Fishtank ELA

Fishtank ELA units—incorporating social studies and science topics—are built tightly around the texts students read. Lessons are student- and text-centered, with rich discussion at their heart. Students are expected to be prepared and on task, and to take responsibility for their own learning and that of their classmates. Teachers are provided with the intellectual preparation they need to guide student learning, including making sure teachers themselves understand the readings before they lead instruction. While the unit lessons in Fishtank are free, Fishtank Plus offers extra teacher and student supports through a subscription model.

Rich, rigorous, diverse texts:

How Fishtank ELA designs for:

Deep knowledge-building

Fishtank ELA units place a premium on diverse texts and topics that appeal to students’ natural curiosity about the world. Students see themselves in stories and characters while also learning about other cultures, experiences, and perspectives. For example, in Fishtank ELA’s grade 5 course, students read about plastic pollution, learn about the migrant farm workers movement, and explore the civil rights movement from the perspective of those who lived through it. Each core text on these topics is surrounded by shorter articles to create context and deepen knowledge.

Lessons are a lively mix of individual thinking and writing, partnered and small-group discussion, and full classwork. Daily writing is connected to the reading and the big ideas of each topic with longer periodic assignments to help students synthesize learning. Close examinations of several high-value words are part of every lesson.

Systematic foundational skills and fluency

Fishtank does not have a foundational skills program but works with clients to identify a research-based program that will integrate well into the K–2 ELA lessons. Grade-level fluency work is a regular part of lessons throughout the grades, with passages that skillfully connect to the topics students are studying.

Equitable access to challenging texts

Questions and tasks focus closely on what the texts can teach the reader. Lessons demand a good deal of student participation. They are built on social learning while expecting all students to take responsibility for their own. Through these processes, students develop self-awareness, a focus on their role in the world, and the power to direct their own learning.

Topics of study

Learning and exhibiting deep knowledge

Access Fishtank ELA

Fishtank ELA was developed by the nonprofit Fishtank Learning, which makes the materials openly available on its website. More resources and professional learning are available for a fee from Fishtank Plus.

Fishtank ELA in districts