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K12ELA008: English Language Arts 8

Unit 4: Tales of the Strange and Weird   Many students your age are curious about otherworldly topics and creepy stories. This unit provides those things, along with opportunities to build upon earlier skills while developing new ones. The informational piece deals with beliefs about ghosts in Ancient Greece and Rome, and the literature component features “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Adventures of the Speckled Band” by Sir Arthur Connan Doyle. Both of these classic short stories are as popular today as they were when they were published, inspiring many modern writers.

You will write a short literary response, choosing one aspect of one of the stories, such as characterization or plot development, to analyze. 

One of the stories will be presented in an audio format, giving you a chance to improve your listening skills. You will continue to develop and reinforce your ability to correctly use conventions of language, as well as adding new words to your vocabulary.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 8 hours and 25 minutes to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 4.1: 1 hour and 15 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.2: 2 hours and 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.3: 2 hours ☐    Subunit 4.3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 45 minutes ☐    Subunit 4.4.1: 15 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.4.2: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.5: 45 minutes ☐    Subunit 4.5.1: 40 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.5.2: 15 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.6: 1 hour and 10 minutes ☐    Subunit 4.6.1: 40 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.6.2: 30 minutes

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - Compare two works by the same author, looking for similar approaches to plot, theme, and characterization. - Examine a nonfiction text, recalling facts and details. - Develop and share an opinion about one of the readings from this unit, using the steps of the writing process. - Recognize and use proper conventions of language. - Use new grade-level vocabulary.

Standards Addressed (Common Core): - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.6 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.6

4.1 Reading Informational Text: Excerpt from Greek and Roman Ghost Stories: “The Belief in Ghosts in Ancient Greece and Rome”   This unit will continue the course’s emphasis on informational text with a social studies-related reading. Though the question of ghosts cannot be definitively answered, ancient cultures had some very clear ideas about ghosts. The excerpt you are going to read discusses attitudes toward ghosts in ancient Greece and Rome.

  • Reading: Project Gutenberg: Lacy Collison-Morley’s Greek and Roman Ghost Stories: “Chapter 2: The Belief in Ghosts in Ancient Greece and Rome” Link: Project Gutenberg: Lacy Collison-Morley’s Greek and Roman Ghost Stories: “Chapter 2: The Belief in Ghosts in Ancient Greece and Rome” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link above and read Chapter 2. You will follow up this reading by completing an activity that asks you to compare Greek or Roman beliefs about ghosts with your own culture’s ideas about ghosts. As you read, pay close attention to aspects of the text that you can compare and contrast.
     
    It should take approximately 30 minutes to read this chapter from Greek and Roman Ghost Stories.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Comparing and Contrasting Texts” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Comparing and Contrasting Texts” (HTML) (YouTube) (PPT)
     
    Instructions: Since comparing and contrasting is an important skill, you are going to revisit it. Take a few minutes to review the tutorial, which you originally studied in Subunit 1.2.1.4. Watch the video and study the slides of the second slide show presentation, “Comparing and Contrasting Informational Texts.” When you’re finished, create a Venn diagram where you compare and contrast either Greek or Roman beliefs about ghosts with your own culture’s beliefs. You don’t need to do research for your part; work with your own understanding and knowledge.
     
    It should take approximately 45 minutes to review the tutorial and create your graphic organizer.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 Reading Literature   You will enjoy reading these classic creepy tales: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” a Sherlock Holmes short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As you begin the second to last unit, you may appreciate a break from informational text. These two tales have captivated audiences through the years, remaining popular and providing inspiration to modern authors.

  • Reading: Books Should Be Free: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” Link: Books Should Be Free: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link and view your options for reading the text. Your choices will include an audio version as well as versions for different e-readers (scroll down) as well as text files. You may choose to do it in multiple sessions. In your notebook, write a one-page summary, including your observations and ideas about the characters, the plot, the setting, and the theme. In the next Subunit, you will be selecting one of these elements from either this story or the next story you read, Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” to examine more closely.
     
    It should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to read this story.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 
                               Lexile Score: 510

  • Reading: Books Should Be Free: Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: “The Adventures of the Speckled Band” Link: Books Should Be Free: Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link and view your options for reading the text. Your choices will include an audio version as well as versions for different e-readers (scroll down) as well as text files. You may choose to do it in multiple sessions. In order to read “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” you will need to scroll down, as it is the eighth story in the collection. In your notebook, write a one-page summary, including your observations and ideas about the characters, the plot, the setting, and the theme. In the next subunit, you will be selecting one of these elements from either this story or the previous one to examine more closely.
     
    It should take approximately 1 hour to read this story.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.
                               Lexile Score: 1120

4.3 Writing   In this subunit, you are going to combine your writing and reading skills to write a short response to literature. You will continue to use the steps of the writing process to guide your work.

4.3.1 Writing a Response to Literature   4.3.1.1 Selecting an Element to Discuss   - Explanation: cK-12: “Writing About Literature: The Basics” Link: cK-12: “Writing About Literature: The Basics” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage. Stop at the “Young Goodman Brown” reading exercise. Pay particular attention to the sections on character, plot, setting, and theme, as you will be choosing one of those elements to write about. Before you go on to the next step, you should have selected a chapter or section of one of the texts you have studied in this course as well as an element to focus on.
 
It should take approximately 30 minutes to read through this material.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/8/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.1.2 Steps of the Writing Process   - Activity: SOPHIA: Melissa Stephenson’s “Organizing Your Paper” Link: SOPHIA: Melissa Stephenson’s “Organizing Your Paper” (HTML) (FLASH)
 
Instructions: Watch the video that accompanies this activity. It will show you the best graphic organizer to choose for the type of writing you’re going to do. Review the types of graphic organizers and choose the one you feel will work with the type of response you’re going to write.
 
After you view the video, it should take an additional 10 minutes to choose and copy your graphic organizer into your notebook. From here, you will write your draft.
 
It should take approximately 45 minutes to write your draft.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/8/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.1.3 Sharing the Final Product   - Activity: SOPHIA: Nikki Hansen’s “Presentations” Link: SOPHIA: Nikki Hansen’s “Presentations” (HTML) (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Authors and poets often stage public readings of their works to generate interest and sometimes get feedback. Find some friends or relatives who you would like to hear your finished product. Even though your completed response is not a speech, you can review the material, linked above, which you studied in Subunit 2.3.2.3. The video, “Tips for Public Speaking,” will be especially useful.
 
It should take approximately 30 minutes to review the material, watch the video, prepare yourself, and deliver your reading.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/8/4)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Activity: SOPHIA: Nikki Hansen’s “Presentations” Link: SOPHIA: Nikki Hansen’s “Presentations” (HTML) (PPT)
     
    Instructions: If you would like additional information review the linked tutorial, which you looked at in Unit 2. It has information about the basic components of a presentation, along with tips on delivering a presentation. Read the text at the top, then view the slide show, “Top Ten Tips for Giving a Presentation.” The slides contain additional information, which you should summarize in your notebook. Finally, watch the video, which features additional public speaking tips.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.4 Speaking and Listening   The emphasis in this unit is on listening, because listening skills are important for success in higher education and the world of work. You will review some tips for listening to an audio version of one of your readings and learn how to use a graphic organizer to help support understanding.

4.4.1 Strategies for Listening   - Reading: SOPHIA: Meghan Hatalla’s “Active Listening” Link: SOPHIA: Meghan Hatalla’s “Active Listening” (HTML) (PPT)
 
Instructions: Read parts 1 and 2 of this tutorial. It contains helpful tips for listening in a variety of contexts. Then, read through the “Five Elements of Active Listening” slide show, taking brief notes about each element.
 
It should take approximately 15 minutes to work your way through all the material and take any needed notes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/8/4)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.4.2 Taking Notes during an Audio Presentation   - Web Media: Librivox: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” Link: Librivox: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” (MP3)
 
Instructions: In your notebook, create a chart with the following elements: Character, Setting, Conflict, Sequence of Events, Resolution, and Theme. Leave a few spaces after each element. As you listen to this audio performance of this well-known story, use the strategies for active listening from the previous subunit to help you identify and write down the key parts of the story. When you are finished, use the information from the graphic organizer to help you write a short summary of the story.
 
It should take approximately 30 minutes to create the chart, listen to the story, and write your summary.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.3](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/8/3)
-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/8/4)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.  
                            Lexile Score: 850

4.5 Language   This subunit focuses on the grammar and punctuation errors most often found among students, with tips for helping you avoid them. In addition to grammar and punctuation, you will spend some time playing an interactive vocabulary game, which will help you learn new words. You can return to the game as often as you like.

4.5.1 Knowledge of Conventions of Language   - Activity: cK-12: “Common Errors in Grammar and Punctuation” Link: cK-12: “Common Errors in Grammar and Punctuation” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read through the information in this activity. It reviews the challenges with grammar and punctuation faced by most students. Each section ends with a brief review, which you should complete in your notebook.
 
It should take approximately 40 minutes to complete this activity.

 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/8/1)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.5.2 Continue to Learn and Use Grade-Level Academic Vocabulary   - Activity: Free Rice: “Vocabulary Game” Link: Free Rice: “Vocabulary Game” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This game helps you practice and build vocabulary. Each time you correctly define a word, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme. You will also get progressively harder words, making this activity educationally beneficial as well.
 
You should play for at least 15 minutes, but you can continue longer if you wish.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.6](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/8/6)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.6 Assessments   This subunit contains some assessment tools to help you evaluate and monitor your learning. You will read a classic short story, O. Henry’s “After Twenty Years,” and respond to some questions that are based on the skills you learned in unit 4. You will also respond to questions about writing and punctuation.

4.6.1 Reading and Writing   - Checkpoint: The Saylor Foundation: Tracy Derrell’s “Reading and Writing” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Tracy Derrell’s “Reading and Writing” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above to complete the assessment, which is designed to test your understanding of the skills and concepts in Unit 4. Complete the following tasks in your notebook. Each response should be between two and three paragraphs in length. To check your answers, click here.
 
It should take approximately 40 minutes to read the story and respond to the questions.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3)
-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.6](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/8/6)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.6.2 Speaking, Listening, and Language   - Checkpoint: The Saylor Foundation: Tracy Derrell’s “Speaking, Listening, and Language” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Tracy Derrell’s “Speaking, Listening, and Language” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above to complete the assessment, which is designed to assess your understanding of the skills and concepts in Unit 4. Question 1, which will be about a paragraph in length, should be completed in your notebook. The remaining questions can be completed directly on the page, or you can copy the items into your notebook and complete them there. To check your answers, click here.
 
It should take approximately 30 minutes to complete this assessment.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1.](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/8/1)

Terms of Use: Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms
of use displayed on the webpage above.

Extension Resources   If any of the readings in this unit have inspired you to learn more, the following list will help you. It contains books and other resources you can use for further study. You will most likely be able to find many of these items in your local public library. 

  • Reading: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son by Lois Lowry This dystopian quartet is set in a futuristic world characterized by repression and fear. Each interconnected novel features a different main character who must navigate a challenging world that’s nothing like our own.

    The Giver - Lexile Score: 760
    Gathering Blue – Lexile Score: 680
    Messenger – Lexile Score: 720
    Son – Lexile Score: 720

  • Reading: Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman This book is a collection of short tales chosen by Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline. Each story features fantastical creatures and situations that can only exist in our imagination.

    Lexile Score: 840