The unit will begin with students reflecting upon the significant question of what it means to be American. Students will meet in small groups to discuss and catalogue the elements that they identify as being distinctively American. They will then personally reflect on and write either a poem or essay in which they will define themselves as American and discuss the parts of America that they cherish and reject. The products will be published in the classroom and put on display.
Supplementary materials may be introduced to help the students in writing an extended definition. Two texts currently in use in my classroom are
Writing With a Thesis
Strategies for Successful Writing
(more suitable for the advanced student as it is a college level rhetoric handbook). Both texts have chapters that explain the elements of an extended definition (such as classifying, comparing/contrasting, use of examples, narration) and offer student and professional examples.