Langston Hughes Project Directions: Part 1



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Langston Hughes Project Directions:

  • Part 1: You are a writer for The Langston Hughes Journal, a journal that is dedicated to analyzing the literature of the famous African American poet Langston Hughes. You have been asked to answer the following question about the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes in an essay: What theme is the poem teaching? Supporting information is provided.

  • Part 2: The dance company Alvin Ailey would like for you to turn the ideas in “Mother to Son” into a dance. The dance will be accompanied by the words of “Mother to Son.” You will be turning the poem into a song or a rap. The words of the poem will remain the same in your song or rap; you need to create a melody and a rhythm for the song or rap. You can find beats for your song in the resources area. Supporting information is provided.

  • Resources

The following film clip is an example of matching words of a song to dance:

http://vimeo.com/channels/ailey#31929875

The following website will allow you to play beats that you can write your melody over

http://www.makehitmusic.com/free-beats.php


“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes
1 Well, son, I’ll tell you:

2 Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

3 It’s had tacks in it,

4 And splinters,

5 And boards torn up,

6 And places with no carpet on the floor –

7 Bare.

8 But all the time



9 I’se been a-climbin’ on,

10 And reachin’ landin’s,

11 And turnin’ corners,

12 And sometimes goin’ in the dark

13 Where there ain’t been no light.

14 So boy, don’t you turn back.

15 Don’t you set down on the steps

16 ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

17 Don’t you fall now –

18 For I’se still goin, honey,

19 I’se still climbin’,

20 And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.



Part 1 Step 1

Analyze the poem “Mother to Son.” You may work with 1 partner on this. Both of you need to complete the analysis on separate papers. Name your partner here



Analysis Questions

Responses to Questions

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”

What comes to mind when you think of crystal stairs?





“It’s had tacks in it,”

What experiences in life could resemble or be like tacks? Why do you say that?







“And splinters,”

What experiences in life could resemble or be like splinters? Why do you say that?







“And boards torn up,”

What experiences in life could resemble or be like boards torn up? Why do you say that?








“And places with no carpet on the floor –”

What experiences in life could resemble or be like places with no carpet on the floor? Why do you say that?








So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now –

What is the theme this poem is trying to teach?







Part 1 Step 2

Project: You are a writer for The Langston Hughes Journal, a journal that is dedicated to analyzing the literature of the famous African American poet Langston Hughes. You have been asked to answer the following question about the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes in an essay: What theme is the poem teaching? You may work with 1 partner on this. Name your partner here . You and your partner need to turn in the essay individually, but you can share ideas.

Essay Format

Introduction

a.) Begin with a hook (using words, draw an image in the mind of your reader; start with action words; start with dialogue; start with a question; start with an interesting fact)

b.) The poem “Mother to Son” is about c.) Thesis: The theme the poem is trying to teach the reader is .

Body Paragraph 1

a.)Topic Sentence/ Argument for this paragraph: How does the narrator of the poem view life? (refer to what she says about stairs to answer this) b.) The narrator says that life’s “had tacks in it.” This means c.) The narrator says that life’s had “boards torn up.” This means d.) (Summarize your argument in this paragraph. Do not repeat what you wrote for your topic sentence) The narrator views life as



Body Paragraph 2

a.) Topic Sentence/Argument for this paragraph: How does the narrator want her son to live life? b.) The narrator tells her son, “Don’t you set down on the steps.” What this means is c.) The narrator says to her son, “Don’t you fall now –.” What this means is . d.) The theme of the poem, then, is .



Conclusion

a.) In this essay, we have found (restate your thesis statement in a different way as to not exactly copy what you wrote in your introduction) b.) What could you say about life that the narrator of the poem left out? .


Part 2 of the Project: The dance company Alvin Ailey would like for you to turn the ideas in “Mother to Son” into a dance. The dance will be accompanied by the words of “Mother to Son.” You will be turning the poem into a song. The words of the poem will remain the same in your song; you need to create a melody and a rhythm for the song. You can find beats for your song in the resources area. Supporting information is provided.

Directions: Complete all steps. Each member of the group needs to have their personal form filled out.

Part 2 Step 1: Get into groups of no more than 4. Write the names of your group members below:

Part 2 Step 2 Directions: Draw your dance moves to support the words of the poem “Mother to Son”

Draw your dance move here to match the words


Draw your dance move here to match the words

Draw your dance move here to match the words

Draw your dance move here to match the words

Draw your dance move here to match the words

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.




It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,




And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor –

Bare.


But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,




And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,






Draw your dance move here to match the words


Draw your dance move here to match the words

Draw your dance move here to match the words

Draw your dance move here to match the words

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.




So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.


Don’t you fall now –


For I’se still goin, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair


Part 2 Step 3

Write down the names of the dancers for your performance

Write down the names of the singers for your performance

Part 2 Step 4 Make a melody or rap using the all words of “Mother to Son” in your song. Do not add words to the poem. You can use the beats found at http://www.makehitmusic.com/free-beats.php as a base for your melody/lyrics.

Write down the name of the beat on the website you will use


Part 2 Step 5
Practice the dance with the song, so that both the song and the dance seem like they flow together. Practice this until you would feel comfortable performing in front of your audience.

Part 2 Step 6: Perform your dance with the accompanying song in front of the class!!!

Langston Hughes Project Rubric: Part 1



Criteria

4

3

2

1

Introduction of Essay

-It begins with an effective hook

- It correctly tells the reader what the poem is about

- It has a clear thesis that shows a careful reading of the poem


-It begins with a hook

- It tells the reader what the poem is about

- It has a clear thesis


It contains 2 of the 3 elements

It contains 1 of the 3 elements

Body Paragraph 1 of Essay

-It begins with a topic sentence that correctly answers the question: How does the narrator of the poem view life?

-It correctly explains what life “had tacks in it” means

-It correctly explains what life has “boards torn up” means

-It has a conclusion sentence



It contains 3 of the 4 elements

It contains 2 of the 4 elements

It contains 1 of the 4 elements

Body Paragraph 2 of Essay

-It begins with a topic sentence that correctly answers the question: How does the narrator want her son to live life?

-It correctly explains what “Don’t you set down on the steps” means

-It correctly explains what “Don’t you fall now –” means

-It states the theme of the poem in the concluding sentence



It contains 3 of the 4 elements

It contains 2 of the 4 elements

It contains 1 of the 4 elements

Conclusion of Essay

-The thesis is restated in a non-repetitive way.

-Other things that the poet did not say about life are discussed, showing insight on the topic



-The thesis is restated

-Other things that the poet did not say about life are discussed



It contains 1 of the 2 elements

There was an attempt to write the conclusion

Spelling, Capitalization, Grammar, Punctuation

There are very few errors

There are a few errors

There are quite a few errors

There are too many errors

TOTAL: /20

My Job Was

Langston Hughes Project Rubric: Part 2 (Performance/Planning)

Criteria

4

2

0

Planning the Dance (All students)

-Part 2 Step 2 has been completed (All students)

-You have matched the words of the poem to movements so that both make sense together (all students)



1 of the 2 elements met

0 of 2 elements met

Music (graded based on your job)

You have created a song for your dance:

-The song has all of the words of “Mother to Son” in it, as if the poem were a song

-You have not added your own words to the song


1 of the 2 elements met

0 of 2 elements met

Performance (graded based on your job)

The performance was rehearsed:

-All of the dancers memorized the dance



-All of the singers memorized the words and the melody of the song

You needed more rehearsal

0 of 2 elements met

Total: /


STANDARDS: 6th ELA 2.4 Write responses to literature: Develop an interpretation exhibiting careful reading, understanding, and insight. Organize the interpretation around several clear ideas, premises, or images. Develop and justify the interpretation through sustained use of examples and textual evidence. Dance 6th 2.5 Use the elements of dance to create short studies that demonstrate the development of ideas and thematic material. Music 6th 2.1 Sing a repertoire of vocal literature representing various genres, styles, and cultures with expression, technical accuracy, good posture, tone quality, and vowel shape—written and memorized, by oneself and in ensembles (level of difficulty: 1 on a scale of 1–6). 8th ELA 2.4 Write persuasive compositions: a. Include a well-defined thesis (i.e., one that makes a clear and knowledgeable judgment). b. Present detailed evidence, examples, and reasoning to support arguments, differentiating between facts and opinion. c. Provide details, reasons, and examples, arranging them effectively by anticipating and answering reader concerns and counterarguments.


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