This unit, focused on the historical era of industrializing America, builds students’ background knowledge about what working conditions are and how they affect workers. The unit begins with a lesson that engages students in the guiding questions about working conditions that connect all three units in the module. Students then read the novel Lyddie, about a girl who goes to work in the Lowell mills, with an emphasis on CCLS RL.7.3, which is about how plot, character, and setting interact in literature.
As students read the novel, they build their stamina and capacity for independent reading of complex texts. In class, they do a variety of close reading, fluency, and vocabulary exercises with critical passages from the text. This work with particular passages builds the text-based discussion skills referenced in SL.7.1, as it pushes students to collaborate to analyze specific passages from the novel. For the mid-unit assessment, students read a new chapter of the book and answer selected- and structed response items about how working conditions in the mill affect Lyddie.
In the second part of the unit, students evaluate Lyddie’s choices around joining the protest over working conditions. As students read, they track factors in her decision, and then they craft an argument about whether or not she should sign the petition. The end of unit assessment is an argument essay about this question. This essay follows a similar process to that used in Module 1, Unit 2, but it pushes students to greater independence with the process of crafting and revising an extended analytical essay. As with the Module 1 essay, the first draft is graded for content and evidence, and the second draft is graded for organization and conventions (this time with a particular focus on L.7.1, sentence structure). As students read Lyddie, they are encouraged to generate questions about how working conditions have or have not changed. These questions will drive students’ research about the modern-day garment industry in Unit 3.