Module 1: Stories of Human Rights
TEXT: Esperanza Rising
What are human rights, and how do real people and fictional characters respond when those rights are threatened? In this module, students develop their ability to read and understand complex text as they consider this question. In Unit 1, students build their close reading skills by reading the novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan. They read about human rights and apply this learning as one lens through which to interpret the characters and themes in the novel—a complex coming-of-age story set in Mexico and rural California during the early 1930s. Through close reading, interpretation, and analysis of fiction and nonfiction texts, students begin to build their understanding of human rights. Throughout the unit, students closely read selected articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) related to events in Esperanza Rising where human rights are threatened.
Module 2: Biodiversity in The Rainforest
TEXT: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World
In this module, students read to build knowledge about the rainforest and analyze the author's craft in narrative writing to build proficiency in writing first person narratives about the rainforest. In Unit 1, they build background knowledge on biodiversity in the rainforest and rainforest deforestation to understand why scientists, like Meg Lowman, study the rainforest. Students closely read excerpts of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World by Kathryn Lasky and other texts to identify text structure and practice summarizing the text. Having read texts about deforestation, students research using several print and digital sources to identify ways they can help the rainforest and the challenges associated with being an ethical consumer. They then participate in a collaborative discussion at the end of the unit. In Unit 2, students explore how authors of narrative texts about the rainforest help the reader to understand what it is like in the rainforest by analyzing author's use of figurative, concrete, and sensory language. With a deeper understanding of author's craft, in Unit 3 students write first person narratives, building out a scenario from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World using concrete and sensory language to describe the rainforest as though they were actually there. For their performance task, students work in pairs to create an ebook containing a front cover, contents page, introduction, and narratives, with pictures selected or created to contribute to the narratives. This task centers on CCSS ELA W.5.3, W.5.4, and W.5.6.
Module 3:Athlete Leaders of Social Change
TEXT: Jackie Robinson
In this module, students consider the factors that contribute to the success of professional athletes as leaders of social change. They read about a number of professional athletes who have been leaders of social change, beginning with Jackie Robinson. In Unit 1, students build background knowledge about Jackie Robinson through reading Promises to Keep, written by Jackie’s daughter, Sharon. Students determine the main ideas and identify key details, using these to summarize chapters of the book. They also think about the relationship between people and events in the text as they gather factors that led to Jackie Robinson’s success in leading social change. In Unit 2, students continue their study of Jackie Robinson, building on their understanding of factors that led to his success by developing an opinion on which factor(s) were most important in his success. In the first half of the unit, students examine different texts and videos, describing each author’s opinion on the factor that led to Jackie’s success and comparing these points of view.
Module 4: The Impact of Natural Diasters
TEXT: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti
In this module, students read literary and informational texts to understand the impact of natural disasters on places and people. In Unit 1, students work in expert groups to research a natural disaster, focusing on answering the question: "How do natural disasters affect the people and places that experience them?" As they research, they think about how authors use reasons and evidence to support particular points. Students then use their research to write and record a public service announcement (PSA) explaining how to stay safe during a natural disaster. In Unit 2, students read and analyze literary texts about the aftermath of natural disasters, including poems, songs, and Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat, a story about a boy trapped under his house for eight days after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In the first half of the unit, students analyze the way illustrations in texts and visuals in videos contribute to the meaning, tone, and beauty of the text. In the second half of the unit, they analyze how the narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described. In Unit 3, students take action to help others prepare for a natural disaster. They research supplies to include in an emergency preparedness kit and write opinion essays on the most important items to include. For the performance task, students present to a live audience about preparing for a natural disaster. They present their PSAs; unpack an emergency preparedness kit, giving the rationale for the items included; and distribute an informational leaflet. This performance task centers on CCSS ELA SL.5.4, SL.5.5, and SL.5.6.