Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Core Knowledge Language Arts Grade 4 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 4 meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Many of the texts students read are rigorous and rich, attending to a balance of fiction and nonfiction. Materials provide support for teachers to ensure students can read at-grade level texts at the end of the year. The materials include consistent use of text-dependent questions and tasks that build to culminating tasks. Students work on speaking and listening by engaging in rich discussions related to the texts as they are practicing academic vocabulary. Writing instruction allows for practice of on-demand and process work across multiple text types. The teacher may need to supplement or amend grammar instruction to include out-of-context work in that area.

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 4 meet the expectations of indicators a through f. Texts students are reading and working with are of high quality and engaging, and attend to the balance outlined in the standards. Texts students read are appropriately rigorous for Grade 4 students. Text-specific information is provided to support teachers' implementation. There is range and depth to what students read, and there are opportunities provided for them to continue building their reading abilities.

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality, worthy of especially careful reading, and considering a range of student interests. Across the year, selections should appeal to a wide range of student interests, and some materials (e.g., the Eureka! Quest in Unit 4) are presented in novel ways to enhance student engagement. Although not all text authors are highlighted, selections appear to be of publishable quality and many texts are by well-known, published authors.

Some examples representative of the program include the following:

  • Unit 1 selections encompass a variety of topics that should appeal to a wide range of student interests. Selections include Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Chapter One) by Condoleezza Rice (Rdr, Unit 1, pp.7-11), “A Girl from Yamhill The Farm” by Beverly Cleary (Rdr, Unit 1, pp.16-19), and Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret, series of excerpts (Rdr, Unit 1, pp.20-50).
  • Unit 2 (Parts 1 & 2) is comprised primarily of informational texts highlighting many aspects of life in the middle ages including architecture, mathematics, medicine, and food. Excerpts from Canterbury Tales and One Thousand and One Nights are included as enrichment materials.
  • Unit 3 includes poetry which represent a wide variety of time periods. The poets come from many backgrounds and nations, and the selections represent a wide range of topics, structures, and cultures. The selected poetry is worthy of careful reading and should appeal to a wide range of student interests. Selections include poems by Roald Dahl, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, and Ernest Lawrence Thayer.
  • Unit 4 Text selections include biographies of famous inventors such as Thomas Edison, Heddy Lamar, and George Washington Carver and informational articles about well-known inventions such as the clock, the telephone, and the radio.
  • Unit 5 The Changing Earth focuses on the composition of the earth and the forces that change Earth’s surface. (TG, Unit 5, p. 2)
  • Unit 6 is centered around Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street
  • Unit 7 The Student Reader The Road to Independence is about the events leading to the American Revolution and what happened during the war itself. Additional texts and literary texts such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle (texts adapted from the stories by Washington Irving).
  • Unit 8 An abridged version of Treasure Island is the primary text for Unit 8. Additionally, two enrichment selections are included in the Student Reader: a text containing the “original text by Robert Louis Stevenson” (SR, Unit 8, p.95), a biography of Blackbeard, and diagrams/illustrations showing 1700s Sailing Schooners.

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Across the year, student materials include a variety of informational text, stories, poetry, and dramas with selections highlighting a variety of cultures. Units also include many illustrations and diagrams related to the featured texts.

  • Unit 1- Selections include “...one short essay and four excerpts from longer works...”. (TG, Unit 1, p.2).
  • Unit 2- Readings are made up mostly of informative, expository text that discusses the middle ages, however, some parts include fables, narrative paragraphs. and short fictionalized passages.
  • Unit 3- Student reading for Unit 3 is comprised of a variety of poetry in multiple styles.
  • Unit 4- Informational and biographical selections are introduced with a play (drama). (TG, Unit 4, pp.34-37) (Rdr, Unit 4, pp.3-6).
  • Unit 5- Informational text that is primarily scientific (with emphasis on geology and earth science knowledge). It also includes a narrative text about the myths surrounding volcanoes.
  • Unit 6 - Includes some narrative-story poetry and contemporary fiction.
  • Unit 7- Texts include nonfiction texts and a drama selection.
  • Unit 8- An abridged version of Treasure Island is the primary text. There are included short fiction pieces for enrichment activities.

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 4 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 4 materials fall within a 770-1100 Lexile level (the standards call for materials to range from 640-1010 Lexile for grades 4 and 5).

Some representative samples of how the materials attend to the quantitative measures for the grade band include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • When looking at the Student Reader from Unit 4- Eureka! Files: Eureka! Student Inventor- a narrated informational text mixed with a brief section of reader’s theater-type narrative, describing the lives and accomplishments of famous inventors which has a quantitative measure of 1080L.
  • The Student Reader from Unit 5- Geology: The Changing Earth, includes a traditional informational text with a Lexile of 1030L. While this title is slightly above the stretch Lexile level, a great deal of teacher support for vocabulary and unfamiliar concepts is provided alongside appropriate tasks.
  • The Student Reader from Unit 8—American Revolution: The Road to Independence, is an informational text with a quantitative measure of 1010L.
  • The Student Reader from Unit 11- Treasure Island—this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel has a qualitative measure of 820L.

Qualitatively, the materials are appropriate for 4rd grade readers as well.

  • Unit 3 incorporates poetry, which is not typically measured with a quantitative measure. Qualitatively, however, the selections include rich content and specifically-chosen meter and rhyme schemes.
  • Unit 4's narrative selections are substantial texts for close reading with depth of information and biographies about famous inventors.
  • The Teacher Guide for Unit 5 calls out the qualitative language features: “The Reader for this unit, The Changing Earth, includes complex text and prepares students in Grade 4 for the increased vocabulary and syntax demands aligned texts will present in later grades. The Changing Earth focuses on the composition of the earth and the forces that change Earth’s surface.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 2)
  • In Unit 6, excerpted chapters from Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street is the central text. The novel includes rich and lyrical language to support the narrative. The Teachers' Guide also provides a note about the choice of chapters used: “We have excerpted the novel for the student reader, choosing only chapters that are definitely suitable for 4th graders. You may wish to read the full book and decide if there are other excerpts you would like students to read; many are mature and difficult for students of this age.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 3) This guidance supports teachers in identifying the reader/task considerations for any extensions or differentiation.

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 4 meet the requirement of 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 4, students have opportunities to read and comprehend some texts at grade level, although it is noted that the majority of texts do not provide consistent opportunities for students to practice at level to gain mastery.

The materials (texts and sets of texts) for Grade 4 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 4, students have opportunities to read and comprehend some texts that meet the requirements for the end of the Grade 4, 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 focus on five personal narratives, including works by famous authors and individuals, including Beverly Cleary and Laurel Snyder. Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, an essay by former U.S. secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice has a Lexile of 990L. Quantitatively, this text falls within the recommended stretch band (740-1010L). The text also provides a great deal of context for words from other languages with which students may be unfamiliar. There are also recommended questions the teacher should ask to help students make inferences about the text, for example pointing out that Rice’s father was excited to have a baby boy who could play sports and seems disappointed or shocked when the new baby turns out to be a girl. He gets over his disappointment of the baby being a girl by thinking about her outside of a traditional gender role. Again, while most of the readings in the first unit fall above the recommended Lexile band for Grade 4, they are brief and well-supported with questions, tasks, and scaffolding from the teacher. The Reader for Unit 2 is a nonfiction text written for the program about the middle ages. Excerpts from the reader demonstrate an approximate Lexile of 960L, again, well-within the stretch band for Grade 4.

Later in the year, Unit 6 includes, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which has a Lexile rating of 870L-- still within the stretch band, though somewhat lower than the non-fiction texts featured earlier in the year. The students finish the year reading an abridged version of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The language and subject matter may be unfamiliar to students and will add complexity. Additionally, the texts have unusual sentence structures that require students to inference some of the action that is occurring. For example, the following excerpt was taken from page 5 of the Unit 8 Student Reader: They sat down, and for a long time I could hear nothing but low mumbling. Gradually their voices grew louder until the interaction became a cacophony of unpleasant exchanges. This was followed by an explosion of crashing sounds—the chair and table went over, a clash of steel followed, and then a cry of pain. The next instant I saw Black Dog in full flight, and the captain in hot pursuit, both men with sabres drawn. Blood streamed from Black Dog’s left shoulder. At the door, the captain aimed one last tremendous blow, which would certainly have struck Black Dog had it not been intercepted by the inn’s signboard.

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 4 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 4 texts as a whole and rationales for purpose and placement of texts are found at the beginning of each unit.

Text complexity information is provided for the grade-level or units. 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 4 fall within the 770-1100L band, with the exception of poetry, which does not receive a Lexile rating. The inclusion of poetry in the Grade 4 materials gives students opportunities to grapple with “highly complex, archaic language” as well texts with more modern, straightforward language that allows them to consider the deeper message of the work.

The beginning of each Grade 4 reading unit includes an introduction that describes why the texts were chosen for the program. For example, in Unit 1, Personal Narratives, included are short stories and book excerpts from published authors including Beverly Cleary, Condoleezza Rice, Laurel Snyder, and Esmeralda Santiago. There is a full text from author, Peg Kehret, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. These texts are used as exemplars as students learn the process of writing a personal narrative. The texts are grade-appropriate in content and text complexity. They also meet the Common Core State Standards’ Publishers’ Criteria Guidelines by providing literature that exposes students to a broad swath of experiences from individuals who represent various cultures, races, and groups (e.g., individuals with disabilities) within American society.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for support materials providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading. Regular read-aloud selections provide ample opportunities for the teacher to model oral reading, but fewer opportunities are provided for students to practice oral reading skills. Lessons contain many activities that have students read silently, but 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. Opportunities for students to read independently or with a partner often recommend support by peers and/or parents rather than direct teacher instruction. 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 "Fluency Supplement" may be used to provide additional student fluency practice and assessment. Leveled materials designed to support fluency development are not included. Overall, a clear progression of activities supporting reading development is not evident. Materials do include opportunities to read across a range of text types.

To fully implement the practice to achieve grade level reading, the teacher may need to identify external supports. A fluency remediation recommendation is provided in the Pausing Point lesson of Unit 3. No texts outside the program texts are suggested. “Students who struggle with fluency will benefit from having multiple opportunities to reread a particular text. If students demonstrate a need for remediation related to fluency, you may have them either reread selections from the Reader or choose an excerpt from the Fluency Supplement.” (TG, Unit 3, p.193)

Examples of activities supporting students' paths toward reading grade-level texts by the end of the year include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • “The Beginning-of-Year Assessment also includes two components to be administered individually to students: an oral assessment of word reading in isolation and a fluency assessment.” (TG, Unit 1, p.3)
  • “Pausing Point 1 (Activity Page PP.1)- The first Pausing Point page contains an excerpt from Stickeen: The Story of a Dog, a personal narrative by naturalist John Muir. You may have students read the narrative individually or in any grouping that is convenient.” (TG, Unit 1, p.271) This optional activity provides an opportunity for additional reading practice related to the core text that could be used to enhance reading fluency.
  • Materials often recommend support from peers and/or parents rather than direct teacher instruction.
    • “Have students take home a text selection from the Fluency Supplement if you are choosing to provide additional fluency practice” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 31)
    • “Have students take home Activity Page 2.7 to read to a family member and then complete” (TG, un it2-pt1, p. 57)
    • “Pair students to read and discuss the chapter. • Explain that both students will read the first page silently, and then one partner will read that page aloud. Next, they will both read the second page silently, and then the other partner will read that page aloud, and so on. Students can ask their partner for help with sounding out or defining words as necessary” (TG, Unit2-pt1, p. 113)
    • “Have students take home Activity Page 8.2 to read aloud to a family member for fluency. Remind students they should read Activity Page 8.2 through at least once from beginning to end without stopping” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 201)
    • “Note: This chapter will be reread by students, working with partners, in the next lesson. This first read of the chapter will focus on the text on pages 48–53, and the next lesson will cover the entire chapter” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 206)
    • “Have students take home Activity Page 3.1 to read to a family member to build fluency. Students should then complete the activity on the page.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 80)
    • “Students read silently and aloud, with partners, in groups of varying sizes, and individually.” “Speaking and Listening activities help develop students’ capacity for oral expression. Students practice performance, reading their own stories aloud, and speaking and listening as an audience on a number of occasions.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 3)
    • “Pair students to read and discuss the chapter. Alternatively, some or all students may read independently.” (TG, Unit 7, p.57)
  • Unit 8 contains an end of year assessment-part of which is on fluency. “The Fluency Assessment uses Activity Pages A.2 and A.5 (which you will have collected from students), as well as the student copy of the Fluency Assessment text ‘Paul Bunyan,’ located in the Teacher Resources section. You will use Activity Page A.5 (End- of-Year Fluency Assessment Recording Copy) to create a running record while students read the fluency passage. Activity Page A.2 (End-of-Year Assessment Summary) includes a Fluency Assessment Scoring Sheet.” (TG, Unit 8, p.335)
  • In Unit 8, the teacher is given the following directions for use of the Student Reader in supporting fluency development: “At this point in the school year, some or all of your students are likely ready for the challenge of reading the entire chapter independently to themselves, especially since this lesson is a reread of the chapter read as a whole group during the previous lesson. We encourage you to differentiate, assigning students either to read independently or with partners, based on their needs.” (TG, Unit 8, p.65) There is minimal support for the teacher to identify errors students may have, nor are there robust supports for students who may exhibit struggle. If a student is reading words incorrectly, then his/her partner will have to know to correct the mispronunciations.

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 4 include consistent use of text-dependent questions and tasks that engage students in focusing on what is read as they build their skills in reading, writing, and speaking and listening. Series of questions build to a performance tasks that is focused on the text. Writing activities and lessons attend to the balance of text types called for in the standards and provide opportunities for students to practice on-demand writing as well as practice the components of process writing. The materials partially support students' skill development in language and grammar, with inconsistent support for practice 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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments 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). Each unit focuses on a topic that supports students in making self-to-text and text-to-text connections. A variety of activities and questions are designed to support the development of deeper understanding of both content and literary craft.

Some examples of text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments include (but are not limited to) the following. In some instances, students are required to support inferences with evidence from the text. Discussion questions often require students to cite textual evidence.

Unit 1

  • Students are engaged in discussion of reading selections which includes text-dependent questions. “How did you come up with this list of character traits? The author does not write “Lily is kind” anywhere in the essay. What evidence from the text supports each character trait?” (TG, Unit 1, p.40)
  • “In the left-hand column of the chart below, list four character traits that describe Lily. They may be traits listed by the class, or new traits that you have identified, but they must be supported by evidence in the text.
  • “Reread the passage on Reader pages 41-42 in which Peg describes learning to play the accordion. In the space that follows, write down all the textual details you can find that relate to the accordion or how to play it.” (TG, Unit 1, p.205) (AB, Unit 1, p.119

Unit 2 (Parts 1 & 2)

  • “On page 23, the text says, “Castles provided the inhabitants, or people who lived there, with a certain amount of protection from the enemy.” Find three pieces of evidence from the text that demonstrate how a castle might protect its inhabitants from an enemy siege” (AB, Unit 2-pt.1, p. 37)
  • “Students will use textual evidence during the chapter discussion to support the author’s claim that the Battle of Hastings changed history” (TG, unit 2-pt1, p. 202)
  • “In chapter 12, we read that because many people disliked Uthman, a belief that a relative of Muhammad’s should lead the Muslims began to resurface. How is this belief reflected in chapter 13?” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 102)

Unit 3

  • “Which lines of dialogue does Little Red Riding Hood speak to the wolf, and which does the wolf speak to Little Red Riding Hood?” (TG, Unit 3, p.13)
  • “Based on the poem’s first stanza, what two things does this poem compare?” (TG, Unit 3, p.144)
  • “This part of “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf ” does not explain in detail what happens to the wolf, but it does give several clues to help readers infer what happens next. Remember that when you infer something, it means that you make a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence or information provided.” (PJ, Unit 3, p.6)

Unit 4

  • Activities require students to use information from provided texts.
    • “As you make inventor cards, you will gather extra information, which will come in handy. If only last year’s contestants had read the biography of Peter Cooper, the inventor of gelatin desserts, we might’ve never had that pudding disaster. . . sorry, sorry. The network producers really don’t like it when I bring up last season.” (TG, Unit 4, p.77)
    • “Review the inventor cards. Check that each student has provided complete answers and used evidence from the text. Provide prompts to encourage more details or evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 4. p.85)
  • Discussion and Activity Book questions require students to cite textual evidence.
  • “Use the second approach to ensure that each group makes a choice and supports their choice with textual evidence. Correct misunderstandings or incorrect use of evidence when necessary.” (TG, Unit 4, p.78)
  • “How did this invention change things? Give two examples and include quotes from the article as evidence.” (AB, Unit 4, p.19

Units 5 & 6

  • “According to the text, what are some ways in which erupting volcanoes can change Earth’s surface? You may wish to have students answer this question in small groups. If you do, challenge each group to find as many ways as they can, and ask them to compare their answers with a second group’s after a minute or two. ‘Answers may vary but should include: add new land to Earth’s surface; bringminerals from deep inside the earth to the surface; flatten entire forests; release rivers of lava that can burn and bury everything in their path; and trigger earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides.’ (TG, Unit 5, p. 132)
  • “Have students read the page and identify the information in the text that relates to their specific volcano. Remind students to take notes by paraphrasing the text they just read, or writing information in their own words. Students should write key information in the shortest form possible.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 205)
  • “Which places in the vignette are described with lots of details?‘Students should point to three places being described: the house on Mango Street, the Loomis flat, and the house for which the narrator had hoped (which we will call the “Imagined House” from now on).’ “ (TG, Unit 6, p. 15)

Unit 7

  • “Was William Prescott, commander of the militia, right to be worried when the British launched an attack against them? Support your answer with evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 7, p.110)
  • One assignment in the Activity Book tells students “The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773, eight years after the Stamp Act of 1765, so the colonists had been living with unfair taxation for many years. Was it right for the Sons of Liberty to take such action by dumping the tea? Be sure to include both sides of the argument. Choose words from the word bank to use in your response to the writing prompt.” (AB, Unit 7, p.16)
  • “On page 39, what does the heading ‘No Simple Solution’ mean? Support your answer with evidence from the text.” (AB, Unit 7, p.24)

Unit 8

  • “Make an inference about why the captain says, ‘This is the perfect place for me’ and justify your inference with evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 8, p.19)
  • “When Jim reaches the Hispaniola, what does he find?” (TG, Unit 8, p.192)
  • “Of the two reasons Silver gives for protecting Jim, which do you think is more likely to be true? Support your answer with evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 8, p.234).

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for sets of high quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks building to a culminating task that integrates skills (writing, speaking, or a combination.) Each unit focuses on a specific topic. Culminating tasks integrate student learning about writing and speaking while developing a deeper understanding of the content. Some units feature smaller, more frequent tasks that assist the teacher in assessing formatively; some units feature more complex or formal tasks that stretch across many lessons and assist the teacher with summative assessment.

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

Unit 1 focuses on the development of a personal narrative and uses personal narratives by well-known, published authors to develop student understanding. Related questions and activities prepare students to create their own personal narratives including details, dialogue, etc. The entire unit focuses on the development of the personal narrative supported by lessons built around narrative texts.

  • “Tell students that in this unit they will read true stories written by the people who experienced them. These authors use writing to share their most interesting, important, exciting, or fun memories. Tell students they will also write true stories about things they’ve experienced. Today they’ll begin by writing a paragraph about a memory they have about school.” (TG, Unit 1, p.21)
  • “You have selected the most important character trait in a good friend. Now write a paragraph explaining why you chose it. Provide a real-life example of friends showing this trait. Explain how having a friend with this trait makes you feel and why you think it is the most important trait.” (TG, Unit 1, p.45)
  • “In this activity you will prepare to write your personal narrative by telling your personal narrative story to your partner. Use the planning chart you completed on Activity Page 8.4 as guidance to tell the story. You do not need to use the exact words or all of the details you included in the chart, but you should follow the basic events in order.” (TG, Unit 1, p.159)
  • “Tell students that, for the remainder of this lesson, they will share their narratives with a peer and interview one another. This gives them the opportunity to speak about their work and the choices they made in writing it.” (TG, Unit 1, p.240)

In Unit 3, students focus on poetry. They read and analyze multiple poems, looking at the incorporation of literary and poetic devices as well as the content. They use these texts to guide them to drafting their own poetry, incorporating the learned devices into their original work. "Throughout this unit, students will practice using the poetic devices exemplified by each poem. They will compose rhymes, similes, and metaphors; use repetition, anaphora, and alliteration; and plan, draft, and revise several original poems inspired by the poems studied in this unit.” (TG, Unit 3, p.5) Students self-select the content and apply the writing process practice as they draft, share, and revise their poem. Students share out loud with peers their culminating work.

In Unit 4, students learn about inventors and have options for multiple performance tasks to represent their learning. “As they go through Eureka! Student Inventor, students read a range of informational texts about inventors, inventions, and the process of creation. In addition to close readings, students analyze objects and situations in the world around them, identify problems, create evidence-based solutions, and ultimately become inventors themselves. By routinely writing informational and opinion pieces, students practice research, observation, communication, and persuasion. They also engage in a range of collaborative discussions, sharing ideas and working in teams with defined roles and agreed-upon rules.” (TG, Unit 4, p.1) Many activities include culminating tasks with integration of writing and speaking skills:

  • “Write a letter to Thomas Edison extolling the virtues of the lightbulb.” (AB, Unit 4, p.20)
  • “Using the evidence you pulled for “Edison’s Invention Evidence,” plan the pitch your lab will present for your invention. This pitch will explain why your invention deserves to be on the back cover of Edison’s new book! All members of your lab should participate in the pitch.” (AB, Unit 4, p.28)
  • “Create a skit to demonstrate the importance of your invention.” (AB, Unit 4, p.29)
  • “Now, with your group, prepare a short dance or movement that demonstrates how this simple machine works.” (AB, Unit 4, p.39)

In Units 7 and 8, after reading in the Student Reader students are asked inferential, literal, and evaluative question sets. It is unclear if every student answers every question in writing or if one or two students provide answers orally. However, the student Activity Book also contains question sets that review the material that was read in class. Every student does answer these questions in writing.

The only culminating activity for unit 7 is the Unit 7 Assessment. In the assessment “students read two selections, answer questions about each, and respond to a writing prompt…they will answer grammar and morphology questions evaluating the skills they have practiced in this unit.” (TG, Unit 7, p.329) The questions on this assessment are modeled after the ones that they have been answering throughout the unit- they are just new questions over a new text.

Unit 8 has an End of Year assessment that is to be given to students. “The reading comprehension questions pertaining to these texts are aligned to the CCSS and are worthy of students’ time to answer. Questions have been designed so they do not focus on minor points in the text, but rather, they require deep analysis. Thus, each item might thus address multiple standards. In general, the selected-response items address Reading standards and the constructed-response items address Writing standards.” (TG, Unit 8, p.336)

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. Vocabulary words are identified in the teacher guides and vocabulary words are highlighted in student texts. Unit 2 (parts 1 & 2) include lesson components that focus on vocabulary understanding with emphasis on morphology. Some discussion questions accompany reading selections in the teacher guides, but few guidelines or protocols for discussion are provided.

Vocabulary words are identified in the Teacher Guide (e.g., TG, Unit 1, pp.20, 32, 48) and vocabulary words are highlighted in student texts. There are some directions for the teacher, such as:

  • “Break the class into groups of three or four and assign each group one of the day’s core vocabulary words. Tell students to copy the word, part of speech, and definition at the top of Activity Page 6.1.” (TG, Unit 1, p.91) Activity Page 6.1 asks students to: “Based on your classmates’ presentations, guess which of today’s glossary words their group is presenting.” (AB, Unit 1, p.47)
  • “Prompt students to use their knowledge of relevant root words when trying to read and understand an unfamiliar word. For example, if a student is struggling to interpret the word infamous, ask, “What does it mean to be famous?”(TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 17)
  • “Incorporate vocabulary words from the text when possible and use complete sentences” (AB, Unit 2-pt1, p. 32)
  • “Based on what you know about the root arch, what does monarch mean?” (AB, Unit 2-pt1, p. 162)
  • “Tell students that the word auspicious, which means “likely to succeed,” developed from the Latin word auspicium . Then write the following sentences on the board: ◦ A great comet appeared in the sky when the new prince was born. This was an auspicious beginning” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 27).
  • “Students will encounter the following word in their reading in today’s episode. Vocabulary words are listed before each lesson for your reference, bolded in the student reading at their first occurrence, and compiled in the glossary of the Eureka! Files.” (e.g., TG, Unit 4, pp.17, 57-58, 91-92, 171)

Some discussions are developed around key vocabulary, although support to engage in the discussion (protocols, support for misunderstandings, etc.) are less consistent. However, work with practicing modeling academic vocabulary is consistent over the course of the school year.

  • “Write “invention” on the board and facilitate a discussion about the definition.” (TG, Unit 4, p.28)
  • “Read the first paragraph of ‘How to Eat a Guava’ aloud. Give students a few minutes to record verbs on Activity Page 4.1. Then ask the following discussion questions.” (TG, Unit 1, p.63)
  • “Review the fundamentals of a personal narrative using the discussion questions below.” (TG, Unit 1, p.132)
  • “Once students have finished the reading, facilitate a class discussion using the following questions:” (TG, Unit 1, p.187)
  • “After students read the passage, facilitate discussion using the following questions.” (TG, Unit 1, p.219)

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for supporting students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching, including presentation opportunities, with relevant follow-up questions and evidence. The Unit 4 "Quest" unit is particularly strong in this area, with many of the activities supporting high levels of student engagement while integrating writing, speaking, and listening. All units provide opportunities for speaking during discussion; however, some of the opportunities are limited to simple responses to teacher questions.

Examples of listening and speaking opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Unit 1

  • “Explain that first one student will play Peg Kehret while the other plays the role of a talk-show host. The host will ask Kehret two questions. Students will then switch roles and repeat the process with the remaining two questions.” (TG, Unit 1, p.231)
  • “Ask students to respond to each of the following oral prompts by identifying which is the cause and which is the effect:” (TG, Unit 1, p.183)
  • Students respond to prompts, but are not consistently asked to substantiate their answers beyond the initial responses.

Unit 2 (Parts 1 & 2)

  • “Ask students to summarize what it was like to be a monk during the Middle Ages. You may wish to call on different students to summarize different parts of the text.” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 196)
  • “Select students to play General Vahan, General Abu Ubayda, the Byzantine soldiers, the Muslim soldiers, and the Muslim wives. Have everyone you selected come to the front of the room. Tell the selected students that you will read the text aloud again, and that when they hear their character mentioned, they should pantomime the action described in the text” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 76)

Unit 3

  • Students are given opportunities to share with peers.
    • “Have students work in pairs to describe in their own words what happened between the grandmother and the wolf. Have one student describe what the wolf did or said, while the other describes what the grandmother did or said. Use the Speaking and Listening Observational Checklist throughout this activity to assess student performance.” (TG, Unit 3, p.12)
  • Some activities require students to listen and then paraphrase information or answer questions.
    • “Tell students that they will watch a short video showing examples of some of the creative work being done during the Harlem Renaissance. As they watch the video, they should watch for clues about what Harlem might have stood for during this time. They will answer questions about the video after watching it.” (TG, Unit 3, p.71)

Unit 4

  • Students speaking with one another and collaborating effectively is a focus of the unit.
    • “Students will be able to discuss and practice collaboration, following agreed-upon rules and maintaining assigned roles. Students will integrate ideas from two texts and speak knowledgeably on the best practices of collaboration. Students will write clearly about their own collaboration experience, supporting their opinions with facts and details.” (TG, Unit 4, p.17)

Units 5 & 6

  • When students have finished recording questions on their cards, have each group share its conclusions with the class, providing explanations and justifications for the questions chosen. Use the following chart as a reference when each group discusses information about its area of study, ensuring all students understand the questions. You may wish to ask students to answer the questions as well, providing support when needed. (TG, Unit 5, p. 12)
  • "Give students a few moments to look back at the headings, images, and captions in Chapter 2, “Earth’s Layers and Moving Plates.” Allow students to look at the Reader as you discuss the following questions. Have students share their ideas with a partner before explaining their thinking with the whole class." (TG, Unit 5, p. 64)

Unit 7

“Think-Pair-Share. Present to students: The Sons of Liberty did not provide an accurate account of the Boston Massacre. Why do you think they changed the story? Circulate through pairs and listen to students as they develop their arguments, providing input as needed.” (TG, Unit 7, p.43)

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

Instructional materials for Grade 4 meet expectations for a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g., multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Students are engaged in routine writing and have multiple opportunities throughout the course of the year to engage in the steps of the writing process from drafting to publishing. Writing tasks and projects are thoughtfully related to unit topics and support increased student understanding of literary devices and author's craft.

Examples of how the materials meet the expectations of this indicator include (but are not limited to) the following examples, which incorporate on-demand writing activities within longer-term process practice:

Unit 2 parts 1 and 2 provide opportunities for students to address writing in the areas of persuasion, informative, historical fiction, and fables. "In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in an extended writing project. In this unit, students will use a graphic organizer to take notes on information presented in the Reader; paraphrase information from a text; assess information to form an opinion; and draft a persuasive paragraph." (TG, Unit 2, pt.1, p.5)

  • “In this unit, students will practice taking notes from the informational text of the Reader, as well as practice writing an informative, explanatory paragraph and a persuasive paragraph” (TG, unit 2-pt1, p. 5)
  • “Below, under “Part One,” write the first part of a story that is set in the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. Like Scheherazade, end your story at a point that will leave a reader or listener desperate to know what happens next. Then trade activity books with your partner. Under “Part Two,” your partner should write the second part of your story, and you should write the second part of your partner’s story” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 117)
  • “Students will draft an informative paragraph about the life of a lord during the Middle Ages that includes a topic sentence, detail sentences, transition words, and a concluding sentence” (TG, Unit2-pt1, p. 58)
  • “The basic elements of an informative paragraph are identical to those students practiced in the Personal Narratives lessons. The difference is that the informative paragraphs will be written using notes taken from the informational chapters in Knights, Castles, and Chivalry. • Review the structure of an informative paragraph, using the Elements of an Informative Paragraph Poster” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 74)
  • “Story Elements 1. Write down the setting of one of your favorite books. If possible, include the location and time period in which the story takes place. 2. Who is the protagonist of one of your favorite books? Try to provide a physical trait and a personality trait.” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 43)
  • “Historical Fiction Writing Tips A. First-person vs. Third-person A story told in the first-person is narrated by a character. A story told in the third person is told by someone who is not a character” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 51)
  • “Remind students that the particular type of paragraph that they have practiced writing during the last several lessons was called an informative or explanatory paragraph, the purpose of which was to provide factual information about a particular topic. Explain that, in addition to providing information, yet another purpose for writing may be to persuade the reader toward a certain point of view or opinion. Tell students that they will start working today, and through the next several lessons, to learn how to write a persuasive paragraph and state an opinion” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 171)
  • “Students will plan a persuasive paragraph by stating their opinion and supporting it with facts from the text”(TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 226)

Unit 3 focuses on understanding and creating poetry. While poetry is the primary format for writing in the unit, integration of language instruction focuses on literary devices that support effective student writing in other genres. "Throughout this unit, students will practice using the poetic devices exemplified by each poem. They will compose rhymes, similes, and metaphors; use repetition, anaphora, and alliteration; and plan, draft, and revise several original poems inspired by the poems studied in this unit." (TG, Unit 3, p.5)

  • “Students will compose original, simile-rich poems in response to the question, ‘What happens when your teeth aren’t brushed?’” (TG, Unit 3, p.61)
  • “Students use teacher feedback and prompts to plan revisions of their work on memory poems.” (TG, Unit 3, p.74)
  • “Students will plan and draft original poems that use anaphora to describe a character’s many components or attributes.” (TG, Unit 3, p.123)
  • “Students write original narrative poems, using poetic devices to engage readers.” (TG, Unit 3, p.169)
  • “Write your own poem describing one of your memories. Make sure your poem includes a title and anaphora. You should also try to include figurative language or at least one example of alliteration. When you have completed your poem, complete the checklist table below.” (TG, Unit 3, p.189)

Unit 4

Unit 4 is a Quest unit entitled “Eureka!” that engages students in a game show format that utilizes content and activities about inventors and inventions to integrate reading, speaking, listening, and writing. “Throughout the Quest, students consistently practice informative and opinion writing. In addition to working on developing arguments and using support, the writing challenges lend themselves to adaptation and addition. You can focus on additional language standards by adding requirements to the challenge. If you have extra time, you can also take advantage of the emphasis on building collaboration skills and introduce a round of peer editing to one or more of the writing challenges.” (TG, Unit 4, p.2)

  • “Students will write clearly about their own collaboration experience, supporting their opinions with facts and details.” (TG, Unit 4, p.14)
  • “Students will write an opinion piece about the importance of the lightbulb, providing evidence to support their argument.” (TG, Unit 4, p.88)
  • “Students will write and present a skit with dialogue to show the importance of their lab’s invention.” (TG, Unit 4, p.144)
  • “Students will integrate information about prior inventions and simple machines to write a creative solution to a technical challenge.” (TG, Unit 4, p.168)
  • “Using examples from history and their own experiences, students will write an opinion piece on the usefulness of failure in the inventing process.” (TG, Unit 4, p.256)
  • “Students will revise or complete writing challenges from previous lessons.” (TG, Unit 4, p.276)
  • “Students will write a detailed explanation of their invention, including an argument for its importance.” (TG, Unit 4, p.304)
  • “Make a final presentation about their invention, evaluated with determined criteria.” (TG, Unit 4, p.322)

Unit 5 In Unit 5's writing lessons, students review the writing process practice they have employed over the school year as well as engaging in several short writing projects.

  • draft an informational pamphlet about tsunamis
  • write a wiki entry about a specific volcano
  • "create a descriptive paragraph about a type of rock or item in the rock cycle, incorporating literary devices they have encountered in previous Grade 4 units, such as alliteration, personification, and simile." (TG, Unit 5, p.3)
  • “Students will draft a descriptive paragraph based on plans from a previous lesson.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 339)
  • paraphrase text in The Changing Earth to take notes on tsunamis. They will then use these notes to draft an informational pamphlet on tsunamis.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 123)

Unit 6

Throughout this unit, students will practice using literary elements they have explored in each vignette—for example the use of detailed descriptions, the building of aspiration as a theme, and the contrast between the protagonists’ perceptions and the perceptions of others. The unit asks students to compose a multi-chapter narrative; they build their stories throughout several lessons devoted to planning, drafting, and revising their work. In addition, students practice opinion writing using evidence from the text." (TG, Unit 6, p.2)

  • “Explain that today, students will apply their close reading of this scene to write an opinion statement. (TG, Unit 6, p. 65)
  • “Students write a personal reflection piece based on the day’s reading.” in their writer’s journal. (TG, Unit 6, p. 72) “Think about whether other people’s views are holding you back or whether they make you want to work harder and do more. In the space below, write how you think you respond to other people’s opinions and whether you would like that to change.” (WJ, Unit 6, p. 84, 85)
  • “Students create their own characters and dialogue, with a focus on describing characters from multiple perspectives.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 149)

Unit 7

"In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in an extended writing project. In this unit, students will enact and record key information from vignettes corresponding to the causes of the American Revolution. These activities will lead to the development of a five-paragraph cause and effect essay." (TG, Unit 7, p.3)

  • Students participate in opinion writing with the following “Writing prompt: The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773, eight years after the Stamp Act of 1765, so the colonists had been living with unfair taxation for many years. Was it right for the Sons of Liberty to take such strong action by dumping the tea? Be sure to include both sides of the argument.” (AB, Unit 7, p.60)

Unit 8

"In the writing lessons, students will engage in an extended writing project, while continuing to practice the various stages of the writing process. They will begin by drafting a character sketch and then will write, publish, and share an original adventure story. While working on the adventure story, students will focus on character development, dialogue, verb choice, and revision methods." (TG, Unit 8, p.3)

  • Unit 8 focuses on narrative writing with the writing of an adventure story. The following prompt is given to students “Imagine a character gets lost in a remote, isolated area like the jungle, the desert, the mountains, the forest, the tundra, or an island. Choose a specific place for the setting of your story. Write a one- to two-page story in which you show how the character survives.” (TG, Unit 8, p.36)

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

Instructional materials for Grade 4 meet expectations for providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Daily writing tasks integrating language review and instruction engage students in a variety of writing genres including personal and fictional narratives, persuasion, opinion informative, historical fiction, fables, and poetry.

Unit 1 writing is mostly focused on developing personal narratives. Students practice component parts, using texts as mentor guides.

  • “In this activity you will write a paragraph describing a school memory. It could be exciting, funny, scary, or surprising, but it must be true.” (AB, Unit 1, p.1)
  • “Tell students that, now that they have organized and brainstormed the events and details to make a complete food narrative, it is time to put them all together in two paragraphs. Direct them to Activity Page 6.6 and review the instructions.” (TG, Unit 1, p.104)
  • “Tell students that today they will begin to write their personal narratives. Remind them that they will do this over the next six lessons, and they will have time to revise at the end.” (TG, Unit 1, p.161)

Unit 2 provides opportunities for students to address writing in the areas of persuasion, informative, historical fiction, and fables. "In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in an extended writing project. In this unit, students will use a graphic organizer to take notes on information presented in the Reader; paraphrase information from a text; assess information to form an opinion; and draft a persuasive paragraph." (TG, Unit 2, pt.1, p.5)

  • “In this unit, students will practice taking notes from the informational text of the Reader, as well as practice writing an informative, explanatory paragraph and a persuasive paragraph” (TG, unit 2-pt1, p. 5)
  • “Reread the section “Knowledge in the Classical Age,” on page 155. Write an informative paragraph describing similarities between Baghdad and Timbuktu as centers of learning” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p.114)
  • “Students will draft an informative paragraph about the life of a lord during the Middle Ages that includes a topic sentence, detail sentences, transition words, and a concluding sentence” (TG, Unit2-pt1, p. 58)
  • “The basic elements of an informative paragraph are identical to those students practiced in the Personal Narratives lessons. The difference is that the informative paragraphs will be written using notes taken from the informational chapters in Knights, Castles, and Chivalry. • Review the structure of an informative paragraph, using the Elements of an Informative Paragraph Poster” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 74)
  • “Draft a persuasive paragraph about lords and serfs” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 294)
  • “Remind students that the particular type of paragraph that they have practiced writing during the last several lessons was called an informative or explanatory paragraph, the purpose of which was to provide factual information about a particular topic. Explain that, in addition to providing information, yet another purpose for writing may be to persuade the reader toward a certain point of view or opinion. Tell students that they will start working today, and through the next several lessons, to learn how to write a persuasive paragraph and state an opinion” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 171)
  • “Students will plan a persuasive paragraph by stating their opinion and supporting it with facts from the text”(TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 226)

Unit 3 focuses on work with poetry. While poetry is the primary format for writing in the unit, integration of language instruction focuses on literary devices that support effective student writing in other genres.

  • “Students will compose questions and assemble them into an original poem.” (TG, Unit 3, p.32)
  • “Students will record information about one of their own experiences and plan a memory poem that includes sensory detail and rich description.” (TG, Unit 3, p.48)
  • “Students will compose original, simile-rich poems in response to the question, ‘What happens when your teeth aren’t brushed?’” (TG, Unit 3, p.61)
  • “Students use teacher feedback and prompts to plan revisions of their work on memory poems.” (TG, Unit 3, p.74)
  • “Students will draft a memory poem, compiling specific important details, organizing information, and selecting a method of repetition to emphasize tone.” (TG, Unit 3, p.89)
  • “Students will plan and draft original poems that use anaphora to describe a character’s many components or attributes.” (TG, Unit 3, p.123)
  • “Students write original narrative poems, using poetic devices to engage readers.” (TG, Unit 3, p.169)
  • “Write your own poem describing one of your memories. Make sure your poem includes a title and anaphora. You should also try to include figurative language or at least one example of alliteration. When you have completed your poem, complete the checklist table below.” (TG, Unit 3, p.189)

Unit 4 is a Quest unit entitled “Eureka!” that engages students in a game show format that utilizes content and activities about inventors and inventions to integrate reading, speaking, listening, and writing. “Throughout the Quest, students consistently practice informative and opinion writing. In addition to working on developing arguments and using support, the writing challenges lend themselves to adaptation and addition. You can focus on additional language standards by adding requirements to the challenge. If you have extra time, you can also take advantage of the emphasis on building collaboration skills and introduce a round of peer editing to one or more of the writing challenges.” (TG, Unit 4, p.2)

  • “Students will write clearly about their own collaboration experience, supporting their opinions with facts and details.” (TG, Unit 4, p.14)
  • “Students will write an opinion piece about the importance of the lightbulb, providing evidence to support their argument.” (TG, Unit 4, p.88)
  • “Students will write and present a skit with dialogue to show the importance of their lab’s invention.” (TG, Unit 4, p.144)
  • “Using examples from history and their own experiences, students will write an opinion piece on the usefulness of failure in the inventing process.” (TG, Unit 4, p.256)

Unit 5 continues process work with informational and descriptive writing in forms such as paragraphs, pamphlets, wiki entries.

  • "In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in several short writing projects. In this unit, students will examine and explain similes; draft an informational pamphlet about tsunamis; write a wiki entry about a specific volcano; and create a descriptive paragraph about a type of rock or item in the rock cycle, incorporating literary devices they have encountered in previous Grade 4 units, such as alliteration, personification, and simile." (TG, Unit 5, p.3)
  • “Students will draft a descriptive paragraph based on plans from a previous lesson.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 339)
  • “Students will use a graphic organizer to take notes by paraphrasing text and will also draft a wiki entry.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 205)

Unit 6 focuses on narrative prose, opinion and reflection writing, and development of character. Throughout this unit, students will practice using literary elements they have explored in each vignette—for example the use of detailed descriptions, the building of aspiration as a theme, and the contrast between the protagonists’ perceptions and the perceptions of others.

  • “Explain that today, students will apply their close reading of this scene to write an opinion statement. (TG, Unit 6, p. 65)
  • “Students write a personal reflection piece based on the day’s reading.” in their writer’s journal. (TG, Unit 6, p. 72) “Think about whether other people’s views are holding you back or whether they make you want to work harder and do more. In the space below, write how you think you respond to other people’s opinions and whether you would like that to change.” (WJ, Unit 6, p. 84, 85)
  • “Students create their own characters and dialogue, with a focus on describing characters from multiple perspectives.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 149)

Unit 7 Students work with opinion writing connected to the texts read and collected information.

  • Students participate in opinion writing with the following “Writing prompt: The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773, eight years after the Stamp Act of 1765, so the colonists had been living with unfair taxation for many years. Was it right for the Sons of Liberty to take such strong action by dumping the tea? Be sure to include both sides of the argument.” (AB, Unit 7, p.60)

Unit 8 engages students in an extended writing project, focusing on story:

"In the writing lessons, students will engage in an extended writing project, while continuing to practice the various stages of the writing process. They will begin by drafting a character sketch and then will write, publish, and share an original adventure story. While working on the adventure story, students will focus on character development, dialogue, verb choice, and revision methods." (TG, Unit 8, p.3)

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 4 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. Writing tasks that are not explicitly connected to texts are often still connected as texts provide models and components form which students learn and apply their knowledge. Some examples that represent how the program supports this include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Students are presented with questions to assist them in making careful choices for writing. "1. What facts, events, and details did you include from your longer paragraph? 2. Why did you choose to include these facts, events, and details? 3. What did you leave out? Why did you choose to leave it out? 4. What do you think a reader will be able to infer from your six-word memory?" (TG, Unit 1, p.28)
  • “For each reason, students must list evidence from the text and the page number where they found the evidence. Students should then write the reason in a complete sentence in their own words. They will include a transition word or phrase at the beginning, if possible, and use the word because to introduce the evidence for the reason” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 239-240)
  • “Have paper available for use as an exit slip when students respond to the following two-part question: What was the most positive effect King Henry II had on England? What was the most negative?” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 272)
  • “Today’s lesson included Nikki Giovanni’s poem “My First Memory (of Librarians),” a poem in which the narrator remembers an event from her childhood and describes it with lots of detail. In this exercise, you’ll think about a memory of your own, then answer some questions. If you don’t finish during class time, you may complete your work at home.” (TG, Unit 3, p.48)
  • “Answer each question thoughtfully, citing the page number(s) where you found evidence for each question. Answer in complete sentences and restate the question in your answer whenever possible.” (AB, Unit 5, p. 43-44)
  • “Can you find any evidence in the text that helps you to infer how many bedrooms there are?” (TG, Unit 6, p. 16)
  • “Based on the scene with the nun, what is the most likely reason for Esperanza’s aspirations? Provide evidence.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 68)
  • Some of the questions that follow a reading excerpt also provide opportunities for students to participate in brief evidence-based writing. “Did the colonists express their unhappiness with the Stamp Act in peaceful or violent ways? Cite evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 7, p.27)
  • “Review directions for the writing prompt on Activity Page 5.3. Direct students to quote text from Activity Page 5.2 or another source, using quotations with commas. Individualize expectations as appropriate. Make additional sources available for students who wish to look deeper or to argue against the Sons of Liberty.” (TG, Unit 7, p.101)

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 4 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. While some units contain multiple opportunities for students to learn, review, or practice grammar and conventions skills, other units assume student understanding of grade-level grammar and conventions. In the context of writing projects, students are reminded of specific areas where they should be mindful of elements of grammar and conventions. There are inconsistent supports for students to practice grammar activities out of context.

Unit 1

In Unit 1, one lesson specifically mentions conventions:

  • Examples from primary reading selections are used to illustrate some language activities. “Tell students that today they will have a chance to write some dialogue for their food narratives, but first they will review some basic rules of capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphs for dialogue.” (TG, Unit 1, p.99)

Some language skills are taught within the context of reading and writing. Examples include:

  • “After students have read “The Farm,” have them work in their groups to prepare a presentation that shows the definition of their vocabulary word. Groups that are assigned verbs should prepare a movement demonstration of their vocabulary word. Groups that are assigned a noun should draw a picture of their word on the board or a large piece of paper.” (TG, Unit 1, p.96)
  • Some language activities do not use primary reading texts as examples, but the language activities prepare students to include literary devices such as similes and metaphors in their writing. “Remind students that they have already worked on using sensory language. Tell them another way to make descriptive language vivid is to use similes and metaphors.” (TG, Unit 1, p.167)
  • The BOY assessment includes a grammar component. “Have students work independently to complete the Grammar Assessment on Activity Page A.5. Answers are provided at the end of BOY Assessment Day 2 in this Teacher Guide. Enter all student scores into the Grammar Assessment Scoring Sheet.” (TG, Unit 1, p.248)

Unit 2

Unlike other units reviewed for Grade 4, Unit 2 includes many lessons on grammar and conventions.

  • “Model the process of scanning the text, having students follow along in their Readers while you think aloud. As you model, periodically call attention to the use of nouns and adjectives in the notes you are creating” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 55)
  • “Explain that because the notes in the graphic organizer are paraphrased fragments (in our own words), they must be transformed into sentences to become the three detail sentences: one about homes, one about work, and one about power” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 75)
  • “Remind students that complete sentences have subjects (who or what the sentence is about) and predicates (what the subject is doing). Sentence fragments can be transformed into sentences by the addition of the part of the sentence that is missing, either a subject or a predicate” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 75)
  • “Editing Checklist/Editing Checklist After checking for each type of edit, place a check here." (AB, Unit 2-pt.1, p. 147)
  • “Practice Parts of Speech, Subjects, and Predicates- Draw a vertical line separating the subject and predicate. Underline the nouns. Draw a wiggly line under the verbs. Identify the adjectives and adverbs by writing abbreviations above them (adj. or adv.). Draw an arrow from the adjectives to the nouns they describe in one color, and from adverbs to the verbs they describe in another color.” (AB, Unit 2-pt.1, p. 159)
  • “Write sentences using spelling words of your choice that were not used in the first eight sentences. Be sure to use correct capitalization and punctuation.” (AB, Unit 2, pt.1, p. 164)
  • “There are four run-on sentences in the paragraph below. Underline them, and then in the spaces beneath, rewrite each run-on as two complete sentences” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 104)
  • “Tell students that they will focus on specific parts of speech called nouns and adjectives. Parts of speech are categories of words grouped by how they are used in a sentence” (TG, Unit 2-pt1-p.51)
  • “Conclude by pointing out that good writers make frequent use of adjectives to make their writing more interesting. Encourage students to take special note of adjectives when they are reading the chapters in their Reader, as well as to use adjectives when they are discussing or writing about the Middle Ages” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 52)
  • “Students should direct you to draw a vertical line between the subject and predicate and write abbreviations above adverbs and adjectives (adj. for adjectives and adv. for adverbs). Draw a squiggly line under each verb and underline nouns. Have students identify which arrows you should add from adjectives to nouns and from adverbs to verbs” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 336)
  • “Tell students that today they will learn about sentence fragments, and that this lesson will help them write sentences that are complete and grammatically correct. • Remind students that they learned that every sentence must have a subject and a predicate” 9TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 35)

Unit 3

In the poetry unit, no lessons specifically addressing grammar and conventions were noted. Some language skills are taught within the context of reading and writing poetry. Examples include:

  • “Students identify stanza, stanza break, line, and rhyme within ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.’” (TG, Unit 3, p.16)
  • “Students will define the terms repetition and alliteration and create original work using alliteration.” (TG, Unit 3, p.27)
  • “Tell students to listen to “Harlem” one more time and to follow along in their Poet’s Journal. As you read the poem aloud, students should underline every simile.” (TG, Unit 3, p.59)
  • “Students identify and define examples of figurative language.” (TG, Unit 3, p.67)

Unit 4 No grammar and conventions lessons or activities were found in Unit 4.

Unit 5

  • “Students will identify the correct location of commas in dates, addresses, city and state, and items in a series.” In the mini lesson on commas, only one example relates to the text,” Tectonic plates can move apart collide or slide sideways past one another.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 55-57) In the Activity book only one example is related to the text, “Earth’s layers are the inner core the outer core the mantle and the crust.” (AB, Unit 5, p. 23-24)
  • “Students will determine where to insert quotation marks and commas in sentences containing direct quotes or dialogue.” The lesson gives an example from the text, “Refer to the first sentence you prepared in advance. Read it aloud and explain that this sentence includes information being quoted from page 32 of The Changing Earth. The text states, “Erupting volcanoes are dramatic natural events.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 145) The activity book assignment has practice problems related to the text. Examples include “Rocks are naturally occurring materials made of solid substances the author explains. and There are three types of rocks the teacher explained igneous sedimentary and metamorphic.” (AB, Unit 5, p. 51-52)

Unit 6

  • “Reviewing Personal Pronouns, On the board/chart paper, write the header Personal Pronouns, and underneath write the following definition and chart.”…The lesson continues to using pronouns to identify characters in the text, “Explain that you are going to look closely at how the author uses pronouns in this vignette. Ask students to read the vignette again, this time circling every personal pronoun they encounter. Direct students to Writer’s Journal 7.1. Review or read instructions. As they complete the chart and the short-answer questions, circulate and check in with students.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 133)

Unit 7

In unit 7 students are reading about the American Revolution and the grammar lessons connect to their reading. For example, “Students will practice correct use of commas in dates, places, and items in a series when recalling details about the American Revolution.” (TG, Unit 7, p.32) An example sentence is “The French and Indian War ended on February 10, 1763.” (TG, Unit 7, p.34)

When teaching students about commas with quotations marks the following example is provided to students, “The text states, “During the French and Indian War, many Native Americans chose sides,” or “During the French and Indian War, many Native Americans chose sides,” the text states.” (TG, Unit 7, p.64)

The activity book includes exercises with the following directions “Insert punctuation, including quotation marks, in the appropriate locations” with practice sentences including “How could any one man claim the right to rule over millions asked Thomas Paine.” (AB, Unit 7, p.164)

Direct instruction is provided on grammar throughout unit 7. Direct instruction involves the teacher using charts and graphs and sentences that relate to the reading. For example the following directions are given to the teacher, “Direct students’ attention to the Subject–Action Verb Agreement Chart you prepared in advance. Tell students you will complete the chart as a class. Reference the Subject–Action Verb Agreement Poster as necessary. Combine subjects with action verbs and write full phrases under “Agreement” on the chart.” The chart that the teacher prepared ahead of time includes sentences such as “The King rules.” And “The soldiers march.” (TG, Unit 7, p.124)

Unit 8

The grammar lessons in Unit 8 focus on modal auxiliary verbs, relative pronouns, and coordinating conjunctions. All grammar lessons use the same format where the teacher displays a previously made chart with sentence examples. Students are then called on to read the sentences aloud and the teacher models how best to combine the sentences. Students then receive practice of the grammar skill by completing Activity Book pages.

“Fill in the blank with the correct to be verb for agreement in the present tense” with sentences such as “We _______ loved and I ________ sleep.” (AB, Unit 8, p.19)

“Read each pair of sentences. Then, combine each pair of sentences into one sentence, using the appropriate relative pronoun.” (AB, Unit 8, p.49)

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 reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for materials, questions, and tasks that address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, morphology, vocabulary, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression. 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, although connections to foundational skills are not consistently explicit. Fluency lessons and activities do not always inform the teacher of the purpose of fluency activity and how fluency components such as accuracy, rate, and expression should be practiced by the students.

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations for materials, questions, and tasks that address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, morphology, 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 in decoding words is addressed in Units 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The phonics and word analysis skills are not explicit lessons though.

  • Unit 1 includes a Beginning-of-the-Year assessment that addresses some foundational skills including morphology and fluency. “The Beginning-of-Year Assessment includes three components to be administered in a whole group setting, completed independently by each student: a written assessment of reading comprehension, a written assessment of grammar, and a written assessment of morphology. The Beginning-of-Year Assessment also includes two components to be administered individually to students: an oral assessment of word reading in isolation and a fluency assessment” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 3).
  • Specific lessons and supports for struggling students are not identified by the Beginning-of-the-Year assessment are provided. Teachers are advised as follows:
    • “Students who are significantly below grade level, with significant gaps in letter-sound knowledge, require intensive decoding instruction on their level, ideally by a reading specialist, to bring them up to grade level” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 1, p. 4).

In Units 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology are addressed.

  • In Unit 2-pt 2, “Tell students that they will now be looking at the root word graph, which comes from ancient Greek. Then provide them with these examples of English words containing the root graph: autograph, paragraph, biography. Ask students to think about how these words all relate to one another” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 85).
  • In Unit 5, “Students will use words with the suffixes –ly and –y and words with the roots graph and rupt in sentences” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 352). Students will use the Activity Book to complete this as an activity. Directions in the Activity Book state: “Practice Suffixes –ly and –y and Roots graph and rupt. Write a complete sentence for each of the following words. Be sure to use correct capitalization and punctuation. (Activity Book, pgs. 131-132)
  • If students are performing below grade level in syllabication patterns: “Students who have difficulty reading one-syllable words may have a major problem reading the words or spellings in question and need intensive remediation beyond what can likely be provided in a Grade 4 classroom” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 1, p.268).

Grade 4 materials include an Decoding and Encoding Supplement. It contains assessment, additional instruction, and remediation for foundational skills.

Most lists of core, academic, and literary vocabulary words provide only general information for teachers in providing a “preview” and “exposure” to words as students are expected to develop an understanding of highlighted vocabulary.

  • Before students read from the Student Reader, the teacher is instructed to “Preview the core vocabulary words before reading the chapter” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 8, p. 260).
  • Highlighted vocabulary words are identified at the beginning of lessons, but no specific vocabulary activities or recommendations accompany those lists. For example, in Unit 1, nine vocabulary words are listed in the Teacher’s Guide on p. 62. The word crevices is on the list. Crevices is in the passage. There are no explicit instructions for teaching word analysis and word meaning of crevices in the lesson.
  • Some of the vocabulary words are addressed within the context of the lessons. “Break the class into groups of three or four and assign each group one of the day’s core vocabulary words. Tell students to copy the word, part of speech, and definition at the top of Activity Page 6.1” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 1, p. 91).
  • Almost every lesson contains a Word Work component. The Word Work section has a consistent format. Some examples of words analyzed include conflict, impress, fleet, defiant, dread, formidable, console, and revere.

Although opportunities for students to work on reading fluency are provided, activities are typically unstructured or included in optional supplemental materials. Overall, a clear progression of activities supporting fluency development (accuracy, rate, automaticity, and prosody) is not evident. According to the Program Guide, Fluency standards are addressed in Units 2-8.

  • The fluency practice is included in supplemental material. For example:
    • “Fluency (optional) - Choose and make sufficient copies of a text selection from the online Fluency Supplement to distribute and review with students for additional fluency practice. If you choose to do a fluency assessment, you will assess students in Lesson 10” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 7, p. 105).
    • “Have students take home a text selection from the Fluency Supplement if you are choosing to provide additional fluency practice” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 7, p. 233).
    • “Have students take home Activity Page 12.2 to read for fluency and complete for homework” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 8, p. 253).

Indicator 1p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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, connections to foundational skills are not always evident.

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 section in some sections provide opportunities to study a vocabulary word from the reading and apply it.
    • “1. In the chapter you read, “Where winds deposit sediments regularly, layers of sediment slowly build up.” 2. Say the word deposit with me. 3. Deposit means “to put or leave in a particular place.” 4. During fierce storms, strong wind gusts deposit leaves all over the roads. 5. What are some other examples of ways you can use deposit? Be sure to use the word deposit in your response. Answers will vary. Be sure students use complete sentences and phrases such as “___ was deposited when ___.” 6. What part of speech is the word deposit? -verb • Use a Synonyms activity for follow-up. 3. What does the word deposit mean? What are some synonyms, or words that have a similar meaning, of deposit? -possible synonyms: put, leave, place • Have each pair create a sentence for each of the synonyms of deposit it thinks of” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, p. 278).
    • After a word work mini lesson on the word, exert (which was used in the text), the teacher is directed to the following: “ Which sentence uses exert correctly: She exerted plenty of effort to swim across the river or She did not have much exert when she walked to school this morning? -the first. Use a Discussion activity for follow-up. Talk with your partner about a time when you, or someone you know, exerted a lot of force or effort to create an effect. Be sure to use the word exert in complete sentences as you discuss this with your partner” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, p. 76).
  • Before students read in the Student Reader, lessons contain vocabulary charts with sections labeled vocabulary type (core, Spanish cognates, multiple-meaning, sayings and phrases), tier 3, and tier 2. These charts are provided for teacher reference. Instructions for vocabulary typically include the following directions: “Preview the core vocabulary words before reading the chapter. Begin by telling students the first vocabulary word they will encounter in this chapter is conflict. Have them find the word on page 2 of the Reader. Explain that each vocabulary word is bolded the first time it appears in the chapter. Have students refer to the glossary at the back of the Reader, locate conflict, and then have a student read the definition. Explain the following: the part of speech, alternate forms of the word. Have students reference Activity Page 1.2 while you read each word and its meaning” (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 7, p. 16).
  • Some questions require students to use a vocabulary word to answer to answer it. For example, in Unit 7, “In the previous chapter, the text says that 73 British soldiers had been killed and 174 wounded by the colonial militia during a day of fighting outside Boston. In this paragraph, what vocabulary word is used when talking about both the dead and the wounded soldiers?” The answer is “casualties” (Teacher’s Guide, p.137).
  • Students have the opportunity to hear a vocabulary word used in a comprehension question and then answer the question. For example, in Unit 2-pt1, “The first sentence of this paragraph begins with the word despite, which is a clue that we are going to read about something that happened even though other events might have prevented it from happening. What positive thing happened in the Middle Ages despite some of the negative things that happened? (Teacher’s Guide, p.26)

Examples of skills taught in context which allow students to apply the word to the text being read include:

  • In Unit 2-pt 2, the teacher directions suggest students use context clues to figure out the meaning of rivals.
  • In Unit 8, “Using context clues, have students try to figure out the meaning of the word farthing. Students should determine that a farthing is some amount of money. Explain to students that a farthing is a coin worth less than a penny, and was formerly part of Great Britain’s currency” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 37).
  • In Unit 8,”Using context clues in paragraph one on page 44 of the Reader, have students determine the meaning of the word outlandish (odd, unusual, bizarre). Ask students to identify the words in the Reader that help them determine the meaning of the word outlandish” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 162).

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

  • Direct morphology instruction is provided in lessons 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 14, and 16. These lessons focus on the root port, prefixes –im and -in, and the suffixes –ible and –able (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 7, p. iii, iv, v).
  • In Unit 2-pt 1, “Read each word and its meaning. Then, add the prefix en– to the word. Determine the meaning of the new word and write a sentence using the new word. 1. courage Meaning: bravery Add en–: New meaning: Sentence: 2. case Meaning: a container or box for holding things Add en–: New meaning: Sentence:” (Activity Book, p.108).
  • In Unit 7, “Add the prefix im– to mature. Have students read the new word; then, discuss the part of speech and the meaning of the word, and use it in a sentence. (Immature is an adjective meaning “not fully grown, developed, or thought out.” The fruit they picked was immature and not ripe yet, so it didn’t taste very good.)” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 228).
  • In Unit 8, “Add the prefix im– to mature. Have students read the new word; then, discuss the part of speech and the meaning of the word, and use it in a sentence. (Immature is an adjective meaning “not fully grown, developed, or thought out.” The fruit they picked was immature and not ripe yet, so it didn’t taste very good.)” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 137).

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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. Fluency lessons and activities do not always inform the teacher of the purpose of fluency activity and how fluency components such as accuracy, rate, and expression should be practiced by the students.

There are 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 fluently with a partner or in small groups.
    • In Unit 2, “This chapter will be reread by students, working with partners, in the next lesson. This first read of the chapter will focus on the text on pages 48–53, and the next lesson will cover the entire chapter” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 206).
    • Sometimes, opportunities to read silently and read aloud are mixed in with partner reading activities. “Explain that both students will read the first page silently, and then one partner will read that page aloud. Next, they will both read the second page silently, and then the other partner will read that page aloud, and so on. Students can ask their partner for help with sounding out or defining words as necessary” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 114).
    • In Unit 8, students read text (previously read aloud by the whole class) independently or with a partner (Teacher’s Guide, p. 65).
  • Reading with enthusiasm and expression is emphasized in some lessons.
    • In Unit 2, “When the class has finished, select students to read their paragraphs aloud to the class. Tell them to read in a very dramatic and expressive way” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 34).
  • Opportunities for fluency remediation are suggested.
    • In Unit 2, “Choose and make sufficient copies of a text selection from the online Fluency Supplement to distribute and review with students for additional fluency practice” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 123).
    • In Unit 3, “Students who struggle with fluency will benefit from having multiple opportunities to reread a particular text. If students demonstrate a need for remediation related to fluency, you may have them either reread selections from the Reader or choose an excerpt from the Fluency Supplement” (Teacher’s Guide p. 193).
  • Opportunities to read-aloud at home are provided such as:
    • In Unit 2, “Have students take home Activity Page 4.6, an excerpt from “Gloomy Castles and Jousting Nights,” to read to a family member. Explain that they are rereading this portion of the text for fluency, so they should read through it at least once from beginning to end without stopping” (Teacher’s Guide p. 99).
    • In Unit 7, “Have students take home Activity Page 1.4 to read for fluency and complete for homework” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 31).
  • Optional fluency supplements are provided.
    • In Unit 1, “Pausing Point 1 (Activity Page PP.1)- The first Pausing Point page contains an excerpt from Stickeen: The Story of a Dog, a personal narrative by naturalist John Muir. You may have students read the narrative individually or in any grouping that is convenient” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 271). This optional activity provides an opportunity for additional reading practice related to the core text that could be used to enhance reading fluency.
    • In Unit 5, “Have students take home a text selection from the Fluency Supplement if you are choosing to provide additional fluency practice” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 34).

The materials contain opportunities for students to practice reading silently.

  • In Unit 2, “Have students turn to page 11 and locate the final sentence of the first paragraph. Read that sentence aloud and then have students reread the sentence silently” Teacher's Guide, p. 64).
  • In Unit 7, students are given opportunities to read their Student Reader: “Have students read pages 10 and 11 silently” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 37).

Fluency assessments are included. For example:

  • In Unit 1,“The Beginning-of-Year Assessment also includes two components to be administered individually to students: an oral assessment of word reading in isolation and a fluency assessment” (Teacher’s Guide, p.3).
  • In Unit 8, all students take an end-of-year fluency assessment “Begin to administer the Fluency Assessment individually to all students. This section of the EOY Assessment assesses students’ fluency in reading, using the selection ‘Paul Bunyan’” (Teacher’s Guide p. 351).

Poetry is found in Unit 3, Poet’s Journal. Students read “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The New Colossus.” As students read the poems, there are activity pages for students to complete.

Students practice fluency through the reading of their own written works.

  • In Unit 2, a Pausing Point activity allowing students to present selections of poetry orally would provide opportunities for oral fluency practice. “This is a culmination of the Poetry unit, in which all students have generated their own material. Students may read several lines from an exercise they are proud of or a full poem they have created” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 205).
  • In Unit 4, students write a “pitch” for an invention and then students have an opportunity to read to one another and refine their oral fluency and presentation skills. “Once students have written their paragraphs, have the lab members read their paragraphs to one another while the listeners consult the checklist to ensure that all elements have been included” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 154).
  • Also in Unit 4, the Final Challenge activities provide other opportunities for students to practice oral fluency. “Have students participate in a “parade of invention”—each student looks into the “camera” and does a super-mini-pitch (name of invention plus slogan)” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 306).
  • In Unit 6, students are to “...practice reading with their partners. Ask partners to give supportive feedback about the reading. Tell your partner if their voice needs to be louder. Is their enunciation clear? Are they expressing the voice of the characters in the dialogue?” (Teacher’s Guide, p. 122)

Overall, a clear progression of activities supporting fluency development (accuracy, rate, automaticity, and prosody) 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 4 meet the expectations of indicators 2a through 2h. The materials are organized around topics to build students' knowledge in service of their growing literacy abilities. Incorporation of academic vocabulary as a vehicle to building knowledge is also consistent throughout the year. The materials support a comprehensive, year-long vocabulary approach that engages students in word work daily. The materials attend to building knowledge and students' analyzing concepts within and across texts, as they include many directions and questions and activities. Materials support a year-long plan for independent reading. The materials for Grade 4 include a consistently-supported and cohesive year-long plan to build and support students' writing development.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for organization of texts around topics for building students’ ability to read and comprehend texts independently and proficiently. All student reading materials and read-aloud selections are related by topic in each unit with academic and core vocabulary words identified and emphasized throughout. Examples of how the program organizes students' engagement with texts around topics to build knowledge include the following samples:

Unit 2 Focuses on texts that build students' knowledge of history in the middle ages. Empires in the Middle Ages unit covers the history of both the Middle Ages in Europe and the Islamic Medieval Empires. The Middle Ages in Europe and Islamic Medieval Empires units have always been companions in the Grade 4 sequence because their subjects are highly related. While the Middle Ages deals primarily with the events of western Europe, and the relationship between the Christian Church and the rulers of the region, the concurrent Islamic Empires in the Middle Ages unit looks at events in another part of the world (particularly in what is now called the Middle East).

All texts and activities in Unit 3 are organized around the topic of poetry: “This unit gives students tools and strategies for approaching poetry, training them in the methods and devices poets use and equipping them to read and interpret both formal and free verse poems. It gives them continual opportunities to create poems themselves, allowing them to practice what they have learned.” (TG, Unit 3, p.1)

Unit 5 Includes texts about geology and the earth itself. Students study erosion, weather, and other geological processes via complex text that builds vocabulary and knowledge that can transfer into science coursework.

Unit 6 is centered around the novel The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which is a "bridge between poetry and narrative text. The narratives within the chapters will engage students and build knowledge not just of the writing styles and how novels are built, but also of the progress and growth of the main character, Esperanza as she navigates school, home, and family.

Every text in Unit 7 is centered on the topic of the American Revolution. “The Road to Independence focuses on important events and people that led to the colonists’ decision to declare independence from the British government. Students will examine the sequence of events leading to the American Revolution and what happened during the war itself. Students will also read two literary selections about the time period.” (TG, Unit 7, p.3)

Unit 8 examines the fiction genre through Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Students build knowledge of the time as well as of the written form here. Texts connected to the main novel support understanding of the plot, themes, and time period.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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-aloud selections paired with 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:

Unit 1

  • “As you read, have students identify the events in each paragraph and record them on Activity Page 7.2. Also record the events on a class timeline or a large piece of paper. Consider keeping the class timeline up and adding events as you continue reading Small Steps.” (TG, Unit 1, p.112)
  • “Discuss with students what sticks with them most about the passage. What are the most interesting and vivid details? How do they help the reader understand the narrator’s experience?” (TG, Unit 1, p.175)

Unit 2 (Parts 1 & 2)

  • “Write one sentence for each of the four images to describe what the serf might be doing in each image. Refer to the text, “If You Were a Boy Serf,” to find evidence to support your response” (AB, Unit 2-pt.1, p. 32)
  • “Look back at the paragraph on page 132 that begins, “Finally, there were the champions.” Based on this text, why might Vahan have been upset about the Muslims defeating so many of the Byzantine champions?” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 73)


Unit 3

  • “Tell students that as they listen to Alexie’s excerpt, they should pay careful attention and look for words in the poem that suggest the speaker’s tone. They might also notice if any words are emphasized.” (TG, Unit 3, p.85)
  • “Explain that the effects of repetition are similar to the effects of anaphora, which is specifically the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of consecutive lines. However, because the words are repeated in the same place—at the start of each line—anaphora also adds structure to the poem. This kind of repetition can make a poem resemble a chant.” (TG, Unit 3, p.113)
  • “Listen to the poem’s title again: ‘Words Free as Confetti.’ What literary device is Mora using in the title, and what word helps you identify it?” (TG, Unit 3, p.131)

Unit 4

The Unit 4 Quest activities focus heavily on writing, speaking, and listening. Many activities and questions, however, require that students analyze text selections. Examples of those activities include:

  • “When they are done with the cards, ask students to share their research from their inventor’s biography and their completed inventor card, with their team lab. Each student should have a chance to share.” (TG, Unit 4, p.67)
  • “Review the inventor cards. Check that each student has provided complete answers and used evidence from the text. Provide prompts to encourage more details or evidence from the text.” (TG, Unit 4, p.85)

Unit 5

  • “Have one student read The Big Question at the beginning of the chapter. Ensure students understand the meaning of The Big Question before reading the chapter. How do tectonic plates and Earth’s layers interact to change the surface of the earth?” (TG, Unit 5, p. 41)
  • “Based on the author’s descriptive language when explaining a tsunami, is a tsunami a positive or negative result of an earthquake? How do you know? Use Think-Pair-Share to have students answer this question.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 121)
  • “To polish means “to make something smooth and shiny.” The author states that Agnes Nyanhongo polishes parts of her sculptures. Why might Agnes Nyanhongo have to polish her sculptures?” (TG, Unit 5, p. 221)

Unit 6

  • “What quote gives you the evidence for this feeling?” (TG, Unit 6, p. 46)
  • "How does Esperanza feel when she is in her own neighborhood? What does “All brown all around, we are safe” mean?" (TG, Unit 6, p. 148)

Unit 7

  • Activity page 3.1 focuses on idioms used in “Trouble Is Brewing.” It gives the following directions to students “Each of the following sentences contains an underlined idiom. Follow these steps for each one: • Find the sentence in your Reader and write the page number. • Explain the idiom in your own words.” (AB, Unit 7, p.33)
  • “The first paragraph says: ‘The cost of the pleasure in all this was the terror of his walk home.’ What does the cost of the pleasure mean, and what does it refer to?” (TG, Unit 7, p.260)
  • “Underline the two similes used to describe Ichabod Crane in this sentence: His elbows stuck out like a grasshopper’s, and as he rode, his arms flapped like a pair of wings. What two things are compared in each simile?” (TG, Unit 7, p.277)

Unit 8

  • “Casual language is often used to portray character. When the pirates speak to each other in Treasure Island, some of the dialogue includes shortened forms of words, slang, and incorrect grammar. An example of this is when Bill says, 'He’s a bad ’un, but there’s worse than him after me.' What does this casual language portray about the characters?”(TG, Unit 8, p.24)
  • “A simile is a literary device that compares two different things, usually using like or as. In the last sentence of the first paragraph, a simile is used to describe the sunrise Jim sees as he arrives in Bristol. What is the simile and what does it mean? What effect does this simile have?”(TG, Unit 8, p.104)
  • Hyperbole is figurative language that describes something in a highly exaggerated way, or as better or worse than it really is. Identify an example of hyperbole on this page. What does the hyperbole portray about Silver’s character?”(TG, Unit 8, p.111)

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 that support students analyzing knowledge within a text include, but are not limited to, the following samples. Note some questions and activities include an indication of the type of question being asked (e.g., evaluative, inferential):

Unit 1

  • “Evaluative. Who is a more important character in this essay, Lily or Sandy? Who are you more interested in?” (TG, Unit 1, p.41)
  • “With your partner, reread chapter one of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family and write down all the examples of cause and effect you see in the passage.” (TG, Unit 1, p.55)
  • “Condoleezza Rice’s birth made her father a feminist who believed that his daughter could do anything. Using cause and effect structure, you will write a paragraph describing how someone changed you or how you changed someone else.” (TG, Unit 1, p.56)
  • “What is different about the way the firsthand account and the secondhand account support the main ideas?” (TG, Unit 1, p.143)

Unit 2 (Parts 1 & 2)

  • “Answer the following questions on the lines provided. Remember to answer in complete sentences, using information from the text to support your answers. 1. Were people from different areas in the Middle Ages able to communicate easily with one another? Why or why not? Page(s). 2. Name three transforming events leading up to the Middle Ages in Europe. Page(s)” (AB, Unit 2-pt1, p. 14)
  • “Answer each question thoughtfully, citing evidence from the text and page number(s) where you found evidence for each question. Answer in complete sentences and restate the question in your answer whenever possible. 1. Young men in the Middle Ages were often required to become foot soldiers or knights. What was happening in the Middle Ages that required young men to become fighters?” (AB, Unit 2-pt1, p. 35)
  • “Imagine you are traveling through the medieval countryside and you see a boy about your age. Based on today’s reading, what evidence would you use to decide whether the child is a serf or a noble?” (TG, Unit 2-pt.1, p. 49)

Unit 3

  • “Students will identify textual evidence to determine the implicit and explicit meanings of Harryette Mullen’s ‘Ask Aden.’” (TG, Unit 3, p.25)
  • Students are asked to compare two poems: “Tell students that the next poem is by Norman Ault, a British man known for his poetry and his artistic abilities as an illustrator. As students listen to the poem read aloud, they should pay attention to differences between this poem and Mullen’s poem.” (TG, Unit 3, p.29)
  • “Inference. Based on the relationship Giovanni has with books as an adult, what do you imagine her feelings were about librarians as a child? Make sure to explain how you reached your answer.” (TG, Unit 3, p.43)
  • “Students will identify how Whitman characterizes America and make inferences about what Whitman most values about the nation.” (TG, Unit 3, p.97)
  • “Carl Sandburg’s poem ‘Fog’ uses an extended metaphor to compare the fog to a cat. Using the poem as a reference, complete the following chart to show the different parts of Sandburg’s extended metaphor.” (TG, Unit 3, p.145)
  • “This poem is too complex to understand completely without hearing and reading it multiple times. However, you probably still understood a great deal from your first experience with the poem. The following questions will show just how much you understand about the poem already.” (TG, Unit 3, p.156)

Unit 4

  • “Students will integrate ideas from two texts and speak knowledgeably on the best practices of collaboration.” (TG, Unit 4, p.14)
  • “Students will complete close reads of several inventor biographies and will be able to summarize, refer to details, and draw inferences from these texts.” (TG, Unit 4, p.59)

Unit 5

  • “Literal. According to the text, what are some ways in which erupting volcanoes can change Earth’s surface? You may wish to have students answer this question in small groups. If you do, challenge each group to find as many ways as they can, and ask them to compare their answers with a second group’s after a minute or two.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 132)
  • “What are rocks? Ask students to indicate to a partner where in the text they found the information that answers the question.” (TG, Unit 5, p. 192)
  • “Answer each question thoughtfully, citing the page number(s) where you found evidence for each question. Answer in complete sentences and restate the question in your answer whenever possible.” (AB, Unit 5, p. 43, 79)

Unit 6

  • “In the first vignette, “The House on Mango Street,” we discovered that Esperanza wanted people to have a different perception of her. In this vignette, what does Esperanza understand about the link between her own perceptions of others and others’ perceptions of her?” (TG, Unit 6, p. 222)
  • “Evaluative. According to the graph, what is the same in the two vignettes? What is different in the two vignettes?” (TG, Unit 6, p. 48)
  • “Evaluative. How do these actions compare with what Esperanza describes in the first paragraph? Use quotes. (TG, Unit 6, p. 148)

Unit 7

  • “Sequence the following events from first to last. The first event, the French and Indian War, is already labeled. Number the remaining events 2–5.” (AB, Unit 7, p.37);
  • “Tell students they will reread an excerpt from Chapter 3, ‘The Fight Begins,’ and an excerpt from the poem ‘Paul Revere’s Ride,’ by Henry Longfellow. • Have students turn to the first page of the chapter. • Tell students they will read closely to examine the author’s words, sentences, and literary devices for a deeper understanding of ‘The Fight Begins’ and the poem ‘Paul Revere’s Ride.’” (TG, Unit 7, p.90
  • “In the Reader, you read that there were two ways for the British soldiers to get to Concord from Boston. What were they? Why, then, do you think the poem says, ‘One if by land, and two if by sea’?”(TG, Unit 7, p.95)
  • “ Based on what you learned in the Reader about Paul Revere’s ride, do you think the poem excerpt is historically accurate, meaning all the details in the excerpt you read are exactly how they happened that night in 1775? Include examples from the Reader text and the poem to support your answer.” (TG, Unit 7, p.98)
  • “In the first sentence of the fifth paragraph, what does the word limped imply about the condition the soldiers were in when they arrived at Valley Forge?” (TG, Unit 7, p.180)

Unit 8

  • “Make an inference about why the captain says, “This is the perfect place for me” and justify your inference with evidence from the text.”(TG, Unit 8, p.19)
  • “Jim seems much surer of himself in this scene than in earlier chapters. How does he show leadership on the Hispaniola?”(TG, Unit 8, p.210)

Students integrate knowledge across multiple texts is in the enrichment portion of Unit 8. Throughout the entire unit students are reading an abridged version of Treasure Island. As part of enrichment, students read a chapter from the original Treasure Island. Students then can respond to this question, “How does the language in Stevenson’s original version differ from that in the Reader?”(AB, Unit 8, p.170) As an additional enrichment piece students can read Blackbeard and answer the following prompt, “Discuss some similarities between the story of “Blackbeard” and Treasure Island.”(AB, Unit 8, p.172)

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 4 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 provide an opportunity for students to integrate thinking and learning from primary texts.

Examples of culminating activities include:

In Unit 1, students also complete personal narrative essays, in which they use six lessons and revise along the way. They do complete editing and revision along the way, and do "complete a final polish of their work using a self-evaluation and editing checklist.” (TG, Unit 1, p.238) They also work with peers in this unit to practice revision techniques:“ Allow students to work with a partner to review their answers to the final question and to discuss the kind of conclusion they will write.” (TG, Unit 1, p.224)

The culminating tasks in Unit 2 include writing informative paragraphs, a persuasive paragraph, and an end of the unit assessment that includes reading, grammar, spelling, and an optional fluency assessment). While there are many peer sharing opportunities that offer the students the chance to orally present and listen to others, those opportunities are limited in terms of culminating presentation in this unit. Students are supported with graphic organizers and guides throughout this process, and teacher notes indicate the through line of writing learning from the previous Unit. Students do read their work out loud to peers: “Explain that one partner will read his or her story for five minutes, and the listener will have five minutes to provide feedback (complimentary and critical). Then, the roles will switch and the other partner will share and receive feedback” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 175)

Unit 3 Includes tasks that have students create original poetry and read dialogue from texts encountered in the Unit:

  • “After students identify the lines of dialogue, ask them to read the dialogue in pairs, with different people playing the roles of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.” (TG, Unit 3, p.13)
  • “Students will compose questions and assemble them into an original poem.” (TG, Unit 3, p.32)
  • “Students will record information about one of their own experiences and plan a memory poem that includes sensory detail and rich description.” (TG, Unit 3, p.48)
  • “Students use teacher feedback and prompts to plan revisions of their work on memory poems.” (TG, Unit 3, p.74)
  • “Students will read their original poem aloud to a peer and give feedback.” (TG, Unit 3, p.95)
  • “Students will plan and draft original poems that use anaphora to describe a character’s many components or attributes.” (TG, Unit 3, p.123)
  • “Students construct original poems containing their own extended metaphors comparing the weather to an animal.” (TG, Unit 3, p.146)
  • “Students write original narrative poems, using poetic devices to engage readers.” (TG, Unit 3, p.169)

Unit 4 is a Quest that places students on a make-believe game show as they learn about the value of collaboration and the nature and need for invention. “As they go through Eureka! Student Inventor, students read a range of informational texts about inventors, inventions, and the process of creation. In addition to close readings, students analyze objects and situations in the world around them, identify problems, create evidence-based solutions, and ultimately become inventors themselves. By routinely writing informational and opinion pieces, students practice research, observation, communication, and persuasion. They also engage in a range of collaborative discussions, sharing ideas and working in teams with defined roles and agreed-upon rules.” (TG, Unit 1, p.1) Students write a reflection on this unit. There is minimal support for teachers to monitor and adjust support for student skills throughout the work.

In Unit 5, students write a descriptive paragraph about a rock or other item in the rock cycle. The writing includes recall to Unit 1 to support students as they build upon their skills: "Remind them that they wrote a descriptive paragraph about an object. Tell students they will write a similar piece, but this time they will focus on a type of rock or other item in the rock cycle, such as igneous rock, lava, magma, metamorphic rock, sediments, or sedimentary rock. Explain that students will write one paragraph in which they personify a rock or item in the rock cycle. (TG, Unit 5, p. 312)

In this Unit, students also use their notes to draft an informational pamphlet about tsunamis. (TG, Unit 5, p. 123). Teacher notes include: "Guide students through the process of transforming their notes into sentences by completing the “Tsunamis are caused by...” statement as a whole group. Have students read the notes they took for the first question on Activity Page 5.2. Then have students read the statement on Activity Page 5.3. Have students think of different ways to complete the sentence, keeping the audience in mind. Call on multiple students to provide possible ways to phrase the sentence. Write one or two examples on the board/chart paper. (Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes in the oceanic crust; tsunamis are caused by the seafloor shifting after an earthquake.) (TG, Unit 5, p. 125) Support for teachers to identify struggling students is limited.

Unit 6 includes speaking, listening, and acting performance as they re-create scenes from Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. The teacher is provided a plan to implement this performance task in the classroom, but support for struggling students is not explicit. The task engages students' speaking and listening skills, but is not necessarily connected to the skills practiced in the Unit itself. Directions to the teacher include:

  • Arrange students in groups of three. Designate one student to be the director, and assign the roles of Esperanza and the nun to the other two. Alternatively, you can allow them to choose their assignments themselves. Instruct students they will now rehearse the scene they have been working on.
  • Remind them to only say lines exactly as they appear in the text and to perform all the actions.
  • Direct them to the instructions in Writer’s Journal 3.2. If you wish, go over the responsibilities of actors and director before they rehearse.
  • Allow students 10 minutes to work on their scenes and practice.
  • Circulate and check in with students; if some have “finished” early, encourage them to engage deeply with the text, thinking about what they are trying to convey and how to convey it.” (TG, Unit 6, p. 63)

In Unit 8, students write their own adventure story. As they are planning and drafting their story, they are using what they are reading, Treasure Island, as a model for how adventure stories work. The reading and the writing are integrated together throughout Unit 8. There are specific directions for teachers to guide students through this process, but little support if students miss a step or need extra help. A sample of the directions for the teacher:

  • “Tell students that today they will begin planning their adventure story. Explain that all stories have a shape or structure. Explain that you will use Treasure Island to model how a story is organized… Explain that a story starts off flat, with minimal suspense, and gradually increases in suspense until the end, when the problem in the story is resolved… Have students recall what happens in the introduction to Treasure Island… Explain that the second part of a story is the problem or conflict. Have students identify the problem or conflict at the beginning of Treasure Island. Explain that the third part of a story is called Rising Action. Tell students that Rising Action occurs as the story becomes more exciting or the problem worsens. Explain that Treasure Island is a relatively long story, so there are many points of Rising Action. Shorter stories, like the one they will write, will have fewer points of Rising Action… Have students turn to Activity Page 7.2 and begin creating the shape of their adventure story.”(TG, Unit 8, p.154-156)

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 4 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.

Excerpts 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)
  • Highlighted vocabulary words for each unit are unique to that unit’s topic, typically content and domain specific and critical to understanding the texts. Teachers are provided with a vocabulary list at the beginning of each lesson and are typically instructed to "preview" the list. It is not always clear, however, how or to what extent the words should be previewed and reinforced. Students are encouraged routinely to use the glossary for assistance with unfamiliar core vocabulary words, although teacher support to ensure comprehension is not consistently applied.
  • Lesson introductions include a list of literary and/or core vocabulary words that are included in the text materials. Definitions and parts of speech are provided, but there is no guidance for the teacher about how to address the words. Some lessons highlight vocabulary words, but those highlighted words are typically literary vocabulary necessary for understanding the lesson focus. (e.g., pp.20, 32, 48, 62, 76, 90, 108, 130, 152, 166, 182, 200)
  • Most lessons include word work and activities that focus on all of the highlighted vocabulary words for a particular text. Some of the vocabulary activities are more engaging including movement and drawing, while others involve students transcribing words and definitions. Examples of these activities include (but are not limited to) the following:
  • “Break the class into groups of three or four and assign each group one of the day’s core vocabulary words. Tell students to copy the word, part of speech, and definition at the top of Activity Page 6.1.” (TG, Unit 1, p.91)
  • “Write the first vocabulary words, which are from the first selection from Small Steps (‘The Diagnosis (Part 1)’), on the board. Assign partners and have pairs copy the definitions from their glossary onto the board. One can read while the other writes. Then ask the remaining students to read the definitions aloud before moving on to the first activity. Tell students this vocabulary includes words from both texts they will read today.” (TG, Unit 1, p.109)In the introduction to Unit 4, challenging academic vocabulary words are “flagged” for each lesson.
  • “Before reading aloud, review the bold vocabulary words of this biography. Explain to students that definitions for bolded vocabulary can be found in the glossary of their reader. Ask students to look up definitions for the three vocabulary words on page 7 of their reader (patented, humble, deterred).” (TG, Unit 4, p.62)
  • “Before reading page 8, ask students to look up definitions for the three vocabulary words on this page.” (TG, Unit 4, p.62)
  • “Before reading, inform students that today’s research will introduce some technical language related to the inventions. Go over bold vocabulary words in the text and ask students if they are familiar with these terms. If not, find definitions in the glossary.” (TG, Unit 4, p.94)

Each Word Work lesson focuses on a core vocabulary word and follows a structure as noted in this example from Unit 5:

  • “In the chapter you heard and read, 'Basalt is a heavy, dense rock formed from cooled, hardened lava.' Say the word dense with me. Dense means 'thick or heavy.' The dense fog blocked our view of the mountaintop. What are some other examples of dense? Be sure to use the word dense in your response. Ask two or three students to use the target word in a sentence. If necessary, guide and/or rephrase students’ responses to make complete sentences: '___ is dense because ___.' What part of speech is the word dense? Use a Making Choices activity for follow-up. I am going to read several sentences. If the sentence I read is about something that is dense, say, 'That is dense.' If the sentence I read is not about something that is dense, say, 'That is not dense.'"(TG, Unit 5, p. 33-34)

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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. Introducing and integrating writing skills is the focus of many lessons and serves as the centerpiece of some units. Lessons progress over the year, and students are guided to utilize skills learned in previous lessons and apply them to new situations.

Evidence of writing skill progression includes, but is not limited to, the following sample activities and assignments:

Unit 1 focuses on developing student understanding of the personal narrative and teaching students to use a variety of literary devices in writing their own personal narratives.

  • “Students read five personal narratives, identifying the elements of the genre and, throughout the unit, using these elements in writing a variety of their own personal narratives. These elements include events proceeding in a logical sequence, dialogue that shows character, vivid descriptive language, characters with defining traits, sensory details, figurative language, and writing strong introductions and conclusions. Examining the genre in this way will help students build their knowledge of descriptive writing.” (TG, Unit 1, p.1)
  • “Model and work with the class to compose a paragraph about the first day of fourth grade, using the firstperson plural (we). Include an introductory sentence, two or three supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.” (TG, Unit 1, p.23)
  • “Tell students that in the next lesson they will complete a longer piece of writing about the food experience they just described to a partner, and that the chart on Activity Page 5.3 will help prepare them to write it.” (TG, Unit 1, p.86)
  • “Tell students that today they will have a chance to write some dialogue for their food narratives, but first they will review some basic rules of capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphs for dialogue.” (TG, Unit 1, p.99)
  • “Students listen to one another’s narratives and provide constructive and specific feedback.” (TG, Unit 1, p.159)
  • “Students include similes or metaphors in their personal narratives.” (TG, Unit 1, p.177)
  • “In this activity, you will work with your partner to find places to strengthen your writing. You will also help your partner strengthen his or her writing. As you read and listen, remember to think about showing rather than telling by using specific language and strong details.” (TG, Unit 1, p.233)
  • “Students complete a final polish of their work using a self-evaluation and editing checklist.” (TG, Unit 1, p.239)

Unit 2 continues to engage students in the writing process. “In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in an extended writing project. In this unit, students will use a graphic organizer to take notes on information presented in the Reader; paraphrase information from a text; assess information to form an opinion; and draft a persuasive paragraph” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 5)

  • “Have students trade their papers with a peer and check their peer’s work against the Elements of an Informative Paragraph Poster. Ask them to label the topic sentence, detail sentences, transition words, and concluding sentence. The teacher will schedule a writer’s conference with the students who did not (or did not accurately) include all necessary elements in their paragraph” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 77)
  • “Using facts from the passage, write a paragraph in the first-person describing the experience of a person traveling with a caravan.” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 7)
  • “Story Elements 1. Write down the setting of one of your favorite books. If possible, include the location and time period in which the story takes place. 2. Who is the protagonist of one of your favorite books? Try to provide a physical trait and a personality trait.” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 43)
  • “Unique Voices Everyone has his or her own way of speaking. When you are writing dialogue for a character, think about that character’s unique voice” (AB, Unit 2-pt2, p. 51)
  • “Remind students that the particular type of paragraph that they have practiced writing during the last several lessons was called an informative or explanatory paragraph, the purpose of which was to provide factual information about a particular topic. Explain that, in addition to providing information, yet another purpose for writing may be to persuade the reader toward a certain point of view or opinion. Tell students that they will start working today, and through the next several lessons, to learn how to write a persuasive paragraph and state an opinion” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 171)
  • “Emphasize the importance of writing key information in the shortest form possible, and of paraphrasing, or writing the information in their own words. Remind students that images and captions can provide details as well. Students should write the page numbers of where they found each piece of evidence next to their paraphrased notes” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 173)
  • “Explain that in a persuasive paragraph, the writer states an opinion and gives the reader reasons for that opinion. When a writer states an opinion, he or she is taking a stand and saying what he or she believes about a topic. The writer is prepared to explain why he or she is taking that particular stand. When a writer explains the reasons for his or her opinion, the writer often uses the word because to link an opinion with the reason for that opinion” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 238)

Unit 3 focuses on poetry and provides lessons that support student understanding of of use of a variety of poetic devices.

  • “A key aspect of the Poetry unit is encouraging and equipping students to write original poems.This allows for creative and imaginative expression, but it also affords students the opportunity to implement the poetic devices they have learned in the reading components of each lesson. The writing portion of the unit allows students to apply their new poetry knowledge, further solidifying their understanding of the craft of poetry. Throughout this unit, students will practice using the poetic devices exemplified by each poem. They will compose rhymes, similes, and metaphors; use repetition, anaphora, and alliteration; and plan, draft, and revise several original poems inspired by the poems studied in this unit.” (TG, Unit 3, p.5)
  • “Students will define the terms repetition and alliteration and create original work using alliteration.” (TG, Unit 3, p.27)
  • “Students will compose questions and assemble them into an original poem.” (TG, Unit 3, p.32)
  • “Students will record information about one of their own experiences and plan a memory poem that includes sensory detail and rich description.” (TG, Unit 3, p.48)
  • “Students will draft a memory poem, compiling specific important details, organizing information, and selecting a method of repetition to emphasize tone.” (TG, Unit 3, p.89)
  • “Students will plan and draft original poems that use anaphora to describe a character’s many components or attributes.” (TG, Unit 3, p.123)
  • “Students construct original poems containing their own extended metaphors comparing the weather to an animal.” (TG, Unit 3, p.146)
  • “Students write original narrative poems, using poetic devices to engage readers.” (TG, Unit 3, p.169)

Unit 4 is a Quest unit that engages students in activities supporting collaboration and developing an understanding of inventors and inventions. Students write routinely during the unit. Examples of writing activities supporting increasing writing skills include:

  • “Over the course of the Quest, students write routinely in opinion, informational, and narrative modes, adjusting style for the task and audience indicated.” (TG, Unit 4, p.1)
  • “Throughout the Quest, students consistently practice informative and opinion writing. In addition to working on developing arguments and using support, the writing challenges lend themselves to adaptation and addition. You can focus on additional language standards by adding requirements to the challenge. If you have extra time, you can also take advantage of the emphasis on building collaboration skills and introduce a round of peer editing to one or more of the writing challenges.” (TG, Unit 4, p.2)
  • “Review Collaboration Wedge Challenge letters. Check for coherence and use of details and facts to support each response. Identify unanswered prompts and provide guiding questions to gain more detail where necessary.” (TG, Unit 4, p.52)
  • “Students will draw evidence from inventor biographies to support their own research.” (TG, Unit 4, p.54)
  • “Using the evidence you pulled for “Edison’s Invention Evidence,” plan the pitch your lab will present for your invention. This pitch will explain why your invention deserves to be on the back cover of Edison’s new book! All members of your lab should participate in the pitch.” (AB, Unit 4, p.28)
  • “Write a letter to the network explaining how failure can be a useful tool in invention.” (AB, Unit 4, p.62)
  • “Students will write an opinion piece about the importance of the lightbulb, providing evidence to support their argument.” (TG, Unit 4, p.88)
  • “Students will write and present a skit with dialogue to show the importance of their lab’s invention.” (TG, Unit 4, p.144)
  • “Students will create explanatory texts to document their inventions, including diagrams (and domain-specific vocabulary) to convey information.” (TG, Unit 4, p.220)
  • “Students will revise or complete writing challenges from previous lessons. Students will write two short, informative pieces describing their own invention idea, the problem it solves, including its purpose and function.” (TG, Unit 4, p.276)
  • “Students will write a reflection on their experiences during this unit, including a description of their invention and reflection on a challenge they faced and overcame.” (TG, Unit 4, p.322)

Unit 5 includes writing tasks for students to practice for different audiences as they engage in learning scientific concepts:

  • "In the writing lessons, students will review the stages of the writing process and engage in several short writing projects. In this unit, students will examine and explain similes; draft an informational pamphlet about tsunamis; write a wiki entry about a specific volcano; and create a descriptive paragraph about a type of rock or item in the rock cycle, incorporating literary devices they have encountered in previous Grade 4 units, such as alliteration, personification, and simile." (TG, Unit 5, p.3)
  • "Students will describe an informational pamphlet and identify a specific pamphlet’s purpose and intended audience." (TG, Unit 5, p.105)
  • "Students will use their paraphrased notes to draft an informational pamphlet about tsunamis." (TG, Unit 5, p.123)
  • "Students will plan for writing a descriptive paragraph about a rock or other item in the rock cycle." (TG, Unit 5, p.312)

Unit 6

"A key objective of the unit is teaching students to write narrative prose. This allows for creative and imaginative expression but also affords the opportunity to implement the skills students have learned in the reading components of the lessons. Throughout this unit, students will practice using literary elements they have explored in each vignette—for example the use of detailed descriptions, the building of aspiration as a theme, and the contrast between the protagonists’ perceptions and the perceptions of others. The unit asks students to compose a multi-chapter narrative; they build their stories throughout several lessons devoted to planning, drafting, and revising their work. In addition, students practice opinion writing using evidence from the text." (TG, Unit 6, p.2)

Throughout Unit 7, students are writing a cause and effect essay. The writing of this essay is scaffolded so that students do not become overwhelmed. Instruction is provided to help students learn how to write an effective introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • “Remind students they will write an essay about the causes and effects leading up to the American Revolution and that they have already written a draft about early disagreements between the British and the colonists for the introductory paragraph.
  • Tell students that today they will plan the first of three body paragraphs, each paragraph detailing additional causes of the Revolutionary War.
  • Explain that most of the content for each of the three body paragraph drafts will come directly from chapters 2 and 3 of The Road to Independence, but that students are encouraged to use additional sources to add details as they revise. In preparation for drafting their first body paragraph, they will review the content by performing a vignette, or short scene, from history. Explain that after students perform the vignette, they will record key information from the vignette in a graphic organizer and respond to a writing prompt.” (TG, Unit 7, p.100)
  • “Have a student read the “Exemplary” column of the “Body” section for paragraph 1 on the rubric. Tell students that this is the goal of their first body paragraph. Tell students that they will reach the goal of exemplary status if they follow what you model for them today.”(TG, Unit 7, p.196)
  • “Have students follow the same process to review and revise the remaining body paragraphs. Remind students to use the rubric on Activity Page SR.2 and the word banks on the planning activity pages (Activity Pages 7.3 and 8.3) as they write their paragraphs.”(TG, Unit 7, p.249)

Unit 8 Several mini-lessons on writing are included in Unit 8 to help them achieve success in writing an original adventure story.

  • “Imagine a character gets lost in a remote, isolated area like the jungle, the desert, the mountains, the forest, the tundra, or an island. Choose a specific place for the setting of your story. Write a one- to two-page story in which you show how the character survives. Use the following questions to guide your thinking and writing:
    • What is the setting like?
    • What challenges must the character overcome? What kinds of problems must the character solve?
    • What traits and values, or characteristics, does the character display? What thoughts and feelings does the character have?
    • What elements of danger are present?
    • What people or animals does the character meet?
    • Does the character return home?
    • How does the story end?” (TG, Unit 8, p.36)
  • “ …have students brainstorm the setting for their adventure story using the prompt. Encourage students to continue thinking about a setting for their adventure story on their own.”(TG, Unit 8, p.60)
  • “Choose one setting from the list and ask students what types of characters might populate a story about that location. (For example, if the jungle is the setting, students might list animals, such as a snake, monkey, or tiger, as possible characters.) Tell students to select a setting that they would like to use for their adventure story, keeping in mind that the setting will help determine the kind of characters they will create. Remind them that their character will be stranded in this location.”(TG, Unit 8, p.68-69)

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 4 meet expectations for including a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic and using multiple texts and source materials. The structure of units focusing on one topic each supports enhanced student understanding and knowledge development around the unit materials. There is a consistent, clear progression of research projects to support students' developing research skills and the ability to transfer this to other projects and activities. There is guidance for teachers to identify supports needed for students should they struggle with the research activities.

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

Unit 1: Components of the research process are available for students to practice, such as:

  • “List your supporting evidence in the right-hand column. Supporting evidence may be a quote from the text or a description of what is happening in the text in your own words. If you use exact words from the text (for example, ‘I was distracted’), remember to put them in quotation marks.” (TG, Unit 1, p.141)
  • “Direct students to Activity Page 8.3. Tell them that both ‘Introduction to Polio’ and ‘The Diagnosis’ introduce and provide evidence of facts about polio, but they do it in very different ways. Tell them they will compare the kind of evidence each piece of writing uses.” (TG, Unit 1, p.142)

Unit 2: Includes many mini-activity lessons that allow for research-based learning.

  • “Explain that “Medieval Musings” boxes appear throughout this unit and present an opportunity for students to conduct independent research to learn more about the Middle Ages. As time permits throughout the unit, ask students to use both books and Internet resources to learn the answers to these questions” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 27)
  • “Have students read the section titled “Medieval Musings.” Remind students that to muse over something is to think about it. If time permits, have students conduct research independently, in pairs, or in small groups, to learn the answers to these questions. Otherwise, consider allowing students to complete the activity at a different time during the day” (TG, Unit 2-pt1, p. 47)
  • “As time permits, you may have students conduct independent research to find the answers to the questions posed in the Medieval Musings. They may also find the hidden letter in the Letter Quest and record it on Activity Page 2.3” (TG, Unit 2-pt2, p. 98)
  • Unit 3

Unit 4: The nature of the Eureka! Student Inventor Quest lends a research aspect to many of the student activities. There are many research-oriented activities that are incorporated within this unit, including the following:

  • “Episode 2: Research- Contestants open the Eureka! Files to read biographies of the judges. They use their research to complete inventor cards, until the episode is interrupted by a cranky Thomas Edison.” (TG, Unit 4, p.3)
  • “Episode 3: Research/Introduction to Pitching- Contestants delve further into the Eureka! Files to research the lightbulb and write a persuasive piece for Thomas Edison. Next, they use their research skills to gather evidence on other important inventions. The host previews pitching, the next skill they’ll need to share that research.” (TG, Unit 4, p.3)
  • “Students will draw evidence from inventor biographies to support their own research.” (TG, Unit 4, p.59)
  • “In future episodes you will read about additional inventors and complete more inventor cards for bonus points. I also encourage you to practice your research off-camera! Find a book or a good article (online or in print) about an inventor or invention. I will give you extra blank inventor cards.” (TG, Unit 4, p.77)
  • “Students will describe the chronology, causes, and effects of the Louis Braille’s invention, in order to understand that ‘invention breeds invention.’ Students will read technical texts and interpret diagrams about simple machines. Students will integrate information about prior inventions and simple machines to write a creative a solution to a technical challenge.” (TG, Unit 4, p.172)

Unit 5: Students are encouraged to do independent research. Students are directed to respond to one from a group of writing prompts, conducting the independent research necessary to support their responses:

  • Describe the steps that would change igneous rock into sediments; sediments into sedimentary rock; sedimentary rock into metamorphic rock; metamorphic rock into igneous rock; metamorphic rock into sedimentary rock; and/or igneous rock into metamorphic rock.
  • If I witnessed a volcanic eruption, I would ___.
  • Compare and contrast what happens above and below Earth’s surface to cause a specific volcanic activity (formation of a volcano, a volcanic eruption, formation of an island chain, etc.) and how that specific volcanic activity is explained in a volcano myth.
  • Write a letter from the perspective of a scientist who is going on an underwater expedition to explore hydrothermal vents.
  • Write a myth about ancient ocean fossils on Mount Everest (TG, Unit 5, p. 397)."

Optional Pausing Point activities provide more structure, practice, and application of research skills. Following is an example from Unit 7:

  • “Students may respond to any of the following writing prompts, conducting independent research necessary to support their response:
    • Create a vignette with two enslaved Africans in the 1770s. Include the following characters: an enslaved boy who is offered his freedom if he fights with the British and an enslaved man who decides to fight for the colonists alongside his master. Their dialogue should describe reasons for the two differing points of view.
    • If I had lived in Boston in 1775, I would ___. (Describe who you are and state your point of view regarding American independence, citing three reasons that influence your point of view.)
    • List in sequential order the steps for operating a six-pound field cannon. Provide instructions for how to perform each step, including the correct use of terminology.
    • Pretend you are a young soldier responsible for lighting the field cannon in battle. Describe the scene as you wait for your commanding officer’s orders to “Give fire!” Include how you perform your duties and what happens once the cannonball is launched.” (TG, Unit 7, p.343)

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 4 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. While there are opportunities for students to read independently from unit texts, most independent reading tasks are brief. Discussion questions and activity pages provide a source of accountability for those tasks. Reading options beyond the provided student texts are occasionally referenced in the teacher guide, but reading outside of class is typically comprised of activity sheets. There is inconsistent support for students to develop reading habits with self-chosen texts. Accountability for tracking and gauging independent reading is not fully supported.

In Unit 8, there are specific notes about reading the core instructional texts independently: “At this point in the school year, some or all of your students are likely ready for the challenge of reading the entire chapter independently to themselves, especially since this lesson is a reread of the chapter read as a whole group during the previous lesson. We encourage you to differentiate, assigning students either to read independently or with partners, based on their needs” (TG, Unit 8, p.65). While this direction outlines in-class practice of independent reading, building students' abilities as independent consumers of text is not explicitly supported.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Gateway 3. Materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing, materials support teacher learning and understanding of Standards, materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards, and provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners to that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. Materials also support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.

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 4 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 1 Lesson 3 the Lesson at a Glance breaks the lesson down in a chart showing 35 minutes for reading activities, 35 minutes for a writing activities, and 20 minutes for a speaking and listening activity.

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 a writing, speaking, and listening experience that continues throughout more than one unit.

  • For example, the program guide states that, “During this Quest students will observe, interact with, and follow the exploits of the Contraption, a mechanical device that appears one day in the classroom (projected on a screen.) In each lesson, students create pieces of writing that they can use to interact with the Contraption and solve its puzzles.”

Out of the 8 Domains (units) in grade four, 2 are based in science, 2 social studies, and 4 literature. The science domains include a unit in ‘Geology’ and the “Eureka; Student Inventor” quest. The social studies domains have units that cover ‘Empires in the Middle Ages’ and ‘American Revolution’. The literature domains include, ‘Personal Narratives’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Contemporary Fiction’ (including excerpts from The House on Mango Street), and Treasure Island.

  • For example, in the Teacher Guide for Unit 1, the intro states, “This unit examines the genre of personal narratives, which consists of works of nonfiction written by a first-person narrator involved in the events being described.”
  • The Introduction to Unit 5 states, “The Reader for this unit, The Changing Earth, includes complex text and prepares students in Grade 4 for the increased vocabulary and syntax demands aligned texts will present in later grades. The Changing Earth focuses on the composition of the earth and the forces that change Earth’s surface.”
  • Unit 2 explores the Middle Ages in Europe and the Islamic Medieval Empires. The introduction in Unit 2 states, “Separated by the Mid-Unit Assessment, the two topics of study are tied by a common past (the decline of the Roman Empire) and intersecting events such as the Crusades and the movement of knowledge, philosophy, and science from Greek into Arabic into Latin.”

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year. There are examples of extension and enrichment activities that can be completed outside of the allotted 90 minute instructional time, however, the pacing may not allow enough time for students to adequately engage in these activities while also allowing time for review, re-teaching enhancing and/or extending student learning for maximum understanding.

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

  • The Grade 4 curriculum is comprised of Eight units totaling 130 lessons, 4 pausing points, and a beginning of year 3 day assessment to be completed in 180 instructional days. Each lesson is designed for 90 minutes of instruction each day.
  • An example of the pausing point in Unit 5 states, “Use the first day of the Pausing Point to assess the content knowledge students have acquired by reading The Changing Earth. Make sure each student has a copy of Activity Page PP.2.”
  • For example, the Program Guide, details enriching “Writing Quests” and states, “These can be used flexibly in addition to the core units to develop low stakes writing in 4th and 5th grade.”
  • The Program Guide also states that, “Extension opportunities are often provided to allow teachers to adapt instruction to the resources available in their classroom and library.”
  • Another example of extension opportunities that are NOT built into the 90 minutes are shown in the introduction to Unit 5 which states, “The Reader also includes three selections that may be used for enrichment. Although the Teacher Guide does not include lessons for these enrichment selections, the Activity Book includes activity pages students may complete independently. Please use these selections at your discretion, considering students’ needs and the time available in your school day.
  • The introduction to each unit also details glossary words that while NOT addressed within the lesson may be key to student understanding, for example, “There are some bolded words in the glossary that are not addressed in the reading lessons. These words are still important for students to reference as they read this Reader. These words have an asterisk (*) next to them in the glossary.”
  • While there are multiple opportunities for students to receive peer feedback, the time allotted may not be enough for effective feedback. For example, Lesson 6 in Unit 6 provides 10 minutes for peer feedback, however the task may be too lengthy for 10 minutes to be effective.
    • For example, Lesson 6 states, “Ask students to exchange their Writer’s Journal with their partner and read their partner’s chapter quietly. • Provide guidelines for what students should focus on as they read each other’s work. Some possibilities are: What is the character’s aspiration? Is it clear what this character wants and what she or he does to attain it? Are there many sensory details in the story? Could there be more? Is the setting detailed? What other details could be added? • After both partners have read and offered feedback, have them return their partner’s journal. Provide a few minutes for them to make revisions or changes in their work.”

In Unit 2, Lesson 19 the example of the ‘wrap-up’ activity is slated for only 5 minutes however, given the activity and evaluative questions being asked, it is debatable that 5 minutes will be enough time for adequate discussion and to ensure understanding of multiple questions before moving on.

  • For example; the lesson states, “Ask students the following questions: How has this text helped us answer The Big Question of chapter 12, “How did people in the remote region of Arabia defeat two mighty empires?” Was the outcome of battle surprising? Find a piece of evidence from the text to back up your answer. Can you name two events in the Battle of Yarmouk that helped the Muslims achieve victory?

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 6 there is an example of a table for the Spelling Word/Definition/and Example Sentence. The Lesson states, “After writing and pronouncing the words, use the following chart to define each word and provide an example of how to use it in a sentence.”
  • An example of a check-in for understanding from Unit 8, Lesson 8 states, “Check in with students. Provide reinforcing or corrective feedback: • It looks like you have identified two interesting characters for your story. How could you use sensory details to help the reader imagine what the characters smell, hear, or see?”
  • An example of a graphic organizer used for writing in the Unit 6 Pausing Point, assists students to determine a story’s climax, rising action, falling action, introduction and resolution. “Look at the vignette, “A Rice Sandwich.” Place the events in the story in the chart below.”
  • A checklist in the Unit 4, Lesson 5 Inventor’s Notebook for the Eureka Challenge asks, “Does your letter include a simple machine? Does your letter explain how Mi-Shell should transport the cookies? Does your letter explain how Mi-Shell should travel?”

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.

  • An example of a challenge question from Unit 1, Lesson 5 states, “What do you think the author means by “you know for sure that you’re a child and she has stopped being one”?
  • An example of a way for teachers to check for understanding in Unit 7, Lesson 7 states, “A checklist in the Unit 4 Inventor’s Notebook for the Eureka Challenge.”
  • An example of teacher support can be seen in Unit 5, Lesson 12 where it states, “Help students create a simple flow chart to summarize the first two paragraphs on Reader p. 76.
  • Clear directions for teachers is seen in Unit 2, Lesson 22 where the review vocabulary section states, “Have students turn to the table of contents of the Reader, locate chapter 14, and turn to the first page of the chapter. • Preview the core vocabulary words before reading the chapter.”

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 4 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, “The readings we have selected for the unit are all grade-appropriate in content and text complexity. In addition, the texts have substantial literary merit and represent a spectrum of the American experience, written as they are from a variety of racial, cultural, and geographic perspectives.”
  • Examples of formative assessments are found at the start of each lesson. The formative assessments in Unit 2, Lesson 18 include a map activity; “Sequence events related to the spread of Islam throughout Muhammad’s life [RI.4.3; ELD.PI.4.6]” and a sequence activity; “Sequencing Events Sequence events related to the spread of Islam throughout Muhammad’s life. [RI.4.3; ELD.PI.4.6]”
  • Unit 4, Lesson 6 provides an example of standards being addressed in the sidebar for scaffolding titled, ‘Writing Interacting via Written English’ [PI.4.2] and it states emerging, expanding and bridging scaffolds for students at differing levels.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 7, there is a ‘Mid-Unit Assessment’ that gathers formative data to ensure understanding of content. It states, “This is a good opportunity to use the Tens scoring system to gather formative assessment data. Information about the Tens scoring system appears in the Teacher Resources section of the Unit 1 Teacher Guide. You may wish to pause one day before proceeding to Lesson 8 so you can assess students’ comprehension of the domain content presented in the Reader thus far."

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 4 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, pictures 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 Unit 2, Lesson 18 an example of using maps to enhance student understanding states, “Direct students to Activity Page 18.1 in their activity books (map activity). Review the map of Arabia, and ask students to locate Mecca and Medina on the map.”

• An example of how illustration is used to enhance understanding of the material is seen in Unit 7, Lesson 8 where the caption in the illustration states, “Emanuel Leutze’s painting depicts the historic moment when General George Washington led Continental soldiers across the Delaware River to surprise Hessian troops who were hired to fight for the British.”


• In Unit 5, Lesson 4, the advance preparation section provides an example of visual supports to assist with presenting the lesson. It states, “You may access a digital version of The Big Question in the digital components for this unit.” It also states, “Prepare a word card for each of the following words: seismograph, autograph, photograph, seismometer, thermometer, speedometer.”

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 4 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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 4 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 4, Unit 3 Introduction states, “Each Teacher Guide includes daily lessons that provide detailed directions for comprehensive poetry instruction. Lessons, instruction, and exercises in the Teacher Guide should be taught in the order listed”

The Grade 4, Unit 1, Introduction states, “At the back of this Teacher Guide is a section titled “Teacher Resources,” which includes the following: Dialogue Starter Pages to be used during Lesson 6, Speaking and Listening Observational Checklist, and a Glossary”

An example of explicit teacher instruction is in Unit 3, Lesson 2, when it states, “Explain that repetition is an important poetic device or tool used by some poets to add emphasis; this poem repeats letters and sentence structure (the questions), but other poems repeat specific words. • Tell students that when an author repeats the same letter or letters at the beginning of closely connected words, the poet is using a poetic device called alliteration.”

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 4 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 4th and 5th grade, the language demands of texts increases. Students spend significantly longer considering the precise use of words, including figurative and ambiguous phrasing, starting with the first unit (Personal Narrative). The poetry units in 4th and 5th grade expose students to poems that range from highly complex, archaic language, to seemingly simple but ironic text (such as William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”).”

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 4, the breakdown of genre within the 8 Domains (units) are: 2 based in science, 2 social studies, and 4 literature. The science domains include a unit in ‘Geology’ and the “Eureka; Student Inventor” quest. The social studies domains have units that cover ‘Empires in the Middle Ages’ and ‘American Revolution’. The literature domains include, ‘Personal Narratives’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Contemporary Fiction’ (including excerpts from The House on Mango Street) and ‘Treasure Island’.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 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:

  • Unit 2, Lesson 21, using Activity Page 21.1 students will, “Answer factual questions about the Umayyad dynasty using evidence from the text. [RI.4.1; ELD.PI.4.6]”
  • Unit 7, Lesson 4, using Activity Page 4.3 the student will, “Review Quotation Marks: Write sentences using quotation marks and commas. [L.4.1, 2b; ELD.PII.4.1; ELD.PIII.4]

Within the Unit Assessment of Unit 7, Lesson 17, the Teacher Guide explains the unit assessment analysis of qualitative and quantitative text stating, “The texts used in the reading comprehension assessment, “Benjamin Franklin and the Revolutionary War” (informational text) and “A Fictional Excerpt from a Boy’s Diary, Written in New York City, New York—July 11, 1776” (literary text), have been profiled for text complexity using the quantitative measures described in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Supplement to Appendix A, “New Research on Text Complexity,” (CoreStandards.org/resources). Both selections fall within the Common Core 4th–5th Grade Band.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 Checklist

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 3, Lesson 7, the formative assessments listed include a speaking and observational checklist and answering inferential questions about Whitman’s use of metaphor in the student poet’s journal.

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 7, Lesson 2, the Check for Understanding is a “Think-Pair-Share. Present to students: The Sons of Liberty did not provide an accurate account of the Boston Massacre. Why do you think they changed the story? Circulate through pairs and listen to students as they develop their arguments, providing input as needed.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 provide students with model book selection processes through class discussion and creation of a chart to refer to as they select books. Students are also given access to a virtual library containing hundreds of books at and above grade level. 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 6, Lesson 2
    • Emerging- Remind students what the x/y axes represent. Go through each character one at a time and help students and where they t on the graph, referring to evidence.
    • Expanding- Remind students what the graph represents. Help t great- grandmother on the graph, referring to evidence, then ask them to tell you where Esperanza and Zeze would go.
    • Bridging- Remind students what the graph represents, and support them to plot the characters.
    • Support- If this graph seems too complex for your students to work on independently, you can guide them through this activity as you did the rst time. They could also work with partners.
    • Challenge- As you work as a class, allow a few students to come up and complete the large graph at the front of the room, and to take on the teaching role.
  • In the Advance Preparation section at the beginning of each lesson there are Universal Access instructions. For example, in Grade 4, Unit 2, Lesson 20, states, “Create a modified version of Activity Page 20.1 that includes page numbers to reference. Select and prepare a historical fiction picture book to read aloud. Create a reference guide for story elements including a definition and example for each.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 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.

English Language Studio

Indicator 3q

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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.
    • Unit 1, Lesson 3,“Ask students to identify traits of characters in their narratives. How do the characters change? Remind them that showing is more compelling than telling, and challenge them to show these traits in the paragraph”
  • Pausing Point days include additional activities and more complex text for excelling students.
    • Pausing Point in Grade 4, Unit 5 states, “Use the first day of the Pausing Point to assess the content knowledge students have acquired by reading The Changing Earth. Use the following Remediation and Enrichment suggestions to plan activities for the remainder of the first Pausing Point day.” It further details that, “If students have mastered the content and skills in the Geology unit, their experience with the domain concepts may be enriched by the following activities: Students may read the enrichment selections contained in the Reader. One selection, “The Rock Towns of Cappadocia,” describes the cave-like rock houses located in Cappadocia, Turkey, as well as rock carvings on Easter Island. The Activity Book contains activity pages students can complete as they read these selections.”
  • 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructions materials reviewed for Grade 4 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/
+
-
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/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The Digital Components Portal contains digital documents of the Teacher Guides, Activity Books, Readers, Students Poet’s Journal, Student Writer’s Journal, 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, Fluency Packets, Amplify Library (an online library with large range of texts for 4th and 5th grade students), and Multimedia component 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 4 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/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed may 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 4 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, Students Poet’s Journal, Student Writer’s Journal, 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, Fluency Packets, Amplify Library (an online library with large range of texts for 4th and 5th grade students), and Multimedia component 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 4 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 materials reviewed may 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 4 Reader Unit 5 978-1-68161-218-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 5 978-1-68161-219-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Reader Unit 4 978-1-68161-220-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 4 978-1-68161-221-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 1 978-1-68161-235-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 1 978-1-68161-255-3 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 2 Part 1 978-1-68161-256-0 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Poet's Journal Unit 3 978-1-68161-257-7 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 4 978-1-68161-258-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 5 978-1-68161-259-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Writer's Journal Unit 6 978-1-68161-260-7 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 7 978-1-68161-261-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 8 978-1-68161-262-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Reader Unit 1 978-1-68161-263-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Reader Unit 2 978-1-68161-264-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 2 Part 1 978-1-68161-267-6 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Teacher Edition Volume 1 978-1-68161-294-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Teacher Edition Volume 2 978-1-68161-295-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Activity Book Volume 1 978-1-68161-296-6 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Activity Book Volume 2 978-1-68161-297-3 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Teacher Guide Unit 2 Part 2 978-1-68161-304-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 2 Part 2 978-1-68161-305-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Teacher Edition Volume 3 978-1-68161-784-8 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Teacher Edition Volume 4 978-1-68161-785-5 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Activity Book Volume 3 978-1-68161-786-2 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Language Studio Activity Book Volume 4 978-1-68161-787-9 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Reader Unit 7 978-1-942010-06-7 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 7 978-1-942010-10-4 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Activity Book Unit 8 978-1-942010-11-1 Copyright: 2015 Amplify 2015
CKLA Grade 4 Reader Unit 8 978-1-942010-26-5 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.

X