Our “Civilized” Society

This Our “Civilized” Society unit also includes:

The Scarlet Letter is the anchor text in a four-week unit that examines Hawthorne's novel through the lens of the intolerances found in a supposed civilized society. In addition to their reading, class members watch clips from TV shows, read newspaper articles, and watch a film that focus on modern examples of prejudice and intolerance.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Rather than having groups engage in the supplemental readings while reading The Scarlet Letter, conduct the book circles before starting Hawthorne's tale and ask the groups to explain the connections they see
Classroom Considerations

  • A protocol for the discussion of highly charged issues must be in place prior to the beginning of the unit
  • Designed for strong readers in junior and senior honors-level classes
Pros

  • The 50-page packet includes a rationale for the approach used in the unit, daily plans, a unit calendar, worksheets, and an impromptu writing rubric
Cons

  • No support is offered for the out-of-class reading assignments; consider providing class members with a reading guide
  • No mention is made of the introductory "Customs House" essay or its function
  • Even strong readers will be challenged by the expectation that they will read The Scarlet Letter and a literature circle novel concurrently