COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints
RI.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
RI.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
W.8.2 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.
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.
W.8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
W.8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Speaking and Listening
SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 8 unit titled “Researching to Deepen Understanding – Human Animal Interaction” from odelleducation.com is part of the developing core proficiencies program of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy. The focus of the unit is for students to develop the skills and habits used in conducting independent research to deepen understanding by creating a tangible product; with the teacher’s help, students each choose an intended purpose and an anticipated result or product from the start of their research. They initiate inquiry on a topic through collaboratively generating questions to direct and frame research. They learn how to conduct searches, assess and annotate sources, and keep an organized record of their findings. Students then analyze key sources through close reading to deepen their understanding and draw personal conclusions about their area of investigation regarding human animal interaction. As students analyze and evaluate their source material with respect to their research frame, they refine and extend their inquiry as necessary in order to develop an evidence-based perspective. The culminating activity sequence focuses on students organizing their evidence and research-based claims into a communication plan or product that address their purposes for research.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the instructional time needed to complete this unit is not stated; teachers will need to complete their own pacing guide. The unit’s notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. Because of the rigor of the unit, additional scaffolding and support for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be necessary. Although there are several checklists provided with the materials, no formal CCSS aligned rubrics are included to measure individual student performance on the targeted standards; it is suggested that rubrics be developed. On page 6 of the Unit Plan, CCSS Reading Literature (RL) standards are listed although they are not included or targeted in the unit’s Parts 1 through 5, nor do the students read any literature in the unit. The standards listed above are correct.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
The unit is an exemplary model of a research topic repository for ELA/Literacy instruction that includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. It is structured to provide all of the materials required to lead students through the research process. The plan includes tools and checklists that are available as editable PDF documents. It includes assessment guidelines that provide excellent guidance for interpreting student performance. The Topic Resource Repository provides teachers with a set of sources that students can use to conduct supported research. This unit has been intentionally designed to support student research in a variety of curricular contexts; depending on their needs and goals, teachers can connect the instruction of this unit to texts and topics they are covering in their English classroom, as well as those that students are learning in other academic and technical disciplines.