Last updated: 6/10/2015

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TCSD ELA Pacing Guide September-January- 8th Grade


(Fundations, Spelling)

Skills and strategies for active reading.  Each skill and strategy provides different information about and insight into the text.  Discussion of important aspects of character, plot, and setting that are revealed.  Students will become familiar with skills and strategies for active reading, preview, use prior knowledge, predict and make inferences. 


Readers might be classified into two categories-passive and active.  Passive readers flip the pages and appear to be reading the words, bu in many cases they cannot remember wheat they have read minute after finish the text.  Active readers on the other hand, exemplify  the skills and strategies described in this unit.  Student will take part in the reading process and as a result they are able to remember important ideas and benefit from their reading experience.

MODELING: Skills and strategies used to actively read the story.  For example: preview the text to learn about its organization and content.  Set a purpose of reading to find out more about each skill and strategy.  Students will monitor their understanding of what they have read by asking questions and rereading.


 In this module, students will develop their ability to read and understand complex text as they consider the challenges of fictional and real refugees. In the first unit, students will begin Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, analyzing how critical incidents reveal the dynamic nature of the main character, Ha, a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl whose family is deciding whether to flee during the fall of Saigon. The novel, poignantly told in free verse, will challenge students to consider the impact of specific word choice on tone and meaning. Students will build their ability to infer and analyze text, both in discussion and through writing. They then will read informational text to learn more about the history of war in Vietnam, and the specific historical context of Ha’s family’s struggle during the fall of Saigon. In Unit 2, students will build knowledge about refugees’ search for a place to call home. They will read informational texts that convey universal themes of refugees’

experiences across various times and cultures as they flee and find home. As they continue to move through the novel, they will focus on how particular incidents move the story forward and reveal aspects of Ha’s character. Unit 2 culminates in which students examine how the universal refugee experience causes the refugee’s life to be turned inside out and eventually return back again. In Unit 3, having finished the novel, students will reread critical incidents, while also working in research groups to study the experiences of refugees from one of several cultures. Students will use this knowledge to write to write two, free verse narrative poems that capture the universal refugee experience. Students will reread poems from the novel as mentor texts. These free-verse narrative poems performance task centers on NYSP12 ELA Standards RI.8.1, RI.8.2, W.8.3, W.8.4, W.8.5, W.8.7, W.8.9, L.8.1, and L.8.2.

Students will draw upon their study of the universal refugee experience to write two research-based poems that reflect the “inside out” and “back again” aspect of a refugee experience. Students will collaborate in research teams to research the experiences of refugees of a specific culture. They then will draw upon the research and their study of the novel and the informational texts to write two poems. Students will gather the strongest evidence from informational texts in order to answer specific Who? Where? and Why? questions, and these answers will then be used to write an “inside out” poem, which is about a fictional character who experienced real events students learned about in their research. This “inside out” poem will establish the time, place, and reason for fleeing home. As students prepare to write this poem, they will return to the novel to study a poem for its craft and structure as well as word choice and figurative language. Students’ writing of the poem will also be supported through the use of a poem graphic organizer. The mid-unit assessment is students’ best first draft of this poem. Students then draft their “back again” poem, aligned with the students’ individual interpretation of informational text and their own background knowledge and experiences. They receive peer critique on both poems to ensure they are setting their poem in a particular scene to give the details and information they are including an appropriate context. Students then write a best draft of their two revised poems and present them to peers from other research teams. This serves as the final performance task, which centers on NYSP12 CCSS RI.8.1, RI.8.2, W.8.3a, b, d, W.8.4, W.8.5, W.8.7, W.8.9, W.11b, L.8.1, L.8.2, and L.8.6.

Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound–letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).


Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.


Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.


Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.


Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.


Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.


Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Those who wrote our constitutions knew from history and experience that it was necessary to protect against unfounded criminal charges brought to eliminate enemies and against judges too responsive to the voice of higher authority. … Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge."

—The Supreme Court of the United States, Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)

Twelve Angry Men, originally written for television by Reginald Rose in 1954 and subsequently adapted for stage (1955), film (1957) and television again (1997), effectively conveys the central importance of the right to a jury trial afforded by Article III of the Constitution as well as Amendments V, VI, and XIV. Focusing on the right to a trial by "an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed," the play/film also addresses related constitutional provisions, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the right to counsel. More broadly, the play/film embodies the central insight of Alexis De Tocqueville in his classic work Democracy in America, that the jury system is one of the most important political institutions for democratic self government. It educates citizens about the law and legal process, helps them understand their duties as citizens and in the best case, improves their deliberations as citizens.

Literacy Learning



  • Establish prior knowledge about stories
  • discuss the qualities that make a good story

Essential Question:  What makes a story worth telling?i

Ask students to think about the variety of settings, characters, and situations that different stores can have.  In spite of this diversity, what do they think all good stories have in common?

Literary Analysis:

  • Identify and analyze types of conflict (internal, external)
  • Identify and analyze the stages of plot (expositions, rising action, climax, falling ac tion, resolution)
  • Analyze suspense
  • Identify and analyze forshadodowing and flashback


  • Identify and analyze sequense and cause-effect relationships
  • Use study skills including taking notes and skimming
  • Identify and evaluaate narrator



Literary Analysis:

  • explore the key idea of motivation
  • identify and analyze stages of plot
  • Building background knowledge about the fall of Saigon
  • Continue with Part 1 of nove
  • Historical fiction compared to informational text: purpose and perspective
  • Launch novel study of Inside Out & Back Again
  • Character analysis of the main character
  • Building background knowledge about the history and culture of Vietnam
  • Unifying themes of refugees’ experiences
  • Close reading and comparison of texts: continue with novel, paired with informational text regarding the universal refugee experience 


  • make and support inferences
  • make predictions
  • identify conflicts and resolutions in stories
  • identify and analyze flashback




  • Continue with Part 1 of novel

  • The fall of Saigon: audio text and transcript

  • Analyzing word choice, meaning, and tone

  • Drafting, revising, and editing literary essay

  • Introduction to the Final Performance task and initial research guidelines

  • Close reading of critical incidents in novel related to aspects of the research-based narrative

  • Structured research and planning for research-based free-verse narrative poems

  • Mentor text writing: select a snapshot of the planned story to write two free-verse, narrative poems using the novel as a mentor text

  • Drafting, revising, and editing of research-based narrative


Students practice writing effective letters for a variety of real-life situations, such as responding to a prompt on a standardized test, corresponding with distant family members, or communicating with a business. They begin by reviewing the differences between business and friendly letter formats, using examples and a Venn diagram. Next, students write two letters, choosing from a list of prompts that include letters for varying audiences and purposes. After completing drafts and revisions, students complete their final versions using an online tool. 

What puts a character in focus?



Key Idea:  Think about favorite fictional characters.  What is it that draws a person to them? Is it the things they say, the way they behave, the lives they lead?  As you read or watch these characters, perhaps you imagine how  you would act if you were in their shoes.  In this lesson students will view the movie, It's a Wonderful Life to explore the tools filmmakers use to create believable characters.


Filmmaking Techniques:




The best books and movies develop characters that feel like real people.  You laugh with them and cry with them.  You’re drawn into their stories and you truly care what happens to them.  An author provides detail and background through descriptive passages to develop his or her characters.  A filmmaker has to rely on his or her camera work, the performances of the actors, and the skills of the film editor to create true to life characters.








Filmmaking Techniques

Strategies for Viewing

Camera Shots:

  • A close-up shot provides detailed view of a person or object
  • A long shot provides a wide view of a scene.  It can show distance between characters and establish location.
  • A reaction shot shows a person react to what occurred in the previous shot.


  • Notice how close-ups focus on facial expressions.  As yourself what the character might be feeling.
  • Watch how long shots can reveal relationships.  A shot of two people standing apart can show emotional distance.  A long shot of one character can single him or her out from a group.
  • Watch for reaction shots.  What does the character’s response to an event say about his or her feelings?


  • Physical appearance, including height, weight, hairstyle, and clothing
  • Behavior, including facial expressions and body language
  • Dialogue, both what the character says and how he or she says it


  • Pay attention to how a main character’s appearance provides clues about his or her personality.
  • Watch a character’s posture and facial expressions.  These can convey feelings, reactions, or self-image.
  • Listen to the dialogue.  It’s the character’s tone of voice happy, calm, or angry?  What does speech reveal about the characters background and intelligence?


Editing is the process of choosing and arranging shots in a sequence.  Filmmakers combine the shots they’ve filmed to create an overall effect on the audience.


  • Notice the different types of shots the editor uses.  How do they reflect the emotion of the scene?
  • Watch for reaction shots that are edited into a scene.  How do they reveal characters’ thoughts and feelings?
  • Notice how long each shot stays on the screen.  How does shot length change as emotion rises in a scene?



One of the questions raised during the deliberations by the Twelve Angry Men was the legal representation that had been provided for the young man accused of murdering his father.

In 1963, the Supreme Court handed down the first in a series of cases dealing with the constitutional right to counsel. The case of Gideon v. Wainwright drew widespread attention, especially with the publication a year later of Gideon's Trumpet by New York Times legal affairs correspondent Anthony Lewis. The book was made into a film in 1980.

Of particular interest is Abe Fortas' oral argument before the Supreme Court in defense of the right to counsel, in particular the need to provide counsel for those unable to afford a lawyer. This can be accessed on the website.

This clip (about an hour in length) can be assigned as homework or played in class, depending on students' access to the internet and/or class time that may be available for this purpose.


  • Cite specific provisions in the Constitution relating to the right to a trial by jury and discuss how they help to ensure equal justice under the la
  • Explain the reasons for requiring a jury in criminal cases
  • Discuss the importance of deliberation by members of a jury
  • Recognize the need for citizens to fulfill their civic obligation of jury duty
  • Critical analysis
  • Debate
  • Discussion
  • Gathering, classifying and interpreting written, oral and visual information
  • Historical analysis
  • Logical reasoning
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Representing ideas and information orally, graphically and in writing
  • Using primary sources


Quick writes

Write a personal narrative

Quick writes

Use writing to analyze literature

  • Structured research and planning for research-based free-verse narrative poems

  • Mentor text writing: select a snapshot of the planned story to write two free-verse, narrative poems using the novel as a mentor text

  • Drafting, revising, and editing of research

  • Thank you letter to someone who is meaningful


Technical Writing: Business letter


Use knowledge of word roots, baase words, and affixes to understand word meaning

Use reference aids, including a dictionary and a thesaurus

Academic Vocabulary:

  • stages of plot
  • conflict
  • flashback
  • foreshadowing
  • personal narrative

Use context to determine meanings of words (and compound words)

Determine meanings of derivatives by applying knowledge  of the Latin prefix com-

Use knowledge of suffixes to determine word meanings

route an established line of travel or access

Our ship creeps along the river route without lights without cooking without bathrooms.


the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public

We are allowed into the commander’s cabin, where the bathroom is so white and clean, so worth the embarrassment.


sardine any of various small edible herring or related food fishes frequently canned

The list of edible foods here includes durian, which is considered the "king of fruits" because of its large size; but it also has thorns and a stinky smell that might discourage people who don't know about its creamy filling and delicious taste.

No one has offered to share what I smell: sardines, dried durian, salted eggs, toasted sesame.

according (followed by `to') in agreement with or accordant with

Morning, noon, and night we each get one clump of rice, small, medium, large, according to our height

idle not in action or at work

Mother cannot allow idle children, hers or anyone else’s.

stranded cut off or left behind

Mother smooths back my hair, knowing the pain of a girl who loves snacks but is stranded on a ship.

stench a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant

He keeps clutching something in the left pocket, where the stench grows.

putrid in an advanced state of decomposition and having a foul odor

Here, "putrid" and "fermented" are adjectives that describe a bad smell. But as a verb, "ferment" can describe turning sugar into alcohol or working someone up into a state of agitation or excitement.

Neighbors complain, even the ones eight mats away, saying it’s bad enough being trapped in putrid, hot air made from fermented bodies and oily sweat

crooked having or marked by bends or angles; not straight or aligned

A flattened chick lies crooked, neck dangling off his palm.

exist have an existence, be extant

In Latin, both "sistere" and "stare" mean "to stand"--so something that exists (verb) and is extant (adjective) still stands, unlike the fallen country of South Vietnam.

South Vietnam no longer exists.

overboard from on board a vessel into the water

One woman tries to throw herself overboard, screaming that without a country she cannot live.

limp lacking in strength or firmness or resilience

Inside lies my mouse-bitten doll, her arms wrapped around the limp fuzzy body of his chick.

regret feel sad about the loss or absence of

Brother Khoi nods and I smile, but I regret not having my doll as soon as the white bundle sinks into the sea.

gigantic so exceedingly large or extensive as to suggest a giant or mammoth

A gigantic ship with an American flag moves closer.

composure steadiness of mind under stress

Fleeing from one's home country is a significant stress that could cause one to lose composure, but here, Mother is mentally unsteady because she is physically unsteady from the rocking of the boat.

I’m grateful the boat starts to rock, so Mother hasn’t the composure to scold me, not just yet.


souvenir something of sentimental value

I roll my fuzzy souvenir between my thumb and finger and can’t help but smile.

translator someone who mediates between speakers of different languages

We have landed on an island called Guam, which no one can pronounce except Brother Quang, who becomes translator for all.

lure provoke someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises or persuasion

The Disney cartoons lure out the girls, who always surround Brother Vu, begging him to break yet another piece of wood.

appetite a feeling of craving something

So many appetites wake up that Brother Vu just has time to cook rice and serve it with plain fish sauce.

amethyst a transparent purple variety of quartz; used as a gemstone

Mother wants to sell the amethyst ring Father brought back from America, where he trained in the navy before I was born.

tangible perceptible by the senses especially the sense of touch

A remnant is usually "a piece of cloth left over after the rest has been used" but it can also be any tangible "small part remaining after the main part no longer exists." The phrase "tangible remnant" seems needlessly repetitive, but both words emphasize the importance of the ring that represents the intangible love of Father and Mother (which is even more intangible now because he's not with them).

What’s the point of new shirts and sandals if you lose the last tangible remnant of love?


humid containing or characterized by a great deal of water vapor

We are flown to another tent city in humid, hot Florida, where alligators are shown as entertainment.

amend make amendments to

Just like that Mother amends our faith, saying all beliefs are pretty much the same.

stare look at with fixed eyes

staring, blinking, wiping away tears, all without speaking English

immediately without delay or hesitation; with no time intervening

I love him immediately and imagine him to be good-hearted and loud and the owner of a horse.

giddy having or causing a whirling sensation; liable to falling

The Middle English "gidi" means "crazy"--this can be seen in another definition of the adjective: lacking seriousness; given to frivolity and lightheartedness. Both definitions can fit the example sentence, since the family is disembarking a plane and embarking on a new life in America.

We’re giddy when we get off the airplane.

contorted twisted (especially as in pain or struggle)

One look at our cowboy’s wife, arms, lips, eyes contorted into knots, and we repack.


insist be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge

The wife insists we keep out of her neighbors’ eyes.

meadow a field where grass or alfalfa are grown to be made into hay

Such meat grows tight in texture, smelling of meadows and tasting sweet.

vast unusually great in size or amount or degree or especially extent or scope

Vast windows in front of sealed curtains

generosity the trait of being willing to give your money or time

Mother could not believe his generosity until Brother Quang says the American government gives sponsors money.

goodwill a disposition to kindness and compassion

People living on others’ goodwill cannot afford political opinions.

neigh make a characteristic sound, of a horse

This example sentence shows how speakers of different languages hear and represent sounds differently. "Neigh" and "hee" are examples of onomatopoeia (words based on sounds).

To make it worse, the cowboy explains horses here go neigh, neigh, neigh, not hee, hee, hee.

martial suggesting war or military life

This word comes from "Mars," the Roman god of war. But Brother Vu was not influenced by the Greco-Roman pantheon that assigns different aspects of life to different gods. Thus, he can consider being either a cook or a teacher of martial arts. As seen in the example sentences for "lure" and "appetite" in the list for Part 2, either choice would allow Brother Vu to serve up parts of his Asian culture to hungry and appreciative audiences.

Brother Vu wants to be a cook or teach martial arts, not waste a year as the oldest senior.

impressed deeply or markedly affected or influenced

She doesn’t seem impressed

occur come to one's mind; suggest itself

Both laughing, chewing, as if it never occurred to them someone medium would show up.

glance throw a glance at; take a brief look at

I can’t help but glance back.

bulky of large size for its weight

"Bulkiest" is the superlative (highest in order, quality, or degree) form of the adjective. The comparative form is "bulkier." The bulkiest lump stands out not only because it is the largest one but also because the light of the full moon is shining on it.

The full moon shines on the bulkiest lump.

furious marked by extreme anger

I’m furious, unable to explain

pucker to gather something into small wrinkles or folds

Lips are often puckered for a kiss, but here, Ha puckers her lips to say a word with sounds that are unfamiliar to her and that actually means "nonsense."

I repeat, Hogwash, puckering for the ending of ssssshhhhhh.

tutor be a tutor to someone; give individual instruction

She volunteers to tutor us all.

illogical lacking in correct logical relation

Two illogical rules that often trip up people new to English can be seen in use in this example sentence. Hint: they concern the different uses of the letter "s" at the end of verbs and nouns.

I pout, but MiSSSisss WaSShington says every language has annoyances and illogical rules, as well as sensible beauty.

solitude the state or situation of being alone

Mother taps her nails on the dining table, her signal for solitude to chant.

inhale draw deep into the lungs in by breathing

More sniffles, so gentle I would miss them by inhaling too deeply.

yearn have a desire for something or someone who is not present

Mother can’t help yearning for Father any more than I can help tasting ripe papaya in my sleep.

retrieve go for and bring back

After she falls asleep, I retrieve the bars.

sturdy having rugged physical strength; inured to fatigue or hardships

When he’s close enough for me to see the white arm hair, I shift my upper body to the left, legs sturdy, eyes on the blur that flies past me.

misery a feeling of intense unhappiness

It’s time to tell Mother why misery keeps pouncing on me.

writhe to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling)

Pink Boy writhes on the pavement.


freeing from fear and anxiety

GOOONNNNGGGGG rings out; how soothing a real gong sounds.

monsoon rainy season in southern Asia when the southwestern monsoon blows, bringing heavy rains

We pretend the monsoon has come early.

reproduce have offspring or produce more individuals of a given animal or plant

The tired worm reproduces much more slowly at the end of the day than at the beginning

glutinous having the sticky properties of an adhesive

Two items on the list of offerings are foods, and two produce pleasant fragrances (a tuberose is a flower, and an incense stick smells nice when burned).

This day Mother prepares an altar to chant for his return, offering fruit, incense, tuberoses, and glutinous rice.

embroider decorate with needlework

Now I am ten, learning to embroider circular stitches, to calculate fractions into percentages, to nurse my papaya tree to bear many fruits.

pout make a sad face and thrust out one's lower lip

But last night I pouted when Mother insisted one of my brothers must rise first this morning to bless our house because only male feet can bring luck.

expand become larger in size or volume or quantity

An old, angry knot expanded in my throat.

predict make a prediction about; tell in advance

This year he predicts our lives will twist inside out.

imitation copying (or trying to copy) the actions of someone else

Brother Vu screams, Ha Ya, and makes me jump every time he breaks wood or bricks in imitation of Bruce Lee.

stroll walk leisurely and with no apparent aim

We named you Kim Ha, after the Golden (Kim) River (Ha), where Father and I once strolled in the evenings.

vow make a vow; promise

I vow to rise first every morning to stare at the dew on the green fruit shaped like a lightbulb.

communist a socialist who advocates communism

Communism is a theory that favors a classless society where all the people equally own the means of producing goods. But in reality, private ownership is abolished so that everything is owned by the state, and government officials are at the top of the society.

But when we keep talking about how close the Communists have gotten to Saigon, how much prices have gone up since American soldiers left, how many distant bombs were heard the previous night, Miss Xinh finally says no more.

flaunt display proudly; act ostentatiously or pretentiously

Brother Quang says, One cannot justify war unless each side flaunts its own blind conviction.

persuade cause somebody to adopt a certain position, belief, or course of action; twist somebody's arm

Although the line breaks are not shown in the example sentences, keep in mind that the novel is written in short free-verse poems. This can be seen here in the rhythm created by the repetition of words, sounds, and sentence structures.

It’s not easy to persuade Mother to tell of her girlhood in the North, where her grandmother’s land stretched farther than doves could fly, where looking pretty and writing poetry were her only duties.

chide censure severely or angrily

Wish Mother would stop chiding me to stay calm, which makes it worse.

lavender any of various Old World aromatic shrubs or subshrubs with usually mauve or blue flowers; widely cultivated

Mother smells of lavender and warmth

crepe small very thin pancake

The crepe is a reminder of when the French had an empire that included parts of Southeast Asia. But as seen in the example sentence, the Vietnamese have transformed this food of their former colonizer and made it their own with the addition of ingredients native to their land.

Like magic a crepe forms to be filled with shrimp and eaten with cucumber and bean sprouts.

podium a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it

We stand in line; for even longer we sit on hot metal benches facing the podium.

rickety inclined to shake as from weakness or defect

I will not risk fleeing with my children on a rickety boat.

slogan a favorite saying of a sect or political group

The definition gives the word a positive tone, but in the example sentence, "slogan" has a tone of fear, since it connects to the Communists who will teach children to repeat ideas and report on their parents.

Ha will come home chanting the slogans of Ho Chi Minh, and Khoi will be rewarded for reporting to his teacher everything we say in the house.

pact a written agreement between two states or sovereigns

Mother tells me she and Father have a pact.

gaunt very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold

Who can go against a mother who has become gaunt like bark from raising four children alone?

clump a compact mass

Into each pack: one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, three pairs of underwear, two shirts, sandals, toothbrush and paste, soap, ten palms of rice grains, three clumps of cooked rice, one choice.

exposed not covered with clothing

Photographs: every Tet at the zoo, Father in his youth, Mother in her youth, baby pictures, where you can’t tell whose bottom is exposed for all the world to see.

horde a moving crowd

Hordes pour by us, beyond us.

nudge a slight push or shake

In the dark a nudge here a nudge there and we end up back on the first ship in the same spot with two mats.

dogged stubbornly unyielding

meek humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness

bigot a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own

prosecution the institution and conduct of legal proceedings against a defendant for criminal behavior

defendant a person or institution against whom an action is brought in a court of law; the person being sued or accused

cross-examination (law) close questioning of a hostile witness in a court of law to discredit or throw a new light on the testimony already provided in direct examination

abstain choose not to consume

hung jury a jury that is unable to agree on a verdict (the result is a mistrial)

motive the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior

discrepancy a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions

tenement a run-down apartment house barely meeting minimal standards

writhing moving in a twisting or snake-like or wormlike fashion

conceivable capable of being imagined

alibi (law) a defense by an accused person purporting to show that he or she could not have committed the crime in question


Use apostrophes to punctuate possessie nouns correctly

Maintain pronoun-antecedent agreement

Use subject and object pronouns correctly

correct sentence fragments


Correcting run-ons

Pronoun Case with Computnd Objects and Subjects (practice lessons)



Social Studies

 Key Idea: Reconstruction

(Standards: 1, 4, 5; Themes: MOV, SOC, CIV, ECO)

Text: America: History of our Nation-Chapter 16: Reconstruction and the New South

8.1 RECONSTRUCTION: Regional tensions following the Civil War complicated efforts to heal the nation and to redefine the status of African Americans.

(Standards: 1, 4, 5; Themes: MOV, SOC, CIV, ECO)

8.1a Different approaches toward and policies for Reconstruction highlight the challenges faced in reunifying the nation.

Ø   Students will compare and contrast the differences between Reconstruction under Lincoln’s plan, Johnson’s plan, and congressional (Radical) Reconstruction.

8.1b Freed African Americans created new lives for themselves in the absence of slavery. Constitutional amendments and federal legislation sought to expand the rights and protect the citizenship of African Americans.

Ø   Students will examine the Reconstruction amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th) in terms of the rights and protections provided to African Americans.

Ø   Students will examine the Freedmen’s Bureau’s purpose, successes, and the extent of its success.

Ø   Students will examine the impacts of the sharecropping system on African Americans.

Ø   Students will examine the reasons for the migration of African Americans to the North.

Ø   Students will examine the rise of African Americans in government.

8.1c Federal initiatives begun during Reconstruction were challenged on many levels, leading to negative impacts on the lives of African Americans.


Ø   Students will explore methods used by Southern state governments to impact the lives of African Americans, including the passage of Black Codes, poll taxes, and Jim Crow laws.

Ø   Students will explore the response of some Southerners to the increased rights of African Americans noting the development of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and White Leagues.

Ø   Students will examine the ways in which the federal government failed to follow up on its promises to freed African Americans.

Ø   Students will examine the effects of the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling.

Key Idea: Changing Society



Text: History of our Nation- Chapter 17- The West Transformed

8.3a Continued westward expansion contributed to increased conflicts with Native Americans.

Ø   Students will examine the impact of the transcontinental railroad on the movement toward westward expansion.

Ø   Students will examine examples of Native American resistance to the western encroachment including the Sioux Wars and the flight and surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce.

Ø   Students will examine United States and New York State policies toward Native Americans, such as the displacement of Native Americans from traditional lands, creation of reservations, efforts to assimilate Native Americans through the creation of boarding schools, the Dawes Act, and the Indian Reorganization Act and the Native Americans’ various responses to these policies.



Key Idea: A Changing Society

(Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: MOV, SOC, TECH, EXCH)

Text: America: History of our Nation- Chapter 18: Industry and Urban Growth

8.2 A CHANGING SOCIETY: Industrialization and immigration contributed to the urbanization of America. Problems resulting from these changes sparked the Progressive movement and increased calls for reform. (Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: MOV, SOC, TECH, EXCH)

8.2a Technological developments changed the modes of production, and access to natural resources facilitated increased industrialization. The demand for labor in urban industrial areas resulted in increased migration from rural areas and a rapid increase in immigration to the United States. New York City became the nation’s largest city and other New York cities experienced growth at this time.

Ø   Students will identify groups of people who moved into urban areas, and examine where they came from and the reasons for their migration into the cities. Students will explore the immigrant experience at Ellis Island.

Ø   Students will compare and contrast immigrant experiences in locations such as ethnic neighborhoods in cities, rural settlements in the Midwest, Chinese communities in the Far West, and Mexican communities in the Southwest. 

8.2b Population density, diversity, technologies, and industry in urban areas shaped the social, cultural, and economic lives of people.

Ø   Students will examine the population growth of New York City and other New York cities and the technologies and industries which encouraged this growth.

Ø   Students will examine the living conditions in urban areas with a focus on increasing population density and the impact this growth had on the social, cultural, and economic lives of people.

8.2c Increased urbanization and industrialization contributed to increasing conflicts over immigration, influenced changes in labor conditions, and led to political corruption.

Ø   Students will examine nativism and anti-immigration policies including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Gentlemen’s Agreement, and immigration legislation of the 1920s.

Ø   Students will explore the growth and impacts of child labor and sweatshops.

Ø   Students will explore the development of political machines, including Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall.

8.2d In response to shifts in working conditions, laborers organized and employed a variety of strategies in an attempt to improve their conditions.

Ø   Students will examine the goals and tactics of specific labor unions including the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and the International Workers of the World.

Ø   Students will examine key labor events including the Haymarket affair, the Pullman Strike and the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union strike.

Key Idea: A Changing Society

(Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: MOV, SOC, TECH, EXCH)

Text: America: History of our Nation- Chapter 19: Political Reform and the Progressive Era

8.2e Progressive era reformers sought to address political and social issues at the local, state, and federal levels of government between 1890 and 1920. These efforts brought renewed attention to women’s rights and the suffrage movement and spurred the creation of government reform policies.

Ø   Students will examine the Populist Party as a reform effort by farmers in response to industrialization.

Ø   Students will investigate reformers and muckrakers such as Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, W. E. B. du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ida Tarbell, Eugene V. Debs, Jacob Riis, Booker T. Washington, and Upton Sinclair. Student investigations should include the key issues in the individual’s work and the actions that individual took or recommended to address those issues.

Ø   Students will explore leaders and activities of the temperance and woman’s suffrage movements.

Ø   Students will investigate the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the legislative response.

Ø   Students will examine state and federal government responses to reform efforts including the passage of the 17th amendment, child labor and minimum wage laws, antitrust legislation, and food and drug regulations.

Key Idea: Expansion and Imperialism


Text: America: History of our Nation- Chapter 20: The United States Looks Overseas

8.3b The Spanish-American War contributed to the rise of the United States as an imperial power.

Ø   Students will examine examples of yellow journalism that contributed to United States entry into the Spanish-American War, including the portrayal of the sinking of the USS Maine.

Ø   Students will explain how the events and outcomes of the Spanish-American War contributed to the shift to imperialism in United States foreign policy.

8.3c Interest in Pacific trade contributed to an increase in United States foreign interactions.

Ø   Students will assess the events surrounding the annexation of Hawaii.

Ø   Students will examine the purpose and impact of the Open Door Policy.

8.3d The Roosevelt Corollary expanded the Monroe Doctrine and increased United States involvement in the affairs of Latin America. This led to resentment of the United States among many in Latin America.

Ø   Students will evaluate the United States actions taken under the Roosevelt Corollary and their effects on relationships between the United States and Latin American nations, including the building of the Panama Canal.


Key Idea: World War I and the Roaring Twenties

(Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: SOC, GOV, ECO, TECH)

Text:America: History of our Nation- Chapter 21: World War I

8.4 WORLD WAR I AND THE ROARING TWENTIES: Various diplomatic, economic, and ideological factors contributed to the United States decision to enter World War I. Involvement in the war significantly altered the lives of Americans. Postwar America was characterized by economic prosperity, technological innovations, and changes in the workplace.

(Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: SOC, GOV, ECO, TECH)

8.4a European militarism, the alliance system, imperialism, and nationalism were all factors that contributed to the start of World War I.

8.4b International, economic, and military developments swayed opinion in favor of the United States siding with the Allies and entering World War I. Domestic responses to World War I limited civil liberties within the United States.

Ø   Students will examine an overview of the causes of World War I, focusing on the factors leading to United States entry into the war.

Ø   Students will examine examples of war propaganda and its impact on support for United States involvement in the war.

Ø   Students will examine the restrictions placed on citizens after United States entry into the war including the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918).

8.4c New military technologies changed military strategy in World War I and resulted in an unprecedented number of casualties.

Ø   Students will examine impacts of the changes in military technologies used during World War I including trench warfare, chemical weapons, machine guns, and aircraft.

8.4d Following extensive political debate, the United States refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. The United States then sought to return to prewar policies by focusing on domestic rather than international matters.

Ø   Students will examine Wilson’s Fourteen Points and investigate reasons why the United States Senate refused to support the Treaty of Versailles, focusing on opposition to the League of Nations.

 Key Idea: World War I and the Roaring Twenties

(Standards: 1, 2, 4; Themes: SOC, GOV, ECO, TECH)

Text:America: History of our Nation- Chapter 22: The Roaring Twenties

8.4e After World War I, the United States entered a period of economic prosperity and cultural change. This period is known as the Roaring Twenties. During this time, new opportunities for women were gained, and African Americans engaged in various efforts to distinguish themselves and celebrate their culture.

Ø   Students will investigate the efforts of women suffragists and explain the historical significance of the 19th amendment.

Ø   Students will examine the reasons for and impact of prohibition on American society.

Ø   Students will examine examples of World War I and postwar race relations such as the East St. Louis riots, the Silent March, and the Tulsa riots.

Ø   Students will explore the changes in American culture after World War I, including an examination of the Harlem Renaissance and other changes in New York City.

Key Idea: Great Depression

(Standards: 1, 3, 5; Themes: TCC, SOC, GOV, ECO)

Text: America: History of our Nation- Chapter 23: The Great Depression and teh New Deal

8.5 GREAT DEPRESSION: Economic and environmental disasters in the 1930s created hardships for many Americans. Amidst much debate about the appropriate role of government, President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped to create intensive government interventions in the United States economy and society.

(Standards: 1, 3, 5; Themes: TCC, SOC, GOV, ECO)

8.5a Risky investing, protectionism, and overproduction led to the collapse of the stock market, a wave of bank failures, and a long and severe downturn in the economy called the Great Depression.

Ø   Students will examine how the economic practices of the 1920s contributed to the coming of the Great Depression.

8.5b The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl affected American businesses and families.

Ø   Students will examine the effects of the Great Depression on American families in terms of the loss of jobs, wealth, and homes, noting varying impacts based on class, race, and gender. Students will explore the conditions in New York City and other communities within New York State during the Great Depression.

Ø   Students will explore the man-made and environmental conditions that led to the Dust Bowl, the economic as well as cultural consequences of the Dust Bowl, and federal government efforts to address the problem.

8.5c President Roosevelt issued the New Deal in an attempt to revive the economy and help Americans deal with the hardships of the Great Depression. These New Deal reforms had a long-lasting effect on the role of government in American society and its economic life, but did not resolve all of the hardships Americans faced.

Ø   Students will identify key programs adopted under the New Deal and including the creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the adoption of the Social Security Act.



Mentor Texts

The Bamboo Trap by Robert s. Lemmon
Leiningen Versus The Ants by Carl Stephenson
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
The Interlopers by Saki
The Adventure of the Dancing Men by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
Rescue Party by Arthur C. Clarke
August Heat by W.F. Harvey

Arthur Brice, "Children of War," Scholastic, March 1994

Fox Butterfield, "Panic Rises in Saigon, but the Exits are Few," New York Times, April 1975.

Joseph Shapiro and Sandra Bartlett, "Forgotten Ship: A Daring Rescue as Saigon Fell," transcript, National Public Radio, August 31, 2010.

Tod Olson, "The Vietnam Wars," Scholastic, February 24, 1995, 16-20

Inside Out and Back Again

The  Ransom of Red Chief

The Tell Tale Heart



It's a Wonderful Life


The relevant provisions in the Constitution of the United States can be found at:

Twelve Angry Men


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