Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 1: Content Literacy – People Who Work for Justice

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Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

Reading Informational text

RI.1.3 Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

Foundational Reading Skills

RF.1.1(a) Recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., first word, capitalization, ending punctuation).

RF.1.3(c) Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.


W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

Speaking and Listening

SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.


L.1.5 With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

L.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Description of Unit

This Grade 1 unit titled “Content Literacy – People Who Work for Justice” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is designed for eleven 45-minute sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. This unit is the second in a series; it focuses on using literature to teach the concept of justice and to introduce students to individuals who have sought justice throughout different periods of U.S. history. During unit activities, interactive read-alouds of historical fiction and biographies are used to develop students’ abilities to describe characters seeking justice, as well as to identify the main topics and key details in each text. Individual writing activities are a part of most lessons, asking students to produce written narratives about selected people in the stories that they hear. Students learn to use a timeline to record different times in U.S. history when people worked for justice. In the culminating assessment, after listening to a read-aloud of an important figure in U.S. History, students write a letter to an organization in which they demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of courage and justice by describing how they were exemplified in this figure, using text evidence to support their thinking.


Connecticut teachers need to consider the variability of learners in their class and make adaptations as necessary. Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. Some resource links included in the unit plan are broken and will need to be replaced. Texts noted in the unit are not provided and will need to be secured. Substitute titles could replace the texts cited. While the unit lists standards for English Language Arts/Literacy, the content also aligns with the Social Studies C3 Frameworks Standards, and these standards could be added. For a direct link to this source, see below.

CT Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks

Rationale for Selection

This unit is an exemplary example of a progression of learning activities where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time, requiring all students to demonstrate their independent capacities. The plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. Lessons are designed to gradually remove supports.  All students demonstrate their independent capacities through an authentic performance task with assessment guidelines.  There is an aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which each student can independently demonstrate the targeted grade-level standards.  Lessons are designed to cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, speaking and writing.  The unit plan provides lesson pacing, detailed lesson activities, targeted academic language, instructional tips, strategies, anticipated student preconceptions/misconceptions, optional activities, differentiation for ELL students and students with advanced skills and/or accommodations for students with disabilities.