Winner of the 2016 NAGC Curriculum Studies Award

In I, Me, You, We: Individuality Versus Conformity, students explore essential questions such as “How does our environment shape our identity? What are the consequences of conforming to a group? When does social conformity go too far?” This unit, developed by Vanderbilt University’s Programs for Talented Youth and aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), includes a major emphasis on rigorous evidence-based discourse through the study of common themes across rich, challenging nonfiction and fictional texts.

The unit guides students to examine the fine line of individuality versus conformity through the related concepts of belongingness, community, civil disobedience, questioning the status quo, and self-reliance by engaging in creative activities, Socratic seminars, literary analyses, and debates. Lessons include close-readings with text-dependent questions, choice-based differentiated products, rubrics, formative assessments, and ELA tasks that require students to analyze texts for rhetorical features, literary elements, and themes through argument, explanatory, and prose-constructed writing.

Ideal for pre-AP and honors courses, the unit features short stories from Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury, poetry from Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou, art by M. C. Escher and Pablo Picasso, and primary source documents from Plato, Eleanor D. Roosevelt, William Bradford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau.

Grades 6-8

chapter |13 pages


chapter |2 pages


"The Parable of the Poisoned Well" by Author Unknown

chapter |1 pages

Pretest Rubric

“The Parable of the Poisoned Well” by Author Unknown

part |35 pages

An Examination of Identity

chapter Lesson 1|12 pages

"Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed"

chapter Lesson 2|10 pages

"All Summer in a Day"

chapter Lesson 3|7 pages

"Day and Night"

part |35 pages

An Examination of Risk

chapter Lesson 4|9 pages

"Letter to DAR" and "My Day" Column

chapter Lesson 6|11 pages

"Much Madness is divinest Sense"

part |34 pages

An Examination of Social Conformity

chapter Lesson 7|11 pages

The Mayflower Compact

chapter Lesson 8|9 pages


chapter Lesson 9|10 pages

"Harrison Bergeron"

part |36 pages

An Examination of Nonconformity

chapter Lesson 10|12 pages

Excerpts From "Self-Reliance"

chapter Lesson 11|11 pages

Excerpts From "Civil Disobedience"

chapter |2 pages


"The Man, The Boy, and the Donkey" by Aesop

chapter |1 pages

Posttest Rubric

"The Man, The Boy, and the Donkey" by Aesop