In this worksheet, students and teachers read and discuss the poem "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou. The poem appears on one side of the worksheet, and these questions appear on the other side:
-Describe the life of the caged bird.
-Describe the life of the free bird.
-Maya Angelou may have written this poem in the 1960s, during the height of the Civil Rights movement. How is the caged bird’s life similar to a non-White person’s life in segregated America?
-Why do you think Maya Angelou wrote this poem?
-Did you like this poem? Why or why not?
(NOTE: I said "May have written this poem during the 1960s" because the poem itself was not published until the 1980s. Her famous biography "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" is a separate work of literature.)
I listed the teaching duration of this worksheet as 45 minutes, since that's how long I originally planned the discussion. However, in actuality, when I used this last year we ended up spending NINETY minutes on the poem! The students were drawing excellent conclusions and asking a lot of higher-order-thinking questions.
I used this poem as a tie-in to a unit on the American Civil Rights Movement. It could also stand on its own as a poetry discussion.
Thanks for looking! I hope you find this useful.