CommonLit’s comprehensive instructional units for 11th and 12th grade come complete with high quality reading, writing, discussion lessons and much more!
CommonLit 360 was first released for grades 6-10 in June 2021. The curriculum, which includes comprehensive units, has received widespread praise from teachers and administrators. With each unit, students read highly engaging texts, produce complex writing, and grapple with highly relevant essential questions.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything that you need to know about these 11th and 12th grade units, and when you’ll be able to find them on CommonLit.
CommonLit 360 for 11th Grade
In this novel unit, students read the classic American novel, The Great Gatsby and evaluate how the American Dream has evolved over the past 100 years.
In addition to reading the novel, students will have the chance to build valuable background knowledge by completing a highly engaging Related Media Exploration on The Roaring Twenties and reading about immigration to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This unit also comes with many helpful resources for teachers, including chapter guides and skill-aligned comprehension questions. The unit also comes complete with vocabulary activities and multiple writing prompts.
In this unit, students will read Their Eyes Were Watching God, the Harlem Renaissance classic by Zora Neale Hurston. Students will explore whether a person can live an authentic life despite societal norms and the expectations of others, and how language affects the way we see ourselves and each other. Students will focus particularly on the way that the quest for love and self-determination can conflict with the desire for social respectability and status.
A Related Media Exploration will support students in understanding and appreciating the dialect which Hurston accurately renders through the novel’s dialogue, and embedded nonfiction and poetry will deepen student understanding of the novel’s themes.
NEW Unit 3: The Social Contract
In this research writing unit, students will read seminal texts related to the concept of the social contract. Students are introduced to social contract theory through two foundational texts by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.
Then, through a Related Media Exploration, students apply their knowledge of the social contract to a real-world example: Franklin Roosevelt and The New Deal. Students then expand their study of the social contract and how it can be challenged by reading texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Lastly, students write a research paper on a historical or contemporary example of defying the social contract and argue whether that defiance was justified.
CommonLit 360 for 12th Grade
Most college applications require students to submit a personal essay. For many students, this poses a major challenge. It can be extremely challenging to write about oneself!
In this highly engaging and timely unit, students closely analyze several examples of memoir writing from authors including Trevor Noah and Michelle Zauner before they craft their own personal memoirs. They also study exemplary student application essays and, through a series of writing lessons on discrete skills that elevate student writing, draft engaging Common App essays that will stand out in the application process.
Unit 2: Frankenstein
In this unit, students will read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. As students move through the groundbreaking science fiction classic, they’ll explore themes including what it means to be human and what consequences — inspiring and horrifying — can arise from the human quest for knowledge.
Through embedded poetry and nonfiction, students will encounter and debate different theories about ethics and human nature. The unit is capped by student research into the real-world unintended consequences that have attended some scientific breakthroughs; students present their findings in multimedia presentations that they refine through targeted lessons in effective presentation skills.
NEW Unit 3: Othello
Students will read Shakespeare’s Othello and consider the imperfections of humanity and the corrosive nature of jealousy. From Iago’s masterful villainy to Othello’s tragic fall, students are immersed in the world of Othello, where appearances are not reality, love turns to hatred, and accusations lead to disastrous outcomes.
In the Related Media Exploration, students learn key cultural background information about the accomplishments and history of the Moors. Students will read poetry and nonfiction about why people become envious and how it affects them. They will learn a new way to cite evidence, analyze literary criticism to deepen their understanding of Othello, and incorporate that criticism into their own evaluations of the play’s merit and relevance.
If you are interested in learning more about CommonLit 360’s comprehensive ELA curriculum, here are a few ways to learn more: