I want my students to write an essay about "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." What could be a good essay topic?
Depending on the abilities of your students, I always find it most helpful to let them pick their own essay topics with your help. You might find it helpful to have them sit and write about the things that they noticed in the story and what they might mean. For instance, you mentioned that you wanted them to use symbolism. In that case, I would put them in groups, or have them sit and write about the different symbols they saw in the story and most importantly, what those symbols mean in their minds. They will think more about the story and they will get more out of it as well. A self-selected symbol will be much more helpful than giving them one symbol and asking them to analyze it.