CommonLit CommonLit 360 CommonLit 360 Provides Complete ELA Resources for grades 6-12

An engaging curriculum featuring integrated reading and writing lessons, vocabulary, discussion opportunities and more

With the recent publication of the latest CommonLit 360 units for juniors and seniors, the full-year digital ELA curriculum from CommonLit is now complete for grades 6-12. Featuring relevant and engaging novel studies and dramas, absorbing thematic units, and topical research and argumentative units, the standards-based 360 curricular slate from CommonLit provides teachers with comprehensive research-based instructional materials. For students, CommonLit 360 brings high-interest and engaging lessons that are central to their experiences and teach valuable literacy skills.

In addition to high quality and standards-aligned literacy instruction, each unit in CommonLit 360 comes with two Unit Skills Assessments that offer formative insights into students' reading comprehension skills. These cold-read assessments are aligned in content to each 360 unit and can be easily administered through CommonLit’s digital platform. They are available to schools and districts who have the School Essentials PRO Plus partnership with CommonLit.

New units for 11th grade now available

In addition to the current units, The Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and a thematic unit on “The Social Contract,” there are three additional units that complete the 11th grade curriculum. The new units for juniors include a novel study, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, a drama, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and a research and argumentative unit on “The American Dream.” 

As with all CommonLit 360 units, teachers get everything needed for interesting and inquiry-based lessons that are aligned to standards and effective for students. In addition to integrated reading and writing tasks centered around an essential question, all units also feature a variety of lessons and activities that help students master academic vocabulary terms and improve discussion skills. 

In the Ceremony unit, teachers can access detailed lesson plans that include during-reading as well as independent questions on the novel, vocabulary activities and quizzes. Engaging Related Media Explorations provide students with information on key elements of the book such as Indigenous land stewardship and the effects of radiation testing on communities across the Southwest. Additional multimedia lessons introduce students to contemporary Indigenous artists and musicians who blend tradition and innovation in their work. There are also multiple writing lessons that feature scaffolded instruction and work towards the Culminating Task, a summative assessment found at the end of every CommonLit 360 unit.

Silko's Mural featuring colorful flowers

For the classic drama, The Crucible, a standard in American Literature classrooms across the country, students read the play and additional reading lessons focus on building knowledge of Puritan New England through poetry and of McCarthyism through historical speeches. Resources include not only during-reading and assessment questions about the play, but also reading and writing lessons that help students with skills such as citing evidence from a drama and analyzing rhetorical devices. The Culminating Task for this unit allows students to conduct research and create an argumentative presentation that focuses on making a contemporary connection to a significant line in the play. 

The final unit in the 11th grade CommonLit 360 curriculum is “The American Dream,” a combination research and argumentative unit featuring high-interest and compelling text choices from a variety of authors. These choice reading lessons look at a variety of viewpoints on the concept and evolution of The American Dream and explore what it means today. Students will also hone analytical skills as they study and scrutinize data sets in the Related Media Exploration and work to write an argumentative essay, complete with data and expert evidence, as the Culminating Task. 

Engaging 12th grade units also complete 

The existing 360 curriculum units for seniors, “Writing Your Story: Memoir and Application Essays,” Frankenstein, and Othello, have also been added to. The new units for 12th graders include two novel studies, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Stranger by Albert Camus, plus a combination research and argumentative unit that centers around “Balancing Connection and Solitude.” This is a perfect topic for seniors as they face the pressure of ending their high school career and preparing for their next steps. 

In The Namesake, the unit begins with a Related Media Exploration introducing naming traditions and mores from different cultures and asks students to consider the importance that names hold. In addition, there are questions aligned to chapters in the novel as well as writing tasks that build to the high-interest Culminating Task. For this assignment, students will write and record a podcast exploring the relationship between the student’s own name and identity as well connections between elements of the novel. 

Equally compelling activities are featured in the unit on the novel The Stranger. Students begin the unit with a Related Media Exploration that immerses them in the world of author Albert Camus and helps ground them in the historical period that the work was written and published in. There are novel-aligned questions, writing assignments, vocabulary activities and quizzes plus additional reading lessons featuring poems and nonfiction articles that enrich the novel study experience. For the Culminating Task, students revisit a character from a unit earlier in the year and compare them with a character from The Stranger. This alignment helps students retain information and practice skills that they’ve learned earlier in the year. 

Small bear looking at a painting of the ocean

The final unit in the CommonLit 360 curriculum is a combination research and argumentative unit entitled “Balancing Connection and Solitude” where students explore a variety of texts and conduct their own research as they seek to answer questions about the human need for connection. There is a Related Media Exploration containing data sets about the effects of loneliness as well as a Socratic Seminar that explores the relationship between individuals and their communities. The writing and reading lessons work towards students exploring a research topic of their own choosing in the Culminating Task. Students get to choose between writing an essay or crafting a presentation for their classmates that presents their findings on what they discovered during their research process. This higher-order task allows students to own their learning by choosing their own topic. 

Guiding principles that guide instruction

As with all the units in the CommonLit 360 curriculum, when the literacy experts at CommonLit created these new units, they had a number of guiding principles that were woven throughout each and every one. These principles include:

  • Students can and should engage with rigorous grade-level content with appropriate support in place.
  • Teachers drive student outcomes and create meaningful and engaging learning experiences. 
  • Deep engagement fosters deep learning and occurs when students have content that matters to them.
  • Learning is a social process with students acquiring knowledge and skills through social interactions, collaboration, and observation.

Using these principles, each CommonLit 360 unit features integrated reading and writing lessons that build in complexity and provides teachers with lessons that are structured not scripted. Now with the release of these units for 11th and 12th graders, students from grades 6-12 can have high quality instructional materials for the entire school year.

Want more information on how a School Essentials PRO Plus partnership with CommonLit can elevate your school’s use of CommonLit 360?