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Saylor ELA 10 Unit 3: Anthem

The Saylor Foundation/Karen Breazeale

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Note that this resource was reviewed during the Spring 2014 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.

Review

This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2014. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

Background from OER Project Review Team
Saylor is a non-profit foundation that hires teachers and professors to create course blueprints, locate, vet, and organize OER into a structured course format. This resource is one unit from a 6-unit course of study. It is intended as a self-directed online course or to be used by teachers as a supplement. It is also useful for the homeschool community and alternative classroom programs. This should factor into the viewer’s analysis of the review results.

EQuIP (Learn more)

Revision needed (6.0)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 2.4, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 1.6, Instructional Supports: 1.4, Assessment: 0.6.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.8, Interactivity: 0.0, Exercises: 1.2, Deeper Learning: 1.6.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Moderate (2.6)

Comments/Ideal Use:

The unit reflects many of the shifts required for CCSS alignment. The readings allow students to build disciplinary knowledge through reading and interacting with a variety of complex materials. The questions and analysis are grounded in the texts (both literary and nonfiction - including print and non-print texts). Students write short answers and paragraphs over the course of the whole unit and then two essays at the end of the unit. One essay is called "persuasive" but is really an argument. The second is literary analysis of theme in the fiction.

This unit is clearly designed for the independent, on-grade level or above grade level student. The unit is written to be taken as an online course with little direct teacher instruction. The information is learned through video, presentation slides and readings. There are opportunities for students to demonstrate their thinking and learning with short answers or longer writing tasks.

If taught in a traditional classroom, the unit is appropriate for a standard level or honors 10th grade class that does not have ELL or struggling readers. The lack of scaffolding suggestions for struggling readers/writers or language learners makes the unit, as is, not appropriate for those populations of students. Because the unit is written for a student audience and does not include ides for what strategies would work to engage the learners and provide opportunities for collaboration or other speaking and listening activities, the unit is more usable by an experienced teacher than a teacher new to the profession.

Challenges:

  • Lacks speaking and listening practice. There are no elements in the lessons for the unit that require students to learn through speaking.
  • How should teachers evaluate the work students produce? There are no rubrics.

Suggestions:

  • Add collaboration to a variety of the activities. Provide opportunities to present student learning, participate in Socratic Seminars and other forms of discussion.
  • Develop or select rubrics for the two writing assignments, at a minimum.
  • Provide exemplar essays and examples of answers to the formative assessment portions for the unit.
  • Write answer keys for some of the key sections of the unit. For example, after watching a video to learn about conformity and independence, students were asked how conformity is show in Anthem. They are asked to cite specific places in the text. A list of those specific places would aid the teacher in evaluating student work but could also be used by the students to check his or her own work.

Comments/Ideal Use:

It would take any teacher a long time to go through all of the resources is this unit in order to decide which of them to use in the study of Anthem. All of the questions and writing prompts would need to be changed completely in order to target a close reading of Anthem and to meet the requirements of the Common Core.

Challenges:

  • Common Core Standards listed were not targeted in the instructional unit. The exercises rarely led students to a deep analysis of the text(s).
  • Lacked variety of writing opportunities.
  • Guided Questions and Writing assignments did not focus on using evidence from the texts.

Comments/Ideal Use:

There were many really good pieces to this unit and with some minor tweaks this unit would be a great: however, as it stands it appears to need a great deal of work. Adding discussion questions throughout, focusing on argumentative essay rather than persuasive; truly having some sort of informative writing task, including rubrics; and tightening up the connections between the informative texts and Anthem would make this an excellent unit.

Once this was modified, this could be used at the 10th grade. There will need to be supports for ELL and SPED provided, which are not included in this unit. I think even a beginning teacher with some support from an experience teacher who has taught this book before could use this unit/or components of this unit.

Challenges:

  • Common Core requires the ability to discuss and provide evidence. This unit does not have individual interacting with each other utilizing text.
  • Focused on Persuasive writing rather than Argumentative writing and these are not the same thing. Given the shift to argumentative writing, the persuasive writing packet does not take students where they need to go.
  • Unit has no opportunity for students to give and receive feedback on their writing and ideas, although they do not claim to address this standard, it is key to developing writing skills.
  • From an instructional standpoint, a unit needs to insure that the standards it claims to address it is really instructing to and assessing. This unit provided lots of standards that both no instruction seemed to be provided, nor was there any assessment.

Suggestions:

  • Develop opportunities for discussion and the embedding of the speaking standards throughout. There are many opportunities throughout this unit to do this without radically changing the structure of the unit, it would just change the tasks or how you approach part of the task.
  • Augment this unit to include counterpoints or replace this lesson so that students are writing an argumentative essay.
  • If students are to use technology for publishing, perhaps they can publish portions for their classmates to get feedback.

Comments/Ideal Use:

I would recommend this unit as a teacher resource for ideas, but not to be directly assigned to students without significant teacher adaptation. The philosophies and concepts behind this novel are quite complex. Most students will be more successful in whole class and small group instruction to fully understand the text.

This is a long unit. The introduction states that it is the "primary piece of fiction for the course." Hence, the length and focus. The unit uses many outside sources including media clips, websites and documents. There is a definite organization, but it seems disjointed as much of the instructional text is pointing to other sources for instruction. The media clips on Ayn Rand or the novel while accessible to the average 10th grader are not written for 10th graders. Unless better scaffolded, they will not hold the students attention. The tone of the text in a number of places is often casual ("Pretty neat, huh?") but comes across as unnatural.

This would require a teacher knowledgeable in philosophy and political movements. The unit itself is designed to be done individually, but most students will need teacher support.

Challenges:

  • Designed to be an individual study but most students would struggle without teacher support.
  • The unit has extensive resources and activities; however, for other than highest level students, the unit will require much teacher revision for scaffolding. In its current state, it will not hold student interest. Several of the components draw on previous work, and so are not explained in as much depth. For the final paper, students are directed to download a 35 page document to guide them in writing their essay. Although the resource is strong, most 10th graders will need support in working through this essay.
  • Media clips will need support form teacher for full understanding. More teacher notes will be necessary. The media clips are authentic but students lack the background knowledge to fully understand them. The application of literary elements in analyzing the novella is most often made in a video or voice recording, most of which are not geared to a 10th grade audience. The application and reinforcement needs to be stronger.
  • The literary elements instructional supports are links to Internet sites explaining the literary concepts. Stronger instruction on the specific text will be necessary especially for ELL students and those reading below grade level.

Suggestions:

  • Add whole class or small group instruction.
  • Group or whole class instruction with the videos.
  • Add instruction on the application of the terms to "Anthem."

Comments/Ideal Use:

Grouping the students for peer-to-peer activities and assessments such as editing, and testing.

Provide small chucks or information and create redundancies.

Test often with small exams. As it stands, it might be best as some choice supplemental units, but then why bother if you can go to the online sites directly for your own unit’s needs.

Challenges:

  • This is a many unit course that because it is online seems fragmented and impersonal confusing to the non-self-started, disciplined student.
  • There are no rubrics to monitor the students’ progress.

Suggestions:

  • Peer grouping, immediate, informative and consistent feedback. Many small tests. Attempt to keep up the quality of the links.
  • Provide outcomes measures and rubrics for self-monitoring.

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