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mary chavers
The Unit Plan: Plants and Community Change
Essential Question/Big Idea:
How does hard work and determination change a community?
Meaningful Text(s):
The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins
Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeannette Winter
The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock
Learning Outcomes:
Students Will:
  • Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting and events
  • Compare and contrast two stories with similar themes
  • Identify the parts of a plant
  • Understand what plants need to grow
Alignment with standards:
LAFS1.RL.3.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting or events
LAFS1.RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories
S.C.1.L.14.1 Make observations of living things in their environment using their five senses
S.C.1.L.14.2 Identify the major parts of plants, including stem, root, leaves and flowers
Mary's other Units:
Ancient Civilizations (collaboratively developed with Megan Stranzin)
Written and Artistic Processes/Products
  1. Entering text strategy:  Call and Response
  2. Strategy for understanding: Color, Symbol, Image
  3. Class will make Venn Diagram to compare similarities and differences between texts
  4. Observing artwork of Tree on campus using strategy: See, Think, Wonder
  5.  Observing barren landscape of Kenya and the umbrella trees of Kenya and discuss using strategy: See, think, wonder.
  6.  Use strategy See, Think, Wonder to explore all the parts of a tree before sketching and labeling.
  7. Performed tableaus for Tree Lady (beginning, middle and end) and monologues to explain
  8.  Performed tableaus for parts of a plant
  9. Create cutouts using camera lens strategy depicting a scene from one of the texts showing how main character changed her community.
  10. Written answer to – How did the main character change her community. 
  11. Class mural of “what plants need?”
  12. Students will plant marigold seeds.
Formative Assessments - Looking and listening for understanding of…
  1. Key details and vocabulary through repeating story nuggets as teacher previews the text
  2. Theme and main idea
  3. Similarities and differences between the two texts
  4. Students’ observations, connections and questions
  5. Understanding the plight of Kenya and the impact of Wangari’s hard work and determination.
  6. Parts of tree complete and accurate
  7. Understanding of setting, characters, events, sequence
  8. Knowledge of the role/job of each plant part
  9. Understanding of story, main events and 
  10. the Essential Question.
  11.  What plants need? Mural demonstrates understanding of what plants need to grow and parts of a plant
  12. Application- what plants need to grow
Culminating Performance/Exhibition
• Kandinsky Trees- Using a diagram as a guide, students create their own Kandinsky-style tree collages including: using colored paper circles in which they describe for each story: the characters, setting, events, and words and phrases that spoke to them, using complete sentences. Finally, they write a response to the question, “How can hard work and determination change my community?” 
• Once students have completed their trees, they add a picture of themselves to their trees.
• Students will share with partners, class and parents how they can change their community.
• See rubric for assessment of culminating product/performance
Left: Students label the parts of their trees with post its, pulling in their Science standards.
Above: Students demonstrate understanding of the story by using the strategy, Color, Symbol, Image.
Students are asked to Compare and Contrast The Tree Lady and Wangari’s Trees of Peace
Class murals of “What plants need.”
The school campus was decorated with artwork representing all three texts used in the Unit
Rubric for Summative Performance Task
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