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This eight-week unit focuses on giving students the academic language to accurately identify and describe their aesthetic preferences, while discovering new ways of looking at texts and experimenting with various analytical lenses. The unit uses "Circe's Palace," from the Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, as the major in-class text. Supplementary sources are included to plan for different learning styles and to increase levels of student engagement. Students are challenged to view the story through applying Reader Response, Moral/ Philosophical, Mimetic, and Feminist methods of critical analysis.
The plan of instruction allows for both "Modeled Instruction/Guided Practice" and "Independent Practice." There are opportunities for self-assessment, peer assessment and "Writers' Workshop." The unit easily aligns with each marking period's essential question for the New Haven Public Schools' language arts curriculum. At the conclusion of the study of an analytical lens, students are asked to write a 250-word response in the style of that particular lens. The culminating project asks students to write a 500-word essay describing their personal aesthetic as they have come to understand it through participation in the learning activities.
(Recommended for English, grade 9)