In the session, Adapt or Adopt in ELA: Support for Districts & Schools on Curriculum Decision Making, participants spent some time reviewing the Publishers’ Criteria for ELA and discussed how the new criteria compare to the materials currently being used in classrooms. One major difference noted is that the texts currently in use do not meet the CCSS for text complexity. This is important because, according to conversations with people in higher education, students need more exposure to nonfiction and richer content, which is reflected in the first and second shifts.
Participants also used the Tri-state Quality Review Rubric to assess a sample grade 8 ELA lesson. There was great feedback about the lesson from participants: it was missing deep analysis, clear focus, instructional supports, and meaningful assessment. This was an exemplary model of a non-CCSS aligned lesson. Participants then looked at a lesson developed by Expeditionary Learning from Grade 8, Module 1.
Questions to ask when considering whether to adapt or adopt:
- How easy is it to replace a text with another selection within a lesson?
- Does the replacing text fit with the remaining texts in the unit?
- Does is fit into a sequence of complexity?
- Does it affect balance of informational/literary text?
- Does it represent other cultures/perspectives?
- Can the text fit into the time allotted?
- Can it be excerpted?
In order to adapt a lesson, text-dependent questions should be developed that are relevant to the text and the rest of the unit.