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The Power of Expectations

Duration: 6 weeks

Stage 1
Established Goals (taken from Conley’s College Knowledge: Students
1. Read to infer/interpret/draw conclusions.
2. Support arguments/claims with evidence.
3. Resolve conflicting viewpoints in source documents.
4. Solve complex problems with no obvious solution.

1. “Life is a constant struggle What are the consequences for

between being an individual and not conforming to societal
being a member of a community.” expectations? Are they worth it?
Pg. 132 [critical]
–Junior, from The Absolutely True
Diary of Part-Time Indian What can we tell about a person
(Individual goals and choices sometimes from their thoughts? Actions?
conflict with societal/communal norms Words? Dreams?
and expectations; individual identity is
forged through negotiating those

2. Every time you speak or act,

you validate/expose who you are.
Students will know that… Students will be able to…

-character is formed/revealed EXPLAIN the impact of societal/

through actions, words, thoughts, communal expectations on a
dreams, and character’s identity as well as
interactions/responses of others their own.
and their environment
ANALYZE a character and
-how one responds to societal/ themselves as an individual within
communal expectations both their sociopolitical context (i.e.
reveals and forges one’s character setting).

-Native Americans today continue EVALUATE the critical choices that

to face myriad socio, economic, a character makes and the results
and political hardships of those choices.

-one’s socioeconomic status

frequently limits/determines the
range of options and opportunities
one has available to them
VOCABULARY: societal, setting,
sociopolitical context,
expectations, norms, conformity,
status quo, Native American,
reservation, characterization
Stage 2
Summative (PT) Formative (OE)
Performance Task 1 [TOPICAL] -Character trading cards – read,
You are a guidance counselor who write, think
has been asked to profile Arnold -notebook checks for…
“Junior” Spirit or Rowdy. Your task • Character analysis note-
is to advise one of these young taking (e.g. four-part
men about how they should division of page for
balance the expectations of the character sketch, quotes,
various communities of which they actions, interactions with
are a part with their own other characters and
individual interests. setting)
TIERED BY INTEREST: • Dual-voice poems
Students may express their comparing Rowdy and Junior
understanding through 1) the POVs about expectations
aforementioned psychologist’s and their individual choices
report (in-depth written); 2) a -Comprehension Check-ins (i.e.
staged performance with a script reading quizzes about plot points,
between characters setting, and character traits,
(performance/written); 3) a grammar, parts of speech)
redesigning of the front and back -Tableaus/reenactments of key
book covers (artistic/written). scenes that reveal character traits
-labeled sketch-to-stretch
Performance Task 2 -“What expectations are you
[CRITICAL] expected to conform to?”
Write a reflective letter to (web/concept map to collect ideas
Sherman Alexie about how his for CRITICAL INQUIRY project)
book has helped you understand
the impact that societal -Writing Extension: How have
expectations have on us as the critical choices made by
individuals. What do you see now someone you know impacted that
that you did not see before? How person’s life? Supplement with
will this knowledge affect the autobiographies for struggling
choices you make in the future? students

Stage 3 – Calendar
LT 1: WALT describe issues currently facing Native Americans
on reservations and explain reasons for these issues.
FRONTLOADING for context/setting:
-non-fiction text analysis (i.e. text features, highlighted vocabulary) to
elucidate evolution of societal viewpoints towards Native Americans
-TED video about current issues facing Native Americans based on
America historically disavowing and not upholding treaties
-facts and figures about Native American alcoholism rates, college
graduation, percentage below poverty lines, job prospects, etc.
-key conceptual vocabulary (i.e. defining reservation in context of
prevalent social issues)
ASSESSMENT: historical context/vocabulary “no fault” quiz

LT 2: WALT analyze characters in literature and our lives within

a sociopolitical context.
FRONTLOADING for and ENTRY into thematic content
-anticipation guide on issues related to essential questions
(expectations, characterization)
-brief autobiographical writing about how society influences/shapes
student/individual identity (e.g. explicit written engagement with
essential question for critical inquiry)
-elements of characterization (actions, thoughts, dreams, how other
characters respond to /perceive them)
-identifying internal vs. external characteristics of Junior(initial pages of
ATDPTI) and other main characters; identify these same characteristics
in ourselves
ASSESSMENT: character trading cards, notebook checks, discussion

LT 3: WALT explain how societal expectations influence a

-exploring various examples of societal expectations for one’s
sexuality, gender, economic status, and race
ASSESSMENT: “heart map”-style artistic representations about the
societal expectations that face main characters/themselves,
cause/effect graphic organizers (i.e. locating instances in which
societal expectations cause the character to think/feel/act in a certain
way), discussion

LT 4: WALT evaluate critical character choices and their

-cause/effect schema for key events/choices in the text
-“What would you do?” writing activities based in perspective taking
-predicting outcomes/ramifications of specific choices (e.g. “How do
you think Rowdy will react to Junior’s decision to leave the
ASSESSMENT: tableaus to reenact scenes in which key choices are
made followed by explanatory reflection on their character’s thoughts
on the situation, poetry from two character’s perspectives that
explains ramifications of certain decisions (Point-Counterpoint poetry,, “sketch-to-stretch”
storyboarding (with predictions), discussion

LT 5: WALT reflect on the role that societal expectations play

in our lives (in light of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time
-format of a formal letter
-solicit student input for formulating alternatives to abovementioned
critical inquiry project
ASSESSMENT: Critical inquiry project

Stage 3 Resources
Resource Description LPs and links to interviews, other stories,
m/alexie.html reviews, biography, and criticism. A unit that explores themes of individual
TeachingEnglishHomePage/Teach and group identity. This unit makes
extensive use of the interactive student
notebook (ISN). Sherman Alexie’s official website, a
html veritable goldmine. Visit the “Academic
Center” and “Articles.” (and everything
else, really).
Smoke Signals (1998) Movie authored by Sherman Alexie; the
first movie to be written, directed, and
co-produced by a Native American.

Additional Resources Outstanding resource that helps
px students process knowledge
http://interactive- How to do interactive student notebooks. ISN tips
aspx ISN slideshow Another ISN site with an evaluation
tice/instruction/theories/miscideas/noteb rubric.