What is the basis for the belief that justice will ultimately prevail in American society?
DAY 1 - SEED 1
DAY 2–3 - SEED 2
DAY 4–8 - PLAN 1
DAY 9–10 - SEED 3
DAY 11–15 - PLAN 2
DAY 16 - SEED 4
DAY 17–22 - SEED 5
DAY 23–25 - SEED 6
CCSS Standards for this Unit
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This unit will focus on the concept of justice in American society through an exploration of the essential question: "What is the basis for the belief that justice will ultimately prevail in American society?" This unit promotes thoughtful engagement with seminal U.S. documents and other supporting literary nonfiction texts, including speeches. Through the lens of a predominantly African-American cultural experience, students analyze not only what social justice means to many American writers but how enduring the struggle has been. Through reading, writing, viewing, and speaking and listening, students explore the qualities of a just society and whether we can attain it in America.
The unit targets the in-depth examination of two works by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in addition to several other complex American essays and speeches. While the texts were written at vastly different times throughout history, all of the writers argue for a similarly just American society. Students begin by contemplating the requisites for a just society then they view a short film documentary about a civil rights foot soldier. Students closely read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and analyze the elements of writer's craft, paying particular attention to the use of rhetorical language, that underscore Dr. King's ideas about the injustices in America society. Students work cooperatively to synthesize their ideas and present their findings to the rest of the class. They also read Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech and several other speeches and essays by other American writers and then they analyze the writer's ideas about realizing a just society. In addition, students routinely participate in small group and class discussions.
Throughout this lesson, students write brief and extended explanatory responses to the various texts they read. They work cooperatively to create a written presentation on the elements of Dr. King's letter and they conduct a short research project and write an argument essay to demonstrate understanding of the subject of social justice. As they respond to text-dependent questions throughout this unit, students demonstrate their ability to synthesize, paraphrase, and summarize information from the texts while producing clear, coherent writing that is appropriate for the task, purpose, and audience.