In this unit, students will understand where “fake news” comes from, why it exists and how they can think like fact checkers to become fluent consumers, evaluators, and creators of information. They will apply this knowledge by selecting a controversial topic to evaluate, synthesize, and analyze all aspects before sharing with a local audience.
This unit is focused on two classic fairy tales: The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. With each fairy tale, students are first exposed to a classic version, familiarizing themselves with the basic plot and lessons. Then students explore the ways authors change setting, characters, and plot while still maintaining the overall essence of the classic story. Some of the changes the authors make reflect the nuances of different cultures and environments, while others are made for entertainment and humor. Either way, students will explore the idea that different authors can use their own perspective and culture to shape the stories they write or retell. By reading multiple versions of the same classic fairy tale, students will also be able to grapple with the bigger lessons of each tale—the importance of not talking to strangers and the importance of respecting others’ property and privacy. Over the course of the unit, students will be challenged to think about how each of these unique themes is portrayed and how in each different version of the fairy tale the characters may learn the lesson in slightly different ways. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with others in the sequence, will help students see the power of storytelling and how simple stories can be changed and improved based on an author’s ideas and preferences.
In this unit, students explore the concepts of fairness and justice by learning about many of the equal rights movements that have happened in the United States. Over the course of the unit, students study the fight for women’s rights, the civil rights movement, the fight for labor and workers’ rights, the LGBTQ+ movement, the disability rights movement, and the Indigenous Water Protectors movement. With each movement, students read biographies of people who are not in positions of power and analyze how they were able to fight for justice, equity, and change. This unit builds on work done in Kindergarten Unit 6, “What is Justice?” and pushes students to build a deeper understanding of discrimination, justice, and action beyond just the civil rights movement.
In this unit, students explore ancient Egypt. Over the course of the unit, students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Egypt and what the ancient Egyptians valued. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Egypt, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about the role that mummies and pyramids played in ancient Egyptian society and why archeologists and scientists have been intrigued by them ever since. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with the others in the sequence, will help students understand and appreciate early civilizations that have had a lasting impact on the world.
In this unit, students explore the power of books and reading. In the first part of the unit, students experience the joy that books and reading bring to people's lives, and learn about some of the different ways people access books, especially in places where books are hard to get. In the second part of the unit, students learn about a range of barriers people have faced when trying to learn how to read, both in the United States and around the world, and build an understanding of the steps people have taken individually and as part of a community to overcome the barriers. Students will discover that not all people have had equal access to education and that in many places, past and present, receiving a high-quality education has not been an easy feat. It is our hope that this unit will help open students' eyes to injustices connected with educational access and will inspire students to take action to help members of their community get access to books or education.
In this first unit of second grade, students read multiple versions of a classic fairy tale, Cinderella. Through reading various versions of the same story, students are not only exposed to a wide variety of cultures, but they are also challenged to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot. In 1st grade Literature, students took a trip around the world, exploring a wide variety of themes and stories from all over in order to build a foundational understanding that our world is made up of many diverse and unique cultures. This unit builds on the exposure to new cultures students received in 1st grade and provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea that even though cultures may appear to be different, there are many things embedded within the unique characteristics of different cultures that make them similar. Storytelling, and the role of storytelling, is one of those similarities. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with others in the sequence, helps students build empathy and understanding of people and cultures that might be different from them.
Students will practice looking at a topic from multiple points of view, and will discuss whose voices are amplified and whose voices are silenced. This lesson is part of a media unit curated at our Digital Citizenship website called "Who Am I Online?".
Labs component for Grade K: Module 4 of the EL Education K-8 Language Arts Curriculum. Labs provide students with an hour of engaging, hands-on play to build habits of character, literacy skills, and module-related content understanding. Labs are directly connected to the content of this language arts module, Enjoying and Appreciating Trees, and should be implemented alongside the module lessons. For more information on Labs, please visit https://curriculum.eleducation.org/about-k-2-labs-and-ALL-block.
In Module 10.1, students engage with literature and nonfiction texts and explore how complex characters develop through their interactions with each other, and how these interactions develop central ideas such as parental and communal expectations, self-perception and performance, and competition and learning from mistakes.
In Module 10.3, students engage in an inquiry-based, iterative process for research. Building on work with evidence-based analysis in Modules 10.1 and 10.2, students explore topics that have multiple positions and perspectives by gathering and analyzing research based on vetted sources to establish a position of their own. Students first generate a written evidence-based perspective, which will serve as the early foundation of what will ultimately become a written research-based argument paper that synthesizes and articulates several claims with valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. Students read and analyze sources to surface potential problem-based questions for research, and develop and strengthen their writing by revising and editing.
In this module, students read, discuss, and analyze literary and nonfiction texts focusing on how central ideas develop and interact within a text. Students also explore the impact of authors’ choices regarding how to develop and relate elements within a text.
In Module 11.3, students engage in an inquiry-based, iterative process for research. Building on work with evidence-based analysis in Modules 11.1 and 12.2, students explore topics that have multiple positions and perspectives by gathering and analyzing research based on vetted sources to establish a position of their own. Students first generate a written evidence-based perspective, which will serve as the early foundation of what will ultimately become a written research-based argument paper. The research-based argument paper synthesizes and articulates several claims using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence to support the claims. Students read and analyze sources to surface potential problem-based questions for research, and develop and strengthen their writing by revising and editing.
In Module 12.3, students engage in an inquiry-based, iterative research process that serves as the basis of a culminating research-based argument paper. Building on work with evidence-based analysis in Modules 12.1 and 12.2, students use a seed text to surface and explore issues that lend themselves to multiple positions and perspectives. Module 12.3 fosters students’ independent learning by decreasing scaffolds in key research lessons as students gather and analyze research based on vetted sources to establish a position of their own. Students first generate a written evidence-based perspective, which serves as the early foundation of what will ultimately become their research-based argument paper.
In this module, students will use literacy skills to build expertise—using reading, writing, listening, speaking, and collaborative skills to build and share deep knowledge about a topic. This focus on research intentionally builds on Module 1, in which students explored the superpowers of reading. Specifically, students will seek evidence of culture, which can be thought of as the story of a group of people constructed through the generations; it can be evidenced through ancient and modern-day customs and traditions. The module will begin with a class study of the culture of Japan: Students will read Magic Tree House: Dragon of the Red Dawn, a book set in ancient Japan, paired with Exploring Countries: Japan, an informational text about modern Japan.
In this eight-week module, students explore the questions: “Who is the wolf in fiction?” and “Who is the wolf in fact?” They begin by analyzing how the wolf is characterized in traditional stories, folktales, and fables. Then they research real wolves by reading informational text. Finally, for their performance task, students combine their knowledge of narratives with their research on wolves to write a realistic narrative about wolves.
In this eight-week module, students will learn about poetry and poets through close reading and writing to learn. Throughout the module, they will determine the characteristics of poetry and consider what inspires writers and poets. Students begin in Unit 1 by reading the first half of the novel Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Students follow the main character, Jack, as he learns about poetry and begins to write his own. Students closely read and analyze poems Jack reads, including “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening” by Robert Frost. Throughout this unit, students track what Jack is learning about poetry alongside their own learning though these close readings. They also experiment with writing their own poetry inspired by their reading. Students practice summarizing the events in the novel and discuss how the main character’s attitude toward poetry begins to change in this half of the novel. In Unit 2, students engage in deeper analysis of Jack’s character and his inspiration through extended discussion prompts. They also learn to write informational paragraphs in order to summarize larger portions of the text. For the mid-unit 2 assessment, they write a summary of the entire novel.
In this eight-week module, students explore animal defense mechanisms. They build proficiency in writing an informative piece, examining the defense mechanisms of one specific animal about which they build expertise. Students also build proficiency in writing a narrative piece about this animal. In Unit 1, students build background knowledge on general animal defenses through close readings of several informational texts. Students will read closely to practice drawing inferences as they begin their research and use a science journal to make observations and synthesize information. Students will continue to use the science journal, using the millipede as a whole class model. They begin to research an expert animal in preparation to write about this animal in Units 2 and 3, again using the science journal. In Unit 2, students will continue to build expertise about their animal and its defense mechanisms, writing the first part of the final performance task—an informative piece describing their animal, the threats to its survival, and how it is equipped to deal with them. With their new knowledge about animal defenses from Unit 1, students will read informational texts closely, using the same science journal to synthesize information about their animal. Unit 3 allows students to apply their research from Units 1 and 2 to write a narrative piece about their animal that incorporates their research. This narrative will take the format of a choose-your-own-adventure. For their performance task, students will plan, draft, and revise the introduction and one choice ending of the narrative with the support of both peer and teacher feedback. The second choice ending will be planned, written, and revised on-demand for the end of unit assessment.
This module—intended to be used in conjunction with a Social Studies unit about Latin America—features a close read of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (1160L)* by Kathryn Lasky. This beautifully illustrated informational text describes the work of scientists documenting the biodiversity of rainforests. The specific literacy focus is on reading scientific and technical text as well as writing to inform and explain. In the first unit, students build basic background knowledge about the rainforest (particularly those of the Western Hemisphere), and begin to examine how scientists closely observe the natural world to then help them communicate their research through carefully organized and worded scientific text. Unit 2 focuses on a case study of Meg Lowman, the researcher featured in The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. Students then analyze the structure and function of scientific field guides and filed journals determining what quality field guides and journals look and sound like. Students research about a living thing that scientist Meg Lowman may encounter in the rainforest in her research and write with clear and effective word choice about their chosen insect of the rainforest. As the final performance task, students produce an informational report and then field journal–style pages intended for younger readers.
In this module, students explore how native Inuit and other people of Canada have used the natural resources available to meet their needs. In Unit 1, students read The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations, by Alootook Ipellie with David MacDonald, to learn about how the native Inuit people of Canada used natural resources in the Arctic to adapt and meet the needs of their community hundreds of years ago. In Unit 2, students read and view a variety of informational texts and media, including graphs, charts, and maps, to examine how the resources available in Canada today are used to develop products that meet the needs and wants of people in Canada and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
In this eight-week, research-based module, students explore the benefits and harmful consequences of the use of the controversial pesticide DDT. In Unit 1, students begin the novel Frightful’s Mountain (640L) by Jean Craighead George. Students will read closely to practice citing evidence and drawing inferences from this compelling text as they begin to think about the interactions between people and the natural world. They also will read informational texts and watch videos to gather evidence and trace arguments about the uses, benefits, and harmful consequences of DDT, its affects on the environment, and its use in the battle against malaria. At the end of this unit, students will participate in a Fishbowl discussion to begin to articulate their evidence-based opinions about the central question: “Do the benefits of DDT outweigh its harmful consequences?” In Unit 2, students will read the remainder of the novel, focusing on the how the main character, Frightful, is affected by the actions of other people and her own interactions with the natural world. Students also will engage in a research project, continuing to explore the central question of the module. Students will read several complex texts, both print and digital, in order to collect relevant information in a structured researcher’s notebook. To help them grapple with this issue, students learn a decision-making process called “Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making” (see the end of this document for details). This process will help students understand the implications of various choices, and will scaffold their ability to determine—based on evidence and their own values—what they believe can and should happen. Unit 2 culminates with students synthesizing all their reading thus far in order to make and present their own evidence-based claim about the use of DDT. In Unit 3, students choose the most compelling evidence and write a position paper in which they support the claim they made (at the end of Unit 2). As a mid-unit assessment, students will submit their best draft of this position paper. As an end of unit assessment, students will submit a published copy, as well as a reflection on the writing process. As the final performance task, students share their findings by creating a scientific poster and presenting that poster to peers during a hosted gallery.