Exploring Human Rights: The Breadwinner

Students explore the Taliban's influence on the Middle East through the lens of human rights in the book The Breadwinner, and practice narrative writing by rewriting scenes from other point of views.

Unit Summary

In this unit students explore the Taliban influence on the Middle East through the eyes of multiple young women. In the core text, The Breadwinner, students experience how the Taliban presence in Afghanistan drastically altered Parvana and her family’s life. Students will be challenged to think about what constitutes basic human rights and the way in which the Taliban violated the human rights of many Afghanistan citizens. Students will also be challenged to think about women’s rights, especially in regard to education and freedom, and how both were constantly at risk under Taliban rule. Finally, students will realize that a positive attitude, dedication to family, and drive to be self-reliant can help people survive, and thrive, in the worst of situations. In the second part of the unit, students read about the experiences of real children living in Afghanistan after the Taliban left. Through those experiences, students explore how education and women’s rights are still restricted in Afghanistan and grapple with what it will take to create a society where women have access to the same basic freedoms as men. In the last part of the unit, students meet Malala Yousafzai and analyze how her positive attitude and drive help her fight for women’s rights in Pakistan despite facing incredible challenges and threats. Over the course of the entire unit, it is our hope that students will build a deeper understanding of the importance of women’s rights and access to education around the world, particularly in the Middle East. 

As readers, this unit builds onto unit one by pushing students to compare and contrast characters and analyze character point of view at an even deeper level. Students will be challenged to close read the text, make accurate annotations, and quote accurately in order to develop theories about key characters in and across texts. In this unit, students will also begin to use informational texts, particularly memories and first-person accounts, to help build a deeper understanding of fiction texts. The focus for informational reading is similar to the focus for fiction, and students will analyze how the point of view influences the way in which events are described.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books, 2015)    —  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.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • How can family relationships and dynamics influence a person's actions? 
  • How did the Taliban regime impact life for residents of Kabul? 
  • Feminism advocates for women's rights and equality of the sexes. What can be done to improve women's rights and equality in both Afghanistan and Pakistan? 
  • How can one person impact a community? 

Vocabulary

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Text-based

anxious brutality ceased civilians corruption cower decency decreed defy depressed deprived forbade haven ignorant illiteracy immune impoverished insanity intimidate invasion menacingly obscenity refuge refugee relented resentful restrictive sensible smuggle sulking vital vulgarity

Root/Affix

-ful -ible -ous -tion ill- im-

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 5th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Lesson Map

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Assessment

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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L.5.1

L.5.1.a

L.5.1.c

L.5.1.d

L.5.2

L.5.2.b

L.5.2.c

L.5.3.b

RI.5.3

RI.5.6

RI.5.9

RL.5.2

RL.5.3

RL.5.5

RL.5.6

RL.5.9

SL.5.1

SL.5.1.a

SL.5.1.b

SL.5.2

SL.5.6

W.5.1

W.5.1.a

W.5.1.c

W.5.1.d

W.5.3

W.5.3.a

W.5.3.b

W.5.3.d

W.5.9

Spiral Standards

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L.5.4

L.5.4.b

L.5.5

L.5.6

RF.5.3

RF.5.4

RL.5.1

RL.5.10

RL.5.4

W.5.10

W.5.4

W.5.5

W.5.6