By Valerie Vied
In this unit students examine three dystopian short stories, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and one dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This unit is scheduled as the first unit of the year to peak interest in authentic learning and real-world problems, and get students thinking critically from the first day of school. In preparation for the STAAR exam, the writing focus for the unit is expository. Students will practice the various expository organizational structures (description, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and problem and solution) throughout the unit. In addition, students will examine literary elements such as tone, mood, diction, syntax, plot, character, imagery, setting, style, theme, symbolism, allusion, and figures of speech. The three short stories were assigned as a summer reading assignment, and Fahrenheit 451 will be read primarily in class with a variety of activities and writing in each lesson. The performance assessment is made of two parts: a creative project and an expository essay.
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