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lesson 6
1 hour

Different Authors, Different Times, and the Truth About Oppression


In this lesson, students read and analyze the poem “In This Blind Alley” by Ahmad Shamlu in dialogue with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In his poem, Shamlu investigates the human cost of living in a violently oppressive society, globalizing for the students issues that King discusses in his letter. Students analyze this poem to understand its central idea and to explore how Shamlu uses figurative language and word connotations. In small groups, students engage in a class reading and discussion of the text. The lesson ends with a Quick Write on the following prompt: Analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices, including figurative language and connotations, on the development of a central idea present in both “In This Blind Alley” and ”Letter from Birmingham Jail.”


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Bilingual Language Progressions

These resources, developed by the New York State Education Department, provide standard-level scaffolding suggestions for English Language Learners (ELLs) to help them meet grade-level demands. Each resource contains scaffolds at multiple levels of language acquisition and describes the linguistic demands of the standards to help ELA teachers as well as ESL/bilingual teachers scaffold content for their English learning students.


From of the New York State Education Department. Grade 10 ELA Module 2, Unit 1, Lesson 6. Available from; accessed 2015-05-29.
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