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Topic: Resilience of the Human Spirit in One Day in the Life of Ivan

Grade Level and Subject: IB Literature Year 1 (grade 11)
Overview: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich details what
happens during one day in a Soviet gulag and follows one
characters observations and actions. In the end, after enduring
extreme cold, hunger, the injustices and inequalities in the gulag
hierarchy, students understand how human endurance and
resilience is essential to survival. It is a study of the human
Choice of Performance Assessment: Reading Log Response(s)
based on the reading and analysis of the text and research of
culture and context. The novel is broken into 5 sections. For each
reading log, students must:
read and interact with the section of text
find two significant quotes and write a 1-3 sentence reflection
on why each is significant
ask two relevant questions about what theyve read, one
theme based, the other style based
respond to a teacher guided question in a 300-400 word
response using textual evidence for support and explanation
Time: This assessment will take the entire time of the unit covers
6 weeks
Essential Questions:
1. What do you love about your home? What would happen if you
were exiled from it?
2. If you knew you could be arrested and imprisoned simply for
making a joke about your countys leader, how would that change
your attitude/behavior?
3. Are people born good? What makes them act poorly to one
4. What is the purpose of work if there is no reward/payment for
doing it? Can it be worthwhile?
5. How do people maintain their humanity when all the normal
indicators are taken from them?
6. How would you define and/or explain the resilience of man?
Formative Tasks:
1. Consider the essential questions in a reflection/share (class
2. Prose Poetry Analysis (and introduction to author) - Freedom to
Breathe and The Bonfire of Ants

3. Character Cards - assign each student a different character

(prisoner or guard) in the camp. They would make an ID card for
that prisoner including the character's name, a picture (based on
description), his position in camp, a symbol associated with him,
and a quote from the text that represents him.
4. Reading the Text and interact with it via margin notes, etc..
5. Daily Class Discussion/Student posed questions based on their
own interactions with the text
6. Expert Panels based on Independent Research - Groups of
students are given specific topics to research (History of the Soviet
Gulag, Stalinism, Conditions in the gulags, specifically special
camps, food, the author, etc.) and will lead a formal panel
presentation talk based on what theyve learned. Their presentation
includes a visual or a handout for the class. Part of their requirement
is to connect what theyve discovered with the text. Students would
be able to ask questions about the topic.
7. Formal Reflection (IB mandated) 300-400 words that shows
development of understanding based on the reading and on what
they learn from the research presentations and discussion.
(externally graded by IB)
Rubric for the Performance Assessment:
Students would receive two grades for their Reading Logs:
1. Completion for having completed the required tasks (5 reading
logs for the five sections)
2. Close marking of one of the essay responses (they may choose
which one).
This log would serve as notes and/or a study guide for the IB internal
assessment, should they choose this text. (In this case, the internal
assessment is a 1200-1400 word essay that is marked according to
knowledge and understanding of the text, appreciation of the ways
in which the writers choices shape meaning, organization, and
language and register).
Global Competencies:
Ones own culture and history is key to understanding ones
relationship to others
Investigates the world by framing questions, analyzing and
synthesizing relevant evidence, and drawing reasonable conclusions
that lead to further enquiry
Listens actively and engages in inclusive dialogue
Student Choice: Students get to lead most of the class discussion
based on their genuine questions and responses. They get to choose
which teacher guided question to answer for each section (not all
will answer the same one, so class discussion is rich and relevant.
Students can see how elements are significant in each section.)

Authentic Work: Again, because there is a fair amount of sharing

and questioning, students ask genuine questions and like to express
their subjective understanding.
Global Significance: We discuss how our own cultures influence and
enhance our responses and understandings.
Exhibition: Students are all required to share their
readings/questions in class.