Seedfolks

Students explore the theme of community through the book Seedfolks, wrestling with how prejudice and racism impact the way people treat each other and the ways in which that can influence a community.

Unit Summary

This unit serves as a launch to fifth grade literature. By reading the core text, Seedfolks, students will explore what it means to be part of a community and how the actions of one person can positively impact an entire community. Students will grapple with how being part of a community can help a person change and evolve as they discover new things about themselves. Students will also wrestle with how prejudice and racism impact the way people treat each other and the ways in which both can influence an entire community. It is our hope that this unit helps establish a strong classroom community and that the characters in Seedfolks can serve as a model for how people from all walks of life can come together to be part of a strong, productive community. 

The text Seedfolks was chosen not only because of its portrayal of the power of community, but also because of the unique structure of the text. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view and shows how as the garden grows, the character’s hearts grow bigger and their worldview and compassion grow. The structure of the text allows for students to begin exploring two key fifth grade standards, comparing and contrasting two or more characters and describing how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described. Since this is the first unit of the year, an underlying focus of the unit should also be on establishing expectations for annotation, discussion, and vocabulary.

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  • Unit Launch
  • Enhanced Lesson Plans
  • Essential Task Guides
  • Student Handout Editor
  • Google Classroom Integration
  • Vocabulary Package
  • Fluency Package
  • Data Analysis Package
 

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit with videos and short readings that cover:

  • Key standards
  • Essential questions
  • Text complexity
  • Monitoring student progress
 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (Harper Trophy, 2004)   —  710L

See Text Selection Rationale

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • How can one person impact a community?
  • In what ways can prejudice impact the way people treat one another? 
  • What steps can be taken to overcome prejudice? 

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write complete sentences 
  • Edit for complete sentences
  • Use coordinating conjunctions

Strong sentences are the foundation for all writing, therefore this unit focuses on introducing and reviewing the components of sentences. Students focus on writing complete sentences, particularly sentences with coordinating conjunctions, in response to daily Target Task questions. ​​​​​

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Use single-paragraph outlines to brainstorm cohesive paragraphs 
  • Write strong topic sentences
  • Use coordinating conjunctions to explain supporting details
  • Write concluding sentences 

In this unit students review the components of a strong paragraph, including writing strong topic sentences, determining supporting details, and drafting concluding sentences. Students also work on using coordinating conjunctions as a way of expanding and explaining supporting details. ​​​​​​

Related Teacher Tools:

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. 
  • Read with a rate appropriate to task and purpose. 
  • Use proper expression and volume. 

The fluency focus of this unit is on reading with proper expression and volume. Seedfolks is written with a very simple and straightforward sentence structure and vocabulary, therefore, students will work on reading in a way that sounds like natural language. Readers should be able to vary expression and volume to match his/her interpretation of the passage. Readers will also begin to explore how reading rate varies depending on the task and purpose for reading. When close reading a text during literary analysis lessons, students should read with a slower rate.

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.

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 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

abandoned community coincidence entranced exceptions foes gestures haphazard influence paradise protective thrive transform vacant vow wilt

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.

With Fishtank Plus, you can download the Fluency Package for this unit, which includes a unit-specific fluency assessment passage and additional tools to help monitor and support students’ reading fluency. Download Sample

Lesson Map

1

  • Seedfolks — Back of the book

    RL.5.6

Predict if the actions of one person can influence an entire community.

2

  • Seedfolks — Kim and Ana

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

    L.5.1.a

Explain how the vacant lot sparks Kim’s and Ana’s memories of the past and if the memories are the same.

3

  • Seedfolks — Wendell and Gonzalo

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

    L.5.1.a

Compare and contrast Wendell and Gonzalo’s uncle’s reaction to the garden.

4

  • Seedfolks — Leona

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

    L.5.1

Compare and contrast how the garden influences Leona with how others are influenced by the garden. 

5

  • Seedfolks — Sam

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

Describe Sam's perspective on the garden and how his perspective changed. 

6Essential Task

Writing

  • Seedfolks

    W.5.1

    W.5.1.a

    W.5.1.d

Write a paragraph that explains how one person can impact a community.

7

  • Seedfolks — Virgil

    RL.5.3

Describe how the garden was a both a positive and negative experience for Virgil and his father. 

8

  • Seedfolks — Sae Young

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

    L.5.3.b

Explain why the garden feels like a family to Sae Young.

9

  • Seedfolks — Curtis and Nora

    RL.5.3

    RL.5.6

Explain the significance of the quote “we, like our seeds, were now planted in the garden” and who is responsible for the change.

10Essential Task

Writing

  • Seedfolks

    W.5.1

    W.5.1.a

    W.5.1.c

    W.5.1.d

Write a paragraph that describes how one person can impact a community.

11

  • Seedfolks — Amir

    RL.5.2

    RL.5.3

Analyze if the narrators in Seedfolks would agree or disagree with the idea that people with different cultural identities can come together to form a strong community.

12

  • Seedfolks — Florence

    RL.5.2

    RL.5.3

Determine a theme for a story and explain how the characters’ actions support the development of theme, by using key details and character actions to describe key themes in a text. 

13

Discussion

  • Seedfolks

    RL.5.5

    SL.5.1

    SL.5.1.a

    SL.5.1.b

    SL.5.6

    L.5.3.b

Describe the overall structure of Seedfolks and how different events fit together to create the plot, by describing the overall structure of a text. 

14Essential Task

3 days

Writing

  • Seedfolks

    RL.5.2

    RL.5.3

    W.5.1.a

    W.5.1.c

    W.5.1.d

    L.5.1.a

    L.5.2.e

Write a paragraph to explain how one person can impact a community.

15

Assessment

16

Writing

  • Seedfolks

    W.5.3

Write your own chapter in Seedfolks by using a narrative structure to develop imagined experiences based on the events of the text.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.5.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.5.1.a — Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.

  • L.5.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.5.2.e — Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

  • L.5.3.b — Compare and contrast the varieties of English (e.g., dialects, registers) used in stories, dramas, or poems.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.5.2 — Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

  • RL.5.3 — Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

  • RL.5.5 — Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

  • RL.5.6 — Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.5.1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • SL.5.1.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.5.1.b — Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

  • SL.5.6 — Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.5.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information

  • W.5.1.a — Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer's purpose.

  • W.5.1.c — Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).

  • W.5.1.d — Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

  • W.5.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Spiral Standards

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L.5.1

L.5.2

L.5.4

L.5.4.b

L.5.5.a

L.5.6

RF.5.3

RF.5.4

RL.5.1

RL.5.10

RL.5.4

SL.5.1

SL.5.6

W.5.10

W.5.4

W.5.5

W.5.9.a