Lesson Plan

Harlem Renaissance Unit

Harlem Renaissance Lessons
Kristin H.
Classroom teacher
Spruce Street School
New York, United States
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My Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Arts

Lesson 1:

James Van Der Zee Inspired Photography

Students will be shown pictures of James Van Der Zee’s photography and will learn about his work and his role in the Harlem Renaissance.

Students will be placed in groups consisting of 4-5 students. In these groups students will brainstorm about the things that are important to them in their life, and what represents them best. Student groups will then be asked to create a set and include the use of costumes and props. Students will take turns posting in and photographing the scene. Each student will have a photograph of him or herself, surrounded by the important things in their life that represent them. Once all the photographs are printed and completed, they will be hung and critiqued by the class.


Lesson 2:

Students will look at Aaron Douglass’s Great Migration Series. Students will then be asked to look at the series and identify the struggles portrayed as well as the unifying factors of each piece. They will then be asked to create three works of art using the same color scheme and simplistic properties of the Great Migration Series, portraying their personal struggles. Students will be asked to couple their paintings with a caption of a few sentences for each of their art works.



Lesson 3:

Students will read poetry by Langston Hughes. They will then be asked to think about what they heard and how they can translate those words into visuals. Students will then be asked to create their own poem, or song lyrics and portray their words in the form of an album cover or illustration. 


Lesson 4: 

BrainPop Activity and Assessmnet 



Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Independent Practice- BrainPop

Teacher will conduct initial lessons. Students will be broken into pairs or groups to explore the BrainPop resources followed by the assessment.

Student Instructions

In pairs/groups students will explore the BrainPop lesson and respond to the assessment.