I Survived

Students build their reading and writing skills and examine what it means to be courageous and resilient in a time of crisis through reading I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

This unit has been archived. To view our updated curriculum, visit our 2nd Grade English Language Arts course.

Unit Summary

Through reading I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005, second graders will get an up-close and personal view of a terrifying, yet thrilling, adventure based on Hurricane Katrina, a disaster that left a mark on history. At the beginning of the unit students will study hurricanes and then use what they learned about hurricanes to analyze and explain why Hurricane Katrina was so devastating. After building background, students will follow the main character on his soul-searching quest for survival. In doing so, students will be challenged to think deeply about what it means to be courageous, brave, and resilient, and how in a time of crisis those traits may look different than originally envisioned. Students will also be challenged to think about if surviving a disaster changes who you are at the core or if it just helps you uncover things about yourself that have been there all along. It is important to note that this unit does not focus on any of the political or racial aspects that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These topics do not need to be ignored if they arise in any of the mentor texts or discussion but should be addressed in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the age group.

This is the culminating reading unit; therefore, the unit challenges students to use the strategies they learned in second grade while beginning to push students toward strategies they will see in the beginning of third grade. Students will use what they have learned from the nonfiction study at the beginning of the unit to connect at a deeper level with the main character’s quest for survival and to critically analyze and make judgments about the characters’ actions and decisions. Students will also be challenged to begin noticing the author’s use of descriptive language and specific details, and then analyze those details to build a deeper understanding of characters and motivations. Over the course of the unit students will also begin to analyze the importance of setting and how the setting of a story can impact the plot. Because this unit is transitional between second and third grade, there are a few new types of questions and expectations for the use of evidence found in the unit.

In writing, this unit serves as a chance for students to solidify their skills in writing in response to the text. By the end of the unit students should be scoring a 3 or 4 on the reading response rubric. There are also multiple opportunities in this unit for students to begin writing narrative responses to the text.

Note: The Lexile of the core text for this unit, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005, is 590L. This Lexile falls within the common core range for grade 2, although it is at the higher end. Therefore, this unit supports standard RL2.10, which requires students to read and comprehend literature in the grades 2–3 text complexity band, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. In particular, students will need scaffolding in terms of understanding author’s use of figurative language and foreshadowing.

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Texts and Materials

Core Materials

Supporting Materials

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • Does surviving a disaster change who you are? Or, does it force you to look inside yourself to discover what was there all along?
  • What does it mean to be resilient and brave?
  • Why was Hurricane Katrina a disaster that left a mark on history?
  • How does the setting of a story influence the plot of the story?

Writing Focus Areas

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  • At this point in the year all priority Focus Correction Areas have been taught. Therefore, similar to unit 6 the focus of this unit is helping students move from a rubric score of a 3 to a 4. Depending on class and student needs, mini-lessons should vary. However, the big differences between a score of a 3 and a 4 focus on including inferential and critical thinking, and including the most relevant and accurate details, facts, and other forms of evidence from the text. If these skills have not been mastered, mini-lessons should be planned that help students continue to develop their abilities with both.
  • All targeted grammar Focus Correction Areas have been taught. Individualized mini-lessons and feedback should be planned and included in all lessons.

Language Focus Areas

  • uses correct end punctuation
  • spells grade-level words correctly
  • uses complete sentences
  • uses correct capitalization

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • makes an accurate claim that demonstrates comprehension of the text (spiral)
  • includes some inferential or critical thinking
  • uses the most relevant and accurate details, facts, and other varied evidence from the text
  • uses specific vocabulary from the text (spiral)
  • groups information into a paragraph structure that introduces a topic and provides details (spiral)
  • uses some linking words and phrases (spiral)

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

foreshadowing, historical fiction, setting, figurative language – similes, metaphors

Text-based

eye, storm surge, category, moderate, extensive, devastating, evacuate, levee, drench, catastrophic, devastation, desperate, breach, floodwall, shock, anxious, courage, mandatory, loyal, fibbing, motto, wail, relieved, deserted, helpless, axe, attic, insist, stunned, ferocious, resilient, hoist, pleading, wade, hover, debris, urge, stranded, agonizing, triumph

Idioms and Cultural References

“getting on my nerves”

Content Knowledge and Connections

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Explain the following key understanding about Hurricane Katrina:

  • Hurricane Katrina was one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history.
  • Many people were unable or unwilling to leave New Orleans before the storm arrived.
  • The storm surge ran inland 6 miles, bringing with it boats, barges, and oil rigs, and washing away bridges and buildings.
  • The storm surge and heavy rains overwhelmed local levees and floodwalls. The levees broke apart, and about 8 feet of water poured into New Orleans.
  • The Lower Ninth Ward, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New Orleans, was almost entirely flooded.
  • By the end of the storm, at least two-thirds of New Orleans was underwater.
  • Medical help and rescue efforts were challenging after the storm. Many did not get the help they needed for days.

Intellectual Prep

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Building Background Knowledge:

  • Research and learn about how hurricanes form and the difference between categories of hurricanes.
  • Research and learn about New Orleans and what happened before and after the storm. In particular, why were so many people still in New Orleans when the storm hit? Why were they unable to get the help they needed right away once the storm had ended?
  • Research and learn about the levee system and why it failed during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Plan for difficult conversations surrounding the political and racial implications in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, if they arise.

Internalizing Unit Standards and Content:

  • Read unit texts and annotate for evidence of essential questions and key standards.
  • Take unit assessment and notice evidence of key standards.
  • Brainstorm ways to help students use background information and understanding of hurricanes and Hurricane Katrina in order to connect deeply with the characters in I Survived.

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Lesson Map

1

  • Hurricanes! pp. 1 – 15

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.3

Defend if hurricanes are or aren’t something to worry about by analyzing details from a text that describe the connection between ideas.

2

  • Hurricanes! — 16-end

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.7

Defend if hurricanes aren’t anything to worry about because you can easily prepare for them by analyzing details from a text that describe the connection between ideas.

3

  • A True Book: Hurricane Katrina pp. 6 – 13

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.7

Describe the build-up to Hurricane Katrina by using details and illustrations to describe the connection between a series of events.

4

  • A True Book: Hurricane Katrina pp. 14 – 21

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.7

Describe the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina by using details and illustrations to describe the connection between a series of events.

5

Writing

    W.2.2

Write a newspaper article describing what happened during Hurricane Katrina by stating a claim and then supporting it with facts and details from the texts.

6

  • I Survived... — Preview and Chapter 1

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

Describe what happens to the narrator on Monday, August 29th at 7:00 and why the author chose to start the book this way by describing how characters in stories respond to major events.

7

  • I Survived... — Chapter 2

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.5

Describe Jay, Barry, and Abe/Cruz by identifying and analyzing details authors include to describe characters and their motivations.

8

  • I Survived... — Chapter 3

    RL.2.3

Describe how Barry’s family responds to the initial news of the hurricane and why by identifying and analyzing details that describe characters and character motivation.

9

  • I Survived... — Chapter 4

    RL.2.3

Defend if Barry is or isn’t incredibly calm about the incoming storm by identifying and analyzing details that describe characters and character motivations and feelings.

10

  • I Survived... — Chapter 5

    RL.2.3

Explain how Akivo helps the whole family prepare for the upcoming storm by identifying and analyzing key details that describe character and character motivations.

11

Writing

  • I Survived... — Entire text

    W.2.3

Write a journal entry about Barry’s experience so far by using a strong organizational structure and description to retell events from a story.

12

  • I Survived... — Chapter 6

    RL.2.3

Explain what decision Barry and his family make at the end of the chapter and what the advantages and disadvantages are of the decision by identifying and analyzing key details that describe character and character motivations.

13

  • I Survived... — Chapter 7

    RL.2.3

Explain what details the author includes to show how the setting is changing and why by identifying and analyzing details that show the setting.

14

  • I Survived... — Chapter 8

    RL.2.3

Describe the tough decisions Barry and his family have to make in this chapter and analyze if they made the right decision by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations/feelings.

15

  • I Survived... — Chapter 9

    RL.2.3

Explain what happened to Barry at the end of the chapter and if his family could have done anything differently in the moment by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations/feelings.

16

  • I Survived... — Chapter 10

    RL.2.3

Explain what it means to be resilient and brave and if Barry can be described as both by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations and feelings.

17

Writing

  • I Survived... — Entire text

    W.2.3

Write a journal entry about Barry’s experience so far by using a strong organizational structure and description to retell events from a story.

18

  • I Survived... — Chapter 11

    RL.2.3

Explain what it means to be resilient and brave and if Barry can be described as both by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations/feelings.

19

  • I Survived... — Chapter 12

    RL.2.3

Explain Barry’s relationship with Cruz and what might have happened if he hadn’t found Cruz by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations and feelings.

20

  • I Survived... — Chapter 13

    RL.2.3

Explain what decision Barry makes on pp. 72–73 and why Barry made that decision by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations and feelings.

21

  • I Survived... — Chapter 14

    RL.2.3

Explain why Barry thinks he isn’t acting brave and if you think he is or isn’t a brave soul by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations and feelings.

22

  • I Survived... — Chapter 15

    RL.2.3

Analyze if Barry was strong and what advice you would give Barry to help him understand that he was strong by identifying and analyzing details that describe character and character motivations and feelings.

23

  • I Survived... — Chapter 16

    RL.2.3

Explain the significance of the motto One Day and why the author ends with the motto by analyzing and explaining key details in a text.

24

Writing

  • I Survived... — Entire text

    W.2.3

Write a journal entry about Barry’s experience so far by using a strong organizational structure and description to retell events from a story.

25

Writing

  • I Survived... — Entire text

    RL.2.3

    RL.2.7

Analyze how the setting of I Survived Hurricane Katrina influenced the plot of the story by describing and analyzing key details from the text that describe setting.

26

  • I Survived... — Afterword

    RI.2.6

Explain why the author includes the chapters “After the Storm” and “Facts About Hurricane Katrina” and how they help a reader better understand the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina by describing an author’s purpose for particular parts of a text.

27

Discussion

    SL.2.1

Explain if Nelson Mandela would think that Barry was courageous by stating a claim and then supporting the claim with evidence from the entire unit.

28

Discussion

    RL.2.2

    SL.2.1

Analyze and debate unit essential questions by stating a claim and supporting it with reasons from the unit.

29

Assessment

30

4 days

Project

  • I Survived Hurricane Katrina

    RF.2.4

    SL.2.2

    SL.2.6

Perform the play I Survived Hurricane Katrina.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.2.2 — Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

  • RI.2.3 — Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

  • RI.2.6 — Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

  • RI.2.7 — Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.

  • RI.2.8 — Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.2.2 — Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

  • RL.2.3 — Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

  • RL.2.4 — Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

  • RL.2.5 — Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

  • RL.2.7 — Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

  • RL.2.10 — By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.2 — Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.3 — Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

  • W.2.5 — With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

  • W.2.8 — Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.