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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).



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):


This is a good book to use with your strong or grade level readers. Even though it is short, the vocabulary and style can be challenging. Night chronicles the 10 months Wiesel spent in concentration camps during the Holocaust. (nonfiction)


This is a good book for grade level/strong readers, but struggling readers like to try it out because it is high interest. Beah was trained as a child soldier during the genocide in Darfur and was then rehabilitated by a humanitarian group. This book was hot and trendy when I used it in the 2010’s, but its validity has come into question since. I think kids would still enjoy it, true or not. (nonfiction?lol)


This book is for students that you might have that are below grade level.

Iqbal was a child laborer in Pakistan who constantly escaped his captive

work quarters and then became an activist for children’s rights in his early

teens. He was murdered soon after. This is a true story but told through

the eyes of fictional characters. I included this book because it has a lower

lexile rating and is good for struggling readers (fiction).


  • http://bookwizard.scholastic.com This website will give you more information about Sold, Iqbal, and Night

  • Washington Post or other newspapers, magazines, etc

  • computers with databases for research



Daily Lessons

The lessons below are meant for 80ish minute periods.


Day 1

The purpose of this first short lesson is to activate students’ background knowledge and get them interested in the unit and book choices. By the end of this lesson, they should be able to pick one or two books they would be interested in reading.



1. Divide students up into small groups and give them the handout titled “List-Group-Label.” Ask students to list problems that we face as a global society for 60 seconds.


2. Ask students to share their answers to the class and write them down on the board. Students should practice active listening by writing down any answers they did not come up with.


3. After sharing out, flip the handout over and have students put the answers they came up with into groups. Have them label the groups. Have each group share out their labels and write them on the board for comparison. Discuss the different ways students chose to label as well as any unique groupings.


4. Lastly, ask students if they think any of these problems can be solved. Use this discussion to explain that they will be reading about a world problem and thinking about how to fix it. Transition into introducing novels.


5. Give each student a piece of scrap paper and direct them to write down their top two book choices. Take about 30-60 seconds to introduce each novel. Make sure to hold books up while introducing so that students can see the length and formatting.


6. Collect scrap paper with student choices listed.


7.Once students leave, look at their book choices and break them up into groups of four. Try to take everyone’s first choice into account as well as their reading ability. Make sure to have at least one strong reader in each group who can play a leadership role.




Day 2

Today’s goal is for students to set a purpose for their reading and to activate background knowledge by filling in a K-W-L chart.


1. Ask students to recount what was discussed last class. List the novels and topics on the board. (Ex: Night-Holocaust/Sold-child trafficking, etc.)


2. Announce book groups (Either write out on board or project on Smartboard) and then give each student a “Know-Want to Know-Learned” (KWL) chart. See attached handout.

3. At the top of the KWL chart, students should write down their assigned novel and novel topic. They should then fill out the first two columns of the KWL chart. In the first column, they write down everything they know about their novel topic (3 minutes). In the second column, they write down what they would like to learn about their topic through this unit (3 minutes). Collect these and hold on to them until the end of the unit, when students will fill in what they learned as a result of the unit in the third column.


4. Hand out novels to students. Some students may have to get their books from the library.


5. Put students in their groups and have them do a “Book Walk” (see attached handout). This is an opportunity for students to preview their text and get a good look at its structure. Walk around and observe as students work.


6. Once students finish the book walk, help them divide up the pages and record their reading schedule on the back of the book walk handout. They need to divide their book into seven parts and then fill in due dates. Have the due dates written on the board and help students fill them in.


7. Let students read silently for the last part of class so that they can ask any questions. Unless you have time to explain the Double Entry Journals in today’s lesson, wait to assign reading until next class. This will also give students who need to go to the library time to get their books.


8. Review day’s activities orally. Ask students why we spent so much time discussing the books and looking at them before we read them. (Answer: to activate background knowledge, generate interest,clarify confusion, set purpose for reading… all activities that help comprehension down the road.) Emphasize to students that they will have to rely on themselves and each other when reading since we are not reading one novel as a class.

9. Have students clear their desks and hand them an exit slip (a piece of blank scrap paper). They should write down two activities they did today to help them prepare to read their novel. Keep a running list on the board to add to as the unit goes on.


10. Take questions.

11. Explain that they will get assigned reading next class after we go over Double Entry Journals. Students who volunteered to get books from the library should do that.



Day 3

By the end of this lesson, students should start to monitor their thoughts while reading and record them in a Double Entry Journal (DEJ).




1. Ask students to reflect: Why is it important to take notes while learning or reading?


2. Hand out practice DEJ sheet and project a digital copy that you can write on.


3. Explain the purpose of the DEJ and explain to students what they might write about by going through the directions at the top of the handout.



5. Read the first paragraph together and think out loud while you fill in the example row. Show students how to pick a passage to write in the double entry journal and an example of what they might write for their reflection.


6. Repeat step 5 with the next paragraph.


7. Read the third paragraph together and ask students what they want they would write down in their DEJ. Fill in 3rd row together.


8. Repeat step 7 with the next few paragraphs.


9. Have students read the last part of the article and fill in a practice row on their own. Walk around to see who needs help. Guide as needed.


10. Hand out the actual double entry journals. Have students figure out the pages they need to read for each night and fill that in on the blank lines. (They should have this on their book walk handout.)


11.Give students the rest of class to read and fill in their first DEJ. Walk around and guide students as necessary.


12. Take questions


13. Check DEJ’s before students walk out the door. For homework they should finish whatever they did not get done in class




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