Finally we synthesized all we had seen and read in a discussion that centered around the following questions:. Then I gave my students their job, which was to explore these questions in a handbook created for either high school graduates or college graduates I assigned them randomly on the suggestion of our Learning Specialist that would be a helpful guide for young people navigating our increasingly flattening world. I asked the students to consider the following in their handbooks:.
I am not going to lie and say the assignment was a blazing success. I do believe it would be engaging for different students. I do think the students enjoyed examining these questions and thinking about them.
Lesson Plan: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Only about half of them really wanted to do the assignment, though. That half did a really nice job. Given the time of year and particular makeup of the class, I consider the unit as a whole a success, and I would definitely do it again. What I like about the assignment is that it enables students to examine literature through a modern lens, and I think they enjoyed it more than they otherwise would have. Here is a link to the UbD unit over at the wiki , and here is a printer-friendly link.
This week was a really good week for me, personally, which I think translates often into good teaching. One of my ninth grade classes is completely done with The Catcher in the Rye , and the other is still in the discussion part of studying the novel. The discussions have been good. Students always seem to enjoy this book. When I was in high school, I had trouble getting past the part when Holden hires Sunny, the teenage prostitute.
Even though they do not, shall we say, complete the transaction, and Holden winds up getting beaten up by her pimp, I found the notion that he would even hire a prostitute distasteful.
Years later, with more experiences and perhaps more empathy, I viewed Holden entirely differently. On the other hand, one of his classmates read the novel four times before it was due. I am in a quandary about this student, too, because this student did not perform well on my reading quiz, which should have been a breeze after reading the novel four times.
Talk about a motivation-killer. I am teaching grammar, specifically phrases and clauses. I have some problems with the efficacy of this required part of my curriculum. I had interesting conversations with a few senior students this week. They are presenting their Flat World Willy handbooks on Monday. The conversations we had centered around the idea that a few of the students recognize that I and their other teachers are trying to put together good learning experiences that are relevant to their lives, and I think they like the handbook assignment.
But they are also frustrated by working with peers whose minds are already checked out. Huff, and how mad it makes you when we skip class. Their course loads have been pared down. They are doing internships in the afternoons. Their minds are on the colleges they will shortly be attending. I can empathize with them. I remember that feeling. Heck, I got accepted to grad school this week, and I was elated. Even though I am taking courses online, registering for my Virginia Tech personal identity so I could login and use all the resources available to me as a student made it feel very real — I feel like I am going back to school, and I am excited.
The end of this week leaves me feeling somewhat exhausted. My tenth grade students handed in the final draft of their research papers. I know it felt strange to be handing that assignment in after working on it for so long. I can tell that my students learned a great deal from the process. My freshman are learning all about phrases and working on The Catcher in the Rye. Students who ordinarily catch on quickly and do well on other aspects of my class are feeling awkward about their knowledge and understanding through no fault of their own.
I agreed to meet them for some review at lunch some day next week, so I hope that will help. I think they are having fun with it, and what I have seen so far of their planning looks really good.
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The first rule is to take care of yourself. It helps to scroll down because the entries are posted chronologically. This was a crazy week. The students were pretty good considering all the schedule disruptions. My tenth grade class will turn in the final draft of their research papers tomorrow. One hard worker has written something like ten drafts! I am proud of all their hard work and have a suitable celebration in mind. This week is a much more normal week, thank goodness. We have 12th grade and 10th grade trips coming up in the next couple of weeks.
This week, one of my ninth grade classes finished The Catcher and the Rye , and we began discussing it in class.
Issues, ideas, and discussion in English Education and Technology
We also studied adjective and adverb phrases. The students really enjoyed the discussion of the novel, and I think they liked the book a great deal. That novel always seems to be popular, especially with boys. It brings up a good point. I think my male students enjoyed Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey. I really do try to think about how to draw boys in when we study literature. The discussions this week went very well.
My tenth grade writing students watched The Freedom Writers. We had a really good, insightful discussion about the movie on Friday. Is it really good to have the same teacher all four years? He also wondered about the issue of seniority. The department head certainly considered it to be one. Laying aside the assertion that she deserved one I think she did great work , she had only been teaching two years. Another issue that concerned the students was the practicality of what Gruwell did — in the movie, her marriage falls apart due to neglect on her part, and she has to take two extra jobs to pay for what her students need.
My students saw the good that resulted from these choices, but they were, I think, right to question the cost. I thought the students had some really good insights into what they were seeing. My seniors finished Death of a Salesman. I am really excited about this unit, so it could be that my own enthusiasm showed. I also spent a lot of time planning it — thinking of questions for discussion, assessments, etc.
Students will be able to see the connection between the cause of conflict between Biff and Willy, and Biff's failure in life. Teacher reads Willy, and assigns Biff and the Woman. Briefly write your thoughts about what we just read. What is revealed, in terms of the cause of Biff and Willy's conflict. Have the students share their thoughts about the scene with their groups.
Have them consider what this scene means in terms of Willy's responsibility for Biff's failure in life. Throughout the play what have we seen as the conflict between Biff and Willy? How does the scene we just read help us to understand the source of that conflict?
We know from Willy's conversation, earlier, with Bernard, that Biff was not the same when he returned after going to see Willy in Boston. What were the immediate results of Biff's experience in Boston? Why do you suppose this happens?
Death of a Salesman Lesson Plan
What do we know of the long term results of the Boston trip? Refer to your responses to the "I'm Number 1! When Willy accuses Biff of doing things to spite him, do you think Willy is right?
Related Lesson Plan #2: Death of a Salesman
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