In this module, students continue to build on their scientific knowledge of trees from Module 3 by exploring the importance of trees to people and their communities. Students learn how different people, both real and imaginary, enjoy and appreciate trees, and they consider how real people and characters have used trees to fill a need in their community. In Unit 1, students learn about the different ways people enjoy trees through reading and analyzing the texts A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman and Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase and considering how the characters in these texts enjoy and appreciate trees. They write about the different ways trees can be enjoyed in their Enjoying Trees Journal, Part I.
In Unit 2, students read about the ways planting trees can contribute to a community. By studying the informational text A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry, they learn to name an author’s opinion or point and identify the reasons, within a text, that the author gives to support that point. They read Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli and explore different places in a community where trees might be planted through observation of pictures in order to continue gathering information about why and where people plant trees. They then use these skills and information to form and write opinions about where they would choose to plant a tree.
In Unit 3, students deepen their understanding of the importance of trees as they read We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow. Students apply their new knowledge of the importance of trees to people by advocating for the appreciation of trees in their own community. Students use information and skills gained throughout all three units to create their performance task: a Tree Appreciation card, including an opinion statement, that invites others to pause and appreciate trees around them (W.K.1, W.K.5, W.K.6, W.K.8, L.K.2a, L.K.2b).
Recall that EL Education believes that high-quality work is a reflection and result of the high expectations teachers have for all students. Thus, it is a means to excellence and equity. The performance task for this module allows for students to create high-quality work based on their deep knowledge of trees. Using the literacy skills built throughout the school year; knowledge built in Modules 3–4; and cycles of drafting, critique, and revision, students are able to create a high-quality product that showcases their learning for the year. Unit 3 of this module supports this work for the performance task with both the design of its lessons and the use of optional flex days. Refer to the Performance Task Overview and Unit 3 Overview for additional information.