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ELA G6:M2B

Voices of Adversity

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In this eight-week module, students explore the idea of adversity of people across time and place, and through multiple modes of writing. Students begin this module with a research-based unit on the Middle Ages. They read informational articles about various aspects of medieval life, learning and practicing the skills of summarizing an article, analyzing how ideas are developed across a text, and describing how a part of a text contributes to the whole. Students then break into expert groups to read closely about one demographic group. They practice the informational reading skills they have learned and explore the adversities faced by that group. In the second half of Unit 1, students write an informational essay based on their research as their end of unit assessment.

In Unit 2, students use their background knowledge built during Unit 1, but move to reading literature: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. This is a book of monologues told from the perspective of children living in the same village during the Middle Ages. Students have dual tasks: First, they identify the various adversities faced by this cast of characters; secondly, they examine the author’s craft, specifically by identifying and interpreting figurative language in the monologues as well as analyzing how word choices affect the tone of the text. In the second half of Unit 2, students write a literary argument to address the question “Do we struggle with the same adversities as the people of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!?”

In Unit 3, students move into modern voices of adversity by reading concrete poems in the books Blue Lipstick and Technically, It’s Not My Fault. These concrete poems highlight adversities faced by the speakers of the poems, an adolescent girl and her younger brother. Students apply the same reading skills they learned in the reading of Unit 2, but this unit is discussion-based, allowing teachers to assess students’ speaking and listening skills in small group discussions about the texts. For their performance task, students choose a writing format—narrative, like the monologues of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, or concrete poem—and write their own text about adversities faced by sixth-graders. Students then perform their writing for a group of their peers. This task addresses ELA standards W.6.3, SL.6.4, SL.6.6, L.6.1, L.6.3, and L.6.6.

Week-at-a-Glance

Each module is approximately 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.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How do authors use language to convey theme and meaning in a literary text?
  • What adversities do the children of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! relate through their monologues?
  • Do we struggle with the same adversities as the people of Good Masters!  Sweet Ladies!?
  • Themes of adversity can be both specific to and transcendent of time and place.
  • Authors use figurative language and word choice to convey meaning and theme in a literary text.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about medieval times as well as modern poetry about the adversities people face today. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies practices and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content. These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K–8 Social Studies Framework:

http://engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/ss-framewor...

Unifying Themes (pages 6–7)

  • Theme 1: Individual Development and Cultural Identity: The role of social, political, and cultural interactions supports the development of identity. Personal identity is a function of an individual’s culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences.
  • Theme 2: Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures: Role of diversity within and among cultures; aspects of culture such as belief systems, religious faith, or political ideals as influences on other parts of a culture, such as its institutions or literature, music, and art; cultural diffusion and change over time as facilitating different ideas and beliefs.
  • Theme 4: Geography, Humans, and the Environment: The relationship between human populations and the physical world (people, places, and environments).
  • Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures: Role of social class, systems of stratification, social groups, and institutions; role of gender, race, ethnicity, education, class, age, and religion in defining social structures within a culture; social and political inequalities.

Social Studies Practices, The Role of the Individual in Social and Political Participation, Grades 5–8:

  • Descriptor 4: Identify, describe, and contrast the role of the individual in opportunities for social and political participation in different societies (page 59).

Texts

Texts to Buy

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


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Blue Lipstick
by John Grandits
ISBN: 978-0-618-56860-4
Technically, It’s Not My Fault
by John Grandits
ISBN: 978-0618503612
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz
ISBN: 978-0763650940

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Dark Death
by Suzanne McCabe
Blast to the Past
by Michael Smith
“The Middle Ages for Kids: What Is a Fief?”
by Mr. Donn’s Social Studies Site
Mr. Donn’s Social Studies Site, http://medievaleurope.mrdonn.org/fiefs.html,
"Middle Ages”
by Deborah M. Deliyannis
World Book Online InfoFinder,
“Middle Ages,”
by Britannica Student Encyclopedia
Britannica Student Encyclopedia,
“Middle Ages”
by Kenneth S. Cooper
New Book of Knowledge, Grolier Online, 2013

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RL.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of a literary text.
  • RL.6.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • I can determine a theme based on details in a literary text.
  • I can summarize a literary text using only information from the text.

  • RL.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • I can determine the meaning of literal and figurative language (metaphors and similes) in literary text.
  • I can analyze how an author’s word choice affects tone and meaning in a literary text.
  • RL.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
  • I can analyze how a particular sentence, stanza, scene, or chapter fits in and contributes to the development of a literary text.
  • RL.6.7. Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
  • I can compare and contrast how reading a text is different from watching a movie or listening to a literary text.
  • RL.6.9. Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
  • I can compare and contrast how different genres communicate the same theme or idea.
CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of an informational text.
  • RI.6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • I can determine the main idea of an informational text based on details in the text.
  • I can summarize an informational text using only information from the text.
  • RI.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine word meaning in informational texts.
  • RI.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
  • I can analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits in and contributes to the development of ideas in a text.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.6.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a. I can create an introduction that states my main argument and foreshadows the organization of my piece.
b. I can support my claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
c. I can use credible sources to support my claim(s).
d. I can identify the relationship between my claim(s) and reasons by using linking words, phrases, and clauses.
e. I can maintain a formal style in my writing.
f. I can construct a concluding statement or section that reinforces my main argument.

  • W.6.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

a. Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
b. Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
c. Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
e. Establish and maintain a formal style.
f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented.

  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.

a. I can introduce the topic of my text.
a. I can organize my information using various strategies (e.g., definition/classification, comparison/contrast, cause/effect).
a. I can include headings, graphics, and multimedia to help readers understand my ideas.
b. I can develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, and quotations.
c. I can use transitions to clarify relationships among my ideas.
d. I can use contextually specific language/vocabulary to inform or explain about a topic.
e. I can establish and maintain a formal style in my writing.
f. I can construct a concluding statement or section of an informative/explanatory text.

  • W.6.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.
d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
e. Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.

a. I can establish a context for my narrative.
b. I can introduce the narrator/characters of my narrative.
c. I can organize events in a logical sequence.
d. I can use dialogue and descriptions to show the actions, thoughts, and feelings of my characters.
e. I can use transitional words, phrases, and clauses to show passage of time in a narrative text.
f. I can use precise words and phrases and sensory language to convey experiences and events to my reader.
g. I can use relevant descriptive details to convey experiences and events.
h. I can write a conclusion to my narrative that makes sense to a reader.

  • W.6.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.6.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to produce clear and coherent writing.
  • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question.
  • I can use several sources in my research.
  • I can refocus or refine my question when appropriate.
  • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
b. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

  • I can use evidence from a variety of grade-appropriate texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCS Standards: Speaking and ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets
  • SL.6.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, 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 by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
b. Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
c. Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
d. Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about sixth-grade topics, texts, and issues.
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions.
  • I can build on others’ ideas during discussions.

a. I can prepare myself to participate in discussions.
b. I can follow our class norms when I participate in a discussion.
c. I can pose questions that help me clarify what is being discussed.
d. I can pose questions that elaborate on the topic being discussed.
e. I can respond to questions with elaboration and detail that connect with the topic being discussed.
f. After a discussion, I can paraphrase what I understand about the topic being discussed.

  • SL.6.4. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • I can present claims and findings in a logical order.
  • I can support my main points with descriptions, facts, and details.
  • I can use effective speaking techniques (appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation).
  • SL.6.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • I can adapt my speech for a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • L.6.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.*
b. Maintain consistency in style and tone.

  • I can use a variety of sentences structures to make my writing and speaking more interesting.
  • I can maintain consistency in styles and tone when writing and speaking
  • L.6.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
c. Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
d. Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases.

a. I can use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) to determine the meaning of a word or phrase.
b. I can use common Greek and Latin affixes (prefixes) and roots as clues to help me determine the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
c. I can use resource materials (glossaries, dictionaries, thesauruses) to help me determine or clarify the pronunciation, meaning of key words and phrases, and their parts of speech.
b. I can check the accuracy of my guess about the meaning of a word or phrase by using resource materials.

  • L.6.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.
b. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
c. Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).

  • I can analyze figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a. I can interpret figures of speech in context (e.g., personification).
b. I can use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category).
c. I can distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).

  • L.6.6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
  • I can accurately use sixth grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.

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