In this module, students continue to build on their knowledge of birds from Module 3 as they deepen their literacy skills and build citizenship. Specifically, students explore the module guiding question: “Why should we care about birds?”
In Unit 1, students begin to think about this question by reading a variety of literature with characters who care for birds. These texts include The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, Pierre the Penguin by Jean Marzollo, and Maggie the One-Eyed Peregrine Falcon by Christie Gove-Berg. Students participate in a close read-aloud, role-play, structured discussions, and response to text through writing as they compare and contrast the characters’ experiences in these stories. Also central to this unit is students’ work with the habits of character of compassion and respect.
In Unit 2, students learn about writing opinions as they investigate a specific bird, Pale Male, who built his nest in the heart of New York City. Students read about people’s differing opinions about this nest and then write their own opinions in response to the evidence they gather. The two texts that anchor students’ learning are City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male by Meghan McCarthy and “What’s Best? The Debate about Pale Male’s Nest” by EL Education. Students extend their learning of habits of character from Unit 1 to include an additional ones—empathy —which is central to respectfully listening to, responding to, and sharing opinions.
In Unit 3, students learn about some of the problems birds face more generally and what humans can do to help them live and grow through the text A Place for Birds by Melissa Stewart. They also learn about the myriad ways birds are helpful to plants, other animals, and people. For the performance task, students create a piece of artwork and writing that serves an authentic need in their school or local community: a Feathered Friends Saver! This performance task includes a high-quality scientific drawing of a local bird that is formatted to attach to a window. When displayed in a window, the portrait helps to prevent birds from flying into the window. Students also individually create a short piece of writing to teach the recipient of the Feathered Friends Saver facts about birds (W.1.2, W.1.5, W.1.6, L.1.1, L.1.1b, L.1.1f, L.1.1g, L.1.2, L.1.2a, L.1.2b, L.1.2c).
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 birds. 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.