American Lit: What Is Freedom?

Standard: ELAGSE11-12RI8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses.)

Learning Target: I can analyze the use of rhetorical features in an argumentative text.

Opening Session: Schoolhouse Rock singing The Preamble to the United States Constitution:

Work Session: If you look around the room, you’ll see signs that say “The right to bear arms” and “the right to free speech”. Take a few minutes to read the signs, then go to the one you think is the most important. Be prepared to defend yourself! We’re going to have a little debate 🙂

After our debate, grab your textbook and open to page 53. Here is the actual, exact text of the Bill of Rights. When the framers of the Constitution were busy creating America, they wrote the Bill of Rights to guarantee what they considered the “top ten” most important things that should never be taken away from anyone.

I have three questions for you, and I’d like for you to respond with a Brief Constructed Response that answers them all:

  1. Why do you think the framers of the Constitution chose these ten rights to specifically enumerate?
  2. Other countries enjoy similar rights without having them as part of their constitution. Why do you think our framers made these ten rights so immutable?
  3. If the Bill of Rights were written today. which rights would be different from the ones the framers wrote in 1791?

Closing Session: VOCAB!! Get these words defined, you’ll have a quiz on Friday!

  1. Avid
  2. Chimera
  3. Drudgery
  4. Indomitable
  5. Procured
  6. Sap
  7. Shirtwaist
  8. Sterile
  9. Preamble
  10. Posterity

Assessment: Formative (class discussion, brief constructed response)

Differentiation: Process (scaffolding)

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