Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Core Knowledge Language Arts Grade 3 instructional materials meet expectations of alignment to the standards. Texts included with the materials are of quality and consistently demonstrate appropriate and growing complexity for the students and related tasks. Texts are organized and bolstered with evidence-based questions and tasks to support students’ growing literacy skills. These evidence-based questions and tasks build students’ knowledge on topics while engaging them in rich, rigorous discussions, grounded in evidence and providing meaningful opportunities for academic vocabulary practice. The materials may need to be supplemented to fully engage students in the development of their foundational skills and to support grammar practice out of context. Writing instruction over the course of the school year is consistent and organized to support students’ development of different types of writing as outlined in the standards. Students build writing stamina and technique in on-demand and process writing activities. The materials provide practical opportunities for students to demonstrate both growth and proficiency at grade level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
32
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

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials for Grade 3 meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Texts are appropriately rigorous, and organized in a manner to support students' skill development. Texts are of high quality and are engaging with rich language. The materials provide many opportunities for text-dependent questions and activities, especially in a robust array of writing activities that span the modes and types outlined in the standards. Discussion work for Grade 3 students includes modeling and practice of academic vocabulary. Support for teachers to implement the foundational skills is inconsistent; teachers may need to supplement with out-of-program materials.

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 instructional materials for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations of indicators 1a through 1f. Some texts included are high quality and engaging to students, providing access to some balance of text types as outlined by the standards, and materials support an appropriate balance of text types. There is some information regarding text complexity of units as a whole, but does not support teachers' implementation by including text-specific information. The materials include some breadth and depth of materials and some work around building students' skills over the course of the year, but to fully engage students in building their reading skills to navigate grade level texts, the teacher will need to engage outside support materials.

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 3 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality, worthy of careful reading, and considering a range of student interests. Some primary texts exhibit characteristics of publishable quality material (including core & academic vocabulary, rich language, and multi-dimensional characters). Some extended reading supports are provided as optional or supplemental reading. One selection is a modified version of a children’s classic.

Some examples of texts that are included in the program include the following:

  • Unit 1 includes an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame as a read-aloud used throughout the unit. Versions of Aladdin & the Wonderful Lamp and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, two other classic tales, are included in the student reader for Unit 1. Rewritten chapters of the modified version of The Wind in the Willows are included at the end of the student reader “for use at the teacher’s discretion” (TG, p. 1) but are not intended to be used by all.
  • Unit 2 focuses on Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals (Writers: Mike Ford, Core Knowledge Staff). This is a non-fiction reader narrated by a fictional character (Rattenborough).
  • Unit 3 includes a nonfiction reader about the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems of the human body. How Does Your Body Work? (Matt Davis, Fritz Knapp)
  • Unit 4 consists of collections of myths and historical nonfiction selections. The selections in this section are rich in language with examples including rich sentence variety and concepts.
  • Unit 5 Adventures in Light and Sound (Writers: Core Knowledge Staff, Fritz Knapp) includes nonfiction selections on the science of light and sound. These are combined with two biographical selections about Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.
  • Unit 6 includes a student reader focused on fiction via a collection of Norse myths. Gods, Giants, and Dwarves (Writer: Matt Davis) is accompanied by a separate “Quest” with a separate teacher’s guide and “...presents factual information about the Vikings” (TG, p.2)
  • Unit 7 What’s in Our Universe (Writers: Core Knowledge Staff, Fritz Knapp) is a nonfiction collection of texts about the solar system. It is accompanied by two biographical selections about Dr. Mae Jemison and Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • Unit 8 Native American Stories (Writer: Rosie McCormick) “...consists of selections describing the historical events and culture of Native Americans...who settled in the Greater Mississippi areas as well as in the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Arctic/Subarctic” (TG, p.1). The Teacher’s Guide describes the primary text as “nonfiction”although the texts are actually realistic fictional accounts with the purpose of conveying nonfiction information about several Native American cultures. This Unit's texts include much descriptive vocabulary, varied sentence structure, and literary devices make the text rich and engaging.
    • “...like the stars in the night sky” (Reader, p. 6)
    • “...white, crisp terrain” (Reader, p. 10)
    • “The crow inched its body under the shrub and stared intently…” (Reader, p. 54)
  • Unit 9- The Age of Exploration (Writer: Matt Davis)
    • The primary text for Unit 9, The Age of Exploration, “...consists of selections that will further students’ understanding of the reasons for European exploration, what exploration was like, and who went exploring” (TG, p.1) This unit also includes opportunities for students to explore independent readings more closely and interpret information.
  • Unit 10 Living in Colonial America (Writers: Core Knowledge Staff, Fritz Knapp) is a collection of stories and informational texts about different colonies in early America. Texts are historical fiction and told from a child’s point of view. Activities for this unit include poetry readings (TG, p.373): “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Concord Hymn,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and "Benjamin Franklin: Sayings" from Poor Richard’s Almanac.
  • Unit 11- Introduction to Ecology (Writer: Michael L. Ford). "Students also read a biography of John Muir” (TG, p.1).

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Primary texts include a mix of informational texts and literature across the entire year, however, there are more informational texts presented, and limited text variety is provided within each unit. Supplemental texts, a potential source for greater text variety, are referenced. Materials include a "recommended trade books" list, which round out the necessary genre needs in the grade.

  • Unit 1- Fiction (folktale, fantasy, adventure)- An “adaptation” (TG, p. 26) of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a read-aloud used throughout the unit. Versions of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, two other classic tales, are included in the student reader for Unit 1.
  • Unit 2- Nonfiction (science, biography)- The text includes a variety of text features including diagrams and charts. Biographical text connecting the work of Jane Goodall to the overall theme of the unit is included in Chapter 14 .
  • Unit 3- Nonfiction (science) with some components narrated by fictional characters- The text includes many charts and diagrams. Biographical text is included in Chapter 10 which relates information about the human body to famous people with disabilities (Ray Charles, Helen Keller). Elements of poetry are found in the Appendix: Dr. Welbody’s Rhymes for the Human Body Systems.
  • Unit 4- Nonfiction (history) and Fiction (myth)- Stories of Ancient Rome consists of selections describing the historical events and culture of the ancient Roman civilization.
  • Unit 5- Nonfiction (science) & Fiction (teacher read-clouds)- Adventures in Light and Sound consists of selections describing the science behind light and sound. Also included in the unit are biographies of two famous inventors who worked with light and sound: Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison (TG, p.1). The Student Reader is entirely non-fiction and and read alouds are informational fiction.
  • Unit 6- Fiction (myths) and Nonfiction (found in the separate student “Quest”)- The content of this Reader focuses on Norse mythology. "These Norse myths, which have been passed down through many generations, complement the Quest for this unit, which presents factual information about the Vikings” (TG, p.2).
  • Unit 7- Nonfiction (science, biography)- The Reader for Unit 7, What’s in Our Universe?, consists of selections about our galaxy and universe, the Big Bang theory, and important figures in the history of space exploration, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Mae Jemison.
  • Unit 8- Fiction (fictional narratives conveying nonfiction historical content)- The primary text for Unit 8, Native American Stories, “...consists of selections describing the historical events and culture of Native Americans...who settled in the Greater Mississippi areas as well as in the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Arctic/Subarctic” (TG, p.1) The text includes a map (Reader, p. 5) used to show the locations of the Native American cultures featured in the selections. A character pronunciation key is provided (Reader, pp.2-3).
  • Unit 9- Nonfiction (history)- The primary text for Unit 9, The Age of Exploration, “...consists of selections that will further students’ understanding of the reasons for European exploration, what exploration was like, and who went exploring” (TG, p.1). Read-aloud selections are also nonfiction. “Tell students that the readings and read-alouds they are going to read and hear are nonfiction” (TG, p.12). One letter (Coronado’s letter to the King of Spain) is a part of the text (Reader, pp.48-55). Numerous maps are included in the student text and on some of the image cards. One chart is included in the student reader on p.5 (“Some European Explorers”).
  • Unit 10- Nonfiction (history) and Fiction (fictional narratives conveying nonfiction historical content)- “The Reader for Unit 10, Living in Colonial America, is a collection of stories and informational texts about different colonies in early America” (TG, p.xv). “Provide additional books, articles, and images about the key figures in the Revolutionary War such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, etc.” (TG, p.341). Activities include poetry readings (TG, p.373): “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Concord Hymn,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but the poems are not included in the materials. “Have students read additional trade books about colonial America in your classroom or from the library” (TG, p.374).
  • Unit 11- Nonfiction (science, biography)- “The content of Unit 11 focuses on ecology” (TG, p.1). “Students will also read a biography of John Muir” (TG, p.1). “The nonfiction Reader for Unit 11, entitled Introduction to Ecology, consists of selections that will further students’ understanding of habitats and ecosystems, the environment, and food chains” (TG, p.4).

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations of indicator 1c of texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. According to the Program Guide, the texts meet the text complexity criteria for the grade.

When taken in aggregate over the course of the school year, the majority of texts appear to have the appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures for students' reading in this grade level. Quantitatively, the texts within the Grade 3 materials fall within a 580-820 Lexile level (the standards call for materials to range from 420 to 820 Lexile).

Some examples of how the program attends to the quantitative measurement for the grade include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

  • In the Student Reader from Unit 4, "Stories of Ancient Rome" is a narrated informational text describing the history and stories of Ancient Rome. This text has a quantitative measurement of 720L (using the Lexile measures).
  • In the Student Reader from Unit 5- "Adventures in Light and Sound" is a non-fiction text which measures as 890L.
  • The Student Reader from Unit 8 includes a blend of Native American Stories, some told as legends, and others as a first-person narrative. The average quantitative measure for the texts within this Unit is 850L.
  • The Student Reader from Unit 11 includes "Introduction to Ecology," which is an informational text with a Lexile of 810L.

From a qualitative lens, the materials are appropriate for Grade 3 students. The following examples represent how the texts embed and are accompanied by features to support students' comprehension of the materials as they grow their literacy skills:

  • Unit 2 and 3: Nonfiction texts include rich text features to support content-specific language and vocabulary. In addition to language features, charts, illustrations, and diagrams flesh out the content.
  • Unit 6 includes both fiction and nonfiction, with cross-genre language to support learning about both text types. Students encounter engaging language about the Vikings and Norse mythology which is anchored in learning about geography of the setting.
  • Unit 8 texts include texts around historical information of Native Americans. The narratives are accompanied by maps as well as a character pronunciation key to support students' accessing the complexity of the material.
  • Unit 11 focuses on ecology, introducing students to scientific texts as well as biography of John Muir. The rigorous scientific vocabulary (e.g. around ecosystems, food chains, and the environment) is paired and supported by visual support and vocabulary practice.

Read-aloud texts are at appropriately accelerated quantitative and qualitative levels while texts students read on their own and for core instruction fall at the appropriate levels. It is noted that the poetry texts are qualitatively appropriate (as they would not be measured quantitatively) and are accompanied with appropriate tasks and questions. The relationship of the texts to their associated student tasks are appropriate to the grade level, and a rationale for their inclusion is provided in the introduction of each unit.

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 materials (texts and sets of texts) for Grade 3 meet the requirements of indicator 1d, supporting students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Texts and their associated student tasks provide students with increased rigor over the course of the school year and provide a variety of non-fiction texts to help students grow in their content knowledge and their mastery of content-specific and academic vocabulary. By the end of Grade 3, students have opportunities to read and comprehend some texts that meet the requirements for the end of the Grade 3, though the levels for the texts included in the units are not specified.

Placement of texts across the year provide students with increasing challenges in content and complexity, with the first Unit beginning with a classic children’s story, The Wind in the Willows. Quantitatively, this version is approximately in the 920-1140L Lexile level--above the high end of the recommended band (580-820L). However, the text has been modified to simplify some of the language and a number of teacher scaffolds are recommended to make unfamiliar language manageable, including previewing vocabulary prior to reading. Students are also exposed to portions of the book via read aloud, with special attention paid to the British-English language words and phrases that might be confusing to students.

Appropriate challenge is found in the tasks and questions students encounter over the school year. For example, in Unit 2, students use Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals, a non-fiction text written for the program. The tasks include recording facts about animals during read-alouds, brief (15-20 minutes) writing tasks in a “field journal” that is prompt-driven, and culminating in an informational paragraph on the characteristics and classification of a vertebrate. The materials are written at a third-grade level, therefore are appropriate for students to use as they gather, evaluate, and synthesize information for a research project. Example text:

"Here’s an interesting fact: not all mammals give birth to live young. The duck-billed platypus and spiny anteater both lay eggs like birds and some reptiles, but have all the other characteristics of mammals. Good luck finding one. They are very rare! (Unite 2 Reader, Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals, p.110)

The tasks grow increasingly more demanding as the students progress through the year. In Unit 7, for example, students are required to “...plan and draft an informative piece about the day in the life of an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.” The text, though not leveled with a quantitative measure, displays a less conversational tone, and reflects the more staid tone of a traditional non-fiction text. Example text:

Interest in manned space exploration soared after Apollo 11. Other astronauts went to the moon. But scientists were also interested in exploring other parts of space beyond the moon. It was very expensive and took a lot of time to build and send spaceships into space. (Unit 7 Reader, What’s In Our Universe, p. 72)

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 materials for Grade 3 meet the expectations that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. Text complexity analysis information is available for the Grade 3 texts as a whole and rationales for purpose and placement of texts are found at the beginning of each unit, and information is provided for individual texts.

Beginning on page 56 of the 3-5 Program Guide (PG), there is prose describing the quantitative measures, qualitative features, and reader characteristics and task demands that were considered when selecting and creating texts for the program. According to the Program Guide, the texts for Grade 3 fall within the 580-820L band, with the exception of poetry, which does not receive a Lexile rating. The materials indicate that most texts for Grade 3 are, “mostly literal, and clear in their language,” with most of the texts being classified as contemporary. Lexile information is not provided for individual texts. The Teacher’s Guide notes that Grade 3 texts incorporate academic and domain-specific vocabulary more frequently than what is seen in the program’s K-2 materials.

The beginning of each Grade 3 reading unit includes an introduction that describes why the texts were chosen for the program, which may be helpful to the teacher. For example, in Unit 1, classic tales, including The Wind in the Willows, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp”, and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” are included to provide experiences with classic stories that include “rich language and introduce students to a variety of vocabulary words.” The Teacher’s Guide also describes story elements, literary devices, and themes of the works. Unit 2 begins with an introduction that explains that Unit 2 is comprised of entirely informational texts about animals (primarily those included in the narratives in Unit 1) and individuals who study animals (e.g., Dr. Jane Goodall). The unit is designed to build content knowledge through the use of nonfiction texts. In Unit 2, students are introduced to five groups of vertebrates, the process of animal classification, and the characteristics that determine the classifications. The nonfiction text, Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals, is narrated by Rattenborough, a fictional character who is included to, “guide students through the factual information to make the text more accessible to students”.

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading skills. Regular read-aloud selections provide ample opportunities for the teacher to model fluent oral reading, although fewer opportunities are provided for students to practice oral reading skills. Students' exposure to a breadth and depth of reading spans content and rich text; however, there are fewer opportunities for students to engage with texts of varying lengths and levels.

One unit includes an activity which provides an opportunity to improve read-aloud skills by preparing for and creating an audio recording. Students are occasionally given opportunities to partner and small-group read and there are some read-aloud take-home pages that students are asked to “read to a family member.” Lessons contain many activities that have students read silently, although there are few opportunities for them to talk about that reading and demonstrate their silent reading mastery. Student silent reading activities are typically brief, requiring students to read 1-2 pages; however, for students accelerating their skills above the grade level, more opportunities may be found.

Full chapter readings during “whole class” reading are indicated, although few activities building reading stamina were noted; independent reading materials and activities are not highlighted in the Teacher Guide. Some independent readings are reread with the teacher as close reading activities with more focused comprehension questions.

Assessment materials for each unit include an “optional” reading fluency passage with assessment guidelines. A supplemental Grade 3 “fluency packet” may be used to provide additional student fluency practice and assessment, but the packet is not referenced in the teacher guides and no detailed instructions regarding best practice use are provided. Overall, a clear progression of activities supporting reading development is not evident.

There are examples of activities that support the development of reading. For some, additional support may be needed for the teacher to fully implement these to support students' growth in literacy:

  • Unit 3 includes a fluency assessment: “Assess students’ fluency in reading using any of the supplemental chapters that they have not yet read. Recording and Scoring Sheets have been specifically included for ‘Reflexes.’” (TG, Unit 3, p.31)
  • Unit 5 includes a fluency assessment. It describes how to accurately assess a student’s W.C.P.M and it gives the following guidelines: “A major goal for Grade 3 students, however, is to read with sufficient fluency to ensure comprehension and independent reading of school assignments in subsequent grades. Exact fluency targets vary from state to state. The national mean calculated by Hasbrouck and Tindal in 2006 for Winter of Grade 3 is 92 W.C.P.M.” (TG, Unit 5, p.303)
  • Students are given opportunities to read with a partner or in small groups.
    • “Tell students that today they will read with a partner…Remind students that when reading with a partner, they should continue to focus on making the story come alive.”(TG, Unit 4, p.38)
    • “Remind students that when reading with a partner, focus today on making sure they speak clearly and at an understandable pace.”(TG, Unit 4, p.61)
    • “Pair students to reread and discuss the chapter…you may wish to pull together a small group of students who need more support…This activity allows for the teacher to listen to students reading individually and take anecdotal records of their fluency, or the teacher may conduct a more formal fluency assessment of several individual students.”(TG, Unit 5, p.208)
  • “As students read, circulate and have them read a paragraph or two aloud.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 150). There is minimal guidance to the teacher for this activity.

Students do access silent reading as well; samples of silent reading practice include (but are not limited to) the following activities and exercises:

  • Silent Reading Assessment: Students are asked to read “Moans at Midnight” and complete comprehension questions. The selection has 376 words. Students who have 5 or more correct answers move on to continue the assessment. The time allotted is 30 minutes. (TG, Unit 1, 202)
  • “Tell students that they will be reading the chapter silently to themselves and taking notes on key points on each page.”(TG, Unit 5, p.141)
  • “Tell students that they will read the chapter as a whole group and their focus will be on analyzing the illustrations in the text. Explain that authors use illustrations to help create the mood of the story and give the reader more information about the setting and characters. Explain that mood is the feeling you get as a reader. Does the illustration make you happy, sad, scared, or excited?” (TG, Unit 8, p.57)
  • Whole group silent reading is followed by Activity Book pages that provide space for written responses to questions such as: “What does the artist want to show us in the illustration about the setting? What does the author want to show us in the illustration about the character? What is the mood of the illustration?” (AB, Unit 8, p.27)
  • Close reading activity- Rereading of chapter “Navigation in the Age of Exploration”- an example of directions/questions: “Students silently read page 22. COMP Inferential. How is a compass useful, especially if you are at sea?” (TG, Unit 9, p.75)

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
15/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 3 include consistently applied series of text-dependent questions as well as culminating tasks for students to practice skills. Speaking and listening activities provide some practice with academic vocabulary development as well as providing students opportunities to practice sharing what they have learned from texts. Writing instruction supports the types required in the standards as well as giving students practice in on-demand and process writing activities. Grammar instruction attends to the introduction and practice of language standards for 3rd Grade, although students get inconsistent practice applying these components out of context.

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).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for text dependent questions, tasks, and assignments that require students to engage directly with the text and to draw on textual evidence to support what is explicit as well as valid inferences. After each read-aloud selection, students are asked to answer a variety of inferential, evaluative, and literal questions. During whole-group reading of primary texts, students are asked to re-read to find answers to text-dependent questions. Question sets follow each chapter of primary text. Many teacher-directed tasks support students in making connections between the text and illustrations. Many activity book pages require students to reference the text.

Some examples of text-dependent questions found throughout the units:

  • “How do Rat and Mole find Mr. Badger’s door?” (TG, Unit 1, p. 104)
  • “Living Things: Text Features Scavenger Hunt: Text feature: Is this text feature in the chapter? (yes or no) Page: Evidence: (AB, Unit 2, p.19)
  • “When students have finished reading, restate the question and have students read the sentence from page 12 that has the answer.” (TG, Unit 3, p.71)
  • “Tell students to read page 4-5 to themselves to find the answer to the question: ‘Why does Charlie think the Roman civilization is like Egypt?’” (TG, Unit 4, p.23)
  • “Have students read page 68 to themselves to find the answer to the question: ‘What causes sound?’” (TG, Unit 5, p.200)
  • “Ask students to read pages 28-29 to themselves to find out what Thor discovered and who he blamed.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 65)
  • “Why are the Sputnik 1 and the Apollo 11 trips into space considered triumphs?” (TG, Unit 7, p. 175)
  • “How would you describe Alemeda now? Use words and/or sentences from the text to support your answer.” (TG, Unit 8, p.130)
  • “What were some of the challenges of traveling that early explorers faced?” (TG, Unit 9, p.74)
  • “What two things enabled the Pilgrims to survive?” (TG, Unit 10, p.187)
  • “What do all living things need to survive? Find the text evidence for this answer.” (TG, Unit 11, p.3)

Examples of text-dependent tasks and assignments found throughout the units:

  • “Why are the people of King Alfred’s land happy with King Alfred as their king? Paragraph_____” (AB, Unit 1, p. 3)
  • “Write your topic sentence in the first rectangle to introduce your animal and its group. Choose three supporting details to write in the next three rectangles to support or expand your topic sentence. Write your concluding sentence in the last rectangle to conclude your paragraph” (AB, Unit 2, p.127).
  • Students create a KWL chart and record “what they have learned about the various human body systems.” The chart requires students to engage with the text directly. (TG, Unit 3, p.11-12)
  • “Bingo with a Twist” requires students to “find a classmate who can explain what is asked for in the box. Ask the classmate to initial your box and tell you the answer. Summarize what your peer said in your box.” An example of a question in this activity is “Who was Octavian’s ally but later became his enemy?” (AB, Unit 4, p.120)
  • Alternately, unit 5 asks students to respond to the short answer question, “Finish the sentence and list the page number where you found the answer. Light is important because ____________” (AB 2).
  • “What things did the gods throw at Balder that bounced off him? Page_____”AB, Unit 6, p. 85.
  • “Describe what happens during an eclipse of the moon. Page_____” (AB, Unit 7, p. 13)
  • “In small groups, have students list characteristics of the Native Americans of the Northeast based on today’s reading on Activity Page 8.2.” (TG, Unit 8, p.172)
  • “Pretend to be a sailor on board John Cabot’s ship. Write a paragraph giving your opinion of whether or not the hardships you face are worth the adventure or glory. Use the examples from the passage that you recorded on Activity Page 9.1A.” (AB, Unit 9, p.96)
  • Timeline of Early Colonization in North America: “Read the events and descriptions from the boxes in the middle. Then, number the events so that they are in chronological order. When you are done, draw an illustration of the event.” (AB, Unit 10, p.9)
  • “Read the following statements, write true or false, and write the page number that has the answer” (AB, unit 11, p.75).

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).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks that build to a culminating task integrating skills (writing, speaking, or a combination). Although the materials provide many text dependent questions and activities that build into culminating tasks, tasks are similar across units with limited variety. Most culminating activities are comprised of group presentations and/or written responses with few alternative performance tasks. Activities integrated throughout lessons require students to process information and speak or write about it. Some unit “Pausing Points” suggest additional activities which integrate writing, illustrating, and speaking along with presentation opportunities.

Some examples which represent the program's meeting this indicator include (but are not limited to) the following:

Unit 1 includes a teacher-guided opinion paragraph activity that begins in lesson 10 and concludes in lesson 13. This culminating activity follows close reading work and questions and activities around The Wind in the Willows. “Tell students that together they are going to write an opinion paragraph based on the characters and themes in The Wind in the Willows. Ask, ‘What is an opinion?’” (TG, Unit 1, p.256) “Direct students to write a final copy using Activity Page 13.4. Tell students that after editing and deciding on a title, you will create a final copy.” (TG, Unit 1, p.338).

In Unit 4, students leverage the conversations and questions they have had while reading about historical texts and complete a culminating task essay. “Think about all of the contributions of the Roman Empire that you have learned about. Which contribution is more beneficial to you: architecture or Latin? Why? Write an essay to explain why architecture or Latin is more beneficial to you. Be sure to include reasons and facts to support your opinion.” (AB, Unit 4, p.190).

In Unit 5, students create a newspaper article which culminates with a presentation and discussion. In this instance, students practice skills alongside reading and then take their artifacts through the speaking and listening standards as well. “Students will present their newspaper articles in a group setting, speaking clearly and at an appropriate pace, and then answer questions from group members.” (TG, Unit 5, p.324)

The culminating task in Unit 6 is to write a short informational writing piece that focuses on character descriptions. The activities that lead up to this include tasks and questions such as: “Have students record the name of the character that they think will be their favorite.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 16). “Ask them if any of their favorite characters were part of today’s story. If they were, encourage students to return to their prediction from Lesson 1 and add new information they learned from today’s reading.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 70). “Have students create a new Cause and Effect Chart just for their character on a blank page of their journal or on blank paper.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 118.)

Unit 7 has a “culminating” informative writing project that describes a day in the life of an astronaut on the International Space Station in lessons 17- 20. (TG, Unit 7, p. 288 & p. 327). A sample of the support and guidance for this includes the following citations:

  • “Give students the opportunity to research some of these other tribes and groups of Native Americans. You may wish to differentiate by having some students write a report, whereas others may draw and label pictures depicting key details of different cultural identities...Refer to the list of trade books and websites in the introduction as resources. Have students present their findings to a group or with the class.” (TG, Unit 8, p.160)
  • “Inform students that they will have time today and in the next lesson to write a final piece of opinion writing for the unit. They will have the opportunity to conference with a partner, and then write a final draft to share with the class.” (TG, Unit 9, p.292)
  • “Tell the class or a group of students that they are going to make a class book to help them remember what they have learned thus far in this domain. Have students brainstorm important information about the regions and colonies they have studied thus far. Have each student choose one idea to draw a picture of, and ask him or her to write a caption for the picture. Bind the pages to make a book to put in the class library for students to read again and again.You may choose to add more pages upon completion of the entire domain before binding the book.” (TG, Unit 10, p. 226)
  • “Tell students that they will be presenting a problem and one or more solution(s) as a group to the class….At the end of the discussion, each group should have one problem and at least one solution they would like to present for their project.” (TG, Unit 11, p.147)

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.)
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax (small group and all-class). Tiered vocabulary charts are included in each unit. Students encounter a wide variety of core and academic vocabulary words; lessons provide limited opportunities, however, for students to use the words in order to gain true mastery. Literal, inferential, and evaluative discussion questions are provided in the teacher’s guide following each read-aloud selection. Questions require students to answer with academic vocabulary, but no specific protocol (whole group, small group, partner, etc.) is suggested for addressing the questions. Suggested answers in the Teacher Guide do not provide recommendations for extending discussion beyond basic student responses. “Word Work” is a consistent feature of the speaking and listening component of each lesson with the teacher guiding students in discussing and correctly using vocabulary related to the lesson content. The Teacher Guide, however, lacks suggestions for fostering deeper conversation using the cited lesson vocabulary.

Examples of opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax include:

  • “Have you ever meandered, or have you ever seen someone else who meandered? Where were you? Be sure to use the word meandered when you tell about it. (Ask two or three students. If necessary, guide and/or rephrase students’ responses to make complete sentences: ‘I meandered . . .’ ) (TG, Unit 1, p.35).
  • “Tell students that in today’s read-aloud, they will learn more about birds. Explain that throughout the read-aloud, the class will pause to discuss key vocabulary and unique bird characteristics.” (TG, Unit 2, p. 214)
  • Many questions require students to answer with academic vocabulary. In response to the question “What are organs?,” students are supposed to respond with “Organs are parts of the body that have specific functions and form systems; organs include the heart, lungs, stomach, etc.” (TG, Unit 3, p.21).
  • After prompts from the teacher “Italy is called a peninsula. What does that mean?,” students are to respond with “It is an area of land surrounded on three sides by water.” (TG, Unit 4, p.17)
  • “Tell students that for the first round of discussion, each student will read their headline. After each student reads their headline, other group members may ask questions or make comments. Remind students to use the prompts on the Have a Great Conversation! Chart if they get stuck.” (TG, Unit 5, p.327)
  • “Have students help you fill in the fiction chart for this chapter. Use details from the chapter and images. Compare and contrast with previously read chapters.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 130)
  • “Turn to your partner and take turns sharing a question you have about our universe. Then I will call on one or two of you to share your partner’s question with the class. Be sure to use the word universe in a complete sentence as you share.” (TG, Unit 7, p.23)
  • “How would you describe the environment in our classroom? Be sure to use the word environment when you tell about it. (Ask two or three students. If necessary, guide and/or rephrase the students’ responses to make complete sentences: ‘The environment in our classroom is ___.’) (TG, Unit 8, p.45)
  • “Remember to use academic vocabulary when appropriate: decide and recommend. Remind students that in the previous lesson, they learned that ecology is the study of relationships among living things. Briefly review the two relationships they read about.” (TG, Unit 11, p.31)

In these examples, students are provided some access to practicing academic vocabulary; however, follow up to support the teacher in next steps is minimal. When students are asked to share information, the materials do not consistently follow through with what happens after that initial share-out. Additionally, there is minimal support for the teacher to address any misconceptions or identify comprehension problems that may occur throughout the study and development of this components.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials that support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence. Each lesson includes opportunities for students to engage in speaking and listening activities that support student engagement. Read-aloud selections provide comprehension questions throughout and following reading, discussion is sometimes limited to simple student responses and in other lessons, students are prompted to go deeper with their responses. Speaking and listening activities consistently support students in referencing evidence from the text to support their answers. Some activities do provide teacher/student protocols for supporting enhanced discussion skills. Opportunities for students to present are occasionally included, but are not typically a lesson emphasis; the teacher may need to provide additional support from other resources to attend to the learning needs of students who struggle.

While opportunities for student presentations and discussion exist, far more activities emphasize information recall rather than extended thinking and discussion. Some examples of activities supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching include (but are not limited to) the following:

Units 1 & 2

  • “Think Pair Share: In previous lessons, you learned about the themes for friendship/loyalty, and responsibility, and irresponsibility. What are some examples of these themes in this chapter?” (TG, Unit 1, p. 104)
  • “Tell students that in today’s read-aloud, they will hear about five groups of animals, and that they should listen to find out the names of these animal groups and why scientists group them as they do” (TG, Unit 2, p. 38)
  • “Guess the Main Idea: Explain that during today’s read-aloud, students are going to listen for the main idea. However, before listening to the read-aloud, the class will play a game called “Guess the Main Idea.” Explain that students will be given one clue at a time. After each new clue is given, students may guess the main idea.” (TG, Unit 2, p. 76)

Units 3 & 4

  • With the first Read Aloud in Unit 3, students created a KWL chart. After they have listened, “then ask students to share what they have learned now that they have heard one read-aloud. Record these answers under the ‘L’ portion of the chart. As students listen to the upcoming read-alouds, remind them occasionally of the ‘W’ to see if they can find answers to some of the questions as the read-alouds are shared.” (TG, Unit 3, p.23)
  • “Why do you think it is more common to break an appendicular bone than an axial bone?” “Appendicular bones are more vulnerable because they are more exposed, used often to move about and play, etc.” (TG, Unit 3, p.67)
  • In Unit 4 students participate in a debate. First they have to decide on their position to the question, “Do you think Julius Caesar is a traitor or a hero?” Next they have to “give three reasons that support your position.” Then students have to “list all the topics that someone on the other side of the argument might say.” Finally “students individually present their arguments using Activity Page 9.3 during their presentation.” (TG, Unit 4, p.226)
  • “You may wish to have students work independently, in groups, or with a partner to discuss, explain, research, and/or illustrate these sayings and phrases and their literal and figurative meanings.” (TG, Unit 4, p.309)

Units 5, 6, & 7

  • “Hold the image cards you have used so far fanned out like a deck of cards. Ask a student to choose a card, but not to show it to anyone else in the class. The student must then give a clue about the image she is holding. The rest of the class will guess what the image is or what light concept is being described. Proceed to the next card when the correct answer is given.” (TG, Unit 5, p.171)
  • “Have students create and exchange riddles to review everything they’ve learned about light so far.” (TG, Unit 5, p.171)
  • In Unit 5 students spend several lessons writing a newspaper article. This activity culminates when “students will present their newspaper articles in group settings, speaking clearly and at an appropriate pace, and then answer questions from group members.” (TG, Unit 5, p.324)
  • “Ask students to read pages 56-57 to themselves to locate an example of cause and effect. When students have finished reading, ask them to share an example they found. “ (TG, Unit 6, p. 112)
  • Students asked to put sentences in order about the space shuttle. “When all the groups have finished, have all the #1 groups read their paragraph and explain why they put the sentences in that particular order.” (TG, Unit 7, p. 250)

Units 8 & 10

  • “Tell students to listen carefully to hear more about where the early settlers of North America came from, how it is believed they got to this continent, how the ice age is related to their migration, and how they lived when they first arrived.” (TG, Unit 8, p.12)
  • “In partners, have the students silently read a paragraph in the text. Next, the students will turn to their partners, cover up what they read, and try to remember and retell what they read. Their partner will listen and fill in any missing information” (TG, Unit 10, p. 369)

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Lessons provide varied and frequent opportunities for on-demand and everyday writing, many of which are included in the student Activity Book. Many on-demand tasks incorporate responses that assess student comprehension of primary student and read-aloud texts. Several opportunities for process writing are distributed throughout the year. Students engage in pre-writing with graphic organizers that assist with information gathering and categorizing. Frameworks are provided to support student collaboration for sharing feedback and engaging in peer editing. Supplemental resources, including digital content, are suggested for student research in some lessons.

Students have many opportunities to complete “quick-write” activities:
  • “Comparison Quick Write- Compare and contrast the cultural identity of your generation in your neighborhood with the cultural identity of one of the groups of Native Americans you heard about today. Consider things such as your environment, beliefs, dwelling, clothing, and the food you eat as you discuss this.” (AB, Unit 8, p.21)
  • “Compare and Contrast Quick Write- Think-Pair-Share. Have students brainstorm the following prompt independently on Section 1 on Activity Page 2.4. Have students partner up and share their responses. Have students write new ideas shared from their partner on Section 2 on Activity Page 2.4. In Section 3, have students write their response. If time allows, have students share their quickwrites.” (TG, Unit 8, p.47)

Students are provided with some tools for planning and evaluating their writing. “Direct students’ attention to the Story Retelling Anchor Chart used in the beginning of the lesson. Explain to students that this chart can be used for retelling a story and planning to write a narrative story. Review the key components of the chart: Character, Setting, Problem, Plot (Beginning, Middle, and End), and Solution. Explain that when writing a narrative piece, each of these key components should be included in their writing” (TG, Unit 10, p. 39-40)

  • Students use logs and journals to integrate knowledge and enhance writing skills. “In this unit, students will create Ecology journals with a partner to summarize, respond to, and apply the knowledge they learn from the readers for the first seven days of the unit. For the last five days, students will work in groups, using information from their journals, to create a presentation on solutions to problems in the environment.” (TG, Unit 11, p. 10)

Examples of on-demand/everyday writing include:

  • “Have students work with a partner to rewrite the part of the story in which Mole steals the oars. They should rewrite this from Rat’s perspective, making sure to include details about Rat’s thoughts and emotions.” (Unit 1 TG p. 58)
  • On-demand tasks include opportunities for student journaling. “During the unit, you will be stopping to record your thoughts as animal researchers. Each journal entry will have a prompt for writing” (TG, Unit 2. P. 20)
  • Following a series of lessons on writing topic, supporting, and concluding sentences, students are asked to independently write a “good” paragraph. “Write a good paragraph. Remember to include a topic sentence, 3 or 4 supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence. Add a title.” (AB, Unit 3, p.89).
  • Unit Pausing Points provide additional on-demand writing prompts. “Some things I wonder about the ancient Roman civilization are ___. (You may wish to have students conduct research on their remaining questions.)” (TG, Unit 4, p.187)
  • “Students will take notes and record observations about cause and effect from an experiment about light and different surfaces and write a reflection.” (TG, Unit 5, p.45). Students will complete activity page 3.2 to complete this on-demand writing.
  • “Have students record the name of the character that they think will be their favorite. Below the name of their favorite character, student should explain the following using complete sentences: This is my favorite character because…” (Unit 6 TG p. 16)
  • Students collaborate to write a narrative script based on informational text about Nicolaus Copernicus. “Explain that they have to figure out how to bring the text to life with characters and dialogue.” (Unit 7 TG p. 235)
  • “Compare and Contrast Quick Write- Think-Pair-Share. Have students brainstorm the following prompt independently on Section 1 on Activity Page 2.4. Have students partner up and share their responses. Have students write new ideas shared from their partner on Section 2 on Activity Page 2.4. In Section 3, have students write their response. If time allows, have students share their quickwrites.” (TG, Unit 8, p.47)
  • “Expedition Log- Directions: Draw and/or write in sentences what you have learned about Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his voyages. Remember to write complete sentences that begin with a capital letter and end with the correct punctuation.” (AB, Unit 9, p.63)
  • Students frequently provide written responses related to topics being taught. “In summary, compare and contrast the Puritans and the Pilgrims.” (AB, Unit 10, p.109).
  • Students will create Ecology journals with a partner to summarize, respond to, and apply the knowledge they learn from the readers for the first seven days of the unit. For the last five days, students will work in groups, using information from their journals, to create a presentation on solutions to problems in the environment” (TG, Unit 11, p. 10).

Examples of process writing include:

  • In Unit 1, students are asked to compose an opinion paragraph over the course of three lessons. In Lesson 10, students are asked to complete a graphic organizer. Students are reminded of the writing process. “Explain to students the steps of the writing process-- plan, draft, edit, revise and publish-- and tell them that today they will complete the first step…” (Unit 1, TG p. 257) Lesson 11 is the draft, Lesson 12 is the revision, and Lesson 13 is the final draft.
  • “The formal writing piece for the Animal Classification unit is a short, informational writing piece that focuses on organizing and communicating characteristics and classification of one specific vertebrate. Students learn to introduce a topic, group related information together, and provide supporting ideas, facts, and details. The project can be done with or without the use of technology, but having students use computers to research, write, and publish their projects is highly recommended.” (TG, Unit 2, p. 3)
  • Some unit Pausing Points offer optional process writing activities that the teacher may choose to assign. “Have students take out Activity Page PP2 and PP3. Remind them that they have completed the editing step of the writing process for their narratives, including the substep of creating the final copy. Tell students that they will now complete the publishing step of the writing process. Explain that this means they will create a presentation of their narratives to share.” (TG, Unit 3, p.303).
  • In Lesson 13 of Unit 5, “...students will begin planning for researching and writing a newspaper article on the invention of the telephone or the incandescent light bulb...” (TG, Unit 5, p.282). Students will continue to use the writing process for this assignment through Lesson 17 when they present their final newspaper articles to the class.
  • Students will compare and contrast two characters from Norse mythology and plan a short narrative about one character. They will complete this task over the course of Lessons 6 -10. They will complete a Venn Diagram, work with a partner, share ideas, draft, revise, and prepare a final draft. (Unit 6 TG p. 100,118, 130,142,148)
  • “Remind students that today most of them will be conferencing and then writing a final draft of their paragraph. Display the Guidelines for Conferencing and Peer Editing or project Digital Projection DP.U9.L9.1.” (TG, Unit 9, p.305)
  • The narrative writing process is addressed in Unit 10 and includes lessons on developing characters. “Today, during the writing portion of class, students will develop characters using description and actions and learn about interaction and dialogue and their role in characterization.” (TG, Unit 10, p. 101)

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. For Grade 3, the standards require a mix of opinion, informational/explanatory, and narrative writing. Although most lessons emphasize informational/explanatory writing, students have an opportunity to engage in other types of writing throughout the year. Units also include embedded activities for poetry writing, journaling, drafting letters, writing with dialogue, and creating posters and charts.

Examples of informational/explanatory writing include:

  • “Students will write a short reflection about an interesting animal to further research.” (TG, Unit 2, p.93)
  • “Tell students to look at the ‘W’ section and pick out one or two items they find the most interesting. Then have students write letters to Dr. Wellbody and/or Ricardo, asking her/him for information or advice on their chosen items from the ‘W’ section. Students may also share with Dr. Wellbody or Ricardo a fact or two they think is interesting.” (TG, Unit 3, p.161).
  • “Explain that they’ll be combining the research they did about light with the observations they made during the experiments to write a research summary” (TG, Unit 5, p.150).
  • Students will write a paragraph to describe a character from a Norse myth. They will draft the paragraph in Lesson 7 and complete it in Lesson 8. (TG, Unit 6, pp.118 & 130)
  • Students will plan and draft an informative piece about a day in the life of an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. “Tell students that they will write their drafts, making sure that they are following the text structure they decided on (descriptive or chronological), have at least three paragraphs, include key ideas and details from their notes and graphic organizer, and finish with a concluding sentence.” (TG, Unit 7, p.309)
  • “Compare and Contrast the Northeast and Southeast Tribes- On your own, list the most important points about the Northeast and Southeast Tribes. Using that list, write a compare-and-contrast paragraph about the two tribes.” (AB, Unit 8, p.97)
  • “Expedition Log- Directions: Draw and/or write in sentences what you have learned about Christopher Columbus and his voyages. Remember to write complete sentences that begin with a capital letter and end with the correct punctuation.” (AB, Unit 9, p.23)
  • “Tell students that today they will write a letter to a Grade 4 teacher. They should include details about themselves and what they are hoping to learn in Grade 4, review with them the parts of a letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, signature)” (TG, Unit 11, p.160).


Examples of opinion writing include:

  • Students are asked to compose an opinion paragraph over the course of Lessons 10-13. (Unit 1 TG p256, 292, 310 & 338)
  • “If you could be one animal in the reading or read-aloud you read today, what would you be? Give three reasons why.” (TG, Unit 3, p.93)
  • “Think about all of the contributions of the Roman Empire that you have learned about. Which contribution is more beneficial to you: architecture or Latin? Why? Write an essay to explain why architecture or Latin is more beneficial to you. Be sure to include reasons and facts to support your opinion.” (AB, Unit 4, p.185)
  • Students are asked to complete entries in their journals. “Have students record the name of the character that they think will be their favorite. Below the name of their favorite character, student should explain the following using complete sentences: This is my favorite character because…” (Unit 6 TG p. 16)
  • Students are asked to compose an opinion piece about a famous quote by Mae Jemison. “The best way to make dreams come true is to wake up.” Mae Jemison. “Explain to students that you want them to think about the quote. Ask, “What does the quote mean to you?” (Unit 7 TG p. 281)
  • “Opinion Writing: Life as a Sailor- Assignment: Pretend to be a sailor on board John Cabot’s ship. Write a paragraph giving your opinion of whether or not the hardships you face are worth the adventure or glory. Use the examples from the passage that you recorded on Activity Page 9.1A.” (AB, Unit 9, p.96)

Examples of narrative writing include:

  • Students are asked to compose a narrative piece. “…Make sure that the students include details of the summer season in their alternative endings.” (TG, Unit 1, p.105)
  • In an optional Pausing Point activity, students are given the following directions, “Using as a model the myth and figurative expression you learned about Achilles and the Achilles tendon, write a myth that explains the funny bone.” (TG, Unit 3, p.165).
  • In an optional Pausing Point activity, the teacher may choose to “Tell students that as a class they will be writing a short myth based on Roman beliefs. Ask students to think of an event in nature they could explain in a myth. Examples may include why lightning occurs, why apples grow on trees, why it snows, etc.” (TG, Unit 4, p.189).
  • Students will create comic book page based on a literary text. (TG, Unit 6, p.156)
  • Students will collaborate to write a narrative script based on informational text about Nicolaus Copernicus. “Explain that they have to figure out how to bring the text to life with characters and dialogue.” (TG, Unit 7, p.235)
  • “Students will use dialogue in their writing to show the thoughts, feelings, and actions or reactions of characters.” (TG, Unit 10, P. 149)

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support their thinking. Students have frequent opportunities to provide evidence from the texts and practice eliciting evidence to support what they are learning and discovering.

Some examples from the program demonstrating this include:

  • “Describe the plan that Aladdin and his wife made to get the lamp back from the magician. Page____ “ (AB, Unit 1, p.84)
  • “The most interesting thing I’ve learned in the unit about Rome is ____________ because_____________”. (AB, Unit 4, p.198)
  • “Opinion Writing: Life as a Sailor- Assignment: Pretend to be a sailor on board John Cabot’s ship. Write a paragraph giving your opinion of whether or not the hardships you face are worth the adventure or glory. Use the examples from the passage that you recorded on Activity Page 9.1A.” (AB, Unit 9, p.96)
  • Some writing prompts require analysis of text and ask for clear responses to show knowledge, “The saying ‘beat around the bush’ relates to John Smith and the Jamestown colony because . . . The saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ relates to British debtors and the colony of Georgia because . . . Some of the challenges the colonists faced in the New World were . . .” (TG, Unit 10, p. 226)
  • The activity books present multiple opportunities for students to provide written responses to questions based upon the lessons being learned. At times, they require the student to write the pages down where they found their answer or it will ask them to explain their reasoning. “What happens to the acorns that aren’t eaten by the animals in the forest? Page____ .“ (AB, Unit 11, p. 25)
  • Some informational writing requires students to analyze information, and use evidence in their writing, “Write your topic sentence in the first rectangle to introduce your animal and its group. Choose three supporting details to write in the next three rectangles to support or expand your topic sentence. Write your concluding sentence in the last rectangle to conclude your paragraph.” (TG, Unit 2, p.205), “What would happen to the forest ecosystem if all of the bacteria disappeared?” (AB, Unit 11, p. 38) “What would happen to the Mara National Reserve ecosystem if all of the cheetahs were hunted to extinction?” (AB, Unit 11, p. 65)

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Although the lessons appear to be comprehensive in addressing the grammar and conventions outlined in the Standards for Grade 3, the majority of language activities are taught out of context. While some lessons focus on content-related vocabulary and parts of speech, the majority of language activities are found in the student Activity Book for each unit and include sentences unrelated to the primary texts for the units.

Examples of grammar and conventions activities include:

  • “Students will review the spelling alternatives ch, ph, sh, and th.” (TG, Unit 1, p.346). Students are then asked to complete Activity Pages 13.1 and 13.2 either as a teacher-guided activity or independently.
  • “Label the parts of speech in the following sentences. Circle the nouns, box adjectives and draw arrows to the nouns that they describe” (AB, Unit 2, p. 121)
  • After completing a mini-lesson, students complete activity page 4.3 where they “...draw a triangle around each adverb and a wiggly line under the verb it describes. Then, draw an arrow from the adverb to the verb. On the blank line after the sentence, write whether the adverb tells how, when, or where.” (AB, Unit 5, p.43)
  • “Students will write compound sentences using the conjunction because...Remind students that conjunctions are words that connect other words or groups of words...Point out that the cause always begins with the word because...Turn to Activity Page 2.3 and complete it as a teacher-guided activity.” (TG, Unit 6, p.28)
  • “Write a sentence using the –er adverb. Then change the sentence so that the –est adverb fits and write the new sentence.” (AB, Unit 10, pp.47-50)
  • “Students will capitalize appropriate words in titles...” (TG, Unit 11, p. 160)

Some practice activities are unrelated to the texts being studied, such as this example from Unit 3. Grammar activities are unrelated to student and read-aloud texts and are activity sheet driven. For example, all of the reading in this unit is centered on learning about the systems of the human body; however, students have to “fill in the blanks with the correct spelling words. Sometimes you will use the singular form, and sometimes you will use the plural form. Sometimes you will use both. You will not use a word more than once” in sentences such as “My cat chased a ____________ under the fence. Cats like to chase __________” and “My friend is the only __________ in her family. In my family, there are three _____________” (AB, Unit 3, p.27)

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
3/6
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations of indicators 1o to 1q. While each unit presents foundational skills lessons addressing phonics and word recognition, information about the research base and the intended progression is not provided. The materials inconsistently support teachers in guiding students to read with purpose and understanding and make frequent connections between acquisition of foundation skills and making meaning from reading. While each Unit’s topic supports deeper understanding and building knowledge, the teacher is more often providing answers rather than engaging students in their own meaning making and growing their reading skills. There are some opportunities provided for students to practice oral reading skills.

Indicator 1o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for materials, questions, and tasks that address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression. While each unit presents foundational skills lessons addressing phonics and word recognition, information about the research base and the intended progression is not provided.

According to the Program Guide, phonics and word analysis skills are addressed in Units 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11.

  • In Unit 1, short and long vowels are reviewed.
  • In Unit 7, students practice /j/ and /n/ in association with spelling.

In Units 2-11, common prefixes and derivational suffixes are taught.

  • In Unit 3, “In this unit, students will study the common prefixes dis- and mis- and review prefixes learned thus far in Grade 3, which are un-, non-, re-, pre-, dis-, and mis-. They will continue to review how prefixes change the meaning of root words and how they may change the part of speech of that word. Students will define and use words with these prefixes in different contexts” (Teacher’s Guide, p.2).

In Units 5, 6, and 11, Latin suffixes are addressed.

  • In Unit 6, -ive and -ly are studied.
  • In Unit 11, students practice adding -s, -ed, -ing, -er, and -ly.

Decoding of multisyllabic words is addressed in Units 1, 6, 7, and 11.

  • In Unit 1, students practice reading and writing multisyllabic words such as words with ‘le.’
  • In Unit 6, students complete the Word Reading in Isolation Assessment.

How read grade-level irregularly spelling words is taught in Units 4, 5, and 11.

  • In Unit 4, students form and use irregular verbs.
  • In Unit 5, students read and write irregular words with the /ae/ sound.

Grade 3 materials include an Assessment and Remediation Guide for helping students struggling with decoding. The Guide is online and contains 1200 pages of assessment, instruction, and practice for students’ needs.

While very consistent throughout the units, vocabulary lessons provide only general information for teachers in providing a “preview” and “exposure” to words as students are expected to develop an understanding of core and academic words. Activities such as a “domain dictionary” are optional. “Students may also keep a “domain dictionary” notebook along with definitions, sentences, and/or other writing exercises using these vocabulary words” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 2, p. 37).

  • Each lesson has a vocabulary component before each Read Aloud. Each vocabulary lesson uses the same structure and provides the following instructions to the teacher: “Preview the words with the students before the lesson. Students are not expected to be able to use the words immediately, but with repeated exposure throughout the lessons, they will acquire a good understanding of most of the words. Students may also keep a ‘unit dictionary’ notebook along with definitions, sentences, and/or other writing exercises using these vocabulary words” (TG, all Units).
  • With the vocabulary in the student reader, separate vocabulary exercises exist to build fluency and vocabulary. Each lesson begins with the same directions to teach students vocabulary. For example, the teacher is given the following directions, “Preview the words with the students before the lesson and refer back to them at appropriate times. Display the vocabulary words on the board. Divide the words into syllables. Cover one syllable at a time with your hand and segment the word. Then, point to each syllable and ask the students to ‘read it fast’ to signal them to read through the word. Explicitly point out any unusual or challenging letter-sound correspondences in any syllable, as well as one or two other words with the same letter-sound spelling” (TG, all units).

A clear progression of activities supporting fluency development (accuracy, rate, automaticity, and prosody) is not evident. Although opportunities for students to work on reading fluency are included in the units, activities are typically unstructured. Many of the lesson activities providing opportunities for oral and silent reading are optional or provided in a take-home format. Measurement of oral reading fluency is also optional and occurs during end-of-unit assessments. A supplemental “fluency packet” may be used to provide additional student fluency practice and assessment.

  • “A fluency packet consisting of poetry, folklore, and fables is provided online at ckla.amplify.com. These additional text selections provide opportunities for students to practice reading with fluency and expression (prosody). The selections can be used in any order. At the beginning of the week, the teacher should make sufficient copies of the week’s selection for each student. The teacher should take time to read the selection aloud to all students. Then students take the selection home to practice reading aloud throughout the week. The expectation for all students should be that they are prepared to read the selection fluently and with prosody by Friday. At the end of the week, the teacher should select a few students to individually read the selection aloud. Teachers may also wish to have a few students choral read the selection. Be sure to provide opportunities for different students to read aloud each week” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 11, p. 4)

Indicator 1p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for materials, questions, and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding and make frequent connections between acquisition of foundation skills and making meaning from reading. Each unit’s topic supports deeper understanding since all read-aloud texts and student texts are focused on the same information with core/academic vocabulary highlighted throughout. While the teacher materials provide many statements designed to support reading with purpose and many questions designed to check for student understanding, yet most vocabulary activities fail to engage students beyond providing simple answers.

Understanding is developed through vocabulary study. Some activities lack opportunities for students to engage in more meaningful ways with the words. Examples include:

  • “Word Work” sections in some of the lessons provide opportunities to study a vocabulary word from the reading and apply it.
    • In Unit 2, “Have you ever noticed something or someone in your life that is constant, or that stays steady? What or who is it? Be sure to use the word constant when you tell about it. Ask two or three students. If necessary, guide and/or rephrase the students’ responses to make complete sentences: “The thing in my life that stays constant is ___.” What’s the word we’ve been talking about? What part of speech is the word constant?” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 83)
  • In Unit 3, students read definitions of the following words: cushion, cartilage, flexible, and connective (Teacher’s Guide, p. 127).
  • Each lesson includes the following statement when vocabulary is introduced: “The following are core vocabulary words used in this lesson. Preview the words with the students before the lesson. Students are not expected to be able to use these words immediately, but with repeated exposure throughout the lessons they will acquire a good understanding of most of the words. Students may also keep a ‘domain dictionary’ notebook along with definitions, sentences, and/or other writing exercises using these vocabulary words” (Teacher's Guide, p. 11).
  • These directions to the teacher are found in Unit 9: “The following are vocabulary words used in this lesson. Preview the words with the students before the lesson. Students are not expected to be able to use these words immediately, but with repeated exposure throughout the lessons they will acquire a good understanding of most of the words. Students may also keep a unit dictionary notebook, along with definitions, sentences, and or other writing exercises using these vocabulary words” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 12).
  • Students are required to use vocabulary from the text. For example, in Unit 9, “What were some of the things the conquistadors saw when they arrived in the Americas? For what were these conquistadors searching? Be sure to use the word conquistadors when you talk about it. Also, try to use some of the information you learned about North America during this time period when you studied the Native Americans” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 72).
  • Students practice saying new vocabulary terms and then listen to the teacher describe the meaning of the vocabulary word. In Unit 10, “Say the word dependence with me. Dependence means reliance on someone or something for support or help, or a need for someone or something. Children have a dependence on adults to take care of them. Human beings have a dependence on food, water, and air in order to live. Crops have a dependence on good soil, sunlight, and water in order to thrive. The colonies had a dependence on goods imported from England. The English had a dependence on timber and wheat from the colonies” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 242).
  • The teacher’s directions for helping students learn vocabulary words in Unit 11 include: “The following are vocabulary words used in this lesson. Preview the words with the students before the lesson and refer back to them at appropriate times” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 30).

Examples of skills taught in context allowing students to apply to text being read:

  • In Unit 2, “In the Read-Aloud you heard, “Sea turtles have oar-shaped flippers for moving through water effectively. Say the word effectively with me. When something is accomplished effectively, it means that it is well done with purpose and success” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 185).
  • In Unit 3, “What’s the word we’ve been talking about? What part of speech is the word miraculously? Use a Discussion activity for follow-up. Ask students, ‘What are other things that your body does miraculously?’ Make sure that students use the word miraculously and other domain-related vocabulary in complete sentences in their discussion” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 275).
  • In Unit 4, “Write the word uncivilized on a piece of chart paper, a chalkboard, or a whiteboard. Have a volunteer circle the prefix un- and define its meaning. Ask students, ‘What does uncivilized mean?’ Discuss synonyms such as savage, barbaric, and ill-mannered. Prompt students to realize the prefix un- causes the word to mean the opposite of civilized, or cultured, polite, and well-mannered” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 218).
  • In Unit 9, “Tell students that today they will receive a copy of a dictionary page (Activity Page 2.3) that includes some vocabulary words from The Age of Exploration and they will notice that each word has multiple definitions. They will also receive a sheet numbered 1–4 that they will cut apart so they can use the numbers to show which definition they have chosen during an oral activity (Activity Page 2.4)” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 54).

Some foundational skills are taught out of context. Examples include:

  • In Unit 8, “Students will determine the meaning of words formed when –ish or –ness is added to the known root word” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 52).
  • In Unit 9, “Students will identify and use the meaning of prefixes pro– and anti–.” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 58).

Indicator 1q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for providing frequent opportunities for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression. There are some opportunities provided for students to practice oral reading skills. Examples of activities supporting the development of oral reading fluency include:

  • Students are provided opportunities to read with a partner or in small groups.
    • In Unit 4, “Tell students that today they will read with a partner…Remind students that when reading with a partner, they should continue to focus on making the story come alive” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 38).
    • In Unit 4, “Remind students that when reading with a partner, focus today on making sure they speak clearly and at an understandable pace” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 61).
    • In Unit 5, “Pair students to reread and discuss the chapter…you may wish to pull together a small group of students who need more support….This activity allows for the teacher to listen to students reading individually and take anecdotal records of their fluency, or the teacher may conduct a more formal fluency assessment of several individual students.”(Teacher’s Guide, p. 208)
  • In Unit 6, “As students read, circulate and have them read a paragraph or two aloud” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 150). The goal of the activity and what the teacher is assessing is not stated in the Teacher’s Guide.
  • In Unit 7, students practice their Reader’s Theatre script, so students’ lines are read with fluency and expression (Teacher’s Guide p. 236).
  • In Unit 7, students are provided the opportunity to read aloud to one another during the reading of “The Planets Closest to the Sun.” The students take turns reading paragraphs aloud (Teacher’s Guide, p. 70).
  • In Unit 8, “Based on student self-reflections, divide the class into one of the following groups:
    • Group 1: Pair two students for additional Read-Aloud practice. The listener will provide the partner feedback using the rubric on Activity Page 9.4.
    • Group 2: Have students record their Read-Aloud.
    • Group 3: Pull a group of students aside for additional feedback on one category on the rubric.
    • Group 4: Have students brainstorm and create a visual display for their Read-Aloud” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 213).
  • Opportunities to read-aloud at home are provided such as:
    • In Unit 9, “Have students take home Activity Page 2.5 to read to a family member” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 56).
    • In Unit 11, “Have students take home “Protecting the Environment” (Activity Page 8.5) to read to a family member” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 148).

Examples of activities supporting the development of oral reading fluency include:

  • A supplemental "fluency packet" for Grade 3 is provided. "This fluency packet...consists of poetry, folklore, and fables. These additional text selections provide opportunities for students to practice reading with fluency and expression (prosody). The selections can be used in any order, though they are arranged in this packet according to word count, starting with the shortest selections. At the beginning of the week, the teacher should make sufficient copies of the week's selection for each student. The teacher should take time to model reading the selection aloud to students. Then, students take the selection home to practice reading aloud throughout the week. The expectation for all students should be that they are prepared to read the selection fluently and with prosody by Friday. At the end of the week, the teacher should select a few students to individually read the selection aloud. Teachers may also wish to have a few students choral read the selection. Be sure to provide opportunities for different students to read aloud each week" (Grade 3 Fluency Packet, p. 1).

Silent reading activities are typically brief requiring students to read 1-2 pages. Other than full chapter readings during “whole class” reading, activities for building reading stamina are not included. Some independent readings are reread with the teacher as close reading activities with more focused comprehension questions. Examples of activities supporting the development of silent reading fluency include:

  • In Unit 1, there is a Silent Reading Assessment: Students are asked to read “Moans at Midnight” and complete comprehension questions. The selection has 376 words. Students who have 5 or more correct answers move on to continue the assessment. The time allotted is 30 minutes (Teacher’s Guide, p. 202).
  • In Unit 2, “Ask students to read pages 20–21 to themselves and think about this question: “How do the photos and caption support the text?” When students are finished reading, restate the question and ask them to answer” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 57-58).
  • In Unit 3, “Tell students to read pages 18-19 to themselves to find out why muscles are needed to make bones move”(Teacher’s Guide, p. 107).
  • In Unit 5, “Tell students that they will be reading the chapter silently to themselves and taking notes on key points on each page ”(Teacher’s Guide, p.141).
  • In Unit 10, “Tell students to read pages 92–99 to themselves to find the answer to the question: “How is the colony of Georgia different from other colonies you have learned about?” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 145).

Regular read-aloud selections provide ample opportunities for the teacher to model fluent oral reading. For example:

  • In Unit 9, Students are occasionally provided with a print copy of the read aloud and asked to read along with the teacher. “Tell students to turn to the Table of Contents and locate the first chapter on Hernando de Soto. Have students turn to the first page of the chapter and follow along during the read-aloud” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 114).
  • In Unit 10, the teacher models reading poetry. “Read the first two stanzas of the famous poem ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Point out and review the meaning of the line ‘one, if by land, and two, if by sea’ and the role of Paul Revere in the events leading to the American Revolution. You may wish to read the entire poem and explain the events, as time allows” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 373).

Assessment components are included. For example:

  • Unit 3 includes a fluency assessment: “Assess students’ fluency in reading using any of the supplemental chapters that they have not yet read. Recording and Scoring Sheets have been specifically included for ‘Reflexes’” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 31).
  • Unit 5 includes a fluency assessment. It describes how to accurately assess a student’s W.C.P.M and it gives the following guidelines: “A major goal for Grade 3 students, however, is to read with sufficient fluency to ensure comprehension and independent reading of school assignments in subsequent grades. Exact fluency targets vary from state to state. The national mean calculated by Hasbrouck and Tindal in 2006 for Winter of Grade 3 is 92 W.C.P.M” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 303).

Assessment materials for each unit include an “optional” reading fluency passage with assessment guidelines. A supplemental Grade 3 “fluency packet” may be used to provide additional student fluency practice and assessment. The packet is not referenced in the Teacher Guides and no detailed instructions regarding best practice use are provided. Overall, a clear progression of activities supporting fluency development (accuracy, rate, automaticity, etc.) is not evident.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials for Grade 3 meet the expectations of Gateway 2 (Criteria 2a to 2h). The materials are organized in topics to build students' knowledge and support academic vocabulary development. There is a cohesive, year-long plan for academic vocabulary; word work is embedded in almost every lesson. The materials support the integration of skills and of considering ideas and content across and within texts. Writing instruction over the course of the school year is supported with some strong lessons and practice, but lacks consistent guidance for the teacher to support students who may struggle or need further instruction. Independent reading supports to grow reading beyond structured in-class activities are less prominent.

Criterion 2a - 2h

30/32

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 reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for organization of texts around topics for building students’ knowledge. All student reading materials and read-alouds are related by topic in each unit with supportive academic and core vocabulary words identified and emphasized throughout.

Examples of how Units are organized around topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Unit 3: All of the texts in this unit focus on understanding how the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems of the human body work. Students are exposed to learning about the various body parts and organs associated with each system. Students will also learn about the difficulties that arise when vision and/or hearing are impaired and how individuals learn to deal with these challenges.

Unit 4: All of the texts in this unit are centered on the topic of the Ancient Roman Civilization. Texts include non-fiction selections describing the historical events and culture of the Ancient Roman civilization, a legend about Romulus and Remus, myths about Roman gods and goddesses, a nonfiction report which is included as part of a fiction piece, a play about Androcles, and image cards showing what Rome looked like.

Unit 5: The nonfiction reader, Adventures in Light and Sound, consists of selections describing the science behind light and sound. Students will read about light sources, shadows, mirrors, reflection, refraction, lenses, and color. They will also learn about the human voice. Students will also read biographies about Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.

Unit 10 centers around Colonial America and contains 16 lessons. The lessons are made up of historical fiction and informational texts. There is also a script for a “Guest Speaker” from this historical era, as well as poetry.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Similarly structured lessons consistently present core and academic vocabulary words that are analyzed and revisited throughout each unit. Read alouds paired with image cards and independent readings assist students in developing a deeper understanding of key ideas. Language lessons provide opportunities for students to explore word choices and text structure.

Examples from the program that demonstrate this include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Students are introduced to the title of the chapter, the image and caption, the definition of personification, and are asked to give examples of personification. (TG, Unit 1, p.354)
  • During read aloud text, students are asked to identify the main idea and supporting details. (TG, Unit 4, p.13)
  • After reading, students are asked to make an inference with the question, “The author uses a simile to describe Mercury. Why do you think the author uses fast as a flash to describe Mercury?” (TG, Unit 4, p.88)
  • Students work on character descriptions: students share new information learned about their character, make predictions about the actions of their chosen character, and write a description of that character. (TG, Unit 6, p.85)
  • Students will describe characters in “Etu, the Hunter” and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. (TG, Unit 8, p.19)
  • Students compare sentences to develop an understanding of sentence structure and variety. “Ask students to vote for the more interesting sentence.” (TG, Unit 9, p.182)
  • “Students will determine the main idea of “Plantation Life”; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.” (TG, Unit 10, p 99)
  • “Ask students to summarize “Food Chains. Apply: Ask students to identify three terms they have learned (sapling, protect, defense, predator, etc.) and write about one example not mentioned in the text for each of the terms. Extend: Ask students to create a brand new food chain using examples different from the ones in the text.” (TG, Unit 11, p36)

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet requirements for coherently sequenced sets of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Questions and tasks frequently require students to reference the text being studied, and promote students' integrating knowledge and ideas across individual or multiple texts. As evident in the examples below, many questions and tasks focus on recall of specific information. Some questions/tasks ask students to reflect and think more deeply, and some of those offer follow-up questions/activities that require students to cite evidence or justify and defend their thinking.

Examples of text-dependent questions and activities include:

Unit 1

  • In “Check for Understanding” the teacher gives students two evaluative questions in the form of “think-pair-share.” The teacher is told that “Answers may vary, but may include the following: Mole and Rat wearing clothes…” The teacher is not given suggestions or direction on how to build on student responses or what key points students should include in their responses. The question addresses an individual text. (TG, Unit 1, p. 34)
  • The teacher is given a set of questions to ask in the “Discussing the Read Aloud.” However, it is up to the teacher to evaluate the students’ analysis of the text during this discussion. The opportunity for every student to contribute to the discussion may be limited to time allocated in class.

Unit 2

  • There are many examples in Unit 2 of text dependent questions that require students to analyze information. Because the unit centers around “Animal Classification” the text does circle back to previous lessons to build upon the understanding of how animals are classified. For example:
    • “Remind students that in the previous lesson they learned about vertebrates and invertebrates. Ask students what they recall about the lesson” (TG, Unit 2, p. 76)
    • “Review with students the section on Activity Page 3.2 that has been filled in during previous lessons, discussing the characteristics of each vertebrate group. If any spaces in the foldable are still empty, discuss with students what information can be filled in” (TG, Unit 2, p. 288)
  • Much of the review takes place through discussion and does not necessarily require students to use their skills and resources to integrate the topic. The Activity book asks students to find main idea and provide supporting details from a reading passage “Choose one paragraph from the reading and complete the diagram.” (AB, Unit 2, p. 49)
  • There are suggestions in the activity book to connect the learning, but it is suggested to be done at home and is optional. “Below are some suggestions for activities that you may do at home to reinforce what your child is learning about the classification of animals” (AB, Unit 2, p. 129)

Unit 3

  • Each unit contains two “Pausing Points” lessons. During these lessons students are asked to complete one or more tasks that have them reflect and synthesize information that has been learned in several lessons. These lessons are a way for teachers to spend a day “reviewing, reinforcing, or extending the material taught thus far.” An example from Unit 3: “Tell students to look at the ‘W’ section and pick out one or two items they find the most interesting. Then have students write letters to Dr. Welbody and/or Ricardo, asking her/him for information or advice on their chosen items from the ‘W’ section. Students may also share with Dr. Welbody or Ricardo a fact or two they think is interesting about the human body.” (TG, Unit 3, p.162)
  • After the read aloud students have to think, pair, share the prompt “Compare and contrast human lungs to fish gills.” (TG, Unit 3, p.21)
  • After reading in the student reader, students have to answer the question “What are vertebrae and what do they protect?” (TG, Unit 3, p.53)

Unit 4

  • In the student activity book students are asked text dependent questions and after each question students are required to provide the page number of where they found the answer. An example is “How long ago did Rome start growing? Page _____” (AB, Unit 4, p.3).
  • After reading, students are asked to answer, “What key ideas did you learn about Roman life and the ancient Romans’ beliefs? What details in the story help support what you learned?” (AB, Unit 4, p.27)

Unit 5

  • An optional “Pausing Point” activity for Unit 5 is “Give students a key domain concept or vocabulary such as energy. Have them brainstorm everything that comes to mind when they hear the words, such as physical power, needed by living things to exist, not unlimited, etc. Students will record their response in both words and pictures on the chart paper. Have students do a gallery walk of other groups’ charts.” (TG, Unit 5, p.171).
  • In the student activity book students are asked text dependent questions and after each question students are required to provide the page number of where they found the answer. An example is “What determines whether or not you see light waves? Page _____” (AB, Unit 5, p.11).

Unit 6

  • Students are given questions to answer in the Activity Book based on selected text. With “Sif’s Golden Hair,” students are asked basic questions (these questions do not support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas) such as “Who are the main characters in this chapter?” and “Where does this chapter take place?”. The challenging questions include “Why does Odin blame himself for the problems with Loki?” and the students are given a compare/contrast chart to complete. (TG, Unit 6, p. 27)
  • Students are given text dependent questions for “Loki’s Punishment.”Examples include “Why did the gods vow to hunt Loki down and punish him?” and “Describe the setting where the gods took Loki to punish him and tell why that setting is important to the chapter.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 91)

Unit 7

  • Students are asked to complete a choice board. The choice board includes prompts such as “create a graphic organizer and compare and contrast two ideas in the text.”; “Describe how one of the images in the chapter helps you to understand the text.”; “Write a sentence describing the author’s purpose.”; “Write three new things you learned from the text.” The choice board activity does not provide a rubric. (AB, Unit 7, p. 162, TG, Unit 7, p. 303)
  • The teacher is prompted to “Tell students they may use the notes they were taking on Activity Page 2.2 to help answer the questions.” Examples of these types of questions include “What is our solar system?”; “Which four planets form a group closest to the sun?”; “What characteristics do they share?” The teacher is given sample answers, and how the students respond is up to the teacher, whether in a group discussion, on paper or with partners. Student understanding of the text is dependent upon the delivery of the questions. (TG, Unit 7, p. 53)

Unit 8

  • “Think-Pair-Share activities engage students in discussion that requires some analysis of the text being read. “Discuss the 5Ws, Who is the explorer in this reading? (Columbus), What is he looking for? (the East Indies), Where did he land? (on one of the islands in the Bahamas, off the coast of North America), When? (in 1492), Why? (to find gold and spices)” (TG, Unit 9, p.42).
  • Reading selections are followed by a series of questions that encourage students to analyze the texts. Questions focus on individual texts.
    • “COMP. Inferential. What do you learn about Alemeda on these first pages? How would you describe her external and internal traits?” (TG, Unit 8, p.129)
    • “COMP Inferential. How would you describe Alemeda now? Use words and/or sentences from the text to support your answer.” (TG, Unit 8, p.130)
    • “VOC Evaluative. Why does the author include information about the village? What makes it noteworthy?” (TG, Unit 8, p.130)

Unit 9

  • Some writing activities require referencing and analyzing the text. “Opinion Writing: Life as a Sailor- Assignment: Pretend to be a sailor on board John Cabot’s ship. Write a paragraph giving your opinion of whether or not the hardships you face are worth the adventure or glory. Use the examples from the passage that you recorded on Activity Page 9.1A.” (AB, Unit 9, p.96)
  • Numerous activities require that students cite examples from an individual text.
    • “Tell students that as they read this chapter, they should record five facts about ‘El Castillo de San Marcos.’” (TG, Unit 9, p.97).
    • “...Ask students to find details from the text describing a Spanish mission in North America from the late 1500s to the 1700s.” (TG, Unit 9, p.176)
    • “Ask students to work together and use the text to write facts about John Cabot and/or Christopher Columbus that could go under the ‘Both’ and/or ‘John Cabot’ headings of the graphic organizer.” (TG, Unit 9, p.202).

Unit 10

  • The Unit 10 activity book asks questions directly related to the text and they are required to write the page number of where they found the evidence (AB, Unit 10, p. 27) In many sections in Unit 10 students are also required to list the main idea and find supporting details and examples in the passages (AB, Unit 10, p. 59), (AB, Unit 10, p. 151)
  • Many questions are asked during class discussion. Although they are text dependent, they do not consistently require students to cite their evidence. Examples include:
    • “Ask students to read pages 10 and 11 to themselves to find out why the Queen of England and Sir Walter Raleigh wanted the English people to go to the New World” (TG, Unit 10, p. 34)
    • “Have students read pages 26–31 to themselves to find the answer to the question: “What crop did John Rolfe introduce to the colony and why was it important?”(TG, Unit 10, p. 51)

Unit 11

  • Unit 11 features an anticipation guide that asks for students to identify true or false statements and then record the page numbers when they research the answers in text; “Anticipation Guide for Living Things and Their Habitats” (AB, Unit 11, p. 1) and one for “Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers” (AB, Unit 11, p. 37)
  • There are examples of text dependent questioning happening in the class, but it is unclear if the work is recorded, written or simply discussed in group. It falls under the heading of “Reading Discussion.”
    • “Ask students to read pages 18–19 to themselves to find out the definition of a food chain. (a relationship of living things as food sources for other living things” (TG, Unit 11, p. 35)
    • “What do all living things need to survive? Find the text evidence for this answer” (TG, Unit 11, p. 36)

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).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for questions and tasks that support 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, listening). Questions within lessons consistently align with or support culminating tasks. Most writing tasks do provide an opportunity for students to integrate thinking and learning from primary texts. Student presentation opportunities are offered, if planning time allows.

Examples of culminating activities include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The culminating task in Unit 2 requires students to write an informational paragraph based upon all of the information they have learned and gathered on Animal Classification. Students complete “animal” webs throughout each lesson and culminates into a written activity at the end of the unit. “Tell students that they have collected a lot of information that is now available to help them with this informational paragraph. Point out the many helpful sources of information: The Animal Classification Foldable (Activity Page 3.2), Brainstorming webs, and Field Journal responses.” (TG, Unit 2, p. 276) In addition to the webs they’ve completed there are other activities throughout the lessons that allow for information to be gathered and ready to use for the culminating paper. “Have students gather their animal papers: animal foldable, animal webs, field journal, and Activity Page 13.3. • Remind students that they have completed the planning and drafting step of the writing process and that today they are going to complete the revising step” (TG, Unit 2, p. 296) “If time permits, have students present their informative writing pieces” (TG, Unit 2, p. 297)
  • In Unit 3, a unit assessment serves as a culminating activity. The unit assessment consists of a reading skills assessment where “students will complete an assessment by reading two selections during one sitting and answering comprehension, grammar, morphology, and spelling questions that follow each selection. Students will not read out of their Reader, but rather from Activity Page 14.1, where the selections have been printed.”(TG, Unit 3, p.310) It also includes a fluency assessment and a writing assessment where students “will have an opportunity to reflect on a chapter and system they read about in their book.” (TG, Unit 3, p.314) With this reflection students will be completing Activity Page 14.3 where they have to provide the chapter title, “a description of this system”, “how this system works with other systems”, “a drawing of the system”, and “My star rating-the chapter was…”(AB, Unit 3, p.121-122). Finally, the assessment contains a language portion where “students have to decide what form of the verb is needed and write the correct spelling on their assessment.” (TG, Unit 3, p.314)
  • In Unit 4, students must use what they have read throughout the unit to complete the culminating activity. In the culminating activity “students will use their Roman history knowledge to crack the cases listed in this lesson. Students will write extended responses to a prompt that asks them to write opinions about whether architecture or Latin was Rome’s greatest lasting contribution, and will support the opinion with reasons.” (TG, Unit 4, p.314) With this activity the teacher can choose an option to have students complete. In option A “students discuss the passage” with questions like “What is the author’s opinion about the greatest contribution of the Roman Empire? How can you tell?” (TG, Unit 4, p.315) and in option B “students complete a graphic organizer” using activity page 14.3 (TG, Unit 4, p.315).
  • For the culminating activity in Unit 5, students write “newspaper articles on either the invention of the telephone or the invention of the incandescent light bulb.” (TG, Unit 5, p.319) To complete this task, students conduct research and use information from their Student Readers, which they have been reading throughout the unit. Additionally, “students will present their newspaper articles in a group setting, speaking clearly and at an appropriate pace, and then answer questions from group members.” (TG, Unit 5, p.324)
  • The culminating activity in Unit 10 is writing a narrative story using dialogue. “Explain that to develop characters in a story, writers focus on a description of the characters, their actions, dialogue, and how they interact with other characters.
    • On the board, write the word Description. Explain that descriptions of the character(s) focus on their external characteristics: their outside looks.
    • On the board, write the word Action. Explain that writers explain what characters are doing through their actions. Are they walking to their friend’s house, reading, skiing, or jumping? These are all actions.
    • On the board, write the word 'Interact'. Explain that writers will include multiple characters in a story. The writer can describe a character by writing about how the character acts when with other characters. • Next, write the word dialogue on the board. Explain that we will learn about including dialogue in later writing lesson.
    • Say: ‘Today we are going to focus on description and action.’
    • With a partner, have students work on developing their characters by adding additional information to their description and to the action in the story” (TG, Unit 10, p. 25)
  • There is no static culminating task in Unit 11 that brings together all the learning in the lessons, rather instead there are lessons that present a culminating task over several days’ worth of learning: “In this unit, students will create Ecology journals with a partner to summarize, respond to, and apply the knowledge they learn from the readers for the first seven days of the unit. For the last five days, students will work in groups, using information from their journals, to create a presentation on solutions to problems in the environment” (TG, Unit 11, p. 10) “Each journal entry will have three components: ◦ Summarize: Students will be asked to summarize the chapter. You may want to review writing a summary with students. ◦ Apply: Students will be asked to apply concept(s) from the reading to examples from their lives or research” (TG, Unit 11, p. 21)

Indicator 2e

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. A rationale for “maximizing vocabulary acquisition through contextualized, content-based, and constant exposure” is provided in the Program Guide and some recurring strategies supporting vocabulary development are provided throughout the program. While the selected vocabulary words appear to be of value to build knowledge, information about the process and rationale for the selection academic vocabulary words is not provided.

From the Program Guide:

  • “In 3rd–5th grade the teacher remains central to vocabulary acquisition—fostering structured and informal discussions and helping students become accustomed to using complex vocabulary in a scaffolded and supported context. These conversations are combined with increasingly independent exposure to complex text. This combination allows students to build up an internal web of vocabulary which has both a common foundation and is unique to the individual. We continue learning words throughout our lives by linking to vocabulary we already understand. The coherent and systematic sequence of knowledge domains gives student a mental encyclopedia of vocabulary and understanding they can access and build upon throughout their lives." (Grades 3-5 Program Guide, p.26)

The words for each unit are unique to that unit’s topic. For example, words in unit 3 are all related to the body and include words such as circulate, appendages, and membrane. The words in unit 4 are all related to ancient Rome and include words such as boisterous, mercenary, and feud, while the words in unit 5 are all centered around the topics of light and sound and include words such as opaque, ultraviolet, and incandescent. The majority of the words on these lists are tier 3 words. They are content and domain specific and critical to understanding the texts. However, one unit does not consistently build upon the next.

Recurring vocabulary instruction information/support:

Each unit begins with a list of “academic and core” vocabulary words (TG, All Units). Throughout the lessons, there are vocabulary charts that point out the tier 2 and tier 3 words with columns for vocab, multiple meanings, and sayings/phrases: (TG, Unit 2, p. 102), (TG, Unit 10, p. 55), (TG, Unit 11, p. 13)

Each lesson introducing vocabulary words provides a brief explanation such as: “The following are core vocabulary words used in this lesson. Preview the words with the students before the lesson. Students are not expected to be able to use these words immediately, but with repeated exposure throughout the lessons they will acquire a good understanding of most of the words. Students may also keep a ‘domain dictionary’ notebook along with definitions, sentences, and/or other writing exercises using these vocabulary words.” (TG, Unit 8, pp.11, 37, 171, 227) While the instructions outline the program goals, no details are provided for the teacher about how to “preview” the words. Some lessons introduce vocabulary with only a list of the words with their definitions. (TG, Unit 9, pp.36, 72, 140, 195, 238, 300)

Excerpt from the Teacher Guide:

  • “In this unit, students will focus on two academic vocabulary terms: decide and recommend. By academic vocabulary, we mean words that support reading comprehension and may appear across a variety of materials in language arts and in content areas. These words can be found in textbooks, assignment directions, and assessments. Understanding academic vocabulary may contribute to improved performance on assignments and assessments, as these words appear often in directions to students. These words may appear on end-of-year assessments that third graders may take. Where applicable, we use the words throughout the unit, not just as they might refer to reading selections but also with regard to spelling, grammar, morphology, and comprehension. They may also appear in directions, assessments, spelling lists, and discussion questions, among other places” (TG, Unit 11, p. 4)

While the directions and intent indicate a structure for students to learn, there is little support to implement and support any misconceptions and track growth.

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for supporting 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. Most units focus on a specific type of writing and do provide opportunities to incorporate writing skills from previous units. Some opportunities for students to integrate skills through writing are provided through optional activities (Pausing Points). With the exception of rubrics provided for formal written pieces, it is not always clear how teachers are supported to monitor and assess students' writing skill development. While there are many opportunities for students to informally share written responses during lessons, including small-group and partner sharing. Some multi-lesson written projects do provide students with resources and tools for gathering information and rubrics for ensuring that all the key elements of effective writing are addressed.

Examples of writing activities include:

  • In Unit 1, students are asked to write an alternative ending to a story from the text. Probing questions to give the students ideas are provided; “…what they think would have happened if it had been summer instead of winter. Would Mole and Rat have gotten lost?” The teacher is told to divide the students into groups and to make sure that each group has a scribe; and the option of having the student include illustrations. The teacher is not instructed to model the expectations. If a student who lacks writing experience is in this class, the student would have misconceptions. (TG, Unit 1, p. 105)
  • In Unit 3, lessons build so that by the end of the unit students are able to complete an independent formal writing piece. Specific writing instruction is taught in lessons 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 11. The unit culminates when students are asked to write a short informative/explanatory reflection piece about a chapter “they read in this unit that described the systems of the body” (TG, Unit 3, p.314). With this piece students have to include a “title, description of this system, how this system words with other systems, a drawing, and my star rating” (AB, Unit 3, p.121-122).
  • Unit 5 contains specific writing instruction in lessons 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16. Each of these lessons reinforces a writing skill that was taught in a previous unit. For example, students “will be writing a letter to their partner explaining what they learned in the chapter and what they still need help understanding” (TG, Unit 5, p.132). This activity provides students with additional practice in writing informative/explanatory texts. The formal writing assignment in this unit consists of students creating a “newspaper article on the invention of the telephone or the incandescent light bulb” (TG, Unit 5, p.282). This activity is scaffolded so that students first learn about the parts of a newspaper, then plan for their article, and finally write their article.
  • In Unit 6, students begin the drafting stage of a short narrative piece. The teacher is instructed to “ask students to describe the main elements of the paragraph…” The teacher then is instructed to have the students to begin their draft.” The teacher is asked to “Remind them that a paragraph includes a topic sentence, details to support the topic sentence, and a concluding sentence.” No instructions are provided for the teacher for addressing students who do not have an understanding of topic and concluding sentences. (TG, Unit 6, p. 118)

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for including a progression of research activities that support the Grade 3 standards. The structure of units focusing on one topic each does support enhanced student understanding and knowledge development around the unit materials. Text materials, however, are typically only those provided as read-alouds, provided in the student reader, and provided in the student activity book. Other materials are sometimes referenced, but it is typically left to the teacher to procure those resources. There is inconsistent guidance for teachers to identify where and how students may struggle and support for what they can do next, although the component practices students engage in over the year meet the expectations of research for Grade 3. Pausing Point lessons frequently provide additional activities including research elements, but those activities are optional.

Examples of activities involving aspects of research include (but are not limited to) the following:

“The formal writing piece for the Animal Classification unit is a short, informational writing piece that focuses on organizing and communicating characteristics and classification of one specific vertebrate. Students learn to introduce a topic, group related information together, and provide supporting ideas, facts, and details. The project can be done with or without the use of technology, but having students use computers to research, write, and publish their projects is highly recommended” (TG, Unit 2, p. 3)

“For the ‘W’ section, you may choose to allow students to conduct research to answer some of the questions they have about the human body that have not been answered. Refer to the list of recommended resources provided in the Introduction” (TG, Unit 3, p.161).

At the end of the unit, students are writing opinion essays and they can support “the opinion with reason and facts gathered from reading and/or research during the unit” (TG, Unit 4, p.324).

Students are reading their student reader and “conducting research and recording information in their Activity Page 7.1 Lab Notes like real scientists do” (TG, Unit 5, p.142). This research practice comes from their student reader, not from outside source materials.

“If possible, students should spend at least one class session in a computer lab to find information for their research writing project…If you cannot secure computer time, students may find information in Adventures in Light and Sound and in additional classroom resources and materials you gathered from your school library” (TG, Unit 5, p.298)

Students are sometimes asked to consider multiple sources, but sources are typically only those provided in the program materials, such as in the following example: “Tell students that they will be creating an expedition log to help them remember important information they learn in this domain. Tell students that page 1 of the journal will be about Christopher Columbus and his voyages. Have students use the information heard in the first two read-alouds and the images from the read-aloud to help them remember details about Christopher Columbus and answer the questions on Activity Page 3.1 independently.” (TG, Unit 9, p.71)

Optional Pausing Point activities provide more structure, practice, and application of research skills. Some examples include:

“Give students the opportunity to research how they can take care of their bodies. They may research what a well-balanced diet should consist of, and the types of exercises they can do on their own. Allow students the time to share their findings within a group or to the class. Refer to the recommended resources in the introduction” (TG, Unit 3, p.307).

“Remind students that they heard that the Native American people in the southwest had to find ways to grow crops in an arid climate. Using a globe or map, ask students to identify other regions or countries in the world where farmers also have to irrigate their crops in order to grow them. Have students use an encyclopedia, textbook, or computer with Internet access to research and write a paragraph about how people in that region or country find ways to overcome the shortage of water. Students may also be asked to draw a map of the region or country they choose to write about.” (TG, Unit 8, p.160)

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class. Although supplemental/independent reading is mentioned in the teacher materials, there is little support or resources providing a plan for supporting and monitoring that reading. Students do have opportunities during some lessons to read independently from the student reader and answer questions or complete activities assigned by the teacher. Much in-class independent reading only requires student to read short passages, typically only a page or two at a time. Some independent reading Activity Book pages are assigned as take-home with instructions to read aloud to an adult, but there are no apparent follow-up activities to assess completion of the reading.

Examples of how the program addresses independent reading include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • “Students will take home text copies of the chapters in the Reader throughout the unit. Encouraging students to read a text directly related to this domain-based unit will provide content and vocabulary reinforcement, along with fluency practice” (TG, Unit 2, p. 1)
  • “Tell students to read the two paragraphs on page 108 to themselves to find the answer to the question: ‘What happened after Caesar conqured Gaul?’ When students have finished reading, restate the question and have students answer” (TG, Unit 4, p.220).
  • “INDEPENDENT READING: ‘ALEMEDA, THE BASKET WEAVER’ (20 MIN.) Pages 24–25 Tell students that they will read the chapter silently to themselves. Afterward, they will complete Activity Page 5.3. Have students read pages 24–31 and think about what Alemeda wants compared to what her grandmother says she needs to do.” (TG, Unit 8, p.111)
  • “INDEPENDENT READING : ‘MEDA AND FLO, THE FOREST CHILDREN’ (20 MIN.) Explain to students that, during the reading today, they will analyze each illustration to determine how it creates mood and gives the reader more information about the setting and characters.” (TG, Unit 8, p.166)
  • “INDEPENDENT READING: ‘THE LURE OF SPICES’ (10 MIN.) Have students turn to Chapter 1, “The Lure of Spices,” in the Reader. Remind students that this Reader is about explorers who were trying to find a shorter, quicker route to the Far East to get spices. Have students read the chapter independently.” (TG, Unit 9, p.17)
  • “Tell students that the title is ‘Navigation in the Age of Exploration.’ Ask students to locate the title of the chapter, and then turn to the first page of the chapter. Ask students to make predictions about the story based on the title. During independent reading, have student focus on reading the text aloud in a whisper voice. Remind students to think about making exclamations and speed during their reading.” (TG, Unit 9, p.47)
  • “Have students take home Activity Page 2.5 to read to a family member.” (TG, Unit 9, p.56) (AB, Unit 9, pp.21-22)
  • “Have students take home Activity Page 5.5 to read to an adult. This is an additional story, which students have not read previously.” (TG, Unit 9, p.132) (AB, Unit 9, pp.61-62)
  • “Have students take home Activity Page 6.4 to share with a family member, and Activity Page 6.5 to read to a family member.” (TG, Unit 9, p.162) (AB, Unit 9, pp.71-73)
  • “Have students take home Activity Page 5.4 to read to an adult.” (TG, Unit 10, p. 125)
  • “Have students take home “Protecting the Environment” (Activity Page 8.5) to read to a family member” (TG, Unit 11, p. 148)
  • “Have students take home “Environmental Damage Caused by Humans” (Activity Page 7.3) to read to a family member” (TG, Unit 11, p. 131)

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

Criterion 3a - 3e

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7/8

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The materials are designed to immerse students in all areas of the standards and provide explicit lesson structure with embedded teacher direction as well as recommendations for supporting all learners. The teacher guide clearly instructs the teacher throughout each lesson on its implementation before, during, and after the readings and activities. There is clearly defined tiered vocabulary for each section as well as recommendations for scaffolded support throughout.

Every lesson is effectively broken down into time frames for coverage of material. At the beginning of each lesson there is “Lesson at a Glance” that maps out the skill being covered, grouping suggestions for students, the time each skill section should take, and the materials that will be needed. For example, in Unit 3 Lesson 5 the Lesson at a Glance shows that the Speaking and Listening section will take 40 minutes and is further broken down into specific activities that include previewing vocabulary for 5 minutes, introducing the read aloud for 10 minutes, presenting the read aloud for 15 minutes, discussing the read aloud for 5 minutes, and word-work for 5 minutes.

The Contents page of each unit states the topic of each lesson, the skills to be addressed in that lesson (reading, writing, speaking/listening, language, etc.), and the time allotted for each.

Materials include a curriculum map located in the program guide that tracks the “Knowledge Domains” that students will be working in through each grade. In each unit, students are immersed in a domain topic that centers on science, social studies, or literature. Included as a unit is also a “Core Quest” designed to immerse students in an expository topic.

  • The program guide states, “The sequence is designed to build upon earlier content so that students become generally knowledgeable in the early grades, and are able to rely on a robust web of prior knowledge when encountering new complex texts and material later in elementary.
  • The program guide states, “Core Quests are immersive, narrative driven units that form close reading adventures. There is one Quest each in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade.” The Quest for Grade three is on Vikings; “Using historical data on Viking travel, students take the roles of Vikings who have set sail with Leif Erikson to create the first Norse settlement in North America.”

Out of the 11 Domains (units) in grade three, 5 are based in science, 5 social studies, and one literature (The Wind in the Willows). While the materials appear to be heavily expository based, the social studies domains include historical fiction, and the science domains may be presented by narrative fictional character.

  • The introduction to Grade 3, Unit 10 states, “The Reader for Unit 10, Living in Colonial America, is a collection of stories and informational texts about different colonies in early America. The story selections are historical fiction and each is told from a child’s point of view.”

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year. The pacing may not allow adequate time for review, re-teaching enhancing and/or extending student learning for maximum understanding.

The Grade 3 curriculum is comprised of eleven units totaling 162 lessons and 19 “pausing points” to be covered within 181 days. This works out to be one lesson (or pausing point) per day of the school year.

  • The Pausing Points are times for teachers to re-teach, and/or enhance understanding of the curriculum with embedded enrichment activities, and while these are built into the pacing of the curriculum, they only allow for one day which may not provide enough time for re-teaching, enhancing, and/or enriching the curriculum.
    • For example, in Unit 3 the Pausing Point states, “Students have been introduced to seven of the human body’s systems, and they have studied in further depth the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the nervous system. It is highly recommended that you pause here and spend a day reviewing, reinforcing, or extending the material taught thus far”

While there are several ideas for review, re-teaching and enriching the instruction in a pausing point, time limits the activities students can do and if they are struggling to understand content, they may need more time for re-teaching and review, and/or they may never get exposed to richer activities because they are always in the group needing review.

  • In Unit 10, the pausing point states,” You may have students do any combination of the activities listed below. The activities may be done in any order. You may also choose to do an activity with the whole class or with a small group of students who would benefit from the particular activity”

While each lesson provides a “Check for Understanding” section where students and teacher discuss the read-aloud, there is only 10 minutes allotted for this activity and an example from Unit 1, Lesson 2, contains seven varying type of questions (evaluative, inferential and literal)

  • For Example, “Evaluative. Were your predictions correct about the kinds of adventures Mole and Rat have on the backwater? Why or why not? “Inferential. Think-Pair-Share: How does Rat demonstrate friendship? Does Mole demonstrate friendship? Why or why not?” and, “Literal. What do we call the part of the story that is not dialogue?

There are also instances where there may not be enough time for students to share and/or present completed work. For example;

  • In Unit 10, Lesson 7, the teacher guide states, “Have students create their own acrostics and keep them in their Colonial America notebook or folder to update and reference throughout the unit. As time allows, have students share their acrostics with the class.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 13, the teacher guide states, “If time permits, go over Activity Page 13.3 as a whole group.”

The pacing for the instruction, while well-defined and clearly broken down into time allotments for each section of the lesson, may be too lofty to be accomplished within one year of instruction. For example:

  • The Grade 3 curriculum is comprised of eleven units totaling 162 lessons and 19 “pausing points” to be covered within 181 days. This works out to be one lesson (or pausing point) per day of the school year.
    • An example of the pausing point in unit 10, lesson 10 is, ““It is highly recommended that you pause here and spend one day reviewing, reinforcing, or extending the material taught thus far. You may have students do any combination of the activities listed below. The activities may be done in any order. You may wish to do one activity on successive days. You may also choose to do an activity with the whole class or with a small group of students who would benefit from the particular activity.”
    • Each lesson is designed for 120 minutes of instruction each day.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

Materials include but are not limited to photos, captions, glossaries, charts, diagrams, illustrations, sentence strips, graphic organizers, rubrics, digital images, labeled supports, activity pages, timing reminders, tiered vocabulary charts, notes to teachers, image cards, writing prompts and journals.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, the teacher guide states, “On sticky notes, write the following text features: table of contents, heading, bold print, photo/captions, map, diagram, glossary, and chart. Make sure you have one sticky note for each student and a variety of text features.”
    • “Review each text feature and definition in the table below:”
    • “Point out the caption on page 7. • Ask students to read pages 6–7 to find out what is different about the water in the two images of habitats.
  • IN Unit 11, Lesson 9, the teacher guide states, “Prepare copies of Presentation Preparation Checklist for student groups” Hand out the Checklist for Preparing Presentation to students. • Tell students they can use visual aids during their presentations. • Tell students to create and submit a Presentation Outline in notebooks.”

Teacher and student resources include clear directions. Activities that are completed with teacher guidance have directions included throughout the lessons. Suggestions for grouping, additional supports, challenge ideas and direct instruction are clearly defined, explained and embedded throughout. Each lesson provides the ‘primary focus’ and advance preparation’ of the lesson, the ‘formative assessment(s)’ ‘lesson at a glance’, and ‘recommendations for universal access’ and a ‘check for understanding’ section. Activity pages correspond correctly to the teacher guide and make finding information seamless and efficient.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4 states, “Write the following sentences on the board and cover them or write them on sentence strips to be displayed during the grammar lesson or prepare digital Projection DP.U5.L4.1.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 14, “Tell students they are going to use an Editing Checklist to help them to know if any further corrections are needed.”
  • Another example from Unit 1 is lesson 13 where it states, “Ask students to turn to the Table of Contents, locate the chapter, and then turn to the first page of the chapter.”
  • An example of ‘Check for Understanding’ in Unit 2, Lesson 7 states, “As groups are presenting their Graffiti Walls, ensure that students have the key information listed about tree frogs. If not, review Frog Scavenger Hunt Cards for key information on tree frogs.”

Reference aids including vocabulary charts, lessons at a glance, visual resources such as images, illustrations and digitally presented graphics, correlating activity pages, and rubrics are clearly and correctly labeled throughout the teacher guide, activity book, and image cards. For example;

  • Activity Page instructions (Unit 1, take home 8.4) states, “Circle true or false and write the page number where you found the answer.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 8 states, “Have students take out their Student Readers, Lab Notes from the unit, and Activity Page 8.1”
  • A formative assessment in Unit 2, Lesson 8, states, “Activity Page 8.2 Field Journal Write about being a herpetologist. [W.3.8]”

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials including publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Alignment to the CCSS is documented in multiple places throughout the curriculum. The alignment chart for the CCSS standards are documented in the 3-5 Program Guide, and in the contents pages of each unit. At the beginning of every lesson under ‘Primary Focus of the lesson” the standards being addressed are clearly stated as well as within the formative assessments for what is being measured. The same is true for the Unit Assessments in which the standards being measured are also found under the “primary focus” and formative assessments given through the activity pages. Within the sidebars of the teacher guide there are standards listed within the scaffolding of the lesson for “emerging/expanding/extending” the learning.

  • For example, the introduction in Unit 1 states, “Formative assessments are provided to help keep track of students’ progress toward objectives and standards. These can be found in the Student Activity Book, and are referenced in every lesson.”
  • In the Unit Assessment of Lesson 14 (Unit 3) for writing it states, “Students will write a short reflection passage. [W.3.8; ELD.PI.3.9] and in the area of Language, “Students will be able to identify and spell regular and plural nouns where the ‘f’ changes to ‘v’ and –es is added. [L.3.1b; ELD.PIII.3]”
  • The formative assessment for Unit 11, Lesson 6 comes in the form of an “Anticipation Guide” activity page. “Human Changes to the Environment. Make predictions and find information in the text. [Rl.3.1, ELD PI.3.6]”
  • In Unit 5, lesson 7, an example of standards being addressed in the sidebar for scaffolding states, “Reading/Viewing Closely [ELD.PI.3.6] Emerging—Read the chapter aloud to students, pausing at key points and asking students if they can find key words to record. Expanding—Have students read and record notes with a partner. Bridging—Have students read independently and share notes with a partner

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The design of the materials throughout the curriculum supports students learning through graphics, tables, charts, illustrations, digital images, picture and consistent font. The teacher guide, student reader, and activity book present material in appropriate, easy to read font with bold and italicized words used to enhance understanding for teachers and students. There are often pictures and images of real life examples for expository/informational text as well as colorful illustrations to accompany stories and narratives throughout. Digital resources is also available to display media to students to enhance lessons throughout the units. There are no distracting images, and all space appears to be appropriately designed for the most beneficial use. Activity book directions are clear and suitable for student understanding. Illustrations and pictures for activities are appropriate and Illustrations are designed to enhance understanding of the information being presented.

  • In the Unit 5 Activity book, there is a picture shown with this accompanying question, “How do you know that the glass in this skylight is transparent?”
  • In Unit 11, Lesson 3, “Do you recognize the brown material in this picture? Some people call it dirt”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, there is an example of a table to understand context clues. The teacher guide in this section states, “On chart paper, create the following or prepare digital Projection DP.U2.L8.2.”

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Materials partially meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year. The pacing may not allow adequate enough time for review, re-teaching enhancing and/or extending student learning for maximum understanding. Materials meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.). Materials meet the expectations for materials including publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. Materials contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject. Materials meet the criteria for materials containing 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. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials containing 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. Materials meet the criteria for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Materials meet the criteria for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies. 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.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials containing 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. Materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning. Materials provide support instructional planning in multiple ways. The Teacher Guide gives clear annotations and suggestions on how to present content. At the beginning a unit, teachers are encouraged to read the introduction, alignment chart, assessments, and to review the pausing points for the lessons. At the beginning of each lesson, teachers are encouraged to use the Lesson at a Glance to review the primary focus and formative assessments. There is also an Advance Preparation section included in the Universal Access section that helps to support teachers. Throughout the lessons, sidebars are included to support teachers in how to present materials to both support and challenge student learning. There are also Additional Support activates at the end of lessons that provide assessment and remediation in skills lessons. Teachers are directed to consider whether additional activities in the Assessment and Remediation Guide or Decoding and Encoding Supplement should be utilized for students who may need additional support. Teachers are also instructed to review Language Studio content for English Language Learner students.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials containing a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary. The introduction section of each Teacher Guide fully explains the primary purpose and goals of the unit including readers, writing, vocabulary and beginning of year assessments where applicable. There are also teacher resources at the end of each unit that assist with the implementation and direct instruction of the lessons including, but not limited to, dialogue starters, rubrics, checklists, image cards, activity book answer keys and code charts. Teacher guidance throughout every step of the lesson is clear and explicit however, there are no evident examples of more advanced literacy concepts for teachers to improve their knowledge of the subject, although the scripted explanations for the students understanding is clear.

The Grade 3, Unit 1, Introduction states, “This introduction includes the necessary background information to teach the Wind in the Willows unit. This unit contains 15 lessons. Each lesson will require a total of 120 minutes. Lessons 1–5 are Back-to-School lessons where you will review key Foundational Skills and reread a few stories from Grade 2. Lessons 6–10 contain the Beginning-of-Year Benchmark assessments, along with specific scoring information for appropriate placement”

The Grade 3, Unit 7, Introduction explains, “The nonfiction Reader for Unit 7, What’s in Our Universe? consists of selections describing the sun, the eight planets, our moon, asteroids, comets, meteors, galaxies, stars, the Big Bang theory, and important figures in the history of space exploration, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Mae Jemison. Students will be given opportunities throughout the unit to demonstrate read-aloud fluency.”

An example of instructional components in Grade 3, Unit 1, states, “There are Image Cards in your kit that include pictures to augment instruction of The Wind in the Willows Read-Aloud.”

An example of how explicit teacher direction is is seen Unit 7, Lesson 1 where it states, “Tell students that astronomy also includes the study of all objects in space and that these are sometimes referred to as heavenly or celestial bodies, which are fancy ways of saying natural objects in the sky. Ask students, “If astronomy is the study of the stars and other objects in outer space, what do you think a person who studies astronomy is called?” Tell students that astronomers are scientists who study all of the objects in outer space and that most of what we know about outer space we have learned from the observations, measurements, and thinking of astronomers.”

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The Program Guide for grades 3-5 contains explicit instruction on the role of the standards in the overall curriculum. It details the qualitative and quantitative text complexity of each unit, language demands from literal to complex language including tiered vocabulary, the structure of text and breakdown of literature, informational and nonfiction text, as well as close reading and use of text dependent questions including literal, inferential and evaluative questions.

An explanation of the Quantitative Text Complexity is explained on page 56 of the Program Guide, “By 3rd grade students are increasingly reading grade level complex text independently. They also continue to be exposed to above-grade Read-Alouds. In 4th and 5th grade, students are exclusively reading grade-level complex text that increases in challenge from the beginning to the end of the grade.”

An explanation of the Qualitative Text Complexity is explained on page 56 of the Program Guide, “Qualitative Text Complexity requires a range of judgments, some of which are by necessity subjective (Which is more complex, Anna Karenina or War and Peace? Descartes or Aristotle?). In 3rd–5th grade students are exposed to texts that are increasingly open to multiple interpretations and have many layers of meaning.”

The Program Guide details the language conventions in each grade on page 56; “In third grade, students are still exposed to texts that are mostly literal, and clear in their language. The form of writing is generally contemporary. In 3rd grade, students show a marked increase in academic and domain-specific vocabulary from K–2, but students are helped in absorbing that language through the continued use of Read-Alouds.”

The Program Guide page 60 details the types of text dependent questions that are addressed in every lesson.

  • “Literal questions assess students’ recall of key details from the text. These are text- dependent questions that require students to paraphrase and/or refer back to the portion of the text where the specific answer is provided. Literal questions generally address Reading Standards for Literature n1 RL.4.1) and/or Reading Standards for Informational Text 1 (RI.X.1).”
  • Inferential questions ask students to infer information from the text and to think critically. These are also text dependent, but require students to summarize and/or refer back to the portions of the text that lead to and support the inference they are making. These questions generally address Reading Standards for Literature 2–5 (RL.X.2– RL.X.5) and/or Reading Standards for Informational Text 2–5 (RI.X.2–RI.X.5).”
  • Evaluative questions ask students to build on what they have learned from the text using analytical and application skills, often to form an opinion or make a judgment. These questions are also text-dependent, but require students to paraphrase and/or refer back to the portion(s) of the text that substantiate the argument they are making or the opinion they are offering. Evaluative questions might ask students to: Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, addressing Reading Standards for Literature 6 (RL.X.6)”

In Grade 3, the breakdown of genre within the 11 domains are as follows; 5 are based in science, 5 social studies, and one literature (The Wind in the Willows). While the materials appear to be heavily expository based, it can be noted that the social studies domains include historical fiction and the science domains may be presented by narrative fictional character.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies. A Research Guide:The CKLA CA Curriculum: Links to Research on Teaching and Learning serves as a companion to the Program Guide. The guide discusses the research in English Language Arts instruction including but not limited to print and phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, reading fluency, prosody, vocabulary and background knowledge.

The Program Guide also includes footnotes to research as they are explaining their educational approaches. Also, during the English Language Learner section of the Program guide, teachers are provided with a Research Base: Why this Matters Explanation for instructional approaches.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 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. Students are given a Take Home Letter that reinforces main lesson objectives and demonstrates vocabulary and knowledge content. Parents are also encouraged to read to their children to continue providing additional content knowledge that falls within the categories of the domains. Lists of specific resources are found on the website, and parents are also encouraged to use the internet and public library to gain access to further information. Short lists are also provided to parents in take-home letters in the Knowledge strand of the unit. Students are encouraged to return to the classroom to engage in small group or classroom discussions about new information that students have learned at home.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Assessments include Daily Checks for Understanding, Daily Formative Assessments, Content and Mid Unit Assessments, and Unit Placement and Assessments Benchmark Tests.

Checks for understanding are designed to allow teachers to amend instruction within the context of the lesson. Formative assessments range from in-the-moment adaption to opportunities for individual, small group, and whole class reteach and review. Checks for Understanding and Formative Assessments also provide information to decide whether additional supports and practice (found at the end of the lesson and in the additional guides) are appropriate. Mid-unit, end-of-unit, and benchmark assessments should be used to direct remediation, Pausing Point days, and to differentiate instruction.

There is ongoing tracking of student progress:

  • Student Progress Record. This form may be used against a large range of student activities to track how students are progressing over time and compared with others in the class.
  • Mid-and end-of-unit assessments

There are a range of formal assessment opportunities that are are accompanied by directions and support for analysis of performance. They are also accompanied by assessment charts to record student progress. These assessment opportunities include, but not limited to:

  • Spelling Assessments
  • Grammar and Morphology Assessments
  • Reading Comprehension Assessments
  • Writing Assessments

There are three benchmark assessments: Beginning of Year, Middle of Year, and End of Year. Students are offered additional support and remediation depending on their performance on benchmark assessments.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized. There are multiple ways that students are assessed throughout each unit including formative assessments, mid-unit assessment, pausing points, and end-unit assessments. Within each form of assessment, it is clear what standards are being addressed.

Examples of formative assessments and the standards that are being emphasized in them are as follows:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1 where it states that using Activity Page 1.2 (Animal Webcam Observations) student will, “Record animal observations and characteristics. [W.3.8] Activity Page 1.4 Text Feature Project Hunt Identify text features in the Reader. [RI.3.5]”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 7, using Activity Pages 7.4-7.7 (suffixes) students will, “Add –ous and –ly to words to change the meaning of words. [L.3.4b]
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 4, using Activity Page 4.2 and the ‘Mound Guide’, students will, “Identify the key details about mounds. [W.3.8]

Unit Assessment in Unit 8 Lesson 13 provides the primary focus of the lesson in the following examples:

  • “Students will demonstrate comprehension of stories they read independently. [RL.3.10]”
  • “Students will use information learned in the unit to compare and contrast Native American groups. [RI.3.3, RI.3.4, RI.3.9

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

Assessment keys are provided, as well as multiple suggestions and protocols for teachers to provide feedback such as:

  • Teacher questioning to check for misconceptions.
  • Wrap-Up questions and Checks for Understanding to check for comprehension.
  • Writing feedback to provide immediate feedback and suggestions during the writing process.
  • Student work to monitor students’ mastery of skills.
  • Peer-to-peer feedback to provide immediate feedback on student performance.

There are a number of other tools that support teachers in providing specific feedback to students and monitoring and tracking student progress over time.

  • Rubrics
  • Portfolios
  • Editing Checklists

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

Each lesson includes a formative assessment that is highlighted at the start of the lesson. These assessments are used to track student mastery of objectives.

  • In Unit 9, Lesson 4, the formative assessments listed are an Expedition Log where students write down information they have learned about Ponce de Leon and an activity page titled, “El Castillo de San Marcos” where students list five facts from the text.

There are also Checks for Understanding throughout the lessons to be used by the teacher to determine if students are ready to move on to the next part of the lesson. The Check for Understanding questions are meant for quick formative assessments that happen during instruction to assess if students have mastered the key content and skills in the lesson.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, the Check for Understanding is a “Think-Pair-Share: ‘What does light have to do with wavelengths?’ Teacher should circulate while students share briefly. Answers will vary but should include light can be measured in wavelengths, wavelengths can be different sizes, some wavelengths are visible and some are not, depending on the size. Students can use both the text and the illustrations to explain their answer.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 provide students with model book selection processes through class discussion and creation of a chart to refer to as they select books. Students keep a reading log and teachers engage each student in a one-on-one-conferences. During the conference teachers direct students to think about questions such as: “Where, when, and how long they are reading and how their environment affects their reading experience. How did a student select a book based on interest, content, and difficulty? and How did their decision affect their reading experience?” Teachers are encouraged to explicitly teach and work with students to set independent reading goals that they can track. Students then evaluate their progress and create new goals. Teachers are encouraged to build time for engagement within in-class reading for activities such as Book Talks and Sharing, Discussion circles, One-on-one conferencing, Writing (book reviews, to the author, in journals, etc.) and Multisensory experiences (recording audio, videos, acting).Teachers are encouraged to communicate with parents and guardians regarding the content students read and by suggesting discussion topics at home. Take-Home letters that include student reading goals involve parents and guardians in the process.

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.
10/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Materials meet the criteria for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized. Materials reviewed meet the criteria for assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.Assessment keys are provided, as well as multiple suggestions and protocols for teachers to provide feedback. Materials meet the criteria for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. Each lesson includes a formative assessment that is highlighted at the start of the lesson. These assessments are used to track student mastery of objectives. Materials provide students with model book selection processes through class discussion and creation of a chart to refer to as they select books.Materials meet the criteria for materials providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. Materials provide modeling, formative assessments, language and visual supports, and background knowledge in each lesson to ensure student understanding.Materials meet the criteria for regularly providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. All students engage with grade level text. Materials meet the criteria for regularly including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Materials provide multiple opportunities for challenge and enrichment. Materials meet the criteria for providing opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

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.
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. Materials provide modeling, formative assessments, language and visual supports, and background knowledge in each lesson to ensure student understanding.

Materials include sidebar notes that include suggestions for emerging, expanding, and bridging students. The sidebars also include access, support ,and challenge notes that provide strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners. Examples of sidebar strategies include:

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1
    • Emerging- Ask students simple yes/no questions (i.e., “Is light important for plants?”).
    • Expanding- Provide students a speci c sentence frame (i.e., “Light is important because without it would/would not.”)
    • Bridging- Encourage students to use content- speci c words in complete sentences (i.e., “Light is important for plants because plants use the energy from the sun to produce food.”)
    • Support- If students have dif culty writing the response, have them reread pages 2–11 and and key words and phrases.
    • Challenge -Have students write a paragraph summarizing the information on Activity Page 1.2.
  • In the Advance Preparation section at the beginning of each lesson there are Universal Access instructions. For example in Grade 3, Unit 4, Lesson 1,“In this lesson, students will read and listen to “The Legend of Romulus and Remus.” Prepare students to engage with the content by doing/setting up the following: Meet the characters: Use images from the Reader to introduce students to the main characters in this legend.”

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for regularly providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. All students engage with grade level text. Side bar supports are provided to ensure that students are supported during lessons. The Universal Access for each lesson provides additional supports for students who read, write, speak or listen below grade level. Lessons also include pausing Points which provide additional instruction on new skills at the end of each unit for small group work, reteaching, and differentiated instruction. Assessment and Remediation Guide/Encoding and Decoding Supplements can be used for additional lessons that support students who need extra practice or remediation on foundational skills and comprehension.

Materials include a Language Studio resource that provides lessons that focus on reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary, and grammar to advance English Language Learner proficiency levels. The activities in Language Studio help teachers guide students in constructing meaning through interaction with the text and with each other. Such instruction supports ELs of all proficiency levels by helping them access grade-level content knowledge, make meaning, and develop academic English and effective expression across the disciplines.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for regularly including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Materials provide multiple opportunities for challenge, and enrichment, including:

  • Challenge sidebars throughout the lesson providing stretching questions and activities.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson 6, students “Make a list of transparent substances and rank them in order of their density, from least dense to most dense.”
  • Pausing Point days include additional activities and more complex text for excelling students.
    • In Grade 3, Unit 3, Pausing Point 1 states, “It is highly recommended that you pause here and spend a day reviewing, reinforcing, or extending the material taught thus far. You may have students do any combination of the activities listed below. The activities may be done in any order. You may also choose to do an activity with the whole class or with a small group of students who would benefit from the particular activity.” A specific activity states, “Find a recording of the song “Dry Bones.” Have students listen to the song once or twice, and encourage them to point to the various body parts mentioned in the song. After listening to the song, have students discuss the more technical names for the bones they learned about in the read-alouds; e.g., the “head bone” as the skull or cranium; the “back bone” and “neck bone” as the spine or spinal column; the “thigh bone” as the femur; the “knee bone” as a hinge joint.”
  • Independent Reading. There are a large number of “above level” books that are available for students through CKLA Independent Reading. These allow students to expand their knowledge with more challenging material.

There are also daily opportunities to allow students go deeper into the topic. Lessons in the Knowledge Strand offer opportunities for independent and small group research that can be extended by asking for alternative sources or deeper analysis.

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for providing opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Students are grouped in partners, small groups, and whole class. Teachers are provided with guidance on how to group students such as an page 54 of the Program Guide, “Teachers should use a range of strategies—sometimes employing students of the same comprehension level into the same group, and at other times mixing those with a higher comprehension with those that are struggling. Extension activities within the Pausing Points provide a large range of additional collaborative learning opportunities. These include large group activities such as rehearsing and performing Read-Alouds, plays, and other literary works in front of an audience.”

Examples of how grouping strategies are used in materials include:

  • Partner discussion: Partner discussions are used in all units. Students host informal discussions and rules-based formal discussions.
  • Think-Pair-Shares: Students discuss a topic, build on the remarks of others, and link their comments to evidence in the text.
  • Small group discussion: Multiple opportunities for small group instruction and expression are present.
  • Whole class discussion: Whole class discussion takes place daily. These provide ample opportunities for students to model and practice Effective Expression.

Indicator 3s

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructions materials reviewed for Grade 3 include 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.

Some difficulties were encountered when downloading the materials. The downloads didn't work on a PC using Explorer or Firefox. The downloads didn't work on a Mac using Firefox 45.02 or safari.

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed. On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The Digital Components Portal contains digital documents of materials. These digital components are mostly platform neutral, with some specific interface issues. They do provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations , and there is some opportunity for customization, although the program is designed for minimal disruption of the main scope and sequence.

Indicator 3t

0/
+
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Indicator Rating Details

The Digital Components Portal contains digital documents of the Teacher Guides, Activity Books, Readers, Image Card Sets, Spelling Cards, Language Studio, Amplify Virtual ebook Library, Quest for the Core Apps, and a Resource site. The Resource Site includes Projectable Media Files for use during lessons, Assessment Remediation Guides, Decoding and Encoding Supplements designed to be used to provide targeted remedial instruction to students who are struggling with foundational skills. Also include in the digital section are Fluency Packets Multimedia support for each unit.

The Teacher Guide includes references of when digital components are available and how they can be used within a lesson.

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 include digital materials that provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Digital materials include a digital planning guide that provides step-by-step lesson plans and online materials that include additional support in differentiated instruction. Unit quests combine reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a digital environment engage students. There are also digital guides for assessment, remediation and supplemental materials to personalise learning for students.

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 can be customized for local use; however, the program states that texts should be taught in the order they are presented to support implementation. Customization may occur in scaffolding and in opting for digital or print materials use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students.

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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Digital Components Portal contains digital documents of materials. These digital components are mostly platform neutral, with some specific interface issues. They do provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations , and there is some opportunity for customization, although the program is designed for minimal disruption of the main scope and sequence.

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 Rating Details

The instructions materials reviewed for Grade 3 include 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.

Some difficulties were encountered when downloading the materials. The downloads didn't work on a PC using Explorer or Firefox. The downloads didn't work on a Mac using Firefox 45.02 or safari.

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed. On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3t

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

The Digital Components Portal contains digital documents of the Teacher Guides, Activity Books, Readers, Image Card Sets, Spelling Cards, Language Studio, Amplify Virtual ebook Library, Quest for the Core Apps, and a Resource site. The Resource Site includes Projectable Media Files for use during lessons, Assessment Remediation Guides, Decoding and Encoding Supplements designed to be used to provide targeted remedial instruction to students who are struggling with foundational skills. Also include in the digital section are Fluency Packets Multimedia support for each unit.

The Teacher Guide includes references of when digital components are available and how they can be used within a lesson.

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 Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 include digital materials that provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Digital materials include a digital planning guide that provides step-by-step lesson plans and online materials that include additional support in differentiated instruction. Unit quests combine reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a digital environment engage students. There are also digital guides for assessment, remediation and supplemental materials to personalise learning for students.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 can be customized for local use; however, the program states that texts should be taught in the order they are presented to support implementation. Customization may occur in scaffolding and in opting for digital or print materials use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students.

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: Sat Apr 08 00:00:00 UTC 2017

Report Edition: 2015

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 1 978-1-61700-225-0 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 5 978-1-61700-229-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 6 978-1-61700-230-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 11 978-1-61700-235-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 1 978-1-68161-030-6 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 2 Part 1 978-1-68161-031-3 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 3 978-1-68161-032-0 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 4 978-1-68161-033-7 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 5 978-1-68161-034-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 6 978-1-68161-035-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 7 978-1-68161-036-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 8 978-1-68161-037-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 9 978-1-68161-038-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 10 978-1-68161-039-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Activity Book Unit 11 978-1-68161-040-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 1 978-1-68161-041-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 1 978-1-68161-107-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 2 Part 1 978-1-68161-108-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 3 978-1-68161-109-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 4 978-1-68161-110-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 5 978-1-68161-111-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 6 978-1-68161-112-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 7 978-1-68161-113-6 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 8 978-1-68161-114-3 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 9 978-1-68161-115-0 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 10 978-1-68161-116-7 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Teacher Guide Unit 11 978-1-68161-117-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 3 978-1-68161-176-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 4 978-1-68161-177-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 5 978-1-68161-178-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 7 978-1-68161-179-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 8 978-1-68161-180-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 9 978-1-68161-181-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Image Cards Unit 10 978-1-68161-182-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 2 978-1-68161-222-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 3 978-1-68161-223-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 4 978-1-68161-224-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 7 978-1-68161-225-6 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Workbook Unit 6 978-1-68161-229-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 8 978-1-68161-232-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 9 978-1-68161-233-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Reader Unit 10 978-1-68161-234-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Studio Teacher Edition Volume 1 978-1-68161-290-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Studio Activity Book Volume 1 978-1-68161-292-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Studio Activity Book Volume 2 978-1-68161-293-5 Copyright: 2015 Ampify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Studio Teacher Edition Volume 2 978-1-68161-297-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 3 Studio Teacher Edition Volume 3 978-1-68161-783-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015

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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