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Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

Literature As Social Commentary

Tragedy and the Common Man

“…I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity."
~ Arthur Miller

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Research Topics:

The Salem Witch Trials
McCarthyism and the Cold War
Sigmund Freud - Id, Ego, and Superego
Charles Darwin - science vs religion
Karl Marx - social classes

Media Used: 
Film and related commentary: The Crucible - screenplay by Arthur Miller
Film: Mary Reilly - adaptation of Stevenson's novel
Interim Assessments: 

In-class essay on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Choose one of the following questions/prompts:

1. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the concept of good and evil in humankind in his novella, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Should this story be read as a tragedy?

2. One critic has written of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: “Without Jekyll, there could never have been a Hyde; with Hyde, one can never fully know Jekyll.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written during a period of intellectual enlightenment when highly influential ideas surfaced about economics, science, and the workings of the mind. Discuss how Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella explores new ideas/schools of thought introduced by one of the following influential minds of the time: Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, or Karl Marx.

Significant Assignments: 

Analyze “The Yellow Wallpaper” and/or “The Story of an Hour” and “The Lottery” as social commentary. Complete a feminist reading of the story (or stories). Be certain to argue whether or not the protagonist fits the “definition” of a tragic character. Remember to acknowledge Arthur Miller’s essay, “Tragedy and the Common Man,” as you argue your point. The paper must: be 2-3 pages in length (minimum), must contain direct evidence from the essay and the story to support your argument, and must include a works cited page.

Write a three-page (minimum) paper on The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Your paper should answer one of the following questions/prompts:

1. Is John Proctor a tragic hero? How does his great dilemma change during the course of the play?

2. Analyze The Crucible as social commentary. What is Arthur Miller saying about the common man and society?

3. Was the devil loose in Salem? Who/what is responsible for the witch hunt/hysteria?

*You may suggest a topic of your own, but please run your thoughts by me prior to beginning the assignment.

Your published paper must:

-Reference one academic article (literary criticism) from a respected literary source. You may use one of the various articles by Arthur Miller that were distributed and discussed in class or you may find a relevant article on your own (Gale Educational Resources - accessible through the UHHS website).

Write a 4-5 page literary analysis paper on The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Your paper should discuss whether or not the main protagonists in both texts, John Proctor and Dr. Jekyll, fit Arthur Miller's definition of a tragic character as discussed in his essay, "Tragedy and the Common Man." According to Miller, tragedy is the consequence of a man’s total compulsion to evaluate himself justly.” Do you agree?

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Research the seven deadly sins: lust, greed, gluttony, pride, wrath, sloth, and envy. Then, for each sin, choose a character from The Crucible who embodies the traits of that particular sin. You must provide a minimum of three examples (with direct evidence) from the play to support your case for each character/sin. Your analysis of each character/sin will be presented to the class. Therefore, you should include a creative visual or musical component in your presentation that complements your findings: symbolic collage, soundtrack, cartoon/illustration, graphic organizer (charts), etc.

Sample PBATs: 
Parallel Experiments: Freud and Dr. Jekyll
Abigail: McCarthy as Feminist

The American Identity

Lyons Community School

Pilot school

The 11th grade literature course will use a series of short stories, novels, non-fiction and poetry to examine the various factors, challenges and ultimately, the growth of one's identity in America. The issues of race, family, community, religion, society and self will be highlighted through a diverse lens of authors and poets. Through a series of texts that involve various ethical dilemmas, students will analyze what defines the American identity today.

"The Other Foot" by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Selected war poetry
Autobiography of Malcolm X
"The Fight" by Richard Wright
"Message to the Grass Roots" speech by Malcolm X November 1963
"I have a dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr August 1963
"Dream Variations" by Langston Hughes
"I, Too, Sing America" by Langston Hughes
American Born Chinese by Gene Yuan
Independent Reading choices: The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez, Locas by Xta Murray
Black Like Me by John Griffin

Students will research an author's background for their independent reading portfolio. Students will also research various topics in poetry to develop a preference for a particular poet or style.

Media Used: 
"Harrison Bergeron"
"Born on the 4th of July"
"The Hurt Locker"
Malcolm X interview at Chicago City Desk 1963
"American Me"
"Jesus Camp"
"Girl Fight"
"Mississippi Burning"
"Freedom Riders"
Interim Assessments: 

IA 2: Independent Reading portfolio and book groups
Students will choose their own text for independent reading and meet once a week in small groups to discuss and analyze the idea of identity in their books. They will write an in-class essay that critically analyzes how their book illustrates the theme of identity.

IA 3: Compare and contrast essay I
Students will compare Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried with a selected war poem. Their comparative essay should include an analysis of author style and its impact on the theme of identity.

IA 4: Compare and contrast essay II
Students will compare the Autobiography of Malcolm X to John Griffin's Black Like Me with an emphasis on how both texts illustrate aspects of the American identity.

Significant Assignments: 

Malcolm X versus Martin Luther King Jr - Who was the better speaker?
Students will compare speeches by both leaders and argue in a position paper, who was the more powerful speaker.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

American Identity collage
Students will create a collage of words, images and events that embody the American Identity. In addition, they will write a short artist explanation of their collage (to be displayed).

Utopia or dystopia?
Students will write their own short story about the future of America. What will our society be like? How will Americans be like in the future? Their stories must fit the profile of a utopian or dystopian society.

Sample PBATs: 
Choice of themes that emerge from the readings students have done for the course (e.g., an exploration of morality in America).

Education in America

Lyons Community School

Pilot school

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?

Suggested readings:
Excerpts from memoirs by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Luis Rodriguez Jr., Gary Lee, and Sharon Cho
The Declaration of Independence
The Bill of Rights
"A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" by Thomas Jefferson
"Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania" by Benjamin Franklin
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Excerpts from "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs
"Industrial Education for the Negro" by Booker T. Washington
"The Talented Tenth" by W.E.B. DuBois
"America" and "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay
"Let America be America Again" by Langston Hughes
"We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
"This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" by James Baldwin
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patilllo Beals
Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
Oral history of the Chicano student walkout in Crystal City, Texas
"I Give You Back" by Joy Harjo
"Civilize Them With a Stick" from Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
"Soul Wound: the Legacy of Native American Boarding Schools" by Andrea Smith
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Excerpts from Savage Inequalities and "Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid (2005)" by Jonathan Kozol

Students conduct research for papers, role plays, time lines, and seminars to help place the texts we read in historical context.

Media Used: 
Class Ning page
Comic Life software program
Slavery and the Making of America video
Chicano! video
In the White Man's Image video
500 Nations video
Indian Tribal schools radio broadcast (PBS)
Smoke Signals (movie)
WordPress, LivJournal, Blogger
Interim Assessments: 

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

Significant Assignments: 

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.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Debates, exams, role plays, presentations and roundtable discussions
Time lines and visual projects created in Comic Life (software program)

Sample PBATs: 
Comparative analysis of Booker T. Washington's "Industrial Education for the Negro" and W.E.B. DuBois' "The Talented Tenth," analyzing their arguments and use of rhetoric.
Final presentation. To prepare for the presentation students write a reflection letter. Students answer the essential questions while reflecting on the content they have learned. Students reflect on the purpose of education, the hisorical role of education in America, the current state of education, and their growth as students.

Spanish Literature

The objective of this course is is to prepare students to analyze literature given the necessary tools. This course teaches the techniques of literary analysis, critical terminology and historical context of each required reading. Students are require to read, analyze and discuss verbally and in writing a wide variety of representative works from. All works are studied and analyzed in relation to their cultural and historical context from the New World literature through the Civil War in Spain.

El diario by Cristóbal Colón (excerpts)
Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias by Bartolomé de las Casas(excerpt)
Historia de las Indias by Bartolomé de las Casas (excerpts)
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España by Bernal Díaz del Castillo (excerts)
El general en su laberinto by Gabriel García Márquez
Los de abajo by Mariano Azuela
Obras completas by José Martí (excerpts)
Poemas selectos by Nicolás Guillén
Poemas selectos by Rubén Dario
LAs bicicletas son para el verano by Fernando Fernán Gómez

First Unit: Origins of Latin American Identity
Investigate about Rigoberta Mechú
Thrird Unit: Mexican Revolution
Investigate causes and consequences of Mexican Revolution, Russian Revolution and Chinese Revolution
Fourth Unit: Spanish-American War through Cuban Revolution
Investigate the independence of Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic

Media Used: 
La misión (film)
Vida de Simón Bolívar (documentary)
Historia de la Revolución Mexicana (documentary)
Historia de la Revolución Rusa (documentary)
Los de abajo (film)
Vida de José Martí (documentary)
La guerra de la indenpendencia cubana (documentary)
La Revolución Cubana en imágenes (documentary)
Las bicicletas son para el verano (film)
Interim Assessments: 

Unit First: Origins of Latin American Identity
Students are expected to write an evidence-based essay
Should Columbus be glorified?
Second Unit: Latin American Independence
Write a literary essay
Third Unit: Mexican Revolution
Write a character analysis
Fourth Unit: Spanish-American War through Cuban Revolution
Write a poetry analysis essay

Significant Assignments: 

-Keep a triple entry journal as they read
-Point of view: Write a letter from a different perspective.
-Analyze and compare situations now and centuries ago.
-Class debates
-Oral presentations
-Write a monologue
-Design a PowerPoint presentation
-Write a scene in a play

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Second Unit: Latin American Independence
-Body Map of Simón Bolívar. Find and analyze quotes that best represent: Hole in the head (What he thinks), Eyes (How he see the world), Mouth (What he says), Shoulders (Weight of the world), Heart (What he feels), Hands (His actions), Achilles Heel ( His weaknesses), Pain in the neck, Funny bone and Knee jerk.
- Project about EL general en su laberinto
Summarizer: Write a summary of the reading
Connector: Connect the story with other readings, personal ideas, movies, another literary work, historical reference...
Illustrator: Create an illustration that best represent the story and find a quote for that illustration
Question maker: Ask questions about the meaning of the reading
Third Unit: Mexican Revolution
Project about Los de abajo
Find the literary elements, write a corrido that summarize the story of Los de abajo, deep analysis of one of the characters.

Sample PBATs: 
How important was freedom in Latin American history?

American Studies-12th Grade English for English Language Learners

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?

“Samuel” by Grace Paley
The Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
“Wings” by Anzia Yezierska
WWI Poetry
“Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes
“The Killers” by Ernest Hemmingway
“Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Wife of My Youth” by Charles Waddle
Poetry by Langston Hughes
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Sold by Patricia McCormick

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.

Media Used: 
Bullies by Tools for Tolerance
PBS "History of Us"
"To Kill a Mockingbird," the film
Interim Assessments: 

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.

Significant Assignments: 

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.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

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.

Sample PBATs: 
Based on Anzia Yezierska’s book Bread Givers and her short story “Wings”students individually write a literary essay examining both of Yezierska’s pieces through the lens of one of the following quotes: "Making a wrong decision is understandable. Refusing to learn from it is not," (Philip Crosby) or "With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice,"(Oprah Winfrey).

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?

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 http://zunal.com/webquest.php?user=23687
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?

False Identity

The purpose of this class, False Identity, is to explore the theme of immigration and its effects on the individual as well as society. We will also explore and analyze how authors use literary techniques to demonstrate the theme of false identity in their writing.

"The Konk" by Piri Thomas
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Othello by William Shakespeare

Students will conduct an author study on a particular author we have read.
Research on time periods of the setting of the novels/plays.

Media Used: 
The movie "O"
The movie "Othello"
Interim Assessments: 

Students are expected to write two preliminary literary analysis essays based on the texts read in class. Students will create a working thesis that is a well-structured argument and that can be proven through the use of texts and evidence gathered from the texts.

Significant Assignments: 

Students will create their personal growth statements. Using many of the techniques they have discovered from the authors read in class, students will write an engaging story that describes their growth and development in the past four years. Students will present their stories to their peers.

Students will write a literary response to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and present it to the class in the form of a story box.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Students write daily journal assignments that are a reflection of class readings. They are able to share their connections to characters and issues the characters are facing.

Students will interpret Shakespearean language and remix it into their own modern day language. They will then present a scene from the play using their own modern day version.

Sample PBATs: 
Why do characters such as Othello develop a false identity? Use the texts we have this semester to explore this question.
How do authors portray the theme of false identity in their writing?

Multicultural Perspectives

This course is designed to consider the viewpoints, experiences, and identities of different cultural groups in society. By closely looking at literature written by and about these experiences, and obstacles, we will enrich our own perspectives.

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (Class text)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena
Soledad by Angie Cruz
Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas
Honky by Dalton Conway
Makes Me Wanna Holla by Nathan McCall
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Indian Education by Sherman Alexie

Students research background on James Baldwin, time period/setting of novel, and the history of blues in connection to the novel.

Media Used: 
Crash (film)
Blues music
Significant Assignments: 

Cultural Vignettes: Students used Sherman Alexie's writing as a mentor text to write their own vignettes that explore their own cultural identity and experiences.

These are drafted, revised, and published as a class reading.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Weekend Responses to Literature through letters, reflections, etc.
Poster/Powerpoint project on Character Study

Sample PBATs: 
Justifying False Claims
Life Without Justice
Other themes on justice and injustice in society using the novels read for class and independent reading.

World Literature

Do you want to travel abroad? Have you ever read a book written by someone from Colombia, Haiti, India or Afghanistan for example? Do you want to go to any of these places? What do writers from these countries have to tell us?

In this class we will read novels and short stories written by authors from around the world particularly with an eye towards writers coming from “developing countries.” Not only will we read these books but we will also sample foreign cinema as well. We will go globetrotting, right within the confines of our classroom!

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
The Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Short stories by - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jhumpa Lahiria, Yoshitomo Tatsumi

In order to establish some understanding of the time and place within which the story is set students:

Conduct in-class research to establish a timeline identifying key peoples, places and events which shape that countries history.

Draw maps identifying - major cities, neighboring countries, oceans etc of country we are reading about.

Media Used: 
Osama (Afghanistan)
Tsotsi (South Africa)
City of God (Brazil)
Slumdog Millionaire (India)
Interim Assessments: 

Students are expected to write two typed comparative essays. These papers are a minimum of 5 pages. Topics arise out of class discussions about themes of importance to the students and to the structure and themes of the novels. All questions are expected to draw the students into deep analysis of the works chosen.

Students are expected to write an in-class essay at mid-term. Most recently they were asked to respond to a quote taken from the book, The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat. The quote is as follows:
“Jephthah called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, ”Are you an Ephraimiite?” If he replied, “No,” they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’ If he said, ‘Sibboleth.’ because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-thousand were killed at the time.”

Why do you think Edwidge Danticat chose to start her novel with this quote? Does it seem appropriate? What specific similarities/differences did you notice between what the quote reveals and what the story tells us?

Significant Assignments: 

As part of their work for the class students select a short story from a collection distributed in class.

After reviewing the collection students make their selection.

Students are expected to read the story and select a key passage from the story which raises an important theme.

This theme may be something that has been raised in previous conversations about other texts or it can be unique to the story.

Students do a short presentation to the class in which they share their story and passage. In addition to which they raise a question for the class to discuss.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Students write a typed weekly response essay anywhere between 1 – 2 pages. Students can respond to ideas raised during discussions or use the readings, films or other texts introduced to the class as a basis for these shorter writing exercises.

Students find reviews of the films and write their own review either critiquing or supporting the positions taken by the reviewers.

Sample PBATs: 
Explore the statement “Like father like son” with an eye to comparing the meaning of these words when looking at the books – Things Fall Apart and The Kiterunner.
How important was “redemption” as a theme in these novels?
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