The Great Gatsby: American People and Culture of the 1920s
Commencement, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
Students were assessed on their ability to research and present information effectively, using technology.student rubric - highstudent rubric - mediumstudent rubric - lowinformative speech rubric.doc
Learning Context/ Introduction
F. Scott Fitzgerald's book, The Great Gatsby, is a commentary on America in the 1920's and on the values of the people who inhabited this world. The novel, therefore, provides the students with an instrument to measure their own values and those of America today giving them an idea of the importance of setting. The students will research an aspect of the 1920s and present a 5-minute presentation on their topic using PowerPoint as a tool to deliver the speech. Students have prior knowledge of using PowerPoint. Students will also complete two peer reviews while the speeches are being delivered and they will complete a self-evaluation after giving their speech. An option available once the speeches are delivered is to assign an essay where the students recap the information they acquired from listening to the speeches. This project can be interdisciplinary with social studies but it does not have to be.
- Preparation for the project - three 40-minute periods.
- Delivering the speech - one day, four 40-minute periods when working with social studies teacher (depending on size of class).
How did life in the 1920s affect American people in their pursuit of the American Dream?
- Students with IEPs were given extended time to work on the research and development of the PowerPoint.
- A student with an IEP started the speech, got choked up, and quit presenting due to frustration. Extra time was given to this student to gather himself. I then offered him a second chance, without a deduction of points, to try again and he successfully completed the assignment.
- This project can be adapted to be completed in ELA only or it can be an interdisciplinary project.
This project will take 4 days. First give notes, guidelines, expectations, and rubrics to the class discussing your expectations. Schedule two days to work in the computer room and approximately 1 day of presentations (depending on size of class). I team teach this project with the US History grade 11 teacher which allows us to have 1 day of presentations, four 40-minute periods, but it does not have to be interdisciplinary. Students will complete two peer reviews of the speeches they watch and complete a self-evaluation of the speech they gave.
The Great Gatsby style and setting notes.pptThe Great Gatsby Speech Assignment.docPeer Evaluation .docSelf Evaluation of Informative Speech.doc
- Give notes, using PowerPoint, on F. Scott Fitzgerald's style and on the setting of the novel The Great Gatsby .
- Break students into groups of three, assigning a recorder, timer, and speaker in each group, and have them brainstorm what life was like in the 1920s.
- Have the speaker of each group share their information with the class.
- Hand out the Project Guidelines to the class and discuss expectations.
- Hand out Informative Speech Rubric to the class.
- Students must submit a proposal in paragraph form for teacher approval on the topic of their choice.
- Once approved by the teacher, the students can begin their research.
- Assign students to use only databases subscribed to by the school to do the research. This eliminates the need to check for reliability of sources.
- Schedule two 40-minute periods in the computer room for students to research their topics and develop their PowerPoints. (Allow students with an IEP extended time to research and develop.) Have the kids save their PowerPoints to the school network, this makes a smooth transition when moving from presenter to presenter and lessens the number of technical difficulties.
- Designate class time with social studies teacher for students to present their information.
- Hand out Peer Review and Self Evaluation forms prior to students delivering the speeches. Students must peer review two students speeches and give a self-evaluation of their own speech.
- Videotape the speeches.
- Grade presentations with US History teacher based on the rubric previously given to students.
Reflections and Feedback
Students were excited about researching an area of interest to them involving the 1920s. They truly enjoyed the experience of looking up interesting facts about the era. The students also enjoyed learning that characters are influenced by how and when a person lives.
Many students were nervous about actually giving the speech in front of their peers. The fact that I video taped the speeches added extra tension. All of the students faced their fears and attempted to deliver the information in front of the class.
A high, medium, and low example of the PowerPoint presentations the students gave are provided below.1920s Project - High.ppt1920s Project - Medium.ppt1920s Project - Low.ppt
The Great Gatsby novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Materials and Resources
Optional Essay Assignment Available on 1920s.doc