Unit 4: Movements for Equality
Students learn about the concepts of fairness and justice and people who worked to overcome injustice, while developing informational reading strategies for reading narrative nonfiction texts.
In this unit, students explore the concepts of fairness and justice by learning about many of the equal rights movements that have happened in the United States. Over the course of the unit, students study the fight for women’s rights, the civil rights movement, the fight for labor and workers’ rights, the LGBTQ+ movement, the disability rights movement, and the Indigenous Water Protectors movement. With each movement, students read biographies of people who are not in positions of power and analyze how they were able to fight for justice, equity, and change. This unit builds on work done in Kindergarten Unit 6, “What is Justice?” and pushes students to build a deeper understanding of discrimination, justice, and action beyond just the civil rights movement.
As readers, students continue to think about how details are connected. Students explore how one person can influence others in various ways, noticing the connections between people and events. Students also continue to think about the specific reasons authors include in the text and illustrations to help support ideas about the different movements for equality. When discussing the text, students continue to work on engaging with the thinking of others. Students continue to focus on building on others’ talk in conversations, with an emphasis on carrying conversations through multiple exchanges.
As writers, students continue to build their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question using a variety of simple and complex sentences. In this unit, students also learn how to brainstorm and craft paragraphs when writing either informational or opinion writing pieces using a single-paragraph outline. Over the course of the unit, students have multiple opportunities to craft opinion paragraphs that state an opinion, include two to three reasons, and provide a sense of closure about the content of the unit. The unit culminates with students continuing to solidify their research skills by conducting research on one of the people they read and learned about in the unit and writing a final informational piece.
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Book: Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Square Fish; 1 Reprint edition, 2010)
Book: She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Laura Freeman (Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition, 2010)
Book: Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison (HMH Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2018)
Book: Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-ins by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and illustrated by Jade Johnson (Seagrass Press; Illustrated edition, 2018)
Book: Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Random House Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2019)
Book: Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno (Random House Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2018)
Book: All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Nabi Ali (Sourcebooks Explore; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls (Random House Children's Books, 2015)
Book: A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien (HMH Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2014)
Book: !Sí, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn and illustrated by Francisco Delgado (Cinco Puntos Press; illustrated edition, 2005)
Book: Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Balzar + Bray; First Edition edition, 2013)
Book: We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaele Goade (Roaring Brook Press; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson (Second Story Press, 2017)
Book: Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock by Aslan Tudor, Kelly Tudor, and Jason Eaglespeaker (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018)
Assessment Text: “Follow The Moon Home” by Phillippe Cousteau; Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Meilo So (Chronicle Books)
These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
To understand events in a text, readers think about how details are connected.
Authors include specific reasons in the text and illustrations to support points in a text.
Write simple and complex sentences.
Use frequently occurring conjunctions “because,” “but,” and “so”.
Name a topic.
Supply facts about the topic.
State an opinion.
Include two to three reasons to support the opinion.
Provide a sense of closure.
Build on others' talk in conversation by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
Use specific vocabulary. Use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share their thoughts.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 4, view our 1st Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
This unit is built around Learning for Justice’s Social Justice Standards. In particular, students build a deeper understanding of the following K-2 Standards:
By the end of the unit, students should be able to articulate the following key knowledge:
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Notes to help teachers prepare for this specific unit
Explain why Elizabeth was bold and unstoppable.
Analyze and explain why Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer.
Analyze what Kamala was passionate about as a child and what it shows about her.
Explain why the author titles the book Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice.
Discussion & Writing – 2 days
Write an opinion piece explaining how the world would be different if the women had not fought for women’s rights.
Identify Clara Luper’s four steps for nonviolence and explain why each step is important.
Describe Clara Luper and her students.
Explain how the actions of the four friends influenced others.
Analyze what we can learn from the children who marched in the Birmingham Children’s Crusade.
Defend if a young person can or cannot be an activist.
Explain how Clara proved that she had grit.
Explain the role that Carlitos and his mama played in the Justice for Janitors movement.
Write a letter to Clara Lemlich or Carlitos explaining why they appreciate them.
Explain why the Stonewall Inn is an important part of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Determine why Harvey Milk was an influential part of the LGBTQ right’s movement.
Explain what the LGBTQ+ flag represents and why it is important.
Analyze how and why Jennifer participated in the disability rights movement.
Defend why Alan was thankful for his stutter and how it helped him find his passion.
Defend how Emmanuel shows that being disabled does not mean being unable.
Create a poster to educate the school community about the disability rights movement.
Explain what message Nokomis and the Mother Earth Walkers were trying to spread and what we can learn from them.
Explain why the author titles the book We Are Water Protectors.
Explain how the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fought for justice.
Write a paragraph explaining what steps you can take to be a water protector in your own community.
Discuss unit Essential Questions.
Writing – 2 days
Edit and publish a piece of writing from earlier in the unit. Share and present writing with classmates and school community members.
Informative Writing – 4 days
Write a research report on one of the people you read about in the unit.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
— Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
— Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their; anyone, everything).
— Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
— Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Capitalize dates and names of people.
— Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
— Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
— Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
— Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
— Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
— Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups
— Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.
— Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
— Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
— With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
— With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
— Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of "how-to" books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).
— With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
— With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
— Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
— Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
— With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.
— Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
— Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
— Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
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