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Death of a Salesman


Death of a Salesman and the American Dream Unit Summary This unit encompasses Arthur Miller s play, Death of a Salesman. The unit will be framed around the work in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman
  • and the
  • American Dream

Unit Summary
  • This unit encompasses Arthur Millers play, Death
    of a Salesman. The unit will be framed around the
    work in relation to the concept of the American
    dream. The students will analyze characters,
    themes, and symbols within the novel. They will
    also consider how the American dream has changed
    over time, and how it impacts the society they
    live in.
  • I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never
    made a lot of money. His name was never in the
    paper. He's not the finest character that ever
    lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible
    thing is happening to him. So attention must be
    paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his
    grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must
    be finally paid to such a person. Linda Loman
  • from Death of a Salesman

Curriculum-Framing Questions
  • Essential Question What is the American dream?
  • Unit Questions
  • Why is the American dream important to our
  • How does the media affect how we perceive the
    American dream?
  • Is the American dream attainable?
  • Content Questions
  • What did Americans value in the 1940s?
  • What is a reoccurring symbol in the novel that
    correlates to Willys values?
  • How does Biffs dream differ from his fathers?

Student Goals/ Unit Objectives
  • Students will be open and responsive to new and
    diverse perspectives pertaining to American
    values, points of view, and lifestyle by bridging
  • Students will articulate thoughts and ideas
    clearly and effectively through speaking and
    writing about the novel in journals/ quick
    writes/ assignments/ and group discussions.
  • Students will gather, analyze, organize, reflect,
    and process information about the concept of the
    American dream constructed by the media in a
    variety of ways.
  • Students will use interpersonal and problem
    solving skills to influence and guide others
    toward a common goal and assess strengths.
  • Students will make connections between themselves
    and the lives of characters in the novel using
    Venn diagrams/ charts/ and journals.

Why Projects?
  • Project based learning is a student-centered,
    instructional model that develops content area
    knowledge and skills through an extended task.
    This class will be using project based learning
    to explore the novel, Death of a Salesman. This
    kind of learning frames questions to tie content
    standards and higher order thinking to real world
    contexts. One question we will explore What is
    the American dream?
  • Project based units include varied instructional
    strategies to engage all students regardless of
    their learning style. Often students collaborate
    with outside experts, members of the community,
    and technology to answer questions and gain
    deeper meaning of the content. Throughout project
    work multiple types of assessment will be used to
    ensure that high quality work is produced.

Why Projects?
  • to promote student inquiry and authentic
    demonstrations of learning
  • to help students go beyond basic mastery of
    skills and/ or curriculum
  • to enable students to critically evaluate
    information, media, and technology
  • to meet the California State Standards
  • to facilitate appropriate and productive group
  • to encourage students to gauge and assume roles
    of leadership and responsibility
  • to connect education and the real world outside
    of the classroom

Target Content Standards
  • Vocabulary and Concept Development
  • 1.3 Discern the meaning of analogies encountered,
    analyzing specific comparisons as well as
    relationships and inferences.
  • Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropri
    ate Text
  • 2.4 Make warranted and reasonable assertions
    about the authors arguments by using elements of
    the text to defend and clarify interpretations

Target Content Standards
  • Writing Applications
  • 2.2 Write responses to literature ALL
  • 2.3 Write reflective compositions a. Explore the
    significance of personal experiences, events,
    conditions, or concerns by using rhetorical

Target Content Standards
  • Structural Features of Literature
  • 3.1 Analyze characteristics of subgenres that are
    used in poetry, prose, plays, novels, short
    stories, essays, and other basic genres.
  • Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate
  • 3.2 Analyze the way in which the theme or meaning
    of a selection represents a view or comment on
    life, using textual evidence to support the
  • 3.5 Analyze recognized works of American
    literature representing a variety of genres and
    traditions b. Contrast the major periods,
    themes, styles, and trends and describe how works
    by members of different cultures relate to one
    another in each period.
  • c. Evaluate the philosophical, political,
    religious, ethical, and social influences of the
    historical period that shaped the characters,
    plots, and settings.
  • Literary Criticism
  • 3.9 Analyze the philosophical arguments presented
    in literary works to determine whether the
    authors positions have contributed to the
    quality of each work and the credibility of the

Assessment to Gauge Student Needs
  • Student assessment will be based on the goals of
    project based learning. I am looking for students
    to take on the novel and additional materials/
    assignments in a way that is more open and
    interactive than some class discussions and
    lectures might be. This type of learning may seem
    like a break from the norm that is daunting and
    unclear, but I will guide students through the
    progression of the unit. I will be available for
    anyone whom has questions, and have all
    confidence that the students will evolve and
    develop new opinions of not only the text, but
    bigger ideas that make up the substance of this
    classic core novel.

  Purpose of Assessment
Formative Assessment 1. Gauging student needs
Formative Assessment 2. Encouraging self-direction and collaboration
Formative Assessment 3. Monitoring progress
Formative Assessment 4. Checking for understanding and encouraging metacognition
Summative Assessment 5. Demonstrating understanding and skill
Project Summary
  • Have the students watch Death of a Salesman and
    critique the 1985 film, directed by Volker,
    Schlondorff in relation to specific literary
    elements of the text. The students could write a
    short essay comparing and contrasting to two
    works, or complete a Venn diagram. I would have
    the students include their personal opinion of
    the film.