MYP unit planner
Unit title Opening our Eyes
Teacher(s) Ms. Meredith Phinney
Subject and grade level Grade 8 – Language A
Time frame and duration 8- 10 weeks x 55 minutes- with an exam week in the middle
Stage 1: Integrate significant concept, area of interaction and
Area of interaction focus Significant concept(s)
Which area of interaction will be our focus? What are the big ideas? What do we want our
Why have we chosen this? students to retain for years into the future?
Health and Social Education Educating and informing ourselves can
help prevent discrimination and
Students will learn about another culture.
This will allow them to reflect on their own
biases and determine how educating
themselves about others can change their
attitudes for the better.
MYP unit question
How can we prevent discrimination?
What task(s) will allow students the opportunity to respond to the unit question?
What will constitute acceptable evidence of understanding? How will students show what they have understood?
Summative assessment: Persuasive essay on a topic they are passionate about.
Summative Assessment: Graphic Cartoon- Students will have to create a graphic cartoon about an issue
that they are passionate and care about.
Formative: Students will create a poster about discrimination
Formative: Journal writing. over the course of the unit students will keep a journal about what they have
read and how they are feeling
Formative: Letter writing to students from the Middle East
Which specific MYP objectives will be addressed during this unit?
- Appreciate and comment on language, content, structure, meaning, and significance of both familiar
and previously unseen age –appropriate oral, written and visual texts.
- Understand and apply Language A terminology in context.
- Understand many effects of the author’s choices on an audience
- Students study a work of art. They view the art to contextualize literature
- Begin to express an informed and independent response to literary and non-literary texts.
- Create work that employs organizational structures and language specific conventions throughout
a variety of text types
- Organize ideas in arguments in a sustained, coherent and logical manner
-Style and language mechanics
- Use language to persuade
- Use language accurately
- Use appropriate and varied register
- Use appropriate and varied sentence structure
Which MYP assessment criteria will be used?
Criterion A, B, and C- The Criteria of Content, Organization and Style and Language Usage
Stage 2: Backward planning: from the assessment to the
learning activities through inquiry
What knowledge and/or skills (from the course overview) are going to be used to enable the student to respond to the unit
What (if any) state, provincial, district, or local standards/skills are to be addressed? How can they be unpacked to develop the
significant concept(s) for stage 1?
Students will develop an understanding of :
-How people can have pre conceived notions about different cultures
-A different culture- Iran specifically and Islam
-What is discrimination?
-The graphic novel
-How to use writing and visuals to communicate and persuade people of their own opinions and ideas.
Students will develop skills in:
-Structure and organization of writing to persuade
-Pre-writing, drafting and revising
-Creating questions to generate research topics
-Researching a specific topic
Using data and facts to support their arguments and opinions
-Creating effective PowerPoint slides
-Using visuals to enhance their ideas
Approaches to learning
How will this unit contribute to the overall development of subject-specific and general approaches to learning skills?
Collaboration: Students will work in pairs to create a research presentation for the class. They will have to
work collectively to ensure that they have met all of the requirements of the assignment. As well, they will
accept the views of others and analyse others thoughts form classroom discussions.
Respecting and understanding cultural differences will play an important role in this unit.
Time Management: Students will have a variety of due dates where they are required to hand things in. At
times these due dates will be project based which means they will have to use their time wisely to get
Thinking: Students will spend a lot of time thinking and inquiring about their own questions. They will have
to organize their research in order to create a piece of personal writing that is intended to persuade.
Reflection: Students will reflect deeply on our unit question about discrimination and how it relates to the
real world and to our novel. They will have to reflect on their own biases and see if they change over the
course of the unit.
Communication: Students will find effective and appropriate media for relaying information. They will also
select and use varying sources.
Learning experiences Teaching strategies
How will we use formative assessment to give students feedback
How will students know what is expected of them? Will during the unit?
they see examples, rubrics, and templates?
What different teaching methodologies will we employ?
How will students acquire the knowledge and practise
the skills required? How will they practise applying How are we differentiating teaching and learning for all? How have
these? we made provision for those learning in a language other than their
mother tongue? How have we considered those with special
Do the students have enough prior knowledge? How will educational needs?
-Research of different culture Formative and summative assessments will be provided
(modified for this grade level) rubrics. As well anecdotal
-Student lead inquiry- KWL- On bulletin board
comments will be written on student work.
-Teacher and Student lead discussions
If it is an oral assignment a written comments will be
-Letter writing handed back to the student.
-Information Technology-PowerPoint Many different teaching methodologies will be
employed: lecture, class discussion, pair and share,
-Presentation skills group work, partner work, teacher conferences…
-Writing a persuasive essay Assignments are broad enough that each student can
-Point of View writing perform at their own level. This second unit is a partly
guided novel study with students working more
-Creating a graphic cartoon- creating characters independently on their assigned reading tasks. At this
-Organizational tools- T-charts, Venn Diagrams point I am aware who needs more assistance and who
can work ahead.
There is ample opportunity for those students who
Vocabulary- Definitions and application require extension to move ahead at their own pace.
-Related Viewing: Rabbit Proof Fence and Use of exemplars and modelling
What resources are available to us?
How will our classroom environment, local environment and/or the community be used to facilitate students’ experiences during
Graphic Novel: Persepolis Marjane Satrapi
Film: Persepolis; Rabbit Proof Fence
Ongoing reflections and evaluation
In keeping an ongoing record, consider the following questions. There are
further stimulus questions at the end of the “Planning for teaching and learning”
section of MYP: From principles into practice.
Students and teachers
What did we find compelling? Were our disciplinary knowledge/skills challenged in any way?
What inquiries arose during the learning? What, if any, extension activities arose?
How did we reflect—both on the unit and on our own learning?
Which attributes of the learner profile were encouraged through this unit? What opportunities were there for student-initiated
How successful was the collaboration with other teachers within my subject group and from other subject groups?
What interdisciplinary understandings were or could be forged through collaboration with other subjects?
Were students able to demonstrate their learning?
How did the assessment tasks allow students to demonstrate the learning objectives identified for this unit? How did I
make sure students were invited to achieve at all levels of the criteria descriptors?
Are we prepared for the next stage?
How did we decide on the data to collect? Was it useful?
WOW! This unit was such an incredible success. It was so wonderful to see students really involved in
learning about a culture that they had no real knowledge about at all. They went from knowing only
stereotypes that they had heard of from the media to becoming pretty knowledgeable about Iran and the
Middle East in general.
One of the most successful activities that we completed was when students created their own set of
research questions and then set about answering them. They were questions that went far beyond the
norm of customs and food. For example some of the questions were: How did the oil affect the people of
Iran? Or Do you think it is fair to judge a country by a few individuals? I was truly impressed by the depth
and curiosity that these students displayed.
Students also created PowerPoint presentations on different aspects of Iranian culture and history. They
were both informative and original. It also allowed students to work on their presentation skills. Some of the
subjects discussed were Iran before and after the revolution, Islam, and Women and Islam. I even felt I
learned something! (not that I think I know everything)
Persepolis was a graphic novel which the students really enjoyed. Many read ahead and were excited to
discuss the adventures of Marjane. She was a great heroine to them because she was a rebel who fought
for what she believed in. They liked the ideas that she did not want to be like everyone else. This lead to
many discussions about the importance of being yourself and standing up for your beliefs. This was a good
segue for us to write persuasive essays.
Students chose a topic that they were passionate about and we began the process of how to write
persuasively. The final product was a five paragraph essay which demonstrated the student’s ability to use
statistics and facts to prove their thesis. It was a good connection to the novel because they were able to
fight or stand up for what they believed in. Many of the topics were mature and very interesting.
Finally students had a choice assignment where they could do a variety of work related to the novel. One of
the topics was to create a soundtrack where they had to justify their songs. AWESOME!
All in all a success. However, this is mature novel that might be better suited to grade 9. There are many
swear words- Fuck being one of them and a lot of violent images. It is something to think about for the
upcoming year. I guess it depends on the maturity of the year group but it is not something I really want to
play guesswork with- perhaps we put it in at the end of grade 8?
Side note- watched Rabbit Proof Fence- total hit and made for some really interesting discussions.