These "Mother to Son" poem activities (part of my Langston Hughes Poem Activities Bundle
) will help students analyze extended metaphor, character, and theme in Langston Hughes' beloved poem. My middle school students always love reading and discussing the levels of meaning in this extremely relatable poem.
Page one is a graphic organizer in the shape of a staircase, unpacking metaphors the speaker uses to explain her challenging life. Students are asked to decide what each individual metaphor says about life.
Page two can be used before or after; it contains higher-level, open-ended reading response questions that are great for class discussion or individual comprehension assessment.
Page three is a character and theme activity in which students use specific details from the poem to infer the speaker's character; then they use these inferences to make the leap into the poem's theme. I love teaching students this simple strategy that makes drawing large-scale conclusions much less intimidating.
This is a super low-prep lesson! All you need to provide is a copy of the poem (I can't include it due to copyright), so this resource would make an excellent poetry sub plan!
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