Language Arts Grade 4
Unit: The Top Ten
Purposes: Nonfiction Reading and Writing, Research Skills, 21st Century Skills
Overarching Theme: Contribution
Project Wiki

This 4th grade unit of study was inspired by Scholastic's The 10 series , edited by Jeffrey Wilhelm, author of Reading Don't Fix No Chevys , Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry and Going with the Flow. Aligned to grade level content-area standards, THE 10 is a collection of exciting titles that combine a variety of text features and genres to motivate and educate all students, including striving and reluctant readers. The 10 title, The 10 Most Deadliest Predators on Land , serves as an anchor text as students learn about reading, researching, and writing nonfiction text. The culminating product is the Top Ten wiki collaboratively authored by the students. Small groups will each contribute a section to the wiki that presents, through multimedia (Voki, images, hypertext, and video), what the students believe to be the 10 most dangerous, funniest, ugliest, strangest, etc. ocean animals. Their ranked 10 will be determined based on a list of criteria that the group draws up. Students will apply their newly acquired knowledge of nonfiction text as they present the data and reasoning from their investigation to support their choices for the 10. The audience of the wiki will be asked whether they agree or disagree with the ranking and to justify their reasoning with their own data.

Desired Results
Established Goals:

CT Language Arts Framework:
Standard 1: Students read, comprehend and respond in individual, literal, critical and evaluative ways to literary, informational and persuasive texts in multimedia formats.
Standard 2: Students read and respond to classical and contemporary texts from many cultures and literary periods.
Standard 3: Student apply produce written, oral and visual texts to express, develop and substantiate ideas and experiences.
Standard 4: Students the conventions of standard English in oral, written and visual communication.

AASL for the 21st Century Learner Standard 3: Students share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information
5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

Connecticut Mastery Test Objectives

Grade Level Expectations
-Define words and concepts necessary for understanding content area text.
-Use new vocabulary from informational/expository text.
-Activate prior knowledge before reading
-Evaluate predictions and adjust as necessary
-Summarize information to maintain focus and provide clarity.
-Use appropriate resources to locate information, e.g., index, glossary, dictionary, thesaurus, directory, website on a specific topic or for a specific purpose.
-Summarize information, including main idea, most important text-based facts, details, and/or ideas, e.g., newspaper, magazine, Internet articles and content journals.
-Distinguish fact vs. opinion in text.
-Recognize organizational patterns of text, e.g., main ideas and supporting details, compare/contrast, cause/effect, sequence of events.
-Determine an author’s purpose for including or omitting details to create meaning.
-Elicit, discuss and respect the opinions of others about written, oral and visual texts.
-Share opinions and judgments based on texts.
-Pose questions, listen to the ideas of others, and contribute own information and ideas in group discussions.
-Apply knowledge of nonfiction text structures and craft to own writing
-Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
Enduring Understandings
Essential Questions
Our opinions are influenced by our experiences and what we read, view, and listen to.

Opinions are considered more valid when they are supported by factual evidence.

Authors have a purpose for writing, speaking, and video making.
Where do opinions come from?
What influences opinions?
What makes an opinion valid?

The student will know...
The students will be able to...
  • Types of nonfiction; informational texts, feature articles, news articles, Internet multimedia
  • Purposes of nonfiction; inform, explain, entertain, persuade
  • Features and organizational structures of nonfiction texts
  • Ethical uses of resources; Citing sources, Copyright and Creative Commons
  • Fact vs Opinion
  • Factual Evidence to support opinions and conclusions
  • Important vs Interesting facts
  • Draw conclusions
  • Support with evidence
  • Identify main ideas and details
  • Take notes
  • Distinguish between important vs interesting facts
  • Construct written responses to open-ended questions
  • Compare and contrast information

Content Vocabulary
author's purpose
main idea

Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks
Important/Interesting Poster [[file/view/Animal Jigsaw Rubric.doc|Animal Jigsaw Rubric.doc]]
Wiki Animal Profile Page
Student Example
Research Scoring Guide
Animal Profile Scoring Guide
[[file/view/The 10 wiki rubric.doc|The 10 wiki rubric.doc]]
Formative Assessments

Blue Ribbon Test
Constructed Response Questions
Self Reflection 1 [[file/view/Teamwork Reflection.doc|Teamwork Reflection.doc]]
Self Reflection 2 [[file/view/STUDENT_SELF_REFLECTION[1].doc|STUDENT_SELF_REFLECTION[1].doc]]
Wiki Discussions
Author's Purpose Assessment [[file/view/The Ten Assessment Author's Purpose.doc|The Ten Assessment Author's Purpose.doc]]
Learning Plan
Teaching Strategies
Nonlinear Representations
Cooperative Learning
Generating and Testing Hypothesis
Setting Goals and Providing Feedback

Bulletin Board

Make your students members of these wikis:
The Top Ten Wiki

Wiki Talks Wiki

Frontloading Activities
Lesson 1: The Essential Questions In this introduction to the investigation, students discuss the essential questions.
[[file/view/Lesson 1.doc|Lesson 1.doc]]
Lesson 2: The 10 Smartest Dogs Students watch Animal Planet videos of the ten smartest dogs in the world with the purpose of looking for factual evidence that supports the opinion that these are the ten smartest dogs in the world.
[[file/view/Lesson 2.doc|Lesson 2.doc]]
[[file/view/Smartest Dog Notetaking.doc|Smartest Dog Notetaking.doc]]
The Top 10 Smartest Dogs Video
Smartest Dogs: Dog Blog
The Intelligence of Dogs
Part 1: The Ten Deadliest Predators on Land
Lesson 3: Introduction to The Ten Deadliest Predators on Land Students preview vocabulary and make and support their predictions about which animals they believe will appear on the list of the ten deadliest predators on land. Students check their predictions using the Table of Contents and generate questions they have.
[[file/view/Lesson 3.doc|Lesson 3.doc]]
RIVET file
Copies of The Ten Deadliest Predators on Land part of Scholastic's The 10 series
Lesson 4: #10 The Komodo Dragon Students read and discuss the articles about the Komodo Dragon. After they read, students write responses to CMT-like questions.
[[file/view/Lesson 4.doc|Lesson 4.doc]]
[[file/view/Komodo Dragon Questions.doc|Komodo Dragon Questions.doc]]
Animal Planet Videos
Jaws and Claws: Komodo Dragon
Baby Komodo Dragons
Lesson 5: #9 and #8 The Chimpanzee and the Fat-Tailed Scorpion After completing an anticipation guide and discussing it in groups, students read and discuss the articles about the Chimpanzee and the Fat-Tailed Scorpion.
[[file/view/Lesson 5.doc|Lesson 5.doc]]
Lesson 6: Jigsaw Cooperative Groups Students work in cooperative groups to read about and teach others about one of the top ten deadly predators. They identify important information (facts that support the author's opinion that this is one of the Top Ten deadliest animals on land), interesting information, and key vocabulary. They communicate the information and apply their knowledge of nonfiction text features to a presentation poster.
Lesson 6
Copies of the articles about animals #7 - #3 for groups to read and highlight.
[[file/view/5 Animal Jigsaw.ppt|5 Animal Jigsaw.ppt]]
[[file/view/Animal Jigsaw Rubric.doc|Animal Jigsaw Rubric.doc]]
[[file/view/Teamwork Reflection.doc|Teamwork Reflection.doc]]
[[file/view/Speaking Rubric-1.doc|Speaking Rubric-1.doc]]
Lesson 7: What Makes a Good Online Discussion? Learning How to Discuss on the Wiki Students discuss the Japanese legend, Ooka and the Honest Theif on the Wiki Discussion board.
Lesson 7
Jr. Great Books - Semester 1
Jr. Great Books Worksheets: Anticipatory, Direction Notes, Critical Writing
Questions Posted on WikiTalks
Lesson 8: Deadliest Predators 2 and 1: The Tiger and Humans
[[file/view/The Ten Assessment Author's Purpose.doc|The Ten Assessment Author's Purpose.doc]]
Lesson 9: What is Fair? Discussing on the Wiki Students improve their online discussion skills as they respond in small online groups to the Korean legend, The Ungrateful Tiger.
Lesson 9
[[file/view/The Ungrateful Tiger.doc|The Ungrateful Tiger.doc]]
[[file/view/The Ungrateful Tiger Notes.doc|The Ungrateful Tiger Notes.doc]]
Lesson 10: Do We Agree? Students work in cooperative groups to search for evidence to support the author's claims using the author's stated criteria and criteria which the class feels is important. The data is complied onto a class Comparison Matrix. The animals are then re-ranked by assigning each criteria a value and adding them up for a ranking score.
Bulletin Board Directions
Lesson 11: Animal Haikus Students write animal What Am I? haikus to publish on the wiki.
Animal Haikus
Animal Haikus for Discussion
What AM I Haiku
Part 2: The Ten (Deadliest, Strangest, Most Amazing, Smartest) Ocean Animals.
Lesson 10: Our Own Top Ten! In this lesson, students select a class top ten category of animals which they will research and the criteria by which they will rank the animals.

Lesson 11: Selecting an Animal Students choose an animal which they will research based on the established criteria.

Lesson 12: How to Use the Follett Destiny Library Circulation System Students learn from the media specialist how to use keywords to search for available print and video sources in the school library. They check out a collection of books and videos for the classroom to use.
Hints About Print Interactive
Lesson 13: Setting Up Our Note-taking Organizer Students use a Foldable to organize the information that they are finding as they research. In this lesson, they create the Foldable with category headings such as Diet, Behavior, Life Cycle.
Note-taking Foldables
Lesson 14: How to Take Notes Students learn how to locate information in print resources and take down the main ideas and details.

Lesson 15: Citing Print and Website Sources Students create a Foldable Citing Sources guide and learn how to cite print and website sources as they research.
Foldable Citing Sources guide
Lesson 15: How to Search Using a Variety of Search Engines Students learn how to use a variety of search engines such as Ask Jeeves,
Choosing a Search Engine Lesson
[[file/view/Choosing a Search Site.pdf|Choosing a Search Site.pdf]]
Lesson 16: Writing the Animal Profile Page Students use their notes to write paragraphs for the wiki.
Wiki Animal Profile Page
Student Example
Research Scoring Guide
Animal Profile Scoring Guide
[[file/view/The 10 wiki rubric.doc|The 10 wiki rubric.doc]]
Lesson 17: Creating the Animal Profile Page on the Wiki Students copy and paste their work into the wiki template, save and insert images, and add defined vocabulary and "fast facts".

Lesson 18: Rank the Animals Students read the completed animal profiles, looking for evidence to support each of the predetermined criteria. The animals are then ranked based on the evidence.
Enrichment Activities [[file/view/toptenenrichmentmenu.doc|toptenenrichmentmenu.doc]]
Enrichment 1: Voki Zoologist After watching examples of real zoologists videos, students take the role of a zoologist who is an expert on the animal they've been researching. They write a script and create a Voki. Student example
Videos of Zoologists
Enrichment 2: MyAnimalSpace Students take on the persona of their animal and create a personal profile space on the Top Ten wiki. Student example