Unit 5: Contemporary Issues

Children’s Parade (1970), by Lee Howick. © 2009 Kodak



After reading and evaluating the position of various sources, ENGLISH 3P students will be able to formulate their own views of the issues explored by the editorial articles by discussing the issues in Four Square Exercise and a timed write essay.


American Dream, social class, economics, central claim/ argument, purpose, tone, evidence, ethos, pathos, logos, call to action

Unit Essential Questions:


1.  What is the American Dream?  What are the defining characteristics of the American Dream today?

2.  How do contemporary Americans view the American Dream? Why?

3. How do current events and historical context define and affect our views of the American Dream?

american-dreamflier_Page_1“That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” (p.214-215) James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America, 1931

Objective 1: Contextualizing the American Dream

Students can contextualize the concept of the American Dream as an ideal that is defined by socio-cultural and economic factors, and can respond to various viewpoints on the concept.

I. Pre-Reading: Gallery Walk & TED Talk: Awakening the American Dream by Kevin Maggiacomo

II. Reading: “America & Americans: Is the American Dream Even Possible?” by John Steinbeck, “Rethinking the American Dream” by David Kamp, “In Search of The American Dream” by Jonas Clark

III. Post-Reading: Four Corner Discussion

Objective 2: The Politics of Food

After close reading four articles about the topic of food politics, students will be able to write a response essay that discusses food preferences and potential policy proposals.

csa-header-700x357I.  Pre-Reading: Quickwrite on Food Choices, Forks Over Knives

II.  Readings: Close Reading of the following articles


III.  Post Readings: Summarize and Respond to the articles with a personal or policy view of food politics.