Unit 4

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:

RL.6.7: Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.


RL.6.9: Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.


Reading Information:

RI.6.7: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.


RI.6.8: Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.


RI.6.9: Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).



W.6.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

a.  Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

b.  Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

c.  Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.

d.  Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.

e.  Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.


W.6.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.


W.6.9: Draw relevant evidence from grade-appropriate literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a.  Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).

b.  Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).


Speaking and Listening:

SL.6.4: Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.


SL.6.5: Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.


SL.6.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts, audiences, and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.



L.6.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

a.  Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

b.  Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).

c.  Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.

d.  Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).


L.6.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a.  Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.

b.  Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.

c.  Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).


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?