What are the defining characteristics of dramatic text?
What can we learn from the challenges that have been overcome by others?
What choices can we make when faced with adversity?
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CCSS Standards for this Unit
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4 Weeks - "Unit at a Glance" Organizer
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Controlling Idea or Central Topic: Choices
Rationale: When students better understand how others have met challenges, they can develop skills and make choices to overcome the challenges they will face in their lives. The Miracle Worker provides opportunities for students to not only explore the literary elements inherent in the dramatic form, but also to analyze how actions and words characterize voice in text. A major issue in the play is Helen Keller's initial resistance to Anne Sullivan. Students will trace the development and explore the connections among characters within the text - those receiving help to meet adversity and those who are attempting to help others. The theme of perseverance pervades the text in ways that illustrate the rewards of continued resolve and persistence.
Purpose: The exploration of both short works of non-fiction, poetry, film, and novel-length dramatic texts will provide students with relevant evidence to identify and analyze how authors make purposeful word choices to enhance mood, establish tone, and create unique voices to distinguish characters in text. The reading, writing, and brief research activities encourage students to synthesize ideas from non-fiction texts and elaborate on these ideas as part of reflective and narrative composing experiences.
Structure: This 6 – 8 week unit will be conducted using a variety of reading, writing, and small-group discussion strategies. Students will demonstrate knowledge of specific skills in both on-demand and process writing. Connections will be drawn from a wide range of texts and genres including short works of non-fiction, poetry, and film. Students will compose, rehearse, and present an original character monologue to synthesize unit concepts and understanding and provide a final assessment of the performance tasks. Whenever possible teachers should use modeling and gradual release of responsibility in lesson planning. Teachers are encouraged to engage students in regular journal writing activities (W.10 routine writing) and keep a personal dictionary.
The World at her Fingertips: The Story of Helen Keller by Joan Dash
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Helen Keller: A Photographic Story of a Life by Leslie Garrett
Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher by Marfe Ferguson Delano
"Helen Keller" by Langston Hughes
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens (video available)
"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" by Rod Serling (video available as an episode of The Twilight Zone)
"Sorry, Wrong Number" by Lucille Fletcher (film version available)
The Miracle Worker (directed by Arthur Penn, 1962)
Students will compose, rehearse, and present an original character monologue accurately portraying the voice of a character from The Miracle Worker.
Students will synthesize research about characters from The Miracle Worker following events of the play to enhance the accuracy of information and the voice created in their character monologues.
Students will compose an argument determining which character from the play represented the "miracle" – Helen or Annie.