8th Grade Concert Band Program

Level: 8th Grade, Grade 2

Essential Questions

  • What is humor?
  • Can music be funny and playful?
  • What does it mean for music to represent an idea?

Unit Questions

  • What is balance? How loud/soft do I play in relation to those in my section and the band as a whole?
  • How can I play with style?

Pacing

Fall Concert, 1st Semester

What we already know

  • Counting in 4/4 time
  • Eighth note rhythms, sixteenth note rhythms, dotted quarter note rhythms
  • Staccato and legato articulation

Title: “Comical Illustrations”

(Theme: music that is humorous, playful)

  • Barbarossa, William Himes
  • Anne McGinty, The Red Baloon
  • Portrait of a Clown, Frank Tichelli

William Hime’s “Barbarossa” 

Grade: 2

Key: Major

Style: Contrasting sections of lyrical and dance

Form: ABA, variations

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how composers use contrast.
  • Understand role of performers in executing musical concepts.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
16th note rhythm Legato versus staccato Echo, changing section roles Phrasing, ritardando, character

Anne McGinty’s “Red Baloon”

Grade: 2

Key: Major/Minor

Style: lyrical

Form: passes melody between instruments

Learning Objectives

  • Play with solid, steady tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Build an effective musical climax.
  • Play confidently in solo contexts.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Dotted quarter eighth rhythm, playing on the offbeats Legato. Balance and tuning. Tone, melodic shaping.

Frank Tichelli’s  “Portrait of a Clown”

Grade: 2

Key: Major/Minor

Style: Bouncy, comical

Form: ABA

Learning Objectives

  • Embody a musical idea/effect by executing expression cues in the music like dynamics, articulation, and phrasing.
  • Accurately perform a variety of styles.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Entrances, sixteenth notes Legato versus staccato Style, character, continuity of transitions Tuning, character/style changes

Sample Lesson Plan

8th Grade, Intermediate Band

Length: 60 min

Time/60 Task Learning Objective
10 min Announcements & Warm-ups:

●      Breathing

○      Breathe with good posture, relaxed shoulders, and diaphragm support for 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 counts, and 1 count.

●      Scales

○      F Major Scale, d minor harmonic

○      Bb Major Scale, g minor harmonic

●      Long tones

○      Perform long tones quitely.

○      Discuss the support needed to sustain quiet notes.

○      Rehearse entrances with quiet notes.

●      Rhythm

○      Practice a series of dotted quarter note rhythms and sixteenth note rhythms.

Prepare the class to play long sustained notes at a quiet dynamic. Prepare class to perform sixteenth note and dotted eighth rhythms. Prepare class to play in major and minor tonalities.
10 min Pose question to class: Can music represent a character?

●      Lead students to think of descriptive words for a clown.

●      Connect the descriptive words of a clown to that of the musical piece.

●      Discuss scherzo and other pieces that are “musical jokes.”

Make connections between musical concepts and the student’s everyday lives. Understand how composers choose and develop ideas in their music. Discuss how aspects of music have an effect on the listener.
15 min “Portrait of a Clown” rehearsal

●      Rehearse melody separate from rhythmic parts. Discuss strategies for counting.

●      “Sing and fing” – have students perform rhythms with voice while fingering.

●      Discuss aspects of the piece that embody descriptive adjectives about clowns.

Learn how character/style is achieved in music through articulations and dynamics. Use visualization as a tool for musicality.
10 min “Barbarossa”

●      Rehearse repeating rhythmic pattern (especially in brass accompaniment).

●      Rehearse transitions and styling changes.

Execute character changes and transitions while maintaining tempo.
15 min “Red Balloon”

●      Rehearse balance between solos and ensemble parts.

●      Discuss how the parts rhythms build onto each other (discuss counting for entrances).

Understand individual parts’ relationship to the whole. Maintain good section sound and blend.
  Pack up, closing comments,assign homework.  

 

7th Grade Concert Band Program

Level: 7th Grade, Grade 1 & 2

Essential Questions

  • Does music tell a story?
  • How does music make the listener feel a certain way?

Unit Questions

  • What moments in our pieces invoke emotion?
  • What words can we use to describe music?
  • What is balance? How loud/soft do I play in relation to those in my section and the band as a whole?
  • What is tuning? How do I tune my instrument?
  • How do I vary articulations on my instrument?

Pacing

Fall Concert, 1st Semester

What we already know

  • Counting in 4/4 time
  • Bb and F major scales
  • Eighth note rhythms

Program

Title:“Memories of Moments Past”

(Theme: music that invokes memory)

  • A Childhood Hymn ,David Holzinger
  • Then I Saw A Lucent Sky, Todd Stalter
  • Theme and Variations, Timothy Broege

David Holzinger’s “A Childhood Hymn” 

Grade: 2

Key: Major

Style: Lyrical, melody with accompaniment

Form: Variations on a familiar tune, with accompaniment

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how composers can present familiar melodies in new contexts.
  • Understand how composers use dissonance to create musical tension.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Triplet rhythm in brass. Legato. Section blending and tuning. Balance between melody and accompaniment. Phrasing, voicing of melody.

 

Todd Stalter’s “Then I Saw the Lucent Sky”

Grade: 2

Key: Major

Style: lyrical, transparent orchestration, moments of musical tension and release

Form: large sections alternate between solo and tutti, builds to a central climax and decays

Learning Objectives

  • Play with solid, steady tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Sustain notes confidently and count through slower material.
  • Confidently play in solo sections.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Counting rests, accurately entering after tacet. Legato. Balance and tuning. Tone, melodic shaping.

Timothy Broege’s  “Theme and Variations”

Grade: 1

Key: Major

Style: Lyrical, chorale

Form: Theme and variations

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize a musical theme and how composers write variations.
  • Articulate the effect of rhythm and style changes between variations.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
 

Changing rhythms with each variation.

Legato versus staccato Melody voicing, balance Tuning, character/style changes

Sample Lesson Plan

7th Grade, Intermediate Band

Length: 60 min

Time/60 Task Learning Objective
10 min Announcements & Warm-ups:

●      Breathing

○      Breathe with good posture, relaxed shoulders, and diaphragm support for 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 counts, and 1 count.

●      Scales

○      F Major Scale

○      Bb Major Scale

●      Long tones

○      Perform long tones quitely.. Discuss the support needed to sustain quiet notes.

○      Rehearse beginning quiet notes from silence.

●      Rhythm

○      Discuss triplet rhythms. Practice performing quarter note rhythms with one beat divided into an eighth note triplet.

Prepare the class to play long sustained notes at a quiet dynamic. Prepare class to perform triplet rhythm (in brass). Prepare class to play in major tonality.
10 min Pose question to class: What is a theme?

●      Lead students to think of definitions of the word theme (party themes, movie themes).

●      Present students with an alternative definition of theme as a recurring idea.

○      Ask students to make connections between the pieces they are playing and “theme.” Are there any melodies that recur? Are there any styles that happen frequently?

●      Ask students how music can make people feel a certain way?

○      Lead students to the idea that dynamics, rhythms, styles, etc. can make the listener feel/remember feelings.

Make connections between musical concepts and the student’s everyday lives. Understand how composers choose and develop ideas in their music. Discuss how aspects of music have an effect on the listener.
15 min “A Childhood Hymn”

●      Play the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” by itself. Ask students to listen for the tune in the piece.

●      Rehearse balancing the melody and the accompaniment parts so that the melody is always heard.

Learn balance between melody and accompaniment parts in an ensemble.
10 min “Then I Saw the Lucent Sky”

●      Listen to a recording of the piece. Ask students to close their eyes and visualize a landscape.

●      Rehearse the execution of dynamics and entrances to achieve the “feeling” or character of the scene the students imagined.

Perform with musicality that evokes emotion. Use visualization as a tool for the imagination and musicality.
15 min “Theme and Variations” rehearsal

●      Play theme by itself.

●      Discuss the different between each variation – is it rhythmically, melody, stylistically different?

Recognize musical relationships and patterns.
Pack up, closing comments, assign homework.

 

6th Grade Concert Band Program

Level: 6th Grade, Grade 1

Essential Questions

  • What types of music influence composers? Do composers borrow styles, melodies, and rhythms?
  • How do composers invoke feeling through music?

Unit Questions

  • What is dorian tonality?
  • What are dynamics? How do they contribute to the feeling/experience a piece has on the listener?
  • What is balance? How loud/soft do I play in relation to those in my section and the band as a whole?
  • What is tuning? How do I tune my instrument?
  • How do I vary articulations on my instrument?

Pacing

Fall Concert, 1st Semester

What we already know

  • Counting in 4/4 time
  • Bb and F major scales
  • Eighth note rhythms

Program

Title: “Drives and Daydreams”

(Theme: Driving rhythms contrast with lyrical moments)

  • Imperium, Michael Sweeny
  • Air and Caprice, Larry Clark
  • Bartok Folk Trilogy, Anne McGinty

Michael Sweeny’s  “Imperium”

Key: G Dorian (Concert F key signature)

Style: Stately, intense, expository

Form: Alternates between tutti and soli sections; repeating motive

Learning Objectives

  • Play with good, full tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Play with style (History connection – Renaissance bands announcing a king’s arrival)
  • Develop a section sound for solo sections.
  • Balance individual parts in the context of the full ensemble in tutti sections.
  • Learn about Dorian tonality.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
 

Eighth notes dividing alternating beats, repeating rhythmic motive, tempo change

Accents, tenuti, and staccati Balance in solo and tutti sections, section sound Motives, dynamic shading, character, style


Larry Clark’s “Air and Caprice”

Key: Dorian, Major

Style: Air – lyrical, melodic, chorale-like; Caprice – happy, jovial

Form: Air builds a chorale-like texture. Caprice takes similar melodic materials and passes it between instruments.

Learning Objectives

  • Play with good, full tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Play with style (History connection – Renaissance bands announcing a king’s arrival)
  • Develop a section sound for solo sections.
  • Balance individual parts in the context of the full ensemble in tutti sections.
  • Learn about Dorian tonality.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Eighth notes rhythms, rests on 1 and 3. Legato versus staccato Balance and tuning in lyrical section. Lyrical playing, melodic phrase shaping.

Anne McGinty’s “Bartok Folk Trilogy” 

Key: Dorian

Style: Folk music, pentatonic scale, alternate modes

Form: Trio, with three contrasting sections

Learning Objectives

  • Play thinner orchestration confidently.
  • Understand influence of folk music on band repertoire/band composers.
  • Change in character between sections.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Eighth notes, accompaniment parts with rests Legato versus staccato Changes in character between movements, balance in solo and tutti texture Motives, dynamic shading, character, style

Sample Lesson Plan

6th Grade, Beginning Band

Length: 60 min

Time/60 Task Learning Objective
10 min Announcements & Warm-ups:

●      Breathing

○      Breathe with good posture, relaxed shoulders, and diaphragm support for 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 counts, and 1 count.

●      Scales

○      F Major Scale

○      Bb Major Scale

○      Lead class into playing of G Dorian scales (begin the F major scale on G), discuss differences in the sound

●      Rhythm

○      Count & clap a series of rhythm patterns with eighth notes dividing different beats.

○      Examples:

●      Long tones

○      Perform long tones both quietly and at a loud volume. Discuss how breath should be inhaled to achieve good tone. Talk about the volume of air needed to sustain a loud note.

○      Articulation play back and forth: Teacher models a measure of 8th notes in 4/4 legato (class repeats back), then staccato, accented, and marcato.

Prepare the class to play in dorian tonality using the F and Bb major scale patterns. Prepare class to perform eighth note rhythms accurately before performing them in context.
10 min Pose question to class: Is it okay for artists to borrow ideas from other people?

●      Lead students to think of examples of music where composers borrow from other songs.

 

Pose question: What is a folk song? Are there any songs that you learned as a child because people sang them to you?

●      Discuss how songs like “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and “Daisy, Daisy” are passed on by rote. Connect to how different cultures have similar tunes called folk songs.

●      Discuss how composers, like Percy Grainger, borrow folk songs from different countries and use them as “ingredients” for their pieces.

Make historical connections between how music is currently passed down in our society and the composing of band music. Make cultural connections to folk songs and the wind ensemble canon.
15 min “Imperium” rehearsal

●      Remind students about the recurring rhythmic figure. Ask students to point out where they see the rhythm in their part.

●      Practice rhythm by singing parts while fingering the notes.

●      Play in context with metronome.

Prepare students to accurately perform eighth note rhythms. Practice such rhythms in context of the piece.
10 min “Air and Caprice” rehearsal

●      Connect the “air” section with the techniques employed for long tones. Remind students about breath support and tuning.

●      Build chords and point out each student’s “role” in the chord – root, third, and fifth.

Practice good tone during sustains. Understand the roles of different notes in the context of chords.
15 min “Bartok Folk Trilogy” rehearsal

●      Discuss with students the contrasting character between the first and second sections of the piece.

●      Practice transition between the two characters and tempo.

●      Rehearse sections with difficult staccati articulation.

Perform contrasting tempi and character.
Pack up, closing comments,assign homework.

 

High School Lesson Plan, Three Ayres from Gloucester

Day Date/Class
High School Symphonic Band
Materials List
·       Three Ayres from Gloucester by Hugh M. Stuart, Mvt. II “Ayre for Eventide”

·       Warm-up: Bb scale, either written out music for the warmups or verbal/instrumental modeling.

·       Exit ticket: Quarter sheet paper slips collected before students leave the room.

Assessment
Formative assessments

·       Class participation.

·       Exit ticket.

National and State Standards
·       MU: PR4.3.E.lla: Demonstrate how understanding the style, genre, and context of a varied repertoire of music influences prepared and improvised performances as well as performer’s technical skill to connect with the audience.

·       MU: Cr6.1.E.llla: Demonstrate an understanding and mastery of the technical demands and expressive qualities of the music through prepared and improvised performances of a varied repertoire representing diverse cultures, styles, genres, and historical periods in multiple types of ensembles.

·       ART.M.I.HS.1: Sing and play with expression and technical accuracy a large and varied repertoire of vocal and instrumental literature with a moderate level of difficulty, including some selections performed from memory.

·       ART.M.1.HS.3: Perform an appropriate part in large and small ensembles, demonstrating well-developed ensemble skills.

·       ART.M.III.HS.1: Demonstrate extensive knowledge and use of the technical vocabulary of music.

·       ART.M.V.HS.4: Explain how the roles of creators, performers, and others involved in the production and presentation of the arts are similar to and different from one another in the various arts and disciplines outside of the arts.

Time /60 Activity/Section Materials Standards
5 Set up Students are greeted at the door and unpack their instruments quietly while listening to a recording of Mvt. II, “Ayre for Eventide.”  
10 Warm-Ups ·        Bb, Eb scales, 4 quarter notes for each tone, legato articulation at pp.

·       “Watch the conductor” exercise where students play a Bb scale while responding to the conductor’s dynamic directions.

·       Balance exercise: Using Bach chorale, teacher will ask bass, tenor, alto, or soprano parts to be emphasized while the other parts back off.

ART.M.III.HS.1
10 Visualization, mm. 67 to 83 ·       Visualization activity: Have students close their eyes and imagine a special place from their childhood where they liked to hang out or play.

·       Teacher reads aloud “Before” by Ada Limòn.

·       Discuss the following adjectives: nostalgic, reminiscent, nostalgic, bitter sweet

·       Discuss: how music can invoke emotion and describe feeling without words? – dynamic shading.

·       Apply: Rehearse mm. 67 to 83 with the intent to create a nostalgic feeling.

ART.M.V.HS.4
10 Dynamic shading, mm. 91, 95, 119 ·       Determine dynamic levels.

o   Band plays a Bb chord at different dynamic levels pp to ff. If there is little contrast, the teacher assists.

o   Play down beat of m. 91 to determine mf. Rehearse cresc. and decresc. in this dynamic range.

o   Play down beat of m. 95 to determine mp. Rehearse cresc. and decresc. in this dynamic range.

o   Play down beat of m. 119 to determine p. Rehearse cresc. and decresc. in this dynamic range.

MU: PR4.3.E.lla, MU:Cr6.1.E.llla, ART.M.I.HS.1
5 Balance, mm. 67 to 75 ·       Question: Who has the melody? (Horn/Sax)

·       Discuss balance and review music vocab. Melody should be primary. Secondary is the accompaniment.

·       Annotation: Ask students playing accompaniment to circle the measures they have quarter notes in the first phrase. Explain how “moving” parts should be played slightly louder.

MU: PR4.3.E.lla, ART.M.I.HS.1, ART.M.1.HS.3, ART.M.III.HS.1
3 Tempo, poco accel., mms. 91 to 103 ·       Explain tempo markings and how composers manipulate the tempo for effect. Also how the accel. increases the music’s intensity and driving feeling.

·       Remind students the importance of watching the conductor. Rehearse from mm. 91 to 103.

MU: PR4.3.E.lla, MU:Cr6.1.E.llla, ART.M.I.HS.1
3 Tempo, rall. And slower, mm. 115 to End ·       Remind students about breath support and its necessity at quiet dynamic levels.

·       Demonstrate/model the rall. by showing how the conducting will slow with voice.

MU:Cr6.1.E.llla, ART.M.I.HS.1
4 Run Mvt. II Informally assess student progress towards daily objectives. ART.M.I.HS.1, ART.M.1.HS.3
5 Exit Ticket Students write a short answer to the following questions:

·       What are two (2) specific ways music can invoke emotion in a listener?

·       What do the words “rallentando” and “accelerando” mean?

ART.M.V.HS.4, MU: PR4.3.E.lla, ART.M.III.HS.1

 

Definitions

  • Nostalgia – a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.
  • ReminisceReminisce is a dreamy way of saying “remember the past.”
  • Bittersweet – both pleasant and painful or regretful
  • Rallentando – slackening, becoming slower
  • Balance – A balance in music is when every single part of the ensemble, whether its percussion, an instrument playing with a loud volume, or a flute, an instrument playing with a soft volume, harmonize in a way to create an appropriate sound.
  • Dynamics – how loud or soft music is
  • Accelerando – with a gradual increase of speed (used chiefly as a direction).
  • Tempo – the speed at which a passage of music is or should be played.
  • Melody – a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying, the sing-able part
  • Accompaniment – a musical part that supports or partners a solo instrument, voice, or group.

Exit Ticket, Key

  • What are two (2) specific ways music can invoke emotion in a listener?
    • Tempo – how fast
    • Dynamics – how loud
  • What do the words “rallentando” and “accelerando” mean?
    • Rallentando – slow down
    • Accelerando – speed up

Before

Ada Limón, 1976

No shoes and a glossy

red helmet, I rode

on the back of my dad’s

Harley at seven years old.

Before the divorce.

Before the new apartment.

Before the new marriage.

Before the apple tree.

Before the ceramics in the garbage.

Before the dog’s chain.

Before the koi were all eaten

by the crane. Before the road

between us, there was the road

beneath us, and I was just

big enough not to let go:

Henno Road, creek just below,

rough wind, chicken legs,

and I never knew survival

was like that. If you live,

you look back and beg

for it again, the hazardous

bliss before you know

what you would miss.

Persuasive Essay, Dear Colleagues…

Dear Colleagues,

As writing teachers, we have a huge impact on our students: our instruction of writing can perpetuate or destroy damaging misconceptions about writing. I am writing to present to you a claim that urges us to re-frame the way we discuss writing: the claim that writing instruction should model speech acquisition, using speech as a bridge between student thinking and writing. Immediately you may be inclined to respond that the colloquial, slang-dense, ungrammatical, media-influence language of our secondary students should have nothing to do with learning academic writing. I want to challenge that response by showing how we reinforce misconceptions of writing as teachers and present strategies for incorporating talk into the writing classroom.

One of these misconceptions I will pursue is that writing is final or indelible. Teachers are too ready with the red ink, leading students to think that writing is forever, that it cannot be changed and that it needs to be just right the first time around. These students grow up into adults who think that they are not writers or cannot write with increasing anxiety around the activity of writing. Instead, writing should be viewed as spontaneous and flexible, an activity where mistakes can be made and fixed, ideas can be explored, and thought can be free without repercussions. Another of these misconceptions I will challenge is that writing is an unnatural activity and separate from speech. Teachers talk about grammar out of context, as if split infinitives and comma splices exist in their own academic-writing universe that is parallel to the speech universe. Instead, grammar should always be presented in context with a focus on how grammar is a tool for expressing meaning to the reader by modeling the mannerisms (pauses, inflection, etc.) that are natural to speech.

Telling a room full of writing teachers that it is beneficial for students to write the way they talk will no doubt bring a lot of opposition. Many would think: students at the secondary level speak with elementary vocabulary, poorly formed sentences, and slang that is not conventional in academic writing, so encouraging them to write the way they speak would be encouraging those mistakes in their writing, right? Well, not really. Speech is actually the direct link between thinking and writing that students need to be successful in academic writing. Kellen McClendon writes in the article, “The Convergence of Thinking, Talking, and Writing: A Theory for Improving Writing” that because talking is a natural process, modeling writing after speech lowers the barrier between a student’s thoughts and the paper (3). He goes on to show that effective communication occurs at the convergence of talking, thinking and writing and that improving either one of the three skills improves the others by effect (McClendon 3-4). Peter Elbow writes in his article, “The Shifting Relationships between Speech and Writing” that student writing can improve when it is thought of, like speech, as a free, spontaneous activity where ideas can be explored without consequences (5).  As writing teachers, we should strive to model the atmosphere around writing after the atmosphere around speaking; one that is relaxed and free-flowing.

Speech is the immediate expression of a thought and writing is nothing more than written speech (with more time to prepare). Therefore, McClendon argues that speech can be used to bridge the gap between student thinking and writing (18). Text has an intimate relationship with speech because in order to read, humans convert the text to sounds either aloud or in the imagination (McClendon 25). Oral expression has been around for ages, whereas written expression is a much newer skill that humans have acquired and, consequently, writing cannot exist without first being an oral expression (McClendon 25). Ignoring the connection to speech as writing teacher is asking too much of students: when we speak the audience is clear, the topic specific, and the pauses and inflection of words natural, but when we write we have to simulate those conditions for discourse all on our own.

Writing can be free and spontaneous like speech, as argued by Elbow (9). Teachers can apply this view of writing to the classroom by making writing less stiff and formulaic. One way to do this is by introducing many free-writing activities in the classroom. Students can also be asked to write in groups about specific topics in class so that the process can be direct and receive immediate feedback. Writing in class for their peers helps students imagine an audience, which can be difficult for students out of context. Imagining an audience helps students make grammar and rhetorical choices that are appropriate for writing. Sharing their writing immediately also models the communal aspect of speech, where feedback and response is given immediately after production (Elbow 10).

Writing teachers can use speech to connect to student thought processes and create a positive, non-daunting approach to grammar as well. Students practice problem-solving as they develop daily. The nature of thinking, as presented by McClendon, is that it is directed towards solving a problem by inventing a solution (8).  Instead of viewing writing as an activity where answers can be right or wrong, teachers can encourage improvement by framing their language by whether the writing was effective or ineffective. Elbow points out that when we respond to speech, we reply to the content of what has been said, not how it was said (10). The more a speaker is able to experiment with language and gain experience with what is effective or ineffective in sharing his or her ideas, they learn and improve. Similarly, responses to writing do not have to focus on criticizing how the student wrote it, but instead propose changes for presenting the content more effectively. Focusing on the ideas the student wants to convey and strategies for making them more effective relieves the stress surrounding the activity and contextualizes the feedback. The more a student feels free to develop his or her writing skills the more he or she can improve.

Writing teachers often teach grammar out of context, which confuses students and adds to the anxiety around writing (because students are afraid of making grammar mistakes they do not understand). Instead, grammar should be taught in the context of real writing and presented with the idea that grammar serves the meaning the student is trying to convey. Writing is merely written speech: Elbow writes that whereas speech is the immediate communication of a thought, writing models the same language but is a delayed activity that requires more effort (3). Writing teachers need to show students that grammar rules are meant to reflect the patterns of speech that are natural to us. When transferring ideas from speech to paper, students have to work extra hard to create the patterns of speech that aid in meaning. Students just place all the words they are thinking on paper and trust that it will be well understood: they have to simulate an audience, voice, pauses, and inflection that come naturally while speaking in order to effectively communicate with the reader (Elbow 3). Writing teachers can draw upon the experience students already possess about understanding speech when teaching grammar.

In the classroom students can work through grammar problems in context by drawing on their experience as speakers and listeners. Students can tape record themselves reading their written papers aloud to find grammar and syntax errors (McClendon 4). Peers can read aloud their writing to each other. Students can also use discussion to formulate their sentences in speech before going to paper.

 

For minority learners, like English Language Learners or speakers of American dialects, talking about their writing can capitalize on skills they use every day when speaking to create a positive space for learning. Speakers of dialects that differ from standard American English, like African American English, learn to dialect shift in academic settings, as shown by Craig, Zhang, Hensel, and Quinn in the article, “African American English-Speaking Students: An Examination of the Relationship Between Dialect Shifting and Reading Outcomes (842). Talking about writing as a dialect-shift avoids demeaning students’ speech. Instead of correcting speech patterns, students can think of academic language as a told at their disposal for communicating with people unlike themselves. Hsn and Snow show in their article, “Social Perspective Taking: A Benefit of Bilingualism in Academic Writing,” that bilingual students have to evaluate their audience and consciously chose their vocabulary in their second language to fit the given situation, making them strong in perspective acknowledgment and perspective articulation, which are necessary for forming effective written arguments (3).

So colleagues, before complaining about the chattiness of secondary students in the classroom and their use of slang and poor grammar that creep into their academic writing, I urge you to think creatively about how the student’s speech skills can aid in writing. Think about how writing teachers contribute to a negative experience in the process of writing and how to teach academic writing as a tool at a student’s disposal versus censoring speech patterns that are a part of their uniqueness. As supported by the research of many scholars mentioned above, speech is a bridge between thought and writing and can be a model for our writing instruction.

Sincerely,

Alicia Ghastin

Teacher of Writing

 

Expressive Essay, “I want to ride a motorcycle”

I Want to Ride a Motorcycle

“Let’s go!” I yelled to my dad as I tied my shoes on the porch step next to my mom. He replied something, but it was muffled. He was in the garage bent over a pile of tools thrown under the work bench.

When my shoes were tied I ran into the garage over to the white shelving unit that held all of our sports equipment, sand toys, and frisbees. Behind it my pink helmet with a “AAA” insurance sticker dangled on the wall.  I grabbed at the helmet but couldn’t reach it.

Today I’m going to ride a motorcycle, I thought.

My dad stood up, exclaiming, “I found just what we need.” He was holding a tool of some kind, something silver. I didn’t know what it was but I didn’t need to know – all that mattered was that it was going to get the job done.

My giant dad towered over me. He was my favorite person. Still is. He has brown hair like mine. And skin like mine. And eyes like mine. He placed and buckled my helmet as I smiled up at him. The snap of the plastic pinched my skin under my chin a little but it didn’t hurt much.

Then he turned to do the surgery. One screw loosened and so did the shame I felt yesterday. A wheel off and fear of going without it started grew in my chest. Another wheel off and fear mixed with a nervous excitement. My blonde-haired siblings were already riding in circles on the drive way and up and down the sidewalk on two wheels.

If they can do it, I can do it too, I thought.

My dad right behind me, I led my little pink bike down the driveway to the sidewalk near the street.

He held the bike while I climbed on. He talked me through the game plan. He told me what to do. He let go. I was pedaling. I was doing it!

Five feet later I was falling! My stomach jumped up and my head lurched back. The world tilted and the sky became grass. The foam in my helmet creaked when my head hit the grass. I was shocked. My bike laid over me so I couldn’t get up.

I felt the bike lift and my dad pulled me up with his hands under my arm pits. My mom knelt in front of me to wipe the fresh dirt stuck to my face. Pads protected my knees but my hands were red. The heels of my palms glowed with a sore red pain where I caught my fall on concrete. I was jolted but not discouraged.

I tried again. And again.

My mom cheered from the porch where she sipped her iced tea. She likes to call, “Woo woo!” when she is excited for us.

I kept the bike steady for longer and longer periods. First ten seconds, then half a minute, a minute, then a few minutes.

Then I was no longer trying. I could just do it. I made it to the stop sign at the end of our road. I could steer and turn. I could pedal fast too.

The wind pushed my dark brown bangs against my forehead. My ears were filled with a whistle and boom. I squinted into the sun. I was a bird slicing through the atmosphere. I felt tall as giraffe. I felt powerful as an elephant. I felt unstoppable as a lion.

The sidewalk in front of me disappeared behind me again and again. I followed behind my siblings like a straggling baby duckling. I watched my brother’s blue New Balance sneakers move up and down in front of me then hold. I tried to match the exact way he pumped his legs and glide when he did.  He crossed big bumps in the sidewalk fearlessly, so I did too. My sister Megan’s blonde ponytail whipped around as she checked to make sure I was close behind. Corinne, her twin, turned off the sidewalk and circled through the street back behind me to ask how I was doing.

I felt great. I felt something new that was different than just the pride and exhilaration of trying a new thing. Whatever feeling this was, it was a good one. It was like a secret that was so good it was easy to let slip out. I gave it away with the smile on my face and the way I held my head high.

Now, I’m a real motorcycle rider, I thought.

I biked all around the block, which was shaped like an Indie 500 circuit. I imagined all the kids watching me from their bedroom windows and pointing with awe at my speed.

The next day I still felt different. My kindergarten friends from the block were gathered on my driveway, the neighborhood bus stop. I confidently rolled down the pavement on two wheels, ready to race. I was now a member of the “gang.”

Social Justice for All?

Four Week Unit

Course: English Language Arts, 9th grade

Unit: Social Justice for All?

Standards:

NCTE Standards

NCTE Standard 1: Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

NCTE Standard 3: Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

NCTE Standard 5: Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

NCTE Standard 6: Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS 1.2: Use writing, speaking, and visual expression for personal understanding and growth.

CCSS 1.5: Produce a variety of written, spoken, multigenre, and multimedia works, making conscious choices about language, form, style, and/or visual representation for each work.

CCSS 2.2: Use a variety of reading, listening, and viewing strategies to construct meaning beyond the literal level.

CCSS 3.2: Read and respond to classic and contemporary fiction, literary nonfiction, and expository text, from a variety of literary genres representing many time periods and authors.

CCSS 3.4: Examine mass media, film, series fiction, and other texts from popular culture.

Texts:

Choice novels

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munos Ryan
  • Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Required Poetry

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
  • “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde
  • “Harlem” by Langston Hughes
  • “Self Evident” by Ani DiFranco

Critical Viewing

  • A Raisin in the Sun, film adaptations 1961 & 2008
  • Applicable news reports

Supplemental Texts, Teacher-Led Reading

  • “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” – Letter by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “I Have a Dream” – Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Selections of Native American speeches – “Speech to John Smith, 1609,” “Speech to Governor La Barre of New France, 1684,” “Negotiations for the Casco Bay Treaty, 1727,” “Petition to the Massachusetts General Court, 1752”
  • “Advertisements from the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1742-1748” that show abuse of women and gender inequality in the 18th
  • “‘Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men, Too,” 1970
  • “A Proclamation: To the Great White Father and All His People” 1969 from the American Indian Movement
  • “Statement of Phil Wilson, Director of Public Policy, AIDS Project, Los Angeles,” 1994; “Statement of Letitia Gomez, Executive Director, Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization,” 1994
  • “Statement of Conscience” 2003, NION regarding the U.S. declaring war in Iraq
  • The ACLU’s “Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America, May 2003”

Critical Listening– Protest Music

  • Phil Ochs, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” 1965
  • Malvina Reynolds, “Little Boxes” 1962
  • Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” 1965
  • Mos Def, “New World Water”
  • Immortal Technique, “The 4th Branch”
  • Steve Earle, “Rich Man’s War”

Form of Intertextual Study: Thematic

What do we know so far:

  • Every person has different experiences and points of view
  • Writing can be used to give voice to people who cannot speak out, however language can be used to oppress people as well
  • All texts, even news reporting, should be viewed critically for intention and bias

Purpose:

  • To think critically about texts we read, even textbooks, news reports and advertisements constructs a narrative of how people live, think, and experience life.
  • To analyze how writers/speakers use language in texts to represent themselves and others in either a positive or negative way.
  • To identify and challenge language that perpetuates stereotypes, bias, and prejudice in the texts of American society.

Essential Questions:

  • Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
  • What can individuals do to affect change?
  • What does it mean to be prejudiced and biased?
  • What is the experience of someone who is oppressed?

Unit Questions:

  • What is privilege?
  • What is social justice?
  • What is perspective?
  • What is a stereotype?
  • What is freedom?
  • What are civil liberties?
  • What are human rights?

Formative Assessment:

  • Participation in a Socratic seminar about the essential questions.
  • Participation in Book Clubs.
  • Eight (8) journal entries from which the autobiography paper and poems will be written.
  • Completion of quick writes & tool box activities.

Summative Assessment:

  • A personal “autobiography” paper in which the student discusses social justice as it applies to their personal experiences.
  • Compose an original “dissent” poem or song.

Performance Assessment:

  • Perform/present original poem or song for peers.

 

Learning Activities

  • Small group discussion in the forms of literature circles.
  • Large group discussion in the form of Socratic seminar.
  • Small group discussion of digital arguments found online (infographics, “memes,” campaign ads, etc.).
  • Journal responses in which students will analyze current news reports.
  • Vocabulary toolbox collage – students work in groups to define terms unique to the discussion of social issues (including, oppression, justice, ethnicity, race, class, prejudice, bias, opportunity, etc.) and gather images, art, and words that represent them to form a collage.
  • Teacher modeling of revision and peer-review in writing workshops.
  • Teacher presented historical background and sharing of historical dissent speeches.
  • Class read aloud of Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Unit Rationale:

            As a result of the wide use of social media, Americans adolescents to middle-age are bombarded with digital arguments from a variety of sources that may or may not be credible and non-bias. Social media arguments in the forms of infographics, “memes,” and news reports are frequently used to support misconceptions about the social realities of American society. Students need the tools to be critical readers, not merely consumers of information. This unit presents students with tools for discussion, particularly around the central topic of social justice. High school students are not excluded from discussions about gun violence, race, immigration and privilege. Those same students may also experience discrimination in their own lives on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Other students are privileged and have little tangible experience with these issues. By using a wide range of expository texts, poetry, music, and media reports, this unit achieves several goals: to validate the experiences of each student, to challenge misconceptions about privilege and equality, to identify and challenge bias, and promote internal reflection.

The class activities follow a routine of responding to texts that are presented by the teacher, assigned as a required class read, or choice texts for book clubs. Students respond first on their own with a journal response or quick write and then with their peers in a Think-Pair-Share or in their Book Clubs. Each class ends by returning to the essential and unit questions that guide the unit through group discussion. All of the texts chosen for this unit are examples of the experiences of someone who experiences oppression and the responses of individuals who chose to speak out against injustice. For assessment the students will write a personal autobiography that describes who they are as a person, the struggles that they experience, and the privilege they have or do not have in their life. In addition, students will also compose their own protest music or poetry that responds to a current social issue that is important to them.

Unit Overview

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
1 “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

 

Toolbox Session #1

Martin Luther King Jr. writing/speech

 

Buzz Feed Privilege Walk Activity

 

Journal Response 1

A Raisin in the Sun, film (1961)

 

News Report Share – Police Violence & African Americans

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

Journal Response 2

Protest Music Day 1

 

2 “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde Toolbox Session #2

 

Selections of Native American speeches;

American Indian Movement (1969)

 

Journal Response 3

A Raisin in the Sun, film (1961)

 

News Report Share – Immigration/Border & Caravan

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Journal Response 4

 

Literature Circles 1

Writing Workshop

 

Personal Autobiography Draft Due

3 “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

Toolbox Session #3 – Collage activity

 

Literature Circles 2

The Feminist Movement, Gender Relations, AIDs, LBGTQ+ Movement

 

Journal Response 5

A Raisin in the Sun, film (1961)

 

Meme & Campaign Ad Share

 

Personal Autobiography Due

 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

Journal Response 6

 

Literature Circles 3

Writing Workshop

 

Original Dissent Poem/Song Draft Due

 

Literature Circles 4

4 “Self Evident” by Ani DiFranco

 

Toolbox Session #4

 

Literature Circles 5

 Dissent against Iraq War

 

Journal Response 7

 

Literature Circles 6

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

News Report Critical Viewing

 

Protest Music Day 2

 

Journal Response 8

 

 

Writing Workshop

 

Original Dissent Poem/Song Due + Performance

 

Day Date/Class
1
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

 

Historical Context share: Bio of Hughes & Harlem Renaissance

NCTE 1, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Toolbox Session #1 : Students collect images from online, make associations, and connect to their own experiences to define vocab words, such as, social justice, microaggression, prejudice, privilege, race, ethnicity, oppression NCTE 5, CCSS 1.5
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice? Why or why not? NCTE 3, 6
10 Book Club Discussion: In what time period does your book take place? What are some similarities between that setting and modern day? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
2
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is privilege?

What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” – Letter by Martin Luther King Jr.

“I Have a Dream” – Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

Historical Context share: Civil Rights Movement, segregation, Reconstruction, post-slavery race relations, Jim Crow

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Journal Response #1 – When have I witnessed injustice? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
15 Class Interaction BuzzFeed Privilege Walk Activity and discussion
15 Book Club Discussion: Is there one character or group in the text that is oppressed? What is their experience like? Who in the book is privileged? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
3
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?

What is the experience of someone who is oppressed?

Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher News Report Share: Reports of the shooting of African Americans, Nov. 2018 shooting of Emantic Bradford, New York Times article; CNN reporting & police narrative

Historical Context share: Bill of Rights, 13th & 14th Amendments, Black Lives Matter Movement

NCTE 1, CCSS 3.4
30 Critical Viewing A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Comprehension Strategy – Visual Organizer (divide paper into sections, each time a new character is introduced write down the name, adjectives to describe that character’s personality and determine a few things that the character wants from life) 

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Respond: What shocked you? What did not surprise you? Do you see any similarities between when the movie takes place and now? Any differences? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
4
Essential Question(s)
What is the experience of someone who is oppressed
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
15 Class read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

Historical Context share: Diaspora in African American history

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
15 Think-Pair-Share Journal Response #2 – Where do I see injustice in my community? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Writing Workshop Using the first two journal responses, class quick-writes, etc. write an outline for the Personal Autobiography Paper about how you either experience or do not experience injustice.
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
5
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?

What can individuals do to affect change?

Unit Question(s)
What is privilege?

What is social justice?

What is perspective?

What is a stereotype?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Critical Listening Protest Music Day 1: Phil Ochs, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” 1965

Immortal Technique, “The 4th Branch”

Historical Context share: Hip hop genre,  police brutality

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2, 3.4
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Students respond to the critical listening by writing a new verse about their lives/an issue they care about. NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Should citizens be complacent or speak out? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Discussion: At this point have any characters used a form of language to fight back against an oppressor? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is privilege?

What is social justice?

What is perspective?

What is a stereotype?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
6
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is privilege?

What is social justice?

What is perspective?

What is a stereotype?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Toolbox Session #2: colonialism, discourse, power NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice? (Return to similar discussion from day 1 – has anything about your answer changed after our first week of study? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Discussion: What characters possess power in the book? Do they have concrete tools at their disposal for enforcing that power? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
7
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher Selections of Native American speeches – “Speech to John Smith, 1609,” “Speech to Governor La Barre of New France, 1684,” “Negotiations for the Casco Bay Treaty, 1727,” “Petition to the Massachusetts General Court, 1752” & “A Proclamation: To the Great White Father and All His People” 1969 from the American Indian Movement

 

Historical Context share: Native American genocide, reservation conditions, colonization and evangelization of native people, discourse of power regarding of native people (“Indian,” “savage”)

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Journal Response #3: What is your home like? What parts of it are important to you? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Whose land is America? Can we own land? Can conquering/invading land be justified? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Discussion: Are there spaces (pieces of land, cities, social circles) in the text that exclude certain people? Why and how does that affect the oppressed characters? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
8
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is perspective?

What is a stereotype?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher News Report Share – immigration/border patrolling, caravan at US border; New York Times coverage about migrant caravan

 

Historical Context share: asylum, human rights, the UN on refugees, Syrian refugees

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2, 3.4
30 Critical Viewing A Raisin in the Sun,

Comprehension strategy: List ways characters are prejudice in the film.

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2, 2.2
5 Quick Write Question: Are stereotypes true? Are they accurate assumptions/descriptions of an individual’s behavior? Should we be welcoming of people unlike ourselves? What if they are in need of help? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is perspective?

What is a stereotype?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
9
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
15 Class read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
15 Think-Pair-Share Journal Response 4 – Should humans help other humans in need, regardless of the circumstances? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature Circles Begin NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

 

NCTE 3, 6

Day Date/Class
10
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher Model how to revise a sentence, example on document cam for class.

Personal Autobiography Draft Due

10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Write poem/response besides “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde. NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Peer Review In book club groups, read papers aloud for students. Students respond with sandwich complements (complement, critique, complement).
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
11
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Toolbox Session #3: gender, sexuality, power, glass ceiling, equality.
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature Circles NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
12
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher Pennsylvania Gazette, 1742-1748”;

“‘Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men, Too,” (1970); “Statement of Phil Wilson, Director of Public Policy, AIDS Project, Los Angeles,” 1994; “Statement of Letitia Gomez, Executive Director, Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization,” 1994

 

Historical Context share: gender politics, stereotypes, LBTQ+ movement, the feminist movement

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Journal Response #5 – How do you see yourself? How does society see you? Do you meet the expectations society places on you because of your gender? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: What are stereotypical descriptions of men and women? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Question: Are any of the characters oppressed because of their gender or sexuality? Why or why not? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
13
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher Campaign Ad Share: What is the hidden message?

ACLU & LBGTQ+ Rights talk about resources

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
30 Critical Viewing A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Students find one connection between a current event and issues in the film.

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2, 2.2
5 Quick Write Question: Have we changed? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
14
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
15 Class read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
15 Think-Pair-Share Journal Response #6 – Does language matter? Write about a time words hurt you. NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature Circles NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
15
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher Teacher models revision of poem/song, example on document camera.

 

Original Dissent Poem/Song Draft Due

10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text/ Short conferences with teacher NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
15 Peer review Read poem/song aloud in book club groups. Students respond with sandwich complements. NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature Circles NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
16
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher/Critical Listening “Self Evident” by Ani DiFranco

 

Historical Context share: The Declaration of Independence, US declares war in Iraq in 2003; 9/11, 2001 Terrorist Attack; “war on terror”; anti-Muslim sentiment

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Toolbox Session #4: peace, nonviolence, war, terrorism NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature circles NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
17
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?

What can individuals do to affect change?

Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Teacher  “Statement of Conscience” 2003, NION regarding the U.S. declaring war in Iraq

The ACLU’s “Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America, May 2003”

 

NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text NCTE 3, CCSS 3.2
5 Quick Write Journal Response #7: Why do nations go to war? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Think-Pair-Share Question: Is violence only overseas? What kind of violence do we have in our community? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Literature Circles NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
18
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
10 Teacher News Report Critical Viewing : Response to white rapist; Smearing of black preacher’s death by mention of possible marijuana in apartment

 

Question: How do news reports misrepresent events? How do they show bias? How does white privilege and male privilege contribute to justice? How do racial stereotypes relate to justice?

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2
20 Critical Viewing A Raisin in the Sun (1961) : Plot map, students draw a visual representation of the plot in the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2, 2.2
5 Quick Write Question: What is one important aspect of the film? Why should people watch or not watch the film? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6
Day Date/Class
19
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
15 Critical Listening Protest Music Day 2: Steve Earle, “Rich Man’s War”

Malvina Reynolds, “Little Boxes” 1962

Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” 1965

 

Historical Context share: Vietnam War, Vietnam War Protests, history of nonviolent movements

 

NCTE 1, 2, CCSS 3.2
10 Silent Reading Book Club Choice Text
15 Think-Pair-Share Journal Response #8 – Can war be justified? Is peace really attainable? Why or why not? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Book Club Discussion: What forms of violence are seen in the text? What characters use them and why? NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2
10 Class Discussion What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

NCTE 3, 6

 

Day Date/Class
20
Essential Question(s)
Do all Americans have equal opportunity and justice?
Unit Question(s)
What is freedom?

What are civil liberties?

What are human rights?

Time Activity Material Standards
5 Book Talk Brief descriptions of other social justice YA texts
35 Performances Dissent Poems Final Drafts Due, Class Readings/Performances NCTE 3, 6
10 Book Club Final thoughts NCTE 5, CCSS 1.2

Brown Girl Dreaming, A Teaching Rationale

Text

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York, Puffin Books, 2014.

Intended Audience

  • 7th, 8th, 9th Grade English Classrooms
  • Small-group work, large class discussion
  • This book is
    • A beautiful memoir representing the life experiences of a minority person
    • A text by an African American author

A Brief Summary of the Work

Jaqueline Woodson uses poetry to impress upon the reader not only her internal reactions and reflections as a child, but also the culture of her family and the sensory experiences of her childhood. She recalls her earliest memories of living in Ohio and of her father, then tells of his leaving her family and her life living with her mother’s very religious family in the South. Woodson walks through her childhood, describing the differences between her life in New York City, where her family moves, and in Greenville.

Relationship to the Program

I will use this text in a social justice unit that will use a variety of activities and texts to answer essential questions about privilege, identity, and social change. For students with disabilities, Brown Girl Dreaming could be provided as a choice novel “safe” text because it addresses critical social justice topics that other texts in the unit touch on while being free of descriptions of violence. This text will also be useful in differentiating learning for the students because it is a lower reading level (and accessible because it is a collection of poems), but also because Jacqueline Woodson has freely available audio recordings of the text online. Using the audio book along with the printed edition can help reluctant readers and auditory learners.

Impact of the Book

Brown Girl Dreaming shares the experience of a young person living in America in a powerful way to a reader who is also a young person in America. Reading texts of this kind allow students to immerse themselves in the thoughts and experiences of other people in order to challenge and analyze their own thoughts and experiences. Along with civil rights, this book also addresses many themes like identity, love, religion/morality, and change, all of which can connect and engage any student.

Potential Problems

This book addresses current issues in America like racism, activism, and the presence of religion in public schools. Woodson focuses more on her experience than trying to make an argument, but the topics are controversial nevertheless.

Professional Book Reviews

  • Koblitz, Dick. “Brown Girl Dreaming.” Language Arts, vol. 93, no. 4, 2016, pp. 320.
  • Hinton, KaaVonia. “Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming.” Vitae Scholasticae, vol. 34, no. 1, 2017, pp. 75.
  • Howard, Krystal. “Collage, Confession, and Crisis in Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 3, 2017, pp. 326-344.
  • Anatol, Giselle L. “Brown Girl Dreaming: A Ghost Story in the Postcolonial Gothic Tradition.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 4, 2016, pp. 403-419.

Alternate Options for Student Readers

  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munos Ryan
  • Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • March: Book One by John Lewis and Andre Aydin
  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Hate U Give, A Teaching Rationale

Text

Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. New York, Balzer and Bray, 2017.

Intended Audience

  • 9th & 10th Grade English Classrooms
  • Small-group work
  • This book is
    • A current, recently published book responding to current events
    • A text by an African American author
    • Based on true stories about the experiences of African American youth

A Brief Summary of the Work

Starr Carter is a high school student who lives in an underprivileged neighbored in a large city. She is the only witness when her friend Kahlil is shot by a police officer. The story follows Starr’s experiences from just before the murder of her friend through the trial that is conducted. Her story shows the realities of discrimination, police brutality, racism, victim blaming, and misreporting that happens in our society today.

Relationship to the Program

This novel will be a key part challenging our students to make connections between argumentative writing practices, current events, and each student’s personal drive for social justice. I will teach this book as part of a broader social justice unit that will use a variety of activities and texts. As we learn to write arguments, we will analyze arguments presented by media outlets in their reporting of accurate facts or misreporting to sway public opinion. We will read other social justice themed books and challenge students to think critically about their experiences through discussion of these texts. The students will be challenged to apply these critical thinking strategies to real world examples they come across of the internet and in the news today.

Impact of the Book

This book will challenge all student readers in one aspect or another. Students who identify with the minority figures in the book could be called to speak more loudly and stand up for what they believe in: this book may push young people to seek avenues for social justice. Students who have never been challenged to think critically about social prejudice, racism, and horrifying current events such as police murders of African American citizens will be woken up to a new reality. This book is an opportunity for students to utilize strategies they learn in the English classroom to think critically about real life current events that affect their life.

Potential Problems

This work represents a minority community and may not be well received by non-diverse communities due to prejudice. This book also mentions gun violence and questions the authority and integrity of police officers, which is a current and controversial subject. If the parents, for example, are proponents of the “All Lives Matter” counter attack to the Black Lives Matter movement, this book will not be well received. In addition, this book has some sexual references, some inappropriate language, and quite a bit of violence, which some families may be upset about even in high school.

Professional Book Reviews

  • Spisak, A. (n.d.). The Hate U Give/Flicker and Mist. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books., 70(7).
  • Marfo, Amma. “The Hate U Give and Hard Conversations.” Women in Higher Education (10608303), vol. 26, no. 10, Oct. 2017, p. 18. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/whe.20496.
  • Sharma, Michelle D. Agency for the Child in Esperanza Rising and the Hate U Give: A Call to Young Non-Black Readers, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2018.

Alternate Options for Student Readers

  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munos Ryan
  • Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • March: Book One by John Lewis and Andre Aydin
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock