Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for Journeys Grade 3 do not meet expectations for alignment. While the materials partially meet expectations for Gateway 1, they do not meet expectations for Gateway 2.

The Grade 3 materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. While some literary texts included in materials are of quality, informational texts are often short and lack engaging, content-area vocabulary. Though there are text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text, students are seldom asked to draw their own conclusions or inferences. Culminating tasks are present, but often are not supported by the unit texts. Grammar and conventions lessons and practice are often not aligned to grade level standards. Texts are organized around a theme with some topic organization, but the materials do not consistently support building students' knowledge of topics or themes over the course of a school year. Materials contain few sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts, and said culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic. The year-long vocabulary plan does not ensure that students will interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year. Materials partially support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year and do they include some progression of focused research projects. The materials for Grade 3 partially do provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
27
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
12
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
0
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Grade 4 materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. While some texts included in materials are of quality, informational texts are often short and lack engaging, content-area vocabulary. Though there are text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text, students are seldom asked to draw their own conclusions or inferences. Culminating tasks are present, but often are not supported by the unit texts. Writing support meets the requirements of the standards, with students practicing multiple modes and genres over the course of the school year. Writing process materials are present throughout the school year. Grammar and conventions lessons and practice are often not aligned to grade level standards.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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.
16/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed partially meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. Many of the literary texts are published texts which provide opportunities for students to engage in especially careful reading, are on topics of interest to Grade 4 students, and include rich, captivating language. Many informational texts are very short and lack engaging, content-area vocabulary. Texts do meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Each lesson has a paired set of texts which often include both a literary text and a paired informational text. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task and partially meet the expectation of supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. While the anchor texts and paired selections typically fall within the grade band, the scaffolding of each text for reader and task is similar and comparable for each text regardless of complexity and demands of each text. This may not ensure students are supported to access and comprehend complex grade-level texts independently at the end of the year. Anchor texts and the series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a and rationale and text complexity analysis for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1a. Although many texts are excerpts, a good deal of the literary texts are published texts which provide opportunities for students to engage in especially careful reading, are on topics of interest to Grade 4 students, and include rich, captivating language. Most of the informational texts were written for the series and are not works published outside the program, and many of these are brief and lack content-area vocabulary and well-crafted language.

The anchor texts for Grade 4 include texts created by award-winning authors and illustrators, such as Kate DiCamillo, Kathleen Krull, Laurence Yep, and Pam Muñoz Ryan, and cover topics of interest to Grade 4 students in a variety of genres, including poetry, realistic fiction, biographies, and historical fiction. Some examples of quality texts include but are not limited to:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 1, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - This excerpt contains a funny character, Winn-Dixie, a dog, which is engaging for Grade 4 students. The text contains intriguing dialogue.
  • Unit 2, Lesson 8, Me and Uncle Romie by Claire Hartfield and Jerome Lagarrigue - This excerpt contains intricate, detailed paintings as illustrations and tackles common experiences such as leaving home.
  • Unit 3, Lesson 13, Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Owings Dewey - This informational text has an engaging topic, penguins, for Grade 4 students. The text contains attractive photos with concise captions.
  • Unit 4, Lesson 19, Harvesting Hope: A Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull - This excerpt tells the biography of Cesar Chavez. The text contains descriptive verbs such as “seeped,” “vanished,” and “yanking.” The illustrations are colorful and detailed.
  • Unit 5, Lesson 21, The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney - This excerpt is a relatable tale for Grade 4 students since it is about a class pet. The author uses a unique perspective, which is from the hamster’s point-of-view.
  • Unit 6, Lesson 26,“The Spider” by Jack Prelutsky - This poem contains academic language and a mystery for students to figure out.

While there are a variety of topics and a range of student interests addressed throughout the year, many texts that have been created for the series lack engaging text for Grade 4 students. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6,The History of Radio by Vivian Fernandez is an informational text with long paragraphs and tackles a non-relatable topic for Grade 4 students in just three pages.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, Sidewalk Artists by Sam Rabe is a reader’s theater text with few opportunities to read and speak because the script is short. Much of the pages are taken up by images and illustrations.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 17, Knowing Noses by Ellen Gold is a short text that contains large pictures, which take up space for quality text. The text uses repetitive sentence starters such as “they.” The pictures do not have captions.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. There is a mix between literary and informational text. Each lesson has a paired set of texts which often include both a literary text and a paired informational text.

The anchor literary texts represent a variety of text types and genres including but not limited to humorous fiction, myth, plays, historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, realistic fiction, poetry, folktales, and fables.

  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, realistic fiction
  • “Invasion from Mars” by Howard Koch, play
  • Sidewalk Artists, reader’s theater
  • “The Dove and the Ant”, fable
  • Wonderful Weather, poetry
  • Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, historical fiction
  • Hercules’ Quest retold by Martina Melendez, myth
  • The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney, fantasy
  • The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov, science fiction

The anchor informational texts represent a variety of text types and genres including but not limited to technology, science, social studies & biographies. Informational texts include news articles, journal entries, biographies, advertisements and photo essays.

  • My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris, biography
  • “Field Guide to Snakes of the Southwest”, informational text
  • Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms by Patricia Lauber, informational text
  • Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Owings Dewey, narrative nonfiction
  • Sacagawea by Lise Erdrich, biography
  • “Make the Switch”, advertisements

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.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation that texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Many of the texts in the materials are in the Grade 4-5 text complexity band. Examples of texts with appropriate text complexity include:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 5: Stormalong by Mary Pope Osborne
    • Quantitative: 900 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text contains a single level of meaning and uses simple, sequential story elements. It has complex descriptions and figurative language. There is some domain-specific language, and the sailing references may be unfamiliar to students.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text and predict what will happen next to Stormalong. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also remind students about the lesson’s Preview the Topic and have students tell what they know about being a sailor on a sailing ship. The tasks include: analyzing the characters in order to understand them and analyzing point-of-view.
  • Unit 5, Lesson 23; The Ever-Living Tree: The Life and Times of a Coast Redwood by Linda Vieira
    • Quantitative: 970 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text has multiple purposes. It uses sophisticated graphics that are essential to understanding the text and that provide additional information. The text uses many unfamiliar or high academic words. The text requires specialized or subject specific knowledge.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out why the tree is called “ever-living.” The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also remind students about the lesson’s Preview the Topic and have students share information about trees, especially redwood trees. The tasks include: analyzing the text for text and graphic features, text structure, and language choices.
  • Unit 6, Lesson 27: Amphibian Alert!
    • Quantitative: 990 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text has an explicitly stated purpose or main idea. The organization of main idea and details is complex but moves clearly and logically from stating a problem to proposing potential solutions. The text contains captions that provide additional scientific facts. The author’s word choices create a tone of concern about the text’s topic. The text contains domain specific vocabulary, some of which are defined in context. The text covers complex scientific content and requires some specialized knowledge.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out the dangers faced by amphibians. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also ask students who have an interest in amphibians to share what they know about frogs, toads, salamanders and newts. The tasks include: analyzing the text for main ideas and details and using questioning.

Several of the anchor texts have text complexity features that do not fully support Grade 4 students according to the demands of the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1 is Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. This text is below the complexity level for Grade 4 students with a low Lexile and only slightly complex text features. The Reader and Task Suggestions do not increase the complexity.
    • Quantitative: 700 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text contains a single level of meaning with a single theme. The text contains a flashback. The text is written from first-person point-of-view, which requires students to make inferences. The language is familiar and causal. The experiences are familiar and has some cultural speech patterns that may be unfamiliar to some students.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out whether Opal makes a new friend. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also have students review the Preview the Topic and have partners share experiences about moving or having people they know move. The tasks include: analyzing the text for for point-of-view as well as analyzing flashback and story structure.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2 is My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Christine King Farris. This text is extremely complex for the beginning of the year with an above grade level Lexile, exceedingly complex and very complex qualitative features.The Reader and Task Suggestions do not offset the complexity of this text.
    • Quantitative: 1030 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The purpose of the text is subtle and implied. As a biography, the text uses first-person narration with few shifts in the point-of-view. The text contains casual language with a few instances of idiomatic expressions and sophisticated descriptions. Students will need specialized knowledge about historical events.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out how segregation affected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also ask students to share what they have learned about civil rights in social studies. The tasks include: analyzing the text for author’s purpose and explaining historical events.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 9 is Dear Mr. Winston by Ken Roberts. This text has an above grade level Lexile with exceeding complex and very qualitative features. The Reader and Task suggestions do not offset the complexity of this text for Grade 4 students.
    • Quantitative: 1110 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text has multiple levels of meaning within a single theme. The text has a somewhat distorted sequence of events. The text has familiar and casual language with familiar settings and content.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out what happened to Mr. Winston. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also remind students of the Preview the Topic and ask students to share with a partner their experiences of doing research in the library to answer a question. The tasks include: analyzing text evidence to draw a conclusion and analyzing characters in order to understand them.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26 is The Girl Who Loved Spiders by Karen Halvorsen Schreck. This text is has low complexity in quantitative and qualitative features for the end of Grade 4. The Reader and Task Suggestions do not increase the complexity.
    • Quantitative: 500 Lexile
    • Qualitative: The text contains a single level of meaning with a single theme. The text has first-person narration with a distinct voice. Even though the text is fictional, the text contains photographs of real spiders. The text contains some complex sentence structure and domain-specific vocabulary. The text has familiar life experience of facing a fear with specialized scientific content about spiders.
    • Reader and Task: Suggestions are provided in order to help students in accessing the text. The teacher is directed to have students read the text to find out how the boy feels about spiders. The teacher can use a Language Support Card. The teacher can also ask students who find spiders fascinating to share information. The tasks include: analyzing the story structure and using visualize as a strategy.

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.)
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation of supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. While many anchor texts and paired selections typically fall within the grade band, several texts fall outside of the grade band. Furthermore the scaffolding of each text for reader and task considerations is similar and comparable for each text regardless of complexity and demands of each text. This may not ensure students are supported to access and comprehend complex grade-level texts independently at the end of the year.

As the year progresses, students read texts at a variety of complexity levels. For each text, the routine for reading and analyzing the text is similar and does not change based on text complexity. Examples of the similar and comparable scaffolding for each text regardless of complexity include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, students read one of the most complex anchor texts (My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) in the materials. By reading such a complex text early in the school year, students are not provided the opportunity to have scaffolded support to build to the reading of the complex text. For the reader and task considerations, the teacher is directed to have students read to find out how segregation affected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To foster independence, the teacher is directed to have partners write questions on self-stick notes as they read.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 10, students read Jose! Born to Dance, which is a less complex text. For the reader and task considerations, the teacher is directed to have students read to find out how Jose became a dancer. To foster independence, as students read in small groups, students take turns posing questions about the text. Both texts are allotted three days of instruction with day 1 for thinking through the text. Day 2 is for analyzing the text. Day 3 is for independent reading of the text and students complete two pages of the Reader’s Notebook.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 25, students read Isaac Asimov, The Complete Stories: The Fun They Had, which is a text with exceedingly complex text qualitative text features. During that same week, students read the paired selection, Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions, which has a high Lexile (1110) and exceedingly complex qualitative text features. These complex texts are read in one week. The following week, the texts (The Girl Who Loved Spiders with 500 Lexile and moderately to slightly complex qualitative features and Web Wise with 790 Lexile and moderately to slightly complex qualitative features) drop in complexity significantly, yet a week is allotted to reading and analyzing those texts.

For the Grade 4 anchor and paired selections, the scaffolding across texts remains constant and the same level of support is recommended across the units. This may not support students' abilities to access increasingly rigorous text over the course of the school year.

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation that anchor texts and the series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a rationale and text complexity analysis for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

The teacher's edition contains Prepare for Complex Text which includes both the rationale and text complexity analysis for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

  • Why this Text? is provided for each anchor text. This gives the rationale for educational purpose and placement as well as key learning objectives. For example, in Unit 3, Lesson 13, for the text Cold, Cold Science by Dewey Badeaux the Why this Text? States, “Students regularly encounter informational writing in textbooks, periodicals, on on the internet. This article provides information about Antarctica's climate and wildlife and about the scientists living and working there. It uses photos, captions, and domain-specific vocabulary to present important facts and ideas. The key learning objects are to learn more about the Antarctic ecosystem and to compare and contrast firsthand and secondhand accounts.
  • The Text Complexity Rubric explains the text complexity attributes of each whole class text, the Lexile and Guided Reading Levels of the texts, and the places within the lesson that will help the teacher determine if the text is appropriate in terms of reader and task. For example, in Unit 6, Lesson 29 students read “Following Muir: A Persuasive Essay” by Delia Greve and the Text Complexity Rubric gives the quantitative, qualitative and reader and task measures.
  • Quantitative: 790 Lexile, S Guided Reading Measurement
  • Qualitative:
    • Meaning and Purpose/Density and Complexity:The text has a clear purpose, but the purpose is implied more than overtly stated.
    • Text Structure/Genre: The selection is a more complex example of a persuasive text than readers may be accustomed to reading.
    • Text Structure/Organization: The text uses signal words, a series of informational paragraphs, and a timeline of Muir’s life.
    • Language Features/Conventionality and Register: The text includes first-person quotations from Muir that use archaic and poetic language.
    • Knowledge Demands/ Subject Matter Knowledge/Prior Knowledge: The text presents specialized and most likely unfamiliar details about John Muir’s life and the period in which he lived.
  • Reader/Task Considerations: Determine using the professional judgment of the teacher. This varies by individual reader, type of text, and the purpose and complexity of particular tasks. See Reader and Task Considerations on p.T155 for Anchor Text Support.

Reader and Task Considerations on p. T155 give additional support for the text “Following Muir: A Persuasive Essay”

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of support materials for the core texts to provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Students explore a range of topics including, but not limited to: early American government, independence, life on the battlefield, African American history, patriotism, visual arts, nature, natural disasters, history, science, creative inventions, creative writing, community involvement, and human-animal interaction,

In each lesson, students interact with texts during a teacher read-aloud, anchor text first read, anchor text reread with small group or partner, anchor text independent read with Reader’s Guide, a self-selected text reading, a whole group paired-text read, and an optional second read of paired-text. Leveled readers and vocabulary readers are also provided for small group, differentiated instruction.

Leveled reader lessons are provided for small group instruction. Formative assessment suggestions are provided in each lesson for the Vocabulary Reader. Each level of student understanding is provided with strategic scaffolding to support students in acquiring general academic and domain specific vocabulary. Teacher support is also given for each Vocabulary Reader. For example, in Unit 3, Lesson 14(page T292), struggling students are directed to read the Vocabulary Reader, Ants of all Kinds.

At the beginning of each unit in the Teacher Edition, Independent Literacy Center directions provide guidance for the types of activities to use such as independent reading. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson 21, managing independent activities directions can be found on pages T81-T82 in the Teacher Edition. Students are encouraged to use a reading log from the Grab-and-Go! Additional Resources to track progress and thoughts about the book to participate in book talks, book reviews, book sharing, partner reading, and discussion circles.

Extended Reading Trade Books are also listed in the materials in Units 2, 4, and 6. These texts include a weekly planner and lessons for extended reading throughout the unit. Grade 4 extended reading texts include: Discovering Mars: The Amazing Story of the Red Planet by Melvin Berger, Horses by Seymour Simon, Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter, Phineas L. MacGuire...Gets Slimed! by Frances O’Roark Dowell, and Sea Turtles: Ocean Nomads by Mary M. Cerullo.

There is also a Reading Adventure Magazine that provides additional texts across a range of topics.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
7/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations that students will have opportunities for rich, rigorous discussions and writing tasks that are evidence based. Though there are text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text, students are seldom asked to draw their own conclusions or inferences. Inferences are often given with students having to find evidence to support the already stated inference. The text dependent questions provided are not adequate to support students' mastering of this skill. Some performance tasks can be completed by students without the use of the units texts, while other tasks cannot be completed with the information provided in the assigned texts. There are not high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to the performance task. Opportunities for discussion are provided but are often not evidence-based and do not encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Materials partially meet expectations for supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching and meet the expectation of materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where necessary. Materials address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. There are some opportunities that engage students in practicing argument/opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative writing, however, the writing tasks do not increase in rigor over the course of the year. Lessons and assessment items aligned to grammar and conventions standards often address below grade-level standards. Lesson and assessment items also address above grade-level standards.

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).
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for text dependent questions, tasks, and assignments requiring students to engage directly with the text and to draw on textual evidence to support what is explicit as well as valid inferences. Though there are text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text, students are seldom asked to draw their own conclusions or inferences. Inferences are often given with students having to find evidence to support the already stated inference. The text dependent questions provided are not adequate to support students mastering of this skill.

Students are asked text-dependent questions throughout the daily lessons. These questions are included in the Teacher Read Aloud, Read the Anchor Text, Guided Retelling, Dig Deeper second read of the anchor text, Your Turn discussion, Independent Reading Reader’s Guide, Connect to the Topic, Compare Texts, and Small Group Instruction. Answering text-dependent questions is modeled throughout instruction.

Examples of text-dependent questions found throughout the units include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 9, students are asked, “How does the photograph of the thread snake add to your understanding of the first two sentences on p. 278? The photo shows that the threadsnake is so small and harmless that it can be held in your hand.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 14, students are asked, “What does the author compare ants to? An elephant, a dump truck, and people What do these comparisons tell you about ants? Ants are strong, numerous, and live in social groups and solve problems.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 27, students are asked What two problems have been caused by the introduction of African clawed frogs into new habitats? African clawed frogs eat other frogs, and they carry a fungus that is deadly to other amphibians. Which is the more serious problem? The fungus that the African clawed frogs carry is more serious because it can wipe out an entire population of frogs.

Examples of text-dependent questions found that illustrate how inferences are often given with students having to find evidence to support the already stated inference include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, students are asked, “Based on what the author says on this page, do you think the King children were close to one another? Yes. What details in the selection lead you to believe this? She says they grew together like three peas in a pod.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 16, students are asked, “What evidence have you seen so far that Charlotte has great determination? Charlotte did not give up on relearning to drive a stagecoach. She worked step by step toward her goal. She learned to use her sense of hearing, and she memorized rocks and trees on the route so she wouldn’t run into them.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 22, students are asked, “What details on Student Book p. 657 support the idea that Esther was a resourceful and independent young woman? Esther watched her mother sew and decided to teach herself to do that. Eventually she became so good at sewing that she made fancy dresses for society ladies and planned to open a millinery shop.”

Examples of text-dependent tasks and assignments found throughout the units include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, the Reader’s Notebook directs students to write a description using the text The Power of W.O.W! to help an actress understand the character Ileana better.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 11 students create a chart to describe text and graphic features of the text Hurricanes.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 24, students compare two nonfiction texts when they are asked to make a Venn diagram to compare and contrast “Owen and Mzee” and “Sea Sanctuary.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 29, the Reader’s Notebook directs students to write a public service announcement after reading Save Timber Woods which lists the pros and cons of cutting down Timber Woods using evidence from the text.

There are also “Text to Self” and “Text to World” questions that are not always text-dependent but relate to the theme or topic of the text being read. In Unit 3, lesson 15 after reading the text “Ecology for Kids,” students are asked to make a list of five things they can do to help protect the environment. Students are also asked to research and chart rainfall in their community or state.

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).
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the expectation for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task. The culminating task for each unit comes in the form of a performance task that is introduced at the beginning of the unit. All performance tasks are grounded in writing tasks, although there is a presentation piece at the end of each task in which students may choose a way to share their essay with their classmates. Not all unit texts are used to complete the performance task; the task directions state which texts students should use. Some tasks cannot be completed with only the information provided in the assigned texts.

An example of a performance task that cannot be completed with only the unit’s texts can be found in Unit 4, Unbreakable Spirit. The performance task is introduced at the beginning of the unit as, “At the end of this unit, you will think about two of the fiction texts you have read. Then you will write a response to literature.”

  • Unit 4’s topic is: “You have read two fiction stories about characters overcoming great obstacles. In ‘Riding Freedom,’ you read about how a young woman shows her strength in one very challenging event. In ‘Hercule’s Quest’,you learned about a powerful character completing a series of challenges to earn back his honor. Think about the story structure the authors used in each of these stories. Which structure do you think is a better way of showing how a character proves his or her worth? Now write a response-to-literature essay in which you explain which structure you think is more effective. Use ideas and events from both stories to support your opinion.”
    • The first text that is connected to the performance task, “Riding Freedom,” is an anchor text. This text is an historical fiction text. There are few text-dependent questions to build students knowledge or ability about the historical fiction text structure. There are three questions during the second read of the text that discuss setting, illustrations, and how the text is different from a modern setting. This is not enough information for students to form an opinion about this text structure.
    • The second text that is connected to the performance task, “Hercule’s Quest,” is also an anchor text. This text is a myth. During the second read of the text students answer four questions that ask about the text’s structure. These questions are:
      • What happens at the beginning of the myth?
      • What events set up the quest?
      • How many challenges does Hercules face in the middle of the myth?
      • How does he solve them?

These questions would not lead to an understanding of the structure of a myth.

Students could not complete the opinion writing using only the text that are provided. Students are asked to give persuasive reasons for their opinion using details and examples from both text. Students do not spend time analyzing the text structure of both texts before being asked to form an opinion about which structure is a better way to show that a character proved his/her worth. The texts provided do not give enough information to complete this task.

Another example of a performance task that cannot be completed with the use of the unit’s texts can be found in Unit 5: Change it Up. The performance task is introduced at the beginning of the unit as, “At the end of this unit, you will think about two of the texts you have read to research a topic. Then you will write a research report.”

  • Unit 5’s topic is: “In ‘I Could Do That!,’ you read about Esther Morris winning the right for women to vote in Wyoming. In ‘The Role of the Constitution’ you read about how the Constitution organizes the government and protects rights. Look back at both texts. Take notes on the important details from each text. What do these texts teach you about the right to vote? Now, write a research report. What do you want readers to know about your topic? What is the best way to organize your report to make it interesting? Use facts, details, examples, and quotations from the texts to write your report.”

While both texts connected to the performance task mention voting, “I Could Do That!” is an anchor text mostly about one woman’s life and a brief history of women’s right to vote, and the second text, “The Role of the Constitution,” is an informational supporting text in the same lesson which contains only a brief two paragraph overview about voting in which little knowledge is gained that could be used in a research report. There are no text-dependent questions that would build knowledge or the student’s ability to complete the end of unit performance task The texts, text-dependent questions, and unit tasks do not build to the performance task.

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.)
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Opportunities and protocols for discussion are provided but are often not evidence-based and do not encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. There is not a year-long approach available to developing skills over the course of they year. There is minimal teacher direction given to support teachers in conducting evidence-based discussions that model the use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

There are both evidence-based and non evidence-based discussions and modeling throughout materials. The anchor text and supporting texts provide text-based questions and sample answers for discussion, but do not give protocol or direction for conducting the discussions. Academic vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each lesson through Vocabulary in Context Cards. Students participate in Talk About Over activities with the cards. These words are highlighted in the lessons texts and are also revisited in the Vocabulary Reader.

Examples of evidence-based discussions and modeling include but are not limited to:

Unit 1, Lesson 5, Teacher Think Aloud

  • The teacher models discussion by stating, “Stormy’s thoughts about being different and his dislike of attention help me infer why he spends so much time in the sea. I know that people who feel different often try to stay away from other people. I predict that Stormy will continue to spend time in the ocean.”

Unit 2, Lesson 6, Classroom Conversation

  • Teachers are directed to, “Have students prepare to discuss the question ‘How are performances similar to and different from written stories?’ by reviewing the selection. Tell students to take turns identifying the key elements and details from the text and explaining why they are important. Instruct partners to spend time asking and answering each other’s questions about the play. Students answer the questions:
    • Do you think Carl Phillips is scared by the object?
    • How do the descriptions of sounds contribute to the play?
    • Do you think it was wrong to deliberately scare listeners, or was the radio broadcast just entertainment? Explain.

Unit 5, Lesson 23, Classroom Conversation

  • Teachers are directed to, “Have the class continue the discussion of ‘The Ever-Living Tree: The Life and Times of a Coast Redwood’ by explaining their answers to the three questions. Students answer the questions:
    • What does the author want you to know about redwood trees?
    • What have you learned about the history of the world from the events the author describes?
    • If a redwood could talk, what might it tell about the things it has seen since it sprouted?”

Examples of discussions and modeling that are not evidence-based and do not encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax include but are not limited to:

Unit 1, Lesson 3, Think-Write-Pair-Share

  • Students are directed to, “Think about a time when you couldn't read books or use other media. Where were you? What did you do instead? Did you have fun? Write a story that answers these questions. Then, share with a partner. Discuss your opinion of what is and isn’t fun.”

Unit 2, Lesson 10, Day 5 Speaking and Listening

  • Students are directed to recount an experience about their creative interests. Students search for pictures, video clips, or sound recordings that will bring their experience to life or help others understand the importance of the art form as a means of expression. Students then practice their presentations, present, and answer questions.

Unit 5, Lesson 22, Talk About it

  • Students are directed to, “Think about everything you know about the United States Constitution and rights. What are some rights of the U.S. citizens protected by the Constitution? Make a list of rights. Then, share your information with classmates.”

Unit 6, Lesson 29, Compare Texts, Text to Self

  • Students are directed to discuss, “What sort of museum would you most like to visit? Why might exploring a museum lead you to develop new interests?”

Interactive Listening and Speaking Lessons are also provided that teach the rules of good discussion. These lessons are not evidence-based and do not connect to texts. Sentence starters are provided for English Language Learners.

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.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

Protocols and routines for speaking and listening are presented in the Interactive Lessons. These lessons include rules for a good discussion, speaking constructively, listening and responding, giving a presentation, and using media in a presentation. These protocols are not located in the Student Edition.

Students practice listening comprehension during the weekly read aloud. Students are asked follow-up questions during the read aloud. Students read and respond to questions during the reading of the anchor texts and supporting text in whole class discussion and partner talk.

Each lesson includes teacher think alouds and a Speaking and Listening lesson on Day 5. The Speaking and Listening lessons do not always connect to the text or texts being read, do not always support what students are reading and researching, and do not always include relevant follow-up questions. There is limited instruction to support students mastering these presentation skills. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 18, Day 5 students are asked to tell a story. Students are directed to select a traditional tale and tell a two-minute version of that story to a pattern. Students will then change partners and paraphrase, or retell the story in their own words.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 23, Day 5 students work with a partner to think of a time when they watched a person, animal, or plant move through the cycle of life. Students are told that they will recount this experience to a small group. The teacher is directed to provide examples such as: watching a kitten, puppy, or other pet grow into an adult; watching a newborn baby brother, sister, or cousin grow; watching a seed sprout grow into a mature plant. Students answer questions about the event on notecards, practice, and present in front of a small group.

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.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation of materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where necessary.

Students write on demand after each anchor text during the Write to Reading. This provides a limited amount of practice with on-demand writing prompts.. These prompts are short text-based writing prompts with little direction for the students and/or teacher.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 12, students are asked to respond to, “Write a one-paragraph review of ‘The Earth Dragon Awakes.’ Begin by stating the title and the author’s name. Then tell whether you liked the story, and explain why or why not. Conclude your review by telling whether you would recommend this story or others by the same author. Be sure to support your opinions with text evidence from the story.” There is an additional support box on one page of the teacher’s edition for teachers to use during instruction to help students answer the prompt and an Interactive Lesson link is provided.

Students focus on one mode of writing across each unit. These modes include narratives, informational essays, and opinions. After each lesson there is a writing lesson which includes a model writing. During the last two weeks of a unit, students follow the steps of the writing process through publishing. There is a limited amount of practice with the writing mode when students are working through the lessons. The first lessons students do not write, but rather read about writing and look at model writings. The first time students are writing independently is during the end of unit performance task. This provides limited practice of process writing.

  • For example, in Unit 5: Change It Up, the mode of writing taught is a research report. Students read examples of writing a summary, explanation, and a procedural composition. After the last lesson of the unit, students follow the steps of the writing process - prewrite, draft, revise, edit, and publish - and complete the research report unit performance task.

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Students focus on one type of writing per unit. Students study model writings, write, revise, and edit a writing in the last two weeks of the unit, and then complete a writing performance task.

Process writing text types found within each unit:

  • Unit 1, Fictional Narrative
  • Unit 2, Explanatory Essay
  • Unit 3, Persuasive Essay
  • Unit 4, Personal Narrative
  • Unit 5, Research Report
  • Unit 6, Opinion Essay

On demand prompts and quick writes include opportunities for students to address different types of writing. A Writing Traits Scoring Rubric for each mode of writing guides is available for teachers. Writing Resources are provided such as the Common Core Writing Handbook, graphic organizers, proofreading marks, a proofreading checklist, reproducible writing rubrics, and writing conference forms. Interactive Lessons provide digital practice. There are also Interactive Whiteboard Lessons that could supplement print instruction in opinion, informative, and narrative writing modes.

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of materials providing frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Most tasks are independent of the main selection texts, and they do not build over the course of the year. Performance Task writings can often be answered without the use of the texts or cannot be answered with the information provided by the texts. There are some experiences that engage students in practicing argument/opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative writing; however, the writing tasks do not increase in rigor over the course of the year.

Examples of writing that does not require students to use evidence from the text include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, “Prompt: Write a story about a funny, exciting, or meaningful experience, real or imaginary” (Projectable 2.7).
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 29, “Write an essay that tells about something you think everyone should do to make the world a better place. State your opinion clearly and give reasons for your opinion” (Projectable 29.4).

Additional instructional supports are needed for teachers to guide students’ understanding of developing ideas, building components of structured writing, and integrating evidence from texts and other sources. Students are asked to use text evidence, but there is little guidance to the teacher on how to teach students to use text evidence. Most questions are preceded by or followed by the prompt “Cite Text Evidence,” however, students are not instructed on how to find or cite evidence from the text. Students are provided with a writing tip that is sometimes related to the text evidence and other times, the tip is related to grammar or other writing aspects.

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.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations for 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 the context. Lessons and assessment items aligned to Grade 4 grammar and conventions standards often address below grade-level standards. Lesson and assessment items also address above grade-level standards. From the beginning of the year, students encounter both below-level and above-level lessons and assessment items.

Some lessons address below grade-level grammar and conventions standards. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 1, students learn about declarative and interrogative sentences. On Day 2, students learn about imperative and exclamatory sentences. On Days 3 and 4, students review the four types of sentences. Standards-Based Weekly Test lesson 2, questions 8-10 require students to use end punctuation for sentences (L.1.2b).
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 1, students are provided the definition of proper noun and told that proper nouns begin with a capital letter (L.1.2a). In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 2, students are told that they should capitalize important words in titles (L.3.2a). Standards-Based Weekly Test lesson 5 question 7 requires students to capitalize the name of a person (L.1.2a). Standards-Based Weekly Test Lesson 5 question 8 requires students to capitalize the important words in titles (L.3.2a).
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, Day 1, students are provided the definition of a verb and identify the verb in sentences (L.3.1a).
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 7, Day 1, teachers are provided the definition of past, present, and future tense verbs (L.3.1e). Standards-Based Weekly Test Lesson 7 Question 9 requires students to use tenses correctly (L.3.1d).
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 21, students are using adjectives and adverbs to compare. Standards-based Weekly Test Lesson 21 Questions 7-9 require students to use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs correctly (L.3.1g).
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 22, Day 1, students are forming contractions (L.2.2c).
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, Day 1, students are forming and using comparative and superlative adjectives. Standards-based Weekly Test Lesson 26 Questions 7 and 8 require students to use comparative and superlative adjectives correctly (L.3.1g).
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 27, Days 2 and 3, students are using adverbs to compare. Standards-Based Weekly Test Lesson 27 question 8 requires students to use comparative and superlative adverbs correctly (L.3.1g).

Some lessons address above grade-level grammar and conventions standards. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 29, Day 1, students are working with the pronouns “I” and “me,” and in Unit 6, Lesson 29, Day 2, students are working with subject and object pronouns. Standards-Based Weekly Test Lesson 30, questions 7 and 8 require students to ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (L.6.1a).
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 29, Day 4, students are using a comma to set off the words “yes” and “no” (L.5.2c).

Some assessments and lessons address grade-level grammar and conventions standards. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, students use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech. Standards-Based Weekly Test Lesson 3, questions 7-9 require students to correct comma and quotation mark errors in sentences containing direct speech (L.4.2b).
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 13, students use modal auxiliaries to convey various conditions (L.4.1c).

Although some attention is given to grade-level grammar and convention standards, materials that are below grade-level and above grade-level are included throughout the year, and as a result, the materials would require significant revision.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
4/6
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills to build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression. Materials partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks guide students to read with purpose and understanding and help them to make frequent connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning from reading. Most decoding skill practice opportunities are limited to one day of instruction without being connected to applying the skill to a text. Materials provide instructional opportunities for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills to build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, morphology, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression.

While students work on skills to help them work on unfamiliar words, there are few materials that build to tasks for students to accurately read unfamiliar multisyllabic words in and out of context. While multisyllable words are in the text that students read, there is a not a clear sequence learning the skills to implementing those skills.

In Unit 1, there are out of context decoding lessons about below grade level syllabication patterns such as Lesson 1, Decoding: The VCV Syllable Pattern, Lesson 3, Decoding: The VCCV Syllable, Lesson 4, Decoding: VCV and VCCV Syllable Patterns. In Unit 2, Lesson 8, there is a continuation of out-of-context syllabication lessons. In Unit 3, Lesson 15, students will learn how to decode three-syllable words in an out-of-context lesson. In Unit 5, Lessons 22, 23, 24, and 25, students will learn in an out-of-context lesson how to use syllable patterns and word parts to decode longer words. Opportunities for learning how to decode long or difficult words are in the latter half of the school year, so if a teacher does not make it to the later units, students will miss out on learning grade level standards for reading difficult multisyllable words.

Prefix lessons begin in Unit 1, Lesson 1 with re-, un-, and dis-, which were taught in the Grade 3. In Unit 2, Lesson 2, students are taught two more prefixes (in- and im-) covered in Grade 3 as well as two new prefixes, il- and it-. In Unit 1, Lesson 4, students are taught two more prefixes (non- and mis-) taught in Grade 3. The majority of prefixes taught in Unit 1 for five weeks are review from Grade 3. The prefixes re-, un-, and dis- are reviewed in the decoding instruction and spelling instruction in Unit 4, Lesson 18. Prefix instruction returns in Unit 5 with students being retaught pre- from Grade 3 and learning two new prefixes, inter- and ex-. The materials contain only four new prefixes to be taught during vocabulary instruction over the course of the school year.

Suffix lessons begin in Unit 2, Lesson 6 with -y and -ous in the vocabulary instruction, which were taught in the Grade 3 materials. In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students are taught -ful, -less, and -ness in the vocabulary instruction, which were taught in the Grade 3 materials. The only new suffix taught in Lesson 11 is -ment. In Unit 3, Lesson 14, students are taught -able and -ible in the vocabulary instruction, which were taught in the Grade 3 materials. In Unit 4, Lesson 17, students relearn -ion from Grade 3 and are taught -ation and -ition. In Unit 5, Lesson 24, students are taught -ly (taught in Grade 3) and -ed. In the final lesson of the instructional materials, students are taught three new prefixes: -er, -or, and -ist. The materials contain few lessons on new suffixes.

The materials contain explicit instruction on morphology starting in Unit 2, Lesson 7 in the vocabulary strategies instruction. In Day 4, students are taught five different Greek and Latin word parts: phon, photo, graph, auto, and tele. In Unit 3, Lesson 13, Day 4 in the vocabulary strategies instruction, students are taught three new Greek and Latin word parts and one word part from Unit 2, Lesson 7: spect, struct, tele, and vis. In Unit 5, Lesson 25, Day 4, students learn four new word parts: meter, therm, aud, and fac. Unit 6 contains review lessons about word parts. There are few morphology lessons and those lessons require students to learn many word parts in just one day.

The materials contain opportunities for students to practice reading aloud grade-level text fluently with accuracy, stress, appropriate pace/rate, expression/intonation, attention to punctuation and appropriate phrasing. Fluency is emphasized daily.

Indicator 1p

Materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks guide students to read with purpose and understanding and help them to make frequent connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning from reading.

The instructional materials contain directions to the teacher to set the purpose for the reading of each anchor text. For example, in Unit 4, Lesson 20, the teacher sets the purpose: “Model setting a purpose: I have seen Sacagawea’s face on the one-dollar coin, so she must be important to American history. I understand from looking at the pictures and skimming the text that she and her husband traveled with the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. I want to find out about her role in this expedition” (p. T319). Then students are to set their own purpose for reading the text. There is a missed opportunity for students to set their own purpose for reading the anchor text without hearing the teacher model a think-aloud of setting the purpose.

During vocabulary instruction of each lesson, there is a lesson called Vocabulary in Context, which provides students the opportunity to learn 10 vocabulary words in context prior to reading the anchor text.

  • On Day 1, anchor text vocabulary is introduced with the use of Context Cards.The cards contain images of the word and a sentence with the word in it. The teacher provides the definition of each vocabulary words. Students are asked to use the Talk It Over activities on those cards.
  • On Day 3, the students participate in a classroom collaboration based on questions about the vocabulary. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson 23, these questions may be asked: “What natural resources exist in your state? What continent do you live on? What continents would you like to visit?” (p. T191).
  • On Day 4, students learn a vocabulary strategy to help students understand some of the weekly vocabulary terms. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson 23, students are taught about prefixes (pre-, inter-, ex-), and how adding prefixes or suffixes to the anchor text vocabulary changes the word. Students are guided through Projectable 23.3. In Apply, students identify prefix and base words from the Projectable and use their knowledge with context clues to figure out the meaning of each word. Students also use content-area textbooks to identify three more words with the newly learned prefixes.

Sometimes during Language Detective, students learn to word analysis skills. In Unit 2, Lesson 15, using the anchor text, the teacher models how to determine unfamiliar words using Greek and Latin root words. Students practice the morphology skill using ultraviolet and microwave.

While students practice word analysis skills with the anchor text vocabulary and the Day 4 Vocabulary Strategy lesson, opportunities to practice other word analysis skills in text are limited specific tasks that do not necessarily connect with the anchor text or paired text. For example, in Unit 2, Lesson 9, students are taught common beginning syllables. This is a one day lesson (Day 3). The teacher teaches and models common beginning syllables and then students practicing break words into syllables, identifying the first syllable, and saying each word aloud. Most decoding skill practice opportunities are limited to one day of instruction without being connected to applying the skill to a text.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, at a rate appropriate to the text, and with expression.

Students are able to demonstrate and develop fluency daily. Each lesson has an overall fluency component and then students practice the fluency component over the week. Fluency components are expression, intonation, adjust rate for purpose, phrasing for punctuation, stress, accuracy and self correction, rate, phrasing for pauses.

The fluency activities included in the text are identified and routine. The routines are the same through each lesson of the units. Fluency practice includes:

  • Teacher models the fluency component for the week with a projectable document after explaining the value of the fluency component. Students practice the fluency component by choral reading the text as a whole class.
  • During the first read of the anchor text, the teacher models the fluency component and then students choral read the text based on the fluency component.
  • During the second read of the anchor text, the teacher models the fluency component and students practice the fluency component with a section of the text.
  • During self-selected reading, students practice fluency by reading aloud to a partner. Students receive feedback from the partner.
  • During the paired text reading, students practice the weekly fluency component.
  • Progress monitoring with fluency tests from Grab n Go resource.
  • Through a resource called Cold Reads, students can practice reading fluency.

The materials contain opportunities for students to practice fluency through reading rate (speed), reading word recognition (accuracy), and reading prosody (expression). In Unit 2, Lesson 2, students practice phrasing and pauses as they read “To You” by Langston Hughes. In Unit 5, Lesson 23, students are given explicit instruction practice stress in “First Recorded 6,000-Year-Old Tree in America” by J. Patrick Lewis.

There are lessons about teaching students to use context clues to figure out unknown words. Students are taught self-correction strategies. In Unit 1, Lesson 2, the directions the teacher are: “Display Projectable 2.1. Demonstrate how to read with accuracy by having students listen for words that correctly fit the context. Reread the text to the students, substituting several incorrect words. Self-correct as you read to model the skill” (p. T86).

The Test of Silent Contextual Reading Fluency (TOSCRF-2) is in the materials. This test assesses the silent reading ability of students. It is a group-administered test which measures the ability to use syntactic and morphological cues to facilitate comprehension of sentences and passages. The TOSCRF-2 can be used for identification, universal screening, diagnostic assessments, and progress monitoring.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Does Not Meet Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the expectations of Gateway 2: building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Some texts are organized around topics. Materials contain few sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic. The materials include a partially cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year. Materials include some writing instruction aligned to the standards and shifts for the grade level, although teachers may need to supplement to ensure students are accessing end of year skills. The materials include some focused research skills practice. The materials partially meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

12/32

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations for texts being organized around a topic/topics to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. The instructional materials contain units, which are organized around six separate themes. Within in a theme, each week is about a social studies or science topic or a sub theme related to the unit theme. The theme in each unit is broad, therefore each weekly topic or sub theme or topic does not build consistent vocabulary or knowledge across the weeks. The weekly topics build surface level knowledge, so students will not be able to use that knowledge to comprehend other complex texts especially across the five week long unit. An example of a unit theme and topics/sub themes is:

  • Unit 1 Theme: Reaching Out (social studies focus)
    • Week 1: Helping Others
    • Week 2: Civil Rights
    • Week 3: Media
    • Week 4: Raising Money
    • Week 5: Traditional Tales

The theme of Unit 3 is "Inside Nature." The topic of Week 2 is forces of nature. During the Teacher Read Aloud, the teacher reads a passage which contains 10 target vocabulary words: constructed, crushing, tenement, possessions, trembles, wreckage, debris, rubble, slab, timbers. On Day 1, students learn those ten vocabulary words in the Vocabulary in Context lesson, which includes students reading and pronouncing each word, followed by learning the word in context and then practicing activities based on the Talk It Over activity on the back of the cards. The vocabulary reader for the week, Keeping Safe in an Earthquake by Kaye Gager, uses the same target vocabulary as do the Leveled Readers. During the reading of the anchor text, students see and hear the same target vocabulary words.

Prior to reading the anchor text, The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 by Laurence Yep, the teacher helps preview the topic for students, which provides students with background knowledge. During the reading of The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, students learn what occurred during the earthquake and must refer to the text to support their responses to questions. After reading the text, students figure out the sequence of events for the text and analyze generalizations and conclusions. After the second reading, students can discuss with a partner the following question: How do natural disasters affect people? As a performance task, students write a one-paragraph review of The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. During the independent reading of the anchor text, students complete Reader’s Notebook lesson 12, which requires students to use details from the text to infer about a character.

During Day 4, students read Twisters by Laura Dameron. Some of the target vocabulary is in the text such as principal, worried, and soared. Students participate in Text to Text, Text to Self, and Text to World activities after reading the paired selection. For example, students write a disaster plan about a natural disaster that happens near students.

The weekly writing is about organization and planning an opinion paragraph, but students do not use the text to write about forces of nature, the topic of the week.

The following week is no longer about forces of nature. The topic is the interdependence, which has different vocabulary and builds knowledge about a new topic. Since only one week is spent on education, students do not build in-depth vocabulary and knowledge.

For some of the weekly identified topics, the texts do not match the topic fully. For example in Unit 5, the theme is Change It Up and in the first week (Lesson 21), the topic is Media. While the texts share the same target vocabulary (blaring, combination, racket, suggest, nocturnal, effort, promptly, introduce, feats, appreciate), the texts are not all about media. For example, the vocabulary reader is entitled Rodents by Kate Johanns, which is about rodents. The anchor text is The World According to Humphrey by Bettty G. Birney and is also about a rodent, yet the overarching topic of the week is Media.

Overall, the Units are theme-based with topics each week. Since the topic changes each week, students do not get a thorough opportunity to build knowledge and vocabulary. Furthermore, the identified weekly topics are not always supported by the texts and target vocabulary.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Materials contain sets of questions and tasks, but they do not consistently require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Over the course of the year, instructional materials stay consistent and do not grow in rigor across the year.

Each unit includes sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze texts:

  • In Unit 1, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to point of view, flashbacks, idioms, informational text structure, elements of drama, allusions, and point of view.
  • In Unit 2, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to elements of drama, formal and informal language, theme, point of view, characters, structure of a biography, and figurative language.
  • In Unit 3, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to informational text structures, conclusions and generalizations, author’s word choice, figurative language, and analyzing arguments.
  • In Unit 4, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to informational and literary text structure, allusions, theme, and figurative language.
  • In Unit 5, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to figurative language, point of view, text structures, author’s word choice, and informal and formal language.
  • In Unit 6, students will answer questions and tasks that ask students to analyze items including but not limited to text structure, main ideas and details, understanding characters, and conclusions and generalizations.

There are questions and tasks that ask students to analyze the language, key details, craft, and structure of texts, but they do not go to the necessary depth nor do they increase in rigor over the course of the instructional year. Although questions are provided, skills are inconsistently scaffolded, so they only sometimes build students’ overall comprehension or understanding of topics. In addition, teachers will often be unable to tell from students’ work whether they mastered concepts of each component. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, the teacher edition states: “Next, ask students why an author might choose to use a flashback in a story. By using a flashback the author moves the story back in time. A flashback can explain a past event that may be important to the story.”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 7, the teacher asks, “Is the author using formal or informal language? Explain.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 17, the teacher edition states: “Begin a second read of ‘The Right Dog for the Job’ with students. Use the stopping points and instructional support to guide students to analyze the text: sequence of events, main ideas and details, domain-specific vocabulary, and modifying to add details.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 21, the teacher asks, “Why do you think the author asks the reader to picture the same scene in a different setting?

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the expectations of materials containing 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 materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. The majority of the questions and tasks are at the explicit level. Additionally, the materials do not provide consistent clear guidance for teachers in supporting students’ skills.

While many pages have a “cite textual evidence” label, the sample answers often do not specifically cite the evidence. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson 25, students are asked,“Do you think Margie’s picture of going to school with other children is accurate?” The sample answer provided is: “Yes and no. Sometimes classmates can be lots of fun, and other times they are not fun at all.” Textual evidence is not cited in this answer.

The materials do not prepare students to demonstrate mastery of integrating knowledge and ideas as an embedded part of their regular work by the end of the year.

Within each lesson, text-specific questions appear in both the “First Read” and “Second Read” sections. There are typically a range of two to four questions with each selection. Most questions and tasks are not accompanied by enough instruction for the students to be successful in answering the questions. For example, in Unit 2, Lesson 7, the teacher is directed to “[h]ave students prepare to discuss the question How are movies a form of communication by reviewing the selection?”. The only instruction provided is to “[t]ell students to take turns identifying the key elements and details from text, explaining why they are important to the author's main points.” Another example can be found in Unit 4, Lesson 17. The question asked is “Would people be able to do rescue work well without SAR dogs?” The only instruction provided is “Before students begin their discussions, explain what it means to ask questions about key details. Point out that when they ask about key details, they are trying to understand the main ideas of a discussion.” Therefore, even though the lessons include text-specific questions, the lack of instruction will not prepare students to demonstrate mastery of integrating knowledge and ideas.

The materials do contain “Formative Assessment: Text to Text Questions.” These questions are meant to provide teachers with questions spanning multiple texts. However, the questions do not increase in rigor over the course of the year, and they rarely ask students to do more than compare and contrast the stories at the surface level. For example, for Unit 1, Lesson 2, the question is “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes both talked about dreams. How were their dreams different? Discuss your ideas with a partner.” In Unit 5, Lesson 23, the question is “Compare the poems in ‘Towering Trees’ with ‘The Ever-Living Tree. Discuss these questions with a partner: What does each poem describe? What information in the poems is also found in the selection? Why? Work with your partner to write answers to the questions. Include text evidence to support your ideas.” As illustrated, the materials do contain “Text to Text Questions,” but they stay at the surface level without asking students to analyze knowledge and ideas across the texts.

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).
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 4 do not meet expectations for providing 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. Each unit provides a writing performance task as a culminating project that partially contains the necessary skills for reading, writing, speaking and listening. In some instances, the writing performance task requires components of the research process and the writing process. Speaking and listening skills are also required in some instances. To complete the performance tasks, students draw on their reading and analysis of the anchor selections, and they are also told they can conduct additional research. During each lesson within the unit, students also practice writing which leads to the culminating skill in the last lesson of each unit. However, the culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic, and instead focus solely on the skills in the end products themselves and sometimes cannot be completed with the information provided by the unit texts. There are also instances where the practiced unit writing will not prepare students to complete the culminating task.

For culminating tasks, the questions and tasks preceding the task sometimes align and support students' understandings and abilities to complete the assignments. In some tasks, the teacher may need to create or obtain other supports to ensure students have the knowledge and tools to complete the tasks. Prior questions that are asked do not give the teacher useable knowledge of whether students are capable of completing tasks. Interactive lessons are available to clarify procedures and processes for writing, speaking, and conducting research which may provide students with information to help them understand and complete performance tasks, but these lessons provide no additional information for the teacher to determine students’ readiness.

Culminating tasks provide a platform for students to demonstrate some comprehension and knowledge of a topic and/or topics. Culminating tasks are often only connected to two or three texts in a unit. These texts often do not provide enough information to complete the task. A representative example in the program not supporting students in demonstrating knowledge through an integrated culminating writing task is the following:

  • The Unit 2 Performance Task somewhat relates to the unit theme of Tell Me More. Students write a literary analysis essay to explain how the thoughts, words, and actions of each character help the reader understand what the character is like. Writing throughout the unit leading up to the task includes writing a news report in Lesson 6, writing an informational paragraph in Lesson 7, writing a book report in Lesson 8, and writing an explanatory essay in Lesson 9 and Lesson 10. Speaking and listening skills are also present as students are provided options for presenting information such as (1) read your essay aloud to a small group of classmates, (2) publish your essay on a school website, (3) read your essay aloud to a group of younger students. There is no further direction provided to students on presenting their pieces. Outside research is not required in this piece. This performance task does not build knowledge of a topic. Unit writing lessons do not prepare students to complete the task.

The Unit 5 Performance task somewhat relates to the unit theme of Change it Up. Students write a research report about what the unit texts taught them about the right to vote. Writing throughout the unit leading up to the task includes writing a summary in Lesson 21, writing an explanatory piece in Lesson 22, writing a procedural composition in Lesson 23, and writing a research report in Lesson 24 and Lesson 25. Interactive lessons are included such as writing informative texts and conducting research. Speaking and listening skills are also present as students are provided options for presenting information such as (1) read your report aloud to your classmates or (2) publish your report on a school website. There is no further direction given to students on presenting their pieces.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of materials providing guidance for supporting students’ academic vocabulary. The materials include a year-long guide for vocabulary, including target vocabulary, domain-specific vocabulary, spelling words, and reading/language arts Tier III terms. The materials do not include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year.

Each lesson has a box for “Target Vocabulary” on the focus wall. There are 10 words in this box. Each weekly pacing guide instructs the teacher to “Introduce Vocabulary” on Day 1, “Apply Vocabulary Knowledge” on Day 3, use “Vocabulary Strategies” on Day 4, and use “Domain Specific Vocabulary” on Day 5. The students first hear the words in the teacher read aloud, although no instruction on these words takes place at this point. Vocabulary is introduced with Vocabulary in Context Cards, which introduce the words using sentences, but not within the context of a complete text. While vocabulary words are used across multiple texts within a weekly lesson, there is little use of academic vocabulary across units within a grade level throughout the year.

Examples of resources for vocabulary include:

  • Students' texts include several references to a glossary of academic vocabulary (G1).
  • The Vocabulary in Context Cards are used in every lesson and give sentences and various activities for students to complete (“Talk About It” and “Think About It”).

For each text, the teacher is directed to discuss the vocabulary with the students from the “Introduce Vocabulary” section. Below is an example of Unit 2, Lesson 7 vocabulary instructions:

  • “Read and pronounce the word. Read the word once alone and then together.
  • Explain the word. Read aloud the explanation under What Does It Mean?
  • Discuss vocabulary in context. Together, read aloud the sentence on the front of the card. Helps students explain and use the word in new sentences.
  • Engage with the word. Ask and discuss the Think About It question with students.
  • Give partners or small groups one or two Vocabulary in Context Cards. Have students complete the Talk It Over activity on the back of each card. Have students complete the activities for all cards during the week.”

On Day 3, students encounter an “Apply Vocabulary Knowledge” section which encourage use of all of the critical vocabulary words with practice outside of the text content. Students are invited to discuss vocabulary as it relates to a given sentence. There is minimal support to ensure students are engaging with vocabulary to grow knowledge and internalize words. Below is an example of the directions given:

  • “Read aloud each of the following questions. Have students discuss their answers. Allow several students to respond to each questions to provide a variety of possible responses for discussion. ” (Unit 5, Lesson 24, page T265).

On Day 4 students are instructed on vocabulary strategies through a teach/model, guided practice, and apply sequenced lesson. On Day 5, students are often introduced to Domain-Specific Vocabulary related to the topic of the week’s text, but outside of the context of the texts. For example in Unit 5, Lesson 23 students study the vocabulary strategy of determining the meaning of words based on their suffixes and are then introduced to the domain-specific vocabulary: arthropod, exoskeleton, invertebrate, and larva.

As demonstrated, the materials do include a year-long guide for vocabulary, including target vocabulary, domain-specific vocabulary, spelling words, and reading/language arts Tier III terms; however, they do not include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for materials supporting students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year. Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level. Writing instruction spans the whole year; however, materials do not support students' increasing skills over the course of the school year. While the materials offer prompts and performance tasks, and students practice writing with each lesson, the materials/unit writing tasks do not increase students’ skills throughout the year, nor do they provide support and scaffolding to help students reach the depth of writing that is required in these standards. As the year progresses materials follow the same format and rigor throughout, providing minimal assurance students will be prepared for writing at the end of year expectations.

The materials consist of six units, each containing five lessons which incorporate varied types of writing experiences, both on-demand and longer process writing. The materials include opportunities for students to write in all modes required by the CCSS-ELA writing standards for Grade 4 (opinion/argument, informative/explanatory, and narrative). A performance task at the end of each unit (with the exception of Unit 6) incorporates the unit’s weekly writing lessons while asking them to use text evidence from the selections that they have read.

Each of the units contain a writing activity for each of the lessons that lead to a culminating writing project at the end of the unit. Writing spans the entire year, is used frequently, and generally coincides with texts and themes. For example, in Unit 1 students will write a descriptive paragraph, a story, use dialogue, and a fictional narrative in order to complete the performance task. The Unit 2 culminating writing project is an explanatory essay, and the daily writing assignments are appropropriate and instruct students in informative writing; Lessons 6, 7, 9, & 10 all directly relate to writing an informative essay. Each lesson has a five-day plan for writing in which the model and focus are discussed in the first two days, then the plan is discussed on Day 3, generally using a graphic organizer and minimal instruction. On Day 4, students begin their draft, and on Day 5, students revise and edit. Materials for students sometimes include graphic organizers as students make an effort to organize their writing. The last section for revise and edit has minimal instruction such as in (Unit 2, Lesson 10):

  • “Remind students that their explanatory essays must begin by stating the topic. The body should include facts and details that support each main idea. The essay should end with a conclusion that connects to the introduction.”
  • “Read aloud the top of Student Book p. 310. Discuss the changes made by the student writer. Ask: How did Trudy make her introduction more interesting? She asked readers a question to get them interested in the topic.”
  • “Have students explore Interactive Lessons: Writing as a Process:Revise and Edit to develop their narrative writing.”

In an additional example, in Unit 5, Lesson 25, students write a research report and go from analyzing the model to publishing in five days. There is minimal instruction for students and minimal guidance for teachers as they teach these skills to students.

There is an online platform for students to collect their writings with MyWrite Smart and My Notebook as well as a resource called Writing Handbook. Interactive lessons are also included to help students understand the writing process and the modes in which they are asked to write. While those are available, there are no further explanations for teachers on how to use those lessons effectively to support students. Examples of some interactive lessons are:

  • Writing to Sources
  • Writing as a Process: Introduction
  • Writing as a Process: Plan and Draft
  • Writing as a Process: Revise and Edit
  • Writing Narratives: Introduction
  • Writing Narratives: Organize Your Ideas
  • Writing Informative Texts: Use Facts and Examples
  • Writing Opinions: Support Your Argument
  • Writing Opinions: Conclude Your Argument

While there are prompts and performance tasks, and students practice writing with each lesson, the materials/unit writing tasks do not increase students’ skills throughout the year, nor do they provide support and scaffolding to help students reach the depth of writing that is required of these standards. Teachers may need to supplement to support students in reaching the end of year expectations in writing.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of including 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. Some lessons have a Research and Media Literacy section. Research components are present for Grade 4 students, although synthesized practice in research projects is limited.

Each Research and Literacy Media section includes a “skill focus” which varies by the lesson. For example, in Unit 2, Lesson 9, the skill focus is to "interpret information from a visual source." However, the only instruction provided is “Explain that when students conduct research and write reports, they may integrate information from visual sources, such as timelines, graphs, or chart, to support information in the report. Then provide the following scenario: Have students think about writing a research paper on snake species that live in the southwest United States. Then have them locate a second source about these snakes related to 'Field Guide to Snakes of the Southwest.' Tell them to identify two sentences from this new source that support the information in the chart on Student Book p. 278.” The instruction provided may not help students interpret information from a visual source.

The Research/Media Literacy sections contain similar components with minimal rigor development. The instruction provided at the beginning of the year does not change significantly over the year.

For example, in Unit 1, Lesson 3, students select a topic, research the topic, take notes, categorize information, and present. Instruction includes the directions:

  • “Select a Topic: Compare and contrast how children get books in the united States with how they get books in the countries described in ‘My Librarian is a Camel.’ Then, have students review the selection and choose a country they would like to learn more about. Tell students they will research the selected country and present a report on it to the class.
  • Research the Topic: Have students do research on the country they have chosen. Tell them to find media, such as pictures, maps, charts, and/or audio, to support key ideas in their reports and add interest. Remind students that they can use both print and digital sources in their research.
  • Present: Have students present their reports to the class. Tell them to begin by explaining why they chose the particular country. Remind students to speak clearly and stay on topic."

In Unit 3, Lesson 15, students select and narrow a topic, explore the topic, select relevant media, organizer research and present. Instruction includes the directions:

  • “Select and Narrow Topic: Have students revisit ‘Ecology for Kids.’ Tell them to select a specific topic from the selection that they would like to research, such as oceans or forests. Have them formulate focused research questions based on what they would like to learn about their topic.
  • Explore the Topic: Tell students that to fully research their topic, they will need to investigate different aspects of it. After students have selected their topic and written their research questions, have them brainstorm different aspects of their topic in a graphic organizer, such as the one below.
  • Present: Have students present their projects to the class. Tell them to speak clearly at a conversational pace, using note cards as needed. Encourage students to incorporate some form of media in their presentations, such as photos or videos, to help listeners better understand the topic. Remind students that they should clearly connect their ideas and details to their main topic using appropriate words and phrases.

There are few differences across the year in instruction, except for the skill focus. At the end of each unit are mini-lessons on research. While these mini-lessons do provide a little more depth than the ones in the lessons, there is little direction on when teachers should use the mini-lessons.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Students complete independent reading on Day 3 of every lesson. Students are to go back and reread portions of the anchor text and complete pages in their Reader’s Notebook. Students then complete self-selected reading and record their progress in their reading log. Teachers are provided limited instruction on how to support reader independence. The following examples demonstrate the guidance provided to teachers:

  • "Tell students that they will read ‘The Power of W.O.W!’ on their own to analyze key details about the play. Have students use the Reader’s Guide pages in their Reader’s Notebook, pp.37-38. Explain that they should respond to the prompts and questions by supporting their responses with evidence from ‘The Power of W.O.W.!’” (Unit 1, Lesson 4, page T262).
  • “If students have demonstrated understanding and analysis of ‘The Life and Times of the Ant,’ have them practice the skills using an independent reading book. To help students prepare for reading independently, have them read the summary on the book jacket, tell what they will learn about, and predict how reading the book will add to their understanding of the topic” (Unit 3, Lesson 14, page 264).
  • “To help students make a good selection, have them preview several books by reading the jacket copy and pages through the books to examine illustrations and other visuals. Ask students to use their Reading Logs in Grab-in-Go to record their progress and thinking about the book” (Unit 5, Lesson 23, page T190).

Students also complete independent reading tasks during literacy centers. The teacher is provided limited instruction for these tasks. Listed below are examples of activities involving independent reading:

  • “Students who choose their own books will be more actively involved in the reading process. In a group discussion, ask students how they choose books. Record their responses on a chart, and display it in the classroom library” (Unit 2, Lesson 7, page T81).
  • “Teachers and media specialists can work together to select and feature books that might interest students in a particular classroom. Be sure to choose a variety of reading levels and topics, including books that will help students with projects or research related to what they are learning in science or social studies” (Unit 4, Lesson 20, page T307).
  • “Help students develop strategies to select books based on difficulty, content, and interest.” Teachers are then provided examples of strategies such as the five-finger method and book walks. (Unit 5, Lesson 24, page 237)

Independent assignments from the Reader’s Notebook and the Reading Log (found in the “Grab-and-Go) are provided to track independent reading.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
0/8

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
0/2

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
0/2

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.).
0/2

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
0/2

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
0/8

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
0/2

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.
0/0

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
0/8

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
0/2

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
0/2

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0

Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
0/10

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
0/2

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.
0/4

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
0/2

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3s

0/

Indicator 3s3v

0/

Indicator 3t

0/

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/

Indicator 3u.ii

0/

Indicator 3v

0/

Criterion 3s - 3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.
0/0

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.
0/0

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
0/0

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0

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.).
0/0

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Fri Apr 07 00:00:00 UTC 2017

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
2017 Journeys Student Edition Grade 4 Volume 1 978-0-544-54340-9 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 1 978-0-544-54367-6 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 2 978-0-544-54369-0 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 3 978-0-544-54370-6 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 4 978-0-544-54383-6 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 5 978-0-544-54385-0 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
2017 Journeys Teacher's Edition Grade 4 Unit 6 978-0-544-54386-7 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complement the rubrics by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

X