YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2011/2012



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Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston


YAL Presenter Unit 2011/2012

Subjects: English, Language Arts
Grade Level: 12th
Posted: 2011
Unit Created by: Polly Mills and Germania Solórzano

What makes this a good YAL choice...

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a good YAL book because it is a literary masterpiece that also presents opportunities to teachers and students to explore the connection between research, listening, problem-solving, and creative writing through a look at Hurston's work writing anthropological ethnographies and making sound recordings for the Federal Writer's Project. Classrooms can explore listening as a technique of the creative writer, especially for dialogue, as well as a technique for focusing, imagining, and solving. Historical, social, and cultural themes in the novel include: feminism, the Jim Crow south and thriving all-black towns like Eatonville, Florida that emerged in resistance to Jim Crow. — Polly Mills


YAL Conference Workshop Description & Documents
Listening to Voice, Place, and Culture in Their Eyes Were Watching God
Polly Mills and Germania Solórzano, Presenters

Zora Neale Hurston, while a Federal Writers’ Project Writer in the WPA, explored and examined the voices, places, and cultures of Southern Florida during the height of the Great Depression. She combined her observations with the heightened perceptive skills of a fiction writer to bring forth Their Eyes Were Watching God and other novels, plays, and essays that have taken their place among the most respected works of American literature. In this session, you will participate in games and activities that heighten skills of listening, seeing in the mind, and imagining. You will consider classroom applications of these skills to reading, writing, speaking, and creative problem solving. You will consider how your teenaged students can use these skills at a point in their lives when they are negotiating their relationships to community, place, and complex, multiple cultures. — Workshop Description for YAL 2011



Unit Template


Agenda for Workshop


Presentation - Power Point




Listening - Entrance Ticket


Listening Exercise


Take a Place Activity


Zora's Journey


Poster - Ernest Hemingway


Poster - Eudora Welty


Poster - Gay Jones


Poster - Karl Messinger


Poster - Meg Chittenden


Poster - Rachel Louise Carson