Helping students better understand texts by encouraging them to consider their personal experience before they read.

by Joshua Parker

Grades 9-12

In this series of videos, I invite students to share personal stories and use those as an entry point for analyzing and discussing two texts, “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.

Part One: Sharing Personal Stories

In this video, I ask students to begin by sharing with their neighbor a personal story about a time when they hurt someone’s feelings or their own feelings were hurt. Then I use those stories as entry points to the text.

Part Two: Hanging Fire

In this video, we unpack the poem “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde. Beginning with the title, I ask students to think expansively about what it could mean. Then we read the poem aloud focusing on the phrase “and Mama’s in the bedroom with the door closed,” as a way to explore perspective.

Part Three: The Omniscient Perspective

In this video, we read aloud from Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and I ask students to consider the imagery in the text and the omniscient perspective.

Part Four: Colors, Relationships, and Motivations

In this video, I ask students to identify and analyze the use of color in “The Bluest Eye” especially with respect to how colors are associated with individual characters in the story. Then we discuss the motivations and relationships between characters.