Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Do my lesson plan for me, please?

Yesterday while I was attempting to read The Declaration of Independence with my 11th graders I discovered that not only do they not know what the three branches of government are, but they don't care that they don't know.

So last night in the shower I had an epiphanous moment. Yes it's a word. I looked it up during lunch.

I decided to give the kids a research paper. They will read a novel or play from a list that I give them and write a paper on what impact that novel had on America socially or historically. Then they can see how much power words truly have.

So far I've got a few books:
The Jungle
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Inherit the Wind
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
The Awakening
The Grapes of Wrath
Silent Spring
Fast Food Nation

And a few more I'm debating as to whether or not they really had an impact:
The Bell Jar
The Great Gatsby
Huck Finn
The Catcher in the Rye
Invisible Man
Native Son
The Color Purple
The Outsiders
West Side Story
Death of a Salesman
A Raisin in the Sun

What do you think? What would you add to this list? What's an American book that had a real and lasting impact on our society?


  1. Since the film has led AFI's Best 100 Films of the Last Century for what seems like forever (and ignoring that they've probably read it as freshman), I'd add "To Kill a Mockingbird."

    I'd probably throw in there, "Native Son," too.

  2. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Great project, kids these days need to read more of the inflential books. oh its me the anonymous guy,again, these aren't novels but they are influential american texts. most of them are readable, short and important in their own way.

    Common Sense by Thomas Paine

    Civil Disobedience by Thoreau

    Up from Slavery By Booker T Washington

    The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Jay, Madison

    Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader

    I cant help it
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand kinda of a huge book but think positive :)

    more on the way

  3. Anonymous1:52 PM

    As an alternative for Thoreau, I think Walden had a huge social impact over - though for me it's easier in parts than the whole.

  4. Thanks for the input. I tried to the Fountainhead but the library doesn't have it, or any Thoreau. That shouldn't surprise me. Our library doesn't have any copies of Hamlet.

    I did add Native Son to the official list. They've all read TKAM already and most of them hated it. That book should never be read aloud.


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