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Lesson Plan

A Harlem Renaissance Retrospective: Connecting Art, Music, Dance, and Poetry

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A Harlem Renaissance Retrospective: Connecting Art, Music, Dance, and Poetry

Grade 9
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Maureen Carroll

Pleasanton, California


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Computers with Internet access

  • Art supplies

  • LCD projector (optional)

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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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1. Preview the Harlem Renaissance Websites to learn about the Harlem Renaissance as well as conditions for black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Select background information to share with students. You may also want to spend some time reviewing the history of African Americans in the United States prior to the Harlem Renaissance (see “Websites related to African American history” on the list).


If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve three sessions in your school’s computer lab (see Sessions 1, 2, and 4). Preview and add the following websites to the list of favorites on your classroom or lab computers:

You may also want to bookmark all of the websites listed under the heading “Websites related to the Harlem Renaissance” on the Harlem Renaissance Websites list. As you preview these sites, think about how your students will use them and how you might model their use. Also consider your students’ comfort level with the reading.

3. If possible, arrange to use an LCD projector during Sessions 1 and 4. If you do not have access to one, find copies of the paintings Street Life, Harlem and Jeunesse. Create a blank Venn diagram with three circles labeled Art, Music, and Poetry. Make transparencies to share with students. An alternative is to project the Venn Diagram online tool or mobile app.

4. Visit PBS Biographies: Duke Ellington and listen to the following songs by Duke Ellington:

  • “East St. Louis Toodle-oo”

  • “The Mooche”

  • “Mood Indigo”
Visit and listen to “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes. Add these sites to the favorites list on your classroom or lab computers. Make sure that all computers have software for listening to the audio files.

5. Students will be creating museum exhibits as part of this lesson; gather art materials for them to use including poster paper, construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers.

6. Make copies of the Harlem Renaissance Websites list, the Museum Exhibit Rubric, and Reflections on the Harlem Renaissance for each student in your class.

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