The American Dream Project

Ever since I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place to engage parents in the discussions we are having in the classroom.  That has been a challenge because I teach three different classes and I chose to write about topics that applied to all three cohorts of parents.  I have written here about what my sophomores are doing with technology and have linked to our Modern Global Communities blog.  What I’d like to do here, is showcase a project that some of my juniors have recently completed.

I’m going to try to embed as much here on this page as possible, so I can keep you here!  But I will have to also link to content that I cannot embed.  Please feel free to leave your comments!

As you know, we read The Great Gatsby in April.  If you would like to refresh your memory of this book, before the new movie comes out, please click around my Pinterest board dedicated to Gatsby.

The essential questions for the project are:

  • ­What is the American Dream?
  • How is the American Dream portrayed in art and popular culture?
  • How can the American Dream be oppressive and liberating at the same time?

Students were asked to develop a thesis that thoughtfully addresses at least two of the essential questions and then to support their thesis by analyzing The Great Gatsby and two other genres of American Art from the 20th Century.  Students were given creative license to create their own art and create conversations around the idea of the American Dream.

Here’s what students did:

A student blog, by Alex and Eric, with the following embedded interviews:

Several Prezis: (I can’t figure out how to embed the prezis here, so I will link to them on our class edmodo site.)

Oliver’s Prezi

Monica’s & Marissa’s Prezi

Monica T’s Prezi

Josh’s Prezi

Rowan’s Prezi

A bunch of PowerPoints:

Gabe’s  the_american_dream presentation:

Vinh-Hop’s presentation:

Kanika’s presentation:

I have figured out how to embed the Powerpoints, by converting them using  I was not able to embed the Prezi’s so I hope I did not lose you once you clicked on a link to one of the Prezis. I also encountered problems converting some of the Powerpoints done on Google Drive to Slideshare….so the quest continues!

I have a couple of posters, so my next challenge is to take photos and upload the photos of the posters!

Here are Sophia’s and Samantha’s posters:

photo_cen_388502681_4332752 photo_cen_388502664_1266342




It has been two days since the unimaginable happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As an adult who was living and working in Manhattan in September of 2001, I still had a hard time making sense of the senseless act of terrorism that touched us all two days ago. I can’t imagine how confusing it must be for children.
Today we went in to Boston with our friends the Goldings (@wjoegolding ) to watch @BigAppleCircus at Government Center. On the T in, we talked about how to talk to the kids about the bombings and even though we are modern parents, it is hard to figure out just what to say. We took comfort in knowing that our kids are still too young.
I empathize with all parents right now. What just happened here in Boston, while confusing and heartbreaking, is an important learning experience for our kids.
I am proud of the way my community has responded to the terror. Walking through the streets of Boston today, just a few blocks from Copley Square, I was heartened to see families out enjoying the beautiful spring day in the Common. I was reassured to see police officers from all over the Commonwealth on patrol in the city. I was inspired to feel a sense of togetherness among fellow citizens who seemed to be looking out for the safety and wellbeing of my kids as we commuted in on the Orange Line and walked through Downtown Crossing to get to the circus.
As we sat mesmerized by the wonderful acrobatic skill, the seemingly effortless synchronicity, and the good natured humor of the circus, I couldn’t help but feel proud to be a member of such a resilient and strong community.
While we deplore the actions of whoever caused this tragedy, we are not jumping to knee jerk reactions and blaming groups of people. We appreciate the shows of support and solidarity from our friends and sometimes rivals around the country and the world. We understand that the there are some people in the world who have succumbed to malevolence, but that we cannot allow them to pull us down into the mire with their hateful actions. We understand that our only way forward is to rely on our instinct of togetherness that this kind of event inspired in us. We can be proud of ourselves for the way so many people ran towards the blasts to help in whatever way they could. We can be proud of the way the community rallied to aid the injured and comfort the families of those killed by this senseless act of terrorism. We can be proud of the way this event makes us feel closer and more concerned for the safety our neighbors.
That’s why I am proud to live in the Boston metropolitan area and that’s what it means to me to be #BostonStrong.