ELA Unit Overview

ELA Unit Overview

Grade 12, 4th Quarter 4, 3-5 weeks

Unit Overview: Individuality and Society
Unifying Concept: Societal Visions
In the unit Individuality and Society, students examine the beauty and ingenuity of the human spirit and discuss how society impacts individual identity. The nonfiction book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, tells the story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawi farmer who taught himself how to make a windmill to save his village from a drought. William Kamkwamba later graduated from Dartmouth college and runs a non-profit organization, the Moving Windmills Project. His story is a testament to human creativity, ingenuity, and perseverance in the face of calamity. Furthermore, his story captures the tension between society’s traditions and individual identity.
Additionally, the unit contains the novella Anthem, by Ayn Rand. In this science fiction story set in a dystopian future, the individual has been eliminated. The main character goes through a journey of self identity. His eventual self discovery leads to him rejecting society and beginning a new society.
At the activist level, Anthem this critiques Socialist and Communist forms of government, and students will explore different forms of government in a utopia/dystopia project. Students will explore similar themes by watching the movie The Village, by M. Night Shyamalan and writing on it.
To read and analyze the text through the prism of self actualization.
To conduct a short research presentation on creators and innovators and relate back to William Kamkwamba’s story.
To tie in with the US government class, and encourage teachers to work with the social studies department to create meaningful cross-curricular projects.
Enduring Understandings
1.  Authors use language to influence audiences in a variety of contexts.
2.  Effective writers develop and refine their ideas for thinking, learning, communicating, and aesthetic expression. / Essential Questions
1.  How do we know what people tell us is true?
2.  How do people use language and rhetoric to inform, persuade, and/or manipulate others?
3.  What are the elements and purpose of dystopian literature?
4.  How does dystopian literature reflect the issues of contemporary society?
Target Standards are emphasized during the quarter and used in a formal assessment to evaluate student mastery.
Highly-Leveraged1 are the most essential for students to learn because they have endurance (knowledge and skills are relevant throughout a student's lifetime); leverage (knowledge and skills are used across multiple content areas); and essentiality (knowledge and skills are necessary for success in future courses or grade levels).
11‐12.RL.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed). (11‐12.RL.3)
11‐12.RL.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
11-12.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
a.  Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
b.  Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
c.  Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
d.  Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
e.  Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
11‐12.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. a. Observe hyphenation conventions. b. Spell correctly.
Supporting are related standards that support the highly-leveraged standards in and across grade levels
11-12.RL.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
11-12.RI.5 Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
11‐12.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
a. Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
11-12.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
11‐12.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
11‐12.SL.5\Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
of complex texts when reading.
Constant Standards are addressed routinely every quarter.
11-12.SL.1, 2,6
Selected Readings of Complex Texts
Extended/Short Texts:
No Witchcraft for Sale, by Doris Lessing
Anthem, by Ayn Rand / Multicultural Adoptions:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba
Additional Instructional Resources
Electronic Resources and Alternative Media:
TEDTalk, William Kamkwamba: How I Harnessed the Wind, https://www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_how_i_harnessed_the_wind?language=en
Prezi Presentation on Literary Nonfiction, https://prezi.com/vtsvrexwzfke/literary-nonfiction/
The Village, M. Night Shyamalan (movie, rated PG-13)
Performance Assessments
Formative Assessments:
Anticipation Guide
Vocabulary Journals
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Critical Reading Questions
Socratic Seminar - Tradition & Identity
Anthem parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 Critical Reading Questions
Anthem Dialectical Journals
The Village Critical Viewing Questions / Summative Assessments:
Innovator and Creator Project & Presentation
Literary Fiction Test
Socratic Seminar Reflection
The Village thematic comparison
Utopia/Dystopia Project
The Village Short Answer Response Essay
School City Assessment

1This definition for highly-leveraged standards was adapted from the “power standard” definition on the website of Millis Public Schools, K-12, in Massachusetts, USA. http://www.millis.k12.ma.us/services/curriculum_assessment/brochures


ELA, Office of Curriculum Development©