Forces of Nature

This course is a study of literature and writing. It is guided by three main essential questions and each unit focuses on them in a different way. These questions will enable us to explore basic experiences and concerns in our own lives and of those around us--experiences and concerns shared by the writers and characters we will encounter as readers.

•How does the world around us inspire or restrict our relationship to nature?
•How do themes of Modernity or Tradition relate to Nature?
•What is the connection between author, character and reader?

Reading: Weekly 2 hour seminar discussions will be used to discuss and analyze the stories, essays, and poetry that will serve to direct our exploration of the essential questions. Your literary analysis will be grounded on one main text from class (Anna in The Tropics) and you will be asked to choose a secondary text, either from class assignments, facilitator recommendations or your personal reading. Literary Analysis portfolio presentations take place the second week of November. Students MUST KEEP UP WITH READING both in and out of class!

Writing: In addition to journal writings, students are responsible for various weekly writing assignments which will be kept as a personal archive to return to and use as a resource when writing the final paper. All assignments will be relevant in some way or form to the final paper so hold onto theml. The only way to understand literary devices and vocabulary is to use them, and you will be inspired to do so.

Mastery Targets for the Trimester- Students will be able to:
•Have the following executive skills: Keep a daily writing journal for in-class assignments and free-writes, successfully participate and assess weekly seminar content and questions, identify problem vocabulary in texts and use it in their writing.
•Come up with critical connections between their lives and literature and then use concrete examples from both to back up their arguments. Successfully participate and assess seminar content and questions.
•Differentiate reading/writing styles and techniques between dramatic literature, poetry, prose, and informational writing.
•By understanding and expressing personal connection to the concepts of "Modern" and "Tradition," students will explore the relationship between the works of fiction--and their own lives--and Nature.
•Students will write thesis statements, outlines, and construct a partial, first and final draft (edited and revised) for a Literary Analysis Paper which will explore the below essential questions in one central text and a secondary text. This final paper is due by the end of the trimester. It will explore the above listed essential questions and will serve as the graduation portfolio requirement in English.

Anna in The Tropics by Nilo Cruz
Code Breaker by Pauline Conley
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
Dancing with Cuba by Alma Guilermo Prieto
Aguantando by Junot Diaz
Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith

Units of Study: The Trimester is divided into three units of study each its own perspective on the above mentioned essential questions.

Some of the skills reviewed during the trimester:
•Introduction/review of basic literary devices
•How to use references to back up ideas
•MLA Style of Citation
•Bibliography Assignment
•Thesis Statement on in-class reading with citations
•Choosing secondary texts
•Comparing and Contrasting author’s and writing

Media Used: 
Literary Device Web Quest: How Do I know What I Know
Like Water For Chocolate, 1992, director: Alfonso Arau
Interim Assessments: 

(IA 4) First draft based on thesis that will be developed further for the final PBAT.

Significant Assignments: 

For their midterm exam students have to write and present an outline of their thesis and main arguments in a portfolio presentation for their peers and outside facilitators.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Through out the course students are preparing, participating and assessing seminar discussions of texts.
They have weekly Literary Response worksheets exploring, theme, characterization, and literary devices. There are also follow up Literary Response journal assignments.

Students are responsible for a writing a dramatic monologue from the perspective of a character in their secondary texts.

Sample PBATs: 
Sample Character Analysis of Core Characters in "The Code Breaker." What elements of the relationship between 'Modernity' and 'Tradition' are represented by each. How does Conley show this?