We are halfway through the semester Studying American Literacy and as I conference with students to determine their grades for their rhetorical analysis essays and they begin work on their argument essay I am already looking ahead to our final unit when my students will join the voices of other National Writing Project teachers across our country to publish a piece on the Writing Our Future: American Creed response site. So far we explored America’s foundational values in connection with our own as well as through a popular culture lens and next we will use argument to examine one specific barrier, gap, or flaw to achieving the American Dream, but I want that final project to connect all our different lessons about writing and audience. I want that final project to be more creative and offer even more choice than previous assignments. I want their final project to be meaningful to my students on both their citizenship journey and their journey as rhetoricians. No pressure, right?
Project: We will respond to the American Creed documentary with a message to other Americans about what it means to be an American
Just as much of our work on the first three of our four units relied heavily on a weaving of NWP C3WP and American Creed resources, I expect that fourth unit will do so as well. I already know that I intend to prepare my students for that final unit by engaging in coloring, slam poetry, and letter writing plus some StoryCorps or Perspectives or games if I can find the time.
In keeping with my Less is More philosophy I want this project, located at the intersection of citizenship and rhetoric, to be something short and focused like a letter, a slam poem, a song, a commentary, a game, or an interview. Are there ideas I’m overlooking? How do you plan your units? Am I the only lunatic that pulls inspiration from about 12 different teachers and even more lessons? What forms should I suggest for my students’ messages about what it means to be an American?