Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 4: Grit in Charlotte's Web and Babe, the Gallant Pig

Rating: Five apple rating babe-exemplar

Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

RL.4.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Informational Text

RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Reading Foundational Skills

RF.4.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.


W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing

W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

W.4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking and Listening

SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.4.2 Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


L.4.3 (a) Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

L.4.3 (c) Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).

L.4.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.4.5 (c) Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

Description of Unit

This Grade 4 unit titled “Grit in Charlotte’s Web and Babe, the Gallant Pig” created by Susan Roberts for the EQuIP Call to Action and posted on is intended to be completed in four weeks of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy. The unit’s main purpose is to introduce students to grit**  in a literary, academic context. Throughout the lessons they: identify how grit is revealed in literature and informational text; learn, converse, and write about grit across literature and life; recognize and encourage grit in themselves and others. Each lesson gives students opportunities for collaboration, public speaking, and/or critical listening, with a summative speaking and listening assessment.  In the summative assessment, students must provide a text-based response to an evaluative writing prompt, as well as research a famous “gritty” person of their choice in order to deliver a well-supported speech to their peers.

**The Key to Success? Grit – A Ted Talks Education by Angela Lee Duckworth - Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that extensive teacher notes and preparation materials require familiarity to be used effectively. It is suggested in the unit materials that it would be best taught toward the end of the school year, depending on student skill level. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional time and/or scaffolding for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. The unit’s pacing guide calls for varying lengths of instructional sessions between 60 to 120 minutes long; the teacher may need to revise the pacing and activities to correspond to the classroom schedule. Each student will need a copy of CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White and BABE, THE GALLANT PIG by Dick King-Smith. On some days, iPads/computers will be needed for each student.

Rationale for Selection

The design of this unit is exemplary. It includes a clear and explicit purpose for instruction that builds students’ knowledge about a rigorous topic while it cultivates student interest and engagement in reading, writing, speaking, and listening about texts. It includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time; supports are gradually removed, requiring students to demonstrate independent capacities. Lessons address all of the key shifts in the CCSS: Reading Text Closely, Text-Based Evidence, Writing from Sources, Academic Vocabulary, Increasing Text Complexity, Building Disciplinary Knowledge, Balance of Texts, and Balance of Writing. The instructional expectations and are easy to understand and use; all teaching materials are included. Students are provided with multiple opportunities to engage with text of appropriate complexity for the grade level; scaffolding helps students directly experience the complexity of the text. The unit activities include discrete skill instruction and teacher modeling. Learning activities use technology and media to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. Assessments - both formative and summative - elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted standards. Aligned rubrics are included.