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Zapato Power

Students continue to build reading and writing skills by engaging with the beginning chapter book series Zapato Power.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in December 2020. Some texts, materials, and questions may have changed as part of the revision. If you are looking for the 2019 version of this unit, visit our archives.

In this unit, students continue to explore the characteristics of chapter books by reading and engaging with the beginning chapter book series, Zapato Power. Building off of what students learned in Unit 3: Pinky and Rex, students will explore what it means for two people to be friends and how friends are able to help each other by examining the somewhat unusual friendship between Freddie and Mr. Vaslov, an older man who lives and works in Freddie’s apartment building. Over the course of the unit, students will also be challenged to think about what it means to be a superhero and the differences between using “super” powers and brain power to solve problems. It is important to note that these books are part of a beginning chapter book series; therefore, there are aspects of the plot that are less developed or not as powerful as other books that students read in the progression. The chapter book series does, however, introduce students to a male Latinx protagonist, something that is often missing from children’s literature and helps students explore similar themes and topics from other units with texts that are accessible. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units from the sequence, will set students up for success in reading and understanding longer chapter books.

This unit should be done predominantly as shared or independent reading; therefore, this unit gives students a chance to practice the reading skills they have developed in previous units. Similar to Pinky and Rex, students will be challenged to think about how authors develop characters over the course of a single text and how that understanding builds as they read more books in a series about the same characters. Students will focus on character motivation and what motivates both of the main characters, Freddie and Mr. Vaslov. Students will also begin to notice the different types of descriptive language authors include—specifically figurative language—and how descriptive language helps a reader better visualize the story and bring it to life. Finally, students will begin to notice how chapter titles are a clue for what is important in a chapter and can be used to guide retells and summaries of the key events within a chapter.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • Can people of different ages be friends? Why or why not?

Yes, people of different ages can be friends. Even if they are not the same age, young and old people can accept and support each other. Mr. Vaslov creates the Zapato Power shoes for Freddie because he likes him and can see that he needs some support. Freddie helps Mr. Vaslov when he is stuck on the roof of the building and promises to take care of Starwood Park when he is recovering. It is not the same kind of friendship that two young people might have, but that does not mean it is not important and helpful.

  • What is more important: brain power or superpower? Why?

They are both important, but at different times. Sometimes it is more effective to use your brain power. Often, you have to think deeply to solve a problem. Freddie had to think about where the beach ball might be. If he had not done that, he would not have been able to use his superpower to reach it! Also, Freddie needed to think about the “POOPEE” mystery before solving it. His super speed would not have “caught” the suspect. He had to put clues together in order to figure it out. However, sometimes superpower is important because it can help people who are in danger. Freddie used his Zapato Power to save both Gio and his puppy from running into the street and getting hurt. Superpower and brain power help you at different times for different reasons.

Foundational Skills

  • Use proper intonation to show interpretation of the text.
  • Read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage.

The main focus of this unit is on reading with expression, particularly character dialogue, in order to show understanding of the text. In both core texts, the character dialogue reveals a lot about a character’s motivation, feelings, and perspective; therefore, a large focus of this unit should be on including opportunities for students to practice rereading dialogue with intonation, expression, and volume to match interpretation of the passage.

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Use subordinating conjunctions to write more interesting and complex sentences.

In this unit, students will learn to begin sentences with subordinating conjunctions.

Practicing subordinating conjunctions promotes the use of complex sentences, enables students to vary sentence types, and even improves reading comprehension. When students learn to use this kind of syntax in their writing, they are better able to read and understand complex texts. Learning to write with subordinating conjunctions will help students craft strong topic and/or concluding sentences as they begin to write paragraphs.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm a focused narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Use precise verbs and adverbs to describe a character's actions.

Narrative writing in this unit builds on to work done in Unit 2. At the end of the unit, students will brainstorm and write their own narratives with a focus on using precise verbs and adverbs to describe a character’s actions.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

chuckled clinging controls concentrate confess dashed developing excuse groaned gulped hollared inventor investigate pouted protested puzzled resist snooping suspicious wailed whined

Root/Affix

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Related Teacher Tools:

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Explain that friendships come in many different forms.
  • Explain that friends help one another solve problems and help each other explore things they are interested in.
  • Explain that brain power is sometimes more important—and effective—than superpower.

Lesson Map

1

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 1

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain how Freddie feels about the shoes by using details from the text to describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

2

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.4

    RF.2.4

Identify and explain the descriptive language the author uses to describe the shoes by describing how words and phrases supply meaning to a story.

3

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 3

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is titled, “The Mysteries Begin” by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

4

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 4

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is titled, “A Pretty Regular Night for a Superhero” by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

5

    L.2.1.f

Use subordinating conjunctions to write more interesting and complex sentences.

6

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 5

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.4

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain if Freddie is a superhero by using details to retell how characters respond to major events and challenges.

7

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 6

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is called, "Poopee Isn't Good for Starwood Park" by using details to retell how characters respond to major events and challenges.

8

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 7

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain if Freddie’s actions make him a superhero by using details to retell how characters respond to major events and challenges.

9

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off — Chapter 8

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is titled, “I Solve the Final Mystery” by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

10

    L.2.1.f

Use subordinating conjunctions to write more interesting and complex sentences.

11

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.6

    L.2.6

Describe Freddie and Mr. Vaslov and how they respond to key events by preparing for and participating in a class discussion using evidence from the entire text.

12

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 1

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain how Freddie Ramos shows confidence by using details to describe characters and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

13

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapters 2-3

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain how Freddie’s feelings about his shoes have changed and why by using details to describe characters and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

14

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 4

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.6

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is titled, “Inventions Take Time” by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

15

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 5

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain if Freddie should have taken the wristband and why by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

16

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 6

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain how what others think of him influences how Freddie behaves by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

17

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 7

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Defend if Freddie is a superhero by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

18

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action — Chapter 8

    RL.2.3

    RF.2.4

Explain why the chapter is titled, “An Extra Button” by using details to retell key events and how characters respond to major events and challenges.

19

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.6

    L.2.6

Describe Freddie and Mr. Vaslov and what motivates them both by preparing for and participating in a class discussion using evidence from the entire text.

20

  • Freddie Ramos Springs Into Action

  • Freddie Ramos Takes Off

    W.2.3

    W.2.5

    L.2.1.e

Write a story describing how you use a superpower by writing a narrative that includes details that describe actions, thoughts, and feelings.

21

Assessment

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.1.e — Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

  • L.2.1.f — Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.2.5 — Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.2.2 — Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

  • RL.2.3 — Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

  • RL.2.4 — Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

  • RL.2.5 — Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

  • RL.2.6 — Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

  • RL.2.10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.2 — Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.3 — Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

  • W.2.5 — With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

  • W.2.8 — Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.