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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave


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Grade Level Grade 8
Resource Type Activity, Lesson Plan, Media
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards

About This Lesson

In  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, students examine the autobiography of a formerly enslaved person. Douglass published his autobiography fifteen years before Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States, Born into enslavement, Douglass became a world-renowned orator and abolitionist after running away from his enslavers. His autobiography tells the story of his life from his birth through his early years as a fugitive.

Douglass provides intimate details about enslavement throughout the book. He shares not only his own stories but the stories of other people that he heard or witnessed. Through these tales, Douglass presents a view of the institution of enslavement that demonstrates how it impacted every aspect of his life, and the lives of the enslaved and enslavers around him. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave illustrates an important part of U.S. history helpful for understanding race relations today.

Students will read selections from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and will write a personal narrative. They will also focus on understanding the genre of  autobiography, recognizing literary devices, and analyzing literature within a historical context.




January 17, 2024
41.07 MB


Lesson Plan
January 17, 2024
2.61 MB


January 17, 2024
1.89 MB


Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.
Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., precede, recede, secede).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).


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