Facing Prejudice: All American Boys

Students explore the American experience through the eyes of two young men - one white and one Black - connected through an incident of police brutality.

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ELA

Unit 1

8th Grade

Unit Summary


This first 8th grade unit kicks off students’ year-long study of injustice and how people respond to forces of oppression. In this unit, students will explore issues of racial justice (and injustice) in the United States. The core text, All American Boys, is a 2015 novel written by two authors—one white and one Black—that tells the story of two teenage boys—one white and one Black. Their lives intersect unexpectedly when Quinn, who is white, watches as Rashad, a Black classmate, is beaten by a police officer outside a local convenience store. Quinn is suddenly forced to face the reality of racial injustice in his own community, while Rashad faces the harsh reality that the (white) world judges him primarily by his race. Both young men must grapple with how to respond to the event and the responsibility they have to stand up when injustice has occurred.

In addition to the core text, students will read diverse nonfiction texts, including a history of the Say Her Name movement, a TED Talk about growing up Black in America, and an excerpt from the United States Constitution. Throughout the unit, students will gain vocabulary and schema related to racial justice with the hope that they will come out better equipped to engage meaningfully with these issues in their own lives.

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Texts and Materials


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Core Materials

Supporting Materials

Assessment


This assessment accompanies Unit 1 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep


Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

To learn more about how to prepare a unit, internalize a lesson, and understand the different components of a Fishtank ELA lesson, visit our Preparing to Teach Fishtank ELA Teacher Tool.

Essential Questions

  • How do race and racial bias shape a person’s experience and understanding of the world?
  • What responsibility do people have when they witness—or are the victim of—injustice?

Enduring Understandings

  • Police brutality disproportionately affects Black Americans. 
  • Racism is present and pervasive in America today—whether or not people choose to acknowledge it—and has real and deadly implications for the Black community.
  • White Americans have a responsibility to engage with this reality, educate themselves, and stand up for racial justice. 
     

Vocabulary

Text-based

allegiance ambivalent amplify dehumanize disproportionate dumbfounded explicit implicit impeccable naive perceive radical surreal synonymous transfixed ubiquitous

Academic

author's purpose colloquial language connotation enjambment epigraph figurative language free verse metaphor mood personification point of view/perspective structure thematic topic theme verbal irony

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 8th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Notes for Teachers

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

L.8.1
L.8.1.a
L.8.4
L.8.4.a
L.8.4.c
L.8.4.d
L.8.5
L.8.5.a
L.8.6
RI.8.2
RI.8.3
RI.8.4
RI.8.4
RI.8.6
RL.8.2
RL.8.3
RL.8.4
RL.8.5
SL.8.1
SL.8.1.a
SL.8.1.b
SL.8.4
W.8.1
W.8.3
W.8.3.a
W.8.3.b
W.8.3.c
W.8.3.d
W.8.3.e
W.8.9
W.8.9.a

Supporting Standards

L.8.2
L.8.2.a
L.8.2.b
L.8.2.c
L.8.3
L.8.3.a
L.8.4.b
L.8.5.b
L.8.5.c
RI.8.1
RI.8.5
RI.8.7
RI.8.10
RL.8.1
RL.8.6
RL.8.9
RL.8.10
SL.8.2
SL.8.3
SL.8.6
W.8.1.a
W.8.1.b
W.8.1.c
W.8.1.d
W.8.1.d
W.8.1.e
W.8.2
W.8.4
W.8.5
W.8.6
W.8.8
W.8.9.b
W.8.10
W.8.10
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Unit 2

Encountering Evil: Night

Dive Deeper This Summer

Dive Deeper This Summer

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