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Nature, Naturalism, and The Call of the Wild

Better Lesson/Devon O'Brian

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This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2015. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

Background from OER Project Review Team
BetterLesson was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to help educators create, organize, and share their curricula. Through their Master Teacher Projects, they recruit the highest performing teachers in the country to share the full suite of their effective practice (all of their lessons and best practices).

EQuIP (Learn more)

Revision needed (6.0)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 2.0, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 1.5, Instructional Supports: 1.5, Assessment: 1.0.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.75, Interactivity: , Exercises: 1.5, Deeper Learning: 1.5.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Minor (1.75)

Comments/Ideal Use:

The Close Reading lessons are strong and engaging for students and the student work used as exemplars are helpful.


  • The end product is unclear
  • The lessons/activities are provided with a short narration, however, the narration is not enough information, especially for a first year teacher
  • Confusion around the purpose of the short grammar lessons and what the connection is to the rest of the unit


  • Students should be gathering evidence throughout their reading/viewing and be given the writing prompt at the beginning of the unit so they know what they are writing towards.
  • Provide step by step instructions-state where you check for understanding, state what is being assessed, provide more student examples.

Comments/Ideal Use:

Students work on "To Build a Fire" and learn about Jack London during this unit, which is 14 lessons. Each lesson would take about one 50 minute class period. While the progression of the lessons is easy to follow there are not specific connections, in either tasks or assessments, that specifically call out the standards students learn and practice. This lesson would need some work to align to the CCSS. Beginning teachers would struggle to use the resources in this unit as what is listed under resources usually consists of pictures of students completing a task. The resources list often does not contain an assessment or worksheet, which might be more helpful to teachers. The unit, while it has good ideas, does not appear to have been created with the CCSS in mind. Many of the lessons are more activities and there are not a lot of specific language from the standards in the unit.

Connection between media and literature is good - students are asked to compare a film depiction of To Build a Fire with the text of the story. This relates to standard number 7 (RL.8.7). There are both literary and informational texts - students read To Build a Fire and they also read some of London's letters to his publisher, which could be used as an Informational text.

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  • Lack of alignment to the CCSS - many of the lessons are more activities and there is not a lot of specific language from the standards.
  • The resource section for each lesson - many times the resources are pictures of students doing work and not something like a rubric, worksheet, or an in-depth explanation of the item the lesson discusses.
  • Assessments - the assessments do not have criteria that is aligned to the CCSS.


  • Clearly show how each standard is taught and assessed by having the language of the standards appear in the lesson and assessment.
  • Put resources that teachers could use to help students with the lessons.
  • The unit should create a rubric, or other assessment criteria, that teachers and students would use for the summative assessment.
  • Comments/Ideal Use:

    Good resources and step by step lessons for new teachers. Best used by eighth grade or seventh grade, less experienced teachers.


    • The unit is well crafted, but can seem scripted.

    Comments/Ideal Use:

    Teachers at all levels of experience could use this materials with little or no clarification.

    • Complex text – Walden
    • Building independence for Close Reading - Soapstone, TPCASTT
    • Teacher usability - written in a journal-esque tone, with cautionary comments
    • Varied texts - short video clips embedded throughout

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