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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023. Visit the instructional materials webpage to view the slides and recordings from the focus groups.
The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts (what students read, see, and hear)
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Thinking, Inquiry, and Research
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills (Grades K-5 only)
Section 5. Supports for Diverse Learners
Section 6. Ease of Use and Supports for Implementation
Section 7. Technology, Cost, and Professional Learning Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
Materials include high-quality texts for English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) instruction and cover a range of student interests. The texts are well crafted and are of publishable quality, representing the quality of content, language, and writing that is produced by experts in various disciplines. Materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Unit 2 explores a variety of high-quality poems including “The Flight” by John Montague, writer, scholar, and first occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry in 1998, and “Tamara’s Opus” written by poet, scholar, and National Poetry Series Award recipient Joshua Bennet. Students also read “Abuelito Who” by Sandra Cisneros, a contemporary Hispanic author and an expert in the field of poetry. In this poem, Cisneros explores memories of her grandfather, a topic that lends itself to student reflections and personal connections. In addition to these contemporary authors, the unit incorporates scenes from Romeo and Juliet written by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare.
Unit 3 taps into students’ interests with a collection of high-quality, contemporary texts written by established authors in various disciplines. The texts include the essay “The Work You Do, the Person You Are” by Toni Morrison, a celebrated contemporary author, professor, and editor. Morrison is the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Later in the unit, students read a personal essay written by Ben Sasses, history scholar, former professor, and U.S. senator, titled “What to Do With the Kids This Summer? Put ‘Em to Work”; they also read an argument essay titled “Teenagers Have Stopped Getting Summer Jobs—Why?” written by Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic, podcast host, news analyst, and speaker who has been called “one of the brightest new voices in American journalism.”
Unit 4 focuses on novel studies incorporating the opening pages from a variety of novels, including 1984 by George Orwell and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, followed by an in-depth study of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Writing Workshop 8 explores the poem “The Village Blacksmith” written by renowned 19th-century American poet and novelist Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and a poem by contemporary American poet James Wright titled “A Blessing.”
The materials include a variety of text types and genres across content that meet grade-level requirements, including poetry, drama, short stories, and novel excerpts from American, British, and world literature. A variety of informational texts are also provided, such as speeches, arguments, and letters. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to interact with print material other than just written text by including a wide variety of graphic features such as photographs, paintings, graphs, and cartoons.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
“The First Day” by Edward P. Jones (short story)
“Prayer to the Pacific” by Leslie Marmon Silko (poem)
“Abuelito Who” by Sandra Cisneros (poem)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (play)
1984 by George Orwell (dystopian fiction)
“Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home” by Daniel Adkinson (essay)
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (fiction)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
“How to Change a Flat Tire” by Dawn McCaslin (procedural text)
“The Decline of the American Teenager's Summer Job” by Lexington (newspaper op ed)
“Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off” by Gillian B. White (argumentative text)
“An Act of Courage: The Arrest Records of Rosa Parks” from the National Archives (primary source)
“Negroes’ Boycott Cripples Bus Line” from the New York Times (secondary source)
Throughout Units 1 to 4, author photos and other photos are present. Some color-coding is present (e.g., purple to identify vocabulary words). Students are asked to compare an illustration of a man washing stacks of dishes to the essay by Daniel Adkinson. Students are asked to evaluate graphs and charts and make predictions about the data. Materials include a photograph by photographer Peter Pettus and four photos from the photo essay “Quiet Places” by Mitch Epstein.
Texts are at an appropriate level of complexity to support students at their grade level. Texts have the appropriate quantitative levels and qualitative features for the grade level. Prose texts are accompanied by a text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher. Text complexity, quantitative levels, and qualitative features for the grade level are only available for prose selections.
When present, the text-complexity data is located in the “Teacher Wrap” section of the unit.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read the short story “Bread” by Margaret Atwood. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 760, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate.” Students read the short story “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “accessible,” with a Lexile of 590, a qualitative score of “low difficulty,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 990, a qualitative score of “high difficulty,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.”
In Unit 2, the text-complexity analysis is only available for the prose text within the unit. Students read an essay excerpt from “Lottery” by Rasma Haidri. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 1170, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.”
In Unit 3, students read the essay “The Work You Do, the Person You Are” by Toni Morrison. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 950, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read the essay “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home” by Danial Adkinson. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “accessible,” with a Lexile of 940, a qualitative score of “low difficulty,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read the essay “What to Do with the Kids This Summer? Put ‘Em to Work” by Ben Sasse. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 1050, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read an argument essay titled “Why College Isn’t (And Shouldn’t Have to Be) For Everyone” By Robert Reich. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “very complex,” with a Lexile of 1220, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read an argument essay titled “Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off” by Gillian B. White. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “very complex,” with a Lexile of 1460, a qualitative score of “highly difficult,” and a task level of “challenging creation.”
In Unit 4, students read a variety of excerpts from a wide range of novels. Students read excerpts from the novel 1984 by George Orwell. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 1040, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read excerpts from the novel Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a qualitative score of “low difficulty,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read excerpts from the novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “accessible,” with a Lexile of 610, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read excerpts from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 790, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation and creation.”
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Most questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. Questions and tasks require students to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world as well as identify and discuss big ideas, themes, and details.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Close Reading Workshop 1: “Close Reading Informational/Literary Nonfiction Texts,” activities build conceptual knowledge and target complex elements of the texts. Students engage in multiple skill-focused readings of an excerpt from the autobiography The Americanization of Edward Bok by Edward Bok, designed to deepen text understanding and promote text analysis. Guiding questions target author’s purpose, point of view, and development of main ideas. After a close reading of the text, students must use text evidence and original commentary to discuss whether or not they “think the assertions that [Bok] made in 1920 are still true today.” Finally, students use the SOAPSTone (Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, Tone) strategy to explore and analyze the author’s craft.
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, students are introduced to the questioning-the-text strategy, which is designed to help students monitor and deepen their understanding of the text. Students build conceptual knowledge by actively interacting with the text, creating literal, interpretive, and universal questions about Anita Desai’s short story “Games at Twilight.” Students record their questions and initial responses, supporting them with text evidence. Then, in small groups, students discuss the big ideas, themes, and details of the text.
In Close Reading Workshop 3: “Close Reading of Poetry,” students analyze and integrate knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections across texts. Students read the poem “Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden, answering text-dependent questions and using the TP-CASTT (Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude, Shift, Title, Theme) strategy to guide their analysis of the poem. Later, students use the OPTIC (Overview, Parts, Title, Interrelationships, Conclusion) strategy to systematically analyze the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Brueghel. After analyzing the painting and the poem, students identify connections between them. Students also use text-dependent questions and the TP-CASTT strategy to analyze the poem “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph” by Anne Sexton. Also in the unit, students “consider how the two poets and the artist used significant details and other literary and visual techniques to present their interpretations of the life lessons communicated by Icarus's story.”
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students explore argument by identifying and analyzing the effectiveness of rhetorical devices and how those devices are used to advance the speaker’s purpose. Students analyze President Barack Obama’s speech “Remarks by the President in a National Address to America’s Schoolchildren.” Students use SOAPSTone and SMELL (Sender, Message, Emotional Strategies, Logical Strategies, Language) to analyze the elements of argument, rhetorical appeals, and the speaker’s message. Text-dependent questions ask students to consider the “sender-receiver relationship,” “desired effects of the emotional strategies,” and the overall message of the speech.
English Language Arts, Unit 4, focuses on how authors use their craft to make connections with readers and draw them into a fictional world. Students begin by watching several movie beginnings and identify the techniques that filmmakers use to hook their audiences; then they compare and contrast the same process for novelists. Students read the opening paragraphs of 1984 by George Orwell and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, completing graphic organizers to analyze the setting by considering the imagery and the emotional responses the imagery elicits from the reader. Later in the unit, students draw conclusions about the effect of narrative point of view by reading an excerpt from Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and determining how point of view affects the reader’s perception and feelings about a character.
In Close Reading Workshop 5: “Close Reading of Informational Texts in Social Studies/History,” students read a primary and secondary source, comparing and contrasting the text’s portrayal of the same event. Students use text-dependent questions and the SOAPSTone strategy to analyze the recounting of Crazy Horse’s death in an excerpt from the biography Black Elk Speaks by John G. Niehardt and in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. Tasks integrate ideas and themes across texts using text-dependent questions that require students to draw conclusions about the effect of rhetoric, point of view, and tone as they analyze the similarities and differences of the two accounts.
Materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Questions and tasks support students’ analysis of the literary/textual elements of texts, asking students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Tasks provide opportunities and support for students to compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic, analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning (in a single text and across a variety of texts). The questions and tasks in the material are designed for students’ study of the language within texts to support their understanding. Questions and tasks require students to study the differences between genres and the language of materials.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Close Reading Workshop 2: “Close Reading of Argumentative Nonfiction Texts,” activities 1–4 utilize multiple genres, including a speech, photographs of opposing viewpoints, and a letter, to guide students through the process of analyzing the theme of tolerance across multiple texts. In John F. Kennedy’s speech “To the Greater Houston Ministerial Association,” students analyze and make inferences about the author’s point of view, credibility, and use of rhetorical devices. Students analyze two images representing opposing views of the Civil Rights Movement using the OPTIC strategy. Students use the SOAPSTone strategy to analyze Adali Stevenson’s letter “To the Illinois State Senate,” identifying the structure of the argument, as well as the author’s attitude and point of view. The final activity requires students to draw connections and make inferences between the language of the texts.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students use text-dependent questions to explore Toni Morrison’s essay “The Work You Do, the Person You Are.” These questions guide students through the process of exploring the confidential tone in the passage, the contrasting images and ideas, and the author’s rhetorical use of diction. This unit also utilizes graphic organizers and text-dependent questions to help students identify themes and the function of text structure. Students use a Venn diagram and text-dependent questions to compare and contrast the thematic and structural elements in “The Work You Do, the Person You Are” by Toni Morrison and “Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home” by Danial Adkison.
In the English Language Arts section, Unit 4, students explore how authors use an omniscient narrator to develop characters. Students analyze how an omniscient narrator influences and communicates meaning by writing a statement that describes the essence of several characters, including specific text details for support.
Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Tasks provide ways for students to apply words in appropriate contexts. Materials include scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The units embed vocabulary instruction and application throughout and develop the instruction over the course of the year. The materials provide a variety of ways for students to acquire and interact with academic vocabulary, including graphic organizers that use contextual evidence to guide student predictions about word meaning. Students complete an array of tasks that provide opportunities to interact with vocabulary and demonstrate their working knowledge, such as correctly using the word in a sentence, integrating vocabulary into their writing, playing charades to act out vocabulary, “Turn and Talk,” and illustrating words. A cognate directory is present in each unit preview, and students are encouraged to notice the connections between their primary language and English to facilitate the acquisition of academic vocabulary. The materials recommend cognate word walls for classes that include speakers of various languages, as well as the use of online translators and dictionaries to support vocabulary comprehension.
In Unit 1, students define and evaluate a group of words and apply that information to make predictions about the content of a short story. Students work in small groups to sort 26 words into categories based on meaning and connotation. Students use resources to clarify and validate their understanding of the precise meanings of the words. Students create a chart that lists the categories, words, and definitions. Students apply their discovered knowledge of these words to predict whether these terms are from the genre of historical or science fiction. Students demonstrate their knowledge of academic vocabulary as it relates to literature by exploring the author’s use of various literary elements. For example, students apply their knowledge of the terms linear and nonlinear plot development and flashback by identifying examples in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce.
In Unit 2, students explore the multiple-meaning word civil, which is used twice in the final line of the prologue of Romeo and Juliet. Students are provided with the denotations of the word. For each usage, students create a short-answer response that states the correct definition and identifies the context clues that led them to the correct meaning of the word. Throughout the units, students interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts by exploring the meaning, application, and effect of various literary terms. For example, students review the definitions of the literary terms monologue and soliloquy. Students apply their knowledge by finding examples of each in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Close Reading Workshop 6: “Close Reading of Informational Texts in STEM,” lists academic and challenging vocabulary in the sidebar of the materials and underlines it within the text. Students work with a partner to use context clues and reference sources to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in an excerpt of an informational text titled “Initial Sequencing and Analysis of the Human Genome.” Then, students choose six words and write paraphrased definitions to demonstrate their understanding. Students discuss how the definitions of these vocabulary words help them “understand how the author uses language to achieve a specific purpose in the text.” Students select three words that are significant to the understanding of the text and use them in a summary statement describing one of the key ideas in the text. As students read the informational text “Why We Still Don’t Have Personalised Medicine, 15 Years After Sequencing the Human Genome” by Bryony Graham, they practice diffusing unfamiliar words by replacing them with synonyms or definitions. Students apply their knowledge of these newly acquired and challenging vocabulary words by using three of them correctly in a summary that explains the central idea of the informational text.
Language Workshop 4A provides supplemental materials designed to scaffold and support the differentiation of vocabulary instruction for all learners. The students work with a partner to use context clues to determine the meaning of the vocabulary words found in “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Additionally, the “Teacher Wrap” provides scaffolds, such as giving the students sentence frames on index cards that can be read out loud to help the students identify the missing words. The materials also suggest that teachers focus on high-frequency or frequently misunderstood words and create short sentences using these words. Another support for differentiated vocabulary development suggests breaking the students into small groups and giving each student three to five index cards. The students select words from the vocabulary chart and write short sentences with the words using sentence frames. Then, students quiz each other using the student-created flashcards.
The materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. Procedures and/or protocols, along with adequate support for teachers, are provided to foster independent reading. Materials provide a plan for students to self-select text and read independently for a sustained period of time, including planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each unit provides a list of recommended literature and informational texts related to the unit themes. Lexile and interest levels are also provided to aid in pairing students with the appropriate-level text. Providing Lexile levels helps teachers and students select texts that are appropriate for independent reading, fostering success through attainable texts. Students are encouraged to select a fiction or nonfiction book related to a topic that interests them and focuses on various thematic connections in every unit. Materials set the stage for independent reading by providing protocols, expectations, and reading logs.
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, Activity 1, students explore the purpose of independent reading, the best material to select, and how to make a plan. Students create an independent reading plan in their reading/writing notebook. “Independent Reading Links” are provided throughout the materials. The units contain a clear plan to hold students accountable for their independent reading by providing various tasks that support students’ analyses of their self-selected text and by prompting students to make connections to big ideas, concepts, and themes across texts. Activity 13 requires students to identify the text structure of the text they are reading. Students write a paragraph, complete with supporting text evidence, identifying the text structure of their independent reading (fiction or nonfiction and linear or nonlinear), and draw conclusions about the author’s choices. The activity requires students to create a plot diagram or text-structure graphic organizer for their independent reading selection. Students also write a short paragraph explaining how the plot elements contribute to the theme of the text.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students make text-to-text connections between required and self-selected texts, allowing for accountability. In addition, students are encouraged to select a text that is related to the unit topics—the Jim Crow Era or the Civil Rights Movement. In Unit 4, Activity 5, students create double-entry journals to record their “reactions, connections, memorable quotes, predictions, and conclusions,” which promotes accountability for independent reading. In Activity 19, students identify a theme in their independent reading and write a brief paragraph explaining how the author is developing the theme. In Activity 22, students identify an argument in their independent reading text and identify examples of rhetoric.
Materials provide support for students to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes. Materials provide students with opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Materials provide students with opportunities to write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Materials provide students with opportunities to write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Materials provide students with opportunities to write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure. Materials provide students with opportunities to write literary and/or rhetorical analyses.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students write a literary analysis analyzing how “Zadie Smith uses the literary devices or other elements to express the theme of coping with emotional turmoil in the short story ‘Martha, Martha.’” Later in the unit, students write an original story based on real or imagined experiences. The story must have a well-structured sequence of events and include a variety of narrative techniques, such as foreshadowing, point of view, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and irony.
In Unit 3, students write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education. In the same unit, students also research an interesting career and present a five-minute informative presentation. As part of the research process, students are required to write a letter to someone who currently works in the career the student has chosen to research. The task requires students to write an outline, consult a style manual for proper formatting, and construct a formal letter with an introduction and body paragraphs using a standard letter layout.
In Writing Workshop 3: “Expository Writing: Cause and Effect,” students compose three cause-and-effect explanatory essays. After examining and analyzing the genre characteristics of a model cause-and-effect essay, students work as a class to write a cause-and-effect essay that analyzes a timely situation that is relevant to the school. Students are guided through the process of creating a clear thesis statement, organizing ideas, synthesizing relevant information from several sources, and using a variety of sentence structures. Students repeat the process while writing an explanatory cause-and-effect essay with a peer that analyzes a topic relevant to one of their classes. Again, students are provided guidance as they go through the writing process. Finally, students repeat the process independently while writing a cause-and-effect essay that analyzes a situation related to the world. Students are provided with a guiding rubric for the essay.
Most written tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Materials provide opportunities for students to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims. Materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate in writing what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, students read the short story “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen and write short-answer responses to explain the motivations for the characters’ actions and make inferences about the characters’ intentions. Students reread portions of the text and create a text-supported written response to the questions “How does a sense of danger to the pheasants gradually build as the story unfolds?” and “Discuss what details make you scared for the pheasants.”
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and use text evidence to explain, in writing, “What accidental and unfortunate events in the play support the theme that Romeo and Juliet are the victims of fate, or ‘the stars’?”
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students read three versions of Rasma Haidri’s poem “Lottery” and create a journal entry explaining the changes in point of view and verb tense as well as what was cut and preserved in the three drafts.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students write a literary analysis essay on a topic of their choosing, focusing on the first chapter of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Students identify a topic and gather text evidence to support their claim. Graphic organizers and guiding questions support students through the writing process, which culminates in a four- or five-paragraph essay.
In Close Reading Workshop 1: “Close Reading of Informational/Literary Nonfiction Texts,” after reading an excerpt from the autobiography The Americanization of Edward Bok by Edward Bok and the essay “The American I Believe In” by Colin Powell, students create a written response that explains “how Edward Bok and Colin Powell each use positive, inspirational diction to achieve the specific purpose of expressing an attitude about America[.]”
In Close Reading Workshop 4: “Close Reading of Shakespeare,” students reflect on the differing perspectives of two of Shakepeare’s characters, Richard in Richard III and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. Students write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the positions of the two men on the “justice or fairness of nature, using the most compelling points of explanation from each text for a comprehensive response.”
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students have the option of listening to an audio of the essay “In Defense of To Kill a Mockingbird” by Jill May. As students follow read or listen, they underline the author’s arguments for and against the novel. Students then complete written responses explaining the author’s claim and evidence. The materials contain text-dependent questions to guide their analysis of the essay. For example, “Why is it significant to note that there was a large population of black audiences who felt the novel should be banned?” and “How does To Kill a Mockingbird remain ‘part of the ongoing activities’ of our world?”
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. Materials provide opportunities for the practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing, including punctuation and grammar. 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:
Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, in the “Language Checkpoint” activities embedded within each of the English Language Arts units. These activities begin by introducing the specified convention with examples of proper usage. Students answer questions about the purpose and effect of the convention, apply this knowledge out of context by identifying the correct usage of the convention in multiple-choice questions, and apply this knowledge in context by revising their writing for proper use of the convention. Examples of the conventions targeted in these activities include punctuation within sentences, such as commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes (Language Checkpoint 1.16); verb tense and voice (Language Checkpoint 1.19); pronoun-antecedent agreement (Language Checkpoint 2.23); parallel structure (Language Checkpoint 3.12); and fragments, run-ons, and splices (Language Checkpoint 4.17).
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, students engage in the writing process to compose a literary-analysis paragraph exploring the effect of a literary device or element in O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” Students are guided through the drafting process as they create a topic sentence, identify supporting text evidence, and create an initial draft using literary terminology and appropriate formal register, tone, and voice. In Language Checkpoint 1.16, out-of-context tasks require students to review examples of punctuation and determine its purpose within the sentence. Students review proper usage of commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes by adding correct punctuation to a sentence to clarify it. Students read a paragraph and answer multiple-choice questions identifying the correct punctuation edit. Finally, students apply this knowledge in context by editing their literary analysis essay for correct and effective punctuation usage. However, students do not engage in the final steps of the writing process by revising and publishing their work.
Each English Language Arts unit contains two embedded assessments that require students to engage in the writing process to compose a variety of texts. Tasks explicitly guide students through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. For example, in English Language Arts, Unit 3, the first assessment requires students to write an argumentative essay about the value of a college education that includes the following elements of an argument: precise claim, supporting evidence, and counterargument with rebuttal. A graphic organizer with guiding questions facilitates students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose their argumentative essay. For example, in the planning stage, students evaluate their claim for clarity and evaluate their evidence of support. During the drafting process, students consider their use of precise language, chosen diction, and formal style. While revising and editing, students share their essay and get feedback from a partner, consult the scoring guide, spell check, and edit for conventions. Students consult a scoring criteria prior to publication and write a brief reflection on the effectiveness of their argument after publication.
The materials contain ten Writing Workshops that facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose a variety of texts. Each workshop begins with a mentor text that models the effective use of structure, style, and conventions in writing. The workshop also includes a “Grammar Handbook” to assist students in the proper usage of conventions. For example, in Writing Workshop 3, students explore the elements of a cause-and-effect essay by analyzing a mentor text and answering a series of guiding questions. Students then go through each stage of the writing process to compose a cause-and-effect essay. The task provides guiding questions and graphic organizers to guide students through the writing process and highlight specific characteristics of a cause-and-effect essay. Revision tasks focus on specific elements of language and style, including precise and vivid diction, sentence variety, use of transitions, and examples of rhetorical devices such as anaphora and hypophora. Materials include scoring rubrics detailing the required elements of the published essay.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Speaking and listening opportunities are focused on the text(s) studied in class, allowing students to demonstrate comprehension. Most oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, students closely read the short story “Games at Twilight” by Anita Desai, making note of details about the characters’ traits and feelings, identifying text evidence that reveals the author’s purpose, and crafting “level-two” (analyze) and “level-three” (synthesis) questions in order to participate in a text-based academic discussion that demonstrates the students’ comprehension, analysis, and synthesis of the text. Students are given a protocol for their discussion. After the discussion, students reflect on their initial responses and decide whether the group members presented valid evidence that requires the student to adjust his/her responses.
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students work in small groups discussing symbols, imagery, and figurative language in several monologues in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and use textual evidence to make inferences about the characters. Students record their responses in graphic organizers, using textual evidence to show their comprehension. Students select a monologue, rehearse, and present their interpretation to students in another group who have analyzed a different monologue.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students begin by reading and annotating “The Decline of the American Teenager’s Summer Job” by Lexington, a column in The Economist. Students identify the author’s central claim and supporting evidence. With partners, students discuss the author’s claim, shifts in tone, and how “the article [would] be different if the subhead ‘Buy that teenager an alarm clock’ were changed to ‘Let's encourage kids to try working’ or ‘The value of manual work’?”
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students engage in a Socratic seminar discussing how literary elements contribute to the theme of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In preparation for their text-dependent discussion, students prepare “level-one” (recall), “level-two” (analyze/inference), and “level-three” (synthesis) questions. During the discussion, students are required to ask each other questions, listen actively, and respond appropriately, using textual evidence for support. After the Socratic seminar discussion, students work in small groups to co-construct statements synthesizing their responses to the questions posed during the seminar. Students engage in a whole-class discussion and co-construct a “statement about how the trial was a coming-of-age experience for Jem.”
Materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Materials provide guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion to express students’ own thinking as well as numerous opportunities for informal discussion. Materials provide opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students prepare for an open-ended, student led discussion about “Games at Twilight” by Anita Desai by creating “level-two” (analysis) and “level-three” (synthesis) questions about the text. “Level-two” questions are designed to guide the group through the process of making text-based inferences. “Level-three” questions will lead the group to open-ended discussions about themes and universal ideas in the story. Students take turns posing their questions, taking notes and collaborating. Students are given grade-level protocols to support their student-led discussion, such as listen actively and build on other students’ ideas, disagree respectfully, and “contribute relevant information that advances the discussion, not information that is repetitive or unrelated to the discussion.” In Embedded Assessment 2, students participate in a formal debate on a topic chosen by the whole class. The preceding activity in the unit introduces students to the debate format and structure. Students are required to work collaboratively to prepare evidence, assign roles, and participate in the debate. Students listen carefully to presented evidence, synthesizing the information and forming judgements about its relevance and effectiveness.
In Unit 2, students work in groups to create original poetry. Each member of the group is expected to contribute three items to the assignment. Materials remind students how to conduct themselves in a group setting, such as to engage in respectful discourse, engage in meaningful discourse, develop a plan for consensus building, and set ground rules for decision making. In Embedded Assessment 2: “Presenting a Poetry Project,” students work in small groups to create a presentation that includes an analytical review of a published poem, an original poem, an illustration of a poem, and a spoken performance of a poem. The materials provide opportunities for students to practice, ensuring students speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language, as well as rubrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation.
In Unit 3, students plan a debate on the value of a college education. Students are required to “plan both sides of the debate by taking a stand, writing compelling reasons, identifying valid evidence, and applying persuasive rhetorical devices.” Students receive sentence starters to ensure that they speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language. For example, “I agree with your point about..., but it is also important to consider...”; or, “You made a good point about..., but have you considered...?” Materials include discussion protocols that clearly outline the style of communication that is expected from students during the debate, including listening actively, only providing relevant information, and using a communication style that matches the audience and purpose. In Embedded Assessment 2: “Researching and Presenting a Career,” students conduct research on a career, synthesizing information from four credible sources, and create a five minute presentation that includes a visual or multimedia element. Rubrics and scoring guides provide guidance to ensure that students speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language.
In Unit 4, students engage in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings, as they work collaboratively in a project group to create and implement a research plan that will culminate in a team oral presentation that includes multimedia support and guiding questions for the audience. Students work with their team members to brainstorm a list of people, events, and organizations that “contributed to positive social change in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement.” The task requires students to work collaboratively, building on the ideas of other group members and contributing relevant ideas while actively listening and taking notes. Students discuss their ideas and come to a consensus on the subject of their project. Students assign research roles and begin the investigative process. Students work as a collaborative group to evaluate and synthesize their evidence in preparation for their group presentation. Students practice their presentation skills while group members provide feedback on the speaker’s use of informal, formal, or technical language, effective pauses, varied volume, enunciation, language conventions, and purposeful gestures. Students work together to create a list of literal, interpretive, and universal questions for their audience in order to facilitate a whole-class, student-led discussion following their presentation. Finally, students work as a team to present their multimedia oral presentation to the class.
Materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources. Materials support identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. Materials support student practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade-level audience.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students develop research questions to assist them in the preparation, staging, and performance of a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Students make a list of questions concerning the “history and context of the play, unfamiliar references or vocabulary in [their] scene, and theater and performance in Shakespeare's time.” Students conduct research to answer their questions and record their findings on notecards. Students create an annotated bibliography that includes a summary of the information gathered, as well as commentary on how their research enhanced their understanding of Shakespeare, the play, and their specific scene. Using this information, students create a list of performance suggestions for the director and actors. Students present their findings to the group and explain the rationale for their performance suggestions. Students complete a written explanation of how the research helped the acting company interpret its scene, citing specific sources and quotes from the research.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students develop a plan to research a specific career, create research questions, and evaluate and gather relevant information from multiple sources. Materials provide students with resources to help them evaluate their sources for credibility, bias, and faulty reasoning. For example, students use a graphic organizer to evaluate websites by examining the top-level domain, publisher, sponsors, purpose, and links. Next, students are instructed to fact-check information from each of their sources, looking for biases and objectivity. Students identify four reliable sources and review the sources to gather information on their chosen career. Materials provide students with guidance and instruction on synthesizing information, paraphrasing, in-text citations, and citing sources. Students prepare a draft of their research and create a multimedia presentation of the information. Students are provided with presentation guidelines and suggestions about eye contact, volume, rate, and gestures. Students rehearse their presentations in small groups before presenting to the whole class. Students are provided with a presentation rubric that evaluates the presentation of ideas, structure, and use of language.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and conduct research to understand the historical, cultural, social, or geographical context of the novel. Students create a research plan that investigates how “individuals, organizations, and events contributed to the change in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement.” Students select their topic and create research questions to guide their inquiry. Using sample questions as a guide, students create questions that explore the cause-and-effect relationship of their topic. Students are given a checklist to consider when evaluating the validity of sources. For example, students are instructed: “Check if the author cited sources to validate facts and whether those sources provide enough evidence.” “Ensure that if something is written anonymously, the organization publishing it is reputable.” “Determine whether sources are objective (based on fact) or subjective (based on personal opinions and ideas).” Students compile their research information into an essay, citing a variety of primary and secondary sources.
In Writing Workshop 6, the materials guide students through the process of developing a research plan, conducting research, evaluating sources, and presenting their findings. Students evaluate a sample research paper and evaluate the sources, identifying primary and secondary sources as well as print and electronic sources. Students practice rewriting sections of the sample research paper, replacing “parenthetical citations with direct, in-text citations in order to emphasize the expertise of the source authors.” In the next activity, students implement a research plan; they work as a class to choose a research topic, write a guiding research question, create questions for formal and informal inquiry, conduct research, and explore relevant sources, evaluating them for reliability and validity. Students are provided with questions to guide them through the inquiry process. For example, “How would primary and secondary sources be useful to your topic? What is the difference between them?” and “In what cases would print sources be more reliable than internet sources? Why might electronic sources be particularly valuable for certain topics?” Students use a checklist to evaluate internet sites, considering reliability, validity, potential biases, and faulty reasoning. Students conduct research, taking notes on source cards, quotation cards, paraphrase cards, and summary cards. Students share their research, evaluate the information, and create secondary questions based on need. Students work together as a class to execute a presentation plan and present their research findings. Finally, students repeat each phase of the inquiry process, independently researching a topic that has “two distinct positions that may be discussed.” Materials reiterate the steps in the inquiry process and provide a scoring guide for the report, which students will present to the class.
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.
The materials provide spiraling and scaffolded practice by supporting distributed practice over the course of the year, including scaffolds for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout the materials, students practice and hone their inference skills across a variety of texts. For example, in Unit 1, the materials introduce inferencing skills by having students write “level-two” questions— “interpretive questions call for inferences because the answers cannot be found directly in the text; however, textual evidence points to and supports the answers”—about “Games at Twilight” by Anita Desai. Students use their questions in small-group discussions to guide their peers through the process of making inferences based on textual evidence. In Unit 2, students use textual evidence to make inferences about characters while reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Students reread Lady Capulet’s monologue in Act 1, Scene 3, identifying her use of figurative language, and “make inferences about why Lady Capulet favors the match.” In Unit 4, students form expert groups to explore the theme of “coming of age” in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Students reference the text to identify details about Scout’s changing relationship with Calpurnia and infer what those changes suggest about Scout’s coming of age. The students use text evidence to draw conclusions about why the children are struggling with what to do with the pennies and infer what those struggles suggest about their character. In Unit 4, students watch the openings of several films, making notes about the setting, characters, and film techniques. Students use this information and their knowledge of novel openings to draw inferences about how the process for the filmmaker and novelist is similar and different.
Throughout the materials, students practice their ability to summarize and paraphrase a variety of texts. In Unit 1, students explore how word choice reveals the author’s tone in an excerpt from the argumentative text Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Part 1, by Jane McGonigal, PhD. Students consider the difference in tone between abandoning and its synonym leaving, making inferences about why the author chose to use the term abandoning. Using context clues, students identify the meaning of the phrase in droves and consider the author’s intended tone. After reading and annotating John Montague’s poem “The Flight,” students summarize the story in the poem in no more than two sentences while maintaining the order of events. In Unit 2, students revisit the scene in Romeo and Juliet in which Lady Capulet visits Juliet’s bedroom after Romeo has left. Students write a summary of Juliet’s statements about Romeo and then write a summary of the subtext of those statements. Materials require students to write succinct effective summaries that maintain the integrity of the original text. In Unit 3, students read the argument “The Decline of the American Teenager’s Summer Job” and highlight sentences that summarize the main point of each paragraph. The article is broken into two sections. A graphic organizer breaks the article into paragraphs and students summarize each section in their own words. Finally, students summarize the author’s main claim in the article. In Unit 4, while reading Chapter 20 of Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, students write a summary of Atticus’s message in his closing argument, putting the details in a logical order.
The materials include some supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. For example, each unit contains “Suggestions for Independent Reading,” which includes titles of texts that are above grade level. However, the materials provide limited planning and learning opportunities (including extensions and differentiation) for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests students who need an assignment extension write an analysis of the conversation as if they were the narrator, explaining the overall tone of the text.
In Unit 2, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests students who demonstrate literacy skills above grade level work with partners or small groups to write a paraphrased version of the prologue.
In Unit 3, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests that students who demonstrate literacy skills above grade level work as a mediator for the debate.
In Unit 4, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests that students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level work independently to find quotes about their character or setting and analyze the quotes. Students are encouraged to present and explain their analysis to the class.
The materials include supports for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards. The materials provide planning and learning opportunities (including extensions and differentiation) for students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials include guidance and scaffolding of skills within the activities of the lessons. Each lesson also provides teachers with a section labeled “Adapt” at the end of the “Teacher Wrap,” which includes strategies for helping students struggling with the focused skill for the lesson. In addition, each English Language Arts unit provides suggestions for independent reading selections matching the theme of each unit, with Lexiles for students below level, on level, and above level.
In Unit 1, the “Teacher Wrap” section includes differentiation for students who are struggling to understand the tone of the conversation between Sam and Mary in the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter,” Part 2, by Roald Dahl. The materials suggest placing students in groups of four to discuss how the exchange takes place, with students in the group reading lines to each other using the inflection they believe the characters would use when speaking to each other. Another differentiation option suggests using sentence frames to help students respond to checks for understanding, such as “Bradbury’s message is…. That message is conveyed by….” The “Adapt” extension suggestions include showing students a film version of the text being read in class and providing students with possible discussion questions or question starters on notecards as well as sentence starters for possible responses.
In Unit 2, the “Adapt” extension provides differentiation for students who are struggling to identify theme. The materials suggest that the students reread “The Fight,” looking for examples of word choice that might suggest a theme. Students identify the theme and write a paragraph explaining how the identified words illustrate this theme. The materials suggest using the following sentence frame: “Montague's use of… in “The Fight” suggests to the reader that….”
In Unit 3, the “Teacher Wrap” section includes differentiation for students who are struggling with the voice and tone for their public service announcement. The materials suggest reviewing the difference between formal and informal language as well as the merits and drawbacks of each within the context of giving advice. During the research process, the materials provide differentiation for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards. The “Teacher Wrap” suggests allowing struggling students to work in small groups while filling out their “Know-Want to Know-Learned” (KWL) charts, so they can share ideas, ask questions, practice using new vocabulary, and compare notes. The “Adapt” extension suggests using a sentence frame to support students who are struggling to write the introduction to their literary analysis essay. For example, “Morrison uses… to demonstrate….” “Adkinson sets out to prove, through a series of vivid anecdotes that….”
The Writing Workshop materials provide numerous strategies to address the needs of students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level, such as using an echo strategy to help students read the excerpts, reviewing a timeline visual to explain the characteristics of linear and nonlinear plots, and providing students with research information on both sides of a topic for students to draw upon while developing their arguments.
The materials include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. Accommodations for linguistics (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) are commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS. The materials provide scaffolds, such as adapted text, translations, native language support, cognates, summaries, pictures, realia, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, and other modes of comprehensible input. Strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English (e.g., to enhance vocabulary development) is encouraged. Vocabulary is developed in the context of connected discourse.
Examples include but are not limited to:
At the beginning of each unit, there is a list of cognates appropriate for the unit texts. The materials include a glossary/glosario for students who speak Spanish. The materials also suggest students at the beginning stages of English language development access texts in their home language for self-selected independent reading assignments.
In Unit 1, the materials provide support for intermediate and advanced ELs. While reading Ray Bradbury’s short story “There Will Come Soft Rains,” intermediate ELs work with a partner to complete a story timeline. Students are encouraged to use transition words to help them follow the events of the story. Advanced ELs create a sequence-of-events timeline independently, compare their timeline to that of a partner, and write a paragraph summarizing the events.
Unit 2 provides ideas for scaffolding instruction for intermediate and advanced ELs. The materials provide a slightly paraphrased version of the script to make the material more accessible for intermediate ELs. Advanced ELs work with partners or in small groups to create paraphrased versions of the prologue.
Unit 3 includes instructional accommodations for beginning and intermediate ELs with the additional suggestion to provide a “Know-Want to Know-Learned” (KWL) chart to help all learners. Beginning ELs can ask each other questions about what they already know, what they want to know, and how they will learn it using sentence frames, such as “I already know...” or “I’d like to know more about….” Intermediate ELs work with a partner, asking the same questions but without sentence frames. The materials provide additional scaffolds for EL students as they begin to draft their thesis statement for an essay. Intermediate ELs are provided with this sentence frame: “While [author name] uses [strategy 1] to support his/her claim that..., he/she relies on [strategy 2] to convince his/her audience that....” Students are grouped according to their selected author. The “Teacher Wrap” provides guiding questions to assist students in organizing their thoughts and completing the thesis sentence frame. Advanced ELs work with a partner who is writing about the same author. The partners are given the same sentence frame and use a “Turn and Talk” strategy to discuss how to complete the sentence.
In Unit 4, the materials provide scaffolds for beginning, intermediate, and advanced ELs. Beginning ELs can listen to an audio recording of “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Intermediate ELs are provided with visual prompts to support their understanding of challenging vocabulary in the letter. Advanced ELs should be provided extra time to read the letter. The materials provide additional EL support while students are reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The materials suggest dividing intermediate ELs into three groups. Each group is assigned a topic: characters, conflict, or setting. The students work together, rereading Chapter 11 and completing the “Notes for Independent Reading” graphic organizer for their assigned literary element. The small groups come together, share their findings, and write a brief chapter summary. To assist advanced ELs, the “Notes for Independent Reading” graphic organizer contains literary term definitions. Students work independently to complete the graphic organizer. Students use their completed graphic organizer as prewriting support for their summaries.
Materials include assessment and guidance for teachers to monitor progress including how to act on subjective data yielded. Materials do not provide guidance on how to interpret and act on data yielded from digital multiple-choice assessments. Formative and summative assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. Assessments and scoring information provide limited guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. Assessments are connected to the regular content to support student learning.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In the “Assessment” section of the online platform, there are prepared assessments as well as the choice for teachers to custom build assessments throughout the units. At the top of the teacher key, both the TEKS and the description are provided for each answer. The materials provide short-cycle assessments based on the different activities in the English Language Arts textbook. These assessments are available throughout the year, aligning with the scope and sequence of SpringBoard and the TEKS.
In the “Teacher Wrap” section of the English Language Arts textbook, there are “Assess” and “Adapt” boxes, which connect to “Check Your Understandings,” writing prompts, and other assessment opportunities within the activity. “Assess” describes target student output, providing opportunities to measure student progress. “Adapt” suggests ways to adjust an activity in response to students’ needs.
In each unit of the English Language Arts textbook, there are two “Embedded Assessments” per unit. These assessments drive the instructional pathway and give students and teachers a clear destination so they can “begin with the end in mind.” These come with scoring support for teachers, including scoring guides and student examples. For example, in Unit 2, the first embedded assessment is for students to work with a group to perform a scene from Romeo and Juliet. Students prepare a staging notebook with textual evidence and commentary on the presentation. After the performance, students reflect and evaluate their performance. This comes after reading Romeo and Juliet and completing different activities. The second embedded assessment is at the end of the unit and assesses the students’ understanding of poetry, as this is the second half of the unit’s focus. The assessment again is to work with a group. The group is to create a poetry project, with both original poems and analytical reviews of published poems. Each member is expected to contribute two original poems and one review or one original poem and two reviews. Students are then expected to use multimedia to create the project and present it.
At the end of a majority of activities in the English Language Arts textbook, the materials include “Check for Understanding” questions, which are directly aligned to the “Learning Targets” (and TEKS) for the activity and designed to inform planning and instruction in upcoming activities. For example, In Unit 1, the materials suggest asking, “Heynen shows how the boys developed empathy for the pheasants by...” to assess the students’ understanding of author’s craft. In Unit 4, the materials suggest asking, “How does analyzing the context of a novel help you gain a greater understanding of the story?” to assess the students’ understanding of historical context, a major concept throughout the units.
“Activity Quizzes” are directly connected to the specific activity and used in conjunction with the “Check for Understanding,” writing prompts, “Assess,” and “Adapt” portions of the Teacher Wrap. These quick, multiple-choice quizzes assess students’ learning of the knowledge and skills practiced in SpringBoard activities. Teachers can select which quizzes to assign over the span of a unit to monitor student understanding and make instructional adjustments based on results. These assessments are available on SpringBoard Digital.
“Zinc Reading Labs” can generate reports, administer placement tests, provide close-reading materials and vocabulary activities. The tests are auto-graded and teachers can use the detailed reports to plan for differentiation. Placement tests can establish a baseline, establish students’ reading levels, and track them over time. Reports can track reading and vocabulary performance by class, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Individual reports are also available to track student performance across activities based on their initial assessment.
“Turnitin Revision Assistant” allows teachers to access students’ drafts and see feedback, helping them to gain insight on student progress over time, use feedback in student writing conferences, and identify trends in student writing to inform instruction.
The “Close Reading Workshops” end with an assessment, which teachers can assign as an individual, small-group, or whole-class activity. The assessments always require synthesis of the three texts from the workshop, but responses may take the form of an essay, a debate, a discussion, or a multimedia presentation. All writing workshops are accompanied by a “Scoring Guide” that outlines the performance expectations for each writing mode and provides an evaluation tool for the learning targets identified at each grade level.
No guidance for interpreting the data from the digital assessments once it is collected and scored is available. An abundance of opportunities exist to collect data, but no information is provided as to what the teacher should do with it. Assessments are connected to the scope and sequence of the units and are aligned with the TEKS to support student learning. A summary explains difficulty level, Depth of Knowledge (DoK) Level, Bloom’s Level, and standards of the assessments. Answers are presented as explanations of why the answer was correct or incorrect, with appropriate text evidence.
Materials include year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify the needs of students and provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success. Materials provide an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping (and other) structures. Plans are comprehensive and attend to differentiation to support students via many learning opportunities. Teacher edition materials include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials, as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. Annotations and ancillary materials provide support for student learning and assistance for teachers.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Teacher edition materials include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials, as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. For example, the materials provide text-dependent questions designed to engage students, scaffold their understanding, and monitor their progress. In Unit 1, the “Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions” are “What is the effect of photographing the rooms without people? Why might the photographer make that choice? Imagine the owner of the room appearing in each photograph. Would you notice all the same details? How would the person influence how you interpreted the objects in the room?”
The “Teacher Wrap” contains an “Assess and Adapt” section, which provides suggestions for measuring student progress and ways to adjust an activity in response to students’ needs. In Unit 3, the materials prompt the teacher to review the students’ argument paragraphs to ensure that they meet the writing prompt criteria and “reflect their effort to weigh evidence and assign blame fairly.” To address the needs of students who need additional support, the “Adapt” resource suggests providing a paragraph frame to guide students’ analysis. Unit 3 includes supplemental materials for teachers to help students complete the embedded assessment. Students work in small groups to brainstorm about different career choices and are provided with sentence stems to guide their discussion. Using a graphic organizer, the students complete a “Know-Want to Know-How to Find-Learned” (KWHL) chart, which provides additional assistance as they work through the research process. Prior to writing their report, students fill out a prewriting graphic organizer and discuss it with a partner. After writing the draft, students read it aloud to their partner and complete a peer-editing checklist.
The “Teacher Wrap” annotations and ancillary materials provide support for student learning and assistance for teachers. Each lesson provides support for teachers by providing a TEKS alignment for the lesson, a pacing guide, a list of materials, and text-dependent questions to guide the students to the desired learning outcome. Each unit contains a “Teacher to Teacher” resource, which contains additional strategies to support students’ learning. For example, in Unit 4, the materials suggest alternate activities based on the needs and abilities of individual learners. To address the needs of students who are struggling to identify evidence that demonstrates how setting, character, and conflict contribute to the theme, “Coming of age involves recognizing different perspectives,” the materials suggest putting students in small groups and assigning one literary element to each student (setting, conflict, and character). For students who are ready for a challenge, the materials suggest having them color code their evidence of the three elements.
Materials are accompanied by a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program and the order in which they are presented. Materials include implementation support for teachers with identified TEKS that are taught in the activities. Materials include supports to help teachers implement the materials as intended but lack specific support for administrators. Materials include a school year’s worth of literacy instruction, including realistic pacing guidance and routines, but not specifically for 180-day and 220-day schedules.
Examples include but are not limited to:
At the beginning of each unit, a “Planning the Unit” section provides pacing suggestions for the unit as well as pacing suggestions for supplemental materials. The materials provide an instructional sequence, AP/College Readiness Standards, SAT Connections, and a summary of the skills covered in each of the two embedded assessments. The “Planning the Unit” section also includes an “Instructional Pathways” section, which outlines “a few possible pathways to show how teachers might integrate digital assessments, Language Workshops, Close Reading Workshops, and Writing Workshops into instruction.” Charts provide the activity number, correlating digital assessments, and suggested pacing. The materials also provide a pacing guide for the Language Workshops and Foundational Skills Workshops. The “Flexible Pathways” pacing guide provides suggestions on how “teachers can supplement or replace portions of the ELA unit by selecting workshop activities that support or extend learning based on students' needs.” The materials do not include a year-long pacing guide.
The “Teacher Wrap” section of each lesson includes the TEKS along with any correlation. However, there is no evidence of a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program, the order in which they are presented, and how knowledge and skills build and connect across grade levels. “Professional Learning” and “SpringBoard Community” on the homepage allude to additional supports present for teachers, but there are no supports to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
The “Planning the Unit” and “Instructional Pathways” sections located in each unit provide teachers possible pathways for integrating the different materials, digital assessments, Language Workshops, Close Reading Workshops, and Writing Workshops. The pathway chart for the unit has the activities listed with lesson titles (e.g. “Activity 1.2: Whose Room Is This?”). The next column over has digital assessments listed to go along with the activities. The far-right column has the pacing of an estimate of how long each activity should take. At the bottom of the chart is an estimate of how many class periods would be needed to complete the progression if a teacher taught a 50-minute class period. However, the materials do not include a 180- or 220-day schedule.
The visual design of the digital student edition textbook pages is neither distracting nor chaotic. Materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. Pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The visual design of the student digital edition is neither chaotic or distracting. The home page contains colored rectangular tabs that are clearly labeled with each section of the online materials.
Materials contain appropriate use of white space, with colors (primarily shades of blue) and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. The text font and size are clear and easy to read. Materials use color coding to help indicate special features within the text; for example, the color orange represents independent reading, and purple represents vocabulary. The use of color enhances student learning by highlighting key points, such as learning targets and guidance for planning independent reading.
Pictures, illustrations, charts, and graphics support student learning without being visually distracting. Images are clear and surrounded by an appropriate use of white space so that the image is the focus.
Technology components included are appropriate for grade-level students and provide support for learning. Technology supports and enhances student learning as appropriate, as opposed to distracting from it, and includes appropriate teacher guidance.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Materials include an online platform called “Zinc Reading Labs,” which allows teachers to import their rosters for students to participate in online lessons that focus on close reading, vocabulary, and informational articles. The platform contains an assessment to establish reading levels. In the close reading preview, a teenager guides students through an interactive lesson in which students answer questions by highlighting the answer within the text. Students read different high-interest texts assigned by the teacher and play games associated with them. The vocabulary section allows students to complete assigned tasks as well as request new vocabulary words.
The materials provide opportunities for students to take assessments online; teachers can import materials into Google ClassroomTM. “Turnitin Revision Assistant” is also available on the Springboard digital platform.
Students have the ability to interact with the digital text; when they select a portion of text with their cursor, a pop-up appears with options to create a sticky note for commentary; circle or underline text; place a question mark, exclamation point, or asterisk; highlight the selected text; or provide a definition. After questions, students can add a comment and add a link or attachment.
Read the Full Report for Technology
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