English 12: Utopias and Dystopias

Students grapple with the thinking person and utopia. What does it mean to be a thinking person? What makes you think and what gets in the way of your thinking? Are Dystopian writers right about the future? What does dystopian literature communicate to us about our society? What meaningful connections can you make between the themes or characters in the text and your own life? Students engage in discussions using the Socratic method and reflect on how it helps develop a deeper understanding of a text and prepares students for college-level discussions.

Readings: 
Fahrenheit 451
Animal Farm
Oedipus Rex
Macbeth
Media Used: 
Film: Scotland, PA
Standard Deviants video: Shakespeare's Tragedies
American Theater production of Fahrenheit 451
Significant Assignments: 

Students will write an essay comparing their utopian society to the world described in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut.

Comparative essay on Fahrenheit 451 and assigned literature circle text, in which students will develop thesis around one of the essential questions.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Reading of Macbeth: in addition to reading the play, we will listen to and watch various media versions

Student create 10 commandments describing the values, culture, and rules for a utopian society.

Sample PBATs: 
Is a utopia possible?
Why do good people do bad things?
How can ambition be corrupted?