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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 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 1 contains selections written by contemporary female authors. The unit contains an excerpt from the argumentative text Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal, director of game research at the Institute for the Future. The unit also includes an editorial written by Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called “The Flight from Conversation,” and an argumentative text titled “We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter” by Celeste Headlee, an award-winning journalist, speaker, and author. In addition to contemporary, female authors, Unit 1 contains the speech “On Civil Disobedience” by Mohandas K. Gandhi.
Unit 2 focuses on a novel study of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, one of Nigeria’s most celebrated novelists.
Unit 3 contains a variety of nonfiction, informational texts designed to tap into students’ interests and help them make connections between the text, their personal experiences, and society. Students explore the Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines, a First Amendment rights violation case that centered on students’ right to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The unit also contains a Supreme Court Case from the early 1900s titled Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which addresses the “authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws.” Materials present an opinion piece titled “On Immunity: An Inoculation” written by Eula Bliss, American author and essayist. And later in the unit, students read a letter, “Measles: A Dangerous Illness,” written by Roald Dahl, a recognized contemporary British author.
Unit 4 contains a more diverse group of authors, representing various ethnicities, cultural settings, and time periods. Texts include the poem “Vegetable Love in Texas” written by a poet laureate of Texas, Carol Coffee Reposa; “Ode to the Cat” by Chilean poet and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature Pablo Neruda; an excerpt from the play Antigone by Sophocles, the master of Greek tragedy; “Sonnet 130” by iconic poet and playwright William Shakespeare; “Funeral Blues” by celebrated American-British poet, W.H. Auden; “The War Works Hard” by Iraqi-American poet Dunya Mikhail; and a short story titled “Tuesday Siesta” by Columbian journalist and novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The materials include a variety of text types and genres across content that meet grade-level requirements, including poetry, drama, short stories, informational texts, argumentative texts, and novel excerpts from world literature across literary periods. A variety of informational texts are 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:
“A Quilt of a Country: Out of Many, One?” By Anna Quindlen (essay)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (play)
“Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden (poem)
“Ode to My Suit” by Pablo Neruda (poem)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (historical fiction)
Antigone by Sophocles (play)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
“Second Inaugural Address” by Abraham Lincoln (speech)
“On Civil Disobedience” by Mohandas K. Gandhi (speech)
Tinker v. Des Moines (Supreme Court case)
“On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss (opinion piece)
“The Danger of Palm Oil Production” by Natalie Hansford (research report)
Throughout Units 1 to 4, author photos and other photos are present. Some color coding is present (e.g., purple to identify vocabulary words). The painting Mark Antony’s Funeral Oration over the Corpse of Caesar by Heinrich Spiess is paired with Shakespeare’s play. Students also look at five different infographics to analyze the impact of single-use plastics on the world.
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. Text complexity, quantitative levels, and qualitative features for the grade level are only available for prose selections. As a result, the materials partially meet the indicator.
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 an argumentative text, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Part Two, by Jane McGonigal, PhD. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “accessible,” with a Lexile of 890, a qualitative score of “low difficulty,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.” Students read a speech by Mohandas K. Gandhi titled “On Civil Disobedience.” According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 810, a qualitative score of “low difficulty,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, proclaimed by the General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 20 November 1959. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 1390, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.”
In Unit 2, many of the tasks focus on the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. However, a text analysis is not provided for the novel. Students also read the short story “Marriage Is a Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 810, a qualitative score of “high difficulty,” and a task level of “challenging creation.” Students read an interview by Katie Bacon titled “An African Voice.” According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex,” with a Lexile of 1140, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “accessible understanding.” Students read the short story “The Third and Final Continent,” by Jhumpa Lahiri. 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 “challenging creation.”
In Unit 3, students read the Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines, Excerpt 2. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “very complex,” with a Lexile of 1400, a qualitative score of “high difficulty,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read excerpts from the Supreme Court Case Jacobson v. Massachusetts. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “very complex,” with a Lexile of 1560, a qualitative score of “high difficulty,” and a task level of “challenging creation.” Students read a letter by Roald Dahl, titled “Measles: A Dangerous Illness.” According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex” with a Lexile of 970, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.” Students read an editorial titled “Mandatory Vaccination Is Not the Answer to Measles” by Dr. Bob Sears. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex” with a Lexile of 850, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “challenging evaluation.”
In Unit 4, tasks incorporate a variety of poems and Antigone by Sophocles. Text analysis is only available for the prose selections within the unit. For example, students read the short story “Tuesday Siesta” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. According to the text-complexity analysis, the overall level of the text is “complex” with a Lexile of 830, a qualitative score of “moderately difficult,” and a task level of “moderate analysis.”
Materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts through the use of student-to-student discourse, reading strategies, graphic organizers, and teacher-and-student discourse. Materials target complex elements of text and integrate multiple TEKS, building conceptual knowledge across genres. Tasks integrate a variety of grade-band-specific skills designed to provide opportunities for increased independence. 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 2: “Close Reading of Argumentative Nonfiction Texts,” students complete multiple readings of the speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Tasks use text-dependent questions to build conceptual knowledge while scaffolding students to more complex skills that require students to glean the general message of the text; analyze how the author's use of language informs and shapes the perception of readers; and analyze the use of literary devices such as irony, sarcasm, and motif to achieve specific purposes. Students use the SOAPSTone (Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, Tone) method of evaluation to aid in breaking down the elements of King’s speech and identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
In English Language Arts, Unit 1, students use text-dependent questions to identify the claims and supportive evidence of a cartoon and an argumentative text. Guiding questions help students target complex elements of the text by analyzing the literal and inferred meaning of the cartoon. Students use this information to identify the author’s claim and supporting evidence. This task is paired with a close reading of an excerpt from Jane McGonigal’s argumentative novel Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World. Using a series of text-dependent questions, students build conceptual knowledge by identifying the author’s claim, evidence, tone, and effectiveness. Crossover questions help students integrate ideas, themes, and connections across texts. For example: “Both the cartoon and the excerpt from Reality is Broken contrast life within virtual environments and life in reality. Would McGonigal most likely agree or disagree with the claim that Twohy makes in his cartoon? What evidence from McGonigal's excerpt supports your response?”
In Close Reading Workshop 4: “Close Reading of Shakespeare,” students analyze the painting Mark Antony’s Funeral Oration Over the Corpse of Caesar by Heinrich Spiess using the OPTIC (Overview, Parts, Title, Interrelationships, Conclusion) strategy and answer text-dependent questions that guide them to conclusions about the theme of the artwork. Later, students complete multiple readings of Mark Anthony’s oration in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, using text annotation to identify “shifts in topic or tone.” In subsequent readings, students use text-dependent questions and the SMELL (Sender, Message, Emotional Strategies, Logical Strategies, Language) analysis strategy to target complex elements of the text. Tasks include having students use text evidence to explain how “the meaning behind the provided line fits into Mark Antony's oration as a whole.”
In Close Reading Workshop 6, students engage in collaborative analysis of various charts that “illustrate the impact and presence of robots in industries around the world.” Students examine the charts, noting initial observations. Then, students use the OPTIC strategy to identify multiple details, identify interrelationships, and draw conclusions about the information. Finally, students make connections between the charts and A.M. Turing’s article “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.”
Materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials contain a variety of questions that address the depth and complexity of the TEKS in a way that allows for the students to make connections to other texts, themselves, and the world around them. Questions focus on word choice and point of view, so the students can make inferences about the author and the text. The variety of topics, such as Supreme Court decisions, childhood hunger, and war, are relevant to the students, which promotes deeper learning by allowing students to make personal connections to the material. The tasks provide sufficient opportunities for students to achieve grade-level proficiency through questioning strategies and tasks that require students to draw conclusions, analyze authors’ craft and purpose, compare and contrast across texts, and synthesize learning through culminating activities in which students analyze how authors’ choices influence and communicate meaning within and across texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The English Language Arts section, Unit 1, provides students with a variety of texts by different authors writing on the same topic. Students read a variety of texts that focus on the issue of hunger, including a proclamation, a speech, and an editorial. The tasks in the unit require students to identify and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose, argument elements, parallel structure, and rhetorical appeals. Students explore the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, proclaimed by the General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 20 November 1959. In the initial reading, students use context clues and word parts to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Students explore the principles addressed in the proclamation, identify the principle they think is most important, and explain their reasoning. Students reread the “whereas” statements in the beginning of the proclamation and determine how those statements provide a foundation for the principles that follow. Students analyze a pie chart that provides statistics on hunger from the World Health Organization, to determine how the world is upholding the promises made in the declaration. Students are directed to connect the information in the chart to the information in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, specifically to Principle 4, which states that the child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation, and medical services. Students draw conclusions from the text and the chart by considering how well the world is “upholding the promises of the declaration.” Finally, students read an editorial that addresses the problem of child hunger. After reading “The Summer Hunger Crisis” by Billy Shore, students answer questions about the author’s claim, evidence, purpose, and use of emotional appeals.
In the English Language Arts section, Unit 2, students read the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, completing a variety of tasks that explore author’s craft, characterization, as well as the influence of cultural and historical settings. Probing questions help students explore how Achebe creates complex, yet believable, characters through plot development. Students utilize guiding questions and small-group discussion to explain how “historical and cultural settings influence views on gender.” Tasks explore how key plot events “develop a theme related to cultural conflict.” Students also read an interview with Chinua Achebe and make connections and draw conclusions between their analysis of Achebe’s novel and the author’s perspective on the themes and events.
In Close Reading Workshop 5: “Close Reading of Informational Texts in Social Studies/History,” students conduct multiple readings of an informational text, a passage from Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. In the first reading, students glean a general understanding of the text. During the second reading, students use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Students use what they learned in the first two readings during the third reading to answer text-dependent questions that explore author’s craft and purpose. For example, “What is the key idea of paragraph 1? Explain how the key idea determines the shape and course of the rest of the passage.” Another question asks students to consider the effectiveness of how the author’s ideas are structured. In the final task, the students use the SOAPSTone strategy to analyze the text.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students read two poems about war, analyzing how the author uses language, literary devices, and structural features to convey a message. Students read the poem “The War Works Hard” by Dunya Mikhail, identifying the author’s use of irony, sarcasm, and satire, and answer questions about the effect of these literary devices. Then, students read “Grape Sherbet” by Rita Dove, answering questions that focus on mood, diction, syntax and symbolism. Finally, students analyze the authors’ choices and how they influence and communicate meaning by answering text-dependent questions: “What do the war and grape sherbet represent? How are they personified in the poems?” “What elements of praise, mourning, and mocking are present in each?” and “How can you compare and contrast the poets’ use of language?”
In Close Reading Workshop 6: “Close Reading of Informational Texts in STEM,” students conduct multiple readings of the text “The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine” by Ray Kutzweil, from Scientific American (2009). Students identify the central idea of the passage and how it is developed over the course of the passage. They identify the author’s claim and evaluate the quality of his supporting evidence. Students consider how the author’s use of technical and scientific language “reflect his intended audience.”
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:
Vocabulary instruction and application is embedded throughout the units and developed 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. Cognate word walls are recommended to classes that include speakers of various languages; the use of online translators and dictionaries to support vocabulary comprehension is also recommended.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students read an excerpt from the Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines, exploring the use of multiple-meaning words such as opinion, right, and justice. Students begin by writing down the definition of each of the words without consulting any reference material. Next, students read sentences that contain the words used in different contexts and determine the definitions based on context. Students participate in a “Think-Pair-Share,” comparing their initial definitions to the contextual ones and noting how the definition changed depending on the sentence.
English Language Arts, Unit 4, focuses on academic vocabulary related to poetry. Tasks require students to apply their knowledge of mood, tone, voice, meter, and rhyme to three poetic odes about food. Materials explore the academic vocabulary as it relates to “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare. Students identify and draw conclusions about the effect of the poet’s use of iambic pentameter. Tasks also require students to apply their knowledge of satire, irony, and sarcasm as they draw conclusions about how an author’s use of language affects readers.
In Close Reading Workshop 5, students are introduced to diffusing, a strategy for close reading texts with unfamiliar words that is used throughout units to help students interact with, build, and apply key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Students identify unknown words, look for context clues, consult resources to clarify meaning, make notes, and substitute synonyms. Students apply the diffusing strategy while reading Letters or Dispatches of Hernando Cortes, to the Emperor Charles V, “Letter II.” Then, students work with a partner to paraphrase six definitions and discuss how the definitions contribute to the meaning of the letter. Students apply their newly acquired vocabulary knowledge by correctly using three of the words in a summary of the key ideas in the letter.
In the Language Workshop, materials build students’ working knowledge of academic vocabulary related to argument and provide students with opportunities to apply that knowledge to verbal and written tasks. Students begin by ranking their knowledge of each word according to whether they have questions about the word, have heard the word, or could teach the word. Students work with a partner to define each word. Students are provided with a list of cognates and discuss other related cognates from the list. As students progress through the workshops on argument, they are required to correctly use the terms related to argument.
In the next Language Workshop, students are introduced to vocabulary words that appear in the argumentative text Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Part 1. Students work with a partner to use the diffusing strategy: identifying unknown words, looking for context clues, consulting resources to clarify meaning, making notes, and substituting synonyms. Students view two pictures and select the vocabulary word that best corresponds to each image, explaining their choice to their partner. Students apply their knowledge by using paired vocabulary words in a sentence that explains how the words are similar or different. Students draw a picture that demonstrates the meaning of a selected vocabulary word. Students create written responses to questions that require a working knowledge of the vocabulary words. For example, “Where are some places you would expect to find droves of people?” and “Describe one of your most underutilized skills.” Finally, students are given groups of words and asked to identify the word that does not belong.
The Language Workshop provides supplemental supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. While reading Antigone, students work with a partner to use context clues to determine the meaning of selected vocabulary words. The “Teacher Wrap” provides scaffolds, such as using sentence frames to assist students in vocabulary development. To assist students who need spelling practice, the materials recommend that the teacher circle misspelled words in the student’s stories and sound out each misspelled word using the morpheme charts for reference. When students read Things Fall Apart, the materials suggest that the teacher write a vocabulary word definition on the board. As the teacher pronounces each vocabulary word in random order, the students raise their hand when the word matches the definition on the board.
Materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. Each unit provides a list of recommended literature and informational text related to the unit themes. Lexile and interest levels are also provided to aid in pairing students with the appropriate-level text. Materials set the stage for independent reading by providing protocols, expectations, and reading logs.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each unit provides a list of recommended literature and informational text related to the unit themes. The units also provide Lexile and interest levels to aid in pairing students with the appropriate-level text. Materials set the stage for independent reading by providing protocols, expectations, and reading logs. The units contain a clear plan to support students by providing various tasks that promote students’ analysis of their self-selected text and by prompting students to make connections to big ideas, concepts, and themes across texts. The “Independent Reading Links” hold students accountable for their independent reading by providing response questions for students to address in their “Reader/Writer Notebook.”
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 Reader/Writer Notebook. In Activity 12, students apply what they have learned about argumentative texts to their independent reading selection. Students identify claims or positions in their self-selected text and identify ways the author could strengthen his or her argument.
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, Activity 8, students make text-to-text connections between their independent reading and their in-class reading selection, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Students consider whether their self-selected text was written during or after colonization, identify the characters’ responses to the cultural setting, and record their observations in their Reader/Writer Notebook.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, Activity 3, students apply their knowledge of argument; they identify a claim made by the author of their independent reading and analyze it using the SOAPSTone strategy in their Reader/Writer Notebook.
English Language Arts, Unit 4, Activity 3 fosters independent reading by encouraging students to explore the techniques authors use (in students’ self-selected texts) to catch the readers’ attention and draw them into the story. Students write a paragraph explaining their conclusions about author’s craft. In Activity 15, students compare and contrast conflicts in their independent reading selection and the in-class text, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Students record their conclusions in their Reader/Writer Notebook.
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 compose an argumentative essay on an issue of their choice. The task requires students to identify a claim and conduct research to gather relevant evidence to support their claim. An essay planner supports students by guiding them through the process of clearly stating their claim, presenting relevant support, and utilizing an effective organizational structure.
In Unit 2, students use their knowledge of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe to write a letter to the district commissioner explaining how his attitude toward the Ibo people is based on cultural misunderstandings. In the letter, students suggest ways the commissioner might change to be more accommodating to the culture of the people. The task requires students to select an appropriate tone, polite and direct or friendly. Students must include a heading, salutation, closing, and signature in their correspondence. Guiding questions help students identify a purpose, provide textual evidence of the district commissioner’s misunderstanding, and suggest ways the district commissioner can be more accommodating toward the Ibo people. Later in the same unit, students write a literary analysis essay about Things Fall Apart that examines how the cultural and historical settings of the novel influence the development of one character. In the essay, students explore how the character reacts to the cultural collision between Western ideas and Ibo culture, and how this overall reaction affects the plot.
In Unit 4, students reflect on the variety of literary texts from the unit and select a genre of literary text to create a composition that conveys praise, mockery, or mourning. Students select from a variety of genres, including poetry, short story, drama, and graphic novel. The task requires students to choose diction and syntax that carefully creates the mood, voice, and tone appropriate to their audience and literary devices appropriate to the selected genre. Later in the same unit, students use Sophocles’ Antigone as a foundation for an informational essay that explains Creon’s attitudes and emotions and how they change throughout the scene. Students are required to include a well-stated topic sentence, details, and textual evidence that highlight Creon’s attitude or emotions, and a logical organizational structure that employs transitions effectively to move from one key point to the next.
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 two texts and analyze how the authors support their claims with evidence. First, students analyze the literal and figurative evidence in a cartoon created by Mike Twohy, using a graphic organizer to record observations and inferences. Students identify the author’s claim and supporting evidence. Next, students read an argumentative text by Dr. Jane McConigal from Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Part 1. Students identify the author’s claim, support, message, use of diction, and intended tone. Students use clear and concise text evidence from both texts to explain how each author might feel about the other’s claim. In addition, students create a written response describing how the authors might present their argument in a different medium.
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students can listen to an audio recording of the poems “Prayer of the Masks” by Léopold Sédar Senghor and “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. Students respond in writing to questions about the poets’ images, allusions, and connections to other texts. Text-dependent questions help students make connections across texts; for example, “What does the speaker of the poem mean by describing Africa as ‘the yeast which white flour needs’? How does this point of view contrast with the point of view expressed in Things Fall Apart—that, in the contact between cultures, a knife has been ‘put on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart’?” After reading and annotating the Yeats poem, students respond in writing to the question “How is the final image of the beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born linked to the poem's opening image of the circling falcon unable to hear the falconer?”
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students read Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart as well as an interview with the author. Text-dependent questions support students’ analysis of Achebe’s societal views and purpose for writing the novel; for example, “What is the author's purpose in discussing the book Mister Johnson before discussing Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart? How does this help you understand Achebe's purpose for writing his novel?” Students write an informational text, synthesizing information from the novel and interview to express their opinions about how a work of literature reflects a cultural perspective.
In Close Reading Workshop 6: “Close Reading of Informational Texts in STEM,” students read two articles: “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” by A.M. Turing and “The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine” by Ray Kurzweil. After studying both articles, students write a response comparing and contrasting the authors’ purpose and structure.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, students read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130” and respond in writing to questions about the poem’s structure, meter, explicit and implicit meaning, and use of satire; for example, “How does the speaker describe his mistress’s eyes? What effect does this opening have?” and “What does the speaker compare his mistress’s walk to, and what does this imply?”
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:
The “Language Checkpoint” activities embedded within each of the English Language Arts units systematically teach grammar, punctuation, and usage both in and out of context. 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 parallel structure (Checkpoint 1.9), noun agreement (Checkpoint 2.16), subordination and coordination (Checkpoint 4.10), and frequently confused words (Checkpoint 4.16).
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 2, the second assessment requires students to write an original story that “conveys a specific cultural perspective or historical moment.” In order to accurately convey the setting, students must conduct research about the time period and setting. 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 short story. In the prewriting phase, students plan their essay by creating an outline, identifying research needs, and determining how to convey the setting. While drafting, materials prompt students to consider the best point of view, use descriptive sensory details to create a setting, and develop characters through narration techniques. The revising prompts focus on improving the elements of fiction, such as characterization, setting, plot, and theme. During the editing stage, students edit for capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and usage. Prior to publication, students consult the scoring rubric to evaluate their engagement, narrative techniques, genre characteristics, point-of-view consistency, and use of language. Finally, students submit their work for publication.
In English Language Arts, Unit 4, the first assessment requires students to write an analysis of one of their creative writing pieces or another text from the unit. The analysis focuses on the author’s use of praise, mockery, or mourning. 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 literary analysis.
The materials contain ten Writing Workshop units 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 2, students explore the elements of a problem-solution argument 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 problem-solution argumentative essay about different national controversies. The materials provide guiding questions and graphic organizers that guide students through the writing process and highlight specific characteristics of a problem-solution argumentative essay (lead, topic sentence, evidence, commentary, anticipating and addressing objections). Revision tasks focus on precision and clarity through the effective use of diction, formal style, objective tone, parallel structure, and use of transitions. Materials include scoring rubrics detailing the required elements of the published essay.
Materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Speaking and listening opportunities are focused on the text(s) being 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 read two speeches by Nobel Peace Prize winners: “Nobel Lecture” by Kofi Annan and “From Hope, Despair, and Memory” by Elie Wiesel. Students annotate and answer text-dependent questions as they read; for example, for “Nobel Lecture,” students identify Annan’s intended audience and the “clues in the text [that] help identify that he is speaking not only to the people in the room, but to the world.” Students are also asked to identify the words and phrases used to describe the “horrors of the twentieth century” and explain how Annan’s diction shapes the perception of his readers. In Wiesel’s speech, students identify the experience he is describing in paragraphs 2 to 4, as well as his use of narrative techniques and how they contribute to his argument. Students participate in a Socratic seminar, demonstrating comprehension by using clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts.
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students work in small groups to read and discuss various proverbs found in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, analyzing the text to determine the underlying meaning through small-group discussion. Students discuss several proverbs, including “A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness” and “The clan was like a lizard. If it lost its tail it soon grew another.” As a group, students determine the meaning of the proverb and record their thoughts in a graphic organizer. Students participate in class discussions about various folk tales they identified in Things Fall Apart. Students discuss the meaning of the folk tale, its significance for future generations, and Achebe’s purpose for including it in the novel. Students record notes about their discussion in a graphic organizer, to demonstrate comprehension and synthesis of ideas by summarizing and paraphrasing the knowledge and ideas gleaned from the conversations.
In the English Language Arts, Unit 4, students work in groups to prepare, practice, and perform a scene from Antigone by Sophocles. Students prepare by reading the text and annotating for visual and vocal delivery. After working together in small groups to select a scene, students discuss the meaning of each character’s lines, how to use vocal delivery to reveal the characters’ emotions and motivations, and how to interpret the scene through staging. Students are also responsible for listening to other students’ performances and providing feedback.
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. While the materials do provide opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances, the opportunities to do so are limited.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students engage in an informal, student-led discussion as they participate in an argumentative essay peer review. Materials provide students with a peer-feedback checklist to guide the discussion. Later on in Unit 1, students participate in a “Four Corners” debate on the topic “Do video games make you smarter?” and evaluate a video debate on the same topic. Corners of the room are labeled “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” and “strongly disagree,” and students go to the corner that represents their opinion. Students discuss their claim, providing reasons for their position, with their like-minded group members. Students organize their group’s thoughts into a graphic organizer and conduct a class discussion, providing evidence to justify their position. Students watch the video “Video Games Will Make Us Smarter” and record their thoughts in a graphic organizer in preparation for a whole-class discussion.
In Unit 3, students engage in productive teamwork via student-led small-group and partner discussions. After reading an excerpt from the Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines, students break into groups to discuss a prompt: “If Fortas can be more persuasive when writing from a more personal perspective, why do you think he chooses to include references to the Constitution and previous legal cases?” Then, students work with a partner, using the SOAPSTone strategy (Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone) to analyze two excerpts of Justice Fortas’s Majority Opinion. Later in Unit 3, students work in a group to research and compile solutions to an environmental conflict. Students demonstrate their knowledge and synthesis of texts by delivering a well-defended text-supported group presentation “designed to contextualize the conflict for your classmates and justify your approach to resolving it.” Students work with their group members to collaborate on and evaluate their evidence and potential solutions. The task requires students to reflect and apply effective speaking and listening skills to prepare, present, and observe. Students are prompted to consider and practice applying “effective speaking skills to rehearse an appropriate mode of delivery.” Within their groups, students plan how to involve all group members, engage their audience, and demonstrate understanding. The presentation grading rubric evaluates the team’s effectiveness by scoring how well the presentation “demonstrates extensive evidence of collaboration and preparation.” In addition, the rubric scores the students’ “command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and language.”
In Unit 4, students work in groups to prepare, practice, and perform a scene from Antigone by Sophocles. Students prepare by reading the text and annotating for visual and vocal delivery. The task requires students’ performance to demonstrate an analysis of each character’s feelings and motivations. Students are also responsible for listening to other students’ performances and providing feedback.
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 1, students are introduced to the research process as they conduct team research for a debate. Students complete a “Research Considerations” worksheet to guide them through the process of creating a research plan; they answer the following questions: “What research will support your assigned position?” and “In what ways will this particular audience drive your research?” The worksheet also includes the following questions to help students evaluate their sources: “What is the date of publication? Is it recent and up-to-date?” “In what ways does the source show appropriate credibility and reasoning?” “Is the source free of bias, omission, faulty reasoning, incorrect premises, hasty generalizations, and either-or thinking?” Students create a research log to record the results of their inquiries. For each source, students include an academic citation, paraphrased ideas from the text, direct quotations from the text, and an evaluation of the credibility and reliability of the source. Students repeat the process, considering information for the counterargument. Students organize their research and plan their formal oral presentations for their debate.
In English Language Arts, Unit 2, students conduct “on-the-spot research” about the “cultural aspects of precolonial and postcolonial Nigeria.” Students are given a list of topics, such as music, war, weddings, clothing, farming, and medicine. Students use print and digital sources to answer their research questions. Students take notes paraphrasing information on bibliography note cards.
In English Language Arts, Unit 3, students conduct research about an environmental conflict. After brainstorming and selecting a topic, a flow chart guides the students through the process of writing a research question. Students record general information about the topic, ask open-ended “how” and “why” questions, and hypothesize possible answers. Students create three research questions to guide the inquiry process and create bibliography cards as they review sources. Students discuss the types of sources they found and why “responsible use of sources is important.” Students are provided with specific criteria to evaluate online sources for credibility, such as domain, sponsor information, timeliness, purpose, objectivity, and links. Students use this information to complete a written evaluation of each of their sources. Students are provided with a list of fallacies, including definitions and examples. Students record examples of fallacies from their sources and determine if the evidence is fallacious or fair. Students review their sources for biases and omissions, considering if the source presents both sides of an argument or omits key information contained in other sources. Students create an annotated bibliography for their reliable sources. Students are provided with a planning guide and scoring rubric. Students use their annotated bibliography to plan a research report and multimedia presentation about their solution to an environmental conflict.
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 as well as print and electronic. 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, working 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 “concerns a problem in need of some kind of solution.” Materials reiterate the steps in the inquiry process and provide a scoring guide for the report, which students will present to the class.
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. 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 2, students use their knowledge of characterization to share their understanding of the novel excerpt from “Change” by Mo Yan. After looking at the basics of characterization, students fill out a provided graphic organizer that looks at how different elements of a character influence their characterization. Then students have to think about the text from two different perspectives: how the characters feel about the narrator, and how the narrator feels about himself. After analyzing the text, students are asked to write a short story that builds complex characters. Further, the students are expected to compare and contrast the main characters in “Change” with characters from a previous lesson on “Half a Day.” Then, the students explore the themes developed through characterization in the stories, again noting similarities and differences.
Throughout Unit 3, students have multiple opportunities to write in a variety of ways, i.e., quick-writing, journaling, and writing essays (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, and language). They have multiple opportunities to read texts and use textual references to answer questions (skills needed: reading, writing, thinking, and language). Students have 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 have 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 “Reading a Court Case on the Freedom of Speech,” students compare the First Amendment to the US Constitution and Tinker v. Des Moines, looking at multiple-meaning words, answering text-dependent questions using textual references, and making predictions. They are asked, “Justice Fortas refers to how the district court views the act of wearing of the armbands. How does the district court interpret that act?” and “A closed circuit is a complete electrical circuit around which current flows or a signal circulates, as in a loop. What does Fortas mean by saying that students are not ‘closed-circuit recipients of only that which the state chooses to communicate’?” In order to answer the questions, students return to the text and reread the information, write the answers, possibly refer to other students for discussion, and use a dictionary to better understand the vocabulary of the text. In “The Problem with Palm Oil,” students must use a variety of source-integration strategies to maintain a flow in their writing. Students also cite their sources in their writing and speech. Students read “The Danger of Palm Oil Production” by Natalie Hansford, answer text-dependent questions, make observations, revise sentences, check for understanding, and prepare a presentation that will be presented orally. Students answer text-dependent questions, such as “Based on its context, what do you think the phrase status quo in paragraph 9 means? How does the context help you to determine the meaning?” and “What effects have unsustainable oil extraction practices had on the environment and people of Southeast Asia?” Students are provided guidance on how to use multiple sources and encouraged to search within the instructional materials as well as outside sources. There is also a mini-lesson on plagiarism that can be applied to any part of the textbook.
In Unit 4 of the English Language Arts textbook, students read the poems “Vegetable Love in Texas” by Carol Coffee Reposa, “Mutton” by Jonathan Swift, and “Ode to Kool-Aid” by Marcus Jackson; they explore vocabulary and imagery; answer questions with textual evidence; identify mood, voice, and tone in each poem; and make a comparison. With a partner, students also discuss similarities and differences in the poems. Also in this unit, students analyze the structure of a traditional ode and determine how language contributes to tone, voice, and mood. They answer text-dependent questions and work in a group to determine organization, imagery, and meaning.
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 are provided opportunities to identify and analyze the use and purpose of tone and mood across a variety of texts. While reading an excerpt from the novel Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, students underline words that reveal mood and tone. Students answer text-dependent questions about the author’s tone; for example, “Based on the words you underlined, how does the narrator feel about leaving her home? What details in the text reveal this tone?” Then, students complete a graphic organizer identifying the author’s use of sensory language. Students transfer these details into a chart, explaining how each example of sensory language contributes to the tone and mood of the selection. In Unit 4, students explore how word choice contributes to a poem’s mood and tone. Students begin by listing words associated with the word mourn and creating emojis that depict the mood and tone of the descriptions. Then, students read the poem “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden, underlining words and phrases that convey a particular tone and mood. Finally, students examine the structure and imagery in the first and final stanza and explain how the mood and tone of these lines help the reader.
Throughout the materials, students are provided with opportunities to identify and explore the elements that create themes in a variety of texts. In Unit 1, students analyze how authors use characterization and plot to develop a theme. In Unit 2, students work with a partner to make connections between the characters in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and “The Third and Final Continent,” Part 2, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Students discuss how the characters reflect the views of their culture and how they react to new cultures. Students use this information to consider how theme is developed through characterization and plot. Students create a graphic organizer that depicts the interplay between plot, characterization, and theme in these two stories. While reading Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” students identify the images and words that the author uses to develop the theme “Anarchy has overrun the world.” Students answer text-dependent questions about setting and word choice in Naguib Mahfouz’ short story “Half a Day” in order to identify “two themes that are apparent to the reader at the end of the story.” In Unit 4, students explore how Gabriel Garcia Marquez builds theme through characterization in his short story “Tuesday Siesta.” Students draw conclusions about the mother based on her behavior and interaction with other characters. Students use this information to identify the story’s theme.
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, the “Extend” box suggests students use one properly formatted block quote of more than four lines in their essay. The unit also includes an SAT connection where students practice explaining how an author builds an argument to persuade an audience.
In Unit 2, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level consult print or digital sources to find additional folktales to analyze in class or for homework.
In Unit 3, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests students who need an extension of the assignment should conduct a close reading of the amendment and provide examples of connections based on their knowledge of current or historical events. Another extension suggests students synthesize information from their peers’ argument essays and develop counterarguments to their claims.
In Unit 4, a “Teacher Wrap” suggests students needing an extension compose different sentence types that express the same idea.
Materials include supports for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards. 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” suggests that students who need additional assistance may benefit from a set of possible discussion questions or question starter cards to refer to as needed. For further assistance, the teacher may provide sentence starters for possible responses. The “Adapt” extension suggests allowing students who are struggling to structure an argument with a partner to orally discuss and defend their claims. Partners should ask questions that require reasons and supporting evidence. Then, partners discuss the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. To assist students who are struggling to identify fallacies and fallacious reasoning, the materials suggest discussing each definition and providing everyday examples of each type of fallacy. For example, a hasty generalization might be deciding that one despises all vegetables after only tasting broccoli.
In Unit 3, the materials include supports for students who perform below grade level. To ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards, students use the SOAPSTone (Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, and Tone) strategy as their prewriting strategy. Students complete the SOAPSTone graphic organizer and use the chart as a guide for writing their essays. To assist students with using context clues while reading Supreme Court cases with challenging vocabulary, the “Teacher Wrap” suggests “revisiting the notion of definitions in context by using everyday homonyms such as leaves, rose, mine, and nail. Ask them how they determine the meaning of the word when they encounter it in texts.” The “Adapt” extension suggests strategies to help students who are struggling to identify and evaluate research sources. The materials suggest putting the students into small research groups and having each student identify and evaluate one source and present it to the group. The group members should “discuss what makes each one a good source of information and how it answers the research question.”
In Unit 4, the materials provide differentiation for students performing below grade level by having them pair up to compare their thesis statements and evidence, taking notes on their peer’s feedback. Students use these notes to guide their writing and analysis of the topic. To assist students who are struggling with the differences between mood, voice, and tone, the materials suggest using a text familiar to the students to model the distinctions between each literary element. Then, with a second familiar text, students perform a think-aloud, discussing the distinct qualities of mood, voice, and tone. The “Adapt” extension suggests strategies to help students who are struggling to fully understand a character’s motivation. The materials suggest that the student and a partner go back through the text, identifying and highlighting references to emotions, values, and attitudes toward authority. Students use this information to help them fully understand the character’s motivation.
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 scaffolds for English Learners to help them gain a better insight into word choice and the impact of diction. Intermediate ELs are provided with visual images to support the students’ understanding of technological vocabulary used in the poem “Touchscreen” by Marshall Davis Jones. Advanced ELs are given a copy of the “Word Choice Analyzer” to help them identify tech-related words and phrases from the poem. Students work independently or in pairs to fill out the graphic organizer to help them analyze Jones’s word choice.
In Unit 3, teachers are given ideas for scaffolding instruction for intermediate and advanced ELs, as students are identifying the different “voices” of Fortas in the Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines, Excerpt 2. For intermediate ELs, the teacher provides students with phrases to highlight and directs students to compare those phrases with the language used in the amendment. For advanced ELs, the teacher points out phrases in the case that relate to ideas in the First Amendment; students work in small groups, and each group member focuses on one of the three voices, sharing their results with the group.
In Unit 3, teachers are provided ideas for scaffolding instruction for beginning and intermediate ELs. Beginning ELs receive a word bank for completing sentences, while intermediate ELs complete the sentences by highlighting the associated portions of the poem. To help students identify the elements of an argument, beginning ELs receive cut out definitions and sample hook, claim, support, and concession statements. The students work in pairs to match the definition with its corresponding statement. Advanced ELs conduct a “Think-Pair-Share” as they review the elements of argument and paraphrase the definitions of each element.
In Unit 4, teachers are provided ideas for scaffolding instruction for beginning and intermediate ELs, while reading the Greek tragedy Antigone, by Sophocles. Beginning ELs listen to an audio recording of the play in order to model pronunciation. Intermediate ELs read the text in small groups, taking frequent breaks so they can ask questions to clarify points of confusion.
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 option for teachers to custom build assessments throughout the units. At the top of the teacher key, the TEKS and the description are given for each answer. Short-cycle assessments based on the different activities in the English Language Arts textbook are also available. 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. Turnitin Revision Assistant is also available as support with the Embedded Assessments and provides direct feedback to students as it relates to each assessment's rubric. Teachers have full access to all student work and feedback within Turnitin Revision Assistant.
Unit 1’s “Planning the Unit,” in the English Language Arts book, provides an explanation of how the materials are structured for the lessons leading to the two embedded assessments for this unit. Students look at the structure of argumentative text by looking at an essay, a cartoon, a spoken word poem, and an op-ed, all on the topic of technology. After looking at technology, students look at justice and civil rights issues to start working on creating their own argument based on that topic. This leads to the first embedded assessment, one where students go through the whole process of selecting a topic to create an argument for their argumentative essay. In the second half of the unit, for the second assessment, students present an argument they came up with, in an oral debate.
Unit 2’s “Planning the Unit,” in the English Language Arts book, provides an explanation of how the materials are structured for the lessons leading to the two embedded assessments for this unit. Students apply the argumentative skills they built in Unit 1 to works of literature and literary analysis. Students work with multiple texts to build an understanding of setting, background, and the different lenses of literature, like gender and violence; this helps them prepare to write their literary analysis for the first embedded assessment. Students research short stories from around the world, looking at the historical time periods and cultural settings of their contexts in order to better understand them. Students use this knowledge to pick their own historical and cultural settings as the “SpringBoard” for creative writing in embedded assessment number two.
Unit 4’s “Planning the Unit,” in the English Language Arts book, provides an explanation of how the materials are structured for the lessons leading to the two embedded assessments for this unit. Students look at how poets introduce topics and how they create poetic elements like mood, voice, and tone through language. Students practice these skills and then look at other creative writing pieces and how they present ideas. After looking at how writers structure creative writing, in their first embedded assessment, students write an analysis of a piece of creative writing. In the second half of the unit, students read and look at the performance elements of the play Antigone by Sophocles. For the embedded assessment, students demonstrate their understanding of performance elements by performing a scene from Antigone.
At the end of many activities in the English Language Arts textbook, the materials include a “Check for Understanding” box for the teacher to conduct a brief formative assessment of the students’ understanding of the material. In one Unit 2 activity, the teacher is advised to make sure the students focused on love, family, tradition, superstition, duty, or marriage. The materials advise the teacher to review the student narratives to determine if their writing is consistent with the elements of the story. In one Unit 4 activity, the guidance for the teacher includes reviewing the details the students used and looking for an accurate understanding of satire and an explanation of how the use of satire achieves the author’s purpose. It is also noted the students should include the word irony.
“Activity Quizzes” are quick, multiple-choice assessments that 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 TEKS-aligned and accompanied by a “Scoring Guide” in the form of a rubric to evaluate ideas, structure, and use of language.
No guidance for interpreting the data from digital, multiple-choice assessments once it is collected and scored is available. An abundance of opportunities exist to collect data, but no information is provided as to how to interpret and act on digital data yielded from multiple-choice assessments. 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 “Reread the statements at the beginning of the proclamation starting with ‘Whereas.’ How do these statements serve to set up the principles that follow? What key ideas can you find in the statements introduced by the word whereas? How do they connect to the individual ideas stated in the principles that follow?”
The “Teacher Wrap” contains an “Assess and Adapt” section that provides suggestions for measuring student progress and ways to adjust an activity in response to students’ needs. For example, in Unit 2, the “Assess” support suggests reviewing students’ responses to the “Check Your Understanding” questions to assess their understanding of the relationships between proverbs, folktales, and culture. To address the needs of students who need additional support, the “Adapt” resource suggests having partners “discuss a TV show or film that has a foreign or fantasy setting.” Teachers are instructed: “Ask students to identify the details they use to make inferences about that world.”
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 that contains additional strategies to support students’ learning. For example, in Unit 4, the materials suggest that the words elegy and eulogy are easily confused because they are similar in meaning. To help students distinguish between the two, the supports suggest reminding them that “an elegy is the poetic form they are reading here while a eulogy is always a spoken speech of mourning.” Teachers are instructed: “Ask students to come up with a handy way of remembering the difference between the words.”
The Language Workshops support the skills needed for success across the units as they relate to the skills and vocabulary necessary for successful completion of the “Embedded Assessments.” For example, the supplemental materials assist and engage students as they read “Video Games Will Make Us Smarter.” The students work in a small group to answer text-dependent questions, using sentence stems to help guide the conversation. For example, “Reread paragraphs 11–18 of the debate. What counterargument does Daphne Bavelier provide against Elias Aboujaoude? What evidence does she use to support her counterargument?” The sentence stems provided are “Bavelier’s counterargument is that...” and “Some evidence is that….” Additional guidance is given to the teacher to further adapt the lesson by dividing students into small groups, with each group taking a side of the debate and writing a summary of the claim and its evidence. Then, the groups debate their claims and evidence in a small-group discussion.
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. “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
(pdf, 243.89 KB)
Read the Full Report for Pricing
(pdf, 473.98 KB)
Read the Full Report for Professional Learning Opportunities
(pdf, 140.87 KB)