Unit 3

Truth and Justice – Who Decides?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Grade 8


Unit Length and Description:


Nine Weeks


During this unit based on truth and justice, students will explore the distinction between reality and perception in literature. They will analyze a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts for “truth,” focusing on how reality is altered by perception or emotion and will examine the idea of justice in relationship to its use in a famous mystery novel.  Students will investigate point of view based on the reliability of narrators and the use of irony and its effects on the reader.  Through the study of the craft of writing, students will have opportunities to write arguments defending or discrediting “truth” and /or “justice.” Like lawyers, students will locate and cite evidence to support their claims about the validity of their arguments.


Integrating knowledge and ideas will be the focus of reading during the unit.  Writing will be predominately narrative with some focus on informative/explanatory and argumentative.




Reading Literature:


Skill(s): integrating/evaluating diverse media content

  • The student can:
    • examine the performance or production of a story or drama, noting where each version – written and filmed/performed – aligns with and diverges from the original text or script, and then determine whether the choices made in performing those two enhanced or diminished its impact.

Skill(s): analyzing two or more texts

  • The student can:
    • examine how contemporary authors recast traditional myths, stories, or religious texts into modern stories that adopt or adapt similar themes, story structures, or character types, discussing how they make old and foreign seem new and familiar.


Reading Informational Texts:


Skill(s): integrating/evaluating diverse media content

  • The student can:
    • assess the advantages and disadvantages of one medium over another prior to giving a presentation.



Skill(s): analyze text structure

  • The student can:
    • follow the details of an argument while examining its development throughout a text, assessing specific claims and the extent to which they are supported by sound reasoning and evidence that is both relevant and sufficient (noting any efforts to include evidence that it is irrelevant).


Skill(s): analyzing two or more texts

  • The student can:
    • examine the treatment of a topic in two or more texts that offer conflicting accounts, determining where those two texts contradict or disagree with each other about the facts.





Skill(s): narrative writing

  • The student can:
    • write narratives to develop real or imagines experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences by,
      • engaging and orienting the reader by establishing a context and point of view introducing a narrator and/or characters; organizing an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically,
      • using narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, and reflection 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, and show the relationships among experiences and events,
      • using precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events, and
      • providing a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.



Skill(s): conducting research

  • The student can:
    • use search terms strategically to find and collect valuable information – data, examples, quotations, even digital media – from a range of sources, both print and digital,
    • determine the quality of these sources (i.e., credibility and accuracy) and quoting or paraphrasing others’ ideas, taking care not to plagiarize and citing each source according to the specified format.


Skill(s): drawing evidence, supporting analysis/reflection/research

  • The student can:
    • support his or her interpretations, analyses, reflections, or findings with evidence found in literary or informative texts, applying grade 8 standards for reading literature and informational texts.


Speaking and Listening:



Skill(s): presenting information

  • The student can:
    • present claims and conclusions, focusing on the major ideas in a way that improves coherence and uses evidence, sound reasoning, and details carefully selected, all the while speaking with appropriate eye contact, volume, and pronunciation.


Skill(s): using digital media

  • The student can:
    • design and deliver presentations that incorporate multimedia components and visual displays of information to explain information, enhance claims and evidence, and make the presentation more engaging.


Skill(s): adapting speech

  • The student 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): determining/clarifying word meaning

  • The student can:
    • choose a strategy that helps to understand or clarify the meaning of new words or words with multiple meanings they encounter when reading and listening to grade 8 content.


Skill(s): demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances

  • The students can:
    • show they understand by applying their knowledge about word relationships and nuances in word meaning in figures of speech, relationship between words, and connotations.


Enduring Understandings:


·         Perception is reality.

·         An effective story engages the reader by setting up questions, tensions, mystery, dilemmas, or uncertainty.

·         Problems can be solved by examining data, determining a pattern, and making meaning.

·         Behavioral choices are governed by internal beliefs and external factors.

Essential Questions:


·         What tools can I use to judge the difference between reality and appearance?

·         How might being able to recognize literary features help in appreciating literature?

·         How do readers reflect and respond?

·         What connections do readers make?

·         How can I unravel the unknown? Why am I fascinated by the unknown?

·         What do our interpretations of the actions and choices of others reveal about our own characters?