wildwest.jpgUnit 2: The Wild West



In this second six-week unit of second grade, students read literature set in the “Wild West”: chapter books, informational texts, songs, tall tales, and fairy tales.
Overview
Building on the shared research in the first unit, students research an interesting person from the 1800s’ “Wild West” and write an informational essay. Students read tall tales, and then discuss where the fiction is stretched beyond belief, and why the tale has been told through the years. Students also read their choice of fantasy and chapter books set in different time periods of life in the west. Finally students will study the art of George Catlin to understand his role in creating historic images of Native Americans.

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Theme Essential Question
How does Setting affect a story?


Focus Standards for the Unit:
LAFS.2.RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain or describe
LAFS.2.RL.1.2 Recount stories including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral
LAFS.2.RL.3.9 Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story by different authors or from different cultures
LAFS.2.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section

Unit 2 Overview and End of Unit Learning

Close Reading Packet - Characters and Setting
Close Reading Packet - Environment and Way of Life

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Suggested Objectives:

    • Create a list of collective nouns related to topics studied (e.g., “herd,” “flock,” etc. in this unit on the West).
    • Read tall tales and learn the distinct characteristics of this type of tale.
    • Compare and contrast an original fairy tale with one that has been rewritten in a different setting.
    • Read multiple perspectives on a given topic.
    • Research the life of a real person.
    • Write an informational essay based on research about a real person.
    • Read informational texts to answer the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how.
    • Read chapter books in the fantasy genre, paying careful attention to the varied voices of the characters.

Interdisciplinary Connections:

  • This unit teaches:
    • Art: George Catlin, Edward S. Custis, Frederic Remington
    • Geography: The western United States
    • History: American westward expansion (e.g., the role of the railroad) and Native Americans (e.g., Plains Indians and the effect of the railroad on Native American communities)

    This unit could be extended to teach:
    • History: American westward expansion (e.g., the steamboat, wagon trains, the Pony Express) and Native Americans (e.g., Sequoyah and the Trail of Tears)
    • Science: Simple machines used by the Native Americans and technology related to westward movement (e.g., arrows and wagon wheels)


Suggested Activities:

Art, Speaking and Listening
Explain to the students that George Catlin was a famous artist who traveled west on horseback during the 1800s to paint pictures of Native Americans. Display his works. Ask students what they notice first in these paintings. What do they have in common with other portraits they have seen? (For example, Washington, Revere--see Unit Five in the section on first grade.) Note the titles of the works. Explain that Catlin was unique in his time because he painted Native Americans individualistically. (SL.2.2)
Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening
Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin’ Cowboy (Andrea Davis Pinkney) is a true story of an African American cowboy. After you have read the story, display the same kind of chart from the Unit One segment on fiction (see the following sample). Again, remind the students that these are only question stems and must be amplified to focus on the story. Ask students to choose two questions to answer and write on their whiteboards. Share the responses from the students and add to the class chart. (RI.2.1, SL.2.2)
  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?
Art, Speaking and Listening
View the two Remington paintings of cowboys. Ask students to look at the individual cowboys and see if they can find many differences in their appearances. Was Remington depicting cowboys individually (like Catlin) or more like types (like Custis)? What can we learn about cowboy life by looking at these works? (SL.2.3, SL.2.4, SL.2.5)
Art, Speaking and Listening
Have students close their eyes and “turn on” their imaginations. Tell them to imagine traveling back to the nineteenth century as if they were artists studying the Native Americans. Ask questions like: What do you see? What types of people are there; plants, animals, landscapes? Have students write a few sentences about their imagined picture, as well as sketch a picture. If time permits, turn the sketched image into a landscape image: add significant aspects, like characters, a setting, and any meaningful details. Use listed artworks as inspiration for students. (SL.2.3, SL.2.4, SL.2.5)
Art, Opinion Writing
Select one Curtis and one Catlin artwork to study. Have the students compare Curtis’s and Catlin’s approaches to depicting Native Americans. Does Curtis’s use of the environment expand our understanding of the Native Americans in his photographs? If so, how? (W.2.1, W.2.3)
Reading Poetry, Language Usage, Vocabulary
Create a running list of collective nouns in this unit (e.g., a herd or drove of cows; a herd or band of horses; a flock of sheep; and a band, tribe, or nation of Native Americans). Keep a growing word bank of people, vocabulary, and phrases that appear in this unit. Reading (reciting) poetry such as “Buffalo Dusk” and “Home on the Range” will give the students rich opportunities to collect vocabulary and to learn the words in context. These words can be used in later student writing. (L.2.1b, RI.2.4, L.2.4, L.2.4e, RL.2.4, RL.2.10)
Informative Writing, Research, Speaking and Listening
By reading the informational books in this unit, students learn about Native Americans, African Americans, and Caucasians during the 1800s in the American Wild West. Give the students this prompt: “Write about the person most interesting to you from the Wild West days. Be sure to answer the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how as you write about the person you chose.” Using the question stems, students will generate their own research questions. Encourage the use of a variety of sources as they gather additional information using online sources and books. When students are finished with their research, pair them according to related choices to allow sharing of organized gathered information. Have them practice talking through the information to lay the groundwork for writing focused paragraphs. Students write drafts. After the first draft is written, have them spend time revising the work with peers or the teacher. (RI.2.1, RI.2.5, RI.2.10, W.2.7, W.2.8, W.2.2, W.2.5, SL.2.1, SL.2.2, SL.2.6, L.2.1, l.2.2, L.2.3)
Reading Literature, Informative Writing
After reading the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, introduce another version of the story, The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea. Before reading the book, challenge the students to think about how the two stories are the same and how they are different. Create a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer to compare and contrast the two stories. Have the students use sticky notes to add their ideas to the Venn diagram. When they are finished, ask them to use the graphic organizer to construct sentences that describe two ways in which the stories are the same and two ways in which they are different. Continue this activity with other traditional stories and their alternative versions. (RL.2.9, SL.2.2)
Reading Informational Text, Reading Fluence, Performance
Introduce the story about a modern-day cowgirl, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa (Erica Silverman). As they read the first chapter, ask students to think about whether this story could really happen or if it is a fantasy. Ask students to find evidence in the text to support their choices. Use a whiteboard or sticky notes to record their thinking. As they finish reading and writing, pair students to discuss their ideas. After they are finished discussing, ask them to remain partners and to experiment with reading using different voices for different characters in the book. Monitor the reading by listening for reading with expression and character voices. (RL.2.6, RF.2.4)
Reading Literature, Reading Comprehension, Speaking and Listening
Introduce the genre of tall tales by explaining that they are stories about a special kind of hero who is bigger than life. Even though the story is based on a real person, the person is exaggerated to be stronger or bigger than any real hero can ever be. Read about a hero from the 1800s named John Henry. As you read the story, challenge the students to think about the part of the story that is so amazing we know it is not really true. After the students have read the story, go back through the story and have the students write down one thing that might be real and one thing they think is fantasy. Ask questions such as, “Why do you think we have this tall tale? Why do you think the story has a race between a machine and a human? Why do you think the man beats the machine?” (RL.2.2, SL.2.2)
Reading Informational Text, Research, Speaking and Listening
Remind students that when they are doing research in the classroom, they start with a question. Similarly, authors of informational books also begin their work with a question or the desire to explain something. Have the students read an informational book such as Cowboys and Cowgirls: Yippee-Yay! (Gail Gibbons). After they finish the book, ask students to think about what question the author wanted to answer or what she wanted to explain in this book. When they are finished reading and writing down their questions, begin a discussion on how authors base research in asking and answering questions. (RI.2.6)

Online Resources:

Sample Literacy Block


Reading Workshop

Familiar Reading (15 min)

Word Study (30 min)

Read Aloud (15 min)

Reading Workshop (1 hour)

Book Talk (5 min)

Mini-Lesson (10 min)

Independent Reading-Guided Reading-Independent Research (40 min)

Sharing-Reflection-Feedback (5 min)

Writing Workshop

Writers Talk/Mini-Lesson-Status of the Class (10 min)

Independent Writing/Guided Writing/Investigations (45 min)

Sharing/Reflection/Feedback (5-10 min)



Vocabulary
Biography
Characters
Collective nouns
Compare
contrast
expression
fantasy
fluecy
point of view
real
tall tale
Venn diagram