Evaluation for 3.b.3
Over the course of the year, writing skills and knowledge of conventions are applied in increasingly complex contexts, with opportunities for students to publish their writing.
Writing skills and knowledge of conventions are applied in increasingly complex contexts over the course of the year, with opportunities for students to publish their writing. Materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text, and provide opportunities for the practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, and grow in depth and complexity within and across units.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Units 2 and 3, students engage with all of the stages of the writing process to compose a two- to three-page narrative memoir across a sequence of lessons. Students begin to brainstorm ideas for a narrative memoir about an experience that changed the direction of their life. Students describe the central conflict of the plot, describe two important settings and use the five senses to add details, describe three characters, and write a one- to two-paragraph summary of the plot, including main events. The materials provide outlines to guide students during the brainstorming activities. Students write an introduction, draft the main body, and write a conclusion. Each lesson for the drafting section contains a list that students must address within their first draft. For example, students must include an interesting opening line, rising action, and a reflection. Then, students revise their essays for the following: paragraphs, sentences, transitions, and choice of words. Finally, students edit and proofread their essays for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and typing mistakes before they submit them as published drafts.
In one lesson in Unit 3, students learn about eight different parts of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, prepositions, conjunctions, and transitions) as well as homonyms, homographs, and homophones. Students read definitions of the terms with examples, in and out of context. A chart presents the meanings, out-of-context examples, pronunciations, and spellings for homonyms, homophones, and homographs. It lists suggestions to help students identify the meaning of words. For example, students can identify the meaning of a word using context clues and use a dictionary to check the meaning of a word. In the “Try It Yourself” section, students read a short untitled passage to identify the meaning of a word and select a multiple-choice response that uses the same meaning of the word; they read dialogue from a short passage, “Fish Tale” by Amy Tan, and type three clues that help them understand the meaning of a word used in the text; and they select the meaning of the same word featured in the “Fish Tale” passage using a multiple-choice response. At the end of the lesson, five multiple-choice questions appear, three of which are related to the writing skills. Students read a short untitled passage and identify the meaning of a word; they read a sentence from “The Natural History of America’s Lowest Place” and identify a word’s meaning and part of speech; and they identify the meaning of a word after reading a sentence from “Stress: How to Stop Its Powerful Punch.” The authors of these texts are not mentioned in the materials or in the resource’s bibliography.
In Units 4 and 5, across a sequence of lessons, students write an argumentative essay about an issue that impacts “the world and life today,” using MLA format. Students select a topic from one of the three choices provided; students may also select a different issue that is not listed within the materials. Listed topics include “Should students evaluate their teachers?” and “Does technology have a positive or negative effect on communication, and should individuals be held responsible for the posts they make on social media platforms?” Students brainstorm ideas across several lessons. Students develop a claim and justify it with supporting sentences, write a counterclaim and a rebuttal, use brainstorming activities to develop three reasons that support their claim, and find evidence from three to five credible sources to support their reasons. Then, students copy and paste an outline for six paragraphs and add information that pertains to their essay. Students draft their essay by writing an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each lesson lists reminders for students to support their writing development. For example, students state a thesis in the introduction, use transitions and main ideas in the body paragraphs, and restate the thesis in the conclusion. To support students while they revise, the materials provide suggestions for revising. Finally, the materials include a “Final Editing and Proofreading Checklist”; students edit and proofread their essay before they submit it as a published draft. Lessons also contain examples and explanations of writing skills that can be used to complete different writing activities within the units.
In Unit 5, students learn about comma splices, run-on sentences, and sentence fragments and practice correcting provided sentences. Students also learn about the four types of sentences (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex) and practice finding and correcting errors in an open-ended format.
The materials contain an overarching structure of grammar and writing conventions instruction over the course of 12 units. Units 1–5 focus on grammar and writing skills. Each lesson contains at least one grammar or writing skill; definitions and examples for each skill are provided. In addition, the materials contain practice questions, presented in and outside of text, which require students to respond either using a multiple-choice format or to type an open-ended response in a text box to demonstrate their understanding of skills. Students are reminded to use correct grammar and spelling within their discussion board posts at the end of most lessons. Units 1–5 and Units 7–11 include a “Language Skills Prep” lesson in each unit that contains information about skills that have been taught. Units 6 and 12 contain a “Course Exam,” which includes reading, grammar, spelling, and writing questions. For example, in Course Exam 1, students identify transitions that can be used within a text, identify the best concluding sentence that can be added to a text, and identify a sentence that should be deleted from a text. Unit 6 and Unit 12 include a “Writing Exam.” Students edit their essays, use transitions to connect ideas, and use quotation marks when they include quotes. Grammar and writing conventions skills are taught, practiced, and assessed in lessons throughout the materials in a sequenced manner that builds upon previous knowledge.