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English 11 Q2

Utah Open High School

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Note that this resource was reviewed during the Spring 2013 review period. The resource may or may not have been updated since the review. Check with the content creator to see if there is a more recent version available.


This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2013. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

The version reviewed was: 6/14/2012.

Background from OER Project Review Team
Mountain Heights Academy, formerly known as Open High School of Utah, is an online public charter school that builds its own curriculum from existing open source content and from teacher-created materials. This course includes a Moodle course file that is available for download. For assessment validity reasons, all OER courses are course content only and do not include assignments, forums, quizzes, or exams. This should factor into the viewer's analysis of the review results.

Publishers' Criteria (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 3 (Strongly Agree). Quality of Text: 1.08, Quality of Questions and Tasks: 0.88, Writing: 1.5.

EQuIP (Learn more)

Not Recommended (0.8)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 1.0, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 0.75, Instructional Supports: 0.75, Assessment: 1.0.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.0, Interactivity: 1.25, Exercises: 0.5, Deeper Learning: 0.5.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Extreme (0.25)

This unit, which is scheduled to last one quarter, gives a plethora of resources to cover the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and related themes surrounding the book. The CCSS are listed, although the connections are not explicit and there are no instructions for the teacher on what to do with the materials. Thus a teacher would have to do some work to make lesson plans that align to the CCSS. If a teacher is looking for resources, has good knowledge of the CCSS, and wants to plan how to deliver lessons this unit would be a great fit. Other teachers may want to use bits and pieces to supplement a current unit on Huck Finn.

Throughout the unit there are resources to support student learning including: slides shows with explanations of content and historical background, vocabulary practice games, how the book inspired music, and the language of Huck Finn with a modern translation. As students read the book the unit suggests where these supports could be used. There one link that does not work -- an anti-hero link, and I needed permission for another link on punctuating dialogue rules. There are also links for students to tie the book into their own lives, such as a lesson on satire that ties Mark Twain and Jon Stewart. Teachers may find other resources useful such as the historic pictorial representations of Jim, which could be a great way to teach about racism or how African Americans were viewed at different points in the 20th century.

The summative assessment is for students write a literary analysis. The rubric does grade on textual evidence, but will need adjustment to align with the CCSS. There are some good ideas here and if I taught a unit on Huck Finn I would pull a few items out such as the pictorial representations of Jim, the lesson on satire, and assigning some of the slide show background information as homework. It would, however, take some work to align the unit to the CCSS and give students explicit practice with close reading and contributing to text based discussions.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Impressed with: amount of resource materials used to support reading; interactive activity available; video used to address Twain’s use of “n” word.

Challenged by: lack of instructional directions/support for teacher who might use this “unit;” lack of formative assessments throughout unit (how do you know if the students are understanding or even keeping up with the material?); lack of clarity regarding instructional objectives

Overall assessment – this unit provides a unique resource for exploring Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, however it does not provide any instructional direction for other teachers to be able to successfully apply the materials to their classrooms. Connections to CCSS are vague and sparse. It does not provide any formative assessments, opportunities for engagement with text, or feedback from teacher. Organization felt haphazard and disjointed; missed a since of cohesion and progression.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Strongly Disagree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

There are materials that are useful and very appropriate for learning.

There are some great visual media, as well as the Librivox audio. However, unless students are reading and accessing the text it wouldn’t meet standard.

There are opportunities for students to interact with the text outside of reading and answering some questions.

No support for below level readers and to utilize this unit as students would need to be self-sufficient (online HS).

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Though the Utah Open High School 11 Q2 course states that it covers W 11-12 2, 4-6, 9a, 10; RL 11-12 1-3, 6; RI 11-12 1, 7 and various Speaking and Listening skills, there is little evidence of this occurring.

A lot of time and effort goes to showing videos on satire, a map of Huckleberry Finn’s journey down the Mississippi and listening to music inspired by the book. Also, there is a five minute lecture on the N-word and why the instructor wouldn't use it. None of this do I find useful. The tier 2 and tier 3 words are not analyzed, and there is little close reading or text-dependent questioning throughout the nine sections. The only part of the learning that seems up to CCSS is the direct instruction on the themes and symbols (of Huck Finn) provided by the staff of UOHS.

The writing assignment is a literature analysis of ONE literary element in the novel. (We write on three as a minimum; the five paragraph format is not allowed.) The "How to Write a Literary Analysis" stresses a basic five paragraph essay without any coaching on transitions, fluency or voice. The resulting essay would not be up to CCSS rigor. The rubric that is included is detailed, but there is no process writing or technological revising/editing included. This culminating writing activity appears to be an afterthought.

Overall, this unit uses a lot of direct instruction from the UOHS faculty to explain the themes, symbols, imagery, etc. of Huckleberry Finn. For that reason, it is limited in its ability to foster deeper learning. The activities are not challenging. The vocabulary exercises are minimal; there are no text-dependent questions that are targeted to the individual chapters/literary elements as they emerge. This is a fantastic book for students to wrestle with and to actualize their learning as the themes, motifs and symbols dawn upon their critiquing minds, but with the unit’s limited activities and few formative assessments, it needs strong revision to make it CCSS compatible.

My last concern is the time element; we usually cover Huckleberry Finn in three intensive weeks. To take an entire quarter seems to deprive students of the other great writers and writings of the time period.

I would use these materials in my classroom: Agree
(On a 4 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)

Creative Commons License
This work by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.