Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 4: Perspectives on the American Revolution - Building Background Knowledge

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Directions: Scroll down to units. Select Unit 1: Perspectives on the American Revolution: Building Background Knowledge. Download the unit.

Common Core Standards

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.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

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.

Description of Unit

This Grade 4 unit titled “Perspectives on the American Revolution: Building Background Knowledge” developed by Expeditionary Learning is the first unit of a three-unit module.  It is intended to be completed in approximately 12 sixty-minute sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction integrated with social studies content. In this unit, students read and analyze short informational texts and primary source documents to build background knowledge about a historical topic and its various perspectives.  The unit assessment asks students to answer selected response, text-dependent questions that include comprehension of key passages and vocabulary. Students then complete a graphic organizer about the main events in the historical article and the impact of these events.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. While the primary source links required for instruction are included, the texts needed for the unit are listed but not provided. The unit plan only includes standards for reading, speaking and listening; however, standards for writing are not listed and could be added.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is an exemplary example ofhow to teach students literacy skills in the context of learning social studies by providing opportunities to build knowledge about a historical topic through analysis of discipline-specific texts. Lessons include detailed direction for differentiated instruction. Throughout the unit, lessons also focus on building students’ academic vocabulary in context. Unit materials include complex texts drawn from the grade-level band. Instructional expectations are clearly addressed and are easy to understand and use. Aligned rubrics and assessment guidelines provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance.