Unit 1: Working Through Character Struggles & Overcoming Adversity
Students will be welcomed to reading and writing workshops in the middle school setting and explore their own reading lives. We will begin the year by reading the novel Tuck Everlasting together to explore the various struggles characters face and the ways in which they overcome adversities. Students will learn several reading strategies to become effective notetakers and apply these strategies to their own independent reading book.
Unit 2: Exploring Character Struggles in Narrative Writing
After exploring character struggles in their own novels and with our mentor text, Tuck Everlasting, students will craft their own fictional narrative. Through writing about adversity, students will come to understand how the struggle is an inherent part of learning about oneself and the world around us. Students will exercise intentionality in word choice to indicate a particular meaning and tone of their writing. Narratives can be structured in a variety of ways in order to illustrate a specific message or big idea about life.
Unit 3: Narrative Nonfiction Book Clubs
Unit 4: Nonfiction Research Clubs
Students will then transition to learning about a new genre, narrative nonfiction. In narrative nonfiction, students will learn that the adventure or historical event (such as a phenomenon, a dilemma, a discovery, or a setting) plays the part of an antagonist. Narrative nonfiction authors use a variety of literary devices to craft compelling stories about a real-world event. Studying character struggles in the context of narrative nonfiction allows readers to explore character journeys, look at relationships between antagonist vs protagonist (especially if the protagonist is not another human but an element), and learn life lessons from people who have encountered and overcome an obstacle or adversity. From reading these texts, students will learn essential research skills as they explore the historical event represented in their book club book and create a product of their choosing to disseminate this information. From this, students will also have practice with public speaking skills.
Unit 5: Fairy Tales Genre Study
The year is concluded with a genre study of fairy tales. Students will examine archetypes and story elements. Students will look at the traditional fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm, fairy tales from other countries, and compare and contrast those to the fairy tale versions they are familiar with from today. They will analyze literary techniques and produce a culminating project.