Springboard Reflective Essay Topics
Secondary Students: Invention for Research Writing
This page provides resources for grades 7-12 instructors and students
Contributors:Lauren Huebsch, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2017-04-07 10:42:03
Invention For Research Writing
Writing a research paper is different than creative writing. Research involves looking beyond of what you already know in order to find answers to a question or questions. Therefore, the inventing process for a research paper will look different from the invention process for creative writing.
The First Steps of Research Invention
Identifying your research topic is usually the most difficult part of writing a research paper. The topic is the general idea that the research paper will focus on.
You can begin by reviewing the information contained in the Invention for Secondary Students: Introduction resource.
However, research invention strategies are different than more general writing invention strategies. As you work on your research writing, you should do the following things:
- Use the work of other people to both support your point, contrast with your point, and add complexity to your ideas. Remember to cite your sources.
- Look for a topic that other scholars have already researched at least to some extent. Use their ideas as a “springboard” for your own, but work to create your own ideas in your paper.
- Know that your ideas will probably change as you find more research on your topic.
- Plan to spend more time writing the research paper than you would if you wrote a reflection paper or an opinion piece. Welcome changing ideas and new ideas from different research sources, but begin early enough so you have time to revise and include the best and most convincing ideas.
- (If you are writing a persuasive research paper)Include research discussing the opposing viewpoint. Identify the opposing views, and then be sure to spend time discussing why your viewpoint is stronger or makes more sense.
For more information on choosing a topic, please see the Choosing a Topic resource on the Purdue OWL.
When You Begin to Find Sources for Research
There are a lot of articles, encyclopedias, and books in existence. Where can you begin to find the material you need for your topic?
- Talk with your librarian: Librarians aren’t at your school simply to put books away. They are trained to help you find sources and information, no matter what your topic is.
- Search through potential books: Don’t worry; you don’t need to read the entire book to find information in it.Learn how to use the table of contents in books to find exactly what you are looking for. Also, with many books, reading the first sentence of each paragraph can give you an idea of what that paragraph is about. If the first sentence of the paragraph applies to your topic, then continue reading the rest of that paragraph.
- Search online: The internet is filled with tons of information, some of which can be helpful for your research papers. For further information on how to get the most out of internet searches, see the OWL’s page “Searching with a Search Engine.”
- Search online journals (if available): Online journals are collections of scholarly articles written by some of the top scholars in different academic fields. Although the language might be difficult at times, journal articles can be very credible and helpful. Ask your librarian if you have access to online journals.
- Wikipedia (as a starting point only): Although Wikipedia has gained a bad reputation in recent years, much of the information on it is accurate and reliable. However, you should only use this information as a starting point. With most Wikipedia entries, writers share the sources used for the information. Try to find the actual sources used to create the Wikipedia article. Then, if that source is useful to you and it is credible, use it!
Tracing Backward to Find Sources
Once you find a source that works well for your topic, see if you can find a “Works Cited” page or information about what sources influenced the author of your particular source. Tracing backward like this can give you a wealth of information. Think of it as someone handing you a list of sources that might work very well with your paper topic.
Be sure that the sources you use are credible. This means that you must find good sources with information you can trust. But how do you know if you can trust a source? Here are some things to look for:
- Avoid sources with no author. If you find a source with no author, you often cannot know whether or not that writing can be trusted. This is especially true with online sources.
- Look for authors who are experts in their fields. Find authors who have higher education or who have worked in their field for a while. Avoid choosing a source by a random author who has no credentials.
Date of Source
- Check to see when the source was published. If you are writing on a topic in which the information has changed in recent years (especially scientific topics), the best sources might be the most recent sources.
- Look for sources that use evidence or other experts to back up their claims. Avoid sources that simply say an opinion without proving it.
- Find sources that have trustworthy publishers or organizations behind them. Do not use sources from sites like Ask.com or Yahoo Answers, since there is no professional organization or publisher backing up the writers’ claims.
For more information about evaluating sources and finding credible sources, see the Purdue OWL’s resources on Evaluation During Reading and Using Research and Evidence.
Citing Your Sources
As you use other people’s writings, thoughts, and opinions in your writing, always remember to cite your sources. This means that every time you use a quotation, opinion, or though of another person, you must give credit to that person and the text that they wrote their thoughts in.
For information about citations according to MLA (Modern Language Association), see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide, or see the APA Formatting and Style Guide for APA’s (American Psychological Association) guidelines, available through the Purdue OWL.
The Springboard Language Arts Common Core Edition 2017 materials for Grade 12 fully meet the alignment expectations. The materials include appropriately rigorous texts to engage students in reading and writing as well as working to build research skills. Tasks and questions provided offer students practice in academic speaking and listening as well as comprehensive writing skills development over the course of the school year. The materials are designed to grow students' knowledge and academic vocabulary as they engage with increasingly rigorous texts and tasks.
The SpringBoard Grade 12 instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. The instructional materials include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and that support students’ advancing toward independent reading. The materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity. The materials include an appropriate distribution of texts suggested in the CCSS for Grade 12. In addition to literary texts, the program supports student access to strong informational texts. Anchor texts within the materials are of publishable quality, worthy of especially careful reading, and consider a range of student interests. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Over the course of the year, materials support students’ increasing literacy skills through a series of texts at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for Grade 12. The materials are accompanied by text complexity analyses and rationales for purpose and placement in the grade level, and the program’s anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the criteria for Indicator 1a. Anchor texts within the Grade 12 materials are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
Materials for Grade 12 include well-known and diverse authors such as Theodore Roethke, E. E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, Sandra Cisneros, George Orwell, James Baldwin, Amy Tan, George Bernard Shaw, Ovid, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Kate Chopin, John Donne, William Shakespeare, Emma Lazarus, and Shaun Tan. Most, if not all, of the texts--print, film, and audio recording-- have been published in some form as books or in notable newspapers and/or journals and magazines, as well as on the screen, in video, or audiocast.
Five thematic units provide anchor texts and supplementary texts encompassing a range of topics relevant and interesting to Grade 12 students: Perception is Everything, The Collective Perspective, Evolving Perspectives, Creating Perspectives, and Multiple Perspectives. Books, dramas, short stories, poems, essays, graphic novels, film excerpts, articles, speeches, and editorials are among the text types studied throughout the year. Using these materials as a touchstone, students explore the concept of perspective and how it is “filtered through values, prejudices, and attitudes.” Drawing on a growing understanding of perspectives, students are introduced to literary criticism as a lens for understanding literary texts and the context from which they originated: social, cultural, and historic. Additionally, students build on their own perspectives of literature by analyzing texts that have stood the test of time through more modern forms of literary criticism and evaluate the perspectives of changing times on classic as well as more contemporary literary pieces.
Unit 1: Perception is Everything, a unit of multiple texts
- “My Papa’s Waltz,” a poem by Theodore Roethke
- “To the National American Woman Suffrage Association,” a speech by Florence Kelley
- “On Seeing England for the First Time,” an essay by Jamaica Kincaid
- “Shooting an Elephant,” a short story by George Orwell
Unit 2: The Collective Perspective, a unit anchored in the study of Pygmalion
- “Orpheus Sings: Pygmalion and the Statue,” from Metamorphoses, by Ovid
- Pygmalion, a drama by George Bernard Shaw
Unit 3: Evolving Perspectives, a unit anchored in the study of a drama
- The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare
Unit 4: Creating Perspectives, a unit of multiple texts examining journalism and bias
- “How the Media Twist the News,” an article by Sheila Gribben Liaugminas
- The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Section 101, a legal document
- excerpt from “A Failure of Initiative,” a report by the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina
- excerpt from “The Need for Science in Restoring Resilience to the Northern Gulf of Mexico,” a report by Gregory J. Smith
Unit 5: Multiple Perspectives, a unit of understanding critical perspectives through the study of a graphic novel
- The Arrival, a graphic novel by Shaun Tan
Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
The instructional materials reviewed for SpringBoard Grade 12 reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. The materials include an appropriate distribution of texts suggested in the CCSS for Grade 12. In addition to literary texts, the program supports student access to strong informational texts including articles, editorials, speeches, as well as other media including paintings, photographs, and films.
Unit 1, Perception is Everything, includes poetry, essays, excerpts from novels, and film clips among other text types. The following is a sample of text titles and authors:
- “Stranger in the Village,” essay by James Baldwin
- “The White Man’s Burden,” poem by Rudyard Kipling
- “The Poor Man’s Burden,” poem by George McNeill
- Invisible Man, novel by Ralph Ellison
- The House on Mango Street, novel by Sandra Cisneros
- The Joy Luck Club, novel by Amy Tan
Unit 2, The Collective Perspective, includes films, photographs, drama, children’s stories, short stories, and literary criticism among other text types. The following is a sample of text titles and authors:
- “Cinderella, the Legend,” literary criticism by Madonna Kolbenschlag
- The Giving Tree, children’s book by Shel Silverstein
- “Orpheus Sings: Pygmalion and the Statue,” from Metamorphoses, by Ovid
- Pygmalion, drama by George Bernard Shaw
- “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution,” song lyrics by Tracy Chapman.
- “The Story of an Hour,” short story by Kate Chopin
- “The Chaser,” short story by John Collier
Unit 3, Evolving Perspectives, includes drama, film, musical lyrics, and essays among other text types. The following is a sample of text titles and authors:
- The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, drama by William Shakespeare
- “Othello on Stage and Screen,” essay by Sylvan Barnet
- “The Right to Love,” musical lyrics by Gene Lees and Lalo Schifrin
- “The Canonization,” poem by John Donne
Unit 4, Creating Perspectives, includes documentary film, articles, speeches, and reports among other text types. The following is a sample of text titles and authors:
- “Why Partisans View Mainstream Media as Biased and Ideological Media as Objective,” article by Matthew C. Nisbet
- “A Failure of Initiative,” report by the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina
- “News War, Part III: What’s Happening to the News,” documentary film from Frontline
- “The Storm,” documentary film from Frontline
- “The Need for Science in Restoring Resilience to the Northern Gulf of Mexico,” report by Gregory J. Smith
Unit 5, Multiple Perspectives, include a graphic novel, essays, and poetry among other text types. The following is a sample of text titles and authors:
- “Comments on The Arrival,” essay by Shaun Tan
- The Arrival, graphic novel by Shaun Tan
- “The New Colossus,” poem by Emma Lazarus
- “Refugee in America,” poem by Langston Hughes
Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level (according to quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis).
The instructional materials reviewed for SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the criteria for Indicator 1c. Grade 12 texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
SpringBoard Online provides a Text Complexity Analysis for each of the Grade 12 texts. Each text analysis provides a quantitative rating based on Lexile Measures and a qualitative measure based on the qualitative factors described in Appendix A: Research Supporting Key Elements of the Standards (pages 5-6): Levels of Meaning or Purpose, Structure, Language, and Knowledge Demands. The Text Complexity Analysis also describes the student task associated with the reading and the teaching of text and considers those activities in assigning an overall level of text complexity. Most texts fall within the College and Career Expectations for Lexile Ranges in the 11-12 grade band, and those that do not are balanced with higher level qualitative measures. Examples include:
- In Unit 1 Activity 1.12, students read Florence Kelley’s speech “to the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Philadelphia, July 22, 1905.” The speech text has a Lexile measure of 1280, within the College and Career Readiness range expected for the 11-12 grade band. The Text Complexity Analysis indicates the speech has an overall complex rating and a moderate qualitative rating. The task demand of analysis is moderate.
- In Unit 2 Activity 2.4, students read “Orpheus Sings: Pygmalion and the Statue.” The text has a Lexile measure of 1070, below the College and Career Readiness range expected for the 11-12 grade band. The Text Complexity Analysis indicates an overall complex rating and a moderate rating for both qualitative measures and task demand. The text purpose is a description of “very complex concepts such as pride, vanity, and devotion [and exemplification of] the archetype of the transformation story in which an external force seeks to change someone else.” The language is “somewhat complex and unfamiliar language is occasionally used in this text, most archaic vocabulary is defined in footnotes.” The knowledge demands are relatively great because of the “complicated concepts presented in the text...all of which require complex life experiences to fully understand.” On the other hand, the structure is described as rather straightforward. The text relates to the unit’s theme and builds the foundation for completing an embedded assessment requiring students to “work with a partner to write a script that transforms a scene from Pygmalion so that it reflects one of the critical perspectives you have studied [and to] write a reflection analyzing and evaluating your process and product.”
- In Unit 3 Activity 3.10, students read an excerpt from “The Moor in English Renaissance Drama.” This piece of literary criticism has a Lexile measure of 1430, well above the College and Career Readiness range expected for the 11-12 grade band. The Text Complexity Analysis indicates an overall complexity measure of very complex, a qualitative measure of high and task demand considered challenging as students are asked to evaluate. The qualitative analysis describes this example of literary criticism as conforming “to the conventions of a specific content discipline, which utilizes highly complex and frequently implicit connections between [complex] ideas, so the connections and many associations to his ideas are difficult to connect unless familiar with subject area content.” Also noted is the complexity of the sentence structures, the formality of the language, the “overly academic” diction, the allusions and corresponding footnotes. The task asks students to evaluate “to what extent the author’s criticisms are present in the Shakespearean drama.” Additionally, students will use their work to participate in a Socratic Seminar.
- In Unit 5 Activity 5.13, students read an excerpt from the essay, “Comments on The Arrival” by Shaun Tan. The essay has a Lexile measure of 1470, well above the College and Career Readiness range expected for the 11-12 grade band. The Text Complexity Analysis indicates an overall rating of complex, a qualitative rating of moderate, and a task demand rating of accessible because students “read and interpret the author’s thoughts on his own graphic novel.” Although the superficial purpose of the essay is explicit, there is also a “more interpretive, abstract assertion.”” Structurally, the introspective essay moves deeper and deeper into complex ideas as the text evolves, and eventually becomes “full of paradox and abstract ideas.” Scaffolds such as marking the text to identify main ideas, circling unknown words and phrases, and using context clues, word parts, and a dictionary can help students to understand unfamiliar terms. In addition, scaffolds such as rereading and callouts on grammar usage and verb tense aid student understanding.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the criteria for Indicator 1d. Over the course of the year, materials support students’ increasing literacy skills through a series of texts at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for Grade 12.
Students progressively build literacy skills through work with a variety of texts over the course of the school year. Texts sets are at various complexity levels, quantitatively and qualitatively, and therefore support learners as they develop literacy skills and background knowledge to support independent and proficient reading practices.
In Unit 1, students are introduced to concepts of literary perspective through literary criticism as part of an academic study reflecting on how “one’s perception determines his or her interpretation of the world.” The unit text sets juxtapose images, novel excerpts, reflective essays, and significant speeches of varying complexity to support students’ understanding of Reader Response Criticism and Cultural Criticism. This juxtaposition allows students to practice with Common Core Standard RI.11-12.7 as they “integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.” Although some texts are quantitatively below grade level, such as Sandra Cisneros’s “Four Skinny Trees” (690L) and Amy Tan’s “Lindo Jong: Double Face (590L), they are presented alongside more complex texts, such as Florence Kelley’s speech “to the National American Woman Suffrage Association” (1280L), James Baldwin’s reflective essay “Stranger in the Village” (1370L), and Jamaica Kincaid’s “On Seeing England for the First Time” (1230L). The Teacher Wrap provides suggestions for supporting readers through these complex texts, grounding a critical study of literature in relevant work and guiding students toward more independent reading and analysis.
In Unit 2, students continue their study of critical perspectives, adding Archetypal Criticism, Marxist Criticism, and Feminist Criticism to the breadth of their academic lens. While the quantitative complexity of the unit’s literary selections are below the 11-12 grade band and closer to 9-10 grade band expectations, the qualitative measurements and task requirements make them appropriate for Grade 12 students. With the addition of three new forms of criticism, working with more accessible texts supports developing foundations in the area of literary theory and increases the opportunities for learners to analyze text through those perspectives. The balance between complex ideas and accessible text in content and application allows students to gain strength in literary analysis and become stronger, more independent readers.
In Unit 3, students draw on previous learning for the more complex task of reading Shakespeare’s Othello. Not only does the language and structure of Othello make it a complex undertaking, but the series of texts paired with the study of Shakespeare’s drama are equally complex in language and concepts. In Activity 3.9, students read “The Moor in English Renaissance Drama” by Jack D’Amico, a literary criticism with a Lexile Measure of 1430. Margin notes for the teacher suggest the text be chunked for readers, and scaffolded text-dependent questions are provided. Later on in the unit, Activity 3.18, students read another critical essay, “Othello on Stage and Screen” by Sylvan Barnet with a Lexile Measure of 1370. Here, the margin notes read, “Although it is tempting to chunk this text to make it manageable for students, it is critical that students to be able to use strategies independently to decipher long, complex texts.” The margin notes urge teachers to use their professional expertise to “determine the best way to approach this text” and also offer suggestions such as marking the text, questioning the text, summarizing and paraphrasing while reading, all skills of a proficient and active reader.
In Unit 4, students consider how the various literary lenses they have studied can be applied to real-world events to better understand the conflict in light of society’s context. Complexity levels of the unit texts range from an editorial’s Lexile Measure of 780 to a web article on BigThink with a Lexile Measure of 1660. The unit is built on informational text and documentaries represented by paired text titles such as, “How Media Twists the News” and “Why Partisans View Mainstream Media as Biased and Ideological Media as Objective.” As the unit progresses, students are introduced to and reminded of contemporary issues of national concern, reading contemporary legislation, news articles, editorials, congressional reports, and speeches as well as viewing and discussing how documentaries develop national and personal perspectives on pressing issues of our time. The Teacher Wrap provides tips for supporting readers who struggle with the complexity of the texts and associated performance tasks.
In Unit 5, classroom learning continues in the study of perception through reading and analyzing of a graphic novel using the critical theories studied through the year. Student learning culminates in collaborative project synthesizing the year’s learning through a presentation examining critical theory as it applies to a text read independently. The unit allows students to demonstrate literacy proficiencies in reading and analysis, researching and writing, and speaking and listening as they interpret critical lenses to a book or drama of their choosing.
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 instructional materials reviewed for SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the criteria of Indicator 1e. The Grade 12 materials provide anchor texts and series of texts connected to them. The materials are accompanied by text complexity analyses and rationales for purpose and placement in the grade level.
SpringBoard Online provides a Text Complexity Analysis complete with rationales for purpose and placement within the online Teacher Resources. Each analysis offers users a choice to download the file or preview the analysis online. The format for each analysis is identical, providing information and discussion in five areas: the context for use, a quantitative analysis with justification if the Lexile level is below grade, a qualitative review, an overview of task and reader considerations, and placement considerations in light of grade level standards.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet Indicator 1f. The program’s anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
Over the year, students are provided with a variety of texts, primarily representing the disciplines of literature and social science, from a wide distribution of media including newspaper, journals, music, film, and the internet. Among the text types are short stories, poems, drama, novels, speeches, editorials, and informational texts; full text listings are provided within Planning the Unit and Resources at a Glance in the Unit Overview. The former lists all titles in the unit and the latter lists the titles in relation to the unit pacing guide and related activities. Additionally, grade level texts are listed in the End Matter PDF found through the Teacher Resources tab among the Book PDFs.
All units are developed thematically. Some units are structured around an anchor text accompanied by supplementary texts while other units provide multiple texts supporting the thematic and skill-based instruction. Regardless, students have the opportunity to achieve grade level reading proficiency through independent reading and study as well as supported reading, e.g., paired reading, small group reading, choral reading, and chunked reading. With the introduction of each new text, the Teacher Wrap encourages teachers to use their “knowledge of their students” to select the most effective format for the first reads. Each reading activity specifically addresses the reading and learning purpose for the text to follow and offers specific lessons designed to support diverse readers in text comprehension and analysis.
Embedded in each lesson are activity features to encourage rereading: Academic and Social Language Preview, Interpret the Text Using Close Reading, Interacting in Meaningful Ways, Academic Collaboration, and Working from the Text. These activity features specifically support close reading, thinking protocols, word consciousness, and grammar and language, all skills that move readers towards greater reading independence. Within all activities, the sidebar Teacher Wrap offers ideas and tips to support diverse readers in the classroom. Additional reading supports are delineated and defined in the Teacher End Materials PDF available through the Resources tab on the grade-level home page. Included in this Resource handbook is a comprehensive list of reading strategies, along with definitions, and purposes for use. Also included in the Resource are numerous graphic organizers aligned to activities specifically noted in the Teacher’s Edition, e.g., OPTIC, SMELL, SOAPStone, Web Organizer, and Word Map. Additionally found in the Teacher’s Edition Teacher Wrap is specific guidance for adapting teaching methods in the development of grade-level reading skills among diverse readers. Under headings Teacher to Teacher, Adapt, and Leveled Differentiated Instruction are explanations and references for additional supports that are also found in the Resource handbook, e.g., sequencing events, analyzing key ideas and details, charting cause and effect, and unknown word solvers.
Six supplementary close reading lesson sets are also included among the instructional materials: informational/literary nonfiction, poetry, argument, Shakespeare, informational STEM texts, and informational texts in social studies and history. Each lesson set offers three unique texts and instruction for each text follows a four-activity pattern supporting students work toward reading independence:
- Activity 1: provides guided reading instruction that emphasizes multiple readings, vocabulary development, and close-reading strategies with a complex text.
- Activity 2: gradually releases students from teacher-guided instruction and modeling to a collaborative analysis of a visual text to which students apply the skills and strategies of close reading.
- Activity 3: releases students to closely read texts independently to respond to analysis questions and to make connections to previous texts.
- Activity 4: requires students to respond to synthesis writing, presentation, or discussion prompts to demonstrate their mastery of the close-reading skills they have practiced in the workshop.
In addition to reading as part of classroom activities, students are expected to complete independent readings. In each unit, Planning this Unit provides a section titled Suggestions for Independent Reading and offers a “wide array of titles which have been chosen based on complexity and interest.” At the beginning of each unit, students develop an Independent Reading Plan and are instructed to discuss their reading plan with a partner through a series of questions: “How do you go about choosing what to read independently? Where can you find advice on which books or articles to read? What genre of texts do you most enjoy reading outside of class? How can you make time in your schedule to read independently? How do you think literary theory might change your perspective of the texts you read independently?”
As a mechanism for monitoring their reading progress, students are accountable for monitoring their independent reading using an Independent Reading Log provided in the Resource handbook available in the Teacher End Materials PDF and the Student Front Matter, both found through the Resources tab on the grade-level home page. Independent Reading Link: Read and Connect is a sidebar activity bridging the unit’s reading instruction and the students’ independent reading. In Unit 2, Activity 2.1 students are told, “In this unit, you will be reading a play that has been adapted into a film. For your independent reading, choose another text that has been made into a film. After watching the film, discuss with a peer how and why the film version differs from the original text. Record notes of your discussion in your Reader/Writer Notebook.” Independent Reading Checkpoints are also embedded in each unit. In Unit 2, Activity 2.13, after a study of various critical perspectives, students are instructed to review their independent reading (a text that had been adapted into a film) and “consider which critical perspective would provide the most interesting analysis of the reading (Reader Response Criticism, Cultural Criticism, Archetypal Criticism, or Marxist Criticism). How might you apply this perspective to transform your reading into a staged play? Record your ideas in your Reader/Writer Notebook.” In building a volume of reading, students are also encouraged to do their own research, selecting their titles and topics “that intrigue them.”
Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
The SpringBoard Grade 12 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the CCSS with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text. The materials contain sets of high quality, sequenced, text-dependent, and text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks are rich and varied, providing opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and/or writing over the year. The materials provide 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, and most materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence. The instructional materials also include instruction of grammar and conventions/language standards for Grade 12 and are applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts with opportunities for application context. The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts and revisions over time); short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where appropriate; and frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate to the grade level. While the program provides a variety of opportunities for students to write in the modes of argument, explanation, and narrative with writing assignments connected to texts and/or text sets, most writing assignments are explanatory.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the expectations of indicator 1g. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text.
Most questions, tasks, and assignments over the course of instruction are designed to encourage students’ interaction with the texts under study. Within each unit are recurrent activities such as Second Read and Working from the Text which cause students to consider text-dependent questions regarding concepts related to key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas. Additionally, Writing to Sources activities require students to engage directly with the text using explicit and valid inferential textual support in the development of analytic and explanatory writing.
Following are some representative examples of how Grade 12 materials employ text-based questions and tasks over the course of the school year:
- In Unit 2, Activity 2.9, before reading Act V of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, students are to reread Act I and create a two-column organizer listing character traits for each. Then, while reading Act V, students are to record changes within the characters between acts and compare transformations by considering a variety of questions: “What specifically about each character has changed? How did each transformation occur? How active was each character in the transformation? What is each character’s attitude towards the transformation?”
- In Unit 3, Activity 3.18, after a study of Shakespeare’s Othello, students read “Othello on Stage and Screen” by Sylvan Barnet. Second Read directs students to reread the critical essay and answer a series of text-dependent questions exploring how cultural attitudes have affected the delivery and understanding of Othello across time and culminating in the Working from the Text question: “Through today’s critical lens of Cultural Criticism, do you think the answers to ‘Does it matter if a black plays Othello?’ (paragraph 31) would be different? Why or why not?”
- In Unit 5, Activity 5.11, after reading “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, “Refugees in America” by Langston Hughes, and The Arrival, a graphic novel by Shaun Tan, Working from the Text directs students to consider thematic similarities between the poems and how “the themes identified in Lazarus’s and Hughes’s poems resonate in Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival.”
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the criteria for indicator Ih. The materials contain sets of high-quality, sequenced, text-dependent, and text-specific questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks are rich and varied, providing opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and/or writing over the year.
Four of the five Grade 12 units present two embedded assessments. Unit 5 has a single Embedded Assessment at the unit’s end. In Units 1-4, the Preview of Embedded Assessment 1 occurs on the first day of the unit as students unpack the skills required for the task which culminates midpoint in the unit. Following the completion of Embedded Assessment 1, students are introduced to Embedded Assessment 2, again unpacking the skills necessary to successfully accomplish the end task. In Unit 5, the Embedded Assessment is introduced on day one of the unit. For each Embedded Assessment, the sequence of activities following the unpacking sequentially develops the skills necessary to complete the requirements of the assessment.
- The Unit 2, Embedded Assessment 1 asks students to work as a pair in writing a script that transforms a scene from Pygmalion to reflect one of the Critical Perspectives studied during the unit. Unit 2 builds on Unit 1 in introducing literary theory to the understanding and interpretation of literature. In Unit 1, Reader Response and Cultural Criticism were introduced. In the first half of Unit 2, Archetypal Criticism (Activity 2.2) is introduced through an analysis of film, and Marxist Criticism (2.13) is introduced through an analysis of musical lyrics. Students explore the drama first from an archetypal perspective through comparison between Shaw’s Pygmalion and Ovid’s "Myth of Pygmalion." In Activities 2.6 and 2.7, students learn about Victorian social protocol in actions and wordplay through a study of subtext and the double entendre. Discussion on playwright’s choice on the inclusion and/or omission of stage directions supports the culminating script writing. Further activities provide text-dependent questions that lead students to explore the character transformations of the leading man and lady, and the addition of clips from My Fair Lady introduce another perspective to the dramatization of Shaw’s work. A second read of selected excerpts in Activity 2.12 returns the readers to earlier scenes in the play for analysis against an archetypal perspective before Activity 2.13 turns to a Marxist interpretation. Activity 2.14 guides the students towards an analysis of Pygmalion in light of power, class, and money before students begin to work in pairs on the performance task, transforming a scene from Pygmalion to reflect one of the four studied Critical Perspectives.
- The Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 2 asks students to work collaboratively in creating and presenting a ten- to fifteen-minute argumentative documentary to be presented live or via media of choice. Activity 4.10 tasks students with determining the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful. Activity 4.11 explores the variety of modes and styles in nonfiction television and film using video clips. Activity 4.12 continues the exploration of video shifting from an analysis of mode and style to one of visual images and sounds. Activity 4.13 turns students’ attention towards the project as they consider what will be the focus of their documentary and how they will structure the thesis and determine the various roles to be played in developing a compelling narrative. The resulting plan becomes the focus of Activity 4.14 as students evaluate one another’s design, evaluating the proposal’s effectiveness and offering constructive criticism.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 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.
Each unit throughout Grade 12 engages students in a variety of evidence-based discussions within the whole class, as small group conversations, and as partners sharing text-based ideas and information. Embedded within each unit are several Academic Collaboration lessons focused on the current text under study and designed to promote meaningful interaction. The lessons provide a discussion protocol guiding “academic conversation” and sometimes extend into a Language Checkpoint where students work with partners examining syntax related to the anchor text. Academic and Social Language Previews also appear in each unit. These collaborative investigations promote student exploration of word meaning by asking students to determine meaning through the context and then apply the word in a new context. Additionally, the Teacher Wrap supports activities with additional protocols, ideas for increasing pair and small group speaking and listening interactions, instructional advice for differentiation, modeling suggestions, and technology tips for heightening student interaction in effective evidence-based discussion.
Following are some representative examples of how Grade 12 materials provide opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax:
- In Unit 2, Activity 2.3, before reading Shaw’s Pygmalion, students engage in a gallery walk, viewing a collection of photos from My Fair Lady, the film version of the play, Pygmalion. Students working in groups are provided with a graphic organizer and instructed to “describe the mise en scene” of each photo, detailing the costume, facial expression, and body language of each pictorial subject. Based on their observations, students are asked to answer a set of text-dependent questions aimed at predicting elements of the drama: setting, plot, relationships, etc. When the groups reach the final image in the series, they are to become “experts” on that image for a jigsaw activity to follow. Not only are they to discuss mise en scene but they are also directed to discuss connections between the images in light of literary perspectives studied to date, using textual evidence to support their connections. Students then jigsaw and share their expertise on each image, specifically, to “make sure to express your ideas clearly and build on others’ ideas in a focused response.”
- In Unit 3, Activity 3.9c, while reading Othello, Interacting in Meaningful Ways: Academic Collaboration asks students to “contribute to group discussions about drama by asking and answering questions and following turn-taking rules.” Students are directed to work in pairs or small groups with a discussion protocol that ensures “a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue” (SL.11-12.1C) through a clearly defined turn-taking process. The protocol culls out Tier 2 and Tier 3 words for discussion, i.e., villain, pestilence, and soliloquy, and expects students to respond thoughtfully with text-based evidence and logic.
- In Unit 3, Activity 3.9, while studying Shakespeare’s Othello, students are introduced to Historical Criticism through an essay by Jack D’Amico and asked to prepare for a Socratic Seminar over the texts. The essay is chunked for this activity. During the first read, students read the chunks and annotate with metacognitive markers, i.e., question marks to signal confusion, asterisks for comments, etc. Students then conduct a second read of the essay and answer a series of text-dependent questions. Teacher materials suggest students may conduct both activities independently, as small groups or pairs, or as a whole class read aloud. Additionally, syntax is integrated through a mini-lesson on compound sentences and clauses. Students are asked to examine the essay for these grammatical structures and note their impact. In the final stages of preparation, groups are assigned a single chunk of text and provided a Collaborative Dialogue graphic organizer as a frame for developing Socratic Seminar questions. Students generate multiple questions, practice asking and answering those questions, and then choose at least one to bring to the Socratic Seminar for discussion of the text as whole.
- In Unit 5, Activity 5.2, after having studied several literary theories in previous units, students form Literature Circles “to read a shared text with a small group.” The teaching materials provide guidelines for organizing the group, creating a reading schedule, organizing the reading, and a protocol for reading group discussion notes that includes a self-evaluation of progress towards the group goals. The Teacher Wrap suggests students identify clear roles within the group and the use of a web-based forum for continuing the discussion asynchronously.
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 SpringBoard Grade 12 meet the expectations of indicator 1j. Most materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.
Throughout the year, students are engaged in a variety of listening and speaking activities including pairing with peers, discussion in small groups, participating in Socratic Seminars, and staging class presentations. Most collaborative activities occur after reading a text and/or a combination of texts sometimes paired with multimedia sources. In most instances, students are required to engage in evidence-based discussions relevant to the year’s study, an understanding of literary theory and critical perspectives: archetypal, feminist, Marxist, historical, and cultural. Discussion questions encouraging students to draw on academic vocabulary and syntax are provided within both teacher and student materials and support students’ preparation for collaboration to follow.
Four of the five units engage students in Socratic Seminars, most often to question, probe, and advance positions of literary criticism in relation to unit texts. Students become more independent in leading discussions and seminars, often responsible to generate text-related leveled questions--literal, universal, and interpretive--to propel ensuing conversations and discussions. Throughout, students are not only expected to verify and clarify ideas, but also advance differing views, work to persuade others by supporting all information with credible and sufficient evidence, and synthesize the ideas expressed through the discourse. Opportunities to talk and ask questions of peers and teachers about research, strategies, and ideas are present throughout the year. The curriculum includes a host of protocols and graphic organizers to promote and scaffold academic discussions. Guidance for differentiating, extending, and monitoring student learning is provided to the teacher in the Teacher Wrap section provided with each activity.
Following are some representative examples of how Grade 12 materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading, researching, and presenting with relevant follow-up questions and evidence:
- In Unit 1, Activity 1.10, after reading “Four Skinny Trees” by Sandra Cisneros, students work collaboratively to ask and answer questions about a literary vignette in preparation for an academic discussion wherein they will express and support their opinions. The Teacher Wrap provides instructions and language to the teacher for building students’ strengths in both supporting one’s opinion or position and disagreeing or challenging the opinions of others. Students begin by working in small groups or pairs to discuss four questions posed on the Collaborative Dialogue graphic organizer, a teaching tool posing a series of what and how questions alongside response stems, e.g., “What is the narrator’s perception of herself? What details from the passage help you determine how she views herself?” and the response stems, “I believe the narrator perceives herself as _____. I think this because _____.” After students have conversed, they capture their thinking on the graphic organizer. Next, students work in groups of four and use the graphic organizer to engage in an academic discussion through a collaborative dialogue, after which they move into a related task: analyzing Cisneros’ descriptive language and generating questions about word choice, phrasing, and author inspiration. If students need further support in small group discussion, the Teacher Wrap suggests bringing together a group of three students and guiding them through the first discussion question to ensure they are not only citing and quoting text evidence but also paraphrasing and justifying their evidence selections.
- In Unit 4, Activity 4.5, after reading Section 101 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, a news article published in The Times-Picayune, and a speech by George W. Bush, “President Outlines Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts,” students prepare for and participate in a collaborative discussion. Students’ progress through this lesson following the curriculum’s pattern: students take notes while independently conducting a first read and then complete Second Read by answering a series of analytic text dependent questions. Once all texts are read, a whole class discussion asks students to consider “the different function of each text and how its purpose may affect the choice of language and structure.” Students are then divided into two groups: one to further analyze the new article and the other to further analyze the presidential speech. Students use a series of questions provided in the materials for this purpose. Having worked through the provided questions, students generate additional questions appropriate to probing, evaluating, and clarifying the information among the texts.
- In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 2, students are asked to work collaboratively to “create a documentary text in the media channel of their choice,” transforming information gathered from research into argument. The final presentation is to be 10 to 15 minutes in length and presented live or via video. This activity has a suggested timeline of four days and provides students with a guide sheet, from planning to drafting, to evaluating and revising, checking and editing for publication. Students are charged with researching multiple sources to find credible and reliable information, marshaling the evidence to present, writing the script, rehearsing for presentation, filming or recording as needed, acquiring feedback from others to revise and improve on the product. Throughout the latter activities of Unit 4, students are learning about and practicing the skills necessary to make this culminating presentation successful.
- In Unit 5, Activity 5.11, after reading “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus and “Refugees in America” by Langston Hughes, students prepare for a Socratic Seminar by answering text-based questions and generating questions on their own. The lesson begins with students taking notes during the first read. Then, Second Read leads students through a series of analytic text-dependent questions for each of the two texts. Following that activity, the Teacher Wrap suggests students create a graphic organizer populated with the ideas from the two poems “in order to see parallels and find a common theme.” Working from the Texts expands the consideration of thematic similarities to Amy Tan’s graphic novel, The Arrival, read earlier in the unit. Students are then asked to “develop levels of questions,” sharing those questions aloud though not providing answers at this time. Additional time for question generation is built into the lesson, anticipating that the first round of question-asking will foster additional questions for use during the Socratic Seminar. In the final stages of the lesson, students are brought together for a “collegial discussion about topics and themes from Lazarus’s and Hughes’s poems and Part V of The Arrival.” Closure to the lesson asks students to complete a Quick Write, “synthesizing ideas shared during the Socratic Seminar” and explaining “to what extent did your ideas change, shift, or thrive...?”
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 12 meet the indicators for 1k. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts and revisions over time) and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
On-demand writing tasks are present within most unit activities and focus on specific text/s and/or on a specific writing skill: e.g., quickwrites, double entry journals, reflections, note taking, and answering writing prompts. Standard features of each unit--Working from the Text, Writing to Sources, Argument Writing Prompts, Explanatory Writing Prompts, and Narrative Writing Prompts--ask students to write shorter, on-demand responses that require attention to development, textual evidence, and incorporation of writing skills studied. Additionally, the program offers opportunities for student revisions of many on-demand writing activities.
Following are some representative examples of how Grade 12 materials employ on-demand writing alongside technology, editing, and/or revision tasks over the course of the school year:
- In Unit 2, Activity 2.4, after reading Ovid’s “Orpheus Sings: Pygmalion and the Statue,” students write a summary of Ovid’s work attending to the main idea and details but without expressing judgment. In Activity 2.12, after reading George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, students return to their summary of Ovid’s myth to review the text of the myth and the summary. Working with a writing partner, students analyze Shaw’s adherence or departures from the work of Ovid, answering these questions: "Has the writer included the character of the creator? Has the writer included the character of the created? Has the writer defined the nature of the transformation? Has the writer defined the relationship between the creator and the creation? Following the partner discussion, each student independently writes an argumentative essay, after which they collaborate to enhance their drafts, revising the content by “considering the supporting evidence and logical organization” as well as editing grammar, mechanical, and usage errors.
- In Unit 4, Activity 4.12, in preparation for Embedded Assessment 2, students learn how “music and visual rhetoric contribute to the tone in a media text.” After reviewing elements of a documentary, teachers show the class a documentary clip, first without sound and then with sound. The Teacher Wrap suggests using Land of Opportunity by Luisa Dantas, as “the 3-minute trailer includes music and other audio worthy of analysis, and many other clips from the film project are available online.” After viewing and discussing the visual and audio aspects of the clip, the Explanatory Writing Prompt asks students to write “a paragraph in which you explain how the director uses sound in a particular scene in order to establish tone. What is the intended effect of using music to establish this tone? Be sure to: Consider the specific rhetorical context of the film clip; support your claim with specific evidence from the clip, such as illustrative examples, vivid descriptions, or comparisons; include commentary that explains how specific choices contribute to the tone.”
- In Unit 5, Activity 5.7, after reading Part III of Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival, students are asked “to draft an interior monologue from the point of view of one of the characters. Describe what the character is seeing, doing, and thinking in the chosen sequence of frames, [being] sure to: refer to details of the narrative; use narrative techniques, such as pacing, description, and reflection, to develop the character’s interior monologue; use precise words and phrases and sensory details to convey a sense of the mood of the setting and the protagonist’s thoughts and experiences.”
Process writing is supported in each unit through two Embedded Assessments preceded by a series of instructional and practice activities with concepts ranging from ideation to grammar and syntax choices, writing structures, revision and editing. Embedded Assessments offer a breadth of ELA writing purposes: Writing a Reflective Essay; Writing a Script; Writing an Analytical Essay Applying a Critical Perspective to a Short Story; Creating a Monologue; Writing an Argumentative Essay with an Annotated Bibliography; Creating a Documentary Media Text; Presenting a Literary Work through Multiple Critical Perspectives. Each Embedded Assessment is outlined in Planning the Unit and Unit Overview sections of the Teacher’s Edition, and the Teacher Wrap provides general guidance to the teacher in the areas of revision and editing. Each Embedded Assessment also includes a scoring rubric and set of questions encouraging students to consider the elements of planning, drafting, and revising throughout the writing process.
Following are some representative examples of how Grade 12 materials employ process writing in longer written tasks featuring technology, revision, and/or editing over the course of the school year:
- Unit 3, Embedded Assessment 1, after a study of Othello and various literary analyses, asks students to follow the writing process over two 50-minute class periods as they construct an argumentative essay defending a critical lens as providing the most “compelling view of literature.” The student questioning guide sheet, a document provided for each Embedded Assessment, asks questions leading the writer from the planning stage through stages of drafting, revising, and editing for publication. Students are asked to consider how they will “evaluate the different critical perspectives and select the one [you] feel works best?” Additionally, the questioning guide sheet asks students how they will collect evidence and how they will organize their work. How will students ensure the evidence “clearly and consistently supports” their position? How will they avoid “oversimplifying the critical perspective?” As with all embedded assessments, students have access to the scoring rubric and are encouraged to use it before submitting their final draft.
- In the Unit 5 Embedded Assessment, students are asked to work collaboratively in preparing a capstone presentation simultaneously critiquing and enticing their student audience’s attention. Having selected a novel or a play of the group’s choice, the collaborative group is to summarize the text in a manner so engaging, the audience will be motivated to read the text independently. Following the summary, the group is to present an analysis of the text in a visual or performance-based medium through the lens of several critical perspectives studied across the year: e.g., feminist, historical, Marxist, etc. Students will be drawing on notes, essays, and other work they have generated through the year as well as researching the focus of their presentation. The Teacher Wrap suggests students use computer presentation software in the form of a collage, a short film, a documentary, or other medium students may creatively consider. As with all Embedded Assessments, a student questioning guide is included as is a rubric. Students are encouraged to use both.
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 12 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
While the program provides a variety of opportunities for students to write in the modes of argument, explanation, and narrative with writing assignments connected to texts and/or text sets, the distribution of the writing is not appropriate for Grade 12. More than half of the Grade 12 writing assignments are of the explanatory mode, and less than one-third of writing prompts represent the argument mode. Narrative writing prompts make up the remainder. Optional Writing Workshops on all modes are available in the supplementary materials. Although the Common Core provides no specific distribution range among the modes at Grade 12, this program falls short in balancing writing tasks between the modes of inform/explain and argument. The program offers little support for teachers or students to monitor progress within the shorter, on-demand writing tasks. There are few rubrics, checklists, or exemplars provided in either the teacher or student materials. Embedded Assessments offer support through a checklist of questions intended to promote student thinking on the processes of planning, drafting, editing, and revising. Additionally, the Embedded Assessments provide a rubric.
In the Unit 1, Embedded Assessments, students write both an argumentative photo essay and a reflective essay. In advance of the argumentative essay, students review the elements of effective argument and establish a position on a “controversial issue about which you would like to bring about change.” They also write essays analyzing an author’s point of view and evaluating rhetorical strategies as well as essays on how authors build arguments using facts, examples and reasoning. Prior to writing the reflective essay, in Activity 1.19, students practice writing the reflective essay. Additional writing assignments are aligned to the goal of understanding Cultural Criticism, asking students to analyze a poem through the lens of Cultural Criticism and write an interpretive essay on 19th century advertisements through the same lens.
Unit 2 focuses on explanatory responses and narrative writing. In the lengthier Embedded Assessment 2, students “write an analytical essay applying the Feminist Critical Perspective” to one of two unfamiliar texts: “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin or “‘The Chaser” by John Collier. Prior to the embedded assessment, Writing to Sources: Explanatory Text asks students “to write an analytical essay explaining Miss Emily’s portrayal in ‘A Rose to Emily’ from a Feminist Critical perspective.” Additionally, after reading an excerpt from Madonna Kolbenschlag’s Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye, students are asked to write an analytic essay on how the author builds her argument. The students then read an excerpt from Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men, and write a comparative analysis of how the two texts treat the assumptions of gender. Earlier in the unit, after reading Shaw’s Pygmalion, students practice writing in the narrative mode. Activity 2.9 asks students to create an “alternate ending that adheres to the conventions of a play script, addresses the changes in Eliza’s character in the first half of Act V, and reflects one critical theory. Use well-chosen details and a well-structured event sequence to provide a logical conclusion for the story.”
Unit 3 develops student skills in the argumentative mode. Embedded Assessment 1 asks students to “construct an argumentative essay that defends the critical lens that you feel provides modern society with the most compelling view of literature…. You will support the claim with valid reasoning and with relevant and sufficient evidence from your reading and observations.” Prior to the embedded assessment, students watch two films presenting alternate endings to Shakespeare’s Othello and then draft an essay taking a position on which of the two endings best “illuminates” one of play’s themes. Additionally, the unit asks students to look at specific scenes of Othello and examine the scene through one of several critical lenses to explain how the selected lens offers a deeper understanding of the scene.
In Unit 4, Activity 4.2, students use one of the critical perspectives to explain what catalyzed the transformation in the news industry, develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant examples from the text, and cite them properly.