Curriculum Connection

K-5 ELA- May 2021

Kindergarten ELA

1st Grade ELA

2nd Grade ELA

3rd Grade ELA

New! Reading Unit 7: Poetry / Unit 8: GEM Recommitting to Reading

Overview of Unit: In this unit, students will learn to identify and appreciate poetry. This unit

spotlights the structure and techniques often utilized in poetry as well as the skills and habits

essential to readers of poetry: careful and purposeful rereading of poems, creating mental

images, considering the narrator’s point of view, finding the central message and supporting

details; determining the meaning of words and phrases, and distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

In Topic 1 (Bend One) of the unit, students begin by identifying the common structure and

characteristics of poetry. Students will identify and use the terms stanza and lines when referring to a poem, they will also learn how special characteristics of a poem (rhythm, rhyme, and line breaks) impact how it is read. Students will quickly realize their own close relationship with poetry already exists-through the songs they hear, In addition to understanding what poetry is, students will begin to think about the purpose of poetry.

In Topic 2 (Bend Two) of the unit, students will identify a narrator’s point of view supporting

their thinking with key details from the poem and learn to distinguish literal from nonliteral

language. Teachers will build students’ capacity for understanding more complex poetry by

drawing their attention to the connection poems share with stories. During this topic, students will begin to see that poetry is best understood when careful and purposeful rereading of poems is practiced.

In Topic 3 (Bend Three) of the unit, students will carefully read to determine the central

message of a poem and explain how it is conveyed through key details within the poem. Through explicit modeling and practice students will be able to describe how stanzas build on each other to support the poem as a whole. Continuing the close reading emphasized in Topic 2, students will come to realize their understanding of a poem can deepen and change with each reading and through meaningful discussion and analysis.

In Topic 4 (Bend Four) of the unit, students will be exploring the structural elements of drama.

They will use what they know about story structure from fiction reading to understand the

components of drama. They will learn how to pay close attention to stage directions, and lines, to determine the correct way to act out and bring the text to life. They will use close reading skills of the plots of dramas to determine the central message that the author is wanting to convey.

New! Writing Unit 5: Once Upon a Time (May)

Overview of Unit: In this unit, teachers will once again work with children to help them become better fiction writers. Over the course of this 3 topic unit, students will write two fairy tale adaptations and one original fairy tale. This unit will push students to use a strong storyteller’s voice, write with a story arc, create the world of a story, and bring characters to life. Teachers will emphasize the importance of clear event sequence, and language that signals event order. Students will also be pushed toward 4th grade standards by helping them name some of the ways authors use words with alliteration and sensory language to create effects. Through the multiple writing cycles of this unit, students will have ample time to practice these writing


In Topic 1 (Bend One) of the unit, students will choose to adapt either “Little Red Riding

Hood” or “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. At the start of the unit, children will take time to study

the storyline and qualities of fairy tale writing. They will plan their adaptations, thinking about

which parts of the original tale they’ll adapt. Students will learn to make significant changes that alter the course of the tale. As a way to bring their stories to life, students will spend time

rehearsing their adapted versions with partners. You will teach them that fairy tales are written as a collection of scenes and that a narrator can function as a way to stitch scenes together.

In Topic 2 (Bend Two), students will write their second adaptation. This time choosing from

any fairy tale they wish. The theme of this bend is independence and transference . Children

will use the anchor charts from the first bend to help them make writing plans for what they plan on trying in their second adaptation. During this unit you will guide students to notice the

importance of a balance of dialogue, action, and narration. Early on, students will use the

narrative checklist to self-assess their writing and make goals. The revisions lessons of this topic will help students revise their fairy tale with a focus on the power of using comparisons in their writing, including simile and metaphor. Also, children will revise for the use of alliteration and other memorable word choice.

In Topic 3 (Bend Three), you will teach students to write original fairy tales, applying all

they’ve learned from the first two topics. This topic is fast-paced and rigorous. You will begin

by teaching students to draw from the qualities of good stories--a character with traits and wants who encounters trouble, and then the trouble gets resolved. Students will spend time generating possible story ideas. They will soon begin drafting and revising their original fairy tale being sure to lift the level of their revisions. You will teach students how to be intentional with the details of their story--introducing readers to objects important to the character and magic that is connected to the heart of the story. Students will also learn the importance of revising their fairy tale for punctuation intended to support the reader. Finally, students share their fairy tales with a younger audience.

4th Grade ELA

Unit 6: Historical Fiction Book Clubs

Overview of Unit:

Historical fiction offers us the opportunity to be lifted out of our ordinary lives and imagine lives of great adventure and heroism. Historical fiction also creates an opportunity for you to teach your students to tackle complex texts through close reading in the company of friends. Historical fiction takes place in a time and place the reader has never experienced. The characters engage in experiences and social issues that help students to understand a time in our history more deeply. The goal for this unit is for students to emerge from this unit as

knowledgeable readers who have new confidence in tackling complicated literature.

Topic 1 (Bend I) is for readers to be able to fully grasp the elements of the Historical Fiction Genre. The lessons in Topic One center around identifying and describing characters on a deeper level. Emphasis is placed on synthesizing the elements of the plot, and understanding how the setting plays a key role in historical fiction texts. Students will be using the events in character’s lives in order to help them understand the events in history.

Topic 2 (Bend II) is for readers to begin pulling out interpretations and themes from the text. From these themes they will be identifying big ideas. Furthermore they will be revising their big ideas as they collect evidence to support their thinking. Readers will be making connections between their novel and the historical events from the time period.

Topic 3 (Bend III) is for readers to view characters through different lenses, by interpreting motivations, shifts in power, and actions from another character’s perspective. As readers they will express the lessons that they should learn alongside the character. Lastly, students will be comparing and contrasting their interpretations and big ideas across multiple texts.

(Continued) Writing Unit 6: Literary Essay/ Unit 7: Writing GEM Unit (May)

Overview of Unit: In this unit, students will begin by developing and defending basic ideas about literature with a special emphasis on the challenges presented when one writes about a text, rather than life. Later students will be challenged to lift the level of their essays by lifting the level of their theses, writing about ideas that are more complex, nuanced, and interpretive, and supporting those ideas with various forms of textual evidence. Students will also learn to analyze author’s craft and use this in service of supporting their ideas. Finally, students will move from writing about one text to crafting compare and contrast essays about two pieces of literature.

Topic 1 (Bend I):

Writing about Reading. This topic asks students to focus on arguing for ideas about characters, while carrying forward what they have been taught about planning and drafting during the boxes-and-bullets essay.

Topic 2 (Bend II):

Raising the Quality of Literary Essays. In this topic students are taught that they have the power of higher levels of interpretative reading. Students work to dig deeper into their understanding of text and interpretation.

Topic 3 (Bend III):

Writing Compare and Contrast Essays. This topic shows students how to write compare and contrast essays, noting the different texts’ approaches to the same theme or issue.

5th Grade ELA

Reading Unit 7: Fantasy Book Clubs/ Unit 8: Launching a Summer Reading Life

Overview of Unit:

This unit of study is designed as a book club unit. Since fantasy novels are inherently complex, readers will benefit from the intellectual support of book club conversations, learning to use their book clubs to build collaborative interpretations. Fantasy text allows students to study strong characters, setting and themes,

through a new avenue.

Topic 1 (Bend 1): Launching Your Kids Into Fantasy With Zeal, and Then Learning to Build the World of the Story When It’s Another World: People, Places, and Plots

The goal of this bend is for readers to use all the strategies for holding onto and monitoring for comprehension as they are reading what will likely be more complex and complicated fantasies than they have encountered before. As they launch into reading fantasies with great enthusiasm, they’ll quickly become enmeshed in multiple subplots and characters and it will be helpful for them to develop and try out tools to help them hold onto the worlds of fantasies.

Topic 2 (Bend 2): Developing Thematic Understanding -- It’s About More Than Dwarves and Elves

In bend two, students will come to see fantasies as more than epic adventures but as symbolic of larger themes and they will begin to think and talk about their fantasies metaphorically.

Topic 3 (Bend 3): Literary Traditions, Including Archetypes, Quest Structures, and Thematic Patterns

In bend three, you’ll raise the level of their work even further by pushing them to consider the literary traditions found in fantasies and begin to compare and contrast the ways that different authors develop fantasies.

New! Writing Unit 7: Fantasy/ Unit 8: Committing to a Summer Writing Life

Overview of Unit:

Welcome to the fantastic world of heroes, dragons, wizards, and spells! This unit has the capacity to become a transformative unit, one where students are able to synthesize many of the writing skills they have been honing all year, as well as push themselves past their comfort zones into new areas of growth. The purpose of this fantasy writing is to encourage students to explore with a different type of narrative writing. Creating fantasy stories requires students to have a strong understanding of character, and themes, which is what this unit will allow students to do. Students will cycle through the process of planning, drafting, and revising a fantasy story twice during this unit. During the second round through the process, your writers will make choices with greater independence, confidence, and productivity.

Topic 1 (Bend 1): Collect Ideas for Fantasy Fiction and Develop a Story with Depth,

Significance, and Believability

Your students will spend a week or so writing entries in notebooks, producing at least a page

and a half to two pages of writing at school and another page and a half at home. You’ll teach your writers to raise the level of their writing as they collect entries and eventually to select one of them as a seed idea. Your writers will spend just one or two days rehearsing this idea, trying out various methods of planning, and finally making a commitment to one plan.

Topic 2 (Bend 2): Draft and Revise: Craft a Compelling Fantasy Fiction Story

You will channel your writers to spend an intense day (or possibly two) fast-drafting their

fantasy stories. Right away, you will begin teaching revision moves that can be used to raise the quality of drafts for those who are still composing or to make significant changes for those who are ready to do so. The revision work students will do in this bend is drawn from some of the most crucial narrative work: showing not telling, stretching out the heart of the story, and bringing out deeper meaning through dialogue, actions, and internal thinking. At the end of this bend, you will teach a few editing strategies, as well as provide students the opportunity to do some self-reflection and goal-setting using the Narrative Writing Checklists.

Topic 3 (Bend 3): Develop, Draft, and Revise a Second Fantasy Short Story

You will set your students up to cycle through the writing process once again, this time

transferring all they have learned to a second piece of writing. You will teach your writers to

mentor themselves using published fantasies, ideally ones that are short.

Topic 4 (Bend 4): Edit and Publish: Prepare the Fantasy Story

Students will choose just one piece to edit and publish. They will spend a day or two

revising their stories, perhaps with an eye toward bringing out a theme or a message. Then, you will teach some targeted editing moves based on your assessment of students’ writing. Finally, you will provide the opportunity for your fifth-graders to publish and celebrate their hard work.