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Parallel Curriculum Units for Language Arts, Grades 6-12

Parallel Curriculum Units for Language Arts, Grades 6-12

August 2009 | 232 pages | Corwin

"The Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) holds the power to help students and teachers 'see the whole' of what they are learning. We invite practitioners to read more about this model and join us on a professional journey that we believe will yield that joy and wisdom that comes from seeing the whole. To address the varying needs of teachers across the K–12 grade span—as well as different content areas—we decided to create a series of curriculum units, based on PCM, that could be used by practitioners. It is our hope that the lessons not only underscore important and discipline-specific content, but also illuminate the four parallels in unique and enduring ways."
—From the Introduction

Design exemplary language arts lessons based on the Parallel Curriculum Model!

Want to create rigorous learning opportunities for students in language arts based on a deeper understanding of pedagogy and curriculum design? As demonstrated in the best-selling book The Parallel Curriculum, the Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) allows teachers to determine student performance levels and design intellectual challenges that help students develop expertise in specific subject areas.

Parallel Curriculum Units for Language Arts, Grades 6–12 provides sample language arts units written by practicing teachers to demonstrate what high-quality curriculum looks like within a PCM framework. Covering a variety of topics—including narrative voice, literary criticism, and writing original pieces—these field-tested units each contain:

  • Teacher rationales explaining the unit design
  • Connections to concepts, skills, and national or state standards
  • Step-by-step directions for delivering the lessons and unit
  • Modification strategies, assessments, and reproducibles

Use these examples to design your own units and deepen your understanding of how the PCM framework helps tailor curriculum to the abilities, interests, and learning preferences of each learner.

About the Editors
About the Contributors
Introduction to the Parallel Curriculum Model
1. Understanding and Finding Your Author's Voice: An Intermediate Language Arts Unit (Grades 6-7)
Introduction to the Unit

Lee-Ann Hayen
Content Framework

Judy Walsh

Judy Walsh
Unit Sequence, Description, and Teacher Reflections

Lesson 1.1: The Contributors to Identity

Lesson 1.2: Shaping Your Voice

Lesson 1.3: The Influences on Mood

Lesson 1.4: Analyzing an Author's Voice

Lesson 1.5: Finding the Right Voice and Mood for Your Purpose

Lesson 1.6: Your Turn

2. The LIttle Napoleon in Us All: Literary Criticism and the Battle for Power (Grade 8)
Introduction to the Unit

Content Framework


Unit Sequence, Description, and Teacher Reflections

Lesson 2.1: Preassessment/Brainstorming

Lesson 2.2: What Is Allegory?

Lesson 2.3: Diary of an Author

Lesson 2.4: Write a Personal Allegory

Lesson 2.5: Character Analysis, Part I

Lesson 2.6: Orwell's Responsibility

Lesson 2.7: Literary Criticism

Lesson 2.8: WRite a Literary Critique of Animal Farm

Lesson 2.9: Character Analysis Map, Part II

Lesson 2.10: What Is a Classic?

Lesson 2.11: Survivor: The Isms

Lesson 2.12: Final Assessment

3. Reacting to a Literary Model: Writing Original Pieces (Grades 9-10)
Introduction to the Unit

Content Framework


Unit Sequence, Description, and Teacher Reflections

Lesson 3.1: Preassessment

Lessons 3.2 and 3.3: Setting and Mood

Lessons 3.4 and 3.5: Creating Realistic Characters

Lessons 3.6 and 3.7: Prejudice, Conflict, and Theme

Lesson 3.8: Postassessment

4. You Be the Critic: Understanding, Using, and Writing Literary Criticism (Grades 11-12)
Introduction to the Unit

Content Framework


Unit Sequence, Description, and Teacher Reflections

Lesson 4.1: Introduction to Literary Criticism

Lesson 4.2: Analyzing a Fictional passage for Content

Lessons 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5: Character Development and Point of View

Lessons 4.6 and 4.7: Understanding Tone

Lessons 4.8 and 4.9: What Is Style?

Lesson 4.10: Recognizing Style

Lesson 4.11: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices

Lessons 4.12 and 4.13 The Persuasive Essay and the Editorial

Lessons 4.14 and 4.15: Writing a Literary Analysis


When I state adopted, here, obviously, by nature of the text, it is not for student distribution. Rather, I reviewed it gain a better perspective on ELA 6-12 practices - practices the book advertises as beneficial. Gaining the insight better enables us to place into context similar, extended curricula across our core composition courses and professional service/development courses. Therefore, by virtue of adoption, I myself will rely on it. However, I will also encourage the appropriate sources - colleagues, administrators, etc. - when appropriate to review the text. When - and my apologies, but I can't predict a time frame at the moment - I see a group or opening for distribution across faculty and others for immediate and direct purposes, I will have the appropriate department at the university purchase the required number of texts at that time.

Professor Daniel DiRocco
Interdiscipline Dept, William Paterson University
March 11, 2023
Key features

Parallel Curriculum Units for Language Arts, Grades 6-12 presents easy-to-use, Parallel Curriculum-based lessons in the subject area of language arts for middle and high school classrooms. Across each lesson, the authors present a framework of essential components in an effective Parallel Curriculum unit:

  • The big picture that takes in grade level, subject, goals, and standards
  • The unpacking—or step-by-step explanation—of the unit
  • The reasoning behind the unit design
  • Designing appropriate curriculum using the Parallel Curriculum Model
  • Modifications of the curriculum and classroom environment which give students the opportunity to learn from multiple perspectives
  • Organizing concepts corresponding to the Parallel Curriculum Model
  • Assessment strategies
  • Reproducibles

For instructors

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