems in response to Angelou's poem.
The Maya created amazing stone carvings and sculptures, but what were they for? Kids analyze the significance and purpose of a Maya stela and then write a creative piece. They imagine they are the stela, and write a story about what life as a limestone, and then as a carved stela was like. A great writing prompt that includes art history and research!
Who wouldn't want to live in a tree? I would, and so would a variety of other living organisms. First, the class reads the book Maya and the Town That Loved A Tree, by Kiki and Kathryn Shaw, then they discuss how trees can provide basic needs for different plants, insects, and animals. They conduct an observational investigation in the school yard, and discuss what kinds of organisms they saw living near or on the trees. Pupils complete a worksheet to help them process the information they learned during the discussion.
The emotional and spiritual oppression of slavery in the African-American experience is the focus of this activity. Middle schoolers analyze various texts by Frederick Douglass and Maya Angelou related to freedom and oppression. They use textual evidence to write about slavery, oppression, compassion, and nonviolence. Additionally, they perform African-American spirituals and write reflectively for the activity.
Students study the concepts of autobiography, biography, and fiction as literary genres. They read, study, and analyze Maya Angelou's autobiographical writings in terms of what she intended to accomplish by her writings. They develop and enhance their literary competence by lessons which focus on figurative and symbolic language and on voice or points of view.