Introduce your students to “A Far Cry from Africa" by telling them it is a complex poem that will require some work to understand, but that it is well worth the effort as they will get to think more deeply about communities and their role in shaping identities. Tell them they will be working with partners and using research skills on the internet to help them discover the layers of meaning in the poem.
• identify key details in the poem,
• hone listening skills,
• connect personal emotions from prereading activity to emotions elicited by the poem,
• identify with a partner what they understand in the poem,
• and identify questions for further research.
Activity: Silent Reading
Ask your students to read the poem “A Far Cry from Africa” silently, as quickly as they can. Then ask them to go back and circle all the things they do not understand in the poem.
Activity: Oral Reading
Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the rest of the class. Have the students who are listening underline the words/phrases that “jump out” to them as they listen to the reading.
Ask another student to read the poem aloud to the class. This time, the listening students will write down additional questions they have about the poem.
Activity: Turn and Talk
Ask your students to turn and talk with a partner about what they now know about the poem, what jumped out, what connections they made to the tableaux they created in the prereading activity, what they don’t understand, and additional questions they would like to answer.
Activity: Large Group Discussion
What do students know from these readings of the poem? What do they still need to find out?