Perspectives on the American Revolution: Perspectives in Literature | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G4:M3:U2

Perspectives on the American Revolution: Perspectives in Literature

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In this unit, students continue to explore colonial perspectives on the Revolutionary War with a focus on a family divided by their perspectives. Over the course of the unit, they read and act out a play called Divided Loyalties by Gare Thompson. After reading each scene, students analyze the thoughts, feelings, and actions of characters with a focus on the differing Loyalist and Patriot views within the family in order to write a descriptive paragraph describing the character in detail. At strategic points, students read excerpts of the Declaration of Independence and discuss what the characters in Divided Loyalties would think of the excerpt in a text-based discussion.

For the mid-unit assessment, students read a new scene from Divided Loyalties to analyze and write a descriptive paragraph about a character, and they also read a new excerpt of the Declaration of Independence to prepare for a text-based discussion about a character’s view of the excerpt. In the second half of the unit, students continue to read scenes and analyze characters in Divided Loyalties; however, instead of writing descriptive paragraphs, they now write short first person point of view narratives. For the end of unit assessment, students read the final scene of Divided Loyalties and analyze a character to write a new first person narrative.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How did the American Revolution and the events leading up to it affect the people in the colonies?
  • The American Revolution resulted in the United States of America becoming a new country with independence from Britain.
  • The American Revolution, like many wars, divided people: brother against brother, mother against daughter, neighbor against neighbor.
  • American colonists had different perspectives on fighting for independence from Britain.
  • How does a person’s perspective influence her or his opinion?

The Four T's

  • Topic: perspectives on the American Revolution
  • Task: Students read a new scene from Divided Loyalties, write a paragraph describing a character, and participate in a text-based discussion (mid-unit assessment). Students read a new scene from Divided Loyalties and write a first person narrative (end of unit assessment).
  • Targets (standards explicitly taught and assessed): RL.4.1, RL.4.3, RL.4.4, RL.4.5, RL.4.6, RL.4.9, RL.4.10, W.4.3a,W.4.3b, W.4.3e, W.4.9a, W.4.10, SL.4.1, SL.4.6, L.4.1b, L.4.4
  • Texts: Divided Loyalties, the Declaration of Independence 

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block of the school day. However, the module intentionally incorporates social studies content that many teachers may be teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.

College, Career, and Civic Life C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards:

  • D2.Civ.3.3-5
  • D2.Civ.4.3-5
  • D2.Civ.12.3-5
  • D2.His.2.3-5
  • D2.His.4.3-5
  • D2.His.5.3-5
  • D2.His.12.3-5

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to EL Education curriculum is a focus on “habits of character” and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this unit, students work to become effective learners, developing the mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration). They collaborate and persevere as they work in pairs to read and analyze complex texts.

Students also work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion). They show respect and integrity as they reflect on the texts they are reading and as they engage in the peer critique protocol throughout the unit.

Unit-at-a-Glance

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.

Accountable Independent Reading

The ability to read and comprehend texts is the heart of literacy instruction. Comprehension is taught, reinforced, and assessed across both components of this curriculum: module lessons and the Additional Language and Literacy block. Refer to the 4M3 Module Overview for additional information.

In this unit, students continue to read research texts independently for homework, and engage in frequent research reading shares during the module lesson for accountability.

Supporting English Language Learners

The Meeting Students' Needs column in each lesson contains support for both ELLs and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and some supports can serve a wide range of student needs. However, ELLs have unique needs that cannot always be met with UDL support. According to federal guidelines, ELLs must be given access to the curriculum with appropriate supports, such as those that are specifically identified as “For ELLs” in the Meeting Students’ Needs column.

  • Prioritizing lessons for classrooms with many ELLs: To prepare for Unit 2 assessments, consider prioritizing and expanding instruction in Lessons 2–4 and 6, which contain the reading and character analysis routines and practice writing character analysis paragraphs; Lesson 5, which introduces text-based discussions and contains a Language Dive; Lesson 9, which introduces first person narratives; and Lesson 11, which contains a Language Dive. If necessary, consider placing less focus and condensing instruction in Lessons 1, 10 and 13, which provide helpful background, practice, and repetition but don’t introduce as many new concepts.
  • Language Dives: All students participate in a Language Dive in Lesson 11, and ELLs can participate in an optional Language Dive in Lesson 5. These Language Dives support ELLs and all students in deconstructing, reconstructing, and practicing the meaning and structures of sentences from the Declaration of Independence, Divided Loyalties, and the model first person narrative. Many lessons also include optional Mini Language Dives for ELLs. The Language Dive goals remain the same as in previous modules; however, the new format goes beyond those goals by encouraging students to take more of a lead in the conversations and to build greater independence by taking an inquiry-based approach to language in general, and the selected sentence in particular. See the Tools page for additional information.
  • Conversation Cues: Encourage productive and equitable conversation with Goals 1-4 Conversation Cues, which are questions teachers can ask students to help achieve four goals: (Goal 1) encourage all students to talk and be understood; (Goal 2) listen carefully to one another and seek to understand; (Goal 3) deepen thinking; and (Goal 4) think with others to expand the conversation (adapted from Michaels, Sarah and O’Connor, Cathy. Talk Science Primer. Cambridge, MA: TERC, 2012. Based on Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., and Anderson, N. [2009]. Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades K-6. Second Edition. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications). See the Tools page for the complete set of cues.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Investigate the routines, practices, rituals, beliefs, norms, and experiences that are important to ELLs and their families. Integrate this background into the classroom as students discuss Divided Loyalties, the Declaration of Independence, and the impact of the Revolutionary War on people living in the colonies, including African American slaves and American Indians. Be sensitive to students’ own perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, particularly with such issues as war and slavery, and foster inclusive action by creating space for students to express their feelings about the issues embedded in the texts, while being aware that these discussions may unearth trauma or social stigma. Consult with a guidance counselor, school social worker, or ESL teacher for further investigation of diversity and inclusion.
  • Text-based discussions: Students participate in three text-based discussions, during which they discuss characters’ perspectives in relation to the Declaration of Independence. Students participate in close reads to help them prepare for these discussions. This format is ideal for language development, as it invites students to orally negotiate with classmates about the meaning of what they are trying to say, pushing them to change their language to be more comprehensible. Additionally, students can celebrate their successful attempts at communication and their ability to extend and enhance the discussions.
  • Writing first person narratives: In the second half of the unit, students write first person narratives from the perspective of characters in Divided Loyalties after analyzing their actions, thoughts, and feelings in different scenes of the play. This analysis and writing practice will benefit ELLs by preparing them for the work they will do in the end of unit assessment and the next unit. ELLs may find it challenging to access and produce the necessary language to transform the character analysis into writing from the first person point of view. Provide familiar examples of first person writing when possible and support students by giving them sufficient time to imagine and orally describe the character’s feelings, thoughts, and actions in the first person before they are asked to write. Provide sentence frames as needed and encourage students to use the text, their note-catchers, and other classroom resources for support.
  • Celebration: Celebrate the courage, enthusiasm, diversity, and bilingual assets that ELLs bring to the classroom.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.


Text Quantity ISBNs
Divided Loyalties
by Gare Thompson
ISBN: 978-0792258674

Materials

  • Gather the following materials from previous modules for use in this unit:
    • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Vocabulary log (from Module 1)
    • Academic Word Wall (begun in Module 1)
    • World map (from Module 1)
    • Writing Complete Sentences handout (from Module 1)
    • Marking Direct Quotes handout (from Module 1)
    • Discussion Norms anchor chart (from Module 1)
    • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions (begun in Module 1)
    • Tracking Progress folders (from Module 1)
    • Peer Critique anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Parts of Speech anchor chart (begun in Module 1)

Technology and Multimedia

  • American Revolution - Additional reading and research: Students read additional texts and look at resources about the American Revolution. Note: Please preview before sharing with students and determine which are appropriate for this age.
  • The American Revolution, 1763–1783 - Additional reading and research: Students read additional texts and look at resources about the American Revolution. Note: Please preview before sharing with students and determine which are appropriate for this age.
  • A Guide to the American Revolution - Additional reading and research: Students read additional texts and look at resources about the American Revolution. Note: Please preview before sharing with students and determine which are appropriate for this age.
  • American Revolution - Additional reading and research: Students watch videos about the American Revolution. Note: Please preview before sharing with students and determine which are appropriate for this age.
  • Liberty! The American Revolution - Additional reading and research: Students read additional texts and look at resources about the American Revolution. 
  • American Revolution - Additional reading and research: Students read additional texts and look at resources about the American Revolution

Additional Language and Literacy Block

The Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block is 1 hour of instruction per day. It is designed to work in concert with and in addition to the 1-hour Grades 3–5 ELA “module lessons.” Taken together, these 2 hours of instruction comprehensively address all the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

The ALL Block has five components: Additional Work with Complex Text; Reading and Speaking Fluency/GUM (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics); Writing Practice; Word Study and Vocabulary; and Independent Reading.

The ALL Block has three 2-week units which parallel to the three units of the module.

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

Community:

Invite members of the community, family members, or teachers to come into the classroom to share their personal family histories pertaining to the American Revolution.

Experts:

  • Invite a historian with expertise on the American Revolution to come into the classroom to talk to the students about it.
  • Invite a collector of American Revolution memorabilia to bring in artifacts to the classroom to share with students.

Fieldwork:

  • Visit an American Revolution exhibition at a museum.
  • Depending on your location, visit an American Revolution historical site.

Service:

  • Share student broadsides with a local museum.
  • Create a class museum of student work products created throughout this module and invite other classes and members of the community in to visit and learn from the students.

Extension opportunities for students seeking more challenge:

Invite students to research local history relevant to the American Revolution.

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