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In this unit students will read historical fiction and nonfiction texts focusing on the tragedy of the Titanic. The readings will provide them with the opportunity to uncover the understandings that the genre of a text not only determines its purpose but also informs our approach to reading and that survivors make adjustments or adaptations in their lives in order to overcome significant challenges or difficulties. As students read the historical fiction book Voyage on the Great Titanic accompanied by various newspaper articles and nonfiction sources on the sinking of the ship, they will answer the question why does genre matter? Through the story of Margaret Ann Brady, students will explore the questions what makes a person a survivor? and to what extent does our ability to change or adapt affect our chances of becoming a survivor? The unit will conclude with two projects in which students will apply what they have learned. For the first project, students will choose a book to read outside of class from a pre-selected group. After they have read the book, they will create both nonfiction and historical fiction texts to apply their understanding of what it means to be a survivor to another fictional character. The second project will require the students to see themselves as survivors and to reflect back upon their surviving the transition from elementary to middle school in order to help future sixth graders survive the transition successfully.
Grant, Allison, "Survival Stories" (2006). Understanding by Design: Complete Collection. Paper 23.
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