Unit-at-a-Glance Detail | EL Education Curriculum

You are here

ELA 2012 G8:M1:U1

War Coming Close to Home

Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Lesson 1Making Inferences: The Fall of Saigon

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time 

A.  Gallery Walk/Inferences (10 minutes)

B.  “Mix and Mingle” and Thinking  about Details (15 minutes)

C.  Connecting Details and Inferences to Guiding Questions (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  None

  • Careful listening to students’ inferences
  • Observation of student participation
  • Admit and Exit Ticket
  • Hosted Gallery Walk
  • Mix and Mingle

Lesson 2Launching the Novel: Character Analysis of Ha

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: Orienting to the Novel’s Text Structure (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to gather in small heterogeneous groups of 3–4 students. Give each student a number or letter to be able to select students to share responses.  
  • Once students are in their groups, explain that you will be calling on specific numbers or letters to share their thinking of the group. For example, if you ask “letter As” to respond, each person in the class who has been assigned letter A will speak for his/her group. Tell students that this strategy will help the class be sure that a variety of students respond to questions, rather than just a select few.
  • Tell students that yesterday, they looked at images and read some details about the topic of the module. Today they will begin their study of a novel called Inside Out & Back Again that relates to what they saw and read.
  • Do not distribute it yet, or provide much background about the book at this point. Instead, simply orient students to the novel by reading the following quote from the book: “No one would believe me, but at times I would prefer wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama” (page 195). Ask the students,
    • “Based on what you saw and read yesterday, what do you think might have to happen to a little girl to make her say that she would prefer war at home in Saigon (Vietnam) to peace in Alabama (the United States)?”
  • Allow students time to discuss this question in small groups as you distribute Inside Out & Back Again to each student. Call upon a number or letter in each group to share their group’s ideas.
  • Invite students to browse through the pages of the novel. Ask students to consider these questions one at a time, using a Turn and Talk strategy to think and then discuss with a partner:

*   “What do you notice about how this novel is written?”

*   “How is it like other novels you have read?”

*   “How is it different?”

  • Students discuss these questions with a partner. Listen for students to recognize that the novel isn’t written in a prose form that they are used to. Ideally, they will notice the dated poems.

Explain that this is a novel of diary entries, and each entry is written in short, free verse poetry. Free verse poetry is poetry that doesn’t use a regular rhythm or rhyming pattern. It does, however, look like a poem with the layout and line breaks. Briefly review the word stanza: a group of lines that form the smaller chunks of a poem.

B.  Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Have learning targets posted for review. Remind students that learning targets allow them to know the focus of the lesson. They will always review the learning targets for the day, and check in at the end of the lesson to assess their progress, and to determine next steps.
  • Read the first learning target aloud to students: “I can make inferences to deepen my understanding of Inside Out & Back Again.” Review the term inferences (determining meaning based on things not directly stated in the text). Point out to students that they were inferring yesterday based on the images they looked at and the sentence strips they read. When we infer, we use specific information in the text, combined with our background knowledge and/or what the text said earlier to understand incidents, characters, and theme. Inside Out & Back Again leaves many things not directly stated, and will require many inferences. Tell students they will have lots of support and practice with this skill.
  • Read the second target aloud: “I can cite evidence from the novel to explain how incidents reveal aspects of Ha’s character as she is shaped by war.” Discuss the phrase cite evidence. Students may be familiar with this from previous grades. Explain to students that this means they will need to prove what they believe the novel is saying by quoting accurately with words, phrases, and details from the novel.
  • Read the last two learning targets aloud: “I can use context clues to figure out word meanings,” and “I can participate in discussions about the text with a partner, small group, and the whole class.”
  • Explain that citing evidence and understanding new vocabulary, and the meaning of challenging texts, requires a lot of thinking and talking with others. Students will be pairing up for Turn and Talk moments, as well as thinking and discussing the text in small groups. Remind students to be respectful to others by listening to what others have to say, asking polite questions to clarify understanding, and participating in the discussions by offering thoughtful ideas and questions.

2.  Work Time

A.  Introduce “Things Close Readers Do” Using “1975: Year of the Cat” (15 minutes)

  • Distribute the text Inside Out & Back Again. Be sure students also have their journals.
  • Tell the students, “Today we will get started reading the novel, by taking our time and reading closely the first poem, “1975: Year of the Cat.” This may be the students’ first time reading a text with such care. Explain that this is important to do with texts, so that the reader can fully understand what the author is saying. Tell students that often readers need to reread texts multiple times to really understand and appreciate them fully.
  • Tell students that in a moment, they will hear the first poem, “1975: Year of the Cat,” read aloud. Remind students that whenever you read aloud, they should read silently in their heads (this promotes fluency). (Note: This is a teacher, not student, read-aloud. The purpose is to promote fluency generally, and specifically for students to hear a sophisticated reader handle the free verse.)
  • Set purpose: ask students to simply think about the gist of the poem—just their initial sense of what the text is mostly about.
  • Show students the Things Close Readers Do anchor chart. Tell them that throughout this module, they will be charting important learning to help them remember it. They will add to this chart often. On the chart, write:

*   “Get the gist—get your initial sense of what the text is mostly about.”

  • Tell students that this is just one of the many practices that help readers understand a text deeply. They will be practicing getting the gist . Reinforce that getting the gist is preliminary and tentative, and is particularly useful when text is complex.
  • Read aloud “1975: Year of the Cat” as students look at this page and read along silently in their heads.
  • Then ask students to turn and talk with a partner in their group:

*   “What is the gist of this poem? What is your initial sense of what it is mostly about?”

  • Cold call on a few partnerships to share their thinking.
  • Ask students to talk in their small groups about what they notice about the language the author is using. Ask students,

    *“What details really strike you as you read this poem? Why?” 

  • Call upon a number or letter. It is fine to just let students “notice” at this point; they will continue to study the poem more closely.
  • Tell students that in a moment, they will reread this first poem independently and silently. Set purpose for them: As they read, ask them to think about this question: “What have you learned about Ha in this very first poem?”
  • Give students about 5 minutes to reread, just paying attention to details. They don’t have to write anything down yet. It is helpful to use a visible timer to keep students focused during this silent reading period.
  • Ask students to share with their group details they noticed in the text that helped them learn about Ha. Reinforce norms related to small group work as needed, particularly naming for students what you see going well (for example, when you see more talkative students inviting the quieter students into the conversation).
  • Tell students that in a moment, they will record in their journals a few details from the text that helped them learn about Ha. (They will continue this for homework.)
  • Model first (for an example, see Model note-taking in supporting materials). Using a document camera or Smartboard, orient students to the two-column note-taking chart.
  • Tell students that the word infer is a really important term: they talked about in Lesson 1 as well. Being able to infer is one key skill they will develop as readers. They will go into this in much more detail in future lessons. Briefly review this general academic vocabulary word: to infer means basically to take something from the text and combine it with something you already know in order to figure something out. They will infer from the specific details in this first poem in order to get to know Ha.
  • Model writing in your teacher journal to show students the types of notes one might take. Be sure to indicate that the first row was “right there” information (the text says directly that Ha is 10), whereas the others required inferring.
  • Then do brief, guided practice. Invite students to share the details that helped them learn about Ha. (Encourage them to say which stanza they found the detail; then take a moment so other students can locate that detail in the text). As students watch, record this information on the model journal. Probe students to move from the literal to the more inferential analysis of Ha’s character, and praise students for this higher-level analysis (e.g., if students say, “Ha is 10,” you might probe to ask, “And what can you tell about her as a 10-year-old?”).
  • Remind them that they will reread this poem as a part of their homework, and continue to note details. Give students time to copy the notes from this guided practice, so they have a model to support them with their homework.

B.  Answering Text-Dependent Questions: “1975: Year of the Cat” (10 minutes)

Note: in this lesson, most of the text-dependent questions are literal questions in order to check for understanding. As the unit progresses, the text-dependent questions will become more inferential in nature. Below, one inferential question is included as initial formative assessment about students’ current skill with this type of thinking.

  • Tell students that looking closely at the text to answer questions is an important skill to develop. Ask the following questions one at a time. After reading each question, give students time to think and talk with their group for two minutes. Call upon a different numbered head to respond for each question. This strategy provides the opportunity for all students to be accountable for thinking, preparing an answer, and responding.

1. “Tet is a special day. When is Tet, and what two events are celebrated on Tet?”

  • Listen for students to refer to the first stanza, and say that Tet as the first day of the lunar calendar. Ask students, “How can we figure out the meaning of the word lunar?” Students might be able to connect to lunar eclipse or other reference. If needed, explain that lunar means having to do with the moon, and a lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on the cycles of the moon (i.e., a new month begins at the start of the new moon). Listen for students to notice that both New Year’s and everyone’s birthdays are celebrated on this day.

2. “How does the family celebrate Tet?”

  • Listen for students with the called-upon letter or number to refer to specific stanzas; reinforce this habit. Students may refer to stanza four: they must smile. Or stanza two: Ha’s family wears new clothes underneath, eats sugary lotus seeds, and eats glutinous rice cakes. (Ask students, “Have you heard of a word sounding like glutinous?” Some may have heard of gluten. Gluten refers to a protein in grains, and glutinous means gooey and sticky. Praise this kind of word-solving by reminding students they are meeting the target about using background knowledge and context to figure out word meanings.)
  • Also listen for students to mention stanza five: no sweeping or splashing water. Ask the class, “Why must the family avoid sweeping and splashing water?” Listen for students to notice that page 1 explains it would mean they are sweeping away hope and splashing away joy. Be sure students recognize that these practices are an outgrowth of the Buddhist tradition, not just “superstitions.”

3. “So, how does this special day affect the other days?”

  • Listen for the called-upon students to notice that on page 1, the mother says how we act today foretells the whole year. Ask students, “What two words do you see in the word ‘foretells’?” Students will notice the word “fore” and “tells.” Point out that “fore” is related to the word “before”: foretell means to tell before, or to predict. When students do this kind of word work, reinforce that they are using background knowledge about words and word roots, plus context clues, to figure out new word meanings.

4. “What does the narrator (Ha) do that might bring bad luck?”

  • Listen for students to notice that on pages 2–3, she wakes up before her brothers, and taps her toe on the floor first.

5. “What can you infer about the narrator based on this action? In other words, what can you figure out about her, based on what you see in the text, and what you already know?”

  • Listen for students to comment that Ha might be brave, or stubborn, or not superstitious. Model as needed: “I know from page 2 that her mom said that her brother got to tap the floor first. But then on the bottom of the page, it says she decided to get up and tap her toe first. So she disobeyed her mother. Given that she disobeyed, I infer that she and her mother have a difficult relationship.”
  • Reinforce the process of inferring here—the text does not say those insights about Ha directly. But based on what the text tells us about Tet, and our background knowledge about how people usually respond to traditions, we determine some things about Ha’s character. Remind students that they will continue to practice inferring throughout the module.
  • Point out to students strong reading behaviors you observed—in particular, referring to the text to answer questions.

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief: Adding to Our “Things Close Readers Do” Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

  • Remind students of the anchor chart, “Things Close Readers Do.” Share with students that they first read along silently for the gist as the poem “1975: Year of the Cat” was read aloud. Explain that when they reread the poem to notice character traits about Ha, and when they supported these notices with evidence from the text, they were doing something close readers do as well. Add two lines to the anchor chart:

–   reread

–   cite evidence

  • Preview the homework for students (see below). Explain that each night for homework they will have a portion of reading from the novel or their own independent book.
  • Review the day’s learning targets with students. Explain that when they returned to the book to answer text-dependent questions, they were citing evidence and learning more about Ha as a character.
  • Use the Fist to Five chart and the Fist to Five strategy (see Appendix) to have students rate how they did with the first learning target. This self-assessment helps students to rate themselves on a continuum from 0 (fist), meaning far from the target, to 5 (five fingers), having solidly met the target. Ask students to indicate with their fist if they did not use the text to cite evidence, or five fingers if they consistently used the text to prove their thinking. They can choose to show one to four fingers to indicate whether their use of the text was somewhere in between.
  • If time permits, call on a few students to provide evidence for the rating they gave themselves.

4.  Homework

A.  Reread “1975: Year of the Cat,” add to notes, and read pages 4–9 for gist

  • Answers to text-dependent questions
  • Students’ notes: “Who Is Ha?”

Lesson 3Inferring about Character: Close Reading of the Poem “Inside Out” and Introducing QuickWrites

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: The Gist Mix and Share (5 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets and Add to the Things Close Readers Do Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Close Reading: Poem, “Inside Out” (15 minutes)

B.  Guided Practice: QuickWrite (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Reread pages 4–9 and complete QuickWrite 1

  • Answers to text-dependent questions

Lesson 4Considering a Character’s Relationship with Others: Contrasting Ha and Her Brothers

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: We Learn More about Ha by How She Speaks about the Papaya Tree, and about Her Brothers (5 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Rereading the Text and Answering Text-Dependent Questions: “Papaya Tree” (12 minutes)

B.  Discuss QuickWrite 1 and Create Small-Group Anchor Chart: “Who Is Ha?” (13 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief 5 minutes)

B.  Preview Unit 1 Recommended Texts List (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Read pages 10–21 and complete QuickWrite 2

  • QuickWrite 1 (from homework)
  • “Who Is Ha?” small-group anchor charts
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Chalkboard Splash

Lesson 5Mid-Unit Assessment: Getting to Know a Character: What Details in the Text Help Us Understand Ha?

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: Gallery Walk about “Who Is Ha?” (10 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets (3 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Mid-Unit 1 Assessment: Getting to Know a Character: What Details in the Text Help Us Understand Ha? (30 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Read pages 22–41 and keep adding details about Ha to your notes

  • QuickWrite 2 (from homework)
  • Mid-Unit Assessment: Getting to Know a Character: What Details in the Text Help Us Understand Ha?
  • Hosted Gallery Walk

Lesson 6Building Background Knowledge: Guided Practice to Learn about the History of Wars in Vietnam

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Sharing Exemplar: A Classmate’s QuickWrite 2 (5 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets: Distinguishing Informational Text from Historical Fiction (5 minutes)

3.  Work Time

A.  Inferring Based on a Map and Previewing Informational Text: “The Vietnam Wars” (10 minutes)

B.  Read-aloud and Guided Note-taking: Section 1 of “The Vietnam Wars” (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Preview Homework and Read-Aloud (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Reread Section 1 of “The Vietnam Wars,” complete Section 1 note-catcher, and read one new assigned section

  • Students’ questions and notes for section 1 of the text
  • Think-Pair-Share

Lesson 7Building Background Knowledge: Small-Group Work to Learn More about the History of Wars in Vietnam

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: Reviewing Homework (8 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Modified Jigsaw, Part I: Key Vocabulary and Questions (15 minutes)

B.  Modified Jigsaw, Part II: Sharing our Summaries (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief: Adding to Our “Things Close Readers Do” Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Reread Section 4, “The Fall of the French,” complete the questions and notes, and complete QuickWrite #3

  • Students’ questions and notes for their assigned section of the text
  • Jigsaw

Lesson 8Development of the Plot: Impending Danger and Turmoil

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader and Review Learning Targets: Examining theIncreasing Danger Right Before the Fall of Saigon (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Rereading “TV News” and “Closed Too Soon”: Using the Text to Understand the Crisis in Ha’s Home (20 minutes)

B.  Rereading “Two More Papayas” and “Promises”: What Matters to Ha? (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief: Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Read pages 42–47 and complete QuickWrite 4

  • QuickWrite 3 (from homework)
  • Oral responses to text-dependent questions
  • Double Arrow graphic organizer
  • Exit ticket
  • Admit and Exit Ticket
  • Jigsaw

Lesson 9Building Background Knowledge: Vietnam as a “Battleground in a Larger Struggle”

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Review of Results from Mid-Unit 1 Assessment and Review Learning Targets (10 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Reorienting to Informational Text and Read-Aloud of Section 5 of “The Vietnam Wars” (15 minutes)

B.  Guided Note-taking on Two Key Paragraphs: Vietnam as a “Battleground for a Much Larger Struggle” (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Complete the “Questions and Notes: A Battleground for a Much Larger Struggle”; reread and annotate Section 5, “Doc-Lap at Last”

  • QuickWrite 4 (from homework)
  • Students’ annotated texts

Lesson 10Building Background Knowledge: The Impending Fall of Saigon

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Sharing Annotations of “Doc-Lap at Last” and Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Reading for Key Details: “Three Threes in a Row” (20 minutes)

B.  Determining the Central Ideas of “Doc-Lap at Last” (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief: Returning to Brother Quang’s Quote (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Read pages 48–60 and complete QuickWrite 5

  • Students’ annotated texts
  • Three Threes in a Row note-catcher

Lesson 11Character Analysis: How Do Personal Possessions Reveal Aspects of Characters?

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader: How Do Possessions Reveal Something about a Person? (10 minutes)

B.  Review Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Jigsaw, Part I: Focus on Different Characters in “Left Behind” (20 minutes)

B.  Jigsaw, Part II: Small-Group Discussion: What Do Their Possessions Reveal figabout Ha and Her Family? (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief (3 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Complete QuickWrite 6 and read independent reading book

  • QuickWrite 5 (from homework)
  • Students’ annotated text
  • Write-Pair-Share
  • Jigsaw recording form
  • Jigsaw

Lesson 12Examining How Word Choice Contributes to Tone and Meaning: Close Reading of “Wet and Crying”

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader and Review Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Write-Pair-Share about “Wet and Crying” (10 minutes)

B.  Guided Practice: How Word Choice Contributes to Tone and Meaning (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief and Discussion: What Happens to Hope? (10 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Read pages 61–69 and complete QuickWrite 7

  • QuickWrite 6 (from homework)
  • Write-Pair-Share note-catcher with text-dependent questions
  • Think-Pair-Share

Lesson 13Comparing Meaning and Tone: The Fall of Saigon in Fiction and Informational Text

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Engaging the Reader and Review Learning Targets: “Saigon Is Gone” (8 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Word Choice, Tone, and Meaning: “Saigon Is Gone” (10 minutes)

B.  Listening to a Read-aloud of the Transcript of “Forgotten Ship” (15 minutes)

C.  Word Choice, Tone, and Meaning: “Forgotten Ship” (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Reread and annotate both the poem “Saigon Is Gone” and the transcript from “Forgotten Ship”

  • QuickWrite 7 (from homework)
  • Word Choice, Tone, and Meaning note-catcher

Lesson 14End of Unit Assessment: How Word Choice Contributes to Meaning and Tone

Agenda Daily Learning Targets Ongoing Assessment Anchor Charts & Protocols

1.  Opening

A.  Review Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  End of Unit 1 Assessment: Examining How Word Choice Contributes to Meaning and Tone in Literary and Informational Text (40 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Debrief (3 minutes)

4.  Homework

  • End of Unit 1 Assessment

Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Sign Up