Week 2 - 9/18-24 DISCUSSION 3: Unit Outline Draft

Week 2 - 9/18-24 DISCUSSION 3: Unit Outline Draft –You are invited to work individually or with partners of your choice to complete the activities in the next three weeks. 
Welcome back to Week 2 of our PIAAC Literacy Circle! One outcome we would like to have at the end is for each of you to have a solid draft of a unit that you could use for reading instruction. We’re calling this a “Unit Overview,” because we’re not going to go too much into the weeds. However, we do want to walk you through the process of thinking about curriculum design, using PIAAC tools, in the way suggested by the Guide, so you can see what it’s like. We’ll take this in chunks over the next three weeks.
This week, we will begin to populate a unit design template using the Guide’s Model for Contextualized Instruction (p. 21). If you have not read the Guide from cover to cover, it would be a good idea to do that before diving in. Then, go back and focus on pp. 21- 25.  
Timeline: We’d like to ask that by Sunday of this week, everyone post draft entries for the Context, Unit Task, Text, and Skills sections of the template. 
Process: Label each section in your response, something like what you see in EXHIBIT 14 on p. 23. For the Skills section, please identify at least one PIAAC cognitive strategy. You can review those on p. 14. (Keep in mind that our Weekly forums will remain open for the duration of our time together so that you can keep returning to give and receive feedback on what is posted.) Our discussion system does not allow attachments, and tables can be tricky to post. In responding to each section, you have a couple of other choices: (1) label and each paragraph with the section you are addressing, or (2) work in Google Docs, especially if you are collaborating with others, and provide the rest of us with that link so that we can refer to it in our feedback to you within the Circle.
Rubric: We have posted a rubric to guide your work at http://learnresources.org/guidetoliteracy.htm. Let us know if you find it helpful and what questions arise as you work with it. Please keep in mind that the purpose of this rubric is not to assess your work. It is only designed to give you some criteria to evaluate your own process and to give you ideas to help you provide relevant feedback to others as you share your work in the forums. 
NOTE: You will find a “tutorial” copy of the template that we are using in Appendix G (p. 40) of the Guide. You may also download a Word copy of that tutorial, along with a blank copy of the template if you wish on the same site above.
After you post, either in the same entry or a separate one, please respond to the guiding questions below—or introduce other topics. As you read what others are posting, do please provide feedback to at least another member, pair, or group, and address the rubric criteria for the activity.
Guiding Questions:
1. How has this planning so far been similar or different from how you usually plan? 
2. What came easily for you? Where were the challenges? 
3. What questions arose for you as you worked on your unit design?
Let’s start developing together! 
The PIAAC Literacy Circle Team


Our group has been quiet the last couple of days which I think is due to the work you’re doing on your unit overviews and in your busy work lives. As you work on your unit draft, take a minute or two to give us your initial thoughts on the rubric – helpful? confusing? other? And remember that we are always happy to answer questions or give clarifications about the work you’re doing on your units. I’m looking forward to seeing them.

Hi, Jamie. The idea of posting is just to get feedback. We will all provide helpful feedback in terms fo meeting rubric guidelines. This is just a start. You need not address everything in your template at this point. That is reserved for the end. Take a look at the template "tutorial," which is also in the Guide. Go to http://learnresources.org/guidetoliteracy.htm and click on "Activity Template at a Glance," That will give you a great start. 

We look forward to the dialogue. We are a team. The end result will reflect us all!  Let's see what ya got! :) Leecy

Jamie,  feel free to “warm up” by thinking about and posting your answers to the guiding questions (re--posted below). As other members of our group comment, they may offer suggestions and ideas for you. You’ll be giving them feedback as well, so we’ll all be learning from each other.

We were hoping the chart in Exhibit 14 from page 23 of the PIAAC Guide (pasted below) would provide the examples you were looking for. This is really all we're looking for you to do right now (something like a column in the Exhibit 14  chart), though you are welcome to use the template adapted from Appendix G and do something that looks a bit more formal. We definitely recommend looking at Appendix G as you work on your Unit Overview, whether or not you end up using the template. Exhibit 15 on page 24 has some guiding questions that might be helpful, too. 

But certainly, you don’t have to post your Unit Overview draft yet if you don’t feel ready to. Hopefully, others will be posting here soon so that a good dialogue can develop as we learn together!

Guiding Questions:

1. How has this planning so far been similar or different from how you usually plan? 

2. What came easily for you? Where were the challenges? 

3. What questions arose for you as you worked on your unit design?

EXHIBIT 14: Sampling of Contextualized Units

Topic FINDING CONTACT INFORMATION (low level) CAREER EXPLORATION (intermediate level)  RESEARCHING TOPICS THAT MATTER (high level)  Context Community, Work Work Education and training, Community Task Find contact information in a directory Compare 3 careers and identify the best fit Write a letter to an online community discussion board discussing multiple sides of a controversial topic currently in the news (e.g., GMOs, global climate change), making the case for one particular side Texts Print-based, digital Non-continuous Records (Simple/simplified online, print directories) Print-based, digital Continuous; non-continuous Exposition (Online and print career resource materials--e.g., O*NET) Print-based, digital Continuous; non-continuous Argumentation, Exposition (Student-accessed print and online texts) Skills Access and identify; ABC order; scanning; specific sound-symbol correspondences; etc. Compare and contrast; tables; graphs; text - embedded links Evaluate and reflect—credibility of sources; argumentation; access and identify—finding diverse sources


Here is the link to my Google Doc.  I used the template from page 40 of the guide. 


I look forward to your feedback.  This is quite different from how I'm used to planning--I start with a context (theme: school, housing, food, etc.)--always, but the texts aren't integrated until much later.  After the context is determined, a set of vocabulary embedded in the theme is selected, and then I develop the unit around that.  I suspect this is due in part to the level of learner I teach.  It was challenging, but fun for me to think about the text earlier in the unit development and then about the skills developed by the task I'd like students to complete.  If I'm analyzing the process correctly, I'm used to this process in reverse--where I think of all the standards and skills that fit within a given context (theme)--and these skills expand upon PIAAC's definition of literacy (i.e., writing, listening, and speaking) and select materials based on that.  In this process, the text was at the forefront of development.

Jamie, your context is certainly in line with the suggested contexts of the Guide. In your Circle introduction, you mentioned the need of your students to navigate systems and access "transitions"-type services. As they complete the activities you outline, they will certainly be able to meet those challenges at their early level of development. By researching enrichment classes and schools in the area, they will explore ways to transition into other community services. 

We didn't ask you to characterize your students in completing this Unit Outline, but I hope that those who follow will do so. You had mentioned working with pre-beginning learners, and I assume that those are ELLs, primarily from East Africa. You mentioned that they have similar backgrounds with shared experiences dealing with trauma. I wonder how that aspect  (trauma) might sneak into the instructional content you are developing. Any suggestions from others here?

In Week 3, we will start addressing Factors Affecting Task Difficulty (pp23-24 of Guide). Since your students are pre-beginners, I think that you'll appreciate this process. Finding quality content for beginning-level adults (lots for kids!) is huge challenge, but  one that is starting to be addressed on The Web, thankfully. I'm so glad that you are creating this valuable resource!

Your outcome of filling out an enrollment form will be challenging for them, but if you lead them through the process, completing that task will be a major achievement, which will hopefully propel them into more complex tasks with confidence. I am not very familiar with East-African cultures although I worked with a project in Tanzania a few years back and fell in love with the people! From what I observed, working is groups is a natural way for them to learn! (So different from how we do it here!) Hopefully, as you flesh out your outline a bit, you'll have students working together to accomplish tasks. 

Your outline provides great promise. Thanks for being brave and jumping in with your work. Hopefully, others will follow! We can't wait to see what other gems are emerging out there! Thanks. Leecy


I want to echo Leecy’s thanks for being brave enough to be the first to share your unit.  As I read your post about how your usual approach to developing a lesson differs from the approach Amy has asked us to consider, I’m wondering if you would like to talk about what advantages you see for you and your students for each approach.

Huge thanks,


Jamie, I was going back through your comments and draft unit plan again. Your plan is very thoughtful and does a really good job of connecting the four nesting cells of Context, Unit Task, Texts, and Skills. I was especially struck by your comment about considering texts so early in the process. As other people are posting now, thinking about text so early in the process does seem to be changing the planning process a good bit. I appreciate your bringing that our attention right away.

I like in your plan how your trying to meet the multiple needs of your students by permitting them to think about their own education or that of their children. As I said before, I think building in choice ups the sense of control adult learners feel they have about their own learning which supports engagement.

You've actually done something in your Unit Task statement that I want to talk about--it's a teachable moment. I think you have enough here for two units--you're ahead of the game! One unit could be: researching adult enrichment classes and/or schools for their children in order to find the right fit for their needs/interests. The second unit would be:  filling out a school enrollment form for themselves or their children. The reason those feel like two separate units to me is that two different kinds of reading are required. If this were to be a "tight" design of curriculum (as I'm envisioning it), the end product would be a result of (movement toward) independent application of the skills being taught. Different texts (continuous vs. non-continuous), different purposes, and, thus, different skills/strategies are needed for each of the activities you want your students to do. So you could have an end product for each and teach to that task. If they are researching classes or schools, the end product could be sharing their decision and telling why they made their decision, perhaps citing their reasons and sources. Then, the NEXT logical unit would be learning to fill out the enrollment form. [Honestly, the first unit feels like a high-level activity for pre-beginners--as a reading activity, so I'm not sure I'm understanding the task. My apologies if I'm way off base with what you intended.]

I wanted to bring this out because oftentimes when we start planning and if we're lucky, units start to roll out of each other. We think we're planning one unit, but we may want to get out several templates out and be ready to jot down notes in multiple places!

Great work, Jamie--



I like the intent of the Context Criteria, but the Progressing and Proficient descriptors have some troublesome language. "Likely to be important or relevant" is such a wide open interpretation and yet it is the defining difference between the two columns. A simple example that is often argued is, "Which is more relevant to students today, learning to write in cursive and print or to learning to type?" I have met many teachers that have polar opposite views on this and doubt they would agree which point of view (or something in the middle) should qualify as "likely to be important or relevant". I am not sure how to 'fix" the wording and not even sure if the intent of assessing relevance can be done. Interested to hear other thoughts on how one might otherwise delineate between the two columns.

I notice that all of the other criterion have multiple bullets. This is a dangerous game with rubrics and there needs to be very clear instructions on how people interpret different situations.

It is very common to see work that may qualify in column one for one bullet, maybe two bullets qualify for column two and one of the third column bullets best apply to the criteria. This makes things extremely confusing and often indicates that the criteria needs to be further broken down to sub criterion or a quantity element is included in the language. A Sub criterion example for Unit Task would be one item called Unit Definition and all three of the first bullets apply to that criteria. The second and third bullets all follow a consistent pattern so Unit Purpose and Unit Product could each be easily derived. The problem comes in with those last bullets that only appear in the last two columns and appear to target the skill level of the Unit task? This raises questions about why it is not in the Skills criteria later on. In general assuring there is just one description per criteria makes a much clearer feedback tool for people. The user can immediately and accurately pinpoint what needs improvement and how to do so. When multiple skills are lumped together, ambiguity and tendencies to average or marginalize the individual skills is rampant. This rubric probably should have 10 or 11 criteria (counting the bullets used in columns 2,3 ). It may seem long, but it helps evaluate exactly what the rubric states as important. 

If one were to instead put quantity values in, text like "All of the following items must be present ...." might be used for the right-most column. "All of the following but 1 (or 2?) of the items below must be present ..." fills the middle. The first column might have "More than 2 of the following items are missing..." No matter what text is used, the evaluator can easily view the bullets as a sort of check list. This method has the risk of not being able to clearly indicate to the person what needs to be improved. Although this method might be an easier fix, it is not as useful as the sub criterion explained above and people tend to just marginalize the importance of some of the skills evaluated in the list of bullets. "I got 3 out of the 4 so that's good enough" when the one missed was in the first column and obviously needs to be improved. 

Individual observations/questions

Text Criteria: The last bullet in the middle "There are missed opportunities for taking advantage of digital sources" can apply to almost every educational experience I have been in either as a student or instructor so I am not sure this is a relevant item to assess; at least not as listed. Can this even be assessed?

Skills: It is very difficult to easily see the differences between the middle and third columns. Words like "not" MUST be either capitalized, colored, bolded or in some way highlighted to clearly indicate a difference. Column 1 does not seem to fit with the other two columns. 

I do like the rubric criteria (and sub implied criteria), but I feel the descriptors need to be clarified for people to consistently be able to use the tool appropriately. 

Excellent points, Ed! Thanks for taking the time to review the rubrics and share your thoughts. Let us take a look at how we can revise some of the wording to make it clearer. How about others here? Suggestions? Comments? Leecy

Ed, you raise some excellent points about rubrics. For now, I want to address your first point about what is likely to be relevant--and the use of the rubric. I/we were seeing this rubric as being used primarily within a program, to guide curriculum development. I'll try to say more about that later. In regards to this purpose, then, each program needs to reach a common understanding as to what they understand "relevant" means to their students, and I suspect that will come from a deep knowledge of their community and students, their goals and aspirations, and the other stakeholders impacting the program.

In thinking about what might be relevant contexts about which to frame curriculum, I envision that the PIAAC-identified categories might prove useful as a starting point.  These are discussed on pp. 10-11:

  • Work and occupation (e.g., job search, wages, salaries, benefits, being on the job)
  • Personal uses
    • Home and family (e.g., interpersonal relationships, personal finance, housing, and insurance)
    • Health and safety (e.g., drugs and alcohol, disease prevention and treatment, safety and accident prevention, first aid, emergencies, and staying healthy)
    • Consumer economics (e.g., credit and banking, savings, advertising, making purchases, and maintaining personal possessions)
    • Leisure and recreation (e.g., travel, recreational activities, and restaurants, as well as material read for leisure and recreation itself)
  • Society and community (e.g., public services, government, community groups and activities, and current events)
  • Education and training (e.g., opportunities for further learning)

If someone is pursuing high school credentialing through the GED or HiSET, content area knowledge in such things as social studies and science are important as well.  I’ve seen teachers start there, with the content area focus. One teacher in Oklahoma had her class choose a topic from the Science GED book to study. They selected the circulatory system. She asked why that was important to know about and found out most of them either had heart disease themselves or had a family member with it. They reframed the unit as “Having a Healthy Heart.” The teacher then led students in project of researching how to have a healthy heart, embedding the explicit teaching of reading skills/strategies. When they were done, they went back to the GED book and took the post-test. I happened to be in the room the day when they shared their projects and then took the test. They all scored 100%—and were amazed that they hadn’t had to work through all the exercises to get there. (Of course, familiarity with passage-answering/test-testing was needed, but they’d had PLENTY of practice with that.). The point of this long-winded story is that the teacher made this unit relevant in two ways: it was transparently relevant to the GED goals of students and it was transparently relevant to their health goals. (I’ll also say that the project itself—creating posters for the Family Learning Center around the topic—was relevant too, but that wouldn’t go here in the Context discussion.)

In sum, to tell if a specific unit is “likely to be important or relevant” to students, I envision that being worked out largely within the community using the rubric. For us here, we may need to talk about that more. I tend to think in terms of a solid real-life connection in the lower levels, and topics that do double-duty for GED/HiSET and real-life starting at high-intermediate ABE (for high school credentialing programs).  Other than that, there would be considerable leeway. Would that make sense?

I've redone my plan, but suggestions and/or feedback would be of great value. 


Students in this classroom have GLEs of 11 and 12. Students have identified the reason for attendance to be the attainment of their GED® certificates and preparation for college courses. Due to the prior, the context of this unit is education and training.


By the end of this unit, students will evaluate and reflect upon material that makes use of propaganda techniques. They will demonstrate their understanding of evaluating and reflecting upon texts by independently finding materials of interest and synthesizing content into main ideas and supporting details. 



  • Print-based

  • Digital


  • Continuous

  • Non-continuous

  • Mixed

  • Multiple


  • Argumentative Texts

Layout of non-continuous texts

  • Lists/matrix (simple, combined, interested, nested)

  • Map

  • Form

  • Combination

Digital text considerations to be taught

  • Hypertext

  • Interactive


Evaluate and reflect

  • Main ideas and supporting details from multiple texts with the same topic and/or theme.



Hi Mary,

Thank you for posting your plan. Now that you and Jamie have broken the ice, I think we'll see others.

It looks like you’ve done a thorough job of describing what skills you’ll be teaching and identifying the standards that will be addressed. I like that for vocabulary you are targeting words that students will need to know to successfully find and talk about main ideas.  You mention fictional text in your description and I was wondering if you have a particular text in mind or what resources you use to find texts for your students to work with? Do you or your students choose the texts that get used?



I am currently using this unit plan. It is based on the GED(R) Testing Service's Assessment Targets and the textbooks I have in class. I constantly weigh (anguish over) the use of textbooks vs/and/or the use of student-driven/high-interest reads. I prefer to have photocopied material that students show or have shown interest in so students can manipulate the copy by highlighting, annotating, drawing representations, etc. To answer your question, I make use of several resources I have purchased; they include lessons and texts for students to read. I have purchased and use sets of high-interest reads, and I make use of the textbook. For this particular unit, I use nonfiction texts (I need to fix that in my unit). 

Considering andragogical principles, I am truly drawn to students choosing their reads/topics. However, I have been unsuccessful thus far in attaining that goal. I would like to discuss my specific circumstances and gather ideas regarding the planning process when students drive the text selection process.  

Hi Mary,

I appreciate your attention to andragogical principles. First I want to address your goal of more student choice in reading materials. There are a few places that offer free books or articles for students at appropriate levels, both fiction and non-fiction. We’re going to talk more about texts in next week’s discussion so I’ll include those resources.

Next, if we think about the PIAAC unit template (found at the link Leecy gave us at http://learnresources.org/guidetoliteracy.htm) you have already thought about and can start to fill in the sections for Skill (main idea and details) and Texts (non-fiction).  See APPENDIX G for other things to think about.

At the top of page 23 of the PIAAC Guide, there is an option 2, which I think is the direction your plan is taking. Option 2 is starting with the skill, then thinking about what real life task the students might use the skill for.  For example, if each student researched a weather-related phenomenon (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) and was expected to share that information with the class, they would need to identify the main idea and detail of the texts they read. They would go through the process for EACH article and then synthesize the information, creating their own main ideas and details, maybe in a poster, Powerpoint, prezi, or blog.

So I think your next step is to figure out what your Context and Task is in which students will be working on the important skill of finding main idea and details. You can go in the direction of weather--I took it from one of the examples on your plan--or choose something else. Does that make sense?

I hope others of our group add to this with other examples.



Hi Mary, 

I share your struggle with getting students to read. This concept of 'high interest' text is so difficult to address when students have little experience or interest in reading to begin with. Recently, I switched from stories to song lyrics and have been successful. I can teach figurative languge, subject, tone, and so many other elements. Then, I can draw the students into articles about their favorite singers, and we can talk about context. 

Have you ever worked with song lyrics? 

Hi Mary, 

I share your struggle with getting students to read. This concept of 'high interest' text is so difficult to address when students have little experience or interest in reading to begin with. Recently, I switched from stories to song lyrics and have been successful. I can teach figurative languge, subject, tone, and so many other elements. Then, I can draw the students into articles about their favorite singers, and we can talk about context. 

Have you ever worked with song lyrics? 

As I have been working on my activity outline draft, I have had a thought that continues to come up. In my educational world, I am very used to coming up with activities that contain many of the elements of good lesson design in a way that is very similar to how a stand up comedian does his or her work. In stand up or improv comedy, the comedian prepares by organizing key points (jokes), how they are related to each other, and even plans for how to shuffle up the order to best adjust to changes in any perceived flow that the crowd may introduce. It is well known what the key jokes are, multiple possible pathways, and means of assessing the crowd after each joke to best determine how to tie in the remaining jokes. Sometimes jokes even need to be removed and other stock jokes brought in that better fit the needs of the crowd or to individual reactions (heckling). 

When one is used to constantly adjusting to individual interactions, how does one capture those plans in more formal lesson formats? If one thinks about student actions and the possible flows from action to action, is it possible/acceptable to start with the activity flow and options and work backwards to the more formal pigeon-hole, fill in the blank formats? 

As an example: I have in mind the types of text I would use to help learners explore, learn and process, but I may not have the specific texts found at this time. Of course one may say, "Ed, just do that now then." I could of course do this, but my typical interaction with students is to present the overall goal and process we will go through and then I individually work with each student to choose appropriate text based on what I know of the individual, their current reading levels and personal experiences. This means that the collective materials used can vary greatly even with the same lesson with different classes. An aspiring lumberjack will likely benefit from a different text collection than an aspiring architect in the class. I am not sure how to document that. In teacher-centric classrooms it is quite easy to pick specific texts and say everyone will do ....I struggle with how more student-centric, individualized classrooms document the lesson plan specifics or even unit outlines? 

I guess another question comes to mind even as I try to organize the thoughts above. If the focus is on individuals improving skills to survive in environments the individual is likely to experience or has interest in, my focus is on trying to make the activities and products as close to real life as possible in context of the individual's goals and experiences. Is it wrong to have that focus and then during the assessment and reflection, the learner and I check off the appropriate target skills we hit? We can then look at skills we did not hit and may even extend the current activity to include elements that make sense. Sometimes, some skills that were intended just do not fit the current individual experience so that student will need to include that in a later activity choice. 

I am not in any way suggesting people should teach this way, but I am curious how someone that is used to this type of teaching environment documents parts of the unit outlines that were specifically designed for a fixed singular activity in which all students are basically doing the same function in a similar way. Maybe it would be better if I just share what I have so far and have people help me kick it back into shape? 



I'm looking forward to reading responses to your thread as I'm very interested in learning how texts are brought into the classroom. Also, I'm looking forward to seeing your unit plan based upon the various students' interests and the varied texts/strategies you are teaching. Thank you for sharing your approach to planning. 

Hi, Ed. If I'm reading you correctly, your comments ask questions about differentiating instruction in the process of implementing a plan. You are right that ideally, we teach students and not content. :) That's the bottom line. However, a formal plan need not be restrictive; it should be helpful. In my view, the development of a "more formal" lesson offers two benefits. The first is that the instructor develops an awareness of well-researched practices that promise success among learners. That can become second-nature in developing future instruction. The second benefit is that a formal plan offers a dependable framework or foundation that can then be adapted and expanded as instruction takes place, as you would like the freedom to do! 

Keep in mind that in our process here, you are not being encouraged to develop a formal plan but a Unit Outline that demonstrates how the PIAAC framework can be effectively applied. Hopefully, you and others who use your ideas will then flesh out the outline to meet individual student needs and to provide the differentiation that each desires.

You asked, "Is it wrong to have that focus and then during the assessment and reflection, the learner and I check off the appropriate target skills we hit?" Perfect! Not "wrong" but "recommended!" However, it's important as a teacher to have some idea, going into a unit, of skills to target. That's why I like "objectives" that are clearly measurable so the teacher and students can keep track and review accordingly.

Finally, regarding texts, for this process in this Circle, I would suggest you provide sample readings that meet PIAAC guidelines. Instruction, as you know, is always a work in progress.You and others will very likely change those references or examples when the outline is fleshed out and implemented in far more detail.

What think? What do others think? Leecy 

I have found that one trick that allows for individual students to have choice is to frame the unit topic broadly and then allow students choice in the specific sub-topics and texts they read in pursuing the culminating project. This is easier at the upper levels, especially if/when students have access to the Internet and can find their own texts (and are regularly instructed in assessing the quality of material).

Here's an example: One way of approaching Current Issues (a common topic) is that everyone studies the same current issue (a hot topic in the news), using the same set of skills. Everybody reads the same texts, the same way, to complete the same project. Another approach, though, is that the teacher introduces the theme of the unit and why it’s important to study (or asks them). She explains (or they decide) that the end product will be that everyone (or small groups) will research a current issue and will present on it to the class, addressing certain questions (e.g., Why is this important to the community/state/world? How did it come to be important (what started it)? etc.).  The teacher uses one current issue as an anchor issue—one she’ll use throughout the unit as a model for skill lessons. The class brainstorms other current issues, students choose their own to focus on individually or in groups, and they bring in at least three articles to do their project work (or, maybe the teacher has decided there’s not time for all of this, pre-identifies 3-4 topics/texts, and students “sign up” for which current issue they want).

What this means is that the students will read texts related to the teacher’s anchor issue for the explicit instruction around the targeted skills/strategies they need related to task and required perhaps by the CCRS. Then, as they are moving toward independence, they will apply those same skills/strategies with the texts they read related to their own current issue. Then the teacher will show them how to synthesize that information (if needed) for their final project.

That’s just one example. There are other examples of appropriately framing a broad enough topic to allow for individual choice. Doing so can accomplish a couple of goals, as I see it: engaging students, accommodating different reading levels, and expanding the learning of the group as students share what they have learned.

Amy and others, what you share is a great action plan in which you lay out the end goals, the framework and then allow students to pick and choose to get to the desired learning outcomes. When I take that idea/model of teaching and then look at our unit outline template and see the text area, I start getting anxiety as to what to put in there. Should I just list a ton of text materials I suggest may be used? It seems that if I just leave it blank or leave it as "individual choice" then I may have a great idea of what I would do, but other teachers picking up this unit would be very confused as to what specific types of reading the students would/could experience. 

The more I think about flexible student centric models of individualizing instruction (not just differentiating), the more I think documentation really can only share the set up, possible materials available, end goals and how those are assessed, and some possible flows that may make sense. Perhaps that is all the template is asking for and it is just in a different format ? Interpretations and perspectives welcome :) Please keep in mind that I am very fluent in reporting and creating these documents for teacher centric environments, but I have always struggled on documentation in an environment where individual focus dictates materials used while everyone is moving towards a common product goal. Especially because different individuals may have that end product being evaluated on different criteria based on their learning needs (Standards needed). 

This has been a challenge of mine for the last 5-10 years as I have worked to really move my practice away from teacher centric models to dive in deep into the student centric models. On the teaching and learning end, I have experience wonderful successes both personally and my students are finding more success. To encapsulate those experiences on paper, even just to describe it here, is a struggle. I am curious if the framework and experiences in literary circles allows for student centric models easily or if there are exemplars I may be directed to so I may better understand how to encapsulate the unit(s) I have fleshed out in to address the PIAAC needs? If not, I can certainly slap together a teacher centric model for discussion, but it will not be as authentic an experience for me in my current practice. 

Ed, good questions--I would think about what my Context and Unit Task were and what kind of text students will be reading. Without knowing these, it's hard to provide more specific guidance, but let's go back to the Current Issues idea I was using as an example in my last post. Even though each students/group would be choosing their own current issue and readings, I would suspect that they would read Internet articles to find their information--or make that part of the expectations. I would make a note of that in the TEXTS cell. Then, looking at APPENDIX G, I would note that for medium, students would be reading "print-based" texts, for format "continuous" and "multiple" seem relevant (since they'll be pulling information together from over multiple articles), for rhetorical stance I'd need to decide probably between "exposition" or "argument" (what is the focus of the reading and their presentation). If students will be finding texts themselves, I may also need to think about digital text considerations. So, even if students are finding their own texts--or you're providing text around a specified sub-topic--they/you would be doing so in a bounded way. We call this "managed choice" :). Thinking about text in this way should help you think more clearly about your Unit Task (e.g., are students just to explain the issue, its causes, current status [expositions] or take a side and defend it [argument]) and start to identify the skills that you may need to teach.

As for titles of specific texts, you might offer links to 2-3 texts teachers could use for their skill lessons, around their anchor issue. In this specific example, Current Issues can be time- and place- sensitive so linking to current articles may not be very helpful.