Library     Browse by Unit     Shel Silverstein
1 - 2 weeks
5th-6th Grade
In this unit, students will read 6 poems by Shel Silverstein that speak to the theme of how we should live our lives. Students will revisit the essential question “According to Shel Silverstein, how should we live our lives?” throughout the unit. Students will read thematically-paired poems from CommonLit and complete a graphic organizer that will help them track their own understanding of this question to prepare for a literary analysis essay.

VISION OF MASTERY

By the end of this unit, students will analyze 6 Shel Silverstein poems that share a common theme. Students will write a literary analysis essay that uses evidence from multiple poems to answer the question: According to Shel Silverstein, how should we live our lives?

SKILLS COVERED

  • Analyzing the development of themes across multiple texts
  • Identifying poetic devices
  • Analyzing how a poet conveys meaning through poetic devices
  • Writing a literary analysis essay
  • Citing evidence from the text to support claims
  • Writing fluid explanations

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:

According to Shel Silverstein, how should we live our lives?

Final Assessment:

Student writing prompt:

Over the course of this unit, you have gathered details from Shel Silverstein poems about how we should live our lives. Use the evidence you have gathered to answer the question: According to Shel Silverstein, how should we live our lives? Support your answer using reasons and evidence from a variety of the poems covered in this unit.

ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT:

Student writing prompt:

Over the course of this unit, you have seen how Shel Silverstein uses poetic devices to convey meaning. Create your own poem that expresses a way we should live our lives. Be sure to use some of the devices you have learned and include an illustration. Include a 1-2 paragraph summary with your poem that describes the devices you chose and how you used them within your work.

STUDENT HANDOUTS

Print out and distribute blank graphic organizers to students. As students read, instruct them to complete their graphic organizers and make connections across texts. Allow students to use their completed graphic organizers as they write their final assessment. Use the exemplar graphic organizer as a model for how students should complete their own organizers.

ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS UNIT

This unit is made up of 10 total assignments: 6 reading assignments, 3 sets of pairing questions, and a final assessment OR an alternative assessment. The assignments should be taught in the current outlined sequence. For each reading assignment, students should read the text and answer the associated questions. CommonLit Digital users can assign these passages to students through the platform. Then, students should add to their graphic organizers. At the end of the unit, students should complete the final assessment or alternative assessment.

Assignment 1:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

The speaker in the poem tells the reader to go where the sidewalk ends, which is a magical place not governed by normal rules known to all children, but presumably not by adults.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should all seek out places where our imaginations can run free from the rules of everyday life.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 2:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

Mr. Brown was very grumpy and was always telling kids to be more mature. Then the kids challenged him to be more like a kid. He began doing kid things and enjoyed life more.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should live our lives like children by doing fun things and enjoying life.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 3:

Cross-Textual Questions

DOWNLOAD
Assignment 4:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

A child is not willing to pay anything for an extra day. As an adult, he’s willing to pay a dollar. As an old man who is about to die, he will pay anything for one more day.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should value time because one day it will run out.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 5:

Cross-Textual Questions

DOWNLOAD
How to assign:

After students read each text and answer the accompanying questions, have them use their annotations and graphic organizer to answer the pairing question set.

Assignment 6:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

The characters in the poem have blue skin (their true identities), but they hide it with masks (their false identities). They therefore don’t become friends or appreciate their true selves.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should be our true selves because it will probably make us happier than hiding our true selves.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 7:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

People who say “yes” to everything overwhelm themselves with too much. People who say “no” are easily afraid. People who think for themselves live the best life.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should think for ourselves.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 8:

Cross-Textual Questions

DOWNLOAD
Assignment 9:

Reading & Questions

GO TO TEXT
How this text relates to the theme:

The speaker explains that he acts happier and more self-assured than he really is.

How this text helps answer the essential question:

We should be comfortable with who we are on the inside, even if we aren’t perfect.

How to assign:

From the text page, click the “Assign Text” button or download the PDF. Have students read the text and answer the accompanying questions, then update their graphic organizers.

Assignment 10a:

Final Assessment

DOWNLOAD
Student writing prompt:

Over the course of this unit, you have gathered details from Shel Silverstein poems about how we should live our lives. Use the evidence you have gathered to answer the question: According to Shel Silverstein, how should we live our lives? Support your answer using reasons and evidence from a variety of the poems covered in this unit.

How to assign:

After students have completed the assignments above and updated their graphic organizers, download and hand out the final assessment. Allow students to use their completed graphic organizers to support their writing.

Assignment 10b:

Alternative Assessment

DOWNLOAD
Student writing prompt:

Over the course of this unit, you have seen how Shel Silverstein uses poetic devices to convey meaning. Create your own poem that expresses a way we should live our lives. Be sure to use some of the devices you have learned and include an illustration. Include a 1-2 paragraph summary with your poem that describes the devices you chose and how you used them within your work.

How to assign:

After students have completed the assignments above and updated their graphic organizers, download and hand out the alternative assessment. Allow students to use their completed graphic organizers to support their work.