Unit 2a

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor


Grade 7



Unit Length and Description:


Nine Weeks


During this unit, students will study the promises of American democracy and how, despite obstacles, Americans claimed them.As part of the unit, students will follow one familyís struggle for freedom, equality, and subsistence during the period of the Great Depression using Mildred Taylorís novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.From doing independent research on student-selected topics of the period to close readings, students will better understand historical documents.By listening to and reflecting on famous speeches, they will enhance their own speaking and listening skills.Students will study a variety of genres that include a novel, essays, poetry, and songs.


Readings will focus on craft and structure, while writing will mostly be comprised of informative/explanatory and argumentative essays.




Reading Literature

RL.7.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.


RL.7.5: Analyze how a dramaís or poemís form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.


RL.7.6: Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.


Reading Informational Texts

RI.7.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choice on meaning and tone.


RI.7.5: Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of ideas.


RI.7.6: Determine an authorís point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.



W.7.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a)   Include claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b)   Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating understanding of the topic or text.

c)   Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons and evidence.

d)   Establish and maintain a formal style.

e)   Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


W.7.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.


W.7.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.


Speaking and Listening

SL.7.2: Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.


SL.7.3: Delineate a speakerís argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.



L.7.3: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.


Enduring Understandings:


         Examining social and civic issues helps to expand oneís understanding of the world, its people, and themselves.

         Readers develop a deeper understanding through reflection of text.

         Reading a wide range of literature by different authors, cultures, and genres, builds an understanding of the extent (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

Essential Questions:


         How can studying the music, art, and speeches of a period help us to understand the historical significance of the period?

         How does close reading of a text help us to better understand what life was like for young people in a historical period?

         How does thinking about the authorís purpose and message deepen understanding?

         How do text features and characteristics of informational and literary text influence reader interpretation?

         Do literary and non-literary pieces reflect our culture and have they helped to shape or make changes to it?