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COMMON CORE STANDARDS
RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
W.4.9(a) Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions].”).
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 4 unit titled “Using Literary Elements to Determine Theme – TUCK EVERLASTING” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is intended to be completed in 12 sixty-minute sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. This unit focuses on students learning the concept of theme and how characters’ actions allow readers to infer the theme(s). Students also practice how to locate and use textual evidence, to recognize similes and metaphors, and to participate in collaborative discussions about literature. As part of the authentic summative assessment, students write a newspaper article using the character map developed throughout the unit. Articles are then published in a class newspaper.
Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. The unit plan only lists standards for reading literature and writing; however, standards for speaking and listening are not listed and could be added.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This exemplary unit facilitates rich and vigorous evidence-based discussions and routinely expects that students draw evidence from the text to produce clear and coherent writing. It also focuses on building students’ academic vocabulary in context throughout instruction. Ongoing formative assessments are designed to facilitate knowledge/skill acquisition. The summative assessment includes an aligned rubric that provides guidance for interpreting student performance. The General Notes and Resources section contains an overview of instructional guidance.