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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 V. Supports for Diverse Learners
Section VI. Ease of Use and Supports for Implementation
Section VII. Technology, Cost, and Professional Learning Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The texts are well crafted and are of publishable quality, representing the quality of content, language, and writing that is produced by experts in various disciplines. Materials include high-quality texts for ELAR instruction and cover a range of student interests. Materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Unit 1 includes texts with descriptions representative of high school life—an excerpt from the prologue of Friday Night Lights by Pulitzer Prize-winning author H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger and the bildungsroman exploration of Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by notable self-help author and renowned TED Talk speaker Brené Brown. The powerful short story “Marigolds,” which received the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize for Fiction, has complex characterization representative of the conflicts of adolescence.
In Unit 2, students engage in the study of texts around the theme “The Call to Adventure”; text selections include the autobiography Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters by Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, which discusses overcoming obstacles and changing perspectives. The informational article “Apollo 13: Mission Highlights” is from a flight journal produced by N.A.S.A. and includes details and terminology related to space travel. Poems such as “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost and “The Journey” by Mary Oliver use varied line length and enjambment. The short story “Volar” by Judith Ortiz Cofer incorporates Spanish words and phrases, providing language complexity.
Unit 3 includes contemporary and relevant subject-area informational texts that use discipline-specific technical vocabulary. An excerpt from the theoretical, critically acclaimed book The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil—prominent inventor, thinker, and futurist—delves into writings by the science community and explores artificial intelligence. Human intelligence and the origin of artist inspiration is examined in “Georgia O’Keeffe” by Joan Didion, “an American novelist and essayist whose contributions to the written word span decades.” An excerpt from the New York Times bestselling author Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success challenges students’ thinking about skills mastery; this is a controversial, theoretical, argumentative text supported by expert opinions and research studies. Unit 3 also pairs an excerpt from the less complex graphic novel The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds with an excerpt from the more complex early-twentieth-century Butler translation of Book XII of Homer’s The Odyssey, providing visual appeal to scaffold up to the more complex text.
In Unit 4, students explore diverse texts with a wide range of complexity. Selections include the classic drama A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, and the contemporary play “Teen Mogul” by Lucy Wang. Selections such as Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” and Sharon Draper’s Romiette and Julio are of a lower complexity but allow students access to more diverse texts and perspectives.
Unit 5 examines love and heartache across time with the complex language and relevant themes of William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116,” Edgar Allen Poe’s Romantic-era poem “The Raven,” and its contemporary literary analysis “The Loneliness of Love in Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura. The text selections are rounded out with “Love and Death on the Third Floor” by award-winning journalist and Texas Monthly editor Skip Hollandsworth. This text uses medical terminology to recount a true story of the struggles and complications of health, family, and love. High-quality texts are found in the self-selected reading selections, such as an excerpt from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, which won the 2008 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Fiction) and “illustrates the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.”
Unit 6 includes poems ranging from the classic Rainer Maria Rilke to the relative newcomer Megan Falley. High-interest selections include an excerpt from the graphic novel Maus, a short story rich with characterization titled “The Scarlet Ibis,” and the cheeky and engaging poem “Ode to the Selfie.”
Materials include a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for each grade level. Literary texts, such as fiction, narrative nonfiction, drama, poems, excerpts, and graphic novels include examples of American, British and world literature. Informational texts, such as articles, graphic novels, speeches, memoirs, and letters include examples of information, exposition, argument, procedures, and documents. Materials include print and graphic features of a variety of texts.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Unit 1, an excerpt from Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Unit 1, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant (short story)
Unit 2, “The Journey” by Mary Oliver (poetry)
Unit 2, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost (poetry)
Unit 2, “12” (from Gitanjali) by Rabindranath Tagore (poetry)
Unit 3, “Senora X No More” by Pat Mora (poetry)
Unit 3, “Volar” by Judith Ortiz Cofer (short story)
Unit 3, The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (novel)
Unit 4, an excerpt from Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper (fiction)
Unit 4, an excerpt from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (drama)
Unit 5, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (fiction)
Unit 5, “Catch the Moon” by Judith Ortiz Cofer (poetry)
Unit 6, “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst (short story)
Unit 6, “Ode to the Selfie” by Megan Falley (poetry)
Unit 6, “Letter to My Younger Self” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Unit 6, an excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (novel)
Unit 6, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson (poetry)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
Unit 1, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown (informational)
Unit 1, “Why I Lied to Everyone in High School About Knowing Karate” by Jabeen Akhtar (informational)
Unit 1, “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (argumentative)
Unit 2, an excerpt from The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar (informational)
Unit 2, “Restless Genes” by David Dobbs (informational)
Unit 3, “An Indian Father’s Plea” by Robert Lake-Thom (argumentative)
Unit 3, “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” by Carol S. Dweck (argumentative)
Unit 4, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (argumentative)
Unit 4, “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi” by Jawaharlal Nehru (informational)
Unit 5, an excerpt from Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed (memoir)
Unit 5, “Masters of Love” by Emily Esfahani Smith (informational)
Unit 6, an excerpt from Maus by Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)
Unit 6, “Pride and Perseverance” by Mekeisha Madden Toby (informational)
Unit 6, “Letter to My Younger Self” by David Robinson (argumentative)
The instructional materials provide print and graphic features to accompany the selections. Each literary and informational selection is accompanied by a video that previews the selection. Many of the selections also include bolded words that are the vocabulary focus for the text.
In Unit 1, “Lethal Blooms” includes polls such as “Answer the StudySync QuickPoll” and “Numbers Crunch,” which add the graphic elements of online print publications.
In Unit 2, students read “Leon Bridges on Overcoming Childhood Isolation and Finding His Voice: ‘You Can't Teach Soul.’” The text includes an introductory video to be viewed prior to reading, as well as a short video clip from Billboard featuring the artist.
In Unit 4, students read “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi,” which contains bolded words such as eminent, perilous, divine, and desolate.
In Unit 6, David Robinson’s “Letter to My Younger Self” includes images embedded in the text to support students’ understanding. Also, in Unit 6, the informational article “Pride and Perseverance” by Mekeisha Madden Toby includes images with captions, while the excerpt from Art Spiegelman’s Maus provides a look at a graphic novel.
The materials include texts of appropriate complexity for ninth-grade students. Within the materials, the “Other Resources” tab allows teachers to search text titles and find information about text complexity. The publisher includes information about the qualitative aspects of the text’s complexity within the lesson plan through the “Access Complex Text” feature, which includes insight into the text’s vocabulary, organization, genre, and other aspects that increase the text’s complexity. Each unit has an overview that provides the titles for each core text used in the unit, an introduction to the texts, and some background context about the selection. The units contain a variety of text selections that vary in genre and text complexity.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, the text “Marigolds” has a Lexile level of 1120L. The “Access Complex Text” feature of the teacher lesson plan suggests areas that may be difficult for students are that “the plot unravels more quickly than in a novel, and it is a first-person narrative told from the adult Lizabeth’s perspective; however, the author includes some dialogue set during Lizabeth’s childhood. Moving between the reflective narration and the flashback dialogue may challenge some students.” Other selections in the unit include “Why I Lied to Everyone in High School About Knowing Karate,” which has a Lexile level of 920L, and the short story “The Necklace,” which has a Lexile level of 930L.
In Unit 2, students read “Restless Genes,” which has a Lexile of 1200L. The lesson plan informs teachers that the article includes “scientific terms and facts related to human genetics, migration, and evolution,” which may be challenging for students. Another element that may pose a challenge to students is the organization of the text. The teacher lesson plan states that students “may struggle to identify the main idea of the article given the variety of topics included.” The unit also includes “Volar,” which has a Lexile level of 1010L, and an excerpt from “Apollo 13: Mission Highlights,” with a Lexile level of 1120L.
In Unit 4, the text “The Cask of Amontillado” has a Lexile level of 760L, and the excerpt from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has a Lexile level of 1170L. The teacher lesson plan suggests students may have difficulty with the purpose, which is not revealed until the middle of the excerpt, and with connecting the anecdote used in the introduction to other ideas in the text. The unit also includes the short story “The Pose,” which has a Lexile level of 850L, and an excerpt from “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi,” which has a Lexile level of 1290L.
Unit 6 includes the short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” which has a Lexile level of 1060L. The teacher lesson support anticipates students will struggle with the text’s organization because “the story is told from the perspective of an adult reflecting on events from his childhood. The first three paragraphs bounce back and forth in time, which may be confusing for students.” Another challenge is the “symbolic significance of the scarlet ibis and its connection to the narrator’s brother.” Within the unit, students also explore texts such as an excerpt of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has a Lexile level of 890L, and “Advice to Little Girls,” a short story by Mark Twain, with a Lexile level of 1230L.
Materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Each unit has a thematic title and an essential question. Themes connecting the texts present human experiences that reflect regional, national, and global perspectives. The lesson questions and activities consistently require students to use text-specific evidence, integrating multiple TEKS in a study of the selections’ complex elements. Questions and tasks require students to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them as they identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, the sequence of lesson activities for the text “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier builds in complexity. Students annotate characterization, using explicit and implicit evidence to support an activity in which students “imagine that a grown-up Lizabeth had the opportunity to return and apologize to Miss Lottie, explaining why she destroyed the marigolds.” Tasks focus on the dialogue that might take place between these two characters years after the events described in the story. Later in the unit, students make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them while reading Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama and responding to the questions “How does Barack Obama make a connection to ideas in other texts in paragraph 20? How could a reader make a connection to his or her own experiences after reading the text quoted from Barack Obama's first book in paragraph 20? What connection to society might a reader be able to make from the passage?”
In Unit 3, questions and tasks provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of the author's use of various types of evidence to support an argument. In one lesson, students read “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” by Carol S. Dweck and respond to questions such as “According to Dweck, what mistake did Jonathan's parents make?” and “How did the students who tested Brainology help prove Dweck's claims?”
In Unit 4, materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, and themes. In one lesson, students analyze characterization and human behavior with a study of Jawaharlal Nehru's “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi.” Students “trace the speaker's use of metaphor to characterize Gandhi and his influence, the present state of the Indian people in the wake of his assassination, and the speaker's hope for his country's future.” Unit 4’s questions and tasks support students in making connections in identifying big ideas and themes: “The text never quite answers two big questions related to the main character's psychology: Why does she pretend to be a mannequin for a sustained period of time? And how does the experience affect her? Provide an interpretation of the text that answers both of these questions. How do the main character's thoughts, actions, and interactions serve as clues about her motivations and about the effects of her unusual experiment? Then, use your answers to identify what theme or message the author might ultimately seek to send about performance and self-image. Identify evidence from the text to support your response.”
In Unit 6, students discuss “Letters to a Young Poet,” in which author Rainer Maria Rilke offers thoughtful and blunt advice to an aspiring young poet. Tasks support students’ analysis. Students respond to questions such as “How might Franz Kappus, the young poet, have reacted to Rainer Maria Rilke's letter?” and “‘A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity,’ Rilke writes. What is the meaning of this statement, and why is it relevant to Rilke's overall advice? Explain.” Later in the unit, students analyze the theme and the complex elements of the text “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst. Students are asked: “Explain the connection between the ‘Scarlet Ibis’ mentioned in the title and Doodle, the younger brother in this story. Back up your assertions with evidence from the text.” They are then asked, “How does the reader connect the characters’ actions and motivations, and the plot events that take place as a result, to the theme?”
The materials offer opportunities for students to make inferences and respond to questions and tasks that require the analysis of literary and textual elements. Students read poems, literary texts, and informational selections that contain figurative language such as similes, personification, and metaphors. Each unit has an instructional path that introduces key ideas and leads students through “First Read,” “Skills,” and “Close Read” lessons, where students analyze the language, details, author’s craft, and the literary and rhetorical structure of individual texts. Students compare and contrast multiple texts and write responses analyzing specific textual elements or themes. The textbook uses high-quality literary and informational texts from cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts to examine different authors’ purposes across genres on similar topics. Students study the language within texts, such as rhetorical devices or diction, to support their understanding and analyze the differences between genre characteristics. Student activities analyze how genre choice and academic vocabulary influence and communicate meaning.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Unit 1 contains text-dependent questions and tasks that support students as they analyze grade-appropriate detail, craft, and structure. Students evaluate details in “Welcome to America” by Sara Abuo Rashed to determine key ideas and make inferences to address the author’s purpose. Students participate in a group discussion that demonstrates their understanding of the poet’s use of imagery to support the text’s message. Questions and tasks require students to study the differences between genres and the language of materials. For example, students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning in “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell and in the excerpt from “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown, in order to then write a comparative response. Students study the language within texts to support their understanding; they read an excerpt from Angela’s Ashes and explain how the author uses diction and syntax to establish character and tone. Students also analyze how and why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., uses rhetorical devices, such as antithesis and parallelism, in his “I Have a Dream” speech.
In Unit 2, students analyze the author’s purpose with Sheena Iyengar’s The Art of Choosing. The activity highlights six words critical to analyzing the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning across a variety of excerpts. Students also conduct a close reading and discussion of three poems, comparing and contrasting the speakers’ journeys in “The Journey,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “12” (from Gitanjali). Students write a response analyzing how the poets’ use of structure, sound devices, graphic elements, and figurative language enhances the development of the journeys.
In Unit 3, students read the graphic-novel version of The Odyssey, Book XII, and an excerpt from The Iliad and write a short argumentative response that synthesizes information from the two texts to support an argument made about a character. Students read Pat Mora’s poem “Senora X No More” and analyze the author's use of figurative language to express the speaker’s challenges. Students also read “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell to analyze the author’s use of literary devices and nonlinear plot development. The excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success allows students to analyze the author’s argument and respond to the text using personal experience and text evidence.
In Unit 4, students read “Remarks to the Senate in Support of a Declaration of Conscience” by Margaret Chase Smith and use text evidence about the main character to contrast the author’s ultimate purpose with her stated purpose. After reading the “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi,” students determine how the speaker’s use of figurative language connects to “its audience, purpose, and structure.” Students study literary genres and the language of materials as they engage in an online activity that requires them to differentiate between subgenres of drama and match them to the description of each work of drama.
In Unit 6, students read the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman to analyze the use of text structure to achieve the author’s purpose. Students complete an activity in which they argue whether Maus should be classified as nonfiction; to do this, they study genre classification, the graphic novel itself, and research “facts about Spiegelman’s campaign regarding Maus’s classification.” After reading “Letter to My Younger Self” by retired NBA player David “The Admiral” Robinson, students compose a rhetorical analysis by considering the author’s use of language and its effectiveness on the audience.
Materials include unit-specific plans that span the entire year for students to interact with and build essential academic vocabulary in and across texts, including ways to apply words in appropriate contexts. Vocabulary lessons are embedded in student text activities and found in associated lesson plans. Materials include some scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for language learners.
Examples include but are not limited to:
There is no specific year-long plan for building academic vocabulary. Academic vocabulary is embedded in student text activities and found in associated lesson plans. The materials provide teachers with basic vocabulary-development instructional guidance through specific sections such as “Check for Success,” “Read and Annotate,” “Analyzing Vocabulary,” and “Access Complex Texts.”
The textbook includes a “Teacher Glossary,” which “includes linguistic, grammatical, comprehension, and literary terms that may be helpful in understanding reading instruction,” and a “Student Glossary,” which includes literary terms and textbook language like Essential Question and side-bar. The glossaries are not cross-referenced to unit texts or lesson plans.
Unit 1 features vocabulary highlighted in context and academic language study. Students highlight unfamiliar vocabulary, foreign words or phrases, technical terms, or academic words and use print or digital resources to clarify definitions. The academic vocabulary focus in this unit is imagery; full instructional notes for the teacher and online activities for students are provided.
In Unit 2, students study the elements of information texts, author’s purpose, text structure, language, style, and craft. The instructional materials define the terms author’s purpose and text structures. Students practice academic vocabulary in an online activity. Materials provide students with a short video depicting students using academic language in context. Plans for “Volar” by Judith Ortiz Cofer and Rabindranath Tagore's poem “12” (from Gitanjali), scaffolding, and differentiation for academic vocabulary are not specifically present.
In Unit 4, students study academic vocabulary, including terms such as text structure, dramatic conventions, paraphrasing, diction, and syntax. When students read “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird” by Toni Cade Bambara, they apply words in appropriate contexts, focus on diction and syntax, and analyze the effect of word choice on the mood of the text.
In Unit 5, lesson plans for “The Loneliness of Lost Love in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’” include academic vocabulary in a section called “Access Complex Texts,” which lists stanza, alliteration, and meter, along with their definitions. Academic vocabulary focuses on the term primary: “This word can be used in every-day as well as academic and workplace contexts.” Students use academic vocabulary in their written responses.
In Unit 6, the academic language focuses on the author’s purpose, summarizing, evaluating details, making connections, theme, and poetic structure. Some examples of the academic language studied in the poetic structure unit are rhyme, rhythm, and graphical elements. As students read “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” they apply their understanding of the terms to analyze the poem’s elements in their written response.
The teacher's edition includes support for differentiation of vocabulary development. Teachers have information for introducing the skill, including turn-and-talk opportunities and resources for checking for success. Examples of scaffolds include the use of turn-and-talk and checking for student success by circulating around the room and engaging in a class discussion. Other supports include a speaking frame, visual glossary, paragraph guide, and sentence frames.
Materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. Procedures and/or protocols, along with adequate support for teachers, are provided to foster independent reading. Materials provide a plan for students to self-select text and read independently for a sustained period of time, including planning and accountability. However, there is no specific goal setting or progress monitoring of independent reading goals.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Within each unit, self-selected and independent reading texts are thematically connected to the texts read in the unit. The independent reading selection includes a driving question, background information, research links, and the opportunity to choose an independent reading selection from the multiple options provided. The teacher’s edition lesson plan suggests that teachers should allow independent reading time, but it does not specify what the sustained period of time might be, nor does it address setting or monitoring independent reading goals with students.
For each independent reading session, students are encouraged to explore a text they are interested in reading by previewing the content provided by the publisher; “Read Independently: The links below will take you to five texts similar to the texts you read in this unit. You may decide to self-select one of these texts to read independently for a sustained period of time. As you explore these texts, you may want to have a piece of paper to jot down notes about each text’s poster, introduction, and video preview.” Teachers are provided with questions to help students choose a text and with ideas for integrating discussion opportunities after reading.
Once students have chosen a text, they establish a purpose for reading, engage in independent reading, and create a personal response after reading. Independent reading materials provide support with an introductory video, summary, and background information. Materials include online vocabulary activities, short-answer comprehension questions, and a selection of writing prompts to ensure student accountability. Teacher support materials include examples to teach students how to establish a purpose for independent reading and modeling how to ask questions and make predictions. Additionally, the materials suggest that teachers differentiate independent reading choices based on students’ needs. Teachers can “direct students to search for Spanish texts or English Learner Library items” or “filter student searches by Lexile level as appropriate.”
In Unit 2, students may choose from the following independent reading selections: “The Moon Landing: An Undelivered Nixon Speech,” “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” by Isabella L. Bird, “Beneath the Lyrics of Leon Bridges,” “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman, and “Recuerdo” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Students then consider the type of trip during which the text would be most appropriate to read and compose a response that explains how the text relates to the trip the student has chosen.
In Unit 4, the independent reading selections include The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, “Love in Disguise,” by Thomas Parnell, and “The Dangers of Social Media” by Point/Counterpoint. Students take on the role of a director, choose music that relates to the text’s content, and explain the connection to the selection’s style, tone, mood, and theme.
In Unit 6, students have the following independent reading selections: A Death in the Family by James Agee, Disaster Preparedness by Heather Havrilesky, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, “Loud Music” by Stephen Dobyns, and Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World by Eknath Easwaran. After independent reading, students create a plan to interview the author, identifying at least two questions to pose to the author.
The materials provide support for students to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Materials provide students opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas as well as write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences and purposes. Materials also provide students opportunities to write argumentative texts to influence a specific audience, to write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure, and to write literary and/or rhetorical analyses.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students “apply what they have learned about story elements to their own narrative writing projects.” After reading “Marigolds,” students answer a writing prompt: “Imagine that a grown-up Lizabeth is granted the opportunity to return and apologize to Miss Lottie, explaining why she destroyed the marigolds. Write a narrative that focuses on the dialogue that takes place between these two characters, years after the events described in the story.”
In Unit 1, students write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure by writing a tweet-length response to a guiding question and then participating in a peer review by anonymously and appropriately commenting on each other’s tweets. In Unit 1, students routinely write tweet-length personal responses to their peers and participate in peer reviews.
In Unit 2, students write a timed rhetorical analysis explaining how the author builds an argument to persuade the audience that ecotourism has mostly negative effects on both animals and humans.
In Unit 4, students write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes in a timed writing assignment explaining how social media and keeping an online presence affect teens. In another example, students also compose an informative research paper by selecting “a historical figure from the unit whom you would like to know more about.” They are instructed: “Write a research paper explaining this person’s legacy as it relates to the way we read, think, communicate, or protest.”
In Unit 5, students write a literary analysis comparing and contrasting “the ways in which gift-giving shapes the characters, plots, and themes in ‘The Gift of the Magi’ and ‘Catch the Moon.’”
In Unit 6, students revisit writing correspondence in a professional or friendly structure. Students assume the role of a young poet and write a letter in response to Rilke, the author of “Letters to a Young Poet,” describing the thoughts and feelings they experienced as a result of reading Rilke’s letter. Students compose a thank-you letter to an individual, explaining how the individual positively impacted their life, and a personal letter of at least four paragraphs to one of the authors of the texts they read in the unit.
In Unit 6, students write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students read the article “Student Athletes,” and then write an essay on how the author builds an argument to persuade the audience that student athletes are being taken advantage of.
Most written tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through the analysis and synthesis of texts. Materials provide opportunities for students to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims. Materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate, in writing, what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read “Why I Lied to Everyone in High School About Knowing Karate” by Jabeen Akhtar and analyze why Jabeen lied. The writing prompt states: “Write an explanatory essay that uses textual evidence to answer the question posed by the title: Why did Jabeen Akhtar lie to everyone in high school about knowing karate? Support your comprehensive response about Jabeen's motivations with key details provided throughout the text about her high-school status, previous experiences, pressures, desires, fears, and dilemmas.”
In Unit 2, students read “Leon Bridges on Overcoming Childhood Isolation and Finding His Voice: ‘You Can't Teach Soul’” and respond to the writing prompt “Why didn't Bridges dream of being a soul singer when he was growing up? Cite specific evidence from the text to support your answer.”
In Unit 3, students read “Senora X No More” by Pat Mora and write a short response about how figurative language such as personification, simile, and metaphor helps reveal the intensity of the speaker’s struggle to learn to speak and write in another language. Students also read “The Most Dangerous Game” and use evidence from the text and review their “Writing Logs” to respond to the prompt “How does the use of General Zaroff as a character foil for Rainsford help the author develop the story's themes?”
In Unit 4, students read “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe and describe the narrator of the story, citing text evidence to support their response. Students also read “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence and demonstrate knowledge of the poem’s message by writing a response to the following question: “What universal and particular message does the poem convey and in what ways are these messages more relevant now than at the time of the poem’s original publication?”
In Unit 4, students read “Remarks to the Senate in Support of a Declaration of Conscience” by Margaret Chase Smith and compose a response analyzing “How is Smith’s rhetoric, or persuasive language, carefully crafted to match her particular audience and purpose?” Using text evidence and original commentary, students write about the reasons and evidence; logical, emotional, and ethical appeals; and the rhetorical techniques the author includes and how they connect to her audience and purpose.
In Unit 5, students read Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “Catch the Moon” and write a short response to compare and contrast it with “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry; they address how a common topic shapes the two texts, referencing characters, plots, and themes.
In Unit 6, students read “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst and explain the connection between the Scarlet Ibis mentioned in the title and Doodle, the younger brother in the story. Students also make an inference about the type of person that Doodle is, and they are directed to support their assertions with specific evidence from the text.
In Unit 6, students read “Pride and Perseverance” by journalist Mekeisha Madden Toby and identify “explicit and implicit messages sent through Adam’s dialogue and other text details,” demonstrating their understanding of the author's craft.
The materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text and provide some opportunities for the practice and application of the conventions of academic language when writing. The grammar, punctuation, and usage lessons appear in the “Extended Writing Project” portion of the materials. After completing the lesson and practice, students are asked to review their writing and are provided with a checklist that includes the skills focused on during the lesson.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “StudySync” materials include a unit overview that outlines the components of writing within each unit. The sections titled “TEKS Grammar Skills,” “TEKS Writing Skills,” “Timed Writing,” “Extended Writing Project,” “Additional Grammar Lessons,” and “Alternate Extended Writing Project Prompts” provide opportunities for students to engage in applying writing skills and conventions throughout the year.
The “Extended Writing Project and Grammar” section includes the conventions resources that can be used to introduce students to grammar and writing skills. The “Drafting” and “Conventions” sections allow students to focus on the craft of writing and provide models and instruction for the organization of writing and the development of ideas. The “Edit and Publish” section focuses on specific grammar skills that students learn or review and apply to their writing.
The same section incorporates all aspects of the writing process and provides a detailed instructional path, which includes an overview and explanation of the writing assignment, a student model essay, graphic organizers, and sentence starters; the section also includes lessons on writing thesis statements and claims, citing sources, using punctuation correctly, and revision techniques.
In Unit 1, students study narrative techniques, descriptive details, and sentence types while working on composing a narrative. Students practice these skills within the context of the lesson, and when they enter the “Edit and Publish” portion of the lesson, they are directed to revise and edit their own writing based on the skills obtained in the lessons.
In Unit 2, students write thesis statements and supporting details as elements to include in their compositions. Students draft their essays, engage in peer review, and reflect on feedback to revise, focusing on supporting details, cohesion, and composing introductions and conclusions. Students learn about colons, commas, commas with compound sentences, and misuse of commas. Students then practice by fixing errors in provided sentences and rewriting the sentences correctly and by editing their informational essays for appropriate use of compound sentences and colons. Students complete an editing checklist and publish their writing.
In Unit 3, students compose an argumentative essay related to the graphic novel The Odyssey. During the planning stage, students review the writing prompt and rubric and have collaborative conversations with peers. Students also learn about the capitalization of proper nouns and sentences in this unit; the “Edit and Publish” portion of the lesson requires students to revise and edit their own writing for capitalization based on what they learned in the unit.
In Unit 4, students engage with all of the stages of the writing process to compose a research paper. In the planning and drafting stages, students evaluate sources, research, take notes, and organize their writing. In the revision and editing stages, students focus on critiquing research sources and citations, and they focus on semicolons. Students learn about sentence fragments and run-on sentences, practice out of context with multiple-choice questions, and then apply their knowledge of semicolons to their own compositions. Students then publish their research papers.
In Unit 5, students learn about organizing essays into introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions. Students learn comma usage with nonessential elements, appositives and appositive phrases, and dashes. Dashes are a syntax feature found in the unit text “Catch the Moon”; students then revise and edit their own writing for comma usage and dash punctuation during the “Edit and Publish” section of the lesson.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Speaking and listening opportunities are focused on the text(s) being studied in class, allowing students to demonstrate comprehension. Most oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Each unit includes a section of the lesson plan for “Text Talk.” Teachers are provided with questions that can be posed to students for partner, small-group, or whole-group discussion.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 2, after reading the short story “Volar,” students participate in discussion requiring text evidence to support claims; they demonstrate knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts with the discussion prompt “Compare and contrast the ways in which the narrator and her mother are characterized, and explain how these characterizations work together to develop the story’s theme.”
Unit 3 contains the text “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids,” in which the author suggests there are opposing views of intelligence: the view that it is fixed and the view that it is something that can be developed as a result of effort. Students listen to an introduction video and have a pre-reading discussion about intelligence. After reading, the students participate in a collaborative conversation and break down the prompt “Analyze how Dweck, an expert in her field, uses empirical, anecdotal, and statistical evidence to support her claim about the secret to raising smart kids. In your analysis, identify an example of each type of evidence from the article.” Then, they discuss relevant ideas and text evidence.
In Unit 3, a “Text Talk” contains questions for Chinua Achebe’s “Civil Peace”: “How does Jonathan Iwegbu make use of the Biafran money? Jonathan Iwegbu avoids shaking hands on his way home with the egg-rasher. What does this suggest about his new wealth? How did discussing Achebe’s quote about language deepen your understanding of what you read?”
In Unit 4, after reading an excerpt of A Doll’s House, “A Story of Vengeance,” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” students demonstrate comprehension of the text in a collaborative conversation comparing and contrasting “the motivations of the main characters in these stories—why does each play a part, and how does that affect his or her characterization?” Unit 4 also contains Sharon M. Drapers’ Romiette and Julio, and the “Text Talk” questions include “How do Afroqueen and Spanishlover differ? What do Afroqueen and Spanishlover have in common? How did discussing the authenticity of connections made over the internet enhance your experience of the text?”
In Unit 5, while reading the poem “Redbird Love,” students use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge they gained through analyzing and synthesizing texts. Students participate in a collaborative conversation before writing an original poem; “Remind students to practice the speaking/listening skill of responding using academic vocabulary [symbol and symbolism]. If necessary, model this skill for students.” Unit 5 also contains a “Text Talk” for “Drop Scones’ Letter to President Eisenhower,” which includes questions such as “What do Queen Elizabeth’s extra instructions suggest about her? Why does Queen Elizabeth admire President Eisenhower? How does Queen Elizabeth express her fondness for President Eisenhower?”
In Unit 6, Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy is an ongoing comic series published by Boom! Studios. “Text Talk” questions include “Why does April yell, ‘To Grandmother’s house we go’? How did discussing outdoor group activities help you better understand the excerpt from Lumberjanes: Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy? What does the difference in Jen and Rosie’s reactions to Roanoke Cabin’s adventure reveal about their characters?” Later in the unit, after reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, students demonstrate comprehension in an in-class discussion: “According to Scout’s teacher, her father, Atticus, has taught her ‘all wrong.’ Based on your personal experience and the interactions described in these passages from To Kill a Mockingbird, however, what does it mean to be a good teacher, and how can a person prove him or herself to be a good student? Network with your group in order to explore these questions, writing down your ideas beforehand.” Still later in Unit 6, after reading “Pride and Perseverance,” students present and defend their ideas to peers, using information from the text as support. Students respond to the discussion prompt “What messages might all young people—not just child entertainers—take away from reading about Adam Irigoyen’s life and career? Identify explicit and implicit messages sent through Adam’s dialogue and other text details that readers can apply to their own lives.”
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Materials provide guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion to express students’ own thinking. Materials provide opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using the conventions of language.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, materials contain clear guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion for students to express their thinking. Students learn how to share opinions, agree or disagree with their peers, and add to others’ ideas. “StudySyncTV” is a short video that models appropriate ways to express thinking during a discussion. Teacher notes for “Collaborative Conversations” include framing questions to support discussion, such as “What clues can we use to figure out what makes characters act as they do?” and “How can what the characters say or do reveal what they feel—or what they are hiding?”
Unit 1 includes the optional “Mock Trial: Youthful Indiscretion” activity. The activity description states: “In ‘Why I Lied to Everyone in High School About Knowing Karate,’ the author publicly confesses to a lie she committed back in 10th grade. Since she has already admitted to her youthful indiscretion, students will enact the ‘sentencing’ portion of a mock trial of her 10th-grade self, assuming the roles of prosecution, defense, and jury.” Materials include direction for students to engage in the mock trial. During the trial, teachers are encouraged to have students acting as the prosecution “argue for a ‘sentence’ they feel is appropriate, considering that the lie is a repeat offense,” and students acting as the defense team “argue for a ‘sentence’ they think is appropriate, based on her age and pressures.” The remaining students then act as the jury to “deliberate and then share its ‘sentence,’ explaining which parts of each team’s arguments were made most compellingly.” Materials provide sentence prompts for discussion after the trial.
In Unit 4, students prepare for a discussion with their peers after reading “The Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird” by Toni Cade Bambara. Materials give students guidance to create their own discussion rules for all team members to follow and to consider and note views/interpretations that differ from their own.
In Unit 6, students engage in an extended oral project connected to the text To Kill a Mockingbird. Students identify someone they respect and conduct an interview to learn more about his or her life experiences and how these experiences have shaped his or her values. Then, students prepare an informative presentation about how listening to another person’s story can instruct others, using a clear thesis and visual aids to enhance comprehension or engagement. Materials provide guidance on how to listen actively: “[P]ay attention to the speaker, show interest, and concentrate on what is said before you think about your reply; ask questions for clarification when appropriate; respond respectfully to the speaker’s points.” When students read an excerpt from Maus, they are provided with sentence frames and a word bank to respond to the text. When engaging in the discussion about the text’s content, the following frames are provided: “Nonfiction texts share characteristics like…; Maus is like nonfiction texts because…; Maus is not like nonfiction texts because…; I think Maus is more like nonfiction/fiction texts because…; Some evidence to support this is….”
Students have multiple opportunities to research and present their findings in a variety of ways. The materials do support student practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade-level audience; however, the materials do not support the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 2, students read “Bessie Coleman: Woman Who ‘Dared to Dream’ Made Aviation History,” an article on the United States Air Force website, and work in partners to complete an optional informal research assignment. Students select an individual from history who was first at a significant accomplishment and research the events that lead to their accomplishment. Students compile their research in a multimedia timeline that includes important dates and visuals.
In Unit 3, students read Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell and complete an informal research assignment to prepare for a debate on whether talent is innate or achieved. Students are directed to collect “compelling evidence and examples from life” and “specific examples of how success was either achieved through practice or innate talent.”
In Unit 4, students independently write a formal research paper on the question “How can a life become a legend?” Students select a historical figure from the unit—Dale Carnegie, Margaret Chase Smith, William Shakespeare, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Henrik Ibsen, Edgar Allan Poe, or Mahatma Gandhi—and research “this person’s legacy as it relates to the way we read, think, communicate, or protest.” Lessons during this assignment encompass all parts of the research process, including “examining sources for reliability, credibility, bias, and faulty reasoning” and considering the audience.
In Unit 5, students read “Love and Death on the Third Floor” by Skip Hollandsworth and work in partners to complete an optional informal research assignment on cystic fibrosis. Students research and summarize “symptoms, causes, risk factors, percentage of people who are diagnosed, where it is most common, and treatment” and design “an infographic that explains the facts and figures of the disease using visuals.”
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:
Unit 1 opens with “Marigolds,” a short story by Eugenia Collier. The questions and tasks are designed to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. The text-dependent tasks include: “According to paragraph 3, which of the following selections best describes the narrator's hometown as it compares to the rest of Depression-era America?” and “Identify a passage in the dialogue between Lizabeth's parents that helps convey their characters. Describe how it helps show that the characters have believable personalities and emotions.” Students participate in tasks as a whole group, in pairs, in small groups, and independently. Students practice annotation and monitor their comprehension. Lessons for “Marigolds” include practice with using text evidence and original commentary to support responses. Students analyze how the author creates complex but believable characters through literary devices. Students focus on dialogue between the characters to be well-prepared for the culminating writing task: “‘Marigolds’ is told from the perspective of Lizabeth, giving her the opportunity to relate her emotions and thoughts about the events in the story. Pretend that you are Miss Lottie and are relating the same events from her point of view. Consider the significance of the marigolds, and the impact their destruction would have on her character. Your narrative of at least 300 words should contain details from the text, as well as your own descriptive language.”
In Unit 4, students examine three thematically linked selections, Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, “A Story of Vengeance” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” which allow “readers to explore why individuals pretend to be what they are not.” Questions and tasks help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. When reading A Doll’s House, students watch a short introductory video that ends with the question “What happens when best intentions lead to dire consequences?” Students are provided with sentence frames to support them in asking open-ended, higher-level-thinking questions before, during, and after the reading to deepen their understanding of the text. After reading, students discuss the implications in the story and their responses to the prompt “How does the dialogue in this scene near the end of the play reveal important differences between the attitudes of Helmer and Nora regarding marriage in general and their marriage in particular, and how do these differences help develop the themes in this work of world literature?” When reading “A Story of Vengeance,” students make inferences: “What does this detail or information reveal or suggest that is not directly stated by the author?” Students analyze theme and character: “How does the first-person narration by a complex character, in combination with the nonlinear plot device of an extended flashback, help develop the story’s themes?” “The Cask of Amontillado” contains a mini-lesson to support academic language and generating questions from readings. Students analyze nonlinear plot and Montresor’s character and motivation. A “StudySync TV” episode models collaborative conversations on the guilt of Montresor and using text evidence to support different ideas. The linked selections culminate in students completing the following writing task: “‘A Doll’s House,’ ‘A Story of Vengeance,’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ all explore how an individual pretends to be someone he or she is not in order to achieve a goal—for good or for ill. Compare and contrast the motivations of the main characters in these stories—why does each play a part, and how does that reason affect his or her characterization?”
Unit 2 contains an excerpt from The Art of Choosing, an informational text by Sheena Iyengar. Students view and discuss an introduction video or participate in a “four corners” activity to discuss the article. Students read independently, annotating the text to “make connections to personal experiences and ideas in other texts in the unit” and highlight “any technical terms or academic words.” They are instructed: “Use print or digital resources to determine or clarify the definitions; highlight any other unfamiliar vocabulary and note definitions and pronunciations.” “Text Talk” for The Art of Choosing is a discussion with three reading-comprehension questions that require students to use text evidence and make a personal connection to the text. Students consider how Simpson and Callahan made a choice to survive; then, they are asked, “How did identifying the answers to questions 1 and 2, and discussing the ability to make choices, deepen your understanding of the text’s claim that survival can be a deliberate choice?” Students then complete a writing task connecting the text “Restless Genes” and the excerpt from The Art of Choosing: “Compare and contrast the informational genre characteristics and organizational structures featured in ‘Restless Genes’ and the Art of Choosing excerpt.”
In Unit 6, students read Mark Twain's short story “Advice to Little Girls.” Students view and discuss an introduction video or participate in a “four corners” activity to discuss the debatable, article-framing statement “Stereotypes about the ‘proper’ way for girls to behave still exist in our society today.” Students read independently, annotating the text to “monitor your comprehension and make adjustments such as rereading, using background knowledge, asking questions, and annotating when your understanding breaks down; supply a possible meaning for each boldfaced word, and then use print or digital resources to clarify and validate the meaning.” They are also instructed: “For multiple-meaning words, use context to determine intended meaning; highlight any other unfamiliar vocabulary and note definitions and pronunciations.” Students answer text-dependent questions requiring students to show comprehension by evaluating passage vocabulary or tone. Before writing, students participate in a whole-class discussion to ensure an understanding of the prompt “What advice about life would you give to someone younger than yourself, based on your reading of the texts in this unit and your personal knowledge and experience? Write an essay that explores this question—either in a straightforward fashion, such one you might use for a college entrance essay, or in a satirical fashion, such as the one Twain employs in ‘Advice to Little Girls.’”
The materials provide spiraling and scaffolded practice distributed 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:
Within each unit of study, students engage in a first read, which provides an opportunity to focus on a specific skill to improve comprehension of the text. Students work through a “Skills Lesson,” which provides scaffolding, models, and embedded practice. The teacher lesson plans provide options to scaffold the learning opportunities for students at each stage of the lesson. By the end of a unit, students demonstrate their knowledge by applying the analysis skills learned throughout the chapter to write about the texts they have read, as well as engage in timed and extended writing projects.
The study of argumentative texts is distributed across the year, as seen in the analysis of the characteristics of argumentative texts in Unit 1 with “I Have a Dream” and a later analysis of structural elements of argumentative texts in Unit 3 with “An Indian Father's Plea.” Unit 4 contains the continued practice of analysis and argumentative writing gained earlier, but expanded to an analysis of three texts, with an integrated reading and writing study of a Royal Shakespeare Company video, a chat room conversation from Romiette and Julio, and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Students write an argumentative essay in response to the prompt “How do the Royal Shakespeare Company video and the chat room conversation from Romiette and Julio use the characters, plot, and dramatic conventions of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet as a springboard for envisioning the story in a new way?” Materials include graphic organizers to scaffold data-gathering of characters, plot, and dramatic conventions.
The study of poetic devices, structure, and associated vocabulary is distributed across the year. In Unit 2, students analyze the structure and poetic devices of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” In Unit 5, the materials provide additional instruction for the vocabulary of poetry when students analyze “Redbird Love” for the “use of poetic devices to achieve specific effects.” In Unit 6, students analyze poetic structure and the associated vocabulary for “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Throughout the school year, students demonstrate integration of literacy skills that scaffolds throughout the units of the textbook. In Unit 3, students analyze the author’s purpose and message in “Georgia O'Keeffe” and practice the language of the discipline, including, but not limited to, author’s purpose, author’s message, and audience. Materials include a student model of annotations to analyze the author’s purpose before answering questions about the text. In Unit 6, students build on their skills about author’s purpose and practice academic vocabulary between the first read and close read of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings “to identify and analyze the message Maya Angelou conveyed in the text, as well as her purpose for writing.”
The materials include supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level, such as providing planning and learning opportunities (including extensions and differentiation) for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Every reading selection is accompanied by a minimum of one planning and learning opportunity for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. The textbook uses the term “Beyond” to indicate differentiated or extension materials for students performing above grade level.
Unit 1 materials include supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. In the lessons for “Marigolds,” to extend students’ learning, students can connect to the writing project by adopting author Eugenia Collier’s methods for creating complex characters as they craft their own narrative. Students construct a symbol to represent their life. In “Marigolds,” the flowers represent beauty and hope; students create a symbol to embody a poignant moment in their lives. Students who choose the method are asked to share and explain the deeper meaning of the symbol. Then, they reflect on questions such as “Why do you think students selected more positive or negative events to focus on for this activity?” in a written response.
In Unit 3, the differentiated assignment suggests: “After students conduct the keyword search with their peers, have them read the excerpt from The Sports Gene by David Epstein. Students discuss ways in which Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule and the ideas explored in this text differ.” A second “Beyond” activity is embedded with the “Collaborative Conversations” pre-writing activity: “Does the text’s argument that success may be more dependent on practice than on natural ability correspond to what you have read, seen, experienced, or believe to be true? In what way is your own perspective on the topic similar or different? Respond to points made in the text with evidence from your reading and personal experience.”
In Unit 4, the lesson plan for Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” includes a “Beyond” student pre-reading activity “to research facts about the legal and social status of African Americans in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century,” presenting results in a four-column chart: Research, Issues, Stakes, and Efforts. Additionally, students above grade level have the extension task of analyzing the speaker’s perspective on suffering and comparing to the universal message about human suffering conveyed by the poem, while the task for the rest of the class is only to examine the universal message about human suffering conveyed by the poem.
In the Unit 6 excerpt from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, students above grade level go “Beyond” an online vocabulary activity to work “in pairs to write analogies for the vocabulary words, using two vocabulary words in each analogy.” Teachers are instructed: “Encourage students to use different types of comparisons, such as part to whole, cause to effect, antonym, synonym, definition, item to category, time sequence, category, object to use, or product to producer."
The materials include supports for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards. The materials provide planning and learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation, for students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each lesson provides options to scaffold instruction for students performing below grade level. Scaffolds include speaking frames to allow students to engage in discussions. Teachers can also provide a visual glossary for students who need support to complete vocabulary tasks. When students are writing, paragraph guides are available to support students in developing detailed, written responses. The materials also include scaffolds for annotating and conducting a close read of texts based on a specific skill. Additionally, there are peer-review scaffolds that allow students performing below grade level the opportunity to review their peers’ work in a consistent, clear manner by responding to specific questions about the writing sample reviewed.
In Unit 1, for an excerpt from Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, materials include differentiated support for students performing below grade level: They provide sentence starters to support students’ comprehension of the text, such as “The mood after the players take the field is....” Students are paired in mixed-ability groups and supported with discussion guides that allow students to engage in the grade-level tasks.
Students work collaboratively with peers to review the writing prompt and the related rubric for their written response. Sample questions in a discussion guide include “How has the text changed the way you think about what it means to be part of a team?” Sentence stems support speaking and thinking; for example, “The text has made me realize that…; I used to think…; Now I think....” Writing differentiation includes adjusting written response length and sentence starters such as “I think that the coaching staff treated Boobie fairly/unfairly because….” The “Peer Review and Reflect” section includes sentence frames such as “I was most surprised/interested in the part when you...” to facilitate responses.
The Unit 3 lesson plan for “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell includes extensions and differentiation. All students complete a vocabulary activity; a visual glossary is available for students as needed. Differentiation for students approaching grade-level proficiency includes an annotation guide that can be printed or viewed side by side while reading online. Sample scaffolding found in the annotation guide includes: “1. Read paragraph 42 and 43. What does Rainsford see in the underbrush?” and “Highlight what Rainsford says is strange about what he’s found. Write a sentence describing how this foreshadowing creates suspense.”
In Unit 6, materials include an independent reading of an excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird. Students below grade-level proficiency are provided with graphic organizers and scaffolding questions to help with their reading; for example, “Scout promises Walter that...” In the “Reading” tab, students can use speaking frames that provide questions to support comprehension. The materials also include a prompt guide with questions to help students organize their thoughts. There are also sentence starters to help students begin their reflections, such as “I think that my best contribution helped other students to....”
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 speaking frames, sentence starters, paragraph frames, annotations, close reads, visual glossaries, and word banks. The materials encourage strategic use of the students’ 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:
A “Newcomer’s Support” manual is included, which provides lessons in basic English language acquisition, such as lessons on the alphabet, greetings, shapes, colors, and numbers. The lessons then move into more global topics, such as life at school, my family and me, my community, and the world. The lessons include a learning target, guiding questions for the teacher, vocabulary support, and “Newcomer” cards. Information about cognates and opportunities for real-world application of the content are also included.
Each lesson provides options to scaffold instruction for ELs who are “Beginning,” “Intermediate,” “Advanced,” and “Advanced High.” Scaffolds include speaking frames to allow students to engage in discussions. Teachers can also provide a visual glossary or word bank for students who need support to complete vocabulary tasks. When students are writing, sentence starters, sentence frames, and paragraph frames are available to support students in developing detailed written responses. The materials also include scaffolds for annotating and conducting a close read of texts based on a specific skill by asking differentiated questions, allowing small-group discussion or teacher-modeling opportunities.
Additionally, each unit of study within the materials includes a section titled “EL Resources,” which contains alternative instructional tasks, language-proficiency tasks, and extended oral-project opportunities.
In Unit 1, students read “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.; each lesson within the instructional path includes guidance for various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS. The Beginning task includes sentence frames and a word bank; Intermediate includes sentence frames; and Advanced and Advanced High have a text-dependent question guide. Each of the accommodations is detailed in the lesson plan. Teachers provide instruction on selected vocabulary and use two songs, “America the Beautiful” and “Free At Last,” to communicate “the dream of equality to freedom from oppression.” Accommodations for the introduction include materials and videos. EL students pair with on-grade-level peers to read and discuss the introduction, using speaking frames. Beginning and Intermediate ELs are to read the included text synopsis and visual glossary instead of the text and use a dictionary or thesaurus, while Advanced and Advanced High EL students supplement their understanding of the full text with the visual glossary and a dictionary or thesaurus.
In Unit 2, students read “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” EL students pair with on-grade-level students to read and discuss the introduction. Students use scaffold speaking frames to answer questions about the introduction. Beginning and Intermediate ELs read the synopsis instead of the text. Students use a dictionary, thesaurus, and the visual glossary in the “Scaffold” tab with a graphic organizer during reading. In their writer’s notebook, Beginner and Intermediate ELs read aloud and use the unit’s “Essential Questions.” Students can be encouraged to draw their response or write their response to the Essential Questions.
In Unit 3, within the preview of the close read of “Georgia O’Keeffe” by Joan Didion, a tab enables the student to choose a supplemental language designation [Cantonese, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Other] which adds a summary in that language before the text selection. For the “Writer’s Notebook” activity that is part of the “Georgia O’Keeffe” close read, the teacher reads the unit’s Essential Question, “How do you define intelligence?” to the Beginning and Intermediate ELs and has students use their native language to respond, prompting students to share their thoughts out loud or in pantomime. Advanced and Advanced High ELs work in pairs or small groups to orally share their thoughts before freewriting.
In the textbook materials, each unit includes alternate, EL-leveled texts with a similar genre and thematic focus. For example, Unit 4 uses the drama Love at First Sight for the excerpt from Romeo and Juliet and the drama Family Ties for the fiction piece “The Pose” as alternatives or supplements. Unit 5 includes the informational text “Food: Love or Addiction” as an alternative or extension for Love in a Headscarf and the poem “The Visitor” for “The Raven.” An extensive instructional path is provided for each EL-leveled text and provides differentiated instruction for new language learners; for example, Unit 4’s Love at First Sight includes “Sight Vocabulary and High-Frequency Words” and “Negatives and Contractions,” each of which have skill model followed by practice.
The instructional path for the Unit 5 EL-leveled text “Food: Love or Addiction” is extensive; it includes five skill lessons, each of which includes vocabulary instruction. The lesson plans include multiple speaking opportunities, such as “Turn and Talk,” supported by a visual glossary and speaking frames for all EL proficiency levels, to discuss the meaning of the academic word environmental print. The “Skill Model” guidance suggests Beginning and Intermediate ELs should have a group discussion using speaking frames and a word bank to describe what is seen in environmental print, while Advanced and Advanced High ELs use the speaking frames.
In Unit 6, students read To Kill a Mockingbird. Intermediate EL students use a visual glossary and read a synopsis of the text. Students are given a summary of the section in Spanish before they read the section. In the writing section, students use the scaffold to prepare for a writing prompt. Students have a prompt guide with questions to help analyze “What words and actions might show that Atticus is a good teacher? What words and actions might show that Scout is a good student? What do you think good teachers and good students say and do?” Students have a discussion guide and speaking frames for discussing the text with other students. For written responses, students are directed: “Use the paragraph frames to complete your response. You may choose to use words from the word bank as you write your first paragraph, but try to complete the second paragraph using your own words.” Advanced ELs use the scaffold with the prompt guide and discussion questions to help with answering the writing prompt.
In Unit 6’s “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hearst, instructional paths include guidance for various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS. The Beginning and Intermediate scaffolds include a visual glossary. One of the speaking frame questions for Beginning and Intermediate ELs requires the student to use two words to describe the video while discussing it with an on-grade-level classmate. The “Think” task for Beginning ELs includes sentence frames and a word bank; Intermediate includes sentence frames; Advanced High has a text-dependent question guide. The “Scarlet Ibis” close read is paired with an annotation guide. The lesson plan specifies that teachers model annotation one on one with Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced ELs before launching them into group work; Advanced High students work in pairs or small groups for support. For the “Write” task, students have access to a discussion guide with speaking frames, a prompt guide, and paragraph frames. The Beginning and Intermediate paragraph frames have a word bank, while Advanced and Advanced High materials do not include the paragraph frame. Advanced ELs focus on one out of four prompt questions, while Advanced High ELs expand to three out of four prompt questions and include sentence stems.
The materials include options for both formative and summative assessment. The formative assessments are connected to the regular content to support student learning as they progress through the activities. The formative assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. Each unit of study also includes a unit assessment which assesses the standards taught within the unit and includes an answer key, which provides the correct answer and the standard being addressed, as well as sample responses for short answer and essay questions. The materials provide guidance on how teachers should interpret and respond to student products and performances.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials include multiple opportunities for formative assessment throughout the instructional units. The text selections include some formative assessments, such as vocabulary activities and written responses; objective comprehension questions; and writing assessments that include short responses, timed writing, and essay prompts. Each unit of study includes an end of unit assessment which addressed revising, editing, reading, and writing skills with multiple choice, drag and drop organizers, short answer, and essay response questions.
In Unit 2, after the first reading of Volar, students answer comprehension questions for a formative assessment. Some of the questions include: “Based on the narrator’s dream, what can you infer about the landlord? The narrator stays in bed so that her parents can have time in the morning alone together. What does this show about the narrator?” Students use evidence from the text to support their answers. After a second close reading of the poem, students compose a literary analysis: “Compare and contrast the ways in which the narrator and her mother are characterized, and explain how these characterizations work together to develop the story’s theme.” The provided rubric evaluates theme and conventions of language, providing guidance for interpreting and rating student performance and assigning a score to students, but there is no included guidance for teacher instructional support or actions in response to the student’s performance.
The Unit 4 materials include the informational text “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi” by Jawaharlal Nehru. The lesson includes a TEKS-aligned collaborative conversation as a formative assessment in which students “trace the speaker’s use of metaphor,” allowing the teacher to informally assess student understanding before the rhetorical analysis writing task, which specifies, “As part of your analysis, trace the speaker’s use of metaphor.” The provided rubric evaluates language, style, and audience, providing guidance for interpreting and rating student performance and assigning a score to students; however, there is no included guidance for teacher instructional support or actions in response to the student’s performance.
In Unit 5, students read the poem “Redbird Love” by Joy Harjo. Formative assessments measure student understanding of imagery and poetic structure before the students write an original poem. The formative assessment requires students to describe what they visualize for selected sensory details. Then, students are encouraged to review previous unit poems and “Write a poem in a structure of your choosing that reflects on the nature of this relationship, considering what insight humans might gain from observing it.” This allows students to apply their understanding of poetic structure and use of imagery.
In Unit 6, students make connections in a formative lesson for James Weldon Johnson’s poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Before the formative assessment for Johnson’s poem, students practice making inferences between text and society using the poem “Choices” by Nikki Giovanni. Students write a response to the question “What inferences can you make about the role of religion or belief in the lives of the people described by this song?” This preliminary practice builds to the writing task, in which students research and evaluate the evolution of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performances as a reflection of “American society at the time.” The written formative assessment includes a TEKS-aligned scoring rubric, but there is no guidance for teacher instructional support to act on the data yielded by student performance.
The materials include a year-long plan and provide some supports for teachers to differentiate instruction. Each individual lesson in a unit supports teachers to engage students in multiple grouping structures, but the plans do not provide structures nor guidance on how to create the groups and adjust student groupings throughout the school year. The lessons include some scaffolds to support differentiation such as the visual glossary and writing stems; however, many of the strategies remain the same from unit to unit, with little change to move students towards increased proficiency with grade-level tasks. The materials do not provide guidance for assessing student progress throughout the materials other than sample responses to questions and rubrics, which remain the same throughout the year.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The instructional materials include a unit overview section, which provides the “Essential Question,” literary focus, and genre focus as well as general information about the selections within the unit. There is also a list of text selections organized by whole-class, self-selected, or novel-study reading options. A list of student expectations organized in reading skills, writing skills, grammar skills, and listening and speaking skills is also included. The TEKS are noted with an asterisk if assessed on the state assessment. The timed writing, extended writing, and alternate writing sections give teachers an idea of the genres of writing students can engage in within the unit. The English Learner (EL) resources tab, EL-leveled texts, and EL extended oral projects provide opportunities for differentiating instruction based on language needs.
Each reading selection includes a teacher lesson that provides the objective and the TEKS that are addressed within the lesson. There are “grouping suggestions,” which break down the lesson components and provide guidance on whether an activity is whole group, pair or small group, or independent work. Plans provide instruction for grouping students who may need additional support.
The teacher’s edition tab and lesson plans include support for “entering the text” and annotations, which highlight the features of the text that may pose challenges for students. The lesson plan is organized into two sections. The left section provides the “instruction,” which includes the lesson objective, standards, questions and sample responses, and tasks for grade-level proficiency. The right sections contain information about differentiation and scaffolding, including providing extensions for students demonstrating above-grade-level proficiency, and opportunities and resources for English Learner students at varying proficiency levels. Additionally, the “Difficult Concepts” tab in the unit overview provides some guidance for teachers about the skills that may be confusing for students within the unit.
The instructional materials include an “Other Resources” tab, which can be searched by standard, text, or skill to find additional selections or resources to support teachers in developing lessons for students. Within each lesson plan, teachers are provided with scaffolding options that address a variety of student needs. Within each unit of study, teachers have alternate “Blasts,” additional grammar lessons, and alternate extended writing projects, which are ancillary resources based on students’ needs. Additionally, when serving students who are English Learners, teachers can use the “ELL resources” tab within the unit to access additional materials, which include language development skills with accessible texts.
Materials include supports to help teachers implement the materials, including a StudySync Program Guide which provides information about the structure of the program, standards addressed, assessment, teacher materials, and print and digital resources. The publisher also includes a TEKS-aligned, grade-level specific scope and scope and sequence that shows which standards are taught and assessed with each text, as well as a Skills Map that lists each standard, the skill, and each lesson where the skill is taught or assessed. Each unit plan includes a pacing guide which provides suggested days of instruction, including assessment and review for a 180-day schedule.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In addition to the program guide, scope and sequence, and skills map, the materials also include a unit overview section, which provides the unit’s “Essential Question,” literary and genre focus, and general information about the selections within the unit. Text selections are implemented through whole-class, self-selected, or novel-study reading options. Materials include a list of expectations for students organized by reading, writing, grammar. An asterisk next to the TEKS indicates tested student expectations. Materials include a list of writing assignments in the unit; genre and type are indicated.
The teacher’s edition tab and lesson plans include support for “Entering the Text” and annotations. Lesson plans are organized into two sections: The left section provides the “Instruction,” including the lesson objective, standards, questions and sample responses, and tasks for grade-level proficiency, and the right section includes differentiation and scaffolding, including extensions for students performing above grade level, and opportunities and resources for English Learners at varying proficiency levels. Additionally, the “Difficult Concepts” tab in the unit overview provides some guidance for teachers about the skills that may be confusing for students within the unit.
The instructional materials include an “Other Resources” tab, which can be used to search by standard, text, or skill to find additional selections or resources to support teachers in developing lessons for students. Within each lesson plan, materials provide scaffolding options to address a variety of student needs. Within each unit of study, teachers have alternate “Blasts,” additional grammar lessons, alternate extended writing projects, and ancillary resources based on students’ needs.
The visual design of the student edition is supportive of student learning and is neither chaotic nor distracting. The units include a video introduction for each selection, which allows students to gain context for the reading material. Additionally, the materials include fillable graphic organizers and ample space for composing and submitting written responses. When completing tasks, students can easily navigate between the materials, instructions, and responses by using the tabs at the top of the page. Students also have the option of choosing a "split-screen" mode, which allows them to view the text and task simultaneously. Overall, the instructional materials have a clear, easy-to-use layout that is conducive to student engagement and learning.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials contain sufficient white space and are organized in such a way that allows students to move through the unit tasks with ease. Each selection has clickable tabs at the top of the student edition to enable ease of access for various parts of the lesson. The "Skills" lessons include tabs for "Define," which is a short video that explains the skill addressed; "Vocabulary," which contains a graphic organizer where students drag and drop terms related to the skill to demonstrate understanding; "Model," which is a sample excerpt from a selection that demonstrates how to apply the skill; and "Your Turn," which allows students to demonstrate independent application understanding of the skill by completing a multiple-choice or written response. For reading selections, the tabs are "Introduction," which includes a video to provide a context for the selection; "Read," which contains the text and the ability to annotate directly within the materials; "Comp," which includes a comprehension task that can be accessed in a split-screen mode; and "Write," which provides a prompt and a box for the response. Within the "Write" tab, students can access the rubric in a new window, and can also use the split-screen mode to look at the text and compose their response simultaneously.
The "Sync Skills" lessons include bold printed words, highlighting, and sidebars with additional information. The text annotations provide clear explanations within the text to support students' learning. The selections also include access to audio, if support is warranted. Pictures and graphics, including text fonts and features, are clear and easy to see without being distracting. The embedded videos are of high quality and include closed captioning and transcripts. The materials include a simple color scheme of white, blue, and orange, which allows students to easily recognize which section of the lesson they are accessing.
The technology present in the materials supports and enhances student learning. The format and graphics are consistent across materials; introductory videos for the lesson and layout of the tasks remain the same across units, allowing students to recognize the components of the lesson and navigate with ease, and the consistent use of color and layout of the materials enables teachers to easily locate and access content.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Materials are available digitally, but students also have the option to print PDF copies. Students can annotate texts by using online highlighting and text tools. The materials utilize multiple-choice and short-answer questions, which can be answered while using the split-screen mode and previously annotated texts at the same time. Students can access rubrics for responses to self-assess before submitting their work by opening them in a new window, allowing them to view their work and the rubric simultaneously.
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