Angelina McCurry, English, Alexander Graham Middle School
This unit is designed for grades 6, 7, and 8 native English speaking struggling readers and ELL WiDA Levels 1-5 language levels with a special focus on transitioning levels 1 and 1.5 to 2 and 2.5 levels for simultaneous text and academic language acquisition. Celebrating everyday heroes, the unit has a Montessori-like flow and supports the individual learner to the maximum extent possible. It is a unit of stories about children challenged to make extraordinary choices. The poem “Oppression,” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, introduces the twin themes of struggle and memento viveri, remembering to live—a moving topic from our CTI seminar on close reading. Novel choices are poignant vignettes from Soft Rain, Iqbal, Red Scarf Girl, and In the Time of the Butterflies and finish with the hopeful theme of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Students use graphic organizers for essential information synthesis into Cornell Notes with signal words and guide constructions for rapid language development in the differentiated classroom. The unit’s goal is to move 1& 2 levels to 2/3 texts from StudySync. We use an adapted S.I.O.P.’s text organizer for close reading paired through Shadow Reading and virtual annotation in a text-to-text exercise. To meet higher-level student we use tiered reading and the virtual close reading experience, which also supports writing. Quizlet provides dynamic realtime practice opportunities to learn foundational vocabulary. PEAK’s Muddy Paw, Table Races, Classified Learning and Search and Rescue provide a heuristic pattern search for knitting knowledge on several levels. Formulaic writing with the tagmemes have, has, and had create a power written product supported through a flowchart and writing models assist in accelerated academic knowledge. A variety of unique intervention strategies facilitate it all.