ELA Unit Launches

Optimize Prep Time with Unit Launches

Immerse yourself in new unit content to better understand the texts, themes, and standards you’ll be teaching. Videos, targeted reading, and opportunities for action planning help structure and expedite your intellectual preparation process.

What is Intellectual Preparation?

Intellectual preparation is a process where teachers build their knowledge of curricular content and combine it with their firsthand knowledge of their students. Fishtank Unit Launches support both elements:

  1. Providing resources to help teachers build a deep understanding of core text complexity, unit essential questions and standards, and the expectations for the unit content assessments
  2. Prompting teachers to consider the unique perspectives, strengths, and areas for growth that will affect how your students engage with the unit content

When teachers are intellectually prepared, they are equipped to make instructional decisions that support success for all students.

What's Inside a Fishtank ELA Unit Launch?

Fishtank ELA Unit Launches are mini, on-demand professional learning opportunities that individual teachers or grade-level teams can use to facilitate their intellectual preparation of a unit. Each section contains a combination of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for reflection and action planning to engage teachers in this process.

Understanding the Text

In this section, teachers build their understanding of how students might experience the core text(s) based on the interconnected aspects of text complexity: text structure, language, knowledge demands, meaning/purpose.

Some grade levels share this information through a short video, while others offer an interactive matrix for teachers to review. With this foundation, teachers can reflect and action plan on how to offer equitable access to the text for all students in ways that support literacy instruction and cultural responsiveness.

Unit Essential Content

Fishtank ELA units provide students with content knowledge that helps them understand the world and prepares them to participate and affect change in their communities. This includes both learning about historical and scientific concepts, and building knowledge that develops self-awareness and agency. 

In this section, teachers build their understanding of the key content knowledge of the unit prior to teaching, to ensure that students internalize the key content knowledge by the end of the unit.

Key Standards

While students engage authentically with a unit’s texts and content, they also gain proficiency in select grade-level Common Core State Standards. In each unit, students interact with multiple standards, often at the same time, to build meaning of the text. 

In the Unit Launch, teachers unpack key standards or understandings from the unit, and consider how the standard will inform or support students' work with the texts and tasks across the unit.

Ensuring Mastery

Each Fishtank ELA unit is accompanied by a Unit Assessment, created to gauge student mastery of unit content knowledge and standards at the end of the unit.

In this section, we ask teachers to step into the students' shoes by taking the Unit Assessment and then reflecting on what students are working towards throughout the unit and what a vision for exemplary work should be.

Using Unit Launches as a Team

Leverage Team Insights and Coaching Feedback

Each Unit Launch includes prompts for synthesis, reflection, and action planning. When a school uses Fishtank Plus as a team, saved responses can be shared with teammates and leaders. Team leaders can also review and provide feedback on teacher responses within the Fishtank plaform.

Unlock Unit Launches

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For Individual Teachers


Per Course

Based on School Size

Fishtank Plus school site licenses offer unlimited subscriptions for teachers and staff, as well as support for implementing the curriculum.


Per Course

Annual Subscription

Fishtank Plus subscriptions are valid for 12 months from the purchase date, and auto-renew annually.

Dive Deeper into Intellectual Prep

From the Fishtank Blog

The Power of Intellectual Prep

Get the most out of your instructional time by deeply understanding content and how your students will interact with it through intellectual prep. 

Teacher Feedback


“Internalizing the content through the Unit Launch makes a tremendous difference in my ability to effectively teach my students and prepare them for eventual mastery of the material and standards. I am so appreciative of all the thought that went into this section!”

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