Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies for Grade 11 fully meet the expectations of alignment to the standards. The materials provide appropriate texts and associated tasks and activities for students to build literacy proficiency and advance comprehension over the course of the school year. Students engage in writing, speaking and listening, and language tasks to build critical thinking as they grow knowledge and build skills to transfer to other rigorous texts and tasks.
Text Quality and Alignment to the Standards
Overall, the Grade 11 materials meet the expectations for Gateway 1. A variety of high quality, complex texts support students’ growing literacy skills over the course of the year. Some text types/genres called for in the standards are not represented.
Materials support students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the year using high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks, though some writing types called for in the standards are not present. Students may need additional support with speaking and listening activities. Materials do not include explicit instruction targeted for grammar and convention standards.
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Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
The Grade 11 materials meet the expectations for Text Quality and Complexity. Students engage with rich texts that support their growing literacy skills as they read closely, attend to content in multiple genres and types (including multimedia platforms). Texts are organized to support students' close reading and writing, and guidance around quantitative, qualitative, and placement considerations is provided for teachers should they introduce other texts into the materials.
NOTE: Indicator 1b is non-scored and provides information about text types and genres in the program.
Anchor/core texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and for considering a range of student interests. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to read about interesting subjects such as the food industry in America and first-person reflections of what it is like to be an African-American at the turn of the 20th century. The challenging aspect of the chosen texts requires students to read closely and/or read the text more than once. The texts also allow students to build knowledge about current and historical events.
Anchor texts in the majority of chapters/units and across the year long curriculum are of publishable quality. Evidence is as follows:
- Within Unit 1, student read a series of texts related to the Civil War. These include photographs, letters, video, academic essays (“American Civilization” by Emerson and “Civil War Anniversary: The Emancipation Proclamation”), a personal narrative, an excerpt of a poem, and a song.
- Unit 3 contains two texts, Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien.
- Unit 4 includes multiple texts of publishable quality from reputable publishers. For example, students read “Shut Up and Eat: A Foodie Repents” from The New Yorker, “The History of School Lunch” published by PBS, and “Gut Reaction: Morality in Food Choice”, which can be found on the Arizona State University Research Matters website.
- In Unit 2, the anchor text is the first chapter of W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk entitled “On Our Spiritual Strivings”. This text explores the complex themes of slavery, racism, exclusion, and education. This text is well-crafted and provides students the opportunity to engage with complex figurative language, vocabulary, and sentence structure. The complex themes and language require both close and rereading of the text throughout the unit.
Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
*Indicator 1b is non-scored (in grades 9-12) and provides information about text types and genres in the program.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially reflect a full distribution of text types and genres required by the standards for Grade 11. While this curriculum provides an abundance of informational text including literary nonfiction, it does not fully address the literature component.The curriculum only provides a poem, a song, and two first-person fictional narratives.The curriculum does not include any drama. Examples of text types and genres that are provided, include but are not limited to:
- Unit 1 presents various texts centered on the Civil War.The curriculum provides the teacher with a list of texts used in the unit via the chart, Reading Closely For Textual Details Unit Texts (page 79-80 of the Teacher’s Edition).The majority of texts are nonfiction and contain videos such as PBS’s The Civil War, “Gettysburg”, Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Dr. James A. Burran, and primary source letters by Walt Whitman, Major Sullivan Ballou, and Jefferson Davis.The unit does offer two fiction pieces in the poem excerpt “The Wound Dresser” and the song “The Bonnie Blue Flag.”
- Unit 3 focuses on two texts which are both first-person fictional narratives.These two texts are Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River.”
- Unit 5 lists the unit texts on pages 582-584 in the chart, Building Evidence-Based Arguments Unit Texts. Text Set 1 provides background information texts such as “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration and Crime and Punishment in America”, Chapters 1 and 2.Text Set 2 provides additional background informational texts including an excerpt from “Criminal Justice Ethics” and Chapter 3 of “Jurisdictional Technical Assistance Package for Juvenile Corrections”.Text Set 3 consists of 3 political cartoons.Text Set 4 provides four non-fiction seminal arguments.Text Set 5 consists of additional arguments including “Lessons from Death Row Inmates” and “The Conservative Case Against More Prisons.” All the texts for this unit are informational texts.
Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level (according to quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis).
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Most texts fall within either the Current Lexile Band or the “Stretch” Lexile Band for grades 11-CCR. Some texts exceed the bands for 11-CCR but have value in that they provide teachers with options for higher performing students or are structured in a way that make them accessible to eleventh graders. The few texts that do not have lexiles provided qualitatively meet the requirements for this grade level because they provide for the exploration of complex themes, use complex language features, model evidence-based writing, and include graphics as necessary support for understanding.
Grade 11 contains a range of texts that has an appropriate level of complexity and close consideration of the relationship to their associated student tasks. In many units, more texts than a teacher could use are provided so that they have variety to meet the needs of their students’ reading levels. Texts are chosen to appeal to students’ interests making them worthy of students’ time and attention, texts are very rigorous leading to high level thinking skills, and each unit’s worth of reading build toward students’ reading independently.
- Unit 1 opens with three visual texts, all photographs from the Library of Congress of the Civil war. They are used to “build curiosity about the unit’s topics, create context for reading the texts, and provide initial practice in looking closely.” The next text is a letter written by Walt Whitman with a 970 L, which falls within grade level Lexile bands and is used in Part 1, Activity 3 to focus on close reading and attention to how an author uses language to convey his perspective. Texts continue to be varied including a PBS video, an interactive website, and an Atlantic Magazine article from 1862 written by Ralph Waldo Emerson with a 1210L which is used with the literacy skills of Part 2, Activity 2. Each text has clear qualitative measures explaining the purpose of its inclusion in the curriculum, as well as the connection to the overall theme. An example of this is an article by Dr James Burran, “Civil War Anniversary: The Emancipation Proclamation” which was chosen so students could analyze a contemporary newspaper article that is also a more academic text. According to the text notes, this historical analysis, lexile 1320, has “strong claims, multiple perspectives, background evidence and complex sentence structures” and the TE gives teachers ideas how they might incorporate this challenging text within the larger discussion (Part 3, Activity 1, page 48). The remaining three texts range from lexile 630 to 1430 but “all three texts coincide well with the previous texts from the unit and offer varied literary genres, styles, and points of view, as well as varying degrees of complexity (TE 63).
- In Unit 2, the anchor text is the first chapter of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk entitled “On Our Spiritual Strivings”. This text measures at 1300 which falls above the Current Lexile Band but within the “Stretch” Lexile Band for grade band 11-CCR. This curriculum acknowledges that this text is a challenging read. This text is also qualitatively appropriate for grade 11. It explores the complex themes of slavery, racism, exclusion, and education. This text is also very complex in regards to figurative language, vocabulary, and sentence structure. For example, lines 9 through 11 read, “It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me” and lines 30 through 31 read, “After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and the Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, but with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world…” (pages 192-193 in the Teacher Edition). This text was appropriately chosen to serve as the basis for students developing and writing EBCs because Du Bois’s work “provides many opportunities for high school students to find, interpret, and form claims.” Du Bois does what students are expected to do in their own writing. He “develops his claims using a variety of evidence” from his own life and from history (Text Notes page 135 of the Teacher Edition).
- In Unit 4’s Unit Overview, the curriculum explains that the provided Common Source set “can be used to build background information, for teacher modeling, and as the focus for skill development lessons.” Teachers and/or students determine which Common Texts to use and how to use them. The curriculum does not include these texts in the materials but indicates that they can be easily accessed online. In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, students begin exploring the topic through research. In this activity, students watch National Geographic’s video “Future of Food: Why Food Matters Now More Than Ever” which can be found on YouTube. Since this is a video, a level of complexity is not provided. The video does have qualitative value in that the video connects a wide range of ideas such as food, soil, climate change, fossil fuels, and population growth (page 369 in the Teacher Edition). This video also contains fairly complex and/or subject-specific language, such as conundrum (1:08), biofuels (1:13), fracking (1:21), harbinger (3:26), and mid-latitude (5:10), that would be unfamiliar to students in grade 11. Graphics, such as charts about feed conversion ratios (7:43), are necessary to understanding the message. In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 3, students read “Shut Up and Eat: A Foodie Repents” with a Lexile level of 1130L which falls within the Current Lexile Band for grade band 11-CCR. Students also read "Gut Reaction: Morality in Food Choice" with a Lexile level of 1210L; this levels falls within both the Current Lexile Band and the "Stretch" Lexile Band for grade band 11-CCR (page 381 of the Teacher’s Edition). In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 1, students read “The Ethics of Eating” which measures at 1380L which is at the very top of the “Stretch” Lexile Band for grade band 11-CCR (page 412-413 of the Teacher Edition). The texts in this unit were appropriately selected to serve as sources in the unit’s culminating task - Writing an Analytical Research Narrative.
- “Unit 5’s topic area and texts focus on the United States’ justice system and underlying questions regarding what makes punishment necessary, effective, and ethical.” Text sets are grouped together for instructional and content purposes but it is not required that students read all texts or even all text sets which gives greater flexibility to teachers as they make decisions about students’ reading levels. Many of the texts are very complex with lexiles from 1400 (“Crime and Punishment in America” Chapters 1 and 2, by Elliott Currie) and 1540 (“the High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration”). Along with these challenging texts, though, is a qualitative analysis. For example, text 1.3, “The Punishing Decade: Prison and Jail Estimates at the Millennium” has a lexile of 1490 but this is “primarily because of figures and formal names.” It is highly accessible at the eleventh-grade level and brings in graphical representations which help clarify trends” (505).
Materials support students' literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
The curriculum provides for texts within the Current Lexile Band, within the Stretch Lexile Band, and above the bands for grades 11-CCR. Students begin the year reading texts with a variety of Lexile levels allowing the teacher some flexibility in regards to student reading levels. As the year progresses, students read increasingly difficult texts. This challenges eleventh grade students and helps them become more proficient at reading complex texts which will better prepare them for college or career,
Texts are chosen to compliment the writing and literacy skills and both increase in complexity throughout the year. When given a text set, there is a variety of levels that can both challenge students’ literacy skills and be accessible when they are working on an analytical skill.
The complexity of anchor texts students read provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. For example:
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the curriculum provides not only Lexile levels, but also brief descriptions about text complexity. Text 1.1, “Crime and Punishment in America” measures at 1400L. The curriculum states this about Text 1.2, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration”: “Though measuring 1540L, this text presents statistics in a straightforward manner, with graphic depictions to clarify trends.” Text 1.3 “The Punishing Decade: Prison and Jail Estimates at the Millennium” measures at 1490L but is accessible to eleventh grade students because it uses graphics to help clarify trends (pages 501-505 in the Teacher Edition). The remaining texts range in Lexile levels from 1190L to 1410L; these texts fall within the Current and Stretch Lexile Bands for Grades 11-CCR and provide for students’ literacy skills to increase throughout the year.
The complexity of anchor texts support students’ proficiency in reading independently at grade level at the end of the school year as required by grade level standards. Evidence of this is as follows:
- Unit 1 contains numerous texts at a variety of Lexile levels. Students read the personal narrative “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” which measures at 630L, falling well below the Lexile Bands for Grade 9-10 and Walt Whitman’s “Hospital Visits” which measures at 970L, falling at the lower end of the Current Lexile Band for Grades 9-10. To balance out these less complex texts, the curriculum also includes more complex texts such as Jefferson Davis’s “Letter to Franklin Pierce”, which measures at 1430L, and Dr. James A. Burran’s “Civil War Anniversary: The Emancipation Proclamation” which measures at 1320L (page 79-80 of the Teacher Edition).
- Unit 2’s core text, “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. DuBois is a collection of essays that was groundbreaking in the field of sociology and is often considered a foundational work in African American history. It measures at a 1300 lexile and is qualitatively complex in its ideas and style. It was chosen and placed in the curriculum as it “will cause students to need to slow down and read closely to unravel both its rich, figurative language and its complex theories about American society and sociological history of African Americans” (TE 135). Unit 2 breaks the text into four excerpts to assist students in the reading of this text.
- Unit 3’s Unit Overview explains that the basis for the entire unit is two related first-person fictional narratives: Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River” (page 224 in Teacher Edition). Lexile levels are not provided. However, Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 1, explains why each piece is considered complex and appropriate for the grade level. The curriculum says that “The Red Convertible” is complex because even though it is relatively simple and straightforward, it has a number of “qualitative characteristics that make it a complex and challenging read”. In regards to “On the Rainy River”, the curriculum points out that this text “illustrates the craft of narrative in an autobiographical but still fictional recollection and reflection” (pages 235-236 in the Teacher Edition).
Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the expectations that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. Texts and lesson materials are accompanied by an analysis of the associated metrics and rationale for determining text placement. Additionally, there are included tools and metrics to assist teachers in making their own text placements should they need to introduce a new text or text set into the materials. The curriculum provides quantitative information for both anchor texts and text sets excluding photographs, videos, and websites. In the teacher edition, the curriculum explains the purpose and value of the texts in the Text Notes provided for teachers. For example, some texts are chosen for their value in reinforcing literary techniques while others were chosen as appropriate introductions to a particular time period. All texts were chosen because they were appropriate for 9th grade students while still allowing some flexibly for a variety of reading levels.
Examples of how the materials explain how texts are placed in the program include the following:
- In Unit 2, the sole text used throughout the unit is the first chapter of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk entitled “On Our Spiritual Strivings.” In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 1, the curriculum provides the lexile level for this piece and rationale for the selection of Du Bois’s work as the anchor text. In the Text Notes section, the curriculum states, “Measuring at 1300L, and qualitatively complex in its ideas and style, the Du Bois text is a challenging read, but also a seminal work in American letters. It will cause students to need to slow down and read closely to unravel both its rich, figurative language and its complex theories about American society and the sociological history of African Americans” (135).
- In Unit 5, texts are offered in the form of text sets. The Topic and Text section of the Unit Overview explains that they "are grouped together for instructional and content purposes.” It also explains that students are not required to read all texts in order to gain the skills associated with the unit. The curriculum intentionally provided a variety of texts at a variety of complexities so that teachers would have some flexibility in assigning texts and creating student groups. In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 1, the curriculum provides Lexile levels and rationale for text selection in the Text Notes section for teachers. For example, Text 1.1 Crime and Punishment in America, Chs. 1 and 2, has a Lexile level of 1400L and was chosen because it is easily accessible by students and serves as a good introduction to the unit. Text 1.2, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration,” measures at 1540L but presents information in a very straightforward manner. It also provides graphics which help students clearly identify trends.
Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency. Students process a variety of texts including nonfiction essays, non-fiction articles, and videos. Texts are accompanied by a Questioning Path Tool which provides both text-dependent and text-specific questions that guide them into a deeper reading of the text. Finally, each unit provides various student checklists and teacher rubrics that can be used to monitor progress throughout the year.
These materials have an appropriate breadth and depth of texts that also increase in the level of difficulty. Many texts are put within text sets and used in exploring a thematic question, which provides for rigorous and challenging reading opportunities. Evidence is as follows:
- The Unit 1 teacher’s edition begins with an overview of a series of texts included under the theme, “Lay down all my joys,” which are all related to the Civil War. “Students read academic essays, letters to friends and loved ones, and personal accounts of the war” (2). More specifically, within the nine text sets, there are visual texts, such as Library of Congress photographs, a PBS video by Ken Burns, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Atlantic, and letters from 1861 by Major Sullivan Ballou and Jefferson Davis. Extended reading opportunities include poems by Walt Whitman, a government document, “The Bonnie Blue Flag” song describing the South’s resentment toward the North, and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
- In Unit 2, the sole text used throughout the unit is the first chapter of W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk entitled “On Our Spiritual Strivings”. In Unit 2, Part 2, Activity 2, students are provided a Questioning Path Tool to guide them as they independently read paragraphs 2-4 of DuBois’s work. In the Text Notes - Ideas for Discussion, the curriculum suggests that “students might begin their rereading and second discussion of the text by considering the question in the Analyzing stage of the model Questioning Path Tool: 'How do specific words or phrases influence the meaning or tone of the text?'” (148-149).
- Unit 4’s title is “Food: How do our decisions about what we eat affect our world?" Students read a variety of non-fiction texts including videos from National Geographic, articles from Smithsonian Magazine and The New Yorker, TED Talks, and documentary films. These texts are appropriately complex for 11th graders and provide opportunities for close reading and rereading. For example, in Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, students begin to independently explore the research topic by closely reading “How the Potato Changed the World.” Once locating the article online, students are encouraged to record key details at the top of an Approaching Texts Tool. This Tool helps students organize details and helps them prepare to briefly compare annotations with another student and discuss what they already know before they begin reading the piece. The curriculum then encourages students to “independently and individually identify several guiding questions they will use initially to question and analyze the text” (371).
Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
Overall, the instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the expectations of indicators 1g through 1n. The materials support students as they grow their writing skills over the course of the year. High-quality, text-dependent questions and task support students as they grapple with materials, participate in discussions of content, engage in a variety of writing types, and demonstrate their learning with evidence-supported arguments. However, speaking and listening protocols are not fully outlined throughout the materials to support teachers and students. Teachers may also need to add additional instruction to cover the full range of writing standards required for narrative writing. Materials do not include explicit instruction targeted for grammar and convention standards.
Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific and consistently support students’ literacy growth over the course of a school year.
The instructional materials include questions and tasks that require careful reading over the course of a school year, during which students are asked to produce evidence from texts to support claims. Materials introduce the text-dependent, inquiry basis called the Questioning Path Tool, which provides opportunities for students to ask and use questions to guide their close examination of the text. The Tool progresses from intensive practice and support in developing text-specific questions to gradual release of responsibility as students learn to develop high-quality questions on their own, deepening their understanding of the text. These questions require students to return to the text for evidence to support their answers to questions about the roles of specific details, the meaning of specific phrases, character development, and vocabulary analysis. The process supports a text-centric curriculum and approach to multiple literacy skills.
Students work independently and collaboratively to respond to and generate text-specific questions. Also, writing tasks provide the opportunity for students to conduct more text-dependent work. Models can be modified for existing content (i.e., novels) owned by a district.
Appropriate support materials for teachers to plan and implement text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments are included in the curriculum.
The tasks and assignments asked of students are appropriately sequenced and follow a consistent routine. The materials require students to closely read the text, drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 2, the Making Evidence-Based Claims about Literary Technique builds off Unit 2 by addressing the writing style and use of literary elements and devices and how it impacts the author’s message of purpose. The materials continue to promote close reading through the use of the Questioning Path Tool with a focus on text-dependent questions about the author’s writing choices and text structure. For example, in Activity 2 “In what ways does the text begin, end, and develop?” and “How does the narrative unfold in time--chronologically or not?”, The Questioning Path Tool becomes increasingly text-specific: “Why might Erdrich have chosen to present this important narrative detail (paragraph 21) in such an understated way?”
- In Unit 2, Part 2, Activity 2, focused rereading of the text is centered on a passage from DuBois’s “The Souls of Black Folk” text, and a class discussion ultimately is about what evidence students can point to that supports their observations.
- In Unit 5, Building Evidence Based Argument, the student edition includes graphic organizers to help gather supporting evidence for the points in their research. Also included in the student edition is an Evaluating Arguments Tool which asks specifically for text-based observations. The materials also include text-specific questions:
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 2, the Questioning Path Tool for “Lay Down All My Joys” provides text-specific questions, such as “What details stand out to me as I examine this collection of images? What do I think these images are mainly about?”
- In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1, the Questioning Path tool for Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, provides text-specific questions, such as “In paragraph 5, how does Du Bois use figurative language to explain the “end of his striving” and the “powers of single black men?”
- In Unit 3, Part 1 Activity 2, students work with an excerpt of Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and answer many text-dependent questions in pursuit of making evidence-based claims about literary works, such as “Paragraphs 9-20 present a short vignette, seemingly unconnected to the rest of the story. Why might Erdrich have chosen to include the incident with the girl and her long hair? What do we learn about Henry Junior as a character, and how is this revealed to us?”
- In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 2, the task builds on the teacher-led, text-centered review process and introduces the same concept to the revision phase of the writing process. Students evaluate each other’s texts using text-dependent, evidence-based questions. The materials require students to “articulate feedback…that is specific, constructive, and text-based.” Students are supported by the Peer Evaluation of Research handout in the Literacy Toolbox.
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the Questioning Path Tool for the text “The Punishing Decade: Prison and Jail Estimates at the Millenium” provides text-dependent questions. One example is, “This piece mentions the disproportionate impact incarceration has on minorities. What evidence does the text present to support this claim?”
Students are supported in their literacy growth over the course of a school year:
- The Learning Progression and Sequencing sections in Unit 5 provide teachers with guidance for approaching the culminating unit for this curriculum. It reviews how the skills and activities in previous units build upon each other to prepare students for the final unit. It also addresses vertical alignment considerations by addressing whether students have worked with this curriculum in previous grades or if this is a student’s first time engaging with the concepts in Unit 5, building an evidence-based argument. The materials are developed with the assumption it is a student’s first time experiencing these skills and noting this is beneficial for teachers to plan and schedule accordingly. If students are experienced and have worked consistently with the Literacy Toolbox, teachers can adjust time spent on the overall unit.
Evidence shows that teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 3, the Instructional Notes guide the teacher to lead a brief, open discussion of the students’ first impressions; it also suggests different options for grouping such as assigning questions based on reading readiness. Finally, it suggests follow-up questions such as, “What in the text makes you reach your observation or conclusion? Point to specific words or sentences?”
- In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 1, the Instructional Notes direct teacher modeling, including, “Present students with a more global Guiding Question, such as this: What relationships do I discover among the themes, and details presented, the two author’s perspectives, and the language and structure of the text?”
Materials contain sets of sequences of text-dependent/ text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent and text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding.
The materials include quality culminating tasks which are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks and are present across a year’s worth of material. The following are examples of this evidence:
- In Unit 1, Part 5, Activity 3, students engage in the culminating task of leading a text-specific class discussion. Students conduct class discussions in jigsaw groups allowing for multiple texts to be studied and the opportunity for students to engage in discussions using original text-dependent and text-specific questions. These can be modeled from previous work with the Questioning Path Tool.
- In Unit 2, the culminating task is to express EBCs in writing. In order to achieve this objective, students must reread the first three sections of the texts unit and review their previous work. In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1 of the unit, students prepare for the culminating task through independent reading of paragraphs 5-12 of DuBois’s text; students use both the Guiding Questions and Questioning Path Tool to move from simply examining details to analyzing how these details develop his central ideas. Both the answers to the text-dependent and text-specific questions and the students’ annotations are the basis for this final assignment.
- In Unit 5, Part 2, Activity 7, students engage in a culminating essay analyzing an argument. Students utilize the results of their culminating text-dependent work from previous activities, including written notes, annotations, and the completed Delineating Arguments Tools.
Evidence that sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks throughout each unit prepare students for success on the culminating tasks is as follows:
- The Questioning Path Tool is provided in the student edition consistently for each unit in Grade 11 and, with text-specific questions embedded throughout, will prepare students for success on the culminating task.
- In Unit 1, students are asked to read several texts related to the Civil War. In Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 1, students are introduced to the culminating activity. To prepare for the culminating activity, the teacher Instructional Notes says, “Students are introduced to the texts and choose one to read closely with a small, expert group. In small groups, students will work with their peers to compare their texts with other texts in the unit.” These texts are the basis for the culminating writing task. Each text has a Questioning Path Tool with both text-dependent and text-specific questions. These tools help students analyze the texts that they will later use in the culminating activity.
- In Unit 5, the Learning Progression is spelled out that shows the movement/progression of tasks and skills that ultimately culminates into a collaborative, question-based process. Within the first two parts of this unit, students use Questioning Path Tools to work with the texts that help them explore the issue and stir up both thinking and potential topics. Each Questioning Path Tool includes text-specific questions, especially in the Deepening portion.
- In Unit 5, the activities culminate in “the development of and evidence-based argumentative essay.” The students’ requirements for this task include demonstrating evidence of fourteen Literacy Skills and Academic Habits, according to the provided rubric in the Literacy Tool Box. The skills required to accomplish this cumulative task are appropriately sequenced with text-dependent and text-specific questions. For example, the rubric requires the culminating essay to includes Forming Claims. The student’s work “states a meaningful position that is well-supported by evidence from texts.” Leading up to this work, students first practice with evaluating model arguments presented in the text sets in Unit 5, Part 3, Activity 1. This activity requires students to use the text-dependent questions from the Evaluating Arguments Tool in their “reading teams” to determine if example arguments from the text sets are questionable, acceptable, or demonstrate a particular strength of the argument presented. Text-dependent questions include, “What is the author’s relationship to the issue?” in order to evaluate Perspective and “Are the claims supported by evidence?” in order to evaluate the strength of the claims. By following the Evaluating Arguments Tool, the materials continue to promote evidence-based, text-dependent questions because each requires a follow-up Text-based Observation in a separate section of the handout.
The culminating tasks are varied and rich, providing opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and/or writing. The following are examples of this evidence:
- In Unit 2, Making Evidence-Based Claims: “One Ever Feels His Twoness,” students will write a final EBC essay and participate in class discussion, reflecting on the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits involved in making and communicating evidence. The Guiding Questions are designed to deepen understanding of the text and to assist students in developing another evidence-based claim. Questions included in the Questioning Path Tool will also assist students to deepen their understanding of the text, and to develop a claim based on the texts they have read independently, discussed as a class. Students will then create a claim based on the prior activities. For example, in Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1, relating to Du Bois’s "The Souls of Black Folk," paragraphs 5-12, students consider the questions of others to deepen understanding of the text: “In paragraph 5, what evidence and specific examples does Du Bois present to support his claim about ‘the contradiction of double aims?’”
- In Unit 4, Research to Deepen Understanding: Food: How Do Our Decisions About What We Eat Affect Our World?, students compile a Research Portfolio. Upon completion of the portfolio, students are asked to “organize their research and synthesize their analysis in order to develop an evidence-based perspective about their area of investigation. Students communicate this understanding in the form of an analytical research narrative and multimedia presentation.” In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 2, the Instructional Notes relating to Activity Sequence include the following: “In this narrative, students report their findings and research process, including the following: Their initial understanding of the topic of food and how it affects the world and their reporting of the area of the topic they researched, including personal analysis of specific texts. Through the process of questioning various sources during the research process, it will assist students to be successful when writing the final narrative: 'How does the author’s perspective influence the text’s presentation of ideas or arguments? How does the author’s perspective and presentation of the text compare to others?'”
Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols to engage students in speaking and listening activities and discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) which encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
The materials promote twelve Academic Habits and twenty standards-aligned Literacy Skills, along with units. The materials intend for students “to develop, apply, and extend” Academic Habits “as they progress through the sequence of instruction.” Academic Habits include mental processes and communication skills sets such as, but not limited to, Preparing, Collaborating, Completing Tasks, Understanding Purpose And Process, and Remaining Open. Each Academic Habit is accompanied by general descriptors and most units include rubrics designed for teachers to conduct observational assessments of Academic Habits, thus providing another opportunity for assessment. By comparison, the Literacy Skills articulated by the materials are focused on reading and writing skills; Academic Habits are mental and communication-based processes.
The teacher’s edition addresses the importance of students learning how to communicate ideas effectively to others. The publishers explain that text-centered discussions are embedded throughout the program and that students have the opportunity to participate in discussions almost daily. Also, the publisher includes a description of Academic Habits related to reading closely, speaking, and listening, and explains that within the curriculum are formative assessment opportunities that can serve as diagnostic tools for teachers to gauge how well individuals and the class as a whole can share ideas and actively listen to each other. Furthermore, the publisher states three fundamental principles that go with the Text-Centered Discussion: “(1) using guiding or text-based questions to examine the writing, (2) applying clear criteria when determining and discussing its strengths and weaknesses, and (3) citing specific evidence in response to questions and in support of claims about the writing.”
It is true that throughout the curriculum, students are provided frequent opportunities to participate in evidence-based discussions. Many activities and some culminating tasks focus on students leading and participating in text-centered discussions. These discussions allow students to work in pairs to compare texts, listen to other students’ summaries, and ask other students to present evidence from texts to support their thinking. The curriculum also allows flexibility for how students are grouped for these discussions. Some discussions are started in expert groups and finished in new discussion groups. Other discussions are completed in pairs, while some are led by the teacher. All discussions are connected to the units’ texts. While discussions are evidence-based, teachers and students are not provided with protocols or models for conversation. Also, evidence shows that conversation itself is not the goal of this curriculum. Conversation is a tool used throughout the curriculum, but is not ever explicitly taught or assessed.
The consistent and formulaic design of the curriculum provides a focus on using textual evidence and contains sequenced tasks for most discussions to support the demonstration of academic vocabulary and analysis of syntax. This is maintained by the consistent use of a formulaic questioning path system and explicit modeling instructions for teachers to follow with students. The modeling instructions and handouts are text-specific, but can be used with other texts. Some texts are not immediately available and extra guidance is provided to pull materials from the internet. Although opportunities for consistent explicit guidance for teachers or students to use academic vocabulary and syntax to occur do exist, this guidance is not always evident.
Also, evidence shows that the instructional materials do not provide students with sufficient practice to demonstrate proficiency in the strategic use of multimedia during presentations. As 21st Century learners, students need tasks to be required and embedded throughout the academic school year, including both formative and summative assessment of presentation of knowledge and ideas with the successful integration of multimedia to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. For example, in Unit 4, the Instructional Notes list an informational presentation incorporating text, graphics, and multimedia, as optional or an alternative, as opposed to requiring all students to engage in these uses of multimedia.
Materials provide multiple opportunities and questions for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Examples of this evidence are the following:
- In Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 2, “students read three related texts and discuss them as a class.” Students review their first readings of texts 7, 8, and 9, which are personal accounts written by people who experienced the Civil War, and then participate in a discussion about their impressions using the Guiding Questions to facilitate discussion.
- In Unit 2, Part 5, Activity 1, the activity is an “expansion” of the work from the previous unit with students close reading and discussing to better understand “global claims” present in the text. Students engage in a read aloud for a specific section of the text and are directed by the materials to engage in an open-discussion until the teacher leads the class to a more text-dependent guiding question, “What evidence can you point to in the text(s) that is the basis for and supports your observation?”, purposefully focusing the discussions toward making evidence-based claims. The task offers guidance from the provided structured handouts Forming EBC and Organizing EBC Tools.
- In Unit 3, Part 2, Activity 2, the Instructional Notes ask students to get into pairs to form claims derived from the first text-specific question they have considered: “What claim might a reader make about how Erdrich’s description shapes our sense of Henry as a conflicted and evolving character?” After writing these claims in pairs, there is a class discussion comparing the claims and noting how they are different even though all derived from the same text-specific question.
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 1, the Teacher’s Edition provides various suggestions to the teachers introducing the topic by using an activity “...such as KWL, class brainstorm, image brainstorm, or freewrite to help students access their prior knowledge of the subject” before having class discussion.
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the task expands on Activity 1’s Problem-Based Question regarding the United States’ justice system by providing a text set for students to read and annotate. Discussions occur after independently reading and annotating the texts: “students discuss [the texts’] relationship to the unit’s problem-based question.” Discussions continue with the Deepening text-specific questions (located on the provided Questioning Path Tool) requiring students to continue to use evidence from the texts to respond to the questions.
- In Unit 5, Activity 1, Part 2, the task suggests that students analyze political cartoons as texts and determine how visual details can provide evidence that establishes and supports the cartoon’s position.
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the teacher’s edition provides the suggestion, “Place students in expert groups and have them read and analyze one of the three texts. Then have students jigsaw into cross-text discussion groups to share and compare what they have learned from the text each has read.”
The opportunities provided do not always adequately address and promote students’ ability to master grade-level speaking and listening standards. The following are examples of this evidence:
- At the beginning of the teacher's edition (xxx-xxii) there is a list of found in “Alignment of Targeted CCSS with OE Skills and Habits.” Within this list, there is only one of the six Speaking and Listening standards of the Common Core.
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 2, during small group work utilizing Academic Habits, the teacher’s edition shares that students “might self-assess their behaviors of Collaborating, specifically how well they have ‘paid attention to and worked productively with other participants’ in discussing what they have observed.” The Discussion Habits Checklist is available for teachers and students to access using the RC Literacy Toolbox. Similarly, in Unit 1, the student edition highlights skills and habits, such as questioning, collaboration, and clear communication; notably, the students are reminded of the following: “These skills and habits are also listed on the Student RC Literacy Skills and Discussion Habits Checklist, which you can use to assess your work and the work of other students.” The self-assessment is presented as a suggestion rather than a requirement, and the checklist is a separate handout that is not included on the same page or following page of the student edition to emphasize the importance of evaluating these skills.
- In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 3, after reading aloud the first four sections of “The Red Convertible," “the teacher leads a discussion guided by text-dependent questions that focus on specific passages and narrative techniques.” The questions are drawn from the model Questioning Path Tool and are text-specific. All questions can either be discussed as a whole or in smaller groups. If the questions are assigned to small groups, each group would refer back to the class protocols for discussion, which are not provided.
- In Units 4 and 5, the curriculum focuses on writing and provides little opportunity for discussion.
Grade-level appropriate opportunities occur for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax within the materials, but the materials and supports within the curriculum do not always utilize the opportunities. The following is evidence of this:
- The curriculum provides multiple texts as the basis in Unit 1: Reading Closely for Textual Details. For example, students read and analyze Text 2, The Wound Dresser, “Hospital Visits.” Unfamiliar words are listed and defined at the bottom of each page of the text. The curriculum does not provide nor suggest any activity or assignment to help students transfer these defined words to long-term memory. In addition, this text’s companion, Questioning Path Tool, only asks two general questions relating to word study which include “What do the author’s words and phrases cause me to see, feel, or think?” and “What details or words suggest the author’s perspective?”
- In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1, when working the the Questioning Path Tool for DuBois’s "The Souls of Black Folks," paragraphs 5-12, all questions are about DuBois’s ideas and his use of detail and language, but no question considers the role of syntax in relaying those ideas. CCSS ELA SL Standard 6, which is not accounted for in the alignment at the beginning of the Grade 11 teacher’s edition, is for students to adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. This is further explained in the standard as students becoming proficient at varying syntax for effect, consulting references for guidance as needed and apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading. This standard is not well attended to in this activity or others.
- In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 6, “the class discusses the evidence-based claims developed by student pairs.” In the previous activity, students worked in pairs or small groups to create EBCs based on reading and discussion of text-specific questions for excerpts of Du Bois’s “The Souls of Black Folk.” In this activity, students discuss their EBCs as a whole class. Student pairs then present to the class. The class has a structured conversation about how evidence supports and develops the claims. Even though this activity would lend itself to a discussion rooted in academic vocabulary, the curriculum does not explicitly focus on nor provide teacher guidance on how to intentionally incorporate academic vocabulary into the creation of EBCs or the discussion of text-specific questions.
- In Unit 5, Part 2, Activity 2, students identify elements of argumentation and the teacher is asked to create a model Delineating Arguments Tool for one of the model arguments; this particular model is not provided by the publisher or included in the Instructional Notes. Teachers are provided a list of terms and prompted to provide students with Independent Practice with the Tool and “Encourage students to use the vocabulary terms they have learned. Write the new vocabulary on the board so they can use the words as references for discussion. Once students have some facility with the elements, explain to them that they will be using the terminology to analyze and compare various arguments related to the unit’s issue.” No additional stems or assessment tools are provided for the activity in the Instructional Notes.
Materials support students' listening and speaking (and discussions) about what they are reading and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for the materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.
Materials embed evidence-based academic discussions focused on listening and speaking skills in reading and writing processes. Students are often asked to engage in discussions about texts through activities such as note taking, annotating texts, and capturing what their peers say. Students then transfer the practice to their own writing through collaborative revision workshops with peers.
Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. Evidence of this is as follows:
- On page xxiii, the curriculum provides teacher guidance in how to integrate communication (listening and speaking) into the curriculum. The curriculum accomplishes this through text-centered discussions. Students are encouraged to share ideas and analyses with one another. Activities are designed to promote listening to others’ views so that students can revise their own thinking and to encourage students to articulate their own reading and thinking.
- In Unit 1, Part 5, Activity 3, students are placed into jigsaw groups so that each of the final texts is represented in each group by at least one student expert. As part of the discussion, students will take a turn presenting about their text, summarizing what the text is about, and sharing their explanations of key ideas. Students will also ask other students questions, reference the texts, and share new understanding.
- Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 3 is a culminating class discussion based on students’ independent reading and responses to the provided Questions Path Tool. The activity extends past the assigned independent reading paragraph and students’ listening is supported by the text-specific Questions Path Tool. The materials provide relevant text-specific follow-up questions intended for discussions. Questions require textual evidence to be answered.
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, students explore an issue for research. In this introductory activity, students read three texts in order to analyze and discuss them with peers. Small groups are formed so that students in each group can become experts on a particular text to later share in jigsaw groups to compare and share what they have learned.
Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
Instructional materials for Grade 11 include a mix of on-demand and process writing. Students are required to produce short, informal writings and longer, formal essays. On-demand writing tasks consist of completing the worksheets/handouts/tools from the Literary Toolboxes and evolve into students composing sentence-length evidence-based claims and paragraphs. The on-demand writing tasks build skills for students to use in independent process writing tasks.
Students are continuously asked to work in writing pairs or groups of four to improve their work by reading aloud, analyzing each other’s pieces, and offering objective criticism and suggestions. During the editing process, students are asked to focus on evaluating and improving the content or quality of claims and evidence, and to focus on improving organization and expression and clarity of their writing.
The Aligned Literacy Skills and Academic Habits allow students to increase their writing skills, including revising and editing and incorporating digital resources where appropriate. In addition, the writing tasks within the instructional materials are aligned to grade level writing standards.
Opportunities for on-demand writing tasks include:
- In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 2, students consider text-based review questions, and “articulate and share their text-based responses and constructive reviewers claims” that they have generated based on the reading.
- In Unit 3, Part 4, Activity 3, “in pairs, students develop a paragraph that communicates an evidence-based claim.” In this first phase, students should focus on getting their ideas down on paper so that others can review them. Students will work with peers and with the teacher on sentence structure and grammar “to effectively incorporate textual details while maintaining their own voice and style.”
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Formative Assessment Opportunities follow Activity 5. These include students writing a reflection on their synthesizing claim. The teacher’s edition includes specific questions to help them reflect on their writing and points to areas where revision may be necessary.
Opportunities for process writing tasks include:
- In Unit 2, Part 4, students develop evidence-based claims (EBCs) in writing. Students independently write in Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 5. The tasks leading up to this activity ask the teacher to model this writing, lead students through the collaborative, peer review process, and then students practice and present their writing in pairs.
- In Unit 3, Part 4, Activity 2, the teacher’s edition provides direction for the teacher to walk students through a focused revision of their claim statements by using text-based review questions. A process is emphasized, and it is stressed that effective EBCs cannot be done in one draft. Revision is fundamental.
- As part of Unit 5’s Final Writing Task, students plan and draft a multiparagraph essay that makes a case for their position. After drafting the multiparagraph essay that “explains, develops, and supports the argumentative position”, students are encouraged to use a collaborative process to review, revise, and improve their essays. Their revision is focused on their arguments, the unity and sequence or organization, the use of evidence, and the clarity of their writing.
- In Unit 5, Part 5, Activity 5, students publish their Evidence Based Arguments, for which they have been considering a specific audience and purpose.
- In Unit 5, Part 2, Activity 7, students work in collaborative review teams to review and improve their written analyses of arguments.
In the teacher’s editions, digital resources are incorporated where appropriate when students produce and publish writing as well as when gathering relevant information from digital sources and integrating the information into their writing. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
- In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 2, students are given four different choices for their final written task. At the end of the unit, there are media supports listed that include videos, audio recordings, and a YouTube news report.
- In Unit 5, a table includes digital sources available for free on the Internet. Electronic sources include informational texts and political cartoons. For example, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration” by John Schmidt, Kris Warner, and Sarika Gupta, published by Center for Economic and Policy Research, as an informational text and “Guillotine Justice,” by Chris Slane, published by politaclcartoons.com, is a political cartoon.
Materials provide opportunities for students to address different types/modes/genres of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Writing opportunities incorporate digital resources/multimodal literacy materials where appropriate. Opportunities may include blended writing styles that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (yearlong) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
Within the Grade 11 curriculum, there are two areas of limitation: the range of genres/modes of writing and how much instructional time is dedicated to teaching new writing skills. In particular, opportunities to write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events is not represented in this curriculum. Writing is embedded throughout the curriculum and provides multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply most standards. However, the writing does not fully reflect the distribution of the standards, in particular the various elements of narrative writing, even though narrative writing is at times included as a follow-up reflection to longer research projects. The 9-12 standards state within narrative writing that students write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequence. In particular, students are to use narrative techniques such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Students are not provided opportunities to engage in narrative writing tasks allowing sufficient practice for specific narrative techniques as required by the standards
The curriculum provides a variety of unit-specific checklists and rubrics so that students and teachers can monitor progress in literacy skills (including writing) and Academic Habits such as collaborating and clearly communicating. This curriculum is based in reading grade-appropriate texts and responding to these texts in both formal and informal writing.
A student’s ability to include EBCs is required in each form of writing and ensures all student writing work is connected to a set of texts in different formats. The common source sets allow for students to practice and track their understanding as well as helps the teacher effectively assess even large classes of students.
Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Examples of this linclude:
- While Grade 11 has a variety of essay writing (Unit 1: Text-Based Explanation, Unit 2: Evidence-Based Claims Essay, Unit 3: Evidence-Based Claims Essay, Unit 4: Analytical Research Narrative, Unit 5: Evidence Based Argumentative Essay), this pattern of writing repeats itself for each grade level with little variation. Many times the wording in the teacher edition is exactly the same from year to year.
- In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 2, “Students write an analytical research narrative reporting their findings on the topic, how they came to their understanding of the topic, the steps they took to reach that understanding, and what they have learned about the inquiry process.” Instructional Notes are included to assist teachers in guiding students through the Activity Sequence as students “report their findings and research process,” including the following points:
- Their initial understanding of the topic of Food and how it affects the world
- Their reporting of the area of the topic they researched, including personal analysis of specific texts
- Their culminating understanding or view of the topic, including how it changed from their initial understanding
- The steps they took to reach their evidence-based perspective including what helped and what they ended up discarding
- Their analysis of the inquiry process to research the issues connected to the topics they have investigated
- In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 2, the Instructional Notes include the importance of teacher modeling and ask the teacher to “Prepare a model analytical research narrative that analyzes the class’s overall research process, reports an analysis of the topic, and that communicates an evidence-based perspective that may have emerged through class research.” A model is not provided for the teacher and will need to be prepared ahead of time. Finally, relating to the narrative, the Instructional Notes state, “Because this may be the first time in the Developing Core Proficiencies program sequence that students have written a narrative, they may want to consider the specific expectations of CCSS W.3 at eleventh grade…” and list these standards for the teacher. There is no additional guidance to assist teachers and ensure students have practiced and reached proficiency of all narrative techniques for the grade level.
- Unit 4, Parts 1-5 present students with activities to compose an analytical research narrative (a blending of the narrative and explanatory using evidence-based claims). Students practice the phases and skills necessary for conducting inquiry-based research. As a final summative task, teachers assess students’ ability to conduct independent research. Students track their progress through informal reflection organized using a narrative structure and self-assessment supported by the included Academic Habits guidelines in the Literacy Toolbox. Teachers are supported with tracking students’ progress through the use of common source materials and provided alternate sources of various mediums to expand or remediate if necessary. Teachers and students are provided guiding questions to reflect and improve their work and a evidence-based checklist of the supporting Academic Habits. The Final Writing Task explanation is provided for teachers and students and does emphasize certain elements of narrative writing to be included in the final summative essay--the analytical research narrative. For example, this section instructs the students to “Tell a story about what [they’ve] learned…” and to consider organizing the narrative “in a chronological order.” The additional Academic Habits Checklist for Unit 4, also addresses narrative as an organizational option. Unit 4 checklists and guiding questions do not completely assess every aspect of the narrative expectations outlined in CCS Standards. Due to the nature of this assignment students are not able to use narrative techniques such multiple plot lines or sensory language to convey a vivid picture of characters.
Materials provide opportunities for students/teachers to monitor progress in writing skills. Evidence of this follows:
- In Unit 1, the instructional materials provide a Reading Closely Literacy Skills and Discussion Habits rubric. This rubric allows the teacher to assess skills in four areas: Reading Skills, Thinking Skills, Text-Centered Discussion, and Final Assignment Criteria. Various checklists also appear in the other units and are modified to the skills being assessed in that unit.
- The rubric at the end of Unit 2 gives students’ feedback for “Writing Skill Criteria” including presenting details, organizing ideas, use of language, use of conventions, and publishing.
- Unit 3, Part 5 focuses on making EBCs about literary techniques presented in a written Evidence-Based Interpretive essay (a blend of informative and explanatory writing) as one component of the summative assessment. Students and teachers monitor the development and understanding of making EBCs through modeling from the teacher and continuing to implement the collaborative criteria-based process for editing and revising multi-draft essays. Teachers and students are supported by Literacy Toolbox handouts and rubrics to address students’ final drafts and discussions about students’ final drafts. This process aligns with standards’ expectations for producing clear and coherent writing, and handouts ensure more precise elements, such as purpose and audience, are addressed.
- Mid-way through Unit 5, students will have written several claims and filled out many tools. This process leads to the summative assignment.
Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Some examples include:
- To end Unit 2, students engage in a Class Discussion of Final EBCs: “The class discusses final evidence-based claims essays of student volunteers and reflects on the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits involved in making and communicating evidence-based claims.”
- As part of Unit 3’s final assignments, student are asked to write a multi-paragraph essay that explains a global claim about the cumulative effects of techniques used by Erdrich and O’Brien. In this type of writing, students will review the narratives and demonstrate an accurate understanding of the text and provide perspective analysis; they are also required to develop a claim that is clearly connected to the texts.
- Unit 5, Parts 1-5 expose students to a range of text types through five text sets. Genres for reading tasks include narrative fiction and nonfiction as well as informational, visual (political cartoons), and argumentative texts. Students develop an understanding of the texts in order to compose an argumentative essay on the topic of the United States Justice System.
Materials include sufficient writing opportunities for a whole year’s use. Evidence includes:
- Materials include numerous writing opportunities that span the entire year. Each final writing task includes formal, usually multi-paragraph essay writing. Students also write throughout each unit in preparation for these final writing tasks. These shorter, informal writing tasks can be found in the form of independent writing, writing a text-based explanation, writing EBCs in pairs, and independent writing of EBCs.
- In Unit 2, the learning progression of the activities is organized into five parts and the parts build on each other. Students move from Understanding EBCs, to Making EBCs, to Organizing, Writing and Developing an Evidence-based Writing.
Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support sophisticated analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for research-based and evidence-based writing to support analysis, argument, synthesis and/or evaluation of information, supports, claims.
Instructional materials include frequent opportunities for students to write evidence-based claims (EBCs) relating to various topics and in response to text sets organized around the topic. Students are asked to analyze text, develop claims, and support those claims with evidence from the text. Tools, such as Questioning Path Tools, Approaching Text Tools, and Analyzing Details Tools, are provided to help students analyze and organize text to be used in later writing. The checklists and rubrics also include criteria for Using Evidence which asks students to support explanations/claims with evidence from the text by using accurate quotations, paraphrases, and references. Opportunities for writing to sources include informal writing within the units and formal writing in the form of culminating tasks.
Grade 11 introduces a variety of writing opportunities that purposefully connect to the summative writing tasks at the conclusion of every unit. Writing tasks are never stand-alone activities. Students engage in more research skills to build their own stances in writing. The Literacy Toolbox materials provide instructional support for students to effectively self-assess and self-check with peers.
Texts include a variety of sources (print and digital). Materials meet the grade level demands of the standards listed for this indicator.
Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Examples of this are as follows:
- In Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 5, students write an explanation of their analysis of the text and reference supporting textual evidence. The Instructional Notes indicate that students will write a detailed explanation of a text they have read. After these explanations have been written, students will discuss what they read, the details they noticed, and the connections they made as they analyzed the various texts.
- In Unit 2, Part 3, the overall objective is for students to “learn to develop and explain evidence-based claims through the selection and organization of supporting evidence.”
- Unit 5, Part 3, Activity 4 asks students, in developing and supporting their chosen position, to reference others’ arguments related to the unit’s issue and use those arguments as evidence to support their own.
Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. Examples of this are as follows:
- Unit 1, Part 5, Summative Assessment Opportunities provides two suggestions for formal summative writing for the teacher to assess using the provided rubric--a multiparagraph explanatory analysis essay and a reflective narrative. Both writings require students to incorporate supporting details from the text, although the materials do not recognize this as evidence-based or research-based. The assignment does fulfill the gateway requirement for analysis and evaluative writing opportunities.
- In Unit 2, Part 5, Activity 1, “students independently review the text and the class discusses the development of more global evidence-based claims.” The Instructional Notes section indicates that students will “move to thinking about the big picture presented to them” by analyzing the texts they have read both as a whole and by connecting the different sections of the texts they have read. This will require students to conduct a close reading; later in the activity, students are also prompted to consider the question, “What evidence can you point to in the text(s) that is the basis for and supports your observation?” The activity is a building block that helps student prepare for the formal writing of final EBC essays.
- Unit 3, Part 5, Activities 4 and 5 provide the opportunity for students to compose an evidence-based claim interpretive essay, a type of analysis or synthesis essay using evidence-based claims from the provided text sets. The materials provide two primary guidance documents to track growth and progress. The Student Evidence-based Claim Literacy Skills Checklist gives students guidance for peer and self-assessment during the collaborative review and discussion process. The Evidence-Based Claim Writing Task Rubric and accompanying instructions provide teachers with guidance and specific details to look for in students’ writings to assess their literacy skills.
- In Unit 3, Part 5, the objective states, “students develop the ability to express global evidence-based claims in writing through a rereading of the texts in the unit and a review of their previous work.” This part of the unit is structured for students to be able to write a final essay; they are required to develop, explain, and support a global or comparative EBC with evidence from the text. One of the targeted skills for Part 5 is Attending to Details which assesses whether or not the student can identify relevant and important textual details, words, and ideas.
- In Unit 5, Part 3, Activities 3 and 4, students read closely and understand arguments presented in the text sets. Students conduct research-based writing in order to find supporting evidence for their position. Students use the identified arguments from others to write EBCs about why or how it supports their stance.
Materials provide opportunities that build students’ writing skills over the course of the school year. Evidence is as follows:
- In the instructional materials, the teacher’s edition shares the Unit Design and Instructional Sequence: students are presented with a topic and “begin learning to read closely by first encountering visual images, which they scan for details, and then multimedia texts that reinforce the skills of identifying details and making text-based observations from those details” (xxxii). Therefore, students are provided an opportunity to learn about the topic before exposure to the more complex grade-level texts and then move forward to more challenging texts.
- Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 1 begins with the end product of Part 5 in mind—thinking about the big picture presented to them by considering the text they have read as a whole and also connecting or comparing the separate sections of texts they have read.
- In Unit 3, Activity 1, the “teacher presents the purpose of the unit and explains the proficiency of making evidence-based claims about literary technique.” The activities that follow assist students through the use of guided questions to focus their independent reading, read aloud and class discussion utilizing text-dependent questions, and teacher modeling of the forming of EBCs. Opportunities for formative assessment and collaborative partner/group work are included to ensure student understanding of creating EBCs prior to the culminating writing activity. In the Summative Assessment in Part 5, the teacher is provided guidance for Assessing Literacy Skills utilizing an EBC Writing Task Rubric: “Students’ final EBC essays, having gone through peer review and revision, should provide evidence of each student’s development of the Literacy Skills targeted in the unit—especially the reading and thinking skills that have been the focus of instruction and that are involved in making the evidence-based claim about a literary text.”
Writing opportunities are varied over the course of the year. Evidence is as follows:
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 1, students are introduced to the topic through an analogy from another field. Examples listed are as follows:
- Compare the process of close reading to the analytical processes used by experts in other fields, such as musicians, scientists, or detectives.
- Present a CSI video that demonstrates how a detective asks herself questions when first approaching a crime scene.
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 2, students are presented with an opportunity to access the topic through the use of visual images. In the Instructional Notes, teachers are asked to “scan the images and then assign specific images to groups or individuals for closer analysis.”
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 3, students are presented with a collection of letters by Walt Whitman based on his experiences during the war in a military hospital, which will be used for close reading and exploration and to assist students in furthering their understanding of the topic.
- In Unit 1, Part, Activity 4, students “look closely for details in multimedia text, "The Civil War: Gettysburg” by Ken Burns.
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 5, students explore a multimedia website and answer guiding questions.
- All the activities in the Unit, included but not limited to the aforementioned activities, build to a two-stage culminating activity. Students will do the following: 1) Analyze one of three related texts and draft a multiparagraph explanation of their text, and 2) Lead and participate in a comparative discussion about the three texts. Students are writing informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. In addition, students are drawing evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Materials include instruction and practice of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application in context.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that materials including instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level are applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application context.
The materials present tables in the initial overview of each unit and subsections outlining the alignment to Common Core State Standards. The materials are focused on select standards for the reading, writing, and speaking and listening standards and do not state a direct alignment to the language standards. However, the materials do provide opportunities for students to demonstrate some, but not all, language standards. This occurs in the form of reading and demonstrating understanding of the text and intentions of word choices by the authors. The provided rubrics direct students and teachers to expect standard English language conventions and punctuations to be demonstrated in writing assignments. However, the materials are not as specific for these expectations as specified by the Common Core State Standards. The materials do not clearly provide opportunities for students to practice all language and grammar expectations outlined by college-and-career readiness standards.
Materials promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Instructional materials provide opportunities for students to grow their fluency language standards through practice and application. Materials do not include explicit instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for Grade 11, and the instructional materials do not include Conventions of Standard English, Knowledge of Language, or Vocabulary Acquisition and Use as specific CCSS Anchor Standards Targeted in Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies Units. Evidence to support this rationale is as follows:
- In Grade 11’s Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide, the curriculum provides documentation for the Alignment of Targeted CCSS with OE Skills and Habits. Reading standards 1-10, writing standards 1-9, and SL.1 are included. No language standards are listed (xxx-xxxii).
- For Unit 1, the curriculum lists Common Core State Standard Alignments; included standards are CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9, and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1. No language standards are listed (7).Other units follow the same format.
- In Unit 2, “Using Language” is included in the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits—“Selects and combines words that precisely communicates ideas, generates appropriate tone, and evoke intended responses from an audience.” In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 3, students consider a set of development guiding questions, including one that specifically details with language: “What do I need to explain so that an audience can understand what I mean and where my claim comes from?" (161). However, there are no lessons on tone, connotation, or other rhetorical choices an author could make to manipulate his/her language. Formative assessments in Unit 2 do not include grammar, conventions, or language in the checklists. In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 4 “Reviewing and Improving Written EBCs,” the peer feedback students receive and teacher instructions are merely to “consider the implications of reader’s observations for improving their writing.” However, there is no direct instruction about grammar, conventions, and/or language standards that would help them apply and improve their writing. In Unit 2, Part 5, Activity 5, the “Text-Centered Review and Discussion” states that “Writers revise their essays, focusing on a specific aspect of their essay’s organization, expression, or publication” (189), but there are no materials or instructions on how to help students make these moves.
- In Unit 4, Part 3, the unit begins with alignment to the CCSS with 6 targeted standards and 6 supporting standards. These do not include standards that include language with regards to grammar, conventions or language (409-410). In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 2, the language of CCSS W.2 first appears and the instructional notes state that “students may also want to consider the specific expectations of CCSS W.2 at the eleventh grade” (441). Part "d" of this standard states that students “Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.” However, no instruction supports this standard. Even the “Researching to Deepen Understanding Literacy Skills and Academic Habits Rubric” does not have a specific criteria with regards to grammar, language, or conventions.
- Unit 5 starts with specific literacy skills attended to in the unit, “using conventions,” but review of the unit does not reveal any materials or instruction on helping students with this skill.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1 requires that students demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; however, the curriculum does not provide any opportunities to for student to apply the understanding that usage can change over time and is sometimes contested or to resolve issues of complex or contested usage by consulting references. The curriculum as a whole also fails to provide the instruction or opportunities necessary for students to master standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling with a focus on hyphenation conventions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2a).
Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks
The instructional materials meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Texts and tasks are organized around topics and themes that support students' acquisition of academic vocabulary. Comprehension of topics and concepts grow through text-connected writing and research instruction. The vocabulary and independent reading plans may need additional support to engage students over the whole school year as they build toward college- and career- level independence with literacy skills.
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The instructional materials meet the expectations of the building knowledge criteria. Texts and tasks are organized around topics and themes that support students' growing academic vocabulary and understanding and comprehension of topics and concepts. The materials partially support a comprehensive vocabulary plan and independent reading plan over the course of the year. The materials include cohesive writing and research instruction that is interconnected with texts to grow students' literacy skills by the end of the school year.
Texts are organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students' knowledge and their ability to comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend complex texts proficiently. Grade 11 materials are grouped around topics such as Unit 1’s focus on the Civil War, Unit 4’s focus on how food affects our world, and Unit 5’s focus on the United States’ justice system. This intense focus builds not only literacy skills but students’ content knowledge. Texts become more varied and complex throughout the instructional materials, as do the skills students are expect to execute. Since the texts are appropriately complex, these texts help increase students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts.
Evidence that the materials meet the criteria is as follows:
- The texts in Unit 1 all relate to the Civil War. Different types of texts are provided to increase engagement and address a variety of learning styles. Unit 1 texts include, but are not limited to:
- Civil War Photos - Photography
- "The Civil War: Gettysburg” - Video
- Excerpt from “American Civilization” - Essay
- Sullivan Ballou letter to Sarah Ballou - Letter
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Personal Narrative
- “The Wound Dresser” - Poem Excerpt
- “The Bonnie Blue Flag” - Song
- Emancipation Proclamation - Government Document
- Unit 2 is developed around students’ abilities to make EBCs through activities based on a close reading of the first chapter of W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk. Students will learn to make text-based claims by moving from literal understanding of the text’s details to simple conclusions or inferences to claims that arise from and are supported by close examination of textual evidence.
- Unit 3 is based on two anchor texts: Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River.” Both texts are first-person fictional narratives. Students use these texts to focus on how authors develop literary techniques such as character, setting, and plot.
- The texts in Unit 5 all relate to the topic, “Let the punishment fit the crime.” Different types of texts are provided to increase engagement and address a variety of learning styles. Unit 1 texts include, but are not limited to:
- Crime and Punishment in America, Chs. 1 and 2 - Book Chapters
- “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration” - Report
- “Guillotine Justice” - Political Cartoon
- “Lessons from death row inmates” - TED Talk
- Miller v. Alabama - Syllabus and Dissenting Opinion
- “Help Thy Neighbor and Go Straight to Prison” - NY Times Article
Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
Throughout the Grade 11 instructional materials, higher order thinking questions are consistently provided in the form of both text-dependent and text-specific questions. These questions are embedded into Questioning Path Tools that are used by students as guides when analyzing texts. These questions help students make meaning of what they are reading and build understanding of multiple, related texts as they prepare for each unit’s culminating task. The use of the plethora of tools, questions, and tasks not only provides evidence of student understanding of definitions and concepts, but also helps students make meaning and build understanding of texts.
Evidence that supports this rationale include:
- The Grade 11 Curriculum overview describes “A Question-Based Approach to Reading: Questioning Paths.” The instructional sequence for reading which forms the “iterative questioning process:
- approaching a text and considering reading purpose and text information
- initial questioning of the text using more literal Guiding Questions
- further analyzing the text with more interpretive Guiding Questions
- deepening understanding by attending to the text-specific questions
- extending reading through additional questioning , reading, or research” (xxii).
- The overview also explains that “The text-centered framework aligns directly with the CCSS and national assessments so that as students learn to use and develop text-based questions, they also become strategic responders to text questions in domains such as main ideas and supporting details, language use, author’s or narrator’s perspective, text structure, and so on” (xxiii).
- In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 4, the instructional materials provide questions that require students to analyze key ideas, details, and structure of "The Civil War: Gettysburg.” The following questions help students analyze the video and gain knowledge of the unit’s topic, The Civil War:
- "How does learning about the Battle of Gettysburg from this video influence my reading and thinking about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? What connections can I make?
- What do the early details of the video suggest about how the Gettysburg Battle started and how unexpectedly gruesome it was?
- What do I notice about how the text (video) is organized or sequenced?" (23).
- Unit 2’s focus is to develop students’ abilities to make EBCs using the first chapter of W. E. B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folks. In Part I, Activity 3, students follow along as they listen to the teacher read the first paragraph of the chapter. Using the Questioning Path Tool, students are to “deepen their understanding of the text” (139). Some of the questions on the Questioning Path Tool are “What details or words suggest the author’s perspective?” and “How might I summarize the main ideas of the text and the key supporting details?” (138). Later, in Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 6, students are to consider the final five paragraphs of DuBois’s piece and “are expected to develop and use their own Questioning Paths, selecting relevant Guiding Questions and framing one or more text-specific question after their first, guiding reading” (165).
- In Unit 3, Part 3, Activity 1, the instructional materials provide questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of “The Red Convertible.” Questions include:
- "Why might Erdrich have chosen the words and images Lyman uses to describe Henry in paragraph 49: 'His face was totally white and hard. Then it broke, like stones break all of a sudden when water boils up inside of them?'
- What claim might a reader make about Henry’s state of mind in his last moments, based on evidence drawn from this and previous descriptions?
- Where does the narrative end - with what details, events, or thoughts?" (261).
- Unit 4 focuses on the explorative proficiency, researching to deepen understanding, and uses a common source set focusing on the area of investigation, “Food: How do our decisions about what we eat affect our world?” The Unit 4, Part 1 objective is for students to learn the purposes and processes of using inquiry and research to deepen understanding. In Part 1, Activity 1, as an introduction to the unit, students view a video, “Future of Food: Why Food Matters Now More Than Ever,” and take notes related to the Guiding Questions on which they have selected to focus. In groups of three, students summarize what they have noted as they watched the video, later comparing notes with their small group. In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 2, students analyze a source’s perspective and focus on:
- Determining an author’s purpose for writing a text
- Identifying the author’s relationship to a topic
- Describing the author’s view of or perspective on the topic
- Analyzing how that perspective is communicated through ideas, details, and language
- In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the instructional materials provide questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of “The Punishing Decade: Prison and Jail Estimates at the Millennium.” Questions include:
- "What unfamiliar words do I need to study or define to better understand the text?
- This piece mentions the disproportionate impact incarceration has on minorities. What evidence does the text present to support this claim?
- What do I notice about how the text is organized or sequenced?" (506).
Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts. The curriculum provides both text-dependent and text-specific questions to support students analysis as they read texts. These questions are provided through Questioning Path Tools and the Guiding Questions Handout. These questions guide teachers as they support student growth in analyzing language, determining main ideas and supporting evidence, identifying author’s purpose and point of view, and analyzing structure of text. Both the student work with individual and multiple texts and teacher materials provide support in growing analytical skills of students.
Evidence that supports this rationale:
- The Grade 11 teacher’s edition overview of A Question-Based Approach to Reading Questioning Paths states, “The key to examining text closely is the strategic use—by teachers and students—of text-dependent questions. Students should learn not only to respond to text-dependent questions posed by others but also to generate and refine their own questions as they dig deeper into a text and expand their comprehension and their independence as close readers” (xxii).
- Unit 1 presents students with a series of texts related to The Civil War. In Part I, Activity 5, students use Guiding Questions to explore a multimedia website independently. The Questioning Path Tool includes both text-dependent questions (“What do I notice about how the website is organized?”) and text-specific questions (“What interesting details, examples, or ideas can I find that relate to the other texts we are studying?”) In Part 3, Activity 1, the Instructional Notes guide teachers through helping students analyze textual details. These notes walk students through questioning, deepening, and analyzing. In the analyzing section, the notes say to “Have students move from thinking about what they notice to what they think about it by recording and considering a Guiding Question, such as “How does the author’s perspective and presentation of the text compare to others?” (50). In Part 4, Activity 4, students write an evidence-based explanation. Using the Analyzing Details Tool they developed in Activity 3, students draft a multi-paragraph explanation using textual evidence that explains the following:
- A central idea of the text and how it is developed through the ideas and details the text presents.
- How the central idea is related to the text’s purpose and the author’s perspective on the topic.
- What they have come to understand about the topic from the text.
- In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 1, the Questioning Path Tool for “The Red Convertible,” paragraphs 1-25 provides text-dependent and text-specific questions, such as “How does the narrative unfold in time - chronologically or not?” and “Why might Erdrich have chosen to include the incident with the girl and her long hair?” (238). These questions, along with the other questions provided throughout the unit, prepare student for the unit’s final assignment where students use “The Red Convertible” and “On the Rainy River” to write an essay about literary technique.
- Unit 5 focuses on aspects of argumentation involving evidence, reasoning, and logic. It uses a common source set focusing on the United States’ justice system and underlying questions regarding what makes a punishment necessary, effective, and ethical. Part I includes the following activities:
- Introducing the Unit
- Exploring the issue - students read and analyze a background text to develop an initial understanding of the issue
- Deepening Understanding of the Issue - students read and analyze additional background texts to expand and deepen their understanding of the issue
- Questioning to Refine Understanding - students develop text-dependent questions and use them to refine their analysis
- Writing an EBC about the nature of the issue - students develop and write multi-part, evidence-based claims about the nature of the issue.
- In Part 2, Activity 3, students delineate arguments by using text-dependent questions to attend to key details related to the argument's position, claims, structure, reasoning, and supporting evidence. The Questioning Path Tool to be used with “Treating youth like youth: why it’s time to raise the age in New York” to assist in delineating this argument includes text-dependent questions, such as “How does the evidence in the text influence my understanding of the issue of punishment and incarceration in the United States? In what ways? (529).
The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
Questions and tasks are specifically designed to lead up to the culminating task for each unit. A combination of reading, writing, speaking,and listening is woven throughout the units. While reading and writing tend to be the focus of the tasks, speaking and listening are incorporated not only into the culminating tasks but also the activities leading up to them. Students are provided multiple tools, such as the Questioning Path Tool and the Exploring a Topic Tool, which provide guidance as they read texts and begin writing about those texts. These Tools serve as formative assessments that help teachers determine whether or not students have the skills necessary to complete the culminating tasks. The instructional materials support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks both in this grade level, as well as cumulatively over the whole curriculum. Scaffolding is provided when students are introduced to new skills. Also evident is an increase in the rigor and intensity of previously learned skills to ensure that tasks remain grade-/ability-dependent.
Evidence to support that the materials meet the criteria follow:
- Unit 1 introduces a series of texts related to the Civil War. Students read academic essays, letters to friends and loved ones, and personal accounts from authors such as Whitman, Emerson, and Jefferson Davis. As the first unit, it instructs students in the process of close reading and helps students approach, question, and analyze texts, helping them focus on key textual characteristics and ideas. Part 1 activities use the Questioning Path Tools to assist students in reading closely. Parts 2 and 3 continue this process but deepen the analysis with the expectation that students work more independently. Part 4, Activity 1 introduces student to the culminating activities, analyzing one of three related texts and drafting a multi-paragraph explanation, as well as leading and participating in a comparative discussion about the three texts. In Part 5, Activities 1 and 2 prepare students for a text-centered discussion, while in Activity 3, students lead the discussion. The RC Literacy Skills and Discussion Habits Rubric is used by the teacher for evaluating performance and growth, and it includes a 4-point developmental scale from emerging to excelling.
- In Unit 2, the culminating task is to write a global or comparative evidence-based essay. Students begin the unit by independently reading the first paragraph of The Souls of Black Folk; students are provided a Questioning Path Tool to help them deepen their understanding of the text. These Questioning Path Tools are provided throughout the unit as students continue to read DuBois’s text.
- Unit 3 focuses on students making evidence-based claims (EBCs) about literary techniques using two related first-person fictional narratives, Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’ Brien’s “On the Rainy River.” The unit begins with the introduction of EBCs in the realm of literary analysis and how that reading might vary from other readings/approaches students have used previously. Activity 1 gives students guiding questions about the literary techniques in a narrative before introducing the two texts. The Questioning Path Tool is used for support as students begin to read with this focus, and class discussion is used with text-dependent questions that focus on specific passages and narrative techniques. During Part 2, students form EBCs in pairs, and in Part 3, students read independently and form their EBCs independently. Formative assessment opportunities at the end of Part 3 give both students and teachers feedback about students’ progress. Part 4 focuses on developing students’ ability to communicate text-based claims and their supporting evidence through writing. The unit culminates in Part 5 when students develop and express global EBCs. While students independently draft their final EBC essay, Part 5, Activity 5 uses a collaborative, criteria-based process for student revision.
- Unit 5 is a culmination of the grade 11 instructional materials and combines high-level skills of argumentation involving evidence, reason, and logic. It asks that students form an opinion, take a stand, and convince others to agree. Part 1 introduces students to the concept of evidence-based argumentation through introducing the topic of the “United States’ justice system and underlying questions regarding what makes a punishment necessary, effective, and ethical” (498). Students read and write about a variety of informational texts to build an understanding of the topic. In Part 2, students employ close-reading skills and terminology used in delineating argumentation such as “perspective,” “position,” “implications,” “premises,” and ‘”evidence.” They apply these terms to several arguments associated with punishment, incarceration rates and the prison system” (489). Part 3 moves students into evaluation where they synthesize their analyses of other arguments to develop their own positions. In Part 4, they begin to craft their own argument, working on the sequence of claims and their supporting evidence. Finally, in Part 5, students work through a collaborative process to draft, revise, and publish their own argumentative essays.
Materials include a cohesive, consistent approach for students to regularly interact with word relationships and build academic vocabulary/ language in context.
The materials for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria. While the curriculum provides opportunities for students to expand their vocabulary through various activities and focuses on academic skills such as making inferences and using evidence, the curriculum does not provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive, yearlong vocabulary development component.
While the curriculum provides opportunities for students to increase their vocabulary, materials do not provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive, yearlong vocabulary development component. The curriculum states, “Although leaving many decisions about the teaching of vocabulary to the teacher, the program provides opportunities for students to increase their vocabulary in areas related to specific content and fundamental to overall literacy” (xxxiii). This wording is the same in all grade levels.
Evidence of this include:
- Unit 2’s sole text is the first chapter of W.E.B Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, entitled “On Our Spiritual Strivings.” The curriculum provides the text; it also identifies and defines unfamiliar vocabulary. In Unit 2, Part 2, Activity 2, the curriculum provides vocabulary instruction via questions such as “What words or phrases stand out to me as powerful and important?” and “What visual metaphors does Du Bois use to further describe the differences he feels between his world and the 'other world?'” (148).
- Unit 4 focuses on research. The curriculum provides a blank reproducible Analyzing Details Tool. This tool helps students think about vocabulary in context. The Selecting Details section reads, “I select words or phrases from my search that I think are most important in thinking about my question.”
Materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and practice which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain a yearlong, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.
Within every unit, students practice writing and speaking from sources. The mode of writing they practice, the process they use, and the independence they are given varies based on the focus of the unit and where the unit is placed in the year. Students use graphic organizers to develop short sentences and paragraphs that communicate their thinking as they read texts. Students write formal paragraphs and short expository essays. Students then break claims into component premises and develop arguments. By the end of the year, students plan, write, and publish thesis-driven academic arguments, making the case for a position related to texts and their content.
The collaboration workshop is a question-based approach for developing writing. Students work through a process that is collaborative, question-based, and criteria-driven. Students are taught to think of essays as a process rather than a product, and that conversation, contemplation, consideration, and revision are part of the process.
The following learning principles are used to facilitate student writing development:
- Independence: Students are encouraged to be reflective and develop their own writing process rather than following the writing process in a rote and mechanical way.
- Collaboration: Students are encouraged to seek and use constructive feedback from others.
- Clear Criteria: Criteria is provided to describe the essential characteristics of a desired writing product.
- Guiding Questions: Students are expected to use guiding and text-based questions to promote close reading and developing their drafts.
- Evidence: Students use and integrate evidence through references, quotations, or paraphrasing.
Each writing activity includes a teacher demonstration lesson and class time is dedicated for students to free write, experiment, draft, revise, and edit their writings. Students engage in discussions surrounding their writings and ask and answer questions about their writing. Students are also given multiple opportunities to read aloud and share their writings throughout the process to receive feedback. The writing process moves through an increasingly focused sequence of activities, such as getting started, thinking, organizing, gathering evidence, connecting ideas, expressing ideas, final editing, and publishing.
In Grade 11 the yearlong plan of writing instruction builds from Unit 1 where students are writing a text-based explanation focused on the topic of The Civil War to Unit 3 where students write an evidence-based claims essay based on Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River.” Unit 5 ends the year with an evidence-based argumentative essay focused on the United States’ justice system.
Materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials. Grade 11 provides many research opportunities through the year’s instructional materials that are built into a variety of contexts and culminating tasks. Scaffolded research skills that build independence in students are a particular strength of the instructional materials. Activities are designed to lead up to and support students as they prepare for the culminating tasks. In preparation for these final tasks, students read and write about texts and participate as both speakers and listeners in class discussions. Units 1, 4, and 5 provide multiple texts that give students access to a variety of sources about a topic. There are many resources available for students and teachers as they learn, practice, apply, and transfer skills.
Evidence to support this include:
- Unit 1 works as a skill-building unit for the rest of the Grade 11 instructional materials. It works to “integrate the development of explanatory communication skills into the close reading process” and culminates in text-centered discussions in which students explain and compare their textual analyses with those of their peers. To do so, students work with a series of texts related to The Civil War. Student reading is broken down in the Questioning Path Tool to Approaching, Questioning, Analyzing, Deepening, and Extending. Teachers walk students through this process in Parts 1-3 before giving students more independence in Part 4, where in Activity 3, students question and analyze texts independently and in Activity 4, write a text-based explanation. Finally, the whole unit culminates in Part 5, Activity 3, in which students lead a text-centered discussion.
- Unit 2 is focused on the first chapter of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folks. The unit’s activities are designed to prepare students for the culminating writing task which is a global, evidence-based essay. In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 6, students “discuss their new evidence-based claims from Activity 5 and students listen actively to the portions of the text being read or presented.” The teacher is provided with Instructional Notes to help guide students through the lesson. This activity asks students to transfer claims from the Forming EBC Tool to the Organizing EBC to help them organize and refine their evidence in preparation for writing the final essay (176-177).
- Unit 3 uses fictional narratives, Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River,” to develop students’ abilities to make EBCs about literary techniques. While not traditionally research oriented, this unit exposes students to yet another kind of text and continues to work on the skills of critical reading and thinking, forming and supporting EBCs, organizing evidence and thinking, and communicating EBCs orally, as well as in paragraphs and essays.
- Unit 4 is focused on research and provides a Common Source Set that is centered around the unit’s title, “Food: How do our decisions about what we eat affect our world?”; however, this unit is intentionally designed that the unit can be used regardless of which texts are read (360). In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 2, student practice analyzing a source’s perspective and relevance. This skill is necessary throughout the unit as students prepare to present a final research project. After the teacher models r close reading and analyzing a source’s perspective, bias, and credibility, student teams practice this close reading and analysis through independent reading and conversations about their annotations and observations.
- Unit 5 culminates in thinking/reading/writing/listening skills by working at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, focusing on argumentation involving evidence, reasoning, and logic. It begins in Part 1 with “Understanding the Nature of an Issue” where Activity 1 presents an overview of the unit and its societal issue and stresses that students learn and think about a complex societal issue for which there are many explanations, perspectives, and opinions. The rest of Part I is in pursuit of thinking deeply about the issue of the United States’ justice system with regards to what makes a punishment necessary, effective, and ethical. Part 1’s Formative Assessment includes the target skills of forming claims and “Using Evidence.” Part 2’s focus is on Analyzing Arguments, Part II on Evaluating and Developing a Position. Finally, Part 4’s focus is on Organizing an Evidence-Based Argument and includes the skills of identifying supporting evidence (Activity 1) and organizing evidence to support claims (Activity 3), while Part 5 culminates in students drafting and writing their argumentative essays.
Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
Students regularly engage in independent reading after the teacher models Academic Habits and processes guided by the materials. Independent reading includes opportunities for reading time outside of class and shorter periods of independent reading to provide an initial understanding or focused analysis of specific literary techniques. Students independently practice Literacy Skills while reading and analyzing texts. This includes a range of text types - visual-based texts to printed texts of multiple genres. Students do read portions of text independently as close reading activities at various Lexile levels. However, there is no detailed schedule for independent reading--in or outside of class time--to occur, but general approximations for specific purposes. The majority of independent reading occurs during class.
Student accountability occurs during class discussions and the materials provide an Academic Habits checklist to support the student and teacher during text-centered discussions. The materials provide Academic Habits checklists for students to self- and peer-assess during academic discussions following independent reading tasks, but the materials do not include direct guidance for students to track their progress and growth as independent readers. At times, the materials leave the option for outside of class independent reading to take place, but scheduling and tracking of this is left to teacher discretion.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Unit 1 presents students with a series of text related to The Civil War. The Introduction to the Reading Closely Literacy Toolbox states that the “teacher might encourage students’ use of these materials (in the RC Literacy Toolbox—Guiding Questions Handout, Reading Closely Graphic and Questioning Path Tool), when they encounter difficulties in understanding sections of texts, require assistance in communicating observations, or need to organize their ideas for text-based explanation and discussion. Otherwise, students can proceed through the readings, annotating, taking notes and analyzing details using their own developing strategies” (5). While the teacher’s edition states it is still important that teachers continually verify that students are attending to and analyzing salient details and using evidence, there isn’t an accountability system provided besides the worksheets the instructions make optional. Deepening: Independent Reading is included within the Textual Notes throughout Part I. For example, in Activity 3, students are supposed to refer to text-specific questions and then reread the Walt Whitman piece included in the unit. In Activity 5, Independent Reading and Research, students are encouraged to enrich their skills of looking for details with a web-based text, “Civil War 150” by the History Channel. In Part 4, Activity 3, students select or are assigned a text to discuss with a small group and analyze independently. “Each students will be responsible for doing a close reading, questioning, analysis, and summary of one of the three related texts” (63-64). They are to complete an Analyzing Details Tool and a Questioning Path Tool. This builds to a Summative Assessment of a multi-paragraph explanation of the central idea of the text and how it is developed through the ideas and details the text presents.
- In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 2, “students independently read the first paragraph of the text with a Guiding Question to help focus their reading.” The instructional materials also provide the following:
- "Supports to student as they read through the first paragraph of The Souls of Black Folk via a Questioning Path Tool,
- All options for scaffolding via the Reading Closely Graphic and the Guiding Questions Handout,
- Teacher guidance to foster independent reading via instructional notes" (136-137).
- In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, “students independently explore a research topic.” In the Instructional Notes, the instructional materials give teacher guidance on how to help students explore the topic independently. The instructional materials state, “It is important for students to explore the topic for a few days to build an initial knowledge base and to discover various aspects of the topic... This exploration should take place in and outside of class - supported by interaction with a few Common Texts as well as general discussion of the topic with their peers, teachers, and wider learning community” (367-368). While Unit 4 provides both teacher guidance and support for students as they read a variety of suggested texts, it does not include procedures for independent reading, a proposed schedule for independent reading, or an accountability or tracking system.
- Unit 5 focuses on aspects of argumentation involving evidence, reasoning, and logic. Students are “expected to understand a complex issue through exploratory inquiry and close reading of information on the topic and then to study multiple perspectives on the issue before they establish their own position” (488). The topic area and texts included in this Unit focus on the United States’ justice system and underlying questions about what makes a punishment necessary, effective, and ethical. Texts are offered in the form of text sets and it is not required that student read all the texts, which gives teachers greater flexibility. Part I, Activity 2 asks students to read one or more of the text independently, annotating and making notes on how the text relates to the unit’s problem-based question. In Activity 3, students read one or more additional background texts from Text Set 2 independently, “Making notes about how it relates to questions from the model Questioning Path Tool” (515). In Part 2, students, again, read one or more of the arguments included independently, considering general Guiding questions from the Guiding Questions Handout. Part 3’s activities are focused around Evaluating Arguments and Developing a Position. In Activity 1, the teacher models the Evaluating Arguments Tools before students use it in reading teams. In Activity 2, the teacher models the Delineating Arguments Tool before students use it to independently record a summary of their explanation of the issue and one to two sentences articulating their perspective and position.
Instructional Supports and Usability Indicators
The materials provide a clear, useful, standards-aligned Teacher Edition, including information to bolster the teacher’s understanding of both the content and pedagogy. Additional information outlines the program’s instructional approaches, philosophy, and the research that undergirds the program.
The materials provide information for students about the program, but there are no information or protocols for communicating with families about the goals and structure of the program.
Routines and guidance within the program assist teachers in progress monitoring, though the connections between the assessments and the standards they are measuring is not clear. Sufficient guidance is provided for interpreting student performance, though specific strategies or guidance for remediation for students who are not proficient are not offered.
The materials do not outline a consistent plan for holding students accountable for independent reading. Student choice is often limited within the independent reading options.
Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers, “platform neutral”; they follow universal programming style and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
The included technology enhances student learning, including differentiation for the needs of all learners. The program does not provide technology for collaboration. The materials can be easily customized for local use.
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Materials are designed with great consideration for effective lesson structure, pacing, and are designed to be completed within a school year, including some flexibility for local academic goals and content. Ample review and practice resources are provided and all materials are clearly labeled and accompanied by documentation that delineates their alignment to the standards. The design of the materials is minimalistic (orange, black, and white color scheme) and may not be engaging for students.
Materials are well-designed (i.e., allows for ease of readability and are effectively organized for planning) and take into account effective lesson structure (e.g., introduction and lesson objectives, teacher modelling, student practice, closure) and short-term and long-term pacing.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Each unit is divided into five parts, and each part is divided into activities. Not only does each part within a unit build in complexity, the units also become more complex as the year progresses. This intentional design helps students develop necessary skills before advancing to the next activity or unit. Also, by dividing each part into activities, the instructional materials are able to provide a realistic estimated time frame for completion.
In Unit 1, the instructional materials provide an overview of the activities for Part 1:
- Introduction to the Unit
- Attending to Details
- Reading Closely for Details
- Attending to Details in Multimedia
- Independent Reading and Research
This lesson structure moves students from a teacher-direction introduction and guided analysis of text to an independent reading and research activity. The materials suggest that this Unit 1, Part 1 should take three to four days to complete.
In Unit 3, Part 3, the materials outline the following activities:
- Independent Reading and Forming EBCs
- Comparing EBCs
- Model the Organizing of EBCs
- Deepening Understanding
- Organizing EBCs in Pairs
- Class Discussion of Student EBCs
- Independent Development of EBCs
This lesson structure moves students through the process of developing and explaining EBCs by providing opportunities for independent reading with the support of teacher modeling and a cooperative feedback process. Unlike in grades 9 and 10, the instructional materials push students to independently create their own EBCs at this point in the process. Unit 3, Part 3 should take two to three days to complete.
In Unit 5, the materials provide an overview of the activities for Part 3:
- Evaluating Arguments
- Developing a Perspective and Position
- Deepening Understanding
- Using Others’ Arguments to Support a Position
- Responding to Opposing Arguments
This lesson structure is designed to help students through the process of evaluating arguments and synthesizing information to establish their own positions which is a vital step in the research process as students prepare to write an evidence-based argumentative essay. The materials do not provide an estimated time of completion for Unit 5, Part 3.
The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. The materials provide effective guidance and flexibility for teachers to address all the content and supplement with local academic goals and curricula. The materials address intertwined essential skills delineated in five units. Each unit focuses on a Core Proficiency for literacy that builds skills applicable beyond the English language arts classroom. The materials are vertically aligned by consistently addressing the same Core Proficiencies in five units in each proceeding grade.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- The materials consist of five units focused on four essential proficiencies that are designed to intertwine the building of knowledge. Each unit delineates standards-aligned Academic Habits into five parts with a varying amount of activities that range from 1 to 3 instructional days as determined by the teachers.
- The materials recursively focus on 20 essential Literacy Skills and 12 Academic Habits applied to text-centered analysis tasks in order to maximize student understanding of skills. Tasks include reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
- The materials bundle multiple standards and literacy skills into four Core Proficiencies. Each unit focuses on a different proficiency for students to master. The Core Proficiencies include: Reading Closely for Textual Details, Making Evidence-Based Claims, Researching to Deepen Understanding, and Building Evidence-Based Arguments.
- The materials provide guidance for structuring yearlong instruction and supplementing with local curricular content based on students’ needs as determined by the teacher.
- The materials are vertically aligned and follow the same formula and address the same Core Proficiencies from grade-to-grade with increasingly complex texts and opportunities for independent work.
The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (eg. visuals, maps, etc.) Student materials include a variety of tools for students to practice the targeted skills in the instructional materials. The Reading Closely for Textual Details Literacy Toolbox includes, but is not limited to the following handouts: Reading Closely Graphic, Guiding Questions Handout, Attending to Details Handout, and Reading Closely Final Writing and Discussion Task Handout. In addition to the handouts, students are provided with a variety of tools to practice targeted Core Literacy Proficiency Skills, such as the Approaching the Text Tool, Analyzing Details Tool, Questioning Path Tool, and Model Questioning Path Tools. Checklists are provided to support peer- and self-review. Texts are included in the student edition and Additional Resources in the Topic Area are included in the student edition with guidance regarding where to locate online resources. Images are labeled appropriately.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- In Unit 1, nine texts are provided in the student edition as well as four Extended Reading opportunities including the following: 1) “The Wound Dresser” (excerpt) by Walt Whitman, 2) A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union, 3) “The Bonnie Blue Flag” by Harry Macarthy, and, 4) Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. These texts are located prior to Part 1 in the student edition. Text 1 consists of three images, and each image is printed with a label on the right to identify the correct image for the students. For example, the first image is labeled “Library of Congress, 1861-1865”.
- In Unit 4, Additional Resources in the Topic Area are included in the student edition prior to the Literacy Toolbox. Guidance is provided for students to access all these resources. For example, “Our Daily Bread," Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion, is a documentary film about the industrialization and mechanization of food production. The trailer is available on Youtube.com and Ourdailybread.at.Teacher Research Unit Guide”.
- In Unit 5, Part 2, Analyzing Arguments, students are provided with Questioning Path Tools to assist them in approaching the text. Clear instructions are included directly on the Questioning Path Tool, including the following: “I determine my reading purposes and take note of key information about the text. I identify the LIPS domain(s) that will guide my initial reading.” Prompts are provided on the side to remind students to identify Purpose, Key Information, and LIPS domain(s).
Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. The materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of both primary and supporting standards at the following levels: year, unit, and part. Both the Reading Closely: Guiding Questions Handout and the Questioning Path Tools, which are used extensively throughout the instructional materials, are aligned to specific reading and writing standards.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- In the Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide, the materials provide an Alignment of Targeted CCSS with OE Skills and Habits chart. This chart provides the CCSS Anchor Standards and the aligned Literacy Skills and Academic Habits.
- For each Unit, the materials provide the CCSS alignment and divide the standards into primary targeted skills and related reading and writing skills from supporting CCSS. In addition, the instructional materials provide the targeted and supporting standards for each part of each unit.
- Throughout the materials, students use the Reading Closely: Guiding Questions Handout. This handout organizes questions into four areas: Language, Ideas, Perspective, and Structure. The language questions address Common Core State Standards R.4, L.3, L.4, and L.5. The ideas questions address Common Core State Standards R.2, W.3, R.8, R.9. The perspective questions address Common Core State Standard R.6. The structure questions address the Common Core State Standard R.5.
The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject. The visual design, while not distracting or chaotic, does not help students engage with the subject. Materials are printed in black and white with orange headings, very few graphics or pictures are provided, and the graphic organizers do not allow much room for student response. There is no color-coding to help convey structure and speed up visual searching.The materials are not visually engaging.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- In the Unit 1 materials, the only visuals provided serve as Text 1 and include black and white images from The Civil War; however, the materials do use a video from PBS and History Channel’s interactive website as Texts 3 and 4. As part of Unit 1’s Literacy Toolbox, students are provided with an Analyzing Details Tool; however, there is limited space for students to record supporting details and analysis.
- In the Unit 3 materials, no visuals are provided. In Unit 3, Part 3, Activity 1, the materials provide a Questioning Path Tool for paragraphs 47-69 of “The Red Convertible.” The tool provides eleven questions, many with sub questions, but does not provide any space for students to answer these questions or take notes.
- In the Unit 5 materials, no visuals are provided. All texts are accessible via the internet. In Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 2, the Questioning Path Tool for Text 1.2 provides seven questions but does not provide any room for students to record notes/answers.
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Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
The materials provide a Teacher Edition with strong support, clear guidance, and abundant useful instructional notes. Advanced literary concepts are supported with additional information to bolster the teacher’s understanding of both the content and the pedagogy. The standards alignment within the materials is clearly delineated within unit overviews.Materials meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The instructional approaches and program philosophy are described within the materials as well as the program’s focus on research-based strategies.The materials provide information for students about the program, but there are neither instruction nor protocols for communicating with families about the goals and structure of the program.
Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
Because of the tool-based organization, the teacher’s edition includes ample and useful instructional notes which offer suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Also included is teacher guidance for the places where technology is used to support and enhance student learning.
The teacher’s edition begins with a User Guide for Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies that spells out a proficiency-based approach to developing literacy. It also lays out the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits that will be referred to in the student edition and the language used throughout the program. It specifically refers to the Literacy Toolbox which is made up of three types of materials: handouts, tools, and checklists/rubrics of which the Student Edition is primarily comprised. At the end of the User Guide is a section titled “Media Supports” which specifically addresses multimedia to support teaching and learning.
Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 2 introduces students to the strategy of questioning texts and attending to details. The Instructional Notes direct teachers on how to help students utilize the Questioning Path Tool in the student edition. Within that tool, and the Instructional Notes, are very specific directions on each of the five parts of the Questioning Path Tool--Approaching, Questioning, Analyzing, Deepening, and Extending.
Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 3 connects online texts with another of the tools in the student edition, the Approaching Texts Tool, and gives teachers options on how to use these potential texts.
In Unit 5, Part 3, Activity 4, the teacher’s edition points to the Delineating Arguments Tool within the student edition to help students write a multi-part EBC.
Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary. Teacher editions provide adequate guidance for preparing each unit of study in a yearlong course. The materials provide clear and multiple examples and explanations to support a teacher’s understanding of the texts and literacy skills for effective modeling to occur during class time.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Teacher editions of rubrics and Academic Habits include guidance to use as classroom formative assessments.
- The Literacy Toolbox includes teacher and student editions. Teacher editions are accompanied with more details and examples for teachers to use during instruction to help them know what to recognize when observing student discussions for formative assessment.
- Each unit includes extensive preparatory details for the teacher to schedule instruction with suggestions for differentiation and optional tasks.
- Units include extensive Text Notes to support teachers to deliver instruction in a coherent and consistent approach. Text Notes include details about the content and examples for the teacher to use when modeling skills or for teachers to observe students.
- Teacher editions include guidance and justification for the text choices of the materials. For example, justifications note why a particular work is an ideal introduction to Core Proficiencies such as Making Evidence-Based Claims and pinpoint text-specific examples for teachers to understand and acknowledge when modeling this skill. In addition, the materials will provide an explanation justifying a companion text choice and why it is appropriately sequenced.
Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The teacher’s edition includes a Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide which includes a table listing the anchor Common Core State Standards that are targeted throughout Grade 11. The instructional materials also include a Unit Overview for each unit, including an explanation of the learning progression. In addition, a Common Core State Standards Alignment is included in the teacher’s edition in the Unit Overview for each unit and the description is specific to the instructional focus of the unit.
Evidence to support this rationale is as follows:
- The Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide includes the following guidance for the teacher: “The following table lists the anchor Common Core State Standards that are targeted within the five Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies units and indicates the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits that are derived from or are components of those standards. This cart can be used to walk backward from the OE [Odell Education] criteria used in assessments and rubrics to the CCSS, especially if students are also trying to track student performance specific to the standards.” Specifically, R.1 - R.10, W.1 - W.9, and SL.1 are included in the table with aligned Literacy Skills and Academic Habits.
- In Unit 2, the Unit Overview includes the Learning Progression for the unit activities which are organized into five parts. The teacher’s edition states, “The sequence of learning activities supports the progressive development of the critical reading and thinking skills involved in making evidence-based claims.”
- In Unit 4, Part 1, the teacher’s edition includes Alignment to CCSS that are targeted standards and supporting standards specific to the instructional focus of the unit. For example, a targeted standard is in relation to “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question…” and a supporting standard is as follows: “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9.-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.”
Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies. The Grade 11 materials contain a clear explanation of the instruction approaches and philosophy of the program and clear identification and focus on research-based strategies.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Each of the instructional materials begin with Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies User Guide which breaks down the Proficiency-Based Approach to Developing Literacy into five units:
- Reading Closely for Textual Details
- Making Evidence-Based Claims
- Making Evidence-Based Claims about Literary Technique
- Researching to Deepen Understanding
- Building Evidence-Based Arguments
Also included are a list of Literacy Skills and Academic Habits, both teacher and student versions. As another component of the User Guide, it is explained that at the heart of the Odell Education approach is an iterative process for questioning which lays out the essentials tools:
- Reading Closely Graphic
- Guiding Questions Handout
- Questioning Path Tool
- Approaching the Text Tool
- Analyzing Details Tool
- Forming Evidence-Based Claims Tool
Research based strategies are aligned with CCSS W.7--”Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation,” W.8--”Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism,” and W.9--”Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.”
Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
While the instructional materials contain strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program, there is no evidence that this program is shared with stakeholders, nor are there any suggestions included as to how parents or caregivers can support their student’s progress and/or achievement.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Within the Grade 11 materials, there are checklists and rubrics that give feedback to both teachers and students. For example, at the end of each unit, there are formative assessment opportunities, while at the end of Unit 5, there is a summative opportunity. These range from a checklist of literacy skills at the end of Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 3, with “needs work”, “okay”, and “very strong” as descriptors, to a summative assessment at the end of Unit 4, Part 5 when students need to find evidence in their portfolio and write a reflective narrative to support ratings for each of the components on the literacy skills checklist and research content criteria. However, while there are many checklists included for student reflection and teacher feedback, there are no strategies for including other stakeholders.
Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
Materials partially meet the criteria for 3K to 3n. Routines and guidance within the program assist teachers in monitoring student progress. Regular opportunities to assess student progress are included within the materials; however, the assessments do not make strong connections between what is being assessed and the standards that are emphasized within that assessment. Sufficient guidance is provided to support teachers in interpreting student performance, though specific strategies or guidance for remediation for students who are not proficient is not offered.The materials do not outline a consistent plan for holding students accountable for independent reading, and student choice is often not an option for the independent reading that is required, though the opportunities for student choice do require students to be held accountable for the selections in order to build stamina and confidence.
Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress. Throughout the instructional materials, both formative and summative assessments are used to measure student progress. Formative assessments are intentionally placed at the beginning of each unit so that teachers can ensure that students are prepared for the activities leading up to the culminating writing activity.
Each unit consists of five parts; each part ends with either a formative assessment or a summative assessment. Formative assessments consist of work samples including Approaching Text Tools, Analyzing Details Tools, annotations of texts, answers for Questioning Path Tools, written explanations of text analysis, and group/class discussions. Formative Assessments can also include completed Forming Evidence-Based Claims (EBCs) Tools, Supporting EBCs Tools, and Organizing EBCs Tools. Summative Assessments are more formal and consist of multi-paragraph rough drafts and culminating writing tasks.
The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 do not meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. While the instructional materials do make connections between the assessments and the development of Academic Habits/Literacy Skills, such as Attending to Details and Communicating Clearly, and provide checklists for students to use to self-assess these habits and skills, the assessments do not clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. The instructional materials provide alignment for the year, unit, and part, but do not provide alignment at the activity or assessment level.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Each unit is divided into five parts and each part has either a formative or summative assessment. The instructional materials do provide targeted and supported standards for each part, but alignment is not clearly provided for assessments. It is not possible to easily determine which standards apply to each part of an assessment.
- Only the Questioning Path Tools, which can be used as formative assessments, are aligned to specific reading and writing standards, but the instructional materials do not identify which standards are aligned to which questions.
Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. Students are assessed often, via formative and summative assessments, and teachers are provided many tools, such as unit-specific rubrics, to help them interpret student performance; however, the instructional materials do not provide strategies or suggestions for how to remediate students who did not master the skills/habits.
Throughout the instructional materials, unit-specific rubrics are provided as tools to assess Literacy Skills and Academic Habits. Each rubric uses a four-point scale to help teachers and students identify areas of strength, weakness, and growth. Teachers are prompted to consider evidence of the skills/habits and rate accordingly. This system of rubrics allows teachers to compare student performance as the year progresses. The instructional materials do not provide follow-up suggestions for students who do not master the skills/habits.
Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. There are routines and guidance in place throughout Grade 11, as well as the 9-12 curriculum, which allow for opportunities to monitor student progress.
Each grade level is divided into five units:
- Unit 1--Reading Closely for Textual Details
- Unit 2--Making Evidence Based Claims
- Unit 3--Making Evidence-Based Claims about Literary Technique
- Unit 4--Researching to Deepen Understanding
- Unit 5--Building Evidence-Based Arguments
Each part within each unit culminates in a formative assessment opportunity and Part 5 in a summative assessment opportunity, embedding many opportunities within each unit to monitor student progress. Beyond these assessment opportunities are tools, such as the Questioning Path Tool as one example, that allow teachers to guide and monitor students’ progress.
Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 partially meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation. There is very little student choice in the Grade 11 instructional materials for independent reading. In the few occasions where there is choice, materials do hold students accountable for their selections and may contribute to their stamina and confidence.
Student independent reading choice is built into only Unit 4 and Unit 5. Unit 4 explores Food: How Do Our Decisions about What We Eat Affect Our World, and Unit 5 has students reflect on the death penalty. Within each unit is a common source set and while students read many of the same texts as their peers, there is some choice, depending on the inquiry path they wish to follow. Within the student edition, there are many materials that hold students accountable for this reading--the Exploring a Topic Tool, Potential Sources Tool, Taking Notes Tool, Research Frame Tool, and Research Evaluation Tool. Since Unit 5 is focused on Building Evidence-Based Arguments, the tools to hold students accountable include the Questioning Path Tool, Forming Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Organizing Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Delineating Arguments Tool, and Evaluating Arguments Tool. These tools can support students in building the notes and skills necessary to write the summative assessments at the end of each unit.
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Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
Materials offer teachers the ability to personalize the materials for all learners. The program provides the opportunity for all learners to work within grade-level text, including those whose skills may be above or below grade-level, or whose English proficiencies may provide additional challenges as they engage with the content. All students have extensive opportunities to read, write, speak, and listen to grade-level texts and meet or exceed grade level standards. Lessons provide whole class, small group, and independent learning opportunities throughout the school year.
Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers determine whether students need more or less scaffolding and time. Differentiation support is integrated into the scaffolding and design of the instructional materials. At times, teachers are reminded to determine whether students need more or less time to develop a Core Proficiency. Most units include supplemental texts. These can be used by the teacher to give students additional opportunities to develop skills. The supplemental texts are categorized as “Extended Reading.” In addition to this, the materials claim to be designed so schools can use local curricular materials. This flexibility allows for teachers to determine the text complexity appropriate for students.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- Instructional supports for English Language Learners and students reading below grade level are integrated and scaffolded into the explicit instructions for each activity. Each activity follows a progression moving from scaffolding and support to independent application.
- The sequence of instruction and supporting tools are the same for all students. However, the materials note that the tools and activities can be applied to alternative or supplemental texts not included in the materials.
- In order to help students understand the content, the materials will suggest making analogies or allotting more time to tasks. For example, the materials suggest comparing the process of close reading to analytical processes used by experts--scientists, detectives, etc.-- in other fields. The materials also suggest teachers skip the Introductory Analogy if students are sufficiently familiar with the close reading skill.
- “Extended Reading” refers to supplemental, optional texts teachers can incorporate if students need more opportunities to develop literacy skills.
- Text choices are bundled in order to effectively increase in complexity over the course of a unit. In each unit, the first text is a visual and is followed by a text with a Lexile measurement below grade level to allow access for all students. By the end of the unit, students are reading texts at or above grade level independently and in small groups. The small group discussions intend for students to self- and peer-assess understanding.
Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, extensive opportunities to work with grade-level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. By design, the materials provide all students with the opportunity to interact with grade-level texts. The materials allow for teachers to determine when to incorporate texts above grade-level. In units where students engage with multiple texts, the materials do not require all students to read every text. The materials provide suggestions for organizing small groups to support English Language Learners and students reading below grade level.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- The materials include a section dedicated to helping teachers understand the support structures integrated in the sequence of activities. This section describes the seven routines designed to support all students, including English Language Learners and below-grade-level readers. Following this progression, according to the materials, provides all students with the opportunity to interact with texts at grade-level complexity. The seven supports are as follows:
- Intentional Unit Design and Instructional Sequence
- Short Texts, Focused Reading
- Read-Alouds and Modeling
- Guiding Question Framework
- Graphic Organizers
- Reading Teams
- Academic Vocabulary
- The Unit Design and Instructional Sequence includes visual texts for students to practice Core Proficiency skills before transferring the skill to grade-level printed texts.
- When presented with a series of texts or common source sets of multiple texts to analyze, the materials state that students should not be required to read all texts. This allows for the teacher to provide text choices at a student's current reading level. Additionally, the activity includes a small group discussion and suggests students to be grouped by reading level and assigned texts at their current level.
Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade-level. Materials contain integrated suggestions, Extended Readings, and optional activities to extend learning. The mix of activities offered allow for advanced students to explore texts or more complex texts while practicing the Core Proficiencies skills at greater depth.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- The materials suggest teachers consider the needs and background experiences of students before beginning a unit of study. Specifically, if a student has “advanced skills” or “extensive previous experience,” the teacher can expect the instruction to “move more rapidly.”
- For advanced students, the materials also suggest teachers concentrate time on engaging students with the Extended Reading texts provided in some units and “emphasize more complex topics.”
- The materials are vertically aligned and utilize the same lists, handouts, and rubrics provided in the Literacy Toolbox. For advanced students and students with previous experience, the materials recognize they will rely less on the Literacy Toolbox supports and are encouraged to “use their own, developing strategies” for analyzing texts.
- At times, the materials will present optional assessment opportunities for teachers to collect evidence and for students to demonstrate understanding. In Unit 1, Part 5, the Summative Assessment Opportunities offers an optional collection of evidence through a writing task. Multiple pathways to accomplish the writing are provided by the materials. This is done as a supplement to the summative discussion activity. Due to the intentional vertically aligned design of the materials, this option is presented in every grade level.
Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. The materials are designed with collaboration as an essential academic habit. With this in mind, students are provided regular opportunities to work as a class, in pairs, and in small groups. In each variation, students develop literacy skills by completing a Literacy Toolbox resource, analyzing text, and collaborating on writing.
Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:
- In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 5, students work in writing groups of 2 to 4 members to complete review and revision cycles focused on providing feedback for first draft essays.
- In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 5, students work in pairs to draft Inquiry Questions and then discuss their collaboratively developed draft questions with another pair or team of students following what the materials call a “pairs-check format.”
- In Unit 5, Part 3, Activity 2, students work in informal peer-review teams or partners to review and present their revised position statements eliciting evidence from their team members.
Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.
Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers, “platform neutral”, follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
Effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate is supported. There are multiple opportunities for teachers to differentiate instructional materials for multiple student needs, including supports for before during, and after each selection. The materials can be easily customized for local use. The program does not provide technology for collaboration.
Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. This qualifies as substitution and augmentation as defined by the SAMR model. Materials can be easily integrated into existing learning management systems.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 include digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) that are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
The instructional materials provide many of the texts in print format and these are included in the teacher’s edition and student’s edition. Handouts included in the Literacy toolbox can be accessed online and additional copies can be printed for the purpose of annotation. The Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide preceding Unit 1 provides additional guidance for teachers in relation to Electronic Supports and Versions of Materials. For example, “The Odell Education Literacy Toolbox files, including handouts, tools and checklists, are available...as editable PDF forms. With the free version of Adobe Reader, students and teachers are able to type in the forms and save their work for recording and e-mailing.” The resources can be located using a website and password provided in the instructional materials.
Notably, there are texts utilized in the instructional materials that are accessible online only. The instructional materials state, “Because of the ever-changing nature of website addresses, specific links are not provided. Teachers and students can locate these texts using provided keywords (e.g. article titles, authors, and publishers).” The online texts are available for free access using the resource information provided by the publisher. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- In Unit 1, a table labeled, Reading Closely Media Supports, includes a Civil War Timeline available on HistoryNet.com.
- In Unit 3, Media Supports include an audio recording, "Vietnam War Study Raises Concerns about Veterans’ Mental Health," published by All Things Considered, NPR.
- In Unit 5, Building Evidence-Based Arguments Unit Texts, a table lists all the five Text Sets included in the unit and the instructional materials state, “The unit uses texts that are accessible for free on the Internet without any login information, membership requirements, or purchase.”
Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate and providing opportunities for modification and redefinition as defined by the SAMR model.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
Many texts are accessible online to build background knowledge and can be used to supplement the anchor texts. Teachers are provided with an opportunity to utilize audio versions of texts available online and in print format for students to follow along with the text. The PDF versions of handouts and graphic organizers are editable and provided by Odell Education; therefore, students can type directly on the handouts and these can be submitted electronically to the teacher. Texts Sets include a variety of options beyond print, such as videos, audio recordings, images, and timelines. Teachers could choose to assign independent reading and annotations at home due to the accessibility through both the publisher website with a password and the free resources available online. Key words are provided when web addresses are not to assist teachers and students in locating the resources. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- In Unit 2, The Souls of Black Folk: “The forethought and chapter 1: Of Our Spiritual Strivings” is accessible as a “Public domain audio book recording” and published by Librivox.
- In Unit 4, an additional resource students can access online is "Paul Harvey’s 1978 'So God Made a Farmer’ Speech'” by Garance Franke-Ruta, which is available on The Atlantic website.
- In Unit 5, the facts listed in the Building Evidence-Based Arguments Unit Texts table provide enough information to access the correct argument online “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” by Equal Justice Initiative, published 11/2007.
Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. The instructional materials include a criteria-based assessment system throughout the five units. Students utilize handouts and graphic organizers to practice and demonstrate proficiency relating to targeted skills. The graphic organizers and tools can be used as a formative assessment by the teacher and completed digitally by students using the editable PDFs provided by Odell Education. Student annotation and submission for evaluation can take place electronically. The graphic organizers are included as an instructional tool to support English Language Learners and students reading below grade-level: “Visually, the tools help students understand the relationships among concepts, processes, and observations they make from texts. In addition, Media Supports are included in the instructional materials: ‘The various media (i.e. videos, audio, images, websites) can be assigned and explored at the student or group level to differentiate experiences for students based on their interests and abilities.’” Students who require more challenging texts have the opportunity to explore topics using texts at higher levels of complexity. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- In Unit 1, students utilize a Reading Closely graphic that teachers can use to gauge students’ ability to use questions to help them investigate important aspects of the text and question further to analyze the details they notice and determine their meaning or importance; the tool can be printed and handwritten or completed digitally using an editable PDF.
- In Unit 2, Media Supports include a mini video biography by W.EB. Du Bois, published by Bio.com that can be accessed using an electronic device.
- In Unit 4, Common Source Sets offer a variety of complexity levels from which teachers may choose for exploration by students. In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 3, “This Common Source should be accessible to students, but it also should provide some additional reading challenges, often by referencing technical information or terminology.”
Materials can be easily customized by schools, systems, and states for local use.
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 can be easily customized for local use. The online resources available allow teachers the opportunity to print additional copies for annotation and offer editable PDFs for students to use and submit their work electronically. Teachers have the choice of which texts they would like to use as model texts when presented with Common Source Sets, such as in Unit 4. Also, teachers can differentiate for students and choose specific texts in the Common Source Sets that individual students or small groups will read together. Additional resources are available to allow for further exploration and to allow an opportunity to increase the level of complexity for students who need an additional challenge. The tools provided offer a method for formative assessment, and teachers can make decisions regarding future units based on student performance. The following Instructional Notes are an example of guidance to the teachers:
- Teachers can use these Common Sources as a model in several ways, depending on the classroom context and emerging student interests:
- Select a single source for modeling that matches with the direction for investigation that the class is likely to pursue. All students read and work with this single Common Source.
- Use one source for modeling and a second for guided practice. All students read both sources, working with one as a class and the other in small groups.
- Use all three sources (and additional ones if helpful), grouping students by possible topic interests and modeling and practicing within groups.
- Find other, similar Common Source(s) related to the topic and subtopics the class is examining.
Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)
The materials reviewed for Grade 11 do not include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.). While students are encouraged to collaborate with one another throughout the five units in a face-to-face format, there are no opportunities for students to create group projects or peer assess each other’s work virtually. Teachers would need to seek out these opportunities when planning the lessons outside of the tools offered in the instructional materials. OE offers Professional Development to educators on the website: “Odell Education (OE) collaborates with districts and schools that are implementing the Core Literacy Proficiencies Program. OE works with educators on the foundational principles of the instruction, as well as the integration of the units into their curriculum and the use of the materials in their classrooms.” However, opportunities for teachers to engage online with their colleagues is not present on the website.