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ELA G7:M3

Slavery—The People Could Fly

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In this eight-week module, students explore the life of Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and noted abolitionist who wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The module focuses on the questions of what makes stories powerful and on understanding an author’s purpose. In addition, students analyze how writers use figurative language and word choice to convey meaning. In Unit 1, a recommended read-aloud of The People Could Fly introduces the topic and the question that connects all three units in the module: What gives stories and poems their enduring power? Next, students build the background knowledge that will allow them to more fully understand the context of the Narrative:  they learn about slavery, Douglass’s life, and the debate over slavery in the United States before the Civil War. The Narrative is a compelling, complex, and somewhat lengthy text; in this module, students read five excerpts from the text. In Unit 1, they read the first two of those excerpts, building their capacity for making sense of this complex text and learning the routines that will guide their work for the remainder of the module. Then students study poetry about slavery. They learn how to read and analyze a poem, and are introduced to the tools that poets and other writers use to make stories powerful: word choice and figurative language.

Unit 2 centers on the analysis of excerpts from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Students read three excerpts, analyze how each excerpt served Douglass’s purpose, and consider how he used language to convey meaning. They have consistent practice with short constructed responses that use evidence from the text.  The End of Unit 2 Assessment is an essay in which students explain how the Narrative conveyed Douglass’s purpose and distinguished his position from that of others (RI.7.6). In addition, students develop a clearer understanding of how sentences are constructed, and they use this understanding to help them read and write (L.7.1). In Unit 3, students write their own powerful story, using Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery[1] as a mentor text. They select one event from the Narrative and rewrite it as a picture book for younger students, making sure that the story they create is powerful, just as the stories they have been reading are powerful. This final performance task addresses  ELA standards W.7.3, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.9, W.7.11, L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.3, and L.7.6.


[1] This children’s book is integral to several lessons in this module, and is widely available in public and school libraries. However, a free alternative children’s book, Turning the Page–Frederick Douglass Learns to Read, and corresponding alternate lessons are now available within Unit 2 and Unit 3 to accommodate schools/districts that are not able to secure a copy of Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery. 

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

  • What gives stories and poems their enduring power?
  • How did Douglass’s purpose and audience shape how he told his story?
  • When you write a story, how do your purpose and audience shape how you tell that story? How can you use language, images, and theme to give the story you write enduring power?
  • Stories and poems have enduring power because they tell about important or interesting events, people, and places; they have themes that help readers understand the world and often empower people; and they use powerful language and powerful images.
  • Douglass wrote the Narrative to convince his audience that slavery should be abolished. He responded to the reasons that some people gave to justify slavery, and showed why they were mistaken.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about slavery, abolition, and Douglass. 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...

 

 

Social Studies Practices, Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence, Grades 5–8

  • Define and frame questions about events and the world in which we live and use evidence to answer these questions 
  • Identify, describe, and evaluate evidence about events from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, photographs, charts and graphs, artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary and secondary sources)
  • Analyze evidence in terms of content, authorship, point of view, purpose, and format; identify bias; explain the role of bias and audience in presenting arguments or evidence 
  • Describe and analyze arguments of others 
  • Create meaningful and persuasive understandings of the past by fusing disparate and relevant evidence from primary and secondary sources 

 

Social Studies Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings, Grade 7

  • 7.2e Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, slavery grew in the colonies. Enslaved Africans utilized a variety of strategies to both survive and resist their conditions.
  • 7.7b Enslaved African Americans resisted slavery in various ways. The abolitionist movement also worked to raise awareness and generate resistance to the institution of slavery.

Texts

Texts to Buy

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


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
by Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery
by William Miller
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-1880000427, 1880000423
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book
by Virginia Hamilton
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978- 0375824050, 0375824057

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Turning the Page - Frederick Douglass Learns to Read
by Amanda Hamilton Roos
Alternate free book, downloadable at EngageNY.org and commoncoresuccess.elschools.org.
American Reading Company, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61406-683-5, 1-61406-683-3

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RL.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RL.7.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RL.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.
  • RL.7.5. Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.
  • RL.7.7. Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).
  • RL.7.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text.
  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of a literary text.
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout a literary text.
  • I can objectively summarize literary text.
  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in literary text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).
  • I can analyze the impact of rhymes and repetitions of sound on a specific section of poetry, story, or drama.
  • I can analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure contributes to its meaning.
  • I can compare and contrast different media versions of a literary text (written vs. audio vs. film vs. staged, etc.).
  • I can analyze the impact of the techniques unique to each medium.
  • I can read grade-level literary texts proficiently and independently.
  • I can read above-grade-level texts with scaffolding and support.
CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RI.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.7.2. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RI.7.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • RI.7.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
  • RI.7.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of informational text.
  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of an informational text.
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout the text.
  • I can objectively summarize informational text.
  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).
  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone in an informational text.
  • I can determine an author’s point of view or purpose in informational text.
  • I can analyze how the author distinguishes his/her position from others’.
  • I can read grade-level informational texts proficiently and independently.
  • I can read above-grade-level texts with scaffolding and support.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.7.2. 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 clearly, previewing what is to follow; 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 create cohesion and 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 and supports 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.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.7.3. 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 point of view 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 capture the action and convey experiences and events.

e.  Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

  • W.7.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.7.5. 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, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.7.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a.  Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”).

b.  Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims”).

  • W.7.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • I can select evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
  • I can adjust my writing practices for different timeframes, tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCS Standards: Speaking & ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets
  • SL.7.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a.  Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; 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, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

c.  Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.

d.  Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about seventh-grade topics, texts, and issues.
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions.
  • I can build on others’ ideas during discussions.
CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.7.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

a.  Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.

b.  Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.

c.  Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.

  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.7.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a.  Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old[,] green shirt).

b.  Spell correctly.

  • L.7.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

a.  Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.

  • L.7.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 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., belligerent, bellicose, rebel).

c.  Consult general and specialized 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 correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling to send a clear message to my reader.
  • I can express ideas with precision.
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases.
CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.7.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a.  Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

b.  Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.

c.  Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending).

  • L.7.6. 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 analyze figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • I can accurately use seventh-grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.

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