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    Modern American Literature: The Literary Study of Sports and Culture

    Course Description:

    English Senior Option: Modern American Literature: Sports and Culture is a one-semester course designed for students who have a desire to explore literature through settings and themes that relate to sports. Students will explore issues of race, gender, and the importance of sports in society as a catalyst for social change as well as an expression of personal aspirations and creativity. The course will focus on these objectives through various strategies, including reading, writing (both creative and research-based), projects, and presentations.



    Period 4 id: , enrollment key: 

     Unit 1:  An Introduction to Sports Writing and  The Importance of Sports in American Society and Our Local Communities 
    Week 1
    Jan. 9: 1st day of the semester. 
    Introduction.  Tell me about your sports history.  What did you play?  Why?  Why did you stop?  What were some great/ awful memories?  What do you still participate in?  Submit to Turnitin.com
    Jan. 11: 
    In class:
    Warm-Up #2:  
    Answer: What can we learn about Italian culture from these two videos?  What is important to the cultures of Florence and Sienna?
    Week 2 
    Jan. 16:
    In Class:
    Warm-Up #1:  What is your favorite sport (to play or watch or both)?  Why?  What are your special connections?  Explain.
    Submit to Turnitin.com.
    Answer: What is the real purpose of youth sports? How do these videos relate to your own experience?  How do the issues in these films relate to other issues in society such as access to occupational and educational opportunities? 
    In class:
    Warm-Up #3:  What is the most incredible or amazing sports moment you have ever witnessed or experienced?
    Watch: Remembering Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber. Take notes on the political and social conditions including economic and racial issues.
    Week 3 
    Jan. 22: 
    Read:  "Louis Knocks Out Schmeling" by Bob Considine
    Answer the following items.  Each item should be answered in a complete paragraph (3 paragraphs in total).  Support your answers with quotes from the text.
                    1.  How does Considine use metaphors in the article?  For what purpose?
                    2. Give three examples of effective descriptive language from the article.
                    3.  What is the political purpose of the article?
    Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m
    In class:
    Warm-Up #4: What are some of the most important issues in the world that you care about??
    What sport and which position would be a good metaphor for you?  Why?
    Jan. 24: 
    Read "Death of the Right Fielder" The Coast of Chicago: Stories (scroll down to "Death of the Right Fielder")
    Answer: How are baseball and positions being used as a metaphor for life?  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:
    Warm-Up #5:  Define yourself.
    Who are you?  How do you perceive yourself vs. how others see you.  Why are you the way you are? Consider physical, intellectual, emotional, and cultural attributes.  Hobbies, interests, goals, aspirations, influences, achievements, setbacks, worries, concerns, passions, experiences.
    Jan. 26: 
    Read: "Into Thin Air" pgs. 630-667.
    Answer:  Discuss the moral and ethical issues that concern and anger the author.  What are some uses of language that express his outrage and disgust?  How does Krakauer describe the differences between the Sherpas, the guides, and their clients?  Why does he draw these distinctions? Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m
    In class:
    Watch Search for Freedom (on Kanopy or Tubi).  The Search for Freedom
    Answer:  Discuss how the various figures in the film choose to live their lives?  What were their inspirations, motivations, and challenges? Discuss a unified philosophy about why they choose to live the way they do.  Due to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.
    Week 4
    Jan. 30: 
    Search for Freedom response due by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:
    Warm-Up #7:  What are your passions?
    What did you think of the film?  Discuss the hero's journey as it relates to The Fisherman's Son.
    Feb. 1:
    The Fisherman's Son response due by 8:00 a.m. to Turnitin.com.
    In class:
    Warm-Up #8:  Watch Shots of Awe: The Hero's Journey.  What did you think of the video?  How can you apply the message to your own life?  Submit to Turnitin.com
    Sufferfest: 700 Miles of Pain and Glory - Nat Geo Live.  Answer: Describe a time when you embraced and enjoyed "the suffering."
    Week 5
    Feb. 5: 
    In class: Watch Free Solo.
    Begin the inner journey of Alex Honnald.
    Feb. 7:
    In class:  Complete Free Solo.  Complete the inner journey of Alex Honnald.
    Answer: What did you think of the film?  What personal philosophical approaches to life did you relate to?  What approaches to life did you disagree with?  Explain.  Submit to Turnitin.com
    Feb. 9: 
    Read: "The September Song of Mr. October" pgs 525-541.
    Answer:  Discuss how the writer uses dialogue as a form of descriptive writing.  Give several examples of how time, place, character, and conflict are represented best through dialogue. Why does the author include so many crude comments?  What is the author trying to say about celebrities' public image versus their private behavior?  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m
    In class: Warm-Up #9:  Describe a pivotal moment in your life that you would like to have a "do over."  What would you do differently?  Why?
    Watch: Allow things to unfold and you will find your purpose in life  Respond to video. What did you relate to? How does something from your life's experience correspond to the TED Talk's message?
    Week 6
    Feb. 12: 
    Read: "Tangled Up in Blue pgs. 593-610
    Answer:  How does the article deal with the 80's AIDS crisis through highlighting the relationship between Tommy Lasorda and his son and the tragic events  of Tommy Lasorda Jr.'s life?  What is the purpose of the article?
    Submit to Turnitin.com
    Feb. 14: 
    In Class: 
    Warm-Up #10:  What do you do for fun and adventure?  How do you express your creativity?  How do you explore and satisfy your curiosity?
    Why I . . . Essay due. 
    What are you passionate about?  Why do you do the things you do?  How did you get into it? What/who were your influences?  Role models?  What do you derive from your pursuits? What do you sacrifice?  What are your goals/dreams?  Give specific examples throughout.  Incorporate descriptive language and dialogue.  1000-1200 words.  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    Watch  How to Find Balance in the Age of Indulgence   Respond to the video.  Submit to Turnitin.com.
    Feb. 16:
    Read: "The Fight to Live" pgs. 318-339.
    Answer:  Ty Cobb was considered the greatest baseball player of all time.  He was also despised by most who played with and against him.  He always said that it was his anger that drove him to greatness. Discuss how the article portrays Ty Cobb in his old age.  What does the author have to say about the tragedy of aging? Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:
    Watch  Millennials in the Workforce, A Generation of Weakness.  Respond to the video.  Submit to Turnitin.com.
    Prepare for Unit Essay.
    Week 7 
    Feb. 21 : 
    In class essay.
    Local athlete profile due (1000-1200 words)
    In class:
    Begin Field of Dreams 
    Week 8
    Feb. 27: 
    In class: 
    WARM-UP #13:  If you could be guaranteed only ONE of the following in life, what would it be?  Why?  
    1) wealth 2) good health 3) love 4) fame 5) wisdom 6) adventure 7) friendship 8) lasting positive impact
    Finish Field of Dreams.
    February 29:
    Local sporting event article due. (1000-1200 words.)
    In class:
    Warm-Up #14:  How has playing sports made you a better person?
    Answer:  What are your thoughts? How has the conversation of race, activism, and sport changed in America over the past 7 years?


    Unit 2:  Race and Gender in Sports

    Essential Questions:  How are the racial issues of society both reflected in and influenced by racial issues in sports?  How can writers and artists influence social change?  How have writers, artist, and legal reforms such as Title IX empowered female athletes and affected socio-cultural change?  What are the common rhetorical and literary devices employed by feminist writers and filmmakers?
    Students will choose an athlete and sport to research and write an original article about the integration of that particular sport OR based upon research on the impact Title IX has had on society and one specific female athlete who has had a tremendous impact on her sport. Research papers will be 1200-1600 words and will require a minimum of 10 sources following MLA format.   All essays must be submitted to Turnitin.com.
    --  You must describe what the social and cultural conditions before your athlete had their impact.
    --  Describe the issues and personal roadblocks the athlete had to overcome.
    --  What was the impact the athlete had not only on the sport but on society as a whole?
    --  Have a works cited page (MLA format).
    March 4:  Have a copy of The Blind Side in class.
    In class: 
    Respond to the following statement from the second article: "Sports are an essential and important aspect of American society; they are indispensable when it comes to their impact on a plethora of public arenas, including economics and the mass media. Sport coincides with community values and political agencies, as it attempts to define the morals and attributed not only to athletes, but the totality of society as a whole. Fans of spectator sports find a reaffirmation of key societal values through sports, as they give meaning to their own lives."  Reference this statement back to the story of Jaime Jarrinn.   Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:
    Warm-Up #14:  Who are you a fan of?  What does this say about you?
    Respond to the video.  What stood out to you about the life of Roberto Clemente?  Discuss the issues Clemente faced as an Afro-Latino athlete.  Submit to Turnitin.com
    March 8: Personal Narrative due. Students will write a personal narrative of the importance of sports in their lives.  The focus will be on creating their own narrative voice in the process of relating their own experience to universal themes. 700-1000 words.  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:  Warm-Up #15:  What famous person do you now, or have you in the past, looked up to?  What did you admire about this person and how did you apply lessons learned from them to your own life? 


    Week 10
    March 12: 
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 1
    In class:  Warm-Up #16:  What is your worst sports memory?

    Watch  Fernando Nation

    Respond to the video What did you think?  What stood out to you?  Describe the complex issues facing the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles?  How did Fenando Valenzuela  fit into this and how did his career act as a catalyst for change?

    Watch The Ghosts of Ole Miss
    Respond:  Why does the filmmaker tie the integration of Ole Miss to the football program?  Compare and contrast the recollections of the football players with those of James Meredith?
    March 14:  
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 2
    Week 11
    March 18: 
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 3
    Viewing Guide Note Format:
    Hardships faced:
    March 20:
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 4
    Begin 42
    March 22: 
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 5
    In class: Finish 42
    Week 12 SPRING BREAK
    Week 13: 
    April 2:
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 6
    42 Paragraphs due to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.    Pick 5 writing topics from the viewing packet and write a paragraph for each topic.
    In Class: 
    Watch the following videos at home:
    In class: 
    In class: Venus Vs.
    Discuss how the intersection of both race and gender issues have spurred Venus Williams in her fight for pay equity? 
    Extra Credit (50 points)  Watch: The 99'ers: US Women's Soccer Team
    Answer in 750 to 1000 words (typed):  To what extent did the struggles and success of U.S. Women's Soccer reflect attitudes towards female athletes in America?  Likewise, how did the struggles and success of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team influence and change attitudes toward female athletics? Due to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m. April 4.
    April 4:
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 7
    Extra Credit Essay due by 8:00 a.m.
    Warm-Up #16:  Was/is your mother an athlete?  What sports did/does she participate in?  What about your grandmothers?  What impact has your mother (or grandmothers) played in your athletic life?
    In Class: Watch: Branded
    Respond to the video.  What are your thoughts on how female athletes are branded and represented in the media and on social media?  Have cultural attitudes changed since 2013?
     Week 14
    April 8: 
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 8
    Warm-Up #17:  For you personally, what is the purpose of an education?  What have you tried to get out of your high school education?  What do you want from your college experience, gap year, military service, or vocational training?  Explain.  Submit to turnitin.com
    April 10: 
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 9
    Relate how the racial and social issues of the 1960s were played out at the 1968 Olympics.  How does this compare with the impact the Black Lives Matter movement has had on sports today? (2 paragraphs, roughly 300-500 words, Submit to Turnitin.com 
    April 12:
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapter 10
    In class:
    Watch The Ghosts of Ole Miss
    Respond:  Why does the filmmaker tie the integration of Ole Miss to the football program?  Compare and contrast the recollections of the football players with those of James Meredith? Submit to Turnitin.com
    Week 15
    April 16:
    Read:  The Blind Side, Chapters 11, 12, and the Afterword
    April 18:  In class essay on The Blind Side.

    The Blind Side In-Class Essay

    Discuss how Michael Lewis uses the story of Michael Oher to explore the issues of race, social class, and education in America.  What is his socio-political agenda?  Why does he choose a “football story” to highlight these problems?  Be sure to discuss the motivations behind the actions of the Tuohy family, Hugh Freeze, Sue Mitchell, and Big Tony Henderson.  Consider the roles the institutions of Briarcrest, Ole Miss, the NCAA, and the foster care system all played in the life of Michael Oher.  What were their motivations and how does Michael Lewis portray them?  Underline your thesis statement and be sure to support your points with quotes from the text.  

    April 23:

    In class essay:

    Explain how sport is used as a social catalyst to create cultural change in regards to trying to achieve racial and gender equality.  To what extent has this been effective?  What has been the social “pushback,” if any, and how has this affected sport.  Reference The Blind Side and any articles and films we studied.

    Films we watched: 

    42,   The Ghosts of Ole Miss,  Fernando Nation,    Clemente,   1968 - A Mexico City Documentary,    Branded,   Venus Vs.


    Week 16

    Unit 4:  What Do Sports Mean to You?
    Essential Questions:  How have athletics motivated, impacted, inspired, and changed each of us on a personal level?  
    April 25: Introduce Wooden: A Lifetime of Reflections On and Off the Court
    In class, watch The Cost of Winning
    Warm-Up #19:  Respond to what the video calls the "adultization" of youth sports.  How does what the video says relate to your own experience?
    Week 17
    April 29: Due: 
    May 1:
    Read the Introduction and Section I of Wooden: A Lifetime of Reflections On and Off the Court
    Due: 2 paragraph response to 180 Degrees South.  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    In class:
    Watch Fishpeople.  Answer:  Discuss the philosophy of each featured individual.  How can you apply these ways of thinking to your own life?  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00a.m. Friday morning
    May 3:
    Section II of WoodenFishpeople response due by 8:00 a.m. to Turnitin.com
    In class: 
    Quiz on Section II of Wooden.
    Make a personal connection on a philosophical level with Mikey Schaefer and Kimi Werner.  

    3 paragraphs.  The first one on Mikey Schafer, the second on Kimi Werner, and the third is how you relate to both of these individuals.

    Submit to Turnitin.com 
    Week 18
     May 7:
    Wooden Section III
    Warm-Up #21:  What was your favorite section of Part III in Wooden?  Why? 
    In class, watch:
    Which of the videos did you relate the most with or had the biggest impact on you?  Explain.
    May 9:
    Wooden Section IV
    Warm-Up #21: What were your favorite sections of Part IV in Wooden?  Why?  Pick at least 2 quotes to discuss.
    In class, watch:
    Catch It (Lea Brassy)
    Respond to the 3 videos.  What stood out to you from each video?  How does each women lead a "successful" life? What would each one of them consider to be success? .  Submit to Turnitin.com.
    Week 19
    May 13:
    Finish Wooden 
    If you could just take off by yourself and dedicate yourself to a passion, what would it be?  What would you do?  Explain the philosophy behind this pursuit.
    May 15: Create a Bucket List of at least 50 items. Bring a printed copy of your bucket list to class. 
    In class, describe how writing your bucket list relates to at least one section of Wooden AND 100 Things - What's on Your List?. Submit to Turnitin.com 
    May 17:
    Final:  Presentation about your life philosophy.
    What are some defining moments in your life that have informed your philosophy?
    Who has been your greatest influences?
    What do you appreciate?
    What are you passionate about?
    What kind of a life do you want to live?
    What do you believe is important in life?
    What advice do you have for your peers?
    Personal Philosophy Manifesto Due.

    For your final, you will be creating a document (a manifesto).  The theme will be your philosophy of life.  This is a huge, unwieldy, abstract concept and will take quite a bit of thought. 

    Your manifesto should include art, photos, poetry, and whatever else you can think of to enhance it.  Your cover page should have a photo that best captures who you are.

     Section I

    Look through your warm-ups and address the following questions to inform the reader of your background:

    1. What is your greatest (best, fondest, favorite) sports memory?
    2. What is your worst (painful, sad, traumatic) sports memory?
    3. How have sports shaped you as a person?
    4. Include 3 of your favorite (or best) additional warm-up responses.

     Section II

    Think about the literature we have read, the documentaries and films we have viewed, and the discussions we have had, and explain how you believe sports and culture are intertwined.

     Section III

    You will then address the following topics with specific examples.

    1. Who do you want to be?
    2. What is important to you in the long term?
    3. How should you treat others?
    4. What does it mean to be a good person?
    5. How can you constantly be achieving personal growth?
    6. Who are your role models? Why?
    7. What is great advice others have given you?
    8. What do you wish you had been taught?
    9. What advice do you want to give your children?
    10. What are the biggest problems in society?  How can you address these?
    11. What is right in society?
    12. What questions do you ponder?
    13. What is your philosophy in life? Why do you exist or matter?  How have your past experiences informed your philosophy? (MOST IMPORTANT!!)

     Section IV

    Quotes, poetry, lyrics, bits of profound advice.

    Section V

    Your Bucket List of at least 75 items.

     Your manifesto is 200 points.

    In class:  Warm-Up #20: What do you think of your final project?  Was it easy or difficult to write?  Which portions are you most proud of?  Why?  What did you take away from it?  What did you learn about yourself? 

    Watch Student/Athlete.  Respond.  How does the story of Reggie Ho relate to your own philosophy of life?

    Frontline -- League of Denial: The NFL,s Concussion Crisis (1:53) Answer the following writing prompt:  Identify the ethical and business issues concerning concussions in the NFL.  How should these studies' and revelations impact youth and interscholastic sports?  600 -- 800 words.

     To get a 2-week digital version of Wooden, click here and sign up: National Emergency Library copy of Wooden.  
    Read Twirling at Ole Miss on-line Twirling at Ole Miss 
    Read "Mr. Rickey and the Game," pgs 219-235 (expect a reading quiz)
    Answer with quotes for support:
    1.  Discuss 3 of Branch Rickey's character traits presented in the article.
    2.  What seems to motivate Branch Rickey's actions?
    3.  How are Branch Rickey's multiple impacts on baseball represented in the article?
      In Class: Start 42
    March 13:
    Read: "Olympic Army," pgs 135-137. (expect a reading quiz)
    Answer:  250-300 words using quotes for support:
    Discuss the writer's reaction to the "Nazi" Winter Olympics.
    In Class: Finish 42 
    In class:  

    Explain how sport is used as a social catalyst to create cultural change in regards to trying to achieve racial and gender equality.  To what extent has this been effective?  What has been the social “pushback,” if any, and how has this affected sport. (1200-1500 words)

    Films we watched:

     The Journey of the African-American Athlete


    The Ghosts of Ole Miss

    Fernando Nation


    1968 - A Mexico City Documentary


    Venus Vs.

    Various Short film on: Title IX, Transgender Athletes, Intersex Athletes

    Read Why 'Field of Dreams' is the worst baseball film of all time

    Watch The State of Play: Trophy Kids.  Respond to the video.  What does the documentary say about parenting, competition, and the role sports play in our culture?  What are your thoughts on what you saw? (roughly 300 words)  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.

    Dece. 17: 

    Extra Credit due:  Watch Fishpeople.  Answer:  Discuss the philosophy of each featured individual.  How can you apply these ways of thinking to your own life.  Submit to Turnitin.com by 8:00 a.m.
    n class:
    Watch  Caster Semenya and Michael Phelps Anatomy.  How are the biological advantages Michael Phelps has compared to those of Caster Semenya?  How are these discussed?  To what extent do racism, sexism, beauty standards, and social attitudes play in the messaging?

    n class:  Warm-Up #23: Watch Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller and Cleveland Indians to change century-old name and MLB officially recognizes Negro League as "major league" after 100 years , 2022 Winter Olympics News. Explain how these four events are examples of both sports reflecting changing attitudes in society AND sports being at the forefront of change in society.