Create Your Own Utopia (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision making by working collaboratively to create a utopian society.

Big Idea

To understand dystopia, we must first understand the idealism of utopia.

Revision Activity and SSR

15 minutes

To wrap up our skills review from the past few days, I am going to hand back students' timed-writes from yesterday and ask them to spend a small chunk of time reviewing their writing and making any changes to their grammar and usage or content. I will have them use the notes they have been writing down during our grammar reviews all week as a revision checklist (W.9-10.5). 

Whenever they finish, I will ask students to read their choice novels or their dystopian novels (more to come on this in later sections) until all their classmates have finished. 

Create Your Own Utopia Overview

5 minutes

A few weeks ago, I book talked out dystopian choice novel options, which are: 

  • A Handmaid's Tale (Atwood)
  • 1984 (Orwell)
  • Brave New World (Huxley)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury)

The students have a chunk of reading due next Wednesday, but before we dive into discussion about the style, purpose and meaning of their books, I want them to have a sense of what makes a dystopia a dystopia.

It may seem counterintuitive to begin this process by having students create their own utopia, but I am hoping that by having them think about what a perfect society could look like, they will have a better idea of what a less than perfect society does look like. I will also ask them, once they are done with this activity, how one person's utopia might very well be another person's dystopia as this will be one of the themes we discuss throughout our reading of the texts. 

I will allow them to work in groups (SL.9-10.1) of their choosing (they seem to do better with creative projects like this when they can work with their friends) and will give them a sheet with categories and questions (modified from this pdf/activity) and ask them to spend 20 minutes brainstorming and ten minutes creating a sales poster for their perfect society (W.9-10.10). 

Create Your Own Utopia Group Work and Poster Creation

30 minutes

As they work, I will circulate the room to monitor their ability to set rules for collegial discussion and decision making (SL.9-10.1b) and listen to the ideas they come up with in their groups.

As I listen, I may ask them probing questions to push them to think about why they are choosing to put certain rules, structures, etc. into their society, as their ability to answer why is more important to me than their ability to brainstorm great ideas with no good reason for their inclusion.


Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

If there is any time left, I will ask them to post their sales posters around the room as preparation for discussion/interactions tomorrow. I will also remind them of their reading homework with their books and remind them that reading over the weekend is a great way to get ahead.