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A number of strategies are used to build the students’ independent work skills and creative poetry writing skills. The lesson plans begin with group activities and move towards directives the students follow individually. Audio and visual aids are concrete materials that work well with special education students. Historical time lines, for example, are quick and easy-to-read overviews used to study particular events. Following this with correlated poetry reading, journal writing to explore new ideas, and then clustering a particular idea to expand it leaves the student with sufficient means for creating his own poetry. Picture books and/or films reinforce and act as a base for the tone of the history and therefore for the tone of the poems. Pictures and films are also used as sources for writing reaction poems and art activities, depicting various issues or symbols of the times. Using African rhythms and modern music spark instant creativity in student writing. Following rules such as naming the people, the places or the events in black history that the music best represents and then following this by clustering, modeling and/or journal writing often leads to imaginative written expression. Using these activities along with time lines presented on paper or on overhead projectors are excellent modes of studying Twentieth Century American Poets.
(Recommended for English and Reading classes, grades 4-6)
Poetry Afro-American Literature Special Educaton Reading Instruction Writing Instruction