8 Food for Resistance – Lesson Plan Activities

Authors: Mary Beth Cancienne, Hayes Davis, Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Brian Hannon, T.J. Hendrix

Target Group: Middle School (7th-8th grade)

Originally from “Food for Bonding, Food for Resistance” Unit Plan

Note: For your convenience, here is a slides presentation to guide you through this lesson. You are not required to use this document to teach the lesson.

Poems: My Resistance is Black” by DéLana R.A. Dameron (Furious Flower 2019, p. 187), “Bread Pudding Grandmamma” by Darrel Alejandro Holnes (Furious Flower 2019, pp. 47-48)

Present the following question to your learners: “How does your family cook rice?”

  • Instruct them to take a few seconds to think about their response. Then, after cued, have them stand up and find a person on the opposite side of the room to share their response with. Encourage them to rotate after a minute (cue them) so they can hear from more than one of their peers. After 3-4 minutes, ask for volunteers to share the responses they heard. (5 minutes)

Instruct the learners to take out their journals/notebooks/a piece of paper. (5 minutes)

  • Display the following writing prompt on the board:
    • Write about a person from your community or family who you feel needs more recognition for what they do for others.
  • Provide any of the following additional supports for learners as needed:
    • Definition and examples of recognition
    • Time for brainstorming (1-5 minutes)
    • Sentence starters

Give learners five minutes to write and another five minutes for volunteers to share. Be sure to verbally acknowledge the information that they share, specifically any points that might relate to the poem they will read today. (10 minutes)

Wrap up the discussion with a lead-in to the poem, “My Resistance is Black” by DéLana R.A. Dameron, by first introducing the author and background, as well as defining resistance with the learners. This could be done through asking questions and using their lived experiences to build the definition. Discourage Google searching! Try to come to the definition organically, then reinforce their understanding. (5 minutes)

Present a mini-lesson on strategic use of repetition as a poetic structure. In the presentation, provide examples of repetition used in other Furious Flower poems. Lead the learners through a discussion of how the repetition adds to the meaning or depth of the poems. (10 minutes)

Share with learners that the poem they will read features strategic use of repetition as a device to enhance the poem’s meaning.

Whole class reading of “My Resistance is Black” by DéLana R.A. Dameron (15 minutes)

  • First: You will read the poem out loud with energy and feeling!
  • Second: You will instruct learners to read through the poem individually, focusing on structure (repetition, caesura, rhyme/meter, etc.).
  • Third: Lead learners in discussing the similarities and differences between the poem they read the day before and this one. You may use these leveled questions to help guide the discussion.

Whole Group Activity – Connect Back to Holnes Poem (25 minutes)

  • Designate a poem for each side of the classroom. Tell the learners that the left side of the classroom represents the Dameron poem and the right side of the classroom represents the Holnes poem. Then, instruct the learners to go to the side for the poetic style that resonated the most for them. Give them only one minute to settle on their sides. You may use these leveled questions to help guide the discussion.
  • Next, have the learners discuss their choice and ask someone from each group to volunteer as the representative to share why they made their choice.
  • Conduct a mini discussion about structure and style while the learners are still grouped. Provide one piece of chart paper to each group and have them list the poetic elements of their chosen style. Rotate between the two groups, listening and providing feedback only if needed. Probe learners for their rationales, and ask them how they would incorporate the elements in their own poems.

Closure/Formative Assessment: Give learners 2-3 minutes to write a short reflection about today’s lesson. You can provide them scrap paper or notecards, or you can give them time to write in their notebooks.


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The Furious Flower Syllabus Project: Opening the World of Black Poetry Copyright © 2024 by Anastacia-Reneé; allia abdullah-matta; Ariana Benson; Mary Beth Cancienne; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Shameka Cunningham; Hayes Davis; Tyree Daye; Angel C. Dye; Brian Hannon; T.J. Hendrix; DaMaris B. Hill; Meta DuEwa Jones; Shauna M. Morgan; Adrienne Danyelle Oliver; Leona Sevick; James Smethurst; Dana A. Williams; L. Lamar Wilson; Carmin Wong; Dave Wooley; and Joanne V. Gabbin (preface) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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