Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

16. The Search For Identity

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Creative Response

  1. Journal: In Toni Cade Bambara's "Medley," when Sweet Pea criticizes Hector's storytelling, she also provides her criteria for effective storytelling, including the need for names and details. What elements do you think are necessary for a good story? Create a definition or list; then use it to analyze any story that is meaningful to you (a family story, movie, novel, etc.). Does the story meet all your criteria? If not, how does the discrepancy affect your definition?

  2. Journal: In David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, Roma asks a series of questions in Act 1, Scene 3, including "what is our life?" and "what is it that we're afraid of?" Consider his statement, "All it is is THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU." In your journal, answer his questions and offer an interpretation and opinion of his statement.

  3. Journal: Do you think Abuela, "the witch" of "The Witch's Husband" by Judith Ortiz Cofer, spent long enough in New York (one year)? What do you think she did there? Was this enough of a taste of freedom to allow her to remain happy in Puerto Rico? Do you think it would just whet her appetite for even more freedom? How feminist is she, if at all, according to your own definition of feminism?

  4. Creative Writing: In "Polar Breath," Diane Glancy depicts the old woman's death using images of birds, the icehouse, frigid water, and spirits. Do these images seem appropriate for the old woman? Choose a person or character from another story in this unit, and write a story or create a visual representation of his/her death using character-appropriate imagery.

  5. Creative Writing: Write a new version of Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" from Dee/Wangero's point of view. What was it like to grow up in the house and see it burned? Why did you change your name and clothes? Describe your visit home. Why are the quilts so important to you? Why are you so frustrated with your family?

  6. Acting and Performance: As a young actor, David Mamet was influenced by the Stanislavsky method of acting, also called "method acting," with which actors attempt to make their work as real as possible. Research the Stanislavsky method further. With a group of students, choose a scene from Glengarry Glen Ross and use method acting to rehearse and perform it for the class.

  7. Acting and Performance: Alone or with a small group of students, produce performance art of any kind to relay a message to your class. Before you begin, answer the following questions: What message are you trying to convey? Why? How can you best communicate your ideas? How can performance art afford you a new perspective or suggest new ways of thinking to your audience?

  8. Multimedia: Imagine that you are part of a performance art group that needs new members. To convince talented artists to use performance art methods, create a presentation that reports on the activities of one performance artist mentioned in this unit. Using the American Passages multimedia resources, Internet research, and your knowledge of performance artists, create a slide show of the artist's work, a video capturing audience reactions, and/or print materials to explain the artist's themes, ideas, and methods. Explain why performance art is the most successful means of reaching some audiences.

  9. Modified "Show and Tell": Think about the importance of the quilts in Alice Walker's "Everyday Use." Choose an object that is personally meaningful to you, and prepare a multimedia presentation explaining its significance. Is the object functional? Is it "worth more" than the dollars you could get if you sold it? Design visuals and a narrative that speak to the object's aesthetic, sentimental, cultural, and financial value.

Slideshow Tool
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