Free to Dream Poetry

Free to Dream Poetry lesson plan

Read and respond to the poetry of Langston Hughes then write original poems using Crayola® Gel Markers.

  • 1.

    Introduce the poetry of Langston Hughes to students. Read several of his poems aloud. Discuss each poem with the class and how it is structured. In small groups, students read Hughes' poetry together. Identify sound techniques Hughes used to impress his ideas on readers. Share discoveries and reactions to his poems. Identify characteristics that typify his poetry.

  • 2.

    Students write their own poems, trying out structures, techniques, and topics similar to those of Langston Hughes. Share poems-in-progress.

  • 3.

    Students write finished poems on construction paper using Crayola® Gel Markers. Choose colors and writing styles to match the mood and ideas in the poems. Illustrate the text using colored pencils and Crayola Washable Glitter Glue.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SS: Explore factors that lead to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes by David Roessel; The Sweet and Sour Animal Book by Langston Hughes; My People by Langston Hughes
  • After reading several of Hughes' poems, students select a single poem to copy, illustrate, and recite to an audience. Students plan to also recite their original poems to an audience.