Unit 2

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Grade 8


Unit Length and Description:


Nine Weeks


Students learn that writers use stories and distinctive characters to teach us lessons. Students will explore how the choices of characters affect the plot and build the theme of a story. Students will come to understand that redemption can be found in selflessness and valuing people over material possessions. They will also explore how literature that resonates with readers has “staying power,” influencing other writers and becoming a part of our language, culture, and moral code. Unit focuses on character point of view/perspective and development, influence of setting and characters on theme, and influence of text on society.  The research component will explore how A Christmas Carol has influenced other texts, social traditions, and language.


Craft and structure will be the focus of reading during this unit.  Writing will be predominately informative/explanatory and argumentative.




Reading Literature

RL.8.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts..


RL.8.5: Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.


RL.8.6: Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) creates such effects as suspense or humor.


Reading Informational Texts

RI.8.4: 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, including analogies or allusions to other texts.


RI.8.5: Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.


RI.8.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.



W.8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a)   Include claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish claim(s) from 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), counterclaims, 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.8.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.


W.8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.


Speaking and Listening

SL.8.2: Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.


SL.8.3: Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.



L.8.3: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

a)   Use verbs in the active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects (e.g., emphasizing the actor or the action; expressing uncertainty or describing a state contrary to fact).

Enduring Understandings:


·         Authors create dynamic characters whose actions affect the plot and theme of a story.

·         Authors use various techniques when writing, which enhances the reader’s experience.

·         Classic works of literature often influence authors’ works of writing.

·         Some characters are created to teach readers a lesson about life and/or themselves.

Essential Questions:


·         How do characters affect the story in which they exist?

·         What can authors do to enhance a reader’s experience?

·         What impact can classic works of literature have?

·         How can dynamic characters impact a reader?