Unit Plan

I have not yet blogged on my unit plan ideas, so I wanted to take a moment to share some of my ideas with all of you. 

My main question is, “Who are teenagers?”  Subquestions of this main question include:

  1. Where are teenagers in TV, music and advertising?
  2. How is adolescence constructed in text?  Magazines, novels?
  3. How do parents and family define their teenagers?
  4. How do teenagers express themselves on the internet?
  5. What kinds of people are teenagers aspiring to become?
  6. What kind of social and political change are teenagers capable of creating?

Thinking in terms of the backward design framework, the following pieces answer the question, “What should students know and be ale to do?”

  1. Students should be able to define their roles in society
  2. Students should be able to see the challenges they face as young adults
  3. Students should be able to see the community, national, and global differences they make
  4. Students should see themselves from the points of view of their peers and elders
  5. Students should feel empowered to be more influential in their worlds

 My Unit Text Set (still growing and evolving):

  1. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen, 2006 – Work the questions How do parents and family define their teenagers and Where are teenagers in music
  2. Tears of a Tiger, By Sharon Draper, 1996 – Work the question What kind of social change are teenagers capable of creating?
  3. She’s Come Undone, By Wally Lamb, 1999 – Work the questions How is adolescence constructed in text and What kinds of people are teenagers aspiring to become?

Class projects working with a range of medias (Choice of three. One should be chosen.):

  1. Spend two hours observing teenagers at the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble on a Friday or Saturday night.  Note what they are reading, who they are socializing with, what they are wearing, and how they conduct themselves in a public social atmosphere.  Are they using laptops or cell phones?  Are they alone or in large groups, and what are they talking about?  Do they seem happy, depressed, anxious?  Now create a wiki that gives an educational tour of teen reading, teen clothing, teen attitudes, teen socializing tools, and more.  Create a separate wiki page that links one of the class texts to this educational tour, and write how the main character(s) in the novel are similar or different to the young adults in Barnes and Noble. 
  2. Write your own fictional story of a day in the life of the average teenager, and turn it into a short audio book by podcasting it.  Create a podcast that includes musical introductions or interludes worked into your story.  The podcast audio book should be no longer than eight to ten minutes, so only include what is most important in that teenager’s life.  Be selective with the main ideas you want to convey.  Supplement this podcast with a written essay to be turned in, which explains your objectives and goals in creating your story and audio book.  Include which class text inspired you most, and how your story is similar or different to that class text.
  3. Create a series of TV commercials targeted to teenagers your age, ranging from commercial products, social issues, politics, music, and family issues.  To speak on family issues, for example, you might want to create a commercial that promotes a nonprofit organization geared toward helping teens at home.  In five commercials, paint a picture for your classmates of the issues that teens face in media, home, school, and social settings.  Now make one additional commercial on one of the class texts and promote its influence in the life of teen readers.  Supplement this set of commercials with a blog that you create for the class, where they can post their feedback to your online video.

By the end of the unit, students will have tackled my main question using both the class text set, written essays or scripts, and electronic tools.  How am I doing so far?  -Sofia

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1 Comment

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One response to “Unit Plan

  1. sunyprof

    I like your ideas for this unit Sofia. You’ve done some serious! thinking. I do think it’s an ambitious set of questions for 5 weeks of instruction. I would narrow further.

    My other question would be–given what you say in the above post re: the importance of appealing to diverse readers’ interests and providing a much richer array of textual forms than we typically roll out in our ELA classes–what are the boys going to be interested in here?

    3 novels, at least 2 of them appealing to girls more than boys, does not give you the range of reading you want for your sequence.

    I love the Starbucks ethnographic project!! KES

    P.S. I wondered if these were all books you’d read. You want to voyage out beyond what you’ve read….

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