This is a secondary thematic literature unit that is meant to span several weeks. What is Utopia/dystopia? What is your ideal? How does an author communicate Utopia? Students begin this unit by considering their own educational utopia.
The unit begins with 5 common utopia models found in literature. I always model how to analyze a text for one utopia model using "Harrison Bergeron".
The whole-group text will be Animal Farm. Because it's short, we can read it quickly. NOTE: we analyze Animal Farm as a Utopian text NOT an allegory of the Russian Revolution. With this text, we work on literary analysis writing.
The conclusion of the unit is Utopian/dystopian book clubs. Book Clubs allow students to choose another text to read with a small group. There, students can further explore the concepts from the Utopian unit but in a book of their choice. I have included a journal for students to keep throughout the book club reading experience.
There are also a number of poems I would suggest using to illustrate Utopia that can be read at any point in the unit. At the conclusion of the unit, students write a poem that expresses their utopia.
In this purchase, I included three assessments, a list of suggested texts to use in the book clubs, and handouts I've used with great success.
1. Animal Farm literary analysis essay
2. Educational Utopia
3. Personal Utopia Poem
Whole-class novel: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Short-story for teacher modeling: “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut
6 Book Club text options
1. Utopia according to a Pig and a Beatle
2. The Perfect Classroom: an Educational Utopia Project
3. Utopian Poetry
4. Utopian/Dystopian Book Club Text Options
5. Book Club Journal