CLO: SWBAT… discuss their perspective on the concept of “coming of age” and relate to their peers through persuasive writing and oral expression.
CLO: SWBAT… Analyze and discuss how DICTION, IMAGERY, and SYNTAX comprise the literary concept of VOICE.
Learning Focus: Unit 1 Overview
Defining Your American Dream
How will you pursue happiness? What is success? What is the
An important task of every critical thinker is to be able to read and
understand the thinking of others. But the task doesn’t end there.
More importantly, your work is to reflect on the ideas you encounter,
to weigh and evaluate the thinking of others, to mull over in your
mind the multitude of ideas presented. This hard work sets you on
the path to understanding and articulating your own thinking.
You may find yourself having mental conversations with writers
whose ideas you respect or admire or disagree with as you struggle
to formulate your own ideas. This is important creative work. It is not
enough to simply read and agree or disagree, but as a critical thinker
you must gather many ideas and sort through them to find what you
can use and what you can discard in formulating your own thinking.
This act of synthesis or combining is the creative act of constructing
your own definitions of what is important to you.
Synthesizing your own thoughts, your reading, and your research
will lead to your own personal understanding of the American
Dream. Articulating your own thinking as well as taking ideas
from texts and authors and sythesizing them into a thoughtful,
personal, and persuasive argument puts you in the role of
author of your own American Dream.
A persuasive argument
convinces readers to
accept or believe a writer’s
perspective on a topic.
Why do people come to America? What do they hope to accomplish here?
After you Graduate from High School, what are some dreams or goals that you have for yourself?
As you read each statement below, use a scale from 1 – 10 to rate the
extent to which these ideas are prevalent today. If the idea presented in
the statement is something you are exposed to on a regular basis, rate
it a 10. If you do not see evidence of the statement at all, rate it a 1
(and remember there are plenty of numbers in between).
1._____ Education is important primarily to increase one’s
2.______ Individuals’ rights are superior to the needs of society.
3. ______Belief in God has been characteristic of the American
4. ______Mankind is basically evil.
5.______ Education is important primarily to get a job.
6.______ Truth is found in faith.
7.______ Human beings are basically good and getting better.
8.______ Individual liberties must always be controlled by
9.______ A free press is important to equal rights for everyone.
10._____ Truth can be found in science.
11.______ The American Dream means making lots of money.
12._____ Hard work equals success.
13._____ Everyone can achieve the American Dream.
14._____ The American Dream includes getting married and
Quickwrite: Reflect on your rankings. Share your responses with a
partner or a small group. You might choose to share your responses
with the whole class. Consider the class discussion and select one
or two statements above. Describe your position in reaction to the
statement(s) and explain the rationale for your thinking.
What is your number one American Dream that you have for yourself? Write a motivational letter to your future older self, explaining how you can accomplish that Dream.