Lesson plans and teaching resources
Gwendolyn Brooks: Online Resources
This page at the Library of Congress includes a portrait and links related to the poet, including audio and video clips.
A brief biography and links to poems "The Bean Eaters," "The Lovers of the Poor" (audio file), "The Mother," "the sonnet-ballad," and "We Real Cool" (audio file).
A mini unit on Gwendolyn Brooks
An excellent unit: biography, classroom activities, poetry, and Brooks' New Years Resolutions for 1934, reminiscent of Ben Franklin and Gatsby.
The Impact of a Poem's Line Breaks: Enjambment and Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool"
In this lesson, students will closely analyze the poem's line breaks and the effect of enjambment on their reading and interpretation of the poem.
Many Years Later: Responding to Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool"
Students analyze the literary features of Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool" and then imagine themselves as one of the characters in the poem many years in the future. Using online resources, students explore the poem's rhythm and rhyme as well as how one reader has seen himself in Brooks' poetry. After exploring the poem thoroughly, students write a fictional paper that demonstrates how the character's days in the pool hall influenced who the character is today, nearly fifty years later.
"We Real Cool"
Before Brooks reads the poem in this audio file, she gives some background on how it came to be.
Text of the poem, 3 discussion questions, 2 writing prompts, 4 suggestions for classroom activities, and analysis.