In the first half of Unit 1, students are introduced to the topic of plastic pollution and how it affects humans, animals, and the environment. First, students infer the topic of plastic pollution through a scavenger hunt throughout the school (or classroom), in which they document plastic use, waste, and pollution in their environment. Students then begin studying the documentary A Plastic Ocean, noting the transcript's portrayal of a subject as compared to the film's portrayal. Students also analyze the film's main ideas and supporting details, as well as how the ideas in the video introduce the issue of plastic pollution. Students identify and analyze the speakers' arguments by evaluating their claims as well as the soundness of their reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of their evidence. In each lesson throughout the first half of the unit, students view a film clip as a class several times. Then they work collaboratively to complete note-catchers and engage in discussions to compare the film and transcript portrayals of subjects as well as to evaluate the speakers' arguments. Students then complete the mid-unit assessment, in which they watch a clip of A Plastic Ocean and answer selected and constructed response questions to demonstrate their ability to identify main ideas and supporting details, compare the portrayal of a subject in the film and transcript, and evaluate the speakers' arguments.
In the second half of Unit 1, students address big ideas about where and how plastic pollutes, as well as what can be done about plastic pollution. Students analyze the anchor text Trash Vortex for author's purpose and central ideas. Students then learn to analyze the text for how the author distinguishes her position from that of others. Throughout the second half of the unit, students work together as a class and in small groups to read and analyze the anchor text, completing note-catchers and participating in discussions to practice analyzing the central ideas and the author's purpose and positions on plastic pollution. During the end of unit assessment, students read and analyze the end of Trash Vortex, to analyze central ideas as well as the author's purpose and how she distinguishes her position from others.
Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. You will find the Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.