Article for Teachers

With A Little Help from Dr. Angelou

Resources for teaching African American poetry.
By The Editors

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 15th, 2007
  1. January 24, 2007
     carolyn baker

    Are there contests or award programs for middle school children. I see that you have one for high school children.

  2. February 5, 2007
     Therese Broderick

    Check this reputable site for children's contests--

  3. February 14, 2007
     Gabrielle Basham

    Love this idea and it should be put in effect right now if it's not already.

  4. February 23, 2007

    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.

  5. February 24, 2007
     Jeanene Andrews

    HOw might I get posters of Maya Angelou and any other poets?

  6. March 20, 2007
     Am'Berelle J.

    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".

  7. April 17, 2007
     Melanie Howard

    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!

  8. May 5, 2007

    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.

  9. May 18, 2007

    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

  10. May 22, 2007
     destiny webb

    dear ms. angelou i like your poem

  11. February 1, 2008
     Diane W. Griffis

    I love the Target Dream in Color Resource Guide 2007 for middle school teachers. Is the 2008 resource guide available? Thanks.

  12. April 1, 2008

    you have showed the WORLD ALOT

  13. July 9, 2008

    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!

  14. July 26, 2008
     dorid flournoy

    ilove maya angelo poems

  15. March 3, 2009
     denize lauture

    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.

  16. October 26, 2009
     candy zondi

    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

  17. November 12, 2009

    Maya Angelou is amazing!! i love how she puts her creativity on paper!!! it is wonderful that she made this program !!! :)

  18. November 30, 2009
     Regina M. Hendrix-Brown

    Is there a video/dvd component available with this as well?!

  19. January 15, 2012
     Melanie Link Taylor

    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.

  20. October 16, 2015
     Paul Opolot

    I would like to join the poetry foundation.How is this possible?