Language arts programs listed in this section cover most areas of language arts (reading/literature, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting) in one curriculum, although some skill areas may be covered with less intensity than a focused, stand-alone course.
This comprehensive ELA program from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt may look familiar to you. It has been successfully used in public schools, and now you can use it at home. What you receive in each package is more than you may use day to day, but at this price, you can build your home resource library and use them as needed. With a comprehensive ELA program, you often find yourself adding a little more grammar or a couple days a week of extra spelling. The opposite is true with Journeys you will have plenty to work with and will likely set some parts aside. Since there is no how to get started guide included, let me filter things for you a bit.
For your daily lessons, the six spiral-bound teacher guides are broken into 5 lessons each. Set the others aside and look only at the one you are currently using. They are divided into color-coded tabs for each lesson. Each lesson has 2 tracks to choose from: whole group and small group. If you are teaching 1-10 students, you have a small group. Now that we have narrowed down where to begin, you will see a daily schedule to follow, using what suits your learner. You will notice the classroom language, but it is very clear. For each day, you have instructions on what to do with a struggling reader, on level reader and an advanced reader. Which one is your student? Do that and ignore the other instructions unless you need to go back to hit something again, then you can alter your choice easily. You also have support for working with students who are non-native English speakers. If this is not you, ignore this part. The nice, open layout of the lesson plan shows you where you are going for the week. Turn the page and there are specific details on how to do each activity. If you already know what you are doing, ignore this part. The help is there if you need it. There will be things that are very classroomy, but thats ok. You may get inspired to try something new!
I have had a chance to look at all the components here and the following are the ones that I think you will use on a daily basis. The rest of the items are for troubleshooting and assessments. Since you are teaching one-on-one rather than in a large group, you may use the assessments more to help you focus your instruction than to assess your learner. We already discussed the Teacher Guides. Dont be scared because of how many there are, just focus on the current guide.
There are several sets of word and picture cards in the lower grades. These are made of sturdy white cardstock. Instructions on how to integrate them into your lessons are in the teacher manuals. You can also let kids make up matching games, writing prompts, tell stories by choosing 3 random cards, etc. The card sets vary in size (which helps to keep them straight) and add a visual/hands-on element your lessons. Student textbooks are hard cover and very user-friendly. They come in one or two colorful (but not cluttered) volumes. Decodable Readers are full-color and small format for little hands. The engaging and exciting Reader Adventure Student Magazines are sure to be a hit with your students.
There are several student resources referenced in the teacher materials that may appear to be missing at first glance. These include the Reader's Notebook, Close Reader, Write-In Reader and the Writing Handbook. The first three items are included in the digital/online resources. The Reader's Notebook assignments are located under each lesson under "Lesson Resources." The Close Reader is located in the "Unit Resources" section and the Write-In Reader is included in the online access as well. However, the Writing Handbook is not included in either the print or digital resources. This consumable workbook is not part of the package, but is available separately. The teacher guides for these are in the package and they are an important component of your ELA program. (You may want to note that the Reader's Handbook is also available separately in print workbook format if a print version is more convenient for you.)
Remaining materials are quite classroom-oriented and geared towards a group of diverse learners. You may never use them, but if you hit a wall in your daily lessons (for whatever reason) you may use these teacher-focused items as research tools to find a fix. Set them aside, but keep them just in case. These vary a bit by level, but generally include: intervention assessments, benchmark & unit tests, cold reads, big (really big) books, close reader, standards-based assessments and performance assessments.
The online digital resources primarily consist of duplicate PDFs of what you already have in print form. Student resources, such as the Reader's Notebook, Close Reader and Write-In Reader are all included in the digital resources, as mentioned above. A particularly helpful part of the online resources is found when you click on a lesson. Look under "Lesson Resources" to see pages from the Reader's Notebook student edition. These pages can be assigned to your student, and even edited to suit what you have (or have not) covered. When I printed the pages out, I had to set them at a 55% reduction. You can print them edited or in the original version for your student. Your Reader's Notebook Teacher Edition (printed version in your set) as reduced student pages with answers. If you look under Student Resources on the menu, there are some audio helps for the stories. Have a look and see what fits your teaching style. You may prefer to do some parts of the lessons digitally with your student. A techie student may prefer reading from a tablet, where a hands-on learner may prefer using the various card sets.
Journeys is a Common Core (CC) aligned program. For those of you who are required to use CC materials, it is a great option. There are themed units, and lessons within each unit. The literature in the texts is a wonderful blend of fiction and nonfiction in every lesson. In grade 3, units are
Vibrant illustrations, comparative texts, sweeping language arts coverage, and detailed teacher materials are coupled with robust digital content in this Houghton Mifflin series. Coverage includes phonics review, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, independent reading, retelling (narration), annotation, close reading, grammar, spelling, and writing. Each skill is carefully taught in a step-by-step process that has several facets: Model/Guide; Practice/Apply; and Teach/Practice. The various threads come together in Performance Tasks. Courses are sold only as Bundles which include Student Readers, Worktexts, Teacher Manuals (plural; several for each grade level), retelling cards (illustrations from reader plus prompt questions), vocabulary in context cards, word cards, and a one-year subscription to online materials. Teacher Manuals are extremely detailed and have both large group and small group lessons plans. Abundant teaching options give you the opportunity to choose the activities most suited to your learning environment. Some material is included as online access content instead of print content; please see kit contents for more details on which resources are included in print for each grade level.
In this straight-forward series, an easy-to-use modeling format is employed to provide a comprehensive sequence of writing lessons (called mini-lessons). Lessons cover the writing process, different forms of writing, and the traits of effective writing. Each lesson provides a writing sample (model) with analysis (a look at the various elements). Questions to generate content follow as well as two writing assignments based both on the model and the generated content.
The Student Book is a partially consumable handbook that provides the writing models and the writing practice along with an included "handbook" (a reference with specific topics). The mini-lessons are short, focused lessons on these topics.
The Teacher Guide includes reduced copies of the student book. Teacher helps “around the edges” include topic title, lesson objective, guided practice tasks, questions, easy-to-follow instructions, conference and evaluation forms, tips for providing corrective feedback and a special section that further explores the lesson’s featured writing trait.
Note: there are occasional shadow boxes that seem to indicate digital resources. I could find no explanation for what those might be or any way to access them. Teacher guides – 100 pgs (or so), pb; student books 95-160 pgs, pb. ~ Janice