Open Doors

Essential Question: How Can Knowledge Open Doors?

external image world+changer.jpg

"I change myself, I change the world."

::Gloria Anzaldua::

"Sometimes it is more important to discover what one cannot do, than what one can."
::Lin Yutang::


In this unit, you will consider how knowledge can open doors. Ultimately, you will develop a strong understanding of the importance of each day and how it affects your success in high school and beyond. You will consider this in three ways: (1) How can learning give you power; (2) How can books take you places; and (3) How can knowledge change the world?

Unit Goals
You will accomplish some pretty BIG goals in this unit--check them out:
  • Explain how knowledge can open doors by giving you power, taking you to new places, and changing the world
  • Maintain a writer's notebook
  • Read a self-selected text
  • Create a class newspaper or magazine on literacy
  • Write a research report


Biography: Curtis Aikens and the American Dream

Opinion Essay: Go For It!

Essay: Superman and Me
Short Fiction: A Short Cookie
Memoir: It's Our Story, Too
News Feature: The Fast and the Fuel-Efficient
Cartoon: The Hybrid
Article: Teens Open Doors


Present Perfect
Past Perfect
Asking Questions


Short Story
I-Search Paper
Persuasive Essay
Public Service Announcement


What's Your Learning Style?

Have you ever wondered why you do better in some classes than others? Sometimes it may be the subject matter, but your individual learning style might also affect your ability to absorb information.

Take control of your learning by discovering your learning style! Your learning style influences the way you receive information or solve problems. Want to know your learning style? Take this quiz. There are 24 questions, and it will take less than five minutes to complete. Try not to think too hard -- just go with your first thought when describing your daily activities and interests. At the end, you'll find out more about how you learn.

Freedom Writers
To kick off this unit, you will watch the acclaimed movie, Freedom Writers. You will also spend some time writing about the movie in your Writer's Notebook. My hope is that this movie will give a relevant picture of the power of knowledge to change your lives.

Class Wiki Project
To conclude this unit, you'll be creating a class wiki serve as an online resource about the Essential Question. You will work together to create a resource Web site that answers, "How Can Knowledge Open Doors?" by collaboratively collecting and writing articles for the page. To get started, review online resources, magazines and newspapers. Look for the kinds of subjects that are covered, how the headlines capture readers' interest, how the articles are organized, and how images and diagrams help tell a story.

Planning Tools:



Finally, because everything you are doing is online, you have the ability to write anywhere and receive instant feedback from me and your classmates. If you get stuck or have a question, feel free to e-mail me.

Class Text: Breaking Through

This quarter, our whole class text is Breaking Through by Francisco Jiménez. At the age of fourteen, Jiménez, together with his older brother Roberto and his mother, are caught by la migra. Forced to leave their home, the entire family travels all night for twenty hours by bus, arriving at the U.S. and Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. In the months and years that follow, Francisco, his mother and father, and his seven brothers and sister not only struggle to keep their family together, but also face crushing poverty, long hours of labor, and blatant prejudice. We will be reading this text in conjunction with this Reading Guide.