Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award in 2015 for his memoir, Between the World and Me. He takes the title from a Richard Wright poem. He overcomes institutional racism in his neighborhood, schools, and streets to become a successful writer and editor for the Atlantic Monthly. Read an excerpt from his memoir and also a transcript of an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Ta-Nehisi Coats explains how he overcame adversity. A link is provided to the memoir excerpt and the interview. Links to multimedia are also provided. Students will engage in Socratic Seminar, as they answer questions and give examples of rhetorical appeals.
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 fish-bowl discussion with the rubric. There is a link to the College Board’s AP Central site where the 2009 AP English Language Question #3 is a perfect fit to use when assessing this unit. Links to the rubric, the speech, the prompt, and student samples can be found here. Expert analysis in the Student Q/A section for the prompt and its intentions is also provided. Complete Common Core standards included.
Key words: AP English Language, NPR, Ta-Nehisi Coates, racism, social justice, police shootings, argument, Socratic Seminar, memoir, American Literature, Common Core