Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

SpringBoard Grade 6 instructional materials partially meet the expectations of alignment. The core texts included are high quality, appropriately rigorous, engaging to students, and organized by thematic and conceptual elements over the course of the school year. Students have many opportunities to read broadly and deeply through independent reading and in-class text assignments. Year-long writing instruction provides students guided support over the course of the school year so students get practice writing on-demand and multi-draft texts. Some questions and tasks are text-dependent, requiring some evidence from texts, but they are inconsistently applied in the rich texts under study. Sequences of questions do not consistently support completion of rich culminating tasks that grow knowledge and allow students to demonstrate deep understanding of the texts. There is a structure to develop students' vocabulary, but words are not consistently used context and mostly are centered around literary and writing terms in service of writing exercises. Speaking and listening protocols are implemented over the school year so students get practice with multiple types of presentation and collaborative work, but these activities and tasks are infrequently text-dependent.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
31
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
22
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
29
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

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Gateway One Details

The Grade 6 materials partially meet the expectations of Gateway 1. The materials have an appropriate balance of text types and provide opportunities for students to engage with rigorous texts. Students work with annotating texts consistently, drawing their attention back to the texts repeatedly. While there are many structures in place for students to grow their learning with text-dependent tasks and questions (writing, speaking, and listening), there are missed opportunities in fully engaging with the texts themselves and engage in critical analysis of their content, themes, and topics. There are minimal supports for teachers to identify and redirect or reteach students who struggle with or misunderstand the rich content provided by the anchor texts. Text dependent questions and tasks are provided, but not supported comprehensively for those students who may need extra work to build proficiency.

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.
19/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 include high quality texts that will engage students at this grade level. Different genres and types of texts are appropriately rigorous for 6th grade students and are organized in a manner to support students' reading growth over the course of a school year. Students read a range and volume of texts in and out of class, although there are limited structures for accountability to identify if students comprehend the grade level texts. There are limited opportunities for students to practice their oral and silent reading.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Informational texts are current and should be engaging to students at this grade level. Anchor texts are well-crafted and content rich.

Texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading, and contain content that will engage a range of student interests. The reading selections include published texts, excerpts from published texts, and published authors. Texts can be examined multiple times for multiple purposes, such as building academic vocabulary and facilitating access to future texts. They offer personal perspectives on a variety of topics. The texts are well crafted, content rich, engaging, and avoid stereotypes and one dimensional characters. Texts in literature include characters who would be relatable to 6th graders from a variety of backgrounds.

Some examples of texts that represent the quality of the year-long materials include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1:

  • Langston Hughes, "Thank you, Ma'am"
  • Excerpt from Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons
  • Sandra Cisneros, "Eleven"
  • Isaac Asimov, "The Fun They Had"
  • Walter Dean Myers, "The Treasure of Lemon Brown"

Unit 2:

  • Excerpt from John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley
  • Judith Viorst, "...And Although the Little Mermaid Sacrificed Everything to Win the Love of the Prince, the Prince (Alas) Decided to Wed Another"
  • Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid"

Unit 3:

  • John Adams, "Excerpt from 'Letter on Thomas Jefferson'"
  • Multiple editorials and nonfiction pieces

Unit 4:

  • William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew
  • Lewis Carroll's " Jabberwocky"
  • Paul Fleischman's "Fireflies"

Indicator 1b

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

Materials for Grade 6 reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards for grade 6-12, and therefore fully meet the expectations of indicator 1b. Included texts are of different lengths and different formats. They include poems, essays, articles, films, editorials, myths, novel excerpts, short story, memoir, biography, and autobiography. Over the course of the entire year, the program achieves a balance of the instructional time studying literary and informational texts.

Texts in this year of study include a variety of genres ranging from ancient Greek mythology to online news articles. In addition, materials call for the use of film and video clips as a means of incorporating a variety of media (for example, a clip from the film Up and a filmography of Temple Grandin are used in instruction).

Unit 1: Text types include poetry, film, personal narrative, novel excerpts, short stories, myths, and a picture book. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Imperfect Me" from Hormone Jungle: Coming of Age in Middle School, by Brod Bagert
  • Flipped, by Wendelin Van Drannen
  • "Thank You, Ma'am," by Langston Hughes
  • Film, The Lion King

Unit 2: Text types include essay, memoir, biography, filmography, fairy tale, poetry, expository essay, and film clips. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • Excerpts from Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
  • "Saying Farewell to a Faithful Pal," by John Grogan
  • "Dogs Make Us Human" and "My Story," by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
  • Excerpt from "Chapter 6: Hampshire School for Wayward Wizards" from the book Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World, by Sy Montgomery

Unit 3: Text types include news editorials and articles, historical primary documents, informational texts, and letters. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Don't ban peanuts at school, but teach about the dangers," by Des Moines Register Editorial Board
  • "Should Dodgeball Be Banned in School?" by staff of TIME for Kids
  • "Most Dangerous 'Sport' of All May be Cheerleading," by Lisa Ling and Arash Ghadishah
  • "High School Football: Would a Pop Warner Ban Limit Concussions?" by Tina Akouris
  • "Excerpt from "Letter on Thomas Jefferson'," by John Adams

Unit 4: Text types include articles, informational text, essay, short story, poetry, and drama (written and film). Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Shakespeare's Life," by the British Library
  • "Shakespeare Dumbed Down in Comic Strips for Bored Pupils," by Laura Clark
  • "Reading Shakespeare's Language: The Taming of the Shrew," by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine
  • Limericks from A Book of Nonsense, by Edward Lear

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 Grade 6 materials meet the expectations for this indicator as the texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and the relationship to their associated task. The quantitative measure of these texts vary from a 620 to a 1900 Lexile level. The qualitative measure tends to stay in the "complex" and "very complex" range. Qualitative measures in Grade 6 include an appropriate mix of low, moderate, and high difficulty. While the quantitative measurements of these texts vary above and below the grade-band Lexile limits, this variety is done with a purpose that is clear and appropriate for materials in a 6th grade classroom; the qualitative features of texts that fall above or below the text complexity band make their placement appropriate. Texts are thoughtfully paired so that a more complex text is supported by one less so, and tasks are designed to access more complex text selections.

Examples of texts that reflect the curriculum’s ability to meet the expectation of indicator 1c are as follows:

Unit 1: Six out of seven texts have an overall text complexity analysis of Complex, which indicates that they are in the upper range of the suggested Grade 6 complexity.

  • Activity 1.5 - Text Title: My Superpowers by Dan Greenburg, Lexile: 1020 Qualitative:Moderate Task: Moderate
  • Activity 1.7
    • Text Title: excerpt from Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, Lexile:620 Qualitative: Low Difficulty Task: Challenging
    • Text Title: "The Jacket" by Gary Soto, Lexile: 1020 Qualitative: Moderate Difficulty Task: Moderate

Unit 2: Five out of six texts have an overall text complexity analysis of Complex.

  • Activity 2.15 - Text Title: " He Might Have Liked Me Better with My Tail" by Ima Mermaid, Lexile: 820 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Moderate
  • Activity 2.20 - Text Title: "Dogs Make Us Human" by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, Lexile:970 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Moderate

Unit 3: All texts are rated Complex or Very Complex in text complexity analysis.

  • Activity 3.6 - Text Title: "Letter on Thomas Jefferson" by John Adams, Lexile: 980 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Moderate
  • Activity 3.8
    • Text Title: "The Pros and Cons of Social Networking for Teenagers: A Parents' Guide" by Kristin Stanberry, Lexile: 940 Qualitative: Moderate Task:Challenging
    • Text Title: Social Networking's Good and Bad Impacts on Kids" by Science Daily, 2011, Lexile: 1490 Qualitative: High Difficulty Task: Challenging
    • Text Title: "Pro and Con Arguments: 'Are Social Networking Sites Good for our Society?'", Lexile: 1590 Qualitative: High Difficulty Task: Challenging Activity 3.11- Text Title: "The First Americans" by Scott H. Peters, Lexile: 890 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Challenging

Unit 4 : Four out of six texts are rated Complex to Very Complex in text complexity analysis.

  • Activity 4.3 - Text: "Shakespeare's Life" from the British Library, Lexile: 1010 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Accessible Informational
  • Activity 4.6 - Essay: "Reading Shakespeare's Language: The Taming of the Shrew" by Barbara Mowat and Paul Wresting, Lexile: 1230 Qualitative: Moderate Task: Accessible

Most of the anchor texts for Grade 6 are on the high end of standards based quantitative complexity levels for sixth grade students. The task demands are frequently in the moderate to challenging range. For students who are struggling readers, the tasks present significant challenges, and the teacher may need to spend focused time assuring students are comprehending the texts to complete tasks.

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.)
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1d, which supports students in growing their literacy skills so they can read and comprehend texts at grade level by the end of the school year. The complexity of texts students interact with in the core curriculum increases throughout the school year, which is intentional by design. By the end of the year, students encounter fewer texts with low text complexity measures and more texts with moderate to high difficulty. A variety of complexity levels is found across the school year.

Some examples of texts and tasks that are representative of students’ access to literacy skills over the school year include:

  • Unit 1: Six out of seven anchor texts have an overall text complexity analysis of "complex," which indicates that they are in the upper range of the suggested 6th grade complexity in terms of quantitative analysis and qualitative features.
  • Unit 2: Four out of five texts are ranked as "complex" overall, which indicates that they are in the upper range of the suggested Grade 6 complexity in terms of quantitative analysis and qualitative features.
  • Unit 3: All texts in the Unit are rated "complex" or "very complex" in text complexity, indicating their level of rigor is high in a quantitative and qualitative measure.
  • Unit 4 : Four out of six anchor texts are rated "complex" to "very complex" according to quantitative and qualitative complexity analyses. This unit includes a text by William Shakespeare, which affects the measures in its highly rigorous, antiquated language.

The work is rigorous over the course of the year as students work with complex texts and tasks. Close reading and writer’s workshops are available online to assist in providing access to rigorous texts. There are also opportunities online to listen to texts read aloud.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 6 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1e. The core texts, and series of texts connected to them, are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement at grade level. The publisher includes a complete “Text Complexity Analysis” for each text used. This document includes a text description, a locator for where it is used, a section on context, a chart of the quantitative and qualitative measures, the qualitative considerations, the task and reader considerations, and the placement considerations.

In the online Teacher Edition, a complete text complexity analysis and rationale for that text's inclusion in the program is available. Included in the text analysis is the following: a paragraph setting the context of the reading within the rest of the unit; a quantitative/complexity measure; qualitative considerations including purpose/levels of meaning, structure, language and knowledge demands; as well as task, reader, and grade level placement considerations.

In the forward of the print Teacher Edition, an explanation of the metrics used for text complexity measures is provided. Quantitative measures are indicated with Lexile scores. Qualitative measures are indicated as "High," "Moderate," and "Low" difficulty and were determined by teachers considering meaning, purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands of each text. Task difficulty was measured using Anderson's and Krathwohl's taxonomy based on the cognitive demands of tasks associated with the text.

At the beginning of each unit, the Teacher Edition lists rationale for materials included in the “Planning the Unit” section through Context, College Readiness Standards, and Instructional Practices and Pacing. When texts appear to fall below the grade 6-8 level band, a rationale is provided for justification. In the Print Teacher Edition, Text Complexity Icons and information appear as sidebars alongside the beginning of all prose text in Grade 6 student and teacher editions.

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.
1/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials for Grade 6, including the support materials for the core texts, partially meet the expectations of indicator 1f. The materials provide some opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading, but additional support is needed for students to grow their reading abilities with oral and silent reading practice over the school year.

There are many opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts throughout the year. Materials include a breadth and depth of text types. Students are instructed to self-select texts connected to unit themes and keep a reading journal to record connections to core texts and self-reflect on successful reading strategies, such as multiple reading for multiple purposes, rereading, thinking aloud, visualizing, chunking text, and summarizing.

Although access to texts is available, instructional materials do not clearly identify opportunities for students to build literacy skills to become independent readers of grade level material. Materials provide minimal explicit and systematic practice in both oral and silent reading across chapters/units and the whole school year. The only time students practice reading out loud in class is when given a difficult Shakespeare scene to perform in Unit 4. Struggling students do have the opportunity to listen to texts with Student Online Edition. The Online Edition also provides, with guidance from the teacher, four Close Reading activities that provide multiple scaffolding experiences in order for students to achieve skill mastery. However, most supports for students to build their oral and silent reading are limited to materials directed for ELL students. There are few supports for teachers to identify gaps in literacy ability and provide support for students who struggle with the texts and associated tasks. Close Reading workshops are designed to provide practice with and build the skill of close reading; however, they are used to support or extend instruction rather than as a day to day core component. These workshops are not built into the core instructional pacing, and as a result, not all students are guaranteed to be exposed to these workshops.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
12/16
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-
Criterion Rating Details

For the Grade 6 materials, questions and tasks (written and spoken) and their accompanying culminating tasks, are text dependent it in that they are anchored to texts throughout the program. However, there is little support for teachers to identify misunderstandings as students use these strategies with the texts. The core of many questions and culminating tasks focus on the skills instead of focusing on the content and meaning of the text. Speaking and listening activities are available across the year, but guidance and support of practicing application of the vocabulary and syntax is minimal. Writing instruction to guide students to navigate multiple types and genres in on-demand and process writing settings is robust, as is grammar and conventions instruction.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1g that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and require students to engage with the text directly. The questions and tasks require the students to draw on textual evidence, but often focus on surface-level components as opposed to diving deeper into the meaning of the text itself. Teacher materials provide some support for the planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and various activities, although many questions and much analysis done by students will need teacher support to ensure that students are gaining knowledge and information from the materials.

Following are some representative examples of how the Grade 6 materials employ text-based questions and tasks over the course of the school year:

Unit 1 :

  • Students read the personal narrative My Superpowers by Dan Greenburg and analyze the sequence of events and cause and effect structure of the text. Support for students who have misunderstandings or miscue is minimal.
  • Students read, "On Turning Ten" by Billy Collins and then complete this short series of questions:
    • Describe the change the speaker of the poem experiences. Provide evidence form the text that supports your conclusion.
    • What point of view is being used int his poem? How can you tell?
    After these two questions, students complete graphic organizers and do work about their own experiences with change. They also have an opportunity to work on a frame poem. While the text is connected to the writing of the frame poem, the text is not central to the learning in this activity.

Unit 2:

  • Students read John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley and compare it with John Grogan’s “Saying Farewell to a Faithful Pal.” The expository writing prompt then asks students to incorporate evidence from these two texts to complete a written task. Samples/models are minimal.
  • Students write an expository response to the novel Walk Two Moons, selecting from one of the following prompts:
    • Explain how internal or external forces cause one character to grow or change
    • Identify one subplot from the novel and explain how it relates to the main plot of the novel
    • Describe one setting from the novel and explain why it is important to a character or to the plot
    • Discuss how plot, setting, character, or conflict contribute to one of the novel’s themes.
    Models or exemplars are minimal, and teacher support to ensure students are gleaning the content and core meanings of the text is not comprehensive.

Unit 4:

  • In Activity 4.3, students learn about Shakespeare and his society. After reading an article/annotated timeline, they answer these questions:
    • Look at the source of the informational text. Why do you think this source is credible
    • Brainstorm how you could use multimedia to clarify ideas and add interest to a presentation of this information (e.g., graphics, images, music/sound).
  • While these questions are text-dependent in that students must respond using evidence showing they've read the materials, they are not engaging students in reading closely. Instead, the questions and tasks are using the text as a vehicle to guide students to learn the skills of research.
  • In Activity 4.14, students analyze and rehearse an excerpt from The Taming of the Shrew. After they read the selection, they are given these questions and tasks. The questions do support students' practicing speaking and listening about the play, but are more focused on the character analysis and given less support on understanding the content or theme of the play as a whole:
    • Conduct a close reading to analyze your assigned character based on what the text says explicitly as well as what you infer from the text. Record your analysis and evidence in the graphic organizer [included]
    • How does Shakespeare develop the point of view of each character in the scene?
    • What is the theme or central idea of the scene? How does Shakespeare convey this idea?
    • After working on oral delivery of scenes, students are to "write a summary of your interpretation of the scene."

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).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations for indicator 1h, as sets of text-dependent questions build to culminating tasks throughout the school year. Culminating tasks frequently integrate literacy skills (tasks may focus on writing, speaking, or listening) and provide students opportunities to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing. Culminating tasks are evident across the year's worth of material. The core of the culminating tasks focus on the skills and are not always text-specific, and students may miss the theme, topic, or message of the texts themselves as they complete the culminating tasks.

Following are samples representative of the culminating tasks in the Grade 6 materials. Skills development, particularly in writing, is strong, although connections to the texts studied are not always explicit nor robust:

Unit 1:

  • Culminating Assessment 1.2 Write a short story. This culminating task is supported by activities that require students to use textual evidence in the analysis of characterization, story elements, plot elements and theme. Students also work to create text in response to various writing prompts and demonstrate command of short story techniques, sequencing and language. After analyzing short stories, students create their own.While this task is connected to the skills of the Unit, it does not explicitly connect with the associated texts.

Unit 2 :

  • Culminating Assessment 2.1 Write an expository response to literature that addresses a given prompt. This task is supported through a variety text-dependent activities, such as the writing of paragraph responses to prompts, use of a double-entry journal to make meaning from text, close reading strategies and collaborative discussions about literature, and expository writing prompts to explain correlations of class novel examples of setting, plot. Accountability for comprehension is minimal, although the practice of synthesizing texts is present.

Unit 3:

  • Culminating Assessment 3.1 Research and Debate Controversy. Students are supported to complete this culminating task through their prior selection of independent reading on a controversial issue, their identification of a writer's claim and reasons for or against a topic, and their practice presenting information and supporting evidence.

Unit 4:

  • Culminating Assessment 4.1 Research and Present Shakespeare. Students are able to complete this culminating task through activities that focus on learning about Shakespeare and his plays. Tasks include debating about the importance of teaching Shakespeare in school, using evidence from text support a claim, analyzing information about Shakespeare and his society, analyzing quotes from various Shakespeare plays, and explaining language through writing and collaborative discussion.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1i. The materials provide some opportunities to work with partners, small groups, and large groups to learn and model academic vocabulary and syntax, but guidance and support of practicing application of the vocabulary and syntax is minimal. Support to build students’ skills in speaking and listening in general is strong, but engaging students in academic vocabulary is not consistently clear across the school year.

Academic and content specific vocabulary is introduced at beginning of each unit and supported with definitions, although most vocabulary is focused on literary terms instead of content terms. There is little evidence of modeling and use of this vocabulary, except in sidebars titled Differentiated Instruction, that provides suggestions for accessibility to terms for English Language Learners. Struggling students are encouraged to use word map graphic organizers introduced in Unit 1, and available in back of text, as well as to write down unfamiliar words in Reading Writing Notebook. Examples of speaking and listening lessons and tasks that demonstrate how the program partially meets the expectations of this indicator include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1 Activities include 1.1: Sidebar under Differentiated Instruction teach meanings of academic vocabulary to ELL students who labeled terms Q or H. If the students marked words T have them create word wall cards. QHT strategy introduced. Meanings for unit vocabulary given in sidebars in student edition. Teacher instructs students to apply QHT strategy to see which words the students know and which they need to learn more about. Later in 1.11, students who have marked academic vocabulary words with T are paired in groups to teach words to students who marked Q or H.

In Unit 2, Activity 2.8 suggests norms and rules for discussion groups as speakers and listeners. Roles of Literature Circle groups defined and assigned: Timekeeper, Notetaker, Task Manager, Referee, Motivator. Examples of leveled questions provided: Level 1- Literal Level 2- Interpretive Level 3- Universal. Graphic organizer introduced that sorts group evidence into point made and evidence provided. Class discussions lead to guidelines and norms for literature circles. The main focus of the instruction here is about the process, not about the content nor vocabulary of the texts being studied.

Throughout the year's worth of materials, academic terms are listed and defined in teacher/student materials, at the beginning of each unit, at point of use, and in the glossaries. In the beginning of every unit, the same teacher tips are given: "Use the QHT strategy for students to put a Q by words they don't know, a H by words they have heard. and a T by words they feel comfortable enough to teach to a peer." Students are encouraged to share their knowledge of words marked with a "T" with other students who have marked these words with a Q or an H, thereby giving students onus of their own learning. Word Walls and vocabulary flashcards are suggested, but there are missed opportunities to provide suggestions that encourage students to use academic and content vocabulary terms specifically in discussions or writing. The online School to Home vocabulary component has robust academic vocabulary practice that expands students’ vocabulary learning beyond the ELA classroom, but it is out of context from the daily lessons. Words practiced at home are not reintroduced in the classroom lessons.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1j. Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) but do not have consistent relevant follow-up questions and evidence. Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize evidence from texts and sources. Speaking and listening tasks and activities in the 6th grade materials include active listening, audience, choral reading, clarity of pronunciation and speaking voice, debate, philosophical chairs, drama games, expert group, eye contact, facial expression, feedback, fishbowl strategy, group discussions, inflection, jigsaw group, literature circles, movement, multimedia presentations, oral interpretation, oral introduction, oral presentation, oral reading, pantomime, props, rate, reader's theater, rehearsal, role playing, sound, tableau, tone, visuals, and volume. The index directs students to where they can find text references and instruction of speaking and listening skills.

Although each activity is intended to be anchored by the text, it is noted that there is little accountability for teachers to support students who either do not comprehend the material and/or who work with the speaking and listening activities without referencing the text. There is a missed opportunity here in that strong structures can be reinforced with more focus and support around comprehending the key ideas, themes, and topics provided by the texts themselves.

Some examples demonstrating this indicator include the following:

  • Unit 1: Activity 2: Students do an oral reading of a frame poem, paying attention to diction. The conversation focuses on the form of the poem and does not dive in to the content or meaning.
  • In Unit 2, Activity 10, students work in collaborative groups to compare and contrast visualization of conflicts of two characters in film clips. Teacher supports to ensure students fully comprehend the characterization, plot, and themes are minimal.
  • Also in Unit 2, in Activity 2.12 students will participate in structured, student led discussions, using fishbowl format and Literature Circle discussion protocols and strategies, creating norms and assigning roles. The main focus of these activities are skills, rather than focusing on the text itself.
  • Some Unit 4 speaking and listening activities include:
    • 4.5-4.6 Explain unique aspects of Shakespeare's language through collaborative discussion using appropriate eye contact, respond to questions as a speaker, take notes, ask questions as a listener.
    • 4.13-4.15 Present an oral interpretation of a scene from Taming of a Shrew. Teacher support to ensure students are gaining understanding of plot, theme, and characterization is minimal.
    • Embedded Assessment 4.2 Use a variety of physical elements ( facial expressions, movement ) effectively. Use eye contact, volume, rate, inflection, tone, and rhythm to demonstrate effective oral interpretation. Use punctuation cues accurately and consistently to inform vocal delivery. Again, the skills component is strong, although the text connection is less so.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1k, as there is a mix of on demand and process writing opportunities for students. Each unit has a culminating activity that focuses on the steps of the writing process. Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the whole school year.

On demand opportunities include daily writing options in class instruction as well as opportunities in every unit to attend to the text at hand. Some examples representative of the program as a whole include (but are not limited to):

  • Unit 1: 1.7 After reading an excerpt from Flipped and using a graphic organizer to prewrite about an incident in their life that was witnessed by someone else, students will respond to a narrative writing prompt that asks them to write about the incident in a way that shows the differing attitudes about what happened, making sure to establish the incident, create dialogue that incorporates the feelings of the characters, use descriptive language, and correctly use proper nouns and pronouns
  • Unit 2: 2.2-2.3 Students are introduced to several expository writing prompts and practice writing paragraph responses. Students work with classmates to write a response to film clip UP that explains character's life changes in response to internal forces including a topic sentence that states the main idea, supporting details from graphic organizer, and commentary.

Process opportunities are woven throughout the program, and by the end of the year, students have had robust support in learning and working with the writing process. Multiple opportunities require short and extended research. Mode-specific Writing Workshops are in the online Teacher's Edition, which include open-ended prompts and Embedded Assessments with scoring guides to provide regular practice. The Student Edition includes writing instruction such as brainstorming, controlling idea, details, dialogue, drafting, editing, evaluating, feedback, outlining, planning, prewriting, quickwrites, research, revision strategies, multimedia components, writing process,writing prompts. The "Planning Unit" section of the Teacher’s Edition provides an explanation of expectations of Embedded Assessments, as well as a comprehensive Instruction and Pacing Guide. A Writers Workshop is available online for extra support.

Indicator 1l

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

The writing tasks for students fully meet the expectations of indicator 1l. Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflects the distribution required by the standards for grade 6 over the course of a school year. Embedded Assessments (2 per unit) cover a wide variety of writing activities which meet 6th grade level standards. Some examples include writing a personal narrative, writing a short story, responding to literature, writing an expository essay, researching and debating a controversy, writing an argumentative letter, and researching and presenting written work on Shakespeare.

Writing lessons and activities that represent this distribution of text types include the following examples:

Unit 1: Writing instruction includes writing a personal narrative and writing a short story. Language and writer's craft instruction includes transitions, revising for transitions, vivid verbs, and varied sentence patterns.

Unit 2: Writing instruction includes responding to literature and writing an expository essay. Language and writer's craft instruction includes pronoun usage and agreement, sentence variety, revising for figurative language, and parallel structure.

Unit 3: ELA instruction includes researching and debating a controversy and writing an argumentative letter. Language and writer's craft instruction includes format style, using appositives, and revising by creating complex sentences.

Unit 4: ELA instruction includes researching, presenting, and performing Shakespeare. Language and writer's craft instruction includes choosing sentence structure and pronoun usage.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence, fully meeting the expectations of indicator 1m. Writing opportunities are developed from reading closely and working with sources.

Evidence-based responses are required as follow up activities for all reading selections. Materials provide frequent opportunities throughout the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply their new knowledge in writing. Writing tasks often reference the reading content and mode in which the reading was presented. As students study a text for form and content, students are provided prompts and guidance to identify the components and then practice replicating or analyzing those components.

Across the consumable Student Edition, there are graphic organizers and note-taking prompts to assist students in producing writing associated with the texts being read. Prompts include questions that are dependent to the text, but used with multiple texts as well as text-specific writing demands. In the sidebars of the student consumable, students are provided organized space and guidance to annotate, and collect evidence to use in the writing tasks at the ends of each text and/or section. This progression of working from reading to note-taking to organizer to frame to writing is common throughout the program.

Most writing tasks explicitly require students to cite components as students write, even in low-stakes annotations and note taking that occur almost daily. Cues such as "record evidence" and "cite phrases" occur throughout to build students' habits of going back to the text. Some representative examples of how the program does this include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

  • In Unit I, in 1.4-1.7, students "record evidence of setting, character, conflict, and dialogue from film and personal narratives" as they engage with them.
  • Unit 2 Activities include using a double entry journal as a primary tool for identifying relevant textual evidence on characterization, plot and subplot, and setting (2.4-2.7), addressing Response to Literature prompts (Embedded Assessment 2.1), and practice writing an expository essay that incorporates examples from text and research to support a thesis (2.16-2.17).
  • In Unit 4, Embedded Assessment 4.1, students support a focused main idea with relevant descriptions, facts, and details from a variety of sources, including a complete and accurate bibliography or works cited page.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of indicator 1n, regarding the instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level. Language skills are taught explicitly and then applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Language skills addressed in the materials include active voice, adjectives, adverbs, appositives, clauses, conjunctions, dependent markers, parallel structure/parallelism, phrases, pronouns, punctuation (commas, dashes, exclamation marks, periods, quotation marks, semicolon), repetition, sentence variety, sentences, series, and verbs.

Grammar and conventions are taught in a sequence consistent with the demands of grade 6 standards and are integrated with reading and writing instruction. Language standards for the grade level are found in forward of Student Edition. The Student Edition has a comprehensive grammar handbook in the back of the book for continual reference, as well as an Index of Language Skills identifying where instruction can be found in text. This handbook can also be found in both the Student and Teacher online editions. The Teacher Resources Online also have additional grammar lessons. In addition, there are ten separate Writer's Workshops online that incorporate grammar and language instruction. The Planning the Unit section at the beginning of each unit, in Teacher's Print Edition, lists expectations for Embedded Assessments as well as a comprehensive Instructional Activity and Pacing Guide that provides grammar support and instruction in the context of actual reading and writing.

Samples of activities and lessons that show evidence of this indicator include the following:

Unit 1 Activities

  • 1.4-1.7 Practice command of conventions through Language and Writer's Craft lesson on pronouns.
  • 1.8-1.10 Language and Writer's Craft focus on using transitions.
  • 1.15-1.17 Language and Writer's Craft lesson supports students' use of varied sentence patterns to add variety and interest to writing.
  • Embedded Assessment 1.2: Write a Short Story: Use a variety of transitions. Use precise words and sensory details (vivid verbs, figurative language). Demonstrate command of pronoun use, sentence variety, dialogue punctuation.

Unit 2 Activities

  • 2.2-2.3 Language and Writer's Craft lessons teach students to use appropriate verb tenses
  • 2.4-2.7 Continued writing practice gives students opportunities to use appropriate transitions, and demonstrate correct verb tense and pronoun use. Lessons on sentence variety show students how to revise using compound sentences.
  • 2.8-2.11 Language and Writer's Craft lessons revisit specific figurative language techniques from Unit 1.
  • Embedded Assessment 2.1 Write a Response to Literature: Use a variety of transitions and topic sentences to create coherence. Use precise, accurate diction to illustrate the topic and demonstrate command of parallel structures, commas in a series, and semicolons.
  • 2.16-2.17 As modeled in Language and Writer's Craft lesson on parallel structures, students compose sentences, paying attention to variety.

Unit 3 Activities

  • Embedded Assessment 3.1 Research and Debate a Controversy: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English.
  • 3.11-3.13 Language and Writer's Craft lesson on using appositives as an effective way to cite sources
  • 3.14-3.15 Students draft and revise writing by using transitions and creating complex sentences.
  • Embedded Assessment 3.2 Write an Argumentative Letter: Use a variety of transitions, persuasive and connotative diction and demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English.

Unit 4 Activities

  • 4.3-4.4 In the Language and Writer's Craft lessons, students continue to practice using a variety of sentence structures as they collaboratively write an explanation of information gained from research
  • Embedded Assessment 4.1 Research and Present a Portrait of Shakespeare. Maintain appropriate style and tone, consistently use academic and literary vocabulary. Demonstrate a command of the conventions of standard English, including a variety of syntax.
  • 4.9-4.10 Attention to correct pronoun usage is revisited and reinforced through Language and Writer's Craft lessons.
  • Embedded Assessment 4.2 Perform Shakespeare. Use punctuation cues ( periods, commas, semicolons, dashes, exclamation points) accurately and consistently to inform vocal delivery.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2: Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks. The texts and texts sets are mostly organized around themes and sometimes topics to grow students' knowledge. While there are some structures in place over the year's worth of materials for students to practice learning academic vocabulary and practice working with text-based questions and tasks, the majority of questions, tasks, and culminating tasks do not engage students with the rich texts beyond a superficial level. Students have some opportunities to work across multiple texts, but the focus of doing so is to practice the associated writing skills instead of to grow knowledge with close readings of the materials. Vocabulary instruction focuses on literary terms rather than leveraging the texts themselves to build vocabulary that might transfer to other content areas and practice. Writing supports across the school year are strong and students do have opportunity to learn, practice, and grow skills in researching and synthesizing information into reports.

Criterion 2a - 2h

22/32

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for indicator 2a in that texts are organized around a topic/topics and/or themes (as is appropriate for grades 6 and up) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently as they build knowledge. Grade 6 is developed around the thematic concept of change. During the year, students learn how writers use that theme to tell stories in poetry, short stories, and nonfiction texts. Students are also asked to research topics and deepen understanding using film. However, there are missed opportunities for students to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently as they build knowledge because student engagement with text throughout the year often relies solely on students' individual understanding, and there is inconsistent teacher guidance.

In the Unit Overview for Unit 1, the authors state "Unit 1 introduces the idea of 'change' as the conceptual focus for the year. By reading, analyzing, and creating texts, you will examine changes that happen in your life as well as in the world around you. Through your responses to texts, you will better understand that change is threaded through all of our lives and is something we can tell stories about."

While each unit is developed around a theme, there are some series of texts related to topics within a theme. In Unit 3, for example there are series of texts related to the topic of dangerous sports, and another series related to social networking. In Unit 4 there is a series of texts on the topic of Shakespeare.

Reading, questions, writing tasks, and speaking and listening activities all revolve around the study of choices made and how they impact society while growing knowledge about subtopics within each unit. Students have ample opportunity during collaborative discussions to share connections between concepts taught in class and their independent reading, and are provided opportunities to demonstrate new knowledge and stances on the themes and topics in culminating activities. There is little teacher support to redirect or reteach should students misunderstand core work or need comprehension support. Without additional supports students may not be able to develop the ability to read and comprehend complex text independently and proficiently as they build knowledge.

The online Close Reading Workshops include strategies to support students in determining what each text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from what it does not say explicitly. Should the teacher not engage students explicitly with these materials as they read, students may not incorporate the strategies and supports appropriately or in context.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2b, as texts and materials require students to analyze language and/or author's word choice (according to grade level standards). Students are provided directions to attend to language, key ideas, details, craft, and structures of texts, but have inconsistent opportunities to engage with academic vocabulary that will grow knowledge. The majority of vocabulary study is focused on literary terms. Deeper exploration of key ideas within texts and additional supports for students struggling with the text are needed.

Students have several opportunities to analyze language and author's word choice through Sidebar Word Meaning and Word Connection. Lessons and questions require them to interact with the text to find examples of figurative, sensory and vivid language, as well as roots and affixes, etc. Students are given opportunities to identify key ideas and details through numerous sidebars in the student edition, as well as in the teacher edition. The tasks throughout each unit, as well as culminating activities, set expectations and purpose for analyzing structure and craft through multiple Language and Writer's Craft Lessons within each unit. However, the support for teachers and students should students misunderstand is minimal. Additionally, students' engagement with rich content vocabulary beyond literary terms is weak.

The questions and tasks provided for students to learn about craft, style, and engage in study of key ideas have an extensive focus on surface- level elements of the text and rely heavily on student interpretation. There is little teacher support should students misunderstand or need further direct instruction.

An example found in Unit 1 illustrates how the program partially meets the expectations of indicator 2b:

In Unit 1 Key Ideas and Details: Activity 1.6, "He Said, She Said" there are tasks listed for characterization using a novel excerpt from Flipped by Wendelin Van Drannen . The teacher is provided with Key Idea and Details sidebars that direct the instructor to point out how the author uses precise words to drive the action and switch perspective, although directions are minimal. Some examples of the information provided in Key Ideas and Details sidebars include possible prompts and responses for the teacher to model:

  • Questions for the student: In the My Notes space, summarize the first meeting between Jill and Bryce, from Bryce’s point of view. Use details from the story to describe what Bryce says and does:
  • Teacher : Jill ‘barged and shoved and wedged her way’ into Bryce’s life on the day he moved into the neighborhood. When Bryce tries to ‘ditch’ her by walking into the house, Jill entangles herself in his hands, and then, when she tries to pursue him further, he runs away, and hides in the bathroom
  • Questions for the student: Notice that Jill uses the verbs ‘charge’ and ‘catapult’ to describe how she moves. These verbs mean more than simply ‘to walk or run’; they have strong connotations. How does the connotative effect of these words describe Jill’s attitude toward her friendship with Bryce?
  • Teacher: The words help convey Jill’s sudden, forceful, impulsive, and intense feelings for Bryce.
  • Questions for the student: How does the author pace the narrative? What words or phrases does the author use as transitions?
  • Teacher: The pacing of the narrative is dramatic and quick, and is characterized by active,forceful verbs. Examples of transitions include “When I got to his side...that’s when everything changed...but then his mother came out.”

While this work is closely reading for the verbs and some detail, there is little attention paid to the overall theme, content , message, and character development in the story. Some discussion of connotations continues throughout the program, but there are minimal supports for teachers to support students who have misunderstandings. This is a trend throughout the program, with questions guiding students to the structures and writing components of the text, but fewer directions and guidance around the content of the text itself.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 6 materials partially meet the expectations of indicator 2c. Text-dependent questions and tasks are sometimes coherently sequenced for students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas in single texts and across multiple texts. While questions and tasks are text dependent, they do not consistently support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas.

Students read to analyze a variety of texts and work with questions and tasks to understand the forms through which ideas are conveyed, such as poetry, essay, novel, and film. Through close reading and analyzing elements skilled writers use to develop text, students learn to write real and imagined narratives while they learn about the topics and themes. Students analyze components, organizational structures, and language. The materials do not consistently support students’ building knowledge of the content provided by the texts, however. Rich texts are used as a vehicle to learn the component parts of texts, but students are not guided to engage in deeper critical thinking about the texts themselves.

Students read to analyze a variety of texts to understand storytelling. Through close reading and analyzing narrative elements skilled writers use to develop text, students learn to write real and imagined narratives. Students analyze components organizational structures, and language of narrative text. Students closely read several short stories, analyzing plot development, figurative language, and theme. Students will have practice creating new forms, but opportunities to uncover and understand the core themes, content, and characterization in texts may not be fully supported. Work across texts is focused on surface-level components rather than deeper meanings that may be analyzed through closer work.

An example occurs in Activity 2.8, "Questions and Discussions."

The learning targets identified:

  • Analyze the text of the novel Walk Two Moons by posing questions at the literal, interpretive, and universal levels.
  • Identify and implement effective discussion techniques.

Students review different typed of questions, and then write three levels of questions (literal, interpretive, and universal) based on what they've read so far in the novel. The students then work with their questions in discussion groups, sorting question types and the discussion group protocols.

Another example occurs in Activity 4.15, "One Text, Two Perspectives: in which students compare a film version and the play The Taming of the Shrew. Students take notes in a graphic organizer (included) which has a T-chart for setting, characters, conflict/plot, and theme. The direction states, "As you view scenes from the play, compare and contrast Shakespeare’s play with the 1967 film version. Take notes in the graphic organizer below." Guiding questions to support students' understanding of the similar and dissimilar elements-- and why they might be important-- are not present. Rather, the focus is on the basic structures of comparison.

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations for indicator 2d, with questions and tasks supporting students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening). This integration appears in different parts of each unit. Each unit contains two "Embedded Assessments" that act as culminating activities. They include the following activities: writing a personal narrative, writing a short story, responding to literature, writing an expository essay, researching and debating a controversy, writing an argumentative letter, researching and presenting Shakespeare, and performing Shakespeare. Text-dependent questions and lessons throughout each unit build towards these embedded assessments. However, the culminating tasks do not necessarily promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic, instead focusing solely on the skills in the end products themselves.

Tasks emphasize the completion and synthesis of more than one skill learned and practiced, usually inclusive of a writing skill. Over the course of the unit, students practice short writing by responding to prompts. Students read texts and are prompted to write and work in speaking and listening tasks prior to working with the culminating task. The teacher support is present but does not often account for possible misunderstandings or provide support for deeper understanding and thinking about texts.

In the forward of each unit in Teacher's Edition, in Planning the Unit section, there is a comprehensive Instructional Activity and Pacing Guide that outlines expectations of Culminating Tasks and maps students' sequence of instructional expectations toward mastery of skills needed. This structure and focus does support students' development in writing to prompts and preparing materials while accessing reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills in concert. Following are some examples to illustrate how the program provides these integrated culminating tasks for students:

Unit 2 Activities

  • Culminating(embedded) Assessment 2.1 Write an expository response to literature that addresses a given prompt. This task is supported by the following activities:
    • 2.2-2.3 Students practice writing paragraph responses to writing prompts.
    • 2.4-2.7 Use double entry journal to make meaning from text. Respond to expository writing prompt comparing and contrasting 2 main characters of selected classroom novel study.
    • 2.8-2.11 Close reading strategies and collaborative discussions about literature. Literature Circle roles are defined and applied. Expository writing prompts ask students to explain correlations of class novel examples of setting, plot and characters to self-selected independent reading text.
    • 2.12-2.13 Collaborative discussion leading to synthesis of ideas. Respond to expository writing prompt.
  • Culminating (embedded) Assessment 2.2 Write a multi-paragraph expository essay that addresses a given prompt. This task is supported by the following activities:
    • 2.14-2.15 Compare and contrast elements of literary text to elements of expository essay.
    • 2.18-2.19 Analyze genre of literary non-fiction.
    • 2.20-2.21 Close reading of autobiographical text and biographical film on assigned topic. Respond to writing prompt using details from both sources.

Unit 4 Activities

  • Culminating (embedded) Assessment 4.1 Research and Present Shakespeare. This task is supported by following activities:
    • 4.1-4.2 Read an article to create and support argument about teaching Shakespeare in school. Engage in a debate to support claim (protocols and procedures for debate are not found).
    • 4.3-4.4 Analyze information about Shakespeare and his society.
    • 4.5-4.6 Synthesize research and work collaboratively to create multimedia presentation about Shakespeare and his society. Analyze quotes from various Shakespeare plays, explaining language through writing and collaborative discussion.

As identified in the above examples, students do engage in skills-integrated culminating tasks. However, the focus is consistently on the task itself, rather than building knowledge or thinking deeply about the texts in service of transferring critical thinking skills to other texts and concepts.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2e. Although there is a list at beginning of each unit with academic and literary terms that are tied to instruction of the unit, there is little support to transfer knowledge beyond each individual unit, and the words that are of focus are not consistently used to build knowledge for further application. The majority of words studied are centered on literary terms, rather than providing students a broad array of academic terms and vocabulary that can be leveraged into further critical reading and study.

Students are given a list of academic and literary terms at beginning of each unit, but these words do not consistently appear across multiple units. Students engage with vocabulary instruction in context of reading and writing, but the demands of each unit are different. Although vocabulary instruction is embedded, there is little attention given to struggling student's needs outside of differentiated instruction tips for ELL students and minimal support for advanced learners. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts but not always across multiple texts.

Each unit provides a list of academic vocabulary and literary terms for the teacher to focus on. SpringBoard provides graphic organizers (word maps), specific questions requiring the students to apply knowledge and understanding of newly learned literary terms (activity 1.4, 1.6 are examples), and embedded assessments which require the students to utilize and apply knowledge of literary terms and vocabulary (write a story using dialogue, vivid verbs, and figurative language that captures a real or imagined experience and includes characters, conflict, and a plot with exposition, climax, and resolution). SpringBoard provides "Learning Strategy" boxes. Some of the vocabulary learning strategies suggested include QHT, close reading, paraphrasing, and graphic organizers.

Academic vocabulary and Literary terms are introduced before texts, in-texts, and during student activities. Students use their Reader/Writer notebook to record new words and their meanings. Graphic organizers for word study are found in resources at the end of the TE. In the electronic version of the textbook, there is audio support for the pronunciation of the terms as well as a Spanish translation.

As noted, these strategies and structures are embedded throughout the year, but do not focus students' time and energy on high-value words such as those found in the CCSS Appendix B to grow knowledge beyond literary terms.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials include writing instruction fully meeting the expectations for indicator 2f for Grade 6. Writing instruction spans the whole year, and instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans .These plans are located in forward of each unit under the heading Instructional Activities and Pacing. Skills identifiers are a located in the Index, in sidebars, and wraparounds in Print and Online Teacher's Edition, as well as within Online Writer’s Workshops .The Teacher’s Resources online also lead instructors to a "Writing Exemplar" tab, where examples of writing from all genres can be found, and examples of exemplary and proficient as well as those that do not meet standards as well as protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students' writing development.

At the beginning of the year, students are directed to create a writing portfolio to keep all writing and revisions in order to monitor their growth as a writer. Protocols for this portfolio are described in the first lessons of Unit 1.(Activity 1.2 Understanding Change Creating a Reader/Writer Notebook and Portfolio.) There is also a mechanism in online edition where students may edit and send their writing online to the teacher.

Writing projects, tasks, and presentations are aligned to the standards of the grade level. They provide substantial support for the students to learn new skills, to practice and develop learned skills, and how to apply these writing skills to various tasks. Some components of writing are taught in isolation to learn and practice a skill, but the overall writing work of students has coherence and ensures attention to integrated nature of the standards. Writing tasks are integrated and coincide with texts and themes. Students demonstrate their writing skills learned in class, while topics and tasks increase in rigor over the course of the school year. Teacher materials support students' writing development and include comprehensive supports, models, examples, and strategies, as well as graphic organizers. Materials provide guidance for time spent creating, revising, publishing, and reflecting.

Some examples of tasks and activities in the materials that supports students’ writing development over the school year include the following:

Unit 1

  • 1.4 What Makes a Good Narrative? Learning Targets: Identify elements of a narrative by recording evidence of setting, characterization, dialogue, and conflict Graphic organizer is provided so students can record these elements as they find them in suggested film clip of The Lion King.
    • The Teacher to Teacher sidebar states that “ This activity begins the practice of finding textual evidence to support inferences and conclusions. ”Students respond to a narrative writing prompt that asks them to tell a friend a story of going to the graveyard as Simba did in the Lion King, using pronouns correctly as they write in first person point of view, describing the conflict, sequence, and setting of events of the incident, and including details of your character’s feelings and dialogue.
    • Students are instructed to keep this writing piece in their portfolio.
  • 1.9 Creating a Narrative: Prewriting and Drafting. Learning Targets: Demonstrate an understanding of narrative elements by drafting a narrative. Apply the writing process while drafting a personal narrative. Learning Strategies: Prewriting, Rereading, Drafting, Graphic Organizer.
    • Students pick a topic of their choice and use reporter's questions who what when where and why to complete a graphic organizer that includes the Incident, Cause, and Effect.
    • A second graphic organizer helps students plan the characters by deciding what they say and do.
    • To write the beginning, the AQQS Strategy is introduced. (Anecdote, Question, Quote, and Statement)
    • Students then revisit narratives they have already read from the anthology, looking at particular quotes, and deciding which part of the AQQS strategy is being employed.
    • The next graphic organizer gives endings from the narratives they have read and asks students to describe how narrator ends the story and summarize how the narrator changes because of the incident, considering what the narrator has learned.

Unit 2

  • 2.5 Planting the Seeds of Character Analysis Learning Targets: Use knowledge of characterization to write expository literary analysis paragraphs that compare or contrast characters. Record textual evidence and write commentary explaining or analyzing it. Learning Strategies: Graphic Organizer, Note taking. Skimming/Scanning
    • Students use a graphic organizer to record details about characters in novel study while reading Walk Two Moons. Students "take a closer look" at the two main characters by taking notes on all the ways the author uses characterization with the graphic organizer.
    • Academic Vocabulary sidebar provides definition of compare and contrast, and Grammar and Usage sidebar provides transition words for comparing and contrasting.
    • Expository Writing prompt asks students to write an expository paragraph that compares and contrasts the two main characters in Walk Two Moons, including examples of appearance, actions, words and reactions of others , being sure to include a topic sentence, supporting details and commentary, transition words, present tense verbs and correct pronouns.

Unit 3

  • 3.7 The Formality of it All: Style and Tone. Learning Targets: Analyze the purpose of formal style and tone. Write an original text using a formal style and tone. Learning Strategies: Close Reading, Marking the Text, Rereading, Graphic Organizer. Literary Terms: tone, formal style Language and Writer’s Craft: Formal Style.
    • Students are given a definition of tone, as well as a word bank with examples such as angry, sharp, urgent, boring, etc. Language and Writer’s Craft lesson on Formal Style explains that style is how an author or speaker uses words or phrases to form his or her ideas and to show his or her attitude toward the subject (tone) Most often in academic settings, you should use a formal style. Examples of informal and formal sentences about the same subject are given, as well as a list of characteristics that show what to do or not do when using formal style.
    • Students then read an excerpt from “Letter on Thomas Jefferson” by John Adams, marking the text for precise nouns, active verbs,and diction specific to the topic and audience.After reading, students use a graphic organizer to analyze tone and style of letter, defining purpose of the letter, and examples of formal style. The formative assessment checks students’ understanding by asking them to write two letters. In the first letter, they are to write a short letter to their principal using informal style and an inappropriate tone. Referring to the don’t list in the characteristics of formal style chart. In letter two, transform the letter to use formal style and an appropriate tone, being sure to state a clear claim, support claim with reasons and evidence, pay attention to style and tone.

Unit 4

  • 4.8 Play Ball: Analyzing a Game of Life. Learning Target: Explain the theme of a short story in a written response
    • After close reading of the short story "The Southpaw" by Judith Viorst, students respond to an expository writing prompt by explaining the theme of the story, using characters, conflict, and plot to identify supporting details. Students are instructed to be sure to establish a central idea, supporting the central idea with textual evidence from the story and thoughtful analysis, using precise diction to create a formal tone.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2g. This indicator focuses on providing students robust instruction, practice,and application of research skills as they employ grade level reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills. It identifies instructional materials and components that synthesize these skills and has students put them in practice as they simultaneously build knowledge about a topic (or topic).

Research projects are sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research-related skills. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students' knowledge on a topic via multiple resources. Materials provide many opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking/listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze per their grade level readings. Materials provide opportunities for both "short" and "extended" projects across the school year.

Students have the opportunity to develop research skills throughout the school year. This begins in Unit 2, lesson 2.9: Diction Detectives and Evidence. Skills are developed through lesson 2.19 Reflecting on Marley: Textual Evidence, and 2.20 Making Connections through Research. The embedded assessment for this unit is Writing an Expository Essay.

In Unit 3, research skills are further developed through several lessons, including: 3.4 Creating Support with Reasons and Evidence, 3.5 Do Your Research: Sources, Citation, and Credibility, 3.6 The Formality of it All: Style and Tone, 3.12 Citing Evidence.

In Unit 4, students work toward the embedded assessment: Researching and Presenting Shakespeare. Lessons include 4.4 Researching to Deepen Understanding, and 4.5 Planning to Present Research.

A specific sample from Unit 3 illustrates how the program focuses students on building their research skills in a carefully scaffolded manner:

  • Unit, activity 3.5 Do Your Research: Sources, Citation, and Credibility.
    • Learning Target: Apply understanding of sources, citation and credibility through discussion and note taking.
    • Learning Strategies: Quickwrite, Graphic Organizer, Note Taking.
    • Academic Vocabulary: research, plagiarism, credibility.

Students are provided with a graphic organizer to self assess their level of comfort with the steps of the research process. A second graphic organizer asks them to record what they know about the words sources, citation, and credibility. Primary and Secondary sources are defined and examples are provided. Models are provided showing the standard format for citing basic bibliographic information for common types of sources, such as books, films, personal interviews, internet sites, magazine and newspaper articles. Sample sources are given in a graphic organizer, and students are given opportunity to practice correct citations. Internet sites are evaluated for credibility and a list of common internet suffixes is provided, with definitions and descriptions. As an informal assessment, students check their understanding by applying what they have learned about sources, citation and credibility as they conduct initial research using a graphic organizer as a guide Teacher is instructed to return to a text students have read earlier in the unit for more practice evaluating sources, how to cite it, and its credibility.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2h. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading inside or outside of class. The grade-level-specific Close Reading Workshops are designed to help teachers guide students as they develop the skills necessary for close reading of a broad range of high-quality texts of increasing complexity. These models can be used to support or extend the instruction already in the SpringBoard materials and serve as models for differentiation.

Some examples of how different activities support students’ engagement in independent reading:

  • Activity 1 provides guided reading instruction that emphasizes multiple readings, vocabulary development, and close-reading strategies with a complex text.
  • Activity 2 gradually releases students from teacher-guided instruction and modeling to a collaborative analysis of a visual text to which students apply the skills and strategies of close reading.
  • Activity 3 releases student to closely read texts independently to respond to analysis of question and to make connections to previous texts.
  • Activity 4 requires students to respond to synthesis writing, presentation, or discussion prompts to demonstrate their mastery of the close-reading skills they have practiced in the workshop.

As explained in the Planning the Unit section, "Texts may range from memoirs to personal narrative to fictional novels and collections of short stories selected based on interest. Materials include a "suggested authors" list to help students pick high quality texts. Guidelines to set a deadline to complete the independent reading are included.

After students complete the assignment, they use prompts such as the following to to assess their reading: "Consider the change(s) the character(s) from your independent reading book experienced. What was significant about the change? How did the change leave an impact on the character or those around him or her?"

Throughout the units, the materials incorporate Independent Reading Links, which include opportunities for students to connect concepts in the unit to their independent reading and include prompts for students to keep responses in their reading journals and/or reader/writer notebooks.

Close Reading Workshops include five separate workshops. Each consists of two texts correlating with the unit topic, as well as a visual literacy component. Texts are from published authors, many who are mentioned in the appendices for CCSS. The focus of the workshops are: Informational/Literary Non-Fiction, Argumentative, Poetry, Shakespeare, and Informational/Literary Nonfiction in History/Social Studies. In these workshops, students learn how to make meaning of the three different texts, self-reflect on strategies that worked, and ask themselves how can they use what they have learned in future texts. After completing activities for each text, students complete a writing prompt that is used as formative assessment, assessing their ability to write a topic sentence, choose proper textual evidence for support, and explain the significance of evidence they have chosen. Students have four options at the end of each text that require them choose how to assess their knowledge: they may write a synthesis of the text, participate in a debate, create a multimedia presentation, or write a reflection piece. Text complexity levels are provided for each prose text.

Literature Circles reinforce communication and collaboration, and in addition, support the independent reading process as well, as students are held accountable to their groups in that process.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
8/8

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

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.).
2/2

Indicator 3d

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

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.
7/8

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.
2/2

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.
1/2

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.
2/2

Indicator 3i

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

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.
8/8

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

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.
6/10

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.
1/2

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.
2/4

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
1/2

Indicator 3r

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

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: Mon Aug 08 00:00:00 UTC 2016

Report Edition: 2014

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
978-1-4573-0218-3 Copyright: 2014 0
978-1-4573-0225-1 Copyright: 2014 0

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.

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