How Will You Change the World?

The name of the final unit in my classroom this year is “How Will You Change the World?” I approached this with my students by saying how much I wish someone had asked me that when I was considering college and career options. I also said we needed to end this dreadful year with an uplifting and confidence-building activity.

In my Junior and Senior sections, this unit combines college and career exploration with an exploration of how individuals can make a difference using their talents, skills, and education. The culminating activity is an essay entitled, “How I Will Save the World.” Students could use this essay in future college or scholarship applications, if given an open-ended option.

In my Sophomore and Creative Writing classes, this unit combines an interest inventory and career exploration with writing a superhero story or poem as the culminating activity. Each story should be entitled, “[Character Name] Changes the World!”

What’s the POINT?

In a previous post from what seems years ago, I talked about an acronym, the POINT, and how it was helping me to structure units and lessons. I am revisiting that now for this unit and post.

  • Purpose (Goals)
    • We all need to regain a sense of agency. So many students are struggling right now, often believing they have no control over what happens to them. Many adults believe they have lost control over their lives too, after being under tight restrictions for over a year. We did just turn a corner on a pandemic in this country, after all. Therefore, we all need a reminder that we, as a collective, need each of us to bring our gifts with us as we work together to create positive change.
  • Objectives (SWBAT/Standards)
    • Students Will Be Able To
      • Describe their current interests and abilities, and how they will use them in their future educational or career opportunities.
      • Report on their current concerns about society.
      • Connect their interests and abilities to their concerns to describe how their education or work experience will help them do more in their communities.
      • (11th and 12th Grade English): Create an essay of 500 – 650 words on the topic, “How I Will Change the World.”
      • (10th Grade English and Creative Writing): Create a superhero short story or poem with the title, “[Character Name] Changes the World!”
    • Students Will Also Be Able To
      • Use the writing skills practiced this year to create a well-organized and well-written essay, short story, or poem (depending on the class).
      • Integrate new vocabulary as assigned into their writing.
      • Analyze and appreciate poetry shared
  • Indicators of Learning (Diagnostic, Formative, Summative)
    • Diagnostic assessments include grammar and vocabulary assessments to determine readiness for writing on the topic.
    • Formative assessment includes free-write responses to mini-lectures and completion of profile documents after interest surveys.
    • Summative assessments include an essay or short story/poem, as described above.
  • Negotiables for Differentiation
    • Some students will need graphic organizers and templates to help them craft their text.
  • Tasks/Steps
    • Rather than provide a step by step description, I will include here the resources consulted by the class to develop our thoughts on this topic. Please see the next section.

Resources and Materials

Inspirational Poetry

  • “Thinking” by Walter D. Wintle
  • “Opportunity” by Berton Braley
  • “The Builders” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
  • “On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou
  • “The Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest

Websites for College and Career

  • O*NET
  • My Next Move
  • Career Finder from the College Board
  • Big Future from the College Board
  • CommonApp
  • FSA (Federal Student Aid)
  • Writing a Personal Statement (Purdue OWL)

Technical Resources

  • Schoology
  • Google Docs
  • Quizlet
  • CommonLit
  • YouTube
  • Poetry Foundation

Sample Assignments

Free Write

Now that we have explored careers and majors in AP Lit and Applied English 11, and the notion of the superhero in English 10, Creative Writing I, and Creative Writing II, contemplate this statement, which I concocted on my own.

Many poets have discovered their role in the world.  Not only do they entertain, but they use their gifts to speak out about current and past events, to comment on what is admirable and what needs to change.  This role is not limited to poets, of course.

Those in other professions can do something similar.  Either by setting a positive example, having the courage to work for change, or speaking out directly about change, every person can join the effort to effect positive change.  

Think about those professions you are interested in and how you think you can make a difference.  Write for 10 minutes and submit your thoughts to this assignment.  You can submit a Word document, a PDF, or submit using the submission text box.  Please do not submit Pages documents.  Thank you.   

Quizlet Creation Using Vocabulary Words (Discussion)

Create a Quizlet to help students study the vocabulary words we have chosen for this unit.  The word should actually be a sentence with the vocabulary word missing.  Below is a link to an example Quizlet you can use to model your own.  

AP Lit and Applied English 11

Create a Quizlet using the words for College and Career Exploration, and any words not on the list that you have chosen for your essay.  Your sentences should reflect the major you have chosen.

English 10, Creative Writing I, and Creative Writing II

Create a Quizlet using the words for Superheroes and Villains.  Your sentences should reflect the short story you are going to create.


To Fulfill the Requirements of this Assignment

1. Share the link to your Quizlet in this discussion and answer this question: How difficult or easy was it to create sentences using these words? 

2. Examine two of your classmates’ Quizlets.  Test yourself.  Comment constructively (kindly) on their Quizlets.

Once you have completed this exercise, you may have several sentences you can use in your essay or short story, depending on which class you are in. 

Final Essay

Your final essay will be due June 1, 2021.  Please do your best to turn in this assignment by the deadline, as Senior grades are due June 7, 2021.  Thank you.

Please review the rubric attached to this assignment.  You can evaluate your essay against the rubric.  

Requirements (Please read and ask for clarification, if necessary.)

  • An essay of 500 – 650 words (it would be helpful to include your word count at the top or bottom of the document) that responds to the topic, “How I Will Change the World.” 
  • Demonstrate how you evaluated the career and/or major you are going to pursue, and how you will use the skills and your interests to make a difference.
  • Use at least 5 of the vocabulary words from our Quizlet list.  Ensure you are using the words properly.  Highlight the words you have used. 
  • Do your best to check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation used in the essay.  Use the grammar and spelling features available in word processing software to check your document.
  • Upload a document produced in word processing software, please.  Do not upload Pages documents; instead, convert these to PDFs and upload.  Do not add links to Google Docs; instead, download the document as a PDF and upload that.  Word documents can be uploaded.

If You Would Like to Know More about This Unit

Please leave me a comment if you are interested in learning more about this unit. Thank you!

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