This unit will be presented through an integrated approach, involving primarily the areas of reading, language arts, and social studies. In all activities, the underlying academic focus of most material will be on developing reading and writing skills. Comprehension and related reading skill lessons will be developed from the stories we cover. Writing activities will revolve around summarizing, conveying impressions, recognizing parallels, and making connections with themselves, family members, and acquaintances. I will develop some individual worksheets, which will focus on the skills developed in Degrees of Reading Power, a system that develops the use of context clues and is an important part of New Haven’s reading program. I have included an example in my section on specific lesson plans.
Though the foundation of this unit lies in the areas of reading language arts, and social studies, social development cannot avoid being the message of the entire unit. All activities should encourage and help students to understand the struggles which others face, struggles that did not defeat them. Hopefully, students will then be better prepared to handle their own personal obstacles in a positive manner. Academic activities will be integrated with material from the science and social studies curriculum. It will also blend in art activities and even music. The use of the Internet will be applied in many research situations. Informally, there will be opportunity to work on integrating some of my activities with those of Geraldine Martin, a first grade teacher at my school, whose unit is also a part of this volume. The other two fourth grade teachers have expressed an interest in collaborating on this unit next year. My experience has proven that such interaction greatly enriches learning.