This lesson is designed to encourage students to write with greater profundity when analyzing an author’s choices regarding argument, appeals and other rhetorical choices. Students will read and view supporting clips on the topic of eminent domain and the necessary elements to analyze the argument. Students will show mastery of the standards at the end of the lesson through a SOAPSTONE Analysis, Socratic discussion, short paragraph responses and a written timed synthesis essay scored on an AP style rubric.
The unit begins with a study of the Atlantic Monthly article, “Trump's Border Barrier Hits a Wall.” by Priscilla Alvarez. The videos, “The Tragedy of Urban Renewal: The destruction and survival of a New York City neighborhood,” and “Has urban revival caused a crisis of success?” are used in this resource. Links to different NPR, New York Times articles and videos showing the issue of eminent domain, including the clearing of the Chavez Ravine neighborhood in order to build Dodger Stadium. There is a narrative writing opportunity writing to Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela. There is a lesson on rhetorical situation in the article, “Decades later, bitter memories of Chavez Ravine,” by Hector Becerra, writer for the Los Angeles Times. All the lessons act as an explication and a building of context for understanding the issue of eminent domain. There is a New York Times Room for Debate series on the 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, upholding government’s eminent domain rights to take private property for public use, as well as multimedia for the film, “Little Pink House,” based on this case.
There is also a 40-question viewing guide for the ESPN 30 for 30 Documentary: Fernando Nation. A synthesis prompt based on the New York Times Room for Debate series on the 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London is in this resource, as is a link to the 2018 AP English Language and Composition synthesis prompt on eminent domain.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities.
There are sources for teaching the Socratic Seminar, as the lessons act as explication for the argument. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.