UCCI Course Description

English 9 Reading, Writing and Research in Social Entrepreneurship

Overview Course Content Course Materials
Length of Course
Full Year (2 semesters; 3 trimesters; 4 quarters)
Subject Area - Discipline
English (B) - English
UC Honors Designation
CTE Sector
Marketing, Sales, and Services
CTE Pathway
Entrepreneurship / Self-Employment
Grade Level(s)


Reading, Writing and Research in Social Entrepreneurship is a college preparatory 9th grade English course integrated with the entrepreneurship and self-employment pathway standards of the marketing, sales, and services CTE sector. In Entrepreneurs as Researchers, students read and write about who they are and what they believe, in relation to their families and their communities. The Entrepreneurs as Researchers course uses the Common Core’s attention to multi-media, argumentation and informational text as an opportunity for students to explore their experiences, define ethics, analyze social responsibility, and create an action plan for community change. Woven throughout these units of study is an exploration of the characteristics of entrepreneurs such as, integrity, risk-taking, creativity, curiosity, determination, discipline, empathy, flexibility, and responsibility. Entrepreneurs as Researchers will engage students in questions of who they are, how ethics impact choices, what it means to be a socially responsible entrepreneur, what assets and issues exist in their communities, and how they can galvanize those assets to create a more sustainable community.

Course Content

Unit 1 : Doc Your Block

Unit 1 Description

In this unit students become entrepreneurs in training by reading narratives and social theory (specifically Transformational Resistance by D. Solorzano & D. Delgado Bernal), watching films and writing personal narratives. Students will answer the questions: who am I, what is my purpose, and what are the assets and needs of my community? Then students will be guided through social theory to see entrepreneurship as a means of transformative resistance, not simply in commercial (economic) terms but also politically, socially, and culturally.Throughout the unit, students will answer the questions: How am I an agent? and How have I shown agency? In the culminating activity of Doc Your Block, students will use iMovie to document the types of resistance they see in their communities, as well as identify opportunities for transformative resistance. Through these activities students will develop critical reading, writing skills and innovative thinking skills that apply to entrepreneurship.

Analytical Short Constructed Response

These first assignments introduce students to examples of well-written narratives that develop themes related to resistance. Students will closely read narratives such as “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie, and other short narratives that develop the theme of resistance. They will also read excerpts from Solorzano and Delgado Bernal’s theory of transformational resistance. This is an opportunity to establish reading strategies, such as re-reading, annotating, and answering evidence-based questions. At the same time, students develop an understanding of resistance and how writers use language and structure to develop their experiences. Students will clearly and accurately write informative/ explanatory paragraphs to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information. The informative/ explanatory paragraphs will include a subclaim that articulates students’ developing understanding of resistance as expressed in each text as well as evidence and analysis to support the subclaim and citation. Their analytical paragraphs will show their ability to make a claim, support it with evidence and structure an argument, which will support their ability to later make ethical claims toward the business practices of a company.

Photo Narrative

Students will begin developing their documentary skills by creating a photo narrative. They will submit three photographs that visually explain their experiences with family, community, and school. Students will first analyze photographs, in order to develop an understanding of how photographs convey complex experiences. They will then create a PowerPoint/Keynote/Prezi presentation of their final three photographs, write a paragraph about each photograph explaining what it demonstrates about their experiences, and, finally, they will present their photo narratives to the class. Entrepreneurs must be skilled in communicating effectively with multiple audiences in a variety of media and formats. The photo narrative is an opportunity for students to integrate their knowledge by analyzing  information in multi-media formats; they are first explaining their experiences and learning about others’ experiences through visual art, and then responding to the same prompt in writing in the next assignment. Moreover, this is their first presentation using digital media--a tool must use in presentations throughout the year--and their first opportunity to adapt their speech to their audience and the prompt.

Personal Statement

After creating photo narratives and examining exemplary personal narratives, students will now write their personal statements. These 2-3 page essays respond to the UC prompt: Describe the world you come from--for example your family, community and school--and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. Students’ essays will demonstrate knowledge of how to use precise language and structure to develop experiences, while building their story-telling capacity, which is an essential entrepreneurial skill.

Shot List/Storyboard

In order to scaffold the iMovie documentary,  students will create a shot list using ideas from their personal statement. Their shot lists must demonstrate planning of examples of transformational resistance locations (sites of and opportunities for transformational resistance), content, camera shot (angle) and justification. Finally, students apply the technicalities from the shot list and create a storyboard by pre-visualizing and sequencing their film. They will practice their ability to communicate effectively in multiple formats by presenting their storyboards. When their storyboards show evidence of planning and preparedness, they will then have access to film-making technology.


Students will now use their personal statements, shot lists and storyboards to create an iMovie narrative. Through the creation of this movie, students will demonstrate their ability to use technology (video, photography, music, voiceover, transitions, editing, subtitles), to adapt language and tone to audience, to communicate their understanding of resistance theory, and to create a movie that effectively develops an experience. By creating iMovies, students demonstrate their ability to use technology to produce and share information flexibly and dynamically, in multimedia formats.  Students begin developing the entrepreneurial skill of using and assessing the value of digital information technologies to communicate information. Moreover, digital media skills are essential to marketing, sales and advocacy required in entrepreneurship. i-Movie is powerful way of making sure 9th graders develop a clear technical skill that will immediately serve their communication and entrepreneurial ventures.

Unit 2 : Beliefs and Ethics

An entrepreneur identifies and analyzes ethical and social responsibilities of a successful small business. In order to practice identifying and analyzing, students apply this in scenarios in literature and their lives. In this unit students will answer the questions: What do I believe? What ethics guide my choices? And what role does ethics play in business? Students will engage in ethical dilemma case studies and read various texts that help them analyze choices from the perspective of ethics. This unit begins to develop the “Ethics and Legal Responsibilities” CTE standard while building their ability to read rigorous multimedia texts, and write evidence-based short constructed responses.

Ethics Case Studies Journals (weekly)

Throughout this unit, students will explore and discuss ethical scenarios (presented in various formats) that will help them develop three core ethical perspectives: consequence- or end-based ethics, rule-based ethics, and virtue-based ethics. The scenarios are available on USC’s CALIS website. Not all cases are specific to business, but they will prepare students with the knowledge of ethics they need in order to evaluate ethical business practices. One case asks students what they would do if they had the choice to end one life in order to save five. Other cases range from the ethics of policies, to personal finances, and family planning. Students will write journals in order to demonstrate their knowledge of the three ethical perspectives (consequences, rules, or virtues) in their own lives. They will make claims about what ethical perspectives they see in the case studies and accompanying texts. These journals give them the opportunity to develop fluency in writing about ethical perspectives, and will prepare them for the following Argumentative essay assignment. Teachers can use these journals as an opportunity for students to practice domain specific academic language related to ethics. Students can use these journals as a way of developing appropriate tone, by revising journals for specific audiences.  

Ethics Argumentative Essay

Students deepen their understanding of ethics through literature circles. Possible texts include Of Mice and Men, Feed, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ender’s Game, The Book Thief, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Students’ reading will focus on the question: What ethical perspectives motivates the characters’ or institutions’ decisions in these texts? Through literature circles students will develop their ability to analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text and how an author develops a central theme (in this case, related to ethics) through the language and structure of the text. They will write 2-3 page arguments about the characters’ ethical perspectives by using evidence from the text to support their claims. Students will develop the academic language to discuss and write about the role of truthfulness, honesty, integrity, consequence-based, rule-based and virtue-based thinking as a precursor to defining ethical behavior in the workplace.

Ethical Claims in Debates and Timed Writings

Students will now read articles about companies whose ethical business practices have come under question. Students will debate the companies’ policies in order to apply their new knowledge of ethical perspectives. This assignment enables students to explore the role of business in society, while examining the significance of corporate ethics. They will read two to four articles about high-profile businesses (such as Wal Mart, Facebook, CVS, GM) and will make claims about their ethics. After collaboratively reading and re-reading articles, students will prepare debates in order to practice listening, and written and verbal communication skills. Debaters must garner evidence to support their claims, and listeners must evaluate the reasoning and evidence of the debater. Students will further demonstrate knowledge in one- to two-page timed writings where they will make claims, supported by evidence showing their ability to apply ethical perspectives in business.

Ethics on Trial and Argument Essay

For the final performance assessment, groups of students will put businesses on trial for ethics violations. In this assessment students will conduct in-depth research on one business and cite evidence of how the businesses acted both ethically and unethically, using consequence, rule, and virtue based arguments. The purpose of this assessment is for students to apply their ability to formulate arguments, cite evidence, and use academic language of business and ethics. They will learn how to conduct research from multiple, reliable print and digital resources while assessing the usefulness and credibility of sources. After the trial, students will write a 2-4 page essay arguing their view on the company’s ethics. They will argue whether the company acted ethically or unethically, and what ethical perspectives motivated the company’s behavior.

Unit 3 : What is a Socially Responsible Entrepreneur?

This unit introduces the concept of a “socially responsible entrepreneur” within the context of the students’ community. Students begin by learning about what it means to be an entrepreneur and apply this knowledge to identify and develop a professional relationship with a local business owner. Students then learn about the concept of social responsibility and apply this new knowledge by developing a rubric that determines how socially responsible a business is. The rubric will be used to evaluate their previously selected local business. Students will then gather information from observations and interviews to write an entrepreneur profile and create an iMovie about the local entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Analysis

Using teacher provided examples, students will develop a clear understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur by synthesizing various profiles of entrepreneurs (e.g., high profile, small and trendy, and local) and their products or services. Students will create a list of entrepreneurial characteristics and apply this list to more examples of large and small business (e.g., franchise, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship). Students will then select a local business and write and deliver a written and verbal claim about how this business owner is an entrepreneur and use evidence from the list of entrepreneurial characteristics to support their claim. The business owners that embody the most characteristics of an entrepreneur will be utilized for the culminating entrepreneur profile and the YPAR unit.  

Social Responsibility Index

Building on students understanding of an entrepreneur, students will identify and analyze how a business is socially responsible. Students will access prior knowledge to generate a class list of defining characteristics of a socially responsible entrepreneur. Students will then analyze and annotate articles about socially responsible businesses and identify key characteristics of the businesses. They will consult the initial list of defining characteristics and synthesize the list with their analysis of the articles. Students will use the finalized list to develop a universal index (rubric) of social responsibility and apply it to the previously read articles on socially responsible businesses. Students will determine where these businesses fall within the index of social responsibility and defend the business’s index score in a short constructed response and a Socratic Seminar. Students will support their claim by using evidence from the article(s) and index (rubric), and indicating the strengths and limitations of the article(s).

Entrepreneur Profile

Utilizing their understanding of entrepreneurs and social responsibility, students will begin the process of writing an entrepreneur profile. Students will use the characteristics of an entrepreneur and the social responsibility index to develop interview questions for a local entrepreneur. After conducting the interviews, students will compile the information into a 2 - 3 page profile. In the profile, students will not only include the answers to questions related to being an entrepreneur and being a socially responsible business, but also the personal and professional background of the entrepreneur. Students will also create a 3 - 5 minute iMovie  that incorporates all the same elements as the written profile (for examples, refer to Etsy Featured Shop in supplemental materials). The iMovies will be presented to the community and posted on the school’s website.

Unit 4 : Youth Participatory Action Research

Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a research method that moves students from doing research for research purposes to doing research so that stakeholders can become transformational agents of change based on the research.  YPAR can be seen in three parts: 1) student group investigation of a problem; 2) the use of indigenous knowledge to better understand that problem; 3) creating recommendations for the researcher and community stakeholders to deal with the problem. The essential research question is: You’ve now studied entrepreneurs in our community and have a strong understanding of our assets and needs. What innovations do you want to see in your community?

In this unit, students will evaluate the information they have gathered about their community (i.e. businesses, assets and needs) and identify and analyze one social need that is not being addressed by the local businesses. Students will present and defend their recommendations for innovations that will address these needs.

Triangulated Research Portfolio

After lessons about Costas’ Level of Questioning, students will create survey questions to collect demographic information Re: their communities (that will assist in creating a community profile) in order to develop quantitative data. The raw data will be placed as a document in their research portfolio in the section labeled “Quantitative Data.” The document will have sentence frames enabling students to make inferences about the data. Then students will draw necessary qualitative data from their business profiles from unit three, about what should be improved or replicated in being a socially responsible entrepreneur. Students will add their qualitative inferences into a section of the research portfolio labeled “Qualitative Data.” From both the quantitative and qualitative data, inferences will be formulated to articulate a narrative of the community and the innovations in local businesses that should be and/or are occurring. Finally, the third section of the portfolio will be labeled “Theory.” In it, students will incorporate the social theory they studied during unit one about Transformational Resistance to identify the behaviors that promote socially responsible business practices and brainstorm possible recommendations. This section of the portfolio will define Transformational Resistance and the behaviors that lend themselves to transformation especially referencing these behaviors in businesses.

Economic Development Report

Using the data from the research portfolio students will create a report modeled after an economic development report (EDR). Students read and analyze a professional EDR to model the components and decide which components are necessary for their own EDR and complete the report. In the report, students will identify local consumer assets and needs and will also offer recommendations for consumers, services, business owners and any other identified community stakeholder to encourage a more socially responsible business community.  Students use their collected data as evidence to support their claims and recommendations and must incorporate it using an appropriate citation method and thoughtful analysis.


Students will create a presentation based on their EDR. The presentation of their data and recommendations will be done in PREZI/ PowerPoint/ Keynote to local businesses and community stakeholders they identified in the EDR. Through this presentation students will demonstrate entrepreneurial characteristics: integrity, risk-taking, creativity, curiosity, determination, discipline, empathy, flexibility, and responsibility.  

Course Materials

Primary Texts:

Title: Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Edition: First Free Press trade paperback edition
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Free Press
Author: Gregory Boyle
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: The House on Mango Street
Edition: 25th Anniversary Edition
Publication Date: April 3, 1991
Publisher: Vintage
Author: Sandra Cisneros
Usage: - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: Of Mice and Men (Suggested)
Edition: Reissue edition
Publication Date: September 1, 1993 Publisher: Penguin Books
Author: John Steinbeck
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Suggested)
Edition: Reissue edition
Publication Date: February 1, 1963
Publisher: Signet
Author: Ken Kesey
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: Feed (Suggested)
Edition: Reprint edition
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick
Author: M.T. Anderson
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: The Book Thief (Suggested)
Edition: Reprint edition
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author: Markus Zusak
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: To Kill A Mockingbird (Suggested)
Edition: Reissue edition
Publication Date: October 11, 1988
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Author: Harper Lee
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: Entrepreneurship: Owning Your Future (Definition of an Entrepreneur)
Edition: Eleventh
Publication Date:
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Author: Steve Mariotti and Tony Towle
Usage: Primary Text - Read in entirety or near entirety

Title: USC Calis Website (Required for Unit 2)
Author: various

Title: Costa’s Level of Questioning (Required for Unit 4)

Title: Census Data (Required for Unit 4)

Title: Healthy Cities (Required for Unit 4)

Supplemental Instructional Materials:

Unit 1

Title: Essay on Resistance to Social Change
Author: Neha Pansare

Title: Examining Transformational Resistance Through a Critical Race and Latcrit Theory Framework
Author: Bernal, D.D. & Solorzano, D.G.

Title: Disabling Juvenile Justice: Engaging the Stories of Incarcerated Young Women of Color With Disabilities
Author: Subini Ancy Annamma, PhD

Title: 7 Metaphors for Leadership Transformation
Author: Peter Fuda

Unit 2

Title: Social Media Research Raises Privacy and Ethics Issues
Author: Sharon Jayson

Title: The Google Case: When Law and Ethics Collide
Author: Ben W. Heineman Jr.

Title: Fast Fashion’s Challenge: Making Money with ‘Made in the USA’
Author: Amy Walters

Title: Expose Reveals Walmart Blocked Improvements Despite Vows to Improve Safety After Deadly Factory Fire
Author: Transcript of Conversation

Title: CVS: A Prescription to do the Right Thing
Author Stuart Muszynski

Title: I Tried to See Where My T-Shirt Was Made, and the Factory Sent Thugs After Me
Author: Dana Liebelson

Title: 10 Key Events in GM’s Ignition Switch Recall
Author: The Associated Press

Title: Timeline: A History of GM’s Ignition Switch Defect
Author: Tanya Basu

Title: Latina Publishing Magnate Shares Wisdom from the Trade
Author: Michael Martin

Title: Why Did Lavabit Founder Shut Down His Company?
Author: Robert Seigel
URL Resource:

Unit 3

Title: The Real Definition of Entrepreneur and Why That Matters
Author: Brett Nelson

Title: Kleur

Title: Etsy Featured Shop
Author: Various

Title: The Art of ‘Something From Nothing’
Author: Nick Wingfield

Title: A Side Business as a Way to Gain Financial Stability
Author: Kimberly Palmer

Title: Au Revoir, Entrepreneurs
Author: Shirley Jackson
Title: Planting for Profit, and Greater Good
Author: Claire Martin

Title: The 10 Companies With the Best CSR Reputations
Author: Claire Martin

Title: Why Michigan's Favorite Food Brand Is Turning Its $50 Million Business Into A Worker-Owned Co-Op
Author: Richard Feloni

Title: Just Good Business
Author: Unknown

Title: Chipotle Starts Labeling GMO Ingredients On Website Menu
Author: Joe Satran

Title: How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart
Author: Steven Greenhouse

Title: India Eye Care Center Finds Middle Way to Capitalism
Author: John Ydstie

Title: #NailgasmTV: Career Change Talk with Kleur

Title: Now With More Integrity: Chipotle Gets With the Fair Food Program
Author: Leslie Hatfield
URL Resource:

Stay informed with key updates from UC High School Articulation!
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter!