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The Harlem Renaissance: A Web Quest

Aaron Douglas
Into Bondage 1936
Oil on canvas, 153.4 x 153.7 cm
In the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art,Washington DC,USA Museum Purchase and Partial Gift of Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr. The Evans - Tibbs Collection

Sites and topics to be covered

A. History/Overview

B. Art/Music/Writing

C. Political or Social Impact

Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

If you cannot find a poem you like from the site given, try a general Internet search.

(Source: of American Poets and others)


40 points/Brochure (handed in)
20 points/Poetry Reading (oral to the class)
20 points/Reflection
10 points/Works Cited

Total: 90 points


We are in the lab all week. Disruptions to others will result in points reduction for you. Stay focused and busy.

Back to The Harlem Renaissance home

Report any broken links to Ms Hogue.

Rationale for this lesson

—Time magazine's article How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century (December 18, 2006) says that "kids are global citizens now, even in small town America, and they must learn to act that way." There is a debate about how to accomplish this goal in schools, but certainly, it is important to help students gain a wider perspective of human history and culture. This assignment helps you understand an important part of American culture, your culture, in ways you may not have considered before. This assignment is intended to help you expand your view of human experience, a quality of thought you will need in order to be truly a global citizen. This assignment also meets a number of state standards for language arts.


You are a historical tour guide: For this Web Quest, you will be visiting a number of web sites to learn about the Harlem Renaissance so that you can create a brochure for tourists. As a tour guide, you must be an expert on this cultural period in history, so research and read carefully. Part of your job is also to read a poem to your tour group (played by your class). You will also be writing a reflection.

What is graded?

  • Your brochure (handed in)
  • Your poetry reading (oral)
  • Your reflection (handed in)
  • Your works cited page (handed in)

Staple the reflection and the works cited page together and paper clip your brochure to those.

See the rubric.


  1. Create your brochure document/template and save it.
  2. Conduct your research, taking notes in a separate Word document.
  3. Find the list of sites to the left. This list includes a description of what you will find there. You need to present information in your brochure from each of the three topic areas in the list to the left (A, B, and C).
  4. In addition, you will learn about a poet from the Harlem Renaissance and read a poem by him or her to your tour group. A mini-biography of this poet should go on your brochure, including a photograph. Write your own mini bio. It should be about 40-50 words. Each student will draw a poet's name at random. Since there are a limited number of names, check with the other students who also drew the same poet as you, and be sure you have chosen different poems to read to the class.
  5. See the directions below for how to set up your brochure.
  6. Create a works cited page. The sites you visited must be cited in a separate document. See your Skills and Style Handbook for how to cite a web page.
  7. Write a 200-250 word reflection about what you learned. Use the questions below to guide you.
    1. What did you learn in general about the Harlem Renaissance. Be specific.
    2. Which aspects of your research were most interesting to you and why?

Reading your poem to the tour group

When you read your poem (of 12 lines or longer) to the tour group, you need to do the following, in this order:

  • Say, "I am going to read a poem by ____." Then Read the biography from your brochure as a way of introducing him or her.
  • Say, "I am reading (insert the title)." Then, give an introduction to the poem. Include as much as you can from the following list.
    • Why did you choose it?
    • What is this poem about, in general?
    • Point out what is special, interesting, or otherwise important about this poem.
    • Define for us any confusing language.
    • If the poem needs a setup, that is, some general context to help us understand it, be sure to do that for us before you read.
  • Before you read your poem, say the title and the poet's name again.
  • Then read the poem. Some help in reading follows:
    • To read a poem, read slowly and carefully. Pronounce each word correctly (so look up any unfamiliar words or ask for help).
    • Read with the punctuation or stop/pause where it makes sense to stop. Don't automatically stop at the end of each line (it will sound horrible if you do).
    • Billy Collins gives advice on how to read a poem out loud.

The Brochure

Title: The Harlem Renaissance, A Visitor's Guide

Creating the brochure:

In Word: Get the new document menu (this will either show up to the right when you open Word, or go to File, New to get it to open). Under New from template, click on general templates. Then go to Publications and double click on brochure. Then, save that file in your H:/ drive and/or on a jump drive. After that, replace text and images to meet the assignment’s criteria. The template comes with some handy directions, and you can get a copy of those from me. Dr. Duvall is available to assist with printing issues.

Or use any other program you are familiar with for creating your brochure.

Requirements for the brochure:

  • Cover that includes title (see above) and an image; if you hate the title provided, come up with your own (NOT My Harlem Renaissance Brochure).
  • Your name, class, hour, and date go on the back middle as if it's your tour company.
  • You need to include information in your brochure from the three topic areas from the list to the left.
  • A mini-biography of your chosen poet should go on your brochure, including a photograph.
  • The information you gather must be presented in summary form (in your own words), be easily read by your tour participants, and must be absolutely without errors in spelling, punctuation, etc. A real public document should be 100% accurate.
  • Include images: photos, paintings, or other graphic elements as are appropriate. Be sure to identify paintings with title and artist's name.
  • This brochure is to be handed in. Print back to back and fold.