Our team was very sad to hear the news of Maya Angelou’s passing this week. Our Famous People section is full of readings about inspiring activists, writers, speakers, and musicians, and Maya Angelou was one of those amazing figures who was famous for being all of the above.
Every year, we feature our Maya Angelou lesson plan at least once or twice. Sometimes we feature her for Black History Month (She is in our Black History Jigsaw lesson plan), and sometimes we feature her for International Women’s Day. We’ve also featured her for her birthday. Did you know that Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, 40 years before the death of Martin Luther King Jr. After the death of Dr. King, Maya Angelou refused to celebrate her birthday for quite some time.
“I couldn’t believe that this great man, this great dream, this great dreamer, this person who dared to love everybody, could be killed.”~Maya Angelou
In honor of Maya Angelou’s life, we’ll be featuring our redesigned Famous People lesson plan this month. We also encourage you and your students to get to know Maya Angelou better through her poetry and quotes.
Listen to Maya Angelou recite the poem “Still I Rise”. Have your students look up five words that they are unfamiliar with. Encourage them to try to write their own poem using these five words.
If the the language in the poem above is too mature for your learners, use the poem “Alone”.
As a poet, author, and speaker, Maya Angelou was known for her powerful use of words. In a recent interview, she said that when her time came to leave this earth she’d probably be busy writing music, or a poem, or an autobiography.
In our redesigned lesson plan, we included one of our favorite Maya Angelou quotes:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Here are some of Maya Angelou’s most thought-provoking quotes. They can be used to spark some interesting discussions with your students.