what the cicada said to the black boy
by Clint Smith
Workshop Title: What _____ Said
Have your students come up list of their favorite animals. Then have them come up with a list of the social issues they find most pressing or important.
Read Clint Smith’s poem “what the cicada said to the black boy” by Clint Smith. Then discuss the message of the poem.
Have the students choose one animal from their list and one social issue from the other list. Have the students try to figure out a way to link the animal to the social issue, a way that the animal is able to impart advice to somebody regarding this issue.
Have the students write a poem in a similar style to “what the cicada said to the black boy” in which they structure the poem from an animal’s perspective and have said animal give advice to somebody else about an issue they deem important.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Structure
If your students are not familiar with the general concept of a poem’s “structure,” go through the introductory lesson.
Have your students read Clint Smith’s poem “what the cicada said to the black boy” and discuss what they think the point of the poem is.
Then briefly discuss the general structure of the poem, what stood out, and how those elements contribute to the point of the poem.
Have the students open the document in which they’ll be working and go over the instructions with them. Then have them work on the assignment. The hyperlinks they need are embedded in the hyperdoc.
When the students are done, have them share their responses aloud.
- Children / Youth
- Death / Grief
- Race / Ethnicity / Racism
- Social Movements / Protest
- Figurative Language