Here are six Shared Inquiry™ lesson plans by Black authors or featuring Black characters to help you study important topics and lead rich discussions during Black History Month—and well beyond. Five of them contain the full set of interpretive activities appropriate for their grade level, including:

  • First reading with sharing questions
  • Second reading with directed notes or writing/drawing activity
  • Shared Inquiry discussion questions
  • Writing and extension activities

Sample lesson plans for the texts in The Will of the People: Readings in American Democracy have interpretive and evaluative questions for two powerful texts:

  • “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes
  • Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address

We hope you have a chance to delve into these rich, discussable works!

Eve L. Ewing, author of “At work with my father” in Junior Great Books Series 6.
Photo Credit: Nolis Anderson.

Contains the full text and activities for “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts, a story in Junior Great Books Series 1 that features a young Black child who yearns for a pair of name-brand shoes.

Contains “At work with my father” by Eve L. Ewing, a poem for grades 6 and up. In the poem, Ewing reflects upon time spent with her father on Chicago’s Navy Pier, a longtime city tourist attraction, as he makes a living drawing caricatures of tourists.

These lesson plans feature Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address and the poem “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes. Both are suitable for discussion with students in grades 10–12.

Amanda Gorman produced a January lightning bolt in 2021 with “The Hill We Climb,” her poem for President Biden’s inauguration day. Use these lesson plans to discuss the meaning of the poem and all of the aspects of its incredible delivery with your students! For grades 6 and above.

Amanda Gorman followed “The Hill We Climb” with this evocative poem, released in early 2022, that she said “celebrates the new year and honors the hurt and the humanity of the last one.” Use these lesson plans to investigate its meaning with your students in grades 6 and above.

What did David Dinkins mean when he wrote, “Any eulogy must be for us, the living”? Read “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” his moving eulogy, and discuss its meaning, along with investigating King’s life and legacy. For grades 6 and above.

Learn more!

To learn more about the rich, diverse texts that students read in Junior Great Books® programs, please get in touch with your Great Books K–12 partnership manager. Our fiction, nonfiction, and poetry spark lively, collaborative discussions among children at all grade levels.