COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RI.7.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
RI.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.7.2(b) Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
W.7.2(f) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
W.7.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.7.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.
W.7.8 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.
Speaking and Listening
SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.7.1(a) Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
SL.7.1(b) Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
SL.7.1(c) Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
SL.7.1(d) Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.
L.7.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 7 ELA/Literacy unit titled “Investigating the Holocaust: A Collaborative Inquiry Project” from readwritethink.org has an estimated instructional time of eight 50-minute sessions. The emphasis of these lessons is for students to explore a variety of resources—texts, images, sounds, photos, and other artifacts—on a given topic. Beginning with journal writings and a picture book to introduce the central issues, the unit focuses on student-centered inquiry. Students explore a range of print and non-print resources through extensive online inquiry activities. Progressing from individual work to a group learning project, the unit culminates in publishing the group’s findings in topic-based newspapers.
Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the activities as described would be difficult to complete in eight class sessions and still achieve the rigor demanded by the Common Core framework. Many of the standards listed in the unit plan are not fully targeted in instruction, nor are they fully addressed in the summative assessment. Text resources needed to support student research are listed but not included. The rubric and assessment guidelines are not directly aligned to Common Core standards. Student access to computers is necessary to complete this unit as intended. Before this unit is used exclusively in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA CCSS listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this unit, additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards, and assessment and/or rubric revision.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
The unit plan is a useful example of how to provide opportunities for students to build knowledge about a topic or subject through the use of technology and media. It cultivates student interest and engagement in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The unit plan includes a comprehensive list of resources, preparation materials, instructional tips, and extension activities.