COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L.4.1(c) Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
L.4.1(f) Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
L.4.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
L.4.3(a) Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.
L.4.3(b) Choose punctuation for effect.
L.4.3(c) Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).
W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
W.4.1(b) Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
W.4.9(b) Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., “Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text”).
Speaking & Listening
SL.4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
SL.4.6 Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 4 Language standards 1 here for specific expectations.)
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 4 unit titled “Writing and Speaking about the Importance of Voting: Why Vote?” (Module 4 Unit 3) developed by Eleducation.org is intended to be completed in approximately two weeks or 10 one-hour sessions of ELA /Literacy instruction. In this unit, students explore the question: “How can one person make a difference?” During unit activities, students: read informational text and take guided notes on the content, synthesize ideas from multiple texts, develop and examine ideas supported by reason and evidence, analyze how text structures support ideas, and learn how to develop a public service announcement. As a summative assessment, students independently write and record a public service announcement directed at high school seniors on the topic of why voting is important. The written piece includes a stated opinion, with two reasons supported with text evidence. Students present their final PSA to an audience.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the unit materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. While most of the resources and materials needed to implement the unit are included, some texts are not and will need to be secured. This is the final unit in a module of 3 units. This unit was designed to connect students’ study of the Women’s Suffrage Movement (covered Units 1 and 2) to voting in the present day, specifically the issue of low voter turnout among young adults. If this unit is taught as a stand-alone unit, students will need historical background knowledge on the Women’s Suffrage Movement and an overview of voting in America prior to the start of the lessons outlined in this plan. The unit assumes students have had prior experience writing an opinion using text evidence from multiple sources. Direct instruction on several of the language standards listed above as well as SL.4.6 may be required. If this unit is used in a social studies classroom, standards from the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks should be added. For a direct link to this source, see below.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is a good example of how to integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills in social studies. The plan includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. It gradually removes supports, requiring students to demonstrate their independent capacities. The unit’s performance task provides students with the opportunity for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation and/or reflection. Lesson plans integrate appropriate supports for English Language Learners, struggling learners and enrichment students with opportunities under the heading “Meeting Student Needs”. This unit is designed to address English Language Arts standards; however, it intentionally incorporates Social Studies content that may be taught during other parts of the day. A rubric and guidelines for student assessment are included. Several extension opportunities are offered.