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I have never created Thematic Units before,  I will teach Sr. English (British Lit)...

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lindzc | eNoter

Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:30 AM via web

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I have never created Thematic Units before,  I will teach Sr. English (British Lit) and must develop thematic units. I have 2 ?'s see more details

So far I have Mystery Genre: Poe and Doyle short stories, combined with And Then There Were None and Oliver Twist (I must also cover all Literary periods).  A Poetry Unit...calling that Poetry a Linear Approach...developing an actual literary periods time line and finding poetry for each period.  Shakespeare Unit...Hamlet from a social criticism approach.  Finally Dystopian Values Unit...1984, Lord of the Flies, Incarceron, are my novels, The Lottery, The Ones Who Walk Away From the Omelas, and Harrison Bergeron are my short stories.  Do these sound like solid units?

Also any suggestions on poems to use in the Poetry section.  I have 3 biggies and nothing else right now....Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  Who are some poets or poems  you feel students must come in contact with?

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted May 20, 2011 at 7:42 AM (Answer #2)

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You have some great ideas!  For your poetry unit, I would definitely add a section on sonnets (from Shakespeare and others), ballads (medieval and modern), odes and elegies, free verse and perhaps a section on contemporary poetry.

I would suggest "Ode on a Grecian Urn" for an ode, Yeats "The Second Coming" is modern, Percy Shelly, John Keats, John Donne, are generally all included in a poetry survery.

The good news is that he periods I mention do tend to run chronologically. 

GOOD LUCK!

 

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:23 AM (Answer #3)

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There is so much poetry out there, I'd try to narrow it down by utilizing what isn't covered in other years of high school. Shakespeare's sonnet that starts "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" is always a hit with my students. I also love teaching Blake's "Tyger"and "Lamb".

My other main concern with your units is that Poe seems not to fit so well as he is among the only American authors you're trying to cover. Is the 12th grade year in your school supposed to focus on British literature, or is authors' origin inconsequential?

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 5:49 AM (Answer #4)

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I would also suggest that with thematic units it is well worth taking time to introduce the themes you are going to focus on and trying to make links with those themes through ways that your students will know about. Sometimes this can feel like a waste of time, but I have found it is absolutely vital to help students make links through comparing and contrasting those themes to their situation. This acts as a time that we always revisit as we study the texts themselves.

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docent5353 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM (Answer #5)

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I have never created Thematic Units before,  I will teach Sr. English (British Lit) and must develop thematic units. I have 2 ?'s see more details

So far I have Mystery Genre: Poe and Doyle short stories, combined with And Then There Were None and Oliver Twist (I must also cover all Literary periods).  A Poetry Unit...calling that Poetry a Linear Approach...developing an actual literary periods time line and finding poetry for each period.  Shakespeare Unit...Hamlet from a social criticism approach.  Finally Dystopian Values Unit...1984, Lord of the Flies, Incarceron, are my novels, The Lottery, The Ones Who Walk Away From the Omelas, and Harrison Bergeron are my short stories.  Do these sound like solid units?

Also any suggestions on poems to use in the Poetry section.  I have 3 biggies and nothing else right now....Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  Who are some poets or poems  you feel students must come in contact with?

Thematic Units are an excellent way to be able to find areas of common scholarship with your fellow teachers.  I received a graduate credential from the University of Phoenix, Master's In Education/ Teacher Certification program and when we were taught about Thematic Units, they paired us up with 3 other people in different subject areas.

I teach History, so as the group leader, it was my job to find 3 other teachers and together we produced a Thematic Unit.  Our topic was:  American Multiculturalism.  So I created a lesson plan that focused on the History of the 3 dominant racial/political groups in America.  I asked my friend Chrissy to discuss/ and bring samples of the music of these same 3 groups.  I then spoke to Jon, a science teacher and asked him to discuss why scientifically these 3 racial groups had various phenotypical attributes.  Lastly, my friend Rosemary was an Art teacher, so I asked her to bring in and discuss the famous artists that are representative of these cultural groups.

Thematic Units are versatile and exciting.  You can organize the topics you select according to your preference.  You might organize Thematic Units around a time period, a geographical location or even a mood.  The choice is yours.  I am certain you will find tons of material once you decide how you would like to present and organize your information.  

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 23, 2011 at 9:21 AM (Answer #6)

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Our school teaches British and World Literature at the 12th grade level.  You already have some great suggestions for poetry here, but I would include:  "To His Coy Mistress" and "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning".  In addition, I would add Pablo Neruda's "Ode To My Socks" for fun.  It's a great poem, evoking much laughter, and a perfect specimen on which to practice close reading and analysis.

Good Luck!

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 23, 2011 at 11:43 AM (Answer #7)

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If your authors must be British, then you will need to reevaluate several of the short stories you are thinking of because many of them are American authors (Poe, Jackson, Vonnegut).

As for poetry, my students always enjoy Elizabeth and Robert Browning -- Victorian period.  Elizabeth writes the classic "How do I love thee..." and Robert writes the creepy stuff like "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess."

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 23, 2011 at 2:25 PM (Answer #8)

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Those sound like great units, but they will take time. I found it interesting that you included Oliver Twist in the mystery unit. Great Expectations seems more fitting to me! As for poetry, find a book that organizes poems chronologically. Then you can easily choose poems by time period that you like. You can also have students find poems they like from different time periods.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:27 AM (Answer #9)

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I teach Brit Lit to my Seniors as well.  I begin with terminology associated with the genre (metaphors, kennings, alliteration, elegy poetry, themes, and characteristics of the epic story and epic hero).  I have a Kenning activity where they must identify provided Kennings and then create 5 of their own- these turned out to be wonderful!! Next I move into the poetry: "The Wanderer", "The Wife's Lament", and "The Seafarer". I always use modern translations- the material is hard enough for some students, I simply do not want them struggling with the language as well.  One activity that I do is allow them to listen to a reading of one of the poems or an excerpt from Beowulf in Old English.  They try to figure out the kennings and some of the words while they listen as to engage active listening. The two main pieces that I teach are Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  Both pieces have gone over very well.  I was actually surprised at how well they responded. It is nice using material that will traverse the year given that many of the other texts I use incorporate the characteristics of the epic, the hero, and the poetic devices.  Good luck with your unit.  I am sure you will find plenty of good advice and suggestions on eNotes!

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted June 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM (Answer #10)

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I think it is worth having a selection of war poetry to keep a theme going too. It is possible to go from 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', through the First World War poetry of Owen, Sassoon and Vera Brittain (good to cover the women's perspective too) and at least up to Adrian Mitchell's 'To Whom It May Concern'.

I enjoy teaching thematically and am currently using Representations of Men and Women as a focus for a range of senior literature.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 15, 2011 at 11:33 PM (Answer #11)

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Going along with #5 - one of the aspects of thematic units that I most love is the potential of bringing other areas of the curriculum together. Time is of the essence in most classrooms (and in the lives of teachers trying to prepare thematic units!) but those connections can be powerful, and we don't get enough opportunities to highlight them.

If you don't have the time, ask your students to locate a piece of artwork that they feel reflects one of your themes. Better yet, differentiate the assignment by asking everyone to bring in some non-written but related artifact. If the theme is "mystery" they could bring in spooky music, mysterious abstract art, unidentified items in a box for students to feel and identify by touch (remember the game when you were a kid?), mystery meat sandwiches to share - tap into their varied learning styles by allowing them to determine what to contribute.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 25, 2011 at 8:57 AM (Answer #12)

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I would include Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: the characters are interesting, and some of their tales are great as well. You might want to discuss the importance of Chaucer's work in that he wrote in the Middle English, which was the language of the emerging middle class, and not the aristocracy, who spoke Norman French. This changed the direction of the English language.

You mention Brit. Lit. Are you doing this separately from thematic units?…because Poe is an American author. If you are doing American authors, I would include Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," and I personally like "The Magic Barrel" by Malamud.

I also might cover some of Morte d'Arthur by Malory. Kids usually love the Arthurian legends.

It's wonderful that you are covering Gawain, and especially Hamlet!

 

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jrichstad | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:21 AM (Answer #13)

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To give a little structure to your section on poetry, you might consider organizing it around form as well. I've had success teaching sonnets as a unit. You might start with Wyatt, move to Shakespeare, jump ahead to one of the Romantics (Wordsworth or Shelley), skip to "The Second Coming," and then finish up, if you have time, with a contemporary sonnet (I like Fiona Sampson's "The X-File". You can look then at the way that, while form changes, something that seems as antiquated as a sonnet can still be very relevant for writers working today.

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