This three week unit is an excellent introduction to American Literature and meets the needs of visual, auditory, and linguistic learners. Students are introduced to American voices and ideals through poetry, music, and art. The unit sets high expectations for close reading and literary analysis while also encouraging creativity. Furthermore, the unit encourages critical thinking by requiring students to synthesize texts with universal themes and incorporates all English Language Arts Common Core strands.
This unit includes an enhanced version of the Identity Poem Freebie lesson with newly added peer review, proofreading, and rubric handouts. Poems included follow: "Naming Myself" by Barbara Kingsolver, "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman, and "I, Too" by Langston Hughes.
When completing the “Reflections of America Through Music," portion of the unit, the teacher uses classic American songs from different genres and time periods. It’s strongly recommended that the teacher preview lyrics to ensure the appropriateness of the songs for his/her students. Song recommendations include the following: Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday, This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie, The Times They Are a Changin’ by Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath War Pigs, Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue by Toby Keith, and American Idiot by Green Day.
In preparation for their own writing, students analyze non-print texts, which are self-portraits by famous American artists. Artist portraits include the following: Mary Cassatt, Xavier Martinez, E.E. Cummings, Archibald Motley, and George Herriman. After analyzing the images, students use these paintings as inspiration for the creation of their own self-portraits. Finally, they use their self-portraits to brainstorm ideas for their poetry writing. The poems reflect their voices as individuals and as Americans.
Please note that texts from the public domain are included while links to online texts are provided for those poems and songs that are not in the public domain. A table of contents in the product preview provides more information on the unit contents.
If you would rather purchase individual lessons from this unit, you can find the them at the links below:
American Voices Through Poetry
American Voices Through Art
American Voices Through Music