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Life Doesn’t Frighten Me Poem: Back To School Lesson Plan

Back to school can be a stressful time for parents, teachers and students. The poem, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou is an amazing way to talk about these concerns in a nice, inviting and educational way.

As suchy, it is one of the best back to school poems you can use in the classroom Below is a sample lesson plan you can use to introduce both the amazing life of the poet, but also the beautiful meaning behind her words.

Grade Level: Middle School (6th-8th grade)

Objective:

  • Students will analyze and interpret the poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou, exploring its themes, literary devices, and personal significance.
  • By the end of the lesson, students will create their own artistic responses inspired by the poem.

Duration: 2-3 class periods (45-60 minutes each)

Materials:

  • Copies of the poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou
  • Projector or printed copies of images related to the poem’s themes
  • Art supplies (paper, markers, colored pencils, etc.)
  • Access to a computer or library for research




Poem: Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at allBad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at allMean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at allDragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Lesson Plan:

Day 1: Introduction to the Poem Duration: 45-60 minutes

  1. Warm-up (10 minutes): Begin with a discussion about fear. Ask students about things that scare them and why fear can be both helpful and limiting.
  2. Context and Background (10 minutes): Introduce Maya Angelou as a renowned poet, author, and civil rights activist. Provide a brief overview of her life and work.
  3. Reading and Initial Thoughts (15 minutes): Distribute copies of the poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” Have students read the poem silently and jot down their initial reactions and interpretations.
  4. Group Discussion (10 minutes): Lead a class discussion on students’ initial thoughts. Encourage them to share their interpretations of the poem’s title and any lines or phrases that stand out to them.




Day 2: Analyzing the Poem Duration: 45-60 minutes

  1. Recap (5 minutes): Briefly summarize the previous day’s discussion.
  2. Literary Elements (15 minutes): Explain key literary devices such as metaphors, repetition, and rhythm. Identify these elements in the poem and discuss their significance in conveying the poem’s themes.
  3. Exploring Themes (20 minutes): Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a specific theme from the poem (e.g., fear, strength, empowerment). Have them discuss how the theme is developed throughout the poem and find evidence to support their interpretations.
  4. Group Presentations (10 minutes): Have each group share their findings and interpretations with the class.




Day 3: Creative Response Duration: 45-60 minutes

  1. Discussion (10 minutes): Begin with a brief discussion about how art can be used to express emotions and ideas. Remind students of the themes in the poem.
  2. Artistic Exploration (20 minutes): Provide art supplies and ask students to create visual representations of the themes in the poem. They can draw, paint, or collage their responses.
  3. Sharing and Reflection (15 minutes): Allow each student to share their artistic response with the class. After each presentation, ask the creator to explain their choices and how they relate to the poem.
  4. Wrap-up (10 minutes): Lead a final discussion about how art and poetry can help us confront and overcome our fears. Ask students to reflect on what they’ve learned from analyzing the poem and creating their artistic responses.

Also Read: Is the Moon Tired? By Christina Rosetti: Lesson Plan

Assessment:

Assessment can be based on:

  • Participation in class discussions and group activities
  • Thoughtful analysis of the poem’s themes and literary devices
  • Creativity and effort put into their artistic responses

Homework: Ask students to write a short reflection on what they’ve learned from studying the poem and creating their artistic responses. They should also consider how the poem’s themes relate to their own lives.

Conclusion

By combining literary analysis with artistic expression, this lesson plan aims to engage students on multiple levels and encourage them to think critically about the themes presented in Maya Angelou’s “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.”

Read Next: 5 Ways to Use Taylor Swift in the Classroom

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