Content Area: Language Arts
Unit Title: Duty, Obligation, and Personal Choice In Literature pdf file of this lesson
Target Course/Grade Level: 8th Grade
August 12, 2010
This unit will examine a variety of literature to determine what conflicts arise between personal choice and community obligations. It builds on what was taught in 7th grade social studies during the Civics portion of the class, particularly from the Citizenship Handbook they study during the unit on the US Constitution. Further, it builds on the “natural law” lessons from the Logic and Ethics class. Finally, this lesson reinforces the language arts lessons on sentence types/sentence diagramming.
Primary interdisciplinary connections
Social Studies, Technology, Art
21st century themes
Global Awareness, Civic Literacy
This unit will help students develop vocabulary, the ability to analyze a text carefully, and conduct comparison reasoning. It will also help students empathize with others by having them connect the experiences of each story’s minor characters with a defined set of emotions.
Standards Key Ideas and Details
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the
6-12 ELA-Reading-Key Ideas and Details (Grade 8)
3. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
5. Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
6-12 ELA- Language (Grade 8)
4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
6-12 ELA Anchor Standards: Reading
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
Unit Essential Questions
What obligations do you have toward your family, community, nation?
- Why do you meet those obligations?
- What happens when individuals refuse to meet those obligations?
- Under what circumstances are individuals justified in refusing to meet community obligations?
Unit Enduring Understandings
- Individuals have numerous obligations to their friends, family, community, and nation.
- Fulfilling our obligations can be unpleasant.
- Citizens who fail to live up to obligations face censure for their actions.
Individuals may face a moral dilemma in which one obligation conflicts with another or with a “natural law.”
Unit Learning Targets
Students will ...
- Read and compare characters, themes, and plots of various types of literature
- Identify and diagram different types of sentences
- Show how perceptions of duty have changed over time
Compare visual depictions of characters expressing different emotions
Evidence of Learning
Summative Assessment (X days)
At the end of the unit, students will choose between the three different assignments that follow:
1) Write an essay explaining how the conception of obligations has changed over time using the literature as examples.
2) Write a short story around the themes expressed by the literature.
3) Perform a brief skit showing their understanding of the key understandings.
Smartboard, Document Camera, Flip Camera, Computer Lab
Excerpts: “The Bishop’s Silver” Hugo, Victor
“Billy Budd” Melville, Herman
Story: “The Dry Rock” Shaw, Irwin
Poem: “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”
- Pre-Assessment—Content and Attitudes
- Daily Exit Passes
- Observation of Class work
- Completion of Blog postings
No good deed goes unpunished. Doing What you don’t want to do…”The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”
90 min/2 days
It’s the Principle of the Thing…”The Dry Rock”
90 Min/2 Days
Has a Stranger Ever Done Something Nice For you? “The Bishop’s Silver
90 Min/ 2Days
Have You Ever Been Falsely Accused of Anything? Billy Budd (Excerpt)
90 Min/2 Days
Who made you King? Where rules come from and why you follow them(or not) Antigone ,Sophocles
135 Minutes/3 Days
Each lesson starts with a motivating free write assignment and discussion designed to activate background knowledge and spark student interest. Next, students examine the text closely in a variety of groupings—whole class, small group, and individual. Students post notes about what they read and understand on the class blog as a way of collaborating. Each lesson will contain different vocabulary and grammar lessons tailored to the text used and the needs of the individual student.
Curriculum Development Resources
Lesson Plan 1
Content Area: Language Arts
Lesson Title: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Timeframe: 90 min/2 Days
21st Century Themes
Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy
X Civic Literacy- students examine the conflict between what one wants to do and what one must do
21st Century Skills
Creativity and Innovation
x Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
x Communication and Collaboration
x Life and Career Skills
Interdisciplinary Connections: Social Studies
Integration of Technology: Smartboard, Computers with internet connection, class blog
Equipment & materials needed: “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”
- Students will master four of the five objectives below:
- State the theme “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens.”
- Identify the main characters in the ballad.
- Master 10 vocabulary words from the ballad or background material.
- Identify which character is the protagonist and which is the antagonist.
- Identify the conflict in the ballad.
Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies
- Engagement: Have students freewrite on the following topic: Have you ever had to do something that you did not want to do? Give seven minutes, then discuss. Ensure that students consider what parents, teachers, and friends want them to do. Have them consider community obligations as well. Continue to consider obligations ever further removed from their lives. Ask if they completed the obligation, and why?
- Exploration: In small groups students move to centers to continue activating schema. One center will use “emotion cards” by having students predict which of seven emotions (Happiness, Disgust, Anger, Fear, Surprise, Sadness, and Worry) a character in a photograph is expressing. Another would develop vocabulary by reviewing a list of words from the story and the background material. The words each student receives on his or her list is based on the unit preassessment. A third would research sea travel during the age of sailing ships. This group would focus on how sailing has changed over time. A fourth would develop a graphic organizer about obligations in the middle ages.
- Explanation: Read Ballad” stanza by stanza. Students confirm their understanding by rephrasing each stanza as one sentence. Focus on the structure of the poem, the role each line plays, and the characterization of the major figures.
- Elaboration: Go back to facial expression cards. As a whole class on the Smartboard, show how each of the characters (the King, Sir Patrick, The Scotts Lords, the Ladies)was feeling at each stage of the poem(Beginning, Middle, End) Next, break students into groups. Have one group upload their summaries onto the class blog and write what they believe the theme of the poem to be. Another group will reinforce their understanding of grammar by rewording any seven of their one sentence stanza summaries (from the explanation portion of the lesson) according to sentence styles one through seven. The groups then switch.
- Evaluation: Try to convince the King not to send Patrick in a letter, skit or speech. For the skit, students may work in a group of up to three
Formative Assessment Tasks
- Exit Cards- students will answer the questions posed in the lesson objectives
- Blog Entry –On the class literature blog students will summarize and state the theme of the ballad
- Observations of students working in groups during the exploration and elaboration phases of the lesson.
Universal Design for Learning Options
Multiple Means of Representation
- Perception- Readability software allows the user to customize the display of information by reducing visual distractions that surround written text on the web.
- Language & symbols- Visuwords visual dictionary provides flexibility of color and contrast is a great example of customizing the display of information so that it is accessible to a broader range of users.
- Comprehension- Graphic organizers will help students organize and retain knowledge - cause and effect, character and story, compare and contrast, and more. Graphic organizers are effective examples of guiding information processing. These supports help students to organize their thoughts and establish relationships between ideas.
Multiple Means of Action and Expression
- Physical activity- For students with limited ability to use a keyboard, the Virtual Keyboard creates and onscreen keyboard that students can “type” using a mouse or trackball
- Expressive skills and fluency- SAM Animation is software designed to give students the power of making stop-action movies to share their ideas and understanding. The software is easy to use and provides a unique experience for students to explore challenging problems in any subject through creating animations. SAM provides an engaging way for students to communicate their ideas.
- Executive functions- The Ellison Eighth Grade Literature blog is a place where students share and debate ideas about works they are studying. The use of a blog encourages collaboration and the dissemination of ideas.
Multiple Means of Engagement
- Recruiting interest- We will use principals found in the Word Generation program in order to give students the sustained exposure to academic language they need for success in school. Embedding new vocabulary into engaging, controversial passages is an effective way to enhance relevance, value, and authenticity. For use throughout the unit.
- Sustaining effort and persistence in Exploring Language- Slatebox allows students to markup ideas on embeddable "slates" and collaborate in real-time and is another great tool that will enhance communication among students. For use during the exploration phase.
- Self-regulation Students - Goal setting worksheets will enable students to encourage and organize personal goals. For use at the engagement phase of each lesson.
The following websites were used in preparing the strategies, accommodations, and modifications in the lesson: