The Changing ‘American Dream’ Eleventh Grade Honors



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STANDARDS:

1.1.11D: Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

1.1.11H: Demonstrate fluency and comprehension in reading.

1.3.11A: Read and understand works of literature.

1.3.11B: Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.6.11A: Listen to others.

1.6.11E: Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

1.6.11F: Use media for learning purposes.



MOTIVATIONAL DEVICE: Can you imagine literature as a catalyst for war?

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES:

Students will watch a video connecting Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Civil War in order to understand the role of literature in pivotal historical moments.

Students will present a poster on the historical background of the Civil War in order to practice public speaking skills.

Students will keep letter journals between two partners in order to track their personal growth in their literary analysis skills throughout the year.



MATERIALS NEEDED: Letter journals

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED: Computer and projector

RESOURCES: “Abolitionism – Abe Lincoln, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Bloody KS” video, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d9A-ankoQc

LESSON TYPE: Individual/pair work, presentation

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. “Abolitionism” Video (5 minutes)

A. Ask students to think about the repercussions of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s strong stance on slavery in a time where ‘maintaining the status quo’ was the name of the game. Was she justified, or do you think she should have kept her audience more in mind?

B. Write answers in journals.

II. Civil War History Presentation (5 minutes)


  1. Allow students in Civil War history group to regroup and set up their presentation.

B. Civil War group will present to the class; other students should practice good

listening skills (paying attention, respectful, etc) while taking notes for their

future reference.

III. Reading Workshop (35 minutes)

A. Students will spend the remainder of the period in a reading workshop for the rest of chapter nine and chapter twelve. During the reading workshop, students will write letters in their journals to classmates (pair them up according to alphabetical order; last student with first student and so on) about any aspect of the excerpts they are reading.

B. There should be a minimum of eight exchanges (four per partner) for the duration of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Students will have one other opportunity for a reading workshop in class; other exchanges should be done for homework, so make sure partners have worked out a schedule for exchanges. Entries must be at least half a page in length, but students are encouraged to go above and beyond the minimum requirements if they are motivated by the discussion. They must include at least one reference to the text (paraphrasing a scenario, quote, etc) in each letter.

C. The letter writing will be continued throughout the following units until the end of the year in order for students to tangibly see a progression in their analyzing skills throughout the year.

D. Students will finish the rest of chapter twelve for homework, so they should be concentrating on reading whatever they can in class.

IV. Wrap-up (5 minutes)

A. Ask students for any questions regarding the letter journals.

B. Assign homework.

DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Allow students to type out letters if there are fine motor skills issues. Provide a larger font for the excerpts for anyone who has visual impairments.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Time period presentation, letter journals. Students should be creating meaningful responses that satisfy all of the established guidelines and build on each other’s responses.

HOMEWORK: Finish reading chapter twelve and follow the letter schedule that you and your partner agreed on.

REFLECTION: How did the students take to the reading workshop? Were they focused and on task for most of the time? Does the content of the letters reflect their thinking about the text?

UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 5: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Part 2 TIME: 50 minutes
Summary: Students finish the reading for Uncle Tom’s Cabin and begin to define freedom and the American Dream according to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Homework: Finish definitions for the novel and be prepared to make posters and present the next day.
UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 6: Wrap-Up Uncle Tom’s Cabin TIME: 50 minutes

STANDARDS:

1.1.11D: Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

1.3.11B: Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.6.11A: Listen to others.

1.6.11D: Contribute to discussions.

1.6.11F: Use media for learning purposes.



MOTIVATIONAL DEVICE: What part does motivation play in morality?

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES:

Students will create definitions for the concepts of ‘freedom’ and the ‘American Dream’ as presented in Uncle Tom’s Cabin in order to fully comprehend main themes of the novel.

Students will participate in a jigsaw discussion in order to demonstrate textual knowledge and understanding of the concepts presented in the novel.

Students will compare and contrast Uncle Tom’s Cabin with My Brother Sam is Dead in order to document the historical changes that impacted American society between the two novels.



MATERIALS NEEDED: Poster paper, markers

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED: Computer and projector

RESOURCES: “The Emancipation Strategy” video, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUVkXthLz4w

LESSON TYPE: Jigsaw

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. “The Emancipation Strategy” Video (5 minutes)

A. Ask students to consider the morality of Lincoln’s motivations for the Civil War. Does the fact that he has a secondary agenda for the war make it less meaningful? How would you have felt as a soldier – supportive of the underlying cause or offended because you hadn’t been told the whole story?

B. Write answers in journals.

II. Definitions for Uncle Tom’s Cabin (15 minutes)


  1. Have students get in four groups with five students in each group. They will be making poster definitions for Uncle Tom’s Cabin like they did for My Brother Sam is Dead.

B. Two groups will concentrate on defining freedom in the novel and two will concentrate on defining the American Dream. Have students create posters for the definitions.

C. Students will jigsaw with the other groups, so they should make sure they have a thorough understanding of their assigned concepts.

III. Jigsaw (25 minutes)

A. Students will divide their initial group in two pairs of partners and match with another pair that created definitions for the other concept (American Dream with freedom).

B. Have students explain their definitions and reasoning behind their definitions to the other pair. Make sure the group comes to a consensus on each other’s ideas.

C. After the group has brought each other up to speed, have the students compare the definitions they created for Uncle Tom’s Cabin and My Brother Sam is Dead. This comparison should center on the historical changes that occurred between the two works’ time periods and how the works depict those changes. The students can record their ideas in any creative way they like – on a poster, chart, timeline, etc.

D. Have students share their comparisons with the class.

IV. Wrap-up (5 minutes)

A. Ask students for one way in which the historical context has changed from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. Tell them our next work will focus on the 1940s-1950s.

B. Assign homework.



DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Provide some key spots in the novel for students who are having trouble with the concepts of the lesson.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Posters, observe how students do in the discussions and jigsaw. Students should be able to clearly support their assertions for their group’s definitions with references to the texts. Additionally, students should pass judgment on how well the works depict the historical changes during the time period.

HOMEWORK: Brainstorm ways in which you think America has changed from the Civil War until the 1950s. What do you expect to have changed in the definitions of freedom and the American Dream?

REFLECTION: Was it easier for students to understand how Uncle Tom’s Cabin defined freedom and the American Dream after doing the same activity for My Brother Sam? Were the students able to successfully compare the definitions for both works? Could they see themes that carried over to the next century?

UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 7: Introduction to Death of a Salesman
Summary: Time period group that researched the 1950s presents their poster to the class. Students are introduced to the concepts in the play and begin to read in class.
Homework: Read the rest of the first section of the play.
UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 8: Character Analysis: Death of a Salesman TIME: 50 minutes

STANDARDS:

1.1.11D: Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

1.3.11B: Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.6.11A: Listen to others.

1.6.11E: Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

1.6.11F: Use media for learning purposes.



MOTIVATIONAL DEVICE: What can motivate us to act in one way or another?

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES:

Students will collaborate as a group to determine a particular character’s views on specific events in the play in order to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the play.

Students will participate in a debate as specific characters of the play in order to gain experience in backing up assertions against opposing forces.

Students will be introduced to the concept of stock characters and brainstorm which characters in Death of a Salesman could be considered stock characters in order to understand more about the characters found in the play.



MATERIALS NEEDED: Stock characters handout

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED: Computer and projector

RESOURCES: -“America in the 1950s” video, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wAa3V1EVQI&feature=related

-List of popular stock characters, found at http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Stock_characters

-Cultural stereotypes in stock characters, found at http://narrative.georgetown.edu/wiki/index.php/Stock_character

LESSON TYPE: Role play/debate

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. “America in the 1950s” Video (5 minutes)

A. Have students watch the film and think about the similarities between the 1950s and now. Are we as busy as the film portrayed the 1950s to be? How do you think that has impacted what we consider success? What have we lost from being so busy?

B. Write answers in journals.

II. Character Debate (30 minutes)

A. Have students count off by fours and form four groups. Assign each family member (Happy, Biff, Willy, Linda) to each group.

B. Allow students ten minutes to prepare for the debate in their groups.


  1. Groups should be coming to a consensus on the character’s views on:

    1. Happy’s and Biff’s successes in life thus far.

    2. Willy’s loss of his job.

    3. Linda’s protection of Willy in his failing mental health.

  2. Groups will be debating as their characters, so each student should have a thorough understanding of the reasoning behind the group’s consensus.

C. After the groups have come to their consensus, have students form a circle around one group of four desks. One representative from each group should begin the debate in the middle as their characters. Ask students to begin the discussion with the first question in part B and work down the list.

D. At any point in time, a student from the outside circle may tap their group member on the shoulder and take their place in the debate, continuing the topic of conversation. Each student should talk in the debate at least once.

E. After the students have gotten through the three main points, have them compare how the social positions of each character may affect their views. For example, Biff’s social position as a former jock and part of the popular crowd may impact how he reacts to Willy’s public episodes of failing mental health.

III. Stock Characters (10 minutes)

A. Hand out list of the common stock characters in literature.

B. Ask students if they have ever come across the idea of stock characters in another English class. What types of characters were presented?

C. Brainstorm reasons why authors use stock characters. Do you think it’s like taking ‘the easy way out’ or does it help the reader in some way? Explain idea of stock characters as cultural stereotypes. What stock characters might we have for our culture? Do you see any of the characters in Death of a Salesman as stock characters?

IV. Wrap-up (5 minutes)

A. Ask a student to share one thing they learned about a character from the debate.

B. Assign homework.

.

DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Provide larger fonts on the handouts for students with visual impairments. Allow students to write notes in the debate for students who have difficulty forming ideas and stating them.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Observe students during the debate and discussion of stock characters. They should be comparing how the roles each character plays impacts how they react to the issues that arise during the play. The stock character discussion should spark discussion about how characters of the play can be seen as stock characters (most obviously Willy).

HOMEWORK: Read the next section of the play. Choose a character and in 1-2 paragraphs, explain how they portray aspects of a certain stock character. This could be from the list or from a part of today’s society that you see as relevant to that character.

REFLECTION: Were the students able to connect the idea of stock characters to characters in Death of a Salesman? How strong were the debates? Were the students able to concretely back up their assertions in the debate and effectively argue against their peers?
UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 9: Family Dynamics in Death of a Salesman

TIME: 50 minutes

STANDARDS:

1.1.11D: Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

1.3.11B: Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.6.11A: Listen to others.

1.6.11E: Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

1.6.11F: Use media for learning purposes.



MOTIVATIONAL DEVICE: How does our place in society (whether public society or the roles in our family) affect how we interact with those closest to us?

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES:

Students will watch a movie of Yellowcard’s song ‘Death of a Salesman’ in order to begin understanding how family dynamics play into a character’s actions.

Students will discuss the reading assigned for last night’s homework in order to further their understanding of both the plot of the play and the characters’ motivations behind their actions.

Students will watch a model of the thought processes behind choosing an influential scene of a movie in order to internalize some of the thoughts and make assertions about influential scenes in Death of a Salesman.



MATERIALS NEEDED: Death of a Salesman scene presentation rubric

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED: Computer and projector

RESOURCES: -“’Death of a Salesman’ by Yellowcard” video, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dtcYOACkHY&playnext=1&list=PLA699FAA6347F6B4B&index=38

-Inception movie, directed by Christopher Nolan, found at www.netflix.com



LESSON TYPE: Discussion

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. “Yellowcard – ‘Death of a Salesman’” Video (5 minutes)

A. Have students watch the video and read the lyrics. Do you think that the lyrics reflect the relationship of Willy and his sons? If not right now, do you think it ever did? Of those three characters, whose viewpoint do you think is best expressed by the song? What implications on the play does that viewpoint have?

B. Write answers in journals.

II. Discussion on Homework Readings (30 minutes)

A. Ask students if they have any questions on their homework readings last night.

Have the class discuss answers together.

B. After addressing all students’ questions, discuss the following questions:



  1. How did you react to Biff and Happy’s behavior at Frank’s Chop House? Does the knowledge that Biff discovered Willy’s infidelity in person change you how view Biff? What about Willy?

  2. Do you think that Linda or Happy have any knowledge of Willy’s affair? Why or why not?

  3. At this point in the play, what is each character’s dream? Which do you see as attainable at this point in time? Why?

  4. If you were Happy or Biff, would you consider Linda’s assertions about Willy’s mental health legitimate? What would persuade you one way or the other?

III. Choosing a Scene/Reviewing Presentation Criteria (10 minutes)

A. Model the process involved in choosing a scene for students, using the first Limbo scene from Inception.



  1. Scene shows a crucial point in the character’s development: Mal is a recreation of Cobb’s memory of his wife, and her attempts to keep him in Limbo show that he isn’t ready himself yet to leave her in the past.

  2. Symbols of the scene include the elevator, which symbolizes Cobb’s descent into unreality over the course of the movie.

  3. This scene is influential in the rest of the movie because it shows why Cobb cannot be an architect anymore – Mal has taken over his unconscious and now tries to sabotage everything. On a deeper level, it shows the detrimental effects Mal now has on his life. In this scene, Ariadne shows just how determined she is to understand Cobb and the world in which she finds herself.

B. Ask students if they have any questions about the thought process behind choosing an influential scene. Pass out the presentation rubrics and go over each criterion, making sure students fully understand what will be expected of them.

C. Tell students that they are to think about what scene they would like to do. Since they will finish the last third of the play for homework, they should come into class tomorrow with three possible scenes in case someone chooses their favorite. Tomorrow, students will sign up for presentations in chronological scene order.

IV. Wrap-up (5 minutes)

A. Ask students to consider how the play would be changed if the family dynamic was different and share with the class.

B. Assign homework.

.DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Provide a sheet of the song lyrics for students who have a hard time listening and reading information at the same time. Give a quick overview of Inception for any students who have not seen the film.



FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Make sure all students are participating in the discussion with answers that clearly show that they have read and understood the play.

HOMEWORK: Read the next section of the play. Have your top three choices of scenes picked out to sign up for time slots tomorrow.

REFLECTION: Were students able to make meaningful connections between the family dynamic and the motivation of some of the family characters during the discussion? Did they provide thought-provoking answers to the questions? Did the students follow the example for the scene presentations and walk away with a clear understanding of the project requirements?
UNIT: The American Dream LESSON 10: Trial of Death of a Salesman Characters TIME: 50 minutes

STANDARDS:

1.1.11D: Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

1.3.11B: Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.6.11A: Listen to others.

1.6.11D: Contribute to discussions.

1.6.11E: Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

1.6.11F: Use media for learning purposes.

MOTIVATIONAL DEVICE: Today we’re going to put the Loman family on trial.

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES:

Students will watch a video on the current state of the American Dream in order to connect the 1950s American Dream presented in Death of a Salesman to the current recession-era American Dream.

Students will participate in a discussion on the homework reading in order to push their understanding of the play by explaining confusing parts to their classmates.

Students will participate in a mock trial of the characters in the Loman family in order to practice questioning characters’ motives in literature and to understand the transient quality of the American Dream.



MATERIALS NEEDED: Journals

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED: Computer and projector

RESOURCES: “What Happened to the American Dream?” video, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAjKEijzEGg

LESSON TYPE: Role play

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. “What Happened to the American Dream?” Video (5 minutes)

A. Have students watch the video. What kinds of parallels do you see in the timeline of the American Dream presented in the video and the dreams we’ve been looking at during class? How did you react to the professor’s ideas that the American Dream was “perverted” in the last decade? Do you think the sentiments expressed by the family are accurate? How do they match up with the sentiments in your own life? How are they different?

B. Record answers in journals.

II. Homework Review (10 minutes)


        1. Ask students for any questions they may have had while finishing the last third of the play. Answer as a class.

        2. While the class is discussing last night’s reading, pass around a sign-up sheet for the scene presentations. Explain that each student must pick a different scene (if absolutely necessary, two students may do one scene). Students will be placed in chronological order for the presentations.

III. Character Trials (30 minutes)

A. Have the class brainstorm what constitutes each character’s American Dream. Make students back up their assertions with specific textual evidence from the play, citing specific instances that gave particular insight into the character’s mind.

B. After students have determined each dream, divide the class in three to begin the character trials, with two groups of desks facing each other and the third facing the other two to form a triangle.


  1. Assign one team to be the defendant and one to be the prosecutor (in the desks facing each other); the third will be the jury. The defending team will argue that the character was not given the opportunity to save their American Dream, while the prosecuting team will argue that the character did not try hard enough. Both sides must back up their assertions with specific instances in the text.

  2. Begin with Willy; have the prosecuting team question the defending team. Make sure that students are respectful and not resorting to name-calling or other disrespectful actions in order to prove their point. The defending team should attempt to defend their position through the answers they give to the prosecuting team.

  3. Once the prosecuting team has finished questioning, the jury should deliberate and come to a decision on whether or not the character is guilty of giving up on his or her American Dream.

  4. Switch the groups clockwise and continue the same trial system for Biff, Linda, and Happy for as long as the period allows. For remaining characters after the period ends, have students write down at least three examples of evidence for both the prosecutor and the defendant (six in total) and turn them in for credit tomorrow.

IV. Homework and Closure (2 minutes)

A. Remind students that they are to be working on both their scene presentations as well as their final assessments. Both are due within the next week.

B. No reading for tonight, but make sure students write down evidence for any characters not discussed in the trials.

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