Longing to Belong: Poems, Essays, and Short Stories

Students explore the different ways individuals develop a sense of belonging through a variety of voices, texts, and genres.

icon/ela/white

ELA

Unit 1

7th Grade

Unit Summary


As teenagers become more aware of the world around them, they feel an innate need to belong. In this 7th grade unit, students will explore what it means to belong. The unit will delve into the science behind the universal human need to belong, allowing students to reflect on their own experiences and understand the importance of relationships and connections. Students will also explore what it means to belong to a culture or community through the experiences of teenagers, both fictional and real, in poems, short stories, and essays. Through engaging with diverse literary works, like poems and short stories, they will see examples of teenagers who are discovering what makes them unique and how their individual identities contribute to a larger collective. By the end of this unit, students will not only have a deeper understanding of what it means to belong but also a newfound appreciation for the richness that comes from embracing diversity and individuality within a community.

Please Note: This is a new Unit 1 for 7th Grade, released in July 2024. You can find the previous 7th Grade Unit 1 Defining America: Poems, Essays, and Short Stories in the archives.

Fishtank Plus for ELA

Unlock features to optimize your prep time, plan engaging lessons, and monitor student progress.

Texts and Materials


Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.

Core Materials

Assessment


This assessment accompanies Unit 1 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

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 is the need to belong universal? 
  • What does it mean to belong to a culture or community? 
  • How does an individual contribute to a larger collective?

Enduring Understandings

  • The need to belong is an intrinsic human desire, and it has been throughout human history. 
  • Individuals can feel a strong connection to their culture or community. These relationships strengthen the individual and help them develop their identity and who they want to become. 
  • Feeling a positive sense of belonging has a measurable positive impact on people's lives and academic achievement. 
  • The strong desire to belong can cause individuals to intentionally or unintentionally harm people who are outside of that group.

Vocabulary

Text-based

admiration asset assimilating assertively belonging betrayed captivated dependable exuberance impactful intersectionality sacred sustain trepidation transcend universal uncertainty

Literary Terms

central idea colloquial language enjambment extended metaphor figurative language free verse hyperbole literary point of view lyric poetry refrain rhyme scheme speaker structure stanza symbolism theme tone

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 7th 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 guidance provided under 'Notes for Teachers' below in addition to the Unit Launch to determine which supports students will need at the unit and lesson level. To learn more, visit the Supporting All Students Teacher Tool.

Notes for Teachers

Many of the lessons within this unit touch on themes of immigration and may be a sensitive topic for some students.Students may have opinions about this topic—shaped by personal experiences, conversations with family members and peers, and/or exposure to media coverage of the issue. For some students, this may be a very personal and potentially emotional topic. As always, it is essential to make the classroom a safe space for all students to express their ideas, listen to others, and share their experiences (if they feel comfortable doing so). This topic has the potential to make some students feel alienated or vulnerable to assumptions from peers.

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

L.7.1
L.7.1.a
L.7.1.b
L.7.4
L.7.4.a
L.7.4.c
L.7.4.d
L.7.5
L.7.5.a
L.7.6
RI.7.2
RI.7.4
RI.7.5
RL.7.2
RL.7.4
RL.7.5
SL.7.1
SL.7.1.a
SL.7.1.b
SL.7.4
SL.7.5
W.7.1
W.7.1.a
W.7.1.b
W.7.1.c
W.7.1.d
W.7.1.e
W.7.3
W.7.3.a
W.7.3.b
W.7.3.c
W.7.3.d
W.7.3.e
W.7.5
W.7.7
W.7.8

Supporting Standards

L.7.2
L.7.2.b
L.7.3
L.7.3.a
L.7.4.b
L.7.5.b
L.7.5.c
RI.7.1
RI.7.3
RI.7.7
RI.7.9
RI.7.10
RL.7.1
RL.7.3
RL.7.6
RL.7.10
SL.7.2
SL.7.3
SL.7.6
W.7.2
W.7.2.a
W.7.2.b
W.7.2.c
W.7.4
W.7.6
W.7.9
W.7.9.a
W.7.9.b
W.7.10
icon/arrow/right/large

Unit 2

Fighting Injustice: Uprising & Flesh and Blood So Cheap

Request a Demo

See all of the features of Fishtank in action and begin the conversation about adoption.

Learn more about Fishtank Learning School Adoption.

Contact Information

School Information

What courses are you interested in?

ELA

Math

Are you interested in onboarding professional learning for your teachers and instructional leaders?

Yes

No

Any other information you would like to provide about your school?

We Handle Materials So You Can Focus on Students

We Handle Materials So You Can Focus on Students

We've got you covered with rigorous, relevant, and adaptable ELA lesson plans for free