American Dream Unit

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The American Dream Unit


  • Unit Title: The American Dream Grade level: Junior Length of unit: 3 weeks

    Stage 1 Desired Results

    Meaning Enduring Understandings/Generalizations: The American rhetoric has been created through some

    foundational texts, such as the Declaration of Independence the constitution etc.

    Many of the concepts put forth by the idea of the American

    Dream do not apply to all Americans.

    Essential Questions: What is the American Dream?

    How can Americans achieve the American Dream? Can it be


    Knowledge & Skills Acquisition Learning Goals: (e.g., Iowa/Common core standards.) CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an authors premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.) By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.9 Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincolns Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

  • Students will know Vocabulary: constitution, inalienable, independence, marginalization, xenophobia, discrepancy, union, government, anemic, republic, democracy, amendment, rights, racism, prejudice, gentrification Textual elements: close reading, textual evidence, character analysis, stage direction Historical information: basic knowledge of the Revolution, history of the Constitution, Declaration and Bill of Rights. Lorraine Hansberry, Hansberry vs. Lee, Langston Hughes 1940s, 50s and 60s culture

    Students will be able to Students will learn how to do a close reading by analyzing historical

    document like the Declaration of Independence through highlighting and examining vocabulary

    Students will be able to analyze a text critically by examining word

    choice, sentence structure and other text features. Students will be able to interpret and highlight the key ideas from

    the Declaration of Independents Students will be able to address how to utilize outside text as a way

    to challenge authors premise or claim Students will articulate the difficulties

    Resources/Materials: Novels: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Documents: Declaration of Independence The Bill of Rights Preamble of the Constitution Poems/Songs ; American lyrics song book Videos/Visuals: Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy Articles: Our Towns; A chance to Live and then Describe, Her Own American Dream NY Times article (2001) The Most Powerful Idea in the World by Chester Bowles (1951)

  • Stage 2 Evidence (Assessment)

    Types of assessment: Selected-Response (tests, quizzes); Personal Communication (interview, oral exam, discussion); Written Response (short constructed response questions, entrance/exit slips, essays); Performance Assessment (role-play, Simulation, labs, dramatization) Pre-assessment:

    Pre-Quiz: One pre-assessment tool is a pre-test of students knowledge of American history. This would not count for a grade it would just be w quick way to check for students understanding. We would go over the answers after everyone has completed the test.

    Formative Assessment:

    Students will perform scenes from The Death Of A Salesman Song quick write/admission slip Reading Code check-in (Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and The Most Powerful Idea in the World)

    Summative Assessment:

    Have students write a reflective analytical paper over the question: Can people attain the American Dream? If so how? Students will be required to include evidence that they have gathered throughout the unit.

    Stage 3 Learning Plan

  • Name:&_____________________________________&American&Dream&Essay&Prompt&&Is#the#American#Dream#possible?#Why#or#Why#not?&&&We&have&spent&three&weeks&talking&about&the&concept&of&the&American&Dream.&Now&comes&the&big&question:&Is#the#American#Dream#possible?#Why#or#Why#not?&That&is&the&goal&of&this&paper.&Decide&whether&or&not&people&can&achieve&the&American&Dream&and&prove&it&with&the&text&we&have&read&during&this&unit.&You&will&need&to&use&


    o A!Raisin!in!the!Sun&by&Lorraine&Hansberry&o Only&in&America&with&Larry&the&Cable&Guy&o Declaration&of&Independence&&o The&Bill&of&Rights&o Preamble&of&the&Constitution&o The&Most&Powerful&Idea&in&the&World&by&Chester&Bowles&&o Our&Towns;&A&chance&to&Live&and&then&Describe,&Her&Own&American&Dream&(NY&Times&article)&o American&Songbook&Lyrics&&All&of&these&texts&can&provide&solid&evidence&to&support&your&article.&&&

    How#to#structure#your#paper:&o Introduction&

    o Define&your&interpretation&of&the&American&Dream&! Weve&discussed&many&different&concepts&of&the&American&Dream.&Everyone&may&have&his&or&her&own&definition,&which&is&why&you&need&to&define&your&own&interpretation.&&

    o Thesis:&Remember&a&thesis&need&to&be&argumentative&&o Body&Paragraphs&

    o Body&paragraphs&should&prove&your&thesis.&o If&you&lose&your&way&or&get&distracted&go&back&to&your&thesis&make&sure&you&are&giving&evidence&that&relates&to&your&thesis&

    o Conclusion&o Wrap&it&up!&&o Remind&us&what&you&were&arguing&about&and&why&you&are&right&&&

  • && 5X4&points& 3X2&points& 1X0&points&&Introduction& Student&give&their&own&definition&of&the&American&Dream&&AND&&Provides&an&argumentative&thesis&statement&



    Body&& Student&provides&evidence&from&at&least&3&different&texts&&Student&provides&evidence&from&2&different&texts& Student&provides&evidence&from&1X0&different&texts&

    Evidence& Student&provides&strong&textual&evidence&for&each&paragraph&Student&provides&textual&evidence&for&some&paragraphs& Student&does&not&provide&evidence&for&any&paragraphs&

    Grammar& Student&makes&little&to&no&grammar&or&spelling&mistakes&throughout&the&essay&Student&makes&some&grammar&or&spelling&mistakes&throughout&the&essay&


  • The American Dream

    Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday



    Give pre-test: Will cover a students knowledge of American History. (Does not

    2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    Pre-class music: This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie (First three verses only) QW: What images does this song evoke? Introductory Activity: Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy clip Response questions (TIPS): Why is this show called ONLY in America? Class

    Pre-class music: Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key QW: What do you know about t