Building Community: Seedfolks

Students explore the theme of community through the book Seedfolks, wrestling with how prejudice and racism impact the way people treat each other and the ways in which that can influence a community.

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ELA

Unit 1

5th Grade

Unit Summary


This unit serves as a launch to fifth grade literature. By reading the core text, Seedfolks, students will explore what it means to be part of a community and how the actions of one person can positively impact an entire community. Students will grapple with how being part of a community can help a person change and evolve as they discover new things about themselves. Students will also wrestle with how prejudice and racism impact the way people treat each other and the ways in which both can influence an entire community. It is our hope that this unit helps establish a strong classroom community and that the characters in Seedfolks can serve as a model for how people from all walks of life can come together to be part of a strong, productive community. 

The text Seedfolks was chosen not only because of its portrayal of the power of community, but also because of the unique structure of the text. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view and shows how as the garden grows, the character’s hearts grow bigger and their worldview and compassion grow. The structure of the text allows for students to begin exploring two key fifth grade standards, comparing and contrasting two or more characters and describing how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described. Since this is the first unit of the year, an underlying focus of the unit should also be on establishing expectations for annotation, discussion, and vocabulary.

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Texts and Materials


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Core Materials

  • Book: Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (Harper Trophy, 2004)   —  710L

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 can one person impact a community?
  • In what ways can prejudice impact the way people treat one another? 
  • What steps can be taken to overcome prejudice? 

Vocabulary

Text-based

abandoned coincidence community entranced exceptions foes gestures haphazard influence paradise protective thrive transform vacant vow wilt

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 5th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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

The chapter Marciela is skipped due to the sensitive content included in the chapter. The unit focuses on how one person can impact a community and the ways in which prejudice can impact the way people treat one another. The events and content included in this chapter are not necessary for understanding the unit essential questions and are distracting to the overall learning goals of the unit. The main character of the chapter, Marciela, grapples with how she wishes she would miscarry, and while Leona helps her begin to see why she would want to keep her baby, the complexity of grappling with wanting vs. not wanting a pregnancy is complex for a 5th grader and not needed to understand the plot. Therefore, the Fishtank plans skip this chapter. 

We recommend naming to students that you are skipping this chapter, but also naming that readers often do this. We suggest telling students that there are a variety of reasons why readers may skip sections of a text. One reason is there may be content in the text that is inappropriate (in this case it is Marciela's internal struggles surrounding her pregnancy, but with other texts, this could be things that are triggering or scary). Another reason is that there may be sections of the text that provide context that is unnecessary for understanding the plot and can be skipped in order to finish the book faster (readers will encounter this in Return to Sender when the teacher summarizes sections of the text to help with pacing). Another reason is that depending on when a text was written there may be sections of the text that are outdated or offensive (sometimes if it fits the goals of the unit, students may analyze these sections of text, but if not, they will skip them). If you have other personal examples or reasons for why you may skip sections of a text, we recommend sharing them with students. That way students see this as something that is common as a reader.

If you decide to include the chapter on Marciela, we encourage you to provide additional support to students to ensure that they are able to process the content of the chapter. 

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

L.5.1
L.5.1.a
L.5.2
L.5.2.e
L.5.3.b
RL.5.2
RL.5.3
RL.5.5
RL.5.6
SL.5.1
SL.5.1.a
SL.5.1.b
SL.5.6
W.5.1
W.5.1.a
W.5.1.c
W.5.1.d
W.5.3

Supporting Standards

L.5.4
L.5.4.b
L.5.5.a
L.5.6
RF.5.3
RF.5.4
RL.5.1
RL.5.4
RL.5.10
W.5.4
W.5.5
W.5.9.a
W.5.10
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Unit 2

Exploring Human Rights: The Breadwinner

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