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Morgan Bennett

Teaching Reading
Teaching a Text: Unbroken
1)Select a Text
Hillenbrand, Linda. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and
Redemption: Random House, 2010. Book.

Why did I choose this text?

Having to choose a text to work with for an entire semester was one of the toughest choices that
Ive had to make in recent months. I wanted to pick a book that would do more for my students
than over analyzing cumbersome literature and be something they had to read. I decided to pick
Unbroken because it is a book students will want to read, while learning valuable literacy skills.
The story is well-written, interesting, and will speak to a variety of students in a classroom.
By teaching Unbroken, I will reach a plethora of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). First
off, we will reach CCSS ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3: "Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence
of events and explain how individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of a
text." Since the main character begins as a delinquent and progresses into an American hero,
there will be a good juxtaposition between the main character at the start and end of the novel.
Additionally, we will reach CCSS.RI.11-12.7: "Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of
information presented in different media or formats as well as in words in order to address a
question or solve a problem." We will meet this standard by using outside resources to
supplement our learning about WWII. I will bring in the use of poetry and other art from the time
period to help students grasp the extremity of the war.
What are my goals for this text?
1. Help students understand the complex evolution the characters will undergo under
the stress of life events.
2. Combine different modes of information to create a cohesive understanding of a
culture and time period ( Poems, pictures, art, etc.)

2) Author Background: Laura Hillenbrand

Use a the powerpoint as a visual aid, but students are not required to know this
A. She was born on May 15th, 1967 in Washington, D.C.; She is still alive.
B. Hillenbrand's only other book is Seabiscuit. Although it has been rumored that
another novel is currently in the making.
a. Seabiscuit is a rag to riches tale about a horse who looked like he
belonged on a cattle drive more than a race track; but, with a big heart, he proved
to Depression-era America, that with a little bit of hope and a lot of heart, any of
your dreams can be accomplished.
Gifted sportswriter Hillenbrand unearths the
rarefied world of thoroughbred horse racing in this captivating account of
one of the sport's legends. Though no longer a household name, Seabiscuit
enjoyed great celebrity during the 1930s and 1940s, drawing record
crowds to his races around the country. Not an overtly impressive physical
specimen, "His stubby legs were a study in unsound construction, with
huge, squarish, asymmetrical 'baseball glove' knees that didn't quite
straighten all the way, the horse seemed to transcend his physicality as he
won race after race. Hillenbrand, a contributor to Equus magazine, profiles
the major players in Seabiscuit's fantastic and improbable career. In
simple, elegant prose, she recounts how Charles Howard, a pioneer in
automobile sales and Seabiscuit's eventual owner, became involved with
horse racing, starting as a hobbyist and growing into a fanatic. She
introduces esoteric recluse Tom Smith (Seabiscuit's trainer) and jockey
Red Pollard, a down-on-his-luck rider whose specialty was taming unruly
horses. In 1936, Howard united Smith, Pollard and "The Biscuit," whose
performance had been spotty and the horse's star career began. Smith, who
recognized Seabiscuit's potential, felt an immediate rapport with him and
eased him into shape. Once Seabiscuit started breaking records and
outrunning lead horses, reporters thronged the Howard barn day and night.
Smith's secret workouts became legendary and only heightened
Seabiscuit's mystique. Hillenbrand deftly blends the story with
explanations of the sport and its culture, including vivid descriptions of the
Tijuana horse-racing scene in all its debauchery. She roots her narrative of
the horse's breathtaking career and the wild devotion of his fans in its
socioeconomic context: Seabiscuit embodied the underdog myth for a
nation recovering from dire economic straits. (Mar.) Forecast: Despite the
shrinking horse racing audience and the publishing adage that books on
horse racing don't sell this book has the potential to do well, even outside

the realm of the racing community, due to a large first printing and
forthcoming Universal Studios movie. A stylish cover will attract both
baby boomers and young readers, tapping into the sexiness and allure of
the "Sport of Kings." From publishers weekly on
C. Although both of her books are bestsellers and the movie renditions have won
many awards, her books have not received any awards.
D. Hillenbrand began writing at a young age. Her first influence was her swim
coach. While they team had to wait out storms, he would share stories that later inspired
her to write a collection of short stories. Hillenbrand was later influenced by her love of
horses. Hillenbrand suffers from Chronic Fatigue, which has also affected her writing.
Because of Hillenbrand's sickness, she had the time to write Seabiscuit and later
E. At the age of 15, Hillenbrand and her sister saved up money to buy a filly from
slaughter. She was later named Allspice.
a. Before wanting to pursue a career in writing, Hillenbrand's dream
was to become a jockey. After falling off a few horses though, she realized that
was not her dream.

1)Reading Strategies
1A) Pre-Reading Strategy: Inferences from a Tea Party (From Assessment Portfolio)
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as
well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters
Reading Focus: It is critical that students know how to make inferences from a text before
reading a book. Because of this, we will have a tea party where students can look at various
quotes from the reading of Unbroken before they do it, and they will then talk about what they
think the story is about. I know that students have this need because it is a skill that we use in
college classes today. It is a skill that is frequently reviewed in 100-level English classes at CSU.
Last semester, I took E142, Reading Across Borders, and the beginning of the semester was
dedicated to honing our skills on inference making. The professor, Anne Reid, made it clear to

the class that this was a skill that was critical for 21st century learners. and she had us practice
our inference making ability with each text we read. Additionally, from talking with my high
school AP English teacher, Shelby Brown, she told me that she felt her students were weak at
making inferences and that made her question if they were engaging with the text. As an AP
English teacher for 12th grade students, it is my job to best prepare them for the college life
ahead of them and this is something that I think would have helped me engage and critically
think about a book before we read it.
Review what an inference is. (Write def. on board after some discussion) (5
This shouldn't take too long because students are seniors in AP
English. With that being said, it is easy to use a word commonly and just glaze
over the definition, not understand it.
Inference: the ability to connect what is in the text
with what is in the mind to create an educated guess (Beers pg 62).
Now that we have reviewed what an inference is, we will be making an inference
about the next story we will be reading.
Introduce activity- You will pick a strip of paper with a quote from the book on it.
Your job is to read the quote, discuss with your classmates, and decide what you think the
book is about. While youre reading I want you to be thinking about: who you think the
characters are, what the setting is, and any major events that might take place. (3
Let students discuss (10 minutes)
Ask students to share with the class. If they have not already formed one large
group, encourage students to talk to everyone in class. Have students read the quotes out
in the order that they believe they happen in the book. (5 minutes)
Bring the class back together and have them write an inference on a sticky note to
hand in as an exit slip. (5 minutes)

Quotes to use for the Tea Party:
*Pg numbers are listed for teacher and student reference. Although initially I was planning on
removing the page numbers to make students have more questions about the text, I think that it
will be helpful for them to see the order of the pages and have that context while discussing their
All he could see, in every direction, was water. It was late June 1943. pg.1

With the last of his strength, Louie threw himself over the line. pg.35
Finally, the sharks let a hook hang unmolested. Louie felt a tug and pulled up the line. pg. 143
The vibrant, generous body that had trained with such vigilance had shrunken until only the
bones remained, draped in yellow skin, crawling with parasites. pg.175
Of the many hells that Louie had known in this war, this place would be the worst. pg.278
Virtually every POW believed that the destruction of this city had saved them from execution.
The war is over. pg.304
This is the place of our execution. pg.293
It was a short walk into slavery. pg.282
The assessment of this activity will not be lengthy, but rather a post-it note from the student
where they are inferring one idea from the story that they garnered from having the tea party.
They will give me this as an exit slip. Additionally, I will be monitoring and participating in the
discussion about the quotes which will tell me what the students are thinking as they go around
and listen to each others quotes and ideas. The real take-away from this activity will be how the
students interact with each other while reading the quotes, and the post-it note exit slip will be a
valuable demonstration to me that they can synthesize the information they just discussed and
formulate an opinion on it. The grade given will be based on the participation in this activity and
the post-it note. I will not be grading students on the ability to infer correctly what may or may
not happen in Unbroken, since this activity is meant to get them thinking about the reading.
Example assessment: From the tea party, I think that Unbroken is a story about a
fisherman who was captured as a POW. Using outside knowledge, I think that this takes
place during World War II, possibly in Europe.
***As you can see from my example, that is not the correct story line, but that is because I want
students to feel comfortable with taking risks in their inferences and know that they will not
always infer correctly.
Research Base:
The idea for this activity came from Pam Coke in E401, Teaching Reading. In the reading
methods class, Dr. Coke expressed the importance of students thinking critically about the text

and creating inferences before they pick up the book. Additionally, we had a tea party in class
that was an engaging and interesting way for the classroom to discuss Thirteen Reasons Why.
Not only does this have students thinking about what they will read, but it can also create interest
so they will keep wanting to read. Finally, in chapter 5, Learning to Make an Inference of
When Kids Can't Read, Beers talks about the importance of making inferences as a pre-reading
strategy to get students engaged and critically thinking about what they will be reading next.

Beers, Kylene. When Kids Cant Read. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003. Print.

2A) Assessment Plan Two: During Reading Strategy (From Assessment Portfolio)
Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a
story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are
introduced and developed).
Context: See assessment plan one.
Reading Focus: From experience with students during EDUC 340 and an experience from my
own high school, I think that students need to slow down and really interact with the text in front
of them. While I spent time at Preston Middle School, I noticed that students would rush through
the reading of class-assigned texts so they could do other things in the classroom. Later in
discussion, the students who rushed through the reading wouldnt be able to contribute as much
to the discussion because they didnt comprehend the material. I suffered (and still do suffer)
from this as well. As a fast reader, its very easy for me to skim over material and not get a good
understanding of what happened in it. To help my students with this, I created a worksheet
inspired by Beers to force students to slow down and try to interact with the text. I think this will
be useful and help my students really interact with the text instead of just looking at words on a
Instructional Strategies:
Have students take out Unbroken and turn to page 271 to read the chapter Falling
Down. (3 minutes)
Model the strategy: (5 minutes)
While reading aloud the first paragraph demonstrate and write on
the board.
Question: Would Louie stay here at Omori?
Predict: I think The Bird will come back into Louies life.

Clarify: I understand now that the POWs are much happier without
The Bird.
Comment: I wonder if Louies letters ever arrived in the mail.
Connection: It seems like I live in America and my mail doesnt
get to me!
In groups of no more than four, they must each read aloud the chapter Falling
Down and answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper. The questions will be
focused on the character development of either Louie or The Bird. (20 minutes)
At the end of class, have students share a question, prediction, clarification they
wanted, connection to an outside source, and a comment about the reading. (10 minutes)
Have students turn in the worksheet to check for understanding and in-depth
comprehension of the character development. (Focusing in on character development will
help students have a more clear understanding and it will help me to know that they are
mastering the standard.)
Assignment Sheets:
Have students draw columns with each category to then answer on their own sheet of paper.
To assess my students, I will be collecting the worksheet that they wrote down on while they
were completing the reading. The helpful thing about this worksheet is that there are no wrong or
right answers; I just am attempting to get students to interact with the text and construct meaning
from it. With that being said, I will be looking over the worksheet to check comprehension of
character development and the interaction that a student has with the text. Although students
cannot be graded on if I agree with them, they will be graded on answering thoroughly and
Research Base:
Beers mentions Say Something in chapter 7 of When Kids Cant Read. This strategy is used to
help students better comprehend what they are reading by actively engaging with the text. On
page 105, Beers says, Say Something interrupts a students reading of a text, giving her a
chance to think about what she is reading. Although my students are advanced, I believe that
makes them need this strategy even more. As an advanced reader, I am far too often guilty of not
slowing down to interact with the text. Therefore it will be good for my students to learn to slow
down and really think about what they are understanding instead of just reading the material
quickly, as advanced, fast readers as apt to do.
Beers, Kylene. When Kids Cant Read. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003. Print.

3A) Assessment Plan Three: Post-Reading Strategy: SWBS (From Assessment Portfolio)

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats
(e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a
See assessment plan one.
Reading Focus:
This is a strategy that needs to be mastered by all the students in my class because it is critical
that they know how to evaluate and integrate numerous formats of the same material to
synthesize information and create a final assignment. From working with students at Preston
Middle School, and talking with various college composition professors, I know that students
require the ability to read, watch, and interpret different resources while evaluating key details to
later be integrated. An example of this would be when Mrs. Decker had her students watch a
video and read an article about the keys to success in a modern workplace environment. She had
her students take notes on both, the create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting what the
students learned. From talking with her, she told the CSU students that it was important for
students to be able to take various forms of similar material and synthesize it to create something
new. To aid my students in their evaluation, they will be creating a Somebody Wanted But So
worksheet to help synthesize the material they are reading. At the end of this strategy, students
will be taking a visual, a video, a website, a novel, and a political announcement to fine tune
their skill of evaluating numerous sources for the important information.
Instructional Strategies:
**This lesson plan is designed to be used at the end of reading Unbroken. To let students digest
the book, this lesson is planned for a few days after the book should be finished.
Day One
Take time to go over feelings of the book. Ask for opinions on the novel and let
students share. (10 minutes)
After students have had time to share their feelings of the book, introduce todays
topic: Bombing on Hiroshima. (3 minutes)
o From the reading of Unbroken, students should be familiar with the
topic; however, seeing as it is a sensitive topic, approach with care.
Introduce the concept and handout the worksheet.
o Concept: Today we will be writing a letter to Congress about the
bombing on Hiroshima. In your letter, you can either argue for or against the
bombing on Japan. Before you write your letter, there are a few sources I will be
handing out for you to utilize in your paper. I expect to see at least three of these
different sources used.

Have students create a SWBS worksheet. Students should be familiar with this
concept by this point, but we will do the first one together. We will complete the SWBS
for each source so students have a space with their synthesize of the materials in one spot.
This will make it easier for them when they later must write a letter to Congress.
o Example for Unbroken:





wanted to be free
from the prison

But the Japanese

made a law that if
there was a
ground invasion
all POWs would
be executed.

So the US
government ended
the war by
bombing Japan
with two atomic
bombs, causing
damage and
freeing the US

Watch video: Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
o www.history,com/topics/world-war-ii/bombing-of-hiroshima-andnagasaki/videos
(3 minutes)
Listen to Harry Truman announcing the bombing on Japan ( 3 minutes)
o https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIKeVxxV
Pass out handouts 1.6-1.10 (1 minute)
o Japanese Warning Leaflet
o Pro-Bombing Article
o Anti-Bombing Article
Now that you have watched this video, listened to the speech, and have these web
resources, I want you to evaluate the information and fill out the SWBS worksheet. After
you have evaluated these sources, create an argument for your stance on the bombing of
Hiroshima. You will have the rest of class to complete a draft based on the rubric

attached. Remember that I will be checking your final letter for integration of these
Give students the rest of class to work on the letter to Congress. (20 minutes)
Draft of letter will be due for a workshop during the next class.
Day Two
Check student drafts for completion
Begin peer review of writing. (20 minutes)
Work on re-writing the final draft. (20 minutes)
The final draft and the SWBS will be due at the next class period.
Assignment Sheets:
Strategy Three Assignment
On pages 297-308 of Unbroken, Louie talks about the bombing on Hiroshima.
From the book, the attached sources, and the videos, write a one page letter to Congress either
for or against the Japanese bombings. There will be class time to draft a letter. For the following
class (Wednesday), have a rough draft ready for a workshop. The final draft will be due along
with the SWBS worksheet on Fridays class.

Below is the rubric:

Excels Expectations

At Expectation

Below Expectation


All categories are filled All categories are filled in Missing categories or
in with clear and
and it is clear that student obvious effort was not
abundant details
put in time and read the
put into completion


Makes a clear stance, is Is stated, but not concise

concise, and is easy to

No thesis present

Sources Used

More than 3 sources

that are relevant and
make thesis more

3 sources used that

support thesis

2 or fewer sources are



Minimal errors that are

not distracting

Occasional errors and

spelling mistakes

Spelling and
grammatical errors are
frequent and

The assessment of whether my students can evaluate numerous sources and integrate them into a
singular piece will be the letter they write to Congress. It will be graded based on a standards
based rubric. To get an A on this assignment, students will make a clear and concise stance of
their opinion on the bombings of Japan that is supported by at least three of the sources, and they
will use proper grammar conventions. Not only that, but students must also complete a SWBS to
demonstrate that they can read multiple sources of information and evaluate it for the main
points. When they turn in the final draft, they will also have to turn in the worksheet.
Research Base:
When Kids Can't Read says that it is important for readers to be able to confidently respond to a
text in chapter 13 (pg.259). By having students use an event from the book and compare other
documents about the event I am having students recall information, then utilize it in a meaningful
way. Since I am having students use numerous sources along with their book, it will create a
connection for the students that will hopefully be memorable for them. Additionally, in chapter
8, Beers says, SWBS moves students beyond summary writing. It forces students to evaluate
the main characters, plot, conflict, and the resolution of what they are reading. Although it might
be tough for students to create a SWBS about a short film, I have faith that my students can do it
and I will be available to aid along the way.

Beers, Kylene. When Kids Cant Read. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003. Print.

4A) Syntax Surgery (From Interactive Notebook)

As a class, read a paragraph from Unbroken. For this activity I choose a passage from page 9.
The paragraph will be overhead on a projector so I can share my thoughts actively while reading
with students.
Nothing about Louie fit with other kids. He was a puny boy, and in his first years in Torrance,
his lungs were still compromised enough from the pneumonia that in picnic footraces, every girl
in town could dust him. His features, which would later settle into pleasant collaboration, were
growing at different rates, giving him a curious face that seemed designed by committee. His
ears leaned sidelong off his head like holstered pistols, and above them waved a calamity of
black hair that mortified him. He attacked it with his aunt Margie's hot iron, hobbled it in a silk
stocking every night, and slathered it with so much olive oil that flies trailed him to school. It did
no good.
I would like to walk through syntax surgery with my students to let them see
inside my head. I think this will help students for a few reasons. First off, seeing inside
my head might make students understand how I make inferences about my reading which
could further their understanding of inferences. Also, it could show students that even
teachers have questions and don't have all the answers.
After I walk through the passage with my students I will give them the next passage to work
through on their own. Students will have about 5-7 minutes to read and annotate the passage. As
the final part of this activity, students will share their work. First they will pair and share what
they came up with an elbow partner, then we will share as a whole class. The passage will be on
the board, so students will be able to annotate it as we read together. I will encourage all students
to share what they have written down, so other students can have multiple points of view from
one reading.
Below is the handout paragraph I will give to students to annotate:
"Frustrated at his inability to defend himself, he made a study of it. His father taught him how to
work a punching bag and made him a barbell from two lead-filled coffee cans welded to a pipe.

The next time the bully came at Louie, he ducked left and swung his right fist straight into the
boy's mouth. The bully shrieked, his tooth broken, and fled. The feeling of lightness that Louie
experienced on his walk home was one he would never forget."

Adapted from When Kids Can't Read, Chapter 5, pg 7.

5A) Building Vocabulary (From Interactive Notebook)
The point of this strategy is to increase vocabulary. I want students to be engaging with a text to
look up words they don't know; this will also increase dictionary usage.
After they find words they don't know, students need to look them up and write sentences to help
further understanding. So this activity does not go to waste, I would like to offer students one
point of extra credit (for up to five points) on every assignment that they can incorporate any of
these once unknown words into.
While reading chapter 1 of Unbroken, write down five words you are unfamiliar with. Once you
have found five words, please also give the definition for each word.
Now that you have found and defined five words that you did not know, please write five
sentences using each of the words.
1B) Small Group Activity
Students will break into groups of 3-4 and I will then assign them a topic to do research on. The
topics will include:

1936 Olympics
Bombing on Japan
Wars End
POW Release
Louie Zamperinis Capture
WWII Plane Crash in Ocean

This assignment will be given out after the students read the poem Foul Shot and we have
reviewed the techniques to writing a journalism piece. I will tell students that every event is an
event that happens in the book and they are expected to use the book as their primary resource.
Since no good journalism article is composed of just a singular viewpoint, they can also use
outside resources.
Once students have done the research and reading of their event, they are to compose an article
composed of the: who, what, when and where, of their event. They must also include at least one
quote from a character in the novel.
I will stress the importance of this activity because they will later turn the article in a news
report. This assignment will be due during the time of their movie. (But I will talk more about
the movie later.)
2B) Class activity: Spelling
While reading Unbroken, the students will have a bookmark to write unfamiliar words on. We
will look at our bookmarks once a week, then pick words to share on the board and learn the
definitions together, as a whole class. To learn the definitions we will first see if anyone in the
class knows the word; next, we will use context clues; and finally, if no one still knows the word,
we will look it up.
Next we will pick eight words from our list that we want to know, and using Post-it notes stick
the words on the wall. Since there will be only eight words, I will encourage students to use these
words in the weekly writing assignments, and in the end we will have a word race to test spelling
Word Race: Divide the class into two teams, call out a word then have each team send a person
to spell the word on the board or write a sentence using this word.
I am hoping that by constantly reviewing and making the review engaging, students will
remember difficult words that they can later use on the AP exam and in their future college
Bookmark for students:


Page Number

Adapted from When Kids Can't Read, page 32, chapter 3

C) Major Writing Assignment:
Unbroken Character Diary
During Unbroken, we follow Louie through numerous trials and tribulations. But he is just one
suffering character we are introduced to. The purpose of this assignment is to connect with other
characters in the novel. You will write three page long (3) diary entries from the perspective of

your chosen character. Be sure to include at least one event from the story in each entry. Below
is the list of characters you may pick from.
Louis Zamperini
The Bird
Pete Zamperini
*If you are interested in writing from the perspective of a character that is not listed, please come
talk to me.
This assignment is worth 50 points total and due on 05/15/2015.
D) Assessment Tool: Rubric
10 points

8 points

4 points

0 points
Did not choose a
character or talk
to me.


character from
the list or talked
to me about
another character


Character Voice

Very clear and

reading is

Mostly clear and

distinct voice

Minimal clarity, No distinct voice

generic sounding detected

Diary Entries
and length

3+ entries/ 3+

2 entries/ 2

1 entry/ 1 page

0 entries/ 0

Events from

At least 3 clear
story references

2 events

1 event

0 events

Spelling and

No spelling and

1-3 spelling and

grammar errors

5-10 spelling and 10+ spelling and

grammar errors
grammar errors.

Total points available: 50

2) Developing depth, stamina, and passion

A. On page 27 of Book Love, Kittle says that the goal of reading is to understand the
material, not speed through it. One option she offers for increasing stamina and fluency is
by offering weekly reading instead of nightly reading. I will use Unbroken to develop
stamina and fluency with my students by offering students weekly reading rates instead
of nightly reading. Below is the reading schedule I will give to my students.
Although this is less typical of a normal classroom, I believe that giving a time will
challenge readers to read more widely and deeply while improving the stamina of
lower level readers (27).

Week One: 3 hours of reading (100-150 pages)

Week Two: 4 hours of reading (125-175 pages)
Week Three: 4 hours of reading (125-175 pages)
Week Four: 3 hours of reading (100-150 pages)

B. As an example book talk for Unbroken, I would start by showing my students a copy of
Unbroken. Then I would tell students why I decided to read this book and picked it to share with
e. I decided to pick this book for us to read because it gives us a
different perspective on an event in history that we have learned so much about:
WWII. Unbroken follows Louie Zamperini through his adolescence as a hooligan,
to an Olympic runner to being a Japanese POW. This book is fast paced, and has a
well-developed list of characters that take you on a rollercoaster ride. Unbroken is
an interesting novel that will keep you turning pages. Let me now share an
excerpt from it.
In the predawn darkness of August 26, 1929, in the back bedroom of a small house in Torrance,
California, a twelve-year-old boy sat up in bed, listening. There was a sound coming from
outside, growing ever louder. It was a huge, heavy rush, suggesting immensity, a great parting of
air. It was coming from directly above the house. The boy swung his legs off his bed, raced down
the stairs, slapped open the back door, and loped onto the grass. The yard was otherworldly,
smothered in unnatural darkness, shivering with sound. The boy stood on the lawn beside his
older brother, head thrown back, spellbound.
The sky had disappeared. An object that he could see only in silhouette, reaching across a
massive arc of space, was suspended low in the air over the house. It was longer than two and a
half football fields and as tall as a city. It was putting out the stars.

What he saw was the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin. At nearly 800 feet long and 110 feet high,
it was the largest flying machine ever crafted. More luxurious than the finest airplane, gliding
effortlessly over huge distances, built on a scale that left spectators gasping, it was, in the
summer of '29, the wonder of the world.
The airship was three days from completing a sensational feat of aeronautics, circumnavigation
of the globe. The journey had begun on August 7, when the Zeppelin had slipped its tethers in
Lakehurst, New Jersey, lifted up with a long, slow sigh, and headed for Manhattan. On Fifth
Avenue that summer, demolition was soon to begin on the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, clearing the
way for a skyscraper of unprecedented proportions, the Empire State Building. At Yankee
Stadium, in the Bronx, players were debuting numbered uniforms: Lou Gehrig wore No. 4; Babe
Ruth, about to hit his five hundredth home run, wore No. 3. On Wall Street, stock prices were
racing toward an all-time high.
After a slow glide around the Statue of Liberty, the Zeppelin banked north, then turned out over
the Atlantic. In time, land came below again: France, Switzerland, Germany. The ship passed
over Nuremberg, where fringe politician Adolf Hitler, whose Nazi Party had been trounced in the
1928 elections, had just delivered a speech touting selective infanticide. Then it flew east of
Frankfurt, where a Jewish woman named Edith Frank was caring for her newborn, a girl named
Anne. Sailing northeast, the Zeppelin crossed over Russia. Siberian villagers, so isolated that
they'd never even seen a train, fell to their knees at the sight of it.
On August 19, as some four million Japanese waved handkerchiefs and shouted "Banzai!" the
Zeppelin circled Tokyo and sank onto a landing field. Four days later, as the German and
Japanese anthems played, the ship rose into the grasp of a typhoon that whisked it over the
Pacific at breathtaking speed, toward America. Passengers gazing from the windows saw only
the ship's shadow, following it along the clouds "like a huge shark swimming alongside." When
the clouds parted, the passengers glimpsed giant creatures, turning in the sea, that looked like
On August 25, the Zeppelin reached San Francisco. After being cheered down the California
coast, it slid through sunset, into darkness and silence, and across midnight. As slow as the
drifting wind, it passed over Torrance, where its only audience was a scattering of drowsy souls,
among them the boy in his pajamas behind the house on Gramercy Avenue. Standing under the

airship, his feet bare in the grass, he was transfixed. It was, he would say, "fearfully beautiful."
He could feel the rumble of the craft's engines tilling the air but couldn't make out the silver skin,
the sweeping ribs, the finned tail. He could see only the blackness of the space it inhabited. It
was not a great presence but a great absence, a geometric ocean of darkness that seemed to
swallow heaven itself. -From chapter 1 of Unbroken.
Finally, I will finish with: Although this book is not part of the classical canon, I believe that it
can help us learn valuable standards, while enjoying a good read. During our reading of
Unbroken, we are going to work with journalism, imovie, and some exciting poetry!
C. Since this text is so long, I will offer times of SSR in my classroom. During this time, I will
hold conferences with my students. Since I am being more lenient with the reading schedule, the
main point of the conferences will be to monitor my students reading lives. From Kittle, I have
learned that I can ask my students questions about how often and when they are reading to
engage with them over how the assigned reading is going (80). Additionally, I will use this time
to check in with them if they are having any struggles with the reading. Finally, since I want my
students to always be reading, I will check in with them to see if they are reading anything
outside of the classroom as well. Even though my conferences will be primarily a resource for
monitoring reading, if a struggle is noticed, I will work with my students to offer conferences
that teach certain strategies that are needed (82). Finally, I will conference with groups of
students after the novel is finished to see what they have to say about it. I will ask questions like:
What is something you liked about Unbroken? And what is something you did not like about
Unbroken? I am breaking down the final conference into smaller groups so all students feel that
their voice is heard.
D. To respond to the reading, I will have my students actively engaging with the text throughout
the reading. This is apparent in the strategies that I have my students participate in. I am not a fan
of offering reading quizzes, and as Kittle says on page 97, reading quizzes are inadequate
measures of individual understanding. First off to demonstrate understanding of reading, I will
have my students perform syntax surgery. This will be good because students can provide a livestream of their thoughts while reading. At various points during the reading, we will share our
syntax surgeries so we can know what our classmates are thinking during the reading. Another
way I have my students reflect on the reading is by having them complete diary entries as a
character in the story that in not the main character. This will answer questions that drive

responses, like, tracing changes of a central character during reading (103). Finally, there are
assignments from Beers, like It says, I say, and so, where students get to take text from the novel,
interpret it, then come up with a so what (167, When Kids Cant Read).
E. To respond to the reading I will hold a final book conference. Since book conferences do take
a lot of time, I will try to keep conferences to a 5 minute minimum, and I will conference with
the project groups created for digital literacies. I am breaking this reflection period into groups
because I want all students to feel that they can talk and I have time to hear their opinion. Finally,
there is a reflection component for the digital literacy project that is open for students to discuss
their ideas and thoughts on the reading.
1. Poetry and Other Genres from Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades
Poem: Foul Shot by Edwin A. Hoey
With two 60s stuck on the scoreboard
And two seconds hanging on the clock,
The solemn boy in the center of eyes,
Squeezed by silence,
Seeks out the line with his feet,
Soothes his hands along his uniform,
Gently drums the ball against the floor,
Then measures the waiting net,
Raises the ball on his right hand,
Balances it with his left,
Calms it with fingertips,
And then through a stretching of stillness,
Nudges it upwards.
The ball
Slides up and out,

Plays it coy
Until every face begs with unsounding screams-And then
And then
And then,
Right before ROAR-UP,
Drives down and through.
(To be read during the beginning chapters, when Louie is training to participate in the
A) Before Reading: Ask: Have you ever trained for something? What was the outcome? Have
students share responses. If no one has a story to share, I will share about training to ride in a
horse show. Hopefully by opening up, my students will feel more confident in sharing stories of
their own. Say: Today we will be reading a poem about a school basketball team.
B) As a first reading, I will select a student to read the poem. For their first encounter, I want
students really listening to the poem to see what they get from it. I will then re-read.
C) For a close reading, I will then I will ask students to take notes on the poem as I re-read, as if
they are going to write about the action of the story for the school newspaper. But before we reread the poem, what is needed in a journalistic piece? Have students answer as I write on board
and fill in as needed.

Character involved

D) After we read the poem twice and students take notes on the information they find important,
I will have them write up a short article about the basketball game. I will tell them that a lot can
be left up to the imagination, so they are free to make up not given information as needed. I will

conclude by telling them that this poem and writing assignment will help to prepare them for our
upcoming group project.
E) Book Bridges: Jump Shot, a novel-in-verse by Mel Glenn, which mixes first-person voices
of players, fans, and newspaper articles. Be advised that there is a fatal bus accident at the end of
the novel. (160, Janeczko)
Online resources: www.ncaa.org for more information about college basketball
**** Adapted from Janeczkos Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades and E401 Lecture****
1) Digital Literacies
A)Assignment sheet:
Unbroken Media Report
In a previous class activity, your group was assigned an event to report on as journalists. You will
now take that finished article and turn it into a news broadcast using Imovie. This movie will be
1-3 minutes long and should include the following:

Characters Involved
A next up story ( Have some fun with this!)
At least one quote from a character in the Unbroken

Each group member is expected to have a role in the movie, although not everyone must be on
camera. Along with the finished movie, you are expected to each turn in a one page reflection on
both the novel and your experience with Imovie. The reflection must include:

Group member role

Something you learned
Something to improve on
Something you enjoyed/did well
What you liked about Unbroken
What you did not like about Unbroken

B) Imovie lesson plan:

For the project, you will be using Imovie. To get a brief introduction, we will watch this short
clip. After, I will answer any questions that you may have regarding how to use Imovie.
-Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfX0ptAA10Q
-Review: How to split scenes. ( Show students on dot cam. Double tap image after video

is recorded and press the split button. Then delete what is not needed.)
-Answer questions as needed.
-Offer students use of Ipads to record projects.
C) Example project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfw8jJi_-jI
D) Grading Rubric:


Length: Must be in required

time limit

20 points

Included Elements: Title,

characters, event, purpose,
next-up story, and quote

10 points each for total of 60


Reflection: Include all

elements of reflection. Each
piece worth

10 points each for a total of

60 points

Group participation: All

members participate

20 points


160 points

Total Received