Exploring Resources for High School ELA

It has been a LONG time since high school ELA teachers have received a new adopted resource; we’re talking about five presidents, and for the pop-culturally aware, five Star Wars movies. While much of the literature students experience in high school could be considered “timeless,” this is perhaps going too far.

Evergreen’s high school English teachers are notoriously creative; they’ve persevered through this drought admirably, cobbling together more up-to-date texts and unit ideas using whatever resources, time, and opportunities for collaboration were available. So, now that we are able to support the district’s LIFT initiative with possible adoptions, what is the right resource (or set of resources) to inject into a well-established, teacher-created and curated curriculum?

For the past year, a representative team of teachers has piloted one possible option–Houghton Mifflin’s Collections. As we explored this resource (and eye others down the road), one critical evaluative criterion is “modularity” (we’re English teachers–we have license to make up words): How customizable is this–or any–resource? Can veteran teachers flexibly decouple units, lessons, assessments, and texts to merge them into existing proven unit plans? For newer teachers, will this resource serve as a “floor” for curriculum, providing their students access to sound, personalized learning experiences without requiring them to design lessons one day ahead of their students?

We are still collecting feedback. We are also exploring supplemental options that could provide digital libraries of leveled texts with scaffolded instructional support. If you haven’t heard of LightSail, Newsela, or Actively Learn, take a minute to check them out.

In the end, with teacher feedback and recommendations in hand, we will go to the Instructional Materials Committee this year to begin long-awaited adoptions to support our high school teachers and kids…before the next Star Wars movie comes out!

 

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