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"American History" Background and Discussion Questions

Focus on characterization and theme

Krystal VanDuysen

on 11 October 2016

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Transcript of "American History" Background and Discussion Questions

As you read..
Connections: A Poem
"American History"
By: Judith Ortiz Coler

Do Now- Journal Entry:
In the short story we will read today, the main character Elena is attracted to a boy her age for several reasons.

Think about the qualities in a person that are attractive to you.
Consider appearance, values, ways of treating others, interests.
If some of these things are not important, than say so.
Write a paragraph of your ideal friend- either boy or girl.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
"American History" takes place on the day of President Kennedy's assassination.
The President's death deeply saddened the Puerto Rican-American community because, as Cofer points out, "President Kennedy was a saint to these people."
Not only was he a charming young father and husband, but his goals were their dreams.
He pledged to fight racial discrimination in the U.S., raise standards of living, and wipe out communism is Latin American countries.

Be active!
Use your bookmarks to look for
Notice and Note Signposts.
Highlight/ annotate
Read the poem and annotate.
In your groups, discuss the purpose and meaning of this poem.
How does it relate to "American History"?
this morning
Lucille Clifton

Author Background
Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952- )
Cofer was born in Puerto Rico but moved at a young age to Paterson, NJ, where she lived in a large apartment building known by it's residents as "El Building."
Whenever her father, a navy man, was active on duty, her mother would take the family back to Puerto Rico to live with their grandmother.
Her father pushed her to adopt American ways, while her mother counseled her to hold on to Puerto Rico customs.

Exit Ticket
What world events, either tragic or transformational, do you remember best?
Reading Check: True or False
1) The story is set in an apartment building in Puerto Rico.
2) Eugene's family lives in the only house on the block that has a yard and trees.
3) Elena manages to meet Eugene in one of her honors classes.
4) Elena finally tells Eugene that she can see into his family's kitchen window.
5) Eugene's mother refuses to let Elena enter the house.
Objective: SWBAT
practice using Notice and Note Signposts
and Text Dependent Questions in order to
identify and analyze theme in the short story "American History"
by Judith Ortiz Coler
by completing a reading log and text dependent questions (TDQ's).
Standards: RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail it’s development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Group Tasks

Background Clip- Be prepared to share 2 things you learned from the clip!
Academic Vocabulary
Do Now: Journal Entry
Summarize what we have read up to in "American History."
Today I will...
So that I can...
I'll know I have it when...
Copy and complete in journal
1 2 3 4
In my favorite Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, the major theme is to accept who you really are and to stay true to yourself.
Your definition:
In your own words, describe theme.
The theme in a story is its underlying message, or 'big idea.' In other words, what critical belief about life is the author trying to convey in the writing of a novel, play, short story or poem?
Complete the Notice and Note Reading Log
Complete the Text Dependent Questions
Finish whatever is not completed in class!
Take out your homework- "The Scholarship Jacket TDQ's"
October 8, 2015
Full transcript