Unit Plan Template: MAT/Certification Elementary

Student Teacher:  Megan Fondell
School Keet Gooshi Heen

Host Teacher Name:
Grade Level: 4

Mr. Bryner
# of Students:

Time frame for unit:

30 minutes, 4 days a 

Length of Unit:

Theme or Big Idea of 

Theme and character 

Content Areas:

Materials: Include all 

traits in reading
Reading, Speaking and Listening
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing class set, reading comprehension and 


3­4 weeks

materials and technology 

discussion packet, sticky notes, popsicle sticks, construction paper, colored 




Reading Standards for Literature: 4.2. Determine a theme of a
story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
4.3. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or
drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g. a character’s
thoughts, words, or actions).
Speaking and Listening Standards: 4.1. Engage effectively in
a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and
teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts,
building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
4.2. Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information
presented in diverse media and formats, including visually,
quantitatively, and orally.


Students connect knowledge with the “shoulder share” partner
Students collaborate through small group discussions about the
Students inquire through discussion prompts and questions
Students summarize information through a final project

Learning Theories:

This unit will use a combination of different learning theories,
Constructivist, discovery and inquiry learning, and cognitive

Essential Question(s):

What is the theme in our reading?
What are the main points or big events in a story?
How can I describe a character from a story using evidence in the
What are other members of my group thinking about the reading?

Enduring Understanding(s): Every piece of literature has a theme that the reader must
Main characters are developed throughout the reading of

Collaborative discussion of ideas and thoughts can help to
understand others’ perspective and also clarify our own ideas.

STAGE ONE, Objective(s):
  I will decipher and explore themes to
different texts
  I will summarize the main events in a
  I will perform an in-depth character
analysis using information from the
  I will participate in group discussions to
collaborate and articulate my own

STAGE TWO, Student Assessments:
Pre Unit Assessment(s):
Students will discuss what the theme of a story
is and how we can analyze the main character
of a story.
Formative Assessments:
 Students can complete worksheets and
writing prompts analyzing different
aspects of the reading throughout the
 Students can actively participate in
weekly group discussions about the
reading for the week and how they
analyzed the discussion questions
 Students can articulate their ideas
through individual reading conferences
with the teacher and be able to
paraphrase portions of the reading
Summative Assessment(s):
Students will complete an in-depth character
analysis on the story by creating a poster and
backing up their points with details from the
text. (rubric follows)
Students will analyze the overall theme of the
story and participate in a group discussion,
deciding what the final theme of the story
should be.
Post Unit Assessment(s):
Students will discuss the importance of theme in
a story and how a main character can change
and develop throughout a book.

STAGE THREE: Learning Plan:
Who has a little brother or sister that drives them crazy sometimes? The story we are going to
be reading over the next few weeks is about a boy who has a little brother that seems to always
mess things up for him. As we read, we will be using different discussions and analysis tools to
understand aspects of the story.

Learning Activities


Formative Assessments

Students are introduced to
the book and make
predictions about what could
happen. Introduce the

Students will be able to read at
their own pace, and extra time
and guidance will be given to
students who need it.

Students will discuss
together what they
think the theme of the
story might be and who








process of using sticky notes
to mark their reading.
Students read chapters 1 and
2 of the book independently,
marking questions, or points
of interest to be addressed in

Students who finish the reading
early will be given additional
enrichment activities to further
their understanding of the text.

Students will participate in a
group discussion using talking
sticks about questions they
had from the reading and
which event they thought was
important from the section.
Together, we will explore the
topic of theme in literature
through reading The Giving
Tree and completing a visual
to represent the theme and
details from the text that
support our idea.
Students continue
independent reading of
chapters 3-5 in the story.

By using the talking stick
model, each student will have
the opportunity to share their
opinion without just a few
students dominating the
Information will be presented in
a variety of ways, including
read aloud, visuals, and group

Students participate in
another talking-stick group
discussion about the section.
The theme for the discussion
will be to explore some
possibilities for what the
theme of the story could be.
As a group we will explore
how the character of Fudge
has been portrayed
throughout the book.
Students will be encouraged
to find descriptive details in
the reading supporting his
Students will continue to read
the remainder of the book. As
students finish sections, we
will come together as a group
for talking stick discussions.

By using the talking stick
model, each student will have
the opportunity to share their
opinion without just a few
students dominating the

Students who finish the reading
early will be given additional
enrichment activities to further
their understanding of the text.

the main characters
When they finish their
reading, students will
questions on the
section and analyze a
specific event that
happened in the section
Active participation in
the discussion will be
expected as well as
clearly being able to
state ideas and
Students are able to
paraphrase the main
points from the story
and also decipher what
the theme of the story
should be.
Students will complete
questions on each
section. They will also
meet one-on-one with
the teacher at some
point in the week to
review what they have
read and summarize
the story.
Active participation in
the discussion will be
expected as well as
clearly being able to
state ideas and

There will be a group
demonstration where we will
find different details from the
text together first, and then
students will work
independently to find further
details in the reading.

Students will be
marking their character
details with sticky notes
as they read for
reference later on.

Because students will be
reading at different paces,
some students will be given
additional analysis work to
complete if they finish early.
They will also have weekly
conferences with the teacher to

Students will complete
questions on each
section and actively
participate in group
discussions about the



Students will complete a
character analysis project on
Fudge by creating a poster
and choosing words to
describe him, supported by
details from the text
As a group, we will complete a
poster displaying what we
think the theme of the story is
and using details to support
our ideas

see how the reading is going.
Students will be able to visually
represent their material
through a poster or a written
report, whichever they prefer.
Students will be able to
participate in a discussion as
well as a visual representation
of their ideas for theme

Students poster or
report should show
their interpretation of
Fudge and be
supported with details
from the text.
Students should
actively participate in
the discussion about
theme and be able to
support their ideas with
what they have read.

We will have a class discussion about whether they liked the book or not and also about the
importance of theme and character development in a story. Students will be able to complete a
book review sheet, either recommending the book to other fourth graders or not and supporting
their position.
This unit is relevant because:
This lesson is relevant to students because they will be able to relate the reading techniques that
we are learning to all of their reading that they do in the future. The book is at their level and of
high interest for them as well. Most students will be able to relate to the main character in some
way from either having their own younger brother or dealing with other people who bother them
in some way. It is a humorous story, but will provide an avenue for students to explore and learn
about these literary elements more closely.
This unit supports student’s cultures because:
Students who are reading this story will be able to relate to the main character in one way or
another. They will be able to connect the events that happen in the story to those things that
happen in their own families and lives. We will also discuss the differences between the
characters and events in the story to what we may have today, because the story was written
over thirty years ago. However, the concepts of character analysis and theme will be supporting
student’s cultures because they will also be able to be applied to other reading material that
they encounter later in life.
Rubric for summative assessment:
Character traits
are missing from


There is no
theme presented
for the story

Character traits
are present, but
not accurate to
what is in the

Character traits
are clear and
accurate to the

The theme is
vague or does
not apply to what
happened in the

A clear theme is
presented based
on evidence from
the story, which

Character traits
are clear and
accurate and
added details or
evidence from
the story is given
to support the
An insightful and
original theme
idea is presented
with clear


The drawing is
sloppy or not
attempted in any


is also cited

The drawing is
complete, but
does not
represent the
accurately as to
what was read

The drawing is
done carefully,
and the character
is accurately
portrayed from
the story

evidence from
the story, citing
specific pages or
Extra time has
been taken to
make the
drawing as
complete and
detailed as
possible for the


This was an interesting unit for me to
teach, because it was in a small reading group
that meets four times a week for 50 minute
sessions. After completing the required phonics
work, this left me with anywhere from 15-30
minutes to work on this unit each day with my

group. I would have rather had longer sessions, but was able to make adjustments as needed to
have the lessons fit into a smaller time frame. I believe that the unit was effective for teaching
the students about the concepts of theme and character traits in literature, even given the
limited time schedule.
Over the course of the weeks, there were several adjustments that I had to make to the
schedule and lessons based on students’ needs. Many of these had to do with the timing of the
different lessons. I adjusted the schedule based on where the group was in their reading of the
book, which was sometimes slower or faster than what I had planned. However, it was easy to
move different lessons around depending on where students were in the story. Another large
addition that I put into the unit was another mini-lesson looking more in-depth at the concept of
character traits. I thought it would be helpful, after seeing some of their work in the initial part of
the book, to review this concept more so that they had a clear understanding of what a character
trait is. To do this, I used the story Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. We read the book
together, and then worked as a group to perform a character analysis on the main character. I
provided the students with a worksheet that listed example character traits and we discussed the
differences between a physical trait and a personality trait of a character. They then had to
perform their own analysis of the character, listing their traits and backing up their choices with
evidence from the text. This helped them to better grasp what a character trait is so that they
were prepared when we did our final character analysis from Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing.
Overall, I think that the miniature literature circle discussions were my favorite part of the
lessons and also what the students enjoyed the most as well. It was great to hear them
discussing their different thoughts and analysis of the story together, sharing their opinions and
answering the different questions that were developed for each section. The talking stick model
worked well so that everyone was able to participate and encouraged each member of the group
to share. Not all of the students enjoyed the book, but they were able to discuss that with each
other in the circle and explain why they thought it wasn’t a very entertaining or interesting story.
If I were to teach this unit again, I would possibly choose a different book to analyze.
Although the book I chose was at a good reading level and interesting for most students, I don’t
think it provided the in-depth analysis that we could have gotten from another piece of literature.
It was hard for me to determine what would work for the students going into the circle because I
had never worked with them before, but now I understand that most of them could have been
challenged more by a higher level of text, and it would have probably made the activities and
learning that we did more interesting and relevant as well. However, I still believe they were
able to comprehend the concepts, and now those ideas can be applied to future reading that
they do.

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