ALEX Learning Activity

  

The American Dream as Depicted by The Great Gatsby

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Tammy Cook
System:College/University
School:University of Montevallo
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2367
Title:
The American Dream as Depicted by The Great Gatsby
Digital Tool/Resource:
YouTube Video: Jazz Instrumental Music
Web Address – URL:
Overview:

This activity will be useful either after students have completed a novel study of The Great Gatsby (or are finishing the novel) and are reflecting upon the time period as it relates to the setting, characterization, plot, and theme.

This YouTube video features jazz instrumentals of the “Roaring 20's Music” (9:09 min.). It is a great resource to use when teaching students about the Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby, and The American Dream. It is an audio as well as a visual resource, so you will want to project it on the board. It will serve as background music for the activity with some interesting pictures and historical facts, and it can be paused at various points of the activity.

This activity was created as a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 11
8 ) Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics. [RL.11-12.9] (Alabama)

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 11
27 ) Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.11-12.9]

a. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics"). [W.11-12.9a] (Alabama)

b. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., Analyze seminal United States documents of historical and literary significance [e.g., Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"]), including how they address related themes and concepts. [W.11-12.9b] (Alabama)


Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.11.27- Draw evidence from a literary or informational text to support an analysis or research topic.
ELA.AAS.11.27a- Read works from the twentieth and twenty-first century and determine how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
ELA.AAS.11.27b- Analyze seminal United States documents of historical significance.


Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 11
United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
5 ) Evaluate the impact of social changes and the influence of key figures in the United States from World War I through the 1920s, including Prohibition, the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the Scopes Trial, limits on immigration, Ku Klux Klan activities, the Red Scare, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, the Jazz Age, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, W. C. Handy, and Zelda Fitzgerald. (Alabama) [A.1.a., A.1.b., A.1.d., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.j., A.1.k.]

•  Analyzing radio, cinema, and print media for their impact on the creation of mass culture
•  Analyzing works of major American artists and writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, and H. L. Mencken, to characterize the era of the 1920s
•  Determining the relationship between technological innovations and the creation of increased leisure time
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of social changes and the influence of prominent figures in the United States from WWI through the 1920s.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • prohibition
  • Nineteenth Amendment
  • Scopes trial
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Red Scare
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • mass culture
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The causes, effects, and impact of social and political events in the United States from World War I through the 1920, including Prohibition, passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the *Scopes Trial, limits on immigration, Ku Klux Klan activities, the Red Scare, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, and the Jazz Age.
  • The impact of influential individuals on social, political, and economic realities in the United States from World War I through the 1920, including Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, W. C. Handy, and Zelda Fitzgerald.
  • The impact of media on social and political realities in the United States from World War I through the 1920.
  • The impact of major works of American artists and writers from World War I through the 1920, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes and H.L. Mencken.
  • The importance of technological innovations through the 1920s and the impact these had on social, economic, political, and individual realities in the United States.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Explain social, economic, political, and cultural changes in the United States during specific historical periods and related to specific historical events.
  • Describe the influence of specific individuals and groups on the United States during specific historical periods into modern times.
  • Analyze the impact of technical innovations and changing media on American social and political realities.
  • Determine central ideas of primary and secondary sources.
  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • There were significant impacts of the social changes and the influence of prominent figures in the United States from WWI through the 1920s.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.11.5- Identify key social changes that occurred after World War I.
SS.AAS.11.5a - Identify notable people of the 1920s including Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andrew Wyeth, Frederick Remington, Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Henry Ford, W.C. Handy, Zora Neale Hurston, and Al Capone.


Learning Objectives:

1. TSW activate prior knowledge of Fitzgerald’s depiction of social change and the quest for “The American Dream” in The Great Gatsby, as they listen to background music emblematic of the 1920s and The Jazz Age.

2. TSW compose a 1-2 sentence response to the prompt about “The American Dream” that expresses a reflection of the time period as learned from the novel The Great Gatsby.

3. TSW discuss their personal responses about "The American Dream" in a whole class discussion.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
Phase:
Before/Engage
Activity:

1. Play 20's music in the background of the class as students enter.

2. Direct students to reflect on themes of The Great Gatsby from the previous unit as a representation of "The American Dream," including the impact of the social changes that occurred, Prohibition, the Harlem Renaissance, The Jazz Age, the ex-patriots, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

3. Instruct students to write 1-2 sentences on an index card that express their version of "The American Dream" as well as a reflection of the time period as learned from the novel The Great Gatsby, including the setting, significant events of the time period, and the United States in relation to the larger world stage.

4. Guide students in a whole class discussion of their responses to the writing prompt.

Assessment Strategies:

1. Periodic questioning throughout the activity will serve as an informal assessment of students' understanding of Fitzgerald’s depiction of social change and the quest for “The American Dream” in The Great Gatsby, including pictures featured on the video/audio clip of the background music emblematic of the 1920s and The Jazz Age.

2. Informal assessment of students' 1-2 sentence responses to the prompt about “The American Dream” will occur as volunteer students read aloud their reflections of the time period as learned from the novel The Great Gatsby and whole-class discussion occurs.


Advanced Preparation:

This activity will be useful either after students have completed a novel study of The Great Gatsby (or are finishing the novel) and are reflecting upon the time period as it relates to the setting, characterization, plot, and theme.

The teacher should ensure that the music is loud enough for students to hear without being overpowering. It will be necessary to project the video on the board since the visuals that accompany the audio are connected to the time period and provide useful facts about the 1920s.

Variation Tips (optional):

This activity could serve as a "pre-novel study" lesson to activate students' prior knowledge about the 1920s and significant historical events. During the activity, students will also activate personal, cultural, and community assets as they connect various historical knowledge to the setting of The Great Gatsby and the author's life.

More specific information about F. Scott Fitzgerald's life and his wife Zelda's connection to Alabama would also be beneficial for students to learn about prior to reading.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
 
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: The American Dream, The Great Gatsby, The Roaring 20s