The Element

54kjxljwjako t
A New York Times-bestselling breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from the one of the world's leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment. The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century. Also available from Ken Robinson is Finding Your Element, the practical guide to achieving your highest potential.
Curriculet Details
52 Questions
55 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for high school students contains interactive videos exploring ethos, logos, and pathos, as well as annotations describing epistrophe, analogy, and structure. Students will explore the themes of education and passion. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

CHAPTER ONE - The Element

Sir Ken Robinson, the author of this text, is is an English author, speaker and international education adviser. To find out more about Sir Robinson's writing, works, and projects, visit his website by clicking the link below.  (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What, according to the author's story, can you assume was one of the problems with Gillian's performance in school?  
As of 2015, Matt Groening has won 12 Primetime Emmy Awards, ten for The Simpsons and two for his cartoon series Futurama. He also won a British Comedy Award for "outstanding contribution to comedy" and the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for his work on Life in Hell. He received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Why does the author include the stories of these three unique individuals?  
This is an impressive classmate! Sir Paul McCartney was one of the founding members of The Beatles, a band that is generally considered one of the most influential acts in the rock music era. Why do you think the author mentions this detail?  (This annotation contains an image)
There is a great deal of irony in the highlighted paragraphs... Do you see where the author even specifically points it out? Watch the following video on irony to gain more insight into Robinson's claims here.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
The term "tone" refers to a speaker's attitude. How would you characterize Robinson's tone in the highlighted paragraph?  
Do you recall the annotation with the video on irony? What is the irony here?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Robinson offers many criticisms of the educational system. Identify and explain, in your own words, one of his criticisms from Chapter One. Then, consider your own educational experience... What do you think is one of the central problems with the current system of education?  
Notice how Robinson provides a definition of this important term... How would you define Robinson's "Element" in your own words?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
Why does Robinson include the highlighted details?  
Notice how Robinson directly tells you his purpose and goal here. Based on what you have read in Chapter One, do you think Robinson will be successful in helping you to "find the Element for yourself and help others find it as well"? 

CHAPTER TWO - Think Differently

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
What can you infer based on the information in the highlighted paragraph?  
Watch a video clip of the author speaking on this topic at one of his lectures. Does hearing him speak these words, as opposed to reading them in the text, change or enhance your understanding of his argument?  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
Explain what Robinson means when he states that "too many people take for granted and also get wrong--our ideas about intelligence." How do you think Robinson would define or explain "intelligence"? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your explanation.  
Once again, the author points out an element of irony. Why do you think he addresses so much irony in the fields of education and testing?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
What is the author's purpose in including the details and examples of "sterilization laws" and a criminal facing the death penalty?  
What is your reaction to Robinson's criticisms of these standardized tests? Do you feel pressured to perform well on these tests?  
Notice the difference in these two questions... What does one have the ability to learn or realize by considering the second question, "How are you intelligent"?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
How does Robinson structure his argument in these paragraphs?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7
Refer to the previous annotation to view Gordon Parks' famous photograph American Gothic. Summarize the statement that is being made in this photograph. In what way might Parks' photograph highlight some (or one) of Robinson's arguments in this text? Provide at least two examples from each work (the photograph as well as this book) to support your analysis.  
View the image of American Gothic below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Have you considered this question for yourself yet? Think about it now and write down some thoughts in response to this central question: "How are you intelligent"? 

CHAPTER THREE - Beyond Imagining

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Based on what you understand of Robinson's arguments thus far, with which statement would he likely agree?  
Do you agree with Robinson's claims about creativity?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What, according to Robinson, can allow us to be "free"? 
Why do you think the author wants us to see this image?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
Take a moment to consider Robinson's objective here... What is his purpose in including these images of the Earth, planets, and other objects in space? How does this connect with one of his larger arguments or themes?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What is one of the "encouraging things" Robinson wants us to gain from the previously displayed images?  
Think about your own thoughts and experiences... Do you agree with the idea that imagination and creativity are not "the same"?  
Consider Robinson's overall structure and style of writing... Do you notice how often he includes specific examples from noted and respected individuals? Do you think this strategy is effective in helping Robinson to achieve his purpose in this text?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What, according to Robinson, is one of the major differences between creativity and imagination?  
The highlighted paragraph shows an example of a technique of repetition called epistrophe. Epistrophe occurs when a word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive clauses or sentences. Can you find the example of epistrophe in the highlighted paragraph? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following reflects one of Robinson's arguments as expressed in the highlighted paragraphs?  
Robinson breaks down his thinking by offering an analogy here. An analogy is a comparison between two things. Do you think this analogy helps to clarify his argument?  
Quiz 1 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
How have Robinson's arguments about education, passion, and "The Element" evolved in Chapter Three? Highlight his most notable point, in your opinion, from this chapter. Why does this stand out to you?  

CHAPTER FOUR - In the Zone

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Based on the highlighted example, with which statement would Robinson likely agree?  
Did you notice that this chapter is titled "The Zone"? State Robinson's definition of "The Zone" in your own words. 
Do you ever have this feeling of being "completely lost in the process" when you do something? Does that make you reflect on some of your own unique talents or passions?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
How might you know that you are "in the zone," as Robinson describes? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
According to the highlighted lines, if one is truly "in the zone" or "in the Element," then he or she should  
Have you considered viewing things from a new perspective, such as what is described here? How might this change your understanding of a new challenge or topic?  
Why do you think Robinson includes this detail?  
Robinson points out that finding our passion may require us to consider what we would do without having to worry about money or status. As a counter argument, read the following article by Mike Rowe, a well known television personality, and consider how his views differ from Robinson's.  (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7
Refer to the previous annotation to read the article from Mike Rowe regarding work and passion. Summarize Rowe's argument, then, evaluate how Robinson would respond to Rowe's claims. With which speaker do you agree and why? Provide at least two examples from each text to support your response.  

CHAPTER FIVE - Finding Your Tribe

Below is an image of Meg Ryan... Do you recognize her from any of her acting roles?  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following best summarizes Robinson's belief about "the Tribe"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
Which of the following literary devices help to clarify the arguments in the highlighted paragraph?  
This notion seems to align with a statement from Jack Canfield, originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, in which he states, "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Do you agree with these sentiments?  
Take a moment to reflect on the techniques Robinson uses to illustrate his arguments. Oftentimes, Robinson uses rhetorical devices known as ethos, logos, and pathos. Watch the following video on these devices and consider how they influence Robinson's arguments:  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
Refer to the previous annotation to watch the video on ethos, logos, and pathos. Identify how Robinson uses one of these rhetorical devices in his text thus far. What is the purpose and effect of this technique? Provide at least one example to support your analysis.  
Bob Dylan is a famous writer, singer, and artist.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
What is the purpose of the highlighted paragraphs?  
Can you think of a "tribe" today that is comprised of "different sorts of people with different but complementary talents"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What does Robinson identify as being one of the differences between a "team" and a "committee"?  
This is an interesting point... Have you ever experienced--or witnessed--"deindividuation" as it is described here? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Refer to the previous annotation to read the summary of the court's decision in response to allowing various types of clubs in public schools. Although the case specifically addresses clubs of religious affiliation, what does this tell you about your ability to join or create your own club (or "tribe") at your school? How do you think Robinson would respond to this court decision?   
Although Robinson does not state that one's "tribe" must be a formal organized group, consider some of the structured groups available to you at your school. Do you think you could find a "tribe" that aligns with your passions in your current school? Also, consider the types of "tribes" (or groups) available to you through your school... In particular, read the following summary of the "Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens" to find out about the rights that students possess in creating school clubs.  (This annotation contains a link)

CHAPTER SIX - What Will They Think?

Below is an example of Chuck Close's mosaic-style work.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
What moral or lesson does Robinson likely want you to learn from the story of Chuck Close?  
View a video clip from the CandoCo Dance Company below:  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following statements reflects a lesson that Robinson want us to learn from the story of Paulo Coelho?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Why does Robinson include this detail regarding Arrianna Huffington?  
Think about your own friend group... Do you feel pressure to conform?  
This is an interesting observation about human behavior. Do you agree or disagree with Robinson here?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
Explain why Robinson wants the reader to be aware of "contagious behavior." How does this anecdote tie in with the larger themes or lessons of the text?  
Reflect on a social movement in modern times... Do you agree with Robinson's observations?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
Which of the following themes is expressed in Chapter Six?  

CHAPTER SEVEN - Do You Feel Lucky?

This is a notable point... Consider your own attitude when you approach a task or challenge. Do you think attitude is an important factor?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
What lesson should the reader gain from the story of Sir John Wilson?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
Which of the following attributes is not one of Wiseman's characteristics of "lucky" people, as described in the highlighted paragraph? 
Why does Robinson want you to know about his personal setbacks and struggles? 
Quiz 2 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
Examine how Robinson's explanations of the "Element" have evolved throughout the text thus far. What stands out to you, personally, as being the most significant or important information regarding the "Element"? Provide at least two examples form the text to support your response.  

CHAPTER EIGHT - Somebody Help Me

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Refer to the previous annotation to read President Obama's Second Annual "Back to School" speech. In what way(s) are Obama and Robinson's views similar? How might Robinson respond to Obama's speech? Provide at least two examples from each text to support your response.  
Robinson was fortunate to encounter several inspirational teachers in his academic career. Read President Barack Obama's second annual "Back to School" speech from 2010. How does this speech highlight some of Robinson's ideas?  (This annotation contains a link)
What is the effect of the inclusion of this poem? Why do you think the author wants us to read these lines?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following statements best identifies the mentor's role in "recognition"? 
This is an important point. Is there someone in your life who is particularly encouraging? What is the effect of their encouragement?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
What could be an alternate synonym for the term "stretching" as it is used in the context of this paragraph?  

CHAPTER NINE - Is It Too Late?

Listen to a quick video clip of Susan Jeffers speaking on the central question "Why are we Afraid?" Do you think Jeffers' statements align with any of Robinson's viewpoints?  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
What did Jeffers gain by learning to "push through fear"? 
Robinson warns of people feeling "locked into their lives." Consider what opportunities adults may have to change their career paths. Read the following legal summary of the "Adult Education and Family Literacy Act." How might an act, such as the one proposed below, help adults to pursue their "Element"? (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Refer to the previous annotation to read the "Adult Education and Family Literacy Act." Summarize the objectives of this act and explain whether or not you think this type of proposal would help adults to find and pursue their own "Element." Furthermore, explain how you think Robinson might respond to this type of proposed act.  
BBC stands for British Broadcasting Cooperation, a public service broadcaster based out of London.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Why does Robinson share these insights about his parents?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
What does the line "age is an asset rather than a liability" mean?  
This is an notable observation... Have you ever taken a "step back" to look at the way in which we, as a society, educate students "in batches"? Do you think this is the most ideal way? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following best summarizes the central idea of Chapter Nine?  

CHAPTER TEN - For Love or Money

Is there anything in your life that seems to come naturally to you? Consider even non-academic activities, such as sports, the ability to easily conversate with people, your keen sense of smell or taste, and so forth... What might your natural talent tell you about yourself?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
Why does Robinson include this information about "Pro-Ams"?  
Reflect, once again, on your own passions. Do you think you can pursue your Element as part of a career path? If not, take note of what Robinson suggests here.  
Khaled Hosseini, pictured below, is the famous author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Have you read any of his works?  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
How does this paragraph strengthen Robinson's argument in this chapter?  
Have you heard of the term "connotations" before? Watch the following video on denotations and connotations to clarify the author's meaning in this section.  (This annotation contains a video)
What does this insight tell you about the Element?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Summarize Robinson's arguments about the Element, wealth, and one's career. Do you agree or disagree with his viewpoints in this chapter? Provide at least two examples to support your response.  

CHAPTER ELEVEN - Making the Grade

Why does Robinson want us to know the struggles of the financially successful Richard Branson?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
Which of the following best describes Robinson's attitude towards the current educational system as expressed in the highlighted paragraph? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Refer to the previous annotation to read more about "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act" (now known as "No Child Left Behind"). Although this act was intended to help educate and guide young students, Robinson is highly critical of the current state of education. Do you think the "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act" has been effective in educating young students? What criticisms do you have of this act and / or the current state of education?  
In 1965, President Johnson signed "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act" (ESEA), as he argued that a "full educational opportunity" should be "our first national goal." Read more about this act (which, today, is known as "No Child Left Behind") by clicking the link below. Do you think that ESEA is living up to its intended goals?  (This annotation contains a link)
Do you recall the previous annotation on "No Child Left Behind"? Do you agree or disagree with Robinson's criticisms of this legislation?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
Which of the following efforts would Robinson support in an attempt to improve education?  
Think of your own experiences in school... Would you have benefited from this model? Why or why not?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
What is the author's purpose in including the example of the Reggio schools?  
Do you think you would enjoy and benefit from learning in this type of environment?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
What does Robinson mean with the term "natural resources" at is used in the context of this paragraph?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
Choose one of the central arguments from this text and summarize Robinson's claims on this issue. Then, consider your own thoughts on this topic... Do you agree or disagree with Robinson's argument? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your explanation.  
Quiz 3