Want to get your students engaged in learning while challenging them to think at a higher level? Katherine Paterson's "Jip: His Story" provides a great foundation for this type of teaching and thinking.
NOTE: This unit is divided into 9 different sections (approximately 35-40 book reading pages per section). Each section has a summary, discussion questions/highlights, vocabulary/ vocabulary test, and student packet questions. It is recommended to pace the unit at one section per week. However, for higher level classes, two sections would be very doable.
Ideas on how to use this unit: whole class teaching/discussion, small group learning, challenge the "go beyond" students to reach for more, pick apart and use as you want.
Common Core Standards in this Unit
CCSS ELA-Literacy-RL6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS ELA-Literacy-RL6.2: Determine a theme or central idea of the text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Progress of Plot/ Relationships
CCSS ELA-Literacy-RL6.3: Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the pot moves towards a resolution.
Meanings of words
CCSS ELA-Literacy-RL6.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on mean and tone.
CCSS ELA-Literacy-RL6.5: Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting or plot.
Link to other texts
CCSS-ELA-Literacy-RL6.9: Compare and contrast texts in different forms of genres in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
How to use this Unit
Summary—each chapter has a brief summary. This may be used to set up the lesson or assess student understanding and comprehension.
Discussion questions—created to promote discussion within the class; may also be used to assess reading comprehension.
Highlights—specific notes about events in the book; supplemental material suggestions that may be useful to promote better understanding; “add-ons” that I have used in my own teaching to make this unit fun.
Vocabulary—specific words found in each chapter that relate to the understanding of the setting, character or plot. Definitions are provided. Students have a similar section in their packets where they will use the following strategies to define a word: apposition, word analysis, context clue.
*Vocabulary quizzes/answer key included in packet. Students should be encouraged to know definitions and be able to use vocabulary words correctly within a sentence.
Student Chapter packet questions—student packet questions to promote development of common core standards. Standards are noted (for example, RL6.2) next to the questions. Answers are provided.
Note: The student packet is meant to be used as a work packet and discussion tool between reading buddies (assigned ahead of time.) Students may assess their work and track progress on their Student Progress Trackers and use this information to guide their study for the final test.
Literary Terms—this section is providing scaffolding knowledge for the rest of middle school. Students will explore and identify different literary terms within the text.
Vocabulary—be able to define specific words in text using the following vocabulary strategies: apposition, word analysis, context clues.
Application questions—each question is specifically linked to a CCSS within this unit. All questions are labeled.
Student Progress Tracker—found at the end of the student packet. Each chapter’s CCSS are highlighted. Students are encouraged to track their overall progress for the unit. Teachers may use a percentage system or a simple scoring system, as provided below:
*3---Answer was right on! No extra add on needed.
*2---Answer was good, but needed to add a bit to complete.
*1—didn’t have correct answer. Had to write add a lot to complete answer.
*0---oops! forgot to answer the question (this can always be turned into higher number once the question is completed and assessed by the teacher.
Note to Teacher: This unit deals with the topic of mental illness, how it was addressed in the 1800’s, and how it is viewed currently. The goal of this unit is to not only provide a fictional account through the eyes of Jip and his friend, Put, but also to give facts to the reader in order to create a more informed opinion.
Current topics such as mental illness affect everyone differently. It is strongly encouraged that you know your students beforehand in order to determine who might be personally affected by this hot topic, and prepare accordingly.