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NEA Master Teacher Jessica Keigan – Dickensian Common Core

February 25, 2014

NEA Master Teacher Jessica Keigan

One of my Grade 10 English / Language Arts (ELA) Master Teachers, Jessica Keigan, had an awesome unit uploaded to CC.BetterLesson last week. The unit is called “The Analysis of Plot and Character Development in A Tale of Two Cities”.

Jessica teaches at Horizon High School in Thornton, Colorado. She also works with the Denver New Millennium Initiative team, an initiative of The Center For Teaching Quality, to help improve schools in Colorado.

Jessica’s lessons about A Tale of Two Cities help students understand the typical textual elements of the novel. The lessons also help analyze Dickens’ style so that students can eventually write their own serialized stories and structure in Dickensian style. Her focus on style, diction, syntax, and structure is the really compelling aspect of this unit. In fact, her lesson “The Development of a Declaration: Diction, Syntax and Rhetoric in the Age of Revolutions”  is spotlighted in this Education Week piece.

This awesome lesson focuses directly on a Common Core standard that is one of the less frequently covered standards (RI.9-10.9) which asks students to analyze seminal US documents. It’s a lesson that combines history and close reading skills (in a combined world studies classroom) with the goal of engaging students in learning from and modeling these seminal documents in order to write similar declarations of their own.

Post Written by Valerie Librizzi; ELA Instructional Coach; NEA Master Teacher Project

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