“Essential Questions to be answered during this unit of instruction:

  • How do characters, real and fiction, use words and actions to demonstrate perseverance?
  • What IS perseverence?

Famous People Who Found Success after Failure

  • There are many famous people who have found great success after failure.Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse                                         But these folks persevered and finally reached their goal.
  • Click here to read about people who have persevered
  • In groups of 2-3, research one of the persons.
  • Create a poster about a person who has persevered with the following information:
    • Name of the person in huge font
    • What the person is most famous for
    • 5-7 facts about the person
    • How the person failed
    • How the person persevered
    • The word Perseverance in big bold letters
    • The definition of perseverance
    • 3-5 pictures/graphics


“Song of The Trees” by Mildred D. Taylor

“There is plenty of power in the story “Song of the Trees.”  Once you get into this Realistic Fiction Short Story, you may find it hard to stop reading!

One source of the story’s power is our shared knowledge that some people are dealt with unfirly because of the color of their skin.  At this time [1930s], and in this place [rural Mississippi], some people of white skin could, and did, take cruel advantage of people with darker skin.

There is also power in the hunger described in the story–this writer helps us feel how that strong demand of the stomach can rule our lives.

Finally, there is power generated by the pride we feel in the hero who arrives at the last minute–like the good-guy-to-the-rescue in other stories of peril.

What makes all these events so vivid and memorable, though, is that we see them so clearly through the innocent eyes of Cassie, a child.” [Elements of Fiction,  p. 104]

Before you start to read, write your response to this problem:

Suppose you need money for your family, but the only valuable thing you own is a beautiful piece of land that has been home to the family for generations.  Would you sell this land to get more money and be more comfortable for a time?  Or, would you ‘tough it out’ to keep the land for generations to come?

The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton


  “The Outsiders is about 14-year-old boy, Ponyboy Curtis, and his two older brothers.

The book follows Ponyboy’s life, as he struggles with societal differences between right and wrong. He and his brothers, orphaned by an accident that claimed the lives of their parents, can stay together, (the oldest brother has been given guardianship), but only so long as they all stay out of trouble. []”


“I Have a Dream” Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King

 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their character,” said Dr. King in his famous 1963 speech.



  • Listen/Read the speech by clicking here:  Audio File/eText
  • Watch a vido of the speech by clicking here:  Video 
  • Read an analysis of the speech by clicking here:  Analysis

“After Twenty Years” by O.Henry

“A lot can happen in twenty years.  When two friends meet after twenty years have gone by, you expect to see some changes.  Still, you may not expect all the changes that the two friends in this story experience. This famous O.Henry story has some surprises in store for you!”


“Rikki-tikki-tavi” by Rudyard Kipling

rikki An English family living in India discovers a mongoose living on the estate. They decide to keep him as pet, in the hopes that he will keep them safe from the many cobras that live in the surrounding jungle. Their new pet quickly begins earning his keep, as two cobras make the family their new target.


Fill out a Literature Analysis Chart by watching this tutorial:

Conflicts in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi


Analyzing the Literature for Deeper Meaning:


“The Necklace” by Guy De Maupassant

“This story is an impressive piece because it gives a message and moral for everyone. The moral of the story is to be happy with what you have in life. It isn’t about the social status or money you have would bring you the respect and happiness you want to get, but the successful things you do in life would bring you recognition in the society. Lying and pretending to be someone else wouldn’t get you anywhere. Every individual has something special within oneself; therefore, be thankful and appreciate what you have now.” [ Review]


Slake’s Limbo By Felicia Holman

Slakes Limbo

Slake’s Limbo focuses on Aremis Slake, a teenage boy who is bullied constantly. He has no one to take care of him. Slake escapes his problems by living in the New York City subway for 121 days.

Bullies beat up Slake all the time. They chase and torment him. One day, the bullies chase Slake and he runs down into the subway. He takes a train to Central Park and climbs a tree. The groundskeeper yells at Slake that he will call the cops. Slake cannot take the harshness of the above ground world anymore. He runs to the subway, ducks the turnstile and lives in the subway for the next 121 days.

The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

 The Miracle Worker is a three-act play by William Gibson. It was originally produced on Broadway in 1959. It is based on Helen Keller’s autobiography The Story of My Life.

“In Tuscumbia, Alabama, an illness renders infant Helen Keller blind, deaf, and consequently mute. Pitied and badly spoiled by her parents, she learns no discipline and grows into a wild, raging creature by the age of six. Desperate, the Kellers hire Anne Sullivan to serve as a governess and teacher for their young daughter. After several fierce battles with Helen, Anne convinces her parents she needs two weeks alone with her if she is to achieve any progress in her education. In that time, she teaches her discipline and language through the use of her fingers, a breakthrough that has a direct effect on everyone’s life and the way they live it (”

Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan

Playwright William Gibson






Click here to listen to  

NPR Morning Edition Audio Interview of

 Playwright William Gibson


Movies of The Miracle Worker

1962 Version

with Anne Bannecroft & Patty Duke


Walt Disney Version

with Alison Elliott &Hallie Kate Eisenberg


Autobiography by Helen Keller

Essays written by Helen Keller

Glogster Poster Assignment Requirements


 Biography:  The Story of Eleanor Roosevelt