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COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.2.2 Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
RI.2.3 Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain or describe.
W.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
L.2.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
L.2.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
L.2.4(e) Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.
Speaking & Listening
SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 2 unit from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education titled “Biography” is intended to be completed in approximately 12 sixty-minute classes (about three weeks). This unit on informational text focuses on the genre of biography: how a biography is generally structured and what kind of information is included. Students learn how to: identify the main topic of a section of text; use text features to locate information; and to write short informative summaries. The unit is structured by students first reading a whole-class book, then reading in small groups, and finally reading independently. As the culminating task, each student selects and reads a person’s biography, fills out a KWL chart, and writes a mini-biography of at least two paragraphs using text evidence to reflect on one of three teacher-created evaluative questions. At the end of the unit, guests (family members, others from the school community, students from other classes) are invited into the classroom. Students present an oral summary of the events of the person’s life based on the paragraphs they have written, show two to three pictures about important events in the person’s life, and answer questions posed by people in the audience.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. The curriculum developers suggest that this unit be used midyear or later as students will need: prior knowledge of story structure (beginning, middle, and end) and story elements (setting, characters, problem, events, and solution); understanding of the basic elements of biography; ability to determine the main idea of a paragraph and section; ability to use text features to locate key facts efficiently; ability to listen to a book read aloud and gain information from the reading; and ability to share in a group and to listen to others. While some accommodations and supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities and/or read below the grade level are provided, it will be important to consider the variability of learners in your class and make adaptations as necessary. It is also noted that it will be important to meet with specialists (ELL, special education, and reading) to discuss the unit and how they can support their students in the classroom and in small groups. This unit aligns with the grade 2 Social Studies Frameworks theme of “Making a Difference.” These social studies standards could be added to the targeted standards listed above. For a direct link to this source, see below.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is an exemplary example of how to integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills. 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. It provides opportunities for students to present ideas and information through writing and speaking experiences. 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. The “General Notes and Resources“ section contains an overview of instructional guidance; suggested pacing, a daily script of the lesson, as well as an extensive list of unit resources. Ongoing formative assessments are designed to inform instruction. The summative assessment includes an aligned rubric that provides guidance for interpreting individual student performance.