Grade 4: “Children at Sea?”


5 apple rating


Reading Informational Text

RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.


W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Speaking and Listening

SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on- one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Connecticut Social Studies Standards

GEO 4.6 Explain how cultural and environmental characteristics affect the distribution and movement of people, goods, and ideas (Dimension 2)

NQ 3–5.8 Use evidence to develop claims in response to compelling questions. (Dimension 3)

INQ 3–5.9 Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources. (Dimension 4)



The Grade 4 lesson titled “Children at Sea?” by Connecticut teacher, Sarah Kate Walkup and cited on is designed to be completed in 5+ days of integrated English Language Arts and social studies instruction that occurs toward the end of a unit focused on opinion writing. This lesson reinforces the skill of synthesizing information drawn from multiple sources to develop an opinion about a topic. During lesson activities, students participate in discussions and explore primary and secondary source documents to develop background knowledge and a point of view regarding children at sea. For the culminating task, students are asked to compose an opinion piece that integrates textual evidence gathered from the documents explored.



Connecticut teachers are cautioned that there are no aligned rubrics included with the lesson materials that elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a students can independently demonstrate the targeted CCSS standards. Students will need access to the Internet.

If you would like a Grades 3-5 Smarter Balanced Opinion Rubric to use, click here.



This lesson is an exemplary example of how to make reading texts closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. It provides opportunities for students to build knowledge about a topic through analysis of a coherent selection of discipline-specific texts. It routinely expects that students draw evidence from texts to produce clear and coherent writing that makes an argument. Technology and media cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, writing, and speaking about texts. It integrates appropriate supports/suggestions for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. The extensive lesson materials are all included on the website.