I am very proud to present the teacher-authored instructional unit samples in Reading, Writing, and Communicating. Each of these units represents the work of a team of Colorado educators to translate one curriculum overview sample into a full instructional unit with learning experiences, teacher and student resources, assessment ideas, and differentiation options. To learn more about the unit development process and the unique aspects of the Reading, Writing and Communicating units, please consider participating in one or more of the scheduled instructional unit webinars.
Each of the units posted here was authored by a team of Colorado educators. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.
You can also view the complete list of Reading, Writing and Communicating curriculum overview samples and use the instructional unit template to begin constructing your own Colorado Academic Standards-based units.
Literacy Content Specialist
12th Grade Unit Title: Responding to Diversity (Gunnison Watershed School District)
Unit Description: In this 4-6 week unit, students will explore the diversity of literature within three literary movements: Romanticism, Post-Colonialism, and Modernism. Students will analyze how the movements reveal diverse themes, cultural contexts, style, and purposes in world literature which will allow students to develop new perspectives toward literature and literary movements. The culminating project will be an essay and oral presentation asking students to connect past literature and literary movements to modern texts.
11th Grade Unit Title: The Power of Story (Mapleton School District)
Unit Description: Throughout this 4-6 week unit, students explore bias, both in their personal lives and within the literature they study. Students will analyze how personal beliefs and biases influence the way they interact with texts they read and which they produce. The unit culminates with a personal portfolio project that includes a personal narrative, literary analysis, reflections, and an argument piece in which the students will make recommendations concerning a literature curriculum.
10th Grade Unit Title: E Pluribus Unum, Multiple Voices - Heroism (Bayfield School District)
Unit Description: This 4-6 week unit focuses on how cultural experiences, societal influences, and adversity impact individuals in those cultures. Through collaborative inquiry and sharing thoughts and opinions, students may examine diverse texts that explore human responses to adverse situations and shape the definition of "hero” in those cultures. Students may demonstrate their understanding of how cultural and societal influences shape and define characters by writing a narrative piece in which they synthesize the ideas and language of the characters they have studied.
10th Grade Unit Title: E Pluribus Unum, Single Voice - Identity (Bayfield School District)
Unit Description: This 4-6 week unit focuses on how cultural experiences, societal influences, and adversity impact individuals in those cultures. Through collaborative inquiry and sharing thoughts and opinions, students may examine diverse texts by a single author that explore “identity” in those cultures. Students may demonstrate their understanding of how cultural and societal influences shape and define identity by writing their own narrative piece.
9th Grade Unit Title: Uncovering Context (Lake County School District)
Unit Description: In this 4-6 week unit, students will read an extended anchor text (e.g. To Kill a Mockingbird) exploring various themes: race, gender, age, etc. As they progress through the unit, students will read a variety of texts on the issues raised. The nonfiction / informational texts range from news reports, research, and infographics to opinion pieces, murals and art work, poems, and short stories. Students will analyze this rich variety of texts so they can understand that writers use different modes, genres, and techniques to express their perspectives on given issues. Class discussions will allow students to explore how different contexts impact our perspectives and how we write about issues or themes in the world around us. The unit will culminate with students writing a multi-genre text expressing their own perspective on an issue of inequity relevant to them.. (This unit is also effective scaffolding for the unit that follows in which students will present an argument on justice.)
9th Grade Unit Title: Recognizing Patterns in Stories (Lake County School District)
Unit Description: In this 4-6 week unit, students will explore multiple themes that recur in literature while considering patterns in stories and the idea of character transformation. Three specific themes will be studied by using an anchor text for each theme supplemented with additional literary and non-fiction texts. The learning experiences include a series of formative assessments which asks students to make connections within and between texts. The summative assessment will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of a specific theme, patterns in literature, and character transformation by crafting their own personal narrative. The ability to analyze a text is another important aspect of this unit and will be assessed through critiques of a peer’s personal narrative.
Unit Title: A World Without Borders (Garfield Re-2 School District)
Unit Description: In this 9-week unit, students will examine themes of diversity, tolerance, and intolerance from a global perspective. Students will explore a variety of texts (informational and literary) to develop an understanding of current cultural and historical events that reveal struggles in tolerance. With that understanding, students will conduct a research project about tolerance and diversity in a global society. The students will use the research to write a paper and give a presentation covering their topic. The unit culminates in a presentation similar to TED Talks.
Unit Title: Everything's an Argument (Wray School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on understanding how authors use claims, evidence, and persuasive devices so that the students can then use these techniques within their own research, writing, and speaking. By critically analyzing arguments and persuasive presentations for validity, accuracy, and clarity, students will become more effective consumers of information. During the unit, students will analyze professional texts and culminate the unit by developing their own persuasive presentations in which they advocate for implementing a Service Learning Project of their choice.
Unit Title: Take a Stand (Plainview School District and Pritchett School District)
Unit Description: In this 6-8 week unit, students will research and explore a variety of controversial topics and, through collaboration during the research process, begin to understand how biases and assumptions influence people’s perspectives. Students will work in collaborative groups throughout the research process and participate in discussions and debates to demonstrate their understanding of how bias and assumptions influence our perspectives on issues and, therefore, influence our arguments. The unit will culminate with teams of students participating in debates or mock trials in which they are argue whether a policy, a rule, or a practice is the right thing to do – a “just” or “unjust” action. Think: “Fracking on Trial” or “Hormones in Beef Cattle on Trial.”
Unit Title: Can't We Just Get Along? (Ignacio School District)
Unit Description: In this 4-6 week unit, students will explore conflict and resolution through fiction and nonfiction readings. Students will analyze stories to be able to distinguish between internal and external conflicts. Students will then develop their understanding of how different points of view may add to a conflict or help resolve it. Students will write a well-developed written piece demonstrating their understanding of internal and external conflict as well as the resolution of a conflict.
Unit Title: In My Opinion (Mapleton School District)
Unit Description: This 4-6 week unit explores the personal and collective values that shape perspectives and opinions on relevant topics. Students will examine appeals to values in a variety of persuasive texts and analyze the language, strategies, and structures of these texts. After researching a topic of their choice, students will produce and present an opinion piece that appeals to -- or perhaps even challenges -- their audience’s values. The unit culminates with students writing an opinion piece conveying their opinion and values.
Unit Title: What Would Happen If...? (Garfield RE-2 School District)
Unit Description: In this unit, students will study how cause and effect relationships are present in different types of texts in order to understand the relationships between concepts, ideas, and actions. Students will use cause and effect vocabulary to explain causal relationships. In addition, students will study texts that explore and explain the cause and effect issues of animal relocation (moose, lynx and wolves), and use discussion and writing to demonstrate their understanding of these relationships. This unit culminates in students producing either a text that explains cause-effect relationships or in a problem-solution persuasive piece.
Unit Title: Our World (Norwood School District and West End School District)
Unit Description: In this 4-6 week unit, students will study an innovator or invention of their choice. Through this process, students will read and analyze informational texts, including primary source documents such as inventors’ notebooks, to develop reading skills and to build knowledge on the topic of innovators and innovations. After reading and writing about innovators, students will produce an innovator’s notebook in which they explain their own innovation in an informational text which includes diagrams, drawings, and written text.
Unit Title: Transformations Around Me (Plainview School District)
Unit Description: This unit centers around the attributes of physical communities and the adaptations that people make in order to be successful in particular environments. During the 6-8 weeks of the unit, students will examine their own physical community. They will respond to text and images and construct short written pieces for different purposes/audiences (including letters to pen pals, newspaper “articles,” etc.) documenting changes that occur and adaptations people make across seasons. The learning experiences build to a performance assessment that asks students to write (and create videos) about an adaptation, in the form of a favorite activity, they make in a particular season.
Unit Title: Reading Our World (Weld County School District)
Unit Description: In this unit, students will compare how informational texts differ from fictional texts and explore several different informational texts to understand that these texts allow us understand the world around us. Students will read informational texts on a specific topic (in this unit, on animals). Students will use their knowledge of foundational reading and writing skills to comprehend informational texts. Students will produce their own informational texts about their chosen topic to demonstrate their knowledge of these text types.
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