Lesson Plan

Teach This Poem: “Making History” by Marilyn Nelson

This Teach This Poem: “Making History” by Marilyn Nelson lesson plan also includes:

What makes an event newsworthy, worth a reference in a news magazine or textbook? Who decides? These are questions Marilyn Nelson asks readers of her poem "Making History" to consider. To begin, class members list details they notice in a photograph of Rosa Parks on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Participants then repeat the process with Nelson's poem and include questions they have about the poem. After sharing their observations and questions in small groups, the whole class comes together to discuss what Nelson feels is necessary to "make history."

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Have groups research the "firsts" listed in the poem, create posters for these individuals and their accomplishments, and display the work on a Black History Month-themed wall
  • Ask the groups to examine their social studies textbooks to see if the individuals are mentioned
Classroom Considerations
  • Groups require access to devices with internet connections
  • Scholastic ceased publication of Weekly Reader in 2012; be prepared to explain the reference
  • The noticing approach used in the lesson is designed to help build pupils confidence in their analysis skills
  • None