Shiloh

Students grapple with how a person develops values, identities, and beliefs, and explore what it means to stand up for what you believe in, while reading and discussing the novel Shiloh.

Unit Summary

In this unit, students begin to grapple with the overarching question of how a person develops values, identities, and beliefs while reading the novel Shiloh. Marty, the main character in Shiloh, sees someone mistreating a dog and thinks it’s his right and responsibility to step in to save the dog, even if the dog doesn’t belong to him. His action raises a question for readers about when an individual should step in to take a stand against what he/she believes to be an injustice. His action also causes readers to consider how different people, depending on their values, identities and beliefs, may have different opinions on what constitutes an injustice. Students will be challenged to take a stand on both of these ideas, based on the experiences and opinions of the different characters in Shiloh. Students will also be exposed to the idea of courage, and what it means to show courage, especially in situations where you are standing up for what you believe in. It is our hope that this unit will inspire students to grapple with these questions at a deeper level and understand the power of showing courage to fight for the things they believe in, no matter what obstacles they may face.

Shiloh was chosen as the text for this unit not only because of the powerful themes, but because of the way in which Phyllis Reynolds Naylor artfully develops the setting, characters and plot. In this unit, students will be challenged to think deeply about how the details an author includes help a reader better understand a character’s thoughts and actions. The setting of Shiloh in rural West Virginia in the 1970s allows students to deeply analyze how an author develops setting, and how the setting of a text influences the characters.  Finally, students will begin to notice how the point of view of a story influences the way a story is told. 

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Unit Launch

Online learning modules that include short videos and readings to help teachers prepare to teach a unit.

 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000)   —  890L

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Assessment

These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills. Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • How do beliefs, ethics, or values influence different people’s behaviors?
  • When should an individual take a stand against what he/she believes to be an injustice? What are the most effective ways to do this?
  • What does it mean to show courage?

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Expand sentences by adding details that tell who, what, where, when, or why 
  • Use prepositional phrases to tell how or where
  • Recognize complete sentences and fragments

Strong sentences are the foundation for all writing, therefore this unit focuses on introducing students to the components of complete sentences. Students will learn how to expand simple sentences by including details that describe who, what, where, when or why. Doing so will help students provide more specific answers to daily Target Task.

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Use single-paragraph outlines to brainstorm cohesive paragraphs 
  • Understand components of a topic sentence
  • Differentiate between topic and supporting details 
  • Write concluding sentences 

Before students are able to write strong paragraphs, they must understand the components of a strong paragraph. Therefore, this unit focuses on introducing students to the components of a strong paragraph. In this unit students are not expected to draft complete paragraphs, rather the focus is on creating strong outlines. 

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm a story with a logical sequence of events
  • Use different strategies to start a story
  • Use transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events
  • Edit for correct spelling 

Students end the unit with their first narrative writing assignment. In this assignment students learn how to brainstorm a logical sequence of events, how to engage a reader through a strong opening and transitions. This assignment sets the stage for future narrative writing assignments. ​​​​​

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Fluency Focus Areas

  • Reads with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage 
  • Uses proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage 
  • Uses dialect with smoothness and accuracy
  • Reads with a rate appropriate to task and purpose

The main focus of this unit is on reading with expression, particularly character dialogue, in order to show understanding of the text. In Shiloh, Marty’s dialogue, particularly when talking with Judd, reveals a lot about his motivations, feelings, and perspectives. A fluent reader should change his/her voice and intonation in order to match the mood/feelings of the characters. Marty also speaks with a dialogue typical of the setting and time period. Reading the dialect with correct intonation and expression emphasizes a reader's’ understanding of the plot and characters.

Another important component of reading fluency in fourth grade is knowing how to change reading rate depending on task and purpose. When close reading a section of text, students should adjust their reading rate in order to do a deep analysis of the text.

Teachers should plan to do fluency checkpoints at several points throughout a unit. Have students grade themselves or a friend on the Reading Fluency Rubric. If a student scores a 2 or lower on any of the sections, we offer some ideas for additional fluency instruction and support in our Fluency Assessment Package.

At the end of each unit, teachers should assess each student using the unit’s fluency assessment found in the Fluency Assessment Package. This assessment is quick. Teachers should plan to pull students one-on-one to do this while the rest of the class is independently reading or writing.

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Fluency Package

Additional tools to help monitor and support students’ reading fluency.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Prepare for discussion. Students learn how to prepare for academic discussions. 
  • Elaborate to support ideas. Students provide evidence or examples to justify and defend their point clearly.
  • Use vocabulary. Students use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share their thoughts. 

In this unit students predominantly show understanding of the text through academic discourse. Through a range of one-on-one, group and teacher-led tasks students grapple with the deeper meanings of both core texts. Since this is the first unit of the year, students will learn how to follow rules for discussions and how to come prepared. This will be reinforced through oral language protocols referenced in the unit. Students will also explore the differences between informal discourse, and more formal discourse. 

Students at this point will also be in the beginning stages of articulating ideas and participating in conversations. As noted in our Guide to Academic Discourse (below), when students first participate in discussions the focus should be on helping students clarify and share their own thoughts. Later students will be able to engage with the thinking of others, but to do so they need to be able to clearly articulate their own ideas.

Vocabulary

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Below are all of the unit vocabulary words. Prior to teaching the unit, we recommend teachers decide which words to prioritize. We also recommend that teachers decide which affixes to prioritize. See our teacher tool Prepping Unit Vocabulary (below) for more guidance on which words to pick as priority words.

Text-based

"fixing to" "whupping" 'em abused allowance antibiotics ashamed bargain bawl bawling blush blackmail bold bound courage cringe decency depend delight disgusted dusk dwell edgy enthusiasm envy flustered fond humble impact impatient influence infuriate intention jubilation licked meadow mission mistreated mournful obliged omission padlocked pen pester pitiful preach quarrel quavery regulation remedy rehearsed scale shame snoop squeals stumped suspicions sympathy tense threats ticks trousers tremble unfasten whirls witness yelps

Literary Term

dialect

Root/Affix

-ful anti- im- mis- un-

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Vocabulary Package

Additional vocabulary tools that help reinforce and support student vocabulary development.

Lesson Map

1

  • Shiloh — Back of the book

    RL.4.3

Build background on Shiloh by debating and analyzing the questions posed on the back of the book.

2

  • Shiloh — Ch. 1

    RL.4.3

Explain how Marty knew Shiloh was hurting.

3

  • Shiloh — Ch. 2

    RL.4.3

Describe why Marty was feeling so upset by using specific details to describe a character, setting or event in detail.

4

  • Shiloh — Ch. 3

    RL.4.3

Explain the significance of the quotation at the end of chapter 3 and what it shows about Marty.

5

Discussion

  • Shiloh — Ch. 1-3

    RL.4.3

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.1.a

    SL.4.1.b

    SL.4.1.c

Describe where Shiloh takes place and compare and contrast Friendly, West Virginia, with where you live by using specific details from the text to describe setting in depth.

6

  • Shiloh — Ch. 4

    RL.4.3

Describe what promises Marty makes to Shiloh and if they are a good idea or bad idea.

7Essential Task

Discussion

  • Shiloh — Ch. 1-4

    RL.4.3

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.1.a

    SL.4.1.b

    SL.4.1.c

Describe Marty by using specific details to describe a character, setting, or event in detail. 

8

Writing

  • Shiloh — Ch. 4

    L.4.1.e

    L.4.1.f

    L.4.3.a

Writers make their sentences better and more informative by adding more details.

9

  • Shiloh — Ch. 5

    RL.4.3

Explain the significance of the statement “Judd is sure studying me hard. So is Dad.” 

10

Discussion & Writing

  • Shiloh

    RL.4.3

    RL.4.6

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.d

Describe why Phyllis Reynolds Naylor wrote Shiloh in first-person point of view.

11

  • Shiloh — Ch. 6

    RL.4.3

Analyze how Marty shows courage in his interactions with Judd Travers. 

12

  • Shiloh — Ch. 7

    RL.4.3

Describe how Marty is changing.

13

  • Shiloh — Ch. 8

    RL.4.3

Explain why Marty is feeling “as happy right then as you can get in your whole life” and what happens right afterwards to change the way he is feeling.

14Essential Task

Discussion & Writing

  • Shiloh — Ch. 5-8

    RL.4.3

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    SL.4.1

    L.4.3.c

Describe Marty.

15

  • Shiloh — Ch. 9

    RL.4.3

Explain what the statement at the end of chapter 9 shows about Marty and why he feels that way.

16

  • Shiloh — Ch. 10

    RL.4.3

Analyze why Marty thinks that he still has time and whether this is the right decision.

17

Discussion

  • Shiloh

    RL.4.3

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.1.a

    SL.4.1.b

    SL.4.1.c

    SL.4.2

Defend if Marty should be taking a stand against what he believes is an injustice and if he is doing it the most effective way.

18

  • Shiloh — Ch. 11

    RL.4.3

Describe how Marty’s family feels about Shiloh, and why their feelings changed.

19

  • Shiloh — Ch. 12

    RL.4.3

Describe the interaction between Judd Travers and Marty’s family.

20

  • Shiloh — Ch. 13

    RL.4.3

Predict what Marty and Judd will do next.

21

  • Shiloh — Ch. 14

    RL.4.3

    SL.4.1.a

    SL.4.1.b

    SL.4.1.c

Explain what bargain Marty makes with Judd, and evaluate whether it is a good deal.

22

  • Shiloh — Ch. 15

    RL.4.3

Defend in what ways Marty opened his eyes.

23

2 days

Discussion & Writing

  • Shiloh — Ch. 9-15

    RL.4.3

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.d

    SL.4.1

Describe Marty by using specific details to describe character, setting, or event in detail.

24Essential Task

Discussion & Writing

  • Shiloh

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.d

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.1.a

    SL.4.1.b

    SL.4.1.c

    SL.4.2

    L.4.3.c

Analyze and debate if Marty made the right decision and how his values influenced his decision making by stating a claim and supporting the claim with details from the text and unit.

25

Assessment

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5 days

Narrative Writing

  • Shiloh

    W.4.3

    W.4.3.a

    W.4.3.b

    W.4.3.c

    L.4.1.e

    L.4.2.d

Write the next chapter of Shiloh by writing a first-person narrative with a clear narrative sequence.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.4.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.4.1.e — Form and use prepositional phrases.

  • L.4.1.f — Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.

  • L.4.2.d — Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

  • L.4.3.a — Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

  • L.4.3.c — Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • 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.4.6 — Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

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.4.1.a — Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

  • SL.4.1.b — Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

  • SL.4.1.c — Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

  • SL.4.2 — Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Writing Standards
  • W.4.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information

  • W.4.1.a — Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.

  • W.4.1.b — Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.

  • W.4.1.d — Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

  • W.4.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • W.4.3.a — Orient the reader by establishing a situationand introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

  • W.4.3.b — Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

  • W.4.3.c — Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.

Sprial Standards

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L.4.1

L.4.2

L.4.3

L.4.4

L.4.4.b

L.4.5

L.4.6

RF.4.3

RF.4.4

RL.4.1

RL.4.10

RL.4.4

SL.4.1

SL.4.6

W.4.10

W.4.4

W.4.5

W.4.6

W.4.9