globe.jpgUnit 5: The Great Big World

In this fifth six-week unit of Kindergarten, students compare and contrast fairy tales while focusing on the difference a setting can make in the creation of a story.

Building on the diversity of family celebrations, students read about the greater world beyond America. By readingMr. Popper’s Penguins, students are lured into dreaming of far-away places. Focusing on the pairing of fiction and informational text, students see how fictional settings can reflect real places. By using an atlas, non-fiction books, video, and interactive on-line media, students also see how different types of texts give us similar and different information. During these activities, students write words using what they know about vowel sounds, beginning and ending sounds, and word families. Viewing landscapes by master painters reinforces the concept of comparing and contrasting settings.

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Theme Essential Question
Why is it important for the writes to describe setting carefully?

Unit Overview/End of Unit Learning

Theme Focus Standards
LAFS.K.RL.1.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
LAFS.K.RL.3.9 With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.
LAFS.K.RI.3.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
LAFS.K.W.2.6With guidance and support, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
LAFS.K.W.3.8 With guidance and support, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
LAFS.K.L.1.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
LAFS.K.L.1.2(d) Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

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Vocabulary Introduced during Theme

Details (most important)
Main IDea

Suggested Objectives
    • Describe the connection between the settings of fictional works and informational books about the same place.
    • Learn about the similarities and differences between fictional and informational texts on the same topic.
    • Compare and contrast characters’ adventures that are set in different continents.
    • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to offer an opinion (e.g., about a continent to visit); include details that explain/support the opinion.
    • Demonstrate understanding of common verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites (e.g., in the context of describing places).

Interdisciplinary Connections:
  • This unit teaches:
    • Art: Landscapes from around the world
    • Geography: Working with maps and globes (e.g., locating and naming the seven continents)

    This unit could be extended to teach:
    • Art: Portraits from around the world
    • Science: Animal habitat preservation (e.g., Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees in East Africa or attempts to preserve Giant Pandas in China)
    • Geography: Working with maps and globes (e.g., locating oceans, poles, rivers, lakes, and mountains on globes and maps)

Suggested Activities:
Art, Narrative Writing
Select two or three works to study that include people or man-made structures (e.g., Cézanne, Constable, Hiroshige, Linton Panel). Ask the students to find the people or structures and discuss how they compare, in scale, to the natural elements in the works. Ask the students to write a new title for the work that interests them the most. Share titles in small groups and possibly post them next to a reproduction of the work of art for future sharing. (W.K.1, W.K.2)
Create a word bank of all of the words with r-controlled vowels (ar, er, ir, ur, or) as you find them in this unit. Create active listeners by encouraging the students to listen for the words and act as “sound detectives.” Sort the words by their respective spellings, noting how the letter combinations create similar sounds (e.g., “A W or ld of W or ds”). (L.K.6)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins is filled with alliteration based on the letter p. Encourage the children to listen for p words that they hear as you read. The vocabulary words will be challenging and fun to use in classroom discussions. (L.K.6)
Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Research, Speaking and Listening
Throughout this unit, read fictional stories set in a continent and then read informational text (both from books and digital sources) that describe the continent. Students will develop an appreciation for the setting of the story—the connection between a fictional setting and a real place. Require students to record what they have learned on either sticky notes or a whiteboard to prepare for sharing with the whole group. Following each reading, they record new information, using these details to compare one continent to another. Note the opposites, such as cold and hot, or rainy and dry. If possible, arrange a conversation via the internet with a classroom or individual on another continent. Prepare for the conversation by asking specific, child-generated questions about the continent . (RI.K.9, L.K.1b, L.K.5b)
Informative Writing
Explain that Mr. Popper loved the idea of “dreaming big.” Remind them that he daydreamed about faraway places and that he wished he could have visited Antarctica to explore all that was there. Ask the students, “If you could choose to visit any of the continents we studied, which one would you choose? Be sure to support your choice with one or two strong reasons.” Allow students to choose one of the continents studied during this unit that they might like to visit someday. To help the children plan their work, use a program such as Kidspiration to create a graphic organizer on each of the continents chosen by the students. Students can draw pictures of animals, people, and objects one might find on that continent. Write two sentences about the continent using a combination of drawing, dictation, and writing. Share the work with the class. (SL.K.6, W.K.1, W.K.5, W.K.6, W.K.8, L.K.2d, RF.K.3d)
Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening
Choose two of the books (or maps) of the seven continents. Read the books aloud to the students. Students will then tell how these two books are the same and how they are different. Students will work with a partner or in a small group to discuss similarities and differences between the books or maps. Teachers will record students’ contributions on a compare-and-contrast graphic organizer. (RI.K.9)
Art, Speaking and Listening
View the Mondrian. Share the title and ask what clues it provides about the painting’s subject. Ask the students what they notice first in this work and what place they think this might be. (“What do you see that makes it look like this place?”) Ask whether the place looks busy or slow and how the artist made it appear that way. Compare this work to another painting (e.g., the Kngwarreye), noticing similarities and differences and focusing on the idea of both place and painting style. Document responses on a chart. (SL.K.1, SL.K.3, SL.K.4)
Art, Vocabulary
View the Bierstadt and Guo Xi paintings. Note that they were painted eight hundred years apart and on opposite sides of the world. Ask the students to describe what they see. Note similarities (e.g., the monumentality of both works) and differences (e.g., different color palettes). This is an opportunity to extend the idea of comparing and contrasting the settings in stories to comparing and contrasting the settings in paintings. (SL.K.2)
Reading Literature, Narrative Writing, Vocabulary
The literature in this unit is conducive to storytelling. Pair students so that they can practice retelling a favorite story from this unit. Ask them, “Using illustrations and writing, retell ___. Be sure to focus on the beginning, middle, and end of the story.” Introduce the concept of major events, and ask them to focus on major events and the most important details. To make the activity more challenging, after retelling the story, ask if they can retell a similar story with a completely different setting and character. For example, they may retell The Story of Ferdinand. How would the story be different if it took place in South America? Which animal would be the main character? Extend this activity by doing a class write: “Write a new version of The Story of Ferdinand. Be sure to change the characters and the setting. Illustrate the new story to create a class book.” As students volunteer words for creating this story, encourage them to provide letters for sounds as you write. (RL.K.2, W.K.3, W.K.7 L.K.2d)
Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening, Performance
After reading two books, Little Red Riding Hood and Lon Po Po, discuss how the two stories are the same and how they are different. Generate ideas from among the children through writing, drawing, or acting out parts of each story. (RL.K.9, RL.K.10

Online Resources:

Read Works Passages/Lessons:

Standard assessments to be completed by end of unit:

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