Amplify is grateful to the Texas Education Agency and participating educators for a thorough and insightful review of the Grades 6-8 Amplify ELA program (2nd edition, © 2019). The review supports that overall, we have met our goal of helping teachers establish a classroom where the full diversity of students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally while remaining focused on the essential skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and forming a literate community. The review deeply explored our core program materials, which provide:
• An engaging digital program with comprehensive print materials, including Teacher Editions, Student Editions, and Writing Journals for grades 6–8
• Complex, content-rich literary and informational texts
• Differentiation that supports all students with reading complex texts, and an interactive eReader with an array of multimedia tools
• Embedded assessments that allow for uninterrupted instructional time
• The Amplify Library—a digital collection of more than 650 full-length texts
We would also like to highlight some of the additional resources we have created to enhance and improve the program. Each of the following items is available to all teachers using our program.
Poetry in America Poetry Modules: Amplify ELA has partnered with Harvard professor Elisa New, creator of the public television series Poetry in America, to create dynamic multimedia poetry lessons focused on a diverse selection of contemporary poetry. These lessons combine Amplify ELA’s close reading pedagogy with video interviews and readings by celebrities and poets such as Regina Spektor, Richard Blanco, Joe Biden, Ed Hirsch, and Shaquille O’Neal. These poetry lessons are designed to be used flexibly, at the discretion of the teacher.
Amplify ELA’s Novel Guides: These teacher-and student-facing guides provide middle school teachers with flexible study guides for the books they most want to teach, some of which are available in the digital Amplify Library, such as Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Students focus on the strongest aspect of each novel as they explore and analyze key themes. These guides provide students with lean, targeted instruction that follows Amplify ELA’s pedagogy as they explore great literature. The diverse selection of books in this series presents a range of genres, topics, and themes, from mystery to nonfiction and from social justice to identity and courage. Students explore classics and contemporary award winners, expand their literacy skills, and discover the rewards that come with close reading compelling texts. The Novel Guides are designed to be used flexibly and offer suggestions for implementation.
Vocabulary Instructional Modules: These teacher-led instructional modules focus on key vocabulary skills, providing a gradual release model that allows students to receive instruction and supported practice with important concepts such as morphology, figurative language, denotation and connotation, and defining words from context. These skills and modules are aligned to the vocabulary activities students work with daily using the Amplify Vocab App, and focus on key text-based vocabulary from the core units.
New Titles in the Amplify Library: The Amplify Library is a digital collection that contains more than 650 titles that span genres and interests, reading levels and reading types. For back to school, we have added more than 50 new titles, such as Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and Divergent by Veronica Roth. Our goal is to support teachers and students to read often and read more; for this reason we try to ensure there is something for everyone in our library.
The middle grade years are marked by the need to establish new social relationships, coupled with a high degree of curiosity, and a developing ability to think critically and abstractly. All students need to take on the challenges of rigorous work, and teachers need real tools to help all students make progress. Our goal remains to support teachers as they build a classroom community filled with critically engaged and productive learners, focus on cognitively challenging work, and present a variety of opportunities for collaborative, social, and experiential learning.