I’m excited to begin Unit 2 this week as I think it’s one of the most engaging units we do all year in ELA 10. The unit’s thematic focus is Abuses of Power and how we respond when we see them. Tenth grade students typically respond very strongly to this idea, and it is easy to engage them in great conversations about justice.
The unit’s learning goals are here. We will discuss and revisit these in class throughout the unit as students’ skills grow and develop.
This week, students will receive their lit circle books. Students are choosing from seven books: 1984, Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games, Little Brother, Before We Were Free, The Compound, and Station Eleven. All of the books deal with power struggles and characters who must decide how to respond to those abusing power. The books represent a wide range of reading skill and complexity. I will take their preferences into account when I create reading groups, but I will also use their reading scores from NWEA to place students in an attempt to appropriately challenge everyone. Students hoping to take AP Language or IB English next year should definitely read 1984 as it is the most challenging.
In addition to our lit circles, we’ll also begin our nonfiction study of the unit thematic question: How do I recognize and respond to abuses of power? We’ll look at artistic responses to abuses of power this week and use examples like the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei and this NPR story to discuss whether or not artists have a relevant voice in questioning problems they see in society. Students will do research about some of these artists and practice citing their research appropriately.
All of this is preparing kids for our upcoming trip to the DIA on December 8. I’m still looking for chaperones--I have two and we need six! Please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) ASAP if you’re interested in helping out.
Mrs. Hattie Maguire