Articles for Teachers & Students

With A Little Help from Dr. Angelou

Resources for teachers for teaching African American poetry.

by The Editors
With A Little Help from Dr. Angelou

In partnership with Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, Dr. Maya Angelou, and the Target Corporation, the Poetry Foundation has developed curriculum for teaching essential African American poetry to students of all ages.

The curriculum includes lesson plans, discussion guides, bibliographies, a glossary of poetic terms, and classroom activities designed to help students develop their own poetic voices.

The exercises in each unit serve as guidelines to interest students in African American poetry and poetry in general. The exercises are not sequenced, so teachers may use as many or as few as you like, and in any order. You may want to do one exercise per class period, or you may want to stretch an exercise over a few days.

African American Poetry Curricula
Elementary School (PDF)
Middle School (PDF)
High School (PDF)

Bibliography, Glossary, and African American Online Poetry Resources (PDF)

Originally Published: January 15, 2007


On January 23, 2007 at 4:40pm carolyn baker wrote:
Are there contests or award programs for middle school children. I see that you have one for high school children.

On February 5, 2007 at 6:28am Therese Broderick wrote:
Check this reputable site for children's contests--

On February 13, 2007 at 2:25pm Gabrielle Basham wrote:
Love this idea and it should be put in effect right now if it's not already.

On February 22, 2007 at 2:04pm c.schieche wrote:
I would like to know how to get more posters of the Maya Angelou picture and quote about 'dreaming in color'. I have several requests for more, and am unable to track where they came from or why they were sent to me. Thank you.

On February 23, 2007 at 8:25pm Jeanene Andrews wrote:
HOw might I get posters of Maya Angelou and any other poets?

On March 20, 2007 at 9:57am Am'Berelle J. wrote:
Ms. Angelou is one of histories best poets and I admire her work. As I grow into a young woman. Her poems and Langston Hughes help me when the world I live in is getting tough. They help me to understand that "TROUBLE DOESN'T LAST ALWAYS".

On April 17, 2007 at 12:47pm Melanie Howard wrote:
This is a wonderful instructional resource that

can be used throughout the year and during

April (National Poetry Month). The instructional

lessons are aligned to the Illinois Learning

Standards and I have shared copies with the teachers at my school. The resource guides are excellent!

On May 4, 2007 at 4:46pm tony wrote:
Can you assist me in identifying the author of "Dreaming on a Christmas Day"?

"Well I woke up this morning and it was Christmas Day,

And the birds were singing the night away.

I looked at the stocking lying on my chair,

Looked right to the bottom,

But you weren't there......"

I thought that Langston Hughes had written the poem, however, I can't find it in any of his anthologies.

Thankful for any help.

On May 17, 2007 at 8:27pm paige wrote:
Does anyone have the quote from the Maya

Angelou poster that I saw in a school? It had a

quote about once you decide you know what you

want go out and make it happen. I dont

remember the whole thing and I lost the paper

that I copied it down on. Please help. I cant find

it on the web anywhere

On May 22, 2007 at 11:22am destiny webb wrote:
dear ms. angelou i like your poem

On February 1, 2008 at 8:20am Diane W. Griffis wrote:
I love the Target Dream in Color Resource Guide 2007 for middle school teachers. Is the 2008 resource guide available? Thanks.

On April 1, 2008 at 8:29am cheveryon wrote:
you have showed the WORLD ALOT

On July 8, 2008 at 9:08pm Ryan wrote:
Thank you so much for this wonderful resource! It is a true gift! As an actor, writer, and now special ed teacher, I am able to share this fantastic program with children and get them excited about language and using words to express themselves (in a creative and safe way). I've been sharing this with everyone I know. Working with inner city youth is challenging, but very rewarding! They probably teach me more than I teach them! Having this, to bring to them each week, is a true blessing! Thank you for all that you have given!

On July 25, 2008 at 11:28pm dorid flournoy wrote:
ilove maya angelo poems

On March 2, 2009 at 8:21pm denize lauture wrote:
I published two wonerful children's bo oks: Father and Son by Penguin USA,Running the Road to ABC By Simon and schuster, I wonder if they are beeing used in your program.

On October 26, 2009 at 2:15am candy zondi wrote:
I've been going through the comments of the viewers from my understanding maya angelo is such a intelligent women. i wish her poems could be published more, i would like to get her poems. i first heard her poem from the movie madias reunion and ive wtched her from the oprah show..

please keep up the good work

On November 11, 2009 at 7:21pm dunya wrote:
Maya Angelou is amazing!! i love how she puts her creativity on paper!!! it is wonderful that she made this program !!! :)

On November 29, 2009 at 8:16pm Regina M. Hendrix-Brown wrote:
Is there a video/dvd component available with this as well?!

On January 14, 2012 at 3:16pm Melanie Link Taylor wrote:
Love the poet--Dr. Angelou--and the Dream. All kids can benefit from the profound resources of our Black poets. Langston Hughes, my favorite 'Dream Deferred,' 'Mother to Son' --universal.

On October 16, 2015 at 3:25am Paul Opolot wrote:
I would like to join the poetry foundation.How is this possible?

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

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