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Current in the Classroom:
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Mysteries of
8th Grade English Revealed
Clear, precise writing and speaking are reflections of a mind that thinks logically and clearly. In this course you will develop an analytical mind by using various strategies, texts, and projects that push you to examine friends, families, lives and communities in comparison to the texts being studied.
You will analyze everything from the rhetorical techniques in advertising, to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kira-Kira, and To Kill a Mockingbird. We will also use poetry, literary nonfiction, blogs, drama, metaphor, and the hero’s journey pattern through mythology, popular culture, and your own life. We will also examine the evolution of mythology over time, and across cultures with an emphasis on the rhetorical aspects that are meant to influence their societies. You will practice perspective taking to better understand the world from as many points of view as possible, and begin to find your place in it.
Essential questions focus on how communities shape who we become, as well as how internal and external expectations shape how we view ourselves. Writing as an evolutionary process is central to the class and you will be learning revision, vocabulary, and grammar within the context of your own writing.
You will also have an audience as class presentations become central. To move your audience you will make arguments using various rhetorical techniques, you will perform and entertain, give and accept critiques, and rewrite with ambition towards reaching your potential.
Through Harper Lee’s classic novel we will study how people’s perspectives change as they grow, how prejudice clouds our judgment, and what it means to be a just person. We will study civil rights / human rights issues and rhetoric through important speeches from such influential figures as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Malcolm X, John Kennedy, and Elie Wiesel.
We will also study the historical issues surrounding the Jim Crow South, including lynching from post Civil War through very recent history. We will also study other impacts of race not only in the 1930s and the 1960s, and the racial issues we still struggle with today. Aside from speeches we will look at art, poetry, and music from Paul Laurence Dunbar, Norman Rockwell and Billie Holiday, to Jim Henson, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou.
By the end of this unit students will develop not only an understanding of race issues, poverty, and social justice, but also how perspective taking can help them in all aspects of life, how to make effective stands against injustice, and how to best argue rhetorically in pursuit of justice.
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