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Practice with Synthesis— Walt Whitman on Democracy

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999 KB|33 pages
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David Brooks in “What Whitman Knew,” his essay in the Atlantic Monthly writes, “No one since Whitman has captured quite so well the motivating hopefulness that propels American policy and makes the nation a great and restless force in the world. No other essay communicates quite so well what it is like to live constantly in the shadow of the future, trusting that tomorrow's world will be better and will redeem the incompleteness of the present.” Students will not only study Brooks’ essay on Walt Whitman but also read his preface in “Leaves of Grass” which also expresses his opinion on democracy.

These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, British Literature, World Literature or AP English Language or Literature class.

Students will view supporting video clips on Walt Whitman and Democracy. Also, in the resource is a TED TALK delivered by Harvard professor Larry Lessig on current day democracy. Also included is the 40 question viewing guide for the American Experience episode on Walt Whitman.

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 a synthesis prompt on whether in the age of the Republican nomination of Donald Trump, Americans may be wary of democracy. Also, students will answer 13 AP style multiple choice questions on The Preface to Leave of Grass with an answer key included.

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.

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.

Total Pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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