This is an extremely thorough, full 2-week unit for the short story "Song of the Trees" by Mildred D. Taylor. These resources are focused around Common Core Standards for Grade 7, but they are absolutely still relevant for all middle grades students who are studying this story or historical fiction in general. Please verify this by taking a look at the preview file.
This is the Short Story of the Month Club, Grade 7: January Selection – Click here to read more about the Short Story of the Month Club!
Historical Fiction Analysis, specifically RL.7.9
Genres of Fiction
Text Evidence (includes PARCC-style text evidence quiz)
Development of Theme Analysis
Poetry Analysis of I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes and Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
Nonfiction Skills - analysis of Jim Crow Laws
See the list of activities below for a COMPLETE list of all of the skills covered.
Editable and digital versions included! Scroll to the bottom for details.
This is a comprehensive, Common Core-Aligned Unit packed with a ton of rigorous resources for teaching with this short story. I’ve also included within the unit instructions for accessing this short story if you don’t have it.
It would take me forever to explain to you just how uniquely amazing this resource is, so go ahead and see for yourself. Download and view the unit for another short story, Seventh Grade, for free here.
I've also included complete instructions and standards alignments in the preview file so you can look as closely as you like at this unit before purchase.
Activity 1: Fiction Genres Quick Notes*
Activity 2: Fiction Genres Printables Practice**
Activity 3: Jim Crow Laws Examples**
Activity 4: Jim Crow Laws Analysis***
Activity 5: Imagery Interactive Notebook Activities*
Activity 6: Journal Activity*
Activity 7: Annotation Guide – Imagery**
Activity 8: Plot Diagram Analysis**
Activity 9: Vocabulary Guide Verbs + Personification**
Activity 10: Comprehension Quiz**
Activity 11: ACE Questions for Multiple Text Evidence***
Activity 13: Text Evidence Quiz PARCC Style***
Activity 14: Historical Fiction CCSS Fact Analysis
Activity 15: Comprehension Skills Test**
Activity 16: Poem Analysis: ”I, Too, Sing America”***
Activity 17: Poem Analysis: “Caged Bird” Ext. Met.***
Activity 18: Essential Question***
**Digital components included!** All student pages are also included in Google Slides version so that students can access them and complete them digitally. Both assessments (quizzes and test) are included in self-grading Google Forms versions.
*EDITABLE* I have added my own original files in PowerPoint format for you to edit if you wish for your own classroom use. This only includes story-specific printables and I can't guarantee your ability to edit them based on your computer's settings and your tech knowledge. Bonus activities that have been included here as a courtesy to you (like interactive notebook lessons) will not include the editable versions - those editable versions are only available in the original resources.
Will this resource work for other grades? Absolutely! Check the preview file for samples. :)
Other 7th grade short story units available:
FREE! August Selection (Available NOW!) – Seventh Grade by Gary Soto
1. September Selection – Available NOW – Rikki Tikki Tavi
: Focus on Four Types of Conflict, Character Motivation, Figurative Language, Sound Devices (onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, consonance) and Rhyme Schemes, Citing Text Evidence, Plot Structure (Review), Movie-to-Story Comparison Analysis (RL.7.7)
2. October Selection – Available NOW – The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
: Focus: Theme, Mood & Tone, Plot and Conflict Review, Text-Dependent Questions, Compare/Contrast Multiple Versions, plus tons more! This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE selection for 7th grade, and after you teach it with this unit, I can promise it'll be one of your favorites, too! :)
3. November Selection – Available NOW – "A Christmas Carol" - drama version
: Focus: Elements of a Drama, Trace the Development of Theme, Connotation vs. Denotation, Conflict: Man vs. Supernatural, Provide an Objective Summary, Compare Historical vs. Fictional Accounts, and more!
4. December Selection – The Smallest Dragonboy
Focus:*Text Evidence* Heavy Text Evidence Practice in this unit; Indirect Characterization, Character Traits, Types of Characters (protagonist, antagonist, round, flat, dynamic, static, sympathetic, minor), Analyzing Contrasting Points of View, Theme, Text Evidence w/Theme
6. February Selection – “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes
Poetry Analysis, including: Sound Devices, Rhymes, Rhyme Schemes, Rhythm, Plot Analysis, Effects of Rhythm, Rhyme, and Sound Devices on Poem and/or Stanzas, Figurative Language. Also includes Close Reading/Annotation Guide, plus Complete 7-page Question-Answer flow. See individual item listing's preview file for samples.
7. March Selection – The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Focus: Irony, Symbolism, Allegory, Text Evidence, Implied Meaning
8. April Selection – Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed by Ray Bradbury
Focus: Text Evidence, Figurative Language (Vocabulary), Audio Techniques (RL.7.7), Circular Plot Structure, Author's Craft, Imagery, Point of View, Analyze Historical Context
9. May Selection – The Landlady by Roald Dahl
Focus: Text Evidence, Supporting Arguments With Text Evidence, Foreshadowing/Analyzing Author's Craft, Analyzing Word Choice, Mood & Tone
Plus comparing this short story to its short film, radio play, and another poem by the same author
10. June Selection - After Twenty Years by O. Henry
Focus: Characterization, Indirect Characterization, Classifying Characterization Examples, Character's Point of View (heavy on this one), Context Clues, Review of ALL grade 7 literature common core skills!
****Grade 7 Final Assessment for Reading Literature | Final Exam
Short story units available in the Grade 6 collection:
FREE! August Selection (Available NOW!) – Stray by Cynthia Rylant
1. September Selection – Included – Just Once by Dygard**
Focus: Elements of Plot (Plot Pyramid), Responding to Questions for RL.6.5, Realistic Fiction Genre Characteristics, Main Idea & Supporting Details (Informational Text standards, paired text links included)
2. October Selection – Available NOW! – The Hitchhiker by Fletcher**
Focus: Elements of Drama, Story Devices (foreshadowing, flashback, suspense), Comparing Written, Audio, and Video Versions, Elements of Plot, Analyzing Development of Plot, Finding Text Evidence, Nonfiction Paired Text, Essential Question
3. November Selection – Thank You Ma'am by Langston Hughes
Focus: Characterization (Direct and Indirect), Character Traits, Theme, Comparing Similar Themes Among Genres, Finding Text Evidence, Paired Passages - poem by Hughes, memoir by Hughes, and excerpt from biography about Hughes, all with similar themes - Deep Analysis included!
4. December Selection - The Emperor's New Clothes (Folktale unit with other folktales included)
Focus: Text Evidence (EXTRA practice on this skill in several different activities), Folktales - Properties of Different Types, including fairytales, tall tales, fables, legends, and myths - at least one of each type of folktale is included within this unit with accompanying activities!; Conflict (Internal vs. External), Figurative Language
**Review of these skills from previous units: theme, character traits, characterization, story elements, plot pyramid**
and BONUS Mid-Year Assessment!
5. January Selection – The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
Focus: Heavy on the informational text in this one! Point of View, Fiction Genres, Characteristics of Historical Fiction, Constructed Response with Vocabulary in Context, ACE Method for Constructed Response Questions, Citing Text Evidence
6. February Selection – The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor
Focus: Text Evidence, Character's Point of View, Mood and Tone, Static/Dynamic Characters, ACE Questions, Plot and Theme
7. March Selection – "Casey at the Bat" Narrative Poem
Focus: Text Evidence, Theme Development, Summarizing Stanzas, How does each stanza fit into the narrative poem?; Sound Devices in Poetry (and the effects of), Figurative Language in Poetry
8. April Selection - All Summer in a Day
Focus: Deep Characterization Analysis, Impact of Setting on Mood, Figurative Language Analysis, Text Evidence Activity + Practice Test, Imagery/Sensory Details
9. May Selection – The Jacket by Gary Soto
Focus: Text Evidence, Memoirs, Writing a Memoir, Personification, Deep Figurative Language Analysis, Poetry (Odes), Includes Activities and Comparison for "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" by Gary Soto
10. June Selection – Charles by Shirley Jackson
Focus: DEEP Theme Analysis, Development of Theme Analysis, Comparing Themes Among Texts/Genres, Text Evidence, Making Inferences, Indirect Characterization Analysis, Analyze Meaning of Phrases
----Final Exam for Grade 6 Reading Literature----