In Unit 3, students become advocates for birds after learning about the many ways birds help other living things. A new letter from the ornithologist and jazz chant incite students’ active participation in caring for birds. Students spend the first part of the unit reading the beginning part of the text A Place for Birds by Melissa Stewart to learn about the problems birds face and how people can help them live and grow. Students have multiple opportunities to practice the vocabulary strategies they have learned in Units 1–Students use the information from the text to answer the unit guiding question: “How can people care for birds so they can live and grow?”
Students then read the last portion of A Place for Birds to learn how birds help plants and animals. Through this reading, students practice identifying the reasons the author gives to support the point that birds are helpful. For the Unit 3 Assessment, students read the short text “Birds as Human Helpers” to identify the reasons the author gives to support the point that birds help humans (RI.1.1, RI.1.4, RI.1.8, SL.1.2, L.1.4, L.1.4a, L.1.4b, L.1.4c).
In the second half of the unit, students dive into the process of creating their final performance task of the year: a Feathered Friends Saver. This task consists of two parts: informative writing about birds and a portrait of a local bird. For the written portion of the task, students write an informational paragraph about birds using the information they have gained in Modules 3–Students choose an adjective and facts about birds that they feel would compel others to care about birds. They plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish the informative paragraph and attach it to the art portion of the Feathered Friends Saver. For the artwork, students choose a local bird to draw for their Feathered Friends Saver and, after generating criteria, receive feedback on multiple drafts before preparing their final draft.
The final drawing serves as a Feathered Friends Saver because people can display it in a window to help deter birds from flying into it. The writing is attached to the Feathered Friends Saver artwork to be sent to a local business or community center for use. At the end of the unit, students take time to present their work and reflect on their learning about caring for birds.
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 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 supports this work for the performance task with both the design of its lessons and the use of optional flex days.
In addition to the opportunities for critique, feedback, and revision, students are given an opportunity to present their work to an audience from outside of the classroom. Creating work for an authentic audience motivates students to meet standards and engage in revision. Through the process, they develop perseverance and realize that they can do more than they thought they could.
The purpose of the optional flex days in this unit is to allow for additional time, as needed, to support students with the use of technology, drafting of artwork, and student presentations for a high-quality end of year performance task. Refer to the unit-at-a-glance chart for additional information.