Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plan: Creating Interactive Presentations and Non-Fiction Comics

Submitted by: Allisyn Levy

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use BrainPOP resources to research, evaluate, and synthesize information about the Harlem Renaissance from a variety of resources. Students will work in groups to demonstrate an understanding of the Harlem Renaissance by creating an interactive presentation that teaches their peers. They will also create individual non-fiction comics to demonstrate an understanding of the effects of the Harlem Renaissance on African American culture.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Research, evaluate, and synthesize information about the Harlem Renaissance from a variety of resources.
  2. Work in groups to demonstrate an understanding of the Harlem Renaissance by creating an interactive presentation that teaches their peers.
  3. Create individual non-fiction comics to demonstrate an understanding of the effects of the Harlem Renaissance on African Americans.

Materials:

  • Collection of books on Harlem Renaissance
  • Map of New York City
  • Computer(s) with internet access
  • Interactive whiteboard and/or projector
  • Photocopies of BrainPOP Activity Pages for each student
  • Photocopies of BrainPOP FYI comic for each student
  • Paper and markers

Vocabulary:

Harlem; renaissance; The Great Migration; urban; rural; W.E.B. Du Bois; double consciousness; New Negro Movement; racial integration

Preparation:

Collect images and sound clips of art, music, and poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to share with students. These should be played and studied for the rest of this unit. Students can be invited to bring in materials as well. Preview BrainPOP's Harlem Renaissance movie and plan out where to pause for discussions. Hang the map of NYC to refer to throughout the lesson.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Write "Harlem Renaissance" on the board. Invite students to share what they know about Harlem Renaissance. Depending on their knowledge, you might want to share the FYI comic with them now, or save it for later (so they get the joke).
  2. If students have some background knowledge, take the BrainPOP Review Quiz to see what students already know.
  3. Hand out the Vocabulary and Venn Diagram pages to take notes during the movie.
  4. Begin the Movie, using the Zoom and Closed Caption features.
  5. If students are already somewhat knowledgeable, pause on Tim's letter in the beginning of the movie and have students do a quick write to answer the letter. I usually spend just 2 minutes on this, and come back to it later.
  6. Continue to pause throughout the movie for discussion, questions, and note-taking. Let students know you'll be watching it a second time.
  7. Divide students into four groups: Migration, Literature, Music, and Politics. This can be done randomly or by interest. Students will be taking notes on the BrainPOP Venn Diagram page ONLY on their group's assigned topic during the second viewing of the movie.
  8. Students should take notes individually as they watch a second time. Then, have students get together with their groups to compare notes and come up with a way to teach the rest of the class about their category. Their objective is to highlight the most important concepts and key words for their peers.
  9. After students have had time to prepare, they should use the interactive whiteboard and type right into the Activity Page as visual aid for the rest of the class to take notes. Students in each group can assign roles for presenters and typists.
  10. When all groups have presented, the class should have notes for each category of the Venn Diagram. You might want to try the Quiz again, allowing students to refer to their notes.
  11. As a separate assignment, you might use the FYI comic as inspiration, and invite students to create their own non-fiction comics to teach others about the Harlem Renaissance. This could turn into a great long-term research project!
  12. For homework or as a follow up activity, students should complete the first Activity Page. Use the interactive typing feature to model or invite students to share answers by typing directly into the page to go over student answers and have students correct/revise their work.The same can be done with the Vocabulary page before, during, or after viewing the movie.
  13. Enjoy listening to poetry, music, and reading poetry from this time period with your students!

Extension Activity:

If you're including the Harlem Renaissance in a broader study of African-American history, use BrainPOP's Timeline as a starting point, and create your own version to hang in your classroom. Students can research important events and create their own poster to display for each event, organized in chronological order.
  • danabrainpop

    I like the idea of pausing the movie for students to take notes on what they might already know about the topic. I might also try it where they watch the movie once, then have 2 minutes to write what they’ve learned, and then watch the movie again.