Maya Angelou: Study and response to "Still I Rise"

7th - 8th

 “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.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
3 hrs

Understanding Themes in Esperanza Rising

Determining a theme or central idea is greatly emphasized in the Common Core standards. Target that skill though big metaphors and central symbols in Pam Muñoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising. Help your class reach the standard through discussion, close reading, text-based questions, a kinesthetic opinion survey, and a brief writing assignment. Every step is detailed, and every material is provided in this intelligently sequenced plan, which is part of a series.

Gathering Evidence and Drafting a Two-Voice Poem (Chapter 13: "Los Duraznos/Peaches")

Begin class with a short comprehension quiz and review and then move into a new genre: two-voice poems. The lesson provides information about this type of poetry as well as a video example made by eighth graders that you can show your class. After watching and listening, class members can refer to the included transcript as they compose their own two-voice poems comparing and contrasting two characters from the novel Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Spend some time discussing text features and previous notes about the characters before sending pupils off with their graphic organizers to draft their poems with a partner or small group. Close by sharing golden lines from the poems.

Revisiting Big Metaphors and Themes: Revising and Beginning to Perform Two-Voice Poems

Now that your class has read all of Esperanza Rising, take the time to tackle big metaphors and themes. Pupils will participate in an activity called Chalk Talk, in which they circulate around the room in small groups and add comments to charts that are labeled with five metaphors in the novel. Conduct a whole-class discussion on this activity, leaving some time to perform the two-voice poems that were written previously. Part of a well-sequenced series, the lesson will help wrap up the novel and big ideas.

Vocabulary Study: Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

If you are studying Esperanza Rising, this is a great resource for teaching and practicing vocabulary from the novel. A total of 50 vocabulary words are included, split up into five lists of ten, and labeled by chapter. Each word is paired with a definition, part of speech, common derivatives, and a sentence from the book. Practice and assess the words with the included fill-in-the-blank exercises, multiple choice test, and essay assignment.

Poems that Tell a Story: Narrative and Persona in the Poetry of Robert Frost

Learners investigate and explore the poems of Robert Frost. They read and discuss poems by Frost, define narrative and personal, write narratives in a journal, and present a dramatic reading of a poem to the class.

Themes in Poetry

Young scholars explore different types of poetry. In this poetry instructional activity, students understand different poetry themes. Young scholars note rhyming and discuss what the poem means. Students work in small groups to act out what is happening in the poem.

Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over

Students read and analyze Pam Munoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising. In this novel analysis lesson, students read the novel and analyze the structural elements of the novel. Students analyze the experiences in the text and the role of the Great Depression as well as farm laborer migration. Students write a response to the end of the novel, a letter home to Abuelita, and compare the Mexican to Okie camps.

Using Poetry to End Name Calling

Young scholars explore language arts by participating in poetry writing activities. In this conflict management lesson, students discuss the emotions that they feel when being teased and discussed. Young scholars read a Maya Angelou poem titled "Still I Rise" and answer study questions about the content.

Maya Angelou: Study and Response to "Still I Rise"

Eighth graders read biographical information on Maya Angelou and her poem, "Still I Rise." students identify support and elaboration in poem, then respond by either writing a letter to the author or his/her own poem in response.

Maya Angelou: Study and Response to "Still I Rise"

Eighth graders respond personally to poetry. In this poem analysis lesson, 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.

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