Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Mirrors & Windows: Connecting with Literature - Grade 7 partially meets expectations of alignment. High quality anchor texts are paired with text-based writing and some speaking and listening work. Students have frequent opportunities to engage in research activities and integrated writing to build grade-level writing skills. The materials are not organized around topics and themes and therefore do not build knowledge and vocabulary consistently across a topic. Culminating tasks to do not require demonstration of knowledge built throughout a unit and do not require integration of skills.

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Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
33
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
18
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. Materials partially meet the criteria for including sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task. Some opportunities for students to engage in a speaking and listening are provided; however, discussions often do not require students to interact with the text being studied. Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards along with opportunities to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. Materials partially meet the criteria 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.

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.
20/20
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that texts are worthy of students’ time and attention. Materials meet the expectations for anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. The majority of texts are at the appropriate level of text complexity. The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. The Text Complexity boxes provided in the Teacher’s Edition with the label, Preview the Model, provide qualitative and quantitative reading levels for the anchor text. The information also includes Lexile scores, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors for each selection for teachers to preview before reading. Materials meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading include a mix of informational texts and literature, and consider a range of student interests.

The Level II instructional materials include a mix of informational texts and literature, and these consider a range of student interests. The anchor texts in the units and across the year long curriculum are of publishable quality, include noteworthy authors, and include a variety of text complexities to assist students in reaching grade level proficiency by the end of the year. In addition, the anchor texts are well-crafted and content-rich; these texts are appropriate for placement at the 7th grade level. Scaffolds throughout each unit ensure students can access complex texts using consistent reading strategies and weaving these throughout the course of the year.

  • In Unit 1, students read “The 11:59” by Patricia McKissack. McKissack is an award winning author of fiction and nonfiction for young readers. This short story is told from the point-of-view of a Pullman porter. She includes rich historical context of the Pullman porter and the attendants who were mostly African Americans. The suspenseful story is highly interesting to young readers. It contains strong academic vocabulary and authentic photographs.
  • In Unit 2, students read “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto. In Soto’s short story, he uses personal experiences to enhance the tale of a boy’s first day of 7th grade. This is a highly interesting, age-appropriate text with which students can identify. He uses humor to envelope the reader’s interest and also uses historical connections to Fresno, California.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Madam C.J. Walker” by Jim Haskins. Haskins has written over one hundred books of famous African Americans. He won the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Award for his nonfiction books for young people. This highly engaging biography will capture the interest of middle school students as they read about how an African American young woman faced a number of hardships after the Civil War. When she discovered her hair falling out, she developed hair care products and became the first American woman to earn a million dollars.
  • In Unit 4, students read “Ships in the Desert” by Al Gore. In this essay written by the former vice president, Gore writes about the growing crisis of global warming and the impact this has on the earth. In 2007, Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his study of global warming. Middle school students will be interested in learning about their changing home, the earth and what the future may hold if changes do not occur.
  • In Unit 5, students read “Under the Apple Tree” by Diane Rivera. This is the unit’s anchor text and is a lyric poem about the close-up view of the natural world from under an apple tree. This free verse poem includes personification and is worthy of careful reading.
  • In Unit 6, students read “Name Give Away” by Phil George. This lyric poem is about the speaker being renamed by a school teacher. Its structure and topic deem it worthy of a careful reading.
  • In Unit 7, students read “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley” by Israel Horovitz. The use of rich vocabulary remains faithful to the original work written by Charles Dickens. Notably, illustrations by John Leech were hand colored etchings and wood engravings in the original work; the sample illustrations included in the materials to follow the play are still vivid and paint a picture of the world in Dickens’ mind while also inspiring Horovitz’s staging and characters in his play which are included as vibrant photographs in the materials during the reading of the play.
  • In Unit 8, students read “The Secret Name of Ra” by Geraldine Harris. The Egyptian myth retold by Geraldine Harris includes rich vocabulary with vivid descriptions while also teaching a relevant lesson regarding trust. The author is an expert in her field and teaches Egyptology at Oxford University in England.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Each of the eight units focuses on a specific genre. Across the year, student materials encompass multiple genres and text types of varying lengths and formats. Throughout the textbook informational texts are provided as connections to a variety of genres. There are additional texts listed, coordinating with the genre of the unit that are provided at the end in the section titled “For Your Reading List.”

The following are examples of literature found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1: Fiction: “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry (short story), “The Portrait” by Tomas Rivera (short story), “The Foghorn” by Ray Bradbury (short story, science connection), and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling (short story).
  • Unit 2: Fiction: “Hollywood and the Pits” by Cherylene Lee (short story), “The White Umbrella” by Gish Jen (short story), “Antaeus” by Borden Deal (short story), and “Papa’s Parrot” by Cynthia Rylant (short story).
  • Unit 5: Poetry: “Gold” by Pat Mora (lyric poem), “Father William” by Lewis Carroll (humorous poem), “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (narrative poem), and “Haiku” by Matso Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa (haiku).
  • Unit 6: Poetry: “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost (lyric poem), “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes (narrative poem), “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson (lyric poem), and “Money Order” by Janet S. Wong (narrative poem).
  • Unit 7: Drama: “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, Acts 1 & 2” by Israel Horovitz (drama), “Let Me Hear You Whisper” by Paul Zindel (drama), “St. Crispian’s Day Speech” by William Shakespeare (dramatic monologue), and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” by Rod Serling (screenplay).
  • Unit 8: Folk Literature: “Eshu” retold by Judith Gleason (Yorubian Folk Tale), “The Secret Name of Ra” retold by Geraldine Harris (Egyptian Myth), “Ant and Grasshopper”, “The Fox and the Crow”, “The Lion and the Statue” retold by James Reeves and Joseph Jacobs (Greek Fables), and “Rabbit and the Tug of War” by Michael Thompson and Jacob Warrenfeltz (graphic tale).

The following are examples of informational text found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1: Fiction: “A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter” by Patricia and Frederick McKissack (essay)
  • Unit 1: Fiction: "The Aqualung" an excerpt from The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay (informational text)
  • Unit 2: Fiction: “The Greatest: Muhammad Ali” by Walter Dean Myers (biography)
  • Unit 5: Poetry: “The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan (essay)
  • Unit 6: Poetry: “An Indian Boy’s Story” by Ah-nen-la-de-ni (memoir)
  • Unit 7: Drama: “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew” by Daniel Pool (essay)
  • Unit 8: Folk Literature: “Moving West: A Native American Perspective” by Christine Graf (magazine article)
  • Unit 3: Nonfiction: “Elizabeth I” by Milton Meltzer (biography), “The Eternal Frontier” by Louis L’Amour (argumentative essay), “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan (personal essay), and “A Black Athlete Looks at Education” by Arthur Ashe (editorial).
  • Unit 4: Nonfiction: “The Size of Things” by Robert Jastrow (scientific essay), “from the Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley (visual media), “The Face of the Deep is Frozen” by Jennifer Armstrong (historical essay), and “An Unforgettable Journey” by Maijue Xiong (autobiography).

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 7 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The majority of texts are at the appropriate level of text complexity. Within the series, quantitative texts levels range from 550L-1520L, with some texts above and below the current grade level Lexile band. Texts that are quantitatively above grade band have scaffolds in place to ensure student accessibility. With a gradual release of responsibility framework during the guided and directed reading of texts, students receive the supports necessary to access the text and demonstrate their understanding during and after the reading. Texts that are below the grade level text complexity band are raised to a higher level through the student tasks and questions posed for consideration, such as analyzing the work through informative writing following the reading. Examples of texts of the appropriate level include:

  • In Unit 1, “The Serial Garden," a short story by Joan Aiken, is below the Current and the Stretch Band Level at 990L. However, the language features such as vocabulary increase the level of complexity qualitatively. However, specific vocabulary is footnoted throughout the text, such as “4. zinc grating. Metal framework on a door” or “9. yew arch. Gateway in a garden made out of yew branches. A yew is an evergreen bush.” In addition, other vocabulary is pulled out for Differentiated Learning that may be challenging to English language learners or struggling readers. The short story is appropriate for students to read independently after practicing using strategies for comprehension. Notably, if students are struggling to read the selection independently this early in the year, teaching support is provided as an option to assist students as needed. Also, the tasks that follow the reading require students to analyze the text with an informative writing piece. With the performance task students are “Responding to a Short Story” with the goal of presenting a clear and engaging “response to a story or an aspect of a story.”
  • In Unit 6, An Indian Boy’s Story, a memoir by Ah-nen-la-de-ni, is above the Current and the Stretch Band Level at 1510L. This piece is a primary source text and is appropriate for directed reading and pairing with Phil George’s lyric poem “Name Giveaway” which is more accessible to preview the topic due to the familiar language and prior to reading the paired text. Text-to-text connections are encouraged through the questions posed in the materials: “Both Phil George’s poem and Ah-nen-la-de-ni’s memoir describe the experience of being given a new name. What does the memoir add to your understanding of the poem? Would the poem serve as a good summary of the experience described in the memoir?”

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year.

The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels. Using a scaffolded approach, the materials provide students with more guidance and direction in the beginning of the unit with opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency of essential skills as independent readers by the end of the unit. A “gradual release model” is exhibited with texts as they are categorized into guided, directed, and independent readings to support students as needed.

The texts offer a wide range of complexities and genres, including informational text and juxtaposing specific texts for comparison and analysis, which allow students to practice close reading skills valuable across disciplines and prepare students to transfer these skills to persevere through more challenging texts as they progress in their secondary studies. Literacy skills are addressed throughout the unit, and multiple opportunities are provided to practice these skills to demonstrate proficiency. The materials focus on literacy skills that include drawing conclusions, analyzing cause and effect, sequencing events, using context clues, making predictions, and analyzing text structure. As the year progresses, most questions and tasks build literacy skills and student independence. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students get ready to read fiction texts by reviewing the elements of fiction including plot, characters, setting, point of view, and theme. This review increases their understanding of how fiction texts work and are structured in order to be able to understand and distinguish fiction and non-fiction and identifying author’s purpose.
  • In Unit 3, students begin to practice the skill of identifying author’s purpose. Students read the independent reading selection, “Barrio Boy." This text is a Lexile level 1090. The teacher provides an explanation of author’s purpose and students examine and discuss how the selection affects them.
  • In Unit 4, students read an excerpt from “The Sibley Guide to Birds,” a visual media. The Lexile level is above the 6-8 grade band (1280L), therefore the guided reading selection provides support before, during, and after reading. In the Reading Skills section before reading, students use details from the entry to draw a conclusion about what traits can be used to distinguish the wild turkey from other birds. Questions are provided throughout the text to provide support for drawing conclusions. For example, “What does the word incongruously suggest about these birds? Use a dictionary if you need help. What do you think 'birds of mixed ancestry' means?”
  • In Unit 8, students read the Greek myth, “Phaethon, Son of Apollo,” retold by Olivia Coolidge. The Lexile level of the text is 1090L and at the high end of the 6-8 grade band. This is a directed reading selection and minimal support is provided. The drawing conclusion task is more complex as students are instructed to use a two-column chart to collect evidence and draw conclusions about the theme or message of the allegory.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria 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.

The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. The Text Complexity boxes provided in the Teacher’s Edition with the label, Preview the Model, provide qualitative and quantitative reading levels for the anchor text. The information also includes Lexile scores, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors for each selection for teachers to preview before reading. The materials include paired texts with text-to-text connections to assist students throughout each unit, and Words in Use, Academic Vocabulary, and Key Terms are outlined with page references to assist teachers with instruction and help students in accessing the text. A Scope and Sequence Guide provides quantitative and qualitative measures as well as considerations related to reader and task, including the specific reading skills, literary elements, and themes that students will work on in each text. Each unit provides a Teach the Genre section to provide support for the text type that they will encounter in each unit.

In Unit 1, students read the short story, “The War of the Wall,” by Toni Cade Bambara. The reading skill taught is analyzing cause and effect. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

  • Quantitative Measure: 930 Lexile
  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Ease Factors: Interesting plot
  • Difficulty Considerations: Historical references
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction to assist students in accessing the text. The Before Reading suggestions for analyzing cause and effect: “The event that explains why is a cause; the event that results is an effect.” Vocabulary to preview are provided in the Words in Use section. Pronunciation and definitions are included for students to refer to before and during reading.

In Unit 4, students read the anchor text, “Ships in the Desert.”

  • Quantitative Measure: 1460 NP
  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Difficulty Consideration: concepts, vocabulary, and sentence length
  • Ease Factors: vivid imagery
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction. Students will explore the highlighted reading skill, analyze main ideas, supporting details, literary element, and analogy, according to the Scope and Sequence provided for the unit.

In Unit 8, students read the Greek myth, “Persephone and Demeter,” retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. The reading skill taught is monitoring comprehension by asking questions. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

  • Quantitative Measure: Moderate, 1020L
  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Ease Factors: Length
  • Difficulty Considerations: Vocabulary
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction to assist students in accessing the text. The reading skills featured with this model is monitoring comprehension by asking questions. In the Before Reading section, students are encouraged to always set a purpose for reading and create a graphic organizer in which the reader can record what the reader knows, wants to know, and learns as he/she reads. In the During Reading section, students review the side notes in which they will answer questions that monitor comprehension. In the After Reading section, students answer the Find Meaning questions which help them recall and interpret details and the Make Judgment questions lead them to analyze drama and evaluate how specific details contribute to its overall meaning. Vocabulary to preview is provided in the Words in Use section. Pronunciation and definitions are included for students to refer to before and during reading.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Following a model of gradual release of responsibility, teachers begin each unit by guiding students in accessing texts and offering extensive supports before, during, and after the reading process. Then, students move into directed reading, which offers extensive supports before and after reading while reducing the support during the reading. The model assists in preparing students to navigate texts independently once they progress further into the unit. Students self-monitor during the reading process, and the supports before and after the reading are minimal.

Students have opportunities to engage in the practice of reading connected texts. Each unit is organized around a specific genre and provides various text types including adventure stories, graphic novels, myths, and historical fiction. Complete texts are available through the EMC E-Library. Students are supported with reading through guided and directed reading instruction and are also given the opportunity to read independently.

Materials provide guidance to students relating to the close reading model and steps that occur as supports, such as Build Background, Set Purpose, Analyze Literature, and Use Reading Skills Before Reading. During reading, students use Reading Strategies, such as asking questions making predictions, visualizing, making inferences, and clarifying. Teachers encourage students to analyze literature and make connections through reminders. After reading, students find meaning, make judgments, analyze literature, and extend understanding. Additional etexts are available to students through the EMC E-Library as a supplement for each unit, and teachers can utilize the library to individualize based on student need. These include literary classics, long and short selections, and the texts can be printed or viewed online. An audio library is available as an additional support to “expand students’ listening skills and offer additional support for developing readers and English learners.” Examples include:

In Unit 3, students participate in guided reading, directed reading, and independent reading lessons of a variety of nonfiction texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students will read a memoir excerpt by Annie Dillard entitled, from An American Childhood. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose, and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions provided to assist students with comprehending while reading and finally the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read an excerpt of an autobiography from Arthur Ashe entitled Off the Court. Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. There is guidance provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students have questions to answer in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read an essay entitled “The Night the Bed Fell” by James Thurber. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the selection, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.

In Unit 5, students participate in guided reading, directed reading and independent reading lessons of a variety of poems. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students will read Father William, a lyric poem by Lewis Carroll. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose, and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions provided to assist students with comprehending while reading and finally the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read “The Tropics in New York," a lyric poem by Claude McKay. Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. There is guidance provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students have questions to answer in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read “Miracles," a lyric poem by Walt Whitman. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the poem, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.
  • At the end of the unit, following the independent reading selections and lessons, there is a “For Your Reading List” section to provide students with additional reading selections linked to the unit theme. Examples include but are not limited to the following: “The Invisible Ladder: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poems for Young Readers” by Liz Rosenberg, “War and the Pity of War” by Neil Phillip, and “Becoming Joe DiMaggio” by Maria Testa.

In Unit 7, students participate in guided, directed, and independent readings of a variety of drama. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students read the text, A Defenseless Creature, by Neil Simon. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose, and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions to assist students with comprehending while reading, and the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students read the anchor text and drama, A Christmas Carol by Israel Horowitz. Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. There is guidance provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students respond to questions in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read the drama and screenplay, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street by Rod Serling. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the drama, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
13/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. Materials partially meet the expectations of most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and requiring students to engage with the text directly. Materials partially meet the criteria for including sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task. Some opportunities for students to engage in a speaking and listening are provided; discussions often do not require students to interact deeply with the text being studied. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards along with opportunities to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. Materials partially meet the criteria 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.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations of most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and 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).

The materials include text-dependent questions to develop critical thinking skills. The majority of questions are text-dependent and provided over the course of the year. Before reading, a question is posed consistently allowing students to first draw on prior knowledge and/or experiences that connect to the selection. The text-dependent questions within a gradual release of responsibility framework during and after reading are designed to support students’ literacy growth, and essential questions prepare students to respond during the reading process. After reading questions require students recall and interpret detail, analyze and evaluate, and apply critical thinking skills. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation. Close Reading Model includes text-dependent and specific questions in three sections: Before, During, and After Reading. The Before Reading section includes four subsections with questions embedded within the margins of the textbook: Build Background, Analyze Literature, Set Purpose and Use Reading Skills. The During Reading section includes three subsections: Use Reading Strategies, Analyze Literature, and Make Connections. The After Reading section includes three subsections: Find Meaning, Make Judgements and Extend Understanding.

Materials also include Differentiated Instruction, Common Core Assessment Practice, Meeting the Standards, and Exceeding the Standards guides that also provide text-dependent questions.The text-dependent questions within a gradual release of responsibility framework during and after reading are designed to support students’ literacy growth, and essential questions prepare students to respond during the reading process. After reading questions require students recall and interpret detail, analyze and evaluate, and apply critical thinking skills. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation.

  • In Unit 1, students are asked to read “After Twenty Years” and make inferences and judgments to answer the following questions: What do these details suggest to you about the man in the doorway? What does the waiting man’s description of Jimmy Wells as a ‘plodder’ suggest about his attitude toward his friend?”
  • In Unit 3, using the text, “Names/Nombres”, on page 288, in the “After Reading” section, the student is required to refer to the text in answering question 1, which states, “According to the author, what happens to her family’s name during Immigration? Why do you think she repeats the family’s name to herself?”
  • In Unit 4, using the text, “Ships in the Desert”, on page 402, in the “After Reading-Finding Meaning” section, the student is required to refer to the text in answering question 2, “What effect did passage of the Clean Air Act have on ice core samples dug from polar glaciers?”.
  • In Unit 4, using the text, “Dust Bowl Photographs”, on page 435, in the “After Reading-Find Meaning” section, the student is required to refer to the text in answering question 2, “In what ways is the title, Playing on Farm, an appropriate title for this image? Why do you think Rothstein chose this title?”.
  • In Unit 6, students read the poem, “Theme In Yellow,” and create a web that includes details that capture the attitudes of the speaker of the poem. Students also read the poem, “Once By The Pacific,” and analyze it by charting symbolism and writing a descriptive paragraph.
  • In Unit 7, before students read the drama, “A Defenseless Creature,” they study a caricature that exaggerates a person’s traits. Students are asked to analyze the illustration as a visual text and answer the following questions: "Why are the woman and dog looking at the man this way? What features of the man and woman are exaggerated? Is the caricature funny? Why or why not?”
  • In Unit 8, students read folk literature entitled “Tsali of the Cherokees” and are required to make inferences on why Cherokees might say “…hope is the cruelest curse on mankind.” Additional questions include: "What motivates the trader to warn Tsali not to say anything about the gold on his land? Is he concerned with Tsali’s well being? What does the dialogue between Amanda and the militia captain tell you about each character? What motivated Amanda and the other woman to wait in the house?”

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Culminating tasks in these instructional materials include but are not limited to: Writer’s Workshop, Speaking and Listening Workshop, and Viewing Workshop. Prior to these activities the unit’s lessons include questions and activities before, during, and after the reading that build toward the culminating tasks. However, skills are often not integrated. Students complete each workshop independently of each other. Some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students are often demonstrating mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Examples include:

In Unit 2, students complete a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” where they are required to “Create a story that is interesting and enjoyable”. Students should include complex and believable characters, a vivid setting, a logically organized plot that includes a conflict, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, and a consistent point of view. Below is an examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task: While reading the text, “Amigo Brothers”, students respond to questions relating to the third-person point of view. They are asked, “what this tells them about the narrator’s point of view”.

In Unit 4, student complete a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” where they write a descriptive essay using sensory details and personal thoughts to give a response to nature. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task:

  • After reading the texts, “The Size of Things” and “Achieving Perspective”, in the “Extend Understanding”, in the “Creative Writing”, students write a descriptive paragraph using an analogy. Students write a description of an atom to a state senator. The students describe the specifics (composition, size, number of atoms in a common object, etc) that they want to emphasize in an analogy to the senator.
  • During the reading of the text, “ The Hummingbird that Lived Through the Winter,” students are asked to identify three examples of description the author uses to help the readers visualize the appearance, attitude and movement of hummingbirds.

In Unit 8, students complete a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” where they are required to write a research report that includes a variety of sources and has a clear organizational pattern with effective transitions. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task:

  • While reading the text, “How the Snake Got Poison,” students use the internet to research a kind of poisonous snake. They are told to focus on the most vital details and present this information to the class.
  • While reading the text, “Rabbit And The Tug Of War,” students conduct research to find out more about the Myskoke Creek people. They find out answers to questions that include: “What types of animals did they hunt?” They also create a map showing the Native American groups in each part of the continental U.S.

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.)
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Students are given the chance to speak about texts and extensions of the texts in the after reading exercises entitled, “Collaborative Learning." The “Exceeding the Standards-Speaking and Listening” handbook provides step-by-step instructions for each unit workshop in the text. Speaking and Listening rubrics are available for self and peer assessment. An opportunity for students to engage in a speaking and listening workshop is present following each unit. Each unit concludes with a Speaking, Listening, and/or Viewing Workshop. Within these workshops, students write, deliver, and listen to different speech presentations. Protocols are included in the margins of the workshops entitled, “Performance Tasks."

Protocols for speaking and listening can be found in the Speaking and Listening Workshop at the end of each unit. The presentations students develop are coordinated with the theme of the unit. In the Language Arts Handbook at the back of the Teacher’s Edition (and student handbook) the following guidelines and protocols are provided: Verbal and Nonverbal Communication, Listening Skills, Listening Critically, Listening to Learn Vocabulary, Listening for Appreciation, Collaborative Learning and Communication, Conducting an Interview, Guidelines for conducting an Interview, Public Speaking Tips, Guidelines for Giving a Speech, Oral Interpretation Guidelines for a dramatic reading of a literary work or group of works, Interpreting Poetry Guidelines, Guidelines for Storytelling, Participating in a Debate, and Guidelines for a Multimedia Presentation.

Additional instruction is available for speaking and listening strategies and skills in the Language Arts Handbook in the back of the student textbook. Guidelines for Verbal and Nonverbal Communication are provided, as well as adapting listening skills. Collaborative Learning and Communication Skills, Asking and Answering Questions, Conducting an Interview, and other Speaking & Listening guidelines are available as a resource.

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

  • Exceeding the Standards: Speaking & Listening Unit 1: Speaking & Listening Workshop Giving and Actively Listening to Oral Summaries: Below is a list of a few plot details for the short story “The Serial Garden,” on page 111 of your textbook. Notice how only the important details of the story will be included in the final plot summary.
  • In Unit 1, students read “The Inn of Lost Time” and practice speaking and listening as presented through Oral Interpretation: “Encourage students to role-play the encounter between the travelers and the people in the inn. Assign roles to students and have them carefully read and reread the passage that begins with Zenta calling out ‘Is anyone there?’ and ends with Tokubei’s exclamation about losing fifty years. Have students act out the scene, using volume, stress, inflection, and gestures for dramatic effect. After the performance, invite each student who plays a character to explain his or her interpretation of the character’s motivation and thoughts.”
  • In Unit 2, students use “Jed’s Grandfather” to practice speaking and listening in presenting a group research project: “Tell students that when they are assigned a group research project, each group member should take a specific responsibility. This ensures that the work is evenly distributed, no work is duplicated, and all the goals of the assignment are met...Choose a group leader to conduct meetings and record assignments, schedules, and so on. (This role can be rotated.) Choose one or two members to collect and organize research materials. Assign each member of the group a different type of resource to use for research, such as the Internet, periodicals, books, and interviews."
  • In Unit 3, students use “A Bittersweet Memoir” to practice speaking and listening as presented through Self-Generated Questioning: “Ask students to reflect on what they have learned. Ask: ‘What question raised by the selection would you really like answered?’ Model a possible question: ‘What was the reaction in the United States to the news of Clemente’s death?’ Have individuals articulate a question, write it down, and then conduct research to find an answer. Finally, set aside time to have students present their questions and answers to the class."
  • In Unit 4, students have the opportunity to participate in a Speaking and Listening Workshop through a Viewing Workshop. The content of the viewing workshop is not directly tied to texts included in Unit 3. Students choose an idea, select key ideas and visuals, and identify their audience.
  • In Unit 5, Under Critical Literacy, materials suggest the following: “In groups of two practice reading the dialogue from this poem aloud. One partner should take on the role of Father William, the other of Father William’s son. Correct yourself when you make mistakes and provide constructive feedback to one another.”
  • In Unit 5, Teaching Note Group Discussion Behavior Give students some guidelines for discussing poems, poets, and other types of literature in small groups.— Agree on the topic and stick to it.— Speak kindly.— Do not interrupt; listen until each speaker has finished speaking.— Try to make sure everyone has a chance to speak.— Avoid generalizing from personal experience. Tell your story and then allow others to share.— Be aware of your body language. Nonverbal communication can say just as much as words.
  • In Unit 6, students read the lyric poem, “Once by the Sea” and opportunities for collaboration are provided. Students are to discuss with partners how the poem makes them feel. What words, rhymes, rhythms, and images specifically influenced your reactions? What mental images did you imagine as you read the poem. Summarize the mood and its causes in one or two sentences.
  • In Unit 7, students read the dramatic monologue, “St. Crispian’s Day Speech,” and the narrative poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade." Opportunities for collaboration are provided as they are to practice reading the speech in pairs and provide feedback about their partner's delivery including tone of voice, clarity, and facial expressions.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Eshu," a Yoruban Folk Tale retold by Judith Gleason, and opportunities for collaboration are provided. Working in small groups, students discuss why Eshu behaves the way he does and what motivates him.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Speaking and listening instruction is applied following each unit through workshops. Other informal speaking and listening activities are embedded throughout the materials, though protocols and guidance is limited with those opportunities within the description of the activity, and the student and/or teacher would need to refer to a different section of the text to revisit guidelines for the majority of speaking and listening workshops following the reading and for the other opportunities that are suggested throughout the reading. Materials provide the teacher with ample questions for engaging the students in thinking about and responding to the text; however, no explanation is given on how the students will share this thinking - be it verbal or written, individual or in groups. There are few supports or follow-up questions to support students' listening and speaking to deepen their understanding about what they are reading or researching.

Some of the Speaking and Listening activities are not connected to texts students are reading or researching previously in the unit. It is left to the teacher’s discretion with some activities to decide if a story is used from the text or if students choose a different story. The post-reading extension activities found within The Exceeding the Standards resource book offers additional supports such as collaborative learning assignments, discussion opportunities, and evaluation tips.

Students may also take part in Collaborative Learning, which usually occurs in the After Reading section where students practice speaking and listening skills--this includes student planning for group activities, group skit presentations, short discussions, etc. There are other frequent questions and activities that are designed to have students speaking and listening, but they do not require the student to have interacted with the text being studied. Rather, they are based on personal thoughts and experiences and connections to themes. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, with the reading of “Amigo Brothers," students have the opportunity to participate in an informal speaking and listening activity through Self-Generated Questioning: “Have students work in pairs. Tell each pair to write a question about the selection, and to draw a picture, a chart, or another graphic that answers the question. Model a possible question: ‘Who is taller, Felix or Antonio?’ Invite the pairs to share their questions and answers in small groups or as a class."
  • In Unit 5, the materials provide a Speaking and Listening Workshop, “Giving and Actively Listening to Informative Presentations." In this workshop students are provided direction for creating an informative presentation. Materials include resources for creating an effective introduction, creating a clear, logical and well-informed presentation that is well researched and provides a conclusion that summarizes the main points. Speaking and Listening rubrics are provided for this workshop.
  • In Unit 6, students engage in the following speaking and listening task: “Use the peer review process as an opportunity for students to practice listening skills. Ask reviewers to have their partners read their narratives aloud. Tell reviewers to use the revising checklist on this page as a rubric for listening. In addition, after listening, have each reviewer summarize the narrative he or she heard, and retell the significance of the event in his or her own words."
  • In Unit 8, a lesson titled “Giving and Actively Listening to Research Presentations” is provided. The instructional materials provide necessary steps to think through when planning for the presentation such as selecting key points, organizing the speech, delivering the presentation and actively listening. A speaking and listening rubric is provided.

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. A range of writing activities and tasks are provided. Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided to practice skills in an authentic manner. Students can utilize digital and outside resources when appropriate to the task. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade level standards being reviewed.

The Teacher’s Edition offers opportunities to write in the Extend Understanding section, Writing Skills section throughout the unit, and the Writing Workshops and Test Practice Workshops at the end of each unit. Extend Understanding contains on-demand writing activities. The Writer’s Workshops for each unit includes a process writing assignment. The “Exceeding the Standards” book includes supports for each Writing Workshop. These activities require students to analyze the current reading and ground evidence from the text. Additionally, short, focused projects utilizing media resources are provided and require students to work with partners, in groups, or independently.

Examples of on-demand writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • At the end of Unit 3, a Test Practice Workshop is provided where students read an excerpt and are then write an informative essay in which they “state and support a thesis about the causes and effects of the narrator’s decision. Include evidence from the passage to support your thesis."
  • In Unit 4, Extend Understanding, students write a one paragraph literary response explaining “how they think the setting affects the mood of the piece.” In addition, a short research project is suggested under Lifelong Learning: “Use library resources to find out more about the expedition involving Shackleton and the crew of Endurance.” Students prepare a poster for display that summarizes the incident.
  • In Unit 5, using “The Village Blacksmith" in the “Extend Understanding” exercises, students are given two options for writing after reading: Narrative Writing or Informative Writing. For the Narrative option, students write a brief short story about the village the blacksmith described in Longfellow’s poem. Students introduce a conflict, challenge, or problem for the blacksmith to solve. Students reread “The Village Blacksmith” to find details that can be used to help describe the setting and the blacksmith’s character. In the Informative option, students write a critical analysis that explores Longfellow’s use of rhythm and rhyme in “The Village Blacksmith." Students explain the message that Longfellow communicates or reinforces through the use of rhythm and rhyme. Students share their work with the class.
  • In Unit 6, using “Once by the Pacific" in the Extend Understanding exercise, students are given two options for writing after reading: Descriptive Writing or Informative Writing. For the Descriptive option, students analyze the symbolism in the poem and write about one of them. For the Informative option, students write a cause and effect essay in which they state the speaker’s outlook and determine the causes for that outlook. Students will use both direct quotations and paraphrases in support of their claims. At the end of the essay, the students will restate the main idea.

Examples of process writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students write a response to a piece of literature (Informative Writing). They use the writing process to complete the assignment and are provided with instructional support through each phase of the writing process.
  • In Unit 2, students write a short story (Narrative Writing). They use the writing process to complete the assignment and are provided with instructional support through each phase of the writing process.
  • At the end of Unit 3, a Writing Workshop focusing on cause and effect writing is provided. Students analyze an event and the reasons it occurred or to consider the relationship between an event and its results. Students are taken through a prewrite, draft, revise, edit and proofread, and publish and present.
  • At the end of Unit 4, a Writing Workshop focusing on a descriptive essay is provided. Students use sensory details and personal thoughts to give a response to nature. They are taken through a prewrite, draft, revise, edit and proofread, and publish and present.
  • In Unit 6, in the Exceeding the Standards workbook, students write dialogue between two characters. Students are taken through the 5-step writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. They are provided with a literary model, instruction through the writing process, a revision checklist, and a writing rubric.
  • In Unit 7, students use a Writing Workshop to focus on an Argumentative Essay with the following goals: “an effective introduction, a clear thesis statement, a clear and logical organizational pattern, evidence that supports the thesis, an effective conclusion that restates the thesis and adds an insight.” Notably, the workshop includes addressing opposing viewpoints in a counterargument as well. The standards require students to acknowledge a counterclaim at this level; therefore, it is appropriate to include this piece in the Performance Task.
  • In Unit 8, students are assigned a Test Practice Workshop focusing on a Research Report that includes sourcing texts included throughout the unit. Students have the opportunity to write a research report in which they “examine the personalities of the gods from the myths in this unit. Discuss the qualities present in their personalities and the ways these characters are like or unlike human. Gather your information from at least three myths. In your essay, use both paraphrases and direct quotations."

Examples of short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where available include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students complete the following task: “Use the Internet to research information for a comparison study of the western green mamba (Dendroaspis viridis) and king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). Find out facts about their size, appearance, habitat, range, and habits. Determine which of the two snakes represents a greater danger to human beings."
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following task: “The title of Deal’s story is a literary allusion, an indirect reference to something that explains or enriches the story. Use a library or the Internet to find out about the myths of Antaeus. Compare Antaeus and T.J. Make a poster that explains how they are similar and how they are different."
  • In Unit 8, after reading “Eshu," students can move beyond the text through Differentiated Instruction and utilize digital resources through an Enrichment activity: Other versions of the story of Eshu and the two friends progress quite differently from this one. (Eshu returns and speaks to the friends, for instance.) Students may be interested in comparing different versions. Have them use the library or internet resources to find alternative tellings of the tale and have them report their findings to classmates.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). After most reading selections in each unit, students are given an opportunity to respond to the text in a form of writing in the “Extend Understanding” section. At the conclusion of each unit, a “Writing Workshop” task is provided.

Each lesson offers a purpose for the writing, instruction and guidance in writing, a literary model for students to refer to, a five-step writing process plan, a revision checklist, and rubrics. Also, writing lessons are provided in the supplemental workbook, “Exceeding the Standards". Supplementary writing lessons are also offered across the school year in different modes of writing such as informative, narrative, descriptive, argumentative. Rubrics and a variety of writing tasks provide both students and teachers opportunities to monitor progress in writing skills.

In Unit 1, students use “After Twenty Years” and engage in two text types of writing, narrative and informational, with the following activities:

  • Imagine that you are Jimmy Wells writing to your former friend after Bob has been sent to jail. Write a letter explaining how you feel about what you had to do. Offer to support Bob in turning his life around.
  • The plainclothes police man tells Bob that twenty years is long enough to change “a good man into a bad one.” Using a cause-and-effect chart, write a short essay in which you analyze the causes and effects that brought Bob to justice in “After Twenty Years.”

In Unit 2, students read the text, “For Your Reading List,” and complete the following argument writing/speaking task: "Using your library, locate a recent book review in a local or national newspaper or magazine. Read the review, noting the tone and the reviewer’s main idea. Then write your own two- paragraph book review of 'The Smallest Dragonboy.' Give your opinion and present evidence, including paraphrases and direct quotations, in support of it. At the start of your review, be sure to give a brief summary of 'The Smallest Dragonboy.' When you are done, present your review using gestures as well as the proper speaking rate, volume, and eye contact.”

In Unit 3, students write a newspaper editorial (Argument Writing) about how centuries of immigration in the United States have influenced the national character. “Describe how you think immigrants from all over the world have influenced what it means to be an American. Use direct quotations or paraphrases from Barrio Boy as support."

In Unit 5, in the “Writer’s Workshop," students are instructed to write a compare-and-contrast essay in which the students examine the similarities and differences between the two subjects. Students experience a 5-step writing process including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Teachers are provided with instructional protocols in the margins of the Writer’s Workshop pages on the stages of the writing process.

In Unit 6, students use “Once by the Pacific" in the “Extend Understanding” exercise as the text for two options in writing after reading - Descriptive Writing or Informative Writing. For the Descriptive option, students analyze the symbolism in the poem and write about one of them. For the Informative option, students write a cause-and-effect essay in which they state the speaker’s outlook and determine the causes for that outlook. Students will use both direct quotations and paraphrases in support of their claims. At the end of the essay, the students will restate the main idea.

In Unit 7, students utilize a writing rubric for the argumentative essay focusing on the following: “an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, that includes a question or a quotation, or that connects to a common human experience; a thesis statement in the introduction that clearly presents my argument or point of view; a clear and logical organizational pattern; evidence, such as reasons, facts, and examples to support my thesis; an effective conclusion that restates my thesis and adds a final insight."

In Unit 8, students utilize a writing rubric for informative writing, the research report focusing on the following: “an introduction that clearly states my purpose and thesis; a clear organizational pattern with effective transitions; quoted, paraphrased, and summarized information from multiple sources that supports my thesis; an effective conclusion that sums up my main points; a list of sources cited in my report."

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

The materials provide opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. At the end of every reading selection, in the After Reading/Extend the Text section, students are presented with two on-demand writing options that prompt students to complete short, research-based writing using the texts read within the section. There are additional opportunities to complete writing assignments after reading selections, but only some of these tasks require students to seek evidence from the text. The writing prompts that require students to interact with the text only sometimes state explicitly that the students need to cite evidence. Some writing prompts are creative and narrative, causing the student to focus on personal events, reactions to themes, and using their imagination to create a product that is loosely related to the text. Students also experience research-based and evidence-based writing within every Writing Workshop section that occurs at the close of each unit. Many writing opportunities are focused around each student’s analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources.

  • In Unit 1, students complete the following task: “How reliable is Johnny’s version of what happened? In one column of a two-column chart, list details from the story showing that Johnny is a reliable narrator; in the other column chart, list details from the story showing that Johnny is a reliable narrator; in the column, list details showing that he is unreliable. Take a position and write a short paragraph in which you explain to a group of researchers why they should or should not try to find the sea creature.”
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following task: “Using your library, locate a recent book review in a local or national newspaper or magazine. Read the review, noting the tone and the reviewer’s main idea. Then write your own two-paragraph book review of the “The Smallest Dragonboy.” Give your opinion and present evidence, including paraphrases and direct quotations, in support of it. At the start of your review, be sure to give a brief summary of the “The Smallest Dragonboy.” When you are done, present your review using gestures as well as the proper speaking rate, volume, and eye contact.”
  • In Unit 3, students are to write a one-page critical analysis. “An author’s voice expresses his or her personality and attitudes. How would you describe Annie Dillard’s voice in this passage? Analyze Dillard’s voice, or use of language, tone, and sentence structure. Be sure to include a thesis statement and evidence from the text.” Also in Unit 3, students are to write an informative essay in which they describe the problem the author overcomes in the text, “Fish Cheeks." “At the end of your essay, tell whether you think the way in which the author overcame this problem is satisfactory. When you are finished, share your essay with the class.”
  • In Unit 4, students write a problem-solution essay using “Ships in the Desert." Students are to offer a solution to one of the problems while stating the chosen problem in an introductory paragraph. “In the body paragraphs, explain changes people can make to ease or resolve this problem.” The concluding paragraph should include what could happen in the future if such changes are not made. The essay should include facts and details from the text to support their ideas.
  • In Unit 5, students use “The Village Blacksmith” in the Extend Understanding exercises to choose between two options for writing after reading: Narrative Writing or Informative Writing. For the Informative option, students write a critical analysis that explores Longfellow’s use of rhythm and rhyme in “The Village Blacksmith." Students explain the message that Longfellow communicates or reinforces through the use of rhythm and rhyme. Students share their work with the class.
  • In Unit 6, student use “Gold” in the Extend Understanding exercise to write a short critical analysis in which they describe the main idea of Mora’ poem. They examine the use of images, the setting, the speaker’s descriptions, and the poem’s tone. In the introduction of the analysis, students summarize the poem and state what they think the main idea is. Students will present evidence to support their claims.
  • In Unit 7, during the reading of “A Christmas Carol, Act I," students create a Character Sketch: “Tell students that a character sketch describes a character in a story. Ask students to write a one-paragraph character sketch of Marley, Scrooge, Cratchit, or Scrooge's nephew Fred. Before they begin, remind students that a well-constructed paragraph has a topic sentence that takes the main ideas, body sentences that support the topic sentence and help explain the main idea, and a closing sentence that bring the paragraph to a satisfactory conclusion."
  • In Unit 8, students can practice informative writing to Extend Understanding: “Write a literary analysis of Tsali’s character. Use the chart you created to analyze character motivation in ‘Tsali of the Cherokees’ to help you form and support your thesis. Ask yourself: Why did Tsali choose to stay on his land? What does he value? How does he interact with others? At the end of your analysis, be sure to restate your thesis. When you are finished, share your analysis with the class."

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria 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.

The materials include instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. However, there is inconsistent support for students to practice in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Language standards are addressed in Grammar & Style activities and Vocabulary & Spelling activities. These are included consistently with each unit. The Exceeding the Standards resource books, Grammar & Style uses selections from each unit in the textbook as examples and exercises. The skills instruction does not include opportunities for application both in and out of context. Additionally, the materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. There are minimal opportunities to practice skills taught in the unit with the selected readings in the Teacher’s Edition, therefore limiting opportunities for increased sophistication of the addressed standards. While the resource workbook, Exceeding the Standards, includes “comprehensive skills development lessons," the same language standards are not necessarily addressed during the “Writer’s Workshop” task or other possible places within the unit of study. Therefore, students are not consistently given opportunities to apply the lessons on grammar and conventions in context.

In Unit 1, some focus of the lessons include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sentence and its functions
  • Subjects and predicates
  • Simple and complete subjects and predicates
  • Compound subjects, predicates, and sentences
  • Identifying the parts of speech

In the unit of instruction, students complete activities where they punctuate a sentence written as dialogue using quotation marks.

In Unit 2, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Common and proper nouns
  • Singular and plural nouns
  • Possessive nouns
  • Nouns and collective nouns
  • Pronouns and antecedents
  • Subject and object pronouns
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Indefinite pronouns

In the unit of instruction, students complete activities where they read and identify the sentences that indicate the best revision.

In Unit 3, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Action Verbs and State of Being Verbs
  • Linking and Helping Verbs
  • Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
  • Verb Tenses
  • Passive Voice and Active Voice
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Verbals
  • Subject and Verb Agreement
  • Indefinite Pronoun and Verb Agreement

In the unit of instruction, students have an opportunity to complete exercises for identifying prepositional or participial phrases.

In Unit 4, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Direct Objects
  • Indirect Objects
  • Predicate Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives
  • Adjectives and Adverbs: Choosing the Correct Modifier
  • Appositives
  • Positives, Comparatives, and Superlatives
  • Contractions
  • Commonly Confused Words

In the unit of instruction, students have an opportunity to use a dictionary to find the roots or base words.

In Unit 5, students engage with the following lessons featured in selected readings:

  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Personal and possessive pronouns
  • Nouns - proper, plural, possessive, and collective
  • Reflexive and intensive pronouns

Materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 6, students engage with following lessons featured in selected readings:

  • Simple, compound, and compound complex sentences
  • Simple, complete, and compound predicates
  • Figurative language
  • Spelling by syllables

Materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 7, students engage two lessons featured with a selected reading:

  • Gerunds, participles, and infinitives

There are no additional practices to reinforce this skill within the unit. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 8, students engage two lessons featured with the readings:

  • Dashes, semicolons, and colons

There are no additional practices to reinforce this skill within the unit. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. Materials do not meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic or theme/topic or themes or themes to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently. While there are targeted questions and series of questions for students that promote students’ ability to draw conclusions and cite textual evidence, determine theme, and analyze point of view, they do not promote students' building knowledge of the content and texts.Students are presented with text-dependent and text-specific questions; however, the questions do not require students to build knowledge across the text. Culminating tasks do not require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, nor do they integrate skills. Materials include vocabulary over the course of a school-year, but there is no cohesive plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. 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. Materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in research activities that support the understanding of texts and topics within texts. Each selection is followed by at least one opportunity for students to engage in a research task, which includes a variety of individual, partner, and small group projects. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class. A gradual release of responsibility reading model moving students from guided reading to directed reading to independent reading is within each unit.

Criterion 2a - 2h

18/32

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.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that 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.

The instructional materials are placed in units based on genre. Each unit is also given a theme. Each selection in the unit closely or loosely relates to the theme provided. After each theme is presented on the title page of the unit, a description is offered to connect them theme/topic to the texts included in the unit. Each unit is composed of three levels of reading support: guided reading, directed reading, and independent reading. A quote at the beginning of each unit is intended to give insight into the collection of literature in the unit. Along with the quote are guiding questions and commentary that are meant to expand upon the quote. Many of the Mirrors & Windows questions focus on text-to-student understanding, rather than the text, and they are not building the student's knowledge of a topic or theme. Texts included in each unit are loosely connected by the unit's theme, but do not build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The units for Grade 7 include: Unit 1: Meeting the Unexpected (Fiction), Unit 2: Learning Values (Fiction), Unit 3: Experiencing the World (Nonfiction), Unit 4: Responding to Nature (Nonfiction), Unit 5: Appreciating Life (Poetry), Unit 6: Searching Beneath the Surface (Poetry), Unit 7: Facing Challenges (Drama), and Unit 8: Seeking Wisdom (Folk Literature).

In Unit 2, Learning Values (Fiction), students begin the unit by examining and discussing the term "values." They brainstorm and agree on a single working definition. They are told to consider how they approach difficult situations and if they always stay true to their values as they read the unit’s selections. This activity creates text-to-student connections; however, the teacher will have to supplement with other texts and possibly questions to support building knowledge.

In Unit 3, Experiencing the World (Nonfiction), students are assigned to read “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard and answer questions that connects to the unit’s theme to explore how we experience the world through the eyes of a child: “What item or experience from your childhood can unlock a treasure trove of memories for you? What kinds of things can people learn from memories of their childhood?” Also, prior to reading the selection, the teacher can pose the following: “Before students start to read, ask: What is your most precious memento of your childhood?” These questions are engaging, but do not require deep reading of the texts and will not support students in building knowledge without further supplementary reading and questions.

In Unit 4, Responding to Nature (Nonfiction) students read “The Size of Things” by Robert Jastrow and focus on the topic “seeking knowledge” through our scientific discoveries and exploration of the universe which connects to the overarching unit theme. Questions asked of students are as follows: “If you wanted to know more about either atoms or the universe, whom could you ask? Do you think these topics are good for everyone to study, or just for people who are deeply interested in science?" Also, prior to reading the selection, the teacher can pose the following: “Before they begin to read, ask students: What do you think of people who really enjoy science?” Students would need additional support from the teacher to deepen their understanding and glean knowledge throughout the Unit.

In Unit 5, Appreciating Life (Poetry), students read “Gold” by Pat Mora and learn how the speaker in this poem “appreciates life” by describing the sunset from a hill in a desert. Students follow how Mora describes the lizards, a rabbit, a sparrow, and a hawk beneath the backdrop of the golden sky. While this is an engaging activity, it does not require deep reading of the texts and will not support students in building knowledge without further supplementary reading and questions.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that 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. While there are targeted questions and series of questions for students that promote students’ ability to draw conclusions and cite textual evidence, determine theme, and analyze point of view, they do not promote students' building knowledge of the content and texts. There are few questions that support students in analyzing author’s language and word choice. The questions that do focus on language and structure do not support students to analyze its effect on the text.

In Unit 2, students read “Hollywood and the Pits” and are asked to analyze point of view and examine the author's use of cause and effect. The questions associated with this lesson will need to be supplemented to grow students' knowledge about the content of the text as well as the writing components in place:

  • Is the narrator part of the action? What else can you tell about the narrator so far?
  • Ask students why the narrator’s hair won’t stay in knots. What effect does this have on the narrator?
  • Summarize how Cherylene Lee’s use of both first-person and third-person points of view affect the mood and plot of 'Hollywood and the Pitts'. Make a graphic organizer like this one so you can record your key impression.

In Unit 3, student use the texts, “Writings by Queen Elizabeth I” and “Elizabeth I” to compare and contrast how the two works present Queen Elizabeth’s life. To explain what each text reveals about the central figure’s life, students focus on the following questions: "Which selection or selections reveal Elizabeth’s innermost thoughts? Do Elizabeth’s writings support the picture of her character as portrayed by Meltzer?" While these questions may require some close reading, they do not provide students access to in depth analysis of the key ideas, craft, and structure of the text, rather referring to broader views.

In Unit 4, students read “Ships in the Desert “ to complete a chart on connotations and denotations of vocabulary in the text. The student analyzes how words are used in the context of the selection. This example shows how the materials provide some support for students to unpack and study language and writing as they do close readings of the texts.

In Unit 5, students read the poem, “Unfolding Bud,” and respond to set of coherently sequenced text specific questions including: "In the second stanza, to what does the speaker compare a poem? What does this description convey about the speaker’s attitude toward poetry? Explain." These guided questions may provide students a closer examination of the craft, structure, and styles used by the author.

In Unit 8, students read the folk tale, “We Are All One,” and answer the following questions to make meaning of the text:

  • What is the setting of the story? How is the setting important to the plot?
  • What does the old candy peddler decide to do to help the rich man?
  • Why do you think he decides to do this?
  • What good deed does the peddler perform for the ants?
  • What does he say as he does this?
  • What does he mean by this?

These questions do provide guidance and support for closer reading, although the teacher may have to support and supplement with other student questions and work to provide students deep analysis and engagement with academic vocabulary and knowledge building.

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to analyze the the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The Mirrors & Windows questions are mostly text-to-student questions, where students do not refer to the text to respond. Questions and tasks do not require that students refer to the text, and it is unclear how the questions work to build knowledge across an individual text. In terms of the integration of ideas across multiple texts, each unit includes two texts that are paired with the intention of teaching literary elements across texts. The individual, paired texts have text-dependent questions at the end, but there is only one question that asks the students to compare the texts, and the question does not promote a deep analysis of the texts. There are other text-to-text connections established in the units, but the questions about these connections do not require an analysis of the integration of ideas.

The Exceeding the Standards and Meeting the Standards supplemental resources offer additional, yet limited, activities within the unit to compare a set of texts. Various texts within the units have student writing, speaking, and researching tasks for evidence of students’ need to perform analysis of texts to complete quality, cumulative assignments and tasks.

The During Reading questions require only a surface amount of knowledge to complete. During the reading of each text, questions are presented in the margin and answers are provided in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition. Guidance is offered in teaching the analysis questions in the margins. After each text, students are presented with Text Dependent Questions. There are some questions and tasks designed to increase in complexity from understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating; however, these questions comprise a small percentage of the questions and tasks that students are required to address.

  • In Unit 1, after reading “The 11:59” by Patricia McKissack and “A Long Hard Journey: The Story of Pullman Porter," in a “Text to Text Connection” task, students are presented with the following task: “Both Patricia McKissack’s story and the excerpt from Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s book give information about the Pullman porters. Compare and contrast the kinds of information each selection presents. What do the details about Lester’s life and death reveal about the Pullman porters? Summarize the texts in ways that maintain meaning and logical order.”
  • In Unit 3, using an excerpt from Off the Court, an autobiography by Arthur Ashe and “A Black Athlete Looks at Education," an editorial by Arthur Ashe, students are asked to answer the following questions and complete the following: “What passages reflect Ashe’s perspective and explain how they do this. Reread the anecdote about the disagreement Ashe had with Bobby about his backhand. What does this explain about his character? How would you characterize Ashe’s friends who leave with him when Ashe is not admitted into the movies? What would they have done if they were in that situation? Create a two-column chart labeling on one side St. Louis and the other side Richmond and record details about each."
  • In Unit 4, using an excerpt the visual media, “Dust Bowl, Photographs" by Arthur Rothstein, and the essay, “Dust Changes America” by Margaret Bourke-White, students respond to the following: “I wonder why the smaller boy is behind his father and brother. Are they all hurrying, without taking time to stop and help each other? And look at that doorway. Can they get into this building if they want to? What would it be like in there?” These questions can be partially answered without the text itself, and the teacher will need to add to support students' knowledge building.
  • In Unit 6, using the poems, “Annabel Lee” and “The Highwayman," students identify the story and poetic elements found in both texts. Additionally, the class is divided in half and each group creates plot diagrams using specific details of the poems. These details support understanding the specific texts themselves, but that understanding does not extend beyond the specific text.
  • In Unit 7, using “Let Me Hear You Whisper," a drama by Paul Zindel, students have the opportunity to move beyond a literal interpretation of the text when completing an informative writing task following the reading: “Analyze how Paul Zindel used dialogue in Let Me Hear You Whisper. Revisit the play to get more ideas about how dialogue reveals character traits and motives. Also, analyze how Zindel uses dialogue to advance the plot. Write a critical analysis of Zindel’s use of dialogue.”
  • In Unit 8, using “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," a screenplay by Rod Serling, the materials provide teacher modeling to use reading strategies during the guided reading, such as inferencing. For example, “Have students infer why Charlie accuses Tommy. (Tommy started the story about invaders from outer space. Charlie probably doesn’t really believe it’s Tommy, but because Tommy started the story, maybe the crowd will turn on Tommy and leave Charlie alone.)”

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that 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).

Culminating tasks do not require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, nor do they integrate skills. Students complete each workshop independently of each other. Some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students are often demonstrating mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Each unit includes three types of culminating activities: a Speaking and Listening Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Test Practice Workshop. The performance tasks that the students complete in these culminating activities correspond to the questions, discussions, and writing prompts.

In Unit 4, some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students demonstrate a mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Students are assigned a culminating task where they write a descriptive essay using sensory details and personal thoughts to give a response to nature. Prior to being assigned the culminating task, students complete scaffolded and independent activities to prepare them to write a descriptive essay. Students practice in writing and presenting:

  • After reading “The Size of Things” and “Achieving Perspective”, students write a descriptive paragraph using an analogy. They write a description of an atom to a state senator. The students describe the specifics (composition, size, number of atoms in a common object, etc) that they want to emphasize in an analogy to the senator.
  • After reading “The Sibley Guide to Birds” and “WIld Turkeys”, students write a descriptive paragraph describing the wild turkey. They must be sure to include all the bird’s most recognizable traits.

In Unit 6, some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students demonstrate a mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Students explore poetry where they will understand different elements and types of poetry. Students are assigned a culminating task where they plan and write a narrative that reflects the challenges of theme in the poem “I’m Nobody”. They are to use descriptive, sensory, and figurative language as well as examples from the poem. Students write a narrative:

  • After reading, “The Highwayman”, students are asked to identify the comparisons the speaker makes in the first three lines. Additionally, they are to describe what the metaphors add to the setting. Students are to contrast the description of the character Tim with the earlier description of the highwayman later in the poem.
  • Before reading “The Lost Parrot,” students are instructed to decide what the bird might symbolize as they read. Teachers are instructed to discuss with students whether the parrot is a meaningful symbol in this poem. Then after students read, they are to record on a two column chart what the parrot represents to Carlos and to the speaker. A chart is provided.

In Unit 8, Speaking and Listening Workshop, students are assigned a culminating task where they write a research presentation. Presentations are evaluated on content and delivery and should include clear organization of material with a strong introduction and conclusion. A listening rubric is also included.

  • Students conduct research to find out more about the Myskoke Creek people. They answer questions including: “What types of animals did they hunt?”
  • Students read, “The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble” and have group discussions about Thunder’s fable and how it relates to history and/or current events. They respond to questions that include: “Who might wolves represent in human society past and present?” They conduct research to find examples.

These examples provide some practice, but they clearly do not support integration of the different skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

Materials include vocabulary over the course of a school-year, but there is no cohesive plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts, as seen in the Vocabulary and Spelling lessons which are integrated with two of the literature selections in each unit. These lessons incorporate vocabulary words from the preceding selection to provide context and repetition for students to increase their understanding and vocabulary knowledge. However, academic vocabulary is not repeated sufficiently across units throughout the course of the year.

The Teacher’s Edition has key terms with definitions, but there is little to no representation of academic vocabulary. When the academic vocabulary is mentioned within a unit or along with a reading they are not repeated sufficiently through the unit or throughout the course of the year.

A Language Arts Handbook is provided as a student resource at the back of the text which includes Vocabulary and Spelling, and teachers can direct students to these resources.

The Meeting the Standards Unit Resources do include cumulative vocabulary lists and the teacher’s edition provides a Building Vocabulary which includes an overview of all unit vocabulary words, academic vocabulary, and key terms. The Master word lists cover vocabulary from Common Core Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three words. Academic words included and addressed in the Vocabulary Practice Lessons that follow do not appear in other Vocabulary Lessons within the grade level and do not appear within the assessment practice or Writing Workshop within the same unit. Additionally, the Exceeding the Standards resource includes a vocabulary and spelling section that contains lessons and practice on word parts and word origins; borrowed words and informal language; testing vocabulary and choosing words; and working with academic vocabulary.

In Unit 2, students read “Amigo Brothers,” a short story by Piri Thomas, and from “The Greatest: Muhammad Ali," a biography by Walter Dean Myers. Before the unit, fiction terms and literary elements (Tier 3 words) are defined. Instructions are provided for teachers to use the pages at any point in the unit as students explore the elements of fiction. The academic vocabulary targeted for these selections are the following terms: physique, portrayal, and profiles. The vocabulary word physique is addressed at the end of the text in the Find Meaning section. “How are the amigo brothers different in physique and style?” The word portrayal is mentioned in the Text to Text Connection on page 174. “Based on what Myers writes, do you think Thomas gives a realistic portrayal of a boxing match?” In the Extend Understanding section at the end of the text, students are to conduct internet research and “put your information into two profiles that you can display and discuss in class.” There is no instruction on the meanings of the words and opportunities to build knowledge in and across texts are not provided.

In Unit 4, students are presented with an Academic Vocabulary with the text, “The Size of Things.” The following list appears in the bottom margin of the textbook before reading: theories, accurate, collaborate. No explicit instruction is offered with these words other than in the reading.

In Unit 6, students are presented with an Academic Vocabulary with the text, “The Filling Station.” The following list appears in the bottom margin of the textbook before reading: evident, precise. No explicit instruction is offered with these words other than in the reading.

In Unit 8, students read “Persephone and Demeter” a Greek Myth retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. Before the unit, elements of drama (Tier 3 words) are defined. Instructions are provided for teachers to use the pages at any point in the unit as students explore the elements of drama. The academic vocabulary targeted for this selection are the following terms: civilization, flourished, pantheon, supernatural, phenomena and aspect. All words except for aspect are listed in the Build Background and Analyze Literature section before students read the text. The vocabulary word aspect is used at the end of the selection in the directions on the Extend Understanding section: “Choose an aspect of nature that is explained in 'Persephone and Demeter'.” The instructional materials do not offer any instruction of practice with the academic vocabulary words and do not build vocabulary in and across texts.

Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that 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.

The 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. After each reading selection, there is a section called Extend Understanding which provides students with a choice between two writing assignments. Throughout the course of the units, these Extend Understanding writing tasks are providing students opportunities to develop their writing skills. After each Lesson Test, students also practice their writing skills by answering one essay question forcing the student to cite the text to support their answers. Each unit concludes with a Writing Workshop task that addresses the four types of writing over the course of the year: Argumentative, Informative, Descriptive, and Narrative. The workshop offers flexibility to meet the needs of students as well as provide the opportunity to include writing not merely to help students develop communication skills, but to promote learning and thinking. In the Writing Workshops, students are guided through the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Students are issued a revision checklist and a student model in which they can refer.

Throughout the year, both teacher and peers provide feedback to ensure that students' writing skills are increasing. Multiple additional writing supports can be found in the support materials of the curriculum.

  • The Common Core Assessment Practice booklet that contains reading selections with occasional short answer questions that refer to the text and constructed response writing prompts covering argument, informational/explanatory, and narrative writing types.
  • The Meeting the Standards booklet has short answer questions that relate to texts and the use of literary elements, and it has worksheets that can be used to scaffold some of the Extend the Text writing prompts.
  • The Exceeding the Standards booklet gives detailed, structured support for the entire writing process for one type of writing per unit.
  • The Assessment Guide has a summative assessment for each of the reading selections in each unit that includes a writing prompt that requires students to reference the text.

When all of the program resources are used in coordination with each other, teachers can provide a year-long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.

Examples of a cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks to meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1 for the Extend Understanding Writing Tasks, students are to write a brief essay analyzing how Joan Aiken makes her alternative world seem real in “The Serial Garden.” The directions add, “State your main idea in your thesis, focusing on one or two literary elements that made this fantasy world believable with examples from the story.”
  • In Unit 3 for the Extend Understanding Writing Task, students are to create a main idea map of the “most important thing you think parents must do in raising children” as a response to a personal essay. The directions add, “Put your main idea in the middle. Think of at least four supporting examples. Using your map, write an argumentative paragraph convincing your parents to do this thing. State your main idea in your thesis.”
  • In Unit 3, Writing Workshop, students write a cause-and-effect essay. In the drafting phase of writing, students are provided with a list of words and phrases that signal cause-and-effect relationships.
  • In Unit 5, students use the lyric poems, “Unfolding Bud” and “How to Eat a Poem,” to write an essay where they compare the qualities that two things have in common in the poems and look for examples of metaphors. An example of a table where they are to record the information is provided.
  • Additionally in Unit 5, in the Exceeding the Standards book, students write an extended comparison of two unrelated subjects, an analogy. Students are provided a model from the poem, “Mother to Son”. Students are provided detailed instruction on gathering the information to be compared. “Start by listing qualities or details about the second element of the analogy – for instance, the gardener in the teacher/gardener analogy. Then list qualities or details about the first element. Try to match up this second set of qualities or details with the first set, or work between to two sets to get as many items as possible to match.”
  • In Unit 6, Writing Workshop, students create personal narratives.They are provided with a student model and engage in the following task: “Give students several minute to read the model. Then have them review it in detail. Point out the side notes that identify the compelling introduction, the chronological order and writing techniques, and the way the writer indicates the event’s significance.”
  • In Unit 8, Writing Workshop, students create an effective research report; they take notes and organize them to support a thesis. In the prewriting phase of development, students create a list of questions that they want to answer about their topic and to guide their research. A question that can help guide the development of this research includes: “What are you trying to prove in your paper?” Students are reminded that they may use both primary and secondary resources.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in research activities that support the understanding of texts and topics within texts. Each selection is followed by at least one opportunity for students to engage in a research task, which includes a variety of individual, partner, and small group projects. Throughout each unit, students are presented with an After Reading section after each text or grouping of texts. Within most After Reading sections, students complete tasks in categories such as: Media Literacy, Lifelong Learning, Critical Literacy, Collaborative Learning, etc. Within these categories, students compose research that is influenced by the topic(s), themes, and genre of the specified reading selection. The textbook offers research opportunities through various writing options also located within the After Reading section. Materials meet the expectations of including a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Research projects are varied throughout the instructional materials and offer tasks that are connected to most texts within a unit.

In addition to opportunities in the textbook, the Exceeding the Standards resource provides extension activities for several selections that ask the students to engage in a more complex research process with multiple steps.

  • In Unit 1, students engage in a collaborative task that requires them to work with a partner to research how detective work has evolved over the past century. Students use the internet and other sources to gather information in order to prepare a chart or poster detailing this information.
  • In Unit 3, students evaluate a variety of of product websites used as online advertisements. They respond to questions that examine what they learned about the products and advertisement.
  • In Unit 5, students use the internet and library to find examples of concrete poetry and write descriptions of at least two concrete poems. They compare and contrast the poems and identify the one they like better.
  • In Unit 7, students use the internet or library to locate a summary or movie version of the story, “A Christmas Carol.” They write a brief report of the group’s findings.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Each of the eight units focuses on a specific genre. Across the year, student materials encompass multiple genres and text types of varying lengths and formats. Most texts within the remaining six units are literary texts. There are some additional texts listed, coordinating with the genre of the unit that are provided at the end in the section titled “For Your Reading List.”

The following are examples of literature found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1: Fiction: “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry (short story), “The Portrait” by Tomas Rivera (short story), “The Foghorn” by Ray Bradbury (short story, science connection), and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling (short story).
  • Unit 2: Fiction: “Hollywood and the Pits” by Cherylene Lee (short story), “The White Umbrella” by Gish Jen (short story), “Antaeus” by Borden Deal (short story), and “Papa’s Parrot” by Cynthia Rylant (short story).
  • Unit 5: Poetery: “Gold” by Pat Mora (lyric poem), “Father William” by Lewis Carroll (humorous poem), “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (narrative poem), and “Haiku” by Matso Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa (haiku).
  • Unit 6: Poetry: “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost (lyric poem), “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes (narrative poem), “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson (lyric poem), and “Money Order” by Janet S. Wong (narrative poem).
  • Unit 7: Drama: “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, Acts 1 & 2” by Israel Horovitz (drama), “Let Me Hear You Whisper” by Paul Zindel (drama), “St. Crispian’s Day Speech” by William Shakespeare (dramatic monologue), and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” by Rod Serling (screenplay).
  • Unit 8: Folk Literature: “Eshu” retold by Judith Gleason (Yorubian Folk Tale), “The Secret Name of Ra” retold by Geraldine Harris (Egyptian Myth), “Ant and Grasshopper”, “The Fox and the Crow”, “The Lion and the Statue” retold by James Reeves and Joseph Jacobs (Greek Fables), and “Rabbit and the Tug of War” by Michael Thompson and Jacob Warrenfeltz (graphic tale).

The following are examples of informational text found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 3: Nonfiction: “Elizabeth I” by Milton Meltzer (biography), “The Eternal Frontier” by Louis L’Amour (argumentative essay), “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan (personal essay), and “A Black Athlete Looks at Education” by Arthur Ashe (editorial).
  • Unit 4: Nonfiction: “The Size of Things” by Robert Jastrow (scientific essay), “from the Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley (visual media), “The Face of the Deep is Frozen” by Jennifer Armstrong (historical essay), and “An Unforgettable Journey” by Maijue Xiong (autobiography).

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

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0/8

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
0/2

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
0/2

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
0/2

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
0/2

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
0/0

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3v

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
0/4

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Indicator 3s

0/

Indicator 3s3v

0/

Indicator 3t

0/

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/

Indicator 3u.ii

0/

Indicator 3v

0/

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
0/0

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

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

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Wed Oct 24 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2016

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Grade 7 Mirrors & Windows Teacher Edition 978-0-82197-288-5 EMC School 2016
Grade 7 Mirrors & Windows Student Edition 978-0-82197-310-3 EMC School 2016

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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