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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource material for CCSS!
My state is adopting the Common Core Curriculum next school year. As the lead ELA teacher in our school, I am collecting and researching material for our school to use - my ELA consultant bought us this resource to use, and it is wonderful! Each grade level has the units broken down with essential questions, focus standards, objectives, and suggested lists of works. There...
Published on April 10, 2012 by Amazon Customer

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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New Standards Require New Course Designs
The title is misleading on two counts. First of all, it implies that the curriculum maps contained therein have the imprimatur of the creators of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), when in fact these were developed by teachers who are not affiliated with the designers of the Common Core. There should be a visible disclaimer along the lines of "The units contained...
Published on December 7, 2012 by RMR


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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New Standards Require New Course Designs, December 7, 2012
This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
The title is misleading on two counts. First of all, it implies that the curriculum maps contained therein have the imprimatur of the creators of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), when in fact these were developed by teachers who are not affiliated with the designers of the Common Core. There should be a visible disclaimer along the lines of "The units contained herein are not affiliated with and have not been endorsed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative."

Second, and more substantively, if the CCSS represent a paradigm shift from individual state standards (at least they do so in relation to the old Massachusetts Frameworks), then a curriculum that truly embraces these new standards should be substantially different from one based on an older set of standards. For example, the old Massachusetts Frameworks have a genre-based focus, with separate standards for fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, and myth. The CCSS, however, emphasizes close reading skills that cut across genres; it does "break up" the reading standards into Reading Literary Texts (RL) and Reading Informational Texts (RI), but (with exceptions) an RL standard is fundamentally the same as the corresponding RI standard; analyzing a device like figurative language, for instance, cuts across all genres.

One would think that with this shift from a focus on genre to a focus on transferable skills, the curriculum maps contained in this book would reflect this shift in thinking; however, the Grade 9 curriculum map in the book is essentially what a typical grade 9 map would look like--starting off with short stories, then a novel, then poetry, then a play, then an epic, then literary nonfiction. Likewise, there is nothing "new" about the other grades' curriculum maps. The World Lit, American Lit, and European Lit look like typical World Lit, American Lit, and European Lit maps; the only real difference is that the former have CCSS retroactively tacked on to the learning activities; it is a difference in labeling.

I am a big believer in backwards design, and to me this book is the antithesis of backwards design. Rather than start with intended learning outcomes of each unit based on the CCSS, design assessments, then choose learning activities and texts, it starts with texts that the authors favor and works forwards. In other words, it commits the design sin of coverage (according to Wiggins and McTighe in Understanding by Design). Furthermore, the idea of organizing an English course by genre needs to be be rethought. Peter Smagorinsky, in Teaching English by Design, considers it a flawed way of designing an English course. For one, it does not provide students with lenses or transferable frameworks (reading a short story, according to Smagorinsky, does give a framework for reading another story; by extension, learning how to read a particular poem in and of itself does not help a student read the next poem, which might be radically different; students need frameworks or lenses that they can apply to _any_ text, and this has to be reflected in the unit design). I would add that in such a course, the genres are disconnected and there is no reinforcement (students don't wrestle with short fiction after the sixth or seventh week of the year and don't encounter nonfiction until there are about six or seven weeks left in the year).

Even though it is harder work, I think it is necessary for English teachers to ponder the implications of the CCSS and then design their courses accordingly, rather than rely on old, repackaged curricula.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource material for CCSS!, April 10, 2012
This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
My state is adopting the Common Core Curriculum next school year. As the lead ELA teacher in our school, I am collecting and researching material for our school to use - my ELA consultant bought us this resource to use, and it is wonderful! Each grade level has the units broken down with essential questions, focus standards, objectives, and suggested lists of works. There are also sample activities and lesson plans! Love this book!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, May 31, 2012
This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
Though this book is a good idea, it does not offer much more than the actual common core website. It lists various book suggestions and units you could do that would be "Common Core Appropriate" but so does the NCTE website...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of thought put into selections, June 21, 2013
This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
At first, I thought that this product would be a godsend, in that it would help me -- a new teacher of English -- plan the curriculum for a smaller district thin on leadership in its English department and bent on following the Common Core. My principal and curriculum instructor bought into it wholesale, as did most of the department, including me. It would offer a quasi-backward-designed unit, complete with selections to choose from, and more importantly, it would allow us to instantaneously align our high school English curriculum vertically.

This tool's offering for grades nine, eleven, and twelve may be good, great...I don't know, because I teach tenth graders. I am not enamored with what the tenth-grade units have to offer. I have been reading the selections that Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 has suggested, and I'm not impressed. My initial goal was to peruse all selections so that I could thoughtfully employ the pieces offering the most student engagement and an appropriate level of rigor. Now, I've given up that purpose for reading and am solely focused on finding material appropriate to the age group...because, well, most of it is absolutely not appropriate.

I can live with the fact that the Russian unit is heavy on Chekhov, a writer whose writing I love but which I think students will not love. However, I am plowing through the Asian literature at the moment...and let's just say that I don't feel that I can teach ninety percent of what this book has suggested I teach to fifteen-year-old kids, especially boys. The material is thematically heavy on sex, and quite a bit of it is graphic -- it is descriptive! One author gives a radiant description of "balls" from an old dog, and fewer than ten pages later, he is describing an adult male's balls. Balls as a motif -- nice! And while I think some of Ha Jin's short stories are interesting, only about three of his possible selections are suitable for the classroom. There's a guy who talks to his devilish penis in one story, right before he castrates himself...oh, and it got him in trouble because he was sleeping with his wife's sister -- I'll give them that you will have the full attention of the boys, if not the girls, but a) sophomores don't need any reasons further to sit around and ponder sex all day, and b) I am frankly quite scared of what their parents will think of me teaching their children this stuff. They're not ready. Oh, and then there is the gang rape of a cheating wife, invited by the jealous husband. Of the novels offered, Nectar in a Sieve seems like the only appropriate one from a combination of the books' descriptions and my having read a few of the offerings -- lots of rape and sex and loss of virginity. Even that one has child prostitution as a theme.

I haven't gotten to African lit. yet...so maybe there is something redeeming in that unit. Who knows?

My honest opinion is that if a teacher needs what my district is in the market for, something that will help us align vertically while staying true to Common Core and Backward Design, he or she would do much better to learn Backward Design, search for culturally and thematically appropriate literature (via web searches if necessary), read possible selections, and get to designing. If said teacher is using Common Core standards for the applicable grade level -- that is, if he or she is designing it right and so are his or her colleagues -- it will be vertically aligned. It may be a little extra work -- emphasis on "little" -- but it will be well worth it in the end. Ultimately, I feel that all this book has offered me is a broad selection of mostly inappropriate literature. I could do better using the Common Core standards and my own common sense.

Shoot, even the hated anthologies so popular over the last several decades do a better job of offering material to teach. At least most of the materials needed are right there in one big book available to all our students -- not so with this resource. I'm pulling out my hair looking for these materials.

And to those of you who thoughtlessly put this book together, what is wrong with Amy Tan for sophomores? Hmm...seems that based on your standards of having graphic descriptions of sex acts and private parts, she just doesn't do it for you....
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Resource!, September 21, 2012
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I am so glad I discovered this book! It contains the curriculum maps for grades 9 - 12 English Language Arts. It has a sample lesson for each grade level, but largely leaves the detail planning up to the teacher. I like having the big units already done. It provides strong, solid suggestions for activities, provides the list of Common Core State Standards covered in each unit, and even provides an overview checklist of standards.

This is a great tool! It has taken the fear of change out of the equation and allowed me to move forward with the new standards from Day 1 in my classroom. I've been teaching for 24 years, yet I saw a significant difference in the students' response and approach to the material right away!

This book helps teachers go in depth rather than breadth. No longer a mile wide and an inch deep, this book provides a strong base for teachers to build critical thinking skills in their students.

A MUST HAVE!! I bought both the Kindle and paperback versions, and I use both regularly. The print may actually be a little more useful because the Kindle version of this book will not allow copy/paste features to work (so no printing from the electronic version!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight forward, May 1, 2013
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This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
I've been out of the classroom for a few years now, and things certainly have changed over these last couple of years. I like that the author uses quite a bit of fiction in her lesson plans. Many of the other teaching texts I reviewed before purchasing this one focused most of their attention of non-fiction. The book looks easy to use, a good number of the suggested student exercises are realistic, which is a rare find, and I can see myself following the maps inclosed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a starting point!, August 24, 2012
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This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
Having moved schools, grade levels, and school districts, this book was wonderful in helping me create a strong curriculum for my 9th graders. I've also bought the middle school version, so I can see the continuity of the standards as the student progresses through the grades. The book is used as a resource in my entire dept., since we're now developing curriculum maps through the grades, based on the common core.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your $, February 28, 2013
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This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
I wanted to see what I was in store for as a secondary teacher, but my school district has prepared its teachers really well, as there was nothing in this book I didn't already know. But for others whose school districts have not embraced common core, perhaps it will help.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Maps Lead the Way, September 10, 2012
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This review is from: Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 (Paperback)
Although this text did not cover all common care standards, it gave me many ideas about implementing the many that are covered. I liked the sample lesson plans and the suggestions for texts, art, and music. Providing a time line for different units was most beneficial. The rubric for writing assessment, however, was not something I would use. Overall, I found these book essential for ELA instructors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource!, December 19, 2012
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Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts is an excellent place to start to implement the Common Core in your classroom. The standards are linked to plainly written activities and the literature selections are grade-level appropriate. An excellent resource!
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Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12
Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, Grades 9-12 by Common Core (Paperback - October 4, 2011)
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