CommUNITY Read

Great Oaks CommUNITY Read: Spring 2021

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom


Rationale: For many years, Scarlet Oaks has had much success with their annual Senior Read program. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes to the field of education, but also highlighted certain aspects that should remain. More than ever, our students and communities feel the disconnect brought on by social distancing, lockdowns, and quarantines. While life generally moves at a break-necking pace, the pandemic has, in some ways, forced us to slow down and prioritize our efforts on what is really important. The heart of our English 12 curriculum focuses on increasing the skillset commonly referred to as “Adulting” so that our students leave our classrooms (or Zoom sessions) having the capability to be successful in the real world, no matter what it looks like. The many themes present in Tuesdays with Morrie are relevant to growing, changing, maturing, and evolving into the adults we will become. This document is referred to as the “CommUNITY Curriculum” that you, the teacher, should utilize for your lessons, assignments, and activities in your classroom environment.


Learning Targets: Through this unit, students will be able to:

  • Think critically and communicate ideas about abstract concepts such as love, success, and “living” through discussion and written reflection.
  • Build off of others’ ideas by making thematic connections from text to self and other texts through written reflection and oral discussion.
  • Compare and contrast multiple perspectives on key themes and concepts.
  • Analyze and explain the impact/influence multi-generational relationships can have, such as that between Morrie and Mitch
  • Define what a tribute is and create one


CommUNITY Curriculum: 

  • Essential Questions: Throughout the designated section, students should ponder the essential questions. These questions can jumpstart or guide student-led/teacher-facilitated discussion. 
  • Enrichment Activities: This section contains assignments and activities that will help guide your students to deepen their understanding of what they are reading in the novel. Everything from poetry, songs, TED Talks, informational articles, etc. are included in this section. 
  • Making Connections to 21st century skills, Social-Emotional Learning, and “Adulting”: This section is intended to help you further the “WHY” discussion with your students. The knowledge and skills they will learn through this unit can be applied to many aspects of their life.


Reading Section Essential Questions Enrichment Activities by Section/Chapter Making Connections
Section 1

Pre Reading & p.1-47

  • How do you define success vs. what society defines as success?
  • What makes someone a teacher?
  • What makes a teacher memorable? 
  • In what way(s) are  you “living” your best life?
  • Legacy Contest
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Defined
  • Quote at the End/Full Circle
Section 2   


  • Does suffering teach a person empathy? 
  • What can suffering and  death teach us?
  • What can we learn from others? 
  • Why is it important to learn from others? 
  • Why is it so hard to trust others? 
  • Empathy vs. Sympathy
  • Discussion/PADLET: Can empathy really be taught? 
Section 3 p.80-114
  • What is the driving force of our life?
  • Who makes up our family?
  • How do we COPE with emotions? 
Section 4


    • What is the difference between aging and growing? 
  • What gives life purpose and meaning?
  • Why do we feel like “more is good”? 
  • What do you want to be remembered for? 
  • What makes a successful relationship?
  • How does culture impact life?
  • “What’s wrong with being number two?” 
  • Action Plans and SMART Goals
  • Difference between being qualified and being the best fit
  • BCD
  • E+R=O
  • Growth Mindset
  • Workplace Culture
  • Culture Wishlist
Section 5

P. 164-END

    • Is it more important to forgive yourself or forgive others?
    • If you had 24 hours to make the perfect day, how would you spend it?
  • How can we not only accept, but embrace, our roles as “part of the ocean”?
    • After you lose someone, how do you hold onto them? 
  • How do you keep the relationship alive after the death/loss of someone? 
  • How to prepare for important speeches in your Life (graduation, interviews, proposals, wedding toasts, retirement, eulogy, etc).
  • Giving is Living→ how do you plan to live? (Padlet/Parlay/FlipGrid)
  • Two minute Commencement Speech

Culminating Project/Assessment of Learning: Tribute to a Teacher

This is ideally the final project your seniors will complete before graduation. They should view this project as a way to show their appreciation to someone that has helped them along their journey. It is important to stress to students that the person they choose does not have to be a teacher, but anyone they have learned a significant amount from in life. Remind them that Mitch often referred to Morrie as “Coach” and Morrie referred to Mitch as “Player”. 


Other Instructional Practices: 

Below is a list of other activities and assignments that have been successful for teachers in the past. These were not included as part of the CommUNITY Curriculum because we recognize that we cannot include everything within this curriculum. Utilize these resources as needed or desired based on your teaching style and learning environment.  


Opportunities for cross campus student interaction and connection:


Opportunity for reflection on teaching and share feedback→ “Tuesday Teacher Talk” or T3

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