My unit is for ELA B10, the theme is equity and ethics with a strong focus on discrimination. Having such a valuable and important topic such as discrimination led me to pick the objectives based on how much my students could grow and learn from this unit. I wanted the students to experience not only academic growth through this unit, but also personal growth. I wanted them to start challenging the norms of society and to start critically analyzing why people discriminate. I wanted them to explore what discrimination looks like, feels like, sounds like and most importantly, I wanted them to reflect on their own values and beliefs and how their own biases may result or lead into discrimination. Through exploring and analyzing discrimination I wanted students to be able to successfully assess and reflect on their learning, comprehend and respond to texts from a multitude of voices and perspectives, and compose and create their own texts and build meaning from the creation of, interaction with, new ideas.
Although discrimination is an important topic, it may also be a touchy one; some students may be uncomfortable with the topic, and others may even be completely oblivious to its existence or relevance. With this in mind I decided it was very important to plan for a lot of assessment for learning, first of all, to make sure that students were on the right track of understanding what discrimination is and how it affects people, and secondly, to make sure that students were responding positively to the topic, and that they were alright with coming out of their comfort zones. In a perfect world this unit would result in the students never discriminating against people again, but this will never be the case, therefore, I plan to assess my students on how well they are able to critically analyze the roots of discrimination, so why it exists, how it forms, how it affects everyone in the world; how it provides inequities in society. The students will be given several different opportunities to show their learning along as in several different forms.
In order to accommodate all the learning styles/needs of the students, I incorporated a wide variety of instructional methods into this unit. However, small group work is the most frequently used. I feel that small group work is the best approach in discovering and learning about discrimination because it allows students to share their own experiences with one another, to take responsibility of their own and group members learning, and it allows for a lot of collaborative interaction. Small group work, also allows students to discuss their thoughts and ideas before sharing with the larger group, which I feel provides the opportunity for more meaningful and rich discussions.
Since this unit provides students with a lot of group work, I anticipate some difficulty with classroom management. In order to effectively deal with this I plan to make my expectations and classroom procedures very clear with my students, also I plan to give each group member a role in their group, to ensure that everyone is participating responsibly. I also anticipate some ignorance and misconceptions towards the topic of discrimination; to make sure that the classroom remains a safe place for all my students I will explain to them and perhaps even their parents that any language that is hurtful or offending will not be tolerated in the classroom, and that we always need to be aware of the language we use. (think before you speak).
I chose a wide variety of resources, with multiple voices and perspectives for this unit. I wanted the resources to represent as many groups of people as possible, so that all my students had something or someone to identify with and also for them to “get to know” the perspectives of other groups that seem foreign to them. The resources used in this unit also take several different forms, including, a novel, videos, articles, poems, short stories, documents, and movies. I feel the variety of these resources will allow students to explore different forms of discrimination, different groups of people who are often discriminated against, and ways that these characters have struggled, dealt with, and overcome discrimination.