The Land of the Golden Mountain | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M3A

The Land of the Golden Mountain

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Note for 2020-21 School Year

We recommend omitting Grade 6: Module 3A. For the 2020-21 school year, to ensure students can be fully supported by the teacher in the way the module was intended, EL Education recommends implementing three of the four modules. For more information, please view our rationale here. 

In this module, students are involved in a study of how an author develops point of view and how an author's perspective, based on his or her culture, is evident in his or her writing. Students will read Lawrence Yep's Dragonwings (870L), a high-interest novel about an eight-year-old boy from China who joins his father in San Francisco in the early 1900s. As they read the novel, students also will read excerpts of Lawrence Yep's biography The Lost Garden in order to determine how his culture and his experiences shaped his perspective and how his perspective is evident in his novel Dragonwings. Through the close reading of these texts, students will learn multiple strategies for acquiring and using academic vocabulary.

At the end of Unit 1, having read half of the novel, students will write a short, on-demand response explaining how being brought up in a Chinese family in San Francisco affected Lawrence Yep's perspective of Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, supported by details from Dragonwings that show evidence of his perspective.

In Unit 2, students analyze how point of view and perspective is conveyed in excerpts of "Comprehending the Calamity," a primary source account written by Emma Burke about her experiences of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. In a literary analysis at the end of Unit 2, students compare the point of view of Emma Burke of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to the point of view of Moon Shadow in Dragonwings. Students finish the module by researching to gather factual information and eyewitness accounts about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire in order to write their own newspaper articles containing multiple perspectives about how the earthquake and fires affected the people of San Francisco. This task addresses ELA standards RI.6.7, W.6.2, W.6.4a, W.6.9, and L.6.3a.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • How does an author develop the narrator's point of view and perspective?
  • How does an author's culture affect his perspective, and how is that perspective communicated through his writing?
  • How does an author's purpose affect the narrator's point of view?
  • What is the purpose of a newspaper article?
  • Understanding diverse points of view helps us to live in an increasingly diverse society.
  • Newspaper articles contain multiple perspectives of the same event in order to give the reader a sense of what an event was like for a lot of different people.
  • An author's culture, background, and purpose can affect the narrator's point of view.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about San Francisco in the early 1900s. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies practices and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content. These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework.

Unifying Themes (pages 6-7)

  • Theme 1: Individual Development and Cultural Identity: The role of social, political, and cultural interactions supports the development of identity. Personal identity is a function of an individual's culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences.
  • Theme 2: Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures: Role of diversity within and among cultures. Aspects of culture such as belief systems, religious faith, or political ideas as influences on other parts of a culture such as its institutions or literature, music, and art.
  • Theme 10: Global Connections and Exchange: Past, current, and likely future global interactions and connections. Cultural diffusion, the spread of ideas, beliefs, technology, and goods. Role of technology. Benefits/consequences of global interdependence (social, political, economic). Causes and patterns of migration of people. Tension between national interests and global priorities.

 Social Studies Practices: Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence, Grades 5-8:

  • Descriptor 2: Identify, describe, and evaluate evidence about events from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, photographs, charts and graphs, artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary and secondary sources).
  • Descriptor 3: Analyze evidence in terms of content, authorship, point of view, purpose, and format; identify bias; explain the role of bias and audience in presenting arguments or evidence.


Texts and Resources to Buy

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

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
by Laurence Yep
One per student
ISBN: 978-006440085, 0064400859


Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

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