In the Classroom Activities for Lawrence

In the Classroom Activities for Lawrence


Below is a list of all of the “In the Classroom” activity ideas throughout the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series section of the Prism.K12 website. Plus, there are a few bonus classroom ideas provided below.

In the Classroom Activities

Below is a compiled list of all the In the Classroom Activity ideas from the various sections in the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series online resource.

Growing up in Harlem

  • Mural Painting
  • Compare and Contrast Art and Literature

Lawrence’s Early Years

  • Pin Board

The Great Migration

  • Living Picture
  • Poetry and Art

Life in the South

  • Zora Neale Hurston Analysis
  • Boll Weevil Poster

Life in the North

  • Letter Writing
  • Compare and Contrast The Migration Series Artworks

Discrimination in the South

  • The Medium is the Message Analysis
  • Reading and Responding to Jim Crow Laws

Discrimination in the North

  • Langston Hughes Poetry

Storytelling and Narrative Sources

  • Learning from Literature
  • Visiting an Art Museum

Lawrence’s Process

  • Less is More Color
  • The Shape of Things

Harlem Renaissance

  • Harlem Renaissance Research
  • Comparing Harlem Renaissance Writers

Extra Classroom Ideas

Travel Math Activity

Train travel was one of the most widely used modes of transportation from migrants traveling from the South to North. Migrants might have used a train map to plan their trip. Students can identify rail lines using the map and the distance table on the worksheet to solve the math problems in the Travel Math worksheet.

Storyboarding & Comic Strips

Jacob Lawrence uses visual devices reminiscent of motion picture storyboards to zoom in for close-ups, to pan back for a broader perspective, or to silhouette a figure, all of which add drama and excitement. He drew on inspiration from movie storyboards and comic strips, like the 1932 comic strip, Krazy Kat, “A one-fruit, one-liff-one-tree- fig orchard, heh?”.

While Lawrence was inspired by comic strips, he ultimately wanted the series to function as a single, visually unified work of art. How was Lawrence’s own process reminiscent of storyboarding and comic strips? How did he arrange the panels into a narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end?

Ask students to synthesize what they learned about storyboarding and their analysis of Lawrence’s storytelling approach and artistic process to create their own comic strip of at least three panels that:

  • Include a beginning, middle, and end
  • Include at least two different points of view
  • Rely on a limited color palette

Responding to Social Justice

Jacob Lawrence, Albert Smith (who drew the political cartoon), and the lynching announcements in The Crisis newspaper are each responding to lynching in their own way. In this lesson, students will identify and respond to a contemporary social injustice in their local or national community.

Students can have a facilitated discussion about what constitutes or defines a social injustice and examples of them today. They can then use that conversation to respond to an issue through writing, creating an artwork, drawing comic strip, writing a song, or a different idea they come up with.