Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Students read about and discuss United States history, from slavery to the civil rights movement, grappling with the discrimination and broken promises that African Americans faced.

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ELA

Unit 5

4th Grade

Unit Summary


In this unit, students learn about United States history by reading the core text, Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans, and excerpts from Let It Shine: Stories of Black Freedom Fighters and Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. Throughout the unit, students grapple with the discrimination and broken promises African Americans faced, paired with the endless determination and perseverance that fueled countless triumphs to overcome unfair and unjust treatment. Through a study of slavery up through the civil rights movement, students will be challenged to think critically about different events, influential people, and how they have had a lasting impact on the America we know today. This is incredibly important for helping students not only understand America’s past, but also to understand the realities of America’s present. It is our goal that this unit, combined with others in the curriculum, will inspire a passion within students to stand up for what is right and to fight for civil rights in order to attain equality and justice for all human beings, regardless of race. The goal of this unit is not depth; rather, the focus is more on exposure and building student understanding of the history behind the civil rights movement while simultaneously building a sense of empowerment and empathy. In fifth grade, students will study the civil rights movement in depth, learning about a wider variety of influential leaders, groups, and events, especially those in which youth advocacy and fight inspired and drove change. It is our hope that the combination of both units will equip students with the tools necessary to begin to challenge injustice in their own lives.

The unit requires students to deeply analyze a text to see how an author develops different ideas and points using vivid evidence in both the text and illustrations. Students will analyze author’s word choice, the different details an author includes, and the way in which an author presents information in order to build a deeper understanding of the time period and the text. Students will also be challenged to carry information across multiple texts in order to build a deeper understanding of content and themes.

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Texts and Materials


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Core Materials

Supporting Materials

Assessment


These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.

Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:

Unit Prep


Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

To learn more about how to prepare a unit, internalize a lesson, and understand the different components of a Fishtank ELA lesson, visit our Preparing to Teach Fishtank ELA Teacher Tool.

Essential Questions

  •  
  • How have racist ideas and racism shaped United States history and policies?
  • What are some of the key events in United States history since the 1600s? How did each event impact life for African Americans? 
  • How can courageous individuals create and drive change?
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Vocabulary

Text-based

abolitionist abolish affairs ancestry apprehensive assassinated banned boycott contradict condemn confederacy conviction cringe cultivate debts degrading deserted despite defiance distinction dreaded drafted ease eavesdropping embrace enslaved endure enraged enacted expose flee fugitive gossip guidance harassed illiterate import invading intolerance innovation integrating justify kin longed lynching overseer persisted practical prejudice privilege reconstruction reputation resist scolded slavery superior sympathy taunt tension tense union vowed

Idiom/Cultural Reference

"boiling point" "back on feet" "fruits of labor" "in the limelight" "swallow your pride"

Root/Affix

-ist -sion en- ill- in- re-

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

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 for Teachers

Prior to teaching the unit, we recommend teachers build their own knowledge and understanding of the key understandings of the unit. To do so, we recommend the following resources: 

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

RI.4.3
RI.4.5
RI.4.6
RI.4.7
RI.4.8
RI.4.9
RL.4.3
SL.4.1
SL.4.4
SL.4.5
W.4.1
W.4.2
W.4.2.a
W.4.2.b
W.4.2.c
W.4.2.d
W.4.2.e
W.4.7
W.4.8
W.4.9

Supporting Standards

L.4.1
L.4.2
L.4.3
L.4.4
L.4.4.b
L.4.5
L.4.6
RF.4.3
RF.4.4
RI.4.1
RI.4.4
RI.4.10
W.4.4
W.4.5
W.4.6
W.4.10
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Unit 4

Preparing for the Worst: Natural Disasters

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