An Inclusive Curricular Approach to a "Streetcar Named Desire"
An Introduction to Our Inquiry
A Streetcar Named Desire is a play that usually becomes the highlight of the year in our Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) Junior English class. However, since this was my second year in a row teaching the unit, my co-teacher and I contemplated how to take the curriculum further. In my previous year teaching this unit, I knew some students would end up left behind with the class’ reading pace, while some who are able to keep up with the pace might not be able to analyze the themes of the play.
We wanted to make sure we planned a variety of activities to make sure the curriculum was accessible to all students. During our Curriculum inquiry-to-action sessions with TCICP, we learned about Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, and wanted to make sure we provided different means of representation, expression and engagement throughout the unit. Our class includes a wide range of students, including students with learning disabilities and speech/language impairments, as well as students reading at a middle school level to those reading at a college level, so this goal was especially important in order to have a successful unit.
Our activities, which took place before reading the play, during the reading of the play and after having read the play, aimed to make literature itself more relevant to the students’ lives by allowing them to understand the context of the play and find ways to make connections with their own lives. In doing so, we hoped to keep the students engaged in the task of making sense of the text so they would better be able to understand and analyze the themes of the play.