ALEX Lesson Plan


Never Forget Birmingham's Morning Glories

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  This lesson provided by:  
System: Birmingham City
School: Birmingham City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33112


Never Forget Birmingham's Morning Glories


Although The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a great read for Social Studies and English Language Arts students in Grades 6-8, it can easily be addressed as a reading assignment for Grades 9-12 depending on the end results desired of the teacher. Here, the teacher can travel back and forth from poetry to fiction to music to history to food, and finally to writing. This novel has references to the 16th Street Bombing and the four little girls who perished that Sunday morning. This is a good lesson to study history and geography with regard to writing. 

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RL.11-12.1]
ELA2015 (11)
2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.11-12.2]
ELA2015 (11)
3. Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed). [RL.11-12.3]
ELA2015 (11)
6. Analyze a case in which grasping point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement). [RL.11-12.6]
ELA2015 (11)
7. Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.) [RL.11-12.7]
ELA2015 (11)
10. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RI.11-12.1]
ELA2015 (11)
15. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text. [RI.11-12.6]
ELA2015 (11)
20. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. [W.11-12.2]
a. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.11-12.2a]
b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic. [W.11-12.2b]
c. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. [W.11-12.2c]
d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. [W.11-12.2d]
e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. [W.11-12.2e]
f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). [W.11-12.2f]
ELA2015 (11)
23. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of the first three standards in the Language strand in Grades K-11.) [W.11-12.5]
ELA2015 (11)
27. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.11-12.9]
a. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics"). [W.11-12.9a] (Alabama)
b. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., Analyze seminal United States documents of historical and literary significance [e.g., Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"]), including how they address related themes and concepts. [W.11-12.9b] (Alabama)
ELA2015 (11)
31. Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used. [SL.11-12.3]

Local/National Standards:

  • Analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques;
  • Create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience;
  • Write for a variety of purposes; demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writings; and
  • Analyze image as text.  CollegeBoard(R)

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will identify poetry as a vehicle for perpetuating history.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • D. Randall's Ballad of Birmingham
  • TPCASTT poetry analysis device (See attachment)
  • Curtis' The Watsons Go to Birmingham,
  • Recipe for Squirrel Stew
  • Figurative Language Vocabulary (See attachment) 
  • Elements of Literature (See attachment) 
  • Highlighters
  • Notebooks

Technology Resources Needed:


The teacher should make sure students have mastered these assignments:

Making Poetry FIT (See Attachment)

Elements of Literature Fiction analysis (See attachment)

Retrieve the poem, Ballad of Birmingham, and the novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham for each student, the recipe for squirrel stew, and any other handouts.  Please listen to the music before sharing with your children.

Figurative language vocabulary (See attachment)

If at all possible, schedule a tasting of squirrel stew using beef or chicken instead.


1. Assign the novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham.  **Create a dialectical journal of entries which address the setting, diction, syntax, and character development.

2. Read the poem, Ballad of Birmingham in class and analyze using Making Poetry FIT (See attachment MakingPoetryFitone.pdf).

3. Discuss Curtis' influence for writing the novel.

4. Show pictures of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing.

5. Play the music once aloud then often very low.

6. Parallel Curtis' travel to the occurrences of 1963 and the bombing.

7. Be sure to address sibling rivalry, bullying, and poverty.

8. Assign an analytical writing which focuses on the novel, the poem, the music, or a combination to two of them. Make sure that quotes from the text(s) are referenced in their writings. 

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Assessment Strategies

1. Test reading often.

2. Use short answer questions.

3. Use essay questions.

4. Give a quotation quiz.

5. Be sure to include some historical references.




Schedule afterschool tutoring for reading and comprehension.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.