Finding Fortune: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By reading and discussing Grace Lin's novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, students explore what it means to have good fortune and how families shape a person’s identity, values, and beliefs.



Unit 1

4th Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students dig deeply into how families shape a person’s identity, values, and beliefs and how relationships with others can change a person’s identity. Students also explore what it means to have good fortune and how a person’s view on fortune varies depending on his/her values and beliefs. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units from the entire year-long sequence, will help build a deeper understanding of how we become who we are and the positive and negative factors that influence us along the way. 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen as an engaging text to help build excitement at the beginning of the year, while simultaneously allowing for deep discussions about character, setting, vocabulary, and the larger theme of identity. Over the course of the novel, the author, Grace Lin, includes lots of detail and description to reveal information about characters and how they change based on experiences and relationships. Students will be challenged to notice the details that Grace Lin includes and analyze how the details build to support a deeper, more nuanced understanding of characters. Grace Lin also includes lots of powerful vocabulary and figurative language as a way of helping readers visualize exactly what is happening in the story. Students will be challenged to figure out the meaning of unknown words and figurative language and analyze why the author made particular word choices. 

In this unit students will also begin to use summarization as a strategy to track the plot of a longer text. In this unit students continue to work on sharing their ideas through discourse, focusing on how to provide evidence and examples to justify a particular idea or point. Being able to clearly articulate and support their own ideas sets students up for success in later units when they begin to build on to and critique the ideas of their classmates.

Students continue to build their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the text, learn to brainstorm, and write literary analysis/opinion paragraphs, focusing on how to write topic sentences that state an opinion and then how to determine evidence and reasons that support the opinion. Work done in this unit serves as the foundation for literary analysis and paragraph writing in later units. The unit culminates by having students write a narrative, using the mentor text and strategies from previous units as a guide. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials


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

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

  • How are people transformed through their relationships with others?
  • What does it mean to have good fortune?

Reading Focus Areas

  • To describe a character in depth, readers must notice a character’s thoughts, actions, relationships, perspectives, and conflicts.

  • Characters can change over the course of a story based on their relationships with others, key conflicts, or lessons learned.

  • Summarizing is used to recap or recall key information in a story.

Writing Focus Areas

Opinion Writing

  • Use single-paragraph outlines to brainstorm cohesive paragraphs.

  • Write strong topic sentences that clearly state an opinion.

  • Provide reasons and evidence to support a particular opinion.

  • Elaborate on the reasons to show understanding of the text and topic.

Narrative Writing

  • Use relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations.

  • Brainstorm and draft a story with a logical sequence of events that unfolds naturally.

  • Use dialogue and description to show a character's response to events.

  • Use different strategies to start a story.

  • Use figurative language and precise words to elaborate on events.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Elaborate to support ideas. Provide evidence or examples to justify and defend a point clearly.

  • Use specific vocabulary. Use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share thoughts.



affectionately agitated appalled ashamed astonished attain awed bitterness brutal cherished contentedly content despair delightful deceive destined discontent dire discomfort eagerly enviously engrossed enraged envy enthralled expectantly fatigue forbidding fruitless gaped grueling guardian hesitate humbly impractical impulsive inquiry intent inexplicably joyous malicious misfortune obedient outraged outwit peculiar protest reveal resentfully resentment sacrifice scold scrutinizing stubborn taunted tormented tragedy urge vaguely viciousness weariness winced worthless


-ful -less -ness dis- im- in- mis- un-

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, 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.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards


Unit 2

Preparing for the Worst: Natural Disasters

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