Amplify ELA is a blended curriculum designed specifically for grades 6–8. The heart of every lesson is the text. We enable teachers to teach skills through texts and develop their students’ muscles for building meaning through reading. With Amplify ELA, students learn to attack any complex text and make observations, grapple with interesting ideas, and find relevance for themselves.
Year at a glance
Each grade includes six units centered on literary or informational texts, delivered in several forms of media. Your classroom will also benefit from two to three immersive learning experiences called Quests and a dedicated Story Writing unit.
Units at a glance
Amplify ELA lessons follow a structure that is grounded in regular routines but flexible enough to allow for a variety of learning experiences. Lesson structures vary from day to day, ensuring that students are always engaged.
Grade 6 Units
Dahl & Narrative
Students begin with narrative writing to quickly boost their writing production, to learn the foundational skill of focus, and to become comfortable with key classroom habits and routines they will use all year. Students then apply their new observational focus to some lively readings from Roald Dahl’s memoir “Boy” and learn how to work closely with textual evidence.
Mysteries & Investigations
In this unit, students delve into mystery and investigations, taking on the roles of detective and scientific investigator to discern fact from fiction, organize and evaluate evidence, and practice critical reading skills. In Epidemiology, students read the real-life experiences of a team of scientists tasked with unraveling the mystery of yellow fever, a deadly disease that terrorized cities and communities worldwide. In Sherlock Holmes, they read how Holmes solves cases by closely observing his surroundings, while they become textual detectives themselves. Throughout this unit, students will be called upon to decipher puzzling language, develop and revise theories, and evaluate the evidence.
The Chocolate Collection
The Aztecs used it as currency. Robert Falcon Scott took it to the Antarctic. The Nazis made it into a bomb designed to kill Churchill. The 3,700-year-long history of chocolate is full of twists and turns, making it a rich and rewarding research topic. In this unit, students explore primary documents and conduct independent research to better understand the strange and wonderful range of roles that chocolate has played for centuries around the world.
Greek myths help us understand not only ancient Greek culture but also the world around us and our role in it. Drawing on the routines and skills established in previous units, these lessons ask students to move from considering the state of a single person—themselves or a character—to contemplating broader questions concerning the role people play in the world and the communities they inhabit within it.
Summer of Mariposas
The borderlands between the United States and Mexico are the place of legends, both true and fictional. Summer of the Mariposas, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, plants a retelling of the Odyssey into this setting, launching five sisters on an adventure into a world of heroes and evil-doers derived from Aztec myths and Latino legends. At the same time, the journey helps the sisters reconcile the dissolution of their parents’ marriage and find a new strength in their identity as sisters, daughters and their connection to an Aztec lineage. In this unit, students consider how McCall uses the structure of the hero’s journey to create a vibrant story of adventure, and how she adapts the tale to celebrate girl power, her Latino heritage, and a larger definition of family. Students also have the opportunity to compare these girls’ fictional journey into Mexico to a description of one boy’s true journey into the United States.
The Titanic Collection
Learn how to tell the difference among primary, secondary, and tertiary sources; determine if a given source is reliable; and understand the ethical uses of information. Students construct their own research questions and explore the internet for answers. They take on the role of a passenger from the Titanic’s manifest and consider gender and class issues as they research and write narrative accounts from the point of view of their passengers.
Grade 7 Units
Red Scarf Girl & Narrative
This is a highly engaging memoir of a young girl growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. Students will quickly learn the history and politics of this tumultuous period by focusing on the story of a young woman living through the upheaval. As students follow her journey through a world turned upside down, they will track the changes in her feelings and motivations over time.
Character & Conflict
By reading Raisin in the Sun and Sucker, students explore how people facing hardships can inflict unintentional harm on the people around them. The two narratives work together to provide opportunities for students to analyze characters’ responses to conflict and the author’s development of ideas over the course of a piece of fiction.
Could you survive an iron rod through your skull? Phineas Gage did, and his gruesome-but-true story allows students to build background information and analyze other informational texts, including the contemporary The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and the obviously relevant Demystifying the Adolescent Brain.
Poetry & Poe
Poe’s texts always offer so much to notice, decipher, talk about—and creep us out. Since things are not always what they seem, students use close reading skills to question whether they should believe what Poe’s narrator’s telling them…or not.
Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet
Romeo and Juliet combines romance with action, offering a wide range of themes and scenes for students to read about and act out. Your middle schoolers are at the right age to identify with the lovers’ strong feelings—and also old enough to think critically about the choices Romeo and Juliet make.
The Gold Rush Collection
Students choose from a large collection of primary and secondary sources to learn about the wide diversity of people who took part in the California Gold Rush.
Grade 8 Units
The Holocaust & The 1936 Olympics
This unit uses a range of primary source articles, images, and videos, as well as literary nonfiction and graphic nonfiction, to study what made possible the atrocities of the Holocaust. Students will investigate how propaganda was generated and employed to create a political environment that ultimately corrupted a society. The Olympics are seen through the lens of an international propaganda campaign, providing cover for Nazis to begin eliminating non-Aryans from their culture. The final sub-unit examines the outcomes of Nazi doctrine and the impact on Jewish victims and survivors.
Liberty & Equality
We look at the words of a range of creators—from poet Walt Whitman to abolitionist Frederick Douglass to President Abraham Lincoln—to see how their writing contributed to extreme shifts in social organization: a whole new concept of what it means for people to be considered “equal.”
Science & Science Fiction
Students read Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, a graphic novel that adds captivating illustrations to an abridgment of the 1818 edition of Mary Shelley’s book. Paired with Shelley’s text, Grimly’s haunting and—at times horrific—representations of Frankenstein’s creature push students to wrestle with some of the text’s central themes: the source of humanity and the root of evil. Then they write an essay in which, after arguing both sides of the question, students determine whether or not Frankenstein’s creature should ultimately be considered human.
The Frida & Diego Collection
Mexico’s most famous and provocative artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, were an extraordinary couple who lived in extraordinary times. They were soul mates and complete opposites. The multifaceted lives and work of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo offer students a rich and fascinating subject, as they examine primary source documents and conduct independent research.
The Space Race Collection
Students use the internet as they put their research and close-reading skills to the test, distinguishing between reliable sources and unreliable ones.
Narrative & Nonfiction
This unit aims to teach students to read like writers. They practice paying attention to the craft of writing: to the moves a good writer makes to shape the way we see a scene or feel about a character—to stir us up, or surprise us, or leave us wondering what will happen next. Students closely read examples of rich, layered narrative nonfiction, analyze the techniques each author uses to make their writing resonate, and practice applying these techniques to their own narrative writing.
Print & digital components
The program includes instructional guidance and student materials for a year of instruction, with lessons and activities that keep students engaged every day.
Available digitally and in print, the Teacher’s Edition contains all the information teachers need to facilitate classroom instruction, including detailed lesson plans, video teacher tips embedded in the unit, standards alignment and exit tickets, real-time differentiation strategies, and robust reporting.
Print and digital
Available digitally and in print, the student materials guide middle schoolers through complex texts and writing by engaging them with high quality narrative and informational texts; providing videos, audio supports, and digital experiences that capture their attention; and keeping all of their writing in one place with a personal writing journal.
Print and digital
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