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Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy

Grade 11-12

Reading RH.11-12.1

RH.11-12.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

Movie Shack

If you were watching a movie and someone asked you what it was about, you normally would not go for the extremely literal, “It was about a guy in a leather diaper who yelled a lot and fought some guy with a lot of piercings…” lame. A typical response to explain this movie may include some insight into the reasoning behind the leather-diapered man’s insistence on fighting for his home despite direct orders not to. Whether you’re a fan of comic-book-films (that was 300 btw) or not, your thoughts will generally not be as scant as the Spartan’s attire; even the guy that sleeps in the back of the class can come up with a poignant statement every now and again. It’s all about the details, finding information back in whatever you’ve viewed, and especially what you’ve read, in order to support what your thoughts about it are. Without the backup, your ideas about a text would be like a Lady Gaga impersonator in the middle of a Republican Convention—severely misunderstood.

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example

Citation Vacation

This standard consists of at least four steps for your students:

  • First stop on this road trip to textual enlightenment is understanding. You can’t very well connect your ideas to something you don’t get, so you have to get it first. Try to understand the whole meaning of the text, the central argument, before you start breaking it down. If you don’t get it from the get go, then your experience will be more underwhelming than the world’s second largest ball of twine.
  • Jump back in the Family Truckster1  as we head on down to analysis-town. In this roadside attraction you have to determine what your opinion about the text is and decide which details or lines in the reading lead you to that idea. If you simply summarize the text or explain the text’s implied meaning as though they are your own deep insights, then you’ll be like the 15-foot monument of Superman in Metropolis, IL – predictable bro.
  • Third stop is the Grand Citation. In order to justify your interpretation or analysis, you must reference the lines in the text that lead you to that idea. While annotating, after noting your assumptions about the text, simply highlight or draw an arrow to the line or lines you refer to. If you don’t see the cites, then the whole trip will be fruitless.
  • Last stop on the trip is of course the ultimate destination: Link Land. Dropping quotes and making unsupported assumptions – not good. It’s all about how you link the quotes you’ve identified with the insights you form. Since you’re reading historical texts, make sure you pay special attention to the dates and origins of information, as these details put the text into its proper historical context. Very important.

Cites Like Us

This road trip may be full of obnoxious games and gassy travel buddies, but it will be well worth it to be able to speak intelligently about a text. This skill isn’t going away; there is a route for every subject, so make some maps and settle in for the road ahead.

Source: 

1. Matt-282, username (2012). “Synopsis for Vacation”. Retrieved March 19, 2012, from .

Drill

Read the text below and answer the questions or complete the tasks that follow.

Something to Read

From The Godfather to The Sopranos to the still airing Boardwalk Empire, America is obsessed with its own historical mishaps and failures in regards to organized crime. Some even idolize the crime organizations as noble or heroic, with the police force of the time period being the bad guys. Even Bugs Bunny has found himself in the company of mobsters and crime bosses. American mobs have been a major part of its history and continue to be a resource-sucking machine today. Everything from man-power, to money for fire-arms, to stagnant legislation have been invested and reallocated to fight the ongoing battle. The beginnings of America’s domestic conflict can be traced to the Prohibition era; however, this ninety-year-irk continues to draw the attention of modern federal police.

Many events led to the banning of alcohol on a federal level. Religious revivals and state-to-state movements against drunkenness were building, with advertisements and propaganda citing alcohol as the marriage killer and the cause of poverty by such groups as the Anti-Saloon League of the early 1900’s2. It may be concluded that Americans of this time period would first “make thieves and then punish them3,” (Moore, 1901) as they continually campaigned for the prohibition of alcohol, which after achieved, caused a dramatic increase in domestic crime. This is where the iconic figures such as Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel became wealthy, boot-legging entrepreneurs, taking advantage of the coveted items in even higher demand because of its restriction, such as gambling, alcohol, and prostitution4. Thus the organized business of criminal commodities came to America.

As time progressed so too did the mob, expanding and continuing to carry out business as usual. With the millions gained from the bootlegging of newly illicit goods, the gangsters set their sights on infiltrating legitimate business ventures, such as the construction industry, while still keeping true to the illegal substance trafficking. By the 1950’s the mob was ingrained in American culture; even celebrities such as Frank Sinatra were rumored to have associations with them. The arms of the Mafia reached so far that, “by the mid-20th century, there were 24 known crime families in America, comprised of an estimated 5,000 full-fledged members and thousands of associates across the country5.” It seemed as though there was no stopping the crime-based, money making machine.

Today organized crime is not a romanticized past event, it is a real entity, though the faces may have changed dramatically from its fedora wearing ancestors. The crime family regimes of America are no longer major players in the organized crime game, with the FBI claiming Mafia problems of the past were small potatoes compared to the global threats that America faces today. The New York Times printed a laundry list of known criminal organizations and affiliated countries that the American FBI has stakes in, proving this is no invention of Hollywood (Organized Crime, 2012). It seems a constant threat on the red, white, and blue doorstep, a far more menacing and exponentially more profitable venture than it was once known to be.

2. The Saloon Must Go (2012). Westerville Public Library. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://www.wpl.lib.oh.us/AntiSaloon/history/ 

3. Moore, Thomas (1901). Utopia. OregonState University. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/more/utopia-I.html

4. Prohibition (2012). The History Channel Website. Retrieved March 12, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/prohibition

5. Mafia in the United States. (2012). The History Channel website. Retrieved March 12, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/mafia-in-the-united-states

4. Using the article provided, write at least two original conclusions or insights relating to the central topic. You must use specific line evidence (a quote) to support your ideas. [Medium]

5. Easter Egg Hunt: Find one primary source related to the topic discussed in the article provided, and answer the following questions: [Hard]

a. Explain the central purpose of the primary source.
b. Cite specific details from the primary source that either align with the information in the article provided or contradict it; explain possible insights relating the two texts.

Quiz Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

Read the text below and answer the questions or complete the tasks that follow.

Something to Read

From The Godfather to The Sopranos to the still airing Boardwalk Empire, America is obsessed with its own historical mishaps and failures in regards to organized crime. Some even idolize the crime organizations as noble or heroic, with the police force of the time period being the bad guys. Even Bugs Bunny has found himself in the company of mobsters and crime bosses. American mobs have been a major part of its history and continue to be a resource-sucking machine today. Everything from man-power, to money for fire-arms, to stagnant legislation have been invested and reallocated to fight the ongoing battle. The beginnings of America’s domestic conflict can be traced to the Prohibition era; however, this ninety-year-irk continues to draw the attention of modern federal police.

Many events led to the banning of alcohol on a federal level. Religious revivals and state-to-state movements against drunkenness were building, with advertisements and propaganda citing alcohol as the marriage killer and the cause of poverty by such groups as the Anti-Saloon League of the early 1900’s2. It may be concluded that Americans of this time period would first “make thieves and then punish them3,” (Moore, 1901) as they continually campaigned for the prohibition of alcohol, which after achieved, caused a dramatic increase in domestic crime. This is where the iconic figures such as Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel became wealthy, boot-legging entrepreneurs, taking advantage of the coveted items in even higher demand because of its restriction, such as gambling, alcohol, and prostitution4. Thus the organized business of criminal commodities came to America.

As time progressed so too did the mob, expanding and continuing to carry out business as usual. With the millions gained from the bootlegging of newly illicit goods, the gangsters set their sights on infiltrating legitimate business ventures, such as the construction industry, while still keeping true to the illegal substance trafficking. By the 1950’s the mob was ingrained in American culture; even celebrities such as Frank Sinatra were rumored to have associations with them. The arms of the Mafia reached so far that, “by the mid-20th century, there were 24 known crime families in America, comprised of an estimated 5,000 full-fledged members and thousands of associates across the country5.” It seemed as though there was no stopping the crime-based, money making machine.

Today organized crime is not a romanticized past event, it is a real entity, though the faces may have changed dramatically from its fedora wearing ancestors. The crime family regimes of America are no longer major players in the organized crime game, with the FBI claiming Mafia problems of the past were small potatoes compared to the global threats that America faces today. The New York Times printed a laundry list of known criminal organizations and affiliated countries that the American FBI has stakes in, proving this is no invention of Hollywood (Organized Crime, 2012). It seems a constant threat on the red, white, and blue doorstep, a far more menacing and exponentially more profitable venture than it was once known to be.

2. The Saloon Must Go (2012). Westerville Public Library. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://www.wpl.lib.oh.us/AntiSaloon/history/ 

3. Moore, Thomas (1901). Utopia. OregonState University. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/more/utopia-I.html

4. Prohibition (2012). The History Channel Website. Retrieved March 12, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/prohibition

5. Mafia in the United States. (2012). The History Channel website. Retrieved March 12, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/mafia-in-the-united-states

  1. Consider the following insight: The original crime families and organizations in America seemed to influence both past and present culture, as well as modern policing methods. Which of the following quotes offers the best support for this analysis?

    Correct Answer:

    “The beginnings of America’s domestic conflict can be traced to the Prohibition era, however this ninety-year-irk continues to draw the attention of modern federal police.”

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (b). This quote satisfies both aspects of the question, it has both the peanut butter and the jelly. Options (a) and (c) give loosely related support for only one aspect of the question, modern crime or American culture, and obviously (d) is a trick; it’s not always the right answer just because it’s there.


  2. Choose the answer that offers the best assessment of the validity of the following statement: The article severely misconstrues the role America’s felonious past has played in shaping modern understanding of organized crime, suggesting bootlegging is still a major drain of police resources today.

    Correct Answer:

    This statement offers a flawed insight into the meaning of the passage, with a clear misunderstanding of the referenced information.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (a). This is the best option presented, with an accurate description of the information presented in the statement. Options (b) and (c) are incorrect because they claim that the statement is accurate and valid, which it’s not. Option (c) is a terrible crime of using personal pronouns to explain opinions in argumentation; though the points made in this option are applicable, the assessment is not presented the best way.


  3. Which analytical statement listed offers the most logical insight from the quote, “Some even idolize the crime organizations as noble or heroic, with the police force of the time period being the ‘bad guys.’”

    Correct Answer:

    People today are influenced by propagandist media that seeks to venerate a negative, violent time period in American History.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (c). This answer properly focuses on the point being inferred by this quote, while still offering an opinionated insight. Option (a) is crazy on toast. Option (b) is a possibly applicable opinion, though the idea here is not on point, strictly speaking. Option (d) has nothing to do with anything; a few movies were referenced at the beginning of the article as the “catch” but the holistic point is not solely focused on film or artistic representation. It’s about the people, even the silly ones.


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