Writing Grounded in Evidence: An Opinion of Peter Pan | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G3:M3:U2

Writing Grounded in Evidence: An Opinion of Peter Pan

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In this unit, students continue the reading routines from Unit 1 to finish reading Peter Pan. At the same time, they read chapters of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, another story about Peter Pan written by J.M. Barrie, to compare and contrast the stories. Once they have finished Peter Pan, students recount the story and analyze it to identify the central message. For the mid-unit assessment, students closely read the final chapter of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens to compare it to Peter Pan and also to analyze it for the central message.

In the second half of the unit, students are guided through writing a book review of Peter Pan in which they state an opinion with reasons about whether they would recommend Peter Pan to a friend. For the end of unit assessment, students revise their book reviews for linking words and phrases and to correct spelling errors. They also participate in a text-based discussion in which they share their opinion of Peter Pan and listen to the opinions of others.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What can we learn from reading literary classics?
  • Literary classics are told in different ways over time.
  • Literary classics can show how things have changed since the time they were written.
  • Readers have differing opinions about the texts they read and support their opinions with evidence from the text.

The Four Ts

  • Topic: writing grounded in evidence
  • Task: Students compare two Peter Pan stories, revise a book review, and participate in a text-based discussion.
  • Targets: RL.3.1, RL.3.2c, RL.3.4, RL.3.9, RL.3.10, W.3.1c, W.3.5, SL.3.1, L.3.1f, L.3.2e, L.3.2f, L.3.2g, L.3.3b, L.3.4.
  • Texts: Peter Pan and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens


Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block of the school day. However, the module intentionally incorporates social studies content that many teachers may be teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.

College, Career, and Civic Life C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards:

  • D2.Civ.10.3-5
  • D2.Geo.3.3-5
  • D2.Geo.5.3-5
  • D2.His.2.3-5
  • D2.His.5.3-5
  • D2.His.6.3-5
  • D3.4.3-5
  • D4.2.3-5

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to EL Education's curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this unit, students work to become effective learners, developing the mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration). They practice collaboration as they work in pairs to read and analyze Peter Pan and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

Students also work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion). They practice respect, compassion, and empathy because of the potentially diverse views of classmates in response to the and as they participate in collaborative discussions.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Accountable Independent Reading

The ability to read and comprehend texts is the heart of literacy instruction. Comprehension is taught, reinforced, and assessed across both components of this curriculum: module lessons and the Additional Language and Literacy Block. Refer to the 3M3 Module Overview for additional information.

In this unit, students continue to read research texts independently for homework, and engage in frequent research reading shares during the module lesson for accountability.

Supporting English Language Learners

The Meeting Students' Needs column in each lesson contains support for both ELLs and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and some supports can serve a wide range of student needs. However, ELLs have unique needs that cannot always be met with UDL support. According to federal guidelines, ELLs must be given access to the curriculum with appropriate supports, such as those that are specifically identified as "For ELLs" in the Meeting Students' Needs column.

  • Prioritizing lessons for classrooms with many ELLs: To prepare for the Unit 2 assessments, consider prioritizing and expanding instruction in Lessons 1-4, which establish the routines for reading and comparing stories, Lessons 9-12, which provide time and structure for planning and drafting a multi-paragraph opinion essay, and Lesson 13, which prepares students for the text-based discussion in the end of unit assessment. Many of these lessons also include Language Dives. If necessary, consider placing less focus on and condensing instruction in Lessons 5-6 and 8, which provide helpful background, practice, and repetition, but don't introduce as many new concepts.
  • Language Dives: All students participate in Language Dives in Lessons 2, 4, 10, and 11. Many lessons also include optional Mini Language Dives for ELLs. These Language Dives support ELLs and all students in deconstructing, reconstructing, and practicing the meaning and structures of sentences from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and the Model Book Review: Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. The Language Dive goals remain the same as in previous modules; however, the new format goes beyond those goals by encouraging students to take more of a lead in the conversations and to build greater independence by taking an inquiry-based approach to language in general, and the selected sentence in particular. Refer to the Tools page for additional information.
  • Conversation Cues: Encourage productive and equitable conversation with Goals 1-4 Conversation Cues, which are questions teachers can ask students to help achieve four goals: (Goal 1) encourage all students to talk and be understood; (Goal 2) listen carefully to one another and seek to understand; (Goal 3) deepen thinking; and (Goal 4) think with others to expand the conversation (adapted from Michaels, Sarah and O'Connor, Cathy. Talk Science Primer. Cambridge, MA: TERC, 2012. . Based on Chapin, S., O'Connor, C., and Anderson, N. [2009]. Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn, Grades K-6. Second Edition. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications). Refer to the Tools page for the complete set of cues.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Investigate the routines, practices, rituals, beliefs, norms, and experiences that are important to ELLs and their families. Integrate this background into the classroom as students discuss literary classics and stereotypes. In the first half of this unit, students read the final chapters of Peter Pan, and although there is not time allotted within the lessons to make connections between Peter Pan and the historical context, pay close attention to student responses to the text and use the same format outlined in Unit 1 to discuss any sensitive issues that arise. Foster inclusive action by creating space for students to express their feelings about sensitive issues, while being aware that these discussions may unearth trauma or social stigma. Consult with a guidance counselor, school social worker, or ESL teacher for further investigation of diversity and inclusion.
  • Comparing stories: As students read the final chapters of Peter Pan, they simultaneously read and compare the book with another story about Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Reading and comparing the stories allows students to deepen their understanding of narrative structure and how literary classics are told differently over time, and this comparison work plants important seeds for writing a revised scene from Peter Pan in Unit 3. Support ELLs by modeling and thinking aloud the process of comparing the two stories and providing sentence frames as needed during the discussion.
  • Subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement: In Lessons 2 and 4, all students receive explicit instruction in using correct subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement. This will be beneficial for ELLs, but it will also be more difficult for them, as some may not grasp the grammar intuitively like a native speaker might. To support ELLs, draw attention to examples of correct subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement whenever possible and give students additional opportunities to practice using it in their writing and speaking.
  • Writing opinion essays: Students receive explicit instruction in how to craft an opinion essay: introductory paragraph, focus statement with points 1 and 2, proof paragraphs, and concluding paragraph. Students use the Painted Essay(r) format. Students who are still trying to comprehend the language itself may also need additional support grasping this organizational structure. Use color-coding and manipulatives inspired by the Painted Essay(r) routines, such as paragraph strips, to support this skill. Also, this essay structure may be different from the text structure students may be familiar within their home languages. Compare and contrast home language text structure whenever possible.
  • Text-based discussions: Students participate in two text-based discussions, during which they discuss whether they would recommend Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and Peter Pan to a friend. Students complete a series of note-catchers to help them prepare for these discussions. This format is ideal for language development, as it invites students to orally negotiate with classmates about the meaning of what they are trying to say, pushing them to change their language to be more comprehensible. Additionally, students can celebrate their successful attempts at communication and their ability to extend and enhance the discussions.
  • Celebration: Celebrate the courage, enthusiasm, diversity, and bilingual assets that ELLs bring to the classroom.

Texts to Buy

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

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Peter Pan (Classic Starts)
by J. M. Barrie
1 per student
ISBN: 9781402754210

Preparation and Materials

  • Inform families in advance that students will be writing an opinion of Peter Pan and open a dialogue of how best to support students through this process.
  • Gather the following materials from previous modules for use in this unit:
    • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart
    • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart
    • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart
    • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart
    • Tracking Progress folders
    • The Painted Essay(r) template
    • Painting an Essay lesson plan
    • Discussion Norms anchor chart
    • Linking Words and Phrases handout

Technology and Multimedia

  • Project Gutenberg - Additional reading and research: Students read excerpts of the original stories and view some of the images. Students read literary classics from around the world.
    • Note: Please preview before sharing with students and determine which excerpts and images are appropriate for this age.
    • Barrie, J.M. Peter and Wendy. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. Project Gutenberg, 2008. Web. 25 Jul 2016.
    • Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910. Project Gutenberg, 2008. Web. 25 Jul 2016.
  • J.M. Barrie - Additional reading and research: Students read more about J.M. Barrie.
    • "J.M. Barrie: Biography." Random House Kids. Web. 26 Jul 2016.
  • DOGObooks - Reading and analyzing book reviews and writing book reviews: Students read, analyze, and potentially write their own book reviews.

Additional Language and Literacy Block

The Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block is 1 hour of instruction per day. It is designed to work in concert with and in addition to the 1-hour Grades 3-5 ELA "module lessons." Taken together, these 2 hours of instruction comprehensively address all the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

The ALL Block has five components: Additional Work with Complex Text; Reading and Speaking Fluency/GUM (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics); Writing Practice; Word Study and Vocabulary; and Independent Reading.

The ALL Block has three 2-week units which parallel to the three units of the module.

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions


  • If you have a number of ELLs speaking the same home language, invite family members to come into the classroom to talk with them about traditional stories in their home countries.
  • Invite family members or teachers to come into the classroom to read their favorite traditional stories to the class.


  • Invite authors of children's literature in to speak to the students about writing stories.
  • Invite a professional review writer, for example a music journalist, to come into the classroom to talk to students about the process of writing a balanced review.


  • Visit a live performance of Peter Pan or another traditional story.


  • Identify local people who may enjoy hearing traditional stories--for example, a senior citizens home--and go to read traditional stories for them or send them recordings of students reading traditional stories.

Extension opportunities for students seeking more challenge:

  • Invite students to write book reviews of other traditional stories or other independent reading books.
  • Invite students to revise scenes from other traditional stories.

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