Evaluation for 3.e.1
Materials contain interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence.
The materials contain interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Questions and tasks are designed to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking; they include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency, as needed; and they provide opportunities for increased independence.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read a variety of short stories while engaging in interconnected tasks designed to build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Students employ close-reading strategies and respond to text-dependent questions as they read short stories of different genres that employ various narrative techniques. During the initial reading of “Bread” by Margaret Atwood, students are prompted to conduct a close read, annotating details that stand out and questions that the text raises. With a partner, students discuss the “factors or circumstances that change the value of the bread throughout the story.” Students repeat the close-read process while reading “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones. The students’ analysis is extended with a graphic organizer that requires students to identify direct quotes from the text that reveal how the author views his mother. Students use a sentence frame to construct a sentence that reveals the author’s attitude towards his mother. Students repeat the process, collecting evidence that depicts another side of the narrator’s mother. Using sample sentences as a guide, students use subordinating conjunctions to create a statement that highlights the conflicting images of the author’s mother. As the unit progresses, students continue to use close-reading strategies, sentence frames, and peer discussion to explore various elements of the writer's craft. The text-dependent questions and peer discussions promote a deeper exploration of literary elements and author’s craft, including dramatic irony, tone, diction, and sensory details. These tasks culminate into an independent literary analysis piece by the student. The writing process is scaffolded by a series of tasks beginning with sentence stems, graduating to single paragraphs, ultimately leading to a literary analysis essay that requires students to integrate their knowledge and ideas about the writer’s craft while integrating direct quotes from the text as evidence. Finally, students apply their knowledge of author’s craft to create an original short story.
In Unit 2, students focus on the poem “The Fight” by John Montague. Students make observations about the speaker and write about their understanding of the text by summarizing and choosing key details. Students also focus on the language used to create the poem, and then look at sentence construction and the impact they have on the poem. Students then revisit a section of the poem and discuss punctuation and specific parts of the poem. Students reflect upon the author’s use of punctuation: “Sometimes writers use a semicolon (;) to connect two complete thoughts, while also creating a dramatic pause between them. Reread the last stanza of ‘The Fight’ and write one sentence for each half of the stanza, translating the poetic verse into prose.” The graphic organizer allows students to write about impulsive and unpredictable actions toward nature. Students record information and use textual references for “What Happened During the Ice Storm” and “The Fight.” Using the information from the graphic organizer, students work on drafting their multi-paragraph essay concerning the use of language in the two poems.
Throughout Unit 3, the materials provide multiple opportunities to write in a variety of ways, such as quick-writing, journaling, and writing essays (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, and language). They also provide multiple opportunities to read texts and use textual references to answer questions (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, and language). They offer multiple opportunities to compare and contrast, i.e., pictures to text, quotes in text, text to text (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, and language); and they offer some opportunities to give informal and formal presentations to a group and to the entire class (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, and language). In “A Study in Contrasts,” the students are expected to analyze the contrasts of the sentences within a text by Toni Morrison. In “An Alternative Perspective on Work and Home,” the students make comparisons between an illustration of a man doing dishes and an essay by Daniel Adkinson titled “Drowning in Dishes but Finding a Home.” In “To Go to College or Not To Go to College,” students read two perspectives (“The ‘Not Everyone Should Go to College’ Argument Is Classist and Wrong” by Libby Nelson and “Why College Isn't (And Shouldn't Have to Be) For Everyone” by Robert Reich) on the same issue and, after answering questions concerning each passage, they compare the passages using textual references.
In the novel study of Unit 4, English Language Arts, students are expected to read, write, speak, listen, and think in the following ways: In “Where Am I? Orienting Yourself in a Novel’s World,” the students are expected to discuss with a partner examples of imagery and things that elicit an emotional response in 1984 and Night Circus, then write their answers in their book. The students are reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. Students read and annotate the selection. They underline characteristics of cats in the poem; star line breaks, stanzas, and capitalization that contribute to the meaning of the poem; and circle unfamiliar words and phrases. Students are then encouraged to use context clues or a dictionary to determine meanings. The poem can be read aloud in various ways—the “Teacher Wrap” suggests the first reading should be read aloud in partners. The students then read the poem again silently and address the text-dependent questions. To be successful at this activity, they will need to think about the answers and write them down. In “Getting to Know Boo,” students work individually and, in a group, to analyze subplot and motif to determine how characters develop as well as make predictions, inferences, draw conclusions, and find evidence to support the analysis. The students read, write, speak, listen, and think about facts and rumors, making observations, finding textual evidence, learning vocabulary, practicing close reading, and completing an exit ticket to demonstrate character understanding.