Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 5: Building Background Knowledge on Human Rights 

Rating: Five apple rating   Grade 5: Module 1

Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.5.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Reading Informational Text

RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

RI.5.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

RI.5.6 Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.


W.5.10 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.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.5.1(b) Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

SL.5.2 Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


L.5.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.5.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).

Description of Unit

This Grade 5 unit titled "Building Background Knowledge on Human Rights" developed by Expeditionary Learning for is intended to be completed in 11 one-hour sessions of language arts and social studies instruction. It is designed to provide all students with multiple opportunities to engage with challenging text to build background knowledge. The unit focuses on building students’ academic vocabulary in context and routinely expects that students draw evidence from text to produce clear and coherent writing.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that this curriculum unit will require familiarity with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” document since it is used for a series of text-dependent tasks, questions, discussions, and writing.  Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively.

Rationale for Selection

The unit is an exemplary example of how to sequence, scaffold, and support the instruction of vocabulary using difficult text to advance students toward independent reading of complex text at the College and Career Readiness (CCR) level.  It includes independent reading lists for student choice to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.  The formative and summative assessments with corresponding rubrics are varied, providing multiple opportunities to evaluate and facilitate student achievement.  The following link provides an example of how teachers and students engage in collaborative academic discussions.

Engaging Students in Collaborative Academic Discussions (from Expeditionary Learning)  Students in Erin Daly's fifth-grade class at PS 36 in Bronx, NY, engage in a jigsaw protocol to deepen their understanding of the novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.