Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Why do I have to register?

Perspectives for a Diverse America is FREE, but many of the texts are being offered through arrangements with publishers who require that we house the texts behind a registration page. Registration tells us a little about who is using Perspectives (e.g., middle school teachers, counselors), which helps us make useful enhancements and updates. Your information is never shared externally.

2. How were grade levels for texts in the Central Text Anthology determined?

The Central Text Anthology includes leveled fiction and nonfiction texts. Each text was analyzed to measure complexity using a range of tools including Lexile, Flesch-Kincaid, ATOS and DRP. The text’s qualitative dimensions were also analyzed, looking at meaning/purpose, structure, language and knowledge demands. Each text was assigned a “CCSS grade level” (e.g., mid-to-late sixth-grade) based on these quantitative and qualitative analyses. 

Texts are not pigeonholed by their grade-level placement. Leveling texts based solely on complexity can yield imprecise results. For example, Sojourner Truth’s “Ain't I a Woman?”—a resource available in the Central Text Anthology—measures as a fifth-grade text. But because this text can engage older students in sophisticated and critical thinking, we’ve placed it in multiple grade bands. Throughout the Anthology, texts have a complexity-based grade level indicated, but they may also appear in other grade-level searches.  To download a complete list of texts in the Central Text Anthology, click here.

3. Why these texts?  

We looked for texts that support the anti-bias domains (Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action) and will work as either mirrors or windows for students. We also wanted to offer texts that teachers might not find in commercial anthologies and textbooks.  

4. How does the learning plan for K–2 learning plan differ from the 3–12 learning plan?

The three phases of the K2 learning plan fits a Read Aloud model used by many K2 teachers and students, and meets the needs of non-readers and emerging readers. Informal writing opportunities are present in Responding to the Read-Aloud Text. Learning words is an important part of the Exploring Texts through Read Alouds phase. Most importantly, the Do Something phase is included for all grade levels.

5. What is the Anti-bias Framework? 

The Anti-bias Framework (ABF) is a set of 20 anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action (IDJA). The standards provide a common language and organizational structure: Teachers can use them to guide curriculum development and administrators can use them to make schools more just, equitable and safe. The ABF is leveled for every stage of K12 education and includes school-based scenarios to show what anti-bias attitudes and behavior may look like in the classroom. All texts in the Central Text Anthology are aligned to the anchor standards of the ABF.

6. What subject areas is Perspectives designed for?

Perspectives is a literacy-based curriculum and can be made relevant to just about any subject area or classroom. The curriculum is easily integrated into English Language Arts, social studies and a range of humanities-based subjects. Teachers of the arts will find resources to help provide cultural and historical context to their content. As we gather feedback from users, we hope to add more STEM content. 

7. How does Perspectives align to the Common Core?

Both Perspectives and the Common Core State Standards for ELA and literacy emphasize close engagement with high-quality and meaningful texts. The Central Text Anthology reflects the Common Core approach to text complexity as well as the recommended balance of text types. The phases of the Perspectives learning plan correspond to the strands of the literacy standards—language, reading, writing, and speaking and listening. Strategies within each phase are aligned to Common Core ELA and literacy grade-level standards, and the Write to the Source tasks for grades 312 assess argument, narrative and expository writing as required by the standards.  

8. Does Perspectives' alignment to the Common Core mean that Teaching Tolerance endorses the Common Core?

No. Teaching Tolerance provides practical and useful tools that teachers need. With Common Core adopted by more than 40 states, millions of teachers need their materials aligned to the standards. By aligning Perspectives to the Common Core, we’re meeting teachers where they are and making it easier for them to use the curriculum. 

9. What if my state has not adopted the Common Core? Can I still use Perspectives?

Yes! We built Perspectives using UbD to meet the goals and objectives of solid literacy instruction. The modular style allows ELA and literacy teachers to incorporate sound, research-based practices into their instruction with or without referencing Common Core alignment. Perspectives provides options for instruction in writing, speaking and listening skills, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, civic engagement and social action. The broad literacy underpinnings of the curriculum make it useful for any teacher, anywhere.

10. Can I suggest a text?

Yes! Check out this blog for step-by-step instructions on how to use Reading Diversity, our tool for selecting diverse texts, to recommend Central Texts for Perspectives for a Diverse America. Completed extended edition of the Reading Diversity tools can be submitted to perspectives@tolerance.org.

11. Has Perspectives been evaluated? What are the findings?

A pilot program during the 2013/2014 school year yielded positive results. Participating teachers found that implementing Perspectives promoted deeper student engagement and improved classroom behavior. You can read the report here

12. Do I need to build a complete learning plan to use Perspectives?

We encourage you to engage students in all elements of literacy instruction with a complete Integrated Learning Plan. We recognize, however, that this might not always meet your instructional needs. You can skip the Build Your Learning Plan step by using the top navigation menu to explore the central texts, tasks and strategies and the Anti-bias Framework. You can print all components of Perspectives and incorporate them into your existing instructional plans as you see fit. 

13. May I make copies of the texts for use in class?

Yes! We have permission to make all texts found in the Central Text Anthology available for use in educational settings. Print and make copies of the texts for your students with or without the anti-bias anchor standards and Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary highlights.

14. Does Perspectives offer professional development?

Yes. Professional development modules can be accessed by clicking on Professional Development Modules in the footer of any page on the Perspectives website. Explore current options and check back often for newly released materials. 

15. How are Perspectives' learning plans different from traditional lessons? 

Perspectives’ modular design allows teachers to choose from a menu of options at every phase. Instead of following a scripted lesson plan, Perspectives’ customized learning plans engage students with texts, tasks and strategies selected to meet classroom goals and skill levels. This flexibility allows teachers to match meaningful texts with differentiated instructional practices appropriate to the students in their classroom.

16.  How long does it take to implement a full Integrated Learning Plan?

Educators who have used Perspectives report quite varied timeframes. Perspectives' menu of texts, tasks and strategies allows you to make customized selections to fit your needs. 

17. Can I order paper copies of the curriculum?

No ordering necessary! Perspectives is housed entirely online; when you register, your account becomes a virtual workspace where you can "favorite" texts, tasks and strategies and digitally save multiple customized learning plans. All components of the learning plans you create are printable so you can bring paper copies of the texts and handouts into the classroom and share the tasks and strategies with colleagues.

18. How do I register from outside the United States?

Fill out the first page of registration, then click continue. On the second page, type in 00000 as the zip code, and select International Subscribers from the dropdown menu. Then send your correct organization name and mailing address to perspectives@tolerance.org, and we will manually fix it in our system.

19. Is there Professional Development available for Perspectives?

Yes. We started with introductory modules for the Anti-bias Framework and Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education. All eight of those PD modules can be found under the Professional Development tab on tolerance.org. New modules for how to use Perspectives in your classroom will be available soon.

20. How are K-2 texts different from 3-12 texts?

We have developed a read aloud model for early elementary, and recognize that finding complex, rigorous anti-bias texts for our new and emerging readers and non-readers can be a challenge. All PDA texts have been quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed and placed in the appropriate grade level band, but we know students often work outside of those defined bands and encourage you to search the anthology and K-5 for possible texts to use with your students. We will continue to create original non-fiction texts for the anthology. 

Have a question we haven’t answered here? Contact us.