Teaching and Assessing English Language Arts in the Classroom Using Social Studies Content

This week, we covered 5.RL.7, which reads: Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, or poem).  ***[Note:  The first time I read this, I was like, “ummm, what?!”]

Thank the heavens I put in the extra work to make these teaching notes because these standards can be tricky.

I had already planned to read my students this fabulous poetry book about Paul Revere for social studies…

…and I could also use it to introduce this standard for English Language Arts. Jackpot!

So, for a quick and easy lesson, I posted the standard on our anchor chart during social studies.

We did a quick lesson on the tone, mood, and beauty of a text. (side note: a great thing to do when teaching tone is to say, “Hey! Thanks a lot!” in a happy tone, and “Hey! Thanks a lot!” in a sarcastic tone. So simple and those two quick phrases got the lightbulbs and the “oohhhh, I get it!” responses.)
As we read The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, students kept track of words, phrases, and/or picture clues that contributed to the text’s tone and mood.
Together, we then shared all of the elements we found, and I posted them to our anchor chart:
We practiced throughout the week using our own reading books and started talking about how multimedia elements (videos) use visual and sound elements to create a mood and tone as well. It was so fun hearing all of the wonderful conversations about such a high-level concept in my student’s book clubs!
Finally, at the completion of the unit, I decided to assess my students. I wanted them to compare a specific text to it’s multimedia version (video), and pictures. I wanted the video and pictures to go with the text in order for my students to understand how authors use visual elements to add tone, mood, and meaning. Many of the examples that were out there were of these videos that were hours long, and I had such a hard time locating a matching text. So, I decided to just create my own! You can find my versions in my English Language Arts Assessments and Teaching Notes.
I assessed my students as a whole group by playing the video on our projector.

I then pulled a few of my lower readers to view the video independently or in a small group using our laptops and my teacher computer.

Here a few excerpts from my student’s assessments on comparing a text to both pictures and a video:

All of the above assessments, video links, photos, teaching notes AND MORE can be found in my 5th Grade ELA/Literacy Assessments and Teaching Notes! Click HERE or the button below to check them out!

3rd, 4th, and 6th grade options are also included below. Keep reading!


I would love to hear your ideas for teaching RL.7!

Grab a copy of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere below!


  1. Hey! I just found out I’ll be teaching 5th grade next year.. I am jumping up from 2nd and am definitely nervous. I found your blog and I think it’s AMAZING!!! I was wondering if you have any advice for me on where to even begin??


  2. What an amazing lesson!!!! I totally feel the crunch and when I look at the calendar and all the field trip and spring concerts planned, I don’t have too many days left of actual teaching time. You have inspired me and I am going to use science trade books during ELA time so I can “squeeze” it in!! Thanks for sharing, this was awesome to read this morning.

    My Journey to 5th Grade

  3. I love this lesson. We’re studying Colonial Times and the Revolution right now as well, so I will definitely be looking for this book!

  4. Do you include links to the videos in your ELA pack that is for sale?

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