This module begins with a brief study of the importance of sports in American culture over time. The heart of this module is a whole class study of the short but challenging biography Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (1030L) by his daughter, Sharon Robinson. (Students will read selected segments; some of these will be read aloud.) Students will analyze Jackie Robinson as a specific example of an athlete who served as a leader who broke barriers in society. They will also begin to study argumentative writing, analyzing how the author Sharon Robinson provides evidence to support her opinions. In Unit 3, students then choose to learn about one of three other respected sports figures (Roberto Clemente, Babe Didrikson, or Jim Thorpe). Students will develop their understanding of the cultural context in which these athletes competed and the barriers these athletes broke during the times in which they lived. Students will build their research skills by reading biographical articles and other informational texts and by participating in Webquests. They also will continue to build their skills to write arguments based on multiple sources, focusing on crafting clear opinions and providing sufficient reasons and evidence.
For the final performance task, each student will write a letter to a publishing company explaining the need for a biography about their selected athlete, in which they discuss the athlete, evaluate the barriers that he/she broke during the era in which he/she lived, and give an opinion about the importance of that athlete’s impact on American society. They must support their opinions with evidence from their research. This task centers on ELA standards RI.5.9, W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.5, W.5.7, W.5.8, W.5.9, L.5.1, L.5.2, and L.5.6.