Objective: Understand and analyze how setting develops the meaning of a work as a whole.
1) Do Now: Our identities are complex and sometimes we express ourselves differently in different contexts. Write a 1-page journal entry comparing and contrasting your home identity with your school identity. Are you the same person in both environments? How does each environment influence the way you present yourself to those around you? Be specific.
Teacher notes: set timer for 10 minutes to allow for student writing. As students are writing, balance monitoring the room and encouraging reluctant writers with writing your own response. As many educational theorists, including Donald Murray and Lucy Calkins, have argued writing with students builds democracy, trust and models the writing process in the classroom.
2) Pair Share: Ask students to turn to a partner and read their writing aloud to each other. Once students have completed the pair share (5 minutes), ask students to share what stuck out to them from their partner’s work.
Teacher notes: Call on 3-4 groups individuals to share their response with the whole class. Follow up questions such as: 1) Why do you think you express yourself differently in different environments? 2) When do you think you learned to express yourself differently in different environments? 3) How do different environments affect your identity?
3) Reread pages 34-38 in
In this selection Ellison carefully lays out the geography of the state college for Negroes. How does this map symbolize the school’s idealistic vision of racial progress and the hard realities of black life, which the school's philosophy attempts to deny?
During reading, instruct students to take notes on patterns of imagery and word choice (diction). This can be done using annotation or the teacher can provide a note-taking template.
4) Small group discussion: Once students have finished reading and annotating, place them in small groups of 3-4. Here, students will share their observations.
Teacher notes: Be sure students notice the language of domestication: the tame rabbits, the ants marching in military file, the students marching to the church in military file, the founders statue, etc. Use the following prompting or follow up questions: 1) Why do you think Ellison includes these references to domestication?
2) What do you notice about the sequence in which the campus is unfolded? What do we see first, second and last? (a. the beautiful and well maintained campus b. worn down country side beyond campus c. the founders statue). You might also see if students can make connections between the setting and their own cities.
5) Whole groups discussion. Call on groups to share their findings with the class. Ask: How might the setting impact the Invisible Man’s identity?
6) Closure: Make a prediction about how leaving the college will affect the Invisible Man’s identity.
Objective: Identify and analyze Ellison’s use of color as motif in
1) Do Now: While in the hospital the Invisible Man asserts, “When I discover who I am, I’ll ne free.” Respond to this statement. What does it tell as about the protagonist and how does it connect to the meaning of the work as a whole.
2) Whole class share: the teacher calls on 4-5 students to share responses.
3) Pair student in groups of 3-4. For homework they have read chapter 10-11 and written dialectical journal entries focusing on example of color symbolism. In groups students share and discuss journal. Teacher monitors room and prompts group discussion where necessary.
3) Whole group share: teacher calls on each group to share something that emerged from their discussion. Use the following prompting questions: 1) What examples of color imagery do you notice? 2) What details stand out to you from the description of the Optic White paint? 3) What kinds of things is Optic White paint used for? 4) How is the paint made? 5) Describe the struggles the Invisible Man has while making the paint? 6) React to the company slogan “Keep America Pure with Liberty Paints.”
4) Quick write—a 2 to 3 minute initial jotting down of ideas. How does the imagery connect to the Invisible Man’s struggle to determine his identity?
Teacher notes: Teachers may want to provide a mini lesson on symbolism prior to or during the lesson.
5) Whole group share: teacher calls on 3-4 students to share their quick writes. Once quick writes have been shared, identify the color imagery as a motif. Explain that motif is a reoccurring symbol that is complex because it’s meaning can change over time. Ask students what the color white has symbolized in the novel. Students can take turns coming up to the board and writing their idea. After several minutes, the teacher reads the responses aloud to the class to allow time to reflect on their thinking. Students will record notes
6) Homework: Thinking about chapters 10-11 what other barriers to establishing an identity does the Invisible Man experience. Think about all the different groups he meets while working at Liberty Paints.
Objective: Analyze symbolism in Invisible Man. Make text to world connections to investigate theme.
1) Do Now: To what extent does the IM have control over his own identity? His own life? Explain. To what extent do you?
2) Begin by showing student an image of a “Sambo” doll and ask them to observe what they see. Students discuss in small groups before sharing their observations with the whole class. Inevitably students will remark about the exaggerated features of the doll: the large mouth and eyes, the dark skin, the red and black contrast between the clothing and complexion. Once students have shared their observations, provide a short reading that describes the origin and history of the image. Students might also read Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s essay “Should Blacks Collect Racist Memorabillia?” or the 1899 children’s book
Little Black Sambo
in order to develop an understanding of the Sambo trope. Following these readings, students reread the scene and write dialectical journals to analyze the symbolism of the doll and its effect on the Invisible Man.
Teacher note: educators must cautious and sensitive when addressing this history. Students of color will easily draw parallels to their contemporary experience and space should be provided to allow for this discussion.
3) Dive students into groups of four and assign each group a different reading. In groups students will read selections, take notes and discuss.
Teacher will select texts relevant to their audience. Some suggested texts are:
Groups 1) Bass, Paul. "The "Surge" Hits Church Street | New Haven Independent."
New Haven Independent
. N.p., 2014. Web. 26 July 2016.
Group 2) Hanna, Jason. "Judge Rules NYC's Stop-and-frisk Policy Unconstitutional; City Vows Appeal."
. Cable News Network, 12 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 July 2016.
Group 3) Vega, Tanzina. "Shooting Spurs Hashtag Effort on Stereotypes."
The New York Times
. The New York Times, 2014. Web. 26 July 2016.
Group 4) Smith, Darron T., PhD. "Images of Black Males in Popular Media."
The Huffington Post
. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 26 July 2016.
4) Reorganize students so that each new group is made up of a student who has read a different text. In these new groupings prompt student to summarize and share reactions to their reading.
5) Whole group discussion: Post the essential questions of the unit and ask student to think about how the articles reflect those questions. (What is identity? How is identity created? What happens when self-identity and social identity are in conflict? How does our environment (historical/political moment) impact our identities? What does it mean to be Black in America? What does it mean to be Black during the Harlem Renaissance?
How is the self-identity of a minority affected when occupying spaces of dominate identity? What does it mean to be Black in white spaces?)
6) Homework: Reread pages 434-440. Write a journal responding to the following: How do the articles read in class connect to the novel? How is Clifton’s identity shaped by his interaction with the police officer?