Developed by one of the authors of the Common Core State Standards, the seven criteria for resources outlined in this document should guide development of curriculum modules and accompanying materials. Seven criteria are: Promote Effectiveness, Quality Materials, Develop Mathematical Practices, Balance of Approach, Capacity-building, Content Alignment, Comprehensiveness.
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In this eight-week module, students explore the questions: “Who is the wolf in fiction?” and “Who is the wolf in fact?” They begin by analyzing how the wolf is characterized in traditional stories, folktales, and fables. Then they research real wolves by reading informational text. Finally, for their performance task, students combine their knowledge of narratives with their research on wolves to write a realistic narrative about wolves.
In this module, students explore the concept of personal identity formation and transformation in both historical and modern-day societies. The module begins with an overview of what “identity” means and how it can mean different things to different people. In Unit 1, students read first-person narratives that focus on various social identifiers—from race to gender to socioeconomic status—as they begin to frame their understanding of what identity means. Students read informational text, identifying central ideas, analyzing how an author develops his or her claims, and identifying how the sections of the text interact to form those ideas.
In this eight-week, research-based module, students explore the benefits and harmful consequences of the use of the controversial pesticide DDT. In Unit 1, students begin the novel Frightful’s Mountain (640L) by Jean Craighead George. Students will read closely to practice citing evidence and drawing inferences from this compelling text as they begin to think about the interactions between people and the natural world. They also will read informational texts and watch videos to gather evidence and trace arguments about the uses, benefits, and harmful consequences of DDT, its affects on the environment, and its use in the battle against malaria. At the end of this unit, students will participate in a Fishbowl discussion to begin to articulate their evidence-based opinions about the central question: “Do the benefits of DDT outweigh its harmful consequences?” In Unit 2, students will read the remainder of the novel, focusing on the how the main character, Frightful, is affected by the actions of other people and her own interactions with the natural world. Students also will engage in a research project, continuing to explore the central question of the module. Students will read several complex texts, both print and digital, in order to collect relevant information in a structured researcher’s notebook. To help them grapple with this issue, students learn a decision-making process called “Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making” (see the end of this document for details). This process will help students understand the implications of various choices, and will scaffold their ability to determine—based on evidence and their own values—what they believe can and should happen. Unit 2 culminates with students synthesizing all their reading thus far in order to make and present their own evidence-based claim about the use of DDT. In Unit 3, students choose the most compelling evidence and write a position paper in which they support the claim they made (at the end of Unit 2). As a mid-unit assessment, students will submit their best draft of this position paper. As an end of unit assessment, students will submit a published copy, as well as a reflection on the writing process. As the final performance task, students share their findings by creating a scientific poster and presenting that poster to peers during a hosted gallery.
This module begins with a brief study of the importance of sports in American culture over time. The heart of this module is a whole class study of the short but challenging biography Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (1030L) by his daughter, Sharon Robinson. (Students will read selected segments; some of these will be read aloud.) Students will analyze Jackie Robinson as a specific example of an athlete who served as a leader who broke barriers in society. They will also begin to study argumentative writing, analyzing how the author Sharon Robinson provides evidence to support her opinions. In Unit 3, students then choose to learn about one of three other respected sports figures (Roberto Clemente, Babe Didrikson, or Jim Thorpe). Students will develop their understanding of the cultural context in which these athletes competed and the barriers these athletes broke during the times in which they lived. Students will build their research skills by reading biographical articles and other informational texts and by participating in Webquests. They also will continue to build their skills to write arguments based on multiple sources, focusing on crafting clear opinions and providing sufficient reasons and evidence. For the final performance task, each student will write a letter to a publishing company explaining the need for a biography about their selected athlete, in which they discuss the athlete, evaluate the barriers that he/she broke during the era in which he/she lived, and give an opinion about the importance of that athlete’s impact on American society. They must support their opinions with evidence from their research.
In this module, students will use literacy skills to build expertise—using reading, writing, listening, speaking, and collaborative skills to build and share deep knowledge about a topic. This focus on research intentionally builds on Module 1, in which students explored the superpowers of reading. Specifically, students will seek evidence of culture, which can be thought of as the story of a group of people constructed through the generations; it can be evidenced through ancient and modern-day customs and traditions. The module will begin with a class study of the culture of Japan: Students will read Magic Tree House: Dragon of the Red Dawn, a book set in ancient Japan, paired with Exploring Countries: Japan, an informational text about modern Japan.
In this module, students read, discuss, and analyze poems and informational texts focusing on how authors use rhetoric and word choice to develop ideas or claims about human rights. Students will also explore how the nonfiction authors develop arguments with claims, evidence, and reasoning. The texts in this module offer rich opportunities to analyze authorial engagement with the struggle for human rights and to consider how an author’s rhetorical choices advance purpose.
In this module, students explore the issue of working conditions, both historical and modern day. As they read and discuss both literary and informational text, students analyze how people, settings, and events interact in a text and how an author develops a central claim. Students strengthen their ability to discuss specific passages from a text with a partner, write extended text-based argument and informational pieces, and conduct a short research project. At the end of the module, students will have a better understanding of how working conditions affect workers and the role that workers, the government, consumers, and businesses play in improving working conditions. The first unit focuses on Lyddie, a novel that tells the story of a young girl who goes to work in the Lowell mills, and explores the issue of working conditions in industrializing America. This unit builds students’ background knowledge about working conditions and how they affect workers, and centers on the standard RL.7.3, which is about how plot, character, and setting interact in literature. As an end of unit assessment, students write an argument essay about Lyddie’s choices regarding her participation in the protest over working conditions. The second unit moves to more recent history and considers the role that workers, the government, and consumers all play in improving working conditions. The central text in Unit 2 is a speech by César Chávez, in which he explains how the United Farm Workers empowered farmworkers. Unit 2 focuses on reading informational text, and students practice identifying central ideas in a text, analyzing how an author develops his claims, and identifying how the sections of the text combine to build those ideas. This unit intentionally builds on Odell Education’s work, and if teachers have already used the Chávez speech and lessons, an alternate text is suggested with which to teach the same informational text standards. In the End of Unit 2 Assessment, students apply their understanding of text structure to a new speech. Unit 3 focuses on the research standards (W.7.7 and W.7.8): through an investigation of working conditions in the modern day garment industry, students explore how businesses can affect working conditions, both positively and negatively. As a final performance task, students create a consumer’s guide to working conditions in the garment industry. This teenage consumer’s guide provides an overview of working conditions and offers advice to consumers who are interested in working conditions in the garment industry.
In this module, students explore how native Inuit and other people of Canada have used the natural resources available to meet their needs. In Unit 1, students read The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations, by Alootook Ipellie with David MacDonald, to learn about how the native Inuit people of Canada used natural resources in the Arctic to adapt and meet the needs of their community hundreds of years ago. In Unit 2, students read and view a variety of informational texts and media, including graphs, charts, and maps, to examine how the resources available in Canada today are used to develop products that meet the needs and wants of people in Canada and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
In this eight-week module, students explore animal defense mechanisms. They build proficiency in writing an informative piece, examining the defense mechanisms of one specific animal about which they build expertise. Students also build proficiency in writing a narrative piece about this animal. In Unit 1, students build background knowledge on general animal defenses through close readings of several informational texts. Students will read closely to practice drawing inferences as they begin their research and use a science journal to make observations and synthesize information. Students will continue to use the science journal, using the millipede as a whole class model. They begin to research an expert animal in preparation to write about this animal in Units 2 and 3, again using the science journal. In Unit 2, students will continue to build expertise about their animal and its defense mechanisms, writing the first part of the final performance task—an informative piece describing their animal, the threats to its survival, and how it is equipped to deal with them. With their new knowledge about animal defenses from Unit 1, students will read informational texts closely, using the same science journal to synthesize information about their animal. Unit 3 allows students to apply their research from Units 1 and 2 to write a narrative piece about their animal that incorporates their research. This narrative will take the format of a choose-your-own-adventure. For their performance task, students will plan, draft, and revise the introduction and one choice ending of the narrative with the support of both peer and teacher feedback. The second choice ending will be planned, written, and revised on-demand for the end of unit assessment.
This eight-week module focuses on a “science and society” topic, engaging students in reading compelling informational text about water sustainability, fresh water management, and how to make evidence-based decisions. In Unit 1, students read the article “Water Is Life” by Barbara Kingsolver as well as excerpts from The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman to build background knowledge about water sustainability and water management. Students determine main ideas and evidence in diverse media and clarify the issue of why humans need to manage water better. They also trace arguments and evaluate the soundness of reasoning and the sufficiency and relevancy of evidence in the texts and media that they engage with in this unit. In Unit 2, students participate in a robust research project in which they investigate the strategies of better agricultural and industrial water management. This research begins with students reading more excerpts from The Big Thirst to scaffold their research skills. Then students conduct internet-based research. To organize their research sources and information, students use a researcher’s notebook. Once they have finished gathering information, students analyze the impact of water management strategies.
In this module, students are involved in a deep study of mythology, its purposes, and elements. Students will read Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief (780L), a high-interest novel about a sixth-grade boy on a hero’s journey. Some students may be familiar with this popular fantasy book; in this module, students will read with a focus on the archetypal journey and close reading of the many mythical allusions. As they begin the novel, students also will read a complex informational text that explains the archetypal storyline of the hero’s journey which has been repeated in literature throughout the centuries. Through the close reading of literary and informational texts, students will learn multiple strategies for acquiring and using academic vocabulary. Students will also build routines and expectations of discussion as they work in small groups. At the end of Unit 1, having read half of the novel, students will explain, with text-based evidence, how Percy is an archetypal hero. In Unit 2, students will continue reading The Lightning Thief (more independently): in class, they will focus on the novel’s many allusions to classic myths; those allusions will serve as an entry point into a deeper study of Greek mythology. They also will continue to build their informational reading skills through the close reading of texts about the close reading of texts about the elements of myths. This will create a conceptual framework to support students’ reading of mythology. As a whole class, students will closely read several complex Greek myths. They then will work in small groups to build expertise on one of those myths. In Unit 3, students shift their focus to narrative writing skills. This series of writing lessons will scaffold students to their final performance task in which they will apply their knowledge about the hero’s journey and the elements of mythology to create their own hero’s journey stories.
This module—intended to be used in conjunction with a Social Studies unit about Latin America—features a close read of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (1160L)* by Kathryn Lasky. This beautifully illustrated informational text describes the work of scientists documenting the biodiversity of rainforests. The specific literacy focus is on reading scientific and technical text as well as writing to inform and explain. In the first unit, students build basic background knowledge about the rainforest (particularly those of the Western Hemisphere), and begin to examine how scientists closely observe the natural world to then help them communicate their research through carefully organized and worded scientific text. Unit 2 focuses on a case study of Meg Lowman, the researcher featured in The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. Students then analyze the structure and function of scientific field guides and filed journals determining what quality field guides and journals look and sound like. Students research about a living thing that scientist Meg Lowman may encounter in the rainforest in her research and write with clear and effective word choice about their chosen insect of the rainforest. As the final performance task, students produce an informational report and then field journal–style pages intended for younger readers.
This module uses literature and informational text such as My Librarian Is a Camel to introduce students to the power of literacy and how people around the world access books. This module is intentionally designed to encourage students to embrace a love of literacy and reading.
In this module, students read, discuss, and analyze literary and informational texts, focusing on how authors use word choice and rhetoric to develop ideas, and advance their points of view and purposes. The texts in this module represent varied voices, experiences, and perspectives, but are united by their shared exploration of the effects of prejudice and oppression on identity construction. Each of the module texts is a complex work with multiple central ideas and claims that complement the central ideas and claims of other texts in the module. All four module texts offer rich opportunities to analyze authorial engagement with past and present struggles against oppression, as well as how an author’s rhetoric or word choices strengthen the power and persuasiveness of the text.
In this module, students will develop their ability to read and understand complex text as they consider the challenges of fictional and real refugees. In the first unit, students will begin Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, analyzing how critical incidents reveal the dynamic nature of the main character, Ha, a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl whose family is deciding whether to flee during the fall of Saigon. The novel, poignantly told in free verse, will challenge students to consider the impact of specific word choice on tone and meaning. Students will build their ability to infer and analyze text, both in discussion and through writing. They then will read informational text to learn more about the history of war in Vietnam, and the specific historical context of Ha’s family’s struggle during the fall of Saigon. In Unit 2, students will build knowledge about refugees’ search for a place to call home. They will read informational texts that convey universal themes of refugees’
In this module, students will read, write, and speak about the topic of voting rights and responsibilities. In the first two units, students will read informational texts that focus on the women’s suffrage movement and the leadership of New Yorker Susan B. Anthony. Specifically, they will read firsthand and secondhand accounts of her arrest and trial for voting in a time when women were outlawed from doing so. Students then read The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach, a historical fiction novel set in the weeks leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment. They will continue to examine the idea of leaders of change and explore the theme “making a difference” by collecting evidence on how selected characters make a difference for others. After completing the novel, students will analyze this theme in selected passages of the novel and write an essay
In this 12th grade Extension Module, students can go deeper into analyzing arguments, as they outline, analyze, and evaluate the claims that Michelle Alexander makes in|The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, paying attention to her use of rhetoric to convey her ideas. Please note that this 12th grade Extension Module is an extra module that has been developed as part of the 12th grade ELA modules; grades 9-11 do not have additional or extension modules. A full year of curriculum is available for 12th grade through modules 1-4.
What are “rules to live by”? How do people formulate and use “rules” to improve their lives? How do people communicate these “rules” to others? In this module, students consider these questions as they read the novel Bud, Not Buddy, Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, President Barack Obama’s Back-to-School Speech, “If” by Rudyard Kipling, and informational research texts. At the start of Unit 1, students launch their study of Bud, Not Buddy, establishing a set of routines for thinking, writing, and talking about Bud’s rules to live by. They read the novel closely for its figurative language and word choice, analyzing how these affect the tone and meaning of the text. In the second half of the unit, students engage in a close reading of the Steve Jobs speech, focusing on how Jobs develops his ideas at the paragraph, sentence, and word level. Students use details from the speech to develop claims about a larger theme. During Unit 2, students continue to explore the theme of “rules to live by” in the novel as well as through close reading of the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Students analyze how the structure of a poem contributes to its meaning and theme. In a mid-unit assessment, students compare and contrast how Bud, Not Buddy and “If” address a similar theme. Unit 2 culminates with students writing a literary argument essay in which they establish a claim about how Bud uses his “rules”: to survive or to thrive. Students substantiate their claim using specific text-based evidence including relevant details and direct quotations from the novel. In Unit 3, students shift their focus to their own rules to live by and conduct a short research project. Students work in expert groups (research teams) to use multiple informational sources to research that topic. As a final performance task, students use their research to write an essay to inform about one important “rule to live by” supported with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, and examples.
In Module 9.3, students engage in an inquiry-based, iterative process for research. Building on work with evidence-based analysis in Modules 9.1 and 9.2, students explore topics of interest, gather research, and generate an evidence-based perspective to ultimately write an informative/explanatory research paper that synthesizes and articulates their findings. Students use textual analysis to surface potential topics for research, and develop and strengthen their writing by revising and editing.