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HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

April 04

In 1928, Maya Angelou was born.

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In 1928, Maya Angelou was born.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou is considered one of the finest poets of her generation. In addition, she authored several books chronicling her youth and adolescence, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.




Read aloud Maya Angelou's poem On the Pulse of Morning, which she read at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. Ask students what they can infer about the speaker of the poem and her feelings about America.

After the class has had a chance to brainstorm, share with students some biographical information about Angelou. Which events or aspects of her life are reflected in the poem? What pieces of information surprised them and why? Ask students to discuss how one's life and experiences can influence one's writing. Is there evidence of this in students' own writing?



  • Women of the Hall: Maya Angelou

    From the National Women's Hall of Fame, this site honors Maya Angelou's achievements. There is a brief biographical sketch and related bibliography.


  • The Academy of American Poets: Maya Angelou

    Biographical and bibliographical information can be found at this website, along with a few of Angelou's poems.


  • Academy of Achievement: Maya Angelou

    The Academy of Achievement offers a transcript and video clips of an extensive interview with Maya Angelou. The site also offers a biography of Angelou.


  • Poet Hero: Maya Angelou

    On this page from the My Hero Project, three contributors write about why Maya Angelou is important to them.



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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Varying Views of America

Students work together to analyze three poems about America with varying points of view.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Poetry: Sound and Sense

Students' groans about studying poetry may disappear with this lesson in which students read poetry from various writers and use these poems to examine the sounds and sense of language.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

The ABCs of Poetry

Students examine a letter of the alphabet from all angles, creating image pools of original metaphors that they then turn into poems.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Censorship in the Classroom: Understanding Controversial Issues

Students examine propaganda and media bias, research a variety of banned and challenged books, choose a side of the censorship issue, and support their position through an advertising campaign.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Examining History with Maya Angelou's Poetry

To understand the historical background that influenced Maya Angelou's poems, students research events to produce trading cards using the ReadWriteThink Trading Card App or Trading Card Student Interactive. Through the sharing of these trading cards, students understand the historical background as they analyze Angelou's poetry.