This collection uses primary sources to explore The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
In this unit, students read the core texts The Hundred Dresses and Garvey's Choice as a way of exploring what it means to be accepting and tolerant of themselves and others. The Hundred Dresses challenges students to think about the different roles associated with bullying through the eyes of the narrator, who struggles with her own involvement with a classmate who is bullied. Garvey's Choice illustrates the way others influence the way we see ourselves, both positively and negatively, and the power of accepting ourselves by tracing Garvey's path to self-discovery and acceptance. Both texts are full of moments and messages that are easily relatable for students at this grade level. Therefore, it is our hope that the experiences of the characters in both texts will serve as a neutral launching point for deeper discussions about bullying, tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness.
In reading, the main focus of the unit is on identifying and tracing the central message across a longer text. Over the course of the text, students will develop a deep understanding of each character's thoughts, feelings, and motivations, which will help them identify and explain how the central message is developed and conveyed through the characters. Students will also begin to understand how successive parts of a text build on each other to push the plot forward. Particularly with Garvey's Choice, students will analyze the genre features of novels written in verse and how each part helps build and develop the central message. This unit also focused on point of view. Students will begin to notice the point of view in which a story is told and compare that with their own point of view.
This collection uses primary sources to explore The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Use the following lessons to introduce students to world folklore and to explore how folktales convey the perspectives of different world cultures.
This course is a survey of American Literature from 1650 through 1820. It covers Early American and Puritan Literature, Enlightenment Literature, and Romantic Literature. It teaches in the context of American History and introduces the student to literary criticism and research.
In this unit students continue the exploration of factors that influence change by examining the events that led up to the American Revolution. Over the course of the unit, students will build a deeper understanding of the significant ideas and values at the heart of the American Revolution, what drove the colonists to seek independence, and how conflict between England and the colonists ultimately influenced change in our country. Students will see the American Revolution from multiple perspectives, starting with analyzing the difference in perspectives between the British and the colonists and how each side's actions often instigated each other. Students will also explore how class structure influenced colonists perspectives. Later in the unit, students will think about the perspectives of black people, women and Native Americans who were forced to choose a side and why they may have had a different point of view of the events of the revolution.
An important part of this unit is pushing students to focus on seeing history from multiple different perspectives. The core text Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began offers one perspective on events, however, the prespective is limited to that held by white elite colonists. Therefore, students also read excerpts from A Young People's History of the United States in order to build a deeper understanding of all sides of the Revolution.
In this unit, students explore ancient Egypt. Over the course of the unit students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Egypt and what the ancient Egyptians valued. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Egypt, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about the role that mummies and pyramids played in ancient Egyptian society and why archeologists and scientists have been intrigued by them ever since. In second and third grade, students will continue their exploration of ancient civilizations by learning more about ancient Greece and ancient Rome. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with the others in the sequence, will help students understand and appreciate early civilizations that have had a lasting impact on the world.
In reading, this unit focuses on understanding the reasons and evidence an author uses to support points in a text. Being able to determine the reasons and evidence an author uses to support a point requires a deep understanding of cause and effect, informational text features, using illustrations to learn new details, and identifying the main topic and key details. These strategies have been introduced and practiced in previous units and should be reinforced and highlighted as needed in order to synthesize and identify the reasons an author uses to support points in a text. An additional focus of this unit is on using details from two texts to build a deeper understanding of content. Students will compare and contrast the similarities and differences between texts at the end of the unit but should be challenged to notice similarities and differences as they encounter new texts over the course of the unit.
In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. At this point students should be fluid in writing about the text in a structured way. Therefore, the focus of this unit is on pushing students to include the best and most accurate evidence and then to explain the evidence with inferences or critical thinking.
In this unit students explore ancient Greece. Over the course of the unit students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Greece, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about many different gods and analyze the role gods played in ancient Greek society. At the end of the unit students will be challenged to compare and contrast the role of the Olympics in ancient Greek society with the modern-day Olympics. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with others in the sequence, will help students understand early influences in the world.
The mentor text for this unit, Ancient Greece and the Olympics, allows students to practice multiple informational reading strategies independently and in partners. Over the course of the unit students will practice the spiraling strategies of determining the main topic and details, using context clues to figure out unknown words, analyzing illustrations, and using text features to deepen understanding of a text. An additional focus of this unit is on describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text. Over the entire unit students should be challenged to think critically about the reasons authors include in a text to support a particular point and why those reasons support the point. Another focus of this unit is on comparing and contrasting the most important points presented across two texts on the same topic. It is important to note that in order for students to successfully analyze authors' use of reasons and to compare and contrast across texts, students must be able to determine key details. Plan small-group remediation or reteach for students who are still struggling with this concept.
In this unit students explore the rise and fall of the ancient Roman Empire. Over the course of the unit, students learn about different characteristics of the Roman Empire, what lead to the Empire's growth and success, and what eventually lead to the Empire's demise. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of the Roman Empire, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to societal values today. This unit builds onto the 2nd grade nonfiction unit on ancient Greece, in which students began to think about how the daily routines, structures, and rituals of a civilization show what they value. This unit, in conjunction with the second grade unit on ancient Greece, will help students understand early influences in the world and the first republics.
The mentor texts for this unit, Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House and Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, allow students to practice multiple informational reading strategies in two very different text structures. In both texts, but predominately in Eye Wonder, students will practice using a multitude of text features and illustrations as a way of learning new information about a topic. Over the course of this unit, students will constantly be thinking about how the information from one text builds on and connects to the information in the other text. Then at the end of the unit, students will be asked to critically analyze the similarities and differences between the two texts.
Allegories are similar to metaphors: in both the author uses one subject to represent another, seemingly unrelated, subject. However, unlike metaphors, which are generally short and contained within a few lines, an allegory extends its representation over the course of an entire story, novel, or poem. This lesson plan will introduce students to the concept of allegory by using George Orwell’s widely read novella, Animal Farm, which is available on Project Gutenberg.
In this science-based unit, students begin their exploration of animals and animal adaptations. Using next generation science standards as a guide, students explore three main topics: how different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways in order to survive, the ways in which the behavior of different animal parents and offspring help the offspring survive, and the similarities and differences among individual animals of the same kind. This unit is part of a larger progression on understanding animals and the animal kingdom. In kindergarten, students learn about how animals meet their basic needs for survival and how that varies depending on the season. In second grade, students learn about different habitats and how animals in the habitat rely on the environment for survival. Then in third grade, students study animal adaptations and the different ways animals adapt in order to survive, especially when threatened by environmental changes. It is our hope that this unit, in combination with others in the sequence, will help students develop a deeper understanding of the animal kingdom and life science.
This unit includes a mix of read-aloud texts and shared-reading texts. Students will focus on different skills depending on the method in which the text is consumed. During read aloud, students will refine their skills in describing the connection between ideas and pieces of information, figuring out the meaning of unknown words, distinguishing between information provided by the pictures and information in the text, and identifying the reasons an author gives to support points in a text. During shared reading, students will predominately focus on identifying the main topic of a section of a text, retelling key details that match the main topic, and using text features to locate key facts and information. Because the shared reading days are meant to be student driven, not teacher driven, the target tasks are at a more accessible, independent level for students. There are also not a lot of key questions already planned for shared reading days. Questions should be written and spiraled in based on student needs and student reading levels.
In writing, this unit builds on the work students did in unit one. Students will continue to write daily in response to the text, with a focus on correctly answering questions and adding an inference or critical thinking.
In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In the introductory first lesson, they will see how animals are often used as symbols. In the second lesson, they will hear one of several versions of how the 12 animals were chosen. They will then focus upon a few of the animals in the story and see how they can be used as symbols of certain human characteristics. In the third lesson, they will be introduced to the other animals of the zodiac, and they will be given a chart on which they will assign traits to each animal. Then they will consult a number of websites to find the traits traditionally associated with the animals, which they will add to their list. Then, they will come up with a number of ways to compare and contrast the animals in the list. In the third lesson, they will focus upon the animal associated with the year of their birth, learning about its traits and discussing whether or not these apply to themselves and their peers. Finally, each student will make an acrostic, combining the letters of his or her first name with adjectives that relate to his or her zodiac sign.
The purpose of this project is two-fold: first, to encourage students to make the reading of poetry a creative act; and, second, to help students appreciate particular literary devices in their functions as semaphores or interpretive signals. Those devices that are about the imagery of a poem (metaphor, simile, personification, description) can be thought of as magnifying glasses: we see most clearly that upon which the poet focuses our gaze. Similarly, those poetic devices that are about the sound of the poem (alliteration, consonance, enjambment, onomatopoeia, and repetition) can be thought of as volume buttons or amplifiers: we hear most clearly what the poet makes us listen to most attentively.
Drawing upon the online archives of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, this lesson helps students to put the events described by Anne Frank into historical perspective, and also serves as a broad overview of the Nazi conquest of Europe during World War II. After surveying the experiences of various countries under Nazi occupation, the lesson ends with activities related specifically to the Netherlands and Anne Frank.
The underlying theme of this unit is building a deeper understanding of families. The world we live in is increasingly diverse, even within family structures, so it is incredibly important for students to see that there are many different types of families. Nuclear families are no longer the predominate type of family in society; more children are being raised by single parents, same-sex parents, in blended families or in families with mixed race, religion, or ethnicity. While these differences are common, it does not mean that students are comfortable with their own family experience or the differences between their families and their peers'. Therefore, one of the goals of this unit is to help students notice the similarities among families. With that said, not every type of family is covered over the course of the unit. This unit does not cover being part of a blended family or families with mixed religions or race. It does not cover families in which a child may not know his or her mother or father, families in which a child has been put into foster care, or families separated by immigration issues. These topics are incredibly important and applicable to a lot of students' lives; however, there is not a wealth of children's literature that adequately addresses these topics. Therefore, there are writing days added in to this unit as a way for students to reflect and share about their own families or for the teacher to bring in additional materials to reflect what they see with their students. These days should be based in conversations from the text but could lead to students talking about aspects of their families that make them unique or special.
There are three main bends in this unit. Bend one focuses on the idea that all families are different, but no matter what, families show each other love and support. Bend two focuses on the idea that siblings are an important part of a family, even though they can sometimes be annoying. Finally, bend three talks about grandparents and how grandparents, both near and far, play an important role in families. Throughout each bend, students will continue to work on determining the central message of a text, describing characters in-depth using details from the text and illustrations, and identifying words and phrases that appeal to the senses. In this unit students also begin longer shared reading. On shared reading days, students will read a text at grade level and practice using the strategies they have learned from read aloud to deeply understand and engage with the text.
In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. At this point students should be fluid in writing about the text in a structured way. Therefore, the focus of this answer is on pushing students to include the best and most accurate evidence and then to explain the evidence with inferences or critical thinking.
The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
Australian Aboriginal art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling—including narratives that were spoken, performed as dances or songs, and those that were painted. In this lesson students will learn about the Aboriginal storytelling tradition through the spoken word and through visual culture. They will have the opportunity to hear stories of the Dreamtime told by the Aboriginal people, as well as to investigate Aboriginal storytelling in contemporary dot paintings.
Through studying Beatrix Potter's stories and illustrations from the early 1900s and learning about her childhood in Victorian England, students can compare/contrast these with their own world to understand why Potter wrote such simple stories and why she wrote about animals rather than people.
In this unit, students begin a year-long exploration of the seasons and how weather, plants, and animals are different depending on the season by studying the beauties of fall and fall harvests. Students launch the unit by setting up an ongoing weather experiment in order to understand the patterns of fall and how weather changes during fall. While gathering on-going data about the changing weather in fall, students will learn and observe what happens to leaves in the fall and notice the difference between various types of leaves. In the second half of the unit, students explore the different harvests of fall, particularly apples and pumpkins, and discuss the basic life cycles of both. This unit is a chance for students to stop and think about the changes that are happening in the natural world around them and why the changes happen. It is our hope that by the end of the year, after studying winter and spring in subsequent units, students will have a deeper understanding of the unique features of each season.
In reading, this is students' first introduction to informational texts and reading to learn information. Students will continue to develop their inquisitive side by being challenged to ask and answer questions about the content and text they are interacting with. This unit exposes students to a subject matter that is present in their day-to-day lives; therefore, they should be challenged to ask questions and make connections between what they are reading and learning and what they are seeing outside. Additionally, while listening to stories, students will learn how to use the text and illustrations to determine the key details of a text and then use those details to retell what the text was mostly about. Students will also continue to understand the author's and illustrator's roles in writing texts and should be able to identify and explain both by the end of the unit. In this unit, students will also begin to explore the content in-depth by participating in labs and projects. These teacher-created projects will allow students to interact with and synthesize the material they are learning at an even deeper level.
In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. As with units 1 and 2, students are focusing on using correct details from the text to answer the question. Students should be using a combination of words and pictures, depending on the student's development as a writer. Daily teaching points, based on student data, should be included to ensure that students are progressing as writers.