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Middle School Language Arts - 6th Grade: Friendship Unit

Georgia Virtual Learning

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Review

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

The version reviewed was last updated: 6/11/2013.

Background from OER Project Review Team
Georgia Virtual Learning is part of the Georgia Department of Education. Existing OER resources are combined with created material into a structured course format. Though designed to take advantage of digital media, a print option is available to reproduce much of the content. This 6th Grade Language Arts online course was designed to align with the Georgia Performance Standards. This is one unit out of a 12 unit online course, not designed for traditional classroom implementation. While assessments are created, they are not available for wide distribution in order to maintain their usefulness for Georgia teachers implementing the resource. This should factor into the viewer

EQuIP (Learn more)

Not ready for review (2.5)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 0.75, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 0.25, Instructional Supports: 1.0, Assessment: 0.5.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 1.25, Interactivity: , Exercises: 1.0, Deeper Learning: 0.25.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Moderate (2.75)

Strengths/Ideal Use:

This resource would work well in a home school.The grammar activities would be great to use in class because they are interactive and it would be a great way for students to review grammar rules.

Students can work independently.The unit provides students with step by step instructions and reminders.

Some of the activities provide higher level opportunities — e.g. create a chapter from the book into a play.

The website has opportunities for interactive test and vocabulary puzzles to keep students entertained.

Challenges:

  • The CCSS are listed, but the activities included in the lesson do not address grade level questioning.
  • It states students are to discuss with a partner however, the lessons are designed to work independently on the computer — most of the activities are interactive and require students to submit and maneuver throughout the online site.

Suggestions:

  • Create higher level questioning.
  • Include a reflection sheet where students can reflection on their partner’s answers.

Strengths/Ideal Use:

This unit is designed as independent learning online. Teacher may review for ideas that could be used in the classroom, but it would require major revision. There are many interactive opportunities with technology e.g. crosswords, flashcards, quizes, etc.

Challenges:

  • Little to no expectation for citing textual evidence for student thinking — comprehension questions do not require justification for student responses, many are literal questions.
  • Writing assignments are limited in development of the final essay — discussion on development of thesis, supporting paragraphs, works cited, brainstorming, etc., but no sample works for students to use as model. 6th grade students would have difficulty writing the final essay without additional instruction. Could not be done entirely independently.
  • Limited connection to unit theme Friendship. Does not have students relate texts to greater understanding of relationships etc. — no reference to friendship in either the Bridge to Terabithia or Romero and Juliet questions or assignments.
  • Grammar unit isolated with limited connection to overall unit — one module with focus on grammar, practice exercises in isolation with one assignment to practice in writing in which the students must use examples of each grammar exercise (clauses, complex sentences, etc.).

Suggestions:

  • Add some higher level questions in the chapter comprehension questions and require students to support their thinking/responses with specific textual evidence.
  • Provide sample models from students. Additional assignments throughout the unit focused on the final essay. Writing rough drafts, editing opportunities would be helpful as well.
  • Provide opportunities for students to respond to questions around human relationships found in Romero and Juliet and Bridge to Terabithia. Increase the DOK in the comprehension questions and projects.
  • Spread the grammar exercises throughout the modules in the unit and use them in direct relationship with the writing assignments, etc.

Strengths/Ideal Use:

This unit would work best in a setting with high-functioning independent learners.

Challenges:

  • Lack of instructional support — virtual unit designed for independent student use.
  • Lack of scaffolding for ELL and/or students identified with a disability; lacks extensions. Modifications neither evident nor embedded.
  • Lack of rigor in reading comprehension questions — sampling of reading comprehension questions are predominantly DOK 1 or 2.
  • Lack of support for writing assignment.

Suggestions:

  • Would need to develop companion instructor support materials / resources.
  • Would need to develop scaffolding and modifications for ELL and struggling learners, as well as extensions for students ready for more rigor.
  • Need to develop reading comprehension activities / tasks for DOK 3 and 4.
  • Need to develop grade level appropriate writing supports, materials, and resources.

Strengths/Ideal Use:

An advanced teacher may be able to use a portion of the unit to review grammar concepts or dramatic literature for students that have already been exposed to grammar and/or dramatic literature instruction and need a refresher.

The unit is a collection of low-level, recall activities on disconnected topics. It is difficult to understand what the purpose, focus, intent is of the unit. However, it does use a variety of interactive technology features to enhance learning — there are crossword puzzles, interactive activities, audio recordings, and links.

Challenges:

  • The unit has disconnected lessons and the targets for learning are unclear — the unit is to accompany chapters 7-9 of Bridge to Terabithia, however it is rarely referred to outside of reading comprehension questions and a re-write of a chapter in drama structure. The grammar unit appears to be a stand-alone as well as the majority of designs of drama.
  • Assessment opportunities are limited and lack scoring/rubric support.
  • The unit makes mention of a "research paper" but the topic of the paper and how the lessons in the unit build toward that task are not present.
  • Resources are not appropriate for grade-level (6th grade) — examples of thesis statements in the pages of the unit are basic, elementary examples. The links to supplement those examples are college-level writing resources.

Suggestions:

  • Provide clear CCSS standards for the unit, tasks that assess (formative and summative) those standards, and integrate those activities with the anchor text.
  • Make clear how the student will be summatively assessed. Provide a scoring sheet/rubric and examples for teachers and students.
  • Provide lessons and examples that are representative of 6th grade CCSS ELA work.

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