As we continue to move forward with remote learning I am planning a World War 2 reading unit for the upcoming month. Thinking about how to get books into my students hands and continue to encourage them to read and reflect is my objective. I have reorganized my teaching to support all the learners in my classroom remotely and virtually.
The reading unit is grounded in choice. Students choose which book they want to read about WW2. To build background knowledge students are immersed in multimodal text sets reading and viewing nonfiction articles primary sources, photographs, videos, and movies about the time period.
To make sure that we get books in every student’s hands, my special education teacher and I will be reading aloud from one of the book every day on Google Meet for a live read aloud and also recording the read alouds for students to access on Google Classroom. The school librarian has made available many of these books as Ebooks for students to borrow the books and a handful of students will purchase their own books on Kindles, paper copies, or audio books.
As students are reading the different texts they will respond in writing, discussion on Flipgrid, and collaborating on Google Jamboards – collaborative whiteboards students can edit and add observations and insights – thanks to @tarahtesmer for the insights.
Each week students will focus their reading on a particular topic or theme to help develop thinking and theories about their reading. For example, the first week of reading students will focus on characterization:
On a Google Doc, write a letter to the protagonist in your book in which you describe explain why you admire or do not admire the protagonist.
In your letter, be sure to describe the characteristics of the protagonist in response to the war. Identify whether they are an upstander, bystander, ally or target.
Be sure to include throughout your letter four (4) textual citations (including page numbers) that contain noteworthy information to support your reasoning. I provide students with a template to help get started and an exemplar to aim for.
Also, as students read deeper into their books I hope students will make connections between the hatred, bias, and violence that spread during WW2 and the hatred that has been on the rise around the world today. Students will research the rise of hate groups today. After completing a Venn Diagram, students write a one page (double spaced, 12 point font) reflection that parallels to the events that took place around the world during WW2 in Europe and America after Pearl Harbor – as presented in your book and the rise of hate today. Students will use key information and direct textual evidence to address what social conditions would be necessary for hate groups to grow today. What they believe would be the most likely basis of another world war: pride, nationalism, fear, racism, economic interests, or religious intolerance? Here are two links to kick start research:
NY Times Article “Over 1,000 Hate Groups Are Now Active in United States”
Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map
Throughout the current educational climate of distance and remote learning my goal is to continue to help students develop rich literacy lives, promote critical thinking, and make connections.
What are you working on with your students to do the same? Share the reading units you are working on during remote learning in the comments section on this blog and also we always want to know the strategies and tools you are getting the most at to support literacy learning.