Reading Literature about Natural Disasters: Understanding Human Impact through an Analysis of Eight Days: A Story of Haiti | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M4:U2:L1

Reading Literature about Natural Disasters: Understanding Human Impact through an Analysis of Eight Days: A Story of Haiti

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RL.5.2: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
  • RL.5.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
  • L.5.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • L.5.5c: Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can determine a theme from details in Eight Days: A Story of Haiti. (RL.5.1, RL.5.2)
  • I can summarize Eight Days: A Story of Haiti. (RL.5.1, RL.5.2)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (RL.5.1, RL.5.2, RL.5.4, L.5.4, L.5.5c)
  • Exit Ticket: Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (RL.5.1, RL.5.2)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reading in Triads: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (20 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Answering Questions about the Text: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Summarizing the Text: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (20 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • In Opening A, triads read Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, a story about a large earthquake that struck the island of Hispaniola, comprising the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in January 2010. Haiti was most severely affected; many people died, and many survivors lost their homes in the natural disaster. After reading, students identify the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases (RL.5.4, L.5.4).
  • In Work Time A, students answer text-dependent questions in their reading triads. The purpose of answering these questions is to help students dig deeper into the human impact of a natural disaster, including how the character in this story responds to the challenges he faces in the aftermath of the earthquake (RL.5.1, RL.5.2). Students also practice using synonyms, antonyms, and homographs to better understand words (L.5.5c).
  • In Closing and Assessment A, they determine themes that were evident in the book in order to summarize the chapter (RL.5.1, RL.5.2).
  • In this lesson, students focus on working to become ethical people by showing respect, empathy and compassion if classmates are upset by events in the text.
  • Recall that the research reading that students complete for homework will help build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to natural disasters. This kind of reading continues over the course of the module.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In Unit 1, students learned about the causes and physical impact of natural disasters. In this unit, they consider the impact of natural disasters on humans through literature, beginning in this lesson with the literary text Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may need additional support to read, answer questions, and summarize the text. Distribute the sentence frames for students who will need additional support in writing their summaries. Consider placing students who will need additional support in a group for focused teacher guidance.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review student summaries to identify common issues to use as whole group teaching points in Lesson 3.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will consider how the illustrations in Eight Days: A Story of Haiti contribute to the meaning, tone, and beauty of the text.

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Large world map showing the countries of the world and pins for the class to begin adding the countries of the people they encounter in the texts they read. Place a pin in your location.
    • Small label with the book title and author to attach to a pin and place on the world map. This needs to be large enough to see, but not so large that it covers up too much of the map.
    • Timer that displays seconds.
  • Strategically group students into triads, with at least one strong reader per triad, for work throughout the lesson. Consider keeping these same triads throughout the unit.
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-3 to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.B.6, 5.I.B.7, 5.I.B.8, 5.I.C.12

Important points in the lesson itself 

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to work in triads as they read Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, answer text-based questions, discuss themes, and write summaries. The focus on homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms in the text-based questions during Work Time A is particularly supportive of ELLs as well, providing them with practice in using word relationships to better understand each word. Additionally, locating and discussing countries on the world map and inviting students to share experiences they may have had in the places being discussed is an incredibly supportive way to value varying home languages and cultures, as well as potential countries of origin.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to keep pace with the class as they read a new text, answer text-based questions, identify themes, and write a summary. Additionally, ELLs may find it challenging to identify themes in the text without explicit modeling and repeated practice. Model and think aloud the process and remind students of the work they did with theme in Module 1.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Challenge students to create sentence frames for classmates who need heavier support to use when answering the text-dependent questions during Work Time A. Display these frames for students to reference.
  • Invite students to provide additional examples of homographs to add to the index cards in "For heavier support."

For heavier support:

  • During Opening A, consider reading aloud page 1 of Eight Days: A Story of Haiti to students and leading them through the Mini Language Dive before they read in triads. This will provide context for the story and help students understand that most of the story is Junior's imagination. Consider inviting students to practice the focus structure before they read in triads, leaving the questions and practice after the "reconstruct" until the Closing, supporting students in discussing theme and summarizing the story.
  • Consider creating index cards with homographs, providing an opportunity for students to explicitly practice using the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words. For example, on one index card, write tear with two of this word's definitions: (verb) to pull or rip something apart with force; (noun) salty liquid that comes out of your eyes when you are crying. On the top of this card, write "Please do not tear my dress." Students can talk in pairs, discussing which meaning of the word is used in the sentence above, as well as providing a synonym and an antonym for the word. (Example: Partner A can read aloud the definitions for tear and then ask, "Which meaning is used in the sentence 'Please do not tear my dress?'"Partner B: "In this sentence, the meaning of tear is to pull or rip something apart with force. A synonym for tear is rip up,and an antonym for tear is mend.") Allow students to practice with these familiar examples in preparation for answering questions that include homographs, synonyms, and antonyms in Work Time A, as well as on the Mid-Unit 2 Assessment.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In this lesson, support comprehension by activating prior knowledge. Consider a brief review of Unit 1 to highlight relevance and scaffold connections for students. Additionally, provide questions visually as well as verbally. For example, display questions on chart paper or the board during discussions.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): Continue to support a range of fine motor abilities and writing needs by offering students options for writing utensils. Also consider supporting students? expressive skills by offering partial dictation of their responses.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Throughout this unit, sustained engagement and effort is essential for student achievement. Continue to support students with reminders of learning goals and their value or relevance

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • theme, summarize, synonym, antonym, homograph (L)
  • close, paternal, miraculously (T)

Materials

  • Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (one per student)
  • World map (from Module 1; one to display)
  • Labeled pin (one to display; see Teaching Notes)
  • Compass points (from Module 1; one to display)
  • Sticky notes (10 per triad)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Academic Word Wall (begun in Module 1)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference)
  • Criteria of an Effective Summary anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Exit Ticket:Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (one per student and one to display)
  • Timer (one per class)
  • Exit Ticket:Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference)
  • Summary sentence frames (optional; for students who need additional support)

Assessment

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.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading in Triads: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (20 minutes) 

  • Remind students that in Unit 1 they learned about what happens to the physical environment during and after a natural disaster. Tell them that in this unit, they are going to focus on the impact of natural disasters on humans.
  • Move students into pre-determined reading triads and invite them to label themselves A, B, and C.
  • Distribute Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.
  • Invite students to chorally read the blurb in their triads.
  • Turn and Talk:

"What is this book about? How do you know?" (It's the story of a boy who was trapped underneath his house after an earthquake in Haiti, and his rescue. That's the description the blurb provides.)
 "What questions do you have after reading this blurb?" (Responses will vary, but may include: When was this earthquake? How long was he trapped?)

  • Focus students on the world map.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group: "

Where is Haiti on the map?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Place the labeled pin on Haiti.
  • Display the compass points. Tell students that they can use compass points to explain where places are. Read through each of the compass points.
  • Point to the pin marking your location.
  • Turn and Talk, and cold call students to share out:

"Which continent do we live on?" (Responses will vary.)
"Where are we in relation to Haiti?" (Responses will vary, but students should use the compass points.)
"Has anyone had any experience with Haiti that you would like to share?" (Haiti or neighboring countries may be the country of origin for some students.)

  • Tell students that they are going to read this book in their reading triads, including the note from the author at the end. Explain that reading in reading triads means students take turns to read a part of the book--each reading a page at a time, for example. Emphasize that students do not need to read the same amount of the chapter; a stronger reader can read more to help out someone who isn't as strong, but it is important that everyone has a chance to read aloud.
  • Distribute sticky notes.
  • Invite students to select one member of the triad to record unfamiliar words with the page number on sticky notes as they read. Emphasize that this means stopping at the end of a page to discuss which words are unfamiliar to everyone in the triad and then recording those words.
  • Post and review the following directions:

1.Student A begins reading the book.

2.Stop at the end of the page and identify unfamiliar words with your triad.

3.The chosen group member records each word on a sticky note.

4.Student B reads the next page, and the group repeats Steps 2-3.

5.Student C reads the next page, and the group repeats Steps 2-3.

  • Answer clarifying questions.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart. Remind them that sometimes different people have different reactions to literature as a result of their own experiences, and remind them to show respect, empathy, and compassion. Remind students of what these habits of character look and sound like.
  • Invite triads to begin reading.
  • After 15 minutes, or when all triads have finished reading the chapter, refocus whole group.
  • Think-Triad-Share:

"What was this book about?" (While a boy called Junior was trapped under his house for eight days after an earthquake, he imagined playing games and thought about happy things to help him get through it before being rescued.)
Conversation Cue: "Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?"(Responses will vary.)

  • Tell students that, as described in the note from the author, in January 2010 a large earthquake occurred on the island of Hispaniola, comprising the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti was most severely affected; many people died, and many survivors lost their homes in the natural disaster.
  • Invite students to spend 2 or 3 minutes silently reflecting. Students can choose to sketch, journal, or sit and think silently.
  • Identify words all triads identified as unfamiliar. Refer students to the vocabulary strategies on the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart and select volunteers to help you determine the meaning. Add the words to the Academic and Domain-Specific Word Walls with translations in home languages and invite students to add words to their vocabulary logs.
  • Invite students to do the same thing with any other words on their sticky notes that were not discussed as a class.
  • For students who may need additional support with reading fluency: Pair these students with a highly fluent reader such as a peer model and have them chorally read together. (MMR, MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Fishbowl: Process for Reading in Triads) Before inviting students to begin reading, invite a confident triad to fishbowl each of the steps posted on the board. This provides students with a model and minimizes confusion about the activity. Allow time for students to ask questions and clarify the process as needed.
  • For ELLs: Mini Language Dive. "But in my mind,/I played." (page 1 of Eight Days: A Story of Haiti)
  • Deconstruct: Discuss the sentence and each chunk. Language goals for focus structure:
    • in my mind: "What does this chunk tell us?" Junior was experiencing something in his imagination. What he imagined is introduced in the subsequent chunk and focused on throughout the majority of the book. (prepositional phrase; collocation/idiom)
    • But: "Can you figure out why Edwidge Danticat wrote but" But signals that this sentence shows a contrast between the previous ideas in the text--that Junior was stuck under his house after the earthquake, sometimes crying because he missed his family--and the ideas in this sentence, that he was imagining something different. (linking word/coordinating conjunction)
    • Students can read aloud the last paragraph on page 1, from
      I was brave ..." "to... my little sister, Justine." They can close their eyes and imagine what Junior might have thought about to help him through this difficult time, to "play." After 30 seconds, they can discuss in pairs the play they think Junior imagined, starting with "But in his mind, Junior ______."
  • Practice: Students can practice using this structure to speak or write about something they have imagined in their own lives. In my mind, I ___________________. (In my mind, I helped bring happiness to anyone who was feeling sad.)
  • Reconstruct:

"What is another way to say this sentence?" (Responses will vary.)
"How does your understanding of this sentence add to your understanding of how you can determine a theme from details in Eight Days: A Story of Haiti?"(Responses will vary.)

  • Practice: But in his mind, Junior ____________________________.

"How can we use this sentence structure when summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti?

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and select a volunteer to read them aloud:
    • "I can determine a theme from details in Eight Days: A Story of Haiti."
    • "I can summarize Eight Days: A Story of Haiti."
  • Remind students that they have seen both of these targets for other texts in previous modules.
  • For students who may need additional support with motivation: Invite students to recall and share one strategy they used when summarizing text in previous units. (MME)
  • For ELLs: (Recalling Prior Work: Learning Targets) Invite students to discuss how they previously worked toward each learning target

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Answering Questions about the Text: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (15 minutes) 

  • Tell students that they are now going to work in their triads to dig deeper into the text to build a better understanding of the human impact of the Haiti earthquake.
  • Distribute Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.Tell students they are going to work in their triads to read the question, reread the appropriate part of the text, discuss the answer to each question, and record a response.
  • Invite students to begin working and circulate to support them.Refer to the Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference) and ask questions to guide student thinking:
    • "What in the text makes you think this?"
  • When 3 minutes remain, refocus whole group and use total participation techniques to select students to share out their responses to each question. Consider using the language and definitions provided in the questions to review the meaning of synonym, antonym,andhomograph. Refer to the Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference) to confirm student responses and invite students to revise their answers accordingly.
  • For students who may need additional support with planning: Consider modeling and thinking aloud the process for completing the Text-Dependent Questions: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by explicitly showing how to return to the text when answering the questions. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Homograph, Synonym, and Antonym Practice) Invite students to play a homograph/synonym/antonym game with the cards from "For heavier support." Put all index cards in a bag and invite a volunteer to pull one out and read the word, definitions, and sentence on the card. Invite that student to call on another student to say which meaning of the word is used in the sentence, and then to provide a synonym and antonym for this word. This student then repeats the process. Challenge students to see how many index cards they can discuss in 1 minute!

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Summarizing the Text: Eight Days: A Story of Haiti(20 minutes) 

  • Review the definition of theme (a message or main idea, relevant to the real world outside of the book, that the author wants you to understand from reading the book).
  • Remind students that we can often find the theme of a literary text by analyzing how the characters respond to challenges.
  • Tell students that there is often more than one theme in a literary text.
  • Think-Triad-Share:

"What themes did you pick up on when reading Eight Days: A Story of Haiti? How does the character in the book, Junior, respond to challenges? What does it teach you or help you understand about life?" (Responses will vary, but may include: Imagination and memories can help you get through hardship and give you the strength to survive.)

  • Record a theme on the board.
  • Think-Triad-Share:

"What details can you find to support this theme in the text?" (Responses will vary, but could include: Each day Junior either imagines playing a game, like playing marbles on the first day, or he remembers something that makes him happy, like going to the countryside with his sister every summer.)

  • List all student suggestions on the board under the theme. Add a suggestion that is clearly incorrect. For example:
    • "Junior hugged his family tight when he was rescued."
  • Think-Triad-Share:

"Is this an example of a detail to support the theme we have recorded? Why or why not?" (No, because it isn't something he imagined or a memory that got him through the difficult times when he was stuck under the house.)

  • Remind students that when you summarize, you give a brief idea of what a text is about and that when we summarize a text (give a brief statement of the main points), we provide the title and author and briefly describe what it is about, including the theme, which is usually based on how the characters respond to challenges, and the supporting details.
  • Direct students' attention to the Criteria of an Effective Summary anchor chart and briefly review it.
  • Distribute and display Exit Ticket: Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.
    • Give students a minute in silence to think about how they would summarize the text.
    • Tell students they will now summarize the part(s) of the chapter where they found evidence of the theme with their triad.
    • Using a timer, give student B 45 seconds to orally summarize. Then, give student C 30 seconds, and student A 15 seconds.
    • Select volunteers to share their summaries with the whole group. Refer to the Exit Ticket: Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference) for an example of how the summary should sound.
    • Invite students to write their summaries on their exit tickets. Distribute summary sentence frames to those who will require additional support writing their summaries.
    • Circulate to support students.Refer to the Exit Ticket: Summarizing Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (example, for teacher reference) and ask questions to guide student thinking:
      • "Where can you see evidence of this theme?"
      • "How does the character respond?"
      • "How would you retell this story?"
      • "How would you summarize it?"
  • When 2 minutes remain, refocus whole group. Use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the learning targets and how well they did showing respect, compassion, and empathy.
  • For students who may need additional support with written expression: Consider supporting students' expressive skills by offering partial dictation or sentence stems as they organize their ideas for the summary. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Modeling and Thinking Aloud: Identifying Themes) Before inviting students to suggest themes from the text, consider modeling and thinking aloud the process for identifying a theme using a text students are familiar with, such as Esperanza Risingfrom Module 1.
  • For ELLs: (Listing Possible Themes) Consider providing students with a list of possible themes to choose from--some of which are relevant, some of which are not--before they Think-Triad-Share. Allow students to review the list and then choose a theme that they confidently see emerging from the text.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with written expression: (Oral Response) Read aloud, discuss, and respond to your prompt orally, either with a partner, family member, or student from Grades 4 or 6, or record an audio response. (MMAE)

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