4 week unit plan for combined 11 th grade u s history and english literature
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4-Week Unit Plan for Combined 11 th Grade U.S. History and English Literature. Developed by Daniel McFarlane. Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives. Understand and comprehend the social and economic themes of the Great Depression through literature and historical study.

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4-Week Unit Plan for Combined 11 th Grade U.S. History and English Literature

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4 week unit plan for combined 11 th grade u s history and english literature

4-Week Unit Plan for Combined 11th Grade U.S. History and English Literature

Developed by

Daniel McFarlane

Student learning outcomes objectives

Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives

  • Understand and comprehend the social and economic themes of the Great Depression through literature and historical study

New york state standards english language arts commencement level 11 th grade

New York State Standards: English Language ArtsCommencement Level/11th grade

New York State Standards: Social Studies

Commencement Level

Iste nets and performance indicators for students net s

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students (NET-S)

Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

  • A. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media

  • B. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

  • C. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures

  • D. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems

Student demographics population

Student Demographics/Population

  • 11th grade U.S. History class

  • Student population: 18

  • 1 student with a visual impairment

  • Majority of students are at or just above reading grade level literacy.

  • Small percentage have a learning disability-Reading comprehension and decoding.

Two different learning groups

Two Different Learning Groups

1 student with visual impairment.

  • Student will be assigned the same reading list, but required text has been modified with larger print.

  • The student will be accommodated by having their chosen reading assigned one-week earlier to provide additional time.

  • A laptop will be used when running videos to accommodate student’s vision impairment and video magnifying software will be used as needed.

  • Final assessment project will have an operating system with special-accessibility options (screen enlargement, adjustment of keyboard, etc..).

    Students with reading comprehension and decoding issues

  • A variety of graphic organizer software and reading strategies will be implemented to assist in reading the assigned text (K-W-L, SQ3R, etc.).

  • Additional time will be provided for the students to read assigned text and 1:1 time with reading teacher to assist in comprehension and decoding. The reading teacher will use talking electronic software to pronounce challenging words for the students.

  • Students may work with the reading teacher or myself for the learning log. This will help with comprehension and development.

Target goals essential questions

Target Goals: Essential Questions

  • How does the economy change citizens’ perceptions about government?

  • How does the government change society through domestic policy?

  • How do social issues impact literature and authors’ views and perceptions of history?

  • What is the difference between a piece of written literature and the presentation of authentic historical facts, data and events?

Lesson structure

Lesson Structure

The Hook

  • http://www.bringinghistoryhome.org/assets/bringinghistoryhome/4th-grade/unit-2/4_dep_depression_game.pdf

  • This game is designed as a class simulation to provide a realistic and tangible feel for how people, politicians, banks and others interacted and dealt with the worst economic period in American history. This emulates the real life trauma that different people endured during The Great Depression.

    The Bridge

  • Review previous lessons and issues that led to the Great Depression.

  • Review previous English courses for contextualization related to this course and unit.

    Special Materials

  • Large Print books

  • Laptop Computer

  • Operating system special-accessibility options (screen enlargement)

  • Letter and word magnification software

Steps of the lesson 4 week unit 11 th grade

Steps of the Lesson4 Week Unit/11th Grade

  • Introduce the Great Depression and Wall Street Collapse of 1929.

  • Discuss period literature and its importance to History.

  • Choose one of three readings for class:

    • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    • A Room of My Own: A Novel by Ann Tatlock

    • Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: Letters from Children of the Great Depression by Robert Cohen, Editor

  • Video presentation

    • Franklin D. Roosevelt and 1933 announcement of government actions for recovery.

    • http://www.besthistorysites.net/USHistory_GreatDepression.shtml

    • This video is being shown to show why John Steinbeck wrote about the Great Depression years and what Americans were enduring during that historical period.

Steps of lesson continued

Steps of Lesson Continued…

  • Compare and contrast business interests and overall American economic collapse and unemployment (1929-1940).

  • Discuss issues surrounding the presidential election between Hoover and Roosevelt (1932).

  • Understand voting patterns of 1932 with other American elections and the economic climate.

  • Discuss readings by students and social/economic issues of the era.

  • Mini-assessment (students in pairs-use computers to compare/contrast election of 1932 to 2008 and document findings-followed by class discussion).

John steinbeck and the grapes of wrath video presentation

John Steinbeck and the “Grapes of Wrath” video presentation


Steps of lesson continued1

Steps of lesson Continued…

  • Discuss New Deal-policies and initiatives.

  • The outcome for the audio portion of FDR’s discussion on the New Deal is to understand what was being said then and how the President presented his ideas and how he wanted to get America back to work.

  • Economic issues in Europe-lead in to WWII.

  • America’s entry into WWII and economic implications.

  • Readings should be complete by end of unit (4 week period).


Assessment rubric based great depression economy elections and literature

Assessment/Rubric BasedGreat Depression/Economy/Elections and Literature

  • Students are provided the following as there assessment for this unit:

  • Assessment rationale: This assessment is designed to provide an authentic way to collaborate and work together in demonstrating a grasp of all the critical events for The Great Depression and its associated literature. I believe as a group-based project, they will better learn and have the opportunity to use a form of technology to convey understanding of concepts and materials.

    Technology-based Presentation/Learning Log

  • Students will utilize the website Webspiration to collaboratively develop a comprehensive time-line to demonstrate a clear and concise understanding of events, literature, politics, government programs and social and economic impacts of that era. Students will be broken up into six (6) groups of three (3) to do this component and presentation. Students will use graphics, colors, dates, fonts and overall creativity to produce their time lines.

  • The students’ also will write a total of 4 paragraphs in their learning logs, which is on their individual Wikispaces, to provide them an opportunity to use their writing skills and reflect on what they learned over the past month. They will be graded independently on this portion of the assessment.

Assessment criterion students great depression economy elections and literature

Assessment Criterion/StudentsGreat Depression/Economy/Elections and Literature

  • Develop and design a timeline that easily conveys an understanding of the events from the Great Depression (1929-1940).

  • Include the use of readings assigned in class and show connections between readings and the Great Depression era.

  • Show an understanding of dates, facts and time progression for this unit of study.

  • The timeline should display a minimum of five events and images related to the Great Depression and will include components of history taught and assigned literature. (Examples contained herewith)

  • Graphics should show a relationship to the Great Depression and be effective in conveying the theme of that time.

  • All material presented on the timeline should be date accurate and consistent with the Great Depression.

  • Using the timeline show a connection between the events of the Great Depression and one other time frame that we discussed in U.S. history. Show an understanding of economics, literature and history. Be creative and innovative in this endeavor.

Examples of appropriate images

Examples of Appropriate Images

Project rubric

Project Rubric

Project rubric1

Project Rubric

Project rubric2

Project Rubric

Technology-based Presentation



  • Pairs for computer project

  • Individual reading assignment of books

  • Oral

  • Video (two presented)

  • Period Literature

  • Writing on Whiteboard

  • Q and A sessions

  • Group work on computers, class discussion

  • Develop poster project/technology-based presentation

Changes for next time

Changes for Next Time

  • Evaluate length of unit and time spent presenting.

  • More options/different options of books.

  • Rigor of final assessment.

  • Add a guest speaker to talk about Great Depression.

Teacher reflections

Teacher Reflections

  • Did my teaching meet the goals and objectives of my unit on The Great Depression?

  • Did I meet the New York State Standards and ISTE standards for students?

  • Did I meet the needs of all my students and provide the tools necessary to help them succeed in this unit?

  • Were the choices in literature appropriate and impactful to enhance the study of The Great Depression?

  • Were the essential questions that were associated with this unit answered in a comprehensive manner for my students?

  • Did the “Bringing History Home-The Great Depression Game” provide a good learning opportunity and meet the goals of game-based learning?

  • Did I use a variety of multimedia to add instructional and experiential value to this unit?

  • Was the technology I used accessible to all of my students?

  • Did this lesson use best practices effectively?

  • Was my assessment authentic and provided a good way to reflect and bring all of the components of this lesson together?

  • Would I make any changes next time to improve this unit for my students?

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