Seventh grade CCSS reading and writing standards require that students acqire the ability to compare a fictional account of history to the actual events depicted in it. By reading historical fiction, the reader exercises the empathy needed to more deeply understand that time period. The holocaust is a chapter in history which humbles all who learn of its horrors. Middle school students have the compassion to grasp this heavy topic through the characters in the myriad award-winning titles written especially for young adults.
Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.
Literature Circles allow student choice to dictate the content of grade-level reading which increases engagement and therefore comprehension. Readers discuss their novel and hold each other accountabe for understanding its content. Discussions in small groups encourage readers to dig deeper and ask higher order questions, deepening every member's experience with the text. Students will collaborate around grade-appropriate text, cite textual evidence, participate in academic discourse, and apply their learning to their collective understanding of world history.
Students are assessed formatively during weekly discussions using a collaboration rubric and jobs in the group rotate to allow practice in a variety of literary analysis skills. Summative assessment (media project) measures both comprehension of the text and the ability to apply this understanding to the understanding of history.
During the final trimester of grade 7, all students will have the opportunity to put the reading, writing, and collaboration skills they have learned into practice. With an engaging and shared topic, small groups will choose a novel and read (both independently and together) on a schedule set by their group. Groups will meet weekly to discuss the themes of the book and share the literature task they completed individually. Upon completion of the novel, they will share their learning with classmates through a multi- media presentation.
The book sets will be shared throughout the grade level and across subject areas. (Social Studies)