lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes

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Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.

Featured Poem

Classroom Activities
  1. Ask your students to read the biography of Langston Hughes on Poets.org. Ask them to write down the things they think are important about his life.
  2. Have your students get in small groups and share with one another what they learned about Hughes from reading his biography. Have each group come up with a list of aspects of Hughes’s life they think are important.
  3. Ask one representative from each group to share the group’s list with the whole class, writing it on the front board. If they are repeating something that is already on the board, they do not have to rewrite it; rather they should write a check mark after the repeated item.
  4. Have your students silently read “Theme for English B” and write down the words and phrases that jump out at them.
  5. Ask one student to read the poem out loud. Ask another student to do the same after the first student has finished.
  6. Whole-class discussion: Compare and contrast what we can learn about Langston Hughes from the short biography and what we can learn from the poem “Theme from English B.” Why are both important?