For this assignment a Literature Unit on Short stories for a 6th-7th grade combined classroom has been chosen. The purpose of 6th and 7th grade literature is to introduce and study various genres of literature, literary devices, and analytical techniques challenging students to develop advance literary skills including the ability to think critically about what they read and to develop advanced composition skills. Through this unit, students will examine fundamentals of literature through short stories, drama, and poetry from their classroom text and outside sources.
The challenge in teaching literature to a 6th/7th combined class is the range of cognitive ability and relative experience with critical thinking found among the students. This challenge can be addressed by careful observation and evaluation of the student's abilities. One approach would be to begin the year by offering all students the same text, since their reading ability will present a more narrow ability range and the same written assignment However, over time, assessment of the students' abilities should be carefully established to discover which students show the ability to tackle assignments that are more challenging. For these students additional reading could be assigned, greater length and depth of written assignments could be expected, and they could be appointed to leadership roles in the classroom. A formal grouping could be made, such as "Group A" and "Group B," or something more creative and non-competitive such as "The Stars" and "The Suns." Designation to these groups may or may not follow traditional class/age divisions. Furthermore, different groupings may occur for various subjects. For example, a sixth grade one student may be in the "A" for Language Arts, and the "B: group for math. In this way, the students are evaluated by ability and not by strict age guidelines.
An additional challenge is found in difference of social needs between sixth and seventh graders. 6th graders tend to be more docile to teacher lead instructions, while 7th graders tend to be more influenced by their peers. In this regard, a combined class can be very beneficial to students at this transitional stage of development. Combined discussion and literature-related activities can help students find a balance between adult and peer interaction.
The illustrated Language Arts unit outlined below covers eight 45 minute classes, intended to be taught over a two-week period, and is integrated for 6th/7th grade classroom. The chosen topic of this unit is "Short Stories and Poems by Rudyard Kipling." The unit offers material for literacy in literature, reading, comprehension, and creative writing.
Color Key .
Lessons in Literature: Short Stories and Poems by Rudyard Kipling
First Class: Literature Reading and Discussion
What is Literature?
The word "literature" is from a Latin word that means "to be acquainted with letters"
Setting: A description or explanation of the time and place of the work.
-- the "place" of a literary work may be rural, or urban. It may be the living room of a mansion, or an alley behind a convenience store.
-- the "time" of a literary work is the period when the events took place.
Character: An explanation of each character in the story through their traits.
A character is revealed through the author's description of Appearance: How a person is dressed, how they stand, or expressions on their face tell the reader important things about the character. What might a hole in the character's sweater tell us?
Actions: This is the most important trait of a character. Often a person is best described by what they do. Through a character's actions, a reader learns whether the character is kind, arrogant, compassionate, etc.
Thoughts: The character's thoughts help a reader to understand the motivation for their actions. They can reveal an attitude contrary to their actions, which reveal an inner conflict.
Speech: This trait refers to the words that character chooses and the way that they speak. For example, if a character uses terminology that seems intellectual, a reader may form the opinion that the character is educated.
Character's opinions: The author may use other characters in the story to reveal a character. For example, when "Bob" thinks about his beautiful wife, it helps to characterize his wife as beautiful.
Plot: The action or events that take place over time within a story. Plot includes the actions that occur to reveal the conflict of the story, as well as the climax, and the resolution of the conflict.
Climax: Besides the introduction of the conflict, the plot includes a climax where the story reaches a critical, or turning point. From this point, the action in the story moves toward a resolution of the conflict.
Conflict: A conflict is a problem or dilemma felt by one or more of the characters.
A conflict may be external:
Person vs. Person (Ariel the Mermaid vs. Ursula the Sea Witch)
Person vs. Nature (A sailor trying to cross the stormy ocean)
Person vs. Fate (A slave trying to escape slavery)
Person vs. Machine (A person who tries to fix a car that doesn't want to work)
A conflict may be internal:
Person vs. themselves (A person overcoming fear. Luke Skywalker must trust his instincts and believe in the Force) This kind of conflict is discussed more often than an external conflict.
Second Class: Literature Reading and Discussion
Intro to Short Stories (define new words on the board)
short- shorter than a novel work of fiction usually written in prose
often in narrative format includes a wide range of genres and styles