Sequence of Activities:
Before beginning any lesson, I try to establish group norms and expectations as a community. This is done by setting classroom expectations instead of rules. When these have been established, dive deeper into building connections with the participants by sitting down and getting to know each other. This can be done by modeling for the participants by introducing yourself, your pronouns, something that relates to your day outside of facilitation (for example, a highlight of my day was I got to get my favorite coffee this morning) and asking the student to do the same.
Begin this activity by presenting exploratory questions that inspire students to share their personal experiences to introduce the poem for this lesson! The questions are designed to deepen the conversation. The facilitator should honor the organic flow of the discussion and stop when the conversation comes to a natural close. Here are examples of some discussion questions that can be reflected independently or asked in a group setting below:
1. Do all questions have answers?
2. Do you think poems are answers or questions?
3. Who are you, and what do you want to be?
4. How do you know when you have become what you want to be?
Provide each student with their own copy of "Dreams" by Langston Hughes. Ask them to read the poem independently and underline what they notice.
Optional Group Discussion Questions for in-person facilitation:
- What about this poem stuck out to you and why?
- Why does Langston Hughes think dreams are important?
- Are dreams and goals the same? Why or why not?
1. Provide every student with a clean sheet of paper and pen.
2. Allow students to use the following freewriting prompt (or their own prompt) to create a poem:
- If you asked my dreams, they would tell you
- I am becoming
In a group setting, you can hold space for students to share their writing. Be sure to frame this where students actively listen and encourage the reader via positive feedback.