Discipline: Humanities

Grade Level: 9-10 

Course: English/ History

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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Government of the People
  • Module Description
    • This module asks 9th and 10th grade students to read two famous speeches regarding the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Students are challenged to closely analyze these speeches in terms of language structure and democratic ideals.

      The instructional sequence in this module includes independent and supported reading, conceptual dialogue, and writing a comparative analysis essay. Ultimately, students practice a series of interrelated literacy skills while gaining a deeper understanding of the historical rhetoric of two iconic leaders. The key texts in this module are considered bookend speeches and exemplify primary documents whose clear exegesis and compelling examples offer vivid and concrete avenues for close reading.

      The classroom assessment builds on the comparative analysis writing practice and challenges students to expand their thinking about rhetoric in contemporary American democracy.

      NOTE: This module is designed to teach and assess the Core Content College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards identified in the LDC standards as well as those for “Speaking and Listening,” including a formal and rigorous dialogue about concepts and ideas. Common Core “Reading” and “Writing” standards are practiced and assessed around the Paideia Seminar discussion. If you are not trained in leading Paideia (Socratic) seminars, you can still teach this module by replacing the seminar in Cluster 3 with another discussion-based strategy.

  • Tasks
    • Teaching Task Template Task (Design your own lesson)

      What is a “government of the people”?  After reading and discussing the excerpt from “Funeral Oration” and the Gettysburg Address, write a fully developed essay that compares the speeches and argues which leader, Pericles or Lincoln, delivers the most rhetorically compelling definition of democracy.  Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts.

      Task 4 Template:[Insert question]

      After reading________ (literature or informational texts),write a/an________ (essay or substitute)that compares________ (content) and argues________ (content). Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts. (Argumentation/Comparison)

  • About The Teacher
    • Authors: Laura Billings and Terry Roberts

      Course: English/ History

  • Materials, References, and Support
    • For Teachers

      • Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles Van Doren. (1972). How to Read a Book. New York: Simon and Schuster.
      • Davis, Judy and Sharon Hill. (2003). The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing: Strategies, Structures, and Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
      • National Paideia Center (2010). Teaching Thinking Through Dialogue. 2nd Edition.
      • Roberts, Terry and Laura Billings. (2011). Teaching Critical Thinking: Using Seminars for 21st Century Literacy. New York: Eye on Education.
      For Students

      Student Reader:

      • “The Funeral Oration” by Pericles (excerpt included)
      • The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
      • “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (excerpt included for Classroom Assessment)
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