Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for SpringBoard Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of alignment. Text selections are rich and rigorous, offering students a breadth and depth of opportunities to read a balance of text types and forms over the course of the school year. Texts studied are organized thematically with some attention to comparing themes across text types and modes. Writing instruction is comprehensive and includes in-depth support for process and on-demand writing to develop students' ability to write to prompts as well as craft original pieces in both informational and literary forms. Many questions and tasks are text-dependent and do necessitate students elicit evidence from texts. However, 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. Academic vocabulary is present as a structured practice, but is not developed in context of student engagement beyond literary term practice. Speaking and listening opportunities provide students much opportunity to practice different types of small group and oral presentation practice, however these are not frequently connected to the texts being studied.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

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

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
27
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 instructional materials for Grade 7 partially met the expectations of Gateway 1. The texts are of quality and strike the right balance to support 7th grade students’ growing literacy skills. Texts and associated tasks fall within an aligned range of complexity for the grade band. 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. Writing instruction is robust and allows for consistent on-demand and process practice in multiple genres and text types.

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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Texts reflecting the suggested distribution of text types and genres are rich in language, engaging, grade level appropriate, and relevant. They encompass universal and multiple multicultural themes that integrate into other content areas and are appropriately rigorous for Grade 7 students. 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1a. Anchor texts are of publishable quality, worthy of especially careful reading, and consider a range of student interest. Texts are rich in language, engaging, grade-level appropriate, and relevant. They encompass universal and multiple multicultural themes that integrate into other content areas. They can be examined multiple times for multiple purposes, such as close reading and literature response, as well as to gather textual evidence for research assignments. Texts are used to build academic and content specific vocabulary and provide students opportunities to gain knowledge and perspective on a variety of topics. This knowledge and perspective facilitates access to future texts and exposes students to rich character development. There are representative samples from text exemplars represented and suggested in appendices, such as the poems "A Road Not Taken" and "Casey at the Bat."

Some representative examples of texts that demonstrate high quality include:

Unit 1:

  • "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost
  • "Choices," by Nikki Giovanni
  • Excerpt from Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
  • Excerpt from Dust Tracks on a Road, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • "Why Couldn't I Have Been Named Ashley?" by Imma Achilike
  • "Daedalus and Icarus," from Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • "The Lion, the Fox, and the Stag," from Aesop's Fables
  • Film clip from The Mighty, directed by Peter Chelsom
  • "Huveane and Clay People," from Voices of the Ancestors: African Myth, by Tony Allan, Fergus Fleming, and Charles Phillips

Unit 2:

  • Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, a documentary
  • "America the Not-So-Beautiful," by Andrew A. Rooney
  • "Another study highlights the insanity of selling junk food in school vending machines," by Karen Kaplan
  • "Ain't I a Woman?" by Sojourner Truth
  • "Failure to Ban Violent Video Games Makes Job Harder for Parents," by Tamika Mallory

Unit 3:

  • Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
  • The Sandlot, directed by David Mickey Evans
  • "To an Athlete Dying Young," by A.E. Housman
  • Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood
  • Excerpt from Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
  • Excerpt from Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, by John Carlin

Unit 4:

  • "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost
  • "maggie and milly and molly and may," by e. e. cummings
  • "It Happened in Montgomery," by Phil W. Petrie
  • "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe
  • "LIttle Red Riding Hood and the Wolf," by Roald Dahl
  • "Outlaws and Highwaymen," by Gillian Spraggs
  • Twelfth Night (1996) directed by Trevor Nunn

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 for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1b. Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by Grade 7 standards. Grade 7 text types include poems, essays, articles, films, editorials, myths, novel excerpts, short stories, memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies. The balance of instructional time devoted to studying literary and informational text is not balanced within units, but there is a mix over the course of the year.

Unit 1: Text types included in Unit 1 include poetry, novel excerpts, autobiography, memoir, personal narrative, myths and fables, and informational text. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • Excerpt from Dust Tracks on a Road, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • "Why Couldn't I Have Been Named Ashley?" by Imma Achilike
  • "Phaethonm," by Bernard Evslin
  • "Arachne," by Olivia E. Coolidge
  • Excerpted film clip fromThe Mighty, directed by Peter Chelsom
  • "Raven and the Sources of Light," by Dona Rosenberg

Unit 2: Text types included in Unit 2 include informational texts, documentary film, news articles, essays, and speeches. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Facts About Marketing to Children," The Center for a New American Dream
  • "Responsible Marketing," produced by the Coca-Cola company
  • Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, a documentary film
  • "Another study highlights the insanity of selling junk food in school vending machines," by Karen Kaplan
  • "Ain't I a Woman?" by Sojourner Truth
  • "It's Perverse, But It's Also Pretend," by Cheryl K. Olson
  • "Screen Time?" a student essay

Unit 3: Text types included in Unit 3 include a novel, a film, news article, biography, informational text, poetry, and a speech. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "A stunning tale of escape traps its hero in replay," by Harry Bruinius
  • "To an Athlete Dying Young," by A.E. Housman
  • Excerpt from Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
  • "Landmarks of Nelson Mandela's Life," BBC News
  • "Invictus," by William Ernest Henly
  • Excerpt from Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, by John Carlin

Unit 4: Text types included in Unit 4 include poetry, monologues, informational text, drama, and film. Some specific examples include (but are not limited to) the following titles and authors:

  • "Mother to Son," by Langston Hughes
  • Haikus, by Richard Wright
  • "Eye Contact," "Snob," "Roommate," "Mr. Perfect," "Family Additions," "Too Young for...," and "Party," by Deborah Karczewski
  • "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes
  • "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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 anchor (or "core") texts in the Grade 7 instructional materials have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated task, therefore fully meeting the expectations of indicator 1c. Grade 7 quantitative levels, as suggested in the CCSS-ELA and Appendices, should start in range 925-1185 (using Lexile as a measure), and build, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of range.

The quantitative measure of these texts vary from a 680 Lexile level to a 1490 Lexile level. The qualitative measure tends to stay in the complex and very complex range. The texts have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 7 according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. This program uses Lexile for both quantitative and qualitative measures.

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

  • Unit 1: Overall quantitative levels: 680-1250. Novel excerpts, poetry, and memoir selections are qualitatively complex and less complex. Students work within single texts and compare/contrast components of the materials.
  • Unit 2: Overall quantitative levels: 750-1350. Articles, speeches, poetry, and nonfiction excerpts are qualitatively complex, and are coupled with activities that call for synthesizing evidence across texts.
  • Unit 3: Overall quantitative levels: 1150-1490; texts such as a speech by Nelson Mandela and film clips from Invictus are incorporated with thematically-paired poems and articles. Students engage in working across texts.
  • Unit 4: Overall quantitative levels: 1290; texts such as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which includes antiquated language and rigorous structures, are presented with poems and monologues, which are qualitatively rigorous (although not quantitatively measurable). Tasks are integrated reading-writing-speaking-listening and synthesize skills and knowledge learned over the course of the school year.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1d. Anchor texts support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. The overall reading and writing demands gradually increase in complexity and challenges over the course of the school year as they incorporate previously-taught components and move students to synthesize literacy skills. Online supports include Close Reading and Writing Workshops, which give students scaffolded instruction as well as multiple opportunities to access texts and gain experience in writing for different purposes and audiences are available as part of the core materials, although they are not explicitly tied to the day to day core plans.

Quantitatively and qualitatively, texts typically fall within the 6-8 grade level band over the course of the year. The design of the text placement over the school year supports that students have access to texts that are at the appropriate level of rigor for Grade 7 by the end of the school year. There is concern that texts are not consistently deeply examined. There are four Units to use over the course of the school year; the amount of instructional time used with each Unit may vary.

  • Unit 1: The text Lexile measures range from 680 to 1250. The majority-- about 80 percent-- of the texts are in the "accessible" qualitative range.
  • Unit 2: The text Lexile measures range from 750-1350. About three-fourths of texts are qualitatively "accessible," and there is an increase in rigor from a qualitative measure.
  • Unit 3: The text Lexile measures in unit three range from 1150 to 1490. There is also a novel study; the suggested novel, Tangerine, has a Lexile level of 640 and is qualitatively and thematically complex.
  • Unit 4: The overall text Lexile measures in unit 4 are not listed because the texts are primarily monologues, poetry, and dramas. The qualitative nature of these texts is rigorous, and much of the language (e.g. Shakespeare dramas and poetry) includes antiquated language and engages students in highly complex text.

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 Grade 7 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1e. The publisher provides a text complexity analysis for all prose anchor texts. The analysis is a combination of quantitative measures (this program uses Lexile), qualitative measures, and task indicators. A task analysis is included as well for each section of the materials.

Online Teacher Edition: Included in the text analysis are the following: a paragraph setting the context of the reading within the rest of the unit; a quantitative/complexity measure; and qualitative considerations including purpose/levels of meaning, structure, language and knowledge demands, as well as task, reader, and grade level placement considerations.

Print Teacher Edition: In the forward, an explanation of the metrics used for text complexity measures is given. Quantitative measures are indicated with Lexile scores. Qualitative measures are indicated as "High," "Moderate," or "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. After analyzing each text based on the three part model, teachers assigned an overall rating of Accessible, Complex, and Very Complex, with complex texts representing on grade-level texts.

At the beginning of each unit, the Teacher Edition lists a rationale for materials included in the "Planning the Unit" section through Context, College Readiness Standards, and Instructional Practices and Pacing. Text Complexity Icons and information appear as sidebars alongside the beginning of all prose text in the Grade 7.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1f. The materials do provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. Materials do not provide much support for students to grow their reading abilities with oral or silent reading practice to ensure so they will be able to read grade-level text independently at the end of the school year.

There are opportunities for students to engage with a range and volume of texts throughout the year both in print and in mixed media. Suggested independent reading texts and support texts, when combined with anchor texts, provide a robust collection of opportunities for students to read broadly and deeply. Texts range in length and form from online articles to plays and novels, and suggested independent reading challenges students to read deeply in chosen content areas.

There is some guidance for practicing reading strategies, such as rereading, thinking aloud, visualizing, chunking text, and summarizing, but there is little accountability support for teachers to keep track of students’ misunderstandings and therefore, needs to support their ongoing growth in literacy.

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.

The only time oral fluency is explicitly practiced and assigned is during Unit 4 at the end of the year when students are tasked with reading a poem, delivering a monologue, and presenting a Shakespearean performance. There are rubrics for the performance, but assessment guidelines for poetry reading and monologue are limited to sidebars in Print Teacher's Edition and are minimal.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

In the Grade 7 materials, questions and tasks (written and spoken) and their accompanying culminating tasks are consistently associated with texts. 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 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 sometimes require the students to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit and as well as valid inferences from the text. 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 is at a surface level read of the texts studied.

Ongoing text- focused activities include use of double entry journals, Marking the Text annotation work, and focused graphic organizers for informational text and literary text study such as those supporting the SOAP stone strategy (Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, and tone). Questions and tasks uniformly require students to elicit evidence from the text at hand. However, there is little support for teachers to identify misunderstandings as students use these strategies with the texts. Should students not comprehend the texts or struggle with the text, the tasks and questions themselves may not support them in deepening their understanding. There is little support for teachers to redirect students who need extra support, with exception of some ELL supports.

Following are some representative examples of how the Grade 7 materials employ text-based questions and tasks over the course of the school year:

Unit 1:

  • Using the graphic organizer that includes specific prompts for the texts, students summarize the selection and use textual evidence to support their analysis of the narrator's understanding of incident.
  • Students read "Flight to Freedom" and respond the writing prompt, "Explain a major theme this story presents, using specific examples from the text as evidence." There are suggested student responses available, but no redirection notes.

Unit 3:

  • Scaffolded text dependent questions are provided as students read the novel Tangerine. They range from the literal (What kind of car does Mrs. Fisher drive?), to interpretive (What emotions does Paul feel as he remembers the incident with the mailbox?), to universal questions which may go outside the text but still will require support from the text (Is it possible that people who are visually impaired can see some things more clearly than people who can see perfectly?). Although the questions are text specific, they do not support students’ comprehensive understanding of the core learnings intended from the text.
  • During a reading of Nelson Mandela's autobiography, students are prompted to underline one key sentence or phrase in each chunk of text , to put an asterisk next to vivid images, and to circle the words free, freedom, and hunger. Sample student responses are included, but there is little teacher support to redirect students’ possible misunderstandings.

Unit 4:

  • Students are prompted to select two poems and compare and contrast writer's use of language, using examples of specific language from each poem. Sample student responses are present, but there are no suggested next steps for those students who misunderstand or provide alternate interpretations of the poem or language.
  • Students watch video clips of comedic monologues and use a scoring rubric to determine the monologue's effectiveness for audience and purpose. The rubric includes specific look- and listen-fors around ideas, structure, or use of language.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of indicator 1.h. Sets of high quality sequences of text dependent questions and tasks sometimes build to culminating tasks so that students who demonstrate success with sequences of questions can complete the culminating tasks. 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; however, the core of the culminating tasks focus on the skills and are not always text-specific.

Following are samples representative of the culminating tasks in the Grade 7 materials. Skills development, particularly in writing, is strong, although connections to the texts studied are not always explicit nor robust:

Unit 1

  • Culminating Activity 1.1 Write a personal narrative. The assessment is supported by activities that focus on making careful observation of textual details, reading widely from fiction and non fiction, creating reflective writing, analyzing poems, and analyzing author's use of diction. Through analysis of novel excerpts and autobiography, students learn that successful narratives include a description of the incident, explanation of resolution, and use of language for effect. After analyzing effective narratives, 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 Activity 2.2 Write an argumentative essay. This task represents a culmination of student learning as the unit requires students study argumentation and analyze mentor texts, create a sample essay with research, collaboration, and writing prompts, analyze opposing arguments to incorporate counterclaims, and prepare for and participate in a debate.

Unit 3

  • Culminating Activity 3.1 Write a Literary Analysis Essay. Throughout the unit, text-dependent tasks focus on different aspects of literary analysis. For example, students deepen understanding of plot elements using double entry journals and use close reading strategies to help make meaning from the text and identify relevant textual evidence to develop literary analysis paragraphs. Additionally, students practice generating ideas and supporting analysis with evidence from the text in small groups to write a comparative literary analysis essay.

Unit 4

  • Culminating Activity 4.1 Create and Present Monologue. This culminating task is supported with text-dependent activities throughout the unit. For example, students compare and contrast writers' use of language and evaluate writing styles. They identify monologues' structure, analyzing connection between content, audience, and purpose, and they draft and present monologues. Additionally, to learn how to use poetic and literary devices for effect, students are exposed to a variety of comedic and dramatic monologues and narrative poems.

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 materials for Grade 7 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 practicing speaking with academic vocabulary is not consistently clear across the school year.

The materials provide teachers guidance in in the "To the Teacher" section, the "Resources" section, and with notes in the margins throughout the teacher manual. In the "To the Teacher" section, the publisher explains that there are multiple opportunities for collaborative discussions (Socratic Seminar, debate, and literature circles). There is guided instruction for holding meaningful discussions, multiple opportunities for speaking and listening (presentations, speeches, interpretive performance), and specific strategies for collaboration and communication. In the "To the Teacher" section, the publisher addresses how language is addressed (writers' craft, style analysis, language as a flexible tool, direct and integrated approach to learning vocabulary, Greek and Latin roots, and literary terms). Also, in the "Resources" section in the back of the book, there are resources for both students and teachers for speaking and listening strategies as well as collaboration strategies. The speaking and listening strategies (located in the "resources" section) include choral reading, debate, drama games, fishbowl, note-taking, oral reading, rehearsal, role playing, and Socratic seminar. The collaboration strategies listed in the "resources" section include discussion groups, jigsaw, literature circles, and think-pair-share.

There is little evidence of speaking and listening/ discussion lessons that specifically address academic vocabulary and syntax usage, and there are limited opportunities to practice application of this. Syntax is only explicitly referenced in Units 3 and 4:

  • 4.4 Language and Writer's Craft: Varying Syntax for Effect. Writers and Speakers make choices about syntax based on audience and purpose.
  • 4.8 Have students review the various types of syntax and discuss how syntax is used for effect.
  • Unit 4: Activity 4.4- Analyzing and Presenting a Dramatic Monologue is the only lesson that specifically addresses syntax.
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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 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. In every speaking and listening activity, the students are asked to use evidence from the text at hand, although main ideas and core themes may not be explored.

Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners and in small and large groups to practice sharing information they have summarized and synthesized and to present research they have conducted individually or in groups. They participate in Literature Circles and Socratic Seminars. Speaking and Listening instruction is provided frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. There is evidence of correlation to Grade 7 standards.

Some examples of activities that show how these materials meet the expectations of indicator 1j include:

Unit 2

  • 2.2 Students are given rules and protocols for collaborative discussions. Students write the actions they will take in group discussions, both as a speaker and a listener.
  • Activities 2.7 and 2.9 - Gathering Evidence from a Film parts 1 and 2 asks students to take notes and gather evidence while viewing a documentary.
  • Embedded Assessment 2.1 Students participate in Collaborative Discussion.

Unit 3

  • 3.7 In the Socratic Seminar students ask and respond to questions with their peers about the text.
  • Activity 3.16 - Students take notes and discuss with a partner after viewing clips from a movie (Invictus).
  • Embedded Assessment 3.2 Students work with a research group to create and deliver a biographical multimedia presentation. Students rehearse and present to refine their communication skills as a speaker and listener.

Unit 4

  • 4.4 Students work in groups to present oral interpretation of a dramatic monologue.
  • 4.11 Students read through one of the Shakespeare plot summaries and work with a partner to role play the scene through improvisations. After each performance, students ask questions to clarify what happened in the scene.
  • Activity 4.12 - In groups, students analyze film version of Twelfth Night - taking notes and presenting findings of various speaking techniques including tone, pitch, volume, rate, pauses, and emphasis.

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.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 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.


Multiple opportunities require short and extended research. Mode-specific Writing Workshops are in the online Teacher 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, and writing prompts. The Planning Unit section of the Teacher 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.

Throughout the texts, the teacher is advised to "...have students think-pair-share to write a short response or discuss their responses" to questions and prompts. In the sidebar activities, students are given questions to respond to in writing for almost every text in the student edition.

Representative examples from Grade 7 for this indicator include (but are not limited to) the following on-demand and process writing lessons and activities:

Unit 1

  • After reading a set of myths and studying the components of this form, students complete an on-demand writing prompt that is a creative writing task but draws on what they have learned thus far: "Imagine and write an 'unseen scene' that might be in the 'Daedalus and Icarus' myth. Use your sketches from your plot diagram to generate ideas. Be sure to:
    • Use techniques of characterization to maintain characters’ personalities.
    • Incorporate correctly punctuated dialogue.
    • Use vivid details to enhance elements of character and plot"
  • Students collaborate with a writing group to strengthen drafts through editing as they engage in their first writing groups in the first culminating task/assessment.
  • Students practice with their writing groups, using revision techniques and using transitions for coherence. They learn how to create a revision plan based on Writing Group feedback. Next, students focus on revision techniques and use their own draft to put them into practice.

Unit 2

  • After viewing advertisements (print, online or television), students complete a graphic organizer in which they analyze the use of advertising techniques about which they've been learning. This activity is followed by an on-demand writing prompt: "Write a response explaining how an advertisement you identified in question 4 tries to influence its target audience. Be sure to:
    • Introduce and develop your topic with relevant details/examples from the advertisement.
    • Use transitions, the precise language of advertising techniques, and formal style.
    • Include a concluding statement that supports your explanation"
  • Students strengthen expository writing skills by revising for precise language, formal style, and sentence variety and use rubric criteria to write introduction and conclusion.
  • In Embedded Assessment 2.2, students independently write an argument by generating a new research question, forming a claim, gathering information, taking their ideas through the writing process.

Unit 3

  • Writer's Craft and Language mini lessons are threaded throughout the unit to provide ongoing practice in revising drafts for varying sentence structure.
  • Students write a comparative analysis essay in small groups to practice generating ideas. Students use writing strategies such as guided writing, writing groups, and drafting text based responses.
  • Students have opportunities to revise and edit their drafts to add variety and interest to their writing. They then move from group writing tasks to independent practice, drafting multiple paragraph text based responses to literary analysis writing.
  • Embedded Assessment 3.1 Students will work through the stages of the writing process to create a literary analysis essay.

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 instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1l. The materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards for this grade.

Each unit has a culminating activity that focuses on the steps of the writing process. A variety of writing skill instruction is embedded throughout the year to hone students' craft as they learn new forms and modes of writing. Students work on a variety of skills throughout the year including conclusions, controlling ideas, dialogue, figurative language, style, introductions, note-taking, quotations, sensory details, transition words, citing sources, visual displays, supporting details, etc. The index section in the back of the book shows all the skills addressed throughout the year.

Types of writing found in the units include:

  • personal narratives
  • poetry and short stories
  • expository and argumentative essays
  • take notes, and synthesize into research reports
  • illustrated myth
  • notes for collaborative discussion
  • literary analysis essay
  • biographical presentation
  • creating and presenting a monologue

Each unit includes short paragraph response writing as well as pocess writing practice, which students apply to the writing type included with the lesson. Writing types are associated with texts that may be used as models for students. Some examples that show the balance of writing over the year as writing assignments are positioned with mentor texts include: in Unit 1, students read personal narratives and then are guided to write one of their own. In Unit 2, students read articles from multiple media sources and write expository and argumentative essays. In Unit 3, students write literary analyses after reading a novel. In Unit 4, students read monologues and Shakespearean drama, and craft their own monologue.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1m. Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. In addition to requiring text-based evidence in responding to questions for each selection, there are many opportunities for evidence-based writing. With some texts, students' writing is mostly tied directly to texts they have been reading, analyzing, and critiquing although in others, student writing is only focused on extracting evidence of literary devices.

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.

Most writing tasks explicitly require students to cite components of text in the writing. An example that represents the materials can be found in Unit 2. After reading multiple texts on advertising and media marketing to youth, students will be writing an essay. This sample outline frame is provided:

"Marketing to Youth"

  1. Introduction/Thesis Statement That Answers the Prompt
  2. Body Paragraphs (with examples and information to support the main ideas of the thesis that include evidence and commentary in each paragraph.)
  3. Concluding Statement

In this part of the unit, you have read several texts on marketing to young people, viewed a documentary film, and had numerous group discussions about the topic. In addition, you have collected information from websites. Using the information from these sources, create an outline for an expository essay about this topic."

Students complete the outline, drawing on specific source material from what they've read. Then, the on-demand writing prompt has students write a component of an essay:

"Write a conclusion for an essay on the topic of advertising to young people. Be sure to:

  • Write a final statement that supports the thesis topic sentences.
  • Bring a sense of closure by using transitions and explanations that follow from the essay's main points.
  • Use a formal writing style"

In each component, as well as in the guided questions and tasks along the reading, students are consistently required to cite and reference specific evidence from the materials. This progression of working from reading to note-taking to organizer to frame to writing is common throughout the program.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1n. Language instruction in grammar and conventions is provided in a sequence consistent with the demands of the CCSS-ELA and is integrated with reading and writing instruction. Language skills are taught explicitly and then applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Across the school year, materials build and promote students' ability to apply conventions and writing within their own writing. In the "Teacher Resources" section of the online textbook, there are approximately 30 additional Grammar Activities which can be downloaded covering a variety of grammar topics. These files contain a learning target, examples/lesson, and a "Check your understanding" practice segment. There is also a 24 page downloadable "Grammar Handbook" which can be used as a reference document.

Some representative samples of activities and lessons that are embedded in context of units and show evidence of this indicator include the following:

Grammar and usage lessons:

  • 1.5 Verb tenses
  • 1.14 Pronouns and Antecedents
  • 1.9 Punctuating Coordinate Adjectives
  • 2.15 Phrases and Clauses
  • 3.4 Revising with Subordinate Clauses
  • 3.7 Revising with Coordinating Conjunctions
  • 3.8 Understanding Phrases
  • 3.17 Adjectival and Prepositional Phrases
  • 3.21 and 4.7 Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Language "Knowledge of Language" (CCSS ELA L.3) refers to choosing language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating redundancy. Some lessons supporting this include:

  • 1.6 Creating Coherence and Sentence Variety
  • 1.7 Coherence
  • 2.4 Revising for Cohesion and Clarity
  • 2.6 Revising for Precise Language and Formal Style
  • 2.8 Sentence Variety
  • 2.13 Sentence Structure and Transitions
  • 2.14 Using Rhetorical Devices
  • 3.11 Active vs. Passive Voice
  • 4.4 Varying Syntax for Effect

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2: Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks. Anchor texts/text sets are organized by theme, although they are not consistently organized to build students' knowledge within the theme. 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. However, these tasks and questions often use the text as a vehicle to learn a writing skill or literary term, instead of engaging students in deeper understanding and building their skills in close reading and analysis. 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 as they build on the skills taught across the year as well as those in the previous year.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 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. However, there are missed opportunities for students to read closely, as students’ engagements are often relying solely on students’ reads, rather than having strong guidance to support a comprehensive depth of understanding.

Texts within this anthology require students to focus on variations around the theme of "choice." Interrelated texts, film, and independent reading assignments focus on different aspects of this shared theme. Students learn from Nelson Mandela's autobiography about his choice to fight for desegregation in South Africa. Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," the novel Tangerine, Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" and a drama by Shakespeare are representative examples of texts that show students the choices real and imaginary characters make and how those choices affect their lives. However, many questions about the characters are superficial and do not dive in to the deeper learnings available by these rich texts.

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.

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.

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

The materials for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2b as most texts and materials require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Coherent sequences of questions and tasks support students' development in skills around how to analyze the components of text, enabling them to navigate the content and draw conclusions in order to articulate what they are learning and engage with the text.

For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft, author's word choice, and language choices. The program includes questions that support study of detailed language and word choices (such as work with verbs and pronouns) as well as questions that support students' learning and considering broader craft and style components (such as using syntax for effect and identifying cohesive sentences). In most texts, students are provided opportunities to analyze language and author's word choice as they read, through sidebar word meaning and word connection lessons and questions that prompt them to interact with text to find examples of figurative, sensory and vivid language, as well as roots and affixes and other components of language. 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 from Unit 4, activity 4.5 illustrates the program’s treatment of questions and tasks with this indicator:

After reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” students are provided a short series of questions:

  • In one or two sentences, summarize the story of “The Raven.”
  • What is the dominant image of [“The Raven”]? How do the connotative associations with this image and other diction choices fit with the dark and eerie tone Poe is trying to create?
  • You already know about end rhyme, the most common form of rhyme. In “The Raven,” Poe also makes use of internal rhyme. What examples of internal rhyme do you see in the first two stanzas?
  • How does the poem’s structure or organization contribute to its meaning?
  • How does Poe use other poetic devices to develop the poem?

Student prompts are accompanied by possible responses for the teacher to view:

Student prompt:

  • What is the dominant image of [“The Raven”]? How do the connotative associations with this image and other diction choices fit with the dark and eerie tone Poe is trying to create?
  • “The dominant image is a raven perched and repeating “Nevermore.” Because ravens are large and black, and in this case appear in the night, they are often associated with ominous omens. The raven’s repetition of the word ‘Nevermore’ also seems particularly eerie and foreboding.”

The teacher is provided a possible response:

The writing at the end of the lesson includes these questions:

“Based on your understanding and the information you created above, write a paragraph that explains the purpose and effect of ‘The Raven.’

Be sure to:

  • Use the summary you wrote.
  • Include your understanding of the central image.
  • Discuss one or two poetic devices Poe uses for effect.”

These questions do focus on the craft of the poem, but they do not support students’ understanding of key ideas and specific details within the poem.

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 7 materials partially meet the expectations of indicator 2c. Text-dependent questions and tasks are sometimes 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. By the end of the year, students have practice eliciting evidence from texts.

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.

The program does have students work across text sets and pairs of texts (such as the paired poems noted in indicator 2b) but also has activities across genre and form. One example that illustrates how this is presented to students is in Unit 3, when students work with clips from the film Invictus, excerpts from the film's source material, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin, the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, a biography of Nelson Mandela from an online source, and Mandela's autobiography.

Questions in this section are text dependent, but do not extend students’ knowledge beyond the assignment at hand. For example: Discussion questions such as, "Based on your knowledge of Nelson Mandela’s personal history, why might this poem have been important to him? What connections can you make between his life and the ideas in the poem?" require students to marshall evidence from the texts they've been reading and synthesize their evidence, but are not followed by more questions or tasks around the content and meaning of the reading itself.

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).
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations of indicator 2d. Instructional materials support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening). The culminating tasks are of value to the student, emphasizing completion and synthesis of more than one standard learned and practiced, over the course of the lesson, unit, and year. However, the culminating tasks do not necessarily promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic, instead focusing solely on the skills themselves.

Culminating tasks are multifaceted from a skills standpoint and require students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards at grade level. Earlier questions and tasks give the teacher usable information about student readiness for whether they will be able to successfully complete culminating tasks and provide multiple opportunities for formative assessments. Support for success is provided by Online close reading and Writer's Workshops, clear expectations for success in each Embedded Assessment, and clearly defined expectations for the grade in the form of grade level CCSS- ELA standards being provided in the Student Edition.

Following are some examples of how the program provides integrated, culminating tasks that allow students to practice integrated skills:

One of the Culminating Activities for Unit 1 is a personal narrative. The is preceded by activities that focus on making careful observation of textual details, reading widely from fiction and non fiction, drafting reflective writing, analyzing poems, and analyzing author's use of diction. Through analysis of novel excerpts and autobiography, students learn that successful narratives include a description of the incident, explanation of resolution, and use of language for effect. After analyzing effective narratives, students create their own.

For Unit 2, one Culminating Activity is an expository essay and participation in a collaborative discussion. Prior to this, students study advertising techniques, analyze print (and non-print) advertisements, and engage in collaborative discussion. This Unit supports students' growing research skills, and they select a research question and gather information from a variety of sources, evaluating for credibility and accuracy using prompts and tools to support their efforts. To process and share this information, students participate in collaborative discussions. Students synthesize their research and draw conclusions in the expository essay.

A Culminating Activity for Unit 3 is to write a Literary Analysis Essay. Students conduct a novel study and participate in Literature Circles and Socratic Seminars focused on the elements of their selected novel. To support comprehension, students use double entry journals, in which they track evidence that will be used later in their essays. Close reading strategies help students make meaning from the text and identify relevant textual evidence to develop literary analysis paragraphs. Students work in small groups to practice generating ideas and supporting their analyses with evidence from the text. Tasks support students' moving from group writing to independent practice as they complete their comparative literary analysis.

Another Culminating Activity in Unit 3 has students create a multimedia biographical presentation. Students examine how biographical and historical facts are presented in media, integrating information from film, biography, and autobiography to develop deeper understanding of the topic and content while studying the different ways the forms convey information. Students are asked to consider the impact of visual media, and value of evaluating sources and work collaboratively and present ideas with multiple opportunities to refine presentation skills. They select texts, visuals, music, and quotes to use in a for their biography, working collaboratively to analyze information, infer meaning, as they craft the whole multimedia presentation.

A Culminating Activity in Unit 4 guides students to create and present a monologue. Students have read, listened to, and analyzed poetry along the course of the other units, and are presented with more works in this unit. Students compare and contrast writers' use of language and evaluate writing styles. Students identify monologues' structures, analyzing the connection between content, audience, and purpose. They draft and present their own monologues, with guidance and support on speaking skills.

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 7 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.

Student instructions for academic vocabulary repeat across all units. Students are given the same instructions under the heading "Developing Vocabulary" in each unit: "Look again at the Contents page and use a QHT strategy to analyze and evaluate your knowledge of the Academic Vocabulary and Literary Terms for the unit." In the middle of each unit, students are asked to reevaluate initial understanding. For example, in Activity 4.9 students are given the following instructions: "Use the QHT strategy to re-sort the vocabulary you have studied in the first part of this unit. Compare this sort with your original sort. How has your understanding changed? Select a word from the chart and write a concise statement about your learning. How has your understanding of this word changed over the course of this unit?" Students are also asked to keep a Readers/Writers notebook over the course of the year where they are to note vocabulary words that are unfamiliar to them.

Materials provide minimal teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year long vocabulary development component. 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.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2f. Students engage in writing tasks, projects, and presentations over the course of the school year that are aligned to the standards for grade 7. There is substantial support for students to learn, practice, develop, and apply writing skills. Teacher materials include comprehensive supports. Materials provide guidance for time spent in and out of class practicing, planning, and creating. Writing assignments are scaffolded throughout each unit, ending in culminating tasks in the middle and end of each unit. As noted earlier, materials include a mix of on demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital Online Writer's Workshops provide scaffolding and specific instruction to support students in process writing.

Students are expected to keep writing portfolios to revise and reflect on their growth as writers over the course of the school year. Instructional materials include well designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students' writing development. The Teacher's Edition forward, under "Writing with Purpose," states that the program provides "Multiple opportunities are provided for realistic, task based writing. Formal and informal writing tasks develop students' understanding of tailoring writing to purpose and audience." This statement is supported throughout the Grade 7 materials to build students' writing skills through short, extended, and assessment writing.

Instruction in writing is addressed in two integrated ways: through project based, scaffolded writing assessments and through Online Writing Workshops, which offer teachers and students practice to mastery of specific writing modes. Writing Workshops are designed to offer additional direct writing instruction to support and extend mastery of the writing process and commonly assessed written products. After students view a model text, the workshop guides them through the writing of three separate texts in the specific mode being taught: one that is constructed as a class, with direct guidance from the teacher; one that is peer constructed with teacher support; and one that is written independently. Ten different writing workshops that cover the writing process are available in Grade 7. Each writing workshop contains teacher/student pages, scoring guides, and additional writing prompts.


Some examples of tasks and activities in the materials that support students' writing development over the school year include (but are not limited to) the following representative sample writing activities:

Unit 1:

  • Students create their portfolios and begin the process to reflect upon their skills during each unit of instruction.
  • Students engage in a narrative free write to practice incorporating narrative elements in their writing. They draft a personal narrative about choice. They learn how to prepare for a timed writing task by unpacking a writing prompt, planning their time, and using a writing strategy to generate ideas.
  • After responding to a prompt, students revise using transitions for coherence. They learn how to create a revision plan based on Writing Group feedback.
  • Next, students focus on revision techniques and use their own draft to put them into practice. In one of the culminating activities for Unit 1, students work collaboratively through the writing process to create an original myth.

Unit 2

  • Students develop expository writing skills by drafting paragraphs and revising for coherence and clarity. In the next lesson, students strengthen expository writing skills by revising for precise language, formal style, and sentence variety and use rubric criteria to write introduction and conclusion
  • In preparation for writing an argumentative essay, students create an argumentative essay with peers, research to gather evidence, and write body paragraphs, strengthening writing through revision processes. They revise the class essay, incorporating a counterclaim.
  • One of the culminating activities for Unit 2 asks students to independently write an argument by generating a new research question, forming a claim, gathering information, and taking their ideas through the writing process.

Unit 3

  • Writer's Craft and Language mini-lessons are threaded throughout the unit to provide ongoing practice in revising drafts for varying sentence structure.
  • Students write a comparative analysis essay in small groups to practice generating ideas.
  • One culminating activity for Unit 3 has students work through the stages of the writing process to create a literary analysis essay.
  • During the second half of Unit 3, students learn the role of research, generate questions, conduct research, and create an annotated bibliography.

Unit 4

  • In Unit 4, students analyze poetry to help develop writing skills and ability to make connections between written and spoken word. They are exposed to a variety of comedic and dramatic monologues to learn how writers use language for different effect.
  • By the time of one of the culminating activities/ embedded assessments, students will have drafted multiple monologues that represent diverse topics, perspectives, and effects.
  • In preparation for the Shakespeare performance at the end of Unit 4, students will write responses to process their learning, comparing and contrasting content and delivery, evaluating effectiveness of delivery choices made, and explain their choices for delivery.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials for Grade 7 fully meet the expectations of 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. 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 course of school year, and students have the opportunity to develop research skills throughout the school year.

Steps of the Research Process are taught throughout the materials so students get support on the whole process. Students choose research topics by brainstorming ideas with a partner, writing down ideas of interest, and conducting preliminary research. Teachers guide students to read information and encourage their outside of class reading for the unit to connect to a topic of research.

For example, in Unit 2, students work towards writing an argumentative essay after gathering information on a variety of sources. Students generate two additional research questions for their topic, after analyzing informational texts. Activities guide students to practice identifying primary and secondary sources, as well as how to best develop and use criteria for evaluation of online sources' credibility. Graphic organizers are provided in student and teacher editions for this activity to support students' researching for effective and reliable websites.

After these activities, students conduct research for a class- constructed argument. The Argumentative Essay Research Log is provided as a frame for students to cite sources and evaluate their credibility in an organized manner. The teachers guide includes support for teachers to model note taking and how to use steps in research process.

Students use previously taught research strategies, available in resource section of the student edition, to guide their research and evaluate sources while they incorporate new skills. They take notes by summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting, responding, and recording bibliographic information as per grade level standard demands. They use a Research Log graphic organizer to record research and sources. Teachers can utilize Online Writing Workshop 1: The Writing Process to describe the roles of members of a writing group.

Online Writer's Workshop section: Research: Provides additional writing prompts, teacher and student pages, and scoring guides. Students are given the opportunity to write three additional research papers, one guided by the teacher, one that is peer-guided, and one they write independently.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 7 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. Materials include close reading and independent reading prompts and questions for students to engage out of class time as they read their self-selected texts. Throughout the units there are prompts connecting the class reading with students' independent reading, marked as Independent Reading Links.

Text and author suggestions are included for teachers to support students seeking independent reading choices. Each unit outlines specific independent reading suggestions that correlate to unit objective and include, in the Teacher Edition, a list of suggested texts for independent reading, as well as possible formative assessment questions. Support for building independent reading is included, such as guidance around setting deadlines and methods to keep track of reading, as well as suggestions around length of texts for students to engage with at different times (e.g. during research-heavy sections of the unit, shorter texts might be a better option for independent reading).

Post-reading prompt for students to assess their texts are included, such as, "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?" Reader/Writer Notebooks include organizers and suggestions for engaging with their independent reading. Questions are built in to support growing independent reading habits.

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.
7/8

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.
1/2

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.
5/10

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.
1/2

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
978-1-4573-0219-0 Copyright: 2014 0
978-1-4573-0226-8 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.

X