American Studies- 12th grade English for English Language Learners:
In this course we will be studying American literature and the history related to the pieces we read. You will receive English credit for this class. We will be reading literature from the periods of the Progressive Era to Modern Day. Throughout the course we will work to answer the following questions:
1. How do we recognize injustice?
2. How can change create transformation?
3. How can we learn and grow from the experiences of others?
We will have an opportunity to explore these questions through many class and individual projects and papers. Additionally, you will work on senior portfolio projects: short story, and the literary essay (PBAT).
To ground students understanding in the time period, students conduct research on the time period in which the literary pieces are set. This research is sometimes jigsawed using multiple sources of texts and media.
The Great Depression Unit: Read To Kill a Mockingbird as a class. Act out and analyze passages of the book for the class. Write an essay of your choice choosing a theme to analyze and support in your essay.
The Roaring 20s Unit (Portfolio Project):
Read a variety of short stories and poems from the time period. Write a group historical short story set in the 1920s and perform it for the class.
Develop your own historical short story and write and revise your short story getting feedback from your teacher, peers and senior mentor. Reflect on the writing process by creating a cover letter.
Present your short story to your senior graduation portfolio panel and compare and contrast it to the PBAT-literary essay.
WWI Unit: Read a variety of poems from or about the period and create a variety of group, pair and individual poems. Create a Voicethread of your poetry. Give a presentation to the 11th graders using your Voicethread. Through their own poetry writing students learn how to create literary techniques to enhance their poetry. Students then write a reflection connecting their poetry to a larger theme in a literary work they have read in the past.
For each unit, students work on a collaborative project as well as an individual component to the project:
Anti-Bullying Service-Learning Unit: Interview someone who has been bullied (pair project) and write feature story to be published in a newspaper about a person who has been bullied. Include lessons learned from the incident and advice to someone who is currently being bullied. You will learn how to incorporate direct quotes into your writing, a skill required for the PBAT.
Sold Unit (Interm Assessment): Conduct background research as a group on human trafficking around the world. Give mini-presentation on your research. In small groups debate if Lakshmi, the main character in Sold should leave with the American who has come to “rescue” her from prostitution or stay where she is. After completing the debates, choose a side and write a persuasive essay.
Progressive Era Unit (PBAT): Compare and Contrast Anzia Yezierska’s book Bread Givers and her short story “Wings” as a group in a media form of your choice. Through this project, students practice identifying literary techniques and making connections to larger themes in both pieces of literature.