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Lessons
Discovering a Passion for Poetry with Langston Hughes
Discipline
Reading
Grades
9, 10, 11, 12
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Professional Commentary

After analyzing examples of contemporary youth poetry as well as the poetry of Langston Hughes, students use the Internet to conduct research on how events in the world shaped Hughes' work. They cite specific examples, showing the link between their interpretations of the poem to the sociohistorical context in which the work was written. Finally, each student creates an original poem that communicates a personal view on a current world issue. Links and references for instructors are available at the website. (author/ncl)


Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts
Grades 6–12
Reading: Literature
Grades 9-10
Key Ideas and Details
RL.9-10.1 
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.9-10.2 
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Craft and Structure
RL.9-10.4 
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Grades 11-12
Key Ideas and Details
RL.11-12.1 
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Craft and Structure
RL.11-12.4 
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
RL.11-12.9 
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
Speaking & Listening
Grades 9-10
Comprehension and Collaboration
SL.9-10.1 
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  1. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
  2. Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
  3. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
  4. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
SL.9-10.4 
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
Language
Grades 9-10
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
L.9-10.5 
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  1. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.
  2. Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
Ohio English Language Arts Standards (2001)
Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies Standard
Benchmarks (8–10)
A.
Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-appropriate text.
Benchmarks (11–12)
A.
Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-appropriate texts.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 9)
1.
Apply reading comprehension strategies, including making predictions, comparing and contrasting, recalling and summarizing and making inferences and drawing conclusions.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 10)
1.
Apply reading comprehension strategies, including making predictions, comparing and contrasting, recalling and summarizing and making inferences and drawing conclusions.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 11)
1.
Apply reading comprehension strategies, including making predictions, comparing and contrasting, recalling and summarizing and making inferences and drawing conclusions.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 12)
1.
Apply reading comprehension strategies, including making predictions, comparing and contrasting, recalling and summarizing and making inferences and drawing conclusions.
Reading Applications: Literary Text Standard
Benchmarks (8–10)
D.
Identify similar recurring themes across different works.
E.
Analyze the use of a genre to express a theme or topic.
Benchmarks (11–12)
A.
Analyze and evaluate the five elements (e.g., plot, character, setting, point of view and theme) in literary text.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 9)
5.
Interpret universal themes across different works by the same author and different authors.
6.
Analyze how an author's choice of genre affects the expression of a theme or topic.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 10)
5.
Analyze how an author's choice of genre affects the expression of a theme or topic.
6.
Explain how literary techniques, including foreshadowing and flashback, are used to shape the plot of a literary text.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 11)
2.
Analyze the historical, social and cultural context of setting.
5.
Analyze variations of universal themes in literary texts.
Grade Level Indicators (Grade 12)
2.
Analyze the historical, social and cultural context of setting.
5.
Analyze variations of universal themes in literary texts.