Lesson Plan: African American History Month Poem

Grade Level: 4-12

Want to teach your students to write an African American history theme based haiku during African American history month, here is a lesson plan. It can be adapted to fit the lower grades.

Curriculum: Integration of History and Creative Writing (Poetry)

Focus: Critical Thinking and Writing

Overview: The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 was, for many, the movement that ushered in the modern-day Civil Rights Movement. Americans boycotted city buses, walking for 381 days. They were boycotting to end bus segregation on city buses in Montgomery, AL. The boycott ended on December 21, 1956; bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama ended on that day, also.

Lesson Plans:

Activity One:

In order to prepare the students for the research paper on the boycott, have them watch the video Boycott.

Activity Two:

Teach students how to write a haiku. Explain to the students that the haiku is a Japanese style poem. There are 5 syllables on the first line; seven syllables on the second line, and 5 syllables on the third line. Below are two sample haikus.

I am Civil Rights

I protest; I walk and walk

Segregation ends

Rosa Parks was tired

She refused segregation

Now I am free, yeah!

Activity Three

Have students read poems about the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Reference List Below)

Discuss the poems. You may want to explore the following:

  • Images
  • Words that create Images
  • Metaphors
  • Meaning

Activity Five

Have students write haikus about the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Activity Six

Have students search the web for images on the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Activity Seven

Develop a literary journal using a publishing program.

Five Good Sources on the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Brooks, Gwendolyn. In Montgomery. Chicago: Third World Press, 2003.

Browder versus Gayle. In the District Court of the United States for the Middle

District of Alabama Northern Division: Civil Action No. 1147. N. Transcript and place

Dove, Rita. On the Bus with Rosa Parks. New York: W.W. Norton and

Company, 1999.

Durr, Virgnia. Outside the Magic Circle. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Universito of

Alabama Press, 1985.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom. New York: Harper and Row,


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