Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the stories of young refugees from different time periods, all of whom face unthinkable hardships as they desperately seek safety.
There are seventy million people in the world today who have fled their homes due to the threat of violence or persecution. They are young children and adults and the elderly. Most are struggling to survive; all are desperately seeking safety and stability.
This final ELA unit of the 6th grade year introduces students to their plight.
Students will begin the unit by reading The Unwanted, a nonfiction graphic novel by Don Brown that focuses on the experience of Syrian refugees. This compelling book uses text and images to educate the reader about both the political complexities of this crisis and also the human toll. Students will build their schema around this pressing and timely issue before diving into Refugee by Alan Gratz. This bestselling novel tells the story of Isabel, Josef, and Mahmoud, three young refugees from three time periods, as they flee their respective homelands in search of safety. This text will continue students’ year-long interrogation of what it means to “come of age” by analyzing how characters change over the course of the text in response to events (and particularly traumatic events). As he alternates between each refugee’s story, Gratz draws the reader’s attention to the unique challenges each faces, all while deftly weaving their stories together across time.
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Website: How to Read Comics by Tracy Edmunds (TracyEdmunds.com)
Article: “Refugee” by Diane Boudreau, Melissa McDaniel, Erin Sprout, Andrew Turgeon (National Geographic)
This assessment accompanies Unit 5 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
dignity eternity flee hostile idolize inferior odyssey pandemonium persecute peril refugee resentment somber
anecdote author's purpose author's perspective/point of view coming of age figurative language free verse frame graphic novel gutter imagery mood narrative box panel point of view/perspective splash page speech bubble structure statistic thematic topic theme tone
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 6th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
“Refugee” — stop before "Environmental Refugees"
Define important terms related to this unit and determine the technical meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues and reference texts.
The Unwanted pp. 1 – 19
How to Read Comics
Define significant terms essential for understanding graphic novels, and explain how Brown uses text and illustrations to develop the reader’s understanding of the conflict in Syria.
The Unwanted pp. 20 – 45
Explain how Brown uses words and images to develop mood, tone, and meaning.
The Unwanted pp. 46 – 67
Describe different challenges that refugees face and explain how Brown develops the reader’s understanding of this topic through data, anecdotes, quotes, and illustrations.
The Unwanted pp. 68 – 90
Determine author Don Brown’s point of view on the world’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis and his purpose in writing The Unwanted.
Refugee pp. 1 – 17
Describe the narrative structure of Refugee and explain how the first three chapters develop aspects of characters, setting, and plot.
Refugee pp. 18 – 48
Explain how Gratz uses figurative language, word choice, and punctuation to help develop mood and meaning.
Refugee pp. 49 – 80
Explain how characters respond to the difficult situations they face and how they have changed since the beginning of the text.
Refugee pp. 81 – 109
Explain how characters respond to and change as a result of specific plot events, and identify how their responses reveal their perspective.
Refugee pp. 110 – 140
Explain how Refugee can be considered a “coming-of-age” novel and describe how each of the three protagonists are changing as the text progresses.
Refugee pp. 141 – 170
Explain how Gratz uses figurative language and imagery to help develop mood and meaning.
Perform a Close Reading of the text using inference and evidence.
Refugee pp. 171 – 202
Explain how Gratz makes connections between the stories of the three young refugees.
Refugee pp. 203 – 235
Explain how characters in Refugee respond to and change as a result of specific plot events and identify how their responses reveal their perspective.
Refugee pp. 236 – 262
Explain how characters in Refugee respond differently to specific plot events, and how their responses reveal their perspective.
Refugee pp. 263 – 291
Explain how and why characters in Refugee respond to specific plot events, and how their responses reveal their perspective.
Refugee pp. 292 – 317
Describe how characters’ perspectives have changed by the end of the text and explain how Gratz makes connections between the book’s three protagonists.
Determine themes in Refugee and explain how they are developed through the stories of specific characters.
Engage in a Socratic Seminar with peers, responding directly to others by rephrasing and delineating arguments and posing clarifying questions.
Begin to gather information for their presentations from provided resources and those they have found online, differentiating between credible and non-credible sources.
Evaluate and compile research information into a digital presentation.
Logically organize the information in presentations, including all required components, and appropriately cite sources.
Present digital presentations using appropriate volume, eye contact, emphasis, and pronunciation.
Plan and outline a free verse poem that explores the experiences of a displaced family.