Transforming Brown v Board of Education

IMG_3707Sometimes after we read a text I will have the students use a process of found poetry as a closure. I xerox some random and not so random spreads of the book and the students select words on the pages which become their poem. The words have to flow in the order they are found on the spread or page, and they can add visual images/ elements to the finished product.  Recently we finished reading Earl Warren’s opinion in Brown v Board of Education (1954), the landmark Supreme Court case that overturned Plessy v Ferguson of 1896 and stated that separate was not equal and all public schools needed to integrate. I had never used this kind of text before for this kind of activity so thought I would hand it over to the students to see if they could transform the words into visual poetry.

Warren’s opinion is not very long for a Supreme Court decision. His goal was to make the Supreme Court’s decisions clear and easily readable to the general public. It was only 3 and a third pages long. I told the students they could use all four pages or just one— it was up to them. Their results are pretty amazing.

One girl blackened the entire third page of the opinion except for the word “education.”

Other students used all four pages putting them together lengthwise or in shapes, one created to hang as a mobile and light to shine through where windows for the words had been cut. The words to some selected poems are below:

To be free

to have life

citizens question

conclude that





inconclusive questions

light opportunity

aid of no one

life awakening minds

finding reason in



the supreme cannot be obvious and heard


segregation of minds

is segregation of the body


we believe in hearts and minds that assist


the children state

the equal light has minor factors restored

to question justice to children

still denied

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1 Response to Transforming Brown v Board of Education

  1. Jerome Bloom says:


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