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The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.

Mini-Unit Curriculum Map: Introduction to the American Identity

I have designed this unit surrounding the introduction to the American Identity with the intention of giving students different tools to engage with the texts: in relation to language and power, visual texts, drawing comparisons, and identifying intersectionality. Throughout the unit, students practice reading texts in conversation with one another and learn to defend their suggestions with evidence from varying types of texts. Students can continue to reference the texts outlined here throughout the semester, especially as many of them engage in literary criticism. 

My focus is providing students with strategies to read and write different types of texts that construct identity so that throughout the semester they can transfer their strategies to our engagement with longer texts. The next unit, in which students will be reading “The Hate U Give,” will include the analysis of the visuals referenced in the book, Starr’s use of social media as a platform, identity construction with intersectionality, and engaging in close reading with passages. Students will have the framework to engage in these strategies, as the units build on one another. 

Pictured above: The "Language, Power, & American Identity" PowerPoint provides a visual supplement to the first lesson, reinforcing oral instructions and examples used throughout the lesson. 

In this first unit, I also intend to establish practices of student writing and presenting. Through journaling, students have space for free-writing practice and reflection before lessons begin, establishing a baseline for themselves and for me as to their personal understanding of the subject. Additionally, as the unit surrounds the American identity, journals invite students to evaluate their own identities in their exploration of the identities and perspectives of the authors. Figuring out what America means to different groups and populations requires first deconstructing our own ideas and identifying blind spots in relation to identity. 

A small group discussion followed by whole-class discussion guided by questions introduces students to the discussion-based nature of the class and emphasizes the importance of participating. The introductions to each of the lessons also provide students the opportunity to get to know one another better. 

I do not want to facilitate in a superficial discussion of identity — this requires having conversations about topics that students may not always feel comfortable with. However, I have come to understand that small talk (knowing about a student's siblings or what they wanted to be when they grew up) can lead to big talk (discussions surrounding privilege, discrimination, and conflicting ideas of what America means). The unit begins with lessons that are a bit more impersonal — ones surrounding power structures in language and reading digital texts — and ends with identity and perspective, which can vary largely depending on the students' own disposition. This design is intentional, as it gives students time in the classroom and begins to establish a classroom community before engaging in these lessons.

I have included lesson one of the mini-unit and its corresponding materials. I have also included the larger unit map in order to see the lesson within the greater context of the unit. 


Access full PowerPoint presentation here.


Access full Word document. 


Access full Word document. 

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