Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plan
Teacher Name: Shelby L. Carbaugh
Lesson Title: Harlem Renaissance
Target Age / Subject: 11th Grade / U.S. & Virginia History
-Students in this class represent a diverse group of ethnic backgrounds, but socio-
economically a majority being middle class. This lesson is designed for the College-Prep
level classroom and all students have demonstrated proficiency in Internet-based
research, all possess a county-issued iBook. In all there are a total of 31 students, six of
which have IEP's and two English-learners.
VA SOL: USII.6c:
-The students will demonstrate knowledge of the social, economic, and technological
changes of the early twentieth century by;
c) examining art, literature, and music from the 1920’s and 1930’s,emphasizing Langston
Hughes, Duke Ellington, and Georgia O’Keefe and the Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance – Langston Hughes
- Estimated length of lesson 90 minutes
- Standard of Learning
-Turmoil and Change: 1890’s to 1945 US II.6.c
-Source documents of increase understanding of events and life in U.S.
History from 1865 to the present USII.1a
-Sequence events USII.1c
-Interpret ideas and events from different historical perspective USII.1d
- The student will gain a thorough understanding of the social, economic, and
technical changes of the early 20th century by examining the art, literature, and
music of the 1920’s, specifically the Harlem Renaissance
- The student will explore the key leaders of the Harlem Renaissance including
Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie
Smith and understand each individuals unique role and contribution to the
-Students will be analyzing the social, political, and economic conditions in American
society during the 1920’s which led to the Harlem Renaissance by reading the handout
“Introduction – “Defining American Culture/Harlem Renaissance”
-Students will be organized in four groups of six to eight students each to research for the
next class a predetermined artist of the Harlem Renaissance
Group #1 – Jacob Lawrence
Group #2 – Duke Ellington
Group #3 – Louis Armstrong
Group #4 – Bessie Smith
-In class for this plan the teacher will be presenting the writer Langston Hughes
-Text: “Horizons: United States History From Civil War to Present”
-CD’s “Ladies of Jazz” and “Golden Legends: Billie Holiday” provided my teacher
Teaching and Learning Sequence:
Introduction / Anticipatory Set
-“Ladies of Jazz” and “Billie Holiday” CD playing upon student’s arrival to class
- Teacher will be running a slide show of Harlem Renaissance art and photographs from
-“Renaissance” graphic organizer (see attached hand out) will be distributed to the class.
Filling this out together as a class will help the teacher determine any prior knowledge of
the students and will introduce the concept of a “Renaissance” to the students.
-Teacher will present the “Harlem Renaissance” Power Point
-Teacher and students will revisit the Renaissance graphic organizer with the
corresponding Power Point slide and engage in class discussion
-Teacher will transition at the end of the slides and go over previous class homework
handout “Introduction – Defining American Culture/ Harlem Renaissance” and round out
the discussion of how the class feels African Americans at this time would be ripe for a
renaissance of their own.
-Teacher will explain the assignment of groups and the activity to be completed by next
-Teacher will conduct a lecture on the life of Langston Hughes, which will include a
-Class will listen to an audio recording of the Langston Hughes poem “Dream
-Students will participate in a “Free-Write” class exercise involving the poem and will
record their thoughts and opinions of how the poem reflects the cultural “rebirth” of
African Americans during the 1920’s.
Closure and Evaluation:
- Using the grid handout, the students and teacher will compare and analyze the
economic, social, political, and geographical characteristics of the Harlem Renaissance.
- Students will work in assigned groups to complete the research and prepare to
present their assigned Harlem Renaissance artist due for the next (2nd) class
- Students will prepare for the next lesson in the unit by reading the section in the
text The Horizons, which explain the factors which led to the end of the Harlem
- Students will conduct Internet research to enhance their understanding of the
Renaissance end and will find and attach a minimum of three web sites to the
class blog and explain at least one item from each site which added to the
information included in the text. (due 3rd class meeting)
- Students will find at least one trade book, which addresses the Harlem
Renaissance and/ or its end and spend 2-3 minutes sharing with the class what
new information they gained from the found trade book. (due 3rd class meeting)
- Teacher will be circulating around the room throughout the class to ensure
students are on task and are completing the objectives and assessment of the
graphic organizer is being completed and thoughtfully filled-out.
- Students will be required to participate in the class discussions and will be equally
called on by the teacher to contribute.
- The Free-Write essay will be collected and evaluated by the teacher.
-Within groups the more gifted students will lead the groups through their Internet
research, while other students will act as note-takers recording facts for each individual
artist. This activity will enable all students to practice and develop their research skills,
which will allow them to successfully complete the homework assignment and
-Teacher will circulate the room assisting students, especially English-learners, compose
the Free-Write essay and will provide 3-2-8 worksheet for essay development, which will
always be posted in the classroom.
-Gifted students will be paired with those who may be struggling with the writing
assignment and equal ability students will also be paired in order to give peer feedback
Langston Hughes Biography and Timeline:
Library of Congress, U.S. Government, April 23, 2000.
http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/writers/hughes, accessed October 5,
Lesson Plan and Handouts:
Melcher, T. Teaching the American Twenties Exploring the Decade Through Literature
and Art. Retrieved October 5, 2008.
Green, Jr., Dr. Robert P., McGowan, Dr. Thomas N., Salvucci, Dr. Linda Kerrigan
(2003) Horizons; United States History: From Civil War to Present. In Good Times and
Bad (pages 289-290.) Orlando, Florida: Harcourt.