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Unit 3: Civic Position Statements Through International Women's Literature

Literature Circles: Women of the World

Literary Unit: Driven Learning and Teaching in a Flat, Flipped, Mastery-Based Classroom

Autonomy.  Mastery.  Purpose.  Technology.  Differentiation.  Choice.  R.O.W.E.

Teacher as Facilitator in a Flat Classroom.

Instructional model created by Travis Macy and colleagues based on Daniel H. Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us, the Flipped/Mastery Classroom model of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams (http://mast.unco.edu/programs/vodcasting/), and Philippe Ernewein’s Flatter Classroom (www.rememberit.org).  More information on student/teacher roles is available in Prensky’s Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning.

Roles of the driven 21st-century student:

·         Researcher

·         Technology user and expert

·         Thinker and sense maker

·         World changer

·         Self-teacher

Teacher’s roles as facilitator and partner:

·         Coach and guide

·         Goal setter and questioner

·         Learning designer

·         Context provider

·         Rigor provider and quality assurer



The Good Women of China by Xinran

I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevsky


You will work collaboratively with your group in this unit to gain an in-depth understanding of a chosen book, its author, important background information, and crucial literary techniques.  Daily work will involve a booktalk (be prepared with your role sheet) followed by work on individual and group tasks plus preparation for the final lesson.


















Standard 3     GLE 2  Elements of informational and persuasive texts can be refined to inform or influence an audience.

Standard 3     GLE 3  Writing demands ongoing revisions and refinements for grammar, usage, mechanics, and clarity.

Standard 4     GLE 1  Self-designed research provides insightful information, conclusions, and possible solutions.

Standard 4     GLE 3  Evaluating quality reasoning includes the value of intellectual character such as humility, empathy, and confidence.



Big Ideas:

Language, Reasoning, Evidence



Essential Questions and Understandings:

·         How does an author’s background influence his or her writing?

·         What literary techniques does an author use to make his or her point?

·         How do experiences portrayed in international literature connect to your own life?

How is language a powerful tool both for understanding and expression?

How does the way I use language influence how others perceive my ideas?

Can reasoning be developed without evidence? Is evidence meaningful without reasoning?

·         How will what I know and don’t know impact the evidence I use to support my reasoning?

·         How can I research, draft, and compose a compelling class lesson and persuasive paper?



Focus Skills:

·         Reading for detail

·         Organizing, scheduling, planning, and tracking

·         Collaborating

·         Researching

·         Presenting

·         Synthesizing

·         Writing

·         Connecting with an international expert







Primary Outcomes:

            This unit will conclude with presentation of a 15-minute lesson for the class  through which your group will present the essence of your book and author.  The format of your lesson is largely flexible. 

Each group member must play a significant role; every student does not necessarily receive the same score.

D1_____ General ideas and overall plan.  What format will you use?

D2 Checklist:

___Grabber (something to gain the attention of the audience)

___Instruction (presentation of material)

___Assessment of learning (quiz/exit ticket, etc.)

___The presentation should directly address the essential questions for the unit. 

___It should be multifaceted and dynamic. 

___Highlights connection with an international expert

___How does an author’s background influence his or her writing?

___What literary techniques does an author use to make his or her point?

___How do experiences portrayed in international literature connect to your own life, now and in the future?

___Found Poem

___Works Cited (full MLA format)

Ideas for your lesson include:

·         Make a video

·         Poster

·         Lecture

·         Activities

·         Prezi/PowerPoint/Notebook

·         Book trailer

















Final Lesson Rubric


Student            Teacher

___/5         ___/5   Grabber (something to gain the attention of the audience)

___/5         ___/5   Instruction (presentation of material)

___/5         ___/5   Assessment of learning (quiz/exit ticket, etc.)

___/5         ___/5   Multifaceted and dynamic

___/5         ___/5   Teamwork

___/5         ___/5   Highlights connection with an international expert

___/5         ___/5   Answers: How does an author’s background influence his or her writing?

___/5         ___/5   Answers: What literary techniques does an author use to make his or her

point?  Five excerpts included.

___/5         ___/5   Answers: How do experiences portrayed in international literature

connect to your own life, now and in the future?

___/5         ___/5   Found Poem

___/10       ___/10 Works Cited (full MLA format)

___/10       ___/10 Overall impression


___/70       ___/70




























After presenting and viewing class lessons from each group, you will work alone in composing a persuasive essay that makes a compelling civic position statement about women of the world as related to one or more of the texts discussed in class.  Choose an issue that interests you because some research and serious thinking will be required. 


Before writing your paper, you must (with D1) research and select a suitable, authentic audience, in this case a group or organization that knows and cares about your issue.  D2 will include a short letter (probably an email) that will let this audience know that you plan to share your work with it.  Don’t worry; Mr. Macy will be there to help you with these steps!  COOL idea: choose an international audience or use your connection from your group work.


The paper should consist of:

·         An introduction that includes at least two counter-arguments and a compelling, correctly structured thesis

·         Two “whopper” paragraphs (see format on class website)

·         A conclusion



·         Full drafting process, including rubric, as usual.

·         D1 includes identification of audience; D2 includes short introduction letter to audience.

·         MLA, Works Cited.

·         Five paragraphs with solid thesis statement, including three key terms.

·         At least six in-text citations; three or more from class text(s) plus at least one source discovered on your own.

·         Your writing must make a statement and persuade the audience!  Follow ideas presented in class about civic position statements.

















            Your group will divide the book into 10 segments and engage in a booktalk for each one.  Each person will take on a specific role for each booktalk (to be divided equally throughout the discussions); all lit. circles sheets will be turned in with this checklist.


Unit Checklist

Student carries sheet and checks off or assesses tasks with teacher as they are completed. 

Student          Teacher

            [Individual tasks]

___/4               ___/4               Personal calendar (identify due dates, your dates, number of

pages per reading, booktalks, work done at school/at home, etc.).

The calendar must include dates, pages, individual roles for each booktalk, and plans for each group task.

___/3               ___/3               Mid-unit check-in with teacher

                                                            Are you on track?

___/3               ___/3               Discussion with teacher about previous paper

___/20             ___/20             Booktalk role sheets (10 total; 1/booktalk; roles used equally)


___/30                        ___/30
























            [Group tasks]


DIVIDE AND CONQUER (?)…You might consider using a Google Document or Google Site to collaborate.


_____Research on your author.  Must be thorough.

_____Research on the book.  What do we need to know?  What has been said about the book?

_____International connection with a literary expert.  Pose five important questions about your book and/or author and have them answered by a literary expert (writer, teacher, professor, etc.) in that country.  Bonus points given for a live discussion (Skype, phone, etc.).  Recommendation: bring in a guest speaker!

_____Answer all essential questions.

_____Through conversation with Mr. Macy, show that you understand the following literary terms.  Research may be required.  You may want to divide and conquer within your group.  Please schedule a time to check off your understanding of these terms (as a group) with Mr. Macy.  Your notes for each term should include a definition, characteristics, examples (either from your text or others), and non-examples.

                        ____Figurative language









                        ____Rhetorical device (definition, examples)



_____What are 10 important details about life in the country of study?

____Check off lesson plan with Macy (D1, D2, Final)


            [Booktalk Check-Off]

1.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

2.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

3.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

4.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

5.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

6.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

7.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

8.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

9.      ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

10.  ____Role complete     ____Contributed to discussion

Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:54 AM
Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:55 AM
Travis Macy,
May 4, 2011, 7:54 AM
Travis Macy,
Oct 17, 2011, 11:27 AM
Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:56 AM
Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:55 AM
Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:55 AM
Travis Macy,
May 6, 2011, 8:56 AM