Friday, November 15, 2013

The Essential Question in English 10A: START HERE

10A Important words within the ESSENTIAL QUESTION FOR THIS COURSE

es•sen•tial [i sénshəl] ADJECTIVE

1. necessary: of the highest importance for achieving something  "It's essential that we arrive on time."  "an essential ingredient"; 2. basic: being the most basic element or feature of something or somebody  "reinforcing the essential organizational framework" ; 3. defining: constituting the property or characteristic of something that makes it what it is

self-i•den•ti•ty [sĕlfˌī-dĕnˈtĭ-tē] NOUN

1. Oneness of a thing with itself.  2. Awareness of and identification with oneself as a separate individual.|

in•teg•ri•ty [in téggrətee ] NOUN|

1. possession of firm principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards; 2. completeness: the state of being complete or undivided ( formal ) "the territorial integrity of the nation" ; 3. wholeness: the state of being sound or undamaged ( formal ) "public confidence in the integrity of the voting process"

char•ac•ter [kárrəktər] NOUN


1. distinctive qualities: the set of qualities that make somebody or something distinctive, especially somebody's qualities of mind and feeling "It's just not in my character to behave that way." ; 2. positive qualities: qualities that make somebody or something interesting or attractive "an old house full of character"; 3. reputation: somebody's public reputation "an attack on his good character that ended in court"; 4. unusual person: somebody with an unusual or eccentric personality; 5. individual: somebody considered in terms of personality, behavior, or appearance "a flamboyant character"

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

What Is an Essential Question?

Your literature studies in this English 10A course are aimed at answering an essential question for you and for us in your independent study. This might be new to you. As a member of our learning community, we value each learner’s contribution to our collective learning. You have a responsibility to your own learning and what you learn becomes valuable to the learning of the larger group.

When learning with an essential question, you have to think critically. Instead of simply looking up answers, you must study, conduct independent research based on what interests you, you must think, and create original answers that are meaningful to you. An essential question:

1. provokes deep thought.

2. solicits information-gathering and evaluation of data.

3. results in an original answer.

4. helps students conduct problem-related research.

5. makes students produce original ideas rather than predetermined answers.

6. may not have an answer.

7. encourages critical thinking not just memorization of facts.
This term we will be focusing on the following essential question:

How does one find and preserve one’s self-identity, integrity & character amidst life’s challenges?


We will begin to construct new understandings of this concept by exploring our personal definition and understanding of self-identity, integrity and character.

DIRECTIONS: The “PIECES OF ME” Essay is designed to be a writing pretest but also a first snapshot of your own “self-identity”, integrity and character. You will use your “PIECES OF ME” in-class writing as a brainstorming piece for the SELF-IDENTITY BOXES that will take this a step further.

For this portion of the study, you must find 5 objects that define your self-identity, your integrity and your character. These objects must show a deeper, symbolic understanding of who you are. They must NOT be literal representations of your interests or personality.

For example, if you love baseball and play every day, DO NOT include a baseball in your bag or PowerPoint. This would be a literal (exact, straightforward) definition of who you are. If you are
passionate about music, do NOT include an iTunes card in your bag. This only focuses on your interests—not how you see yourself.

Please look beyond what you do with your time and look into who you really are, what you stand for, what you believe, your culture, and more. Please look at the definitions at the top of the unit menu. Think about the questions that were used to prompt your PIECES OF ME Essay:

• What experiences in your life help to define you?

• Is there one moment or event in your life that defines you?

• Which word or words best describe you?

• Do you have strong opinions on certain subjects?

• Do you have guiding principles that you live by?

• Have you ever been treated differently by others for any reason?

One example of a strong choice would be a scrap of metal. You could explain that throughout your life you have been strong and rigid, able to stand up under great emotional and physical burdens. Note the

symbolic and figurative (metaphorical, emblematic) nature of this choice. You will be sharing your objects with your classmates and writing about the connection between these objects and your identity. Make sure to have a valid justification for WHY you chose this object.

FORMAT: You can present your objects in one of the following ways:

• A PowerPoint Presentation (must be eventually sent to Mr. McLaughlin; must have 5 different slides with a picture of your symbol with a short paragraph included that explains how your selection symbolizes a piece of your identity)

• Bag of artifacts (you must bring a bag that contains your items, which must have a short paragraph attached to each item that explains how this item symbolizes a piece of your identity. This bag of objects must be photographed and the photographs need to be sent to Mr. McLaughlin.)

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