In this 12th grade English course, students explore the history and purpose of education in America through literature and primary source documents, with a special focus on how education in America reflects historical and social changes. The essential questions for the semester are:
What are America’s ideals?
How equal has access to education been in America?
What is the purpose of education in a democracy?
How have writers responded to America in literature?
Students explore these questions and read literature, poetry, primary source documents and educational philosophy for inspiration. They read and analyze literature and conduct independent research projects to address the essential questions. The course develops student literacy through direct instruction and inquiry-based projects. Students also study literary elements, rhetoric, and propaganda, and think critically and independently about what they read.
This course was developed collaboratively by the staff of Satellite Academy (Forsyth Street). Many thanks to Sarah Blos, Juan Rivera, Shirley Wu and Rosemary Chinnock.
Students conduct research for papers, role plays, time lines, and seminars to help place the texts we read in historical context.
Literary essay-- comparison of two poems (theme and literary devices)
Thematic essay -- analysis of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Literary analysis exploring the question "How have writers responded to America?"
Suggested texts: "America" or "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay
"Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes
"This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" by James Baldwin
Personal essay response to Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
Personal Education Narrative with family and community interviews
Interpretation of a historical quote from "A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" by Thomas Jefferson
"Educational Philosophers Talk Show" script (Jefferson, Franklin, Webster, Richman etc. discuss the purpose of education in a democracy) OR "Enlightenment Philosophers Talk Show" script.
Debates, exams, role plays, presentations and roundtable discussions
Time lines and visual projects created in Comic Life (software program)