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IMGALTTAG Volume VII: The Twenties (The Lost Generation)


Langston Hughes: A Study of His Poetry for Elementary Students
Victoria Baumann
Fort Pitt Elementary School

This curriculum unit is designed as an author study of Langston Hughes and a genre study of Poetry. The reading level and activities are geared for intermediate primary or middle school students. (4th – 8th Grades). A narrative of the author’s life and selections of his poetry are provided. Students are given the opportunity to write their own free verse poetry and to learn a poem by heart for oral recitation. Students are introduced to elements of craft used by Langston Hughes. The study also investigates how art, in this case poetry, can bring to light social issues. The goal is to increase appreciation and comprehension through literature responses and discussion groups.


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A Generation: Lost and Found
By Elizabeth Claytor

This unit is designed to be part of a course in American Literature and Communications. A teacher of secondary English could us it as a bridge between the study of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, it can be used as a self contained teaching unit to help students explore the Harlem Renaissance through music, poetry, short fiction and film. One of the primary objectives is to help students discover the richness of the Harlem Renaissance, a brief but important period in our literary history. The knowledge the students gain will reinforce a sense of continuity between the music and literature of seventy or eighty years ago and contemporary art forms that they enjoy. An additional objective is to design a teaching unit that will serve the various populations in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It will augment the literature units in the secondary curriculum that explore the twenties as a study of the lost generation or the American dream. It will create a new unit of study that might also be used for Black History Month activities in February of each year. My final objective will be to encourage students to write their own poetry and short fiction that reflects their concerns and feelings as they move forward in the twenty-first century.


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"Interesting, But is it Art?"
Mary Ann Gaser

This is an art curriculum design for seventh and eighth gifted students. The curriculum will introduce the students to the art and literature between the Wars then compare and contrast the art and literature of the twenties with the art and literature that came after the Wars. The focus of the comparison will be the work of the artist Marcel Duchamp compared to the artist Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. The student will create art from found objects in the manner of Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

This curriculum was written in response to the seminar, "The Twenties, (the Lost Generation) led by Dr. Alan Kennedy. The seminar focused on writers and briefly discussed the art of the times. "Interesting, but is it Art" discusses the art of the times and draws from the body of knowledge gained in the seminar, "The Twenties, (the Lost Generation) to familiarize the students with the literature of the time.

The curriculum was written in response to the questions the students have when viewing Modern and Contemporary art. It is my hope that they will develop an appreciation for Modern and Contemporary art after participating in this curriculum.


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"Decades of Rebellion"
by Louise Gray
Martin Luther King Elementary

By studying great works of arts from the 1920’s and the 1950’s, students will become familiar with these two decades and be able to relate it to their own time frame. My goal is to introduce students to cultural artistic expressions of those times and to make these decades come alive for them. They will be seeing and hearing many masterpieces for the first time. I would like to demonstrate for them the cross- pollinating of the European and American artistic styles, as well as the merging of the high art of the decades with the popular culture. Lastly, I would like to show the immense contribution that African-Americans have made to both decades of rebellion.


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The 1920’s and Historical Imagination
By Dr. Don Roberts

This curriculum unit was written specifically for secondary Social Studies teachers, but assignments dealing with the Lost Generation writers and the Harlem Renaissance could be used by Language Arts teachers as well. The hands-on activities are used as a vehicle for demonstrating knowledge gained from research. These are particularly well suited for kinetic middle school students who enjoy personal involvement in what they are studying. High school American history teachers might use some of the learning activities in the fourteen hand-outs to stimulate interest in the 1920’s. Basically, this curriculum unit focuses upon creative use of the news making stories and personalities of the decade. Individual research and group collaboration are required. Development of historical imagination is emphasized in the creation of a "You Are There" radio broadcast and publication of a newspaper for each year of the decade.


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The 1920's:  Rebellion, Revolution, and Reaction
By Dr. Ivan Frank

Although my own historical time was not in the decade of the 1920’s, there were many members of my family who raised me and stimulated my intellectual curiosity about the pre-World War II events. They had fled Leninist terror and arrived in the United States in the period just following the Civil War in Russia (1918-1921). They remained poor immigrants who envisaged America as a country with the streets paved with gold. Their political and social activities in the 1920’s were related to their poverty and due in part to the reaction of the established Americans to their non-assimilation. In the 1930’s many of my relatives became union leaders and even revolutionary in their attitudes.

My Narrative and the curriculum for which it is being developed will create the theme of the 3 R’s, Reaction, Rebellion, and Revolution. It will encompass two to three weeks of lessons including activities listed in the second section of this curriculum. There will be a major essay question. It is referred to in the paper as a Document Based Test and can be found in Appendix VII. In the Narrative, I shall enumerate the strategies that I will use with my four C.A.S. (Center for Advanced Studies) United States History classes. In the Narrative section, it will become evident why I chose the title, The 1920’s: Rebellion, Revolution, and Reaction.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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