The Harlem Renaissance
This workshop will give teachers background and contextual information on this important artistic and literary movement. Teachers will receive examples of literature and visual art as well as a handout on black dialect. The workshop will also provide a short background reading which helps clarify the movement’s various historical and economic roots, the tensions between artists about what type of literature best represented African American culture, the disagreements between the various participants about who should lead the Renaissance, and the influential legacy of the Harlem Renaissance.
This workshop will help teachers develop writing sequences, especially for research papers and literary analysis. That is, they will work on designing a variety of pre-writing and writing activities to help improve student essays. First we will examine a variety of pre-made sequences, then practice creating some, and finally, work on their own.
Analyzing Propaganda and Its Techniques
Advertising sells products and propaganda sells ideas. To sell their ideas, propagandists use a variety of techniques including logical fallacies, stereotypes, simplification, slogans, and attractive design. In this workshop, teachers will receive a short reading that provides explanation and discussion of these techniques. We will examine American World War I and World War II propaganda posters and help teachers prepare to create lessons in which students examine contemporary propaganda.
Civil Rights: More than Buses and Water Fountains
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States is frequently oversimplified so that discussion focuses on separate water fountains and seats on public buses. However, Jim Crow laws were much more insidious. This presentation will focus on some of the more problematic aspects of Jim Crow, including lynching, the convict lease system, and voter suppression. Discussion can continue with an analysis of various texts of protest, like King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”
Reading and Writing Personal Narratives
A traditional college assignment is the personal narrative. Yet students have trouble producing personal narratives that are focused and meaningful. In this workshop, teachers can read one or more classic American personal essays that are considered important examples of creative non-fiction. These include Gloria Alzaldúa’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens” and Maxine Hong Kingston’s “No Name Woman.” We will then discuss how to use these readings to help students focus their own personal essays.
The Sonnet in American Literature and Culture
Starting in the 1590s, the sonnet became an influential form of English literature. Since then, sonnets have been a prestigious literary form. However, by the 20th century, sonnets seemed old fashioned. Yet quite a few poets still used them, including Frost, Millay, McKay, and Brooks. In this workshop, we’ll examine why these poets used the sonnets and how they innovated with this very old, traditional form.
Teaching 20th Century American Short Stories
This workshop features an anthology of short stories, ready for classroom use, complete with discussion questions and quiz questions. We can discuss one or more of these stories (see list).
Teaching 20th Century American Poetry
This workshop features an anthology of American poetry stories, ready for classroom use, complete with discussion questions and quiz questions. We can discuss one or more of these stories (see list).