Lesson Plan

The African American Experience

Curated and Reviewed by Lesson Planet

Disrespect can be as subtle as a frown or a turn of a head. To prepare for a study of Toi Derricote's poem "The Weakness" class members create wordless skits that demonstrate subtle or not so subtle signs of disrespect. After a discussion of the feelings created by the role-plays, groups read Derricote's poem and draw connections between the poem and their skits. To conclude the lesson plan, groups read other poems by African American poets and share what they learn about the African American experience.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Consider the effect of the poem on bi-racial and mixed race pupils in your classroom
  • Include the lesson as part of February's Black History Month studies
Classroom Considerations
  • The links in the lesson for The African American Experience anthology are no longer active; however, other lists of poems have been provided that teachers can use instead
  • Requires copies of Toi Derricote's poem "The Weakness"
  • Presumes a protocol is in place to ensure a safe, respectful discussion of sensitive issues
  • Includes detailed, step-by-step directions
  • None