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Standards-Aligned English Language Arts

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103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading
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The highly-respected Reading Rockets program offers both teachers and students a toolkit of ways to connect more actively with the materials they read. Some of these techniques are specifically for fiction-reading, others are designed for reading nonfiction and informational texts, while others are useful for any text.

Subject:
Arts
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Reading Rockets
Date Added:
08/28/2023
1492: An Ongoing Vogage: Inventing America
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Archived exhibition reveals how European writers and mapmakers thought about America during the Age of Discovery. Describes the allegorical images Europeans sometimes used to portray America and features the Gutierrez map, drawn in 1562, which is full of depictions of giants, cannibals, mermaids, monkeys, and sea monsters.

Subject:
Arts
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
ibiblio
Date Added:
08/28/2023
1984
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CC BY-NC-SA
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Students use the method of their choice to combine two sentences based on an excerpt from 1984 by George Orwell. Students practice using various types of phrases and clauses to convey meaning and add variety to combined sentences.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Language, Grammar, and Vocabulary
Writing
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
Quill
Date Added:
02/26/2021
19th Century American Children & What They Read
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This collection created by Pat Pflieger is all about children of the 19th century and what they read. Sections to investigate include about the children, some of their magazines, some of their books, papers written on the subject, and additional web sites to visit.

Subject:
Arts
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Date Added:
12/01/2023
19th Century Girls' Series
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This site, created by Deidre Johnson, provides information on series reading about girls in the 19th century. You can find information about noted authors of these series, such as Jacob Abbott and Sophie May, and many selections from 19th century series books. A very interesting site.

Subject:
Arts
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Bibliography
Date Added:
08/07/2023
3-2-1 Vocabulary: Learning Filmmaking Vocabulary by Making Films
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Bring the vocabulary of film to life through the processes of filmmaking. Students learn terminology and techniques simultaneously as they plan, film, and edit a short video.

Subject:
Arts
Film
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
ReadWriteThink
Provider Set:
ReadWriteThink
Date Added:
11/18/2020
6.1.1 Build Background Knowledge: Greek Mythology
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Students begin Unit 1 by reading from The Lightning Thief. They analyze how the author develops the point of view of the narrator, and they strategize to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases, including figurative language. In the second half of Unit 1, students prepare for a Socratic Seminar discussion by analyzing how Percy, the main character in the novel, responds to challenges. They create discussion norms to have a productive text-based discourse about the novel. Theme is also introduced in the second half of the unit, in preparation for Unit 2.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.1.2 Write to Inform: Compare and Contrast Text and Film of The Lightning Thief
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In Unit 2, students will continue to read excerpts from The Lightning Thief. They will also analyze the Greek myths highlighted in the novel and compare themes and topics in the Greek myths with those evident in The Lightning Thief. In the second half of the unit, students write a literary analysis essay using the Painted Essay® structure comparing and contrasting watching parts of The Lightning Thief movie with reading about the same events in the novel.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.1.3 Research to Create a New Character and Write a Narrative
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In Unit 3, students reimagine a scene from The Lightning Thief, writing themselves into the action as a different demigod from Camp Half-Blood. They research a Greek god of their choosing (or another traditional figure for those who don’t feel comfortable imagining themselves as a child of a Greek god), and use their research to create a new character, the child of that figure. Students develop the attributes of that character and strategically insert the character into a scene from the novel, editing carefully so as not to change the outcome of the story. At the end of the module, students create a presentation outlining their choices and the reasons for their choices for the performance task.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.1 Greek Mythology
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Why do Greek myths continue to be relevant and popular today? In this module, students meet figures from ancient Greek mythology who are placed in a contemporary setting and evaluate how stories from a different time and place continue to resonate.

Students begin Unit 1 by launching their reading of The Lightning Thief. Students analyze how the author develops the point of view of the narrator, and then strategize to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases, including figurative language. In the second half of Unit 1, students prepare for a Socratic Seminar discussion by analyzing how Percy, the main character, responds to challenges. They create discussion norms to have productive text-based discourse about the novel. Theme is also introduced in the second half of the unit in preparation for Unit 2.

In Unit 2, students continue to read The Lightning Thief, some parts in class and others for homework. They analyze the Greek myths highlighted in the novel and compare themes and topics in the Greek myths with those evident in The Lightning Thief. In the second half of the unit, students write a literary analysis essay using the Painted Essay® structure, comparing and contrasting the treatment of events in the movie The Lightning Thief with the same events in the novel.

In Unit 3, students reimagine a scene from The Lightning Thief, writing themselves into the action as a different demigod from Camp Half-Blood. They research a Greek god of their choosing (or another traditional figure for those who don’t feel comfortable imagining themselves as a child of a Greek god) and use their research to create a new character, the child of that figure. Students develop the attributes of that character and strategically insert the character into a scene from the novel, editing carefully so as not to change the outcome of the story. At the end of the module, students create a presentation outlining their choices and reasoning for the performance task.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Module
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.2.1 Build Background: William Kamkwamba and Design Thinking
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Students begin a new anchor text in Unit 1, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. This text introduces students to the module topic of critical problems and design solutions by presenting the story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian boy whose community endures a devastating drought and famine. To address this critical problem, William builds a windmill that produces electricity and helps make his family and community less vulnerable to the consequences of future droughts. Over the course of the unit, students identify the elements of design thinking that guide William in the construction of his windmill, as well as the habits of character (e.g., initiative, perseverance, and compassion) that William demonstrates throughout his many setbacks and restarts. Carefully sequenced tasks throughout Unit 1 invite students to analyze how central ideas are conveyed in each chapter of the text and examine the methods used by the writers to introduce William and develop his character. This work prepares students for the Mid-Unit 1 Assessment.

In the second half of Unit 1, a close read supports students’ comprehension of a supplemental informational text, focusing on central idea and vocabulary. Through two Language Dives, students determine the figurative meaning of language used in the anchor text and use surrounding context as a clue to the meaning of unfamiliar words. As students continue to read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, they determine how the textual structure of the chapters helps to convey meaning. They also review principles of effective summary writing. This work prepares students for the end of unit assessment.

At the end of Unit 1, students deepen their understanding of the design thinking process and use a note-catcher to track the steps of William’s design thinking. The unit closes with a text-based discussion that introduces students to the protocol that will be used in the End of Unit 3 Assessment.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.2.2 Research to Discover Innovative Designers
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In Unit 2, students continue to read the anchor text, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, beginning at chapter 11. As William formulates a plan for a windmill to generate electricity and ease some of the burdens caused by the famine, students examine how he applies design thinking to solve his problem. Using a graphic organizer to collect evidence of William’s problems and solutions, students build understanding of the cyclical nature of design thinking and the way the authors develop this key idea with specific details. For the mid-unit assessment, students read a new informational article about another solution designed to solve a critical problem. Students answer selected response questions about figurative and connotative meanings of words in the text and about the way that key ideas are developed. Students also write an objective summary of the text, identifying its central idea and the details that convey it.

In the second half of the unit, students finish reading the anchor text and launch their research project. Inspired by a curated list of TED Talks, students choose a different invention designed to solve a critical problem. The research process is broken down into a series of mini lessons that teach students how to gather evidence from multiple sources, evaluate a source for credibility, and paraphrase or quote from the source with accuracy. For the end of unit assessment, students demonstrate their understanding of the research process by gathering more information from the text studied during the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment. Their tasks include refocusing their search for more relevant results, determining the credibility of possible sources, paraphrasing responsibly, and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.2.3 Write to Inform: Problem–Solution Essay
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In Unit 3, students write an informational essay organized using a problem-solution structure. They begin by reviewing a model, annotated using the Painted Essay® template. As they analyze the model, students, in pairs, co-construct a collaborative essay addressing the prompt “How did William use design thinking to solve a critical problem?”

Students then return to the research they completed in Unit 2 about the problem and solution of their choosing, taking time to review (and add to, as needed) their ideas in light of insights gleaned from the collaborative essay practice. Students prepare for the assessment by completing a writing planner as they did for their collaborative essay. For the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment, students independently write an essay about the problem and solution they researched in Unit 2, answering the question “How was design thinking used to solve a critical problem?”

Students begin preparing for the performance task by reassembling their research into an interactive and visual problem-solution display. They prepare for this Solution Symposium by rehearsing their answers to two prompts posed by their audience: (1) how was design thinking used to solve this problem? and (2) how were habits of character used to solve this problem? For the End of Unit 3 Assessment, students synthesize their learning about all of the different innovators researched to engage in an academic discussion around how habits of character help solve critical problems. Students are coached to discuss the topic collegially, using appropriate tone, volume, and eye contact. During the discussion, students are assessed on their ability to pose and respond to questions using the evidence they have gathered, analyze it in light of the habits of character, and elaborate on the contributions of their peers.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.2 Critical Problems and Design Solutions
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Design thinking makes clear the systematic process that allows innovators to learn and apply techniques to solve critical problems in a creative way. In Module 2, students read the true story of William Kamkwamba in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers edition) and how he used design thinking to confront the devastating effects of famine in his country, Malawi. In response to this seemingly insurmountable problem, William spent countless hours in the local library, reading science textbooks and searching for a possible solution. Through careful research, and after many rounds of trial and error, William used available materials and scraps from the local junkyard to construct a windmill that brought electricity to his community, allowing kids to study into the evening, adults to recharge their mobile phones, and water pumps to irrigate the fields and produce more abundant harvests. Propelled by unshakable perseverance, a keen awareness of his community’s needs, and compassion for those suffering around him, William models how innovative thinkers can leverage design thinking to address critical problems in their own communities. Inspired by this concept, students work towards a performance task in which they research and present another innovative solution designed to address a critical issue. For this Solution Symposium, students interact with their audience to explain how design thinking and habits of character led to the development of a successful solution.

In Unit 1, students read the first nine chapters of the anchor text, building background on William Kamkwamba and the problems William’s community faced in rural Malawi, in a village with limited resources and access to education. Through two Language Dives using key sentences in the anchor text and a close read of a supplemental text, students practice identifying the central idea, citing textual evidence, analyzing how individual sentences contribute to the development of a text’s central ideas, and determining the meaning of words and phrases in a text.

In Unit 2, students finish reading the text, and demonstrate their continued reading-skill development in the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment, which uses an excerpt from the text to assess students’ abilities to interpret the figurative and connotative meanings of unfamiliar words, analyze information portrayed in various media formats, and explain how a small portion of a text contributes to the central idea. By clearly delineating the many problems William faced, students see how each was addressed through science, research, and habits of character, like perseverance. With the support of explicit mini lessons on research skills, students then begin independent research on an innovator who, like William, designed a product to solve a critical problem. These research skills are assessed in the End of Unit 2 Assessment.

Through writing a collaborative informational essay about William in the first half of Unit 3, students deepen their understanding of the design thinking process and explore how William Kamkwamba used this process to solve a problem. The unit builds towards the performance task, a Solution Symposium, at which students present and share interactive displays of their research on an innovative solution to a critical problem. The Solution Symposium engages audience members in a conversation in which the student shares his or her answers to the following questions: (1) how was design thinking used to solve this problem and (2) how were habits of character used to solve this problem? Following the symposium, as the End of Unit 3 Assessment, students will collaborate to discuss how habits of character help people like those featured in their research solve critical problems.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Module
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.3.1 Build Background Knowledge: Analyze Points of View toward American Indian Boarding Schools
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Students begin their deep dive into the topic of American Indian boarding schools by examining artifacts that they will encounter in the module in order to infer the topic. Students are then introduced to the anchor text, Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac, reading a few excerpts from the early chapters to draw inferences about the text’s key characters. Before diving deeper into the anchor text, students examine supplementary texts carefully selected to develop understanding of the topic’s historical context. A speech by Captain Pratt, the founder of Carlisle Indian boarding school, and the first-person account of this school by Zitkala-Sa, a member of the Yankton tribe, allows students to examine and reflect on multiple perspectives. Students also use these texts to practice explaining how an author’s point of view is conveyed and what impact connotative and figurative language has on meaning. Finally, students paraphrase the key ideas and demonstrate understanding of the perspective being conveyed in the Meriam Report, commissioned by the US government to uncover the terrible conditions of the boarding schools. Students then examine photographs of the scenarios described in the report and practice integrating the information from the excerpts with information from the photos to develop a more cohesive understanding of the topic as a whole. For the Mid-Unit 1 Assessment, students examine a different section of the same narrative from Zitkala-Sa, and answer selected response questions about vocabulary and figurative language in the text and about Zitkala-Sa’s point of view and how it is conveyed in the text. Students also answer a constructed response question asking them to integrate ideas from the text with their interpretations of two related photographs.

In the second half of Unit 1, students return to the anchor text at chapter 9. In-class tasks, including two Language Dives using sentences from the anchor text, invite students to examine the way that the author develops Cal’s point of view and advances the plot, as well as explore a key character’s code-switching among language varieties. These tasks support the development of skills that students independently apply in the End of Unit 1 Assessment. The assessment requires students to read the beginning of chapter 18 of Two Roads and answer selected response and short constructed response questions to analyze the structure of the text, interpret the use of intensive pronouns, examine how Bruchac develops Cal’s point of view, and describe the impact of using language varieties on the development of characters within the text.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.3.2 Confront Challenges: Characters’ Responses and Emerging Themes
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In Unit 2, students continue reading the anchor text, Two Roads, starting at the conclusion of chapter 18, just as Pop is leaving Cal behind at Challagi Indian Industrial School. For the first time, Cal is on his own. For the first time, Cal is aware of his Creek heritage. As Cal begins his venture into student life at Challagi Indian Industrial School, students continue to track his character growth through the challenges he faces. With the plot developing and Cal’s character evolving, students are able to identify emerging themes, such as “Identities are complicated and conflicting, and tensions may exist between our different identities” and “It is critical to study indigenous histories so their contributions are not forgotten.” Discussions around the anchor text allow students a space to examine their own emerging and evolving identities, racially and socially.

To better understand how an author reveals theme, students examine the use of allusion, an artistic technique in which the author incorporates indirect references to some cultural touchstones with which the audience is likely familiar. Additionally, students analyze word connotation to understand the subtle way in which word choice conveys emotions or meaning. By studying the nuances of language, students develop as discerning readers, able to interpret both explicit and implicit messages.

For the mid-unit assessment, students read a new chapter of Two Roads and answer selected response and short constructed response questions about Cal’s point of view, how Cal is responding and changing throughout the plot, and emerging themes in the text. Students also write an objective summary of the chapter, identifying a possible theme and the details from the text that convey that theme.

In the second half of the unit, students finish reading the novel and discover that Cal, spurred by a premonition that Pop is in trouble, has run away from Challagi to find Pop in Washington DC. Cal’s vision was correct, and he arrives just as the Bonus Army is being forcibly removed from the capital. Having proven himself mature enough to handle these tough situations, Pop gives Cal the option of staying with him or returning to Challagi. Students begin their work with argument writing by gathering evidence for and against Cal returning to Challagi. As letters are a key text feature in the novel, students write a narrative letter to Possum, embodying the role of Cal, as they make the argument. Students will hone their argument-writing skills in Unit 3 when they write a literary argument essay. Letter writing in this unit is the vehicle through which students practice defending a side, while also being assessed on the extensive grammar instruction they receive in this unit.

Throughout Unit 2, students build knowledge and skills about pronoun case, person, and number; and correcting vague pronouns. Additionally, a variety of interactive and discussion-based activities help students to practice strategies for incorporative more variety into their sentence patterns to enhance meaning, engage reader interest, and add style. For the end of unit assessment, students write their narrative letter and then revise their work based on pronoun case, pronoun number and person, vague pronouns, and sentence variety. An alternative end of unit assessment requires students to read a narrative letter and answer selected response and short constructed response questions about pronoun case, pronoun number and person, vague pronouns, and sentence variety.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.3.3 Literary Argument Writing: Gather Evidence and Reflect on Multiple Perspectives
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In Unit 3, students begin their work with literary argument essay writing. They apply the Painted Essay® structure to this new type of writing, evaluating how it changes when applied to writing a literary argument. As they have done previously, students deconstruct the model and complete a collaborative practice argument essay. In each lesson, students look at a discrete aspect of the argument essay model and practice using it in their own writing. In response to an open-ended prompt, they brainstorm possible reasons to support two different positions. They collect textual evidence for both sides of the argument and connect the evidence to the reasons with sound reasoning. Finally, students determine their strongest argument and make a claim. Using these skills practiced with a partner, students are then prepared to independently plan and draft an argument essay to answer the prompt: What is the most viable solution to Cal’s dilemma of whether to return to Challagi Indian Industrial School?

After writing their essay for the mid-unit assessment, students are ready to move towards the culmination of the module, an audio museum exhibit featuring the voices of American Indian boarding school students. First, students will select a text (a poem, personal narrative, etc.) written by a survivor of the boarding schools, one that resonates with them personally. They respond to this reading by writing a preface to provide context and a reflection to explain why the text is meaningful. Using the recording application first introduced in Unit 2, students record themselves reading their preface, text, and reflection aloud using proper and respectful intonation, volume, and pacing. This recording will be used for both the performance task and the End of Unit 3 Assessment. Students record two versions of their performance task contribution and then reflect on and self-assess each for their volume, pronunciation, and language use. Students use their observations about their first attempt to improve their performance on the second attempt. Finally, they listen to a peer’s second recording and reflect on and paraphrase the content and assess their peer’s volume, pronunciation, and language use in that second performance.

To showcase their recordings, the class prepares listening stations where guests of the audio museum can listen and learn about American Indian boarding schools. Learning from the module and the performance task synthesizes in a concluding whole class discussion about the importance of honoring diverse experiences and perspectives.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024
6.3 American Indian Boarding Schools
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Despite their painful and long-lasting impact, American Indian boarding schools are an often neglected topic of study. In Module 3, students are introduced to this topic, with the goal of amplifying long unheard voices and better understanding this critical time in North American history. Students read Two Roads, the story of a thoughtful and independent boy named Cal and his father “Pop,” who live as traveling “knights of the road” after losing their farm during the Great Depression. Cal faces a critical question of identity when he learns from Pop that, after a lifetime of identifying as white, he is, in fact, part Creek Indian. Cal’s father shares this revelation days before enrolling Cal at the Challagi Indian Industrial School while he travels to Washington, DC alone. Cal challenges the expectations of the school’s administration, develops close friendships with other students, and questions, explores, evaluates, and affirms his varying identities. To deepen their understanding of American Indian boarding schools beyond a literary context, students also read a variety of supplemental texts, including informational reports and first-person accounts of life at American Indian boarding schools. Together, these texts further contextualize the anchor text and illustrate a wider range of experiences.

In Unit 1, students read excerpts of the initial chapters of the anchor text, which serves as a “hook,” inciting student interest in the history of American Indian boarding schools. Students then develop their knowledge of the historical context of the topic by reading related informational and narrative supplemental texts. Students consider the purported objectives of American Indian boarding schools and compare these against the often far darker experiences reported by the students who attended these schools. Students then return to the anchor text at chapter 9, better equipped to contextualize the experiences of Cal, Pop, and Cal’s friends. Unit 1 assessments gauge students’ abilities to read critically and independently for the author’s point of view and for background information on the topic.

In Unit 2, students finish reading the anchor text. They demonstrate continued development of reading skills, tracking character growth and central ideas and themes in the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment using a new excerpt from the text. An additional supplemental text is included in Unit 2 to support connections across the anchor text and the historical context. At the end of the novel, Cal faces the decision of returning to Challagi school or staying with his father in Washington, DC. Students convey Cal’s vacillating perspective toward this challenging question through a narrative letter to Possum, focusing on just one of the possible outcomes. This narrative assignment, which has the option of being assessed for its appropriate and accurate use of pronouns and sentence variety (a second assessment targeting these skills is also available), helps prepare students for the argument essay of Unit 3. Some of the evidence and reasoning incorporated into these student narratives will be repurposed and strengthened in an argument essay for the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment.

In Unit 3, students revisit the Painted Essay® structure as they construct their own argument essays. In those essays, they grapple with the question of whether Cal should return to the boarding school or remain with his father, whom he has run away to find. Students first collaboratively produce an argument piece using a similar prompt to further prepare for their independent argument essays. Module 3’s performance task presents the culmination of students’ learning about and reflections on the American Indian boarding schools through the production of an audio museum exhibit. Students select an excerpt from a text written by a survivor of American Indian boarding schools; they then write a preface to situate their text within a historical context and a reflection to convey the personal impact felt by their chosen text. Students record their preface, text, and reflection independently, and then use an audio recording application program to produce a product that will be featured at a listening station as part of the audio museum and can be widely shared to uplift the voices of American Indian boarding schools.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Module
Unit of Study
Provider:
EL Education
Date Added:
05/17/2024