COMMON CORE STANDARDS
RL.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.
RL.7.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
RL.7.6 Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.
RL.7.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
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.
W.7.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.7.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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.
L.7.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 7 unit titled “Reading Closely and Writing to Learn – Journeys and Survival” developed by Expeditionary Learning for engageny.org is intended to be completed in approximately 3 weeks or 14 one-hour sessions of language arts instruction. This unit intentionally incorporates social studies key ideas and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections. The emphasis is on having students learn to use differing perspectives in a historical novel to examine the development of character. By reading informational texts on the same topic, they identify evidence that supports the perspectives of these characters. Routine reading, writing, listening and speaking tasks build students’ ability to independently gather, select, and use evidence to analyze perspective.
Connecticut teachers should be aware that while the curriculum is available at the site listed, materials used in the lesson may be limited. Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. 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 possible assessment and/or rubric revision.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is an exemplary example of how to integrate social studies content with literacy to cultivate interest and engagement, as well as a deeper understanding. It provides all students with multiple and varied scaffolded opportunities to read two texts of appropriate complexity (one historical fiction and the other informational) to analyze how culture, time, and place influence the development of each character’s identity. This model could easily be adapted to any content area. Important teacher supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or who read well below or above the grade level text band are included. Varied modes of on-going assessments, including a range of pre, formative, summative, and self-assessment measures are clearly aligned to the CCSS.