This curriculum was designed for at-risk students enrolled in an alternative high school program at Wilbur Cross Annex because they have met with little success in the environment of a large, urban, comprehensive high school. Accustomed to poor academic performance, these students lack self-confidence and motivation. It is important to engage and motivate them by providing opportunities to learn and demonstrate knowledge through several modalities. Therefore, art and film are used throughout the unit to enhance instruction. A story quilt art project, used with the film,
How to Make an American Quilt
, will introduce the unit. The story quilt is a collective work in progress that will be completed at the end of the course (A lesson plan for the project is provided.) The literature used for the unit is multicultural, representing cultures in the student population: Alice Walker's "Everyday Use,"; Nicholasa Mohr's "An Awakening...Summer, 1956,"; Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"; and Yashiko Uchida's
Finally, this curriculum may be adapted in several ways. Teachers may extend activities using several resources, as suggested in the unit. In addition, they may teach the curriculum as part of an interdisciplinary team-taught class. Finally, it can be easily merged with Sandra Friday's unit, "Mothers Represented in Short Stories by Women."
(Recommended for English Literature and Writing, grades 9-12.)