Unit 3

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Grade 6


Unit Length and Description:


9 weeks


This nine-week unit focuses on the causes and consequences of the American Civil War, as revealed through literature and informational text. Students can choose from a variety of historical fiction, and compare and contrast this with informational text about the same time period. In order to hone a deeper understanding of the period beyond what is conveyed in print, students listen to music and examine art from the Civil War period. The culminating activity is to compose a narrative that is set within a real historical context, includes a fictional character with a conflict to grow from, and incorporates authentic facts, photos, or artwork.


This unit will focus on craft and structure and integrating knowledge and ideas.  Writing will be predominately narrative with some informative/explanatory and argumentative.




Reading Literature:



Skill(s): comparing/contrasting media

The students can:

  • examine the similarities and differences between reading a text and experiencing a recorded or live performance of it, noting how reading the text differs from experiencing it live.


Skill(s): analysis of two or more texts, comparing authors’ approaches

The students can:

  • examine how various forms and genres treat similar themes and topics, noting the similarities and differences in their respective approaches.


Reading Information:



Skill(s): assessing media

The students can:

  • gather and use information expressed in writing and various media or visual formats to draw conclusions about the meaning of a subject or issue.


Skill(s): delineating/evaluating argument/claims

The students can:

  • follow an argument to examine how the author develops it throughout the text, assessing specific claims to determine their quality and the degree to which they are or are not supported by reasons and evidence.


Skill(s): analysis of two or more texts, comparing authors’ approaches

The students can:

  • examine how two authors treat the same events, noting how a memoir by a historical figure is similar to and different from, for example, a historian’s book about that same event.





Skill(s): narrative writing

The students can:

  • write narratives to develop real or imagines experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structures event sequences by:
    • engaging and orienting the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organizing an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically,
    • using narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters,
    • using a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another,
    • using precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events, and
    • providing a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.


Skill(s): gathering information
The students can:

  • search for and collect useful information – data, examples, quotations, even digital media – from a range of sources, both print and digital, determining the quality of these sources and quoting or paraphrasing others’ ideas, taking care not to plagiarize and including some citation details about each source.


Skill(s): drawing evidence

The students can:

  • support their interpretations, analyses, reflections, or findings with evidence found in literary or informational texts, applying grade 6 standards for reading literature and informational texts.


Speaking and Listening:



Skill(s): present information

The students can:

  • present claims and conclusions, organizing the content in a cogent, logical order, adding related information, key facts, and specific details to emphasize the main ideas and themes, while also using appropriate eye contact, volume, and pronunciation.


Skill(s): using technology

The students can:

  • design and deliver presentations that incorporate multimedia components (e.g., audio, graphics, images, music, or sound) and visual displays of information (e.g., charts, graphs, or infographics) to explain the information presented.


Skill(s): adapting speech

The students can:

  • decide what to say and how to say it, adjusting their voice and style to suit the occasion, purpose, and audience, while always modeling their command of formal English when it is appropriate.





Skill(s): deciphering words

The students can:

  • choose a strategy that helps them understand or clarify the meaning of new or polysemous words they encounter when reading and listening to grade 6 reading and content.



Skill(s): demonstrating understanding of word meaning

The students can:

  • show they understand by applying their knowledge about word relationships and nuances in word meaning.


Enduring Understandings:


·         Studying America’s past helps us understand America’s present.

·         Location can determine culture.

·         Determined and steadfast people can make it through hard times.

·         Loyalty and doing the right thing are not always concepts that align.

·         Hard times help people learn how to survive in the future.


Essential Questions:


·         How does learning about the Civil War help us understand our culture today?

·         Does where you live affect how we feel about things?

·         What qualities must a person have in order to overcome hardships and heartbreak?

·         How does loyalty towards a person and doing the right thing in a situation influence a person’s final decision?

·         How does conflict work to strengthen a person’s personality?