Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming full novel study lessons can be found HERE on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a powerful and arresting work of prose that has become required reading in many schools. It tells the story of Woodson’s childhood growing up as an African American in the 1960s and 70s, and its poignancy and beauty make it an excellent choice for teaching to students. However, some educators may wonder how best to approach teaching this novel. Here are three tips for teaching Brown Girl Dreaming in the classroom.
1) Allow Students the Opportunity to Connect with the Narrator – The narrator of Brown Girl Dreaming is a young Jacqueline Woodson, who speaks directly to readers through her poetic narrative. To help students connect with her voice, ask them to consider what it must have been like for a young girl living during this time period. Ask them to explore questions about identity, family dynamics, and cultural expectations as they read her story. This can help bring the text alive for students by allowing them to empathize with Jacqueline’s experiences rather than simply reading about them.
2) Facilitate Discussions About Race and History – As students read through Brown Girl Dreaming, it is important to provide space for conversations about race and history that extend beyond what is written in the book. For example, you can ask your students questions such as “What were some of the major events taking place during this era? How did they affect African Americans?” By encouraging your students to explore these topics further, they will gain a better understanding of how these issues shaped Jacqueline’s life during this period.
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3) Incorporate Creative Activities into Your Teaching Plan – When teaching any book or novel, it can be helpful to incorporate creative activities into your lesson plan in order to engage all types of learners. With Brown Girl Dreaming specifically, you could ask your students to write their own poem based on one of Jacqueline’s poems from the book or create a visual interpretation of a scene from one chapter. These activities can help reinforce key themes from the novel while also giving your students an opportunity to express themselves creatively.
4). Encouraging Engagement- Brown Girl Dreaming has been praised as an accessible and engaging book that can be used to teach young readers about universal themes of identity and belonging. For teachers looking to encourage engagement with the text, consider having students create a timeline activity to track the events in each chapter. As they read through the book, have them make note of key moments that impacted the main character’s life and how these moments shaped her identity. This will give students a visual representation of the events in order and help them gain deeper insight into how past experiences shape someone’s present identity.
5). Discussing Historical Context-The novel is set during a time of great social change in America; this provides an opportunity to discuss historic events such as segregation, poverty, family dynamics, and more with your students. Having discussions around these topics can help students develop their critical thinking skills while giving them an understanding of how history impacts our lives today. Additionally, you may consider having students research relevant topics related to Woodson’s writing—for example, exploring civil rights leaders or influential African-American writers from this period—to further enhance their learning experience.
6). Incorporating Writing Assignments-Finally, consider assigning creative writing exercises related to Brown Girl Dreaming such as journal entries from the perspective of one of its characters or writing a poem inspired by quotes from the text. These types of assignments will help your students connect with what they are reading while also helping them practice their own writing skills. Additionally, you can use these assignments as assessments at the end of your unit on Brown Girl Dreaming so that you can gauge your student’s level of understanding and mastery over the material discussed throughout your lessons on this book. Conclusion: Teaching Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is an excellent way to engage your student’s minds while helping them develop strong reading comprehension skills as well as critical thinking abilities. By incorporating timeline activities and creative writing assignments into your lesson plan along with discussion questions based around historical context regarding this novel’s setting, you can provide your students with a well rounded educational experience surrounding historical fiction literature. Ultimately, it is up to you as an educator to discover which methods best fit both yours and your student’s needs when it comes to teaching this remarkable text!
Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is an important literary work that should be included in any secondary school curriculum. By incorporating creative activities into your lesson plan and facilitating discussions about race and history, you can ensure that your students develop a deep appreciation for this beautiful novel while learning valuable lessons along the way. With these tips in mind, you are well-equipped to teach this masterpiece effectively! Click HERE for the full novel study on Teachers Pay Teachers.
For an article about the novel, Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper, click HERE.