Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Investigating Langston Hughes

Joan Phillips
Bay District Schools


The students will read and appreciate the writing of great American Authors. For example, Langston Hughes was the first African American author to be published and widely acclaimed in the literature world. An investigation into his life and times will give students an insight to his genius. Long term goal: The students will use technology to garner information about famous American authors. The students will have selected sites to explore. The students will learn to save that information from the internet to a disk. The disk will store the data and pictures that will be used later for a PowerPoint presentation. (See PowerPoint attachment.)


The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

The student uses electronic technology including databases and software to gather information and communicate new knowledge.


-Activity sheets for Langston Hughes
-Pen or pencil
-CyberGuide for Teachers(
-[Coming Home] by Floyd Cooper
-[Language of Literature] by McDougal Littell, seventh grade edition or similar text
-Computer Disk for every student
-Copies of selected poems from sites
-Computer lab or portable lab
-Biographical material on Langston Hughes (See sites in Attached Files)
-PowerPoint Presentation (See Attached Files)
-LCD projector or TV for PowerPoint presentation (if neccesary)


1. Schedule and secure computer lab or portable lab.
(Timing is important in planning, and scheduling in advance will help the lesson go smoothly.)

2. Acquire disks for students' work. (A floppy disk may be required in some supplies list. Some schools have reformatted disks available for student work. It is important that every student have a disk for storing data.)

3. Gather materials and information.

4. Locate books and poems.

5. Check suggested websites.

6. Read Langston Hughes' material. Practice oral reading. (A teacher needs to be comfortable with Langston Hughes' style and prose to teach the subject enthusiastically.)

7. Make student copies of activity sheets.

8. Set up PowerPoint presentation (if used) on TV or projection units.


1. The teacher introduces Langston Hughes with a brief biographical sketch.
For this biographical information, a good site is
hughes.and CyberGuide by Barbara Garrison.

2. The teacher reads the picture book [Coming Home], written and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

3. The class reads Langston Hughes' short story "Thank You Ma'm." (Text: [Language of Literature] by MacDougal Littell, seventh grade edition or similar text.)

4. Discuss the story.

5. Sum up the lesson with oral reading of selected poems. Refer to these sites for Hughes' poetry: "Let America Be America Again"

1. The teacher hands out activity sheets with instructions and appropriate sites.

2. The students use the computer lab or use portable lab. Partners are not necessary. Teacher will supply disk.

3. The teacher instructs students on saving (copy, cut, and paste) data to a computer disk.

4. Teacher needs to monitor students' progress.

1. The students continue to work on investigation. Teacher may add sites if needed.

2. The teacher continues to monitor the students and encourages students to complete assignment on time.

3. To conclude the lesson, the class will discuss their facts in a teacher- guided share time.

4. Assess the activity sheets.

5. See Extensions for possible PowerPoint presentation assignment.


Teacher may develop his/her own rubric for assessment. In order to show mastery of this activity, the student should provide five good facts about Langston Hughes. The facts about Langston Hughes should be meaningful, correct, and these facts should have an impact on his life and works. The facts should be different from the common knowledge already known.

If students prepare a PowerPoint presentation on Langston Hughes, a rubric for assessment is included on the PowerPoint presentation in the attached file.


Students may prepare a PowerPoint presentation using the gathered facts about Lanston Hughes. (See guidelines in the attached PowerPoint presentation. Show to students.)
Students may investigate biographical information of other authors as they read other literary selections.

Web Links

WEB PAGES - ABOUT Langston Hughes Writers & Artists Langston Hughes. Twentieth century writer and poet Langston Hughes. Born: February 1, 1902. Died: May 22, 1967
America's Story from America's Library

WEB PAGES - ABOUT - The Academy of American Poets : The Academy of American Poets presents biographies, photographs, selected poems, and links as part of its online poetry exhibits. Some pages also include RealAudio clips of the poet reading his...
The Academy of American Poets

Langston Hughes biography and poetry. A history of Jazz before 1930. This site contains over 1000 songs from this era in Real Audio 3 format, as well as hundreds of biographies and discographies ... Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family ... Simple, and authored a series of books on him. Langston Hughes was a prolific writer ...

Hughes. A True Legacy 1902-1967. Langston Hughes Home | Biography | Poems | Critical Responses | -------- James Langston Hughes. Born: February 1, 1902 ...
Generic Template

... Langston Hughes: "In Time of Silver Rain" ... and many more poems

Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. by Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad (Editor), David Roessal (Editor) Langston Hughes: A Biography ...
Poet Heroes/ Langston Hughes

This supplemental CyberGuide on the poetry of Langston Hughes was developed by teachers in the Schools of ... Langston Hughes, a primary voice of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920's ...
SCORE: Teacher Guide--The Poetry of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes achieved fame as a poet during the burgeoning of the arts known as the Harlem Renaissance ... in a profound way. Langston Hughes followed the example of Paul Laurence ...
Gale - Free Resources - Black History Month - Biographies - Langston Hughes

Attached Files

Langston Hughes Research.     File Extension:  pdf

PowerPoint presentation.     File Extension:  ppt
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