In 2010, the Connecticut State Board of Education adopted the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects as the Connecticut Core Standards (CCS). In 2017, a representative group of New Haven Public Schools teachers, working with the CCS as a starting point, developed a list of performance indicators and scoring criteria for high school English under four specific competencies: 1 - Reading, 2 - Writing, 3 - Speaking & Listening, and 4 - Inquiry. Following are the performance indicators directly addressed by the teaching and assessed through the student work of this unit. Each contains a reference to the College and Career Readiness Standard(s) in the CCS from which it was drawn.
1a. Comprehend complex literary and informational texts by determining what the text says explicitly and what it implies (CCR.R1)
1b. Support conclusions drawn from the text with specific evidence when writing or speaking (CCR.R1)
1c. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics (CCR.R9)
1d. Analyze the text to determine how author’s choices relate to each other to shape the meaning of the work as a whole (CCR.R4-6)
The above reading indicators are addressed primarily through the reading, analysis (both formal and informal), and discussion of the core text, George Orwell’s 1984. Many of these skills, for example comparing how multiple texts address the same theme, will also be an integral component of working with the shorter peripheral texts used throughout the unit.
2a. Develop argumentative writing to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts (CCR.W1)
2b. Develop informative or explanatory writing to examine and convey complex ideas and information (CCR.W2)
2c. Develop narrative writing to convey real or imagined experiences or events (CCR.W3)
2d. Organize writing in a way that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience (CCR.W4)
2e. Use the conventions of standard English (grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling) when writing (CCR.L1-2)
2f. Use language appropriate for audience and purpose (CCR.L3)
2g. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach (CCR.W5)
The above writing indicators will be addressed throughout the unit, but 2a and 2d-g will be especially important in composing the final argumentative essay. Indicators 2b-c will be addressed throughout the unit in shorter writing assignments building from the readings and preparing for discussions.
3a. Prepare for a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners (CCR.SL1)
3b. Participate in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners (CCR.SL1)
Student discussion is a key component to students exploring the topics and essential questions of this unit. Their preparation for and participation in these discussions, whether small group or whole class, is part of the learning of the unit.
4b. Assess the credibility and accuracy of each source.
4c. Select relevant information that advances my line of inquiry (CCR.W8)
4d. Develop and pursue questions to demonstrate and expand understanding of a subject (CCR.W7)
In developing their final written argument, students will be sifting through a large amount of information from the unit. They will be pursuing an argument specific to their own interest that stems from the work of the unit. During the final week of the unit, attention will be given to instruction on choosing, referencing, and citing source material to support students’ arguments.