The five-day Common Core aligned unit is universal in that it allows teachers or students to choose their texts written at various levels. The unit relies on the principles of Literature Circles, small, self-directed groups that read and discuss a common text. Tasks appeal to a variety of learning styles, and assessments are frequently peer reviewed, so that teacher grading time is minimized.
The common topics for mini lessons include ability appropriate tasks that relate to each lesson, one for general education students and another for gifted students. The specific elements that students will analyze in this unit are context, plot, characterization, theme, and figurative language. I also have included extension activities in reading, writing, research and speaking/listening for students who need additional challenge, or if the teacher wishes to continue to explore the texts in new ways.
Other supporting elements include an analysis chart for characterization that can be used for higher order thinking, as well as a RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) for writing responses, and a rubric for evaluation.