Creating Engaging Learning Experiences

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Creating Engaging Learning Experiences
Unit Title: Informative Grade: 4

Duration: 8-10 weeks

Unit Priority Standards

W.4.2 a, b, c, d, e














Concepts and Skills – Learning Outcomes Derived from Priority Standards

  • Introduce a topic

  • Group related information in paragraphs

  • Include headings

  • Develops facts, concrete details, quotations

  • Link ideas with words or phrases

  • Use of domain specific vocabulary

  • Provide a concluding section
  • Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information

Bloom’s Level






Essential Question(s)
How do we research a topic and share factual information using features of non-fiction?

Big Idea

  • When we write to inform, we research appropriate facts and include in an informative report.

Pre Assessments

Response to Literature based on Non-Fiction Text. Chose a text to respond to “The Outback: The Australian Outback” OR “Glaciers and Other Icy Bergs: Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Icebergs.” Students will respond based on factual information. They will describe in an informative way the environment in the Outback by including specific facts that allow the reader to develop an understanding of the area.

Interim Unit Assessments

Post Assessments
Response to Literature- “The Mighty Hippopotamus” (MONDO 4-19) Try to incorporate features of non-fiction. Create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two types of Hippos. Summarize information by heading.

Performance Task – GRASPS

Real-world GOAL; meaningful ROLE for the student; authentic (or simulated) real-world AUDIENCE; a SITUATION that involves real-world application; student-generated culminating PRODUCTS and PERFORMANCES; performance STANDARDS (criteria) for judging success


Students will write an informational report that includes elements of non-fiction.


  • Informer

  • Reporter


  • Classmates, teachers, parents, school community (bulletin board)


You are a immigrant traveling America arriving via Ellis Island.

You are a historical figure teaching others about the key events in your life.

Products/Performances (Differentiate for ELLs, Special Needs, Accelerated Students)

  • Timeline

  • Biography

  • Report
  • Essay

Standards (Criteria)
Student generated rubric that addresses specific standards.

Task /Performance Assessment (Consider the progression of Bloom’s Levels)

Bloom’s Level(s)

Task 1 – Iroquois Diary Entry

Researching facts and information pertaining to the time period. Focusing on setting and characters.

  • Understand

  • Apply

  • Create

Task 2 - Biography

Students will research a historical figure from our Social Studies Curriculum. They will develop a report of the important facts in this person’s life. They will include key dates and facts about their life.

  • Understand

  • Analyze

  • Evaluate

  • Create

Task 3 – Bill of Rights

Compare/Contrast an amendment in the Bill of Rights from when it was written to how it is now. Illustrate Preamble. Illustrate each amendment and in writing.

  • Understand

  • Apply

  • Evaluate

  • Create

Task 4 – Ellis Island Letters Home

Write a letter to your family back at home detailing your journey back to America.

  • Understand

  • Create

  • Apply


  • We are the Kids (Preamble) by David Catrow

  • Life in a Longhouse

  • The Iroquois by Mary Englar

  • If you Lived in the Time of the Iroquois

  • If your Name was Changed at Ellis Island

  • When Jesse Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest

  • Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman

  • Ellis Island: New Hope in a New Land by William Jay Jacobs

  • Coming to America: The Story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro

  • Dreaming of America by Eve Bunting

  • Annie Moore Story

Interdisciplinary Connections

  • Technology

  • Reading

  • Social Studies

Lesson Breakdown

(Differentiated for ELLs, Special Needs, Accelerated Stints)

Task 1

  • Research facts about life as a member of the Iroquois tribe

  • Include a detailed description of setting and characters

  • Create a Native America name

  • Include key vocabulary (longhouse, Haudenosaunee, maize, confederation)

  • Use a graphic organizer to write events in sequence

Task 2

  • Students will research a historical figure

  • Develop a plan, complete with important facts, dates, contributions to America and why they were famous

  • Students will organize their work into appropriate headings and paragraphs.

  • Students will use internet sources, mentor text, and other research material to generate information.

Task 3

  • Create a Venn Diagram to show how an amendment was followed in 1791 and in the present day.

  • Develop an illustration that represents each of the ten amendments

  • Write a description that describes each amendment

  • Provide examples if necessary

Task 4

  • Read aloud books from the Immigration Time Period

  • Research and recall facts about their journey to America

  • While traveling to Ellis Island choose which country you immigrated from

  • Write a letter to a family member back in your native country

  • Include details about what life is like on the shop during this time (e.g. housing, jobs)

  • Develop an illustration for your letter

Criteria to consider:

  • Authentic (genuine, valid, real)

  • Relevant to life situations and contexts

  • Interdisciplinary (as distinguished from “thematic”

  • Use embedded informational technologies

  • Highly motivational, not routine

  • Mentally stimulating, thought-provoking

  • Incorporate the full spectrum of thinking-skill rigor, especially: reasoning, application, analysis, synthesis, creativity, self-assessment, and reflection

  • Include both collaborative and individual work

*Rubrics attached

Adapted by Craig Pinckney-Lowe from Rigorous Curriculum Design &

Understanding by Design

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