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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. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
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TEKS Teacher %
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Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Information
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
High-quality texts for ELAR instruction are included and cover a range of student interests. The texts are well-crafted, representing the quality of content, language, and writing produced by experts in various disciplines. Complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse, multicultural texts are included.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1 arranges texts around the theme “The Choices We Make.” Students examine how fiction reinforces theme and mood from two diverse writers with the familiar Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” and acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Choices.” The companion poems use directional language like Frost’s “two roads diverged” and Giovanni’s “parallel movement isn’t lateral” to convey how choices irrevocably change an individual’s life. From here, Unit 1 materials move back in time to original forays in storytelling with retellings of the classical myths “Phaethon” by Bernard Evslin, “Arachne” by Olivia E. Coolidge, and the fable “The Burro and the Fox” by Angel Vigil as exemplar texts for students’ embedded assessment tasks. The informational text excerpt from In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton further builds students’ understanding of creation myths. Materials include myths from across the world that serve as exemplars, such as the creation myths “Huveane and Clay People” and “Mbombo” from Voices of the Ancestors: African Myth, by Tony Allan, Fergus Fleming, and Charles Phillips.
Unit 2, “What Influences My Choices,” contains various informational texts related to the big idea of “what information students use to make decisions.” The unit includes news articles, speeches, and essays that students can relate to and engage with. For example, Megan Garber, a staff writer at The Atlantic, who received the recognition of excellence in media reporting award, shares her opinion about capturing moments in her essay, The Joy of Instagram. The essay includes her claim that “Instagram makes us the editors of the texts of our own lives; it demands choices about what is significant—and therefore worth saving, and savoring, and remembering.” To support her claim, she includes her reasons along with credible evidence. Since many students use social media to capture their lives, students may find this informational opinion essay relatable to their own experiences.
The Unit 3 theme “Choices and Consequences” centers around the essential questions “What is the relationship between choices and consequences” and “What makes a great leader?” A study of the young adult diary-form novel Tangerine by Edward Bloor examines the life-changing impact of decisions through the perspective of the narrator, eighth-grader Paul. Unit nonfiction pieces cross the globe and delve into an examination of leadership and life choices through Nelson Mandela’s words, life, and accomplishments. A straightforward account of Nelson Mandela’s life and accomplishments is in the informational text “The Nobel Peace Prize 1993, The Biography of Nelson Mandela.” An excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom takes students through his lifelong quest for freedom. Materials round out the study of Mandela with excerpts from John Carlin’s literary nonfiction book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, which later served as the basis for the 2009 film Invictus.
Unit 4 focuses on the theme “How We Choose to Act,” primarily with poetry and drama selections. Students move through a myriad of poems from notable writers whose poems effectively feature diction, punctuation, and capitalization, along with other musical devices to create meaning. Selections range from the well-known “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost to “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. “Mother to Son” is written in free verse and includes figurative language to help develop the poem’s imagery. In addition, the vernacular of the speaker demonstrates how language and dialect can be analyzed in a poem. The less familiar but regionally representative poems “Haiku” by Mexican José Juan Tablada and “Homesteaders,” by Rosemary Catacalos, 2013–2014 Texas Poet Laureate are also included. Drama selections include excerpts from William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, which grounds students in their understanding of dramatic monologue with an examination of “Dreams,” a playful monologue speculating on the dream world of a dog, by Mary Hall Surface, and the humorously insolent monologue “The Children’s Crusade” by Jenny Lyn Bader. Their works target youth and family audiences with relatable topics and strong characterization.
“Close Reading Workshop” supplements the core ELA textbook with additional multi-genre texts and skills practice. Students have cross-curricular opportunities in Close Reading Workshop 6 with informational texts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service article “Pollinators” is intended for the general public but has sophisticated scientific vocabulary, such as anther, stigma, and progeny. The topically paired Smithsonian Magazine article “The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life” by Natasha Geiling gives students an opportunity to determine tone by evaluating diction.
A variety of text types and genres across content that meets the TEKS requirements for each grade level are included. Literary texts include those outlined for specific grades. Informational texts include texts of information, exposition, argument, procedures, and documents as outlined in the TEKS. Materials include print and graphic features of a variety of texts.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of literary texts from the “Grade 7, Close Reading Workshop” include the following:
Examples of informational text include but are not limited to:
Examples of informational texts from the “Grade 7, Close Reading Workshop” include but are not limited to the following:
Examples of print and graphical features include but are not limited to:
Literary texts have some print and graphic features. A pop-out box with a map of Africa and the specific location of the Bapedi, Bavenda, and Kuba people provide geographic orientation for readers of the two African myths, “Huveane and Clay People” and “Mbombo” from Voices of the Ancestors: African Myth. Excerpts from Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare introduce students to text with characters’ names bolded and stage directions in parentheses and italics. The poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes features a two-tone illustration of burnt oranges and browns hueing the profile of a mother with a kente cloth head wrap cradling an infant.
The informational text “How Kids Can Resist Advertising and Be Smart Consumers” by Caroline Knorr features publisher-added blue numbers for each paragraph, purple-glossed vocabulary with margin note definitions, and the pop-out box “Tips for Middle and High School Kids,” which includes a bulleted list with five smart tech consumer strategies. The materials include print features within the core text of the autobiography by Nelson Mandela titled Long Walk to Freedom. Print and graphic features include photographs, pie charts, and posters for students to analyze while reading about Nelson Mandela.
Texts are appropriately challenging and at an appropriate level of complexity to support students’ grade levels. Texts are accompanied by a text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher and are at the appropriate quantitative levels and qualitative features for the grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials include a “Grade 7 Text Complexity Rationales” document with 26 entries encompassing core texts from four units. The Grade 7 Text Complexity Rationales features a margin snapshot with four measures: Overall, Quantitative, Qualitative, and Task. The Overall rating represents a composite of the analysis of the Quantitative, Qualitative, and Task. In addition, a paragraph Summary describes text considerations. The main entry titled Qualitative Considerations has categories that vary to reflect the literary and informational text. Expert teachers assign qualitative ratings of High, Moderate, or Low Difficulty. Considerations for those ratings include implicit and explicit meanings in the text, the author’s use of language, organizational patterns, vocabulary, and the text’s cognitive demands. An overall rating of Accessible, Complex, or Very Complex is then assigned. Both main entries close with Task Considerations followed by three self-reflection questions for teachers to use when planning. Teachers can view the quantitative Lexile measure for each core text either in the Grade 7 Text Complexity Rationales document or in each English Language Arts—Grade 7 unit lesson “Teacher Wrap” note. Teacher Wrap notes serve as a reminder during lessons and include instructional strategies and background information teachers could provide. “Close Reading Workshops” note the Lexile measure in the Text Complexity annotation in every lesson that features text while including the category Context for qualitative insights. The range of Lexile levels in grade 7 materials is 590–1490L.
Unit 1 uses the personal narrative, The Scholarship Jacket by Marta Salinas. Text complexity notes state the text is Overall: Accessible, Lexile: 740L, Qualitative: Low Difficulty, and Task: Accessible. The Snapshot for an excerpt from Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers reveals the text as Overall: Complex, Quantitative: 930 Lexile, Qualitative: Low Difficulty, and Task: Moderate. The Summary notes state that the appealing and familiar subject makes this a suitable fit for grade 7 readers despite the complex 930 Lexile. Additionally, Summary observations note that the author’s storytelling style flows easily but includes “complex themes and figurative language.” Qualitative Considerations alerts teachers to “racial and social themes.” Structure confirms a chronological storytelling flow from one character’s point of view. Knowledge Demands cues teachers to a possible need to orient students to the 1950s Harlem setting. Task Considerations state that Bad Boy serves as a personal narrative model prior to students writing their own story of personal choice in a school setting.
The Unit 2 Snapshot for “Mobile Kids” from Nielsen describes the informational text as Overall: Moderate, Quantitative: 1250 Lexile, Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty, and Task: Accessible. The Summary notes assert that, despite the high Lexile, text features support student understanding. Qualitative Considerations advise teachers to ensure that students realize that although the title mentions kids, the article reports on parents’ behavior in response to their kids’ phone practices. A review of Structure comments alerts teachers to guide students through interpreting the bar graph and chart. Language notes address technical vocabulary while Knowledge Demands comments on the importance of understanding telecommunications concepts. Task Considerations state that this study of text structure and features “build[s] students’ understanding of advertising.”
The Unit 3 excerpt from “Nelson Mandela’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech” by Nelson Mandela includes the Quantitative information of 1490 Lexile. Qualitative comments in the Summary explain that listening to the speech supports students’ comprehension of this complex text. The main body, Qualitative Considerations for informational texts, provides guidance in Purpose, Structure, Language, and Knowledge Demands. Purpose classifies this speech as a “call to action” signaled by the speaker’s repeatedly appealing to the audience for “justice and peace.” The Language sections mention abstract language cues so that the teacher can scan the text prior to use. Knowledge Demands suggests helping students make a link between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mandela to facilitate learning.
Unit 4 uses the informational text The Highwaymen of Hounslow Heath. The text complexity notes state the text is Overall: Moderate, Lexile: 710L, Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty, and Task Demands: Moderate (Analyze). The text is appropriate for grade 7 students as it falls within the grade level Lexile range, though some vocabulary may be unfamiliar to readers.
While the detailed Grade 7 Text Complexity Rationales document does not encompass texts found in the Close Reading Workshop lessons, brief Teacher Wrap annotations include text complexity information. For example, the Close Reading Workshop 1.1 Text Complexity annotation describes the excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass as Overall: Complex, Quantitative: 1050 Lexile, Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty, and Task: Moderate (Analyze). The Text Complexity annotations found in Close Reading Workshops use the category Context, rather than Summary, listing publication date, genre, and a brief contextual synopsis.
Close Reading Workshop 2 Activity 1 uses the speech “Address to the Members of British Parliament.” The text complexity notes state the text is Overall: Very Complex, Lexile: 1340L, Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty, and Task: Moderate (Analyze). To build background knowledge, students participate in a discussion about the British parliament prior to reading the speech.
The Close Reading Workshop 6 informational text “The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life,” by Natasha Geiling has a Text Complexity annotation listing the Quantitative data piece of 1170 Lexile along with a Qualitative note of Moderate Difficulty. The qualitative resource Context includes a brief summary of the article, which provides an introduction to the informational text’s content.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, topics, 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 important big ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Grade 7 instructional theme centers on choices. Units 1–4 interconnect to take the students on a journey of real-life experiences governed by the choices made and their consequences.
In Unit 1, English Language Arts, students explore the art of storytelling as they read contemporary and classic stories about choices and consequences and write personal narratives about their own real and imagined experiences with the fable “The Burro and the Fox” by Angel Vigil. A before-reading prediction activity has students speculate about the possible personality qualities of the burro and fox. After reading, students participate in a whole class “Making Observations” discussion where they can discuss the accuracy of their personality predictions and interesting story details. Students return to the text to respond to the text-dependent question “Paraphrase the moral of this fable in your own words, making sure you maintain its meaning.” In another activity, students reflect on how stories depict animals by reviewing their earlier Unit 1 studies of Greek mythological characters and animals and their personal knowledge of fairy tales. Using this knowledge, students complete a two-column graphic organizer listing the Animal in one column and associated character traits in the Symbolism column.
In Unit 2, prior to reading “Another Study Highlights the Insanity of Selling Junk Food in School Vending Machines” by Karen Kaplan, students make predictions about the news article’s title, following up on the accuracy during the after reading “Making Observations” class discussion. Students use textual evidence to respond to “Returning to the Text” questions, using context clues to decipher words like abstained. Another question tasks students with concluding why the author relies on facts and statistics in making her argument. Students independently use a SOAPSTone graphic organizer before participating in collaborative small group discussions to share their findings using a graphic organizer to narrow down and summarize their SOAPSTone findings by identifying the highest quality and most credible evidence. This analysis practice leads to a writing performance task as small groups research and draft an argumentative essay.
Unit 3 continues the theme of choices and consequences. Students read “The Nobel Peace Prize 1993, Biography of Nelson Mandela.” Students are challenged to compare specific information about Mandela’s leadership skills to their own leadership style. In text-dependent questions, students answer the question: “Besides printing of biography and autobiography, what other kinds of sources could you use to answer your questions about Nelson Mandela? Where would you find them?”
Unit 4 progressively leads students through four monologues, “The Paper Avalanche,” “Dreams,” and “Study Tips” by Mary Hall Surface, and “The Children’s Crusade” by Jenny Lyn Bader, in preparation for a small group performance of one of the monologues. The lesson opens with students listening and observing as the teacher performs one of the four monologues. Students identify the monologue speaker’s persona, finding language and descriptions in the monologue that reveal character traits. Student partners re-read the monologue, marking the text to distinguish the speaker from the audience and any stated or implied vocal tones and physical expressions that inform performance. Questions call students’ attention to how the author guides the performer, asking questions such as “Mary Hall Surface uses an unusual spelling of the word blo-o-o-o-w. What does this signal to someone performing the monologue?” Like an actor learning lines, students mark up the monologue for things like “volume, rate, and pitch,” making additional notes for “eye contact, facial expressions, and movement.” After group performances of their assigned monologue, students complete a self-evaluation, responding to questions such as “What helped you plan and prepare your presentation?” Students write an original monologue incorporating their newly acquired knowledge of monologue scripts and performances to close the lesson.
“Close Reading Workshop 6.1 Grade 7” guides students to complete three readings of “Pollinators” from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. After a final reading of the selection, students respond to text-dependent questions, such as discerning how print and graphic features support the text’s purpose. Students apply their understanding of the text’s content to a writing task where they “Explain how Colony Collapse Disorder impacts pollination,” using textual evidence to support their description.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Questions and tasks support students’ analysis of the literary/textual elements of texts by asking students to analyze, 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. Materials provide questions and tasks for students to compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic and analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning (in single and across a variety of texts). Students study the language within texts to support their understanding.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students identify the author’s purpose by analyzing the author's language throughout the text. Students read Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers and answer the text-dependent questions: “What word does the narrator use to describe his needs improvement mark on his report card? What does that word choice convey to the reader?” Students build writing craft skills through close analysis of multiple myths and folklore in Unit 1. Questions following the reading of the historical myth “Phaethon” by Bernard Evslin have students examine characters’ words and actions to conclude how they move the plot forward. The study of the myth “Arachne” by Olivia E. Coolidge focuses on how Arachne’s words and actions advance the story to its ironic conclusion. “Working from the Text” connects students’ understanding of mythological storytelling constructs by having them use a graphic organizer to recognize how Arachne and Phaethon’s character traits lead to self-destruction, a key element of most myths. In a cultural shift from Greco-Roman to Hispanic Southwest and Mexico, students analyze another storytelling trope, “Animals as Symbols,” in the study of the fable “The Burro and the Fox” by Angel Vigil. Following their reading, “Working from the Text” tasks have students reflect on animal symbolism by reviewing their earlier Unit 1 studies of Greek mythological characters and animals as well as their personal knowledge of fairy tales.
In Unit 2, students read the article “How Kids Can Resist Advertising and Be Smart Consumers” and answer questions such as “In the first paragraph, the author states that many of today’s ads don’t look like ads. Why does the author think this is a problem? Use text evidence in your response. The author uses a list to organize information in two places in the article. What information is presented in the list? How are the lists different? What techniques did the author use to organize the information in the article? Why do you think the author used these techniques?” Later, students identify different techniques used in advertisements and determine the purpose of such advertisements. Students pay close attention to how language achieves the author’s purpose.
In Unit 3, materials connect the poem to the other selections more directly with “Working from the Text,” where students use their knowledge of Nelson Mandela to consider why the poem “Invictus” would have resonated with him. Students segue into a parallel study incrementally comparing excerpts from Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation with segments from the film Invictus. Questions and tasks repeatedly send students back into the text or film to examine how the writer and director shape the audience response using dialogue and images. Students use multiple graphic organizers to contrast the book excerpts and film. Students take notes on how the filmmaker shapes the audience’s reaction using description, images, and dialogue.
In Unit 4, “Analyzing and Presenting a Dramatic Monologue,” during “Working from the Text,” students examine stage directions in “Dreams,” unusual spellings in “Study Tips,” and hyphenated words in “The Children’s Crusades” to determine how these text features guide performers. Student partners re-read the monologue, marking the text to distinguish the speaker from the audience and any stated or implied vocal tones and physical expressions that inform performance. Student groups complete “Working from the Text” to analyze a single monologue closely, studying text features. Students mark up the monologue for things like “volume, rate, and pitch,” making additional notes for “eye contact, facial expressions, and movement.” Students evaluate each other's group monologue performances, noting “ideas, structure, and use of language that helped you understand their interpretations.”
“Close Reading Workshop 6.1 Grade 7” guides students through how to effectively read informational text, a skill much needed as they gather evidence for their Unit 2 argumentative writing tasks. After a third and final reading of “Pollinators” from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, students identify the author’s purpose and evaluate how print and graphic features support this purpose as part of “Synthesizing Your Understanding.” Students also review the author’s word choice to determine what tone they communicate. Students compare 6.1 “Pollinators,” 6.2 chart graph “Total US Managed Honey Bee Colonies Loss Estimates,” and the 6.3 informational text “The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life” by Natasha Geiling to find common ideas represented across the texts.
After reading the sample argumentative essay “To Chew or Not to Chew” in “Writing Workshop 2 Grade 7,” collaborative partners respond to “Working from the Text” craft questions encompassing purpose, audience, support, opposing viewpoints, organization, transitions, and sources. For example, the audience question has students assess the writer’s evidence, looking for textual evidence that indicates the targeted audience. Students explain how the thesis statement leads the overall argumentative flow, the move to develop argumentative essays in a Writing Workshop.
The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Included are ways to apply academic vocabulary in appropriate contexts, as well as scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
ELA Grade 7 front matter states that the program “threads” academic and text-specific vocabulary instruction across units, creating a year-long plan. “Teacher Wrap” notes briefly describe methods for implementing vocabulary study, including the use of tools and tasks embedded in lessons, Reader/Writer notebooks, and word study graphic organizers. The challenging words within reading passages are in bold at point of use, and “Periodic Word Connection” boxes guide students when processing a word with multiple meanings, interesting etymology, important roots or affixes, or connections to other content areas.
Each unit contains the section “Planning the Unit,” which explains the various components available to teachers to create personalized learning experiences for all students. Within this explanation, “Language Workshop” can be paired with the units for students needing additional academic English support. There is an explanation of the QHT strategy as a way to sort the academic and literary terms for the unit into categories: Q: words students have questions about, H: words students have heard, so students are familiar, and T: words students can teach to classmates because they know them so well. The overall academic goal is to move all words to the T column by the end of the unit. End matter includes a wide selection of periodically assigned graphic organizers, such as Definition and Reflection, Unknown Word Solver, Roots and Affixes Brainstorm, Verbal & Visual Word Association, Word Map for Academic Words. The “Index of Skills” indicates the location of vocabulary skills across all units, using categories such as Academic vocabulary, QHT strategy, Word meanings, and Word Wall.
In Unit 1, a pink Vocabulary box supports students’ knowledge of literary vocabulary with the definition and examples of narrative. Materials use a pink gloss for challenging words like agile and coincidence in the personal narrative “The Scholarship Jacket” by Marta Salinas and feature definitions in the margin. A Word Connections box unwraps the prefix and root of reflection to support students’ understanding of an after-reading task where they write a reflection about lessons the narrator learned. “Language Workshop 1b” builds background knowledge by having students read an informational text about myths titled “Making Sense of the World” and presenting vocabulary words such as universe, unique, and divine. There are practice opportunities, such as using contextual information to define words and provide examples from the text read, using the vocabulary words in conversation with a partner, and matching pictures with vocabulary terms while discussing why they chose the picture they did.
Unit 2 presents the vocabulary words jaded, fickle, and stealthier in the text for the activity. Students circle and underline unfamiliar words as they read. The Word Connections box presents the multiple-meaning word market as a noun and a verb and provides the definition of each when used as the two parts of speech. As students read the text ”How Kids Can Resist Advertising and Be Smart Consumers,” the words in the list are underlined and can be clicked on in the text for a definition.
Unit 3 provides the literary vocabulary of motif and provides the definition in an underlined hyperlink. Students must understand the definition to answer the question the word is used in for the activity.
Unit 4 introduces students to a wide range of literary vocabulary for “Analyzing and Responding to Narrative Poetry.” Teacher-to-Teacher margin notes recommend using a four-column graphic organizer in a study of musical devices such as assonance, alliteration, internal rhyme. To complete the graphic organizer, students list the term and definition before showing their understanding by including an example from a unit poem along with another example. The activity “Stage Directions” adds a Vocabulary box to define the academic term diagram supplementing a stage directions activity. A Word Connections box also unpacks the etymology of upstage and downstage with a lengthy explanation of how the term originated.
The materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. There are procedures and protocols, along with adequate support for teachers, to foster independent reading. Materials provide a plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time, including planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The front-end matter explains the rationale behind independent reading. There are Reading Lists within each unit, including Spanish titles related to the themes, ideas, and concepts of the units. Each unit list connects to a genre or genres to further support connections. Using “Independent Reading Links” found in each unit, teachers have tasks for students to connect what they are reading in class and what they are reading independently. Reading Link boxes indicate when to implement tasks. Each unit begins with the “Planning the Unit” section, which briefly describes each activity within the unit and features a list of recommended independent reading texts. Additionally, the “Teacher Wrap” section provides explanations as needed for independent reading activities. An orange color-coded “Independent Reading” box in the Teacher Wrap notes briefly describes methods for implementing independent reading in a way that corresponds to unit instructional goals and texts. In every unit, a “Teacher to Teacher” box immediately follows the Independent Reading box and establishes Reader/Writer Notebooks protocols. Students work in their blank Reader/Writer Notebooks, documenting all academic responses, such as vocabulary study, answers to text-dependent questions, reflections, responses to Independent Reading Links, and notes about learning strategies related to core content and independent reading in this school or student provided notebook. End matter resources line up an “Independent Reading Log” document and graphic organizers for “Notes for Reading Independently” for fiction and nonfiction.
Unit 1, “Exploring the Concept of Choice,” devotes a 50-minute lesson with familiarizing students with the unit theme and having students make a plan for independent reading. Activities provide time to reflect on reading preferences and browse choices, ideally from texts that support unit genre and theme focus. After establishing these protocols, other units reference planning as part of the “Previewing the Unit” lesson. Halfway through Unit 1, an “Independent Reading Checkpoint” has students analyze elements of change in their self-selected reading text and sum up their observations in a text-supported written response. The final Independent Reading Checkpoint for the unit creates an opportunity for students to share personal or other text connections made with their independent reading choice with others in an informal oral presentation.
Unit 2 contains eight Independent Reading Links and Checkpoints for students to make connections and synthesize their learning. One Independent Reading Link has students reading a recent news article and explaining how their background knowledge helps them understand what they are reading. A Reading Checkpoint asks students to discuss with a partner the information and approaches to marketing learned in their independent reading and make notes in the Readers/Writers Notebook.
In a Unit 3 Independent Reading Link activity, students make a content connection by comparing sibling dynamics like those seen in the unit text Tangerine with others found through research on the topic or other fictional books, documenting findings in their Independent Reading Log. An Independent Reading Link activity has students make a literary connection by finding or creating an allusion like one made in Tangerine for their self-selected reading choice, contemplating why authors use such a device.
Unit 4 contains six Independent Reading Links and Checkpoints. One activity has students select a passage from their independent reading that contains a similarity to something they have experienced in their life and analyze how the experience could be turned into a monologue. Another activity has students choose a selection from their independent reading and turn it into a monologue. Students note tone, pitch, and inflection in their Reader/Writer Notebook. In an Independent Reading Link activity, students take a passage from their self-selected reading choice and draft a monologue using the techniques practiced with a partner during a unit lesson. Students complete this task in the Reader/Writer Notebook, where they also write commentary for performance delivery. For another Independent Reading Checkpoint, students write a creative piece, using a genre or format of their choosing, for a character’s perspective from their self-selected reading choice.
The materials provide support for students to develop composition skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students have opportunities to write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students write argumentative texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. The materials provide students with opportunities to write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Exemplar texts, instruction, and activities give students multiple low-stakes opportunities to build writing skills before demonstrating mastery in the embedded assessments completed at the end of a genre set. Ten “Writing Workshops” provide additional exemplar texts, instruction, and practice using a model of whole class practice, peer practice, and independent practice to reinforce understanding.
During Unit 1, students complete the writing process to generate a personal narrative and an illustrated myth. Students generate ideas for a personal narrative by creating a portfolio on the concept of choice with reflections, examples, and wise sayings. They move from general topic brainstorming to creating an idea web with personal examples of “choices/consequences/reflection.” Students then respond to a narrative prompt by describing a choice they made, their reaction, and then reflecting on the outcome. Students use writing process tools such as their portfolio, idea web, and rubric to guide their work. Students revise their introductions for “clarity, word choice, and organization,” add sensory language and detail to the middle of their drafts, and smooth out their conclusions by connecting the choice and consequence with a reflection. Students make final revisions using a rubric to guide changes to ideas, structure, and language use. As students move through each stage with their drafts, they receive feedback from their writing group, incorporating this audience’s suggestions as needed and possible.
Unit 2 analyzes informational and argumentative texts, and students study what influences their choices and actions. Students write an informational text on celebrities and marketing. Students develop a thesis statement based on their topic and audience and use this statement to organize their writing clearly. Students use evidence to support their claim and ideas and include examples from advertisements they have viewed to date. There is an informational essay in the Embedded Assessment 1. The prompt has students explain the role of advertising in the lives of youth. Students complete a graphic organizer to plan their essay thoughtfully. The audience of the essay is that of peers. The ideas presented in this essay are used in the collaborative discussion later in the unit.
In Unit 3, students write a formal but personal letter to Tangerine author Edward Bloor to query him “about a choice he made when writing.” In a later activity, students make a personal connection with their research on a “great leader whose choices had positive consequences for society” by composing a formal letter to that individual where they share an opinion on an issue of significance to that person. “Writing Workshop 10: Procedural Texts” supports student learning using a model of whole class practice, peer practice, and independent practice to reinforce understanding of how to write a business letter. Students consider organization, audience, and purpose by evaluating an exemplar letter, using the same tools prior to writing original whole-class, partner, and individual formal letters of appeal. At the end of Unit 3, students collaboratively research “a great leader whose choices have had positive consequences for society,” writing up their research findings in a documented informational text, which they present to classmates using a multimedia presentation of their choosing. “Writing Workshop 6: Research Writing” supports student learning using a model of whole class practice, peer practice, and independent practice to reinforce understanding of how to research a topic and present findings using effective transitions and documentation characteristic of research and informational writing and designed for audience appeal.
At the beginning of Unit 4, students “Draft an original narrative monologue about a real or imagined comic holiday experience,” using narrative techniques, genre structure, and a humorous tone. Instructional supports include watching a comedic monologue video clip to determine audience, purpose, and technique. Later, students analyze the ideas, structure, and language of four monologues before drafting an original monologue about a “dramatic school experience.” These low-stakes writing activities reinforce the skills needed for the Embedded Assessment 1 task to create and perform a monologue “about a topic that sparks a strong emotion.” “Writing Workshop 9: Script Writing” supports student learning using a model of whole class practice, peer practice, and independent practice to reinforce understanding of how to write a monologue script with strong dialogue, clear stage directions, and audience appeal.
In most written tasks, 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. Students use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims. The materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate in writing what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, “The Choices We Make,” students read a variety of literary texts, such as poems, memoirs, and personal narratives, in which students analyze the language and focus on elements such as an incident, response, and reflection. At the end of the text, text-dependent questions require students to return to the text to justify their answers. For example, at the end of the text “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, the materials ask students, “What is the choice that the narrator faces in ‘The Road Not Taken’? Which lines tell you about the factors he considers when making his choice?” After students read Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers, the teacher assigns a writing prompt to think about their choices in a day and brainstorm a list of topics they could write about. After picking their topic, students write a short personal narrative and focus on using transitions to organize the incident, response, and reflection. An “Independent Reading Checkpoint” has students write a summary explaining how their personal choice book represents the unit theme choice.
In Unit 2, students review the unit texts and advertisements to classify them as either primary and secondary sources, justifying their choice with an explanation. Next, students read the news article “Marketing to Kids Gets More Savvy with New Technologies” and examine the “cause-and-effect organizational pattern” of the text chunk “The Fast-Food Connection” using textual evidence to explain “What two things are linked together?” After reading the student exemplar essay “Screen Time?” in ELA Grade 7, 2.16, students recall the introduction and conclusion to the argument and evaluate their effectiveness.
Unit 3 contains poetry and novel excerpts. At the end of the texts, students answer text-dependent questions which require textual evidence to support their thinking. Questions include “What image is created by the word chaired in line 2? How does this image change in the second stanza? What else changes in the second stanza?” Students keep a double-entry journal as they read Edward Bloor’s Tangerine; suggestions for entries include recording a passage from the novel and making a prediction “about how characters will react to events.” Students also deeply analyze various parts of the novel Tangerine by Edward Bloor. Students explain how the main character is similar and different from his mother for this activity. Students use a graphic organizer, as well as specific text examples to support their ideas.
In Unit 4, students analyze a narrative poem’s structure, language, and effect. Students use the poem “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” and answer text-dependent questions, such as “What descriptive details does Dahl use in the poem ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ that create a comic effect?” and “What is Little Red Riding Hood like in this version of the story? How can you tell?” As a “Check for Understanding” activity, students write a monologue from a particular character’s point of view and focus on which parts of their monologue they could emphasize for dramatic effect and comic effect. In the study of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, students use textual evidence to respond to the question, “How does Orsino’s physical description of Cesario reveal that Viola’s disguise is not completely successful.”
After reading an excerpt from Ann Petry’s biography “Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad” in “Close Reading Workshop 1, Close Reading of Informational / Literary Nonfiction Texts,” students Check Your Understanding by writing a response to the following questions: “What leadership qualities does Harriet Tubman demonstrate in this passage?” and “Explain several ways that her role as a leader is different from the role of the others in her group.”
“Close Reading Workshop 3, Close Reading of Poetry” contains a variety of poems with text-dependent questions, such as “What possible themes can you identify in this poem? What text evidence helps you identify these themes?” The Close Reading Workshop also includes writing prompts that allow students to demonstrate in writing their learning. For example, “Based on your current understanding of the poem, explain how Emily Dickinson uses extended metaphor to convey a theme. Be sure to: Identify a theme in the poem. Provide textual evidence regarding the poet’s use of extended metaphor. Include commentary explaining how the details in the poem support the theme.”
Over the course of the year, composition convention skills are applied in increasingly complex contexts, with opportunities for students to publish their writing. Materials facilitate the students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process to compose multiple texts. Opportunities are provided for practice and application of academic language conventions when speaking and writing, including punctuation and grammar. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, and the materials provide editing practice in students’ own writing as the year continues.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1 uses the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost to introduce the “Grammar and Usage” portion of the lesson to determine how authors use punctuation to convey meaning. As students read the poem, they evaluate the punctuation used and why the author chose to use it. Later in the unit, students draft a personal narrative about choice and use their knowledge of punctuation and conveying meaning in their writing. Another activity contains the “Language Checkpoint,” focusing on the correct usage of possessive nouns. The teacher provides examples of these through mentor texts. Students discuss what the possessives are in the excerpt. Students practice making a given noun plural and possessive, using a graphic organizer and explaining the difference between them. The teacher provides a paragraph excerpt from “The Scholarship Jacket” for students to practice this skill out-of-context. Finally, students return to their writing from a previous activity to edit for possessive nouns.
In Unit 2, students learn about informational writing and compose a text explaining the role of advertising in the lives of the youth. Students use the elements of the writing process to compose their text. Students create a plan for their essay by answering questions such as, “How will you review the ideas you have generated to select the most relevant examples and information?” Students draft their essay and consider thoughts such as, “How will you use what you have learned about beginning an essay as you write your draft? Have you reviewed and evaluated your sources and facts to be sure they are clear and relevant? Have you synthesized information from your research in a logical way?” In order to strengthen their writing, students determine, “How can you use strategies such as adding and replacing to revise your draft for organization, cohesion, clarity, diction, and language? How can the Scoring Guide help you evaluate how well your draft meets the requirements of the assignment? How will you proofread and edit your draft to demonstrate formal style and a command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and usage?” Finally, students prepare to present their writing to their peers by setting listening and speaking goals and determining how their outline can help them present.
The Unit 3 “Language Checkpoint: Using Pronouns” provides instruction to support students’ understanding of “the clear and effective use of pronouns.” Students participate in board work, think-alouds, and individual practice to identify the antecedents of pronouns from the lesson biographical text “Playing the Enemy.” Students analyze topical and grade level representative sentences to determine how the pronoun use confuses readers and revise them. Instruction moves on to cover typical problems, such as ensuring pronouns agree with the singular or plural antecedent noun with out-of-context practice revising topical sentences and paragraphs. A “Teacher Wrap” tip has teachers prompt students “to whisper read or silently read the sentences to ‘listen’ for errors.” Students practice applying their understanding of pronoun-antecedent agreement with practice peer-review work of an out-of-context passage, where partners talk through how to revise for pronoun clarity. Partners complete in-context practice by reviewing their short answer responses to identify pronouns and their antecedents, making corrections for any unclear references as needed. Students also read the novel “Tangerine” and write a literary analysis about the main character in Embedded Assessment 1. Students use the writing process to compose their text, including publication. To guide the development of the essay, students answer questions such as “How will you proofread and edit your draft to demonstrate formal style and a command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and usage? How will your introduction engage the reader with a hook, summarize the novel, and state your thesis?”
Unit 4 provides students with opportunities to write with increasing sophistication. In the “Language & Writer’s Craft: Varying Syntax for Effect” mini-lesson, students review examples of how following a longer sentence with a simple, emphatic sentence or even a fragment can add impact. Students also examine how to create links between ideas by employing compound sentences. The lesson briefly covers the benefits of parallel structure and techniques for avoiding redundancy. Students complete in-context practice by revisiting the reflections they wrote after participating in a choral reading to incorporate varied sentence structure and reduce redundancy.
The instructional materials provide a Grammar Handbook that lists out important mechanics and conventions of writing. Students have opportunities to practice grammar skills in the “Grammar Activities.” Lesson 5, “Check for Understanding,” asks students to create simple, compound, and complex sentences by applying conventions from the lesson. Grammar Activities Lesson 9: Pronouns and Antecedents defines the topic and gives examples and non-examples of correct usage. Students practice by choosing the correct pronoun form to complete out-of-context sentences.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Speaking and listening opportunities are focused on the text(s) 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 text synthesis.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1, “The Choices We Make,” the instructional materials guide teachers to have a meaningful discourse about the fable “The Burro and The Fox.” After reading the text, the teacher initiates a class discussion about the text by asking questions such as “What happens in this story? Which details stand out to you after reading? Was your prediction correct? If not, how would you revise it?” Students engage in discussion by using details from the text to support their answers. Students also discuss an excerpt of a text from the memoir Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers. The instructional materials guide students to “discuss the choices and character traits associated with each event. Students should skim the text for evidence to support the inferences made regarding character traits and attitude.” To check for understanding, the materials guide teachers to pair students up with a partner to share their “text evidence as well as your explanation of how this evidence helps you understand the characters and their actions in the story.”
In Unit 2, prior to reading the essay “America the Not-So-Beautiful” by Andrew A. Rooney, students read “About the Author.” This snippet introduces the writer as a 60 Minutes journalist. “Teacher Wrap” notes set the stage for author purpose and genre comprehension by prompting the teacher to ask students, “Explain how controversial topics relate to argument essays.” After reading the essay “America the Not-So-Beautiful,” students work in collaborative groups to discuss and compose responses to “Returning to the Text” questions, such as “What does the author mean by ‘Throwing things out is the American way’ in paragraph 2?” and “What details in the text make you think that?” As students conclude the reading, the teacher asks students to review and discuss the accompanying photographs, asking “them to draw on their knowledge of symbolism from the second half of Unit 1 to interpret the second photograph and understand why the photographer might have chosen to take a photo of an American flag in front of a polluting factory.”
Unit 3 has students working in collaborative groups to discuss a poem, ”Invictus” by William Earnest Henley; a film, Invictus; and an informational text, “Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation” by John Carlin. After reading the informational text and poem, students discuss: “Based on what you have read about Nelson Mandela's personal history, why might this poem have been important to him? What connections can you make between his life and the ideas in the poem?” While watching clips of the film, the teacher stops the film at three separate points to allow for discussion, such as “When is it acceptable to alter the facts of a historical event, and when is it unacceptable? What would the film gain or lose had it not been altered? What is the mood of the film? And why was the final scene filmed so similarly to real-life events when the rest of the film wasn’t?” While watching the film, students mark their informational text with annotations of where the text and film are similar to support their ideas and thoughts. After watching the film, students compare the film and the informational text and discuss the limitations of each.
In Unit 4, students participate in a shared reading and discussion of five poems, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, “maggie and milly and molly and may” by E. E. Cummings, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, “Haiku” by José Juan Tablada, and “Homesteaders” by Rosemary Catacalos, followed by a “Working from the Text” jigsaw activity where small “expert” groups use textual evidence to support their analysis of one poem’s vocabulary, diction, punctuation, and musical devices, sharing their work with the class. In a separate activity, students use the genre knowledge they have gained through a study of poems, humorous texts, and performance to talk with the class or a partner about the Essential Questions “How do writers and speakers use language for effect?” and “How do performers communicate meaning to an audience?”
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and in student-led discussions in both formal and informal settings. There is guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion to express their own thinking. There are opportunities for students to give organized presentations/performances and speak clearly and concisely using language conventions.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Grade 7 materials provide an overview and brief descriptions of productive teamwork and student-led discussions in ELA Grade 7 “End Matter,” Learning Strategies, and Graphic Organizers, with detailed guidance embedded in the core textbook. The “Planning the Unit” per unit explains to the teacher which activities require the use of a protocol, and the “Teacher Wrap” margin notes explain when different protocols are used throughout the units. “Close Reading Workshops” and “Writing Workshops” provide teachers with clear guidance for engaging students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions using varied protocols depending on the genre. The End Matter has the Learning Strategies resource that provides definitions of the various strategies and the purpose used throughout the materials. The resource is broken into subsections, one titled “Collaborative Strategies.” The materials explain each collaborative discussion strategy with a definition and a purpose. These strategies include discussion groups, jigsaw, and literature circles. There are graphic organizers to provide an area for students to organize their discussion thoughts and respond using given sentence frames/stems. Such graphic organizers include Discourse Starters and Round Table Discussion.
Unit 1 establishes protocols for discussion practices by beginning with a think-pair-share where students review their current knowledge of unit essential questions “How do authors use narrative elements to create a story?” and “What are the elements of effective revision?” Students use the Questions, Heard, Teach (QHT) strategy to review academic language, with proficiency T students coaching Q and H students. Teacher Wrap notes direct teachers to facilitate a whole-class “collaborative discussion” with students using a “web organizer” to outline skills needed for Embedded Assessment 1.
In Unit 2, “What Influences My Choices,” the materials guide teachers in the “Teach” section on preparing for collaborative discussion and the roles and responsibilities for students. Students review the guidelines for effective discussions. The materials provide a table that lists the protocols for collaborative discussions that include, but are not limited to, “be prepared for the discussion by reading the text and watching the video ahead of time. Be alert; use appropriate eye contact and engage with your partner. Speak up so that the other group members can hear. Take turns speaking and listening; everyone should have an opportunity to share ideas.” The materials also provide students with discussion questions to facilitate discussion about the text. There are graphic organizers to guide student preparation for and participation in group discussions. For example, students use the SOAPSTone graphic organizer to analyze the argumentative news article “Another Study Highlights the Insanity of Selling Junk Food in School Vending Machines” by Karen Kaplan. Students distill their SOAPSTone findings in a graphic organizer that lists text title, claim/s, logical reason/s, relevant evidence, and explanation of credibility of reasons/evidence, and students use these condensed notes to facilitate a productive conversation. Teacher Wrap notes suggest teachers help struggling groups by scaffolding “the questions by rephrasing them or breaking them down into smaller parts” using the teacher example response boxes called “Scaffolding the Text-Dependent Questions.”
In Unit 3, “Choices and Consequences,” the materials guide teachers to introduce the “Questioning the Text” strategy. The Teach section provides an outline of how to prepare for the strategy. Students “generate questions about the text at each level. They can do this individually or with partners” to conduct a collaborative discussion. The materials remind students to “follow group norms about discussions, speaking clearly, listening carefully, and allowing each person a turn to question and respond.” Unit 3’s Embedded Assessment 2 has students working with a group to create and deliver a biographical multimedia presentation on a great leader whose choices have had positive consequences for society. Students take time to plan and draft their presentations by researching potential subjects and creating the content for their presentations. Attention to rehearsing their presentations is paid for students to receive feedback from peers, focusing on elements identified in the provided rubric. Use of language is identified in the rubric, and students must include in their presentation areas such as eye contact, sentence variety, and grammar/vocabulary used when speaking.
In Unit 4, after being assigned one of four monologues to perform, students learn the strategy, Choral Reading, with a description, discussion of text cues, rehearsal techniques, and presentation expectations. Choral Reading empowers the oral readers to “create different voices and emphasize words and lines to reflect interpretations.” Protocol notes direct students to review stage directions for delivery cues. Rehearsal strategies include repeated practice for fluency along with trial and error practice with varied “volume, rate, pitch, inflection, and tone.” For “Presentation,” tips include delivering lines in a way that meshes with the contributions of other readers. After the presentation, a checklist of questions guides students through gauging their proficiency. Student partners transform the poem “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” by Roald Dahl into a monologue they perform. A bulleted list provides students with guidance for their oral interpretation, suggesting they “mark the text” to ensure appropriate delivery and “facial expressions.” Notes also specify rehearsing techniques and audience etiquette. Teacher Wrap notes reference the “Presenting Scoring Guide” found in ELA Grade 7 “End Matter,” which uses criteria for introduction/conclusion, timing, voice, eye contact/gestures, use of media, visuals, props, and audience engagement, scoring on a four-point scale from exemplary to incomplete. Students complete sentence frames in “Sharing Feedback” to respond to one another’s performances.
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources. Identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources are supported. Students are provided practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade level audience.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
A series of nine Unit 2 lessons give students instruction and practice organizing and presenting their ideas for Embedded Assessment 1, where they write an informational essay and participate in a collaborative discussion. First, students preview the scoring guide rubric for the assessment. After engaging with the informational text and video “How Kids Can Resist Advertising and Be Smart Consumers” by Caroline Knorr, students begin generating questions about advertising, media, and youth. Students focus on analyzing how text features support informational text, and they review research process steps adding potential resources for their research on the “influence of advertising on young people.” Lesson activities provide a bulleted list for choosing a topic and a flow chart for writing a research question. Next, they practice developing thesis statements suitable for informational writing. Students circle back to the topic of marketing to youth, and they develop additional potential research questions. They weigh primary and secondary sources to consider reliability, accuracy, and credibility by using graphic organizers and participating in discussions. Students practice their credibility evaluation skills and gather information to support their research topic by taking notes on the film, The Myth of Choice: How Junk-Food Marketers Target Our Kids. Students continue to gather information by looking for overlap between unit texts and ultimately deciding what information to use from which sources. The writing of their final informational essay has guidance on paragraph elements, outline ideas, and conclusion techniques. Students participate in writing groups, use a writer’s checklist, and review a scoring guide as part of the writing process. Students present their essays to the class using the fishbowl discussion protocol in small groups. Students not presenting can ask clarifying questions and evaluate the ideas presented.
“Writing Workshop 1” teaches students the elements of research writing, and they work in a collaborative group to create a presentation. The group brainstorms an issue that involves a choice. As students begin to construct their collaborative research essay, the definition of primary and secondary sources are given. Students practice determining the type of source they are using as they gather research to answer their questions generated. Attention is paid to the authors of the sources as guidance to the type of source. Students use a graphic organizer to summarize their findings and thoughts. Then, students develop research questions, and the group gathers information to summarize their findings using notecards. Finally, students use technology to assemble their information into a report and use the scoring guide to determine alignment to the presentation’s requirements. Students present their information to peers, and peers are allowed to respond by asking questions.
Teachers use four “Writing Workshop 6, Research Writing” activities to guide student practice of the research process and product. Activity 1 sets a learning target for students to “gather relevant information” with a description of the research writing process, including “Relevant, credible, and reliable primary and/or secondary sources.” In Activity 1, students evaluate a sample student research presentation, “Banning Soda in Schools—Is It Enough?” to identify key parts of research writing and identify primary and secondary sources. In Activity 2, students consider the advantages and disadvantages of using primary or secondary sources, and the class jointly creates a research plan centered on an issue that involves choices, where they identify potential sources from teacher-provided primary and secondary sources. The teacher discusses sample primary and secondary sources to help students recognize “situations in which each type of resource would be most appropriate for specific research topics.” The teacher models all parts of the research process, which Activity 2 breaks into 12 steps with instruction and practice. Students practice paraphrasing and directly quoting, create source cards, and review the research plan to fill in gaps. Activity 2, Step 12, has 11 bullets detailing how to write a research presentation using the sample student essay as a model for format. When students move into Activity 3, a group research presentation, activity directions specify “find authoritative and reliable primary and secondary sources for the issue your group has chosen to research.” Students evaluate sources individually before paraphrasing and creating citations for each. Students then bring their contributions to the writing group, where they work collaboratively to determine which primary and secondary sources provide “the most authoritative and reliable” information using the “Evaluating Online Resources” checklist. After whole class and small group practice, students independently complete the research process and publish a research report with documentation.
The materials include 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. The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking; include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency, as needed; and provide opportunities for increased independence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Students prepare for their Unit 1 study of narrative text by familiarizing themselves with academic vocabulary, such as effect and coherence, and literary vocabulary like denotation, connotation, sensory detail, and figurative language. “Exploring the Concept of Choice” introduces students to the unit theme, choice, plus independent reading goals and the writing process. After participating in shared activities and discussions, students demonstrate their understanding of the unit theme “Exploring Your Choices” by creating a Reader/Writer Notebook portfolio cover and an idea web that reflects on choices, including their own personal choices. Students practice and demonstrate integrated skills with a study of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Nikki Giovanni’s “Choices.” While listening to a reading of both poems, students annotate the text, focusing on sensory language and unfamiliar words and phrases. The teacher supports their vocabulary work by pausing during the reading of Frost’s poem and leading a discussion of the word diverge. An after-reading “Working from the Text” activity has students evaluate the effect of the author’s diction on readers by examining the denotation, connotation, and figurative meaning of words and phrases used in each poem. Students expand their examination to consider how the author’s diction connects to the poems’ themes. Students demonstrate their understanding of diction and theme by choosing a representative word from each poem analyzed in the “Working from the Text” activity to “Check Your Understanding” by writing an informal analysis in their Reader/Writing Notebook. Students use this draft of their impressions to then write a more comprehensive response in “Writing to Sources: Informational Text,” where they demonstrate their understanding of how each poet communicates the unit theme choices through word choice. Students make a text-to-self reflection in “Choices and Consequences,” and, like the speaker of each poem, they reflect on how a personal choice resulted in a consequence.
In Unit 2, students begin with the less difficult informational essay before progressing to the more challenging argumentative essay. “Writing Workshop 3, Grade 7, Informational Writing” leads students through a coherently sequenced study of an exemplar text’s components and characteristics. In “Working from the Text,” students review a sample informational text, “What’s in Your Toothpaste?” and analyze its structure by marking components such as topic sentences, supporting details, and commentary. Students make sure to include these text features and others studied in their whole class, partner, and individual writing, using a scoring guide rubric to verify that they have done so. “Writing Workshop 2, Grade 7, Argumentative Writing” provides similar scaffolded support for students as they tackle the more challenging writing genre at the close of Unit 2.
In Unit 3, students examine how truly great leaders persevere despite adversity by comparing the poem “Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley, three excerpts from the biography Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin, and the film Invictus. Following a consistent program pattern of vocabulary study while reading the lesson texts, students annotate the text for unfamiliar words and phrases along with specific tasks to annotate “descriptive words and phrases that Henley applies to difficulties he has faced” for Henley’s poem and “words and phrases that identify the emotions of both Mandela and his visitor, Francois Pienaar” for Carlin’s biography. Teachers briefly check in on student comprehension using “Making Observations” questions, such as “What details and ideas stand out to you?” for a whole class discussion before students work with partners to complete “Returning to the Text.” Returning to the Text questions for the poem “Invictus” focus students’ attention on recognizing the contrast between the speaker’s despair and determination in the poem’s stanzas. Students move to small groups to work collaboratively with more challenging tasks such as understanding the poem’s theme and finding a connection between Nelson Mandela’s life and the poem’s speaker.
In Unit 4, students practice fluency by presenting a choral reading of a dramatic monologue. After intentional teacher-modeling of performing a monologue, instructors assign student groups a monologue for a choral reading performance. Lesson guidance suggests that students “Make sure you consider how the punctuation affects the meaning and tone.” Other suggestions include marking up a copy of the monologue with speaking notes concerning volume, rate, pitch, inflection, and tone. Before their choral reading performance, student groups practice to ensure fluency, adjusting their speaking part in accordance to that of others.
The materials provide spiraling and scaffolded practice. Distributed practice over the year is supported. The design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials provide multiple ways to examine distributed practice over the course of the year, such as three Grade 7 Scope and Sequence documents: “Curriculum Map,” “Grade at a Glance,” and the “Grade 7 Correlations by Standard.” ELA Grade 7 Front Matter explains that distributed practice in lessons engages students “through multiple levels of cognitive engagement: progressing fluidly from comprehension and understanding to analysis, and ultimately to synthesis and the creation of new content.” Materials describe a unit design that begins with the end in mind with students “unpacking the Embedded Assessment” to clearly understand learning targets. Each ELA Grade 7 unit divides the instructional focus by genre with repeated opportunities to study most genres. Periodic formative assessments check student progress toward mastery of the standards integrated into the Embedded Assessment. Teachers can see a snapshot of the instructional sequence and activity distribution by looking at each of the four units’ “Planning the Unit” documents or the ELA Grade 7 Table of Contents. The ELA Grade 7 End Matter also has an “Index of Skills” categorized by Literary, Reading, Writing, Media, Speaking and Listening, Language, and Vocabulary.
Unit 1 has exemplar tasks and activities centered around the personal narrative to begin the unit and myths to conclude. Embedded Independent Reading Link activities spiral practice of core content standards and skills. Students start by discussing, using the Think-Pair-Share strategy, how authors use narrative elements to create a story and what elements make up effective revision. Students move to practice paraphrasing using a graphic organizer while maintaining the text’s original meaning and making a plan for their independent reading time. Next, students examine how “sensory details and figurative language” create a mental picture of “characters and events” in the reader’s mind in an excerpt from Walter Dean Myers’ memoir, Bad Boy. An “Independent Reading Link” activity asks students, “Compare and contrast the texts’ use of sensory details and figurative language.” In the second half of Unit 1, students study narrative writing in mythology and folklore. Learning targets over several lessons examine characterization and theme in myths and folklore. After analyzing the myth “Phaethon” by Bernard Evslin, an embedded Independent Reading Link activity has students find examples of human, animal, god, and goddess interactions and characterizations in their personal choice book. Student partners collaboratively create original myths with strong characterizations and an overarching theme for the Embedded Assessment 2 task.
In Unit 2, English Language Arts, Activity 2.2, students read “How Kids Can Resist Advertising and Be Smart Consumers” by Caroline Knorr and answer questions about advertising. Students review a variety of advertisements to identify techniques and the effectiveness of advertising. Students conduct a shared reading of the informational text and respond to scaffolded text-dependent questions. Next, students watch a film, “The Myth of Choice: How Junk Food Marketers Target Our Kids,” and assess its purpose and credibility. Students answer the question, “What techniques are used especially for young audiences?” Students also read a news article, “Marketing to Kids Gets More Savvy with New Technologies,” to compare and contrast information across genres. Students respond to scaffolded questions using text-based evidence. In the next activity, students review previous information gathered as evidence and independently write a conclusion for an essay on advertising to young people.
In Unit 3, students use their text analysis skills across multiple genres with a study of biography, autobiography, informational text, a dramatic film, and a speech by or about world leader Nelson Mandela. Materials bring together multi-genre texts with the learning target of understanding “the form and conventions of a biographical multimedia presentation.” Students watch a clip of Invictus to “Analyze the presentation of biographical and historical information in a film.” Students compare a biography and autobiography to find how “sources emphasize different evidence and interpret facts differently.” Students use this understanding of how different sources portray an individual to guide their selection of sources as part of a small group practice research project about Nelson Mandela’s life. Students extend their text evaluation skills by using an Internet Source Evaluation Chart before narrowing down the best sources to include in their project. Students circle back to Invictus and compare its images and dialogue to the descriptions and dialogue of excerpts from the biography Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin to see how authors and directors, who tell the stories of real-life individuals, mirror the truth. Students move from consumers of information to creators as they use their now extensive genre knowledge to inform their Embedded Assessment 2 task of working “with a research group to create and deliver a biographical multimedia presentation of a great leader whose choices have had positive consequences for society.”
Students have multiple opportunities in Unit 4 to study a variety of narrative poems and monologues, participate in a choral reading, and write and present a monologue. “Writing Workshop 8, Poetry” scaffolds tasks, such as analyzing additional poems, practicing a choral reading, and writing an original poem, with a gradual release from whole class writing to small group or partner work writing, and finally independent writing. In the second half of Unit 4, students extend their poetry and monologue study with William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. “Writing Workshop 9, Script Writing” scaffolds tasks, such as adapting a previously studied text for a dramatic performance and using stage directions effectively, with a gradual release from whole class writing, to small group or partner work writing, and finally independent writing.
The materials include some supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade-level. Materials provide limited or no planning for teachers in supporting above-grade-level students. While learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation, are included, those opportunities are not consistent throughout the materials, nor are they sufficient for students demonstrating literacy skills above grade 7 level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials designate multiple planning activities and some learning opportunities for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected in grade 7 in the “Planning the Unit” overview, which precedes lessons. It includes sections such as AP/College Readiness and SAT Connections, Suggestions for Independent Reading, and Flexible Pathways. Flexible Pathways confirms that teachers can “supplement or replace” unit sections to extend learning to address the needs of students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level. The program does not include specific materials but states that teachers differentiate instruction by adjusting the pacing of lessons from “Close Reading Workshop,” “Writing Workshop,” or “Flexible Novel Units.” The Planning the Unit tool, “Suggestions for Independent Reading,” lists titles by author, genre, and Lexile facilitating teacher guidance for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level. Within lessons, the materials classify text selections as “Accessible, Complex, or Very Complex, with Complex representing on-grade-level texts.” Within individual lessons, "Teacher Wrap,” the name for the instructional margin notes, periodically has a “Leveled Differentiated Instruction” section which uses the category “Extend” to specifically list strategies for students who demonstrate literacy skills above or below that expected at the grade level.
For Unit 1, Activity 14, students independently read the Accessible fable “The Burro and the Fox” by Angel Vigil. Leveled Differentiated Instruction margin notes for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level take them beyond comparing the two animals to identifying which best represents themselves. An extension of this unique activity has students use a Venn diagram to compare similarities and differences between themselves and the representative animal. Adapt margin notes suggest using similar fables and offer the additional title, “Grasshopper and the Ant,” to expand student choice while using the same lesson routines and activities.
Unit 3, Activity 14 features the Complex text “The Nobel Peace Prize 1993, Biography of Nelson Mandela” and an excerpt from the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Leveled Differentiated Instruction margin notes for students tasks them with moving beyond the Paraphrasing and Summarizing graphic organizer to evaluating and discussing textual evidence for a representation of Mandela’s leadership skills. After gathering the evidence, students evaluate and discuss how each textual evidence piece shapes their understanding of Mandela’s character. This strategy does not describe how students report their findings.
Grade 7 “Close Reading Workshop” lessons do not include Extend or Adapt margin tips suitable for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at the grade level. However, Teacher to Teacher margin notes in every workshop direct teachers to adjust pacing with the four activities to fit their student group.
The materials include support for students who perform below grade level to ensure they meet the grade-level literacy standards. Planning and learning opportunities (including extensions and differentiation) for students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level are included.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a “Planning the Unit” section, which precedes lessons and includes sections such as “Suggestions for Independent Reading” and “Flexible Pathways” for teachers to determine the best instructional pathway based on student learning needs. In the Planning the Unit tool, the Suggestions for Independent Reading lists titles by author, genre, and Lexile, facilitating teacher guidance for students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at the grade level. Flexible Pathways, another Planning the Unit tool, confirms that teachers can “supplement or replace” unit sections to support learning. The program does not include specific materials but states that teachers differentiate instruction by adjusting the pacing of lessons from “Close Reading Workshop,” “Writing Workshop,” or “Flexible Novel Units.”
The materials provide the “Foundational Skills Workshop” for students who need basic reading skills instruction. Activities include high-frequency word work, fluency activities, and academic vocabulary to support students in their reading. Activity 3 provides instruction and practice spelling words with inconsistent but common spelling patterns. Activity 7 focuses on the use of Greek and Latin roots and their meaning as students apply this and their knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to unfamiliar words.
Within individual lessons is the “Teacher Wrap.” These instructional margin notes routinely have an “Adapt” section and use descriptive phrases such as “If students need additional help,” “To help students understand,” or “You might identify students who will need more support on a specific concept or skill” to list strategies for students who demonstrate literacy skills below the grade level. Within lessons, the materials classify text selections as “Accessible, Complex, or Very Complex, with Complex representing on-grade-level texts.”
In Unit 1, students determine the impact of words by studying the connotation and the denotation. Students who struggle are provided with a Venn diagram to list any differences in meaning, emotion, and effect between two chosen words. Students also revise the introduction of their narratives, focusing on word choice, clarity, and organization. There are different hooks shown to students, and students use one of them in their writing. In the Adapt teacher marginal notes, for students who cannot effectively do this, the teacher is to identify if the student can determine the hook being used and provide additional opportunities to revise introductions.
In Unit 2, there are supports for students such as text-dependent questions and pairing students up to work in groups. Students read a text titled Statement of Commissioner Michael J. Copps. For students who demonstrate below-grade-level proficiency, the “leveled differentiated instruction” guides students to use the “Idea and Argument Evaluator” graphic organizer to analyze the claim and evidence. Planning support for teachers includes providing students with an example of evidence from the text.
Unit 3 Adapt notes recommend teacher modeling of activities or paired/small group work as a differentiation. The Adapt note suggests that “If you find that your students need more scaffolding,” the teacher can select a passage of text and model how to respond. In the novel study Tangerine, Adapt notes state that “If students need additional help,” they should work with a partner or small group to review double-entry journals to identify a character who has made a choice.
In Unit 4, students draft their own monologues. For students who struggle, the Adapt notes recommend that students work in pairs to brainstorm different school experiences they have had and create a word web to describe the experience. To support students who demonstrate below-grade-level proficiency in preparing their monologue, the teacher provides groups with the “audience notes and feedback” graphic organizer to help students give purposeful feedback to their group members.
“Writing Workshop 10 Procedural Texts: Business Letters” lists an Adapt with instructional differentiation. As the class completes a shared reading of an exemplar letter, the Adapt strategy suggests providing students who perform below grade-level expectations a copy of the letter with scaffolds such as labels or a fill-in-the-blank letter format organizational guide. Other Adapt strategies for Writing Workshop 10 address grouping strategies and alternate activities for general education.
The materials include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. There are accommodations for linguistics (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with various English language proficiency levels as defined by the ELPs. There are scaffolds such as adapted text, translations, native language support, cognates, summaries, pictures, realia, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, and other modes of comprehensible input. Materials encourage strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English (e.g., to enhance vocabulary development). Vocabulary is developed in the context of connected discourse.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials devote attention to explaining the plan for EL Leveled Differentiated Instruction. English Language Grade 7 “Planning the Unit” includes the table “Activity Features at a Glance,” enabling teachers to quickly see which specific lessons have the purple ELL circle icon, indicating embedded strategies for ELs. It includes a unit-specific Cognate Directory, and the guide suggests teachers use it for a word wall, using the primary language as a bridge to English. “Language Workshop” front matter specifies that its lessons, which correlate to half of the regular English Language Grade 7 instruction, maintain grade-level content with “Leveled Differentiated Instruction” support that strategically incorporate opportunities for students to make progressive strides in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The “Foundational Skills Workshop” launches Beginning ELs with sight word and word study activities. The Language Workshop front matter continues with a Sequence for Foundational Skills Workshop and concludes with descriptions of tools and resources suitable for a range of EL language skills. Vocabulary instruction focuses on academic vocabulary with opportunities to preview and practice, additionally aided by multimodal activities, language resources, and glossed academic vocabulary. English Language Grade 7 end matter includes an English-Spanish Glossary of academic language and unit-specific vocabulary, such as idiom, pathos, rhetorical question, utopia.
In Unit 1, students work in small groups to analyze a series of quotes. Teacher Wrap notes recommend the use of visual cues/prompts to support key vocabulary from the quotes. Specific Leveled Differentiated Instruction supports Intermediate ELs with the teacher using leading questions to solicit responses. Intermediate ELs use the Collaborative Dialogue graphic organizer, which has speaking bubbles where students can pre-plan their conversational contributions. Advanced EL accommodations suggest that instead of initiating the discussion, students add to their partners’ contributions. In a later unit activity, differentiation gradually introduces connected discourse for the study of the vocabulary word consequences from “Choices” by Nikki Giovanni. Intermediate ELs use an Unknown Word Solver graphic organizer with a gradual release of teacher assistance. Advanced ELs use the Unknown Word Solver graphic organizer with a partner and also utilize the Word Connections feature, while Advanced+ ELs also participate in a pair share to verify their work accuracy.
Unit 2 supports students in the reading of the text “Mobile Kids” from Nielsen. Leveled Differentiated Instruction suggests teachers scaffold student understanding of how text features reinforce a text’s structure by asking Intermediate ELs questions such as “Where can I find more information about why parents get cell phones for their children?” These questions direct their attention to specific section headings and graphics. Accommodations for Advanced ELs put them in pairs along with less specific questions, such as “What are two types of text features you see in the text?” When students develop a plan to research the influence of advertising on youth, Leveled Differentiated Instruction suggests partnering ELs for increased success as they complete the three-column chart with Research Process Steps, Paraphrase, and Resources You Might Use. Additional supports for Intermediate ELs includes the option of using Yes/No questions to prompt response. Advanced EL accommodations suggest using the Paraphrasing and Summarizing Map to work through their understanding of the Research Process Steps, while Advanced+ ELs have active conversations with a partner as they work through the activity.
Unit 3 has students draft a literary analysis paragraph about sibling relationships and provide text evidence to support their responses. The teacher guides Intermediate students to write a brief summary of the relationships found in the novel, Tangerine, using provided sentence frames, such as “Joey’s relationship with Mike is….” There are no sentence frames for Advanced and Advanced+ students, and the teacher guides students to write increasingly more concise summaries of the relationships, using complete sentences and keywords. Students draft a literary analysis paragraph about how the author’s word choice in Tangerine contributes to the tone and theme. Intermediate students work with a partner and complete the Key Ideas and Details graphic organizer describing the novel’s theme and the literary elements they used to develop their theme. Using academic vocabulary such as theme, symbols, and figurative language, students complete their graphic organizer to organize their writing and provide additional details.
The materials include assessment and guidance for teachers and administrators to monitor student progress, including interpreting and acting on data yielded. Formative and summative assessments align in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. Assessments and scoring information provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. Assessments are connected to the regular content to support student learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Formative assessments connect to the regular content to support student learning as they drive toward the summative Embedded Assessment product and Unit Assessment tests. Each unit has a “Planning the Unit” document which provides an overview of unit assessments and a clear path to assess and monitor students’ progress. Within this document, a two-column “Unpacked Embedded Assessments” chart lists the Skills and Knowledge needed for each unit Embedded Assessment. The “Teacher Wrap” notes for each formative assessment in the unit contain information on key elements students complete, as well as the “Adapt” section. This section of information provides additional guidance on meeting the needs of students who may not have met the requirements or need additional assistance. Each unit has two Embedded Assessments, one at the midpoint and the other at the conclusion. Each Embedded Assessment has a scoring rubric in which the teacher can provide feedback to each student. Throughout the materials, there are several other formative assessments to ensure students are on track. These include the following: “Returning to the Text includes TEKS-aligned text-dependent questions that guide students to develop and demonstrate their comprehension and analysis of a text. Check Your Understanding Tasks occur at key moments in the instructional sequence when it is appropriate for students to demonstrate learning before moving on to subsequent work. Focus on the Sentence provides a quick but worthwhile opportunity for teachers to assess students’ understanding of key concepts or comprehension of texts, films, discussions, or visuals.” There are Unit Assessments (or summative assessments) for each unit. They include open and closed response questions and reflect the types of questions students encounter on assessments such as the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the SAT. The blue Help button tab for “Using Administrator Account” leads to the page “Using an Administrator Account — Assessments,” which shows that teachers can “create and share assessments with school and/or district,” “compare [Program name] assessments to other district or high-stakes assessments,” and use them to “Support teacher team planning by establishing expectations around common formative and summative assessments.”
The materials also contain “Zinc Reading Labs,” in which students are assigned levels reading assignments and quizzes. These assignments align with the units of the materials to support the texts presented in the materials. The Zinc Reading Labs provide reports for the teacher to monitor students’ progress and determine appropriate assignments.
ELA Grade 7 lesson quizzes and unit assessments have scoring information that provides sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. Each core lesson has a formative evaluation quiz, and the units have two summative Embedded Assessments and two summative Unit Assessments. When students take the digital form of quizzes or unit assessments, data goes to an individual and group Progress Report for teacher review. The Progress Report features a bar graph to show overall performance measured by percentage. The Item Analysis provides a drill down to the question-level feature, which shows the correct answer, a rationale, and the standard. This item analysis uses color-coding to provide teachers with a visual reference with green for success, yellow for warning, and red for struggling. Teachers can view the Item Analysis by individual students or the whole class with the option to export the report to an Excel spreadsheet. The Progress Report also includes a Standards Analysis Report. After teacher review, the teacher can release data to students who can view their Progress Reports in the digital interface. If teachers embed quizzes or assessments in the learning management system, like Canvas, Schoology, or Google Classroom, teachers must input data manually to populate the Progress Report; however, by embedding the assessments in these learning platforms, instructors can avoid this extra step. Embedded Assessments use a score point rubric with the digital Turnitin Revision Assistant tool providing preliminary and the instructor supplying final feedback. Materials suggest students keep a digital or paper Writing Portfolio.
All program adopters receive the Turnitin Revision Assistant tool. Both the [Program name] ELA 2021 Edition Overview video and Using [Program name] for ELA Instruction Webinar explain basic features and functions. Students work on Embedded Assessments in Turnitin Revision Assistant. This tool supports students during the writing process by listing the prompt and giving feedback based on the scoring guide and student exemplars. After students draft a sizable amount of text, they click Signal Check to receive feedback based on the scoring guide and student exemplars. Signal check generates feedback in categories that match the Embedded Assessment Rubric.
The materials include year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify students’ needs and provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success. An overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping (and other) structures is provided. Plans are comprehensive and attend to differentiation to support students via many learning opportunities. Teacher edition materials include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials, as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. Annotations and ancillary materials provide support for student learning and assistance for teachers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
“Front Matter” states materials address differentiation with “tools, resources, and supports,” which “lets teachers adapt their instruction for all students.” In a Front Matter section subtitled “Research-based,” the program states that the lesson design, informed by American Institutes for Research, has “its focus on students moving through multiple levels of cognitive engagement: progressing fluidly from comprehension and understanding to analysis and ultimately to synthesis and the creation of new content.” The teacher has autonomy for “facilitation and flexibility” per the research of instructional design expert Charlotte Danielson. The Front Matter section, subtitled “Instructional Guidance,” explains the “Plan, Teach, Assess, and Adapt” lesson framework. Instructors “Plan” by making decisions about “pacing and materials.” “Teach” components include guidance “for how to conduct close readings, how to group students, and when to check for understanding.” Teachers “Assess” using a variety of methods before following up with responsive “Adapt” strategies as needed. Found in the “End Matter” of the materials, a description of the various collaborative strategies used in the materials is provided. These strategies are identified and explained further in each unit as they are utilized.
In the Professional Learning Texas Module [Program Name] ELA Foundational Modules, a “Purposeful Planning 2020” document matches the program philosophy of “begin with the end in mind,” and it features the four quadrants: Get the Big Picture, Internalize Outcomes, Analyze an Activity, and Design Daily Instruction. “Design Daily Instruction” prompts teachers to make “proactive adjustments” to Process, Content, and Product by considering student strengths and weaknesses related to activities. Process decisions consider pacing, scaffolds, and supplemental materials, such as using related “Language Workshops” to supplement ELA Grade 6 lessons. Content decisions review instructional materials from ELA Grade 7, “Close Reading Workshops,” “Writing Workshops,” and Language Workshops as listed in the instructional flow lineup of the “Planning the Unit” document. Product decisions examine ELA Grade 7 after reading activities, including “Graphic Organizers, Text-Dependent Questions, Check Your Understanding, Writing to Sources/Writing Prompt,” with “Teacher Wrap” notes suggesting a variety of grouping structures and scaffolded support. As part of a key Design Daily Instruction step, teachers determine, “What proactive adjustments would you make to the activity for your students? Why?” Teachers identify points of potential difficulty and determine how to “support student learning.” Teachers also consider “How will I expedite or extend the learning?” for those students who have already mastered a “concept or skill.” Materials assist teachers with Teacher Wrap annotations, which refer to Planning the Unit and feature recommended titles and Resources, including an “Independent Reading Log” and Graphic Organizers such as “Notes for Reading Independently.” Each unit has a Planning the Unit document that provides an overview of unit assessments and a clear instructional path using a full array of materials such as ELA Grade 7 core curriculum, six scaffolded Close Reading Workshops, ten scaffolded Writing Workshops, eight Language Workshops, Grammar Activities, and a comprehensive “Foundational Skills Workshop.”
ELA Grade 7, Close Reading Workshops, Writing Workshops, Language Workshops, and Foundational Skills Workshop all include Teacher Wrap annotations to support the delivery of content, instruction, and activity completion. Materials clearly indicate which product resource to use where and for what purpose. The ELA Grade 7 teacher edition includes annotations and ancillary materials that provide support for student learning and assistance for teachers. Every lesson supports students’ learning with color-coded boxes that highlight critical lesson information. For example, Learning Targets and a Preview appear in a blue box at the beginning of each lesson. In the right margin, materials list Learning Strategies in a red and vanilla box and lesson-related Vocabulary in a purple box.
The materials include implementation support for teachers and administrators. They are accompanied by a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program, the order in which they are presented, and how knowledge and skills build and connect across grade levels. There are additional supports to help teachers and administrators implement the materials as intended. Materials include a school years’ worth of literacy instruction, including realistic pacing guidance and routines and support for both 180-day and 220-day schedules.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence as noted in the Teacher Resources Front End Matter. This document is titled Curriculum Map and provides information such as length of the unit, TEKS covered, vocabulary, goals, and assessment opportunities for the unit.
The materials include scope and sequence documents such as Grade 7 Curriculum Map, Grade 7 Grade at a Glance, and Grade 7 2020 Prioritized Curriculum Map, as well as a Grade 7 Correlations by Standard document. Teachers can download and edit the 19-page Grade 7 Curriculum Map spreadsheet to design instruction based on their district’s unique student population and needs. The Grade 7 Curriculum Map Excel spreadsheet covers all four core ELA Grade 7 units, and each unit begins with a one-page summary that allows teachers to preview the unit at a glance, followed up by an instructional sequence listing timing and content. Content on the one-page snapshot summary includes but is not limited to unit title and recommended duration, Essential Questions, Embedded Assessments, and correlating standards. Materials in pre-populated instructional sequence pages reflect lesson length and title, materials for potential differentiation for student needs, along with a customizable final column for district expectations, and opportunities for additional instruction. Teachers can edit the spreadsheet to reflect local implementation. The document color-codes unit elements using program-consistent colors, such as blue for core content lessons, purple for Language Workshops, and orange for Independent Reading Links.
In response to Covid-19, the materials also include a scope and sequence called Texas 2020 Prioritized Curriculum Map, which compresses the unit to 14 days by choosing the first half of the traditional two-part unit for a focused study. For example, materials identify ELA Grade 7, Unit 1, Activities 1.1–Embedded Assessment 1 for prioritization. This planning document leverages assessments to determine students’ current knowledge and readiness. In addition, blank columns provide an area for teachers to list decisions regarding “Differentiation for Student Needs” and “Planning for Distance Learning.”
The Grade 7 Correlations by Standard document lists each standard in TEKS order, aligning each by Focus Standard and Additional Standard coverage location in ELA Grade 7 core textbook, “Close Reading Workshops,” “Writing Workshops,” and “Language Workshops.” The document features a chart with four columns, including Standard Code, Knowledge and Skill Statements, Student Expectation, and Where Addressed. Teachers and administrators can see how lesson coverage spirals through standards. For example, “The student uses the writing process recursively to compose multiple texts that are legible and uses appropriate conventions” across multiple units and lessons in ELA Grade 7, 1–4; Close Reading Workshop 1–3; Writing Workshops 1–6 and 10; and Language Workshops 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, and 4A.
The materials include professional development videos that support a variety of topics, such as “Introduction to Springboard,” “The Story of the Unit,” and “Springboard in Action.” Teachers can access these videos at their leisure to support their understanding of the materials.
Each unit includes an explanation of additional supports/materials intended to support students. This information is in the “Planning the Unit” section, “Flexible Pathways,” where teachers can supplement the basic materials with additional materials, such as the Language Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Close Reading Workshop.
The Blue Help Box on any landing screen contains the topic “Using an Administrator Account,” offering a video tutorial for additional topics such as assessments, teacher resources, and accessing the ebook. These video tutorials explain to administrators how to support teachers in implementing the materials as well. Underneath the videos, the materials also provide written instructions on how administrators can use their access to support teachers.
Materials provide timing and pacing guidance within four “Planning the Unit, Grade 7” guides with enough content to span an entire school year. ELA Grade 7 Unit 1 has 26–30 days, Unit 2 has 33–37 days, Unit 3 has 27–30 days, and Unit 4 has 36.5–41.5 days for a year-long range of 123.5–138.5 days.
The visual design of the student edition (whether in print or digital) is neither distracting nor chaotic. Appropriate use of white space and design supports and does not distract from student learning. Pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports student learning. The materials mark titles and headings, and the area around the text contains white space as not to distract from the text or task. Throughout the materials, different sections are color-coded and remain the same color consistently throughout all units. For example, the vocabulary section is purple and remains purple throughout the materials. The organization of the materials is in a logical manner that flows and remains consistent throughout. For example, the units begin with the “Planning the Unit,” Activities, Checkpoints to assess student learning, and embedded assessments at the end of each chunk of learning. Materials include adequate space for filling in “quickwrites,” graphic organizers, or written responses. The student version has ample blank margin space for highlighted vocabulary and student annotations. Spacious graphic organizers facilitate student responses, but questions have less generous space for student responses. The teacher edition shrinks the text and adds the “Teacher Wrap,” standards, and sample correct responses.
The program’s digital interface uses navigation icons and tabs to facilitate the user's experience. A help button accommodates users with different skill levels by adding in videos, screenshots, and written explanations to explain the material’s various features and functions.
Each ELA Grade 7 unit opens with a three-quarter page thematic photograph or watercolor visual prompt. Most texts have an “About the Author” box with a full-color headshot portrait of the selection’s writer. Texts throughout the materials contain culturally relevant and engaging pictures and graphics related to the information found in the text to support understanding. For example, excerpts of myths from Voices of the Ancestors: African Myth, by Tony Allan, Fergus Fleming, and Charles Phillips, have a map of Africa highlighting the regions of origin for the lesson texts.
Photographs illustrating each article’s content accompany most of the informational texts in the second half of Unit 2. For example, a photo of young children in front of a television illustrates a lesson about advertising techniques. Images paired with other articles communicate the unit's focus on the allure of advertising on youth by showing repeated pictures of adolescents scrolling through digital devices.
Unit 4 includes a labeled stage diagram essential to students’ work to prepare and perform a scene from Twelfth Night. A series of four photographs show a variety of stage performances of Twelfth Night to support student’s understanding of different production staging.
The materials include technology components appropriate for grade 7 students and provide support for learning. Technology supports and enhances student learning as appropriate, as opposed to distracting from it, and includes appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The publisher delivers materials in print or digital form. Districts can integrate the digital interface with their learning management systems, such as Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom. The familiar learning management system wraps around and frames the embedded grade-level ELA eBook, “Close Reading Workshop,” “Writing Workshop,” “Language Workshop,” Grammar Handbook, “Grammar Activities,” or other digital resources. Districts can import student accounts and add login credentials using their single sign-on access tools, such as Clever or Classlink, so students can log in more easily while at school or home.
“Zinc Reading Labs” is a personalizable reading platform in which teachers can assign reading passages based on levels and content interest of students, and students can complete comprehension quizzes to showcase their understanding. Found in the blue Help box on any landing page, it contains the teacher guidance. A video and a written script of the video are available to explain how to access and use the component, as well as a frequently asked questions section.
Teachers can learn about the functions and features of the program’s digital resources by going to the Professional Learning tab on their digital interface and viewing “Using [Program Name] Digital for ELA Instruction Webinar.” For quick help, the program interface provides FAQs in a Help button, which appears on every landing page. Teachers can select from sixteen tabs for point-of-need information about topics like Assessments, Teacher Resources, Turnitin Revision Assistant, or Zinc Reading Labs. Each tab breaks the topic down into five to ten sub-topics. Each subtopic page begins with a description, table of contents, and a short 1–5 minute video, followed by screenshots and a transcript of steps with brief explanations.
Another technology component in the materials is “Quill.” Students can be assigned writing practice activities that support writing instruction within the main materials. The Help section contains the teacher guidance on how to assign the practice and how to monitor students’ progress.
All program adopters receive the Turnitin Revision Assistant tool, and both the “[Program name] ELA 2021 Edition Overview” video and “Using [Program name] for ELA Instruction Webinar” explain basic features and functions. The “Revision Assistant” technology component allows students to submit their writing assignments and have immediate feedback based on teachers’ scoring rubrics. This tool supports students during the writing process by listing the prompt and giving computer-generated feedback based on the scoring guide and student exemplars. Text boxes where students write responses have the most frequently-used features for word processing, including insert link, font, bullets, bold, italics, underline, undo, redo, and trash. After students draft a sizable amount of text, they click “Signal Check” to receive feedback based on the scoring guide and student exemplars. Signal Check generates feedback in categories that match the Embedded Assessment Rubric.
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