Rationale: In recent years, more and more large publishing companies have been producing very expansive curriculum programs that incorporate more than just a text with comprehension questions. Most of these programs include a wide array of writing assessments, guided questions, supplemental booklets for close reading and performance assessments, research projects, think/pair/share assignments, and everything else needed for data collection and student learning. In addition, for every piece of the program that exists in print, there is often an online counterpart in order to also meet the demand of technological integration into the classroom. Yet, for as wide and all-encompassing these programs are, the publishing companies still can’t meet the needs of every student in the classroom.
It is important to note that I am NOT against these larger programs. Instead, I feel that they have made tremendous gains with designing high-quality materials for the ever-changing needs of our students. They provide a remarkable foundation of learning for the students, but unfortunately, the educator is often left trying desperately to find materials to fill in the gaps. These gaps often involve students that want additional reading or need alternative high-interest texts not found within the curriculum. Or the educator may need additional materials for re-teaching standards. Whatever the need of the classroom, the educator should not have to subscribe to an entirely new program just to re-teach one standard or find additional high-interest texts for a small group of students. An educator should be able to piece together materials easily, à la carte, instead of ordering everything on the curriculum menu.
This educational bundle focuses on one fictional story, “Manchester Dolls” by Brian Hershey, which is a horror story that was written based upon survey data of over 1,200 students that indicated their desire to read within this genre. Though the story itself is eerie and creepy, the story is appropriate for use in any classroom 6th grade or higher. The bundle also includes a vocabulary activity, a mentor sentence for grammar, an audio version of the text, a visualization activity, a writing assessment, and an AIR Test aligned set of comprehension questions. These activities are designed to teach necessary skills without overburdening the student which can lead to alienation of the text. This bundle also incorporates the use of visualization of the text for a deeper understanding of the content. When students visualize what they read, their understanding and enjoyment of the text increases.