The 11th grade learning experience consists of 7 mostly month-long units aligned to the Common Core State Standards, with available course material for teachers and students easily accessible online. Over the course of the year there is a steady progression in text complexity levels, sophistication of writing tasks, speaking and listening activities, and increased opportunities for independent and collaborative work. Rubrics and student models accompany many writing assignments.Throughout the 11th grade year, in addition to the Common Read texts that the whole class reads together, students each select an Independent Reading book and engage with peers in group Book Talks. Students move from learning the class rituals and routines and genre features of argument writing in Unit 11.1 to learning about narrative and informational genres in Unit 11.2: The American Short Story. Teacher resources provide additional materials to support each unit.
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In this unit, students will take a look at the historical vision of the American Dream as put together by our Founding Fathers. They will be asked: How, if at all, has this dream changed? Is this dream your dream? First students will participate in an American Dream Convention, acting as a particular historical figure arguing for his or her vision of the American Dream, and then they will write an argument laying out and defending their personal view of what the American Dream should be.
Students read and annotate closely one of the documents that they feel expresses the American Dream.
Students participate in an American Dream Convention, acting as a particular historical figure arguing his or her vision of the American Dream.
Students write a paper, taking into consideration the different points of view in the documents read, answering the question “What is the American Dream now?”
Students write their own argument describing and defending their vision of what the American Dream should be.
These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.
What has been the historical vision of the American Dream?
What should the American Dream be? (What should we as individuals and as a nation aspire to?)
How would women, former slaves, and other disenfranchised groups living during the time these documents were written respond to them?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read
During this unit, on a day of your choosing, we recommend you administer a Cold Read to assess students’ reading comprehension. For this assessment, students read a text they have never seen before and then respond to multiple-choice and constructed-response questions. The assessment is not included in this course materials.
In this lesson, students will meet with their writing group to edit their papers. They'll learn the protocols and routines for responding to classmates' writing, and they will make a plan for revising their paper.
In this lesson, students will begin to plan for their final paper, in which they will argue for their personal vision of the American Dream.
In this lesson, students will take their group's feedback into account and revise their final paper.
In this lesson, students will hear the final presentations, evaluate the arguments, and vote on the most convincing visions presented.
The purpose of this first Benchmark Assessment (Cold Write) is to determine what students already know about informational writing. Students will respond to a writing prompt, and you will score results as a measure of early work. Students will also discuss what makes an excellent argument and presentation, and they will develop the key parts of their argument with their group.
In this lesson, students will get into character and introduce themselves to the others who will be at the convention.
In this lesson, students will begin to make concrete plans about how to portray their character in their presentation and how to structure their argument in order to best appeal to their audience.
In this lesson, students will meet with their Independent Reading group to discuss their book and how it relates to the conversations they have been having about the American Dream.
In this lesson, students will try to convince their classmates that their character's vision of the American Dream is the best one, and they will evaluate the arguments that their classmates present.
In this lesson, students will meet in groups, read some background information about characters, and create a shared page for the character they will represent at the American Dream Convention.
In this lesson, students will begin to work in groups to read their document closely, discovering what the main message is.
In this lesson, students will think about the challenges of marketing to an American teenage audience and consider the audience their character most likely tried to influence.
In this lesson, students will closely analyze the structure of their document, identifying claims, reasons, evidence, and implied or explicit counterarguments. They'll also evaluate the argument made.
In this lesson, students will examine ways that their writer tailored his or her argument to suit his or her audience, and they'll begin to plan for how they will appeal to a modern teenage audience in their presentation.