Lesson plan

Learning About Angela Davis

This lesson plan teaches students about Angela Davis. Students will have a brief introduction to her life as an activist, scholar, and writer by reading a short informational text and answering comprehension questions.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Use this reading and writing lesson plan to give your first and second graders an introduction to Angela Davis and her life as an activist, scholar, and writer. Students will begin learning about Angela Davis by reading a short biographical text as a class, building vocabulary by clarifying and defining important terms along the way. Then children will work in partnerships to reflect on reading comprehension questions about what they found interesting about Angela Davis and the importance of education.

  • Students will be able to gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Students will be able to participate in collaborative conversations.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the students together in a circle.
  • Display the poster A-Z African American Visionaries.
  • Read through the poster and explain to students that each person highlighted on the poster is a black American who has made an important impact on American history. Explain to the students that the people featured on the poster are authors, activists, artists, and revolutionaries.
  • Explain to the students that one important person that isn't featured on the poster is a woman named Angela Davis.
  • Elaborate that Angela Davis is a very well known author, activist, and scholar, and they will learn about her today.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out the Who is Angela Davis? worksheet to students and project your copy on the whiteboard.
  • Read through the definitions that are provided on the worksheet prior to reading the text and reinforce to students that it's important to understand difficult words before we start reading.
  • Read the text aloud once, pausing to clarify difficult words. Involve students in the text by asking them to paraphrase what you just read.
  • Pass out highlighters to students and read through the text once more. Encourage student volunteers to help you read.
  • Instruct students to highlight two sentences that they found interesting in the text. Allow them time to share their ideas with an elbow partner.
(15 minutes)
  • Read the definition of civil rights from the worksheet. Complete a "think-aloud" where you paraphrase the definition in your own words. For example, you might say, "The civil rights movement was about all people having equal rights. It was led by African Americans, people like Angela Davis. People need to have equal rights if we want them to live happy and healthy lives. I'm going to write 'equal rights for everyone so they can be happy and healthy'."
  • Put students into partnerships and pass out coloring materials. Allow partnerships time to paraphrase the definitions in their own words, and create drawings to go along with each definition.
  • Provide students with time to share their definitions with the rest of the class, and clarify any confusion as necessary.
(15 minutes)
  • Read the directions for the last two questions on the worksheet.
  • Allow students to work in partnerships to answer them, and rotate around the room to support students as needed.


  • Encourage students to learn about another female activist from the same time period as Angela Davis. Instruct students to write down what they learned and compare/contrast both women.
  • Support students in creating a "Voices of the Civil Rights Movement" bulletin board where they place art, information, and questions about other civil rights leaders.


  • Allow students to work in a small, teacher-led group during Independent Work Time.
  • Support students by highlighting important information and/or making the text larger.
  • Allow students to record their answers to the questions on a device instead of writing their answers down.
  • Provide age-appropriate background information about women's rights and civil rights prior to the lesson.
  • Provide students with devices to conduct research about other female activists during the civil rights movement.
  • Allow students to type their answers on a computer.
  • Collect student worksheets and use them to assess the lesson's objectives.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring the students back together as a class.
  • Allow students to share the answers to one of the following prompts:
    • Angela Davis believed education was important because ____.
    • Something interesting about Angela Davis is ____.
    • Something I'd like to learn more about Angela Davis is ____.

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