skip to main contentThe University of Texas at AustinLift Every Voice, A Toolkit of Texas African American History, a resource to teachers, students, and scholars celebrating the lives and contributions of African-Americans in Texas
Home > Lesson Plans

High School Lesson Plans

The Art of Interviewing
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of this lesson is to aid students in understanding appropriate and effective interview techniques, to enlighten students on certain aspects of the Texan African American culture, and to foster good listening skills.

Committees in the House
Subject: U.S. Government
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Students investigate the role of committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Emancipate Me
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students the true concept of emancipation, and to acquaint them with the means for freeing slaves in Texas, by reading original historical letters written to emancipate Texas slaves.

Home on the Range:  The African American Cowboy in Texas
Subject: Social Studies & English Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Students will use their critical thinking skills to analyze the role of the African-American cowboy and create a paper based on their research.

I Want YOU! – Buffalo Soldiers (.pdf)
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to enhance the student’s understanding of propaganda as it was used to lure black men into the American Army. Students will research Texas Buffalo Soldiers and contrast the concept of propaganda with the reality of a soldier’s life

Images Seen Through the Eyes of Blind Lemon Jefferson
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Using the lyrics of several of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s songs, students will create a PowerPoint scrapbook that reflects the images the songs create as well as some of the history of African Americans in the 1920’s. Through this visual scrapbook, students will demonstrate understanding of some of the issues facing African Americans and how they faced these issues.

The John Biggers Experience:  Lesson I Open-Ended Questions
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Is this true? Through experiencing John Bigger’s art, students will share in Texas African Americans’ experience. They will study artistic details that create emotion and thought and translate this emotion and thought into words.

The John Biggers Experience:  Lesson II Writing Creatively
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Is this true? Through experiencing John Biggers art, students will share in Texas African Americans’ experience. They will study artistic details that create emotion and thought and translate this emotion and thought into words.

Letter for Freedom
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with the art of letter writing and the importance of letter as voices of history. Student will produce an original letter in the voice of a person who either was a freed slave or a slave owner.

The Life and Times of Barbara Jordan
Subject: U.S. History since Reconstruction
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Students create a 20th century timeline to consider the impact of various scientific and cultural innovations on political events in the U.S.

Paint me a Place
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:With this lesson students will understand and demonstrate the use of imagery and vivid language to create TONE in writing.

Paths to Justice:  Texan African American Culture and Experience
Subject: English language Arts or Social Studies
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Can you believe everything that you hear or read? As Americans we are bombarded everyday with information we are expected to understand. Texan African Americans have been targeted by political special interest groups in order to gain these Texans’ endorsements. Students will read and view two different visuals to critically interpret the intended messages, identify the persuasive reasoning used, and the logic or fallacies these messages contain.

Photographs Speak
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to some of the history and culture of early Texas African-Americans and to help students understand the concepts of point-of-view, descriptive writing and varying language styles.

Ragtime in Texas
Subject: English
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with Ragtime music by African American Texan Scott Joplin and lyrics by Joplin and others and through this gain a better understanding of the time period, language, unique dialect, style and sound of ragtime and of the African American Culture.

Researching Texas’ African Americans
Subject:
English, Language Arts
Grade level:
9-12
Rationale or Purpose:
Students will become more familiar, not only with Texas’ African Americans, but the obstacles these Texans encountered as African Americans, their methods of conquering these obstacles and achieving their goals as well as their contributions to the American culture.

“School Days” J. Vance Lewis, Lesson I Open-Ended Questions
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose: Students will read a non fiction, narrative piece of literature, to acquaint them with Texan African Americans and post civil war life in America. Students will practice close reading skills to become more critical readers and be better able to answer TAKS, AP, and SAT type questions and essay prompts.

“School Days” J. Vance Lewis, Lesson II Types of Essay Prompts
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Students will read a non fiction, narrative piece of literature, to acquaint them with Texan African Americans and post civil war life in America. Students will practice close reading skills to become more critical readers and be better able to answer TAKS, AP, and SAT type questions and essay prompts.

Singing the Blues with T-Bone Walker
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:The purpose of the lesson is three-fold – to give students a basic understanding the poetic elements of blues music, to have students learn about African American Texan T-Bone Walker, and can include other Blue singers like African American Texas Alexander & Charles Brown and others if teacher desires, and to allow students to create their own blues songs.

Slave Narrative:  James Green of Texas
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:After reading the slave narrative of James Green, students will have a greater comprehension of the effects of slavery on the individual and on society. Using this knowledge, students will create a PowerPoint presentation on the life of James Green, suitable for fourth and fifth graders. Students will use some of the same dialect that was used by Green in his narrative and will locate pictures, illustrations, graphics and sound that will enhance their presentations and give these younger students an awareness of the effects of slavery.

Texas Blues and Blind Lemon Jefferson
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:After studying the lyrics of Texas’ Blind Lemon Jefferson’s song, “Rising High Water Blues” students will create an original lyric poem about an event that they are more familiar with that also arouses a sense of fear and helplessness. Students will discover how songs/poems use language to create strong emotional images.

“Who then will speak for the Common Good?”
Subject: U.S. History since Reconstruction and U.S. Government
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:Students analyze a primary source speech by Barbara Jordan to define the concept of the common good.

Writing for VOICE – Oral Narratives
Subject: English, Language Arts
Grade level: 9-12
Rationale or Purpose:After this lesson, students will have a better understanding of the use of VOICE in writing, understand how to achieve personal voice in writing and understand the role of diction, figurative language and have an appreciation for the cultural of African American Texans. Students will draft, revise and edit personal narrative and use African American Oral Narratives as models for their own writing.