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Practice with Argument— Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men”

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In 2006, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón adapted British author P.D. James’ dystopian novel, Children of Men into a critically acclaimed film. In 2016, the film has grown in stature as the scenes in the film that reflect terrorism, refugees, and environmental disasters are clearly part of today’s world.

Students will read a recent Tribeca article, “Are We Living in the Dawning of Alfonso Cuaron’s 'Children of Men'” by Ana Yamel Rodriguez-Cuervo and view supporting video clips on the background and art used in the film. An additional resource is a TED TALK delivered by Melissa Fleming, head of communications for the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees. A link to the documentaries on “La pietà du Kosovo,” a documentary of art inspired by a photograph by Georges Mérillon’s from Kosovo in 1990 and of Pablo Picasso’s, “Guernica” is provided as each work serves as inspiration for the film, "Children of Men." A link to “The Possibility of Hope—'Children of Men,'" the official documentary for the film is also part of the lesson.

There is also an opportunity to write a rhetorical précis, as well as supporting material for teaching this strategy to your students. Included is a lesson on crafting a thesis sentence, as well as a link to the Question 1 prompt for the 2003 AP English Language and Composition examination. The students will consider "Children of Men" in writing an original argument concerned with the assertion that entertainment will ruin society. A link to a video, frames, and lesson on agreeing, disagreeing, or qualifying an argument is provided.

These four lessons 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.
The activities fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, or AP English Language or Literature class.

In this resource, there is a unique detailed rubric that can be used to score Socratic Seminars in a way that encourages organic fluid discussions. In the guide, there is a step by step explanation on how to conduct a fishbowl discussion with the rubric. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.

Tags: Socratic Seminar, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, British Literature, World Literature
Total Pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
4 days
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