English Language Arts Grade 10 Critical Response and Stance Unit 10. 3 Relationships – Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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English Language Arts Grade 10 Critical Response and Stance Unit 10.3 Relationships – Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Historical Perspective – Literary Movement Unit 10.3 Revision – This revision represents a more comprehensive look at the original model unit. It includes more teacher resources and connections between text and activities.

Literary Modernism (1900 - 1950)

1914 Panama Canal opens

1917 – 1918 U.S. in World War I

1918 My Antonia, Willa Cather

1920 U.S. women get vote

1922 The Wasteland, Eliot

1929 Stock market crash begins Great Depression

1934 Dust Bowl begins in Great Plains

1941 – 1945 U.S. in World War II
Literary Authors/Poets

Willa Cather, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Sara Teasdale, William Carlos Williams

Post World War I and II / Social Action/Protest Literature

1925 The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald

1929 A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway

1937 Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck

1938 Our Town, Thornton Wilder

1939 Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck

1944 The Glass Menagerie, Williams

1949 The Death of a Salesman, Miller

1953 The Crucible, Miller
Literary Authors

E. E. Cummings, Ralph Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams

Harlem Renaissance, Jazz Age – 1920s (Addressed in Unit 10.4)

(Included in Modernism)

A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry

Native Son, Richard Wright

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Literary Authors /Poets

Countee Cullen, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer


Big Ideas/Themes

Focus/Essential Questions

Literary Genre Focus Anchor Texts

Linking Texts

Instructional Resources

Narrative Text

Informational Text

Reading, Listening/Viewing

Strategies and Activities

Writing, Speaking, Expressing

Strategies and Activities

On-Going Literacy


Grade 10 Disposition

Critical Response and Stance
Big Ideas

  • relationships, balance, mutualism

  • attitude toward life

  • acceptance and belonging

  • optimism and hope

  • dreams and visions

  • resilience


  • Relationships serve many purposes.

  • All relationships are not equally beneficial to all participants.

  • The human spirit can thrive during times of hardship and difficulty.

  • Resilience is the ability to withstand and recover from the effects of adversity.

Focus Questions

  • What are the benefits of having relationships?

  • Are all relationships equal?

  • How do relationships support our lives?

  • What are the trade-offs or compromises in relationships?

  • What determines the relationships we have?

  • How do class, religion, race, and culture determine our relationships?

  • What role does empathy play in mutual relationships?

  • What place does a dream/vision have in one’s life/relationships?

Narrative Text

Novel (“Play-Novelette”)

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Film Study

Of Mice and Men, 1992 film directed by Gary Sinise
A Novel Look at Film

Of Mice and Men

American Film Institute & Montgomery Schools

Literary Nonfiction

Tuesday’s With Morrie

Mitch Albom, 1997, Random House

Informational Text

“Living in Sym”

Symbiotic relationship

“Symbiosis,” from Wikipedia



High School Biology Textbook



Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway

Read by Charlton Heston

NPR Radio Broadcast

The Enduring Depths of Old Man and the Sea

“The Lost Generation-Happy Days are here again”

Photo Essay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBq8b0vrJYg&feature= related
“Great Quotes from Great Leaders” Movie


This I Believe NPR

Community in Action

Studs Terkel

Critical Literary Analysis

Books of The Times

Old Man and the Sea

Orville Prescott, The New York Times, 8-28-52


Short Story

Under the Lion’s Paw,

Hamlin Garland


Genre Study

Characteristics of

  • social protest literature

Author Study

  • John Steinbeck

  • Mitch Albom

Literary Periods



  • Experimental as writers seek a unique style

  • Use of interior monologue and stream of consciousness

  • Pursuit of the American Dream

  • America as the land of Eden

  • Importance of the individual

  • Optimism replaced by themes of alienation and disillusionment

  • World War I and II stories

  • Writers reflect the ideas of Darwin (survival of fittest)

  • Writers reflect ideas of Karl Marx and how money and class structure control a nation

Time Period

  • Technological changes of 20th Century

  • Harlem Renaissance

Adapted from

American Literary Periods


Genre Study

Characteristics of

  • descriptive essay (9.2)

  • memoir (9.2)

  • expository essay/text (9.3)

Review from 10.1 and 10.2

  • critical literary analysis

  • definition essay/speech

  • persuasive essay

  • comparison essay

  • documentary features

  • expository elements

feature news article

Expository Elements

  • thesis

  • supporting ideas

  • supporting statistical information

  • supporting expert’s opinion/quotations

  • writer’s tone (attitude)

  • academic vocabulary

Organizational Patterns

  • compare/contrast

  • question/answer

  • definition with explanation and illustrative examples

*Descriptive Essay

  • Answers Question: What is it like?

  • has defined subject

  • sees through a new lens

  • supports author’s underlying point; can be persuasive

  • organized by space, a certain aspect, or writer’s perspective

  • uses strong visual images; metaphors, similes


*Comprehension Strategies

  • Identify purpose.

  • Preview text.

  • Understand then analyze.

  • Identify thesis, evidence, structure, style, organization.

  • Summarize.

  • Ask questions, visualize, make connections, determine importance, infer, synthesize, and monitor comprehension.

  • Skim for pertinent information.

*Close and Critical Reading Strategies

  • Use marginalia to describe the craft the author used.

  • Use thinking notes and think aloud strategies.

  • Annotate text.

  • Take and organize notes (Cornell Notes and Double Entry Journals).

  • Determine relevance/importance.

  • Consider potential for bias.

  • Consider perspectives not represented to avoid controversy.

  • Look for evidence to support assumptions and beliefs.

  • Evaluate depth of information.

  • Evaluate validity of facts.

  • Recognize influence of political/social climate when text was written.

*Critical Reading Questions

  • What does the text say? (literal)

  • How does it say it? (figurative)

  • What does it mean? (interpretive)

  • Why does it matter? (wisdom/allusion/ connections/relevance)

Writing to Access Prior Knowledge

Writing Goals

  • Based on unit description, identify areas of interest and what you would like to learn.

Prior Knowledge Activities

  • Describe a mutual relationship you have or have had with another person. Explain how both of you benefit from the relationship.

  • Explain your thinking on the question of whether we should live for today or for the future?

  • A famous phrase “The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray.” by the poet Robert Burns is often used as an aphorism. John Steinbeck titled his novel after it. What does this saying mean to you? Reflect on your response after reading the story.

Writing to Learn

Writing Workshop

Workshop Focus

    • analogies and metaphors

  • taking Cornell Notes from Lectures

  • taking Notes from textbooks and expository text

Unit-Specific Writing Strategies

  • Use class-generated rubrics

Grammar Focus

  • See Power of Language (Grammar) Module Part II: Grammar Overview for grade-level recommendations.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ mde/GrammarModulePart2Complete 7-23-08_246369_7.pdf

Vocabulary Development

  • Classify and compare academic vocabulary (including literary elements, features, and devices: foreshadowing, motif, metaphor,)

Student Goal Setting and Self-Evaluation Strategies

  • Maintain writing portfolio

  • Reflect on selected journal entry

  • Reflect on two pieces of unit writing that represent best effort

  • Monitor growth using literacy indicators

- language fluency

- reading complexity

- modes of discourse

  • Evaluate tendency toward dispositions and their appropriate application

Daily Fluency


  • HSTW/ACT recommendations of 8-10 books per year in ELA class; 25 books per year across the curriculum

Reading Portfolio recording reading with three levels of support

    1. texts/literature studied in class (challenging text in zone of proximal development – text students couldn’t read without the help of the teacher); anchor, linking texts, and author/poet study

    2. book club groups reading same text from teacher-selected list (somewhat above comfort level); students choose from list of 5-6 titles that support the unit theme; they read the book outside of class,

Focus Questions

Essential Questions

Literary Genre Focus/ Anchor Texts

Linking Texts

Narrative Text

Informational Text

Reading, Listening/Viewing

Strategies and Activities

Writing, Speaking, Expressing

Strategies and Activities

On-Going Literacy


Essential Questions

  • What can I do to realize my dreams or visions for the future?

  • What role does empathy play in how I treat others?

  • How am I a reflection of my relationships? (9th Grade)

  • How do my relationships within and across groups affect others? (9th Grade)

  • How can I discover the truth about others?

  • What sacrifices will I make for the truth?

  • What criteria do I use to judge my values?

  • How will I stand up for what I believe/value?

  • How do I handle others’ points of view?

  • How do I determine when taking social action is appropriate?

  • What voice do I use to be heard?


I “Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships... the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) Thirty-second President of the USA.
II “I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision.”

Carl Sandburg

III “Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future -….

Albert Camus (1913-1960) French novelist, essayist and dramatist


“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

Dylan Thomas


Emily Dickinson

“13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

Wallace Stevens

“Hope is a Tattered Flag”

Carl Sandburg

“The People, Yes”


Read by Carl Sandburg

Works of Art

LIFE magazines from 1936-2000



Ben Shahn


Cradling Wheat

Thomas Hart Benton


Wisconsin Landscape

John Steuart Curry


Young Corn

Grant Wood


Media Features

  • cinematic terms


  • people behind the production

  • transformation from linguistic to visual medium (screenwriter’s perspective)

Adapted from

Student Resource Guide

“A Novel Look at Film

Of Mice and Men”

American Film Institute & Montgomery Schools


*Literary Elements

  • plot (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)

  • conflicts:

- person against self

- person against society

- person against person

- person against nature

  • theme

  • mood

  • tone

  • character development

  • reflection of time in dialogue

  • symbolism

  • author’s style

  • point of view

  • allegory

  • motif

Literary Devices/Techniques

  • third-person narration

  • dialogue

  • dialect

  • symbolism

  • foreshadowing

  • dialogue to develop relationship— plot and character

  • framing the story – story comes full circle

  • allusions

  • irony

  • metaphors

Descriptive Essay (continued)

  • draws on 5 senses

  • takes a stance

  • includes practical and precise details

  • employs word choice and sentence structure that support purpose

  • uses literary devices

*(Unit 9.2)


(Form of personal narrative, descriptive, and reflective writing)

  • Reflects on a brief period of time or a series of related events significant to the writer

  • based on the truth

  • uses narrative story structure (setting, plot development, conflict, characterization, and literary devices) first person; the author reveals him/herself to the reader through voice, actions, insight, and thoughts

  • author’s point of view influenced by memory of event; information at time

  • purpose is to share a life lesson learned that appeals the larger world

  • tends to be more subjective and personal than autobiography

  • has reflection scattered throughout about choices, perspectives, decisions, motives, and actions

  • may include selected diary entries, personal letters, or selections from official documents

(Unit 9.2)

*Reading Goals

  • Learn to read like a writer.

  • Recognize the narrative structure and characteristics of anchor genre through reading mentor text.

  • Construct a clear definition of each genre answering these questions:

- What elements must it contain?

- Why would an author choose this genre?

- What makes it unique from other genre?

- What writing styles are appropriate?

- What is its structure?

(*Unit 9.2)

Reading Portfolio

  • Maintain reading portfolio to revisit goals, add evidence of progress, reflection and for evaluation purposes.

See Reading Reminders, Jim Burke
Graphic Organizers

  • KWL

  • web

  • chart

Best Sellers of 1930s Book Club

Select from one of the following 1930s best seller book clubs

  • The Pearl, John Steinbeck

  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

  • The Good Earth, Pearl Buck

  • Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie

  • A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

Each club will explore its novel for similar angles of vision selecting from the unit big ideas:

- conflict

- relationships, balance, mutualism

- attitude towards life

- acceptance and belonging

- optimism/hope

- dreams and visions

- resilience
Dialogue within your own book club. Additionally form groups with representatives of the different clubs and discuss the ideas as they pertain to the different books.
Adapted from

“Teaching with Questions”

Jim Burke Presentation http://www.englishcompanion.com/pdfDocs/BurkeHOutsTeachingwithQuestions.pdf

Writing to Learn (continued)

  • Academic Vocabulary List (Burke)



Research Skills

  • Review and enhance Grade 9 skills

  • Use on-line databases (ProQuest, EBSCO, CQ Researcher, SIRS Researcher)

  • Evaluate websites

  • Annotate articles (beyond highlighting and underlining)

  • Works cited

  • Show understanding of copyright and fair use

  • Define plagiarism

OWL-Online Writing Lab


Quotation Notebook

  • Record selected quotations and aphorisms of personal significance that relate to unit themes and big ideas.

Data Wall

  • “The best laid plans of mice and men”

Life Lessons Data Wall

Explore aphorism websites and select five, either humorous or serious, that you identify with. Create categories of topics such as forgiveness, obtaining material success, or accepting what life gives you. As you read Tuesdays with Morrie add aphorisms that Morrie shared with Mitch. Post on data wall.

Journal Entries

  • Define plagiarism.

  • For a week, keep a diary about your relationship with someone close to you.

  • Write about a person who had a profound influence on your life.

  • Write a metaphor to make connections between symbiosis and the relationships among the characters in the novels.

  • Generate a list of 5 words that describe Lenny, George, Mitch, and Morrie. After making the list, choose the one word you think best describes each, then explain why, using examples from the test to support and illustrate your idea.

Adapted fromTeaching with Questions,” pgs.9-10

Reading Portfolio (continued)

participate in book club discussions, and write annotated bibliographies and literary response essays

3 independent reading of student-selected text; reading for pleasure outside of class (at comfort level); students write annotated bibliographies

Reading Strategies

      • Skim text for essential information

      • Think, write, pair, share new texts

      • Time reading to determine time commitment for each text

Vocabulary Development

      • academic vocabulary

      • technical/specialized vocabulary

      • word etymology and variation

      • find current uses in Google News


Writing Strategies

  • process writing

  • language appropriate for purpose and audience

  • revise own writing using proofreading checklist

  • critique own writing for sophisticated sentence structure

  • cite sources using MLA conventions

  • evaluate own writing

(review, revise, edit)

  • note taking

Grammar Skills

  • grammar and rhetoric mini lessons

  • practice skills for ACT/SAT success

  • Elements of dialogue

  • Parts of speech

Grammar Instruction to

    • enrich writing: add detail, style, voice

    • create organizational coherence and flow

  • make writing conventional

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