2 from Death of a Salesman Unit SummaryThis unit encompasses Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman. The unit will be framed around the work in relation to the concept of the American dream. The students will analyze characters, themes, and symbols within the novel. They will also consider how the American dream has changed over time, and how it impacts the society they live in.“I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.” – Linda Lomanfrom Death of a Salesman
3 Curriculum-Framing Questions Essential Question: What is the American dream?Unit Questions:Why is the American dream important to our society?How does the media affect how we perceive the American dream?Is the American dream attainable?Content Questions:What did Americans value in the 1940s?What is a reoccurring symbol in the novel that correlates to Willy’s values?How does Biff’s dream differ from his father’s?
4 Student Goals/ Unit Objectives Students will be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives pertaining to American values, points of view, and lifestyle by bridging differences.Students will articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively through speaking and writing about the novel in journals/ quick writes/ assignments/ and group discussions.Students will gather, analyze, organize, reflect, and process information about the concept of the American dream constructed by the media in a variety of ways.Students will use interpersonal and problem solving skills to influence and guide others toward a common goal and assess strengths.Students will make connections between themselves and the lives of characters in the novel using Venn diagrams/ charts/ and journals.
5 WHAT IS PROJECT BASED LEARNING? Why Projects?WHAT IS PROJECT BASED LEARNING?Project based learning is a student-centered, instructional model that develops content area knowledge and skills through an extended task. This class will be using project based learning to explore the novel, Death of a Salesman. This kind of learning frames questions to tie content standards and higher order thinking to real world contexts. One question we will explore: What is the American dream?Project based units include varied instructional strategies to engage all students regardless of their learning style. Often students collaborate with outside experts, members of the community, and technology to answer questions and gain deeper meaning of the content. Throughout project work multiple types of assessment will be used to ensure that high quality work is produced.
6 Why Projects? WHAT IS THE GOAL? to promote student inquiry and authentic demonstrations of learningto help students go beyond basic mastery of skills and/ or curriculumto enable students to critically evaluate information, media, and technologyto meet the California State Standardsto facilitate appropriate and productive group cooperationto encourage students to gauge and assume roles of leadership and responsibilityto connect education and the real world outside of the classroom
7 Target Content Standards READING COMPREHENSION STANDARDSVocabulary and Concept Development:1.3 Discern the meaning of analogies encountered, analyzing specific comparisons as well as relationships and inferences.Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:2.4 Make warranted and reasonable assertions about the author’s arguments by using elements of the text to defend and clarify interpretations
8 Target Content Standards WRITING STANDARDSWriting Applications2.2 Write responses to literature: ALL2.3 Write reflective compositions: a. Explore the significance of personal experiences, events, conditions, or concerns by using rhetorical strategies.
9 Target Content Standards LITERARY RESPONSE AND ANALYSIS STANDARDSStructural Features of Literature:3.1 Analyze characteristics of subgenres that are used in poetry, prose, plays, novels, short stories, essays, and other basic genres.Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:3.2 Analyze the way in which the theme or meaning of a selection represents a view or comment on life, using textual evidence to support the claim.3.5 Analyze recognized works of American literature representing a variety of genres and traditions: b. Contrast the major periods, themes, styles, and trends and describe how works by members of different cultures relate to one another in each period.c. Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plots, and settings.Literary Criticism3.9 Analyze the philosophical arguments presented in literary works to determine whether the authors’ positions have contributed to the quality of each work and the credibility of the characters.
10 Assessment to Gauge Student Needs Purpose of AssessmentFormative Assessment1. Gauging student needs2. Encouraging self-direction and collaboration3. Monitoring progress4. Checking for understanding and encouraging metacognitionSummative Assessment5. Demonstrating understanding and skillStudent assessment will be based on the goals of project based learning. I am looking for students to take on the novel and additional materials/ assignments in a way that is more open and interactive than some class discussions and lectures might be. This type of learning may seem like a break from the norm that is daunting and unclear, but I will guide students through the progression of the unit. I will be available for anyone whom has questions, and have all confidence that the students will evolve and develop new opinions of not only the text, but bigger ideas that make up the substance of this classic core novel.
11 Project SummaryHave the students watch Death of a Salesman and critique the 1985 film, directed by Volker, Schlondorff in relation to specific literary elements of the text. The students could write a short essay comparing and contrasting to two works, or complete a Venn diagram. I would have the students include their personal opinion of the film.