Topic: Poetry Analysis

Topic: Poetry Analysis

Lesson Plan

March 18th, 2010

Topic: Poetry Analysis

Aim Question: What can literature teach us about the nature of freedom and slavery?

Goals/Objectives: SWBAT

  • Discuss the meaning of each of the poems
  • Develop a variety of unique interpretations via the use of critical thinking.

Do Now:

  • Each student will read the poem on their own
  • Students will then get into groups of 2 or 3 and answer the following questions:

1)What is the caged bird’s predicament?

2)How does the caged bird differ from the free bird?

3)What is the lesson or moral of this story?


Throughout history, writers have used poetry to express their ideas and feelings. In Maya Angelou’s “I Know why the Caged Bird Sings,” and Langston Hughes’ “Freedom’s Plow,” poetry is used to comment on the nature of freedom and slavery………(write more)

Motivation Activity (Full Class Discussion):

Can you think of any group of people from history or modern times who relate to the plight of the caged bird? How does their situation make you feel?

Transitional Question:

Do you feel that you have an obligation to help real-life caged birds? How?

Lesson Activity (If Time Permits):

  • Teacher will read from Langston Hughes’ “Freedom’s Plow.”
  • Students will suggest words/phrases that describe their feelings regarding the excerpt
  • These words will be written on the board and will be used to facilitate a comparison between the two poems.
  • Conclusion Question: What are the similarities/differences in how these poems discuss the freedom/slavery dynamic?

Reflective Journal of Poetry Analysis:

This particular poetry lesson is one of several successful teaching exercises I have lead. The students were actively engaged and interested in the class discussion, because I was able to relate the poetry to their own personal life experiences, and historical events that interested them. For example, the class interpreted Maya Angelou’s caged bird as a symbol of the oppression that a variety of social and ethnic groups have experienced throughout the history of the world – not merely an imprisoned animal. This analysis lead to a deeper discussion of human slavery, and its profound mental impact on those affected. I am truly proud of this lesson plan, because I was successful in promoting a literary discourse that examined the nature of an author’s work which went beyond the superficial, obvious meaning of the poetry.