Alignment

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

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Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

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Meets Expectations
Partially Meets Expectations
Does not Meet Expectations
Usability

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Meets Expectations
Partially Meets Expectations
Does not Meet Expectations

Alignment

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment. The materials include include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Students have opportunities to build skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and they integrate language work throughout. Texts include a balance of genres and are appropriately rigorous and complex for Grade 6 students. Most tasks and questions are grounded in evidence. Materials address foundational skills where appropriate to support students' building their reading abilities to comprehend increasingly complex texts over the course of the school year. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized around a topic. Vocabulary is addressed in each module, though academic vocabulary is not built across multiple texts. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. Writing instruction includes a year-long plan to support students' skills in on-demand and process writing. Modules are developed to support and build knowledge, integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening to demonstrate grade-level literacy proficiency at the end of the school year.

GATEWAY ONE

Text Quality and Alignment to the Standards

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Most tasks and questions are grounded in evidence. The instructional materials include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Materials address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading. Materials also provide opportunity to increase oral and silent reading fluency across the grade level. Overall, appropriately complex grade-level texts are are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language to build foundational skills and strengthen literacy skills.

Criterion 1a-1f

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Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are rigorous and of quality, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.

The instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity. Central texts are of publishable quality and address topics of interests to Grade 6 students. Texts are at an appropriate level of rigor and complexity and include a balance of types to support Grade 6 students. The instructional materials include a text complexity analysis with rubrics and rationales for their purposes and placement. The materials support students increasing literacy skills over the year and provide students with many opportunities to engage in a range and volume of reading throughout each unit and module through anchor texts, supporting texts, and leveled libraries.

4/4
Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. The anchor texts consider a range of student interests. The eight anchor texts, and sixteen supporting texts students read across the school year are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. The texts integrate content areas that align to the social studies and science content standards of 6th grade. They include relatable characters and consider a range of student interests in topics such as ancient civilizations, disasters, wartime experiences, space, and technology. Each unit consists of two trade books, one to two supplemental texts, and there are 60 leveled readers available in the 6th grade materials. In addition, there are 60 leveled texts that are accessible online and that correlate to topics and themes being covered in corresponding units. Texts are examined multiple times, for multiple tasks, including essential understandings and big ideas, building of academic and content-specific vocabulary, facilitating research using multiple sources, and facilitating access to similar texts. Texts are engaging, build knowledge, and assist independent grade-level reading achievement.

Unit 1 Theme: Treasuring History

  • Unit 1, Module A Anchor Text: The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder is a Newbery Honor Award winner. This literary text is engaging to students with relatable characters and a story that begins with an imaginative game that leads to mysterious happenings. Careful, close reading of this text through analyzing point of view, word choice, and dialogue, citing text evidence to support inferences, and summarizing key events make the text worthy of students’ time and attention.
  • Unit 1, Module B Anchor Text: The Ancient Maya by Jenny Fretland VanVoorst is from the Exploring the Ancient World Collection. This is an informational text selection. This text provides a broad overview of the civilization in an engaging format for students. It is organized into five chapters with the following topics: The World of the Maya, A Well-Ordered Universe, Intellectual Achievements, Daily Life, and Decline and Fall. Full-color illustrations, photographs of sites and artifacts, and maps add support as students work on skills such as determining central idea, analyzing key details, integrating information, comparing ideas across texts, summarizing, and comparing and contrasting topics and themes.

Unit 2 Theme: Exploring Earth and Its Forces

  • Unit 2, Module A Anchor Text: Ocean Storm Alert! by Carrie Gleason is fascinating to students as it explores how whirlpools, tsunamis, and tidal waves begin and how they affect people living in areas where these natural disasters can occur. The book suggests ways to survive these phenomena and even explains a proper emergency disaster kit. In close reading of this text, students will cite evidence to support claims; compare and contrast to evaluate information; analyze word choice, language, examples, text and visual features, and central ideas; and analyze how authors engage readers.
  • Unit 2, Module B Anchor Text: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, published in 1864, is a classic science fiction novel. With its fantastic journey to the center of the earth with adventures along the way, it's highly engaging to students. Students read and analyze the full novel, reading closely to analyze key story elements, conflicts, plot development and word choice. Students determine the author’s purpose and analyze story elements such as climax and resolution.

Unit 3 Theme: Defining Courage and Freedom

  • Unit 3, Module A Anchor Text: The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape by Margaret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden is an informational text about a daring escape by the authors of the Curious George books, a familiar series of books for many students. Illustrations by Alan Drummond and photographs add support to the text and further draw students into the story. Students work on close reading skills such as drawing inferences, determining meaning of technical language, determining point of view, comparing and contrasting texts, and analyzing key events.
  • Unit 3, Module B Anchor Text: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is the 2002 Newbery Award winner. This novel, about a twelve-year-old boy in 12th Century Korea who must overcome obstacles to achieve his dream, is very relatable for students at this grade level. Close reading tasks for this novel include supporting analysis of characters with text evidence, describing how characters and plot develop, summarizing, comparing and contrasting events and central ideas, and explaining point of view.

Unit 4 Theme : Innovating for the Future

  • Unit 4, Module A Anchor Text: Titans of Business: Steve Jobs by Nick Hunter focuses on how Steve Jobs became successful through development of technology. Students who are familiar with Apple products may find this book engaging. Full-color photographs add support to the text throughout the book. Students engage in close reading of this text through analyzing author’s purpose and use of text and visual features, summarize with detail, analyze strength of an author’s claim, evaluate causes and effects, connect central idea and elaboration, and use text evidence to compare and contrast.
  • Unit 4, Module B Anchor Text: George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy and Stephen Hawking is a literary text that takes students on a cosmic journey complete with essays from Stephen Hawking. Black and white illustrations are engaging and add to understanding of the text. Students closely read this text through analyzing text structure, language and word choice, and text elements, examining test structure and plot, determining central ideas, and analyzing scientific language across texts.
4/4
Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. There is an overall balance of informational and literary texts within the anchor and supporting texts. In addition, the leveled and close reading texts also reflect this balance. Each of the four units contains two anchor texts: one literary and one informational. There are 16 supporting texts of which ten are informational and six are literary. The close reading and leveled texts include a balance of literary and informational texts and are primarily centered around science and social studies topics. There are also poems, a play, a speech, and primary source resources such as the Bill of Rights.

Examples representing the balance of text types and genres include the following:

Unit 1

  • Anchor: The Egypt Game (literary, realistic fiction)
  • Supporting: You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra (informational)
  • Supporting: Calliope’s History Mystery (literary, realistic fiction)
  • Anchor: The Ancient Maya (informational)
  • Supporting: Macchu Picchu (informational)
  • Supporting: Quetzalcoatl and the Maize (literary, Aztec myth)

Unit 2

  • Anchor: Ocean Storm Alert (informational)
  • Supporting: Waves: Energy on the Move (informational)
  • Supporting: Science Fair Showdown (literary, realistic fiction)
  • Anchor: Journey to the Center of the Earth (literary, science fiction)
  • Supporting: The Monster in the Mountain (literary, fantasy)
  • Supporting: Galveston Journal: September 1900 (literary, historical fiction)
  • Supporting:The Wind (literary, poem)
  • Supporting: Wilderness Medic (literary, realistic fiction)

Unit 3

  • Anchor: The Journey that Saved Curious George (informational, narrative non-fiction)
  • Supporting: The Invisible Thread (informational, autobiography)
  • Supporting: Stories of Courage (informational, biography)
  • Anchor: A Single Shard (literary, historical fiction)
  • Supporting: Nelson Mandela (informational, biography)
  • Supporting: No Vacancy (literary, drama)
  • Supporting: A New Home for Kabunda (literary, realistic fiction)
  • Supporting: The Hat Man (literary, realistic fiction)
  • Supporting: Eulogy for Dr. Dorothy Height (literary, speech)

Unit 4

  • Anchor: Steve Jobs (informational, biography)
  • Supporting: No Easy Answers: Our Digital World (informational)
  • Supporting: Gadgets and Games (informational)
  • Anchor: George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt (literary,science fiction)
  • Supporting: A Bright Idea (informational)
  • Supporting: What is Coding Anyway? (informational)
  • Supporting: Getting Comfortable (literary, realistic fiction)

There are also 60 leveled readers reflecting the distribution of genres.

4/4
Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for the appropriate level of text complexity according to quantitative and qualitative analyses and relationship to their associated student task. Anchor texts are placed at appropriate grade level according to the standards, which state in part that “by the end of Grade 6, students read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems in the Grade 6-8 complexity band proficiently (Lexile level 955-1155), with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.” When anchor texts fall below the grade level's recommended Lexile measure, the qualitative measures and associated student tasks meet the standards for rigor.

The materials include quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task information in the teacher resources section. Most texts are aligned to the complexity requirements outlined in the Common Core Standards with text complexity rubrics appearing at the back of each of the four units in the Teacher's Guide. The Implementation Guide provides Lexile Levels for each anchor text and supporting task, as well as information about each module’s Performance Based Assessment.

The leveled readers are content and unit specific. There are 60 leveled readers in all, with a Lexile level range of 900-1070. They contain a mix of literary and informational texts, as well as a variety of genres. The close reading passages in Sleuth are meant for close reading support and extension activities and range in Lexile level from 950-1170. Suggestions for tasks are found in teacher resources under leveled reader routines, as well as in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook.

Examples of text that are within the Lexile Band and of appropriate complexity:

  • Unit 1, Module A, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder 1010L (Literary): This text demands familiarity with ancient Egypt. It has the complex theme of feeling accepted, and symbolic items such as Egyptian gods and artifacts. Some challenging, domain-specific vocabulary is present.
  • Unit 1, Module B, The Ancient Maya by Jennifer Fretland VanVoorst 990L (Informational): This is a challenging informational text about the ancient Maya civilization. It is divided into chapters with graphics support. Knowledge demands include familiarity with ancient civilizations in Mexico and Central America.
  • Unit 2, Module A, Ocean Storm Alert! by Carrie Gleason 1080L (Informational): This text includes domain-specific words that are defined in the glossary and in boldface within the reading. Knowledge demands include basic understanding of storms weather patterns, and oceans. Graphics support including photographs, charts, illustrations, diagrams and maps.
  • Unit 2, Module B, Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne 960L (Literary): This is a science fiction selection with multiple levels of meaning. The chapters are chronological, but told in retrospect. Scientific terms and archaic language are found throughout the text.
  • Unit 4, Module A, Steve Jobs by Nick Hunter 1010L (Informational): This is an accessible biography written in chronological order. Familiarity with computers and technology as well as entrepreneurship would help this text be more accessible. Domain specific vocabulary is defined throughout the text and in the glossary. Captioned photographs and other graphics are present.

Of the texts that are not within the grade-level stretch band, a qualitative feature analysis gives additional insight as to the appropriateness of their placement in the curriculum. The following examples have a Lexile below the grade-level stretch band, yet the qualitative and reader and task components make the text appropriate for Grade 6 readers.

  • Unit 3, Module A, The Journey that Saved Curious George; The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden L950 (Informational): This text falls below suggested quantitative complexity band of 955-1155L; however, the qualitative characteristics bring it into an appropriate text complexity for Grade 6. This narrative nonfiction selection includes theme and knowledge demands such as familiarity with WWII, and the effects of the Nazi invasion of Europe. Challenging vocabulary, foreign language words, illustrations and graphics help unlock the meaning.
  • Unit 3, Module B, A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park 920L (Literary): This text falls below the suggested quantitative complexity band of 955-1155L; however, the qualitative characteristics bring it into an appropriate text complexity for Grade 6. This historical fiction narrative takes place in 12th century Korea and has multiple levels of meaning: literal, symbolic, and moral. Conversational dialogue, Korean words, and challenging vocabulary add to the text complexity of this selection.
  • Unit 4, Module B, George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy and Steven Hawking 940L (Literary): This text falls below suggested quantitative complexity band of 955-1155L; the qualitative characteristics, however, bring it into an appropriate text complexity for Grade 6. The qualitative features of this text increase the complexity. It is a science fiction piece with domain-specific vocabulary, simple, compound and complex sentences, figurative language and pop culture references. Students need familiarity with the solar system. There are also essays on scientific theories interspersed throughout the chapters.

Most texts in the close reading materials (Sleuth) fall within the Lexile band outlined in the standards. The lowest quantitative measure of the closer reading materials is Eulogy for Dr. Dorothy Height 930L, and the highest is Shaping Tomorrow Through Innovation Today 1170L. Texts are qualitatively appropriate for the grade level.

4/4
Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for supporting students’ ability to access texts with increasing text complexity across the year. According to the Grade 6 standards and appendices in the CCSS-ELA, Grade 6 Lexile levels begin at 955 and end at 1055. The Lexile levels in ReadyGen increase only slightly over the course of the year; however the qualitative measures and the reader and tasks suggestions show a marked increase over the year. An analysis of the levels of meaning, structure, theme, knowledge demands, and language conventionality and clarity does show an increase in the literacy skills required of students. When looked at from the three-sided approach to text complexity of the CCSS-ELA, this material does meet the requirement for meeting the advancing literacy skills of the students.

The knowledge, structure, and language use within the texts expand through the collections. Some examples of this expanding rigor are found in the following examples:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, the anchor text is The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It is a book written in chronological order with no significant shifts in time. The chapters are titled and include illustrations. Third-person omniscient point of view allows the reader to see all sides of the story. The sentence structure includes simple, compound and complex sentences. The following are examples taken directly from the text:
    • Simple: “April shrugged.” (p.13).
    • Compound: “Her name was April Hall, but she often called herself April Dawn.” (p.11).
    • Complex: “It wasn't until she was out on the sidewalk that she remembered what Caroline had said about reporting to Mrs. Ross before she left the building.” (p.16).

Overall, the text is at an appropriate level for the beginning of the Grade 6 year.

  • In Unit 3, Module A, the anchor text is The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden. This text is written chronologically and divided into parts and sections with headings. For example, Part 1 is titled, “Two Artists.” There are then sections in Part 1 titled, “Childhoods in Germany,” “Teaming Up in Brazil,” “A Hotel in Paris,” “Books for Children,” “War Begins,” “The Winter of 1940,” “Working by the Sea,” and The Terrible Week.” Included with each section are photographs and illustrations. It is also written using unconventional text structures in that much of it is written in poetic form. The following example is from the Part 1 section entitled, “A Hotel in Paris": "The Reys’ neighborhood,/Montmartre,/was really an old village on the highest hill of the city,/with vineyards,/stray cats,/and the windmill of the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret” (Borden, page 20). This is an appropriate text for the middle of the Grade 6 year. The language is not too difficult, but the unusual text structure offers more complexity.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, the anchor text is George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. This is a conventional text divided into chapters. The book begins with a prologue that describes the main character getting ready to take off in a space shuttle. The prologue ends with George waking up and a character saying: “George! . . . George! Get up! It’s an emergency!” (Hawking, page 12). Then Chapter 1 jumps back to a time before the prologue takes place. This is more complex for the readers because the timeline is not chronological. The action of the prologue is picked up on page 90 of the book: “‘George! Get up! It’s an emergency!’ It was Annie in her pajamas.” Interspersed throughout the book are explanations of different terms or concepts discussed in the book. For example, on page 16 and 17, there are two pages devoted to explaining the planet of Venus because it is mentioned in the book on page 15: “George had shown them how to use [the computer] and had even helped them put together a very snappy virtual ad featuring a huge photo of Venus. WHO WOULD WANT TO LIVE HERE? it said in big letters.” There are also essays on scientific theories included throughout the book. These essays are written by scientists; some examples of these essays include, but are not limited to:
    • “A Voyage Across the Universe” by Professor Bernard Carr
    • “Did Life Come from Mars?” by Dr. Brandon Carter
    • “How to Find a Planet in Space” by Professor Geoff Marcy

The complexity of this book is higher than those seen in Unit 1 and Unit 3 and is appropriate for the end of the Grade 6 year.

2/2
Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. Each of four units contains a Teacher’s Resource Section.

There are Text Complexity Rubrics for each Anchor and Supporting Text. Thorough explanations for qualitative and quantitative analyses are given, as well as reader task suggestions for students at various ability levels.

Quantitative metrics are provided for each anchor text in four categories: Lexile level, average sentence length, word frequency and page or word count. Qualitative measures are provided for each anchor text and supporting text in four categories: levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and theme and knowledge demands. Metrics provided for qualitative measures are in list form. Reader and Task Suggestions are in narrative form and provide teachers with suggestions for preparing all students to read the text as well as leveled tasks. For example, the following contains the Text Complexity Rubric for the supporting text Steve Jobs (Unit 4, Module A):

  • Quantitative Measures
    • Lexile 1010L
    • Average Sentence Length: 14.93
    • Word Frequency: 3.45
    • Page Count: 48
  • Qualitative Measures
    • Levels of Meaning: accessible biography (founder and CEO of Apple)
    • Structure: typical chronological order of a biography divided into chapter and subheads; text is supplemented by captioned photographs, sidebars, map, glossary, additional resources and index.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: domain specific vocabulary mostly in boldface and defined in the glossary; combination of simple, compound and complex sentences.
    • Theme and Knowledge Demands: familiarity with computers and technological innovations, entrepreneurship.
  • Reader and Task Suggestions
    • Preparing to Read the Text: Before reading, work with students to brainstorm types of text features and their purposes. After brainstorming, have students flip through Steve Jobs to identify text features that are included in the book.
    • Leveled Tasks: After reading, have students choose one technological innovation that Steve Jobs worked to develop and create a T-chart to identify the benefits and challenges of the innovation. Once their charts are complete, have students share their ideas in small groups.

At the beginning of each module teachers are provided with Lexile and genre information about the upcoming text set. Lexile and genres are listed for anchor and supporting texts. Lexiles are also provided for Sleuth Close Reading passages and the Leveled Text Library. The Scaffolded Strategies Handbook contains qualitative factors of text complexity for each selection.

2/2
Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that instructional materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading, with supports to build students’ comprehension of grade-level texts to achieve grade level reading.

Materials reviewed provide explicit and systematic practice in both oral and silent reading across modules, units, and the year. Materials identified to build fluency include a range to engage and support students as they grow as readers independently across the grade level. The Grade 6 reading materials include four units, each containing two modules. Within each module is an anchor text, two supporting texts, and a magazine style reading guide that contains two more stories. Additionally, this curriculum also has a leveled text library with multiple supporting texts.

Teacher’s Guides include Independent Reading Activity Logs and Teacher Quick Checks for teachers and students to monitor progress toward grade-level fluency goals. After first read of anchor or supporting text, students then read with teacher, or read independently. The Teacher’s Resource Section of the Teacher’s Guide contains Instructional Routines to employ throughout the year for read-aloud, shared and independent reading, as well as text club routines. The materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading. Anchor texts, supplemental texts, Sleuth texts, and leveled readers provide a range of genres including but not limited to, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, myths, science fiction, and biographies. Each unit contains trade books, including literary novels and informational texts. An e-text library is provided which includes a database of leveled readers that may be searched by Lexile, guided reading, DRA, and reading maturity matrix. Teachers may also search by grade level, language, comprehension skill, text features, genre, and content area.

The Implementation Guide provides a framework of desired reading instructional practices, routines and research. Each module consists of an anchor text, supporting texts, close reading selections, and leveled readers in a variety of levels and genres. These text sets are the center of instruction and are worthy of close reading and rereading.

Each lesson begins with a focused close read activity, then there is a reading and language analysis that delivers focused comprehension instruction. This is followed by focused, independent reading during which students apply the day’s learning to a text that is appropriate to their independent reading level. Various options for self monitoring and formative assessments are present. Students have opportunities to digitally complete independent reading activities, which they can share with their teacher. Daily lessons include a variety of oral and silent reading. Small groups focus on processes such as engagement and identity, stamina, or independence and strategies such as vocabulary knowledge, fluency, critical thinking, or comprehension. Students build accountability through self-selected texts for independent reading.

Support for developing readers is found in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook, Implementation Guide, and throughout the Teacher's Guide. Most lessons have a Scaffolded Instruction strategy as well as a Quick Check to monitor progress, offering teachers support in helping guide students who are struggling.

The student can also self monitor their progress through focused process and strategy focus lessons provided in the Teacher's Guide. For example, from Unit 1, Module A in the Teacher's Guide states, “Process Focus - Have students record their reading in a Daily Reading Log. Students should describe why the author, topic, characters, or genre they selected is their favorite, write whether they are enjoying the book, and why, and note the title, author, and pages they read. Strategy Focus - Have students review with you their graphic organizer. Ask them to explain text evidence they chose and encourage them to make inferences based on what they know about the character’s perspective.”

Teachers are encouraged to conference each day with two or three students to discuss self-selected texts and support their reading. In the Teacher Resource section, an Independent Reading Continuum chart shows a progression of the essential elements of independent reading in the elementary grades. This chart describes strategies and processes that students practice when engaged in purposeful, self-selected reading. Teachers can use this chart to help gauge how well students apply what they learn in the whole class reading lessons to texts of their own choosing.

Sidebars in the Teacher's Guide offer suggestions for oral fluency quick checks, as well as rudimentary follow-up strategies. For example, in Unit 1, Module A, “Explain to students that reading with accuracy means reading all the words in a text without making mistakes. Have students follow along as you read aloud the first paragraph of page 22 of The Egypt Game. Explain that skipping, adding, or mispronouncing words can change a text’s meaning. Have students continue with the next paragraph taking turns reading aloud with accuracy. If students are mispronouncing words, have them practice several times before reading aloud. If students are skipping words, have them slow down and be careful.”

The Scaffolding Strategies Handbook provides extensive scaffolded reading lessons to help struggling learners access anchor and supporting texts. Each lesson in the module has a companion lesson for struggling readers that is divided into three sections. Prepare to Read serves to activate background knowledge and vocabulary. Interact with Text provides a focused close read lesson, and Express and Extend offers multiple pathways to allow students to react to text through discussion and writing.

Criterion 1g-1n

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Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and build towards culminating tasks to integrate skills. The instructional materials provide multiple opportunities for evidence-based discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and support student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. The materials include frequent opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Materials meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Materials reviewed provide many tasks and opportunities for evidence-based discussions and writing using evidence from texts to build strong literacy skills.

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Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Explicit question examples include:

  • "On page 36, we learned that ‘With Melanie, April was herself.’ What details does Melanie use to describe her friend?” (Unit 1, Module A, Lesson 2)
  • “Summarize the central idea of each text. Compare and contrast how these ideas are illustrated within the texts.” (Unit 3, Module A, Lesson 10)

Implicit question examples include:

  • "Crane-Man says, ‘Scholars read the great words of the world. But you and I must learn to read the world itself.’ What does he mean?” (Unit 3, Module B, Lesson 1)
  • "Based on these details, what do you learn about the author’s point of view regarding Jobs?” (Unit 4, Module A, Lesson 1)

Many lessons have a Reading Analysis section in which students are working toward a specific standard and engaging in either independent work or small group work to complete a task involving the text. The majority of lessons have a turn and talk after the students read, which requires the students to discuss something from the text. Some of the questions are about the text itself while some are questions that focus on author’s craft, but the majority of them require students to engage with the text.

  • In Unit 4, Module A, Lesson 1, students are learning about author’s purpose and point of view. The question they are asked is “Reread ‘Risking Failure’ on page 9. What do you think we will learn about Jobs based on this? How might this detail support the author’s purpose?”

All lessons have a Close Reading section that includes three to four text-dependent questions.

  • For example, “What does the table of contents tell you about the author’s purpose for writing this text?” (Unit 24, Module A, Lesson 6)

Additional materials that support students engaging with the text include:

  • The Sleuth materials (Close Reading Texts) contain a Gather Evidence section which requires students to find evidence from the text to support their answers.
  • The Reader's and Writer's Notebook provides evidence-based questions.
  • The Baseline Assessment includes evidence-based questions.
  • The Reader/Writer Journal asks students to answer text-dependent questions in writing for each lesson.
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Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for the indicator by providing sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks that build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination). Culminating tasks are supported by coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks. The culminating tasks are also rich and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do using a variety of platforms (i.e., reading, speaking, writing, etc.) The Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) are text driven or text dependent.

Examples of performance-based assessment culminating tasks built by high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions include:

  • In the Unit 3, Module A, PBA: In “Write a Biography,” students use The Journey that Saved Curious George, The Invisible Thread, Stories of Courage, and additional research to write a biography about someone who exhibited courage. Lessons and text-dependent questions leading to this PBA prepare students to understand how writers write about a person’s life.
    • “How does the repetition between the two chapters help the author elaborate on the key event of Japanese evacuation?” (Unit 3, Module A, Lesson 6)
    • “One way an author introduces and elaborates is through text structure or organization. In this case, clue words such as influence and response suggest a cause-and-effect text structure. How does the author use this structure to introduce Yousafzai?” (Unit 3, Module A, Lesson 13)
  • In the Unit 3, Module B, PBA: In “Write a Critical Review,” students reflect on A Single Shard, Nelson Mandela, and “No Vacancy,” then choose which text best conveys courage and freedom. Students write a critical review, constructing an argument and supporting their claim with clear reasons and relevant text evidence. In preparation for this task, students prepare with lessons and text-dependent questions leading to how readers create an objective summary of a text, and how writers support an argument with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • “Summarize the conflict Raymond faces. What are the barriers facing Raymond and Coach Lovshin, and in what ways are these barriers similar?” (Unit 3, Module B, Lesson 10)
    • “President Obama says that Dr. Height deserves a place in the history books, Do you agree with him? Use text evidence to support your opinion.” (Unit 3 Module B Lesson 13)
  • In the Unit 4, Module A, PBA: In “Write an Argument,” using what they have read in Steve Jobs and Gadgets and Games as well as additional research, students state a claim about what they believe to be the most valuable innovation. Students construct an argument and support their claim with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Prior to this PBA there are lessons and text-dependent questions leading to knowledge of how readers analyze the ways authors introduce and elaborate on individuals, events and ideas, and how writers assess the credibility of sources.
    • “President Obama says that Dr. Height deserves a place in the history books, Do you agree with him? Use text evidence to support your opinion.” (Unit 3, Module B, Lesson 13)
    • “On page 41, why did the author choose to quote Barack Obama’s tribute to Steve Jobs? (Unit 4, Module A, Lesson 5)
    • “Explain whether the author provides convincing evidence to support his claim that artists are adequately compensated for streaming music.” (Unit 4, Module A, Lesson 7)
    • “Compare how the two authors have elaborated on their main points in order to support their purposes for writing.” (Unit 4, Module A, Lesson 10)
  • In the Unit 4, Module B, PBA: In “Write an Informational Brochure,” students choose and research one of the topics they read about in George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, A Bright Idea, or What is Coding, Anyway? Students present their research in the form of a brochure. Lessons and questions leading to this PBA facilitate student understanding of how readers analyze the structure of a text to increase their comprehension, and how writers create an engaging informational brochure.
    • “How does the author use The User’s Guide to the Universe selections and the special science sections in these chapters to help readers comprehend the text?” (Unit 4, Module B, Lesson 7)
    • “An author will often include graphics in the structure of a text. How did a photo or diagram in this text help increase your comprehension of the text?” (Unit 4, Module B, Lesson 14)
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Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners, small groups, and large groups to practice application of academic vocabulary and syntax and to build communication and presentation skills.

Opportunities for discussion include:

  • In Unit 3, Module A, Lesson 10 students turn to their partners and discuss, “Where in the Invisible Thread does the author make direct references to the U.S. Constitution? Which amendment from the Bill of Rights does the author cite?” This discussion question requires students to use the text, making it both text specific and text dependent.
  • In the Unit 1, Module A, research center activities (optional centers), students research and discuss in groups why it is important for people today to learn about the past using evidence from the anchor text and supplementary resources.
  • During the close read (available for each lesson), teachers are prompted to have students answer evidence discussion questions to guide the whole class into using text evidence to support answers and claims. Every lesson contains a close reading structure with a teacher prompt stating, “Engage the class in a discussion about…” Text dependent questions are then presented to guide the discussion.

Examples of protocols for discussions include:

  • In the back of each Teacher's Guide, guidelines and directions are given for discussion with Partners, Think-Pair-Share, Small Group and Whole Class Discussions.
    • Think-Pair-Share instruction example: “Spend a few moments finding evidence in the text that will support your response to a question, then get together with a partner and prepare to present your answer to whole class.”
    • Small Group routine example: Each person in the group has a distinct job. For example, the Fact Checker confirms or clarifies text evidence. The teacher is instructed to model protocols and provide students with group frames, “I don’t agree with you because the text says …” Text Clubs also have distinct roles within the group. For example, the Discussion Leader keeps everyone on task, the Word Wizard defines unfamiliar vocabulary, the Summarizer writes a short summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments and the investigator researches information about the text, author, topic, theme, or genre.

Examples of use of Academic Vocabulary and Syntax include:

  • Support for syntax instruction for anchor texts is provided in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook in the “Talk About Sentences” section. For example, in Unit 2, Module A, Ocean Storm Alert, the handbook states, “For students who need support accessing key ideas and key language, use the Sentence Talk Routine on page 437-438 to draw their attention to the relationship between meaning and the words, phrases, and clauses in the text.”
  • The Daily Lesson Planner provides suggested vocabulary to teach each day. The Teachers Resource Section provides a routine for teaching benchmark vocabulary and suggests that “ Students use a Reading and Writing Journal to show contextual understanding” At the beginning of the units there are a list of academic benchmark vocabulary as well as “By-The-Way words, which are defined as “sophisticated or unusual Tier 2 and 3 words for known concepts that can be stumbling blocks to comprehending a text.” Specific words are presented and defined in the close reading section in each lesson. Word analysis mini-lessons are also presented in each lesson. Additionally, each lesson has a word analysis section where students use context clues to identify unknown words where they are introduced the word, practice the word, and then apply the word. For example, on WA2 of Unit 1 students are working with understanding what makes a context clue and how to use context clues to find the meanings of unknown words. Students are also introduced to Greek and Latin roots where they analyze words and their meanings, using the roots to guide their thinking.
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Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for indicator for supporting students listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

The materials reviewed provide opportunities for speaking and listening that include partner, whole group, and small group discussions. Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 include practice of speaking and listening skills that increase in rigor over the course of the school year. Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading and researching through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Speaking and listening work requires students to marshall evidence from texts and sources.

Students have ample opportunity for both listening and speaking about what they are reading.

  • On page 20 of Unit 3, Module A, students are analyzing the text The Journey that Saved Curious George. They are specifically looking at the text and visual features. The curriculum poses specific questions to guide their thinking. Afterwards they are able to share out in small groups while building onto one another's’ ideas to come to a “deeper understanding.”

There are protocols in the Teacher's Guide that explain how to implement text summary discussions and how to model best practices for speaking and listening. For example:

  • The Think-Pair-Share routine found on pages TR2 and TR3 includes rationale for the routine as well as an 8-step guide for implementation. The guide includes reminding students of appropriate proximity and eye contact, posing open-ended questions, and modeling ways in which to respond to each other with specific sentence stems.
  • The Whole Class Discussion Routine on pages TR4 and TR5 gives the teacher specific guidance for leading a whole class discussion with sentence and question stems.
  • The Small Group Discussion Routine on pages TR6 and TR7 introduces protocols and specific roles for each student including group organizer, fact checker, clarifier, elaborator, summarizer, and reporter.
  • The Routines for Read Aloud and Shared reading are also included in the Teacher's Guide.

In the Sleuth close reading materials, structures are included for students to gather evidence, ask questions regarding the text, use evidence to make a case, and prove their case to other students within their team, with all team members having a voice. For example, in Unit 3, students read Major League Dreams. Teachers are prompted to have students “work with a partner to create a mock interview between a Dominican baseball player and a camp recruiter. What questions might they ask of each other, and how would they answer? Base your questions and answers on text evidence.”

In the writing workshop component, students are asked to share their writings. There are directions for both the speaker and the listener.

  • For example, in Unit 1, Module B, students are selecting a research topic, have writing practice time and then share their writing. The audience is prompted with specific things to point out in each others’ writing.

The Implementation Guide lists Common Core Correlations for Speaking and Listening Standards. It provides information and locations in text where speaking and listening standards are addressed in each unit and module.

  • For example, to find lessons encompassing Speaking and Listening Standard SL6.1 There are 24 different locations across all four units where this particular standard is addressed: Unit 1 (Teacher's Guide, pages 34, 224, 244, 254, 334, 384 ) and Unit 4 (Teacher's Guide, pages 24, 82, 94, 104, 114, 144). All other Speaking and Listening Standards are listed in this section and teachers are provided page numbers where instruction takes place.
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Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Each module’s writing lessons are based on text(s) and offer a model for students as they write. On-demand writing occurs each day when students write to respond to what they have read in various formats. Examples of writing including taking notes or short answer. Lessons have are structured in a way that by the end of the module, students have address all components of the writing process.

Each module is structured the same way regarding process and on-demand writing. Representative examples of process writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, the focus in the unit is on Narrative Writing. Lessons leading up to the PBA include: Establishing Point of View, Establishing Linear and Nonlinear Plot Sequences, Plotting Clues to Solve a Mystery, Balancing Narration and Dialogue, Analyzing Word Choice to Create Suspense, Adding Transitions to Convey Sequence and Shifts in Time and Setting, and Writing an Effective Conclusion. In the PBA, students write a mystery that involves characters in the novel they just read. Scaffolded support includes a checklist, graphic organizer, and peer review.
  • In Unit 1, Module B, the focus in the unit is on Informational Writing. Lessons leading up to the end of unit PBA include: Analyzing Features and Purpose of an Encyclopedia Article, Choosing a topic, Researching a topic, Taking Notes, Organizing ideas, and Developing a Topic. In the PBA, students write an encyclopedia article about a topic related to the reading selections in the module. Scaffolded supports include checklist, graphic organizer, and peer editing.

On-demand writing occurs throughout the materials consistently. On-demand writing occurs each day and varies from short answers to paragraph instruction. Sample writing tasks that are on-demand include, but are not limited to, the following focused work:

  • In the online “Reader’s and Writer’s Journal” students are directed to write in response to reading selections.
  • In Unit 4, the Independent Writing Practice example has students write a paragraph that supports the author’s claim on page 10 that “Jobs was always an independent thinker.”
  • Also in Unit 4, Module A , lesson 1 a digital option is provided: “Have students use computers or tablets to draft their writing, At the beginning of the unit, students may also wish to start a class blog.

Other examples of on-demand and process writing are evidence throughout the materials. On-demand tasks often connect to the larger process assignment, such as the writing PBA in Unit 4: “Using Anchor and Supporting Text and additional research, students will state a claim about what they believe to be the most valuable innovation.”

Each of the 18 lessons in Unit 4, Module A, contains a writing instructional focus,and an independent writing focus that ties to the anchor and supporting texts. For example:

  • Lesson 10: Writing Instructional Focus: Conduct Research Independent Writing Focus: Collect and Evaluate Sources
  • Lesson 12: Writing Instructional Focus: Citing Sources Independent Writing Focus: Add Citations and Bibliographic Information
  • Lesson 17 Writing Instructional Focus : Writing Process: Edit and Proofread an Argument Independent Writing Focus: Edit and Proofread
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Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials providing opportunities for students to address different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution by the standards. Students are given opportunities for instruction and practice in a variety of genres addressed in the standards over the course of the school year. Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Each lesson offers a purpose for the writing, a teaching and modeling section, examples to help guide students, independent writing time, and then shared writing practice. Additionally, there is a conventions mini-lesson that goes with each writing lesson.

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Each writing lesson in a module focuses on one writing type such as narrative, informative/explanatory, or argument/opinion that will be assigned as a PBA at the end of the module. The writing skills taught in each lesson build on previous lessons to provide students with the skills and practice they need in order to complete a PBA.

Examples of different writing types and genres include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Module A students write a narrative in the form of a mystery. This is connected to the anchor text, The Egypt Game. Using the characters from anchor text The Egypt Game, the students continue the characters’ adventure in their imaginary game.
  • In Unit 1, Module B, students write an informational essay in the form of an encyclopedia article. This is connected to the anchor texts, The Ancient Maya, Machu Picchu, and Quetzalcoatl and the Maize. Using information from anchor text The Ancient Maya, as well as supporting texts and additional research, students will write an encyclopedia article related to topic of ancient civilizations.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, students write a persuasive speech. This is connected to the anchor texts, Ocean Storm Alert!, Waves: Energy on the Move, and Science Fair Showdown! Using what they have read in anchor and supporting texts students will write a speech to persuade their peers which form of energy they believe is most advantageous.
  • In Unit 2, Module B, students write a narrative in the form of a story. This story relates to the topic of Earth and its forces. Students are encouraged to use ideas from the anchor texts, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Monster in the Mountain. Using ideas and information from anchor text Journey to the Center of the Earth as well as supporting texts, students will write either a fantasy or science fiction story that relates to unit theme.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, students write an informational/explanatory essay in the form of a biography. Using anchor and supporting texts and additional research, students will write a biography about a courageous person.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, students write an opinion essay in the form of a critical review. Students choose which anchor text, A Single Shard, Nelson Mandela, or No Vacancy best conveys courage and freedom. Students then reflect on anchor and supporting texts and construct an argument to support their claim about which text best conveys unit theme.
  • In Unit 4, Module A, students write an opinion essay about the most valuable invention. Students write an argument using anchor and supporting text and additional research. Students state and support a claim of which invention has been the most valuable.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, students write an informative/explanatory writing in the form of an informational brochure. Students choose and research one of the topics they read about in the anchor texts: George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, A Bright Idea, or What is Coding, Anyway? Using research from anchor and supporting texts, students create and present an informational brochure about the topic.
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Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for the materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

The materials offer a multitude of writing opportunities for students to write using evidence. This curriculum supports students’ evidence-based writing, supporting their analyzing, and sharing their writing to support their own writing and make it strong. All lessons include a Close Read in which students are expected to cite text evidence to support answers to discussion questions. Reading analysis extensions may also include further practice with citing evidence.

Some examples of opportunities for evidence-based writing in the instructional materials include:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 12, students research a related topic. Students will learn how to perform research that will help them add historically accurate details to Performance Based Assessment demand. A student model demonstrates citing credible sources. The teacher models assessing credibility of sources, identifying relevant information, and paraphrasing ideas. Sidebar provides scaffolding tips for struggling students. An Independent Writing Practice asks students to research Cleopatra using supporting text and other print and digital sources, providing credit for each source when paraphrasing. Students follow the prompt on page 34 of Reader’s and Writer’s Handbook.
  • In Unit 1, Module B, lesson 3, students write an informative/explanatory piece. A student model demonstrates asking questions about selected topic, research sources, and evaluating credibility of sources. The teacher models developing questions and search terms and assessing credibility of sources Scaffolded Strategies Support Sidebar offers additional questions for struggling students to ask when evaluating credibility of sources. An Independent Writing Practice requires students to finalize a list of sources and bibliographic information and record it on page 61 of Reader’s and Writer’s Journal.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 13, students write an argument piece. Students gather evidence in support of an argument. Students gather evidence from the supporting text “Waves: Energy on the Move” to decide which type of wave is most worthy of additional study by scientists. A student model demonstrates gathering evidence to support argument. The teacher models how to determine a claim after reviewing evidence,and gathering supporting evidence using graphic organizers. Scaffolded Strategies for struggling writers include providing sentence frames to assist them in gathering evidence. An Independent Writing Practice requires students to record evidence supporting their claim on page 141 of Reader’s and Writer’s Journal.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 2, students write an informative/explanatory piece. Students use graphic organizers to prepare research questions for biography assignment. A student model is provided showing sample biographical questions about the author of anchor text. The teacher models identifying gaps in information, writing good research questions, and conducting research to answer questions. An Independent Writing Practice asks students to use graphic organizers to write research questions about the subject of anchor text, and look for information that could be used in biography of this individual. Students are required to take notes, record bibliographic information about the source of each note, and respond to prompt on page 212 of Reader’s and Writer’s Journal.
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 4, students write a claim. Students write an introductory paragraph of an argument by stating a claim and providing supporting reasons. A student model shows a claim based on data, supported with reasons backed up by facts and details. The teacher models generating a claim based on analysis of text evidence from anchor text, Steve Jobs, and support that claim with reasons based on text evidence. In the Independent Writing Practice, students write introductory paragraph on page 322 of Reader’s and Writer’s Journal.
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Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

In the curriculum, there are ample opportunities for students to work on both grammar and conventions throughout the entire school year. The Implementation Guide, under section labeled Common Core Correlations, lists each Language Standard for Grade 6 and the location in the Teacher's Guide for each unit that standard is addressed. For example, Standard L6.1 “Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing and speaking” is addressed 57 times across 4 units of instruction. The Implementation Guide also contains Unit Overview Standards Maps that outline language standards covered by each module

Each unit has a conventions mini-lesson in which a certain skill is taught and practiced. There is an additional scaffolded instruction lesson in which English Language Learners have an additional support system. An example of this structure is seen in Unit 1 on page 101 in which a lesson focuses on pronoun-antecedent agreement:

  • The mini-lesson is teaching and modeling with examples to share with students and then a practice section.
  • The scaffolded instruction section focuses on explaining the difference between two different sentences and talking about the use of pronouns and how they create a better flow in writing. Grammar and conventions are taught in a sequence consistent with demands of the standards and are integrated with reading and writing instruction.

Grammar and conventions lessons are included throughout each Unit with opportunities for students to learn grade-appropriate skills that build in difficulty throughout the course of the year. Skills include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lessons 1 - 3 focus on nouns (below grade level), but Lessons 4-10 focus on pronouns (grade level). Lessons 11 – 17 focus on verb tenses and agreement.
  • In Unit 1, Module B, phonics lessons become more sophisticated including Lesson 8 Pronoun Shifts in Person, and Lesson 9 Recognizing and Correcting Vague Pronouns.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, further development of work with pronouns is evident such as lesson 9 Using Object Pronouns with Prepositions.
  • Some conventions mini-lessons focus on spelling, modeling phonological rules, and frequently confused words.

GATEWAY TWO

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet expectations for Gateway 2, as they do support building students' knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized around a topic. Vocabulary is addressed in each module, though academic vocabulary is not built across multiple texts. There is evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. Modules are developed to support and build knowledge, integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening to demonstrate grade-level literacy proficiency at the end of the school year.

Criterion 2a-2h

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The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized around a topic. Vocabulary is addressed in each module, though academic vocabulary is not built across multiple texts. There is evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. Modules are developed to support and build knowledge, integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening to demonstrate grade-level literacy proficiency at the end of the school year.

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Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The materials reviewed in Grade 6 meet the expectations for text being organized around a topic to aid in students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Anchor and supporting texts, close reading passages, leveled readers, are built around a central topic in each unit. Daily tasks and performance assessments also reflect the topic.

Most of the anchor and supporting texts are arranged around a central unit theme, and then a more focused theme or topic for each module. Some of the units have clear topic-aligned selections, while others are more loosely or generally tied to an idea or topic.

Unit 1 centers around the idea of “Treasuring History.”

  • In Module A, texts help readers understand that inferences drawn from texts can be supported by textual evidence. Using historical fiction and informational texts, the topic of ancient Egypt is explored. Students are expected to understand that the past and present relate to each other in interesting ways.
  • In Module B, texts help students understand that every text has a theme or central idea. Students use informational texts and a myth to explore this idea. The topic of ancient civilizations in South America is explored. Students are expected to understand there are similarities and differences among early civilizations.

Unit 2 centers around the topic of “Exploring Earth and Its Forces.”

  • In Module A, the selected texts and tasks lead readers to understand that authors of literary and informational texts have points of view. The selections are more loosely tied to the topic exploring Earth and its forces (Ocean Storm Alert! Waves: Energy on the Move, and Science Fair Showdown!). Students are expected to understand the importance of learning about various forms of energy.
  • In Module B, students look closely at literary texts to understand that the plot of a story unfolds in a series of episodes toward a resolution. Two of the selections are loosely tied to a topic of volcanoes (Journey to the Center of the World and Monster in the Mountain) while the other selection relates to the natural disaster topic, and might be better placed in the Module A topic students are expected to understand the power of Earth and its forces.

Unit 3 centers around the theme of “Defining Courage and Freedom.”

  • In Module A, the selected informational texts and tasks lead students to understand that one author can present information differently from another author. The anchor and supporting selections are tied to the topic/theme of courage. The Journey That Saved Curious George and The Invisible Thread revolve around World War 2, while Stories of Courage encompass a range of people and places. Students are expected to understand the definition of courage and how courage is displayed in people’s lives
  • In Module B, close reading of the novel and supporting texts lead readers to understand that objective summaries should be distinct from personal opinions or judgments. Anchor text and supporting texts all relate to the topic of overcoming obstacles. Students are expected to understand that adversity often leads to courageous acts.

Unit 4 centers on the theme of “Innovating for the Future.”

  • In Module A, the selected informational texts lead students to understand how authors introduce and elaborate on individuals, events, and ideas. Steve Jobs, No Easy Answers: Our Digital World, and Gadgets and Games are all on the topic of technology. Students are expected to understand that technological innovations can be both beneficial and challenging
  • In Module B, the literary and informational texts lead students to understand that analyzing text structure aids in comprehension. The texts in this module are loosely tied to the topic of discovery and technology. Space travel is explored in George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, the invention of the lightbulb in A Bright Idea, and coding is explored in What is Coding Anyway? Students are expected to understand the role creativity plays in new ideas and inventions.
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Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that texts contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze language, key ideas, details, craft and structure of individual texts. These tasks increase in complexity across the school year. Materials reviewed provide mechanisms through questions and tasks to evaluate student comprehension and understanding of these concepts.

Some examples of the different type of instruction that supports students in their analysis of language, key ideas, details, craft and structure are the following:

  • Whole class instruction on reading and language analysis takes place during each lesson. The Implementation Guide describes the purpose of the language analysis instruction as “students [learning] about author’s craft, or how the text works. Through close reading lessons that take place during the second read of each day, students explore elements such as figurative language, sentence structure, dialogue, and word choice” (page 13).
  • During small group time, the teacher uses the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook's “Unlock the Text” section to support struggling and accelerated learners in accessing ideas, key language and structures, and provide scaffolded lessons to help struggling readers unlock the anchor and supporting texts.
  • Word Analysis mini lessons are provided with each lesson with extensive support for these concepts in the back of each Teacher’s Guide.
  • Vocabulary instruction is divided into “By the Way Words” and the teacher is instructed to define the words for the students along with “Benchmark Vocabulary Words.”
  • Keystone Assessments are provided throughout the lessons for reading and throughout the unit for writing, and are quick checks to assess students’ understanding of key ideas and language, as well as text structure.
  • The Reader’s and Writer’s Journal helps teachers monitor progress by requiring consistent demonstration of contextual understandings.

Each lesson includes an analysis section in which students analyze language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Language analysis is also included in some small group lessons.

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 1, students analyze one aspect of author's craft-- the use of text feature, point of view. Students complete a chart exploring how the narrator reveals the character’s point of view through their thoughts and feelings.
  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 2, readers understand that inferences drawn from text can be supported by textual evidence. In this lesson, students examine the relationships between events in the story and how characters respond to these events, referring to text evidence to describe story’s plot development in anchor text The Egypt Game. “How is April evolving as a character, what causes these changes?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3).
  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 5, students analyze author’s craft by focusing on the author’s tone. Students work individually or in small groups to fill in a chart, searching for keywords in the text which have positive or negative connotations. They use this analysis to determine the author’s tone.
  • In Unit 1, Module B, lesson 7, the focus of this lesson is on how to use the central idea to construct a summary of an informational article, “Secret to Mayan Blue Paint Found.” The close read discussion asks instructors to remind students that to summarize, they must determine central idea and supporting details. For instance: “How could the scientist’s theory about the paint be tested based on information in the article?" (Depth of Knowledge Level 3).
  • In Unit 1, Module B, lesson 9, students examine what the author says to determine the central idea. Students work in small groups to complete a graphic organizer as they discuss text evidence where key ideas lead to the central idea.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 6, readers understand that authors of both literary and informational text have points of view.” During whole class first read, teacher instructs students to “Select an unfamiliar term in Chapter One. What language does the author use to explain or define the term?”
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 10, students analyze the writer's use of visual features and text structure to reveal an author’s purpose. Students work individually or in small groups to analyze the usefulness of diagrams, photographs, headings and sidebars in the text.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 12, students analyze the language authors use, specifically word choices, to make scientific content more engaging to readers. Students work independently or in small groups to create a graphic organizer with words the author chose to make the reading engaging.
  • Unit 2, Module B, lesson 7, students analyze story events from a text to show how the author developed the plot. Students discuss the details of how the events help develop the plot in small groups.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 5, students read closely to analyze how the author uses figurative language to describe and explain the central idea of courage. “On page 9, the author says my heart sank when I saw the drab, gray building that looked like a jail- What simile does the author use” (Depth of Knowledge Level 2). The Language Analysis Whole Class Lesson uses a graphic organizer to examine examples of personification, metaphors, and similes.
  • Unit 3, Module A, lesson 5, students analyze figurative language. Students work independently or in small groups to identify use of personification, metaphor, and simile in the anchor text. They work to find the meaning of each example.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 6, students summarize while avoiding opinions or judgments when telling about events or characters. They look for important details such as events, characters, and setting from the reading selection and summarize.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 12, the focus of this lesson is to determine the central idea by looking at details in “Nelson Mandela,” drawing inferences, then writing an objective summary. Close read discussion questions ask students to support answers with textual evidence “In what specific ways did Nelson Mandela help other people? Why does the author include information about Mandela’s childhood?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). Reading Analysis whole class instruction uses main idea graphic organizer found in Teacher’s Resource Section of Teacher’s Guide. Teacher models finding supporting details.
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 2, students analyze how the author uses both text and visual features to tell the reader about the life and accomplishments of Steve Jobs. During close read, students use text evidence to support their answer to the question, “What visual details or examples does the author provide about Jobs as a leader and designer? What do these details tell you about author’s purpose?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3).
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 13 students analyze the structure and purpose of text features. Students analyze labeled photos, sidebars, flow charts, bar graphs, and definitions in the anchor text that help explain complicated ideas.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, lesson 1 students analyze how the author uses the structure of the text to engage the reader, focusing on the prologue and Chapter 1. In the Close Read students use textual evidence to support their answer to this question: “I see there are two special sections in this reading ‘Venus’ and ‘Light and How it Travels Through Space’. How do these sections engage the reader differently than the fictional narrative does?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3)
  • In Unit 4, Module B, lesson 15 students examine implied ideas. Students use images in the anchor text to analyze key ideas implied in the text.

The curriculum scaffolds the skills throughout the units and has them build up on the Depth of Knowledge and Bloom’s Taxonomy levels. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • the Grade 6 Reading for Literature Standard 6.5 is “Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, and plot.” This standard is taught in Unit 1, Module A; Unit 2, Module B; Unit 3, Module B; and Unit 4, Module B. For example, Unit 4, Module B is looking specifically at text structure and theme. Students are looking at events that lead to conflict and events that lead to resolution and writing evidence on a graphic organizer. Building upon this skill, students are able to continue digging deeper during their small group reading instruction time. Students are guided to this thinking through questions such as: “What is the purpose of the flashback in Chapter 18,” “Explain the purpose of the epilogue,” and “How are the flashback and the epilogue related to the story’s theme of forgiveness?” Students have multiple opportunities to meet these standards and practice the skill for coherence.
  • The Grade 6 Reading for Information Standard 6.3 says to Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).” This standard comes up in Unit 1, Module A; Unit 1, Module B; Unit 2, Module A; Unit 3, Module A; and Unit 4, Module A. For example, lesson 9 on page 94 focuses on students analyzing the author’s purpose, specifically on how authors organize their ideas. To build onto their thinking students also use this standard in their small group time along with their mini-lesson. Their guiding questions are “How does the title No Easy Answers prepare readers for the structure that the author uses? Does the structure help the author to achieve his purpose?”

The Scaffolded Instruction Handbook also includes lessons to support the unit lessons.

  • On page 10 of the Scaffolded Instruction Handbook, students discuss the chronological structure of the Unit 1A anchor text.
  • On page 36 of the Scaffolded Instruction Handbook, students look closely at the sentences of a text. They look at compound and complex sentences and note that the variety of sentence types creates a more complex, interesting prose style.
  • On page 96 of the Scaffolded Instruction Handbook, students look closely at how the photographs and illustrations affect the tone of the book and what they learn about the characters and events.
4/4
Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that the materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

Most sets of questions in materials reviewed for Grade 6 support student analysis of knowledge and ideas. The majority of questions in a module require students to analyze text. Many of the questions measure at levels 2 and 3 on the Depth of Knowledge continuum. Students reason, analyze and evaluate the text or texts, and questions and tasks are sequenced so that students analyze and integrate knowledge during each lesson.

By the end of the year, integration of knowledge and ideas are embedded in student work. Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts. Each lesson contains a second reading, or Close Read, of the day’s lesson. Close Reading questions require higher order thinking skills. This allows the students opportunities to dig deeper into focused, sustained reading and rereading of portions of the text for the purpose of understanding key points, gathering text evidence, and building knowledge.

  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 2, students read the anchor text Ocean Storm Alert to learn information about several types of dangers in the ocean and evaluate information by comparing and contrasting sea danger facts. Students answer questions such as the following during the whole class read: “Select two ocean storms or dangers from pages 10-15. How are the causes of both ocean storms and dangers similar or different?” Also during whole class instruction, students use a graphic organizer found in Teacher’s Resource section of Teacher’s Guide to model comparing tsunamis to rogue waves on page 14 of text. During close read discussion, students present text evidence to support their answer to this question: “Look at how the author presents information about sea dangers on pages 10-15. How does this presentation assist readers in comparing and contrasting these sea dangers? (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). The Writing Workshop lesson has students review anchor text to gather evidence about the dangers that ocean waves can present.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 1 students are asked to use text evidence to support character analyses. Using Anchor Text A Single Shard, students find examples of difficulties the three main characters face. During whole class instruction, students use a web organizer to support the analysis of character traits. The close read lesson asks students to find text evidence to support their answers to discussion question: “Let’s analyze the relationship between Crane-Man and Tree Ear. I’ll look for details in the text to support this analysis. Using text evidence on pages 3, 4, 5, 8.and 9, how can you describe their relationship?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). In Writer’s Workshop, the students write a critical review by making a judgment about Tree-Ear and Crane-Man’s relationship.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 6, students read the text A Single Shard and work to objectively summarize. Students answer questions such as the following: “On page 97, what does Crane-Man mean when he says, ‘But a well-kept tradition can be stronger than law?” “Why is this wisdom important for Tree-Ear to understand?” “To help Tree-Ear on his journey, Crane-Man advises him on page 107, ‘...it will be people who are the greatest danger. But it will also be people to whom you must turn if ever you are in need of aid," "What does he mean?” and “How might Crane-man’s riddles help Tree-ear resolve conflicts?”
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 3, students analyze the anchor text Steve Jobs and find examples the author uses to elaborate on individuals, events, and ideas to help readers understand concepts. During the first read, partners turn and talk to each other about examples of Steve Jobs’ successes and failures the author gave to elaborate on Jobs’ time away from Apple. The Close Read Discussion question asks for students to cite text evidence in support of their answer: The Sleuth lesson on page 38-39 helps support and extend the close reading lesson for struggling and advanced learners. The Writing Workshop Lesson asks students to gather and analyze text evidence in anchor text to support a claim that answers “Which quality is critical to the success of an entrepreneur?”
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 7, students read the text No Easy Answers: Our Digital World. Students analyze how the author introduces arguments. Students answer questions such as the following: “Explain whether the author provides convincing evidence to support his claim that artists are adequately compensated for streaming music"; “According to the author, what family problems are solved by technology?”; “Explain if you are persuaded by the argument”; “On page 25, the author states that children think parents disrupt family time by working at home. How does the author address this issue?”; and “Explain how this problem and author’s proposed solution affects the argument about technology enhancing family time.”

Multiple lessons in each module require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

  • In Unit 1, Module 1, lesson 11, students read The Egypt Game and You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra! Students compare how two different types of text support the module topic, “Treasuring History.” Students answer questions such as the following during the close read discussion: “How are book covers related to the topic of Ancient Egypt?”; “What do you notice about the table of contents? How are they alike?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 2); “Both texts mostly present events in the order they happen, but the pages in the texts look different. What differences do you notice when you compare pages 42, 46, and 47 of The Egypt Game to pages 14 and 15 of You Wouldn't Want to be Cleopatra!" (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). The reading analysis lesson has students use two-column graphic organizer to compare text features.
  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 17, students analyze and answer questions across the texts The Egypt Game, Calliope’s History Mystery, and You Wouldn’t Want to Be Cleopatra. Students compare and contrast the approach to the topic of history among the texts in the close read and reading analysis extension portions of the lesson. Example questions include: “Which approach to Egyptian history gives readers the most factual information?” and “How is the author’s approach to Cleopatra’s life in You Wouldn’t Want to Be Cleopatra! different from that of the author of The Egypt Game?”
  • In Unit 2, Module B, lesson 12 students use events, language, and theme to compare and contrast Anchor Text Journey to the Center of the Earth of the science fiction genre with text collection selection “The Monster in the Mountain” of the fantasy genre. The close reading lesson has the teacher ask students to analyze the effect of language on the science fiction genre: “One example of how the author presents a topic about Earth and its forces is by describing an eruption using scientific language on pages 225-229. How does this presentation likely have an impact on the reader?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). The whole class lesson has students use the Venn diagram graphic organizer to compare the genres of the two texts.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 16, students cite text evidence as they compare and contrast individuals in and across the texts The Journey that Saved Curious George and Stories of Courage. Students answer questions that include: “How do Malala Yousafzai and John Bul Dau respond differently to terrorism? In what ways do both individuals show courage?”; “Compare and contrast the humanitarian’s attitudes”; “How does the combination of words and illustrations in The Journey That Saved Curious George compare and contrast with that of Stories of Courage?”
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 17, students review the texts they have read in this module by analyzing how the authors convey central ideas through particular details. The texts include the anchor text The Journey that Saved Curious George, and the supporting texts The Invisible Thread, Stories of Courage, and the Bill of Rights. Students answer the module’s essential question “What are some central ideas that this collection of text share?” by answering the following questions: “Which textual details help you infer the Reys are courageous?” “Which textual details allow readers to infer that the individuals in Stories of Courage are courageous?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 2) “How does the genre of each text influence how central ideas about freedom and courage are developed?” (Depth of Knowledge Level 3). The whole class instruction uses a four-column graphic organizer to compare and contrast central ideas across the four texts. The writer’s workshop has students use the module’s texts to write a definition of courage or freedom.

There are also other materials that provide guidance to teachers in supporting student skills.

  • The Sleuth lessons include sets of questions in materials reviewed that are provided for struggling and accelerated readers to support and extend learning for diverse populations. These short, high-interest selections are used to sharpen close reading skills and are provided three to four times in each unit. Scaffolded Instruction for Small Group lessons use Sleuth to reteach, practice, and refine close reading skills and strategies.
  • The Scaffolded Strategies Handbook provides additional support strategies to use during small group instruction with those students who need extra scaffolding. In the “Unlock the Text” section, the “Interact with Text” lessons allow students to react to the text through discussion and writing.

Overall the curriculum is strong in having students analyze various components of texts and then having students integrate their ideas across multiple texts.

4/4
Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for questions and tasks that support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic or theme through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening). Culminating tasks are provided and integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening strands. They provide students opportunities to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. Earlier questions and tasks will give the teacher usable information about students’ readiness to complete culminating tasks.

Each module concludes with a Performance Based Assessment (PBA). These tasks allow students to apply the skills they learned in that module to their writing. This PBA process helps teachers measure students’ mastery of the standards. The Teacher’s Guide features a four-point writing rubric to evaluate students’ performance and a Reflect and Respond piece that includes suggestions for writers struggling with the task.

Throughout the lesson there are checkpoints for teachers to check students’ understanding and mastery of skills. The “Reading Keystones” in every lesson assess students’ understanding of key language, structures, and ideas, helping the instructor check students’ progress before the end of the module. The “Writing Keystones” throughout the unit assess students’ narrative, informative and argumentative writing. These checklists help the teacher determine how students are progressing towards the PBA. There are other Formative Assessments such as “Fluency Quick Checks,” “Check Progress for Phonics,”and “Response to Reading” prompts in the Reader’s and Writer’s Journal that inform instructor as to students’ readiness to complete PBAs. The “Daily Independent Writing Practice” activities prepare students for PBAs, and teachers can use performance on these activities to inform and adjust instruction for students as needed.

Examples of the different PBAs and lessons building up to the culminating task are:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, students use characters from anchor text The Egypt Game to write a new mystery that logically progresses from events in the text. To prepare, students are reintroduced to main characters of April, Melanie, and the others, and asked to imagine how the characters will act think and speak after the events in The Egypt Game: “Ask students to consider what characters will do next, and how those actions will lead into a fresh mystery.” The lessons throughout Module A scaffold the skills until the students present their mystery in lesson 17.
    • Lessons 1-7 focus on process of writing a mystery.
    • Starting in lesson 8, students are asked to gather vivid descriptions of characters, settings, and events from the text that help create suspense.
    • Lesson 13 has students plan and prewrite the beginning, middle, and end of a mystery that takes place in Cleopatra’s palace.
    • In lesson 17, students present their mystery in oral presentations to classmates. The teacher models reading dialogue with expression; explains that effective speakers use and maintain appropriate eye contact, ensure appropriate volume, clear pronunciation, and speak clearly and accurately.
    • During the Shared Writing portion of lesson 18, students are asked to critique a classmate’s oral presentation: “How did speaker adjust rate when action changed or use expression to convey character’s emotion?”
  • In Unit 2, Module A, students use what they have read in Ocean Storm Alert, “Waves Energy on the Move," and “Science Fair Showdown” to write a speech to persuade their peers as to which form of energy they believe is most advantageous.
    • In lesson 4, students learn about citing evidence to support multiple purposes.
    • Lessons 7 through 10 focus on analyzing how examples, text structure, and central ideas convey purpose.
    • Lesson 13 has students compare and contrast purposes and perspectives.

Writing lessons include the following:

  • In lesson 2, students gather and analyze text evidence.
  • In lessons 12-18, students gather evidence in support of an argument. They then plan, draft, revise, edit, proofread, publish and present their persuasive speech.
  • Students present persuasive speech in front of a Mock Energy Symposium.

In Unit 4, Module B, students will choose and research one of the topics they read about in the anchor text George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, and supporting texts, “A Bright Idea,” or “What is Coding, Anyway?” They will present their research in the form of a brochure. Reading lessons to support the culminating task include the following:

  • In lessons 1-9 students analyze text structure, characters, and plot.
  • In lesson 16 students analyze scientific language across texts.
  • The writing process lessons that support the culminating task ask students to select and research a topic, outline ideas, write a draft, review, revise, edit, proofread, publish, and present with multimedia and visual aids.
4/4
Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. The curriculum contains a multitude of academic vocabulary to help students navigate through the text collections and to build schema on these word choices.

Within this four-unit, eight-module curriculum, there are strategy focuses within the independent reading routine. An example of these strategies is the Vocabulary Focus which is related to the lesson’s benchmark vocabulary or language analysis instruction. Students are to apply vocabulary and language strategies to confront unfamiliar words and decipher complex language. These skills will help students become a more fluent reader, both on their independent reading and their reading tasks in the classroom.

The curriculum provides teacher guidance outlining a cohesive, year-long vocabulary development component. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts before texts, in texts, and across multiple texts. Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks. The Implementation Guide provides explanation of the material’s vocabulary instructional plan. On page 8, it states that “Generative vocabulary aims to make visible to students critical features and functions of words and connections among words… to support students in generating meanings of unknown words in texts” (Hiebert).

Each selection includes benchmark vocabulary and by-the-way words.

  • Benchmark vocabulary is defined as
    • Words needed to deeply comprehend a text
    • Words from other disciplines
    • Words that are part of a thematic, semantic, and/or morphological network
    • Words central to unlocking the enduring understanding of the text
  • By-the-way words are defined as unusual Tier II and III words for known concepts that can be stumbling blocks to comprehending a text. They are to be defined quickly during reading and are addressed during close reading portion of each lesson.
    • Words that don’t require lengthy discussion within a text
    • Words supported by the text for meaning
    • Words that are more concrete

The teacher is instructed to address and define these words during close read whole class instruction that takes place during the second read of the lesson’s text. Sidebars in the Teacher’s Guide for each lesson identify words and provide student-friendly definitions.

Each module offers "center options” for students to use to practice and apply standards taught during the daily lesson while the teacher is working with small groups. The “word work center” portion of “center options” asks students to write a list of unfamiliar words from texts they are reading in class. Then students discuss with a partner details from the text that can be used to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar word.

Monitoring of vocabulary development takes place through formative assessment reading keystones located at end of every lesson. The “end of unit” assessments provide vocabulary questions for students, and the “Reader’s and Writer’s Journal” provides prompts for each lesson that asks students to demonstrate conceptual understanding of the lesson’s words in a way that the teacher can monitor development. Performance-based writing assessments ask for students to demonstrate a deep understanding of vocabulary, and teachers are encouraged to require students to demonstrate this understanding in academic conversations as well.

Each of these vocabulary strategies help students process their knowledge across texts, across domains, across tasks, and into their schema. Through these applications students build knowledge and background knowledge to ensure success.

Specific Instructional examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 5 students analyze anchor the text The Egypt Game and the impact of words in the story on the author’s tone toward and what she is writing about.
    • The word analysis mini lesson covers context clues.
    • The close read whole class instruction focuses on defining by-the-way words that can be stumbling blocks to understanding: bier,and anointed.
    • For the Benchmark Vocabulary, the students ". . . find and read sentences from the text with the words casualties, deciphered, and rendezvous, using Benchmark Routine for Literary Text on pages TR28-TR31 in Teacher’s Guide Unit 1. Use anchor chart on pages 2-5 of the Teacher’s Guide to discuss morphological, semantic and informational links as well as synonyms and antonyms.”
    • In the “Keystone Formative Assessment,” students use page 14 in their Reader’s and Writer’s Journal to show contextual understanding of the Benchmark Vocabulary. Teacher uses the performance on this task to monitor vocabulary development.
    • The Language Analysis whole class instruction analyzes positive and negative connotations of words in the anchor text to determine author’s tone. Students form small discussion groups and follow the discussion routine provided on Teacher’s Resource page 7 to discuss key words from the text that establish tone.
    • During Focused Independent Reading, the strategy focus is vocabulary knowledge. The teacher is instructed to help students apply the context of language analysis lesson to self-selected text. Students are to note words and phrases that have positive or negative connotations, sort into groups, and determine author's tone by which group has more words.
    • The Scaffolded Strategies handbook offers support and extend mini lessons to help struggling and accelerated learners on pages 8-13.
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 3 students read the anchor text Ocean Storm Alert! examining how author’s word choice on pages 16-21 conveys her point of view.
    • During close read whole class instruction students look at author’s description of El Nino to determine point of view. By-the-way words defined here are drought, jet stream, and dewpoint, as they can be stumbling blocks to comprehending the text.
    • Benchmark vocabulary whole class instruction uses Benchmark Vocabulary Routine for Informational Text. Students are asked to find and read sentences from the text that contain the words catastrophic, approximate, and detected.
    • The Keystone Formative Assessment asks students to complete page 110 in Reader’s and Writer’s Journal to show contextual understanding of lesson vocabulary so teacher can monitor vocabulary development.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 9, students will read the Bill of Rights to determine the meaning of technical language.
    • The word analysis mini lesson has students learn the Greek and Latin roots tele, medi, funct, struct.
    • During the close read the teacher models how to use a dictionary to find the meanings of Greek or Latin roots or affixes. “How can you use the Latin root meaning count and the Roman numerals text feature to determine a meaning for the word enumeration in Amendment IX?”
    • By-the-way words defined here are militia and indictment.
    • For the benchmark vocabulary, students find sentences in the Bill of Rights that contain the words prohibiting, compensation, and impartial. They use page 231 in their Reader’s and Writer’s Journal to show conceptual understanding and allow teacher to monitor vocabulary development.
    • Within the “Language Analysis,” students use the web graphic organizer to summarize a selected amendment. Students pull out unfamiliar words to put in web and analyze meaning using context clues.
4/4
Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

The curriculum allows for spiraled writing practice and endurance over the course of the school year. It includes writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction that spans the whole school year. Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. Instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development

Each writing lesson focuses on a standards-based writing type (narrative, persuasive/argument, or informative/explanatory). Students receive explicit instruction in writing lessons throughout each module that guide them through the writing process. Writing tasks are closely related to the anchor texts, so students have writing models from anchor and supporting texts that they can use to examine writers’ styles and techniques. There are also annotated student models in each writing lesson.

Writing lessons contain independent writing practice which includes a “Share Writing” section in which students share their writing and are prompted to give feedback. For example, in Unit 3, Module A, lesson 9, students are asked to “identify examples of precise language as well as any general language or inaccurate statements and provide constructive feedback with suggestions or revision.” Most writing lessons include a writing checklist for students to check their own work.

Students also practice independent writing within the lessons on smaller assignments that help build up to a culminating task. Within these assignments, students have focuses they zoom in on and then are able to share their writing and have peer conversations. Students have access to various mini-lessons throughout the year that they can input into their writing. These include conventions, sentence structure, and vocabulary strategies. Throughout the year, students apply their learned knowledge to their writing and continue to build on it to make it strong and meet grade-level expectations following rubrics and standards

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Module A the writing goal of the module is that students will write a narrative that contains the elements of the story. The culminating PBA is that students will write a mystery. This aligns with standard W.6.5, W.6.3, and W.6.4. Lessons throughout the module build to this task, and include using dialogue and description to develop plot and characters, analyzing word choice to create suspense, and balancing narration and dialogue. Lessons 13-17 take students through the writing process as they plan, pre-write, draft, review, revise, edit, proofread, publish, and present a mystery in advance of the Performance Based Writing Assessment that asks them to use evidence from Anchor Text The Egypt Game to write a mystery.
  • In Unit 2, Module A students are asked to synthesize information from three different texts and write a speech to persuade others. Lessons 13-18 are specifically identified as writing process lessons that guide students as they plan, draft, revise, edit, proofread, publish, and present a persuasive speech in advance of the Performance Based Writing Assessment that asks them to marshal what they have read in anchor and supporting texts to write a persuasive speech.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, the writing goal is that students “will write a biography about someone who exhibited courage.” This culminating PBA aligns to writing standards, W.6.7, W.6.8, W.6.2, and W.6.6. Lessons building to the assessment prepare students to complete the task include; organizing ideas, concepts and information, using appropriate strategies to organize writing, and using precise language to inform and explain. In lessons 11-16, students use anchor and supporting texts to plan, pre-write, research, draft, review, revise, edit, proofread, publish, and present a biography in advance of Performance Based Writing Assessment that asks them to write a biography.
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 3, students will state a claim about one of the characters from the anchor text A Single Shard. To begin, the teacher tells students they will read the story and collect evidence on a graphic organizer. After reading, students will write an introductory paragraph about Tree-Ear and Crane-Man’s relationship that contains a claim. The teacher provides guiding questions, and also models text evidence collection, writing a clear claim, and summarizing supporting reasons in an introduction. After the whole class instruction, students do “Independent Writing Practice,” during which they write their claim and introductory paragraph on page 268 in their Reader’s and Writer’s Journal. After completing their introductory paragraph, students share them and listeners comment on the strength of supporting reasons and point out vague pronoun usage.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, lesson 6, students understand the importance of engaging readers in their writing. Teachers provide a model from page 196 of the anchor text George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt that shows that informative writing can be interesting if the writer keeps the reader engaged. The students will write about a place on Earth or space they would like to visit by writing two informational paragraphs. Students are instructed on adding facts, detail, examples, definitions, or quotations.
4/4
Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. The materials provide instruction, practice, and application of research skills as required by the standards. They incorporate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills, while simultaneously building knowledge across topics. Research projects are sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via multiple resources. Materials provide many opportunities to apply reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze grade level reading.

Within the curriculum there is a multitude of opportunities for students to research a variety of topics using multiple texts and sources. These research projects include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 12, students research a topic for a fictional narrative. The lesson focuses on assessing source credibility, identifying relevant information, and paraphrasing ideas.
  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 18, students conduct research to explore and develop theme. In the Teacher’s Guide on page 188 it states, “Conducting research helps writers develop specific story ideas and gather historically accurate details they can use to convey a theme.” Students write a narrative based on research that focuses on credible print and digital sources.
  • In Unit 2, Module B, lesson 12, students conduct research on a topic for use in science fiction narratives. The student model uses credible sources, restates information in their own words, and uses multiple reliable sources to confirm specific facts. Teacher uses the supporting text “The Monster in the Mountain” to model using multiple sources and the anchor text Journey to the Center of the Earth to model incorporating fantasy.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 11, students plan and pre-write about the topic. They select a subject, research basic facts and write research questions.

Several PBAs (found at the end of each unit) include research projects such as:

  • In Unit 3, Module A, students write a biography using The Journey That Saved Curious George, The Invisible Thread, Stories of Courage, and additional research. Many of the writing lessons in this module are related to research writing.
    • In lesson 2, students research and take notes about an individual. Lesson 7 has the students develop a topic using research.
    • In lesson 12, students record and organize information.
    • In lesson 17, students write a paragraph based on research.
  • In Unit 4, Module A, students use what they have read in Steve Jobs and Gadgets and Games, as well as additional research to state a claim about what they believe to be the most valuable innovation. The lessons in this unit scaffold the research skills, so students will be ready to complete the PBA.
    • In lessons 1-4, students develop, write and support a claim.
    • Lesson 5 instructs students in how to draft an outline.
    • Lesson 10 focuses on collecting and evaluating sources
    • Lesson 12 informs students about the importance of citing sources and adding a bibliography.
    • Lesson 13 walks students through the process of gathering evidence, including setting a purpose and taking notes.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, students will choose and research one of the topics they read about in George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, A Bright Idea, or "What is Coding, Anyway?" and present their research in a brochure. As in previous modules, the skills for researching and creating the brochure are scaffolded throughout the lessons.
    • In lessons 2 and 13, students conduct their own research. Within the lessons, students analyze their sources and look for primary sources.
    • In lesson 3 and 4, students research and take notes using both print and online sources
    • After students have researched, lesson 5 has students organize their information by classifying and creating sub-headings.

Throughout the curriculum, students are asked to look up information within the provided materials, as well as to research topics by finding reliable outside sources, both print and online.

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Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

The materials for Grade 6 meet the standards for providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class. On page TR12 of the Teacher's Resources, Unit 1 defines independent reading as: “independent reading offers you the chance to choose the texts you want to read. Keep in mind they should be texts that allow you to practice some of the things we have discussed during our reading lessons.” There is no evidence of students being required to read outside of the class (or at home) within the materials; however, students are provided regular in-class opportunities to apply their learning in the reading lessons to texts of their own choosing. A number of resources are provided to assist students as they engage in a volume of independent reading in the classroom, and the instructional materials provide students a number of opportunities to extend and apply what they have learned to a “just right” text of their choice.

  • The Independent Reading Routine on page TR14 of Teacher’s Guide provides teachers with support and a rationale for using self-selected texts. There is an implementation for success section which includes, preparation, introduction for students, guidance for self-selecting texts, strategies to use during independent reading, and going deeper.
  • An Independent Reading Rubric is included on TR16 of the Teacher’s Guide. This has criteria such as:
    • Engagement and identity
    • Stamina
    • Independence
    • Vocabulary knowledge
    • Fluency
    • Critical thinking
    • Comprehension
  • Students monitor their reading by recording it in their daily reading log. They gauge and record their engagement.
  • Students can review books they read on Pearson Realize as well as find an Independent Reading Activity that is appropriate for the text they are reading.
  • Each unit includes leveled texts which can be used for independent reading.
    • Unit 1 = 13 leveled texts
    • Unit 2 = 13 leveled texts
    • Unit 3 = 13 leveled texts
    • Unit 4 = 13 leveled texts
  • Each module includes center time which involves independent reading. During independent reading, the teacher can have the student focus on either a process focus or a strategy focus. For example:
    • Unit 2, Module A, Reading Center: “Have small groups use independent reading books and share ideas about how to determine the author’s point of view in each.
    • Unit 3, Module B, Research Center: “Have students choose one person from their independent reading texts and research ways in which that person displayed courage.”
    • Unit 4, Module A, Reading Center: “Have students think about one of the main characters from their independent reading and how the author introduced that character. Then have students fill out a details web with details about that character.

GATEWAY THREE

Instructional Supports and Usability Indicators

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

The materials reviewed meet the expectations for usability. Materials are well-designed and include support for implementation over the course of a school year. Materials include clearly labeled navigation and support to aid teachers to support students’ literacy growth. The design of the materials supports effective lesson structure and pacing. Student resources include review and practice problems, clear directions, and explanations, and correct labeling of reference aids. Visual design is not distracting to students and support students’ learning.

The materials support teachers in helping students to learn and understand the concepts in the standards. Teacher’s editions explain the role of specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Implementation Guides contain explanations of the instructional approaches of ReadyGEN and identify research-based strategies. However, the materials do not include are strategies for communicating with stakeholders about the program and how they can support students in their learning.

There are a variety of assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Not all assessments denote which standards are being assessed. There is sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance on assessments and suggestions for follow-up. Materials also provide routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress, including reading and writing keystones, fluency quick checks, check progress, etc. Students are accountable for independent reading.

Materials meet expectation for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. There are clear supports for students who struggle as well as those who work above grade level. The Scaffolded Strategies Handbook provides extensive follow-up to support students who read, write, speak, or listen in a language other than English to work with grade-level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Instructional materials include useful technology to enhance student learning. They include materials to support students’ personalized learning via navigable online platforms. The digital platform offers opportunities to enhance student learning.

Overall, the materials meet the expectations for usability.

Criterion 3a-3e

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Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for being well-designed and including plans to support implementation over the course of a school year. The materials include clearly labeled navigation and supports to aid teachers in implementing the work to better support students' literacy growth. Visual designs for 6th grade students are not distracting and instead support students' learning.

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Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for being well-designed and taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Daily lessons include structures and resources for both whole group and small group literacy instruction.

Daily lesson structures include the components of the Literacy Workshop with 30-40 minutes for whole group reading instruction, 30-40 minutes for small group instruction, and 30-40 minutes for whole group writing instruction. The pacing is defined in the following way:

  • Whole group reading instruction builds understanding through close reading, benchmark vocabulary and text analysis.
  • Small group time is focused independent reading with small group options.
  • Whole group writing instruction is focused on a specific type of writing (narrative, expository, opinion, etc.) and includes independent writing practice.

Below is a detailed example of the lesson structure from Unit 1, Module A:

  • Whole Group Reading Instruction:
    • Building Understanding - During this portion of the lesson, teachers “set the purpose” by telling students the following: “We will be reading texts that share the topic of ancient Egypt. As we discuss each text, we will cite evidence from the text to support our inferences and analysis of story elements. An inference is a conclusion drawn by connecting prior knowledge with information in the text. In this lesson, we are also going to analyze how the narrator’s point of view, or perspective, informs readers about story events and characters.”
      • Read - Teachers introduce pages 3-33 of The Egypt Game with the focus on students "... understanding what the text is mainly about ...”
      • Turn and Talk - After these pages, the teacher has the students turn to a partner and discuss this question using examples: “What is the purpose of each of the three introductory chapters?”
    • Close Read - “Engage the class in a discussion about what they just read...Use these questions to guide the discussion...”
      • “Let’s identify clues that help us understand from whose point of view the story is being told. Throughout the first few chapters, pronouns such as he, she, and they tell me that the narrator is not a character in the story. What is the significance of this type of narration?”
      • “Let’s compare the descriptions of the A-Z store on pages 3 and 17. On page 3, I see that the narrator describes a 'dusty shabby' store that has 'dirty show windows.' How does this compare with the description on page 17? Based on this description, what can you infer about April?”
    • Benchmark Vocabulary - Teachers use the “Benchmark Vocabulary Routine for Literary Text” on pages TR28-TR31. “Students find and read sentences from the text with the words deadpan, cultivated, and showboating.”
    • Text Analysis - Students use a graphic organizer to make an inference based on the character’s perspective. The first column is a character from the text; the second column cites evidence of the character’s perspective; the third column is an inference about that character.
  • Small Group Time:
    • Focused Independent Reading - Students read their self-selected texts. The teacher announces the two focus points to the class for their self-selected reading. For Unit 1 Module A, lesson 1, the focus is “Engagement and Identity” and “Comprehension.”
      • During focused independent reading, students will use a graphic organizer to collect text evidence that informs them about the development of point of view.
      • Teachers will monitor students’ progress by having them record their reading in a daily reading log and having them review their graphic organizer with the teacher.
    • Additional instruction, practice and extension during “Small Group Time” are offered through a variety of options:
      • Word Analysis - use pages WA2-WA4 in Teacher’s Guide
      • Unlock the Text - use pages 8-13 in Scaffolded Strategies Handbook
      • Conference - teachers conference each day with two or three students to discuss their self-selected texts.
      • Reading Analysis Support - for students who struggle with point of view, there is a “Support Reading Analysis Mine-Lesson.”
      • Reading Analysis Extension - for students who easily understand point of view, there is an “Extend Reading Analysis Mini-Lesson.”
  • Whole Group Writing Instruction:
    • Students focus on narrative writing, and first “Establish Point of View.” The teacher sets the purpose by going back to the essential question: “How do writers use story elements to create a mystery?” This leads to a discussion of the narrator’s point of view. The teacher uses models from The Egypt Game to show how third-person omniscient can make it “ . . .easier for the writer to share or withhold key information to create suspense.”
    • Write an Introduction to a Mystery - Students choose a story idea, identify characters and setting and establish a point of view. Teacher models each step of this process.
    • Independent Writing Practice - Students use the prompt on page 2 in their Reader’s and Writer’s Journal and write a one-page introduction to a mystery. After writing, students can volunteer to share their introductions with the class.
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Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for the teacher and student reasonably being able to complete the content within a regular school year with the pacing allowing for maximum student understanding. Each unit contains two modules with 18 lessons per module. These lessons are intended to be done one a day, totaling an hour and a half to fit in both reading and writing. The suggested pacing has students reading, in small groups, and then writing during these 90 minutes. Each lesson is broken down by Read, Benchmark Vocabulary, Reading Analysis, and Writing.

  • There are four units, each with two modules. Each module has 18 lessons, averaging to 144 lessons. There are also an additional 8-16 lessons to administer Performance Based Writing Assessments. This makes a total of 160 lessons. Most school years are 180 days, making this a reasonable pacing schedule to complete.
  • Lessons are set up for 90 or 120 minute blocks that include Reading (Build Understanding, Close Reading, Benchmark Vocabulary, Text Analysis), Small Group Time (Focused Independent Reading, Small Group Options), and Writing (Focused Writing, Independent Writing Practice).
  • The online planner allows teachers to customize their calendar adding and deleting lessons as their professional judgment sees fit.
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Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the requirements for resources including ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanations, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.). Students have access to an array of materials including the text collection, anchor texts, Sleuth, leveled text library, online resources, and center options. Other resources available to students include, trade books, text collections, close reading, performance tasks, independent reading activities, as well as digital interactive tools such as Reader’s and Writer’s Journal, Envision It! Animations, and Grammar Jammers. In the online resources, activities and exercises are found, such as Monster Word Mania and Pack Up the Skills interactive games. Some of these might be a little juvenile for a 6th grader, but could be helpful for an ELL student. There are close reading and independent reading modeling videos. Each of these resources include ample opportunity to review and practice, clear directions, and correct labeling.

Some examples of the resources that provide review and practice opportunities are:

  • Daily Focused Independent Reading routines and structures allow students to extend and apply what they are learning in daily whole group instruction to a text of their own choosing at their ability and interest level.
  • Daily Independent Writing Practice gives students opportunity to apply the writing skills and conventions they have discussed and learned in whole class instruction to a daily writing prompt that prepares them for Performance Based Writing Assessment at the end of each module.
  • Digital Opportunities for Writing and Reading are provided daily during Small Group Instruction.
  • Daily mini-lessons in Language Conventions focus on one or more language standards. Students apply these conventions to their own writing, then practice these newly acquired skills for teacher to monitor progress in their Reader’s and Writer’s Journal.
  • Sleuth, a collection of short, high-interest selections, serves to support and extend daily close reading lessons for struggling and accelerated learners. Three to four times in each unit, or sixteen times over the course of the school year, the scaffolded instruction during Small Group lessons use Sleuth to reteach, practice, and apply close reading skills and strategies (Implementation Guide, page 17).
  • Scaffolded Strategies Handbook Part One: Unlock the Text contains lessons for every anchor and supporting text, the section Express and Extend allows struggling and accelerated learners opportunities to react to the text through discussion and writing.
  • During Small Group Instruction, students use independent center activities to practice and apply standards in Reading, Writing, Word Work, and Research. Digital Components are available and suggested for each of these four sections.
  • There is a scaffolded strategies handbook, along with teacher resources, that has a multitude of graphic organizers, rubrics, and sentence frames that are available for students to use.
  • Common Core Correlations section in Implementation Guide shows where each standard is addressed in Units’ Teacher’s Guides across the units and across the year.

Some examples of clear explanation and directions include:

  • In Unit 1 Module A the Scaffolded Strategies Notebook on page 368, students are provided with sentence frames as a model to write and speak about key ideas and details from The Egypt Game.
  • In Unit 4, Module B, lesson 10, the teacher is prompted to give clear direction and explanation. The teacher says, “In this lesson, we are going to read a text about the invention and history of light bulbs and electricity. The information presented in the text can be technical. We will focus on how readers can use titles, subheads, sidebars and graphics to better understand this technical information.”
  • In Unit 3 Module A, lesson 5, the Reader’s and Writer’s Journal, students are instructed to write a sentence using a vocabulary term, and then use text evidence to write about how a new law affected the author and her family.
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Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for including publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. In the Implementation Guide, there is a Scope and Sequence of all four units, that show where each of the standards is hit within the curriculum. Lessons clearly denote standards alignment. Standard documentation is found in the lesson objectives.

Examples of materials of publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • The Implementation Guide’s Scope and Sequence section lists all English Language Arts standards for Grade 6, and which unit and module addresses them.
  • The Implementation Guide’s Unit Overviews Standards Maps section describes the Performance Based Writing Assessment for each module. It lists Essential Questions, Enduring Understanding, and Goals for each module, along with corresponding standards, and lists all standards addressed in each module.
  • The Implementation Guide’s Common Core Correlations section lists Common Core Standards along with page numbers in each Unit’s Teacher’s Guide where these standards are addressed in lesson, task, assignment, or assessment.
  • Standards and Lesson Objectives are clearly stated on left hand side of Teacher's Guide at the beginning of each lesson.
    • For example, in Unit 4, Module B, lesson 10, on page 304 of the Teacher’s Guide, the objectives are:
      • Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to to comprehension or expression. L.6.6.
      • Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas. RI.6.5.
Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for visual design that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The ReadyGen Language Arts curriculum printed version supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject due to its visual design. Student materials reviewed for Grade 6 include the text collections: Volume 1 and 2, Sleuth, a collection of close reading passages for struggling and accelerated readers, Reader’s and Writer’s Journal, and an online component that contains leveled readers, anchor and supporting texts, a variety of grammar games, software to publish students’ stories, and a mechanism with which the teacher can assign personalized writing prompts to communicate with individual students.

Components that support students engaging thoughtfully with the subject include but are not limited to:

  • The units have engaging pictures and graphics that are appropriate for 6th grade students.
  • The units are color coded: Unit 1 is purple, Unit 2 is pink, Unit 3 is green, and Unit 4 is orange.
  • The graphic organizers are large enough for students to fit their notes and free of pictures or distractions so students can focus on their task.
  • The Grade 6 material’s visual appearance is not distracting or chaotic. The materials support students in thoughtful engagement with subject matter.

Criterion 3f-3j

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Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet expectations for teacher learning and understanding of the standards. including annotated teacher's edition materials with suggestions on how to present the content. The materials include adult-level explanations and examples and explanations of the role of specific standards in the context of the overall materials, including some instructional recommendations and supports. The materials do not include a strategy to engage all stakeholders in the ELA program to support student learning beyond the school day.

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Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing a teacher’s guide with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Materials include a Teacher’s Guide that includes a clear outline of each unit as well as notes and suggestions of how to present content. The Teacher’s Guide also includes the objectives of the lesson, explanations of where to find descriptions of routine, and suggested ways to present content as well as possible questions to ask that are noted in blue. Each question asked is followed by a sample student answer. The teacher’s edition also includes scaffolded instruction boxes to address learners needs with suggestions and ideas on how to differentiate instruction for those students in need.

Other examples of annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials include but are not limited to:

  • Implementation Guide, page 5, provides suggested steps for lesson planning:
    • Read the Performance Based Writing Assessment expectations for module.
    • Read the anchor and supporting texts for module.
    • Review text complexity rubric for all texts in module. These rubrics, found in Teacher Resource Section in back of each Teacher's Guide for four units, two modules in each, identify content that may be challenging, allowing for modifications.
    • Review Scaffolded Strategies Handbook lessons for module, and choose those that would enhance small group instruction.
  • Instructional routines, located in Teacher’s Resource Section at the back of each unit’s Teacher's Guide, provide routines for discussion, read aloud, shared and independent reading, and vocabulary instruction. Icons placed throughout lesson presentations direct the teacher to the appropriate routine. Blackline masters of graphic organizers are also provided here, as well as in depth word analysis lessons.
  • Unit Overview Standards Maps, located in Implementation Guide, provide explanations of each module’s Performance Based Writing Assessment Goals, as well as essential questions and enduring understanding goals.
  • Scaffolded Strategies Handbook contains specific front-loading activities and support for each anchor and supporting text, and the Performance Based Writing Assessment. Small group instruction directions in Teacher Guides point to specific pages of Scaffolded Strategies Handbook. These lessons are geared toward struggling and advanced learners, while the last section in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook specifically offers instructional support for English Language Learners.
  • There are four Teacher's Guides, one for each unit and module. The Teacher's Guides have a two-page layout for each module, providing the teacher with a quick overview of each lesson’s Reading Instructional Focus, Independent Reading Process and Strategy, Writing Instructional and Independent Focus. A separate two-page planning layout highlights goals of specific lessons, including standards and vocabulary to be taught, and page numbers of reading.
  • Each module provides center options with these instructions, “During small group time, students can use independent center activities to practice and apply standards.” Options for activities focus on both concepts and learning objectives for the unit, with specific reading, writing, word work and research activities. Corresponding digital components for these center options include online leveled texts, vocabulary and word analysis games, online comprehension activities, and a website, Tikatok.com, that allows students to write and publish books.
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Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of materials containing a teacher edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject as necessary. The materials also include an Implementation Guide to provide specific explanations, rational, and examples of key concepts that are needed to improve knowledge of the subject. Common Core Correlations, located in the Implementation Guide, list all of Grade 6 ELA standards by strand, then the page numbers in each unit’s Teacher’s Guide where these standards are addressed.

The Teacher Editions include:

  • Instructional Routines, along with their rationales, are located in the Teacher Resource Section in the back of each of four Teacher’s Guides.
  • Generative Vocabulary Instruction is explained in the Implementation Guide on page 8 as “helping students learn about words.” A white paper on generative vocabulary instruction is available online at pearsonrealize.com. It’s further described in each unit of the Teacher’s Guide at the beginning of each module. Teachers learn about benchmark vocabulary (words that are important for understanding concepts within a text) and by-the-way words (sophisticated or unusual Tier II and Tier III words).
  • Text Complexity Rubrics are available for each Anchor and Supporting Text. Rubrics explain quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task considerations, and provide the teacher with information on potential challenges students may have in accessing the text. These rubrics are located in the Teacher’s Resource Section in the back of each unit’s Teacher’s Guide.
  • Tips and Tools sidebars throughout the Teacher’s Guides, Scaffolded Strategies Handbook, and Teacher Resource sections provide quick definitions of literary and language terms being taught in each lesson. For example, “Tips and Tools” on page TR25 of the “Routines” portion of the Teacher Resources offers definitions for affix, inflectional ending, and root words for the teacher.
  • Independent Reading Continuum, located in Teacher’s Resource Section of each unit’s Teacher’s Guide, “shows a progression of the essential elements of independent reading in the elementary grades, describing strategies and processes that students practice when engaged in purposeful, self-selected reading” (Implementation Guide, page 37).
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Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Unit and Module overviews explain the progression of the content and how this specific course connects to previous and upcoming coursework. Scope and sequence is included in the Implementation Guide that includes all Common Core Standards and which Unit and Module they are addressed.

The Teacher’s Editions also include:

  • Implementation Guide contains a section entitled “How do I use ReadyGen?” (6). This section explains that “all instruction ultimately leads to a successful Performance Based Writing Assessment. Using the concept of universal design and backwards planning, all instruction is geared toward the successful completion of the Performance Based Writing Assessment.”
  • Instructional Routines in Discussion, Reading, Vocabulary, and Writing form the framework of instruction. These routines are “developmentally appropriate to each grade and build upon the previous grade in a spiral fashion” (Implementation Guide, page 7).
  • Generative Vocabulary Instruction is another foundation of ReadyGen. “The overarching goal of the vocabulary strand is to foster understanding of a single text, and carry that word knowledge across text types within the unit and beyond” (Implementation Guide, page 8).
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Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies. Explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies include but are not limited to:

  • The Implementation Guide provides rationale and explanations of instructional approaches and research based strategies. From page 6, “ReadyGen lessons are designed with P. David Pearson’s gradual release of responsibility model with the goal of building independent readers and writers.”
  • Instructional Routines for Discussion, Reading, Vocabulary, and Writing are found in the Teacher’s Resource Section of each unit’s Teacher’s Guide. These Instructional Routines “provide the framework around which teachers can flexibly respond to students’ needs and through which students build expertise and confidence” (Implementation Guide, page 7).
  • Generative Vocabulary Instruction is another routine that is research based. Goals for this instruction are outlined in the Implementation Guide on pages 8 and 9, but a white paper is available for download on Pearson.com/ReadyGen.
  • Text Complexity Rubrics, a three-part model that gauges the difficulty of a particular text, are available for all Anchor and Supporting Texts in the Teacher’s Resource Section of each unit’s Teacher’s Guide.
  • “What is the Research behind ReadyGen” section in the Implementation Guide provides an overview of instructional approach, with corresponding quotes from experts in the field.
Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

There are two places in the curriculum where a home school connection is mentioned. Once, when assigning online games and activities, there is a parent letter available online that explains that students will be using online curriculum. The second mention is on page of 32 of the Ready Up Intervention booklet available to review online. It mentions the importance of a home school connection.

Criterion 3k-3n

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Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet expectations for providing teacher resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the standards. Formative and summative assessment opportunities are provided throughout the materials. All assessments clearly indicate which standards are being emphasized, and teachers are provided guidance on how to interpret student performance and suggestions for follow-up, with exception of end-of-unit work, where standards are not consistently highlighted. Routines and opportunities to monitor student progress are included throughout the materials.

2/2
Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for regularly and systematically offering a multitude of assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

This curriculum offers a variety of assessments including baseline assessments, formative assessments, performance based assessments, end-of-unit assessments, and an assessment book. Specifically, the assessment throughout the materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Within the Teacher’s Guide there is a multitude of assessment options for assessing English Language Learners, including fluency tests and running records, test administration information, answer keys, and rubrics for the Baseline and End-of-Unit Assessments.
  • At the beginning of the year, educators have the option of administering a baseline assessment to know where the students are and where the best place to start would be. It helps identify students who are on-level, below-level, and students who may need more of a challenge.
  • Each module contains formative assessments that include both reading and writing. Within these components, students are being tested on key language, structure, and ideas, along with fluency checks, and writing responses that require students to use textual evidence in their answers. Additionally, there is a section for “if...then” to help monitor students’ progress in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook.
  • Each module in the ReadyGen curriculum has a performance based assessment that has students use the skills they acquired throughout the lessons in the module. These assessments help guide teachers in measuring students’ mastery of the standards. Rubrics are included to score their work along with a Reflect and Respond section in which students can see what they can do better to improve their writing.
  • At the culmination of each unit, there is an end-of-unit assessment that contains reading passages, selected response questions, and writing prompts. Students answer questions that are read to them or they read themselves. The questions include both vocabulary and comprehension and are related to both literary and informational texts and continue to get more complex over the course of the school year. The writing prompts ask students to write in varying lengths in all writing types.
Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:

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Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized. While standards are clearly labeled in the daily lessons and are found on the performance based assessments for each unit, standards are not noted on the End-of Unit Assessments.

Assessments that clearly denote with standards are being emphasized include, but are not limited to:

  • Educators have easy access to the standards in a map format in the Implementation Guide on pages 66-71 in which they can see standards broken down by Speaking and Listening, Language, Reading, and Writing within each unit and module. Additionally, in this guide is all the standards written out on pages 74-95. In this section the standards are written out and labeled according to where the standard is addressed. Both locations allow teachers quick access to find the standards and where they are assessed.
  • Within the Teacher's Guides, each unit is broken into two modules, A and B. Each module is outlined at the beginning of the unit where the Enduring Understandings, Knows, and Dos are laid out ahead of time along with the performance based assessment task. Within each lesson, the objectives and standards are also presented in a list for the teacher’s access. For example, on page 12, unit 3, Module A, lesson 1, has students using standards RI 6.1 and RI 6.3.
  • The performance based assessments at the end of each module contain a task that is leveled by the Depth of Knowledge with additional objectives and standards aligned. For example, in Unit 4, module A, students are asked to write an argument. This task is aligned with the Depth of Knowledge level 3 and the following standards are being covered: W 6.1, W 6.6, SL 6.2, and SL 6.4.


The end-of-unit assessment does not provide a standard guide for teachers or for the students.

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Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Materials provide teachers with guidance for administering assessments and interpreting results through rubrics and scoring guidance documents. Other guidance includes, but is not limited to:

  • The performance based assessments at the end of each module allow students to apply the skills they gained throughout the module. This process of assessment allows educators to measure students’ mastery of the standards. Teachers have access to a four-point writing rubric to score their assessment. Additionally, there is a reflect and respond section in which writers can improve on specific areas they need help. For example, in Unit 1, Module B students are asked to write an informative/explanatory task, specifically an encyclopedia article. The rubric is based on a 4-point scale covering the areas of Focus, Organization, Development, Language and Vocabulary, and Conventions. For students who receive a 0, 1, or, 2 on the scoring rubric, there is a section on page 399 that can help students who are struggling in certain areas work on these skills. For example, “If...students struggle to choose a topic that is appropriate in scope for an encyclopedia article, then...give examples of topics with an appropriate scope. You may also consider creating a list of topics for students to choose from.”
  • On the end-of-unit assessments, teachers are given instructions on administering and scoring. Teachers are explicitly guided in the Teacher’s Guide on how to administer the variety of assessments including running records, fluency tests, and test administration for the other forms of assessments.
  • Additionally, educators are given instructions on what to do with the results they obtain after administering the assessments to the students. Teachers can use their findings to gauge what steps should be taken next to help support their students at their varying levels.
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Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. There is an array of opportunities for teachers to watch their students’ growth over the course of the school year.

Some examples of these monitoring strategies include, but are not limited to:

  • Fluency opportunities for reading accountability that explain how students read fluently and what it should sound and look like. Within the quick check section, teachers can monitor the progress of their students by following the “if...then…” protocol. For example, on page 17 of Unit 2, Module A, students are working on appropriate phrasing within their fluency by reading the paragraph “Tides” on page 8 of Ocean Storm Alert!. “If...students forget to pause...then ask them to copy the passage and mark pauses with slash marks.”
  • Within the Writing Keystone Checklist, students are asked to do various tasks and then are scored on whether they achieved that task on the rubric. For example, on page 70 of Unit 2, Module A, students are being asked to Make and Support Claims. Their checklist of items includes: express a clear claim, provide evidence to support the claim, develop the argument with logical facts, details, examples, and quotations from the text. Additionally, there is a section in the Scaffolded Strategies handbook on page 224 that can further assist students and teachers with support if needed in the above areas.
  • At the end of the teacher’s manuals, there is a Check Progress section “to assess students’ word-analysis skills and their word reading in context. ” Teachers are given a test along with an answer key and have additional support in the monitor progress section. For example, on WA26 of Unit 3, “if...students have difficulty with expressions, idioms, and sayings, then...have students review the lessons and also look up common expressions, idioms, and sayings in print or online resources. Have them make up sentences using these figures of speech.”
Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations that materials indicated how students are accountable for their independent reading based upon student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Within each module and unit, students have an opportunity for small group time in which they participate in Focused Independent Reading. In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 1, students build accountability; they have a process focus, strategy focus, and then a process for monitoring progress. Within each Teacher’s Guide there is also an Independent Reading Routine in which the rationale is provided, and directions for how to successfully implement independent reading in the classroom.
  • Within the small group routine students build their knowledge of the lesson’s focus and skills by applying it to their own independent reading material. For example, on page 75 of Unit 1, Module A, Lesson 7 students learned about summarizing events. Students can log into the online Pearson Realize to find an Independent Reading Activity that is appropriate for the text they are reading.
  • Throughout the reading routine students are asked to focus on a variety of skills including Engagement and Identity, Stamina, Independence, Community, Vocabulary Knowledge, Fluency, Critical Thinking, and Comprehension. Within these tasks, students are to confer with their teacher about the level of their books they chose to read and are asked open-ended questions to determine whether they understand what they are reading and to gauge their progress with the day’s focus points.
  • Over the course of the school year, students are to increase their complexity levels in their independent reading books and read about various topics and genres. Students are asked to reflect on their reading through writing activities such as journaling or using the Independent Reading Log. In addition, they are asked to talk with classmates using the Text Clubs routine on teacher pages TR20-TR23.

Criterion 3o-3r

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Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.

The materials for Grade 6 meet expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. There are clear supports for students who struggle as well as those who work above grade level. Grouping strategies included are inclusive of multiple opportunities.

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Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing strategies to meet the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and support them in meeting or exceeding grade-level standard.

There are teaching ideas in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook that address English Language Learners, struggling readers and even accelerated learners. The needs of students with disabilities are also addressed.

Included in the handbook are models for scaffolded instruction, strategies, routines that can be used with all students in small or whole group or individual instruction time. The Scaffolding Strategies Handbook is organized into four parts:

  • Within Part 1, titled Unlock the Text, every anchor and supporting text is supported with scaffolds and strategies. The lessons are divided into Prepare to Read, Interact with Text, and Express and Extend.
  • Part 2 is titled Unlock the Writing. These lessons work to scaffold the module-level Performance Based Assessments and it also provides additional lessons to teach the writing types required by the standards.
  • In Part 3 of the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook routines, graphic organizers, and activities are provided to support students.
  • Part 4 is titled Unlock Language Learning and focuses on supporting English Language Learners construct the meaning and explore vocabulary of a text. This section provides support to build background, talk about sentences, speak and write about the text, expand understanding of vocabulary, and write about the anchor and supporting text.

Small group instruction is provided based on student need with options such as:

  • Unlock the Text: supports students in accessing ideas, key language, and key structures
  • Word Analysis: supports students with their foundational skills.
  • Conferencing: helps students to grow their independent reading accountability as they discuss their self-selected texts with the teacher.
  • Support Instruction: targets students who need additional scaffolding for the instructional focus of each lesson.
  • Extensions: intended for students who understand the lesson focus and would benefit from opportunities to extend the lesson and enhance learning.
  • Sleuth: used three to four times each unit for small group lessons to reteach, practice, and refine close-reading skills and strategies.

There are scaffolded instruction notes in almost every lesson in the Teacher's Guides.

  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 1, page 13 of the Teacher’s Guide the Scaffolded Instruction note states, “English Language Learners -- Multiple Meaning Words -- Explain to students that the word alert is an adjective meaning ‘bright’ or ‘attentive.’ Explain that alert is also used as a noun meaning ‘warning.’ Tell students that an alert is a warning given when there is immediate danger. Point out how the exclamation mark in the title reinforces the immediacy of the warning.”
  • In Unit 2, Module A, lesson 10, page 109 of the Teacher’s Guide the Scaffolded Instruction note states, “Strategic Support -- Incorporating Point of View -- Students may have difficulty distinguishing between statements of fact and statements incorporating point of view. Write: People choose to build homes by the shore. Then write: I think it is a bad idea to build a home by the shore. Model rewriting to eliminate bias: Recent disasters show that it is risky to build homes very close to an ocean’s shore.”
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Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meets the expectations for providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. The Teacher’s Guide provides daily scaffolding for immediate feedback during lessons, and the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook provides more extensive follow up to support English Language Learners.

The Teacher’s Guide provides on-the-spot scaffolds in each lesson. These address common stumbling blocks encountered by English Language Learners and struggling readers and writers. They are highlighted at the bottom of each lesson in blue.

  • In Unit 1, Module B, lesson 4, page 251 the note states, “Modal Auxiliary Verbs: Copy and display the verb chart. Say a sentence such as: The class_______ the museum. Have student choose verbs from the chart to complete the sentence. Discuss the way each verb affects the meaning. Then have students work in small groups. One says a sentence as above, and another chooses a modal auxiliary verb to complete it. Continue until all group members have had a turn.”
  • In Unit 4, Module A, lesson 17, page 173, the note states, “Details and Elaboration: Help students understand that when an author elaborates on a topic, he or she provides additional details. Explain that paraphrasing an author’s elaboration, or restating the new details in their own words, may help to increase their understanding of the additional information presented.”

The Scaffolded Strategies Handbook has a number of resources for teachers to assist English Language Learners, struggling readers and writers as well as students with disabilities. These are intended to be used during small group time. The handbook has four sections of resources that include:

  • Unlock the Text: This section includes text complexity rubrics that offer insight into the quantitative, qualitative and reader and task measures of text. The qualitative measures provide strategies for levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands. Cognate charts are provided for each anchor text and supporting text in this section of the handbook as well.
  • Unlock Writing: This section provides scaffolded lessons for the Performance-Based Assessments and grade level support and guidelines for teaching the standards based writing types.
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Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for including extensions and /or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Each lesson offers support for accelerated learners in Small Group Options. The small group options provided in the Teacher’s Guide offers teachers opportunities to direct their instruction to the needs of their students. Teachers are encouraged to gather formative assessment information from whole group instruction to help determine student needs during small groups. Opportunities within small groups that include:

  • Independent Reading Conferences: Opportunities for students to discuss self-selected texts can be found in the Teacher Resource Book. Independent reading rubrics are also provided for students to self-assess reading preferences and behaviors.
  • Close Reading Extension or Language Analysis Extension are provided for students who are adept or excel at the skill or lesson.
  • Mini-lessons can also be found in the Sleuth materials that offer extensions for students who excel at close reading or language analysis.
  • In Unit 3, Module A, lesson 3 the Close Reading Extension on page 37 asks students to complete an Extend Mini-Lesson for Sleuth activity. Students discuss questions, gather evidence, ask questions, make their case, and prove their thinking.

The Scaffolded Strategies Handbook included opportunities outside of the teacher guide for extensions for students who are above grade level. These sections are titled Extend, Accelerated, and Going Deeper. Other opportunities the handbook provides include but are not limited to:

  • There are four parts in the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook - Unlock the Text, Unlock the Writing, Routines and Activities, and Unlock Language Learning. Within each part, there are extensions activities and strategies.
  • In Unit 1, Module A, on page 19 of the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook, students Unlock the Text to Express and Extend after reading You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra! The Extend section states, “Write the phrases no picnic, pocket the money, hatches a plot, tough act to follow, and watch your back. Have students explain the meaning of each phrase and provide an example of how they might use it in conversation.”
  • In Part 2, Unlock the Writing on page 235 students are provided with a practice and a deeper practice when working with informative/explanatory texts. The Deeper Practice note states, “Have students work individually using their group’s graphic organizer, to write an introduction to the topic. Ask them to start with the topic that does not give an opinion about the plant. Have students compare their work.”
  • On page TR11 in the Unit 1 Shared Reading Routine, teachers are provided with a Going Deeper activity once students are familiar with the routine. The directions state, “Once students are familiar with the routine: have them add sticky notes to text sections that cause confusion and are “Aha!” moments. These sections can then be discussed after the reading; have them flag sections of relevant text when they are given a reading focus ahead of time.”
  • On page TR23 in the Unit 2 Text Club Routine directions, teachers are provided with a Going Deeper activity for when students become comfortable with routine to help them explore Text Clubs more deeply. The directions state, “Have students from each group ‘jigsaw’ with students from other groups to share an element of the text they read. This engages all students in all texts being read in the class.”
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Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Students participate in partner and small group Think/Pair/Share, whole class discussion, small group discussion, read alouds, shared reading, independent reading, text clubs, and benchmark vocabulary discussions for both informational and literary texts.

The Teacher’s Guide provides small group options for teachers to provide direct instruction to meet the needs of their students. Teachers are encouraged to use information gained from whole group instruction to help determine where students need additional supports or extensions during small groups. Examples of this include:

  • In Unit 1, Module A, lesson 11, the Teacher’s Guide states, “Have students work independently or in small groups to continue to identify and analyze text feature in both texts. Use the Small Group Discussion Routine on pp. TR6-TR7 to have students make comparisons between the two texts and to discuss why they think the author of You Wouldn’t Want to Be Cleopatra! included more text features. Check understanding by asking students to share or by circulating among students or groups.”
  • In Unit 3, Module B, lesson 6, the Teacher’s Guide has students Turn and Talk, “After reading, have students turn to a partner and discuss this question using examples from the text: What actions do Min, Tree-ear, Ajima, and Crane-man take to have Min reconsidered for a royal commission? Use the Think-Pair-Share Routine on pages TR2-TR3.”

Routines and protocols for grouping strategies are provided in the Teacher Resources section of the Teacher’s Guide.

Criterion 3s-3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 include useful technology tools to support teacher understanding of the material to support and implement the curriculum. They include materials to help teachers support students' personalized learning via navigable online platforms for students and teachers. The digital platform offers opportunities to enhance students learning.

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 include digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) that are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

Materials are available to access with a login and password at www.pearsonrealize.com. Once signed in an educator can access materials such as the Teacher’s Guide for each Unit, Teacher Resources, Standards, Baseline Assessments, Practice Test, Scaffolded Strategies Handbooks, Unit Modules, each unit’s Leveled eText Library, Text Collections, Sleuth, and printable resources.

On the website, teachers can create classes to assign work, check on the status of assignments, create groups, and post class calendars. There is also a Data tab to gather and display and use data to promote student mastery of the standards. Close Reading Modeling Videos, Independent Reading Modeling Videos, Accessible eTexts, and the customizable lesson planning tool: MyGen are also available on this website.

Accessibility was tested on Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Windows, Apple, Android mobile device, Safari, an iPhone. All access was successful. The eTexts are flash based. You will be unable to access eTexts on an iPad since they don’t support Flash. It is recommended to download the eTexts for Schools App if your device does not support the Flash player.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Materials provide students with the ability to continue learning at home with activities aligned to unit texts, writing modes, and Enduring Understandings. Anchor texts are interactive to build background knowledge and help students access complex texts. Teachers have the option of assigning an e-text or interactive version of the anchor text to students on the Pearson Realize website (www.pearsonrealize.com). Interactivities can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard for use as part of whole group instruction, or students can access whatever texts have been assigned to them on an individual device. TikaTok allows students to write, illustrate and publish their own digital storybooks and projects. There are also Interactive graphic organizers that allow students to record as they read independently.

Online interactive tools such as Reader’s and Writer’s Journal, Monster Word Mania, Pack Up the Skills, Envision It! Animations, Letter Tile Drag and Drop, and Grammar Jammers are provided and can be assigned by the teacher, as well as Close and Independent Reading Videos to support students’ learning.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 include Digital materials that provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners. An online Baseline Assessment is used to pinpoint students struggles while assessing the standards with complex text. Digital materials provide program-agnostic college- and career-readiness assessments, balanced practice test, and performance tasks. Technology-enhanced Items appear on the Baseline Assessment in Grade 6, on all End-of-Unit Assessments, and on program-agnostic balanced performance tasks. Teachers can also build their own assessments.

The Data tab of Realize provides class and student data, including standards mastery, overall progress, and time on task. Teachers can also view data individually by student from the class assignment list. Teachers can use this data to create assignments based on an individual student’s needs.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 can be easily customized for local use. The online tool, MyGen, allows teachers to adapt any unit module. Teachers can replace any anchor or supporting text with another selection, create their own essential questions and enduring understandings, and identify lesson standards. Teachers can also develop Performance-Based Assessments that are customized to their classroom.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

Materials include limited technology that provides opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate with each other. In the TikaTok resource, students can share and comment on each other’s work. While students are encouraged to collaborate with each other in individual lessons, there is no mechanism for them to do this virtually in the digital materials (no discussion boards or webinars built in).

There is a chat feature built into the Dash site, but this chat is only between the teacher and student.

Professional development is available online through tutorials, onsite orientations, in-depth workshops, and online trainings. Access to professional development can be found on the Pearson website, but opportunities for teachers to participate in discussion groups with other teachers do not exist.