8th Grade Historical Literacy consists of two 43 minute class periods. Writing is one 43 minute block and reading is another. The teacher has picked themes based on social studies standards, and a read-aloud novel based on social studies serves as the mentor text for writing and reading skills. More social studies content is addressed in reading through teaching nonfiction reading skills and discussion. Standards reflect CCSS ELA, Reading, and Social Studies Standards for History.
In this module, students will develop their ability to read and understand complex text as they consider the challenges of fictional and real refugees. In the first unit, students will begin Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, analyzing how critical incidents reveal the dynamic nature of the main character, Ha, a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl whose family is deciding whether to flee during the fall of Saigon. The novel, poignantly told in free verse, will challenge students to consider the impact of specific word choice on tone and meaning. Students will build their ability to infer and analyze text, both in discussion and through writing. They then will read informational text to learn more about the history of war in Vietnam, and the specific historical context of Ha’s family’s struggle during the fall of Saigon. In Unit 2, students will build knowledge about refugees’ search for a place to call home. They will read informational texts that convey universal themes of refugees’
Per the authors/creators, students learn the meanings of new words by engaging in a wide array of reading. However, the chances of learning a new word from a single exposure in a naturally occurring context are slim. This lesson provides sixth, seventh- and eighth-grade students with the opportunity to practice using context clues that are purposefully manipulated. Context clues are then combined with semantic gradients, requiring students to both select and generate related words along the continuum. Students work in groups and are required to verbalize their thinking. Additionally, they apply their learning by creating context clues and semantic gradients of their own.