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Mr. H. from San Jose CA is requesting Books through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

What Does it Mean to be American? (Literature)

The cost of 10 copies each of seven different American Literature titles including "Grapes of Wrath" and "Beloved" is $1050, including shipping and <a target="new" href="" onclick="g_openWindow('', 300, 800, 'fulfillwindow');return false;">fulfillment</a>.

  • $1,050 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

I teach two sections of English Three (60 students)at James Lick High School, on the east side of San Jose. There are 45 juniors and 15 seniors in these classes. Our school educates 1,100 students. Our standardized test scores are very low, but many of our students personify perseverence. And our best teachers teach with passion. English Three includes American Literature. We have proceeded chronologically, starting with Native American myths, stopping by Salem for "The Crucible", reading "The Great Gatsby", and are currently reading and discussing "Death of a Salesman". The books I am asking for in this proposal will help with the unit that will close our school year: What Does It Mean to be American? We begin this unit by looking at primary texts (the Declaration of Independence, aphorisms of Ben Franklin, the JFK Inaugural Address, MLK's Letter from Birmingham) and discussing what characteristics these texts embody. I then integrate newspaper stories (gay marriage, the war in Iraq), poetry, and scenes from movies ("Hoop Dreams", "Mississippi Burning", "Mi Familia") into our class time. The point is for students to be exposed to a wide variety of perspectives on America so they can formulate their own answers to our guiding question. While discussing the above materials during class, students are placed in groups (4-5 students) and read classic novels of American Literature (as noted in my proposal). In years past, students have been denied access to certain titles due to limited quantity or poor condition of books in the James Lick bookroom. It is difficult to find the magic in Randall Patrick McMurphy if your edition of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is literally falling apart. The project ends with each group designing and constructing impressive posterboards and making multimedia presentations detailing each novel to the class. Students are encouraged to act out scenes, read dramatic quotes, show clips of movie versions, and to generate Powerpoint presentations. An eight-page, MLA formatted term paper is due at the close of the unit and must cite from class discussion, the novel, and other works examined during the year. It is a powerful and necessary unit that brings together many different viewpoints on the American Dream. For each student to have his or her own copy of a classic novel of American Literature would increase thir investment in the project, and allow them to highlight and underline important passages from these classic novels.

Mr. H.
Grades 9-12
More than three‑quarters of students from low‑income households

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2 donors2 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 60 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
Grapes of Wrath • AKJ Educational Services $12.21 10 $122.10
Color Purple • AKJ Educational Services $12.21 10 $122.10
Their Eyes Were Watching God • AKJ Educational Services $12.17 10 $121.70
Beloved • AKJ Educational Services $11.34 10 $113.40
autobiography of malcom x • Barnes and Noble $7.99 10 $79.90
Joy Luck Club • AKJ Educational Services $6.97 10 $69.70
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest • AKJ Educational Services $6.54 10 $65.40

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2 Donors


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