Amplify ELA: Planning and Pacing

Planning and Pacing Instruction for the Year

Updated over a week ago

Amplify’s middle school ELA curriculum consists of six core instructional units, a story writing unit, a grammar unit, and supplemental instructional units on poetry and novel guides. There is more than enough content to cover 180 days of instruction in a year.

Amplify ELA’s curriculum is designed for real-time interactions with content, using interactive apps, digital and print supports, auto-scored measurement items, videos, audio, and digital text and tools (to name just a few) to support student learning and enhance your instruction. With our planning and pacing materials, you can customize a path of instruction that sets aside time for flexible units, skill modules, and other activities and projects, or you can opt to slow down and let lessons take longer than a day.

Learn about:

There are six core ELA units for each grade and each unit is broken down into sub-units.

Core ELA units:

  • 4 or 5 units focus on complex literary and informational texts

  • 1 or 2 units are Collections units based on primary source documents and research projects


  • Each sub-unit centers a particular text or skill

  • The number of sub-units and lessons varies

Planning a Unit

References for core unit instruction:

  • Read the Unit Overviews

  • Review the Unit Materials.

  • Look through Planning for the Unit.

Unit Overviews provide information on the pedagogical goals of each unit, the texts included, the primary skills students practice, and sensitive content notes you may want to consider as you plan.

Plan to explore the Unit Materials to access various resources to help you with instruction. In this section of the Unit Guide, you will find materials such as Caregiver Letters, Solo Text Previews, and Vocabulary Modules that align with that unit.

Planning for the Unit offers additional resources that can help you plan content and pacing. The Reading and Writing Assignment charts show the text passages included in each lesson and in each Solo, which is an assignment intended to be completed as homework or independent work.

Essential Solos are marked with an asterisk so that you know which are key to completing activities in subsequent lessons. The Reading and Writing Assignment charts also show which lessons have core and extra Writing Prompts, and indicate which rubrics are available for each writing assignment.

The Planning for the Unit section also provides information on the unit’s assessments, data tools, apps and Quests, along with differentiated supports. Learn more about Amplify ELA’s Differentiation.

Planning a Lesson

Planning a lesson in a core unit:

  • Check out the teacher Lesson Brief.

  • Click through the Activities

  • You might also choose to print Lesson Guides to support the planning process.

When you check out the teacher Lesson Brief, you will find a number of different sections. In the Overview, you can read about the big ideas examined in the lesson and get a sense of the sequence of activities. The Lesson Objectives will give you a clear picture of the learning goals for the lesson. The Preparation section gives you a heads up about extra activities, materials you might need to gather before a lesson, or videos you will need to project. The Teacher Lesson Brief also includes a Differentiation section that summarizes the supports available in any differentiated activities, and provides additional tips for differentiation elsewhere, including suggestions for vocabulary to preview or grouping. If you’d rather work with this information in hard copy, the printable Lesson Guides include all pertinent planning information, such as the Lesson Overview, a list of the lesson activities, and tips for differentiation.

As you plan a lesson, familiarize yourself with each Activity. Each activity has a statement of intent and a suggestion for how much time you might want to spend in that activity.

You’ll also want to look over the Instructional Guide for each activity. This guide includes suggestions for facilitation, including example teacher speech and possible student responses. If an activity is differentiated, it will have a plus sign next to its icon in the activity menu. Click on the shapes next to the activity title, which represent the varying levels of differentiation available, to look through different versions of the activity.

Many teachers like to apply backward planning principles when planning lessons. If that’s your approach, identify the lesson’s main performance task. These are often Writing Prompts. After looking over the task, review the activities leading up to it and think about which learning moments will need the most time and support.

Amplify ELA Second Edition users can also view the Exit Ticket at the end of the lesson before they begin to teach in order to keep this learning goal in mind while planning instruction.

Each Amplify ELA lesson includes a Solo activity, occurring at the end of the lesson. Solo activities are designed to be completed by students independently outside of class. They often instruct students to read a text that will be looked at more closely during the next lesson.

If students need to complete Solos during class because they’re unable to complete them at home, think about how that will affect your pacing. Some Solos are not essential and can be skipped—consult the Reading and Writing Assignments chart in the Unit Guide to determine if the Solo is essential. If you opt to skip a Solo, keep in mind that the close reading activities in the next lesson might take a little longer than the estimate provided.

Supplemental Units

Each grade also has flexible, supplemental units that you can include to support instruction. These units can be facilitated on a schedule that makes sense for your classroom.


You can facilitate grammar lessons and activities on a timeline that suits your students’ needs.

  • The Grammar Unit Overview provides suggestions for planning this instruction. Use data from embedded assessment reports to make instructional decisions regarding Flex Days. Many instructors choose to assign grammar work on Flex Days, which begin appearing in the curriculum in Unit B

  • Find a grammar pacing guide or unit topics in your Materials section.

  • The Mastering Conventions PDFs in your Materials section also offer a wide array of grammar lessons that you might elect to use in your classroom. Each document includes a comprehensive table of contents, allowing you to easily identify the skills addressed within.

Poetry in America and Novel Guides:

Use these supplemental units to get students excited about poetry and novel studies. Both supplemental units can be facilitated on a schedule that makes sense for your classroom.

  • Poetry in America: All grades include a Poetry in America unit which focuses on a diverse selection of classic and contemporary poetry, based on the public television series of the same name. Each grade includes 2 or 3 sub-units that center around a single poem. Students use observation, analysis, and discussion to develop an interpretation, and try on each poet’s use of language, craft, and structure in creative writing assignments.

  • Novel Guides: Amplify ELA’s Novel Guides provide middle school teachers with flexible instructional guides for the books they most want to teach, some of which are available in the digital Amplify Library. Students focus on the strongest aspect of each novel as they explore and analyze key themes. Designed to align with the close reading, integrated writing, and collaborative discussion activities central to the core units, these guides provide students with lean, targeted instruction that follows Amplify ELA’s pedagogy as they explore great literature. Learn more about the various Novel Guides available, including digital Novel Guides and Novel Guides developed in partnership with Multicultural Classroom.

Did this answer your question?