Voice in Poetry: Dream a World with Langston Hughes

byOctavia Utley

This curriculum unit entitled "Voice in Poetry: Dream a World with Langston Hughes" is designed to teach voice in poetry to 3rd - 5th grade students. The students, who are predominantly African American, have diverse learning needs, experiences, and ways of learning. Poetry by Langston Hughes is used to teach voice in poetry. Hughes expresses different voices through his poetry using language, experiences, and musical forms of the African American culture. Hughes's poetic voice calls attention to words and sounds. This unit is implemented in a standard-based classroom during the two-hour literacy block. The three-part lesson framework is used during Reader's and Writer's Workshop. The three-part lesson framework consists of a mini-lesson (before the learning), student work time (during the learning), and sharing (after the learning). Students will be provided with oral and written language experiences that enable them to develop their unique voices in writing. During Reader's Workshop, students will read aloud, analyze, and listen to the powerful voices in the poems by Hughes. During Writer's Workshop, students will learn about poetic devices and elements of voice. Hughes's poems will be used as writing samples, as students follow the steps of the writing process to write their own poems.

(Developed for Language Arts, grade 3; recommended for Language Arts, grades 3-5)

Comments (4)

    Jonte Rollins (Urbana Middle School, Urbana , IL)
    Subject taught:
    Beyond the Classroom
    This unit is amazingly put together. It presents opportunity for students to utilize reading and writing strategies through exploration of their own cultural experiences. When finished with this unit, students will not only gain literary skills, but develop a since of self-esteem, respect of culture, and family dynamics. The activities in this unit will expand students interest in reading and writing beyond the classroom.
    Natalie Davis (Fairington Elementary, Lithonia, GA)
    Subject taught: ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies, Grade: 5
    Voice in Poetry: Dream a World with Langston Hughes
    This unit is dynamic! It is thoughtfully and masterfully put together. It supersedes the typical poetry unit and is extremely teacher and student friendly. Through this unit, students are empowered to use their “poetic license” to explore their inner self and cultural heritage. Varied student activities address critical literary standards and empower students to master skills essential for academic success, particularly on standardized test. This unit allows teachers to provide for their students a broader conception of poetry, cultivate a more favorable affective disposition to poetry, and gain an intuitive understanding of the main structural elements of a poem. Awesome job Mrs. Utley!!!
    Alyson Harkins (High Point High, Beltsville, MD)
    Subject taught: English, Grade: 11
    Langston Hughes
    Awesome work! I love your discussion of voice and how it shines through in poetry. Thank you.
    Marisol Clark-Ibáñez (CSUSM, San Marcos, CA)
    Subject taught: Sociology of Education
    Dream Keeper
    This is a great unit on voice, poetry and helping students understand the poetry of Langston Hughes.

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