Working to plan for a unit of study is always challenging and exciting. This week I planned with the kindergarten team at President Avenue Elementary for their unit in opinion writing. Each time I plan for a students to enter a new unit of study, new things come to light. This time, I saw what direct connections there are between this unit’s bends and the California social studies standards.
California Kindergarteners are asked to understand that being a good citizen involves acting in certain ways. They need to know that there are reasons to follow rules and that there are consequences when rules are broken. (CA H/SS K.1.1) The Kindergarten Opinion Writing Unit called Persuasive Writing of All Kinds: Using words to make a change, by Calkins and Dunford helps us involve our young students in practice of this standard authentically. The unit supports students as they come to know they can use their words to make things better in their classroom and school. They can think of a problem and ask “Who could help me fix this problem?” Then they write to make a difference. Observations of issues they care about expand to include their neighborhood and then the world. Celebration suggestions involve helping “young politicians” …” read parts of their writing” and “speak freely about their ideas and opinions to convince others to help in a larger cause”. Students get real life practice in noticing what happens not only when rules are broken but also in helping to fix up these problems. Certainly the unit goes well beyond this standard. Knowing this important California Social Science standard is embedded in the unit is an exciting discovery. I wonder if this is true at other grade levels as well. Perhaps you have mined your Units of Study for connections to your state’s history and social studies standards. I know I intend to search other grade levels units for connections to California’s standards.