Instructional Design: Strategies for Teaching ELA for Whole and Small Group

The Code X classroom integrates authentic, complex grade-level nonfiction and literary text types, whole- and small-group teaching, classroom routines for developing academic discourse, instruction to meet students at different levels, and rigorous writing tasks and projects.

Instructional Design

  • Whole-Group
  • Small-Group
  • Whole-Group
  • Students begin the class in whole-group instruction. The teacher engages students in the day’s content, helps build background knowledge, and guides students through Close Reading of the 3 – 4 short nonfiction and literature texts.

  • There are daily opportunities for small-group instruction led by the teacher as well as peer and independent work where students will focus on text-based questions and writing and research tasks.

  • Students end the class in a whole-group wrap-up where they synthesize the information they have learned during the class period.

Implementation & Pacing

    • Implementation
    • Code X is designed to be used daily for core English Language Arts instruction in Grades 6–8. It can also be used in conjunction with a reading intervention program such as READ 180 to ensure that struggling readers have an accelerated path to Common Core readiness.

    • Pacing
    • Prereading
    • Academic Vocabulary
    • Touchstone Texts
    • Collaborate & Present
    • Written Unit Performance Task
    • Extended Readings
    • Code X Units are built around engaging concepts, essential questions, and an enduring understanding worth reading, writing, and talking about. Each unit provides approximately one month of instruction. A planning guide precedes each unit and suggests the number of days to spend on each part of the unit.

    • On Day 1, teachers will preview the Unit and discuss with students what they are going to learn and read and how they will be assessed. Teachers are provided with support on how to help students build background knowledge for each reading they encounter.

    • After introducing the Unit, teachers will spend one day teaching Academic Vocabulary before each of the Unit’s two Touchstone Texts. Code X vocabulary instruction is systematic, efficient, and intensive, centered on both direct instruction and learning from context through explicit questioning while reading.

    • Teachers will then support students in engaging in an extensive Close Reading of two Touchstone Texts. These Touchstone Texts are selected and sequenced to build disciplinary knowledge on topics and subjects covered in the Grades 6–8 Science and Social Studies Frameworks of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers and students will spend 5–7 days per text reading, rereading, and writing on these texts, which span a variety of literary nonfiction, informational, and fiction text types at an appropriate range of text complexity.

    • For three days, Collaborate & Present assignments challenge students to engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade-level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Performance-based scoring guides and rubrics enable teachers and students to assess research-based tasks and evaluate evidence-based writing.

    • For three days, students work on the culminating project in the Unit, the Written Performance Task. This authentic assessment mirrors what students will encounter on the Next Generation Assessments and challenges students to use the source material from the Unit to demonstrate understanding and application. The Close Reading, text analysis, writing, presentation, and research assignments build student capacity to complete the Written Unit Performance Task.

    • The Extended Readings offer a range of text types and additional content-area perspectives on the Unit topic. They provide extended opportunities for students to synthesize across texts and connect to essential Unit understandings.

    • Common Core Standards Mapping
    • Common Core Standards Maps in the Teacher’s Editions outline the introduction and progression of each standard during a year and from one grade to the next, highlighting deepening of the cognitive process, introduction of new content and skills, extension of knowledge and skills to a wider range of content, and decreasing levels of scaffolding and teacher support.