This 14 day Unit Plan integrates the Utah Core Standards for Language Arts and for Reading and Writing in History/Social Studies with the existing Utah Social Studies Standards. The students read, research, draw conclusions, and write beginning level argumentative essays comparing/contrasting major world religions. For a more thorough summary see the Background For Teachers section.
Before reading, set a purpose for reading informational text by turning the title and subtitles into questions.
This 18 day unit explicitly teaches text structures, summary, text features, reading informational text about Mesopotamia, and writing a book about Mesopotamia. Instruction moves from high scaffolding to moderate scaffolding to independent practice as students become familiar with the various text structures, how to identify them, what graphic organizer will work with each text structure, how to use notes recorded in graphic organizers to write summaries, and how to compile an informational book. Mesopotamia is the content used as an anchor.
Identify information from text using titles, subtitles, diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, photographs, illustrations, and captions by using a preview checklist.
This "jigsaw" activity will give students the opportunity to work in groups to summarize a 1 to 2 page informational text. It "jigsaws" down to 1 class summary and can be done in 2 or 3 days. This plan was designed for a class of 22 students but can be easily modified by varying group size.