EL Education.

Meet the Modules: Curriculum Overview

What are the English Language Arts Grades 3–8 Curriculum modules? 

EL Education's Grades 3–8 ELA Curriculum has been designed by teachers for teachers to meet the needs and demands of the Common Core State Standards: to address and bring to life the shifts in teaching and learning required by these higher academic standards. To prepare students for college and the workplace, where they will be expected to read a high volume of complex informational text and write informational text, the shifts highlight the need for students to learn and practice these skills early on. This curriculum has been designed to make this learning process engaging with compelling topics, texts, and tasks.

Some structures, approaches, and strategies may be new to teachers. The materials have been designed to guide teachers carefully through the process of building students’ skills and knowledge in alignment with the standards. The modules also have been designed to build teacher capacity, so that as teachers become more familiar with the structures and strategies, they can adapt the materials to the needs of their specific students.

The materials contain instructions for pacing and timing of lessons, oral presentation of material to students, and method of grading assessments. However, these instructions are subject to the knowledge and best professional judgment of the teacher about his/her content area, classroom, school, students, and larger community. Look for a forthcoming resource regarding adaptations at http://commoncoresuccess.eleducation.org.

The lesson plans are a guide, not a prescribed script. They are descriptive to explain the micro-moves that occur within a lesson and to paint a picture. The directions, questions, and times provided in the lesson plans are suggestions that may need to be modified according to the particular needs of students. Teachers can download the MS Word version of the lesson plan files to modify them (see Common Core Success). Lessons are 60 minutes long for grades 3–5 and 45 minutes long for grades 6–8; these may need to be modified based on school schedules. 

The EL Education Touch

Our instructional practices emphasize student inquiry, critical thinking, and craftsmanship. In these ELA modules, students engage in original research and deep interdisciplinary investigations of rich academic topics, using their learning to create authentic, high-quality academic products to share with outside audiences. For example, in Grade 7 Module 2A students create a consumer guide to working conditions in the garment industry to be published.

An EL Education classroom is a collaborative classroom. Throughout every module, students work together. Engaging protocols (compelling structured activities) that give students the opportunity to collaborate have been integrated into lessons. 

Most protocols repeat a number of times throughout a module to ensure students become familiar with it. Teachers should give themselves time to read and learn the protocols integrated into the lessons, so that the protocols run smoothly with students in the classroom. Videos of many of the protocols in action can be found here.


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Watch: Curriculum Design Intensive - Introduction to the ELA Modules

The following video provides footage from a curriculum design intensive, a structure used to engage educators in the development of the curriculum. It offers a glimpse into the deep thinking and analysis that occurred in order to create this compelling, rigorous curriculum that prepares students for college and a career.