Perspectives on the American Revolution: Using Writing to Share an Opinion | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G4:M3:U3

Perspectives on the American Revolution: Using Writing to Share an Opinion

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In this unit, students apply what they have learned about the American Revolution and colonial perspectives on the war to create broadsides persuading someone to be a Patriot or a Loyalist. This prepares students for the performance task, a text-based discussion in which they discuss whether they would have supported the war if they had lived during colonial times. In the first half of the unit, students read and analyze opinion writing to understand characteristics of the format and how authors support their opinions with reasons and evidence. For the mid-unit assessment, students read a new broadside from the Quaker perspective and analyze the author’s opinion, reasons, and evidence.

In the second half of the unit, students use the Quaker broadside read for the mid-unit assessment as a model, analyzing the structure and using the Painted Essay format to write and revise their own broadside persuading someone to be a Patriot. Students write and revise a new broadside from the Loyalist perspective for the end of unit assessment. Students then select a broadside to publish and prepare for and participate in a text-based discussion.

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.

The Four T's

  • Topic: perspectives on the American Revolution
  • Task: Students read and analyze an opinion text (mid-unit assessment). Students plan, write, and revise an opinion piece (end of unit assessment).
  • Targets (standards explicitly taught and assessed): RI.4.8, RI.4.9, RI.4.10, W.4.1, W.4.5, W.4.9b, W.4.10, SL.4.1, L.4.1e, L.4.1g
  • Texts: William Barton’s letter, Robert Barton’s letter, Model Broadside: Quaker Perspective (all written by EL Education for instructional purposes)

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 analyze and write opinion 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 engage in the peer critique protocol throughout the unit and use their peers’ feedback to revise their work.

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 3 assessments, consider prioritizing and expanding instruction in Lessons 1–2, which introduce the analysis of opinion texts; Lesson 5, which contains a Language Dive including prepositional phrases; and Lessons 7–10, which focus on writing broadsides one paragraph at a time. If necessary, consider placing less focus on and condensing instruction in Lessons 3 and 14–15, 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 5. Many lessons also include optional Mini Language Dives for ELLs. These Language Dives support ELLs and all students in deconstructing, reconstructing, and practicing the meaning and structures of sentences from various opinion texts. 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 consider the impact of the Revolutionary War on people living in the colonies, discuss opinion texts about the war, and write their own. 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.
  • Writing opinion essays: Students receive explicit instruction in how to craft an opinion essay: introductory paragraph, focus statement with Points 1 and 2, proof paragraphs, and concluding paragraph. Students use the Painted Essay® format. Students who are still trying to comprehend the language itself may also need additional support grasping this organizational structure. Use color-coding and manipulatives inspired by the Painted Essay® routines, such as paragraph strips, to support this skill. Also, this essay structure may be different from the text structure students may be familiar with in their home languages. Compare and contrast home language text structure whenever possible.
  • Prepositional phrases and linking words: In the second half of the unit, students receive explicit instruction in identifying and using prepositional phrases, as well as linking words and phrases. This instruction will benefit ELLs by preparing them for the work they will do in revising their broadside during the module lessons, as well as preparing them for their revisions in the end of unit assessment. Support students by providing additional practice with prepositional phrases and linking words and phrases, including playing a prepositional phrase practice game suggested in the Meeting Students’ Needs column of Work Time A in Lesson 7. Additionally, encourage students to use varying linking words and phrases throughout the unit in their speaking, as well as in their writing.
  • 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:
    • Academic Word Wall (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)
    • Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1)
    • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Tracking Progress folders (from Module 1)
    • The Painted Essay® template (from Module 1)
    • Painting an Essay Plan (from Module 1)
    • Peer Critique anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Writing Complete Sentences handout (from Module 1)
    • Parts of Speech anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
    • Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • The Exploring Opinions as Readers and Writers handout is introduced in this unit and referred to in Module 4.

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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