Jim Murphy, The Great Fire - Grade 6


The Great Fire by Jim Murphy provides the text for a study of the Chicago fire of 1871. The plan is designed as a close reading activity so that all learners have the same background information require for writing. Richly detailed, the plan also includes photographs of Chicago, historic and contemporary articles, and directions for an argumentative writing assignment. A great resource.

Resource Details

Instructional Designs
Choral Response
3 days
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Hints for Writing a Conclusion

Writing the conclusion of an essay can often seem like a superfluous or daunting task. Support your young writers in understanding the various types and purposes of a conclusion paragraph, such as summarizing key points of a paper or encouraging readers to take action. This handout in fact offers eight great hints for writing an effective conclusion paragraph! Hand out printable and have learners refer to it each time they are drafting a new essay

Introduction to Writing Traits and Writing Strategies

Intended for an audience of teachers, this presentation lays out the six traits of writing, the writing process, and the teaching process for traits and strategies. If you are trying to understand the writing process more fully, you might consider looking over this resource. The fonts can be distracting, but the content is present.

Art to Zoo: Life in the Promised Land: African-American Migrants in Northern Cities, 1916-1940

This is a fantastic resource designed for learners to envision what it was like for the three million African-Americans who migrated to urban industrial centers of the northern United States between 1910 and 1940. After reading a fictional interview detailing one family's unique experience of uprooting themselves for a better life, class members brainstorm what type of questions might have been asked in the interview. Then, after reading and learning more about the migrants' experiences as a whole, your young historians will interview someone they personally know who moved to their community as an adult and will then compose a short writing piece based on the interview.

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Students analyze the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. They read the background to the Vietnam War and the social, political, and miliary issues surrounding the War and how they affected President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society Program. They write an analysis of how the Vietnam War became a scar upon President Johnson's presidency.

The South, the North and the Great Migration: Blues and Literature 

Here is a complex lesson that interweaves the history of the Jim Crow South and the Great Migration with the study of poetry, art, and blues music from the Harlem Renaissance. This plan helps young historians develop a deep understanding of this time and the experience of African-Americans that lived through it. This resource relies mostly on reading pre-selected materials and conducting class discussions. Included are three authentic assessment tasks.

Tea Gathering Quick-Write

Japanese tea gatherings are the inspiration for a great lesson. Learners are provided with an image of a tea caddy made for think tea and asked to describe what they notice and what that might mean. This leads into a larger lesson about the importance of the tea ceremony in Japanese culture. Additional information about Japanese tea and culture is included. 


Middle schoolers study the nature of fire and the history of current understanding about fire, through video, teacher demonstration and online research. They examine the events of the Great Fire of Rome.

The Great Fire Chapter 6: The Ghost of Chicago

In this reading comprehension worksheet, young scholars answer 10 multiple choice questions that pertain to chapter 6 of The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard.

The Great Chicago Fire: Did Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Really Cause It?

Students research the Great Chicago Fire and its myths on how it started. They use their critical thinking skills to determine what really happened. They write an essay supporting their opinion on the fire.

The Great Chicago Fire Survivors

Students compare and contrast the experiences of two survivors of the Great Fire of Chicago using a Venn Diagram.

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