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Global Issues Choice Book Unit-Post 1

Updated: May 24, 2022



Way back in 2010-ish, when I was working on my master’s degree in reading, I created this “world issues” book circle unit to try and infuse more choice into my teaching. Also, I wanted my students to give a damn about something, as they were suffering from a particular strain of apathy that year. This unit was specifically for a grade level class of freshmen filled with a variety of readers: willing/unwilling/below grade level/on grade level, etc.


In this unit students read a book (nonfiction or fiction) about a past or current global issue. The overarching goals were for them to learn about the world outside of our county and also to work on becoming independent readers. In pursuit of these goals, students thought critically while reading, participated in small group discussions, and developed a presentation for their classmates.


The books that I chose for this unit were books that were popular in 2010ish, when I created the unit. We had copies in the book room and at the school and local libraries. The unit is flexible and you can use any books you want about global issues. I included a list at the end of books that you could use to update this unit.


Overarching Big Ideas/Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that…

One person can make a difference.

Books are a way to connect to others and learn about the world.

The author’s style is purposeful and enhances the message of the book.

It is important to monitor your thinking while reading.

You must research with a critical eye

Successful group presentations require preparation and practice



Conceptual Essential Questions

What are some of the problems we face as a global society?

How can readers monitor their own comprehension?

How do students create powerful presentations?


Students will be able to:

Use print, electronic databases, online resources, and other media to access information to create a research product.

Identify direct and indirect characterizations.

Analyze the cultural or social functions of a literary text.

Put together a 7-10 slide multimedia PowerPoint (SOL 9.1)

Deliver a presentation to peers (SOL 9.1)

Evaluate quality of presentations (SOL 9.1)

Listen actively through note taking (SOL 9.1)

List and use pre-reading strategies (SOL 9.4 & 9.5)

Make connections between texts (9.4)

Make predictions about a novel before reading it (9.4)



Performance Task

Goal: Students will create a multimedia PowerPoint that introduces the novel they read, the global issue it covered, and what they did to solve the problem.


Role: W-L Student

Audience: Peers and teachers

Situation: Presentation in classroom setting

Product: A PowerPoint with the following components:

a summary of the book

a description of the problem in the book.

a rundown of what was done to solve the problem (that did not involve money)

a list of solutions to the problem

a short video or interview that highlights your topic

in-text citations as well as a works cited page

visually appealing format (bulleted ideas and visuals)


Criteria for Success: Participates in the process of compiling the final project and completes all components listed above. (Rubric follows the unit plan).


Here is a handout with the performance task and a rubric.


Other Assessment Evidence


  • Double Entry Journals- Assesses students’ comprehension and self-monitoring skills. Provides basis for groups discussions


  • KWL Chart- Creates purpose for reading, assesses growth from beginning of unit to end, builds comprehension and questioning skills

  • Exit Slips- Assesses absorption of daily lessons and allows for metacognitive processing



Materials Needed

This book is a graphic novel about global warming and the complex issues that go with it. The formatting makes it appealing for struggling readers. Very liberal. Would not appeal to conservative students.


Use this novel with sensitive and mature students because it is about child trafficking in Nepal. Readers need strong inferential skills and comfort

with non-traditional style of writing (it almost reads like a narrative in

verse). For strong readers.


Here is a multiple choice test that I created for Sold (paid product):