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“Are We There Yet?” Reflections on Classic and Modern Dystopia

School: Open World Learning Community

City/State: St. Paul, MN

Grade(s): 11, 12

Format(s): Magazine: Literary

Subject(s): English Language Arts

Project Overview

AP English Literature students compiled a journal of commentary and fiction focused on the dystopia genre. Students read classics such as Brave New World, Harrison Bergeron, and Animal Farm. They also took the time to read what other authors were saying about Dystopia and discussed the evolution of the genre itself.

Students had an option of writing either an article or a piece of original fiction. Articles focus on questions of genre—how it has evolved and how it connects to life. For the fiction pieces students were asked to extrapolate—to imagine a world in which some important problem or issue remains unsolved. Students were also challenged to make fun of the dystopia genre and at least two students rose to this challenge.

Learning Targets

  • I can write the opening section of a dystopian story that establishes a protagonist, a setting, and a conflict.
  • I can articulate a meaningful connection between a dystopia and the real world or another relevant text.
  • I can revise a product for publication based on feedback from peers and instructors.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Excellent use of vocabulary, rich text and allusions to complex text.
  • Use of figurative language & varied writing formats promotes authentic student voice
  • Highlights beautiful craftsmanship in layout of the writing

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey complex ideas and concepts clearly and accurately, using content that is carefully selected, organized, and analyzed.
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using well-chosen details and effective event sequences.
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