Grade 3: Whose Story Is It? The Craft and Structure of Reading and Writing about History

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COMMON CORE STANDARDS

Reading Literature

RL.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

Reading Informational Text

RI.3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

RI.3.7 Use Information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

RI.3.8 Describe the logical connections between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).

RI.3.9 Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Writing

W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events, using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Speaking & Listening

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts.

DESCRIPTION OF UNIT

This Grade 3 unit titled “Whose Story Is It? The Craft and Structure of Reading and Writing about History” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is intended to be completed in 3 weeks of ELA/Literacy and social studies instruction. The unit introduces students to concepts used by authors in writing informational texts about history: point of view, voice, chronological cause and effect, and sequence. Students learn about two approaches to writing history: the historical narrative about significant events, and the examination of everyday lives of ordinary people in a particular historical period. Texts are about the American Pilgrims, the Wampanoag people, and the first Thanksgiving. The first text is literary fiction. The remainder of the texts in the unit are informational texts. Through unit activities, students learn about: point of view by listening to and discussing a literary work; the use of a graphic organizer to separate main ideas and details in order to use evidence from the text for different purposes; reading the same event from two different perspectives in history. They also participate in a close read of two excerpts of a text to understand that author’s craft language to create different perspectives or points of view and complete a Venn diagram. Two formative assessments are included in the unit. The first asks students to complete a section of an illustrated flip book that tells a story sequentially, with attention to effective use of language and illustration. The second task asks students to write and illustrate a composition that compares and contrasts the American Pilgrims’ and the Wampanoags’ ways of life and beliefs in the 1600s. The final task is an authentic assessment that asks students to contribute to a website for 3rd graders to help them understand life in the 1600s compared to the life of a 3rd grader today taking the perspective of a Native American child, pilgrim child, or them self. Students choose the characters, the points of view, the events, and the language in their descriptions of life.

CAUTIONS

Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. While suggested 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. The texts used in the unit plan will need to be secured. CT teachers should replace the Massachusetts history standards listed in the unit plan with related CT Elementary Social Studies Frameworks Civics Standards. A link to this document is provided below. While the theme of the unit has a Massachusetts focus, Connecticut teachers could replace texts used to create more of a focus on local history.

Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks

RATIONALE FOR SELECTION

This unit is an exemplary example of a progression of learning activities where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time, requiring all students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Lessons are designed to cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, speaking, listening and writing. The unit plan makes reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. Both formative and summative assessments include an aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which each student can independently demonstrate the targeted grade-level standards. The unit plan provides lesson pacing, detailed lesson activities, targeted academic language, instructional tips, strategies, anticipated student preconceptions/misconceptions, optional activities, and differentiation strategies.