Thinking Activities: More than a ditto or Questions for American Literature
Organized by literary period, Ramon thinking activates provide a comprehensive and systematic way to teach students to analyze literature. Each Unit allows the teacher to differentiate instruction without sacrificing quality while saving themselves time. I have spent a decade and hundreds of hours creating each thinking activity that builds into a unit that helps students process and analyze American identity. Each unit is brain-based, meeting cognitive needs to help students not only know what one text means, but learn how to connect and extend beyond that text to issues of race, class, gender, and identity formation.
They are also designed to do more than simply meet the new CORE standards, but help American literature students become reflective, analytical human beings. Our students will one very soon vote. It is the American literature teachers privileged position to help students elucidate a student's relationship within larger American culture. Thinking Activities scaffold learning, providing different types of texts that allow students at any level to enter into the analytical mode.
Each unit features these thinking activities: non-fiction notation (NFN) to build schema, poetry explications (E) to understand tonal shift, 14 Elements (14 E) of short stories, dramas and novels to connect comprehension to analysis and rhetorical analysis (RA) to understand persuasion. These texts are then synthesized to understand each literary period's unique thought. These activities build thematically and stylistically across literary period and provide for analytical writing to prepare students for college.
• Text themselves in pdf
• Thinking Activity for each text
• Integrtated Writing Instruction
• Theme development
• Unit Exam
• Bonus units/activities
Each unit features a "How to" for each type of thinking activity. This will lead your American literature students to be able to think through a difficult poem or short story by breaking them down into its constituent parts. This process of breaking down and then synthesizing allows for multiple but not erroneous interpretations of a text.
There are six literary periods: Colonial and Revolutionary (taught together), Romanticism (divided into Transcendentalism, Gothic, Realism), Realism and Naturalism, Modernism and Post Modernism. These units can be blended into your current anthology, or stand alone. They feature texts are critical to understanding American identity yet are short. These six units could be read with a class of struggling readers and all the texts could be read together in class, with NO READING AT HOME. At the same time, they provide in depth and profound analysis of American identity and could be used to develop complex thinking for your honors and American literature students.
Each unit builds in variety and includes multiple activities for critical texts. For example, Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence," Thoreau's "Self-Reliance" and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby feature individual and team based activities that foster a complex reading experience. The different environments allow students to reread and rethink while remaining novel. The diversity is key to allowing students to develop ideas.
Finally, each unit is centered on the reality of the American experience and attempts to reflect the diversity always present but at times excluded from literary canons. Thus each period features Female, African-American and Native American perspectives. These texts while equaling in quality the traditional white male canon, they are crucial for allowing a diverse class the ability to understand their own reality as an American. This diversity does not come at the expense of the traditional canon, but fosters a truly diverse experience that nurtures complex and invigorating discussions about American culture and identity.