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ELA G4:M1B

Poetry, Poets, and Becoming Writers

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.

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In this eight-week module, students will learn about poetry and poets through close reading and writing to learn. Throughout the module, they will determine the characteristics of poetry and consider what inspires writers and poets. Students begin in Unit 1 by reading the first half of the novel Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Students follow the main character, Jack, as he learns about poetry and begins to write his own. Students closely read and analyze poems Jack reads, including “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Throughout this unit, students track what Jack is learning about poetry alongside their own learning though these close readings. They also experiment with writing their own poetry inspired by their reading. Students practice summarizing the events in the novel and discuss how the main character’s attitude toward poetry begins to change in this half of the novel. In Unit 2, students engage in deeper analysis of Jack’s character and his inspiration through extended discussion prompts. They also learn to write informational paragraphs in order to summarize larger portions of the text. For the mid-unit 2 assessment, they write a summary of the entire novel.

After completing the novel, students consider which of the poems they read inspired them the most and select a poet to study more deeply. In the last half of Unit 2, students read and analyze poems by their selected poet and engage in a poetry workshop to write an original poem inspired by their selected poet. Finally, in Unit 3, students prepare for their three-part performance task, a Poet’s Performance, in which students read aloud a poem by their selected poet, share an essay about the poet, and read their original inspired poem. In this unit, students are introduced to biography though reading River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. They then closely read a biography about their own poet. Then students learn to write an essay about their selected poet through engaging in a shared writing of an essay about William Carlos Williams. As the class writes each part of this shared essay (introduction, body, and conclusion), students complete their own essays one section at a time. Throughout this unit, students practice reading their poems aloud clearly and with expression. Once students’ essays are complete, they finish the module by presenting their poems and essay during the performance task.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What makes a poem a poem?
  • What inspires writers to write poetry?
  • Writers draw inspiration from many places, including the work of other writers and their own lives.
  • Poetry has characteristics that are unique and distinct from prose.

Content Connections

None

Texts

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets

RL.4.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • I can explain what a text says using specific details from the text.
  • I can make inferences using specific details from text.

RL.4.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

• I can summarize a story, drama, or poem.

RL.4.3. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

• I can describe a story’s character, setting, or events using specific details from the text.

RL.4.5. Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.

• I can use literary terms to describe parts of a story, poem, or drama (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter, casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions). • I can describe the differences in structure of poems, drama, and prose.

RL.4.11 Recognize, interpret, and make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama, to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, personal events, and situations.

• I can make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama, to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, personal events, and situations.

CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets

RI.4.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • I can explain what a text says using specific details from the text.
  • I can make inferences using specific details from the text.

RI.4.2. Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

• I can determine the main idea using specific details from the text. • I can summarize informational or persuasive text.

RI.4.3. Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

• I can explain the main points in a historical, scientific, or technical text, using specific details in the text.

RI.4.9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

• I can accurately synthesize information from two texts on the same topic.

CCS Standards: Reading – Foundational SkillsLong-Term Learning Targets

RF.4.4. Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

b. Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings. 

  • I can read fourth-grade-level texts accurately and fluently to make meaning.
  • I can read fourth-grade-level texts with fluency.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets

W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

a. Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.

c. Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.

a. I can introduce a topic clearly.

a. I can group supporting facts together about a topic in an informative/explanatory text

a. I can use text, formatting, illustrations, and multimedia to support my topic.

b. I can develop the topic with facts, definitions, details, and quotations.

c. I can use linking words and phrases to connect ideas within categories of information (e.g., another, for example, also, because).

d. I can use precise, content-specific language/vocabulary to inform or explain about a topic.

e. I can construct a concluding statement or section of an informative/explanatory text.

W.4.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

• I can produce writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.4.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

• With support from peers and adults, I can use the writing process to produce clear and coherent writing.

W.4.8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

• I can document what I learn about a topic by taking notes.

W.4.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. a. Apply grade 4 reading standards to literature (e.g., “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions]”).

• I can choose evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. a. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions].

W.4.11. Create and present a poem, narrative, play, artwork, or literary review in response to a particular author or theme studied in class.

• I can create and present a poem, narrative, play, artwork, or literary review in response to a particular author or theme studied in class.

CCS Standards: Speaking & ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets

SL.4.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about fourth-grade topics and texts.

a. I can prepare myself to participate in discussions.

a. I can draw on information to explore ideas in the discussion.

b. I can follow our class norms when I participate in a conversation.

SL.4.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

• I can report on a topic or text using organized facts and details. • I can speak clearly and at an understandable pace.

CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets

L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a. Use correct capitalization.

b. Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

  • I can use conventions to send a clear message to my reader.

a. I can use correct capitalization in my writing.

d. I can spell grade-appropriate words correctly.

d. I can use resources to check and correct my spelling. 

L.4.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. a. Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

• I can use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. a. I can choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

L.4.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. a. Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

• I can analyze figurative language, word relationships, and slight differences in word meanings. a. I can explain the meaning of simple similes in context. a. I can explain the meaning of simple metaphors in context.

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