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5-8 Core Literature Themes and Connections

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
This novel is filled with danger and excitement as it tells of the turbulent times in Boston just before the Revolutionary War. As a young apprentice silversmith, Johnny becomes a spy for the Sons of Liberty, takes part in the Boston Tea Party, and struggles with loss at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

5th & 8th grade Core Literature

Key Concepts and Vocabulary Words
Revolutionary War, Boston Tea Party, democracy, consitution

Themes
IWar, freedom, patriotism

 

English/Language Arts

Theme Questions

Websites

Extensions/ Activities

How did Esther Forbes' book compare with actual historical events during the Revolutionary War?

Score CyberGuide on Johnny Tremain
In this unit, students, working with partners or small groups, will use various Web sites to investigate the people and times of the American Revolutionary War in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Created by Susan Murphy

WebQuest on Johnny Tremain
Students will work as a team of researchers taking on different roles to compare how accurate the literature is to what actually happened.


Write a pamphlet as a research report using effective search strategies on the Internet. Create a newsletter based on the times. Write a literature response on how accurate the book was written to what actually happened. Keep a Colonial diary.

5th Grade Language Arts Standards (California)
Reading Comprehension 2.3 Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas.
Reading Comprehension 2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.

Writing Application 2.2 Write responses to literature:
a. Demonstrate an understanding of a literary work.
b. Support judgments through references to the text and to prior knowledge.
c. Develop interpretations that exhibit careful reading and understanding.
Writing Application 2.3 Write research reports about important ideas, issues, or events by using the following guidelines:
a. Frame questions that direct the investigation.
b. Establish a controlling idea or topic.
c. Develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations.

8th Grade Language Arts Standards (California)
Writing Strategy Standard 1.4 Plan and conduct multiple-step information searches by using computer networks and modems.
Writing Application Standard 2.2 Write responses to literature:
a. Exhibit careful reading and insight in their interpretations.
b. Connect the student's own responses to the writer's techniques and to specific textual references.
c. Draw supported inferences about the effects of a literary work on its audience.
d. Support judgments through references to the text, other works, other authors, or to personal knowledge.
Writing Applications Standard 2.3 Write research reports:
a. Define a thesis.
b. Record important ideas, concepts, and direct quotations from significant information sources and paraphrase and summarize all perspectives on the topic, as appropriate.
c. Use a variety of primary and secondary sources and distinguish the nature and value of each.
d. Organize and display information on charts, maps, and graphs.
Listening and Speaking Strategies Standard 2.3 Deliver research presentations:
a. Define a thesis.
b. Record important ideas, concepts, and direct quotations from significant information sources and paraphrase and summarize all relevant perspectives on the topic, as appropriate.
c. Use a variety of primary and secondary sources and distinguish the nature and value of each.
d. Organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.

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History/Social Science

Theme Questions


Websites


Extensions/ Activities

What were the causes and effects of the Revolutionary War?

When is war justified?

What was life like during colonial times?

WebQuest on Johnny Tremain
This site gives background information of the Revolutionary War where students take on different roles in the quest.


WebQuest Resources
A list of links to resources on daily life during colonial times including food, clothing, schooling, and more.

Create a newsletter taking on either the American or British position. Invite students with artistic ability to draw battle scenes at Lexington and Concord, using in part the descriptions in the novel as a guide. Create a diorama, skit, or drawing around daily life during colonial times in Boston.

5th Grade History/Social Science
5.5 Students explain the causes of the American Revolution.
1. Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts).
3. Understand the people and events associated with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the document's significance, including the key political concepts it embodies, the origins of those concepts, and its role in severing ties with Great Britain.
5.6 Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution.

8th grade History/Social Science
8.1 Students understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy.
1. Describe the relationship between the moral and political ideas of the Great Awakening and the development of revolutionary fervor.
2. Analyze the philosophy of government expressed in the Declaration of Independence, with an emphasis on government as a means of securing individual rights (e.g., key phrases such as "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights").
3. Analyze how the American Revolution affected other nations, especially France.
4. Describe the nation's blend of civic republicanism, classical liberal principles, and English parliamentary traditions.

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