The American Revolution | EL Education Curriculum

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How does one's perspective influence his or her opinion? In this module, students consider the answer to this question through the lens of the American Revolution. In Unit 1, students build background knowledge about the Revolutionary War and the different perspectives of colonists. In the second half of the unit, students read about different groups within the Loyalists and Patriots, reading informational texts to determine the main idea, analyze the overall structure of the text, and summarize the texts.

In Unit 2, students read the historical fiction play Divided Loyalties to deepen their understanding of the Patriot and Loyalist perspectives. Drawing on their background knowledge about the Revolutionary War from Unit 1, students read the text closely, focusing on character thoughts, feelings, and actions in response to the different perspectives on the American Revolution. In Unit 3, students synthesize their research on the Revolutionary War from Unit 1 and their analysis of perspectives from Unit 2 to write an opinion piece from the Patriot perspective, outlining reasons colonists should join the Patriot cause, in the form of a broadside. Students write a broadside from the Loyalist perspective for the end of unit assessment. Then, for the performance task, students consider both sides and discuss whether they would or would not have supported the American Revolution had they lived during colonial times. This performance task centers on CCSS ELA RI.4.9 and SL.4.1.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • How did the American Revolution and the events leading up to it affect the people in the colonies?
    • The American Revolution resulted in the United States of America becoming a new country with independence from Britain.
    • The American Revolution, like many wars, divided people: brother against brother, mother against daughter, neighbor against neighbor.
    • American colonists had different perspectives on fighting for independence from Britain.
  • How does a person's perspective influence her or his opinion?

The Four Ts

  • Topic: perspectives on the American Revolution
  • Task: Students participate in a text-based discussion sharing whether they would have supported the American Revolution if they had lived during colonial times.
  • Targets (standards explicitly taught and assessed): RI.4.9, SL.4.1
  • Texts: Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak, Revolutionary War: Parts I, II, and III, An Incomplete Revolution, American Indians and the American Revolution, Divided Loyalties

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.3.3-5
  • D2.Civ.4.3-5
  • D2.Civ.12.3-5
  • D2.His.2.3-5
  • D2.His.4.3-5
  • D2.His.5.3-5
  • D2.His.12.3-5

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 module, students work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion), and 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, respect, perseverance, and integrity as they read and share their ideas about complex texts, work together collaboratively, and participate in discussions during which they share their opinions.

See unit overviews for more detail.


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.

Performance Task

Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution

For this performance task, students discuss their opinion of the American Revolution. They consider both the Loyalist and Patriot perspectives and decide which they would have supported if they had lived in colonial times. They consider their reasons and gather evidence from their research across the module. They then participate in collaborative discussions stating their opinion, giving reasons and evidence to support their point. This task centers on CCSS ELA RI.4.9 and SL.4.1.

Texts to Buy

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

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak
by Kay Winters
One per classroom
ISBN: 9780147511621
Divided Loyalties: The Barton Family during the American Revolution
by Gare Thompson
One per student
ISBN: 9780792258674


Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

ALL 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.


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