Slave Narrative Found Poems 11th 12th

Learning Experience Guide
Title: Slave Narrative Found Poems
Grade level(s): 11-12
Time frame: 1-2 class periods
Subject matter: Language Arts
Teacher information
Name: Amy Kloss
School: East Alton – Wood River Community High School
City, State: Wood River, IL
AAM/TPS Consortium: SIUE
Lesson plan Rationale or Understanding Goal:
Students will gain a more personal understanding of the history of
American slavery by reading slave narratives. Students will then take
on the persona of a slave and create a found poem from this person’s
point of view.
Background Information for Activity:
Students will have already read first-hand accounts from slaves such
as Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass.
Students will read slave narratives to better understand slave life.
Students will then use slave narratives as inspiration for a found poem
which they will create from the slave’s perspective.
Purpose of Library of Congress Resource:
Students will locate, read, and analyze slave narratives from the
library’s website.
State Standards:
Relate reading to prior knowledge and experience and
make connections to related information.
Read age-appropriate material with fluency and accuracy.
Apply knowledge gained from literature as a means of
understanding contemporary and historical economic,
social and political issues and perspectives.
Using contemporary technology, produce documents of
publication quality for specific purposes and audiences;
Workshop Lesson Guide, October 2007
Learning Experience Guide
exhibit clarity of focus, logic of organization, appropriate
elaboration and support and overall coherence.
Communicate information and ideas in narrative,
informative and persuasive writing with clarity and
effectiveness in a variety of written forms using
appropriate traditional and/or electronic formats; adapt
content, vocabulary, voice and tone to the audience,
purpose and situation.
Resources or Materials needed:
Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project:
Modeling Activity:
1. On a projector, teacher will access the Library of Congress
website and show students how to locate the link of slave
narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project.
2. Teacher will read through one narrative with the class.
3. Teacher will ask what this document can teach one about slavery
in general.
4. Teacher will ask what this document can teach one about this
particular slave.
5. Teacher will then read a found poem he/she has created from
the example slave narrative.
Student Activity:
1. Each student will be assigned the name of one former slave
whose narrative can be found on the Library of Congress
2. Students will begin by locating and reading the narrative.
3. On moodle, each student must post a blog that explains what
the narrative teaches him/her about slavery in general and this
slave’s life in particular. In this blog entry, students should also
make connections to the narratives read in class (Equiano and
4. Finally, each student will write a found poem using words and
phrases from his/her assigned narrative. The student must take
on the persona of the former slave and will, therefore, write from
the first person point of view.
5. In any remaining time, students will read other students’ blogs
and comment on any connections they may be able to make.
Workshop Lesson Guide, October 2007
Learning Experience Guide
Formal Assessment:
o Students’ blogs will be evaluated based on their explanation of
slave life in general and one former slave’s life specifically.
o Students’ found poems will be evaluated on the 6 Write Traits:
ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and
Workshop Lesson Guide, October 2007
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