Lesson Plans for High School Educators

Mosaic supplements its print issues with lesson plans developed for high school educators. Each demonstrates how Mosaic’s content can help empower educators to use books, writing, and reading to engage students.

The lesson plans supplement most issues of Mosaic. We encourage you to subscribe and make Mosaic an essential part of your curricula.

Lesson PLan
Issue #38
James Baldwin: In Perpetuity
mosaic38coverThere are many lenses through which to view literary great James Baldwin. These lesson plans examine Baldwin the author activist and provide a historic context for young people to better understand that #BlackLivesMatter is a fresh iteration of the centuries-long Black freedom struggle.
The struggle for Black Liberation has taken many forms. The Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century is rooted in slave ship rebellions and slave uprisings, Abolition, the Anti-Lynching Campaign led by Ida B Wells-Barnett, the Back to Africa Movement and Garveyism, Uplift, the Colored Women’s Club Movement, and the Labor Movement. This list is not exhaustive. Consider pan-Africanism, Negritude, and the New Negro Movement.
Civil Rights struggles are as varied and diverse as the beautiful diversity within the Black community. For contemporary youth to begin to know and appreciate the revolutionary aspects of Black life, they must begin to know and appreciate more than what most schools teach. One way to examine the deep engagement of countless African Americans in our own liberation is to study the contributions of one of them. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #37
Black Poets Speak Out/BlackLivesMatter
lessonplan37coverbigBlack Poets Speak Out (BPSO) began as a response to a conversation initiated by Amanda Johnston. Jericho Brown, Mahogany Browne, Jonterri Gadson and Sherina Rodriguez-Sharpe responded to the call with ideas, suggestions and various plans of action. What resulted was a hashtag video campaign house on a tumblr site featuring hundreds of videos from Black poets reading in response to the grand jury’s decision on November 24 not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Mike Brown. According to organizer Mahogany Browne, the project’s purpose “is to centralize in one space hundreds of poems, songs, prayers and testimonies speaking on behalf of black mothers, black fathers, black brothers and sisters—thousands of voices insisting on justice. BlackPoetsSpeakOut videos are a collective outcry for our black lives.” Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #36
Black Lives Matter
lessonplan36coverThese lesson plans encourage learning about the origins of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to enable students to understand the structural organization required to effectively lead nationwide direct action to successful outcomes. The lessons also encourage critical thinking and rigorous interrogation of media portrayals of everyday ctivists. Opportunities to study language and the power of word choices are also present in these lessons. An entire section is devoted to the Black women associated with the Baltimore Uprising. Finally, the last section of the lesson plan examines youth participation in the Uprising and celebrates the persistence of Black joy in Baltimore specifically and more broadly throughout the African-American community. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #34
Down These Mean Streets: The World of Piri Thomas
lpfallwinter20142Piri Thomas is widely celebrated as a progenitor of Nuyorican literary culture and a literary godfather to contemporary writers of Latino descent, including award-winning poet Willie Perdomo and Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz.  In his bestselling memoir, Down These Mean Streets, Thomas evokes the isolation and invisibility of mid-20th century Puerto Ricans living in New York’s El Barrio. Down These Mean Streets was published in 1967, two years after the publication of both The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land.  Taken together, these three coming-of-age narratives center Black and Brown male life and give voice to the discontent that arose from marginalized communities of color during the Black Power Movement, the Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement, the Asian American Movement, and, from 1968 to the early 1980s, the expansion of the Young Lords. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #32
Walter Dean Meyers: The Basketball Study
mosaic32 lesson plan

Walter Dean Meyers is widely recognized as one of the most important young adult fiction writers of our time. Winner of several prestigious literary awards and Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2012 – 2014, Meyers has touched countless readers with his striking YA novels. A significant body of his work centers around the sport of basketball. The following lesson plans will aid educators in guiding close student readings of two of Meyers’ basketball-themed books. Pre-reading study of the author, of basketball terminology, and of the Harlem community Meyers writes about will help guide students into the narratives. Topics for discussion, essay ideas, and additional activities will help students understand the important motifs in Meyers’ basketball novels. In addition, other book titles are provided for educators and young readers to pursue an even closer, independent study of Meyers’ basketball novels. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #31
mosaic31lessonplanYoung readers are consuming Speculative Fiction at high rates, with YA series, movies based on these books, and websites devoted to loyal fans garnering high numbers. From best-seller lists, to box office numbers, and Nielsen online measurements, it is clear middle and high school readers love Speculative Fiction. This issue of Mosaic examines Afro-Surrealism, a genre of the Black literary tradition rooted in oral folk tales, voodoo conjuring, and the folk wisdom born of generations of dispossession. These lesson plans can not hope to introduce young people to Afro-Surrealism – they already know the stories of our people, and they have heard the fantastic, bizarre, weird, and wonderful from elders all around them. What these lesson plans hope to do is help the thoughtful teacher guide students to a deeper understanding of Afro-Surrealism. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan

Lesson Plan
Issue #30
mosaiclessonplansummer2013220In Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, Emily Raboteau’s second book, the author journeys from New York to Israel, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South on a quest for the Black Promised Land. A memoir that penetrates Raboteau’s deep need for a homeland to call her own, this narrative expresses the African American longing for a place to belong. The forced displacement of Africans and the subsequent erasure of an authentic African identity has generated the beautiful, expressive culture of Diasporic peoples in the west. Yet, an insistent urge to locate a place of origination persists in the communal heart of slave descendants, and this narrative is its pulse. Click here to preview and download this lesson plan.

lpwinter2013175Lesson Plan
Issue #29

Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed is a collection of short stories that explore Jamaican life. These lesson plans can be used to engage younger readers across skills levels, as they offer opportunities for both reluctant readers and more confident readers to discuss the literature and examine specific narratives in a more substantive way. Students will be given the opportunity to study symbol, character, and theme. These lesson plans also provide the opportunity for students to research Jamaican artists, Jamaican music, and aspects of Jamaican history. Students may also use Goodison’s fiction to express their own creativity through art, photography, and/or writing. Click here to preview and download lesson plans

Lesson Plan
Issue #28

Theme One: Everyday Women in an Extraordinary Movement
Theme Two: Bodies in Prison, Minds Set Free
Theme Three: Hurricane Katrina’s Criminals
Reading List
 Click here to preview and download lesson plans


Lesson Plan
Issue #27

Theme One: Black Power
Theme Two: Reading History in Poetry and Prose
Theme Three: Family and Community in Literature
Reading List
Click here to preview and download lesson plans

Lesson Plan
Issue #26

Theme One: Family
Theme Two: Documenting our Lives
Theme Three: Expanding the Rim of Blackness
Reading List
Click here to preview and download lesson plans

Click here to download.

Theme One: Urban Studies
Theme Two: Documenting Hate
Theme Three: Coming of Age
Reading List