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Urban Life

Thematic Unit
Krista Prouty, Math
Didi Almeida, French
Joe, English Literature
SED 720, Professor Cooks

The theme of out unit is Urban Life. We will help the students explore varied aspects of urban life through the disciplines of Mathematics, English Literature and French. Some of the areas we will discuss include the history of migration to the city, especially the African-American migrations from the South in this century, and the music that they carried with them to their new homes, ie. the Blues, as portrayed in drama and song, different cultures’ concepts of urban life and how numbers are used in everyday transactions, especially in formulating a budget.

Our goal in this unit is to help students understand the society in which they live, the different (and similar) experiences other people have in a similar setting as well as in other urban settings, some of the characteristics specific to urban living, and how they can use their knowledge and experiences in this area to further promote their own success.

Finally, the reason we chose urban life as our theme is that it is an integral part of our students’ lives yet one that is often overlooked. By helping students understand more about the world they live in, we hope to inspire them to be more reflective in their routine lives. Students will also be able to connect their educational experience with “real life” in a more tangible manner after they explore the ideas we will bring to the surface in this unit.

The fictitious students we have in mind for our project are 10th grade boys and girls who belong to an urban, diverse, multicultural, multiracial, and middle- to low-income student population. The estimated class size is 25.

Culminating Project

To facilitate the connection of “real life” to education, we will hold a poetry slam fundraiser as a final project for this unit. All students will be required to participate but students not wishing to perform will have many other options. We will have an admittance booth, charging a small fee, a concession stand and a souvenir stand, all run by the students. While we, as teachers, will oversee and advise throughout the project, the actual set-up, running and accounting will be up to the students. We will incorporate mathematics by way of accounting, English by way of poetry, rap and drama, and French by way of multilingual literature. Students will advertise the event in the neighborhood and any money that is raised, beyond the costs of mounting the performance and purchasing supplies, will go to the 10th grade class fund, to be used as needed.