Introduction to Social Criticism Vocabulary

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SWBAT gain knowledge of language that will help them engage with a text at a higher level by discussing the definition of these terms and connecting them to things they know about the world.

Big Idea

Complex vocabulary is necessary to discuss texts in complex ways.

Lesson Overview

Today, students will be introduced to a set of vocabulary words used in critical theory.  They will be applying these terms to the story we read together, “Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type.” This is not meant to be an in depth study of these college level ideas. I simply aim to give students a set of vocabulary words they can use to engage with the story at a level 2 and level 3. The idea is that sophisticated language can help them discuss texts in sophisticated ways, important to CCSS. L.11-12.4. Also, these words will be very useful in later units. Terms like oppression, agency, status quo, hierarchy will all be useful when we read slave narratives, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and other texts. I need to give them a brief overview of these terms early in the year. 

Introduction to Social Criticism Vocabulary

20 minutes

I begin by reminding students that they were just introduced to Costa's Levels of Questioning and that it is a cornerstone of the curriculum in this class. I announce that I am introducing them today to another cornerstone in my curriculum. In a brief introduction of critical theory, I explain to students that I am introducing them to a set of beliefs that make up a theory. I don't intend to engage them in an in depth study of this theory. This is just a broad overview. The purpose is to give them language with which to talk about this story at a level 2 and level 3.

I distribute a sheet titled Social Criticism Vocabulary, which has terms and definitions. The paper has a blank space available for examples. I go over each definition and ask students to suggest examples of each. The list of terms seems too long to tackle at one time in this manner, but I find that students find this theory very interesting. It is easy to help them apply it to their lives. They are at an age when their freedom and sense of justice has recently taken a central role in their lives. What ends up happening during this lesson is that as I explain each definition, we begin to talk about their experience with these social dynamics. Students share the power relationships in their home. We all discuss the power structure at our school. We use some of these experiences as examples on their paper. In this video, I explain how I use this list of Social Criticism vocabulary and the examples we wrote on their paper.

Next Steps

2 minutes

The next step is for students to apply these terms to "Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type" in groups. This step can definitely be added to this lesson and be completed in one class period. For me, this part of the lesson had to be pushed to the following day because we were scheduled to get textbooks and assign them to students, which is always a task that takes longer than seems necessary. 

I do let students know that in the next lesson, they will be working in groups to apply these terms to "Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type" and they will present their work to the rest of the class.