This unit was created by the Ascending from Greatness team as part of the 2022 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately four weeks.
By the end of this unit, the students will be able to…
- Ask and answer questions (who, what, where, when, and why and how) to demonstrate understanding of the key details in a story.
- Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
- Determine the lesson, theme, and message learned from the story, and describe how this lesson will help them in their own lives when they are facing challenges.
- Explain the author’s purpose for writing a story and determine if the author is describing, explaining, or answering a question when reading the assigned excerpts.
The unit focuses on students’ understanding of the experiences of the Ndonga people, the challenges they faced as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, and how they persevered. In this unit, students will also read a variety of literature in order to analyze the theme of encountering challenges and identifying the different ways characters persevere and overcome.
The main educational resource used in this unit is the book Born on the Water by Nicole Hannah-Jones. The unit is supplemented by three other biographies:Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue, Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, and The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson. Through engagement with these texts, students will develop reading fluency and comprehension while gaining a better understanding of history through rich and thought provoking literature.
By the end of the unit, students select a character from one of the books explored in the unit and write a personal narrative inspired by that text. The personal narrative will describe the challenge or struggle faced by the character, and describe why the character is facing the challenge, including the systemic racism in place that led to the character’s problem. In the conclusion, students will show their understanding of how the character overcame the challenge and how they were able to persevere.
Students will select a character from one of the books explored in the unit and write a personal narrative inspired by that text. The personal narrative will describe the challenge or struggle faced by the character, and describe why the character is facing the challenge, including the systemic racism in place that led to the character’s problem. In the conclusion, students will show their understanding of how the character overcame the challenge and how they were able to persevere.
For example, in Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson the author addresses how the challenges of kidnapping, brutal enslavement, and the lasting impacts of enslavement would at times be navigated through many different types of perseverance. The theme of identifying how the character responded in order to persevere will be the focus of students’ writing.
The personal narrative will be the summative assessment performance task for this unit.
Ten lessons implemented over the span of four weeks for teachers, including pacing, texts and multimedia resources. Download below, or scroll down to review key resources included in the unit plan.
RL.2.1 -Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
RI. 2.2-Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of the specific paragraphs within the text.
RL2.3 Describe how a main character responds to major events and challenges.
RI. 2.4-Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject idea.
RI.2.5-Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic minus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
RL.2.6-Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
RL.2.9-Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
RF.2.4-Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
RI.3.7-Use information gained from illustration (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding in the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
W2.3-Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
SL2.3-Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of s topic or issue.
W3.1-Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
W.3.3-Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, or clear event sequence.
W.3.8-Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on source and sort evidence into provided categories.
RH.6-8.2-Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
R.2 Key Ideas and Details: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
The following examples reflect work by students in Chicago, IL who engaged with this unit as part of the 2022-2023 school year:
1. Students start the unit by defining the term, "challenge" and reviewing the challenges that will be present in the book Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson
2. Students then spend several days reading the book Born on the Water. They start by focusing on comprehension of the story.
3. Next, students practice taking the perspective of a character in the story.
4. Students then review Born on the Water, and three other children's books, to begin examining evidence of challenges and the ways that characters navigate challenges. Students utilized graphic organizers to track their thinking.
5. Students prepare their final projects by closely analyzing quotes from Born on the Water and analyzing how the text reflects the author's purpose.
6. In the end, students create original narratives from the perspective of a character whose story they explored in the unit. The narrative reflects the students' understanding of how the character faced and navigated challenges.