Language Art/Social Studies Grade 4
Unit: Connecticut: The Contribution State
Purposes: Nonfiction Reading and Writing, Research Skills, 21st Century Skills
Essential Questions What is community? What are an individual's responsibility to the community? What are the elements of a strong community? Why do we need others? How is the future shaped by the past and the present? How have contributions of people in the past affected my life? What can you learn about yourself by studying the lives of others?
Overarching Essential Questions: How do the actions of one person impact change? What if history were changed?
Project Wiki

Connecticut: The Contribution State is a three-tiered project where students learn, document, and make history. Students first become historians as they study the PAST, learning about the Connecticut people and events that contributed to the freedoms, rights, and quality of life which benefit us today. Next, students focus on the PRESENT, investigating people in their region who are currently making a difference in the community. Students act as documentary creators: researching, preserving, documenting, and archiving the contributions of these extraordinary citizens. Next, students impact the FUTURE, by making history as they design and implement a service-learning project. Students become contributing citizens, addressing a want or need in the local community, recognizing that they have the power to make a difference. Throughout the project, students will be collaboratively building a multifaceted resource so others can learn about and value the contributions of Connecticut citizens. They will publish their findings on the project wiki, sharing their learning through a variety of multimedia such as audio, images, hyperlinked text, digital stories, and video. What makes “Connecticut: The Contribution State” project unique is the lens with which we view the past. In this project, students will learn about the personality traits and character of the people who have contributed to our world today, understanding that it is not just what they did, it is who they were as people that make them important. Today, with the bombardment of celebrities and sports figures in the media, it is critical that our students learn about alternative role models who they can inspire them. Therefore the ultimate goal of this project is to make learning the past purposeful for students and to help them develop into active, productive citizens in our democracy.

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 Social Studies Framework
Standard 1- Content Knowledge
Knowledge of concepts and information from history and social studies is necessary to promote understanding of our nation and our world.
Students will be able to:
1.2.3 Identify and analyze the impact of individuals, groups and events on Connecticut history (e.g., Mark Twain, Samuel Colt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Na- than Hale, Native American tribes
1.2.4 Research the significance of Connecticut historical sites.
1.3.7 Trace the national origins of prominent individuals (past and present) in Connecticut.
1.5.10 Describe how physical systems (weather and climate) have affected people’s lives in Connecticut (e.g., economy, recreation, transportation).
1.9.17 Explain significant characteristics of an effective and responsible resident in one’s state (e.g., voting, participating in government)
1.13.23 Compare and contrast different ethnic groups’ contributions to the community and the state (e.g., literature, the arts, politics, festivals, cuisine, museums).

Standard 2 – History/social Studies Literacy
Competence in literacy, inquiry and research skills is necessary to analyze, evaluate and present history and social studies information.
Students will be able to:
2.1.1 Identify the difference between a primary and secondary source.
2.1.2 Summarize information from primary and secondary sources.
2.3.5 Create written work (e.g., news articles, brochure) to describe historical events, people and/or places using evidence.
2.3.6 Organize information in outlines and graphic organizers.
2.4.7 Respond appropriately in a discussion, both listening and participating, with relevant information and/or questions.
2.5.9 Prepare accurate charts or graphs depicting relevant social studies information (e.g., immigration, exports, imports, population growth).

Standard 3 - Application
Civic competence in addressing historical issues and current problems requires the uses of information, skills and empathetic awareness.
Students will be able to:
3.2.2 Cite evidence to explain the various feelings/points of view of people in a historical situation.
3.2.3 Predict various points of view people might have on a contemporary issue.
3.3.4 Analyze articles from appropriate sources that propose solutions to contemporary issues.

Connecticut Mastery Test Objectives

Language Arts 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 character traits, using knowledge of the characters' situations.
-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.
-Analyze how characters deal with diversity and adversity relating to real-world situations.
-Make generalizations about a topic after reading more than one text
-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.
Essential Questions

What is community?
What are an individual's responsibility to the community?
What are the elements of a strong community?
Why do we need others?
How is the future shaped by the past and the present?
How have contributions of people in the past affected my life?
What can you learn about yourself by studying the lives of others?

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 Animal Jigsaw Rubric.doc
Wiki Animal Profile Page
Student Example
Research Scoring Guide
Animal Profile Scoring Guide
The 10 wiki rubric.doc
Formative Assessments

Blue Ribbon Test
Constructed Response Questions
Self Reflection 1 Teamwork Reflection.doc
Self Reflection 2 STUDENT_SELF_REFLECTION[1].doc
Wiki Discussions
Author's Purpose Assessment The Ten Assessment Author's Purpose.doc
Learning Plan
Connecticut: The Contribution State wiki
Frontloading Activities:
These introductory activities help connect to and build students' background knowledge. Please add your ideas, lessons, and resources.
What is Community?: In this lesson, students are introduced to the project. They share what they think of when they hear the word "community" and discuss the classroom community. Students write what they contribute to the classroom community on one paper hand and what they need from the community on another. The completed hands make a frame for pictures of the classroom community on a bulletin board.
What I Contribute to Our Community.doc
Five Finger Compact Students expand on their concept of community by creating personal goals.
Five Finger Compact.doc
Five Finger Compact Blank for Student.doc
How Am I Doing Bound Book.doc
Wiki Discussions Students discuss questions on the Wiki Contributors discussion tab about community.
Access to computers/Internet
Student Usernames and Passwords
Part One: Learn History!
Students research Connecticut historical figures who have made a contribution to the local, state, country, or world community.
Reading about Connecticut Contributors from the Past In this lesson, students read selected chapters and pages from the textbook The Connecticut Adventure. They read the text with the purpose of finding the names of people who have contributed in the past and what their contributions were.
Lesson Reading About Contributors from the Past.doc
The Connecticut Adventure published by Gibbs Smith
Selecting a Person to Research Students use the notes from the previous activity or other resources to select a person they are personally interested in learning more about.
Connecticut Contributor Selection.pdf
Create Notetaking Foldables Students create two note-taking Foldables. One is a model for students and the other is for students to fill with notes about the individuals they have chosen to research.
Author Note Graphic.doc
The Connecticut Adventure published by Gibbs Smith
Eli Whitney article
Eli Whitney: Inventor
Eli Whitney Cotton Gin
Character Trait List
Researching Historical Figure Students research and take notes on their Foldables.

Citing Sources Students learn how to cite the sources that they are using during their research.

Writing the Biographical Piece for the Wiki Students use their notes to write a piece about their historical figure. The piece is composed or published on a Word template for easy copy and paste into the project wiki or type right into the wiki.
Contribution Profile Template.doc
Historical Connecticut Contributor Scoring Guide.doc
Adding Pictures to the Wiki Students copy and paste their work onto the wiki and find pictures to add to it.

Enrichment Activity: Create a Digital Story Students use digital storytelling software or Web2.0 tools to create a digital story highlighting an aspect of their historical figure's life.

Enrichment Activity: Create a Podcast Students assume the role of their historical figure and create a radio interview.

Enrichment Activity: Create a Talking Historical Figure Students use or to create an animated talking historical figure.

Part Two: Document History!Students investigate local people who are currently contributing to the community.
Investigating Present Day Contributors Students use a variety of methods, newspapers, town periodicals, phone calls, to find out about people who are currently contributing to the local community.

Selecting a Person to Research Pairs or small groups select one person that they are interested in learning more about.

Research Contributors Pairs or small groups research the person and fill in a Layered Look Book Foldable. Research methods include interviews and print and media sources.

Writing the Biographical Piece for the Wiki Students use their notes to write a piece about their present day contributor. The piece is written on a Word template for easy pasting onto the wiki.

Posting Work on the Wiki Students copy and paste their work onto the wiki and add pictures, obtaining permission.

Enrichment Activity: Create a Digital Story

Enrichment Activity: Create a Podcast

Part Three: Make History!
Students take part in a service-learning project for their community.
Investigating Community Needs