Textbook Analysis Summaries


During class, you had an opportunity to review several textbooks in your content-area. Please share your reflections about this process and your findings with others by completing each section below. (You may need to scroll down a bit to find each of the prompts as more students add their responses to the wikispace page). There are three parts:
1. List additional content-specific review criteria.
2. Briefly annotate an entry that identifies overall strengths and weaknesses of your most and least favorite textbook you reviewed.
3. Briefly reflect on the textbook analysis activity.

This is a new interface for all of us, so please be patient as we learn how to "collaboratively generate information" as a group! Please let me know if you have questions. I'd recommend you type your information into MS Word in case anything gets lost within the wikispace.

Note the new Free Digital Textbook Initiative recently passed in the state of California. You can explore the textbooks here as well!



1. List additional content-specific criteria that would be important to consider when you evaluate a textbook in your discipline.

[If you are the first person to add to this list, just type next to the first bullet - deleting "Criteria 1" and adding your first item. If you already see an item on the list, click at the end of the last item, press return and a new bullet with be created for you to continue the list).

English/Language Arts
  • Grammar and usage should be incorporated throughout the text. (Joy Erickson)
  • The textbook should represent a diverse assortment of texts. (Sophie Olsen)
  • Connections, text to self or text to world, are encouraged throughout text.(Denise Simard)
  • Literature books have time line for context and biographical information on authors. (Denise Simard)
  • Various writing genres should be taught (Language Text) along with specific reading skills and strategies supporting readers. (Jen Moretti)
  • Textbooks should use meaningful visuals, graphs, and charts (Kris Corcoran)
  • Each textbook chapter should begin by "holding the students hand" and continue to scaffold the learning while adding higher level thinking questions (Kris Corcoran)
  • Texts should represent diverse groups and diverse ideas to involve all students (Kris Corcoran)


Math
  • Key concepts and key terms should be clearly defined. (Jessica Morales)
  • Each concept should include a variety of examples. (Jessica Morales)
  • Chapters should be organized consistently throughout the text. (Jessica Morales)
  • Problems at the end of each chapter should cite the examples in the text. (Jessica Morales)
  • Problems should encorporate proper applications for real-world connections.(Kaitlyn Rainone)
  • Appropriate graphic organizers should appear when abstract concepts can be visualized. (Kaitlyn Rainone)
  • Text should offer a clear understanding of why the sections and chapters appear in a specific order. (Kaitlyn Rainone)

Science (Roberta Dailey)
  • Key concepts and key terms should be outlined at the beginning of each chapter
  • Clear and organized table of contents to easily find what you are looking for
  • Vocabulary clearly defined and integrated with text
  • Chapters should have visuals to explain difficult concepts and brake up text (pictures, graphs, charts)
  • Photographs and other visuals captioned accurately to know what is going on in photo etc
  • Text should contain activities for in school as well as out of school to connect conecpts to "real-life"
  • Effective assessment questions at end of chapters that enabe students to use higher level thinking skills
  • Links to internet or other resources for further information on science topics
  • Should contain or have supplemental source for labs and their procedures

Social Studies
  • Vocabulary should be clearly defined inside the text, and outside the text in the margins. (Brandon Pearce)
  • History books need pictures! (Brandon Pearce) -- I Agree!! (Ashley Grady)
  • Contains many visuals and outside resources relating to the text (e.g. speeches, fun facts, etc.) to take a "break" from the reading (Sam Miller)
  • Interactive activities (Ashley Grady)
  • Connections to today's society (Ashley Grady)

Foreign Language
  • Criteria 1: The text should have more direction/explanation for how to conjugate certain Spanish verbs and when to use subject pronouns in a sentence.
  • Text should have a bigger emphasis on the difficult concepts.
  • Connect text to the internet, such as offer spanish website for higher education of a foreign language.



2. Briefly describe the overall strengths and problematic areas in TWO of the textbooks you reviewed (your most and least favorite). Then tell if would you recommend this text for usage in your school and briefly explain why or why not? Finally, next to usage ideas: if it's your least favorite, list three things you would need to do to make this text suitable for your students if your school required you to use it OR if it's your most favorite, list three things you would need to do to make sure your students are effectively noticing/using the features you like most.
(You can use the "format" below to copy/paste it below the appropriate content-area and then fill it in with your own information.)

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER:
REVIEWED BY: (Insert your name)
STRENGTHS:
PROBLEMATIC AREAS:
RECOMMENDATION:
USAGE IDEAS

English Language Arts


TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Elements of Language/Holt
REVIEWED BY: Joy Erickson
STRENGTHS: Includes a lot of strategies and useful tips to apply strategies.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: A lot of things going on in the pages, which may be distracting to a student.
RECOMMENDATION: I would recommend this to my school because it had so much information and a lot of ideas and examples. The publisher explicitly makes a point to connect subject in chapter to real life at the end of each chapter.
USAGE IDEAS: 1. Select portions of book to be used by students.
2. Incorporate and/or alternate with other texts (because it is so packed with material).
3. Use as a teaching reference.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: The Language of Literature/McDougal Littell
REVIEWED BY: Joy Erickson
STRENGTHS: Includes works from a diverse group of authors.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The Table of Contents is somewhat scattered, visually and by subject.
RECOMMENDATION: I would not recommend this book because I think there were more problematic areas than strengths.
USAGE IDEAS: 1. Use as an anthology
2. Create my own objectives.
3. Create my own active reader questions to supplement reading.

REVIEWED BY: Sophie Olsen
STRENGTHS: This textbook did a good job setting a purpose for the reader before they began reading the text, and provided appropriate questions for the reader at the end of the text. I liked that for each story individually, the page remained relatively free from accompanying questions and strategy tips, which I think can be a distraction. All that was highlighted was new vocab words for students, which I liked.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: As Joy mentioned, the table of contents was really confusing. First there was a "Unit Overview" of each section, then the table of contents for each individual unit, and then a table of contents for "genre." Very confusing and overwhelming, I didn't like it at all.
RECOMENDATION: I would not recommend this textbook because the structure was often confusing for the reader. The questions did not take into consideration the needs of diverse learners.
USAGE IDEAS: I would recommend using this textbook for the individual stories its contains, like as an anthology. You could use some of the questions, or use the questions as a springboard for your own.

REVIEWED BY: Denise Simard
STRENGHTS: This text had great illusturations and pictures that capured the time (and essence ) in which it was written as well as the time in which it is read. This enables the students to establish some connections. The margins had great questions and information necessary (as opposed to the typical explanation beneath the text). The selections were wonderful and in chronological order, which makes it accessible for unit lesson plans.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The text covered from 449-to present. I couldn't feasibly assign home reading from the text because it's huge! Additionally, the book basically contained the classics. Literature exploded after the 1950s, offering literature from diverse authors and subject content. Unfortunately many communities are not included in the text.
RECOMMENDATION: Condense, condense, condense. Second, include information regarding the period after WWII that discusses how EVERYTHING was challenged. At this point, African-American, Latino, Native American, feminists, and many more genres of poignant literature should be included in the text.
USAGE IDEAS: Again the book is large. While I would use this text often, I would make copies of the stories and keep the original for myself.

REVIEWED BY: Jennifer Moretti
STRENGTHS: Table of Contents nicely organized, maps and images are beautifully designed and presented, historical context framed well.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: Have to pick and choose, teacher must be knowledgable of the literature and be able to choose one or two to represent genre. Large span of time covered (449-present!)
RECOMMENDATION: Choose selections to represent time period and/or genre. There is an overwhelming amount of information, and to try to cover the entire text in a school year is unrealistic.
USAGE IDEAS: Use as a baseline to set themes for ELA curriculum. Use as a text to deepen understanding of genre.

REVIEWED BY: Kristen Corcoran
STRENGTHS: Each chapter included many interesting posing questions and diverse teaching strategies for lower and higher level students. In the students text, each chapter began by stating the main purpose for reading, giving guiding questions, and "setting the scene" for the reader in terms of giving the historical context or main idea of the text.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: As said earlier, the table of contents, while full of information, was extremely confusing and overwhelming. There was almost too much information. Also, I felt that the themes could have been brought together better by explaining to students why the certain texts and certain genres represented this theme.
RECOMMENDATION: I believe that the text has plenty of information that could be useful to the classroom, especially shorter stories that are not mainstream or popular. Reviewing this text could help teachers find information that would truly suit a genre or theme which they had not previously know about or considered as an integral part of the lesson. At most, I would recommend photocopying or using only certain stories in the text for class instruction to help support a theme being reviewed.
USAGE IDEAS: I would, as said previously, use the text to pick and choose certain texts that were truly in conversation with a class unit. I would most likely use one of these text as an accompaniment to a main text for a unit or lesson plan.

REVIEWED BY: Chad Fournier
STRENGTHS: I concur with Sophie in that this text does well in prefacing the reader with upcoming topics. It went a step further in following up this
preparation with reading questions at the end of each section.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: Again, I am in agreement with Denise. The first problem I found was the unorganized presentation of the table of contents. If a student has a hard time even locating the topic he/she is interested in, how will they be able to synthesize the important information the text does offer if/when they locate it.
RECOMMENDATION: This text is better suited to be a reference text. A source I can refer to on occasion to help reiterate a point.
USAGE IDEAS: This text would help me generate lesson ideas and thought provoking questions, but like the last text, would be a rather intimidating
student text.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: The Language of Literature, Grade 9/McDougal Little
REVIEWD BY: Sophie Olsen
STRENGTHS: This textbook had some useful suggestions for the teacher in terms of meeting higher and lower level students. It did set a clear purpose for the student before they began reading, highlighted appropriate vocabulary, and sometimes included poems that enhanced that particular text.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: This textbook is produced by the same publisher, so my conerns are similiar to the first textbook I reviewed. However, this textbook was the teacher's edition (the other was not), and it did provide some suggestions for lower and higher level learns as well as ESL students.
RECOMMENDATION: I think that by simply having one teacher's edition in the classroom would be helpful for the teacher to generate ideas for the class, but I don't think it would be particularly beneficial for the students, unless it was used as an anthology.
USAGE IDEAS: Anthology for teacher to use as resource, for stories, and to hand pick some of the questions that would be appropriate for the class.

REVIEWED BY: Kristen Corcoran
STRENGTHS: This textbook showed the visual presentation of the students book while also using the margins for teacher information, classroom questioning, discussion topics, instructional ideas, and instructional variations.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: As Sophie mentioned, the textbook was created by the same publisher and, therefore, had many of the same issues. I once again felt that the content could have been presented in a more systematic and simpler order than it had been. Each "unit" was titled by a theme, then broken into genre styles. For a teacher whose main concern is just finding the text and using it with a different theme in mind, the textbook becomes more difficult.
RECOMMENDATION: The teacher's edition would be very helpful just for giving guiding questions and ideas for classroom discussion for furthering student understanding. This may not be the be-all-end-all of the teacher's composition of the lesson pla, but the ideas presented on how to approach the text would definitely be a helpful starting point to create person ideas and links for the classroom.
USAGE IDEAS: I would use this text to originate ideas for creating a lesson plan. I would also possibly use some of the texts based on the theme that were pertinent to classroom usage.

PUBLISHER/TITLE: Holt, Rinehart & Winston/ Elements of Language
REVIEWED BY: Denise Simard
STRENGHTS: This text encouraged connections throughout. Additionally, it had a great reference section in the back for grammar.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The text had way too much information on each page. It was too overwhelming to digest all the information on any given page. I'd be particularly concerned for students who have attention issues. I didn't care for the organization. The first part of the chapter instructed reading comprehension and the second instructed writing. Personally, I think the two are vastly different subjects within ELA. I'd prefer individual writing and reading comprehension texts.
RECOMMENDATION: The text's editors need to reassess the purpose of the text. The problems are severe.
USAGE IDEAS: This book could be useful as a teacher's resource. I'd be leery to assign this text in my classroom.

REVIEWED BY: Jennifer Moretti
STRENGTHS: High-level questions during and after reading. Objectives/Goals explicitly stated at beginning.
Connections to students' lives. Reference section for grammar.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The images did not really enhance or support text, in fact, there were not very many. There were not many special features to enhance learning, or activities to meet diverse needs. Differentiated instruction was not supported.
RECOMMENDATION: This book tried to do too much! It was enormous and packed tightly with so much reading AND writing instruction that I think students would need to be guided. The teacher should pick and choose lessons, and direct attention to specific skills.
Also, the timetable suggested is unrealistic and makes no accomodations for special needs.
USAGE IDEAS: Above recommendations, but also using as a reference and support for novels.

Math

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Algebra 2/McDougal Littell
REVIEWED BY: Jessica Morales
STRENGTHS: This text is organized in an understandable way and provides special features at the beginning and end of each chapter to assist students.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: Each concept addressed in the chapters is usually followed by only one example. It would help students to see diverse problems for each of the topics. There are also few real life applications and supplemental features available for students.
RECOMMENDATION: This text would work well in an 11th grade Algebra 2 class. It can help students stay organized and follow the material covered throughout the course of the year.
USAGE IDEAS: This text provides a good outline of what should be covered in Algebra 2. However, it lacks the content for it to be adhered to strictly. A teacher could use this successfully but would have to provide additional information to students.

REVIEWED BY: Kaitlyn Rainone
STRENGTHS:This textbook has very good organization of the table of contents. Also this text has opportunities for self-assessment at the end of each section and chapter. The major concepts were summarized effectively and seemed like it was at an appropriate reading level.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: This textbook lacked in Chapter summaries and supplemental material. The objectives were not specifically explained at the beginning of each section and supplemental features were not valuable and did not enhance learning. There were not multiple examples per concept.
RECOMMENDATION: Although this textbook lacks in supplemental features, it is sufficient for an 11th grade Algebra 2 class. It offers great organization that would ultimately help the students. It also gives good recap pf the concepts at end of each chapter.
USAGE IDEAS: This textbook would suffice in an Algebra 2 classroom, but it would need some assisstance from the teacher to provide necessary information/activities that the textbook might not in order to relay the information properly to the students.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Algebra 2/Prentice Hall
REVIEWED BY: Jessica Morales
STRENGTHS: The organization of every chapter is absolutely beautiful. The features are consistent and colorful to catch the attention of students. The text also provides many labs, acitivities, and real life applications. Online features are also referenced to help students.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: I found very few problems with this text. My only qualm is that perhaps, it could have included more diverse problems.
RECOMMENDATION: This text could be used in an advanced 10th grade Algebra 2 class. It has more work and outside information for students at a higher level to address.
USAGE IDEAS: This should be the top textbook choice for any Algebra 2 classroom. It is clear that the editors have taken into account the suggestions made by math teachers.

REVIEWED BY: Kaitlyn Rainone
STRENGTHS: I found this book to have everything a teacher would need in order to teach Algebra 2 effectively. It contains an easy to read layout of each section and chapter covering many aspects and applications of the material being covered. It offers many real-world applications to reach the students' interest and high-level questions to challenge the students.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The only problems with this textbook, in my opinion, is that there were not enough problems that addressed diverse learning.
RECOMMENDATION: This textbook could be used in any Algebra 2 classroom but with all it offers a student, i feel that honors' students would gain more from this textbook because it is a bit challenging.
USAGE IDEAS: This textbook should be used as a main textbook. Every application and problem is a prime example of what students should be learning in an Algebra 2 class. It also makes connections to real-world problems and does a good job of keeping students interested.

Science

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Life Science/McDougal Littell
REVIEWED BY: Roberta Dailey
STRENGTHS: This text had good organization, concept specific activities, photographs, examples of problems, ways in which to teach concepts with differential instruction to diffferent kinds of learners and also ties science with other subjects like math and history. The science standards were outlined at the beginning of each chapter.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: This text was very general in nature. It didn't really promote higher level learning or thinking skills. There was more surface material than ideas and concepts with much depth. Its pages were busy so it was hard to focus on one idea at a time. No special needs aids.
RECOMMENDATION: This level of text could be used in the middle grades to get students introduced and acquainted to using textbooks. It could be used in higher level classes where the students ability is below level, too.
USAGE IDEAS: It is a good book for general life science knowledge and could be used as a resource for research or projects. Otherwise it would be good in middle grades because it has great supplemental information and activities you could use in your classroom or at home without using the whole text itself.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Biology/Glencoe Science
REVIEWED BY: Roberta Dailey
STRENGTHS: This book was great and very teacher friendly. It was organized in such a way that it was easy to get around. It contained great activities for students to show as examples about certain concepts and how they work. This text had an english-spanish glossary and was in many senses bilungual and had spanish references. The text had depth and was able to get into more ideas and details that supported its concepts. The chapters were outlined with key concepts and terms and had really good graphics. The questions and assessment at the end of the chapters had a multiple array of ways to assess students learning ie (multiple choice, matching, thinking critically, etc)
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: This text had lots of "first" pages and took about 60 pages to get to the first chapter. Thats boring and irritating. The other thing i found was that there were not any science standards outlined that connect the ideas and concepts displayed in the text.
RECOMMENDATION: This text could be used in a 10th grade biology classroom with no major problems. This is a traditional style biology textbook with great organization that makes it easy to use. I enjoy its writing style because it is written to the point with examples that back up its ideas.
USAGE IDEAS: Students can relate to the examples provided and the assessments at the end of the chapters is a great tool. I would definately use this book, its drawbacks do not sway me otherwise. All the visual representations are excellent and I think that science students would benefit grately from using this text. I may not be able to get through the whole book though in one year however, it has a lot of big chapters, so i might have to condense some of the chapters to make it more simplistic.

Social Studies

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: A History of the US 1918-1945: War, Peace, and all that Jazz; Oxford University Press
REVIEWED BY: Brandon Pearce
STRENGTHS: This book had excellent photography, illustrations, graphs, easy to follow maps, and clear font. There was a great preface at the beginning introducing the book and what it was going to cover. Vocabulary defined within the text, and terms that might be new to students, for example fascism, were completely explained with examples.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: This is a very content specific book, which could be used as a supplement to another text in a higher level class. There were neither questions nor chapter summaries at the end of the chapter. It was a text book that could be read as a novel.
RECOMMENDATION: This could be used as a supplement in a classroom, probably an 11th grade US History class, maybe even an AP class. Some of the articles could be chosen for lower level classes, own their own. I personally really enjoyed the book, people interested in history would be captivated by it.
USAGE IDEAS: There are many interesting short chapters that could be used as supplements in classrooms. This would be used to increase knowledge of the specific era it covers.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: American History- Reconstruction to Present; McDougall Littell Publishing & Rand McNally Atlases
REVIEWED BY: Brandon Pearce
STRENGTHS: Has excellent maps, atlases, pictures and images. Questions at the end of the chapters attempt students to connect their lives to the reading, and use critical thinking skills to solve questions. Good assessment questions also have students compare and contrast different events. Vocabulary literally highlighted, and clearly defined. Key ideas, vocabulary, and reading strategies outlined at the beginning of the chapters.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: Again, content specific. Starts in 1865 and goes to present. Although there is an excellent preface of historical background information leading up to 1865 for the students. There is a lot of vocabulary words and students may have trouble learning them all.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a traditional style social studies text book. Although there are clear pictures and the vocabulary is highlighted, students who are not interested in history are not going to enjoy reading the book.
USAGE IDEAS: This would be great for an American History class focusing on the time period it covers. It includes a lot of information, and probably couldn't be used in a class covering ALL of American history.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: A History of the United States - All the People (Oxford University Press)
REVIEWED BY: Sam Miller
STRENGTHS: Has amazing supplementary materials within the chapters, well diversified/very specific chapters.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: It may be too specific for a general History class. It may work better in an Advanced Placement class or as a supplementary text (in addition to a larger and broader textbook) in a regular History classroom.
RECOMMENDATION: I would absolutely recomend this text. As I said before, it would do best in an Advanced Placement or a more specified History classroom. It clearly spells out any important facts that a student needs to know in each time period or time of crisis.
USAGE IDEAS: 1. Discussions on the political cartoons and illustrations throughout the book, 2. Homework questions based on relating these short, theme-based chapter on the present day, 3. Use each small chapter as a mini-unit within a broader unit to gather a more specified understanding on the subject.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: American Anthem (Holt)
REVIEWED BY: Sam Miller
STRENGTHS: Has amazing end of the chapter summary questions (Evaluate, Identify, Recall) and contains many visuals.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The book is extremely oversized (even the student edition) and seems to focus more on text comprehension than History. It is very broad and a bit dry.
RECOMMENDATION: I am unsure if I would recomend this or not. Perhaps with the aide of A History of the United States - All the People, this book would do well in the classroom.
USAGE IDEAS: 1. Pair it with a more specific supplementary material, 2. Make sure the students are following along with the review questions in mind while reading, 3. Refer to the many visuals within the book during class.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: Economics CD (McDougal Littell)
REVIEWED BY: Ashley Grady
STRENGTHS: There are many interactive activities and graphic organizers. These features are easily accessible because all you have to do is click on them and they come right up! The animations are a great idea for economic concepts.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: Portability is a major problem with a textbook on CD. However, this text is also available in book form.
RECOMMENDATION: This text would be a great idea in a school that is well-equiped with computer technology. It would not work at all in a school where students have limited access to computers.
USAGE IDEAS: If computer access is limited in the school, the students can use the book form, while the teacher uses the computer text projected for the class to see. This way, students can have the portability of the book and still see the wonderful animations and graphic organizers the CD offers.

TEXTBOOK TITLE/PUBLISHER: World History (McDougal Littell)
REVIEWED BY: (Insert your name) Ashley Grady
STRENGTHS: There are many pictures to visualize the historical information.
PROBLEMATIC AREAS: The vocabulary terms and objectives are not stated at the beginning of the chapter.
RECOMMENDATION: This is just an ok book. I am not sure whether I would recommend it because the lack of vocabulary terms and objectives is a turn-off for me.
USAGE IDEAS: The teacher would have to tell the students before they begin reading what vocabulary terms to look for. S/he would also have to state the objectives before the students begin reading, so the students have an idea of why/what they are reading.

Foreign Language
Textbook Title/Publisher: Realidades 1 Pearson-Prentice Hall
Reviewed by: Allison Borges
Strengths: Realidades 1 is a textbook for high school Spanish, generally ninth or tenth grade. This book has meaningful organization. There are many images that support the text, as well as opportunities for self assessment. The students are often asked to relate the material to their own lives. There are multiple ways to support different types of learners, such as audios visuals, and interactive practices/activities. In addition, there are strategies provided for students with special needs.
Weaknesses: The pages of this book are extremely busy. If a student has trouble focusing on one specific topic they will be completely lost using this book. There may be up to 5 or 6 different pictures, charts, dialogues, or text on one single page. All of these may look interesting to the student. It would be an easy way for the class to gear off topic.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to my school because offers a wide variety of texts which help the students grow in their knowledge and development of the Spanish language.
Usage Ideas: A. To get past the business of every page, have the students cover the part of the page they are not using with a blank piece of paper. This will take away from distraction/interruption. B. Focus on one topic. First, introduce new vocabulary, then, explain concepts and directions, show examples using audio tools or interactive partner activities, finally assess students based on their ability to perform that specific task. C. Incorporate with other texts such as charts, graphs, and activities that may not be in the text, or could be explained in a better way than the text does.

Textbook Title/Publisher: Realidades 3 Pearson-Prentice Hall
Reviewed by: Allison Borges
Strengths: Realidades 3 has many of the same qualities as Realidades 1, because they are both published by the same company. The only different is Realidades 3 would most likely be used by seniors in high school or native speaker. There are multiple styles of learning, images to support/enhance the text, and high-level questioning during and after each topic.
Weaknesses: This text book is also very busy. In addition, the entire book is written in Spanish, as opposed to Realidades 1 where a portion of every page is written in English.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to my school. It offers the same information as Realidades 1 but requires higher level thinking skills. This book would be acceptable for high school students as long as there was teacher direction. In addition, students would need clarification on difficult reading directions and speaking activities. The teacher must realize the students are not at the books level of understanding. The book is set at a higher level to test their thinking skills and to put them in situations they previously may not have been in.
Usage Ideas: A. Use for a deeper understanding of Spanish culture. B. Use texts from the book to create written assignments for students. C. Have students read text in the book out loud so they become more familiar and less embarrassed to say foreign words with different pronunciations. This practice can lead to the development of oral presentations where the students feel comfortable speaking Spanish.





3. What did you find most useful or interesting about participating in this textbook analysis project? This is an open-ended opportunity to briefly reflect on the activity itself. Sign your name after your reflection.

"This test project was beneficial to me because i never really thought about the textbook that I would want to use in my classroom. Now i understand more the importance of using a good textbook and can identify those features. Science textbooks can be verbose and boring. My goal is to have an engaging and hands on book for my class or as much as possible. Because you can't always pick what you will use for a textbook, it is good to learn to use what you are given and improvise. It was beneficial to be able to compare and contrast the different texts and pick out the positive and negative aspects of each. Using the curriculum library was also a great resource for enabling us to do this project.
-Roberta Dailey

I found it useful to have a variety of textbooks available to do a compare and contrast. It was easy to pick out the things I liked and didn't like and to see how different publishers incorporate learning strategies, as well as content specific "buzz words." ~Joy Erickson

I enjoyed contrasting a language book with a literature book. It reaffirmed my belief that literature (books, reading) is so much more interesting than grammar! I know we have to teach writing conventions but sometimes it is just boring, both to teach and to learn. I found this exercise to be a valuable one because I was looking critically at the textbooks. This is a skill that is important when choosing a text as well as working with one that I didn't choose. -Jen Moretti

This was enjoyable project because it gave me a chance to look at many textbooks from a different perspective, that of the teacher. I have not been able to analyze how I would begin to teach a book before, and being able to see many that are available, I could clearly see the differences in what I considered strengths and weaknesses.~Brandon Pearce

This project was most interesting because it gave me a chance to see the broad range of Social Studies textbooks I could be working with in the future. Since I won't always have an opinion on which to use (as opposed to the projects we're doing in classes), it's important to be able to work with what you have. Some of the textbooks were actually extremely interesting reads, which is not something you often find in a High School text. - Sam Miller

Previous to this assignment, I had been a little deterred by the curriculum room in the library. I had been in before, but never knew where or how to look at the texts to find what I was searching for. This gave me the opportunity to search some of the texts within a classroom setting so I didn't feel completely lost when I walked in. Reviewing these teacher edition texts for the first time really helped to hone my skills as a critical thinker when reviewing the importance and the relativity of the text to my needs as a teacher. -Kris Corcoran

I think this was a useful assignment. Like several people mentioned before, I had not ever had a previous opportunity to take a close look at a language arts textbook. Having the chance to explore the textbooks, and being encouraged to examine them with a "critical eye" was worthwhile, but also difficult because I realized I don't really know what a good textbook should look like. But this assignment provided a good start to begin doing that, and looking at how they could be useful or not so useful. I did make the mistake when I was looking at the textbooks of looking at two textbooks by the same publisher. I really wish I had looked at a textbook from a different publisher because I think it would have made the comparing and contrasting more effective for me. -Sophie Olsen

I found this textbook analysis project to be very helpful in my understanding of foreign language textbooks. I never realized how much it offers to the students. I was impressed to see the foreign language standards written in the book. In addition, there was a great deal of direction in addressing special needs, and using multiple styles of learning to support a diverse body of students. It is very rare that a teacher can say the required classroom textbook is a good one, at least in my experience as a student. Majority of my teachers never liked the textbooks.
-Allison Borges

I agree with a lot of what my peers have mentioned. I particularly liked the opportunity to read everyone's evaluations, especially those who evaluated the same text. It's an opportunity to grow beyond my observations. A professor I had as an undergraduate recently asked me to evaluate a text she was considering to use for a class I had with her. In both situations, for me, it always comes down to the audience. I think that's why my former professor asked me to look at it; she wanted a student's perspective. One particular text I evaluated for this class actually gave me a headache just looking at it. In fact, it took me forever to evaluate it because I didn't know where to begin or how I was going to finish. I kept asking myself if I can't browse through this comfortably, how are high school students going to respond to it. After this experience, I'm quite certain that I'll consistently ask for my students' imput about a specific text. Thanks, Denise Simard

The only time I have seen a teacher's edition textbook is when I was a student peering over the teacher's desk. I knew it was much bigger and had extra features, but I never really knew what those features were. I was happy to see that many of the textbooks contained ideas on how to help students with different learning styles. Also, I had never even heard of a textbook on CD, so that was fun to look at.
~ Ashley Grady

I found this assignment to be very helpful in teaching me how to look at math textbooks critically. For the first time, I was able to look at the difference between student edition textbooks of different publishers, and to look at the additional information provided by the teacher's edition. I was impressed by one textbook in particular which was a perfect guide for students to learn Algebra 2 and gave a great variety of examples, applications, and supplemental features. After looking at a different textbook, I could see the difference. This assignment has certainly helped me in thinking about how I will use a textbook in my own classroom.
~Jessica Morales

This assignment really helped me to pick apart a textbook and not just see it for what it is. For example, while looking at Prentice Hall's textbook, I was surprised to notice that it had many more activities that had relevance to a section or chapter than McDougal Littell. I also learned that a textbook is what a teacher makes it in a classroom. Since Prentice Hall has so many activities, it is up to the teacher to bring attention to them in order to foster the learning necessary to achieve higher level cognitive thought.
~ Kaitlyn Rainone