- Copyright Type
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- Digital Version
- Estimated number of click or scroll pages: 594
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 %|
The instructional materials meet the criteria of this indicator; they include high-quality texts that have been previously published and a variety of informational and literary pieces written by experts. The texts appeal to a range of student interests, and the language and vocabulary is appropriate to each genre. Additionally, the texts represent well-crafted writing that provides adequate context for close reading.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Unit 1 includes literary texts that provide rich characterizations, such as “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret. The informational texts use rich, academic vocabulary and language appropriate to the disciplines they represent. Informational texts include the Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion written by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan. The texts consider a range of student interests and would appeal to 10th-grade students. Unit 1 includes texts about diverse cultural experiences, such as “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau.
Unit 2 includes works by world-renowned authors that relate to personal experiences, such as “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard and “A Contribution to Statistics” by Wislawa Szymborska. Annie Dillard’s essay is literary nonfiction that uses narration to convey personal involvement; the author describes a total eclipse that she experienced. In “A Contribution to Statistics,” Wislawa Szymborska expresses her point of view about human nature and the human condition. These two texts are within a unit in which students are responding to the thematic idea of how personal perspective shapes people’s opinions.
Unit 3 includes stories with realistic and believable characters representing a variety of cultural experiences and backgrounds, such as in “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood. Informational texts include a public service announcement created by the National Park Service titled “Find Your Park.” The informational texts use rich, academic vocabulary and language appropriate to the disciplines they represent.
Unit 4 includes works by world-renowned authors, such as “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary texts provide complex characterizations, as in “The Briefcase” by Rebecca Makkaiin. The texts consider a range of student interests and would appeal to 10th-grade students. Unit 4 includes texts about struggles for freedom and includes “The Hawk Can Soar” by Randi Davenport.
Unit 5 includes informational texts that use rich, academic vocabulary and language appropriate to the discipline they represent. In an excerpt from Sonia Shah’s science-based expository text The Fever, the author uses complex, scientific vocabulary appropriate to the genre. Students encounter vocabulary such as anomalous, intrinsic, vestiges, and evolve, as Shah explores the topic of malaria. Informational texts include a historical article by award-winning journalist Allison Keyes, “A Community Forever Altered by a Forgotten Massacre,” and an excerpt from Sonia Shah’s science-based expository text The Fever. The texts consider a range of student interests and would appeal to 10th-grade students. This unit includes texts about change, such as “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, which students at this age can relate to.
In Unit 6, literary texts offer complex characterizations, providing students with the opportunity to analyze characters’ ambitions, such as in The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, where students compare the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and explain internal conflicts. The three-dimensional, detailed characterizations are present throughout the literary texts, adding to the well-crafted, high-quality value overall.
The materials contain both literary and informational texts outlined for English II by the TEKS. Literary texts include short stories, poetry, and one dramatic work. The materials do not include a variety of texts from world literature across literary periods. Informational texts include argumentative texts in the form of letters and opinions from a court case as well as multimodal texts in the form of infographics and graphic novels.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
“What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret (short story)
“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath (poetry)
“The Seventh Man” by Haruki Murakami (short story)
“Elsewhere” by Derek Walcott (poetry)
“Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII,” by Rainer Maria Rilke (poetry)
“The Macbeth Murder Mystery” by James Thurber (short story)
The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare (drama)
English II requires students to read and analyze world literature across literary periods. The following are examples of literary texts from world literature that ask the students to respond in ways that meet the requirements for the TEKS for English II:
“What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret (folktale)
“The Seventh Man” by Haruki Murakamii (short story)
The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare (drama)
With the exception of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, there is a lack of literary texts written prior to the 20th century.
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
“By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau (informational)
Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion by William J. Brennan (argumentative)
“American Flag Stands for Tolerance” by Ronald J. Allen (argumentative)
“Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle (informational)
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (argumentative)
“Letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin” by Mohandas Gandhi (argumentative)
excerpt from The Fever by Sonia Shah (informational)
Examples of print and graphic features include but are not limited to:
Throughout the materials, the texts are accompanied by a variety of graphics, including photographs, paintings, digital graphics, graphic organizers, and other graphics; they also contain print features such as bolded words, titles, subtitles, and word banks.
Examples of multimodal texts include but are not limited to:
“The World as 100 People” by Jack Hagley (infographic)
“Find Your Park” by National Park Service (PSA)
Gandhi: The Rise to Fame by BBC (documentary)
Manga Shakespeare: Macbeth by Robert Deas (graphic novel excerpt)
The materials include texts appropriately complex for English II students with a text complexity analysis provided at the beginning of each text. The analysis clearly explains the grade-level appropriateness of the text and includes both a quantitative measure and many qualitative descriptors.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each analysis includes a rationale for the quantitative and qualitative measures considered for the text. The quantitative measure is the Lexile level, while the qualitative measures feature the ideas presented, the text structures used, the language complexity, and the background knowledge required. Quantitative measures are not provided for poetry or multimodal texts. Text complexity and increasing rigor are considered and are noted in the qualitative measures.
In Unit 3, the text complexity analysis for “My Life as a Bat,” a short fictional story by Margaret Atwood, states that the text has a quantitative level of 990L. Regarding the ideas presented, the analysis states: “Includes multiple levels of meaning and multiple themes.” Regarding text structure: “Unconventional story structure with numbered heads and multiple flashbacks/memories.” Regarding language complexity: “Some figurative language requiring interpretation.” Regarding the knowledge required for comprehension: “Single perspective with unfamiliar aspects; some cultural and literary knowledge useful.” This analysis allows teachers to understand the text’s complexity and how its features may affect comprehension.
Quantitatively the texts are between 710L and 1480L. Qualitatively the units tend to build toward more complex texts that require inferential thinking, background knowledge that is essential for understanding, complex concepts, and more archaic and unfamiliar language with complex structures. In Unit 2, the text complexity analysis for the poem “Mirror” states that the text includes multiple levels of ideas with nonliteral language and sentences with figurative language. In Unit 5, the text-complexity analysis for “A Sound of Thunder” states that the text contains substantial descriptive language, complex sentence structures, and historical references that may require special knowledge. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and The Tragedy of Macbeth are both in later units, Unit 4 and Unit 6 respectively, because of their qualitative complexities.
Half of the texts fall within the 1080L–1335L range, which is ideal for 10th grade.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Units are organized by essential questions relating to the theme of multiple texts. Questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge and are text-dependent. The materials provide sufficient opportunities for students to discuss and answer questions about complex elements of the text. Students are asked to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students analyze symbolism in the short story “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret by highlighting references to doors and doorways and determining what they may symbolize. Students analyze characterization by highlighting examples of the author’s word choice and determine how these choices develop Sergei’s character in the story. In the “Compare and Connect” section, students discuss the ideas expressed in both the Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion by William J. Brennan and the argument “American Flag Stands for Tolerance” by Ronald J. Allen and explain which argument they find more convincing.
In Unit 2, in the “Analyze the Text” section for “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath, students identify the theme of the poem and provide evidence from the poem to support their responses.
In Unit 3, in the “Compare and Connect” section, students compare themes in the short story “The Seventh Man” by Haruki Murakami and the poem “Carry” by Linda Hogan and discuss how the authors’ attitudes toward these themes differ.
In Unit 4, students discuss with a small group how the memoir “The Hawk Can Soar” by Randi Davenport relates to the theme of hard-won liberty. Team members gather evidence and prepare ideas, reviewing annotations made in their response logs before participating in the discussion. In this lesson, the students are also asked to evaluate how a short paragraph serves as a statement of a memoir’s theme. These questions and discussions build students’ knowledge and require students to draw on textual evidence while identifying and discussing the theme and big ideas.
In Unit 5, students are asked to analyze theme and support their responses with evidence from “The Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury: “What theme or message does this story convey? In what ways is setting important to the theme?” The questions require the careful reading and examination of complex elements of the text.
In Unit 6, when reading Macbeth by William Shakespeare, students analyze characterization in drama by highlighting words in the Captain’s speech that reveal Macbeth’s character. In Scene 3, students analyze persuasive techniques by highlighting repetition. In Act 4, Scene 2, students analyze specific lines for characterization and determine what they reveal about Lady Macduff’s perspective.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials provide opportunities for students to identify the stated and implied purposes of different authors’ writing and to make inferences and draw conclusions about those purposes in a variety of texts and genres. Questions and tasks support the study of author’s craft and how the author’s choices in language influence the reader. Questions often ask students to analyze the author’s syntax and word choice and to provide specific textual evidence to support their analysis.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students complete a graphic organizer in which they identify clues about purpose and audience in the Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion by William J. Brennan and the argument “American Flag Stands for Tolerance” by Ronald J. Allen. In the guiding questions for the poem “Without Title” by Diane Glancy, students are asked to highlight details in the first four lines of the poem that provide the speaker’s father’s historical/cultural background and consider why the speaker begins the poem by “sharing details that no longer apply to her father’s life.”
In Unit 2, the “Analyze the Text” questions ask students to discuss the similarities and differences in the purposes of the infographic “The World as 100 People” by Jack Hagley and the poem “A Contribution to Statistics” by Wislawa Szymborska, making connections across two texts based on the same idea. They are also asked to synthesize what they have learned in the two texts after comparing and contrasting them and evaluating the purposes. Guiding questions for “The Night Face Up” by Julio Cortazar ask students to notice the sensory language of the short story and note how it changes the mood and tone of the plot.
In Unit 3, within the “Check Your Understanding” questions for “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood, students respond to a multiple-choice question: “References to popular culture and historical events [in the story] serve to….” In the “Collaborate and Compare” and “Analyze the Text” sections, students read the short story “The Seventh Man” and a biography of its author, Haruki Murakami, and the poem “Carry” and a biography of its author, Linda Hogan. Then, students discuss how the authors’ cultural backgrounds or geography may have shaped their attitudes toward nature. Students complete a graphic organizer in which they compare the authors’ use of language. Students also analyze choices made by the creators of the multimodal public service announcement “Find Your Park” by the National Park Service. Students focus on the pace or cuts between images in the PSA and determine how the pace serves the purpose of motivating viewers to visit a national park.
In Unit 4, “Analyze the Accounts” questions ask students to describe the tone and word choice in “Letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin” by Mohandas K. Gandhi and the documentary film Gandhi: The Rise to Fame by BBC and make inferences from these word choices about the purposes of each account. Students also study how fragments can be intentionally used by a writer to emphasize an idea, develop tone, or create a voice; they look at examples from “The Hawk Can Soar” by Randi Davenport and explain why the fragment was used. This task requires students to study the language and choices of an author and how they influence meaning.
In Unit 5, for “A Community Forever Altered by a Forgotten Massacre” by Allison Keyes, students are asked to highlight a claim the author makes about how we view history and explain how this claim challenges, changes, or confirms their own views. Also, students are asked to infer the author’s purpose in an informational text, The Fever by Sonia Shah. They provide evidence for their answer. In an excerpt from The Fever, guiding questions within the text ask students to interpret why the author begins by explaining the progression of diseases other than malaria (which is the focus of the text). Students are also asked to consider the author’s purpose for including superscript numbers in paragraph 7 (the numbers are linked to original sources) and to make an inference about how the author’s language reveals the intended audience of the text.
Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Students apply words in appropriate contexts. Scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners are provided.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Students are introduced to five new academic vocabulary words at the beginning of each unit. Students study a completed “Word Network” (graphic organizer) for one word, which includes its synonyms, antonyms, word root or origin, related words, clarifying example, and definition. Students discuss this Word Network with a partner, then complete a Word Network for the remaining four words on their own. Students use academic vocabulary in discussions about texts. In Unit 3, students read the short story “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood and respond to questions that contain two of the unit’s academic vocabulary words. Teachers guide students to include these terms in their responses. In Unit 5, students are introduced to the academic vocabulary and asked to complete more Word Networks. This vocabulary is then repeated in a variety of contexts throughout the unit as students interact with the vocabulary in different activities.
Academic vocabulary is repeated in a variety of contexts and used throughout the texts.
For example, in Unit 5, students read “The Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury and discuss three questions that apply critical vocabulary from the unit: “What explicit warning about the Path does Travis give to the hunters, and why? What is the Path like? How do those qualities facilitate the hunt?” Students use the academic vocabulary words explicit and facilitate in their responses with partners; volunteers share their responses with the class.
“Vocabulary Studio,” found in “Resources,” is an interactive module that “provides students with instruction on key aspects of vocabulary.” The materials offer instruction and practice with ways to decipher the meaning of words that students will encounter while reading. Instruction and practice includes learning and applying knowledge and skills such as using context clues; analyzing word structure; recognizing and applying roots, prefixes, and suffixes; and practicing denotation and connotation. Vocabulary Studio lessons are suggested in the “Plan” section for most selections in the teacher’s edition. In Unit 2, for “The Night Face Up,” by Julio Cortazar, the suggested Vocabulary Studio is “Connotation and Denotation.” In Unit 5, for The Fever by Sonia Shah, the suggested Vocabulary Studio is “Affixes.” The lessons in the studio “are arranged by skill for each grade level and provide additional support and independent practice for students,” in order to develop reading and writing skills by focusing on vocabulary comprehension skills.
Materials also include embedded supports throughout the units in both the student and teacher’s editions. The student edition supports include unit academic vocabulary overviews and prompts to reinforce students’ application of academic vocabulary in their written and spoken responses. Each unit introduces academic vocabulary that applies to all text selections within that unit. In Unit 1, teachers introduce academic vocabulary that relates to all of the texts in that unit. Students discuss the vocabulary with a partner as they complete the Word Networks. Example words from this lesson include discriminate, diverse, inhibit, intervene, and rational. The graphic organizers and discussions help scaffold vocabulary development for diverse learners.
The teacher’s edition supports include overviews and pedagogical recommendations, including specific descriptions of how to introduce the vocabulary, what questions to ask when students encounter vocabulary in context, and how to have partners write and discuss academic vocabulary. At the end of selections, students can practice and apply their vocabulary. Specific vocabulary strategies, such as the use of context clues in determining word meaning, are also taught and applied consistently. These embedded supports are included in every unit, which demonstrates a year-long plan.
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 support for teachers, are included to foster independent reading. A plan is provided for students to self-select text and read independently for a sustained period of time.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each unit includes lessons for independent reading. The texts are related to, and expand upon, the themes of the units. In Unit 1, students can choose from a memoir, poem, short story, or argument text. In Unit 2, students choose between a poem, essay, informational text, and a short story. Unit 3 has an argument text, essay, poem, and short story for students to choose from. In Unit 6, there is a history text, argument, poem, and drama available for students’ independent reading selection. Each selection is related to the unit’s overall theme.
Each unit contains selections for students to choose for their independent reading. Students are provided a process for self-selecting texts. Each “Independent Reading” section begins with a photo gallery that includes an image and tagline or hook for each selection. In Unit 2, there is a photograph of what appears to be left of a city after a catastrophic event. Under the photo is the title of the selection, “By the Waters of Babylon” by Stephen Vincent Benet, followed by the statement “A young narrator sets off on his own to try to understand a post-apocalyptic world he has only heard rumors of.” Students are directed to read these descriptions to determine which text gets their attention, to think about which genres they enjoy reading, and to “select the text or texts that [they] want to read on [their] own.” They can base their selections on their interest they noted in their response logs from the unit. They may also choose their selections based on their interest or reading level after they preview the texts.
The materials also contain an online digital library with access to over 100 full-length digital novels. Students can preview these novels and choose a selection based on their interest. There is a sidebar tool that allows students to make notes while reading and to highlight the text.
The procedures for independent reading are consistent for each unit: students follow guidelines to select the text(s) that they want to read; students review the “Signposts” for the unit and are reminded to apply them to their independent reading; students read the self-selected text(s); and students discuss the text(s) with a partner.
The teacher’s edition provides teachers with suggestions to help students become goal-oriented readers. For instance, in the teacher’s edition pages for the independent reading lessons for Units 2, 4, and 5, materials provide teachers support, such as strategies to help students set a purpose for reading, set goals for reading, adopt an appropriate mindset for reading, and track their progress while reading independently.
Materials also include a professional learning component to help teachers implement the independent reading lessons for each unit. This component is found in the “Professional Learning” resource. This resource provides teachers with an overview of the independent reading lesson elements, and of the resources students can access to enhance their independent reading experience.
There are several options for accountability. Teachers can encourage students to use their “Notice and Note Signposts” strategy as they read and mark their thinking in the notes section or to share their thoughts about their independent reading with others. There are also selection tests available that ask multiple-choice questions, technology-enhanced questions, and constructed-response questions.
The student edition provides students with a guide to complete the objectives of the independent reading lessons. This guide includes supports that help students, such as prompts to set a purpose for reading; prompts to reinforce skills students are developing throughout the curriculum, such as “Notice and Note” activities; and activities like using logs to track reading progress and comprehension. Materials also include prompts to encourage peer discussions and guide activities to help students select independent reading. Examples of these materials are found on independent reading lesson pages for Units 2, 4, and 5.
The materials provide support for students to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students are given opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. The materials provide opportunities for students to write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are provided opportunities to write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure. The materials provide opportunities to write literary and/or rhetorical analyses.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read “American Flag Stands for Tolerance” by Ronald J. Allen and write a letter to the editor in which they respond to the ideas expressed in the selection.
In Unit 2, students are given a literary prompt: “Write a short story about how things are revealed to be different from how they first appeared.” They are presented with a mentor text as an example and are encouraged to use their “Response Log” notes from the unit. The writing prompt has a “Read, Think, Write” format with a checklist of guidelines, such as “begin by introducing a setting, a narrator, and a main character” and “include sensory language and descriptive details.” Students also write a friendly letter to a real or imagined person who fits into one of the statistical categories from the poem “A Contribution to Statistics” by Wislawa Szymborska. They review the format of a friendly letter and identify their audience. They are asked to provide or request advice in their letter.
In Unit 3, students learn the elements of writing narratives. Students are given the opportunity to rewrite story hooks to include specific techniques learned earlier in the module, such as vivid details and a surprising statement or question. Students rewrite a section of the King Midas story from the point of view of the king’s daughter. Students also write the opening of a short story in which they introduce and develop a character using three of the five characterization techniques that they learned earlier in the module. Also in Unit 3, teachers review the elements of a strong explanatory essay. Students are asked to write an essay about “a specific aspect of nature and our relationship to it.” A mentor text is provided along with several student supports, such as sentence frames, a graphic organizer for planning, a revision checklist, an editing checklist, and a scoring rubric. In another lesson, after listening to a public service announcement from the National Park Service, “Find Your Park,” students write a “letter to the editor” advocating for a new national park. They clearly state a thesis that is supported with facts and details and end their letter with a call to action.
In Unit 4, students are given a writing prompt that has them read the quote “Freedom means different things to different people.” They are then asked to think carefully about the question “What do we need in order to feel free?” After these steps, they write an argument essay about what freedom means to them. A mentor text is provided along with graphic organizers, supports, and scaffolds for each phase of the writing process. Also in Unit 4, after reading an excerpt from Mohandas Gandhi’s “Letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin,” students write a short essay analyzing and evaluating the strength of Gandhi’s argument. In this brief writing assignment, they are directed to write one paragraph that analyzes his “claims, reasons, evidence, and rhetoric, providing examples from the text of the letter” and then to write a second paragraph discussing why they think his argument failed to persuade the Viceroy.
In Unit 5, after reading the science fiction text “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, students are asked to write their own story about characters who travel through time, thinking about “What technological advances will allow your characters to time travel?” They are provided with a list of steps to take in their writing, including deciding on main and supporting characters, determining problems, using a timeline for events, and developing a strong and engaging voice when using first-person narration.
In the Unit 6 tasks at the end of the unit, students write a literary analysis about the play Macbeth by Shakespeare. Students are guided through the writing process from planning to publishing.
Most written tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate knowledge gained through the analysis and synthesis of texts. Students are provided opportunities to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims. Students also demonstrate, in writing, what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each text selection ends with a section where students analyze the text and support their responses with evidence from the text. They are required to infer, evaluate, cite evidence, analyze, interpret, and “Notice and Note.” For example, in Unit 1, students read “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau and interpret character motivation by answering the question “What do the headmistress’s gestures and expressions tell you about her motivation for changing the girls’ names?” They are also asked to cite specific evidence: “Name two ways in which the Indian girls who have been at the school for a while imitate the English girls. How do these examples reflect the historical context of the memoir?” Most questions require critical thinking and are textually based so that students must return to the text to cite evidence.
In Unit 2, students create a double-entry journal. In the left-hand column, they record text passages that they feel are important, surprising, or confusing as they read an excerpt from Total Eclipse by Annie Dillard. In the right-hand column, they write an interpretation or restatement of the text along with their observation. After reading is complete, the materials provide students with a series of questions that increase in complexity from Depth of Knowledge (DoK) 2 to DoK 4. These questions are categorized as: “Interpret,” “Compare,” “Summarize,” “Critique,” and “Notice and Note.” The “Interpret” prompt asks: “What historical allusions does the author make? How do these allusions contribute to the tone of the essay?” Students are required to support their responses to these questions and/or prompts with textual evidence.
In Unit 3, for “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle, students read and annotate the text for the main idea and supporting details, then respond to an “Analyze the Text” question that asks: “What is the central message of the essay? What main ideas and details lead to the central message? Cite evidence from the text.”
At the end of each unit, students complete a summative writing task that is based on the readings from the unit. In Unit 4, students produce an argumentative essay for their summative writing task. This writing task requires students to make their claim, then support their argument with reasoning and evidence from sources encountered throughout the unit. The graphic organizer used during the “Plan” section of this task includes prompts that guide students to produce a thesis with a claim, a counterclaim, and three reasons for both the claim and counterclaim, each with supporting evidence. Students receive directions for using this organizer: “Clearly organize your reasons and relevant evidence, progressing logically from one idea to the next.” Materials also prompt students to refer to their notes from their unit response log (a log of notes taken during their reading lessons) when planning their essay.
In Unit 6, students write an essay comparing the witches as portrayed in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth and in Manga Shakespeare: Macbeth by manga artists Robert Deas and Richard Appignanesi. Students are told: “Write a comparison about the effects of the Witches in the play and in the manga.” They review Act 1, Scene 3, and describe how they would visualize the witches. Then, they look back at the manga artists’ drawings and describe them. They write a final paragraph comparing these two portrayals, using text evidence to support their claims.
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. The materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process. Opportunities are provided 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:
There is a writing task at the end of each unit that guides students through the full writing process (plan, draft, revise, edit, publish). For example, in Unit 1, students write a personal essay that explores a time when they had to decide how to interact with others. In the planning stage, students use provided graphic organizers to brainstorm ideas of personal experiences and record the chronological order of events. During the revising stage, students use a guide to ask themselves specific questions, such as “Do vivid details bring the event to life?” Students also exchange papers with a partner to evaluate drafts and give suggestions. Specific editing conventions to be applied to the writing are addressed. Students “edit for the proper use of standard English conventions and make sure to correct any misspellings or grammatical errors.” They are also instructed on verb tenses and then asked to specifically edit their paper for the appropriate tense. Students then publish and present their essays.
The materials often teach grammar, punctuation, and usage within the context of reading and writing. Within the context of composing essays, the materials introduce specific grammar and punctuation rules and give students opportunities to discuss, practice out of context, and apply the rules to their writing. For example, in Unit 2, students study complex sentences and practice identifying the independent and dependent clauses. Students apply the skill first by revising a piece of their own writing, joining together simple sentences to form complex sentences, and then checking their work with a partner. They continue to apply the skill in their summative writing task when they edit their short story specifically for complex sentences that are written correctly.
The materials provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice the conventions of academic language in the “Language Conventions” sidebars included for every text. Focus conventions include but are not limited to comma usage, diction, tone, and subject-verb agreement. For example, in Unit 1, students read “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” and annotate and analyze the author’s use of specific language conventions, such as use of tone, diction, and syntax. In Unit 6, students read “The Macbeth Murder Mystery” by James Thurber and write a short paragraph reviewing the selection, using pronouns and clear antecedents that agree in number.
The materials include a “Grammar Studio” that provides direct instruction and practice opportunities for grammar. Modules focus on topics such as agreement, capital letters, parts of speech, and punctuation. Specific grammatical structures or skills from the modules are tagged to reading selections that contain strong examples. For example, in Unit 1, in the “Get Ready” section that precedes “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau in the student edition, students are asked to note the author’s use of the past perfect verb tense while reading the memoir. In the “Language Conventions” activity that follows the selection, students review examples of verb tenses that the author uses, then write about an exciting experience that they have had using appropriate verb tenses. In Unit 3, students read “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood, analyze the author’s use of colons in the short story, and then revise their presentations about bats to include at least one colon and discuss how the colon clarified or enhanced meaning.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts by providing opportunities that are focused on the text(s) being studied in class, allowing students to demonstrate comprehension. Oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate knowledge gained through the analysis and synthesis of texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, materials provide teachers with strategies to engage students in collaborative discussions focused on the reading selections being studied. For the Unit 1 reading selection “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret, text-based questions include “How do archetypes help to show conflict in the story?” and “What theme does this story convey? What details support your answer?” Students first respond individually, then share their responses in small groups via the given discussion protocol. After reading the Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion by William J. Brennan and the argument text “American Flag Stands for Tolerance” by Ronald J. Allen, students collaborate and compare. Small groups reread the two selections and use a chart to identify clues that indicate the intended audience and the author’s purpose. Groups then discuss questions that compare the selections’ arguments in order to evaluate whether one author seems more credible and why, to connect the arguments to a recent event, and to compare the authors’ tones. This task requires well-defended text-supported claims.
In Unit 2, in the “Create and Present” post-reading activity for “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard, students create a “two-paragraph comparison between Annie Dillard’s description and the 2017 eyewitness eclipse account [they] researched.” To create this comparison, materials prompt students: “Introduce the topic and explain the sources of these two accounts”; use appropriate details and language conventions; and “Support your ideas with quotations and paraphrases.” Students are then prompted: “Have a discussion and share your opinion.” Students must use appropriate language conventions when speaking, and the materials prompt: “Support ideas with details from both texts.” These directions demonstrate requirements for use of clear and concise information and text-supported claims.
In Unit 4, after reading an excerpt from “Letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin” by Mohandas Gandhi and watching a film clip from Gandhi: The Rise to Fame by the BBC, students discuss a series of questions in a group. For example, “Describe the tone and word choice of the author and narrator, providing examples from the letter and film. What can you infer from those word choices about the purposes of each account?” In the “Compare and Debate” activity, students respond to the following question: “Which format communicates Gandhi’s ideas more effectively, the letter or the film?” Students use a graphic organizer to gather evidence from both the letter and the film in preparation for the debate.
In Unit 5, materials provide teachers with strategies to engage students in collaborative discussions focused on the reading selections being studied. For the Unit 5 reading selection “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, students respond to text-based prompts like “Write a comment or question about the story” and “Pose a question to the class, such as ‘How did the trip to the past both fulfill and crush the hunters’ dreams?’” Students first respond independently, and then share their responses with a small group.
In Unit 6, when reading The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, students consider what advice they would give Macbeth after his meeting with the witches. Students think individually and take notes; then, partners discuss their ideas with each other; finally, pairs share their ideas with the class. In the “Create and Present” post-reading activity for The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act 2, students have a small-group discussion, responding to the question “Why does Lady Macbeth faint? Is it a distraction, or is it real?” Directions prompt students: “Support your conclusion with evidence from the text.” The materials provide prompts to guide students through their discussion. Directions prompt students to record their initial, individual responses; “Use cause-and-effect connecting words to link your ideas.” Students are then told: “Discuss these ideas and your interpretation(s) of her action. Together, draw one or more conclusions about her motives.” Small groups share their group conclusions with the class. Materials remind teachers that all opinions should be supported with text evidence. These directions demonstrate requirements for use of clear and concise information and text-supported claims.
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Grade-level protocols for discussion are provided. Students are given opportunities 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:
The online materials provide a “Speaking and Listening Studio” that explains how to collaborate effectively and how to give an effective presentation. The studio discusses establishing and following procedures and explains how to speak constructively and how to listen and respond thoughtfully. Guidelines and protocols for discussions and presentations are thoroughly detailed. Within the studio, there are multiple video examples and sound clips, and each section has activities and quizzes that allow students to check their understanding.
In Unit 1, students learn the protocols for collaborative discussions, including “actively participate, listen to one another, build on each other’s ideas, stay on topic, and achieve discussion goals together.” Students listen to a recording of a collaborative discussion and follow along with a transcript of the discussion, which is broken into sections. Students evaluate a specific element of collaborative discussions after each section.
In Unit 2, students adapt the short story they wrote for the end-of-unit task into a podcast. Students use a graphic organizer in which they adapt their writing by considering revisions that can make the story appeal to an audience of listeners. Students are provided a checklist with effective verbal techniques and guidelines for creating a podcast. Students listen to podcasts and practice effective verbal techniques, such as enunciation, voice modulation and pitch, speaking rate, and microphone skills. Teachers set aside time to allow all students to post their podcasts and listen to others’ podcasts. Materials direct students to the Speaking and Listening Studio for guidance. Students produce similar writing in Unit 4 as they adapt their writing into an oral presentation.
In Unit 3, students read the short story “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood. Teachers are given the option to direct students to work in one of two small-group protocols. The “Plan” section of the teacher’s edition materials provides teachers with directions for two small-group protocols, “Three Before Me” and “Reciprocal Teaching.” Protocols direct students to independently respond to a text-based question, or respond to a text-based prompt, then discuss via protocol-specific structured discussions. In “Three Before Me,” students share their writing with peers, then peer review/edit each other’s writing. In “Reciprocal Teaching,” students create text-based discussion prompts, then offer these prompts to their small group for discussion. As a support for their conversations, students are directed to the Speaking and Listening Studio to learn about “Collaborative Discussions.” Also in Unit 3, students adapt their explanatory essays into multimedia presentations. Students gather and create audio and visual materials to engage their audience, plan their presentations, and then practice with a partner or small group before presenting to the class. The teacher gives instructions to the listener and the presenter. The teacher is instructed to discuss general principles for presenting, and the Speaking and Listening Studio is available for additional instruction.
In Unit 5, students participate in a similar activity in which students independently respond to a text-based question. This unit activity uses the protocols “Three Minute Review” and “Questioning the Author.”
The 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. Students practice 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 Unit 1, students engage with both primary and secondary resources as they conduct short-term and sustained inquiry processes to research and analyze aspects of various topics. After reading “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret, students research traditional tales that include talking animals and the rule of three and compare them to the text. Students also read “Without Title” by Diane Glancy and gather information from at least three sources to research changes that happened in the lives of Native Americans. Students evaluate the credibility and accuracy of the information in their selected sources. After reading the Texas v. Johnson Majority Opinion by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, students conduct research on other cases that involved challenging court rulings on the basis of the First Amendment. Students then create a multimedia presentation to present their findings to the class. Also in Unit 1, students read “American Flag Stands for Tolerance,” an editorial by Ronald J. Allen. Students then find four online sources with information on flag burning and analyze the sources for credibility, bias, and omissions. They use their research to debate the issue with classmates; afterward, they research and discuss how experts de-escalate heated conflicts while debating.
In Unit 2, students read Julio Cortázar’s “The Night Face Up” and research Aztec culture, including architecture, education, arts, and economy. Materials provide students with a research tip to document sources and to include the title, author’s name, publisher’s name and location, date of publication, URL, and page numbers. Students confirm the information they find by “checking multiple websites and assessing the credibility of each one.”
In Unit 3, students read “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle and examine multiple sources to research their own questions about the heart. Materials provide them with an outline to record their question, sources, notes, changes to approaching the question, and final answer. Students write an explanation of the research findings and then participate in a panel discussion about the way that the ideal heart would function, basing their conclusions on their research.
In Unit 4, students read Rebecca Makkai’s “The Briefcase” and research political imprisonment around the world. Materials remind students to use their findings to “generate, modify, and refine more questions to refocus your research plan.” Materials direct teachers to make sure that students know how to tell if a source is credible by differentiating between objective and subjective articles.
In Unit 5, the summative writing task is to write a research report about a specific way humans respond to changes in the world or in their own lives. Students synthesize the information gained from the texts they read within the unit and are also provided with a mentor text, an excerpt from the popular-science novel, The Fever by Sonia Shah. As they begin the planning phase, they gather evidence from credible print or online sources and use a research report planning chart to record their quotes, facts, sources, and citation information. They then organize their research, develop a draft, discuss and revise, edit (with a focus on crediting sources), publish a final draft, and choose a way to share the report with their audience.
In Unit 6 of the “Writing Studio,” students learn about conducting research, including how to start the process, how to identify and locate sources, how to conduct field research or internet research, how to take notes, and how to give credit to sources used. The materials provide an explicit definition of primary and secondary sources and include multiple examples with pictures. Each example has an explanation of why the source is primary or secondary. The Studio also explains why to use a primary source and how to match sources to research questions. Later in Unit 6, students read scenes from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth and record annotations about how and when the author uses drama conventions and character development. Students then conduct research using secondary sources in order to explore answers to questions that they generated while reading the play. Materials provide students with a research tip to check the websites of publishers of Shakespeare’s plays for information about Shakespeare’s works. Students complete a graphic organizer called a “Character Diagram,” in which students use their annotations to “sum up the role and outcomes” of the characters in the play. The materials then prompt students: “Have a discussion about the drama’s relationships and events based on the character diagram you created.”
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. 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 are included in the materials. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking and include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret and then work in small groups to research other traditional tales with talking animals and the rule of three. They record their findings in a graphic organizer and discuss, “In what ways are the talking animals similar and different? What kinds of events, characters, or details appear in groups of three?” Groups extend their thinking by writing a summary of their conclusions and comparing Keret’s story with their researched stories.
In Unit 2, Annie Dillard’s “Total Eclipse” is followed by “Analyze the Text” questions to which students respond with evidence from the text; questions include “What historical allusions does the author make? How do these allusions contribute to the tone of the essay?” In the “Write and Share” activity, students apply writing skills by writing a two-paragraph comparison of Dillard’s description and an eyewitness account of the 2017 eclipse that students researched; students apply speaking and listening skills by discussing the question of why eclipses still capture the human imagination even now that we have a better understanding of them. In the “Language Conventions” activity, students apply language skills by analyzing Dillard’s use of sentence variety and then use sentence variety to write a description of a strange experience they had.
In Unit 5, students read and compare a poem, “Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII” by Rainer Maria Rilke, and an excerpt from the documentary film Rivers and Tides by Thomas Riedelsheimer. In groups, they discuss the poem’s and the documentary’s themes. They record their answers in a chart and then discuss questions that require text-based evidence, such as “What similarities do you see between Andy Goldsworthy’s ideas about using nature to make art and the ideas presented in the poem? What have you learned from these sources together about how changes in nature affect humans?” For the documentary, students answer the question “What special effect does the film use to help the viewer link the sculptures to the idea of time and changes over time?” In the “Create and Discuss” activity for Rivers and Tides and “Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII,” students apply writing skills by journaling about the connections they can make between changes observed in nature or in their community and the kinds of major life changes people experience. In the “Compare and Present” activity, students apply speaking and listening skills by working with a group to create and deliver a presentation comparing the view on change in both works.
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:
The materials provide students with multiple opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills throughout the units. In Unit 1, for the “Create and Present” post-reading activity for “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret, students write and present a fable to the class. Students also engage in small-group discussions, present a narrative, and debate an issue. Then, as Unit 2’s summative writing task, students create a short story and convert this story into a podcast. Speaking and listening is reinforced in Unit 4. In the “Create and Present” activity for the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr., the materials prompt: “Give a brief, formal speech that shares what you learned about the Civil Rights leader you researched.” In Unit 6, students read William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and engage in a small-group discussion on Lady Macbeth’s actions in Act 2; students also participate in a debate about the essential plot elements of Act 4. The multiple opportunities to participate in various types of text-based speaking and listening activities, like peer discussions, presentations, and debates or panel discussions, provide distributed practice with these literacy skills in a systematic way throughout the year.
The materials direct students to use the “Notice and Note” reading model as an annotation method during their reading. In Unit 2, students read “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard. For the Dillard text, these annotations include “Contrasts and Contradictions,” “Extreme or Absolute Language,” and “Questioning Stance.” Students look out for phrases or language within the text that demonstrate a contrast or contradiction; then, they identify the contrast or contradiction and ask themselves why it matters. Students also look for “Extreme or Absolute Language,” then “pause, mark it in their consumable text, and ask themselves the anchor question: Why did the author use this language?” Materials also prompt students to keep a question in their mind when reading: “What did the author think I already knew?” The materials offer students exemplars for each of these three annotation and reading strategies. Students use these annotations to respond to the reading’s “Essential Question.” Students use a response log provided in the student materials. This pattern of using reading strategies, annotation methods, and graphic organizers to collect annotations that will then be used to respond to the essential question repeats. Unit 4 also prompts students to apply these strategies. Students use an “Analyze Poetic Structure Annotation Model” when reading Derek Walcott’s “Elsewhere,” then use these annotations to respond to the unit-specific essential question. In Unit 6, as students read through the assigned acts from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, they annotate using an “Analyze Drama” annotation model. Students are given an exemplar for this model before beginning the reading. Then, in the post-reading activity, students use their annotations to respond to the unit’s essential question. To further reinforce these strategies, methods, and tasks, materials repeat this pattern throughout other units.
The materials include supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. Planning and learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation, are provided for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read the memoir “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau. The “To Challenge Students” section of the teacher’s edition includes an extension activity: Consider another perspective by summarizing the events that occurred in the memoir from the mother’s point of view. Students consider questions such as “How do events reflect the mother’s comment about British schools in paragraph 6? How do you think she responded to what she learned from Premila about the first day of school (paragraphs 23–25)? Why do you think Rama Rau describes her as ‘very distant,’ ‘silent,’ and ‘displeased’ in paragraph 40?” Then, students share their summaries with a partner or small group, looking for similarities and differences between their summaries and Rau’s own account.
In Unit 2, students read the short story “The Night Face Up” by Julio Cortázar. The “To Challenge Students” section of the teacher’s edition includes an extension activity: Analyze point of view and consider “what the woman or one of the men who helped the crash victim might have thought about the accident.” Students are challenged to create a short monologue in which they describe the events from a minor character’s perspective. Alternatively, students can work in small groups to develop skits in which each student acts as a different character and describes the event from that character’s point of view. The “To Challenge Students” box in the “Teacher Wrap” for Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” suggests students compare the poem to folklore by exploring the idea that some cultures believe that mirrors can be a portal for souls. Students respond to the questions “In what sense could it be said that a soul has entered the mirror?” and “In what sense could it be said that a soul is lurking in the mirror?”
In Unit 3, students read “Joyas Voladoras,” an essay by Brian Doyle. The “To Challenge Students” section of the teacher’s edition includes an extension activity: Create a multimodal presentation. Students work with a partner to reread the selection and find instances of surprising facts or startling imagery. Students then research and collect photographs, music, or videos that would support the facts and images in the story. Students work together to create their presentation, pairing text from the selection with the images and other multi-modal media they found. Students also read “My Life as a Bat” by Margaret Atwood. In the “Research” post-reading activity, students conduct research on an aspect of the bat’s life, like its habitat, food choices, or behaviors. For an “Extend” activity, students compare their research findings to descriptions of bats in the story, then evaluate the accuracy of the story and identify how misconceptions have affected the perception of bats.
In Unit 6, students read The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The “To Challenge Students” section of the teacher’s edition includes an extension activity: Portray complex characters by adding stage directions to a scene from the play. Students must pay attention to details that help them visualize the characters’ feelings, actions, and appearances in order to write detailed stage directions and portray the characters in their own unique way. The “To Challenge Students” box of the “Teacher Wrap” for Act 2 of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth suggests students discuss why the events of Act 2, Scene 3, would have shocked Shakespeare’s audience. Students can “briefly research the concept of the divine right of kings and of regicide in Elizabethan times,” consider how the play’s themes are related to Macduff’s statement about confusion, and think about the effect of having the king’s murder take place off stage.
The materials include supports for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards. Planning and learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation, are provided for students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In the “Teacher Wrap” for each selection there is a box labeled “When Students Struggle,” which presents suggestions for helping students demonstrating proficiency below grade level. In addition, the materials include the “Reading Studio,” an online resource that includes targeted lessons on reading fluency and reading comprehension instruction.
In Unit 1, the “When Students Struggle” box in the “Teacher Wrap” for Diane Glancy’s poem “Without Title” suggests students struggling with setting can create a chart in which they track details related to setting. Students consider three specific types of details to look for: the father’s heritage, his present, and reminders of his heritage. For additional support, teachers can use the Reading Studio and assign the “Level Up Tutorial” on “Setting.” In the lesson on “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau, the materials provide teachers, in the teacher’s edition, with a “Teach” section containing differentiation strategies targeted toward a variety of learners. The materials for this reading include a sidebar for “When Students Struggle,” which targets analyzing historical context, a skill taught during this lesson. The strategy is for students to produce a graphic organizer contrasting British and Indian cultural traditions. The sidebar also suggests that teachers assign a tutorial from the Reading Studio, the “Level Up Tutorial: Historical and Cultural Context.”
In Unit 2, students read “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard. The materials offer supports in the “When Students Struggle” sections, which guide students through complicated passages, provide clarification of the author’s meaning, identify descriptive word choices, and help visualize the setting.
In Unit 3, the “When Students Struggle” box in the “Teacher Wrap” for Brian Doyle’s essay “Joyas Voladoras” suggests students struggling with determining meaning can reread each paragraph and note in a chart the facts that they learn. They then reread each paragraph and record how the details in the paragraph make them feel about the subject. For additional support, the materials advise teachers to go to the Reading Studio and assign the “Level Up Tutorial” on “Main Idea and Supporting Details.”
In Unit 4, students read “The Hawk Can Soar,” a memoir by Randi Davenport. The “When Students Struggle” section of the teacher’s edition directs teachers to read aloud the first couple of paragraphs and model how they monitor their own understanding by pausing, paraphrasing, clarifying, asking questions, and rereading. Teachers suggest that students pause to monitor comprehension after specific paragraphs and at the end of the selection. For additional support, the teacher can assign students the Reading Studio’s “Level Up Tutorial” on “Paraphrasing and Summarizing.” For “The Briefcase” by Rebecca Makkai, a “Teach” section provides teachers with differentiation strategies targeted toward a variety of learners. The materials include a “When Students Struggle” for students who might struggle with the author’s style, and particularly with the author’s use of grammar. The materials provide strategies to help students practice relating grammatical choices to an author’s purpose. Additional strategies include setting a reading purpose, making a graphic organizer, and providing a question that will frame students’ thinking while reading. Teachers can also assign students a “Level Up Tutorial” on “Author’s Style” from the Reading Studio.
In Unit 5, students read “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. In the “When Students Struggle” section of the teacher’s edition, one support given is for student pairs to contrast settings by examining the difference in the “present” that is at the beginning of the story and the “present” that is at the end of the story. Students use a T-chart to record details that they can share during a class discussion. For additional support, teachers can assign the Reading Studio’s “Level Up Tutorial: Setting.” For Sonia Shah’s The Fever, the materials advise teachers to have students struggling with organizational patterns review the cause-and-effect text structure and trace the development of the malaria parasite with a partner. For additional support, teachers are advised to go to the Reading Studio and assign the “Level Up Tutorial” on “Cause-and-Effect Organization.”
The materials include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. Accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS are included. Materials provide various scaffolds, such as Spanish translations of essential components of each unit, pictures and realia, and cognates for unit vocabulary. Students are encouraged to use their first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English. Vocabulary is developed in the context of connected discourse.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each selection is preceded by a “Text X-Ray: ELPS Support” section. According to the description provided at the beginning of this section, the Text X-Ray “provides support for the four domains of English language development addressed in the English Language Proficiency Standards.” In this document, teachers are given pre-reading strategies, cultural resources, and instructional strategies that can be used to target the different domains of the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), which include listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Each ELPS domain gets its own content box. Within each box are supports that are targeted toward a specific ELPS proficiency level.
The “Reading Studio,” has a Spanish translation for the “Essential Question,” reading response log, academic vocabulary, and summaries for each selection.
In Unit 1, for the lesson on the poem “Without Title” by Diane Glancy, the sidebar box for “Speaking” provides strategies that teachers can implement for the “Beginning,” “Intermediate,” “High,” and “Advanced High” EL students. An example of strategy for an EL student who is at the Beginning level for speaking is to use “a series of labeled pictures” to present their narrative inspired by the poem; then, students work on pronouncing the labels for their pictures. To prepare students for analyzing internal conflict by identifying tough questions, the EL support box in the “Teacher Wrap” for “What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish?” by Etgar Keret suggests students should “identify signals used in their home languages to let listeners know that they are asking a tough question.” In the EL support box in the “Teacher Wrap” for Santha Rama Rau’s “By Any Other Name,” students practice articulating foreign words such as status quo, deja-vu, avant-garde, and coup d’etat in isolation, and then as part of the sentences in which they appear in the selection. Students then work with a partner or in a small group to create and share original sentences using these terms.
In Unit 2, for “Total Eclipse” by Annie Dillard, the “Text X-Ray: ELPS Support” for “Listening” suggests having Beginning ELs listen and sketch the scene as the teacher reads a highly descriptive paragraph from the selection. Intermediate ELs are asked to draw and label what they heard, using vocabulary from the passage. Advanced ELs quick-write about what they heard. Advanced High ELs take notes as they listen, then compare with a partner what they imagined as they listened. EL students also practice working with synonyms by looking at phrases in paragraph 15 that describe the shadow of the moon during an eclipse, including “a piece of sky” and “an abrupt black body out of nowhere.” Students describe these details in their primary language and then in English, using synonyms to clarify their understanding.
In Unit 3, the “Text X-Ray” instructs teachers on how to introduce the lesson, pre-teach vocabulary and cultural terms, and build background for the short story “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle. The Text X-Ray offers activities and instructional support in listening, speaking, reading, and writing for students at four levels of proficiency: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced High. For reading “Joyas Voladoras,” the support suggests that students reread paragraph 4. For Beginning ELs, the support is: “Read aloud each sentence and pause after reading it to restate it in simplified language. Then, have students find, circle, and read aloud familiar words.” For Intermediate ELs, materials suggest echo reading, with pauses to paraphrase as necessary; then, partners take turns rereading the paragraph and stating the main idea and important details. For Advanced ELs, partners read the paragraph together and discuss main idea and key details; afterward, they write a short summary together. For Advanced High ELs, the text suggests that “partners read the paragraph silently, then discuss its meaning and work together to write a summary.” In Unit 3, in the EL support box in the “Teacher Wrap” for the “Find Your Park” public service announcement by the National Park Service, materials advise teachers to have students “look at maps, signs, or other environmental print in the classroom” and identify basic vocabulary and familiar features and images.
In Unit 4, students read an excerpt from Mohandas K. Gandhi’s “Letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin.” During this lesson, in the “Teach” section of the teacher’s edition—a section that provides teachers with instructional strategies, differentiation strategies, and other resources to help teachers deliver instruction during the lesson—materials provide teachers with resources for EL students. For instance, during the part of the lesson that introduces the critical vocabulary for the readings, a sidebar section is devoted to “English Learner Support.” The materials provide teachers with cognates for the critical vocabulary words. Materials prompt teachers to share these with EL students. For the poem “Elsewhere” by Derek Walcott, the “Text X-Ray: ELPS Support” for “Writing” suggests supporting Beginning ELs by providing sentence stems, such as “I think this poem would make readers…. I believe this because…. The phrase…makes me feel….” Teachers can support Intermediate ELs in their use of grade-level vocabulary by providing them with academic terms to be used in their analysis, including theme, motif, stanza, and rhyme. Advanced ELs review a peer’s written analysis for clarity of ideas and grammar usage. Advanced High ELs review a peer’s written analysis for use of connecting words. Materials also provide Spanish translations of the essential components of a unit. For Unit 4, materials offer a PDF version of the unit’s essential components in Spanish. Materials provide, in Spanish, the unit’s “Essential Question,” the unit response log and directions, the unit’s academic vocabulary graphic organizer exemplar and directions, summaries of all the unit’s texts, and a glossary of academic vocabulary.
In Unit 5, in the “Text X-Ray: ELPS Support” section in the teacher’s edition for Sonia Shah’s The Fever, materials suggest that teachers support reading by showing Beginning ELs pictures of a barnacle and a crab prior to reading paragraph 5. In the EL support box in the “Teacher Wrap” for Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” students look at the image of a sign embedded in the story and “state the meaning of the sign, first in their primary language and then in English.”
In Unit 6, in the EL support box in the “Teacher Wrap” for William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, students develop vocabulary related to rank and power by referring to a chart that lists words for royalty and nobility and words for the military, as they take turns asking and answering questions like “Who leads an army?” or “Who would be higher in rank, an earl, or a prince?”
The materials include assessment and guidance for teachers and administrators to monitor progress, including how to interpret and act on data yielded. The formative and summative assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. The assessments and scoring information provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. The assessments are connected to the regular content to support student learning throughout the materials.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In the “Assessment tab” on the main page, there are links to several online assessments, including diagnostic assessments for literary elements, like “Plot and Setting,” “Comparing Themes,” and “Irony and Ambiguity.” The “Level Up Tutorials” also contain online assessments, and objective summative assessments are available for each reading selection. For each of these online assessments, teachers can access printable versions with answer keys that denote the TEKS and Depth of Knowledge (DoK) level for each question.
The materials formatively assess “Comprehension,” “Analysis,” “Research,” “Writing,” “Speaking and Listening,” “Vocabulary,” and “Language” skills with each reading selection. As students read a selection, they answer specific, TEKS-aligned questions that assess their understanding during and after the reading process. Teachers examine online individual student notes and answers to assess their understanding of the reading. Students also answer multiple-choice text-related questions in the “Check Your Understanding” section at the end of each text (or embedded within the selection for the online version). Post-reading, each selection contains an “Analyze the Text” section where students respond to questions. The students then take a selection test, online or printed, with a series of multiple-choice and short-answer questions. In Unit 5, students read “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. The selection’s test has 12 items that are a mix of multiple-choice, short-answer, and technology-enhanced items. Students can reference the text as they answer questions. Questions include the following: “Why is the discussion about President Keith in the opening scene important to the success of the story’s plot? How does the final scene tie the plot together? Use specific examples from the text.”
Unit tests, in STAAR-like format, provide an array of data aligned to the TEKS. Teachers can view reports that detail student performance, item analysis, time spent testing, and assessment proficiency. The auto-grouping function allows teachers to group students according to instructional decisions. Unit tasks in “Writing” unit tests provide summative assessments aligned to the TEKS at the end of each unit and require students to demonstrate multiple skills learned throughout the unit. In Unit 3, the unit test includes an excerpt from “The Crowning of Arthur” from Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. The students read the passage and answer questions such as “How does the scene in which Arthur returns to the lodging to retrieve Sir Kay’s sword (paragraph 6) contribute to the success of the plot as a whole?” The Unit 3 test also contains the nonfiction passage “River Revival: Transforming the Thames” by Christine Graf. The students read the passage and answer questions such as “Which statement best expresses how the structure of the essay serves the author’s purpose?” There is also a “Revising and Editing” passage with questions that correlate with the unit’s grammar skills. The Unit 3 summative test is 44 multiple-choice questions. The practice passages give students the opportunity to transfer and apply what they have learned from the unit.
Materials provide “Summative Writing Tasks” aligned to the skills and knowledge taught during the unit and to the TEKS emphasized in the unit. For the “Writing” task in Unit 5, students write a research report in which they include “Quoted Words” (an element that students looked for when reading selections throughout the unit). Students apply grammar conventions studied in the unit as they edit their stories. The “Teacher Wrap” denotes the TEKS assessed for each component of the writing task. For Unit 6, one of the “Unit Learning Objectives” is to “Write a Literary Analysis.” For the Summative Writing Task, students write a literary analysis essay. The materials guide students through this task via activities that correspond to each step of the writing process: prompt, plan, develop, revise, edit, and publish. The literary analysis essay genre is aligned with the TEKS, which expects students to write explanatory essays and reports using genre characteristics. The TEKS-aligned writing process includes expectations that students compose a text using the planning, developing, revising, editing, and publishing steps of the writing process.
Materials provide teachers with a “Data and Reports” page. The “Differentiate with Data” section of the teacher’s edition’s front matter says that teachers can access the “Data and Reports” tab “to find instructional recommendations for individuals, groups and classes.” The recommendations for on-level practice, application, and extension include the “Studios” (“Writing,” “Vocabulary,” “Reading,” “Grammar,” and “Speaking and Listening”), “Grammar Printables,” “Close Reading Screencasts,” and “Media Projects.” On this page, teachers can view data on assessments and standards. Materials allow teachers to view whole-class and individual-student data reports. Materials provide three kinds of data reports: assessments, standards and growth.
“Assessments” reports show teachers whole-class and individual-student proficiency on assessments in terms of performance scores. Teachers can view data for one assessment, or cumulative assessment data. The assessment report also provides information on student performance on the unit tests. There is an “Assessment Proficiency” chart that shows how many students performed within specific ranges. For example, one student fell in the 0%–64% range, five students fell in the 65%–79% range, and seven students fell in the 80%–100% range. There is an “Assessment Performance” chart that lists all students and shows each student’s score, the time spent on the assessment, the number of times the assessment was opened, and whether the student got each item correct or incorrect. There is a “For Review” section that pulls specific items from the test for teachers to review (usually the questions students missed most). There is also a tab in this section to see this information by standard. At the top of this screen is a “Recommended Groups” tab.
The “Standards” report tracks student performance on unit and selection tests, skills diagnostics, and embedded formative practices. The data report provides a chart that compares student proficiency in specific skills by TEKS strand, such as “Reading Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre.” Teachers can click on “See Proficiency by Standard” to see how students performed on each specific standard that was assessed under that strand. Materials allow teachers to monitor student performance per standard by showing students’ cumulative average performance on assessment items aligned to particular standards.
The “Student Growth Measure” is a diagnostic assessment given three times a year; it provides teachers with each student’s Lexile level and skill proficiency. In the “Growth Measure” report, teachers are given a chart that plots all students across Lexile bands and a chart that shows changes in Lexile from previous assessments. The report details whether students are “Below Basic,” “Basic,” “Proficient,” or “Advanced” and also charts their growth from previous assessments. This data enables teachers to interpret Lexile levels compared to grade-level norms and make individualized decisions.
The materials include year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify the needs of students, and they provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success. Comprehensive plans are included for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping (and other) structures, and they attend to differentiation to support students via many learning opportunities. Teacher’s 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:
The teacher’s edition includes an instructional overview at the beginning of each unit that denotes the suggested number of days, skills, and TEKS for each selection. The units in the teacher’s edition are separated into sections labeled “Plan,” “Introduce,” and “Teach.” The “Plan” section presents an overview of each selection in the unit. The “Introduce” section guides teachers through introducing students to the “Essential Question,” unit learning objectives, academic vocabulary, and “Reading Response Log.” The “Introduce” section corresponds with the materials in the student edition.
Each selection has a “Plan” and “Teach” section that guides teachers through the planning and delivery of the lesson. The “Teach” section corresponds with the materials in the student edition. For example, for the lesson on Randi Davenport’s “The Hawk Can Soar,” in Unit 4, the “Plan” section includes a content box labeled “Resources,” which highlights the resources that teachers can find for this lesson. Resources listed include an audio selection of the text that teachers can provide to students and suggestions for tutorials associated with the lesson’s skills, from the various “Studios” provided in the online environment. For instance, one Studio tutorial suggested is the “Level Up Tutorial: Figurative Language.” The materials remind teachers of this tutorial later in the teacher’s edition materials, in the “Teach” section. In a sidebar labeled “When Students Struggle,” materials provide teachers with a strategy to help students analyze figurative language; in this sidebar, materials suggest the “Reading Studio” tutorial “Level Up Tutorial: Figurative Language” as additional support.
The teacher’s edition materials include annotations for supporting differentiation and engaging a variety of learners. Annotations provide guidance for teachers during instruction, including suggestions for how to explain key concepts to students, guiding questions and possible responses for reading selections, supports for various levels of learner proficiencies, and suggestions for extending learning. These year-long supports include “Notice and Note Strategies,” English Learner instructional supports, “To Challenge Students” instructional supports for students demonstrating proficiency above grade level, and “When Students Struggle” instructional supports for students demonstrating proficiency below grade level. Throughout the materials, there are suggestions for when to direct students to resource materials, such as one of the “Studios” for extra help or the “Text X-Ray” section for ELPS support. Within the teacher’s edition, there are also thorough annotations that support teachers in engaging students with the texts, skills, and activities being taught. Teachers know to whom they should provide support (e.g., the whole group, struggling learners, English Learners) and when to provide support, through explicit and detailed instructions. Additionally, teachers have access to a “Professional Learning Guide,” “On-Demand Professional Learning Modules,” and “Classroom Videos” for individualized professional development.
Ancillary materials, such as the “Reading,” “Writing,” “Speaking and Listening,” “Grammar,” and “Vocabulary” Studios allow students to receive extra instruction with interactive practice in order to master the standards and skills for their grade level. Other student support includes “Close Read Screencasts,” “Level Up Tutorials,” “Peer Coach Videos,” and “Anchor Charts.”
The materials provide teachers with support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. For instance, the “Instructional Overview and Standards” of the teacher’s edition includes reminders of the resources that can be found in the online environment. In the online environment, teachers can find digital resources, create custom plans, manage groups, see proficiency reports, and get resource recommendations. The online environment materials also provide teachers with a help site with pages devoted to topics that include “Rosters,” “Resources,” “Plans,” “Assignments,” “Data and Reports,” and “Groups.” This help site provides teachers with guided tutorials on how to access and use the resources in the online environment. Some tutorials include “Navigate the ‘Data and Reports’ Page,” “Create Groups,” and “Add Feedback to an Assignment.”
At the top of the “Assessment Data” page in the “Data and Reports” tab is a “Recommended Groups” button that suggests student groupings based on assessment data. The auto-grouping feature also allows teachers to group students based on their proficiency levels or skill deficits. Data-driven suggestions are given for individuals, groups, or specific classes. Reports provided within the materials give resources and recommendations for teachers to identify student needs and reteach in order to support accelerated student growth. The materials provide teachers with access to edit and manage these groups and the ability to create groups based on other, teacher-directed criteria. On the “Help” site of the online environment, the materials provide a tutorial—video and text—on how to use the group feature.
The materials contain a “Professional Learning” tab, which includes modules that guide teachers through the implementation of the program. “Welcome to the Student Experience” guides teachers through the material from the student view. “Teaching and Planning” offers a wide range of support in planning and preparing lessons, teaching and supporting students, and fostering independence and choice for students.
The materials include implementation support for both teachers and administrators, with a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills taught in the program. The materials also include a school years’ worth of literacy instruction, including realistic pacing guidance, routines, and support for a 180-day schedule.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials provide a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence and pacing guide for each unit. The scope and sequence outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in the unit, including a sequence for when they will be presented. Each unit includes five instructional phases (“Introduction,” “Analyze and Apply,” “Collaborate and Compare,” “Independent Reading,” and “End of Unit”) with a suggested number of days for each phase. For example, in Unit 2, the suggested pacing is one day for the “Introduction” phase and nine days for the “Collaborate and Compare” phase.
The “Instructional Overview and Standards” section at the beginning of each unit gives the texts, Lexiles, TEKS, and suggested pacing guide. For instance, for the “Analyze and Apply” phase in Unit 4, materials show that this phase consists of four different lessons, each associated with its own text. Lesson 2, which is paced at two days, focuses on a poem titled “Elsewhere” by Derek Walcott. Materials categorize this lesson as “Reading Literature” and list the major reading skills and strategies taught through this lesson, such as “Analyzing Poetic Structure” and “Analyze Motif.”
The teacher’s edition includes a “TEKS Overview/Online TEKS Interactive Correlation” document that lists all of the grade-level TEKS and provides page numbers, for both student and teacher’s editions (or links, if accessed online), where each standard is taught in the materials as well as specific modules within the “Speaking and Listening,” “Writing,” and “Grammar” Studios.
For each text, the teacher’s edition provides the learning objectives, genre elements description, text complexity analysis, TEKS and ELPS that align with the text, list of online resources to use, English and Spanish summaries of the text, and small-group options to use while teaching the text.
The materials include embedded teacher supports, digital tools, unit and selection videos, selection audio recordings, selection assessments, unit assessments, diagnostic tools, tutorial videos, and learning Studios. The “Professional Learning Module,” located in the resources section, provides digital support for the implementation of the materials, including an overview of the materials, a guide through the student experience, and a “Teaching and Planning” section that explains how to teach the components of the program; it also provides support for differentiation. The materials offer additional support via an online help site called “Ed: Your Friend in Learning Teacher Help.” On this site, teachers will find guided walkthroughs and explanations of the materials’ components. Examples of walkthroughs include how to manage rosters, how to search for resources, how to assign writing tasks, and how to rearrange resources in plans. This site is searchable, so teachers can look up a possible walkthrough via a search string. Materials provide additional support via an online site called “Ed Updates.” On this site, teachers will find updates regarding new features or components that have been added to the materials, or updates on program-level issues. Teachers will find dated memos with descriptions, text, and pictorial representations of the updates. Examples of updates include an update on a viewing-student-data issue, changes to the manage-notifications feature, and update to the “Scores” component.
According to information from the “Ed: Your Friend in Learning Administrator Help” site, district and school administrators have access to the materials that teachers and students are engaging with, but with certain permissions that differ from those of the teacher. While administrators do not have access to creating assignments or assigning grades, administrators have permission to create and share plans, create assessments, and access data reports. While administrators cannot access growth reports for individual students, administrators are able to access growth reports for a class and for all grade levels in a school, which is a permission that teachers do not have. Administrators can help support teachers with reports that can be used to evaluate the efficacy of the program across a grade level, instead of just in one class, or for one teacher. Administrators also have access to features such as importing data files, setting rostering permissions for teachers, adding students to classes, and adding teacher accounts, which are features that will support teachers with implementation of the materials.
The materials include pacing suggestions for approximately 180 days of instruction. The pacing guidance is realistic and includes routines that repeat throughout each unit: “Analyze and Apply” sections, “Collaborate and Compare” sections, “Independent Reading,” and “End of Unit Summative Assignments and Writing Tasks.” No 210-day pacing guide is present. However, the materials have enough depth to easily extend learning.
The visual design of the student edition, both print and digital, is neither distracting nor chaotic. The 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:
Materials provide ample white space to minimize distractions with appropriate font style size. The student edition allows students to turn on audio with read-along highlighting. Students can access the sidebar to click on the table of contents and easily navigate through the unit. They can bookmark pages as well as take notes and highlight within the texts. Sections and selections within the unit are color coded, making it easy to navigate through the materials. The banner at the top of the page for each selection is blue (each selection in a unit is a different shade of blue), the “Collaborate and Compare” section is bright orange, the “Independent Reading” section is deep orange, and the “End of Unit Tasks” section is purple.
Screens surrounded by margins keep the user’s eyes focused toward the center of the page, where materials show the main content. Materials use colors to denote different sections of page content. For instance, the Unit 3 “The Natural World” opener begins with a large-font, dark, bold title set against a contrasting yellow color. Under the title is the unit picture of a baby monkey being bottle fed. These elements are all set against a yellow background, denoting a title section. Then materials switch to a white background, denoting movement to a different section, and different content.
The visual design is appealing and engaging. Pictures and graphics, including photos, screenshots, maps, and satellite images, are closely connected to the selections and provide visual support for the content of the texts. They engage students without distracting from the learning experience. Each unit begins with a picture related to the “Essential Question” and a video that introduces and builds background knowledge for the thematic idea. Where appropriate, the materials use graphics to enhance the descriptions and messages the author is trying to convey. Supports like “Close Read Screencast” videos that teach students to read closely and analyze the text are embedded in the texts. The materials also embed questions throughout the text and give students ample room to type their answers.
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:
The digital student edition is easy to navigate; it includes a “Contents” button, which has a drop-down menu that leads students directly to the section, text, or assignment that they select. There are six units that students can access by clicking on the graphic for each unit. Each unit begins with a short “Stream to Start” video that engages students in the theme of the unit.
Technology allows students to engage with texts with ease, with features like videos, text boxes in which to type answers, highlighting tools, screencasts, graphics, and graphic organizers. Students can use the “Play Audio” feature at the top of the page to listen to each selection. Students can highlight text in different colors and take notes digitally with an option to print their notes. The text contains embedded footnotes and definitions to aid student understanding. Students can click on superscripts and highlighted vocabulary words to access notations and definitions.
Materials embed links to the “Reading,” “Writing,” “Speaking and Listening,” and “Grammar” Studios at point of use, giving students easy access to instructional supports. The first selection of each unit has an embedded “Close Read Screencast” that models appropriate student annotation and discussion of the text to guide students in their own annotation and discussion of the text.
Online assessments have a split-screen view with the text on one side and the test questions on the other. This feature allows students easy access to the assessment passages without needing to toggle between tabs.
Writing tasks at the end of each unit provide graphic organizers in which students can type as they plan and organize their ideas as well as spaces to draft their writing.
The teacher’s edition offers ample guidance, and the program provides video tutorials for teacher support in implementation of the product.
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