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COMMON CORE STANDARDS
RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
W.8.1 (a) Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
W.8.1 (b) Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
W.8.1 (c) Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
W.8.1 (d) Establish and maintain a formal style.
W.8.1 (e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 8 Unit titled “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Brooke Mabry, Eleanor Dougherty, Laura Billings, Melissa Hedt and Terry Roberts cited on LDC.org is intended to be completed in approximately 3 weeks of ELA/Literacy instructional time. Students read and analyze a famous work by Mark Twain to determine if it is a satire or a humorous work. In discussions, they evaluate the complex text by both what is written and what is not written. Students then have the opportunity to put their thinking into writing. The culminating task asks them to write an argumentative essay in which they discuss “satire” and “humor” and evaluate whether Twain’s story is one of satire or humor, supporting their position with evidence from the text.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that additional supports and accommodations may be needed for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. Teachers may need to adjust teaching time to address their students’ needs; additional discrete skill instruction may be necessary to sufficiently address the targeted Common Core Standards listed above.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is a good example of how to make reading a complex text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. It also expects that students draw evidence from the text to produce clear and coherent writing that makes a well-supported argument. This unit would work well within a larger unit on genres or American literature since it offers opportunities to teach thinking about content, putting that thinking into writing, and applying writing skills and conventions. An aligned rubric is included.