"In the Heights" is the energetic and fascinating first musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda (from "Hamilton" fame). Miranda collaborated with Quiara Alegría Hudes. The Latino community story is set over the course of three days, involving an ensemble cast of characters in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.
The show opened on Broadway in March 2008 and was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. It won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album as well. It was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Students will close read and annotate a New York Times review of the play. Included is a study of an op-ed written by Lin-Manuel Miranda on the need for the United States to economically help Puerto Rico, as well as a song about this performed on John Oliver’s HBO show, “Last Week, Tonight.”
There is a link to the script, a link to the full-length performance of the musical in High Definition on Youtube, and links to fully annotated lyrics for all the songs in the show.
The first lesson focuses on the community; the next lesson is on the high price of college for low-income students; the third is on lottery tickets as a tax on the poor; the fourth is on the phenomena of New York City blackouts; and finally, there is a lesson on challenges of interracial dating. Each lesson corresponds to a particular set of songs from the musical. The resource can be used with the flipped classroom.
These seven lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, or AP English Language or Literature class.
Students will collect evidence for an argumentative essay which is a question on the unspoken rules that help define group identity explored in the 2004B AP English Language and Composition examination.
There is also an opportunity to write a rhetorical précis, as well as supporting material for teaching this strategy to your students. These four lessons prepare students for AP English Language and Literature exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. Included is a lesson on crafting a thesis sentence.
Tags: Socratic Seminar, writing, argument, Pre-AP, critical thinking, musicals