Launching the Text: Building Background Knowledge on Louie Zamperini and World War II (Preface, Pages 3–6) | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3A:U1:L1

Launching the Text: Building Background Knowledge on Louie Zamperini and World War II (Preface, Pages 3–6)

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the connections and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events in a text. (RI.8.3)
  • I can analyze how specific dialogue or incidents in a plot propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. (RL.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze how incidents in Unbroken reveal aspects of Louie Zamperini as a character.
  • I can use photographs of World War II to build background knowledge about Unbroken.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Notice/Wonder note-catcher

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud (10 minutes)
B. Unpacking the Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Gallery Walk: World War II (15 minutes)
B. Establishing Reading Routines: Reading Homework with Structured Notes (5 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Debrief Learning Targets (5 minutes)
B. Preview Homework (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Reread the preface and complete a first read of pages 3-6 (to page break). Complete the focus question and vocabulary on the structured notes.

  • This lesson launches Module 3A and begins with a read-aloud and Gallery Walk to build background knowledge about the main character of the book and the Pacific theater in World War II.
  • Laura Hillenbrand presents the compelling story of Louis Zamperini in the literary nonfiction book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. To be clear, this central text is nonfiction, and many aspects of the text will be analyzed using the Reading Standards for Information Text. However, since the book is also a narrative, the Reading Standards for Literature are, at times, a useful lens. For example, Louie Zamperini, the main character, happens to be a real person. Nevertheless, Reading Literature Standard RL.8.3 is helpful in studying his development over the course of the text.
  • Since Hillenbrand refers to Louis Zamperini throughout the book as Louie, the lesson scripts in this module refer to him as Louie, as well. This provides consistency with the book and eliminates possible confusion.
  • Unbroken is a difficult text. In this lesson, students hear the preface read aloud as they follow along silently. This read-aloud gives students a chance to hear a fluent reader model this difficult text. In previous lessons, the read-aloud was "pure" and was read only to model fluency and help build understanding. For this read-aloud, continue to model fluent reading, but also pause for comprehension checks to ensure students' understanding.
  • This lesson reviews the structured notes routine that was introduced in Module 2A. Students will use this note-taking format throughout their study of the book. With each reading assignment, students write the gist of the reading homework, answer a focus question, and attend to teacher-selected vocabulary words. Key words for each chapter include academic words that serve a number of purposes. Most have prefixes, suffixes, or Latin or Greek roots. Many are adjectives that are used to describe settings or characters. Others are words students should know to understand critical incidents in the book.
  • For readers who struggle, an optional set of supported structured notes includes chapter summaries and vocabulary definitions.
  • The Unbroken structured notes, supported structured notes, and Structured Notes Teacher Guide are provided at the end of each lesson.
  • Students should keep the structured notes, because the information collected will provide details and evidence for the essays in Units 2 and 3. Consider providing the structured notes handouts in a packet or storing them in a folder.
  • The images used in the Gallery Walk will also be used for the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment, in which students classify different media and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to hold on to these images for that assessment.
  • In advance: Review the Gallery Walk protocol (see Appendix); prepare and post the photographs for the Gallery Walk (see links in supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

foreshadow; bombardier (xvii), theater (as in "military theater")

Materials

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (one per student)
  • Notice/Wonder note-catcher (one per student)
  • Gallery Walk photographs (see links in supporting materials; see photographs to post and a copy of one photograph to display; see Teaching Note above)
  • Document camera Timer
  • Unbroken structured notes, preface, pages 3-6 (one per student)
  • Unbroken supported structured notes, preface, pages 3-6 (optional; for students needing additional support)
  • Unbroken Structured Notes Teacher Guide, preface, pages 3-6 (for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud (10 minutes)

  • Distribute the central text, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand and the Notice/Wonder note-catcher.
  • Read aloud the title of the book and ask students to turn to the preface and follow along in their heads as you read it aloud. At times, pause to check for comprehension by inviting students to record their thinking on the Notice/Wonder note-catcher.
  • After reading the preface, invite students to turn and talk to a partner.

* "What did you learn about Louie Zamperini from the preface?"

  • Cold call three or four student pairs and listen for them to articulate that Louie was an Air Force bombardier (explain that a bombardier is someone who releases bombs from inside a warplane), was 26 years old, and was an Olympic runner, one of the greatest in the world.
  • Students may comment on Louie's physical condition; probe them to consider his mental and emotional condition by asking:

* "What can you infer about Louie's mental and emotional state from the preface?"

  • Students may recognize Louie as the strongest physically and mentally, since he signaled for the plane to see the men on the raft. It is fine if they do not mention this now, since they are just coming to know Louie as a character.
  • Pairing  students for comprehension discussions during the reading will provide a supportive structure for reading and understanding a complex text.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. It also provides a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.

B.  Unpacking the Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Invite a student to read aloud the first learning target:

* "I can analyze how incidents in Unbroken reveal aspects of Louie Zamperini as a character."

  • Ask:

* "What does the word foreshadow mean?"

  • Cold call a student to explain.
  • Make sure a student-friendly definition is provided. (For example: To foreshadow means to in some way hint, show, or tell something that will happen in the future.)
  • Then ask:

* "What is the first incident the author shares with us to introduce us to Louie?"

* "How might this incident foreshadow what's to come?"

  • Cold call one or two class members to explain their thinking.
  • Share with students that the preface of Unbroken gives them a glimpse of the kind of person Louie is. They will come to know Louie as a character over the course of the book.
  • Invite a different student to read aloud the second learning target:

* "I can use photographs of World War II to build background knowledge about Unbroken."

  • Explain  that the class is going to do a Gallery Walk to begin building background knowledge on the historical context of the book.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Gallery Walk: World War II (15 minutes)

  • Direct students to the second portion of the Notice/Wonder note-catcher, "Gallery Walk."
  • Review the Gallery Walk protocol:
  • Tell students that in a moment, they will examine several photographs posted throughout the room (or along the hallway outside the classroom).
  • At each photograph, they should use their Notice/Wonder note-catcher to record specific details they notice (e.g., "Family standing with suitcases," "Military men looking at a paper on the ground") and things they wonder about ("I wonder why they are serious." "What are they looking at?" "When was this?").
  • Remind students that they will need to make inferences during this activity.
  • Display one of the photographs using the document camera. Model for students how to make an inference or to take clues from the text and use your background knowledge to express something you think is true based on these facts. For example: "This picture is about World War II, and I know this because of the look of the ship, and I've seen pictures of World War II in history class." Clarify for the class that an inference is not an unfounded opinion ("I hate this picture").
  • Tell students they will have just a minute at each picture and  might not get to all of them.
  • Remind the class about your expectations for safe movement and quiet voices during this work period. (For example: "As you move from photograph to photograph, there is no need to engage in side conversations. I expect 'zero' voice levels during this time. Also, please move carefully, taking care not to bump into one another."). Ask students to transition to small groups by each photograph.
  • Using a timer so that you know when one minute has passed, ask students to begin the Gallery Walk.
  • As students complete this activity, circulate to observe and support as needed. You might notice that they are making inferences (e.g., "It's about Pearl Harbor" or "The people are being removed from their homes"). This is ideal, as it provides the basis for the follow-up conversation.
  • After about 10 minutes, ask students to return to their seats and refer to their Notice/Wonder note-catchers.
  • Cold call several students to share what they noticed and wondered. Once an inference comes up, probe the students about why they said what they said (e.g., "You said you saw a picture about Pearl Harbor. What specifically did you see that made you think this?" or "You used your background knowledge to make an inference that the ship in the photograph was at Pearl Harbor. How did you know this?")
  • Remind students that when they use their background knowledge to add meaning to a picture or text, they are making inferences.
  • Invite them to turn and talk to a partner. Encourage them to use the sentence starters from the bottom of the Notice/Wonder note-catcher during their conversation:

* "What do all of these photographs have in common?"

  • While students discuss, circulate and probe to encourage them to move beyond the literal of what they see in the photographs to what they infer about the people in the photographs.
  • Cold call two or three student pairs to share out whole group. Then, tell students that many of the photographs feature aspects of World War II that took place in the Pacific theater. Explain that in this case, theater means an area or location where important military events took place. They may be familiar with the European theater in World War II, which is where the Allies engaged in important military events in Germany, France, etc.

B. Establishing Reading Routines: Reading Homework with Structured Notes (5 minutes)

  • Distribute Unbroken structured notes, preface, pages 3-6 and reorient students to the three sections of the organizer, which is similar to the way they took notes in Module 2. Tell students that these structured notes should be familiar to them. They will write the gist of what they read for homework, answer a focus question, and define some vocabulary words.
  • Explain that they will have reading homework every night and will need to pay careful attention to the assignment. Mostly, they will read straight from the book, but at times they will read a summary of a portion of the book, which will be provided for them on the structured notes. At other times, they will be asked to skip portions of the book altogether.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Debrief Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Cold call a student to read aloud the first learning target:

* "I can analyze how incidents in Unbroken reveal aspects of Louie Zamperini as a character."

  • Ask students to turn and talk to share one detail or inference about Louie as a character based on the incident in the preface.
  • Cold call a different student to read aloud the second learning target:

* "I can use photographs of World War II to build background knowledge about Unbroken."

  • Invite students to turn and talk about what they know and what they infer about the historical setting in Unbroken based on the Gallery Walk photographs.
  • For struggling readers, an optional set of supported structured notes is provided (see supporting materials) that includes a chapter summary and vocabulary definitions. This scaffolded approach will ensure students have an accurate understanding of what the text says, as well as appropriate vocabulary definitions, allowing them to spend their energy on answering the focus question and identifying context clues that point toward the vocabulary definitions

A.  Preview Homework (5 minutes)

  • Tell students that their homework is to reread the preface and complete a first read of pages 3-6 (to page break) in the book. They should complete the structured notes by defining the vocabulary and answering the focus question.
  • Explain that students will learn much more about Louie as they continue to read the book, but this first glimpse in the first few pages is a great start in learning about him

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Reread the preface and complete a first read of pages 3-6 (to page break) in Unbroken. Complete the focus question and vocabulary on the structured notes.
  • Focus question: "Use details from the text to describe Louie's character in pages 3-6. What aspects of his character that you have read about so far may help him survive his situation described in the preface? Use the strongest evidence from the book to support your answer."
  • Consider providing supported structured notes for students who struggle.

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