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Great Migration Wall Hanging Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ARH0011
Submitted by: Barbara Sonek
Email: starlite@bway.net
School/University/Affiliation: Teacher: PS 40Q Date: September 1, 1998

Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6, 7


  • Arts/History

Duration: three to four 45 minute sessions Description: Based on the book Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence, students will create a wall hanging depicting the migration north by African Americans in the early part of this century.

Goals: To have students work together to create a wall hanging.

Objectives: Each student will create one panel of the wall hanging, which when put together with the work of their classmates will tell the story of the great migration.


  • Book: Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence
  • Construction Paper (preferably non-fading paper)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencils
  • Large sheets of paper at least 30×40 for background of wall hanging, markers
  • Procedure:

    Students will read the book Great Migration and examine the art style of Jacob Lawrence.

  • Students will discuss the historical implications of the migration northward by African Americans.
  • Teachers will cut out squares 12×12 or larger to each student or each group of students for their background from various colors.
  • Students may choose a topic for their square. The migration, the drought, factories and railroads, prejudice etc.
  • Instead of using paint to recreate the flat postery effect of Lawrence students will cut out shapes and forms from construction paper depicting human forms, factories, railroad stations etc.
  • Students should not clutter their square with details, but rather create an abstract panel that tells a story using form, shape and color.
  • Students glue their shapes to their square.
  • Students can retell the story by writing panels to be placed on the wall hanging using markers.
  • Teacher assembles all the panels to create the wall hanging.
  • Using markers, students create borders around the wall hanging as well as between each panel.
  • Assessment: Students will display their wall hanging in a prominent place in the school to be viewed by all.

    Useful Internet Resource:

    * BarnesandNoble.com listing for Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence