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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023. Visit the instructional materials webpage to view the slides and recordings from the focus groups.
The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts (what students read, see, and hear)
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Thinking, Inquiry, and Research
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills (Grades K-5 only)
Section 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 English Language Arts and Reading (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 brings together contrasting views of colonization via two excerpts, one from the colonialist perspective in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the other from the Nigerian perspective in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Other notable texts include Martin Luther King Junior’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “I Am Offering This Poem,” both of which will resonate with students, exploring the human experience across time. Each well-selected text provides a rich cross-cut of exceptional writing.
In Unit 2, examples of high-quality texts include the traditional informational text “The Power of the Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell. The ancient Indian epic poem Rámáyana provides students with an opportunity to consider how a person’s culture affects his or her understanding of the world and shapes their role in it. The unit also includes more contemporary texts with rich language and appeals to emotion such as Night by Elie Weisel.
Unit 3 pulls together texts from varied cultures and disciplines; each text reflects on how the past influences the future. In an excerpt from “By Any Other Name,” Indian novelist and memoirist Santha Rama Rau recounts the “treatment Indian children received at an Anglo-Indian school.” Native Texan editor, poet, and educator Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, in her text Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, writes of growing up as a “mixed-blood woman.” In an excerpt from the New York Times bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, science expert and writer Rebecca L. Skloot examines the story of Henrietta Lacks and ethics in the scientific community.
In Unit 4, students read the classic tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The play contains a video of specific scenes being performed, which helps students’ understanding. The unit provides opportunities for text-to-text connections with an excerpt from classic drama Antigone by Sophocles and the complex contemporary informational selection “The Opera of Emerline” by Michael Hall. Text selections are synthesized to discuss how humans are tied to a certain destiny and how competing forces restrict an individual’s ability to control their own life. Students read a variety of genres and cultural texts, discovering how family traditions and culture shape the next generation. These text selections include the drama Cherokee Family Reunion by Larissa Fasthorse of the Lakota Nation’s Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas, Hotel Rwanda by George and Keir Pearson, and “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas” by Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua.
Unit 5 pairs informational texts like “Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors” by food historian Lizzie Collingham with poetry such as “Parsley” by renowned poet and essayist Rita Dove and “Ethiopia” by Audre Lorde, an African American writer and activist. Each text includes beautiful word play that encompasses history, culture, and the common denominator of food, which will interest and provoke students to think globally.
Unit 6 contains the short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which gives students the opportunity to discover surrealism in a familiar, short-story format. The more complex “Worship the Spirit of Criticism” by scientist Louis Pasteur allows students to analyze rhetorical devices. Unit 6 also pairs the traditional novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee with author Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Materials include a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for each grade level. Literary texts include world literature examples across literary periods. 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, “She Unnames Them” by Ursula K. Le Guin (fiction)
Unit 1, an excerpt from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (novel)
Unit 1, an excerpt from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (novel)
Unit 1, “I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca (poetry)
Unit 2, “Civil Peace” by China Achebe (fiction)
Unit 2, Rámáyana by Válmíki (epic)
Unit 3, “Love is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poetry)
Unit 3, “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri (fiction)
Unit 4, Macbeth by William Shakespeare (drama)
Unit 4, Antigone by Sophocles (drama)
Unit 4, “On Painting the Sistine Chapel” (poetry)
Unit 4, “La Juanita” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson (fiction)
Unit 5, “B. Wordsworth” by V.S. Naipaul (fiction)
Unit 5, “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth (poetry)
Unit 6, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez (fiction)
Unit 6, an excerpt from The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (novel)
Unit 6, “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol (fiction)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
Unit 1, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (argumentative)
Unit 1, “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry (argumentative)
Unit 2, “The Power of a Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell (informational)
Unit 2, “A Plea for Global Education” by Rigoberta Menchú Tum (argumentative)
Unit 2, an excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel (memoir)
Unit 3, an excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (informational)
Unit 3, an excerpt from Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners by Sigmund Freud (informational)
Unit 3, “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau (informational)
Unit 4,“Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement” by Roni Jacobson (informational)
Unit 4, Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas (memoir)
Unit 5, “Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors” by Lizzie Collingham (informational)
Unit 5, “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science” by Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy (informational)
Unit 5, “Chinese Cooking,” by Chen Jitong (argumentative)
Unit 6, “Creation Myths from Around the World” by Angie Shumov (informational)
Unit 6, “Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family” by Najla Said (informational)
Unit 6, “Coming of Age Traditions from Around the World” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura (informational)
Unit 6, “Dallas-Area Teen Interviews Veterans for YouTube Channel” by Andy Fancher (informational)
Print and graphic features are included in the instructional materials. Each selection contains a preview video, which provides students with a context for the topic of the text. Many of the selections also include bold printed words, highlighting specific vocabulary terms in the text.
In Unit 2, the informational article “The Hero’s Journey” (Unit 2) contains a graphic to illustrate the information in the text and “Valedictorian Address at Anacostia High School” contains a video of the speech.
Unit 3 includes the graphic novel Persepolis. The introduction to “Rituals of Memory” includes an informational text and art exploration “Blast: Painting History”—“How does art capture a moment in history?”—which explores surrealism through artistic interpretation.
In Unit 4, “Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement” includes photographic images to accompany the interview transcript. The poem “On Painting the Sistine Chapel” includes images to support students’ understanding of the text.
Unit 5 includes the informational article “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” which uses bar graphs from the Pew Research Center.
In Unit 6, “Dallas-Area Teen Interviews Veterans for YouTube Channel” is an interview video with a provided transcript, and “Coming-of-Age Traditions from Around the World” has images embedded throughout the text.
The materials include texts of appropriate complexity for tenth-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 to 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 contextual information 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, Things Fall Apart has a Lexile level of 1030L. The teacher lesson plan provides some guidance on addressing some of the challenges posed by the text, such as “the social structure is a hierarchy that values strength, skill, and wealth” and “the cultural values and way of life in Umuofia.” The informational text “In Between Cultures: A Granddaughter’s Advantage” has a Lexile level of 1170L. The teacher lesson plan notes that the genre of literary criticism and determining the author’s purpose in the text may be difficult for students.
In Unit 3, the excerpt from Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival has a Lexile level of 1170L. The qualitative aspects that make the text challenging are the informational genre as well as the connection between ideas, as “the narrator weaves together personal, family, ancestral, and cultural histories.” Additional selections in the unit include an excerpt from The Namesake, which has a Lexile level of 1130L and an excerpt from Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners, which has a Lexile level of 1200L.
Unit 5 includes the text “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science,” with a Lexile level of 1400L. The teacher lesson plan provides information about the genre, organization, and connection of ideas, which are the qualitative aspects of the text. The personal letter “Drop Scones’ Letter to President Eisenhower” has a Lexile level of 1250L. The use of the letter genre as a “symbol of diplomacy and national identity” and lack of familiarity are listed as possible qualitative aspects that will make the text challenging for students.
In Unit 6, the excerpt from The Joy Luck Club has a Lexile level of 850L, but the tone and students’ prior knowledge about the Great Depression add to the text’s complexity. The short story “The Nose” has a Lexile of 970L. Its use of genre elements such as “satire, surrealism, magical realism, the grotesque, and the supernatural” add to the qualitative complexity of the piece. Additional selections within the unit include “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” with a Lexile level of 1390L, and “Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an American-Arab Family,” with a Lexile level of 1340L.
Materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Most questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. Questions and tasks require students to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them and identify and discuss meaningful ideas, themes, and details. Materials group texts through tangible and relevant themes that move from personal to global perspectives. The themes serve as touchstones for studies and discussions that utilize text to examine and reflect on the human experience.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, while reading Franz Kafka's “The Refusal,” students make connections to the world and other texts with the framing question “How will the concepts you are learning today help you later in life?” Skill lessons support students’ analysis of the complex elements of the text. Students demonstrate their knowledge and integrate their skills when they respond to the prompt “How does the author use the historical setting to create complex, yet believable characters? Choose one or two characters to focus on and use evidence from the text to support your response.” Later in the unit, the plot of “She Unnames Them” centers on the voluntary renaming of Eve and the animals and plays an essential role in communicating theme. Tasks and questions support students in integrating their knowledge and making significant connections: “How does Ursula Le Guin use the events of the plot to convey a theme about hierarchy? In your response, identify a theme and analyze at least two examples of plot that the author uses to develop this theme.”
Unit 2 begins with: “Like a good story, history also moves forward. Yet, as individuals and as members of various cultural groups, we often look at the past in order to figure out where we came from and what led us to the place where we are now.” Questions and tasks support students thinking on a personal level and on a global one. For example, a pre-reading activity for “The Perils of Indifference” by Elie Wiesel asks students “If we personally witness an injustice, what is our responsibility to stop it?” This question allows students to connect their knowledge and experiences and an excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel before reading this argumentative piece. Later in the unit, students integrate knowledge and ideas across texts and skills. For example, after reading Rashema Melon’s “Valedictorian Address at Anacostia High School,” students make connections to the text by composing a letter to someone who has had an impact on their life. Students read “Methods of Motivation” to “support their reflection on how and why people pursue goals.” Students use reasoning and personal experience while participating in a collaborative discussion on “the influence of internal and external forces on an individual’s desire to achieve.” Students answer the prompt “In your opinion, what is the most effective way your family, school, or community can help students build and maintain motivation to achieve their goals?”
In Unit 3, students synthesize information and integrate their knowledge across the texts. Read together, the culturally diverse texts Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, and Rock, Ghost, Willow Deer: A Story of Survival by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke examine how experiences in childhood have a lasting impact on one’s identity. Students integrate knowledge when they compare and contrast the plots and synthesize information from the three texts to analyze the connection between family and memory.
Unit 5 poses this opening question: “What are the ingredients of culture?” Students read an excerpt from Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors by Lizzie Collingham together with “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science” by the Pew Research Center and “Chinese Cooking” by the 19th-century Chinese ambassador to France Chen Jitong, allowing them to integrate ideas across texts. “Read together, the text explores cultural misconceptions through the lens of food.” Students consider how cultural identity is expressed through writing. Questions support connections, for example: “Compare the International Exposition to more contemporary ways of encountering culture. Does modern technology help or prevent us from learning about other cultures? Explain why these experiences might lead to different perceptions.”
Unit 6’s “Essential Question” asks “How does who we were guide who we will become?” In “The Best We Could Do” students examine a unique personal experience: “In this graphic novel excerpt [The Best We Could Do], author Thi Bui illustrates the sacrifices her family made in their search for a better future,” and then reflect on personal experience: “Create your own illustrated memoir, in your writer's notebook or in a digital format, about a time in your life when you or your family made a sacrifice.” In “Coming of Age Traditions” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura, students make personal connections through questions such as “How does this relate to my life?” and “What are my thoughts and feelings?”
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 focuses on authors’ purpose by pairing the cultural and contemporary Pat Mora’s “A Voice” with Patrick Henry’s historical text “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention”. In “A Voice,” students focus on point of view and the speaker’s attitude, and they examine the impact of diction on the author’s message. Students read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to analyze the text’s argument and evaluate the elements that make it effective and memorable. Questions and tasks require students to study the differences between genres and the language of the materials. Students learn about modernist and postmodernist literature and engage in a task to identify and describe the characteristics of these two literary movements. The materials also discuss the four subgenres of fiction: surrealist fiction, allegorical fiction, stream-of-consciousness fiction, and fiction influenced by the oral tradition. Students compare the genres in online activities.
In Unit 2, materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students analyze details, such as characters, conflicts, and events, to interpret explicit and implicit meanings in the Rámáyana. Later in the unit, students read “A Plea for Global Education” and write a short response that demonstrates their understanding of Rigoberta Menchú’s message to humankind and how the reading shaped their perspective on their own message. Students analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose. The poem “The Gathering Place” by Amanda Gorman asks students to make inferences about characters and events by combining knowledge of their world with clues from the texts. Questions and tasks require students to study the differences between genres and the language of materials. Students analyze the characteristics and structural elements of two argumentative texts, “Methods of Motivation” by Point/Counterpoint (author names unknown), including the treatment of counter-arguments.
In Unit 3, students analyze the characteristics and benefits of multimodal and digital texts and then evaluate whether the video or essay is more effective at conveying information. Later in the unit, students compare “Love Is Not All,” Edna St. Vincent Millay’s tightly structured sonnet, to Ngo Tu Lap’s free-verse poem, analyzing how the authors’ varying use of poetic conventions and devices affects their messages. Students compare within and across genres with excerpts from Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, The Namesake, and Persepolis. In one example of the comparison, students are told: “Identify an example from page 140 in Persepolis of how the cultural setting emphasizes Marji’s loss of innocence. Then, go back to The Namesake. Explain how the cultural setting draws attention to Ashima’s transition from child to adult.”
In Unit 4, students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning within a single text and across a variety of texts. For example, students write a literary response to the following prompt: “How does the author’s use of diction and syntax contribute to and enhance the voice of the narrator in the story? Use text evidence and original commentary in your response.” Additionally, after reading “Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement,” students write a short response that explains how the author uses text structure to achieve her purpose and appeal to her intended audience. Students compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic; students read “Sabado Gigante” and “La Juanita” to compare and contrast the different kinds of expectations that a young person’s community often places on him or her. Students read excerpts of Macbeth, Antigone, and The Opera of Emeline to connect Antigone’s dilemma to the dilemmas faced by Macbeth and Emeline. After reading and discussing Hotel Rwanda, students write a short response to analyze how diction and syntax contribute to the tense mood in isolated scenes of the screenplay. Additionally, students write a short response that compares how diction and syntax establish a tone of embarrassment in Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and Cherokee Family Reunion.
In Unit 6, students read an excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and write an explanatory essay about the author’s “use elements of informational text, such as a thesis, evidence, examples, and a conclusion, to help the reader understand the purpose of the book.” After reading “Worship the Spirit of Criticism: Address at the Pasteur Institute,” students write a short response analyzing the author’s use of rhetorical devices to achieve specific purposes. Students also read “People Should Not Die in June in South Texas” and write a literary analysis using text evidence of the author’s use of literary devices to convey a theme about loss.
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:
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 states: “This glossary 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.
In Unit 1, students read “The Refusal,” and learn the terms claim, text-evidence, and complex characters. Lesson plans include specific strategies for teachers to monitor student understanding of the vocabulary and emphasize that the vocabulary is used in speaking and writing in class. A section called “Academic Language Focus” guides the use of the term author to acknowledge the individual behind the words. Students use academic vocabulary in their written responses. Students include unfamiliar words found during reading in their annotations. Students practice academic vocabulary in online activities. Strategies for supporting EL (English Learner) students include accessing a visual glossary or pairing ELs with an on-grade-level peer.
In Unit 2, skill lessons include personal responses, making connections, themes, word meaning, rhetoric, and setting. Students read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and focus on rhetoric. Materials provide students with a short video depicting students using academic language in context. Students learn related vocabulary by completing a graphic organizer with the terms argument, claim, conclusion, ethos, pathos, logos, and rhetorical appeal. Students then apply their understanding in an objective assessment.
In Unit 3, materials include “Recognizing Genre—Informational Text,” in which academic genre word theory is taught and used to classify text. The literary focus is surrealism and introduces academic vocabulary such as unconscious and conscious. Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners by Sigmund Freud has cross-content vocabulary such as unintelligible, synthesis, incongruence, introspection, method, and insights. Students practice vocabulary in online activities. Students use new academic vocabulary in their writing. The lesson plan outlines basic strategies for supporting English Learners, such as using a visual glossary or pairing ELs with an on-grade-level peer.
In Unit 4, the skill focus lessons are on summarizing, diction and syntax, evaluating details, and literary devices. When students read Macbeth, they study character archetypes and respond to multiple-choice questions.
In Unit 5, the “Academic Vocabulary Focus” highlights the word deny and provides teacher talk and examples of every-day use as well as academic and workplace contexts. The lesson plan outlines basic strategies for supporting EL students, such as using a visual glossary or pairing ELs with an on-grade-level peer. This unit includes relevant academic vocabulary in the study of “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth; reviews the literary vocabulary terms rhyme scheme and meter and the genre term lyric poetry; and introduces terminology such as imagery, rhythm, symbolism, and epic poetry. The lesson includes clarify and infer; students are able to use this vocabulary in their reading. Vocabulary study also contains the in-context word bower and the “Academic Vocabulary Focus” exploration of the literary analysis term conflict.
In Unit 6, materials include an “Academic Vocabulary” unit. Students use graphic organizers to study the terms aid, bond, capable, and equip. Materials model vocabulary used in the correct context. Students practice vocabulary in online activities.
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 reading texts are thematically connected to the texts read in the unit. Independent reading selections include 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.”
Unit 3 includes the following selections as options for independent reading: All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, Every Day by David Levithan, “Il Pleut” by Guillaume Apollinaire, and Ishi, the Last of His Tribe by Theodora Kroeber. After choosing a text, students respond to a prompt: “Write a response in which you identify a memorable line and tell why the language in that line is special to you.”
Unit 5 independent reading selections include “Scurvy and the Terra Incognita” by Jonathan Lamb, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and “When Chocolate Was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth, and Dufour” by Christine A. Jones. After reading, students can choose from three “library prompts” to compose a response. A sample prompt is “In a creative writing assignment, adapt one of the three poems in this excerpt from Out of the Dust into a short story in prose.”
In Unit 6, students have the option of independently reading The City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, and The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Students consider a family member or friend who would be a match for the text and explain why the text is a good selection for the person chosen.
The materials provide support for students to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Materials provide students with opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas, write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences and purposes. Materials also provide students with 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 analyses. Students compare two pieces of literature, Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness, to analyze the authors’ use of characterization to develop themes about masculinity. At the end of the unit, students “select two to three works from the unit in which an individual’s language has a powerful impact on themselves, another individual, or their community.”
In Unit 2, students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. After reading Night by Elie Wiesel, students are asked to write a narrative “about a character real or imagined who commits to remember something painful.” After reading “The Gathering Place” by Amanda Gorman, students write a narrative about their ideal world.
In Unit 3, students write an informational text to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes following a lesson on Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners. The prompt states: “Using Freud’s method of dream analysis in this excerpt as a model, conduct an analysis of a dream of your own.”
In Unit 4, students compose an argumentative text on whether “the real superheroes are ‘ordinary people’ who do ‘simple’ things every day or people who are able to pull off extraordinary acts with ‘superpowers’ like bravery or strength.”
In Unit 4, students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings. Students are asked to “select three texts from the unit and analyze the ways the authors use families—happy or otherwise—to express a theme about life. Use text details to support your analysis.” Students write a letter to an individual, explaining how he or she influenced the student’s life and thanking them for the impact.
In Unit 5, students write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students are prompted: “When you think of art, you may picture a fancy museum with an admission fee and beautiful works framed on the walls. ‘The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica’ gives a different and less obvious interpretation of what constitutes art. In what ways is the owner of the deli an artist? Make a claim and support it with evidence from the poem.”
In Unit 6, students have multiple opportunities to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings. Students write a personal, friendly letter to a family member or friend of a different generation. The letter focuses on “the relationship with this person for which you are grateful, questions you have meant to ask this person, or parts of your life you want to share with this person.” Students write a literary analysis following the selection “Zoos” and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade the audience that zoos are harmful to animals. Students compose an informational research paper about an origin story related to a religion, a culture, or a nation they would like to learn more about by generating questions, developing a research plan, gathering and evaluating source materials, and synthesizing and presenting the research findings.
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 Franz Kafka’s classic story “The Refusal” and respond to the following writing prompt: “What can the reader infer about the tax collector's power? Where does his power come from, and how is it expressed? Use evidence from the text to support your inferences.” Students also read excerpts from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and write a comparative response on how the authors use characterization to develop themes about masculinity.
In Unit 2, students read two essays, “Methods of Motivation” by Point/Counterpoint (author names unknown), about internal and external motivation in the classroom and respond in writing to the following prompt: “What does the Point essay author think about classroom environments that focus primarily on extrinsic motivation? What is the Counterpoint essay author’s opinion about extrinsic motivation in the classroom? Give evidence to support your claims.” Students also read an ancient Indian epic, the Rámáyana, and “The Gathering Place” by Amanda Gorman. Students are asked, “Compare and contrast the explicit and implicit ways that each poet conveys a message about what it means to create positive change in a community.” Using text evidence and original commentary, students compare the authors’ poetic form and use of meter and rhyme schemes to communicate the message.
In Unit 3, after reading “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau, students respond to the following writing prompt: “In this short memoir, the narrator’s personal growth relates to her name. To what extent do you believe our names affect our experience of life? Quote evidence from the text and use personal anecdotes to support your opinion.”
In Unit 4, students read a scene from Macbeth and respond to the following writing prompt: “In this scene from Macbeth, Macbeth and his friend Banquo encounter three witches who predict both of the men’s futures. In your opinion, would being able to see into the future enhance the quality of your life? Why or why not? Support your opinion using evidence from the text and relevant personal anecdotes.” Students read Hotel Rwanda by Keir Pearson and Terry George and write about the authors’ use of diction and syntax: “In this excerpt from the screenplay of Hotel Rwanda, the language used by the characters creates a distinct emotional atmosphere. Analyze how diction and syntax contribute to mood in isolated scenes from Hotel Rwanda."
In Unit 5, students read Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica” and write a short response that uses evidence from the poem to support a claim about the main character. Students write a response to “Why Dove uses symbolism to convey themes about inequality, prejudice, violence, and family?” Students choose a symbol and its meaning and explain their interpretation of the meaning, the symbol, and how the poet uses it to develop a specific theme.
In Unit 6, students read “Dallas-Area Teen Interviews Veterans for YouTube Channel,” an essay by reporter Brendan Meyer, and respond in writing to the following prompt: “How did reading this text influence the way you think about the past experiences of one such person in your life? What questions does this make you want to ask that person? Cite relevant text evidence to support your response.” Students also read “Creation Myths Around the World” by Angie Shumor and respond in writing to the following prompt: “How does the text shape your understanding of the purpose of storytelling?”
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 engage with all of the stages of the writing process to compose a literary analysis essay. During the planning stage, students use their writer’s notebook, have collaborative conversations with peers, and pre-write. After drafting, students participate in peer reviews and complete a personal reflection. Students learn about essay organization, including topic sentences, supporting evidence and explanation, concluding sentences, and transitions. Materials include capitalization of sentences within direct quotes and practice. Students then apply those skills when they “Edit and Publish” their own writing.
In Unit 2, students engage in all of the stages of the writing process to compose an informational essay in response to a prompt about how community influences our goals. During drafting, students focus on developing ideas and thesis statements and on the organization of ideas. Students then revise with a focus on supporting details, composing introductions and conclusions, and commas with phrases and clauses. Students practice colons and parentheses and apply their learning by editing the informational text they are writing.
In Unit 3, students write a personal or fictional narrative. Students learn about narrative techniques, descriptive details, dashes, pronouns and antecedents, and pronoun-antecedent agreement with indefinite pronoun antecedents. The grammar lesson uses sentences from mentor texts within the unit, which students then use in a checklist format to edit their own writing for publication.
In Unit 4, students write a persuasive essay and are advised to plan before writing. Students also use the steps of the writing process to craft an oral presentation and a correspondence letter. For the oral project, materials include planning, drafting, revising, editing, and presenting activities and lessons; for the correspondence, they include and editing and publishing.
In Unit 5, students learn to revise for supporting details, persuasive techniques, and transitions. Materials include tasks and activities for editing sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and active and passive voice. Students practice by revising provided sentences using appropriate punctuation and conjunctive adverbs and by revising their own essays to change passive voice to active voice.
In Unit 6, students learn about citations, parallel structure, and misuse of commas; then, they apply their learning using an editing checklist to determine the appropriate use of parallel structure and complete sentences in their extended writing task. The additional grammar lessons in Unit 6 include lessons on parentheses and brackets, ellipses, and conjunctive adverbs.
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.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Unit 1 materials give students speaking and listening opportunities after reading “I Am Offering This Poem.” A sample speaking frame for Question #2 states: “Directions: Use the speaking frames as you discuss the text. The speaker offers the poem to.... That person could be…. The speaker compares the poem to.... They are alike because.... The metaphors in the poem helped me understand that the speaker feels…about poetry.”
In Unit 2, after reading The Republic by Plato, students listen and speak about texts and demonstrate comprehension, answering questions such as “What can the prisoners see? In the cave metaphor, what is truth? Does Socrates believe that the ability to learn exists in everyone? Why or why not?” and “How did learning about Plato deepen your understanding of the text?” Materials include a sample answer with paragraph annotations.
In Unit 4, after reading “Hotel Rwanda,” students use concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through study. Students discuss how the language used by the characters creates a “distinct emotional atmosphere.”
In Unit 5, after reading the poem “Ethiopia,” students demonstrate comprehension of the poem by participating in a whole-class “Text Talk.” Discussion questions include “What does the fact that the people have been ‘seven years without milk’ suggest about the Ethiopian famine? Why might a person’s birthday be a cause to celebrate in the midst of famine?” Students share ideas and receive feedback. Speaking frames and discussion guides support students’ listening and speaking skills.
In Unit 6, after reading “Coming of Age Traditions Around the World” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura, students use personal anecdotes and text-supported claims to answer “What positive effects can traditions have on individuals, families, and communities?”
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 2, students read The Republic by Plato and are provided with the following sentence frames to support discussion: “The video makes me feel...and I think that something is right or good when....” In this unit, students engage in collaborative conversations that focus on developing specific discussion skills. One opportunity is when discussing the poetic structure of the poem “The Journey.” The materials provide guidance for building consensus: “During your conversation, you and your peers may disagree. In such cases, explore one another’s ideas and opinions and provide evidence and reasoning in support of each claim. The group should listen fairly to all positions and try to come to a general agreement. After your conversation, take note of any disagreements and explain how the group built consensus.”
In Unit 3, materials provide a model of a discussion in which students express their thinking on the “StudySyncTV” platform; in a 9-minute video, teens informally debate the controversial ethical issues of identity, race, and science, and review the basics of Henrietta Lacks’ case after reading an excerpt of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Teacher support materials include suggestions for teachers to model discussions, along with sentence frames and discussion-guide scaffolds, which prepare students for a debate “about whether or not families should make the decision to allow a loved one’s cells to be studied.” Sample discussion frames include: “After watching the video, my question is...” and “Someone who is ethical acts like....”
In Unit 4, while reading Hotel Rwanda, students are provided with sentence frames to support the discussion of the text. Some examples include: “The mood is...when...happens because...”; “The mood is...when (Paul/another character) uses...diction because...and I think (Paul’s/another character’s)...syntax affects the mood because....” Prior to each “collaborative conversation,” students are reminded of specific procedures to facilitate an effective discussion. Students are given examples of active listening: “[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.” Students are given protocols for after they complete discussions with their peers. Students write a reflection where they “describe their best contribution to the discussion” and “identify a goal for improving contributions to future discussions.”
Unit 5 provides optional extended learning opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak using the conventions of language. After reading “Chinese Cooking,” students have the opportunity to share a presentation that focuses on a food that is representative of their own family traditions and/or culture in a classroom exposition. The teacher materials suggest asking students to select several foods that they would like to share with classmates as an entry point into their family or culture; they do so by creating a menu that lists and describes each dish for an audience that may be unfamiliar with these foods. Then, students select one food or dish from their menu to bring into the class exposition to share with their classmates. Additionally, students must prepare an explanation to share with classmates about why they chose to bring that specific dish or what personal/cultural/familial significance it has for them.
In Unit 6, students prepare an informative presentation about how someone helped them develop a new skill, including a clear thesis about the experience, details about what approach the person took, what the process of learning from him or her was like, and how the student changed as a result. Additionally, the presentation should compare and contrast the student’s experience “with those of individuals in unit texts such as ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ and the excerpts from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lumberjanes.” Students are encouraged to use visual aids to enhance comprehension or engagement. Students have an opportunity to engage in oral presentations with guidance on how to present information effectively. The instructional materials discuss the characteristics of informational oral presentations, such as a thesis statement, facts, evidence, details, and anecdotes that support the thesis; an organizational structure that makes the presentation clear and easy to follow; eye contact and clear oral communication; and gestures and visual aids that communicate ideas visually and keep the audience engaged. Students are provided with a graphic organizer to help plan, draft, revise, and edit their oral presentation.
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 1, students have the opportunity to engage in a short-term research project by using the extended writing opportunity option. The task states: “Write an informational essay about the origin and usage of a word or phrase that is meaningful or interesting to you. The word could be the name of a place, a family name, a technical term, or an everyday word you have wondered about. Consult at least two reliable sources and include key details from those sources in your essay. Be sure to identify the research links where you found your information.”
In Unit 4, students engage in research and then deliver an oral presentation. Students interview an individual they respect “to learn more about his or her life experiences and how these experiences have shaped his or her values.” Students are instructed to use at least three “reliable” sources: the individual they interviewed, along with texts from the unit or external sources. Students are given the terms reliability, credibility, bias, accuracy, omission, and faulty reasoning and a model that explains how to ask questions to evaluate a source. Students then demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer, sorting descriptors of sources into the category “credible and reliable” or “not credible or reliable.”
In Unit 5, students have an informal opportunity to share information and ideas with peers. After reading “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica,” students consider the connections people have to food and are tasked to think of a family recipe that is important to their culture or has significance for another reason. Students record the purpose and action steps to perform the specific task of preparing the selected food item, rehearse, and deliver the instructions orally to classmates. An additional writing prompt project in Unit 5 is for students to write an informational essay about the ingredients of a popular or favorite food. Students are instructed to use the “research links” provided in the “Blasts” and other sources to find information to compose the essay, making sure to cite the sources.
In Unit 6, students engage in a sustained research project and formally present their research. Students choose an origin story relating to a religion, culture, or nation they would like to learn more about and write a research essay that “explains this origin story and analyzes what it suggests about one or more of the following: the community’s answer to the age-old question ‘Why are we here?’, the nature of divine forces, the relationship between humankind and divine forces, or the relationship between humankind and the natural world.” Students select a research question, develop a research plan, gather and evaluate source materials, and synthesize and present their research findings. Students are reminded to include “an engaging introduction, supporting details from at least three credible sources, a clear text structure, a thought-provoking conclusion, and citations for sources, including a works cited page.” Throughout the process, materials support students in developing and refining research questions, evaluating sources for credibility and bias, and properly citing sources.
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 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and engage in tasks that provide opportunities to read, write, speak, and listen while using the conventions of language. Before the first read, students watch a video to gain context for the text and its historical setting during the Civil Rights Era; this is an opportunity for students to practice listening skills. Then, students read and annotate the text, focusing on monitoring their comprehension. After reading, students demonstrate their comprehension with written responses to questions such as “According to Dr. King, why is he in Birmingham? List at least three reasons, using evidence from the text to support your response”; “What does Dr. King mean when he says, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’? What examples does he give of this concept? Include evidence from paragraphs 4–6 in your response.” These questions allow students to use textual evidence to build their skills in analysis, using text evidence to support their conclusions. Students then work on developing their oral language skills, with a specific focus on vocabulary development, by using a print or digital resource as needed to clarify and validate word meanings. Students then reread the text and participate in a mini-lesson on rhetoric. They apply their understanding by analyzing an excerpt of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and responding to text-dependent questions such as “What is the purpose of the parallelism in the first sentence?” “What is the purpose of the antithesis in the sentence about the seventy-two-year-old woman?” and “Identify a rhetorical shift that occurs between paragraph 46 and paragraph 47.” Students then complete a close read of the text, applying the rhetorical analysis skills from the mini-lesson, and engage in a collaborative conversation to gather ideas. Students explore the author’s use of rhetorical strategies. During this conversation, students practice the skill of building consensus as they explore one another’s ideas and opinions and provide evidence and reasoning in support of each claim. The group is encouraged to “listen fairly to all positions and try to come to a general agreement.” After completing the collaborative discussion, the final task in the unit is for students to compose a rhetorical analysis. Students write a 300-word response analyzing “how King uses characteristics of argumentative texts, such as rhetorical appeals and a convincing conclusion, to communicate his argument.”
In Unit 2, students engage in interconnected tasks that allow them to build and apply their literacy skills. At the beginning of the lesson, students watch an introductory video and consider “the importance of community.” Then, students read the contemporary poem “The Gathering Place” by Amanda Gorman and focus on making inferences about characters and events in the text before engaging in a discussion. The teacher lesson plan includes a “Text Talk” section with suggested discussion questions. A few examples include: “How did discussing the words village, city, and globe deepen your understanding of what you read?” “What can the reader most likely infer from lines 18–21?” and “What poetic features can be found in the poem?” As students respond, they are encouraged to support answers with evidence from the poem. Students then have an opportunity to integrate writing by composing a narrative that conveys their ideal world. Within the unit, students also have an opportunity to analyze ideas across multiple texts. Students read the epic Rámáyana and compose short-answer responses to text-dependent questions such as “Who is the speaker?” and “Identify two or three main characters and describe their significance to the narrative.” As a culminating task, students compare and contrast how the authors use different poetic forms to convey a message about what it means to create positive change in a community. Students analyze each poet’s use of meter and rhyme scheme to communicate the poem’s message, using text evidence and original commentary to support their response.
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.
Students study and practice the academic language of argumentative texts. In Unit 1, students work on the analysis of language and author’s craft when composing an argument. Students conduct a close study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and focus on rhetorical strategies and argument techniques. Later in the same unit, students analyze Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention.” During this instructional opportunity, students are provided some scaffolding in the “Read” section, which focuses on making inferences to determine the author’s argument. Students then complete a “short written response to how Patrick Henry’s style and language reinforce and enhance his message.” In Unit 2, after the close read of the essays “Methods of Motivation,” students “use reasoning and personal experience to apply the argument by engaging in a collaborative discussion” with peers about what “they believe is the most effective way your family, school, or community can help build and maintain motivations?” In Unit 5, students evaluate the author’s use of print and graphic features to achieve specific purposes in “The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science.” Students consider questions such as “What does Image 4 tell readers about what U.S. adults focus on most when choosing a meal? Explain, citing evidence from the text that supports your assertion.” Students then participate in a collaborative discussion to prepare for an essay on the prompt “What do you think is the best way to encourage healthy eating in children? Use text evidence as well as relevant anecdotal evidence to support your claim. “
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.
In Unit 1, students read “In Between Cultures: A Granddaughters Advantage” by Hayan Charara. In the teacher lesson plan, there are planning opportunities for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. A variety of questions prepare students to “analyze for enrichment,” including “In what ways did the granddaughter take action as an intermediary between her grandmother and the matrons in the bathroom?” and “What might be a counter-argument to the author’s claim? What evidence could be used to support this counter-argument?” In an extended writing project, students can use the essay “In Between Cultures: A Granddaughters Advantage” as a “mentor text to write a literary analysis essay.” Students can also “interview someone who is from two cultures to understand how they bridge two cultures.”
In Unit 2, students read “The Perils of Indifference” and focus on developing vocabulary. One extension activity for students suggests writing a paragraph about their favorite hobby or activity using all of the vocabulary words. The lesson also requires students to analyze the text, and the extension has students analyze syntax. Students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level can examine how a sentence creates a shift in tone and answer questions about the ways Wiesel’s diction and syntax contribute to the meaning of the paragraph and/or the speech as a whole.
In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. After a close read of the novel, students performing above grade level have an opportunity to analyze the images in the novel: “What images or emotions are connoted by the mention of the turquoise bracelet?” “What might the turquoise bracelet symbolize?” As an extension, students can also use Persepolis “as a mentor text for using historical context and descriptive details to show the haunting power of memories” in an essay.
In Unit 4, students read “By Any Other Name” and discuss background knowledge of the text. The lesson plan provides the teacher with an extension activity for students who are performing above grade level; “Ask students: The title of the story you are about to read comes from a famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet tells Romeo, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ What do you think this quote means?” Students write their answers and thoughts in their writer’s notebook and pair up. After both students share, the two students reflect on the new ideas discussed.
In Unit 6, students watch “Dallas-Area Teen Interviews Veterans for YouTube Channel,” and the materials include an option for extending the lesson to students performing above grade level by completing the R.I.S.E activity, a four-column chart with headings: Research, Issues, Stakes, and Efforts. Students work as a group to research information about surviving World War II veterans in the U.S. In the second column, students write the issues that veterans face as a result of their experiences. In the third column, students identify what is at stake if these issues aren’t addressed. Finally, in the fourth column, students identify the efforts that could be made to address these issues.
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, students read an excerpt from The Heart of Darkness and compose a literary analysis. The materials provide scaffolds and supports for students who are performing below grade level. Students work in mixed-level groups, in collaborative situations, and are provided with sentence starters to support discussions, writing, and planning. Before writing, students participate in a collaborative conversation about a prompt to generate ideas and use a discussion guide to facilitate their discussion. Students work in mixed-level pairs to complete the graphic organizer and plan their responses. As students compose their analysis, they can simultaneously view their completed graphic organizers and sentence starters such as “The actions of..., illustrate the idea that masculinity involves....” Sentence frames provide openers for peer review and feedback.
In Unit 3, students compose a timed-writing response to the following: “Write an essay in which you explain how the author builds an argument to persuade their audience that saving lives should take priority over preserving traditions.” The materials suggest providing a checklist for writing and sentence starters as scaffolding for students performing below grade level. The draft checklist includes questions such as “Have I stated my claim clearly? Have I included only important information and details that support my claim? Does my choice of organizational structure make sense? Are my ideas clearly connected both within and between body paragraphs? Are all of my points clearly expressed? Will readers be able to easily follow and understand my train of thought?”
In Unit 6, students read “A Quilt of the Country”; the materials provide scaffolds to support students performing below grade level. After watching the introductory video, students can use speaking frames to support a discussion of the images and the context. Before reading, there is a text synopsis, visual glossary, and discussion frames. Sample questions from the discussion scaffold include the following: “Some examples of failure are...; The conundrum is...; People were concerned that...; Ma-Pa stores are now...; Discussing the uniqueness of the United States helped me....” The “Think” section provides students with a word bank and sentence-response frames in place of the short-answer response required by students performing at grade level. The “Write” section includes a prompting guide to analyze the writing prompt, sentence starters to respond to the prompt, and a question to guide peer revision. Supports allow students to engage in grade-level tasks.
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 Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced High EL students. 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 allowing 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 Am Offering This Poem” independently and annotate the text for vocabulary terms. The materials suggest that Beginning and Intermediate ELs can read the EL text synopsis instead of the text and use a visual glossary. The teacher lesson guides differentiating for English Learners. When students are required to write in their notebooks, making a connection between the text and the unit’s “Essential Question,” scaffolds are provided for all levels of ELs. Beginning and Intermediate EL students are encouraged to draw or write in their native language. During the discussion, teachers move about, prompting students to share their thoughts orally or through pantomime. Advanced and Advanced High ELs share their connections orally, in pairs or in small groups, before freewriting. During the collaborative conversation, the materials suggest the teacher work directly with Beginning and Intermediate ELs as a group; “Use the discussion guide and speaking frames to facilitate the discussion.” Advanced and Advanced High ELs are grouped in mixed-level groups of three or four students; “Prompt students to take turns using the discussion guide to facilitate their conversations.”
In Unit 1, the “EL Resources” lessons include high-frequency and vocabulary words, language structures, spelling patterns, conveying ideas, classroom vocabulary, summarizing, and retelling. Each unit also consists of an extended oral project to practice oral presentation skills, including developing a claim, reason, evidence, and counterargument.
In Unit 2, students read The Republic, and one of the lessons focuses on using context clues. The suggested differentiation for ELs includes allowing Beginning and Intermediate EL students to work in groups of “mixed-level pairs for peer support as they follow along.” Teachers are instructed: “Allow students to work together to highlight and annotate the text in English or their native language.” Students read “The Power of the Hero’s Journey.” Beginning and Intermediate ELs read the EL text synopsis instead of the text and use a dictionary, a thesaurus, or the visual glossary. Advanced and Advanced High ELs can use the visual glossary for support as they read.
In Unit 3, students have a self-selected reading text and response. The teacher lesson plan provides support for students in choosing a text and responding to it. The support for helping students read the text includes allowing Beginning ELs “to conduct a choral read of the lowest Lexile Blast”; then, teachers work directly with students as they annotate. For Intermediate and Advanced ELs, teachers may “have students read and annotate the lowest Lexile Blast in mixed-level pairs.” Advanced and Advanced High ELs can “read and annotate the lowest Lexile Blast independently.” All levels of ELs have the visual glossary as a potential scaffold. When preparing to respond to the text, the materials provide options for all levels of English Learners. For Beginning ELs, teachers work directly with students, reading aloud the word bank and paragraph frame; teachers pause as students select the correct word for each blank. For Intermediate ELs, materials suggest using the paragraph frame(s) and/or word bank independently. For Advanced and Advanced High ELs, materials suggest using sentence starters or allowing a differentiated response length.
In Unit 6, students read an excerpt from The Joy Luck Club and focus on using text evidence to respond to the text. The scaffolds provided for EL students include Beginning and Intermediate ELs: “Pair with on-grade-level peers to read the definition and use the available scaffolds of a visual glossary and speaking frames.” For Advanced and Advanced High ELs, the materials suggest introducing the skill with the visual glossary and speaking frames. Sample speaking frames are “I once made a conclusion/inference about...; I was able to support it with text evidence showing...; Citing text evidence is important because....”
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 1, after reading an excerpt from The Heart of Darkness, students answer questions that are aligned to the TEKS; for example, one question is “Which of these inferences is best supported by the following passage (paragraph 1)?” This question aligns with a specific TEKS, and the teacher lesson plan includes the correct answer with a justification as well as explanations for why the other answer choices were incorrect. Another example is during the first read of “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention”; students answer short-answer questions based on the TEKS previously taught within the unit. The teacher materials include the TEKS, skills focus, and sample responses.
In Unit 2, students read Rigoberta Menchu Tum’s speech “A Plea for Global Education.” After reading, students take formative assessments, which include TEKS-aligned comprehension questions such as “What is most closely a central idea of the text ‘A Plea for Global Education’?” and “Which of the selections best states the speaker’s point in the following passage (paragraph 5)?” An additional formative assessment is a short writing assignment that asks students to give their “personal message to humankind” and asks, “How did [the] text shape their perspective on [their] own message?” The instructional materials do contain a rubric to guide teachers on assessing student performance, but there is no guidance for teacher instructional support or actions in response to the student’s performance.
In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival. After reading, students respond to TEKS-aligned comprehension questions, such as “Which of these influences about the writer’s ancestors is best supported by the first paragraph?” and “The following passage mainly shows that...? (paragraph 4).” Students compose a written response—a personal essay that includes “descriptive details to recount [their] first clear memory and state [their] opinion on why memories are important.” The instructional materials provide a rubric to guide teachers on assessing student performance in personal response and language and conventions, but there is no guidance for teachers to respond to student performance.
In Unit 4, students read an excerpt from Antigone and learn about dramatic conventions and elements. Later in the unit, students engage in an independent reading of Cherokee Family Reunion and write a short response—a scene about an emotional moment in their lives—that demonstrates their understanding of dramatic conventions. Students are instructed: “Choose one moment of your life that involved a variety of emotions and dramatize it by writing a scene complete with dialogue and dramatic conventions.” A rubric for scoring drama response and conventions of language is provided, but there is no guidance for teachers to respond to the student’s performance after analyzing it with the rubric.
In Unit 6, students complete a culminating project to tie together all the skills from the unit. Students choose an origin story and write a research essay that explains and analyzes what it suggests about “Why are we here?” Students can focus on “the nature of divine forces, the relationship between humankind and divine forces, or the relationship between humankind and the natural world.” The project expectations include an engaging introduction, supporting details from at least three credible sources, a clear text structure, a thought-provoking conclusion, and citations for sources, including a Works Cited page. A rubric is provided to assess students’ planning and research as well as the use of language and conventions, but there is no included guidance for teacher instructional support or actions in response to 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 are 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 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 EL 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 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 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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