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Mirror On The World: Fiction As a Reflection of Society
A Semester Plan exploring the interplay between fiction and the world it inhabits.

Designed by: Brenna Aldrich

ENED 4414

Spring Semester 2008

Mirror On The World: Fiction As a Reflection of Society
A Semester Plan exploring the interplay between fiction and the world it inhabits.
Designed by: Brenna Aldrich

ENED 4414

Spring Semester 2008

Course: Literature and Language Arts

Grade: 11
Unit 1: Fiction that Critiques

Unit 2: Fiction that Reflects


Essential Questions:

  • Can society be legitimately questioned through fiction?

  • What influences public opinion / awareness of an issue?

  • Does the kind of society we live in affect the effectiveness of literature?

  • Can literature change the world?

  • Can fiction reflect reality?

  • What is the purpose of fiction?

  • How does society use fiction?

  • Does fiction ever NOT have an agenda?

  • Can fiction without an explicit agenda (as opposed to such novels as The Jungle ) function as a social critique/ commentary?

  • What can we learn about the world through what we read?

  • What constitutes human nature and how do we recognize it?

Table of Contents

Rationale……………………………………………Tab1

Backwards Design Templates………………………………………….Tab 2

Unit 1: Fiction that Critiques

Unit 2: Fiction that Reflects

Course Syllabus…………………………………...Tab 3

Calendar…………………………………………...Tab 4

Assessments and Narratives………………………………………….Tab 5

Test: Dracula

Academic Prompt: Analytic Essay

Performance Task: Debate

Lesson Plans

Week One……………………………………..Tab 6

Day 1


Day 2

Day 3


Day 4

Day 5


Week Two…………………………………….Tab 7

Day 1


Day 2

Day 3


Day 4

Day 5


Rationale
The focal point for this semester of study is the interaction between fiction and society. This semester plan presupposes a New Historicist theory approach regarding literature in that it assumes text and context are inextricably linked. Sometimes that context invests a work of fiction with power in the eyes of society. While “fiction” is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “ b. That which, or something that, is imaginatively invented; feigned existence, event, or state of things; invention as opposed to fact.” How is it then that a work of fiction such as Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, can stir the passions of the public more than dozens of non-fiction works that support the same premise? Is it the climate of religious conflict in our generation? Could Brown’s book have even been published in earlier centuries that were more hostile to open questioning of established religious doctrine? Alternatively, fiction can be merely reflective of the society it inhabits. Recently I read a Young Adult novel called Everlost in which children’s souls get stuck in a ghost world when they die. Buildings, places, and objects involved with death can also pass into this world and in the novel the twin towers of the World Trade Center still exist and many of the children of Everlost live in them. How might that novel have been written ten years ago? Such questions beg an examination of the interplay between fiction and the society it inhabits. Thus we begin our study with two questions: “How does fiction affect society” and “How does society affect fiction?” These questions promote more questions, which is a characteristic of the kind of essential questioning Wiggins and McTighe suggest promotes deep understanding (107).

The semester is split into two units which specifically examine the relationship between fiction and society. The first unit, titled “Fiction That Critiques,” focus on fictional works of both literature and film (with the exception of one documentary) that were composed by their authors in response to the society around them. The unit begins with an examination of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. This text is unique in the fact that unlike many novels that critique society, it actually had an impact on twentieth century America. Its publication led to the passage of pure food acts. Interestingly, however, the novel itself deals with far more than the unsanitary food service industry, focusing on the larger issues of poverty, corruption, the immigrant experience, and the novel openly promotes Socialism as an answer to the problems of the novel’s world. Students will follow their study of The Jungle with viewing the documentary Super-Size Me! Since both the novel and the film are critical evaluations of aspects of the food service industry, students will have the opportunity to compare the themes and effectiveness of the novel with a modern work that is thematically related. Through these texts students can explore fiction composed as a result of the author’s feelings that had a direct impact upon the society in which he lived.

Students then progress to examining the novel 1984 and the film V for Vendetta. These two texts, while not direct critiques aimed at a specific aspect of their society, are also examples of “Fiction that Critiques.” They differ in that they are projections of a flawed and degenerating society that is the direct result of the society in which the author lived. They make the statement, “Because of what we are doing now, in twenty years this is where we will be.” Once again the text is inextricably linked to the society it inhabits. Through these texts students are pushed to examine the texts position that regarding the state of the current society. In the case of 1984, students might compare our current society with the one Orwell envisioned. Did his predictions have any validity? In the case of V for Vendetta, since it is a vision of “our” future, students might examine what in their own society might lead to such a future. Another interesting thematic concern with V for Vendetta is the protagonist’s belief that in the interest of changing a corrupt society, acts that could be termed terrorism are justifiable. Living in an age where “terrorism” is a reality, and being citizens of a nation that has suffered terrorist attacks, this philosophy could be a very intriguing point of inquiry and study for students. Finally, students will complete a single day study on the art of Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, and Imre Varga. These three artists were known to critique society through their art, thus the viewing and discussing of their work aligns with the themes of this unit.

This study of Fiction that critiques society should provide the students with relevancy for the study of literature as a whole, given that the “canon” is largely composed of fictional texts. By illustrating the connection between context and content in fiction, students will gain a heightened awareness of such influences; therefore, open their eyes to the larger implications within a text. By making learning relevant, students gain a deeper understanding than what can be achieved through the simple recitation of facts (Wiggins and McTighe,108).

In addition to exploring these texts in the first unit, students will compose a multi-genre research project to demonstrate their learning throughout the unit. Students will use the model of multi-genre paper that requires them to select a topic to research and compose multiple pieces of writing of differing genres based on that research. The project is tailored slightly to this specific unit by requiring students to select a topic based on a societal issue they want to tackle. In this way their multiple genre pieces, while based in research, could presumably be fiction, allowing the students’ work to emulate that of the authors we are studying. The creative outlet also allows students engage with the research in a way that keeps them motivated and interested in the topic.

The second unit is titled “Fiction that Reflects” and it focuses on texts that are less explicitly intertwined with their society than those in the first unit. The second unit covers works which are set during, and are reflective of the period during which they were written, but in an unexpected fashion. Students will explore a text set of British Victorian novels all of which incorporate an element of fantasy, but still tackle issues which plagued England at the turn of the century. The texts for this unit include Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dracula, while on the surface is a mere horror story of an evil vampire who seeks to lay claim to London, was a very contemporary novel that hints at issues surrounding the gender conflicts of nineteenth century Britain. Similarly, Frankenstein is the story of a man who creates a monster but it is tied to the difficulties between Science and Religion indicative of this period. Mary Shelly herself states the inspiration for her novel came from a dream she had after overhearing a conversation about Darwin’s theories between her husband and his friend Lord Byron. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (about a Dr. who attempts to separate his “good” and “evil” natures through a concocted elixir) similarly raises questions about morality and science as well as the fundamental nature of good and evil. Finally, The Picture of Dorian Gray is the story of young man who has his portrait painted, then discovers the painting allows him to remain young and beautiful while the picture displays all the signs of aging, cruelty and malice that should show on his face. Dorian spends the book becoming increasingly evil and cruel, all the while remaining beautiful while the portrait deteriorates. Then novel addresses the nature of morality by exhibiting contempt for the “morals” of middle class Victorian Britain, while at the same time portraying the story of a young man who throughout the course of the books becomes a degenerate and thoroughly immoral being. From the novels the unit progresses to a final text. This time a film: Edward Scissor Hands. This film’s themes, while note quite as dark as the other texts, are in keeping with the nature of the other works. It is about a young man who was created by an inventor, but never finished, therefore has scissors for hands. A friendly Avon lady finds him and brings him home to her safe suburban world. The film is a sort of satirezation of suburban America, while exploring themes of normalcy and fitting in. In some ways, is a friendlier version of the Frankenstein myth.

The common theme in this unit is reflection of society and its issues rather than critique. Each of these texts presents a bizarre story, but one situated in a real world, and it is the juxtaposition of the fantastic with the realistic which allows the works to speak to their various themes without being didactic. Exploring these texts with an eye to their imbedded social commentary, creates a “domain for conversation” in which students can operate and discuss the text (Burke, 73). These “domains of conversation” push students to analyze issues, work with “enduring understandings” and big ideas in the text rather than merely reading for plot (Burke, 73).

The assessments for this second unit entail an analytic essay in which students will compare the unit texts and draw conclusions about how their fantastic qualities effect or interact with the social commentary imbedded in the work. Through this assessment, students are thinking about the text in a way that looks beyond the simple story line to how the way the text is constructed makes it effective (Burke, 73) Additionally, in this second unit, students have to both perform a live debate in front of the class, questioning the legitimacy of the social commentary in these texts. The debate is also extended into a web-blog format in order to simulate an audience, and contextualize their work, as is consistent with Wiggins and McTighe’s definition of a performance task (153-154). Through the blog format, the student’s performance is not just one static project; rather it allows for reflective response should classmates want to respond to the points presented in the live debate (Beers, 223). Thus from the rather bizarre texts, students can create meaningful conversations that are open to a much larger audience.

While this unit is specifically designed for an English Language Arts course, it lends itself well to interdisciplinary connections. The first unit could almost be co-taught with a history professor because so much of the study involves historical context. The Jungle in particular lends itself well to a history unit because it had real ramifications in American history. Lessons could be coordinated with a nutrition teacher to extend the discussion of the health issues raised in The Jungle and Super-Size Me! The second unit lends itself well to collaboration with the Science teachers, as both Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s protagonists are “scientists.” Frankenstein in particular raises issue of “playing god” which could correlate to modern day issues surrounding cloning. Additionally, the Art department could collaborate on the material over the artists Picasso, Goya, and Varga. Such built in connections create the potential for a truly comprehensive semester plan where student learning could be reinforced throughout the school’s curriculum.

The unit allows opportunities to discuss skills that would be useful in the workplace. While there is no explicit workplace connection, the strong emphasis on writing, workshops, and group discussions promote an awareness of appropriate audience, and teamwork. These skills in turn promote strong communication skills, which according to Burke in his chapter from the Beers text, is an important skill of workplace literacy (151). We need to help students build these skills because of the increasing trend for jobs to go to “…the people with the best skills”(152), Planning in opportunities to develop these skills while simultaneously engaging in study of Language Arts promotes a well balanced effective curriculum.

Rooting the study of literature in big ideas, and promoting textual inquiry that focuses on more than simple “plot” recitation, develops deeper understanding in students (Wiggins and McTighe, 108; Burke 73). This exploration of the interplay between fiction and society is a subject that holds timeless possibilities. The actuality of texts affecting and being affected by society is not a static phenomenon that occurred only in nineteenth century Britain. It happens every day, in every text. Hopefully, the enduring understandings of this semester’s study will accompany students throughout their reading lives.

Works Cited

Beers, Kylene, Robert E. Probst and Linda Rief. Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promis into



Practice. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann, 2007.
Burke, Jim. The English Teacher’s Companion 3rd Edition. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann,

2008.
Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004.


Shusterman, Neal. Everlost. New York: Scolastic, 2006.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: Barns

& Nobel Classics, 1886.


Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2002.
Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding By Design. Saddle River NJ: Pearson

Education, 2005.


Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Barns & Noble Classics, 1890.


Backwards Design Template

Unit One: Fiction that Critiques




Stage 1 – Desired Results


Established Goals:

  • National 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 2:  Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

  • 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 7:  Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

  • NCTE Standard 11:  Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

  • NCTE Standard 12:  Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

  • Georgia Standards:

  • ELA11W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.

  • ELA11W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing.

  • ELA11W4 The student practices both timed and process writing and, when applicable, uses the writing process to develop, revise, and evaluate writing.

  • ELA11C1 The student demonstrates understanding and control of the rules of the English language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar in both written and spoken formats.

  • ELA11LSV1 The student participates in student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interactions.

  • ELAALRL1 The student demonstrates comprehension by identifying evidence (i.e., examples of diction, imagery, point of view, figurative language, symbolism, plot events and main ideas) in a variety of texts representative of different genres (i.e., poetry, prose [short story, novel, essay, editorial, biography], and drama) and using this evidence as the basis for interpretation.

  • ELAALRL2 The student identifies, analyzes, and applies knowledge of theme in a work of American literature and provides evidence from the work to support understanding.

  • ELAALRL3 The student deepens understanding of literary works by relating them to their contemporary context or historical background, as well as to works from other time periods.

  • ELAALRL4 The student employs a variety of writing genres to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of significant ideas in selected literary works. The student composes essays, narratives, poems, or technical documents.

  • ELAALRC2 The student participates in discussions related to curricular learning in all subject areas.

  • ELAALRC4 The student establishes a context for information acquired by reading across subject areas.


Understandings:

Students will understand that. . .

  • Fiction does not exist in a vacuum. It coexists with the society in which it is created.

  • Fiction can be just as powerful as an official speech or decree or document.

  • Context is integral to any work of literature.

  • Fiction is not tied down to form.


Essential Questions:

  • Can society be legitimately questioned through fiction?

  • What influences public opinion / awareness of an issue?

  • Does the kind of society we live in affect the effectiveness of literature?

  • Can literature change the world?


Students will know. . .

  • The historical background surrounding the composition and publication of The Jungle.

  • The nature of modern poverty.

  • Modern issues within the food service industry as presented in Super-Size Me!

  • Definition and philosophy behind socialism.

  • Vocabulary related to the Jungle and different political philosophies: socialism, freedom, capitalism, Marx

  • Context and inspiration behind composition of Orwell’s 1984.

  • The malleability of language.

  • Context and inspiration behind the artwork of Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, and Imre Varga.

  • Vocabulary related to filmmaking: shot (and the various types) lighting, costume/set design, score, editing ect.


Students will be able to. . .

  • Demonstrate their understanding of a text by supporting conclusions about a text using textual evidence.

  • Make connections between literary works and societal issues.

  • Orient a work within its historical moment.

  • Articulate understanding of how film communicates through its various elements.

  • Articulate their conclusions in writing using multiple genres.

  • Hold informed discussion with their peers on assigned texts.

  • Use research to substantiate their learning and justify their conclusions about a text.

  • Use technology to access information.

  • Read a text through a Marxist theory lens

  • “Read” a film.




Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence


Performance Tasks:

  • Multi-genre Research Project – presented in a mid-semester seminar open to parents and additional faculty


Criteria for performance of understanding:

  • Multi-genre project contains writing pieces which relate to the themes and subjects under discussion throughout the unit.

  • Students produce quality writing that is error free and adheres to the rules associated with its genre.




Other Evidence:

  • Film Reading Essays: Super-Size Me! and V for Vendetta

  • Reading Responses

  • In class journal writing

  • Final test over unit texts: The Jungle and 1984

  • Literature Circle discussions

  • Web-quest over Jungle context


How will students self reflect upon and assess their learning?

  • Students constantly self asses their learning through reading responses to various texts.

  • In class journal writings, though initiated with a specific prompt, are designed to allow students to reflect on their own experience and learning throughout the semester.




Stage 3—Learning Plan


Learning Activities:

  • Daily Poetry 180 readings using poems selected to correlate with the day’s topics.

  • Periodic in class journal responses designed to trigger reflection about the topic under examination.

  • Instructor reads aloud the opening chapters of the unit novels: The Jungle, 1984

  • Daily reading responses to stimulate critical thinking about previous night’s reading.

  • Class wide brainstorming of “influential texts” to get them thinking about books that have influenced society or history or caused some kind of sensation.

  • Close reading activity to show students how to closely examine a text.

  • Vocabulary lesson in which students select their own vocabulary words from a text followed by weekly vocabulary quizzes on their vocabulary lists.

  • How to read a film lesson to prep for future film reading papers.

  • Grammar lessons based on the texts the class is reading:

(grammar concept) : The Jungle

  • Web quest on The Jungle’s context

  • Anticipation guide on Nature vs. Nurture debate

  • 6 Writer’s workshop’s for MGP project “pieces.”

  • Reading images activity over images relating to poverty.

  • Literature circle group discussions: The Jungle, 1984.

  • PowerPoint presentation on Socialism, Marx, the Russian revolution, and the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • View films, Super-Size Me! and V for Vendetta and compose film reading papers over them.

  • Class wide Venn-diagram comparing The Jungle and Super-Size Me!

  • Read petitions, newspaper articles, letters to Congress and compare their “effectiveness” with encountering issues through fiction.

  • PowerPoint lecture over 1984 context and inspirations.

  • Discussion about “terrorism” and V for Vendetta

  • View and discuss art of Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, and Imre Varga

  • Think in threes chart comparing the effectiveness of criticizing society through literature/film/art

  • Whole class fishbowl discussion over The Jungle, Super-Size Me, 1984, V for Vendetta and art work

we’ve covered


Backwards Design Template

Unit Two: Fiction that Reflects




Stage 1 – Desired Results


Established Goals:

  • National 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 : 2.  Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

  • 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 4:  Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

  • 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 7:  Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

  • NCTE Standard 8:  Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

  • NCTE Standard 11:  Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

  • NCTE Standard 12:  Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

  • Georgia Standards:

  • ELA11W1 The student produces writing that establishes an appropriate organizational structure, sets a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent focus throughout, and signals a satisfying closure.

  • ELA11W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing.

  • ELA11W4 The student practices both timed and process writing and, when applicable, uses the writing process to develop, revise, and evaluate writing.

  • ELA11C2 The student demonstrates understanding of manuscript form, realizing that different forms of writing require different formats.

  • ELA11LSV1 The student participates in student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interactions.

  • ELA11LSV2 The student formulates reasoned judgments about written and oral communication in various media genres. The student delivers focused, coherent, and polished presentations that convey a clear and distinct perspective, demonstrate solid reasoning, and combine traditional rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description.

  • ELABLRL1 The student demonstrates comprehension by identifying evidence (i.e., examples of diction, imagery, point of view, figurative language, symbolism, plot events, main ideas, and characteristics) in a variety of texts representative of different genres (i.e., poetry, prose [short story, novel, essay, editorial, biography], and drama) and using this evidence as the basis for interpretation.

  • ELABLRL2 The student identifies, analyzes, and applies knowledge of theme in a work of British and/or Commonwealth literature and provides evidence from the work to support understanding.

  • ELABLRL3 The student deepens understanding of literary works by relating them to their contemporary context or historical background, as well as to works from other time periods.

  • ELABLRL4 The student employs a variety of writing genres to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of significant ideas in selected literary works. The student composes essays, narratives, poems, or technical documents.

  • ELABLRC2 The student participates in discussions related to curricular learning in all subject areas.


Understandings:

Students will understand that. . .

  • Social commentary can be imbedded in any kind of fiction.

  • Just because fiction contains imbedded social commentary or even critique, that is not necessarily the “purpose” of the work.

  • Authorial intention is often ambiguous.

  • Fiction is tied to the context which produced it.

  • Human nature informs characters actions in good fiction.


Essential Questions:

  • Can fiction reflect reality?

  • What is the purpose of fiction?

  • How does society use fiction?

  • Does fiction ever NOT have an agenda?

  • Can fiction without an explicit agenda (as opposed to such novels as The Jungle ) function as a social critique/ commentary?

  • What can we learn about the world through what we read?

  • What constitutes human nature and how do we recognize it?


Students will know. . .

  • About issues that surrounded the fin de siècle in Victorian Britain: feminist movement, conflict of science and religion, rise of “homosexuality” as a “lifestyle.”

  • The context and influences behind Bram Stoker’s composition of Dracula.

  • About modern issues surrounding cloning.

  • The life of Oscar Wilde

  • The significance of audience, sentence variation, word choice, and organization in writing

  • Effective public speaking skills





Students will be able to. . .

  • Articulate their observations, opinions, and conclusions about a text in writing.

  • Identify cultural references and themes relevant to the “moment” when the text was composed.

  • Demonstrate their understanding of a text by supporting conclusions about a text using textual evidence.

  • Hold informed discussion with their peers on assigned texts.

  • Use research to substantiate their learning and justify their conclusions about a text.

  • Use a web-blog

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence


Performance Tasks:

  • Debate – live and Blogged formats


Criteria for performance of understanding:

  • Written summary of their debate points, concretely demonstrating their research. Should be error free and professionally submitted.

  • During live debates students should exhibit good presentation skills: good eye-contact, articulate informed, respectful responses.

  • Blog version of debate should be appropriate to a web wide audience.


Other Evidence:


How will students self reflect upon and assess their learning?

  • Students constantly self asses their learning through reading responses to various texts.

  • In class journal writings, though initiated with a specific prompt, are designed to allow students to reflect on their own experience and learning throughout the semester.



Stage 3—Learning Plan


Learning Activities:

  • Daily Poetry 180 readings using poems selected to correlate with the day’s topics.

  • Periodic in class journal responses designed to trigger reflection about the topic under examination.

  • Daily reading responses to stimulate critical thinking about previous night’s reading.

  • PowerPoint lecture over the fin de siècle and social issues in Victorian Britain.

  • PowerPoint lecture over Stoker and his influences.

  • Instructor reads aloud opening chapters of unit novels: Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  • Close reading exercise over “3 women” passage in Dracula.

  • Venn-diagram over Mina and Lucy and the “New Woman” phenomenon.

  • Fishbowl discussion over final chapters of Dracula.

  • Whole class mapping activity in which students track the journeys of Jonathan Harker and the Vampire Hunters in Dracula on a map of Eastern Europe using the geographic references in the book.

  • Literature circles over Unit novels: Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey.

  • Final Tests over Unit novels: Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey.

  • Prediction chart for the events in Frankenstein.

  • Jig-saw discussion over articles on Cloning.

  • Anticipation guide on “good and evil” for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • Anticipation guide on issues of morality for The Picture of Dorian Grey.

  • Class brainstorm/writer’s workshop to develop ideas for Analytic essay.

  • Written conversations activity where Students assume the persona of either Dracula, Dorian Gray, Frankenstein’s monster, Mr. Hyde, or Edward Scissor Hands and write back and forth about their representations in the different works.

  • Peer workshops for analytic essay

  • Compare writing samples directed at various audiences, students compose micro-themes directed at various audiences

  • Students examine rewritten passages from the text that contain weak/simplistic word choice.

  • Students reorganize scrambled essays so they flow properly.

  • View videos of public speaking examples: politicians, actors, ect.

  • Computer lab research sessions for final debate

  • Blogging workshop

  • Practice session for final debate

Mirror On The World: Fiction As a Reflection of Society”
Literature and Language Arts: 11th Grade, Spring Semester 2008

Wells High School

Ms. Aldrich

Room 306



Contact Information:

Class Phone: 555-671-3232 Ext-306

Home Phone: 555-671-0931

Fax- 555-671-9999

E-mail: baldrich@wellshigh.k12.ga.us
Course Description:

The purpose of this class is to continue building upon and expanding student knowledge of English language arts through the study of literature and writing. To achieve this goal, the semester is focused on the interplay between fiction and the society in which it is composed. Specifically, students will read and analyze through various discussions, activities, and writings the assigned texts for the course. At the end of the semester students grades will be based on daily work, compliance with class policies, and completion of several projects which demonstrate their mastery of the 11th grade standards for English Language Arts.


Semester Units:

Unit 1: Fiction That Critiques

Unit 2: Fiction That Reflects
Semester Essential Questions:


  • Can society be legitimately questioned through fiction?

  • What influences public opinion / awareness of an issue?

  • Does the kind of society we live in affect the effectiveness of literature?

  • Can literature change the world?

  • Can fiction reflect reality?

  • What is the purpose of fiction?

  • How does society use fiction?

  • Does fiction ever NOT have an agenda?

  • Can fiction without an explicit agenda (as opposed to such novels as The Jungle ) function as a social critique/ commentary?

  • What can we learn about the world through what we read?

  • What constitutes human nature and how do we recognize it?


Required Texts: Class room sets are available for all novels

The Jungle- Upton Sinclair

Super-Size Mefilm by Morgan Spurlock

1984- George Orwell

V for Vendetta – film by The Wachowski Brothers

Guernica- Pablo Picasso

Art of Francisco Goya

Art of Imre Varga



Dracula- Bram Stoker

Frankenstein- Mary Shelly

The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

Edward Scissor Hands – film by Tim Burton
Required Materials:

  • 1.5’’ 3 Ring Binder

  • College ruled loose leaf paper

  • Binder Dividers – enough to create sections in binder for: 2 Semester Units, 2 Vocabulary sections, 2 class handout sections, 2 reading response sections

  • Journal – Note book or traditional “diary” style

  • Writing Utensils - as long as it writes and I can read the color ink, anything is acceptable.

  • Portable Flash-drive

If expense is a concern in obtaining any of these materials please contact me.

Daily Grades:

In addition to the major projects and assignments throughout the semester students receive daily work grades. Daily work consists of the following:



In Class Journal Writings:

Several times a week students respond to specific prompts in a journal. This journal may either be a simple spiral bound notebook or a more traditional style diary. Either way, it must be kept bound and separate from material kept in the 3 ring binder. Prompts may or may not be related to the reading for the week. I check journal prompts for completion. Grades for journals are either √ meaning complete or 0 for not completing prompts. Missed journal entries cannot be made up. An average score for journal prompts constitutes part of your semester grade.



Reading Responses:

Throughout the semester I will randomly assign writing prompts which address the days’ reading as a periodic check to make sure you do any reading assigned outside of class. Students must respond to the prompt and turn in their writing in class on the spot. I grade these writings based upon whether or not the response addresses the prompt and to what depth the prompt is discusses. An average score for reading responses constitutes a portion of the final grade for the semester. Reading response grades are a √+ for responses that address and expand on the prompt, √ for responses which simply address the prompt, and a – for responses that indicate you did not do the reading, and yes I will be able to tell.


Vocabulary Journal Check : Students will keep a regular “vocabulary Journal” consisting of words from the reading they find difficult, intriguing or challenging. The words are drawn from either the texts we are reading as a class, or books students are reading for pleasure. The journal is kept in a vocabulary section of their binder, and the words on this list are words of the students’ choice. Students must record the word, it definition, synonyms and antonyms as well as compose an example sentence. Vocabulary journals are checked weekly.
Multi-genre Research Project:

For Unit 1, students will complete a Multi-genre research paper. Students will select a topic based on a specific area of Society they wish to critique and compose multiple “genre-pieces” related to that topic and based upon research about that topic. The type of genre and target of each specific piece is up to them, though as a class we will write several specific genres in order to get them started on the project. The common pieces will include a poem, a 100 word count word photo, and a logo piece about their topic.


Film Reading Papers:

The Film Reading Paper is a 3 to 5 page essay requiring students to “read” the films we watch together as a class. By reading the film they must choose an aspect of the filmmaking, or select a particularly moving scene, and explain how the shot choice, camera angles and movement, lighting, set design, sound effects, and acting contribute to a specific theme, or the overall effectiveness of the film.


Analytic Essay:

For unit 2 students will compose an essay. The details of the assignment will be given when I assign it. This essay will constitute a major portion of the semester grade. It should always be double-spaced and use 12 point font. Students who plagiarize will receive no credit for the assignment and are subject to disciplinary action from the administration up to and including expulsion.


Debate:

For Unit 2, after outside research and analysis of one of the unit texts you will engage a fellow classmate in a debate on the effectiveness of social commentary through stylized fiction. The purpose of this debate is to determine whether or not the imbedded social commentary in the unit texts is as effective given the fantastic nature of the novels. This assignment will constitute a large portion of the semester grade.


Final Tests:

For each of the texts we read students will take a final test. The test average will be taken at the end of the semester for a portion of the final semester grade.


Classroom Expectations:

I expect every student to come to class prepared to work and discuss the material/assignment for the given day. I also expect students to treat each-other and me with respect and courtesy. Students who consistently come to class late or unprepared will lose participation credit, thereby will negatively affect their grade. I will not tolerate students who are disrespectful to fellow students or myself; therefore, any student who demonstrates consistently disrespectful behavior will be remanded to the administration for disciplinary action.


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