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.

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

Essential Questions

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  • 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

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Text-based

amplify ambivalent dehumanize disproportionate dumbfounded explicit implicit naive perceive radical synonymous

Academic

author's purpose connotation colloquial language 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 this course, view our 8th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Notes for Teachers

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Lesson Map

1

  • “What is White Privilege, Really?”

    L.8.6

    RI.8.2

Define significant terms related to racial justice.

9

Writing

    L.8.5

Plan and outline a free verse poem that explores fear, anger, or forgiveness.

26

2 days

Assessment

  • “My Father Died in Afghanistan, and I Support Colin Kaepernick”

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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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

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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.8.10

RI.8.5

RI.8.7

RL.8.1

RL.8.10

RL.8.6

RL.8.9

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.8.10

W.8.10

W.8.2

W.8.4

W.8.5

W.8.6

W.8.8

W.8.9.b