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.
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.
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
This unit uses William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing as a vehicle to help students consider how a person is powerless in the face of rumor and how reputations can alter lives, both for good and for ill. They will consider comedy and what makes us laugh. They will see how the standards of beauty and societal views toward women have changed since the Elizabethan Age and reflect on reasons for those changes. As students consider the play, they will write on the passages that inspire and plague them and on topics relating to one of the themes in the play. Finally, they will bring Shakespeare’s words to life in individual performances and in group scene presentations.
Students read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing .
Students read two Shakespearean sonnets and excerpts from an Elizabethan morality handbook dealing with types of women, and they respond to them from several different perspectives.
For each work of literature, students do some writing. They learn to write a sonnet; create a Prompt Book; complete a Dialectical Journal; and write an analytical essay about a topic relating to a theme in the play.
Students see Shakespeare’s play as it was intended to be seen: in a performance. They memorize 15 or more lines from the play and perform them for the class. Students take part in a short scene as either a director or an actor.
What are society’s expectations with regard to gender roles?
Does humor transcend time? Do we share the same sense of humor as our ancestors?
How do we judge people?
How important is reputation?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT (Cold Read)
The Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing is available on DVD through Netflix and for streaming through Amazon. Other versions are also available on both sites.
In this unit, students will produce two major pieces of work. The first piece is an argument essay that grapples with one of the core questions of the unit: who are we, and who have we become because of the ways we connect? Students will read, annotate, and discuss several texts together as they consider the issues surrounding this question, and they will also research and annotate independently as they search for more evidence and perspectives to help deepen their ideas. They will also create a museum exhibit as part of a team. The exhibit project will help students identify what's worth preserving about their unique place in history.
This project unit continues to meet the English Language Arts standards as it also utilizes the learning principles established by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. It is designed to support deep content knowledge and perseverance through long-term project planning and implementation. In addition, it will help students to recognize, develop, and apply the planning, teamwork, communication, and presentation skills they will use while presenting a final product to their class and/or the greater community. This real-world project-based activity will give students an opportunity to apply the skills they have been learning all year and will guide them to develop the motivation, knowledge, and skills they need in order to be college and career ready.
Students write an argument paper where they develop a claim about current culture as it has been influenced by digital connectivity.
Students participate in a group project to create a museum exhibit that captures a unique place, time, and relationship to technology. Students acknowledge the differing perspectives of each group member and use those perspectives to synthesize one cohesive visual argument together.
What does it mean to be digitally connected?
What are the implications of living in a world where everyone is digitally connected?
How does the availability of instant connectivity shape our relationships?
What does our Internet use reveal about people's needs as humans?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read
People often say that mankind should learn from history. Charles Dickens, whose books are considered classics, set his novel A Tale of Two Cities in the past. He wanted his readers to learn from the bloody French Revolution and from the widespread brutality in London. Both cities (Paris and London) offer the reader a glimpse into dark and dangerous times. As students read about Dickens's Victorian setting and learn his view of the French Revolution, they will think about what makes a just world. Students will have a chance to think about their own experiences, and, using techniques they have learned from Charles Dickens, they will do some writing that sends a message about your own world.
To complete the unit accomplishments, students will:
Read the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
Read several short pieces, including a biography of Dickens and excerpts from other literature, to help them understand Dickens’s world and the world of the novel.
Explore new vocabulary to build their ability to write and speak using academic language.
Practice close reading and participate in several role plays and dramatic readings to help them experience the dramatic writing style of Charles Dickens.
Write a vignette and a short narrative piece, and practice using descriptive detail and precise language.
Write a reflection about the meaning of Dickens’s novel.
How does good storytelling affect the reader, and how can a good story promote change in the world?
What was the Victorian view of gender roles?
How can power be abused?
What is loyalty ? What are the limits of loyalty?
In this unit, students will explore great works of American literature and consider how writers reflect the time period in which they write. They will write two literary analysis papers and also work in groups to research and develop anthologies of excellent American stories.
Students read and analyze stories from several 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American authors. After researching a time period, they select stories from that period to create an anthology. The readings enhance their understanding of the short story, increase their exposure to well-known American authors, and allow them to examine the influence of social, cultural, and political context.
Students examine elements of short stories and have an opportunity for close reading of several American short stories. During these close readings, they examine the ways that short story writers attempt to explore the greater truths of the American experience through their literature.
If you were to write a short story about this decade, what issues might you focus on?
What defines a short story? Just length?
To what extent do these stories reflect the era or decade in which they were written?
To what extent are the themes they address universal?
History.com has short videos on the Vietnam War (“Vietnam” and “A Soldier's Story”).
The 12th 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 12th 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. Language study is embedded in every 12th grade unit as students use annotation to closely review aspects of each text. Teacher resources provide additional materials to support each unit.
Who decides who among us is civilized? What rules should govern immigration into the United States? Whom should we let in? Keep out? What should we do about political refugees or children without papers? What if they would be a drain on our economy?
Students read William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and write a short argument about who in the play is truly civilized.
Students participate in a mock trial in which they argue for or against granting asylum to a teenage refugee, and then they write arguments in favor of granting asylum to one refugee and against granting it to another.
Students read an Independent Reading text and write an informational essay about a global issue and how that relates to their book.
What role do national identity, custom, religion, and other locally held beliefs play in a world increasingly characterized by globalization?
How does Shakespeare’s view of human rights compare with that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Who is civilized? Who decides what civilization is or how it’s defined?
How do we behave toward and acknowledge those whose culture is different from our own?
This project unit—a multimedia self-portrait published in digital form—is the capstone of your students' high school careers. It is a chance for them to pause and reflect on where they've been, where they're going, and who they are as a person. Students will reflect on what they want others to know about them: what they want their message to be and what types of media they might use to convey that message. Students will have the opportunity to express themselves in many different formats—through writing, of course, but also through other media of their choosing. Students will be able to convey your message through visual art, photography, a graphic novel, audio, poetry, or video—practically any type of media they want!
Students will complete a multimedia self-portrait, capturing important aspects of the essence of themselves.
Students will contribute one chapter from their multimedia self-portrait to a class anthology.
Students will present one chapter from their multimedia self-portrait to the class.
How is late adolescence a moment of internal and external change?
What are the most important qualities of your character—past, present, and future?
How can you portray these key aspects of yourself using multimedia?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read
Students will consider the different ways that humor can be used by a writer to criticize people, practices, and institutions that he or she thinks are in need of serious reform. Students will read satirists ranging from classical Rome to modern day to examine how wit can be used to make important points about culture.
Students research an aspect of modern life that they would like to lampoon.
Students read from satirists across history to absorb the style and forms of humor and institutions satirized.
Students write their own satire, drawing on techniques of famous satirists to criticize their targets.
What is satire, and when is it too harsh?
How can humor and irony make you more persuasive?
What do you think is funny? How far would you go to satirize it?
Who gets more reaction—satirists or protestors?
The laws that govern and the social norms that regulate society are not always fair, legal, moral, or ethical. What is a person to do about all this injustice? What are the hazards of righting injustices or changing social norms? And what are the dangers of doing nothing?
Students read and annotate Antigone, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and Pygmalion.
Students write a literary analysis showing the effect of social class or the law on a character’s life.
How do social class and legal institutions shape literary characters’ lives (and presumably our lives)?
How does social class affect a person in dealing with the law (protect a person, hurt a person)?
How is social class determined in America and in other places in the world?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read
In our lives, we are constantly telling stories to ourselves and to others in an attempt to both understand our experiences and present our best selves to others. But how do we tell a story about ourselves that is both true and positive? How do we hold ourselves up in the best possible light, while still being honest about our struggles and our flaws? Students will explore ways of interpreting and portraying personal experiences. They'll read Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart , analyzing the text through the eyes of one character. They'll get to know that character's flaws and strengths, and they'll tell part of the story from that character's perspective, doing their best to tell an honest tale that presents their character's best side. Then they'll explore their own stories, crafting a personal narrative about an important moment of learning in his or her life.
Students read and analyze Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart , viewing the events and conflicts of the novel through the eyes of one of the central characters.
Students write a two-part narrative project: one narrative told through their character’s perspective and one personal narrative about an incident in their own life.
How do our conflicts shape and show our character?
How can we tell a story about ourselves that’s both honest and positive?
How do definitions of justice change depending on the culture you live in?
What are ways individuals can react to a changing world? To a community that doesn’t accept us?
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read
Students use art and poetry to explore and understand major characteristics of the Romantic period.
In Module 11.3, students engage in an inquiry-based, iterative process for research. Building on work with evidence-based analysis in Modules 11.1 and 12.2, students explore topics that have multiple positions and perspectives by gathering and analyzing research based on vetted sources to establish a position of their own. Students first generate a written evidence-based perspective, which will serve as the early foundation of what will ultimately become a written research-based argument paper. The research-based argument paper synthesizes and articulates several claims using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence to support the claims. Students read and analyze sources to surface potential problem-based questions for research, and develop and strengthen their writing by revising and editing.
In this module, students read, discuss, and analyze literary texts, focusing on the authors’ choices in developing and relating textual elements such as character development, point of view, and central ideas while also considering how a text’s structure conveys meaning and creates aesthetic impact. Additionally, students learn and practice narrative writing techniques as they examine the techniques of the authors whose stories students analyze in the module.|
In this 12th grade module, students read, discuss, and analyze four literary texts, focusing on the development of interrelated central ideas within and across the texts. |The mains texts in this module include|A Streetcar Named Desire|by Tennessee Williams, “A Daily Joy to Be Alive” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol, and|The Namesake|by Jhumpa Lahiri. As students discuss these texts, they will analyze complex characters who struggle to define and shape their own identities. The characters’ struggles for identity revolve around various internal and external forces including: class, gender, politics, intersecting cultures, and family expectations.|
Students will learn the terms used for rhetorical analysis and begin using those terms in annotation practice. These foundational skills will lead to a paper in which students write their own rhetorical analysis of a selected text.
The activities in this lesson invite students to focus on the characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, to describe and analyze their conflicts, and then to watch how those conflicts get resolved.
Robert Frost said, "A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom." We might say the delight comes from the ways that poets play with words and use language to create word pictures that speak to the heart. Then, it is that message to the heart that brings the wisdom. This course will begin with a study of the language of poetry, then move on to looking at how poets use the tools of poetry to create their works, and end with using that language and those tools to study some of the world's great poems. Let's begin that journey!