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  • 2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Accomodatio et Transformatio: Spartacus, Slavery, and the Red Scare
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Primary source documents serve as the bedrock of all reliable social studies. They provide firsthand facts, descriptions, opinions, and accounts which illuminate the distant world of the past while allowing us to better understand the present. To many students, however, primary source documents are foreign, verbose, and tedious.

In order to reach out to these students, a history teacher’s best weapon is often adaptation, especially through the medium of film. Passionate actors, perceptive directors, witty screenwriters, and elaborate costumes bring dusty historical documents back to life through an immersive audiovisual experience.

Yet with a bit of inspection, these cinematic adaptations of history can reveal much more than secondary historical details. By analyzing these films as primary source documents themselves, audiences can gain insight into the time period in which the movies were made.

This curriculum unit considers the story of Spartacus—the celebrated hero of ancient history and the 1960 film directed by Stanley Kubrick—as both a primary and secondary source of history. How does Spartacus compare to the ancient sources recorded before the common era? And how does Spartacus reveal the political and social turmoil which afflicted the United States throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s?

Subject:
English Language Arts
U.S. History
World History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Anime and the Art of Storytelling
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This unit is a joint exploration of the genre of Japanese animation (“anime”) and Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey . The unit begins by questioning how stories work in general and what makes a narrative “epic” in particular. After establishing the foundations of narrative analysis and a set of concrete expectations for reading epic stories, the unit dives into the story of Odysseus, pairing it with similar anime narratives. Odysseus is a man who faces extraordinary obstacles, and this theme occurs in many anime series and movies, including Attack on Titan , Evangelion , Spirited Away , and many others. Students will study the content, looking at how the same kind of story is told in different ways with different implications, and they will also look at form: how Homer’s poetry and anime work in their own ways to achieve distinct aesthetic goals. Just as Homer’s poet shines with brilliance, there is also an enormous amount of creativity to bring to the drawn and moving image. By the end of this unit, students will have performed many exercises in close reading and analysis, culminating in their own experiment in the anime form and epic genre.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Approaches to Thinking about Film and Literature: Adapting Literature to Capture Authentic Understandings
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Students who are authentically engaged in reading ask questions about the text, make their own interpretations, and connect the stories they read to their own lives. Moving from written works to their film counterparts opens the original piece to different kinds of interpretations. My unit focuses on creating a space in which students read through different lenses, produce different meanings, outcomes, and understandings in order to strengthen critical thinking skills and to build an infinite capacity for meaning. By examining the underlying embedded themes and then seeing how those ideas are adapted into other media, students will be better positioned to make higher ordered inferences. What impact might a documentary, movie, or animated version have on the readers? What might students notice that they otherwise may have missed in the text version? What connections can students make between text and film versions? Adaptation, the transformation of text to film, is apropos to this unit tentatively titled Adapting Literature to Capture Authentic Understandings as it seeks to present strategies to help students use select literary devices in order to help them understand implied universal themes.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Jekyll and Hide: Repressing Society's Undesirables
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Teenagers often feel the need to hide their true identity deep inside, but the mask that gains them acceptance can also crush their spirit. This unit examines façade, personal repression, and societal oppression via the aptly titled book, Bottled Up by Jaye Murray. Bottled U p is the story of Pip, a teenage screw up, who represses everything he feels until a book assigned in English class tears away his mask. Reading Stevenson’s novel, Pip realizes he’s living out his own Jekyll and Hyde story. Eventually, he manages to shirk society’s restrictions, balance his impulses, and release the truth of his soul. Murray’s book provides an opportunity to delve into some of the many powerful adaptations of a classic story, while also serving as the foundation for a socially progressive unit. During this unit students will track the consequences of repression in various Jekyll and Hyde adaptations. They will explore socio-cultural influences on each version while building analytical skills to deal with written and filmed texts. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, students will question the repressions our current society demands, evaluate the consequences, and ask themselves what they can do as citizens to right some of the world’s injustices.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
The Power of Stories in Literature and Film
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Storytelling is the oldest form of transmitting knowledge. Students in the 21st century need to be able to analyze and interpret stories in film as well as written text. In this unit students will analyze and compare four texts which contain embedded stories and magical realism, two narrative structures that can trouble readers but offer extraordinary riches. The central novel of the unit is the award-winning Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond which alludes to the fairy tale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, a complex story that is actually taken up at the start of the unit. Kit’s Wilderness draws on the healing power of stories interwoven with topics of geology and dementia. The central film of the unit is The Secret of Roan Inish by John Sayles. A masterful work, it will provide a forum for analyzing cinematography as well as storytelling. Students can compare the use of magical realism and embedded stories in the novel and the film.

Students will then create their own stories, framing a fairy tale within it. They will also choose a novel and compare it to its adaptation.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Recapturing Our Lost Youth: Using "Little Red Riding Hood" to Engage Reluctant Readers
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Too many of our teenagers were not read to when they were little and therefore have no nostalgic attachment to nor any interest in reading now. Simply telling them that reading is important to their success will not help these students form the socio-emotional connections to literature they did not make when they were younger. We have to give them the skills to make comprehension and complex literary analysis more gratifying than the mindless consumption of whatever easy entertainment their televisions and computers offer. If we can get them to need stories, and poems, and essays in the same way they seem to need the applications on their cell phones, then we can restore what was lost to the distractions, shortcomings, and traumas of their less than perfect childhoods. To do so, we must make reading feel fun and meaningful again (or for the first time) – rather than something that tortures our students and exposes their ignorance. This unit offers a multicultural exploration of the classic folktale “Little Red Riding Hood” as a path toward nurturing the bonds that literature creates between people and communities, giving us a sense of security, belonging, and purpose.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Re-imagining Reading Using Modern Film Updates of Classic Stories
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If words are creativity, then they are art. This is where the discipline of creative writing comes in, as well as that of screenwriting and therefore film-making. The two forms of media, while wholly different, are inextricably linked by that foundational, historic art form – storytelling. In a modern educational landscape where screen is preferred to page, it may be advantageous to stress the importance of both. There are lessons we can get from reading words that no screen will show us; as there are artistic things that can be done with images that could never be accomplished on the page. It is imperative, therefore, to make it clear for students that it is not better to see the movie, but to see the movie too . The simultaneous study of original, written story and its film adaptation can be a powerful learning tool, especially when the film in question is a vast re-imagining, paying concrete due to the original classic story while updating it for the modern imagination and culture. This curricular unit explores this consideration for several classic stories and their modern, reimagined film counterparts, with the intention of allowing students to apply their study of adaptation to their own independent reading.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017
Women and Power in Adaptations of Macbeth: Welles and Kurosawa
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Adaptation is a vital topic of study because students, like texts, are always already in process of adapting themselves to their environments. Texts and students change over time according to place, ideology, expectation, medium. New Haven’s achievement gap concerns me like so many other teachers in New Haven: I propose to involve students’ subjectivities and political alertnesses with studies of power and violence, here in Orson Welles’ and Akira Kurosawa’s adaptations of Macbeth . My students have always responded passionately to the play, particularly to the questions of gender it invokes. I propose to study shifts in power and gender roles in the play and the two films. I expect students to finally locate themselves, their imaginations, their critical lenses, their ideologies, their roles, their subjectivities as these elements play themselves out in the narratives I have chosen.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Provider Set:
2017 Curriculum Units Volume I
Date Added:
08/01/2017