Theme 1 - Risks and Consequences


OC = Open Court Teacher Edition and Resources
L = Language Teacher Edition
KG = Gallagher, Kelley. 2011. Write Like This.Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers

1.1 Mrs. Frisby and the Crow
  • Overview: Fantasy in which a mouse risks her life in order to save a crow who is entangled in a shiny silver string.
  • Link to Theme: Sometimes it is necessary to risk one's own safety to help another in danger.
  • Skills: Cause and effect; writing idea--"My Favorite Mistake" [KG p. 29-35] (any decision can involve a risk, so brainstorm...)
  • Discussion: How did your "favorite mistake" involve a risk?
1.2 Toto
  • Overview: Realistic fiction--Suku, a young African boy, overcomes his fear through his interactions with Toto, a young elephant
  • Link to Theme: Curiosity can lead one into risky situations, and possibly overcoming a fear.
  • Skills: Writing--aim, audience, purpose; Speaking--handing-off rules; writing idea--"Watermark Events" (Shorelines often bear the scars showing the depth of tides, rivers, lakes, etc. Long after the water is gone, the "high-water" mark remains.) [KG p. 47-48] What life events have left a mark on you?
  • Discussion: Share your "watermark event."

1.3 Sarah Plain and Tall
  • Overview: Historical fiction--a man who lives on the prairie advertises for a wife and mother for his children.
  • Link to Theme: Some risks are more emotional than physical.
  • Skill: Topic sentence and paragraph form. Writing idea--Encyclopedia form. [KG p. 27-29]
  • Discussion:

1.4 Escape
  • Overview: Fantasy--a pig succumbs to peer pressure and tries to escape from the farm, although he's not ready for the consequences.
  • Link to Theme: Sometimes we take risks because of peer pressure, and we are not always prepared for the consequences.
  • Skill: Use teamwork collaboration to investigate and create a presentation to the class. Use your concepts and questions to guide your investigation.
  • Discussion: How did peer pressure affect your team's work on the presentation?

1.5 Mae Jemison Space Scientist
  • Overview: Biography--a woman who pursues her dreams and becomes the first African-American woman in space.
  • Link to Theme: Some risks can inspire others to strive for their goals.
  • Skill: Research/information gathering/note-taking. Writing idea--find information about someone who inspires you. Write a paragraph summary and include topic sentence, a good beginning and ending.
  • Discussion: Who has inspired you? Why?

1.6 Two Tickets to Freedom
  • Overview: Informative nonfiction describing African-American suffering during days of slavery and coping strategies
  • Link to Theme: Sometimes the consequences of not taking a risk are even worse than the consequences of taking it.
  • Skill: Use a chart to describe character(s); writing idea--use your chart to write an evaluation of the character. Remember topic sentence and a strong beginning and ending.
  • Discussion: Argue your opinion about your character. Cite pages and paragraphs of the selection as evidence.

1.7 Daedalus and Icarus
  • Overview: Classic myth about the inventor Daedalus, who fashions wings for himself and his son, Icarus
  • Link to Theme: a lack of judgement can lead to tragic consequences
  • Skill: Common English words that come from mythology; writing idea--research and use several of these words to further describe your "Favorite Mistake."
  • Discussion: Share your concepts and questions about your "mythology words"