4th Grade Literature

Unit 2: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Please sign in to download materials.

Unit Summary

In Grade 4 Fiction, scholars grapple with the overarching question of how a person develops values, identities, and beliefs. In this unit scholars dig deeply into how families shape a person’s identity, values, and beliefs and how relationships with others can change a person’s identity. Scholars will also explore what it means to have good fortune and how a person’s view on fortune varies depending on his/her values and beliefs. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units from the entire year-long sequence, will help build a deeper understanding of how we become who we are and the positive and negative factors that influence us along the way. 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen as an engaging text to help build excitement at the beginning of the year, while simultaneously allowing for deep discussions about character, setting, vocabulary, and the larger theme of identity. Over the course of the novel, the author, Grace Lin, includes lots of detail and description to reveal information about characters and how they change based on experiences and relationships. Scholars will be challenged to notice the details that Grace Lin includes and analyze how the details build to support a deeper, more nuanced understanding of characters. Grace Lin also includes lots of powerful vocabulary and figurative language as a way of helping readers visualize exactly what is happening in the story. Scholars will be challenged to figure out the meaning of unknown words and figurative language and analyze why the author made particular word choices. In this unit scholars will also begin to use summarization as a strategy to track the plot of a longer text. 

This unit continues the focus on writing launched in unit one. In unit one, the expectations for strong literary analysis were set, and scholars began to explore writing strong claims, supported by evidence. In this unit, scholars will continue to grapple with what it means to have a strong claim and then begin to pick out the best evidence to support the claim. Scholars will be challenged to continue to use the demands of the claim and evidence to guide paragraph structure and organization. The primary focus of this unit is on developing these skills through daily literary analysis; therefore, it is incredibly important that scholars are getting plenty of uninterrupted writing time daily.  In this unit scholars will also begin to write narratives in response to the text. Multiple times over the course of the unit scholars will be asked to write a narrative journal entry using descriptive details. 

Texts and Materials

    Core Text(s)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) — 810L

  • Supporting Materials
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Dover Publications, 1996) — 990L


  • Reading Standards for Literature
    • RL.4.1 — Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
    • RL.4.2 — Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
    • RL.4.3 — Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
    • RL.4.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
    • RL.4.9 — Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
    • RL.4.10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4—5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • Reading Standards for Informational Text
    • RI.4.4 — Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
  • Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
    • RF.4.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • Writing Standards
    • W.4.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information
    • W.4.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • W.4.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • W.4.4 — Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
    • W.4.5 — With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
    • W.4.9 — Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • W.4.10 — Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • Speaking and Listening Standards
    • SL.4.1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • SL.4.2 — Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
    • SL.4.6 — Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
  • Language Standards
    • L.4.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • L.4.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • L.4.3 — Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
    • L.4.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    • L.4.5 — Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
    • L.4.6 — Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Building Content Knowledge: 

  • Read the “About the Author” and learn about why Grace Lin chose to write the text. What role do stories play in Chinese culture? How did stories influence Grace Lin’s decision to write this story? 
  • Read the first few chapters of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Identify parallels between The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Understanding the Text and Standards: 

  • Read and annotate Where the Mountain Meets the Moon with essential questions and key understandings in mind. 
  • Take unit assessment and look for evidence of unit priority standards: 
    • Standard RL4.1 – What does it mean for scholars to refer to details in a text? How can this be taught and reinforced? 
    • Standard RL4.3 – What does it mean to describe a character in depth? What types of details are needed? What does it mean to describe the setting or event in depth? What types of details are needed? 
    • Standard RL4.4/L4.4/L4.5 – What strategies can scholars use to figure out the meaning of unknown words? Figurative language? How will the strategies be introduced and reinforced? 
  • Determine a habits of discussion focused based on target speaking and listening standards. Create a plan for introducing and reinforcing targeted focus. 
  • Determine strategies for text consumption (read aloud, shared reading, independent reading, partner reading) and when to use different strategies.  
  • How are people transformed through their relationships with others?
  • How do we form and shape our identities, values, and beliefs? How does family play a role in this?
  • What does it mean to have good fortune?
  • How do stories motivate and inspire people?
  • Why is it important to always believe in yourself?

Role of storytelling in Chinese culture

Previous Connections?

Grace Lin author study in K2 and G1

Literary Terms?







figurative Language (simile, metaphor, idiom)

Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots?





Chapters 1 – 12: quest, fortune, impulsive, resentfully, vowed, impractical, grueling, enviously, bitterness, inquiry, infuriated, eager, obedient, resentment, fatigue, awe, conceited, hesitate, inexplicable, insist, engross, content

Chapters 13 – 23: pity, mysterious, puzzled, clever, outsmart, cross, irritate, enraged, humble, deceive, guardian, majestic, confident, linger, ashamed, vaguely, self-pity, stubborn, content, amused, panic

Chapters 24 – 34: scolded, attain, reveal, despair, faith, ashamed, malicious, desperate, viciousness, intent, outraged, weariness, protest, gasp

Chapters 35 – end: appalled, taunted, tormented, peculiar, hesitant, misfortune, delightful, frantic, amused, agitated, glimpse, ignorant, pleaded, contentment, reluctant, absentminded

Idioms and Cultural References?

through thick and thin

back to the drawing board

don't put all your eggs in one basket

make ends meet

once in a blue moon

  • In unit one, scholars learned how to write strong, focused paragraphs using different paragraph structures, depending on the question or claim. This unit builds onto the work done in unit one by challenging scholars to make a correct claim that shows a deep understanding of the text and refers to more than one text-based detail to support the claim. In this unit, scholars should begin to think about which evidence best supports the claim, and then how the evidence would best be explained (i.e. which structure would be the best). Scholars will also begin to sort information into multiple paragraphs, using transition words to link ideas within and across paragraphs. It is important to note that the primary focus for this unit is still on shorter paragraphs and not on longer essays. 
  • In unit one, scholars focused on writing the next chapter of the text using a clear narrative-sequence.  In this unit scholars continue to work on using a clear narrative-sequence as they write journal entries that retell events from another characters point of view. The main focus for this unit is on ensuring that scholars are able to use relevant text details and background knowledge when writing a well-organized narrative. Scholars will also focus on using vocabulary from the unit, and ensuring their voice is appropriate to the audience and purpose. 
  • The grammar focus of this unit is still on complete sentences, however, in this unit scholars should be able to recognize and correct inappropriate fragments and run-ons on their own. Similar to unit one, scholars should receive weekly grammar FCAs and specific, targeted feedback.


Writing Rubric: View Rubric

Narrative Writing Focus Correction Areas?

  • Uses relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations
  • Uses powerful vocabulary to create a picture
  • Writer’s voice is appropriate to the audience and purpose
  • Uses an organizational structure that is purposeful to the genre
  • Events unfold in a logical way
  • Uses description to develop experiences and show the response of characters to a situation

Literary Analysis Focus Correction Areas?

  • Make a correct claim that connects to the topic and shows understanding of the text
  • Refers to more than one text-based detail from the text  
  • Uses a variety of brainstorming and paragraph structures depending on the information (cause and effect, pros and cons, boxes and bullets, description, problem and solution etc.)
  • Reasons are explained in different paragraphs
  • Uses transition words to connect evidence
  • Use domain-specific vocabulary

Grammar Focus Correction Areas?

  • Uses complete sentences
  • Recognizes and corrects inappropriate fragments and run-ons
  • Ensures subject-verb agreement in complete sentences


Lesson #