COMMON CORE STANDARDS
RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
RL.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Reading Informational Text
RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
RI.8.5 Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
RI.8.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
RI.8.9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.
RI.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
W.8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
W.8.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter timeframes (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking and Listening
SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.10
SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
SL.8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
L.8.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L.8.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
L.8.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
L.8.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
L.8.6 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 8 unit titled “Sherlock Holmes—Reading like a Detective” developed by Tennessee educators for the Tennessee Department of Education has an estimated ELA/Literacy instructional time of 5-6 weeks. The unit explores the concept of “reading like a detective” both figuratively and literally by focusing on one extended text as well as several shorter, supplementary texts. As students practice the close reading of complex literary and informational texts, they develop an understanding of how fictional and real detectives go about investigating mysteries and crimes. In particular, discussions and writing tasks ask students to focus on the thinking process behind detection (and, by extension, reading). Throughout the unit, students keep journals to aid in deepening their comprehension as they collect text evidence and ideas for both discussion and writing. They also learn to form their own questions and angles of inquiry. Embedded throughout the unit are informal/short writing assignments which reinforce reading comprehension and the writing of arguments. In a final culminating writing assessment, students analyze several of the texts they have studied in order to make an argument about the role of inference-making in detection.
Connecticut teachers should be aware that although the structure of this unit is drawn from the PARCC Model Content Frameworks (PARCC MCF), it still provides a general model for sequencing reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities around the CCSS that is compatible with the Smarter Balanced Framework. The teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. To prepare for the reading activities in the unit, it is suggested in the unit’s documents that “teachers read THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES beforehand and consider the challenges it will present to students.” In order to accomplish the amount of reading in this unit in a reasonable time frame, students read most texts, including “Hound,” for homework. Due to the complexity of the text, there may be a need for additional scaffolding for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. The pacing of activities in many of the lessons may need to be extended to achieve the rigor that is intended.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is a good example of a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. Instruction focuses on challenging sections of text(s) and engages students in a productive struggle through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. Students are routinely expected to draw evidence from texts to produce clear and coherent writing. Each lesson includes a clear and explicit purpose for instruction. Mini lessons on reading and writing skills are included to use as needed on identified gaps in student learning, as well as to reteach concepts. There are numerous extension activities and text suggestions for students who read well above the grade level band. The unit regularly assesses students in ways that elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which they can independently demonstrate the targeted standards. Common Core-aligned are rubrics included.
The text for THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES is in the public domain. Electronic versions can be accessed for free through e-readers or these e-texts: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2852 or http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uva.x000179384;view=1up;seq=1