Share these activities with your students before, during, or after the module to build engagement and invite interest in module texts and to extend students’ interest in the module topics and themes after reading.
GRADE 5: MODULE 1
Text(s): The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Verbal Expression: Poem
The Crossover is a story told in poetry from the point of view of a high-school basketball player. In his poems, he uses words, such as slammerific, combinating, and dunkalicious to describe how he plays. He also uses rhyme and arranges the words and lines in different ways. Write a poem about an activity that you enjoy.
Text(s): Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion by Russell Freedman
Performance Arts: Talk Show Role-Play
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was one of the greatest athletes of all time. Imagine that she has been invited onto a talk show to discuss the obstacles she faced and her accomplishments. Work with a partner to create a role-play.
Text(s): “Free Minds and Hearts at Work” by Jackie Robinson
Social Justice/Diversity: Poster
In the essay “Free Minds and Hearts at Work,” Jackie Robinson outlines his core belief that we all have a responsibility to fight for positive change.
Content Areas: Racial Prejudice in the Major Leagues
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play baseball in the Major Leagues during the twentieth century. In his essay, Robinson refers to the obstacles he faced. Do research to learn more about these obstacles and how Robinson overcame them.
Text(s): We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Visual Expression: Storyboards
Imagine that you are planning a film version of We Are the Ship and you need to create storyboards, or drawings of what each scene will look like.
Text(s): All Module Texts
Across the Module: Collage
This module explores the power of sports to tear down social barriers and strengthen individuals and communities. Sports also have the power to unite and inspire people. Create a collage to share these ideas.
GRADE 5: MODULE 2
Text(s): Thunder Rolling in the Mountains by Scott O’Dell and Elizabeth Hall
Performance Arts: Dialogue
In chapters 14 and 15 of Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, Sound of Running Feet sees white females up close for the first time and interacts with them. We hear about the events from her point of view only.
Text(s): Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell
Visual Expression: Illustration
Before Shi-shi-etko must leave for the government boarding school, her parents and grandparents take turns reminding her of the ways of her people and the importance of nature in their culture. The book conveys the beauty of their way of life through words and illustrations.
Text(s): “Chief Joseph” + “Nez Perce and the U. S. Cavalry” + “Nez Perce”
Connecting Texts: Map
The U.S. government took millions of acres from Native American tribes such as the Nez Perce. Make a map that shows how the Nez Perce were displaced by the U.S. government. Use information from your reading or search for more. On your map:
Text(s): “Indian Country Diaries”
Verbal Expression: Group Discussion
Many people who first suggested Indian boarding schools felt badly for Native Americans as the U.S. government took over more and more lands. They thought that the boarding schools would help. Work in small groups to explore these ideas. Discuss questions such as these:
Text(s): “Lincoln Hall Speech, Washington, D.C., 1879” by Chief Joseph
Performance Arts: Speech
In his speech, Chief Joseph describes injustice and expresses sorrow. He speaks on behalf of his people. In class, you read his speech in three sections. Choose one section to deliver to the class. You may memorize it or read it aloud.
Teaching Extension: Build Background Knowledge
Show this video of the speech set to music.
Text(s): All Module Texts
Across the Module: Social Justice
This module explores the many injustices toward Native Americans since the days of the European explorers. In a small group, discuss the following questions:
Content Connection: Social Studies
The module focuses on the Nez Perce, but it was just one of many tribes that lived in North America. Visit the following website to see where the major tribes of North America lived when the first Europeans arrrived: https://www.learner.org/interactives/historymap/indians.html
GRADE 5: MODULE 3
Text(s): Who Was William Shakespeare? by Celeste Davidson Mannis
Visual Expression: Coat of Arms
William Shakespeare helped his father apply for a coat of arms, which was a symbol that meant the father was a gentleman. The coat of arms was shaped like a shield and included the motto “Not Without Right” and a design. Create a coat of arms for your family.
Verbal Expression: Blank Verse and Couplets
Blank verse consists of lines that have ten syllables each and do not rhyme. A syllable with a short stress is followed by a syllable with a long stress. While much of the play Hamlet is in blank verse, the play also includes couplets. A couplet is two rhyming lines that usually have the same meter as blank verse.
But , woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer and from your former state
Performance Arts: Soliloquy
In Shakespeare’s plays, a character sometimes speaks directly to the audience in what is called a soliloquy. Imagine that you are in a play written about William Shakespeare.
Text(s): The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
Content Areas: Social Studies
Search the Internet for a map of Shakespeare’s London by “map of London layout,” or visit this site: http://elizabethanmuseum.weebly.com/london-streets.html.
Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene
Work with a partner or small group to act out a scene from The Shakespeare Stealer.
Content Areas: Foreign Language
In the Elizabethan era, sword fighting was used for self-defense, for settling personal quarrels, and as an art form. Nobles prided themselves on their skills, and the art of fencing was studied throughout Europe. Many of the fencing terms In The Shakespeare Stealer are in Italian since Italian fencing methods were popular at the time.
Visual Expression: Pun Poster
A pun is a kind of wordplay or figurative language, involving a word with two meanings or two words that sound the same (such as board and bored) but have different meanings. Create a poster that illustrates both meanings.
Verbal Expression: Group Discussion
In The Shakespeare Stealer, some characters disguise themselves even when they are not acting on stage. Do you think people disguise themselves in real life? Discuss questions, such as these:
Text(s): The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood + Hamlet animated video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtNMjZoZNbM
Connecting Texts: Actor’s Craft
The actors who read the lines in the animated Hamlet used clear diction, or pronunciation, and read with appropriate emphasis. These were just some of the skills that Widge had to study to become a player, or actor. Practice these skills by reading aloud one or two short quotes from one of Shakespeare’s plays.
“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
GRADE 5: MODULE 4
All Module Texts
NOTE: By fifth grade, it is important to begin introducing to students to the gray areas of justice and morality. Some questions to consider are Can essentially good people can act badly? and Can people with whom we disagree strongly still act morally and do good in the world? The Civil War was fought by individual Americans for a range of reasons, some of which students will learn in this module. It will help students become active and constructive citizens to appreciate that the people on each side do not become individually “good” or “bad” solely on the basis of their Civil War allegiance. There were Americans who supported slavery who were otherwise moral people and Americans who opposed slavery that acted in other immoral ways.
Teaching Extension: Social Sensitivity (Enslavement, Discrimination, Racism)
Access and read tools to support teaching sensitive topics, such as:
Teaching Extension: Causes of the Civil War
Text(s): “Split Over Slavery” by Michael Green
Content Areas: Geography
“Split Over Slavery” describes the complexities of the 1860 election. With a partner, create a map showing the results.
Text(s): “The Fall of Fort Sumter” by Barbara D. Krasner
Verbal Expression: Dialogue
“The Fall of Fort Sumter” describes the sequence of events that led to the fall of Sumter. Three main groups were involved in these events: President Lincoln and members of federal government, Major Anderson and other officers; General Beauregard and other Southerners. Work in a small group to imagine the conversations that may have taken place.
Text(s): Bull Run by Paul Fleischman
Content Areas: Music
On page 7 of Bull Run, Gideon says that the Union troops march to the songs “Hail Columbia” and “John Brown’s Body.”
Verbal Expression: Poem
Page 104 of Bull Run lists the northern and southern characters in the book and the pages where their voices can be heard. Create a poem about one of the characters.
Content Areas: Science of Photography
The character of Nathaniel Epp is a photographer. At the time of the Civil War, photography was a relatively new practice. As a result, the Civil War is one of the first to be documented with photographs, such as those by Matthew Brady. Brady believed photographers had an obligation to document history, and he shared some of the first battlefield images most ordinary people had ever seen.
Civil War photography required many chemicals, a darkroom (place without any light), and a lot of time. Subjects had to sit very still while the photographer completed several steps. Today, many cell phones include excellent cameras that take instant photographs and there are free apps such as Snapseed to help us edit them.
Verbal Expression: Letter
The characters in Bull Run are northern and southern, enslaved and free, African American and white, male and female. Write a letter exchange between two characters with very different experiences.
Text(s): The River Between Us by Richard Peck
Visual Expression: Scrapbook
In The River Between Us, we experience the beginning of the Civil War through Tilly’s eyes. Create a scrapbook that captures how another main character might have experienced this period.
Performance Arts: Acting Out a Scene
The novel includes a number of dramatic scenes. For example, on pp. 75–79 neighboring women come to Tilly’s house to accuse Calinda and Delphine of being spies. Work with a partner or small group to act out a scene.
Social Justice/Equality: Group Discussion
The River Between Us explores issues of race and slavery. Discuss questions such as these:
Text(s): “Split Over Slavery” and The River Between Us by Richard Peck
Visual Expression: Political Cartoon
During the Civil War, people used art and theater to express their ideas about the divided country. The article “Split Over Slavery” show a political cartoon that shows the pain of a divided country. Page 87 of The River Between Us includes a play that expresses confidence in Lincoln and the belief that the country will come together again. Imagine that you live during the Civil War. Create your own political cartoon to convey your ideas.
Text(s): “The River War” by Sam Smith (https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/river-war)
Visual Expression: Poster
“The River War” describes how important rivers were for controlling territory during the Civil War. They were also important forms of transportation, which is why so many American towns are located near rivers. Learn about rivers in your state.
Create a poster conveying information about rivers in your state.
GRADE 5: MODULE 5
Text(s): “on paper” by Jacqueline Woodson and “Learning to Read” by Ellen Watkins Harper
NOTE: The Teaching Extension activity is ideal for background building prior to reading, but can also be used to extend student interest during and after reading the poems.
Teaching Extension: Build Background about Slavery and Literacy
Social Justice/Equality: Poster
In each poem, the speaker conveys the understanding that reading or writing is empowering. Work with a group to brainstorm ways that reading and writing empower individuals as well as communities.
Text(s): “Hours” by Hazel Hall and “9” by E. E. Cummings
Visual Expression: Collage
Both poets use images to convey their thoughts and feelings about time.
Content Areas: Science
While there is clock time, E. E. Cummings points out that our experience of time is subjective. That means that our perception of time changes. For example, when a person is in extreme danger, time may seem to slow down. Scientists say that this happens because the mind is processing the situation more quickly. Work in a small group to discuss perceptions of time in other kinds of situations.
Content Areas: Mathematics
Consider how you spend your hours during the week. How much of your time is scheduled? How much free time do you have? Is there anything you would like to change?
Text(s): Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Teaching Extension: Build Background about Figurative Language
Before students read the book, review what they have learned about figurative language.
Content Areas: Science
In Phantom Tollbooth, the Terrible Trivium is the demon of wasting time. Scientists have discovered that many people waste time when shifting from one activity to another. They often have trouble starting the new activity because they think it is going to be more difficult or more boring than it turns out to be. They might also be overly afraid of making mistakes. These ideas or fears make them want to avoid the activity.
Content Areas: Mathematics/Language Arts
The dodecahedron in the story has twelve faces, and each one has a different emotional expressions. Create your own dodecahedron, and use it to play a game with a partner.
Performance Arts: Debate
Visual Expression: Book
The characters in Dictionopolis only understand literal meaning. Imagine that you are an author from Dictionopolis and are writing a book that includes language used in the story.
Text(s): Through the Looking Glass (excerpt) by Lewis Carroll: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/looking/chapter6.html
Teaching Extension: Building Background about the Story
Before students read the excerpt, provide this context to orient them in the story:
”I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson
“on paper” by Jacqueline Woodson
“Learning to Read” by Ellen Watkins Harper
“Hours” by Hazel Hall
“9” by E. E. Cummings
NOTE: If students cannot access additional poems through a library or the provided website, have them work in small groups to read a poem. Organize five groups and assign each one of the module poems. Each group can read its poem chorally or devise a creative way to present it.
Connecting Texts: Poetry Reading