In this unit, students are introduced to the performance task in order to give them a purpose for learning about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Students continue reading and discussing Dragonwings, but now also dig in more deeply to informational text about this time and place in history. Students are involved in a study of how a point of view is conveyed in an informational text about the earthquake and how an author introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on a topic within an excerpt of text. Students will read excerpts of “Comprehending the Calamity,” an informative report of the 1906 earthquake and fire by Emma Burke, who lived in San Francisco at the time and experienced the earthquake. As they read the excerpts, students will identify her point of view of particular aspects of the event like the earthquake itself, the immediate aftermath, and the relief camps. They will also analyze how Burke introduces, illustrates, and elaborates on each of these aspects of the earthquake in the excerpts.
In the second half of the unit, students write an essay explaining how the author’s purpose affects point of view. They compare and contrast Emma Burke’s point of view of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake with Moon Shadow’s point of view of the immediate aftermath and explain how they are different as a result of the author’s purpose.