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Lesson Plan June 14, 2021

Perspectives and Their Implications: Riding the Wave of Human Connection

Author:
SECTIONS


This unit was created by Edith Middleton, a 10th grade English teacher in Pukalani, HI, as part of the spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Stories of Migration. It is designed for facilitation across approximately eight weekly 90-minute in-person or virtual class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives:

Students will be able to…

  • Read The Tempest by William Shakespeare in its entirety during scheduled class. 
  • Closely analyze excerpts from:
    • Mary Rowlandson's The Captive: The True Story of the Captivity Of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson Among the Indians
    • “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • “Olive Oatman: Life among the Mojave”
  • Consider how canonical literature may position white characters in relation to those of different ethnicities. 
  • Question the positive and negative perspectives of migration and its similarities and differences that inform or alter human behavior.
  • Explore literary and Pulitzer Center journalistic texts to expand understanding of how perspective, identity, and authorship shape texts and perspectives on migration.

Unit Overview:

In an eight week unit of study, students will explore concepts of migration through the lens of cultural identity and perspective. What are elements of culture that shape us, shape how we see others, and shape how we are seen in return? Students will investigate shifts in cultural norms and stereotypes specific to forced migration and captivity as depicted in The Tempest by William Shakespeare and supplemented through a variety of texts, discussions, and reflections.

The Tempest is generally regarded as Shakespeare’s last play. The theme of Utopian-ism is linked to the explorations of new lands. The period in which it was written, the seventeenth-century age of exploration, the circumstances of its performance at court, and the context of the playwright’s writing career, suggest immediately some of its rich themes and ambiguities. The play can be read as Shakespeare’s commentary on European exploration of new lands. Prospero is banished from his Dukedom with his young daughter and forced to migrate to an island with a native inhabitant, Caliban, a being he considers savage and uncivilized. He teaches this “native” his language and customs, but this nurturing does not affect the creature’s nature, at least from Prospero’s point of view. Prospero does not drive Caliban away, rather he enslaves him, forcing him to do work he considers beneath himself and his noble daughter. As modern readers, sensitive to the legacy of colonialism, we need to ask if Shakespeare sees this as the right order; what are his views on imperialism and colonialism? How does Prospero’s forced migration affect his identity and transformation? What are our twenty-first-century reactions to the depictions of the relationship between the master and the enslaved, human connections, and elements of changed behaviors and beliefs, as a result of Prospero’s forced migration, demonstrated in this play? 

In addition to reading The Tempest by Shakespeare as the mentor text, students will select an Independent Reading (IR) book, with a perspective, and read independently for the duration of the unit with a culminating IR project related to unit objectives. Students will also explore literary and journalistic texts, which they will analyze to expand their understanding of how perspective, identity, and authorship shape texts and perspectives on migration.

Performance Task:

Students will synthesize and analyze what elements of culture shape us, shape how we see others, and shape how we are seen in return; incorporating shifts in cultural norms and stereotypes specific to forced migration and captivity.

Students will pick and vote, as a class, from two summative performance task options:

  • Socratic Seminar (completed as a collective with individual question preparation)
  • Editorial Essay or Short Film (completed individually)

In addition, students will complete and present an Independent Reading (IR) Summative Project, Literary Elements PowerPoint, 3D Quotes Project, or Book Trailer.

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