William Edmondson and the Impact of Legacy: How Can One Life Affect Others?

Length: 90 minute class period (with homework/assignment to be completed outside of class)

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this English/Language Arts Lesson, students will:

  • Students will complete a Venn Diagram graphic organizer analyzing the differences in portrayal of William Edmondson in his biography and in the poetry of Elizabeth Spires.
  • Students will prepare for a Socratic Seminar through close reading of the text and personal reflection and response to guiding questions.
  • Students will participate in a Socratic Seminar, or student driven discussion, about the idea of a “legacy” and how our actions and work can affect others’.
  • Students will craft a first person narrative poem that represents the legacy they wish to establish.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.2
Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.8
Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.9
Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.6
Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.9
Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.2
Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.3
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.4
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 7 Language...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.7
Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each...
GLE 0701.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
GLE 0701.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
GLE 0701.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with an introduction, developing paragraphs, conclusion, and appropriate transitions.
GLE 0701.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
GLE 0701.4.4
Write a research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
GLE 0701.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas and supporting details of informational texts.
GLE 0701.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
SPI 0701.1.20
Recognize and use grade appropriate and/or content specific vocabulary within context.
SPI 0701.2.7
Select the most appropriate behaviors for participating productively in a team (e.g., ask primarily relevant questions that move the team toward its goal and...
SPI 0701.3.5
Select the appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0701.3.8
Select an appropriate concluding sentence for a well-developed paragraph.
SPI 0701.7.2
Select the visual image that best reinforces a viewpoint or enhances a presentation.
SPI 0701.8.12
Identify the authors purpose for writing.
TSS.ELA.7.L.KL.3
When writing and speaking, choose precise language to express ideas concisely.
TSS.ELA.7.RI.CS.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
TSS.ELA.7.RI.IKI.9
Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing an...
TSS.ELA.7.RL.CS.6
Analyze how an author establishes, conveys, and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.
TSS.ELA.7.RL.IKI.9
Compare and contrast an historical account with a fictional portrayal of the same time, place, or character.
TSS.ELA.7.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 7th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.7.SL.CC.2
Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media formats; explain how this clarifies a topic, text, or issue under study.
TSS.ELA.7.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
TSS.ELA.7.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
TSS.ELA.7.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of...
TSS.ELA.7.W.TTP.3
Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Learning Targets: 

  • I can compare and contrast the different portrayals of William Edmondson based on his biography and the fictional poetry of Elizabeth Spires.
  • I can participate in a class discussion by presenting my ideas and using accountable language when responding to my peers’ ideas and thoughts.
  • I can write a narrative poem that presents the legacy I would like to leave.

Task Objectives (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets):

  • Build background about William Edmondson and legacy
  • Read biography of William Edmondson
  • Read poetry by Elizabeth Spires
  • Work with partner to compare and contrast portrayals and characteristics of Edmondson using Venn Diagram
  • Reflect on discussion questions and prepare for Socratic seminar
  • Participate in Socratic seminar, taking notes and adding to the discussion
  • Reflect on the discussion, write final thoughts on discussion questions in notes
  • Review elements of poetry, brainstorm topic for legacy poem
  • Craft a narrative poem that represents desired legacy
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student
Thinking:
Assessing questions:

  • How is Edmondson portrayed differently in his biography and in the fictional poetry of Elizabeth Spires?
  • What is a legacy?
  • How has Edmondson’s life continued to influence others’, even after it has ended?

Advancing questions:

  • Is establishing/leaving a legacy important?
  • Can you influence your own legacy? If so, how?
  • What factors contribute to Edmondson’s legacy? What evidence makes you think that?
  • How do you think Edmondson would feel reading Spire’s poetry? What makes you think that?
  • Is Spires influencing history and/or Edmondson’s legacy with her poems? Support your claim with evidence.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding (to address learning difficulties):

  • Teacher will model each task as it is introduced to show students how to successfully complete each part of the lesson.
  • Teacher will provide first example of similarities and/or differences for the Venn Diagram activity.
  • Teacher can host a “practice” Socratic seminar with a few students if class has not engaged in this type of discussion prior to this lesson.

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differentiating process, content, or product):

  • Students needing additional learning supports will be paired with strong students in partner work.
  • Teacher will provide additional supports to students in need by providing directions in different formats, accepting shortened responses, providing access to a computer or dictionary for help with challenging vocabulary, answering questions and giving extended time to complete tasks as feasible.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:

  • Biographies of Edmondson:
    • Edmondson, William (c.1870–1951)- Johnson, Stephanie Anne for blackpast.org
    • William Edmondson - Stacy C. Hollander , Museum of American Folk Art for
  • tennesseeencyclopedia.net
  • I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings by Elizabeth Spires
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23nvsOudLs0
  • Student copies of Venn Diagram, Socratic Seminar note-taking template, reflection notes