Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, is a great novel for the intermediate grades, as it portrays the themes of friendship, bravery, equality, and growing up in the historical setting of the Gold Rush era. Students will get wrapped up in the plot as orphaned Charlotte pursues her dreams of owning a horse ranch, which is only attainable as she is disguised as a boy. She learns what it means to trust her instincts, work hard, and follow her dreams.
This unit plan focuses on character development as well as plot. Students will learn how to use information in the text to infer character traits and motives. They will also learn how to use the text to prove their own ideas about Charlotte and her experiences throughout the story.
There are many different parts to this unit.
1. The detailed lesson plans are organized by chapter, not days, giving you the flexibility to decide how quickly or slowly to go. Each chapter includes vocabulary, a discussion or quick activity to introduce the chapter’s content, during reading and after reading lessons, and an extension idea, usually in the form of writing. I would most definitely cover the comprehension section of each lesson, as this will help you increase your students’ understanding of the text as well as their overall comprehension development.
2. Student Journal pages - copy the student journal pages before starting the novel, and your copies will be pretty much finished for the couple weeks! Journal pages follow along with the text, providing deep thinking, comprehension activities. Choose which pages you wish to assess, or give an overall grade for completion.
3. Teacher Resource section - this section gives you various resources that you will need in the unit that are not included in the student journal. Examples include anchor charts and posters and poetry form directions.
4. Chapter vocabulary activities - you will have a list of vocabulary for each chapter and different graphic organizers to help your students master word meanings. These vocabulary words are not included on the tests - you decide which ones to use for assessment purposes. You can also add these on to your regular vocabulary work or use them as bonus words!
5. The chapter questions can be used as reading guide or as a chapter quiz. Determine what works best for your students.
6. Middle of the book and end of the book test. Tests questions are in multiple choice and short answer. Answer keys are included.
7. End of the book project - Bio Bodies! You will have teacher directions and photo examples, student directions, and a rubric for quick grading.
You have everything you need to teach this great novel, except for the books! Just print, read through the materials, and teach!
If you like this novel, be sure to check out the other novels from "The Owl Spot!" I also have a "Create Your Own Novel Bundle" option to save you the most money.
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