Elementary (K-5) ELA Units

Working with Informational Texts

Working Across Two Informational Texts (2-3 weeks)

Discovering Scientists Purchasable Online

Grade Level
1

In this unit, students read, discuss, and write about two informational texts about two fascinating and pioneering scientists, Jane Goodall and Wilson Bentley. Students begin the unit by learning about Goodall and her findings about chimpanzees before turning their attention to Bentley and his discoveries about snow. Then students explore the traits the two scientists share, especially as they relate to the work of scientists. Additionally, students have the opportunity to analyze the texts’ structures, comparing how they are similar and different as well as how they compare to other texts they’ve read. Approximately 8-10 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, teachers and students will need a copy of Snowflake Bentley. This unit also comes with a student reader.

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Animal Intelligence Purchasable Online

Grade Level
2

In this unit, students read, discuss, and write about two informational texts that examine the fascinating concept of animal intelligence. The students begin the unit by learning about ravens, considered to be the smartest of all birds. Then, they turn their attention to one of the most intelligent animals of the aquatic world, the octopus. Students examine the actions of both animals and determine which ones scientists consider as evidence of intelligence. Then, students examine how these actions can be grouped into larger categories of intelligence. The final task of the unit asks students to read about another animal and write a paragraph in which they explain how that animal’s actions reflect one of the categories of intelligence. Approximately 8-10 days of instruction.

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Mysteries of the Deep Purchasable Online

Grade Level
3

In this unit, students read, discuss, and write about two informational texts, each about a different mysterious sea creature. This first text students read is about the Loch Ness Monster, and the second text is about the giant squid. Students are supported to examine the evidence presented for each creature’s existence in order to draw conclusions about the type of evidence that proves a creature exists. Students also study how the author of both texts uses language to influence her audience’s attitude toward these creatures. The final unit task asks students to compose an explanation that draws evidence across the two texts. Approximately 10-13 days of instruction.

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When Disaster Strikes! Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

In this unit, students read two texts by the same author, each about a different man made disaster. This first text is about the Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, and the second text is about the Peshtigo Fire of 1871. Students are supported to compare and contrast the causes and effects of these disasters, and to make generalizations about the author’s writing style based on these two texts. Through the study of these two texts, students are apprenticed to essential ways of reading, writing, and talking about informational text. The final task of the unit asks students to compose an explanation that draws evidence across the two texts. Approximately 10-13 days of instruction.

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The Oklahoma Land Rush Purchasable Online

Grade Level
5

In this unit, students read two texts that explore the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, an important event in American history. The first text, a secondary source, was published in 2001. The second text, a primary source, was published in Harper's Weekly less than a month after the event. Through the study of these two texts, students build their knowledge of the Homestead Act, the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, primary and secondary source documents, and essential ways of reading, writing, and talking about informational text. The final task of the unit asks students to compose an explanation that draws evidence across the two texts. Approximately 10-13 days of instruction.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $119.00

Working Across Multiple Informational Texts (3-6 weeks)

My Amazing Body Purchasable Online

Grade Level
1

In this unit, students explore the topic of the amazing human body through reading and discussing the three texts: Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney, The Skeleton Inside You by Phillip Balestrino, and The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell. Students engage in text discussions to develop their comprehension of the texts and to consider features that support comprehension. Through multiple discussions of the unit texts, students learn and are supported to use vocabulary to discuss important body parts and their functions and to explore what to do to grow up strong and healthy. Approximately 15 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Me and My Amazing Body, The Skeleton Inside You, and The Busy Body Book.

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An Investigation into Ocean Animal Life Purchasable Online

Grade Level
3

In this unit, students study oceans and ocean animal life by reading and discussing a range of texts including books, an encyclopedia entry, and an article from National Geographic. Students study categories of living things, learn about the purpose and structure of informational texts, and conduct research to write a criteria-meeting informational piece about an ocean animal of their choice. Approximately 35 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Ocean Life Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Look at the Wonders of the World's Oceans by Jinny Johnson, Exploring the Depths: Diving into the Ocean by Rebecca Grainger and Sam Spiegel, Fish Do What in the Water? The Secret Life of Marine Animals by Caroline Patterson and Robert Rath, and Endangered Penguins by Bobbie Kalman and Robin Johnson.

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The Issue of Child Labor Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

This unit is designed for students to consider the implications of child labor in our world today and to learn about the features of informational and argumentative texts. Students build content knowledge about the issue of child labor through reading, viewing, writing about, and discussing an array of texts including student magazines, blogs, websites, and a video clip from ABC News. Throughout the unit, students are supported to compose short opinion pieces in response to the texts. The unit culminates in a task that asks students to develop a criteria-meeting opinion piece. Approximately 30-35 days of instruction.

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Opinions on Space Exploration Purchasable Online

Grade Level
5

In this unit, students consider the costs and benefits of current and past space exploration. Students are supported to read, view, write about, and discuss texts from a variety of sources including The New York Times, The Aerospace Corporation, and PBS NewsHour. Throughout the unit, students build content knowledge about space exploration and expand their understanding of the methods authors use to build and support their opinions. The culminating task asks students to compose a criteria-meeting opinion piece. Approximately 25-30 days of instruction.

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Working with Literary Texts

Working Across Two Literary Texts (2-3 weeks)

Exploring Characters Purchasable Online

Grade Level
K

In this unit, students explore and compare the main characters in two different stories written by William Steig: Brave Irene and Doctor De Soto. By engaging in multiple text discussions, students are supported to identify the problems the characters face, how they overcome those problems, and what their solutions reveal about them as characters. Students are also supported to study and imitate Steig’s use of personification. Approximately 6-8 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Brave Irene and Doctor De Soto. We also recommend that students have copies of these books to use individually or in pairs or trios.

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Power of PersuasionPurchasable Online

Grade Level
1

In this unit, students will read two texts: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Dear Mrs. LaRue by Mark Teague. In both texts characters use letters to persuade. Through the study of these two literary texts, students build their knowledge about the characters in each story, how the characters work to persuade others, and the methods these authors use to make their stories funny. Additionally, students are supported to draw evidence from these texts to construct written and oral analyses. Approximately 10-14 days of instruction.

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Funny Fears Purchasable Online

Grade Level
2

In this unit, students will read two texts: “Monster on My Roof” by Erick Demarest and “Goldilocks Goes to Camp” by Sara Matson. Both texts deal with the concept of fear in a humorous manner. The first text, “Monster on My Roof,” is about a little boy who fears a monster as much as the monster fears him. The second text, “Goldilocks Goes to Camp” revisits old fairy tales, including “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and is about fairy tale characters overcoming their fears of each other. Through the study of these two literary texts, students build their knowledge about point of view, central message, and the methods these authors use to help readers understand the characters and the events in the stories. Additionally, students are supported to draw evidence from these texts to construct written and oral analyses and interpretations. Approximately 10-14 days of instruction.

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Imagine That! Purchasable Online

Grade Level
3

In this unit, students will read two texts: “Odd, Weird, & Little” by Patrick Jennings and “Cloud Fishing” by Zach Falcon. Both texts ask the reader to imagine the unique characters, settings, and actions that the authors create with their words. Through the study of these two literary texts, students build their knowledge about the lessons characters in these stories learn and the methods these authors use to engage readers’ imaginations. Additionally, students are supported to draw evidence from these texts to construct written and oral analyses and interpretations. Approximately 10-14 days of instruction.

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Finding Yourself Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

In this unit, students will read two texts: “My Corner” by Jennifer Szostak and “Brooklyn Boys” by Bethany Hegedus. Through the study of these two literary texts, students build their knowledge about point of view and theme. Additionally, students are supported to draw evidence from texts in order to construct written and oral interpretations, analyses, and conclusions. Approximately 10-14 days of instruction.

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Working Across Multiple Literary Texts (3-6 weeks)

Exploring Who We Are Purchasable Online

Grade Level
K

In this unit, students explore the idea of growing up by reading and discussing the three texts: Geraldine's Blanket by Holly Keller, Owen by Kevin Henkes, and Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. Students are supported to engage in text discussions to develop their comprehension of the texts and the topic of growing. Through multiple discussions of the unit texts, students learn and are supported to use vocabulary to describe the strong feelings that can accompany growing up. Approximately 15 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Geraldine's Blanket, Owen, and Peter's Chair.

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Introduction to Personal Narrative Purchasable Online

Grade Level
2

In this unit, students read, discuss, write about, and write like three narratives: Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe, Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. Students study the characteristics of the narratives and learn about concepts such as voice, descriptive language, clarity, and organization. Students are supported to use the texts as models for producing their own criteria-meeting personal narratives. Throughout their work in this unit, students are introduced to fundamental ways of working with texts that they can use with texts that they read and write in the future. Approximately 30 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Fireflies!, Owl Moon, and Chicken Sunday.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $179.00

Digging Deeper Into Personal Narrative Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

This unit is designed to extend students' understanding of narratives and how to use texts as models for their own writing. Students read, discuss, write about, and write like three narratives: Come on, Rain! by Karen Hesse, The Day Gogo Went to Vote by Elinor Batezat Sisulu and I'm in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor. Students expand their understanding of effective narratives and are supported to use what they learned to produce their own personal narratives. Approximately 30 days of instruction.

To implement this unit, each teacher will need one copy of Come On, Rain!, The Day Gogo Went to Vote, and I'm in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $179.00

Author Study: Pam Muñoz Ryan Purchasable Online

Grade Level
5

This unit features an author study of best-selling children's author, Pam Muñoz Ryan. Students read five selections by Muñoz Ryan, studying each text's narrator, events, characters, and themes. Students then work across the texts to make comparisons and draw conclusions about the content and style of Muñoz Ryan’s writing. Students also engage in online research to study how Muñoz Ryan's writing is informed by her life. The culminating task asks students to read an additional text by Muñoz Ryan and write an essay that explains how that text is representative of Muñoz Ryan's writing. Approximately 15-20 days of instruction.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $179.00

Working Across Informational & Literary Texts

Analysis of Historical Fiction: Paper Son FREE Download

Grade Level
4

In this unit, students read several texts about the Chinese-American immigration experience at Angel Island to explore how historical fiction is informed by primary and secondary sources. Students read two pieces of historical fiction (Paper Son by Helen Foster James and Virginia Shin-Mui Loh and a chapter from The Dragon's Child by Laurence Yep and Kathleen Yep), two primary sources, and one secondary source. Through the work with these five texts, students learn about the historical fiction genre and begin to understand how authors conduct and incorporate research to write their stories. This unit features a significant amount of reading, explanatory and opinion writing, and text-based discussion. Approximately 20-25 days of instruction.

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