Close Read: My Brother Martin - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

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SWBAT compare and contrast the story "My Brother Martin" by Christine King Farris with the article and video about Cayden and Conner Long. Students will also be able to write about essential question.

Big Idea

This is our third day in our close read of "My brother Martin." by Christine King Farris. We will be diving into the heart of the story and comparing and contrasting the story with a story of two brothers, Cayden and Conner.


Opener - I Have a Dream

18 minutes

To start out the lesson today, we will listen to the song "'I Have A Dream' Martin Luther King Jr." song from Classroom Classics by Sam Francis, Gary Francis, and Kay Macdonald.

The CD is available for purchase at:

Our students have not experienced segregation and racism as the King family did, I am glad to say.  I would like to discuss stereotypes with the children and judging people because of their looks.  These are the injustices we face in the classroom today.

Indroduction of Cayden and Conner Long - SportsKids of the Year

20 minutes

Part of the curriculum shift in the common core is to give students the opportunity of comparing, contrasting, and analyzing a text with another text, video, painting, photo etc.  I have chosen an article and movie that fits well with our essential question of "What is the author trying to teach us about making a difference.  This is our integration of knowledge and ideas day where we really get into the analysis of the text.  Comparing the text with another text helps us do just that.

(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.)

As the students come in from recess, I will have the essential question that we have been focusing on for this close read written on the board. 

What is the author trying to teach us about making a difference?

We will start out this lesson by viewing the video on the following website:

WARNING:  It is a tear jerker!  I will try my best to keep my emotions in check.  

We will then read the article on the same website together as a class. 

Crider,T. (April 6th, 2013). LeBron Keeps Promise to Cayden and Conner at Heat vs Sixers Game. SB Nation Hot Hot Hoops. Retieved September 28, 2013, from


Compare and Contrast - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

20 minutes

This is where a close read becomes FUN!  We get to dig into the heart of the story and compare and contrast in with another story (or painting, poem, video, etc.).  

I will leave the article up on the Smart Board for students to refer to and they will each have "My Brother Martin" out to look at as well.  In small groups of about 5 or 6, I will have the students work together to compare and contrast the article and the story.  They will fill out the Story Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer.  As they are working in groups, I will walk around, making sure that the groups are on task and on track, assisting when necessary. 

After the groups have had a chance to complete the compare and contrast.  We will talk together about some of the similarities and differences they found.

We will also discuss the essential question:

What is the author trying to tell us about making a difference?

We will discus both "My Brother Martin" and "LeBron Keeps Promise to Cayden and Conner at Heat vs. Sixers Game,"and what each author was trying to tell us.

Farris, C.K. (2006). My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. New York, NY : Aladdin



Culminating Writing Activity - What is My Dream? How Can I Make a Difference?

20 minutes

This is what it is all about!  This is where we get to see what the kids really took from the lesson.  Were they inspired?  

The writing activity:

What is my dream?

What can I do to make a difference?

I do have quite a few class clowns (whom I love dearly) so I will try to make it clear to them that this is a serious assignment.  I want them to really think about the topic and write in a serious tone rather than a comical one.

I have attached the rubric I will use to grade their writing. I came up with the rubric and made it almost impossible to receive a 1 on any of the categories so that all the students feel somewhat successful, even if they are struggling.  They hopefully will feel like they definitely could have done worse.  I also never mark up their paper with corrections, even spelling.  I feel that writing should be encouraged and marking it all up discourages students and makes them feel like they are not great at it.  The only exception to this is when we are going through the entire writing process and we go through the editing process.