You are on page 1of 4

Date: 2/15/18

Class: 10th Grade Honors English


Unit: Great Gatsby
Time: 58 Minutes
Lesson Topic: The Crisis of Modernity within “Let America Be America Again”
Rationale: SWBAT recognize and relate the crisis of modernity with multiple literary works of
the early 20th century. By reading and analyzing Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America
Again” in connection to the crisis of modernity, students will be preparing themselves for future
lessons that deal with this theme. Students will be assigned to read this poem for homework the
night before, as well as to complete a dialectic journal about the poem. The goal of this lesson
will first be accomplished, by having students answer discussion questions geared toward the
analysis of the use of literary devices in this poem. By having students work in groups, to first
analyze and break this poem down, the teachers are able to create the structure for a discussion of
this poem and the theme of this unit. Then students will be prompted to discuss what their group
was able to come up with in parallel Socratic circles. The purpose of this discussion is to have
members of each group debrief their classmates on the findings of their respective group. This
allows for students to synthesize their own analysis with the analysis of another, leading to a
greater understanding of the text. Finally, there will be a reflective response to the central
message of this poem, and to the overarching question of this lesson. This will be assigned for
homework. The purpose of this lesson is to have students engage in critical analysis of both the
texts of this unit, and the question as to whether the American Dream exists in modern society.
Objective: SWBAT recognize, discuss, and discriminate between multiple examples of the
Crisis of Modernity to be seen within “Let America Be America Again.” This will be
accomplished by having both teachers employ cooperative parallel teaching strategies and
Socratic circles to promote equal and critical discussion in both groups. The end goal of this
lesson is to promote analysis of the modern America versus the America of the Jazz age.
Standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as
well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course
of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an
objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative
and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning
and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or
informal tone).
Procedure:
● Opening: The class will begin with a review of the homework focusing on the image of
America that is being presented to them. “What images of American is Hughes
presenting in the poem?” Students will be asked to give examples to the class. 5 minutes
● Mini Lesson: Students will get into 6 groups of 4 to discuss the poem. There will be a
count off 1-6 to divide them. The purpose of this is to allow them to work through and
refine their ideas in a smaller and safer setting. Groups will be assigned to work with
specific literary devices which are present within the poem and assess their effect on the
poem. 20 mins maximum.
○ Themes in the poem
■ Find two quotes that displays the silencing of marginalized voices. Be
ready to explain your reasoning to a larger group. (Hint: Marginalized
means a group of people who are unimportant or powerless position
within a society or group)
■ Look at lines 17 and 18 of the poem, how do these lines relate to the
silencing that occurs in the other quotes you’ve pulled?
■ What is Hughes idea of the American dream when considering
marginalized voices? Find two quotes to support this and be ready to
explain your reasoning.
○ Describe the diction in the first half of this poem (Up to Line 35)
■ Where do you see it change in certain places?
■ Look for 8 contrasting optimistic(4) and pessimistic(4) word choices. Be
ready to explain the positive and negative connotations of the words you
pick and how they relate to Hughe’s America.
■ Find phrases and words that repeat themselves. Why would repetition of
this phrase be meaningful?

● Describe the diction in the last half of this poem (Starting at Line 35)
○ Where do you see it change in certain places?
○ Look for 8 contrasting optimistic(4) and pessimistic(4) word choices. Be
ready to explain the positive and negative connotations of the words you
pick and how they relate to Hughe’s America.
○ Find phrases and words that repeat themselves. Why would repetition of
this phrase be meaningful?

○ End Rhyme Scheme- pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem or song.
It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme; lines
designated with the same letter all rhyme with each other.
■ What is the rhyme scheme in the poem? Identify it.
■ Where does it change?
■ How does the rhyme scheme connect to the larger message of breaking
free from the barriers of modernity?
○ Anaphora/Repetition
■ Anaphora is the repetition of words or phrases in order to place greater
emphasis on what is being repeated. In poetry this device is commonly
employed with the first word or words in a line. In this poem, how many
times do you see anaphora?
■ What is being repeated in each section? (Hint: lines 19-22)
■ What is the significance of the repetition you see within each section? In
other words, what is the point of repeating what is being repeated?
○ Imagery/Symbolism
■ Why is there more than one America in this poem? Isn’t there only one
America outside of this poem?
■ Where do you see imagery in this poem? Find 5 examples and cite the line
number. (Hint 17-18)
■ How does each image symbolize America, which America does each
example symbolize?

● Main Lesson: The main lesson will consist of two Harkness circles that will be lead by
both student teachers. The questions will be designed to probe students to engage in
critical analysis. 25 mins maximum
○ Overarching question: How does Hughes offer a criticism of the American
Dream?

● Closing: Students will reconvene in one large group with all the teachers to summarize
what they talked about and exchange ideas. 5 mins
● Homework: 1 - 2 page reflection on the following question. What is Langston Hughes
saying about modern society and the American Dream? Do you agree with him? Why or
why not?
Assessments:
Formative: Initial Do Now questions.
Summative: Discussion questions through participation and homework writing assessment.
Differentiation: Parallel teaching strategies and co-teaching instruction will be present
Technology: N/A
Future use: