Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades
This video workshop introduces middle school teachers to diverse American writers and presents dynamic instructional strategies.
A video workshop for middle school teachers; 8 one-hour video programs, workshop guide, and website.
Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades introduces teachers to ethnically diverse American writers and offers dynamic instructional strategies and resources to make works meaningful for students. This workshop includes eight one-hour videos in which teachers model effective approaches – based on reader response, critical inquiry, cultural studies, and critical pedagogy – for using multicultural works in the classroom. In units that unfold over time, they also demonstrate activities and practices that engage students in critical discussions of race, class, and social justice, and empower them to take action for change. The featured teachers, along with leading educators, provide reflection and commentary throughout the programs. Authors share information on their works and about their lives through interviews and classroom visits. A robust website extends the video content with author biographies, synopses of the works, information on how to implement the teaching strategies, summaries of the video lessons, student work samples, resource materials, and annotated bibliographies. A downloadable guide includes short works of literature featured in the workshop, along with discussion questions, activities, and weekly assignments, to engage teachers in professional development and learning experiences similar to those they might provide in their own classrooms.
TEACHING MULTICULTURAL LITERATURE: A Workshop for the Middle Grades explores a wide range of works, instructional strategies, and resources.
In eight one-hour videos, teachers from across the country model approaches that make multicultural literature meaningful for students in grades five to eight. As units unfold over time, students engage in critical discussions of race, class, and social justice that inspire action for change. The featured teachers, along with leading educators, provide reflection and commentary throughout the programs. Authors share information about their writings through interviews and classroom visits.
The website supplements the video content with author biographies; synopses of the works; summaries of the video lessons; information on implementing the teaching strategies; student work samples; interviews with authors, teachers, and commentators; annotated bibliographies; and selected short works of literature featured in the workshop. The workshop guide includes discussion questions, activities, assignments, and guidance for facilitating professional development.
Teaching Multicultural Literature
In the broadest sense, “multicultural literature” can refer to works that deal with issues of race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and nationality. This workshop features literature by and about North American authors of color.
Throughout the eight-part workshop, teachers draw on a range of pedagogical approaches and strategies. While these frequently overlap, workshops are organized in pairs, highlighting the featured approach.
Workshops 1 and 2: Engagement and Dialogue
In these workshops, students reflect on and share their personal responses to the literature. Teachers facilitate questions and conversations, challenging students to build on their initial reactions to develop a more complete understanding of the works, their social contexts, and the author’s craft.
Workshops 3 and 4: Research and Discovery
These workshops highlight an inquiry-based approach to teaching. Students take the lead in determining the projects they will take on, how and what they will investigate, and how they will present what they’ve learned.
Workshops 5 and 6: Historical and Cultural Context
These workshops emphasize exploration of historical and cultural context as a way to promote deeper understanding of the literature. They feature activities with strong interdisciplinary connections.
Workshops 7 and 8: Social Justice and Action
In these workshops, teachers use the literature to prompt students to examine issues of social justice. Related activities help students recognize the power of their voices and their roles as active citizens who can effect change.
Each workshop reflects the Standards for the English Language Arts as outlined by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA).
Visiting Authors and Community Members
Many of the programs feature visiting authors, experts, and/or community members. Inviting guests into the classroom is important in any curriculum, but it is especially powerful when teaching multicultural literature. To facilitate this, teachers may want to check with department chairs, librarians, or curriculum coordinators to find out about local writers-in-residence. Teachers can also check with local bookstores, public libraries, and universities to find out about readings by visiting authors. Another option to consider is sharing a writer’s travel costs with a nearby school. As an alternative, teachers might bring videos of author interviews — from this series or other sources — into the classroom.
The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School:
The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School is a workshop that highlights literature and teaching strategies that may be of interest to middle grade teachers. Although mature themes or challenging vocabulary may make some of the featured works inappropriate for students in grades five through eight, a number of them are suitable for skilled readers. Many of the pedagogical strategies can be effective with younger students as well.
Individual Workshop Descriptions
Workshop 1. Engagement and Dialogue: Julia Alvarez, James McBride, Lensey Namioka, and more
In New York City, Carol O’Donnell and her seventh-grade students explore themes of multiple worlds and dual identities. They read poetry by Diana Chang and Naomi Shihab Nye; James McBride’s memoir, The Color of Water; and essays and short stories by Gish Jen, Khoi Luu, Lensey Namioka, and Julia Alvarez; and watch Tina Lee perform a monologue. O’Donnell uses historical documents and a documentary video about the U.S. Census to provide context for the works. Through a series of innovative drama, role play, and writing activities, the students examine the social and cultural experiences of the characters and reflect on their own definitions and experiences of identity.
Workshop 2. Engagement and Dialogue: Judith Ortiz Cofer and Nikki Grimes
The program begins with a profile of the writer Judith Ortiz Cofer and then moves to Vista, California, where Akiko Morimoto and her eighth-grade students read short stories by Ortiz Cofer. They respond personally to the works, examine the author’s use of figurative language, and then make intertextual connections with books they’ve read throughout the school year. In a culminating project, the students create their own visual symbols to represent the characters and events in the text. They then explore works by Nikki Grimes and examine her craft as a writer. Grimes visits the classroom, answers questions about her work, and attends an after-school reading of student poetry.
Workshop 3. Research and Discovery: Shirley Sterling and Laura Tohe
At the Skokomish reservation in Washington State, Sally Brownfield and her eighth-grade students study the literature and issues related to the Indian boarding school program through community involvement and self-examination. Brownfield begins with her students’ questions and supports the students through a cycle of investigation, discussion, presentation, and reflection as they seek answers. The students use Shirley Sterling’s novel My Name Is Seepeetza and the poetry of Laura Tohe as lenses through which to explore topics of their choosing. The class visits the Skokomish Tribal Center to interview tribal elders about the impact of the residential boarding program on the community. Author Shirley Sterling visits the class and answers students’ questions related to her novel, her life, and their research topics.
Workshop 4. Research and Discovery: Edwidge Danticat, An Na, Laurence Yep, and more
In Clayton, Missouri, Kathryn Mitchell Pierce’s sixth-grade students read works that explore issues of historical and contemporary immigration. Pierce uses “text sets” of multicultural picture books, poetry, and nonfiction to introduce the students to a wide range of perspectives and to set the stage for their novel study. The students choose, and then discuss in literature groups, novels by An Na, Edwidge Danticat, Walter Dean Myers, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Laurence Yep. In culminating presentations, they synthesize themes and pose thought-provoking questions that invite others to examine these novels in new ways. This program features author profiles of Laurence Yep and Edwidge Danticat.
Workshop 5. Historical and Cultural Context: Christopher Paul Curtis
Laina Jones and her sixth-grade students in Dorchester, Massachusetts explore The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Jones uses nonfiction, documentary film, and historical photographs to contextualize the events in the novel and the civil rights movement. The students make deep connections to the literature through drama, poetry, and creative writing activities. Curtis visits the classroom, addresses questions, and leads the students in a writing workshop. The unit culminates with a service learning project in which the students create children’s books about the civil rights movement and share them with elementary school children.
Workshop 6. Historical and Cultural Context: Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore
Stanlee Brimberg and his seventh-grade students in New York City study the recently discovered African Burial Ground in Manhattan through factual texts, video, art, photography, and poetry. The students interview writer, historian, and documentary filmmaker Christopher Moore to learn more about the experiences of African slaves in early New York. They examine the works of Langston Hughes, and then, drawing on all of the texts, they write their own poetry and engage in peer review. As a culminating activity, the students take a field trip to the African Burial Ground Memorial, then design their own postage stamps to commemorate the site.
Workshop 7. Social Justice and Action: Alma Flor Ada, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Paul Yee
Laura Alvarez and her bilingual fourth- and fifth-grade students in Oakland, California examine different perspectives and experiences of immigrants, and then formulate and defend positions on issues with which they connect personally. They examine My Name Is María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada, Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Tales from Gold Mountain by Paul Yee, and compare characters’ hopes, expectations, and actual experiences upon arriving in the United States. The students conduct research, which includes interviews with family members and nonfiction readings. Alma Flor Ada visits the classroom, answers questions about her novel, and facilitates a discussion about social justice and taking action for change. As a culminating project, the students write and revise persuasive letters to raise public awareness about the issues they’ve examined.
Workshop 8. Social Justice and Action: Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jiménez
This program begins with profiles of the featured authors, then moves on to Chicago, Illinois, where Lisa Espinosa’s seventh-grade students explore themes of representation through literature, documentary film, and photography. The students look critically at past and current media depictions of African Americans, Latino/as, and Native Americans, and examine ways in which artists and writers from within those cultural groups, including Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jiménez, represent themselves. The students analyze the individual works, make comparisons across texts, and make connections to their own lives. In a culminating project, they represent their own experience through black-and-white photography and personal essays. Teachers, family, and community members gather at a local coffeehouse for an exhibit of the students’ work.
Contributors: Classroom Teachers
Laura Alvarez currently teaches a fifth-grade English/Spanish bilingual class at Melrose Elementary School in Oakland, California, where she has taught fourth and fifth grade for four years. Through her research and ongoing classroom inquiry, she is working to make her teaching practice more responsive to students’ academic and linguistic needs in both their primary and second languages. Prior to teaching, Alvarez worked for the Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools in Oakland.
Stanlee Brimberg teaches seventh-grade literacy and social studies at the Bank Street School for Children in New York City. In addition to teaching, Brimberg has developed curricula for the New York City Department of Education, created classroom resources for the Scribner Literature Series, and written lesson materials for several Web sites. Brimberg has also led teacher education workshops on creating curriculum using primary source materials.
Sally Brownfield has more than 20 years of classroom experience, including teaching at Hood Canal School in Shelton, Washington. She recently taught courses on children’s literature to preservice teachers at Washington State University in Seattle. Brownfield provides consulting services to schools on Native American education. She is the author of Motivating Native American Students: Strategies That Work and The Children: A Child Care Curriculum for Young Native Americans.
Lisa Espinosa teaches language arts and science to seventh-graders at the Irma C. Ruiz School, a public school on the South Side of Chicago. Espinosa has published articles about her teaching in Rethinking Schools. Additionally, she has lectured at Northeastern University on teaching Mexican American students in urban schools. She has received many awards and honors, including the Oppenheimer Grant for teaching, the Rochelle Lee Award, and a nomination for the Golden Apple Award for excellence.
Laina Jones teaches sixth-grade humanities at The Harbor School, an Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She serves on The Harbor School Governing Board and is a Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) Leader. Jones also coaches the girls’ basketball team, codirects the Girls’ Rites of Passage program, and mentors students from her alma mater, the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Jones was nominated for the Disney Teacher Award.
Akiko Morimoto teaches seventh-and eighth-grade English at Washington Middle School in Vista, California. She is a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified teacher in Early Adolescence English Language Arts. Morimoto currently serves as Vice President of the California Association of Teachers of English. She has served as the Middle Level Representative at Large on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and cochaired two of NCTE’s national conventions.
Carol O’Donnell is a middle school English teacher and Outreach Director at Manhattan Country School, a K-8 independent school in New York City. O’Donnell has developed curricula founded on multiculturalism, social justice, academic and creative blossoming, and the richness of human identity. In addition, she has served as a Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) leader and as cochair of the New York State Association of Independent Schools Diversity Committee.
Kathryn Mitchell Pierce is a sixth-grade literacy and social studies teacher and a writing instructional support specialist at Wydown Middle School in Clayton, Missouri. A former multi-age primary teacher and university faculty member, Pierce has published widely. Her research interests include the role of talk in supporting the learning process, the roles of literature in the curriculum, and the use of literature to promote critical conversations about issues of equity and social justice.
Contributors: Scholars / Teacher Educators
Joseph Bruchac, Ph.D., received an M.A. in literature and creative writing from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the Union Institute of Ohio. Bruchac is a writer and storyteller who often draws on traditional Abenaki stories in his work. He has written and published over 100 books. Bruchac has volunteered as a teacher in Ghana, led writing workshops, and directed a college program in prisons. He has been a storyteller for Native American organizations and schools, including the Onondaga Nation School and the Institute of Alaska Native Arts. Bruchac founded a literary magazine, The Greenfield Review, and codirects the Greenfield Review Literary Center and The Greenfield Review Press. His honors and awards include the National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship for Poetry, the Cherokee Nation Prose Award, the Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children�s Literature, the Native Writers Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award.
Patricia Enciso, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the College of Education and the Latino/a Studies Program Coordinator at Ohio State University, where she teaches graduate courses in “critically engaged reading,” multicultural literature, middle grade literacy methods, and Latino/a perspectives on critical theory, research, and practice. As an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Enciso developed research and teaching related to multicultural literature in education. Her research on children’s engaged reading and interpretations of cultural knowledge has been published in Language Arts, Reading and Writing Quarterly, English Education, in The Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, and Making Race Visible: Literacy Research for Cultural Understanding. She coedited Theory into Practice, “Already Reading: Children, Texts and Contexts,” and New Directions in Sociocultural Theory: Power, Identity and Agency. She has served as the chair of the Américas Award Committee for Latino/a children’s literature and has coedited a regular review of children’s literature for The New Advocate. Enciso was awarded a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship for work on the sociocultural landscapes of children’s relationships, reading, and cultural knowledge.
Jerome C. Harste, Ph.D., is professor of language education at Indiana University, and has the distinction of being the first Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education. A strong advocate of classroom-based research, Harste has been working with teachers over multiple years in an effort to collaboratively create the most conducive classroom environments possible for literacy learning. As the result of this work, he has become a spokesperson for literature-based teaching, inquiry-based education, critical literacy, and multiple ways of knowing curriculum. Harste has authored or coauthored numerous professional publications, including Beyond Reading and Writing: Inquiry, Curriculum, and Multiple Ways of Knowing; Supporting Critical Conversations in Classrooms; and Creating Classrooms for Author: The Reading-Writing Connection. He is a children’s author as well as the past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, the National Reading Conference, the Whole Language Umbrella, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Valerie Felita Kinloch, Ph.D., is assistant professor of English education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to this appointment, she was assistant professor of English, composition, and rhetoric at the University of Houston-Downtown. Her most recent work investigates democratic engagements, literacy practices, writing conventions/moves, and spatial affiliation in the education of diverse student populations. She is currently working on an educational biography on the life and literary contributions of scholar-activist-poet June Jordan. Kinloch coedited Still Seeking an Attitude: Critical Reflections on the Work of June Jordan, a collection of critical essays. Her writings have appeared in Word, English Education, JAC (A Journal of Composition Theory), Developmental Education and Urban Literacy Monograph, The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, and College Composition & Communication journal.
Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., is Associate Director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and Founder and Codirector of the United States SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project on Inclusive Curriculum. She consults with college and school faculty in the United States and abroad who want to create gender-fair and multicultural curricula, teaching methods, and school climates. In 1988, she published the groundbreaking article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.” McIntosh has taught at the Brearley School, Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), the University of Denver, the University of Durham (England), and Wellesley College. She is a cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, and has been consulting editor to SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women. In addition to having two honorary degrees, she is a recipient of the Klingenstein Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.
Sonia Nieto, Ph.D., is professor of language, literacy, and culture in the School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has taught students at all levels from elementary grades through graduate school, and for the past 30 years has focused on preparing teachers and teacher educators. Her research focuses on multicultural education and on the education of Latinos, immigrants, and students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her books include Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education; The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities; Puerto Rican Students in U.S. Schools; and What Keeps Teachers Going?; and she has published dozens of book chapters and articles in such journals as Educational Leadership, The Harvard Educational Review, Multicultural Education, and Theory Into Practice. She serves on several national advisory boards that focus on educational equity and social justice, including Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) and Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR). She has received numerous awards for scholarship, advocacy, and activism, including the Outstanding Educator award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Nieto was an Annenberg Institute Senior Fellow and has received two honorary doctorates.
Tonya Perry works at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an instructor in secondary English language arts (grades 6-12). She taught middle school for 10 years and worked with high school students in various instructional capacities. Perry was awarded the Alabama State Teacher of the Year title in 2000-01 and progressed to one of the four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. She has served on the National Council of Teachers of English Executive Board as the Middle School Representative-at-Large and writes a column for English Journal, a National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) periodical. She is also a National Board certified teacher.
Contributors: Lead Content Advisors & Advisory Board
Lead Content Advisors
Dale Allender is the Associate Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). He also directs NCTE’s West Coast office, located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches coursework in multicultural literature at the Graduate School of Education. Allender’s scholarship includes work in multicultural literature, media literacy, and cultural studies. He serves on advisory boards for a variety of organizations, including Media Rights, The Independent Film Channel/Film School project, Scenarios, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Oakland Museum of California. Allender has served as lead advisor or advisory board member for several Annenberg Media professional development workshops for English language arts educators.
Beverly Ann Chin, Ph.D., is Professor of English; Director, English Teaching Program; and former Director, Montana Writing Project at the University of Montana, Missoula. She has served as President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), board member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and Secretary of the Conference on English Education (CEE). Currently, she is Member-at-Large of the Conference on English Leadership (CEL) and a member of the Assessment Advisory Committee of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL). A former high school English teacher, Chin has written articles and books on the teaching of reading and writing. In addition, she has edited and served as program advisor for several books on multicultural literature, including Asian American Literature, Native American Literature, Hispanic American Literature, and African American Literature, published by Glencoe/McGraw Hill; Chinese-American Literature, published by Globe; and Dictionary of Characters in Children’s Literature, published by Franklin Watts. She provided commentary for The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School. A frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter, Chin travels nationally and internationally to work with educators and students on English language arts standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She has received numerous awards for her teaching and service.
Kylene Beers, Ed.D.
Senior Reading Researcher, School Development Program, Yale University
Editor, Voices from the Middle
Maisha Tulivu Fisher, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Educational Studies, Emory University
Nina L. Floro
Professor of English, Skyline College
Paula J. Hale, Ed.D.
Field Director Southern Pueblos, Nevado, North Dakota, Save the Children Federation
Violet Harris, Ph.D.
Professor and Head, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois
Nicolás Kanellos, Ph.D.
Brown Foundation Professor of Spanish, University of Houston
Director, Arte Público Press
Valerie Kinloch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Teacher, East Side Middle School, New York, N.Y.
Michael Pavel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology, College of Education, Washington State University
Instructor, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Teacher, Louis Armstrong Middle School, East Elmhurst, N.Y.
Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York. Copyright 2005, The Annenberg Foundation. All rights reserved.
A major American cultural and educational institution for nearly four decades, Thirteen/WNET supplies more than one-third of all primetime programs aired on PBS, including acclaimed cultural, science, and public affairs series and specials. The award-winning Children’s and Educational Programming group is a leading and innovative provider of programming for a variety of projects, from teacher professional development to instructional television and interactive multimedia. Broadcast series that further the station’s educational mission include the daily animated PBS Kids math program Cyberchase, the history series for families Freedom: A History of US, ZOOM Local/National, What’s Up in the Environment/Technology/Factories?, and In the Mix specials. Many projects promote implementation of national and state education standards. These include Science … Simply Amazing, Learning Science Through Inquiry, The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School, and Insights Into Algebra 1 for Annenberg Media, and PBS TeacherLine, Mathline, and Scienceline.
Thirteen is also a pre-eminent source of Web-based educational content and workshops, providing courses that have reached thousands of teachers, teachers-in-training, administrators, and others involved in pre-K-12 instruction. These workshops are currently used by professors and students at Harvard University, Pace University, and Teachers College at Columbia University. Thirteen’s award-winning Web site features online companion pieces to national series and original online content to complement Thirteen’s educational initiatives. Projects include New York: A Documentary Film, African American World, Cyberchase Online, Great Performances Online, Nature Online, and American Masters Online.
|Website Production Credits|
Beverly Ann Chin, Editorial Director/Lead Content Advisor
Dale Allender, Lead Content Advisor
Interactive and Broadband Unit:
Anthony Chapman, Director of Interactive and Broadband
Brian Brunius, Producer
Elizabeth Goodman, Associate Producer
Brian Santalone, HTML Implementation
Sabina Daley, Art Director
Wilson Gu, Designer
Brian Lee, Director of Technology
Ben Chappel, Lead Web Developer
Jill Peters, Project Director
Suzanne Rose, Project Manager
Michelle Chen, Content Producer
Beverly Ann Chin, Writer
Mary Drayne, Writer
Katherine Schulten, Writer
Naomi Edelson, Writer
Arash Hoda, Writer
Sapna Mehta, Researcher/Writer
Ashanti Chimurenga, Consultant
Margaret Restivo, Researcher
Leslie Kriesel, Copy Editor
Jesse Gale, Copy Editor
|Video Production Credits|
Lead Content Advisors
Beverly Ann Chin
Project Officers Annenberg Media
Peter M. Neal
Mary Ann Toman
Logo and Graphic Design
Music Composed by
J. Byron Smith
Project Advisory Board
Maisha Tulivu Fisher
Nina L. Floro
Paula J. Hale
Bank Street School for Children, New York, N.Y.
Café Mestizo, Chicago, IL
El Museo del Barrio, New York City
The Harbor School, Dorchester, MA
Hood Canal School District, Shelton, WA
Irma Ruiz School, Chicago, IL
Kunhardt Productions, Inc.
Manhattan Country School, New York, N.Y.
Melrose Elementary School, Oakland, CA
NYU Institute of African-American Affairs and Africana Studies Program
The Parish of Trinity Church-St. Paul’s Chapel
Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, N.J.
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
Santiago High School, Corona, CA
The Skokomish Tribal Nation
St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO
Teachers College, Columbia University
University of Alabama at Birmingham
U.S. General Services Administration
Washington Middle School, Vista, CA
Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley, MA
Wydown Middle School, Clayton, MO
Director of Children’s and Educational Programming
Using the Materials
The guide and website provide background, activities, discussion questions, homework assignments, and resources to supplement the workshop session programs and provide a robust professional development experience. They also provide information for facilitators to plan and structure group sessions.
Workshop sessions generally are held weekly for at least two hours. The workshop guide describes pre- and post-viewing activities and discussion to fill out the remainder of the session. The guide also provides homework to expand on what you have learned and prepare you for the next session.
If you are leading a group session, read our Facilitator Guide and the Workshop Guide for more information on planning and facilitating this workshop.
Workshop 6 Historical and Cultural Context: Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore
Stanlee Brimberg and his students in New York City study the important contributions of African Americans to the United States and the recent discovery of the African Burial Ground in Manhattan through factual texts, video, art, photography, and poetry. The students interview writer, historian, and documentary filmmaker Christopher Moore to learn more about the everyday experiences of African slaves in early New York. They examine the works of Langston Hughes, and then — drawing on all of the texts — they write their own poetry and engage in peer review. As a culminating activity, the students take a field trip to the African Burial Ground Memorial, and then design their own postage stamps to commemorate the site.