"Maya Angelou" ~ Poetry Unit Study

We are now looking at the works of Maya Angelou. This lesson is for my 2nd and 8th grader.

Day 1…we read two of her poems Still I Rise and Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. We will use these two poems to complete a Maya Angelou Imagery Worksheet.

Day 2…Re-read “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” and discuss the questions listed below. Choose and begin memorizing a stanza of “Still I Rise”

Day 3…we will read a short biography of her life, found on page 8 of this site.

Day 4…we will answer a reading comprehension sheet found on page 9 of this site.

Day 5…Make a sketch that could relate to either of these two poems. Recite a stanza of “Still I Rise” from memory

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
By Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all.

Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys in a fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys pull all my hair
(Kissy little girlsWith their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

What kind of stance does the speaker take against her fears in life?

How does she deal with them?

Do you see her conquering her fears or denying that she is actually afraid of them?

If she is in fact not afraid, why do you think this is so?

Should she be afraid of the things listed in the poem?

Why does she strongly refuse to be afraid of these things in life?

What would it make her if she actually was afraid of any of these things. Would she be fitting a stereotype or a gender biased opinion?

Do you find it interesting or even surprising that these things do not frighten the speaker? Why or Why not?

What is the speaker saying about boys and girls her age in the fifth stanza? – Should they frighten her? Do you think she fits in with them?

Besides her saying so repeatedly, what else can you point out as evidence of her fearlessness in the poem?

Would anything in this poem frighten you? Be honest.

Did Angelou’s apparent fearlessness towards the things in the poem contradict what you think females are generally frightened of?

Can you say exactly why she refuses to fear these things?

Why must she let us know?


  1. blessedmama752 says

    Hello, country girl at heart. I have 7 children ranging from 15 to 1. I’m teaching 10th grade, 6th grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade, kindergarten, and pre-preschool. We’re studing Maya Angelou also. I like the set you have for you children. Like I gave in my post on Wednesday I have them reading some of her work and give me a brief summary in their open journal. If it’s alright with you I would like to use the question you have. Thanks again for stopping by. God bless you.


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