Human Rights Around the World: Using visualization and inference

Lesson Plan by Samantha Calarusse and John Hamilton
The purpose for this particular set of lessons is
for students to become more aware about
Women’s History Month and to understand the
impact women can have and have had on the
progression of local and global issues. By
focusing on women’s literature from various
cultures and time periods, students will observe
how many overcame restrictions and boundaries
to deliver their messages. As part of a series,
different forms of literature from different eras
will help place the external struggle in a
historical context. Today’s lesson will focus on
visualizing the strong imagery contained in three
examples of poetry.
Expectation 1.1
The student will use effective strategies before, during, and after
reading, viewing, and listening to self-selected and assigned materials.
Expectation 1.2
The student will construct, examine, and extend meaning of traditional
and contemporary works recognized as having significant literary merit.
Expectation 1.3
The student will explain and give evidence to support perceptions about
print and non-print works.
Expectation 4.1
The student will describe the effect that a given text, heard or read, has
on a listener or reader.
Expectation 4.2
The student will assess the effectiveness of choice of details,
organizational pattern, word choice, syntax, use of figurative language,
and rhetorical devices.
Students will be able to make predictions
about the poem titles.
Students will be able to visualize and infer
two different poems.
Students will be able to adjust their
inferences based on historical context.
On Actiboard: Predict the content of two
poems based on their titles.
“And Still I Rise” and “Oh sisters, Honor Lies in
Students will first work independently reading the two poems
and listening to the YouTube video, “And Still I Rise.” Students
will then be asked to work in small groups to discuss their
findings and regroup to discuss/reassess their ideas.
First, students will listen to the YouTube video of Maya Angelou
reading her own poem, “And Still I Rise.” During this period
students will be asked to visualize the words and create their
own meaning.
Second: While students listen to the YouTube video, I will hand
out the two poems, “And Still I Rise” and “Oh sisters, Honor Lies
in Independence” While students read the two poems silently,
they will be asked to visualize the words. They can do this by
making notes in the margin, circling visual words, drawing small
pictures, etc. By making notations, students should be able to
create their own meaning before gathering into their small
Third: After reading the poems independently, the class will
gather for a large group demonstration. I will guide the students
through the process of visualization and inferring. I will
demonstrate the first few examples, then as a class we will
complete the chart. When students feel confident about their
visualization and inferring abilities, students will then split into
small groups.
“Still I Rise”
Inferring Theme
- A historian will write lies about the
- Oppression
- Dust rising from trodden dirt
- Self-respect/self-worth
- Walking like there are “oil wells
pumping in my living room”
- Power does not only stem from wealth,
it can be earned
- Moons and suns, certainty of tides
- Human rights should be universal
- Sassiness/Haughtiness is
- Breaking from the norm can be
- Shoot me/cut me/kill me with
- Unjust behavior is just as hurtful as
physical violence
- Black ocean
- Strength
- Gifts of ancestors
- Connection to past injustices and
Fourth, students will split into their small groups for 10 minutes.
Students will bring their ideas to their groups and together they
can infer about the audiences of the poem as well as the context.
I will walk around the room observing the students work, only
involving myself in their conversation if needed.
Fifth, for the next 10- 15 minutes, we will come back as an
entire class and reveal the actual context for each poem. I will
have a visual on the Actiboard for students to observe while we
discuss. The students will then discuss their findings and how
the new context changed their perspectives. During this period
we will discuss how predictions, visualization, inferences and
historical are intertwined.
Alvermann, D.E., Phelps, S.E., & Gillis, V.R. (2010). Content area reading and literacy. Boston: Allyn
& Bacon.
“And still I rise.” Retrieved from:
Barbauld, A. L. (1790). “The rights of woman.” Retrieved from:
“Core learning goals for English.” (2010). Retrieved from:
Harvey, S. and A. Goudvis (2007). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension for understanding and
engagement. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
“Iranian poets and women!” (2009). Woman's psych: Journal of men, women, and society. Retrieved from:
Parker, S. (2012). “A poem for International Women's Day: Bridget Minamore performs 'Hypocrites and
Double Ds' (VIDEO).” Huffington Post. Retrieved from:
Pettinger, T. (2007). “Maya Angelou biography.” Biography online. Retrieved from:
Sanasarian, E. (1982). The Women's Rights Movement in Iran. New York: Praeger.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
Oh, women of this land!
There is no life, nothing.
This is nothing
but failure and grief.
Death for us is hundred times
Better than such a life.
This life is nothing
But a symbol of slavery.
Beware, women of this land!
Be friends to one another!
Dissolve your links with men!
Why do you take on the name of
Your husband, though you have
A name of your own?
Yes, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!
Thou mayst command, but never canst be free.
Woman! too long degraded, scorned, opprest;
Awe the licentious, and restrain the rude;
O born to rule in partial Law's despite,
Soften the sullen, clear the cloudy brow:
Resume thy native empire o'er the breast!
Be, more than princes' gifts, thy favours sued;5
Go forth arrayed in panoply divine;
She hazards all, who will the least allow.
That angel pureness which admits no stain;
But hope not, courted idol of mankind,
Go, bid proud Man his boasted rule resign,
On this proud eminence secure to stay;
And kiss the golden sceptre of thy reign.
Subduing and subdued; thou soon shalt find
Go, gird thyself with grace; collect thy store
Thy coldness soften, and thy pride give way.
10 Of bright artillery glancing from afar;
Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought,
Soft melting tones thy thundering cannon's roar,
Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move,
Blushes and fears thy magazine of war.
In Nature's school, by her soft maxims taught,
Thy rights are empire: urge no meaner claim,That separate rights are lost in mutual love.
Felt, not defined, and if debated, lost;
Like sacred mysteries, which withheld from fame,
Shunning discussion, are revered the most.
Try all that wit and art suggest to bend
Of thy imperial foe the stubborn knee;
Make treacherous Man thy subject, not thy friend;
Still I Rise
Written by Maya Angelou. Born in St. Louis Missouri in 1928, Angelou
experienced a difficult childhood, partly due to her African-American race. Her
personal hardships with racism and trauma were chronicled in her 1969
autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The book quickly became a
bestseller, exposing Angelou to a larger audience and establishing her credibility
as an author and messenger. The book was published at the end of the AfricanAmerican Civil Right’s Movement of the 1960s.
The poem was part of a published collection And Still I Rise in 1978, based on a
musical of the same name, which premiered in 1977.
During the 1960s, in the USA and the UK, a movement towards expanding
women’s rights so that they were equal with men’s gained strength. It became
known as “feminism” or “women’s liberation.” This lead to the creation of the
National Organization for Women in 1966. This group supported an amendment
to the Constitution known as the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972. However,
this did not pass ratification.
During the 1970s, the feminist movement also attempted to raise awareness of
domestic violence and sexual assault. Angelou had experienced such abuse
when he was younger.
Oh sister, Honor Lies in Independence
Prior to the 20th Century, Iranian women had very little rights and were viewed as
being “less valuable” than men. From 1905-1911, the Iranian Constitutional
Revolution (which helped establish a parliament in Iran) sparked a strong desire
for a women’s liberation movement. This change was partially inspired by similar
movements occurring across the world.
Zandokht Shirazi (born in 1909/10) was an educated middle-class poet,
journalist and teacher who led the activist organization Women’s Revolutionary
She published magazine/newspaper known as Dokhtran Iran (Daughters of Iran)
in 1931, at the age of 18. Her poem was published within this magazine
between 1931 and 1951/53 (her death date).
Although major changes to woman’s rights in Iran didn’t fully take hold until the
1960s, Shizari helped spread the movement, which lead towards better forms of
education for women during the ‘30s and ‘40s.