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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Celebrating Women: Toni Morrison
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


  • paper
  • pens
  • chart paper
  • markers
  • props for drama presentations (students' decisions)
  • Toni Morrison's THE BLUEST EYE, SULA, SONG OF SOLOMON, TAR BABY, BELOVED, JAZZ and/or PARADISE. Students can be encouraged to visit the school library and/or their local library for additional copies for their group project. If possible, provide multiple copies in the classroom.
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

-- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
-- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
-- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MBs of RAM.
-- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

-- Any Word Processing Program (i.e., MS Word, Corel WordPerfect, AppleWorks, etc.)
-- MS Powerpoint or HyperStudio can be used by students to add a multimedia presentation to their final project. For more information on how to use these programs, see wNetSchool's HyperStudio or PowerPoint Tutorials.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • Morrison, Toni

    This page by Lisa Clayton Robinson, part of the Africana site, gives an overview of Morrison and her work from THE BLUEST EYE to PARADISE.

  • Anniina's Toni Morrison Page

    This site covers Toni Morrison's novels from THE BLUEST EYE to JAZZ. Summaries of each novel are offered here. Students can investigate essays and articles and read interviews written by others about Morrison's work.

  • Toni Morrison

    The students will be able to read a complete text of Toni Morrison's biography covering her life as a young girl to receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Within the site, the students can visit other sites documenting more information on each work.

  • The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993

    Here students will find more information about Morrison and can read the speech she gave when she received the Nobel Prize.

  • How To Write An Autobiography

    Directed at students, this site explains why people write autobiographies and offers major topics of focus. It also also contains an example autobiography.

  • My Autobiography

    This site for students has a useful table for notes that helps outline an autobiography. The table contains topics that are important to the writing of an autobiography.


    Time Allotment:
    Depending on your class' reading level, ten class sessions over a one month period.

  • Introduce the lesson by sharing the ways in which contemporary authors address the issues of their societies through writing. For the students that are familiar with the work of Toni Morrison, ask them if they think she addresses her personal society in her novels. Highlight her novel BELOVED and refer to the recent Oprah Winfrey movie, BELOVED. Ask the students to talk about reasons why the producers of the film thought it was important to translate the novel into a dramatic production. Explain to your students that after reading one of Morrison's novels they will be staging a performance of one of the scenes in it.

  • Introduce students to a few of the Web sites listed in the bookmark section. The students should gain an overview of Toni Morrison, her work as an outstanding American writer, her many major accomplishments and several reviews of her novels from THE BLUEST EYE to PARADISE. Divide students into small groups, (no more than three, if possible).

  • Students should be given a reasonable amount time to navigate through the sites and will write down several facts about Toni Morrison which interest them. The group should carefully read the reviews of all of Morrison's novels in order to decide which novel is of greatest interest to the group and why. Students should select a name for their group. The name should correspond in some way with the novel they select for their project.

  • Students will select group reporters to a) share with the class the facts gathered about Toni Morrison, and b) report to the class the group name, the novel the group selected to use in the project, and give reasons why and how the group reached consensus during the selection process of the novel. All presentations must be documented and a copy handed in after group presentation. During presentation to the class, facts about Morrison should be charted by a group member and then added to as each group reports. Each group must select a member to document all the facts charted about Morrison, to be included in the written part of their final project. Group names and the name of the novel each group selected should also be charted for display during the project duration. Allow time for questions and answers following each presentation.

    Multiple copies of the novel should be distributed if available for group reading. Students can brainstorm fundraising ideas to obtain multiple copies if copies are not available.

  • Instruct your class to return to the Internet to investigate the bookmarked site entitled: Anniina's Toni Morrison Page. During this session of navigation, groups should focus on their specific work and read the various reviews, essays, interviews, obtaining as much background information possible to gain a better understanding of the Morrison novel they are reading.

  • Hand out the Reading Questions, in Organizers for Students, to each student. Explain to them that they must answer the questions as they read. If you prefer, they can answer the questions together as a group after they have finished reading the novel. Student groups will prepare a written report on their answers as a collaborative effort and submit it in a timely fashion. Deadlines should be determined based on the class' reading level.

  • After reading the book, each student must select a scene from the novel that he/she would like to act out. The students will then get into their groups and discuss their individual choices and why they were made. They must decide together which scene they will perform, discussing why this is the best scene and how it epitomizes the novel. The students must then decide who will play which character.

  • Once roles are assigned, each student will write a short autobiography from the point of view of their character. In order to learn how to do this, they can visit the Web sites How To Write An Autobiography and My Autobiography. Each of these sites will give students specific topics to think about while writing an autobiography and offer suggestions of what should be included.

  • Students work in groups writing a script and preparing a production. Drama and art teachers' assistance can be solicited at this point in the project.

  • Groups present their mini-productions of a particular scene from their chosen Toni Morrison novel to the class. Students can also present their productions to other classes, family and friends, and administrative staff members.


    Language Arts: Have students write reviews of each other's presentations.
    Social Studies: Have students complete a timeline of all the Women Nobel Prize Laureates
    Technology: Have students develop Web sites and add their writings and reviews on the work of Toni Morrison.


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students