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The American DreamJay Blanton, Heather Wicker and Brad WilliamsWeek OneDay One- ThursdayDay Two- FridayDay Three- MondayDay Four- TuesdayDay Five- WednesdayWeek TwoDay Six- ThursdayDay Seven- FridayDay Eight- MondayDay Nine- TuesdayWeek ThreeDay Eleven- ThursdayDay Twelve- FridayDay Thirteen- MondayDay Fourteen- TuesdayDay Fifteen- WednesdayWeek FourDay Sixteen- ThursdayDay Seventeen- FridayDay Eighteen- MondayDay Nineteen- TuesdayWeek FiveDay Twenty- WednesdayDay Twenty-One- ThursdayDay Twenty-Two- FridayDay Twenty-Three- MondayDay Twenty-Four- TuesdayWeek SixDay Twenty-Five- WednesdayDay Twenty-Six- ThursdayDay Twenty-Seven- FridayDay Twenty-Eight- MondayDay Twenty-Nine- TuesdayDay Thirty- WednesdayDay Thirty-One- ThursdayOf Mice and MenCritical Analysis EssayDue date: ____________________BodyConclusionOther ComponentsCritical Analysis Final Grade__________________The American DreamJay Blanton, Heather Wicker and Brad WilliamsDecember 4, 20012Context:We will be teaching this six-week unit on “The American Dream” using variousAmerican literature texts. As this unit is somewhat modeled around the materials we willeach be using in our student teaching, it will be taught beginning a few weeks into thesecond semester of the school year. We will be teaching tenth grade college prep studentsin the Gwinnett County school system. Our students are all in the college prep track, butthey embrace different kinds of learning styles and the level of proficiency of our studentsmay vary from low to high achievers. Though we are at three different schools, the contextis largely the same: a predominantly conservative, middle-class, white community. Theschool’s population averages from two to four thousand students. There is some culturaldiversity in these schools, but the students are roughly 80% white, with the remainder ofthe population being made up of all other racial/ethnic groups. The gender ratio isrelatively even, with roughly 50% males and 50% females with approximately thirtystudents in each classroom.Text:• Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing”• Langston Hughes’ “I, Too, Sing America”• e. e. cummings’ “next to of course god america I”• Louise Erdrich’s “Dear John Wayne”• Martin Luther King, JR.’s “I have a Dream”• F. S. Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams”• John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and MenThe “American Dream” is a myth that has overtaken the United States of America fromits very inception. Why do we desire to live the American Dream? Where do people3develop this longing to fulfill this dream? Do those who are born in this country have thesame perspective on the American Dream as those who have immigrated here from othercountries? Who formed these dreams? Did we decide what we want or did our parentsinstill these dreams in us? The unit that we have planned will address not only what theAmerican Dream is, but how do we attain it and is it unattainable? Also, we will confrontthe issue of the American Dream as it is presented from various perspectives. There is nodenying that race, class, sexual orientation, and gender all have an effect on how weperceive, pursue and attain the American Dream. In teaching this unit we will help to openthe minds of our students to look at the dreams of Americans and to judge for themselveswhether they will choose to believe that such a thing as The American Dream exists. Priorto the terrorist attacks on the United States of America on September 11, 2001, ourstudents seemed to be living in their own dream world. Our students have never had todeal with the harsh realities of terrorism and war. Our students seemed to be growing upwith their very own American Dreams that in reality were probably unattainable. Now thatAmerica has been jolted into the reality of uncertainty, we feel that it would be wise to askour students to look at Americans from yesteryears and to judge for themselves whetherAmerican Dreams are realistic, or not. Some students see the American Dream as having a house with a white picket fence, aSUV in the driveway, a golden retriever, a happy marriage, and 2.5 kids. Some otherstudents see the American Dream as being able to live comfortably well into old agewithout being financially burdened. Some see a realistic American Dream as merelysurviving. The question that we pose to our students is, “Can the American Dream happenin the America of today?” We have chosen text that will challenge our students to decide4for themselves what their definition of the American Dream was and is and how itcan/cannot be attained. We will encourage our students to think critically about howdifferent races, cultures, sexes, and classes experience the American Dream. By the end ofour unit the students will be able to argue for, or against the attainability of the AmericanDream and they will be able to defend for themselves our reasoning for teaching this unit.They will also be able to define and defend their own American Dream. We want ourstudents to come to know who they are based on their own privilege. We want to open thelines of communication with our students to help them realize the privilege that they havecome from is what dictates how their future will turn out. We want our students to realizethat, “ class [is] more than just a question of money, that it shape[s] values, attitudes, socialrelations, and the biases that inform[] the way knowledge [is] given and received” (hooks,1994). We want them to think critically about themselves and their heritages. As JoanWink says, we want them to embrace critical thinking because it “calls us to name, tothrow on the table, and then to provide a safe place where ALL can reflect on it, and beginto deconstruct it. Only after this can we take action and build a more just society for all.”Once we make sure that our students know who they are, where they come from, and whatand why they believe as they do, then we can “read and write our real world” (Wink,2000). After making sure that the students understand themselves and their heritage thenthey can begin to live their lives as critical pedagogues. They can begin to see criticalthinking as a way of life.We will begin our unit, on a Thursday, by introducing the concept of the AmericanDream to the students. We will give the students an Opinnionaire with statements about theAmerican Dream that they have to respond to (see page 19). This exercise will help them5to


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