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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, or sign up for a November focus group.
The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts (what students read, see, and hear)
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Thinking, Inquiry, and Research
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills (Grades K-5 only)
Section 5. Supports for Diverse Learners
Section 6. Ease of Use and Supports for Implementation
Section 7. Technology, Cost, and Professional Learning Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts for ELAR instruction and cover a range of student interests, time periods, genres, and content areas. The texts are well-crafted and of publishable quality, representing the quality of content, language, and writing that is produced by experts in various disciplines. Materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant is an excerpted historical text on the Eastern origins of Western civilization. The text provides complex and detailed historical and philosophical overviews of the influences on Western civilization. Details supporting the central idea of the text are based upon both substantiated and unsubstantiated information; the text is written with a particular effect in mind—to present Western history as a unified, integrated occurrence of events, rather than as a study of separate episodes.
In Unit 1, Homer’s Odyssey is a classical epic poem recounting the fascinating story of Odysseus’ return from the Trojan War. The text’s verse form includes many poetic and literary devices that impact the tone of the text as well as reader engagement. This reading selection contains complex characterization, diction, and plot sequence.
In Unit 2, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is the author’s affecting recollection of the weekly visits he paid to his sociology professor as the professor battled with a terminal illness. The text presents a chronicle of human interaction that documents the complexities of facing the inevitable through simple, humane acts.
In Unit 3, Hiroshima, an informational text by John Hersey, and Hiroshima in the Morning by Rhana Reiko Rizzuto provide an opportunity to focus on understanding key images, descriptions, and storytelling through imagery in a nonfiction narrative. The texts are well-crafted, with timeless, poignant themes that engross readers, and lend themselves to the study of perspective.
In Unit 4, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson and David J. Garrow provides an opportunity to analyze the arguments and perspectives presented on black women, protests, and civil disobedience during the 1955–56 Montgomery bus boycott. This text encourages students to consider how to take a position and fight for it using substantiated claims and evidence as support.
The materials provide texts ranging from complex traditional and classical texts to contemporary texts. The texts are well-crafted, with inspiring language, layered themes, and scientific, historical, and literary content.
The materials include a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for each grade level. The materials include works of world literature across literary periods as outlined in the TEKS. The literary texts presented in the materials lend themselves to students’ critical response and oral commentary. The informational texts include texts of information, exposition, argument, procedures, and documents. The materials also include print and graphic features in multi-genre texts that serve to minimize learning-related challenges and enhance text connection.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
The Odyssey by Homer (an epic poem)
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (novel)
The Arabian Nights: Tales from One Thousand and One Nights and “The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through A Dream” translated by Sir Richard Burton (fiction)
The Post Office, Act 1, by Rabindranath Tagore (play)
“Silence Dogwood” by Benjamin Franklin (allegory)
“The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats (poem)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (historical nonfiction)
Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke (argumentative nonfiction)
“Where College Fails Us” by Caroline Bird (argumentative essay)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (nonfiction)
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman (nonfiction)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (nonfiction)
The materials also include print and graphic features for a variety of texts. Graphic features include shading and marginal boxed information in shapes including rectangles and ovals. Flow chart graphics are used to depict the research process.
Examples of the graphic features of the materials include but are not limited to:
In Unit 2, a real photograph of a Benjamin Franklin statue is used in connection with the text. This picture is used to encourage students to form their own ideas in connection with the text.
In Unit 3, bold and underlined words are used in the text Hiroshima by John Hersey. These print features are used to help readers understand unfamiliar words in an informational text.
In Unit 3, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan uses a graphic chart to analyze the structure of an argument. This chart helps the student understand the way an argument flows.
In Unit 4, a chart is used to analyze the main idea in a memoir. This chart has the students fill out the actions and reactions and helps the students identify the main ideas.
In all, the materials’ texts are diverse, robust, and contain graphic features that distinguish the materials as tenable and worthwhile resources for the grade-level instruction for which they were intended.
The materials include texts appropriately complex to support English II students at their grade level. Within the materials, the Teacher’s Guide provides some information on the three factors of text complexity: quantitative measures, such as Lexile scores, “consider word length, word frequency, and sentence length”; qualitative measures include “such elements as layout, purpose, and meaning, text structure, language features, and knowledge demands”; reader and task considerations require “the professional judgment of teachers to provide the support needed to ensure the success of their students as readers.” Each text is accompanied by a Lexile level, given in the table of contents of the Teacher’s Guide. Most of the texts’ Lexile levels are at or above the college-and-career-readiness metrics threshold of 1080L–1335L for 10th-grade students, as noted by lexile.com.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, The Journeyer by Gary Jennings has a Lexile level of 1430L. The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant has a Lexile level of 1240L.
In Unit 2, Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke has a Lexile level of 1530L. “Where College Fails Us” by Caroline Bird has a Lexile level of 1270L.
In Unit 3, Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto has a Lexile level of 1110L. Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes has a Lexile level of 1350L.
In Unit 4, “Freedom” by E. B. White has a Lexile level of 1370L. “Pure Genius: How Dean Kamen’s Invention Could Bring Clean Water to Millions” by Tom Foster has a Lexile level of 1150L.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. The materials contain questions and tasks that 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. Questions and tasks also require students to identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials are divided into four units, and each unit begins with an “Essential Question”/”Big Idea.” Throughout each unit, the authors use multiple genres and a variety of text types to analyze the Big Idea and address key concepts and elements. The Teacher’s Guide notes the multiple TEKS integrated within each chapter.
The Essential Question (Big Idea) in Unit 1 is “Is the journey more important than the destination?” Unit 1, Chapter 1, focusing on The Journeyer by Gary Jennings, starts by asking, “If you could journey anywhere in the world, where would you go and why and have you ever traveled to a new place that was vastly different from the culture and environment where you live?” After reading the text the first time, students are asked text-dependent questions, such as, “In the first paragraph, what sense is primarily appealed to by the details in ‘in the twilight of the fading day?’” During the second reading of the text, students are asked “What single sensory detail in the excerpt did you find the most compelling or powerful and why?” After the third reading, students are asked “How is reading a book like taking a journey to an unknown destination?”
The Essential Question (Big Idea) in Unit 2 is “What makes a great teacher?” Unit 2, Chapter 6, focusing on Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, starts by having students say a common phrase in three different tones; they then draw connections between phrases and tones by discussing the reactions to each tone. Next, students read the excerpt “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens and make connections to this text by discussing the tone. After the first reading of Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, students are asked text-based questions, such as “How do McCourt’s students first react when he passes out the excuse notes?” During the second reading, the Essential Question is asked: “Is Frank McCourt an example of a great teacher? Why?”
The Essential Question (Big Idea) in Unit 3 is “What are the costs of scientific innovation?” Unit 3, Chapter 11, focusing on Hiroshima by John Hersey and Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, starts by asking: “Think about a time you were afraid or nervous that something bad was going to happen. How did you act? How did you interact with others? Was the outcome different than you anticipated?” This connection-to-personal-experience task requires students to discuss the big ideas in this chapter. During the first read, students focus on the sensory details and key images within the text. Then, they are asked: “Based on the words and phrases you underlined, what was it like to experience a nuclear bomb blast? How do these details contribute to the main idea of the excerpt?” After the second reading of the text, students are asked to reflect: “Why do you think Hersey’s account was banned in Japan?” After the third reading of the text, students are asked, “Can you think of other examples besides the atomic bomb in which a scientific invention has brought both innovation and destruction?”
The Essential Question (Big Idea) in Unit 4 is “Can a simple idea bring about change?” Unit 4, Chapter 16, focusing on The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson and David J. Garrow starts by asking: “How would you define the term civil disobedience? Think about a video you have seen or an article you have read that inspired your passion for a cause or made you want to change an unfair practice. What was it about the video or article that made you want to take action?” These questions give students the opportunity to connect with the topic of the chapter before engaging with the text. Students then read an excerpt from “Resistance to Civil Government” by Henry David Thoreau and answer the question “What is Thoreau suggesting about how to go about changing unjust laws?” After the first reading of the text by Robinson and Garrow, they are asked: “What new information did you learn about the Montgomery bus boycott that you didn’t know before? How is Robinson’s account different from other accounts you’ve read?” After the third read, the materials reference the Essential Question: “Was the bus boycott a simple idea? Did it bring about great change?” Chapter 16 concludes with students participating in a “Roundtable Discussion” focused on connecting the Essential Question with the bus boycott.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The questions and tasks support students’ analysis of the literary/textual elements of texts, asking students to make inferences and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. The materials compare and contrast purposes, analyze the author’s choices, study the language within the text, and require students to study the differences between genres and the language of materials.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read The Journeyer by Gary Jennings. They begin by drawing conclusions about Polo’s reactions to entering Khanbalik, with text evidence. During the second reading of the text, students investigate how the author develops the story; students write a paragraph analyzing “how the author uses descriptive techniques to convey Polo’s amazement at seeing fireworks for the first time.” After the third reading of the text, students focus on drawing conclusions: “What conclusions can you draw about the city Khanbalik based on the evidence in the text, and what conclusions can you draw about early fireworks based on evidence in the texts?” The chapter concludes with a literary analysis essay, answering the question “Would the Journeyer be as effective if Jennings had written it with a third-person narrative rather than a first-person narrative? Why or why not?” These questions and tasks require the students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of The Journeyer by Gary Jennings.
In Unit 2, students read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and Morrie: In His Own Words by Morrie Schwartz. After reading both texts, students complete a graphic organizer with two columns; in the first column, students identify an aphorism in Schwartz’s text Morrie: In His Own Words; in the second column, students identify an application of that aphorism in Albom’s text Tuesdays with Morrie. After students complete the chart, the materials instruct: “Choose one aphorism from Morrie: In His Own Words and explain how Morrie demonstrated this idea in Tuesdays with Morrie. Write several paragraphs using evidence from both texts. Identify and analyze the purpose of antithesis and parallelism. End your response with a reflection of the lesson you learned from what you read in this chapter.”
In Unit 3, students read Hiroshima by John Hersey and Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. Questions and tasks for both texts require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. For example, after the first reading of the texts, students are asked: “How does the author create suspense in the narrative? Point to words and phrases that indicate the mood of Hiroshima and foreshadow the bombing. Does this add to the interest of the text? Why or why not?” During the third reading of the text Hiroshima in the Morning, students compare and contrast the texts. At the end of the chapter, students are prompted to utilize a graphic organizer and write “a comparative analysis of the styles of the two texts.”
In Unit 4, students read The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started it: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson and David J. Garrow. The chapter starts with an excerpt from “Resistance to Civil Government” by Henry David Thoreau; the materials ask: “Notice how Thoreau introduces his main idea in the first sentence. Is this effective? Why or why not? Underline a sentence from the text that supports your point of view.” When reading the memoir, students are asked, “What role does Fred Gray play in the events of the memoir?” This type of question requires the students to study the difference between genres. During the second reading of the memoir, students focus on supporting details: “What do the repeated ideas emphasize?” Students are also asked: “The author uses two direct quotations in the excerpt. What are they, and what does each one contribute to the memoir?” This type of question supports students’ analysis of language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of the text. After the third reading of the text, the text is paired with the public remarks by President Lyndon B. Johnson about signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Students complete a graphic organizer to identify the claims and evidence in the persuasive writings of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Jo Ann Gibson.
Materials provide opportunities to build academic vocabulary throughout the year; however, an explicit year-long plan for building academic vocabulary within and across texts is not provided. The materials provide some scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. While scaffolds to support English Learners (ELs) are clearly identified throughout the materials, there are no supports referenced for other struggling learners.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The first page of each chapter in the Student Book provides a sidebar with a list of academic vocabulary. The academic vocabulary includes terms and phrases that students will encounter in the academic dialogue of the instructional tasks throughout the unit as well as the academic vocabulary of the text genre presented in each chapter. While the Teacher’s Guide provides the definition of each academic vocabulary word followed by a sentence that uses the word in context, it does not include a plan to explicitly apply words in appropriate contexts.
In Unit 1, students read The Journeyer by Gary Jennings, and the Teacher’s Guide and Student Book list academic words including textual evidence, simile, and metaphor. Then, during the first reading of the text, students are asked to circle unfamiliar words as they complete the reading. The Teacher’s Guide instructs teachers to pre-teach the “previewed” vocabulary to aid comprehension. The suggested words in the Teacher’s Guide for the previewed vocabulary include impede, ogle, sedate, clangor, benignly, tumult, tranquil, asunder. The “Remediation” section suggests readers who demonstrate proficiency below grade level should have the passage read aloud to them so that they can hear the vocabulary properly enunciated. Afterwards, they find examples of onomatopoeia (words that sound like their meanings), such as glittering, scurrying, screech, clangor, crack, ﬂash, skittish, plunging, or sparks.
In Unit 2, for Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, the Teacher’s Guide and Student Book list academic words that include epiphany, dictation, and sentence structure. The previewed vocabulary suggested in the Teacher’s Guide—to be taught by the teacher during the first reading of the text—includes blatantly, calligraphy, harried, and prose. In the “Focus on Identifying Tone” assignment—tone is one of the academic vocabulary words of the chapter—students are given the meaning of tone, read the details in the chart on the next page, and then comment on how the language used in the description reveals the writer’s tone.
In Unit 3, for Hiroshima by John Hersey and Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, the Teacher’s Guide and Student Book list academic words that include anaphora, ellipsis, anecdote, and olfactory. The suggested previewed vocabulary words in the Teacher’s Guide include rendezvous, abstinence, jittery, estuarial, comprise, reconnaissance, finicky, incinerated, statistician, and activist. In one chapter, for example, two words, rendezvous and abstinence, are included in bold print to indicate that this significant vocabulary is listed in the footnotes.
In Unit 4, for “Freedom” by E.B. White, the Teacher’s Guide and Student Book list academic words including rhetoric, ethos, pathos, logos, and appositives. The suggested words in the Teacher’s Guide for the previewed vocabulary include the words sensibility, standardize, inordinately, prudent, council, and esteem. ELs explain, act out, draw pictures, and provide examples to define and contextualize academic vocabulary. They keep a list of words in a journal and are also provided a link to the “Learner's Dictionary” online, if needed.
The materials do not include a clearly defined plan to support independent reading and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. There are opportunities for students to independently read and study texts from within the materials. The materials do not include a plan that supports students in self-selecting texts and reading independently for a sustained period of time; they do not include planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals. At the end of each chapter, the Teacher’s Guide has an optional section called “On Your Own: Integrating Ideas,” which provides students with suggested additional reading materials: a book or research text that connects to the theme and “Essential Question” of the chapter.
The materials provide support for students to develop writing skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students compose literary texts, informational texts, argumentative texts, and correspondence. Students are given opportunities to compose writing connected to the texts as well as stand-alone projects that include writing. Text choices and writing tasks present a range of complexity, context, and purpose.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, “Writing a Personal Narrative,” students are told: “In Chapters 1–5, you read a variety of fictional stories and nonfiction narratives about journeys. In this section, you will apply what you’ve learned by writing your own personal narrative about a trip you have taken.” Here, students are encouraged to synthesize their previous learning with the current writing task.
In Unit 2, “Writing an Argumentative Essay,” students research and provide arguments for what they believe are the essential qualities of a great teacher.
In Unit 3, students read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. They write an op-ed for their local newspaper or school paper on “What is the proper role of government in deciding what we grow, how we process food, and what we eat?”
In Unit 4, “Writing a Research Paper,” students are given a writing prompt: Describe how an idea has greatly changed the world by first researching some of the most significant ideas in history.
In the “Composition Practice Book,” writing skills are covered for multiple genres and purposes. For example, in Chapter 7, the Composition Practice Book targets “Personal Narrative”—students “choose a subject for a personal essay” from their personal experience; six suggestions/ideas are listed in a text box. Students are guided through the writing process. For “Short Story,” students write a plan for a short story using the model provided (narrator/point of view, setting, characters with brief character descriptions, conflict, climax, and outcome).
Written tasks throughout the materials 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. The materials provide opportunities for students to respond to text-based questions and to justify their responses with evidence from the texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant. After the second reading of an excerpt, students are told, “Write a short paragraph explaining why people might have doubted Marco Polo’s stories.” The materials instruct the students to use evidence from the text to support their responses.
In Unit 2, students read To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite. After the second reading of a passage, students are told, “Write a few paragraphs analyzing the impact of Braithwaite’s words on the meaning and tone of his writing.” Students must use evidence from the text to support their responses.
In Unit 3, students read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. After the third reading of an excerpt, students are instructed: “Based on the work you did during the first and second reads of the passage, write a multi-paragraph analysis of the excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Explain how Skloot effectively weaves together several subjects using different types of writing. Use direct quotations to support your conclusions about the text.”
In Unit 4, students read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. The materials prompt: “Write two or three paragraphs explaining why Chinua Achebe named his novel after a line from the poem ‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats. Use evidence from both selections to support your conclusions.”
Over the course of the year, writing skills and knowledge of conventions are applied in increasingly complex contexts, with opportunities for students to publish their writing. The materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process to compose text in all four units and in the standalone supplemental materials. The materials provide opportunities for the practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Within and across units, grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically both in out of context. Each chapter and unit of the materials presents text-based tasks that address conventions and usage, while the “Composition Practice” materials present drills and strategies out of context to help student writing grow in depth and complexity across units. For example, students start the year by writing personal narratives about a memorable or significant travel experience and end the year with an argumentative research essay about an idea that has changed the world.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Each of the four units ends with a writing performance task that engages students in the stages of the writing process through varied genres.
At the end of Unit 1, students write a descriptive narrative essay, a personal narrative describing where the student went, how he/she got there, and what the student experienced once he/she was there; then, the student explains why this travel experience is significant or memorable and shares any life lessons he/she gained. Students gather ideas; use graphic organizers and outlines to organize their writing; write the first draft; participate in peer review, revise, and edit; and then prepare a final draft.
At the end of Unit 2, students write an informative essay, answering “What are the qualities of a great teacher?”
In Unit 3, students write an argumentative essay: “Choose an essay from this unit and evaluate how the author builds an argument to persuade his or her audience. Your goal is to explain the content of the argument, analyzing the logic, rhetorical appeals, and other persuasive techniques.”
In Unit 4, students write an argumentative research essay: “Describe how an idea has greatly changed the world.” Students start by gathering ideas and evaluating sources; they conduct research and organize the ideas found from the research; they learn about MLA format and create an outline for the first draft; they participate in peer review, revise, and edit; finally, they prepare a final draft.
Each chapter provides opportunities to learn about, practice, and apply specific conventions of academic language tied to the texts students read.
In Unit 1, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne provides for an in-context lesson on prepositional phrases. Students see a sentence from the novel: “Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty, after searching the village from end to end, came back without having found anything.” Then, they are asked, “What is the purpose of the underlined phrase?” Students are told: “The underlined phrase describes what Fogg and Cromarty did before they came back to the train. It adds extra details to the central idea of the sentence.” The lesson goes on to build on prepositional phrases, explaining that they are just one type of phrase.
In Unit 2, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom provides for an in-context lesson on the use of dashes. Students note Mitch Albom’s use of dashes to make the reader pay attention to details in the middle and at the end of sentences, to slow the reader down, and to emphasize details that the reader would otherwise breeze over. Then, the student is tasked: “Write sentences to set off phrases such as ‘I hope, she was a freshman last year,’ and ‘There was only one person for the job.’”
In Unit 3, Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes provides for an in-context lesson on participial phrases. Materials give examples from Frankenstein’s Cat; for example, students note how the participial phrase modifies the noun wolves in the sentence “Either way, as wolves became part of human society, moving from cold ground to warm hearth, they lost many of the traits they needed to survive in the wild.”
In Unit 4, “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats provides for an in-context lesson on the concept of active and passive voice, with examples such as “‘Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.’ Who did the loosening? Yeats’ images remind the reader of the cyclical nature of the world.”
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. The materials provide guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion to express the students’ own thinking. The materials also provide opportunities for students to give organized presentations and performances.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students analyze and compare the themes in The Travels of Ibn Battuta by Ibn Battuta and “The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream” from The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights translated by Sir Richard Burton. Then, in small groups, they discuss how the experiences of the main characters are similar and different. Afterwards, students collaborate to write a short summary of their discussion. Students are instructed, “Choose roles for each member, including leader, recorder, and timekeeper/gatekeeper, who makes sure everyone participates in the discussion.” Students are given guidance for their discussion and summary:
After the discussion, students are asked: “Evaluate how well your group collaborated to reach your goal. What did you do well? What needed improvement?”
In Unit 2, students participate in a “Socratic seminar” in response to the question “What makes a great teacher?” During the Socratic seminar, students pose and respond to open-ended questions in accordance with the “Code of Conduct” laid out within the text and without emotionalism and argument. Students evaluate their individual participation, reflect together on the seminar, and evaluate how well the group created a dialogue rather than a debate, to show their understanding of the two texts in the chapter. Also in Unit 2, students participate in an organized Lincoln-Douglass debate. The materials provide the debate participants with a protocol, which includes eight specific steps to ensure a class debate grounded in evidence, sound argument, quick thinking, and confident speaking.
Unit 3 gives students an opportunity to write a speech about Hiroshima, the atomic bomb, and its impact on the Japanese. A rubric is provided for students to follow to meet all requirements for a speech. Later in the unit, in Chapter 12, while reading from The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, students participate in a Socratic seminar in groups of 8 to 10, discussing “Is food production more than a health issue?” The material supplies students with a “Code of Conduct,” which gives guidance on how to appropriately participate in the Socratic seminar.
In Unit 4, teachers organize students into small groups so that all students can fully participate in a 30-minute “Roundtable Discussion” on how the bus boycott demonstrated Tolstoy’s belief that speaking honestly would change “the internal condition of men’s lives.” Each student is expected to participate equally and fully in the discussion. Later in Unit 4, students participate in a “Reader’s Theater” in groups of 6 to 7, staging a version of two scenes they read from Act 1 of the play The Post Office by Rabindranath Tagore. They create a script and assign roles within their group. The textbook provides guidelines for a successful Reader’s Theater performance: “Your role in the performance helps to present an interpretation of the scenes in The Post Office: accurately depicts a character (or characters), is practiced and professional, and adds to the success of the group and is consistent with the group’s intended purpose.”
The materials provide multiple opportunities for both formal and informal research tasks throughout the four units. The research varies from short-term to long-term, provides for student choice, and is built into the natural flow of inquiry and summary within the units. Students learn to identify appropriate evidence to support a claim and collaborate on organizing details for research. While the materials do contain high-quality primary and secondary sources, only the primary sources are identified and supported as such throughout the materials. There is a lack of evidence that the materials explicitly support students with the identification of high-quality, reliable primary and secondary sources. The materials support student practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research within the units of the textbook.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read The Journeyer by Gary Jennings and complete a pictorial presentation as a project-based assessment. Students create “a travelogue map of places that Marco Polo would have seen on his trip along the Silk Road from Venice, Italy to Khanbalik, which is present-day Beijing, China.” This map includes landmarks such as cities, bodies of water, and mountain ranges. Students research all of the images and take notes on information to provide in the captions. Students keep a list of the sources used and present their maps to the class.
In Unit 2, students read “Where College Fails Us” by Caroline Bird and write a research-based argumentative essay as a project-based assessment. Students identify the most important points in Bird’s essay and conduct research to find evidence that supports or contradicts Bird’s points. Students are directed: “Use data and statistics carefully; don’t misinterpret them to fit your point.” The materials provide guidance to students on how to organize their analysis and how to develop a thesis statement. Students use their research to write an argumentative essay, which must include a list of all sources on a separate “Works Cited” page.
In Unit 4, the “Essential Question” that guides all core texts for each chapter is “Can a simple idea bring about great change?” Students write an argumentative research paper on how social media can be used to influence people in positive and negative ways; they must use six to ten sources, and a chart is provided to help students organize their information as they conduct their research. Students also research some of the most significant ideas in history and write a paper describing how an idea has greatly changed the world. Extension activities also provide optional independent research opportunities, such as researching the history of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC).
While secondary sources are not explicitly covered within the primary text, they are addressed in one of the supplemental resources, the “High School Handbook: Writing & Language,” student edition. In Chapter 10, “Inquiry: Initial Research and Development,” students are given the definition of primary and secondary sources with examples. When students complete a research paper in Unit 4, they use at least five sources of information from different suggested types of sources: online articles and journals, traditional print books, videos, documentaries, and interviews. Students are given several web addresses to aid in their research; however, aside from the one aforementioned lesson, explicit instruction in identifying primary and secondary sources was not found. The materials give teachers the following guidance: “Research Ideas: Consider requiring that students use at least two print sources, two digital sources, and one periodical source to ensure that they learn how to discern and use all three.” However, there is no evidence of explicit instruction on evaluating sources for credibility, bias, and faulty reasoning.
Each chapter of the materials contains interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. The tasks build and apply skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. They contain a coherently sequenced set of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within texts and across multiple texts. The tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking in each chapter and provide opportunities for increased independence.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne and answer the questions “How does the nature of a journey change when it’s a race to the destination? When something valuable is at stake at the finish line? Does the destination become all that matters? Or does every aspect of the journey also become more important?” Students are asked to think about the television show The Amazing Race, which started in 2001: “If a million dollars were the prize, could you do it? Could you overcome your fears of the unknown and tackle any obstacle along the way?” Students are instructed to summarize and write down their conclusions. In the “Making Connections” section, a map of Jules Verne’s main character’s journey is provided. Students answer the question “In a time before air travel or cars, what were some likely means of transportation a person would use to travel between cities shown on the map?” and then move to the first reading of Around the World in 80 Days. After the first read, students summarize the text and answer text-based questions. Students complete a chart with the “Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?” information on the text. Students then write a paragraph to summarize the scene and explain how culture can impact the events in the story. During the second read, students focus on relating structure to story elements; they answer questions, such as “What role does the setting play in the solution?” Students read Around the World in Eighty Days with Michael Palin by Michael Palin. Students answer text-based questions about the second text and fill out a chart about words used in Michael Palin’s text. Students share their answers with a partner. Then they discuss, “What does the author’s word choice imply about the author’s opinion of Indian culture?” Students are prompted to write an analysis of Palin’s point of view on his time in Mumbai, based on his word choice. Students are then instructed to complete a chart comparing how Palin’s undertaking is based on Phileas Fogg’s travels. Students get into groups and discuss how Palin’s book is based on Verne’s and how it even makes direct references to it as a source.
In Unit 2, students read To Sir with Love, by E.R. Braithwaite and respond to the question “What are the ‘unfamiliar social codes’ Braithwaite endeavors to teach his students?” Students complete a graphic organizer in which they find and categorize direct quotations from the text as being an example of ethos, pathos, or logos. Students then respond to the “Essential Question” “What makes a great teacher?” in a Socratic seminar. When students read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, they focus on understanding the impact of details in a text. Students make connections to the previous chapter in their responses to questions and discussions as they analyze Albom’s words and respond to questions such as “What lessons do you think Mitch walks away with after visiting with his former teacher? Is the passage more about Mitch or Morrie?” and “How do the details about Mitch and Morrie support the theme of the passage?” Students then read a second text excerpt called Morrie in His Own Words by Morrie Schwartz. Students complete a graphic organizer referencing aphorism in the Morrie text and discussing the application of aphorism in the Tuesdays with Morrie text. In the “Connect to Testing” section of this chapter, students are asked, “The contrasting descriptions of Morrie and Mitch best emphasize the truth of which of the following aphorisms?” Students become increasingly independent in their tasks in this unit with regard to vocabulary, syntax, and fluency, especially with the unit’s culminating practice performance task—an argumentative essay. This essay calls for students to make specific claims, address counterclaims, and address the persuasive elements of rhetorical devices. Student tasks include “Write an analysis of Carol Bird’s essay ‘Where College Fails Us.’ Identify where she uses fallacious reasoning to support her claim and engage in the writing process of gathering four sources, outlining claims, organizing ideas, first draft writing, revising from peer edit review, proofreading, and final draft writing.”
In Unit 3, students read “Chapter 4: Stem Cells” from Decision Points by George W. Bush. They are asked text-based discussion questions: “What is the main reason President Bush gives for his opposition to stem cell research? What rhetorical technique (ethos, pathos, or logos) does Bush use to drive his point home?” This allows students to read, think, speak, listen, and write after the reading selection. When reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman, in the “Making Connections” section, students are told, “As you read the excerpt in this chapter, you will analyze how the author illustrates cause and effect and uses word choices to engage and persuade.”
In Unit 4, students analyze the argument presented in The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson by Jo Ann Gibson and David J. Garrow. Students analyze figurative language in the text and discuss how its use contributes to the meaning of the text. Students then analyze across texts as they include “Remarks Upon Signing the Civil Rights Bill” by President Lyndon B. Johnson in their analysis. Students continue to hone their skills in assessing the validity of an argument by analyzing E.B. White’s use of rhetorical techniques (ethos, logos, pathos) in “Freedom” to advance his point of view. In the “Project-Based Assessment” section, students create a 30-second advertisement/commercial supporting a political candidate for president. Vocabulary is addressed throughout the unit; for example, before the first read of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, students preview academic vocabulary such as characterization and allusion. Students then move to text-specific vocabulary. The study of point of view continues with The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick, as students make inferences about the point of view of a passage. Towards the end of the unit, students work with a partner to answer what part Coca-Cola™ played in the development of the SlingShot. Students must provide text evidence and present their findings to the class.
The materials support distributed practice over the course of the year. The materials include scaffolds and practice at increasing levels of complexity. Students demonstrate integration of literacy skills, as information and activities spiral across the school year.
Examples include but are not limited to:
All units in the materials include a first, a second, and a third read. Scaffolds are built into the structure of the materials as students engage in multiple reads. Each read is purposeful: the first read focuses on key ideas and details; the second read focuses on craft and structure; and the third read focuses on integrating knowledge and ideas. This pattern is consistent throughout all four units, scaffolding depth complexity as students move from unit to unit.
In Unit 1, each chapter is set up to examine a major skill. In Chapter 1, “Analyzing narrative details.” In Chapter 2, “Determining central ideas.” In Chapter 3, “Analyzing and comparing themes.” In Chapter 4, “Analyzing dramatic irony.” In Chapter 5, “Summarizing and synthesizing story elements.” Within each of these skills, the chapter uses the process of reading the text three times to support and scaffold learning. For example, in Unit 1, students read an excerpt from Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne three times. During the first read, students focus on summarizing the text. During the second read, students focus on relating structure to story elements. During the third read, students look at additional text, Around the World in Eight Days with Michael Palin by Michael Palin, and evaluate the effects of word choice. All of these skills scaffold learning, and the student is able to summarize and synthesize the elements of both stories. The lesson planner at the back of the teacher’s edition notes the standards provide spiraling throughout the year.
In Unit 2, materials include scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year, as evidenced through the literacy routines of each chapter. Students first study the preview concepts of each unit and respond to the overview questions about background knowledge with a partner. Next, students read the first text sample for annotation in the “My Thoughts” section before being prompted to use their annotations to complete a graphic organizer that will tie in with the next text passage. After reading the second text with a purpose-for-reading question, the materials provide either another graphic organizer or speaking-and-listening activity designed to help students retain their learning about the specific skills required for analyzing and creating the effects of rhetorical writing.
In Unit 3, students read “Chapter 4: Stem Cells” from Decision Points, a memoir by George W. Bush, and the “Signing of Stem Cell Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum” by President Barack Obama. Students are introduced to the background of HeLa cells to provide context for the presidents’ opposing viewpoints. Students dissect and compare the texts through an in-depth, robust analysis.
In Unit 4, students analyze texts to understand how authors advance their points of view, such as “Freedom” by E.B. White, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, and The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick. Throughout Unit 4, students engage in readings focused on ideas that changed the world. At the end of the unit, students write a research paper describing how an idea has changed the world, relying on the unit’s readings and the skills they have been focusing on for support. They plan the paper by attending to the purpose and audience. Additional practice is available through an ancillary text, the “Composition Practice” textbook.
The materials include supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level, including planning and learning opportunities.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The extension activities, “On Your Own—Integrated Ideas,” provide opportunities for students to engage in independent reading and research on topics related to a chapter’s “Essential Question” and core texts. The supplemental materials include explicit support for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level.
In Unit 1, students read The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? by Ethan and Joel Coen. The chapter ends with an “On Your Own: Integrating Ideas” section, which presents three options for extending learning. For example: “Watch the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? released in 2000. The movie stars George Clooney as Ulysses Everett McGill. Pay attention to how folk music is used in the film. The popular soundtrack featured many American folk musicians and won a Grammy for Album of the Year.”
In Unit 2, the materials state: “The second option may be an opportunity for advanced readers—or others who especially enjoyed Albom’s writing—to compare works by the same author. Those who read another Albom book could write a response that compares one or more aspects, including genre, topic, author’s voice, point of view, style, tone, and literary techniques.” Here, teachers are provided with guidance that addresses rigor for students beyond grade level as well as differentiation for students who may be intrinsically motivated beyond the instructional task of collecting aphorisms.
Unit 4’s “Essential Question” is “Can a simple idea bring about great change?” Students read about the Montgomery bus boycott. In the extension activities, students can research Claudette Covin, whose resistance to bus segregation inspired Rosa Parks. Students can also research the Baton Rouge bus boycott of 1953. One “On Your Own—Integrated Ideas” extension includes researching online for clips from the film Triumph of the Will to examine how the director used imagery to provoke German viewers’ feelings of nationalism.
In the supplemental materials, the “Connections: Writing & Language: Teacher’s Guide” includes specific supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. The materials label these activities as “Thriving.” For example, Lesson 1.3 is about the writing process and focusing during the writing process. The “Thriving” activity asks students to imagine they are “a news reporter embarking on an ‘inquiring minds’ fact-finding mission” to discover something they “always wanted to know,” and “generate a list of questions...to explore a subject they are interested in.” Lesson 11.3 provides another example focusing on citing sources. The Thriving activity states: “Humanities topics are usually written to conform to MLA style or Chicago Manual of Style formats whereas APA style is used most often for social studies and scientific papers. Encourage students to research these different formats and compare them.”
The materials include supports, including planning and learning opportunities, for students who perform below grade level to ensure they are meeting the grade-level literacy standards.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “English Language Arts Connections Teacher Guide” provides instructional support for “struggling” readers with various suggested scaffolded activities throughout the materials. The materials include a “Remediation” subsection in each chapter’s teacher notes. Specifically, explicit scaffolds and learning strategies are scripted to catch these readers during their first, second, and third reading activities and to support their growth in literacy skills. Most of the strategies for the readers who perform below grade level begin with phrases such as “Struggling readers may need….” “Struggling readers can complete….” “Struggling readers will find….”
The supplemental “Connections: Writing & Language: Teacher’s Guide” contains specific supports for students who demonstrate proficiency below grade level. The materials specify these activities as “Striving” (struggling). For example, in Lesson 3.3, the lesson is about developing a paragraph with the use of transitions. “Striving” learner support is provided: “Hand out copies of a newspaper or magazine article, and have students circle the transitions. Challenge them to identify which type of logical order each transition signals.”
In Unit 1, students read The Odyssey, Book XVII, by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Before reading, the Teacher’s Guide suggests: “Because of the antiquated language, this excerpt may be daunting to struggling readers, invite volunteers to read it aloud as if it were a drama.” The materials recommend casting six characters with the teacher serving as the narrator. “As students read the excerpt aloud, stop periodically to ask and answer questions to make sure they understand what is happening.” The Teacher’s Guide also provides suggestions for remediation when the student is asked to “Focus on Analyzing Dramatic Irony.” It suggests: “Create four-column charts on which they list the main characters on the left column: Odysseus; Antinous; Penelope; Eurynome; and Eumaios, the swineherd. Then, have them label the other three columns ‘What the Character Does’ and ‘What the Character Says’ and ‘Words That Describe the Character.’ Fill out the chart together using details from the text.” The materials alert the teacher that this concept may be extremely difficult; questions are provided for discussion: “Did they ever think, for example, that Odysseus might be recognized for who he really is by one of the other characters?” The chapter also provides remediation suggestions in the “Connect to Testing” section.
In Unit 2, students read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. During the first reading of an excerpt, the Teacher’s Guide notes that students “should have little trouble with Albom’s prose, which is written in a conversational style with straightforward language and little difﬁcult vocabulary.” However, readers who perform below grade level may have difficulty with the “story’s reflective, rather than plot-driven, nature”; the Guide suggests “having students stop several times during reading to summarize may help them understand the issues that arise during the conversation between Morrie and Mitch.”
In Unit 3, students read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. During the first read, the materials suggest a “Remediation” activity to help struggling readers better understand the ideas in the essay: to consider playing excerpts from one of Michael Pollan’s online lectures on The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Another example suggests struggling readers partner with more advanced students to complete the “Focus on Understanding Main Ideas” activity. For an “On Your Own” Remediation activity, the materials suggest selecting a simple, current op-ed piece from the local newspaper (or use newsela.com, which adapts articles to different reading levels), then reading and discussing the article’s structure in a group with readers who perform below grade level. The teacher should assist the group to formulate a statement that summarizes the main opinion in the piece, then list the support that the writer gives for the opinion. Students can use the simple op-ed piece as a model for their own.
In Unit 4, students engage in the first read of “Freedom” by E.B. White. A “Remediation” box suggests readers who perform below grade level may need support with some of the figurative language in White’s essay. In the same unit, another Remediation box is provided suggesting students may struggle with the length of White’s sentences. The materials suggest displaying one of the longer sentences for further discussion and analysis, paying close attention to parallel structure, the rhythm of the language, parts of speech, and how each word is used.
The materials provide support for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. The accommodations for linguistics include levels commensurate with the various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS. The materials also provide scaffolds, such as adapted text, translations, native language support, cognates, summaries, pictures, realia, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, and other modes of comprehensible input. The materials encourage the strategic use of students’ first language as 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:
The materials provide “Preview Academic Vocabulary” sidebars in the “Preview Concepts” section of each chapter, which contain strategies for making content more understandable for students; they include teaching content vocabulary, academic vocabulary, and language structures of the content area. The EL support box directs teachers to the “ELL Teacher Resource.” The ELL (English-Language Learner) Teacher Resource provides support for teaching EL students in the classroom at each of the ELPS levels: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high. Supports focus on specific reading areas, such as close reading, vocabulary, and reading passages and connect to testing and assessments. Brief explanations of each are provided as well as several support activities. For example, the resource provides scaffolds, such as creating vocabulary flashcards with the word in the student’s native language and in English, the definition in the student’s own words, a sentence using the word, antonyms/synonyms correlating with the word, examples, and non-examples. This resource also suggests using word webs and concept sorts, and providing visuals, realia, and videos. Glossaries and footnote references are also provided within the materials as well as pictures and summaries.
The materials support teachers in identifying and writing language objectives for each chapter by providing “Chapter Goals” and “Preview Academic Vocabulary” sidebars in the “Preview Concepts” section of each chapter. These can be used to inform the writing of appropriate language objectives. A lesson plan template to assist in adapting lessons for sheltered instruction is included in this resource. The materials implement the use of sheltered instruction in the classroom, known as the “Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol” (SIOP), which supports EL students in learning grade-level skills within the content-area classroom while improving their grasp of English.
In Unit 1, students read The Odyssey by Homer and O Brother, Where Art Thou? By Ethan and Joel Coen. Support for teaching academic vocabulary is given in the “ELL Teacher Resource” book. For EL students, teachers are told: “Explain, act out, draw pictures, and provide examples to define and contextualize academic vocabulary. Encourage English language learners to offer their own examples as they discuss the new vocabulary in pairs or small groups. Have students keep a list of these words in their response journal. As necessary, encourage them to look up the new words at https://www.learnersdictionary.com before discussing the words.” During the first read, the EL support suggests: “Display some discussion questions that will help orientate students to the text: What do you know of the story of Odysseus?” During the lesson, the “Focus on Analyzing Dramatic Irony” EL support suggests: “Provide the dramatic irony chart with the column ‘examples from the text’ already filled in. Create cards with the answers for the other columns written on them. To aid beginning students, use a different font or a different color ink to distinguish all the answers in a given column. Have students match a ‘What’ card and a ‘Why’ card with the quotations from the text.” During the writing section of the chapter, the EL support suggests: “Offer these sentence frames to prompt students to analyze the irony in the text: This is ironic because….”
In Unit 2, students read To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite. After the third reading of a passage, students learn how “E. R. Braithwaite uses many long sentences with semicolons, which tends to break up long sentences and to quicken the pace of the writing.” Students learn the three semicolon rules and are then instructed, “Write two example sentences for each of the semicolon rules above.” The Teacher’s Guide provides the following EL support: “Have students read through the chapter text individually and circle all the uses of semicolons. Then have them compare what they’ve circled with a partner.” Students make a chart with three columns with the following labels: “Instead of a Period,” “Conjunctive Adverb,” and “Lists with Commas.” Students work together to categorize all the uses of semicolons they identified in the text.
In Unit 3, the “Essential Question” is “What are the costs of scientific innovation?” The EL support for the Essential Question is for the teacher to provide copies of the word-web graphic organizer from the “ELL Teacher Resource.” Students write an invention in the center circle; then, the resource states: “Elicit one example of the world’s most important inventions from the class and write it in one of the outer circles. Place students in multilevel pairs and have them ﬁll in the web with other signiﬁcant inventions. Regroup pairs and have them compare their webs.”
In Unit 4, Chapter 19, an EL dialogue box directs teachers to the “ELL Teacher Resource” for support in teaching vocabulary for the unit. “Explain, act out, draw pictures or provide examples” are strategies given for EL students as they discuss the vocabulary words. In Chapter 20, EL students again are pre-taught the vocabulary in the same manner as in Chapter 19. Students keep a list of the words in a response journal.
The materials include assessment and guidance for teachers and administrators to monitor progress, including how to interpret and act on data yielded. The formative and summative assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. The assessments and scoring information provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. The assessments are connected to the regular content to support student learning throughout the materials.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Formative assessments are contained within each chapter and target the TEKS addressed within the chapter. The formative assessments can be found in the “Connect to Testing” section of each unit. These assessments include questions in a multiple-choice format and items that address grammar skills, vocabulary skills, analyze the impact of the literary devices used in the text passages within the chapter, as well as address the TEKS of the unit.
Summative assessments are found at the end of each unit and target the TEKS addressed throughout the unit. The readings in the summative assessment correlate with the genres of the readings in the unit. A Depth of Knowledge (DoK) level is provided for each question, noting the level of complexity of the question (DoK 1—Recall, DoK 2—Apply, and DoK 3—Analyze). The Teacher’s Guide answer key gives sample answers to all open-ended questions. The sample answers and the DoK level for the questions provide teachers with guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance for each unit.
Each unit culminates with a “Performance Task,” largely a summative project-based assessment in which students enhance the skills they have acquired over the course of their study of the unit by synthesizing information, conducting research and inquiry, applying skills knowledge and evaluating their own scope of knowledge. The performance tasks are multi-layered with specific criteria allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge.
The materials include a year-long plan and supports for teachers to identify the needs of their students. The materials provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success. The teacher’s edition includes annotations, suggestions, scaffolds, strategies for groupings and pairs, and other accommodations so that all students can access the content. The ancillary and resource materials provide direct support to the core materials.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher’s edition contains a “Lesson Planner/Pacing Guide,” which links to specific chapters and lessons in “Connections: Writing and Language.” The “Lesson Planner” is an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping (and other) structures. Plans are comprehensive and attend to differentiation to support students via many learning opportunities. Formative assessments are provided at the end of each chapter, and summative assessments are provided at the end of each unit, which gives teachers a way to progress monitor student learning. For example, the Unit 1 planner provides specific plans and time for each chapter in the Connections: English Language Arts book and the Connections: Writing and Language book, along with the correlating TEKS. The plan suggests that it will take 45 days to teach the materials in Unit 1. All the materials are structured and organized to support students who are at different levels. Within each unit, the chapters offer a variety of opportunities to learn. For example, in Unit 1, Chapter 2, students read The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage (Vol 1) by Will Durant. In this chapter, students annotate and underline details, find evidence that supports that the tales were and were not exaggerated, analyze structure by finding main idea, interpret information from a map, write details about Maro Polo’s journey, speak and listen to a partner about the writing, write a fictional dialogue with a scene about Marco Polo, and write an argumentative essay about whether Marco Polo’s stories were based on an actual visit to China. This variety of activities is demonstrated in all the chapters.
The teacher’s edition contains annotations throughout, which support student engagement and include supports for struggling learners (students performing below grade level) and English Learners. A sidebar section called “Lesson Support” provides annotations to support student learning and assistance for teachers. In each chapter, students engage in three readings. As such, the teacher materials provide suggested scaffolds and strategies for each reading. For example, in Unit 1, Chapter 3, before reading The Travels of Ibn Battuta by Ibn Battuta a second time, the Lesson Support suggests: “Remind the students that the term theme refers to a story’s broader message about life and the human experience. Tell students that stories often develop their themes by showing how characters change (or do not change) in response to events.”
The ancillary and resource materials, such as the “ELL Teacher’s Resources,” are mentioned and linked directly to the lessons, where applicable, providing direct support for the lesson. All the materials are structured and organized to support students at varying levels. The materials offer students multiple ways of learning skills, demonstrating their understanding, and engaging with content included within the lesson. For example, in Unit 1, Chapter 3, after the second read, the student is asked to focus on analyzing the theme. In the lesson support, the ELL (English-Language Learner) Teacher’s Resource ancillary material is linked directly to a graphic organizer for the main idea and supporting ideas. This type of support is provided throughout the units.
The materials are accompanied by a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence and pacing guidance and routines that detail 205 days of instruction. There are multiple additional supports to help teachers implement the materials as intended; however, the materials do not include supports to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The Teacher’s Guide includes a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program in detail, the order in which they are presented, and how these skills build and connect across the grade level.
The materials include additional supports to help teachers implement the materials as intended, including direct links to the vocabulary PowerPointsTM in the Teacher’s Guide, suggested ways to help students make connections in the sidebar, direct links to the “English Language Learner Teacher Resource” for strategies and graphic organizers, and direct links to “Lesson Support” PowerPointsTM during the close reading of the texts.
The materials include a school years’ worth of literacy instruction, outlined in a 205-day plan in the teacher’s edition. This plan would have to be adjusted by teachers to fit a 180-day schedule or a 220-day schedule, but adjustment consideration is included in the plan, with flexible timelines and ranges of number of days needed to cover a chapter or complete an assessment.
The visual design of the student edition is neither distracting nor chaotic. The materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. The pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Materials provide the main focus for each chapter in bold, large print set apart from the text. The chapter goals and vocabulary words are in gray boxes to the left of the page so they are eye-catching and noticeable.
Once the text starts, the materials direct teachers to give students lined pages to write questions they may have to the right of the text, setting apart text annotations in a way that is not distracting.
The student edition provides a variety of graphical pictures, illustrations, maps, and graphical features carefully organized for clarity and appeal and that support student learning.
The materials emphasize vocabulary words in bold print to emphasize their importance and to make them stand out.
Each time a concept is taught, the skill is set apart in a box with a bold blue banner for the heading while still giving appropriate white space, drawing attention to the skill at hand.
The “Connect to Testing” section appears to the side of the page in blue, which makes it distinct and shows that it is different than the chapter. Each chapter is organized with the same appropriate and consistent design that allows the student to become familiar with the textbook and its features.
The technology components included in the materials are appropriate for English II students and provide support for learning. The technology components provided support and enhance student learning as appropriate, as opposed to distracting from it, and include appropriate teacher guidance.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials present a collection of digital materials for teacher and student use through the Perfection Learning digital portal. The teacher’s edition showcases built-in links to supplemental materials like Dictionary.com, worksheets, and other reproducible materials as well as access to other websites that complement each unit of instruction. Whiteboard lessons and interactive software and audio support are other digital features offered in the materials.
The student materials offer text-to-speech options as well as the ability to translate texts into more than 60 languages. The in-line tools (including highlighting lines of text and changing colors and fonts) support students with varying proficiency levels. Online writing tools support writing prompts from any source; provide customizable, student-friendly rubrics; encourage peer collaboration; and help students become self-directed writers.
Each chapter has a “Lesson Support” for each read with accompanying PowerPointTM slides. After each read, students respond to text-based discussion questions from the slides. Each chapter contains a section that addresses a language component (i.e., grammar and mechanics); subsequently, a PowerPointTM accompanies each language activity. Writing assignments such as narrative and argumentative writing also have a PowerPointTM accompanying the assignment. On-your-own integrated activities are extensions that direct students to use YouTubeTM, videos, and the internet to research skill-/task-related topics.
Students can interact with texts online by using the interactive tools included to change screen size, page transition, layout, and rotation. They can zoom in or out and change into full screen as needed. Students can take notes and make annotations by using the other features included on the tabs at the top of the online pages, including freehand tools, text tools, shape tools, a search function, and a free text box to write notes in the “My Thoughts” section. Additionally, materials provide a “Notes” button, thumbnails, and outlines within the “Panel” tab.
Students can right-click and copy and paste, highlight, underline, strikeout, and draw a squiggly line, if needed, within the text. Students have access to the table of contents, and they are able to click on the reading selections directly by clicking on the title.
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