Teach This Poem: "Black Laws" by Roger Reeves

After investigating the Black Lives Matter movement, class members do a close read of Roger Reeves' "Black Laws." They write down words and phrases that rhyme, consider the kinds of rhymes used and their function in the poem. Scholars discuss some of the poem's allusions and consider how events that led to the Black Lives Matter movement relate to Reeves's poem.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Use during February's Black History Month, April's Poetry Month, or a poetry unit
  • Younger pupils may need additional support to recognize the many allusions in the poem
  • Brainstorm words and phrases pupils want to know more about, assign groups different topics, and have them report their findings to the class
Classroom Considerations
  • Part of the Academy of American Poets "Teach This Poem" series
  • A protocol must be in place to ensure a safe, respectful discussion of controversial issues
  • Learners should have a basic understanding of different types of rhymes
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
Pros
  • The linked teacher reference provides background information about the Philosophy of Perception approach used in the Academy of American Poets series
Cons
  • Younger learners may need additional scaffolding to connect the poem to the Black Lives Matter movement