The Creation by James Weldon Johnson Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan will help students retell the poem with detail and examine how the author draws from the Bible to create a unique work as they read 'The Creation' by James Weldon Johnson.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the poem and analyze the details
  • Examine how the author draws from the Bible to create a unique work


120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).


  • barren
  • creation
  • cypress
  • Genesis
  • hollows
  • hurled
  • mammy
  • pulpit-oratory
  • spangling
  • swamp
  • toiling
  • trod


  • copies of 'The Creation' by James Weldon Johnson
  • paper
  • pens
  • other materials vary based on each group's presentation choices


  • Review the vocabulary together as a class.
  • Hand out the poem and read it together.
  • Now, read The Creation by James Weldon Summary as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What inspired the poem 'The Creation'?
    • Describe James Weldon Johnson's poetic style?
    • What are some examples of humanizing God from the poem?
    • How does the poet use repetition to make a point?
    • What was the purpose of God's creation?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to test their understanding of the concept.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Materials: copies of 'The Creation' by James Weldon Johnson, miscellaneous materials as determined by each group

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