Last year I was part of a small focus group in my county about adopting the Common Core Standards.  This year the entire district is giving the new standards a go and I am excited about our progress!  I am excited to read this as a resource for the roll out!

 I am participating in a book study with several other wonderful bloggers. We are studying the book Common Core Curriculum Maps: English Language Arts.  I am one of the later posts in the book study so make sure to click through and check out the other posts for fabulous freebies!

On Tuesday, Yvonne from Sassy in Second did an overview of the book as well as the
second grade curriculum maps. Be sure to view her overview here!

On Wednesday, Jenn from Best Practices 4 Teaching blogged about Grade 2, Unit 1. The
theme for that unit was A Season for Chapters. Check it out here!

On Thursday, Michelle from Teach123 blogged
about Unit 2, The Wild West. Check it out here!

On Friday, Sally at Elementary Matters blogged about Unit 3, Building Bridges with unlikely Friends.  Check it out here!

Now it is my turn!

I am focusing on Unit Four which is called A Long Journey to Freedom.   This unit focuses on the struggle for racial equality in the United States spotlighting different people and events from the 1800’s until the 1960s.  Here is the unit Essential Question:

and the focus standards are 
RL.2.6. Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

W.2.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

W.2.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

One of the activities mentioned in the book was a reading of the poem “Words Like Freedom” by Langston Hughes as an introduction to his life.  I loved this idea and personally would use it as an opportunity for a close reading and discussion of the words freedom, liberty, and throw in a little figurative language (heart strings).

I was somewhat disappointed by the unit because in Georgia we DO study Civil Rights, but we focus on Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King.  There are some fantastic ideas about Ruby Bridges and another fantastic narrative writing idea with the text Henry’s Freedom Box.  
However, some of the ideas could be tweaked a teeny tiny bit.  One of the lessons suggested comparing and autobiography of Ruby Bridges ( Ruby Bridges Goes to School: A True Story)  to a a biography (The Story of Ruby Bridges).  I thought I may change the texts to include  two other suggested books in the unit, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Common Core exemplar text Martins Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington.  It will be not necessarily two different genres but will still meet the standard RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

The book has many other great idea about reading and writing as well as art connections that I did not even touch on in this post!
Make sure to check out the next post on Unit 5 by Yvonne at  Sassy in Second  tomorrow!
If you have a great idea that would fit in with this unit, please link up below!

Published by Mandy Gregory

Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website ( and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.

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