Curriculum Update: February 7, 2017

Curriculum Update: February 7, 2017
Posted on 02/07/2017

Dear CSUS Families and Caregivers,

The ELA Team is excited to share our mid-year progress with implementation of the new EL Curriculum. All grades: 6, 7, and 8, are in the final stages of completing Module One. We would like to highlight some of the accomplishments of our scholars, who have tackled challenging, nuanced work with the guidance of their ELA teachers and Special Educators. As you review your child’s assignments and prepare for a Scholar-led conference, be sure to review some of these ELA pieces.

6th Grade, THE Hero’s Journey, Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

  • Written Analysis of how Percy Jackson’s experiences in The Lightning Thief align with “The Hero’s Journey.” Students build their ability to cite evidence when writing about text, in addition to learning about the content and structure of Greek myths.
  • Literary Analysis Essay comparing a chosen myth to plot in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, including an explanation for why their chosen myth was alluded to in the text, and what the understanding of that allusion adds to the story.
  • My Hero’s Journey Narrative is an original piece of creative writing inspired by scholar’s extensive study of myths, and including elements of the hero’s journey.

7th Grade, Individual Survival in Challenging Environments, A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park

  • Identifying Perspective and Using Evidence from Informational Texts about the Dinka and Nuer Tribes, at a slightly more sophisticated level than 6th graders, 7th graders are required to read and cite textual evidence, and then determine author’s purpose, specifically in regard to how history and culture affect social identity.
  • Literary Analysis writing about the Theme of Survival in A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. This includes an on-demand writing prompt portion which simulates standardized testing, followed by revision after receiving teacher and peer feedback.
  • Research-Based Two Voice Poem gives scholars a chance to demonstrate their understanding of the character’s emotions and issues of survival, and showcase their creativity.

8th Grade, Defining “Home” and the refugee experience, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

  • Analyzing Informational Text about the Refugee Experience, an on-demand reading assessment in which scholars answer a range of literal and inferential text-dependent questions. This type of assessment prepares scholars for the highest level of ELA coursework.
  • Literary Analysis Essay explaining the significance of the title Inside Out and Back Again and its relationship to the universal refugee experience.
  • Free-Verse Narrative Poem Inside Out and Back Again scholars will draw on their study of the universal refugee experience to write a research-based poem that reflects the “inside out” and “back again” aspect of a refugee experience.

What to expect next!
As we enter into our second module, we look forward to more rigorous and joyous assignments. 6th graders will study how an author develops point of view, and how an author’s culture is evident in his writing. They will read Dragonwings, by Lawrence Yep, a high-interest novel about an eight year-old boy from China who joins his father in San Francisco in the early 1900s. Their culminating performance assessment will be a newspaper article that they write after researching to gather information and eyewitness accounts about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and fire.

7th and 8th graders will both enter the world of theater, exploring texts that were written to be performed! 7th graders will explore the concept of personal identity formation and transformation in both historical and modern-day societies. Scholars will read first-person narratives that focus on various social identifiers—from race to gender to socioeconomic status—central themes at CSUS-- as they begin to frame their understanding of what identity means. This builds background knowledge in preparation for Unit 2, during which scholars closely read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.

8th graders will take on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, exploring the theme of control, it’s appeal, and if it’s truly possible to control someone else. Their work will include drama circles, comparative film study, and the influence of Greek mythology in Shakespeare’s work. Scholars will write a “confessional” narrative from the point of view of one of the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream to creatively explain his or her attempts to control or manipulate someone else in the play.

Our Scholar’s learning experiences are always enhanced by working with experts in the professions that we are studying. Do you know someone who is an author? Social Justice advocate? Actor or Theater Arts Professional? If you have ideas about guest speakers, performances or projects that might align with the ELA curriculum, we would love to work with you. Please contact our ELA Coach: Laura Mosman Smith.

Thank you!

Laura Smith and the CSUS ELA Team:

6th Grade
Debra Cerundolo, Liz Anderson, Sp Ed

7th Grade
Betsy Preval, Ashley Endicott, Sp Ed

8th Grade
Connie Henderson, Deb Stewart, Sp Ed

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