1st Edition

Finding Freedom ELA Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 6-8

By Emily Mofield, Tamra Stambaugh Copyright 2016
    224 Pages
    by Prufrock Press

    Finding Freedom invites students to follow America's journey toward finding freedom by examining multiple perspectives, conflicts, ideas, and challenges through seminal historical texts. This unit, developed by Vanderbilt University's Programs for Talented Youth and aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), features close readings of some of the most famous American political speeches from notable Americans, presidents, and minority voices.

    To sharpen historical thinking, students analyze arguments for freedom, examine dissenting perspectives, and reason through multiple viewpoints of historical issues through debates and interactive activities. To develop advanced literacy skills, students evaluate effective rhetorical appeals, claims, supporting evidence, and techniques that advance arguments. Students synthesize their learning by comparing speeches to each other, relating texts to contemporary issues of today, and making interdisciplinary connections. Lessons include close readings with text-dependent questions, choice-based differentiated products, rubrics, formative assessments, social studies content connections, and ELA tasks that require argument and explanatory writing.

    Ideal for pre-AP and honors courses, the unit features speeches from Patrick Henry, Frederick Douglass, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lincoln, Kennedy, Johnson, George W. Bush, Obama, and others.

    Grades 6-8

    Acknowledgements Introduction Pretest Pretest Rubric Lesson 1 “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry Lesson 2 “Proclamation Upon British Depredations, Burning of the Capitol by James Madison Lesson 3 “Speech to Congress on Indian Removal by Andrew Jackson Lesson 4 “The Hypocrisy of the Nation Must Be Exposed by Frederick Douglass Lesson 5 “First Inaugural Address by Abraham Lincoln Lesson 6 “Speech Before Congress by Carrie Chapman Catt Lesson 7 “A Day of Infamy by Franklin D. Roosevelt Lesson 8 “Special Message to Congress on Urgent National Needs—Space by John F. Kennedy Lesson 9 “We Shall Overcome by Lyndon B. Johnson Lesson 10 “9/11 Address to the Nation by George W. Bush Lesson 11 “First Inaugural Address by Barack Obama Lesson 12 Final Reflection and Culminating Project Posttest Posttest Rubric References Appendix A: Instructions for Using the Models Appendix B: Blank Models and Guides Appendix C: Rubrics About the Authors Common Core State Standards Alignment


    Emily Mofield, Ed.D., is a consulting teacher for gifted education in Sumner County, TN. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in language arts and has taught gifted language arts classes for 10 years.

    Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., is the Director of Programs for Talented Youth at Vanderbilt University. She is the coauthor (with Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska) of Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Learners, Overlooked Gems: A National Perspective on Low-Income Promising Students, and the Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program.

    "My favorite thing about these books is their organization around abstract themes and their use of classic literature and art to support the theme. Fantastic use of differentiation strategies that go broad as well as deep."

    Ian Byrd, Byrdseed.com, 4/14/17