Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Benchmark Grade 4 materials partially meet the expectations of alignment. The materials meet most expectations of text quality and complexity, and many tasks and questions are grounded in evidence. . Some speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, but focus on teaching protocols and modeling academic language are in place. Materials address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading. The materials partially meet expectations for building knowledge within the grade level. Academic vocabulary is addressed in each module. There is partial evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks partially meet the criteria for requiring students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
26
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
34
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

Grade 4 instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Most tasks and questions are text based and grounded in evidence. The instructional materials include some texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous, evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Some speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, but focus on teaching protocols and modeling academic language are in place. Materials address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading.

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.
16/20
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for including anchor texts that are of publishable quality, are worthy of especially careful reading and/or listening, and consider a range of student interests. Texts meet the text complexity criteria for each grade. Students engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for anchor texts to be of publishable quality, worthy of especially careful reading/listening, and including consideration of a range of student interests.

Informational texts are of high quality. Some examples include the following:

  • In Unit 1, the anchor text sets in Weeks 1, 2, and 3 are “Solving Problems,” “The First Town Meeting,” “The State Government and its Citizens,” and “Stanley’s Release.” Anchor texts contain rich vocabulary such as; government, volunteers, responsibility, citizens, candidates, ballot, campaign, election, amendment, strike, protest, boycott, segregated, vote, and taxes. The texts also provide illustrations, timelines, and primary sources for students to engage and draw information from.
  • In Unit 7, in Week 1, “The Open Road” provides information about how the nation went from horses to cars and from roads to highways using the famous Route 66 as an example. In Week 2, “Building the Transcontinental Railroad” provides information on how the railroad changed the United States and opened areas for settlement.

Some literary texts are excerpted or revised to provide appropriate readability for Grade 4 students. Students may not have opportunities to engage with the original high quality materials. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • In Unit 3, both texts in Week 1, are excerpts from published materials, “Bird’s Free Lunch” in an excerpt from The Wit of a Duck and Other Papers published in 1917 and “The Shimerdas” is an excerpt from the published novel My Antonia published in 1918..
  • In Unit 4, the Short Reads are “Here, Boy” and “Waiting for Stormy.” The Extended Reads are “Quiet!” and “My Breaking In.” These texts provide rich characterizations and rich language. For example, in “My Breaking In,” many domain-specific terms are supported by description, context clues, and illustrations.

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 4 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The instructional materials provide texts which all students access that have a balanced mix of literature and informational text. Text genres represented include, but are not limited to, informational texts, biographies, folktales, historical fiction, poetry, realistic fiction, myths, fables, play, and fairy tales. Additional literary and informational texts are found within the leveled readers and Readers’ Theater. Anchor texts include 22 literary texts and 18 informational texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • “Stanley’s Release” by Louis Sachar (Unit 1, Week 3, Extended Read 2, Realistic Fiction)
  • “Come Away, Come Away!” by J.M. Barrie (Unit 2, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Fantasy)
  • “A Bird’s Free Lunch” by John Burroughs (Unit 3, Week 1, Short Read 1, Personal Essay)
  • “Waiting for Stormy” by Marguerite Henry (Unit 4, Week 1, Short Read 2, Realistic Fiction)
  • “Green Transportation Solutions” by Brooke Harris (Unit 5, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “Hercules’ Quest” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Unit 6, Week 3, Extended Read 2, Myth)
  • “The Open Road” by Monica Halpern (Unit 7, Week 1, Short Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “Volcanoes” by Brett Kelly (Unit 8, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “Seattle: Up and Down and Up Again” by Alexandra Hanson-Harding (Unit 9, Week 1, Shared Read 1, Informational Text)
  • “The Power of Electricity” by Kathy Furgang (Unit 10, Week 2, Extended Read 1, Informational Text)

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 Benchmark Grade 4 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.

In each Unit, the anchor texts have the appropriate quantitative level of complexity for the grade band (Grade 4-5 Band of Lexiles 740-1010). The overall text measure is based on an analysis of four dimensions of qualitative text complexity. These four dimensions are: Purpose & Levels of Meaning, Structure, Language Conventionality & Clarity, and Knowledge Demands. The tasks of each anchor text is at the appropriate level for Grade 4 according to the ELA standards.

Texts that are the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 4 students include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students read “Come Away, Come Away!” by J.M. Barrie.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 930
    • Qualitative: This excerpt has an implied theme (e.g., childhood innocence versus adult responsibility), which may not be readily apparent to readers and require the making of inferences. While the events in this third person narration are presented in sequence, the narrator sometimes interrupts the storytelling and addresses the reader directly. The text features descriptive language and detailed, complex and compound sentences. Some academic vocabulary and British English usage (e.g., shan’t, halfpence) may be unfamiliar to readers.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, students read “The Shimerdas” by Willa Cather.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 880
    • Qualitative: The purpose of the text is to show through the eyes of an adult narrator, a young boy’s relationship to the natural world. Sentences range from the simple to the complex, and the text is highly descriptive and figurative (e.g., metaphor, personification). Some of the language is abstract. The two main structures are description and sequence, narrated by a first person speaker who is reflecting the past.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, students read of “Hercules’ Quest” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 940
    • Qualitative: This text conveys the mythology of the ancient Greeks, revealing some of the genre’s key themes and lessons (e.g. perseverance, courage, overcoming obstacles). Readers must navigate a detailed sequence of events to draw inferences about themes. The excerpt includes many complex and highly descriptive sentences, with some figurative language and archaic vocabulary (e.g. betwixt, affright); style and diction are formal.
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, students read “Building the Transcontinental Railroad” by Andrea Matthews.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 900
    • Qualitative: The text relies on a discipline-specific knowledge including the events that led up to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. There are many graphics used throughout the text and those graphics are integral to understanding the text. Though the texts uses signal language to support readers’ connections between events and ideas, the cause/effect structure adds an additional layer of complexity.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, students read “Seattle: Up and Down---and Up Again” by Alexandra Hanson-Harding.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 910
    • Qualitative: The text uses a cause-and-effect text structure to connect events and ideas and uses graphic support such as captioned photos and a timeline. Simple and compound sentences are used and vocabulary is mostly familiar, with unfamiliar words defined in context and through description.

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.)
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting 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.)

The complexity of anchor texts that students read provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year through a series of texts that include a variety of complexity levels. In the Teacher’s Resource System, lessons contain the gradual release of responsibility guiding teachers through teaching complex texts. The scaffolded components of the lessons include teacher modeling and teacher think-alouds. In Guided Practice, scaffolds include rereading to find text-dependent evidence, note-taking in a graphic organizer with text details, and collaborative conversations between students about the text. Although scaffolded activities are provided throughout the materials, all Short Read texts are shared and analyzed over Week 1, all Extended Read texts have one week each for analysis. More complex texts do not receive increased instructional and analysis time. There are specific weekly routines for close reading and rereading that do not allot additional time for more complex text.

  • Throughout Unit 1, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, the anchor texts of the short and extended reads range in quantitative Lexile levels of 740-930 (Grade band of 4-5 has a Lexile level of 740-1010) and an 8 -12 qualitative level which is of moderate to mostly substantial complexity. In Week 1, students read and analyze the Short Read texts, “Solving Problems” and “The First Town Meeting.” For “Solving Problems,” students summarize the text, and for “The First Town Meeting,” students identify key details and determine main idea. In Week 2, students read and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, “The State Government and Its Citizens,” and students identify key details and determine main idea. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2 text, “Stanley’s Release,” and students summarize the text.
  • Throughout Unit 5, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, the anchor texts of the Short and Extended Reads range in quantitative Lexile levels of 740-980 and an 11-12 qualitative level which is of substantial complexity. In Week 1, students read and analyze the Short Read texts, “Here, Boy” and “Waiting for Stormy.” For “Here, Boy,” students explain key events and summarize, and for “Waiting for Stormy,” students explain key events and summarize. In Week 2, students read and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, “Quiet!,” and students explain key events and summarize. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2, “My Breaking In,” and students explain key events and summarize.

The tasks students complete over the three week unit are similar, and there is a missed opportunity for the tasks to increase in rigor when the tasks are repetitious.

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast two texts, “Come Away, Come Away” (Extended Read 1) and “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” (Extended Read 2). The teacher reads the Close Reading Question: “In paragraphs 27-38 of ‘Come Away, Come Away!’ and paragraphs 9-13 of ‘How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow,’ characters help other characters. How are the characters’ actions in the two texts similar? How are they different? Annotate! Write stars next to the paragraphs that show character actions in each story. During Guided Practice, students participate in Collaborative Conversations: Peer Group to complete a Compare and Contrast Chart. During Share, students share their answers to the close reading question. In Apply Understanding, during independent time, students compare and contrast the ways that Peter and the Scarecrow respond when they are helped.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast two poems, “Green Gold” (Short Read 2) and “Fields of Flashing Light” (Extended Read 2). The teacher reads the Close Reading Question: “Reread ‘Green Gold’ (page 7) and lines 51-68 of ‘Fields of Flashing Light’ (page 24). How are the themes of these poems similar? In what ways do they differ? Annotate! As you reread, underline words and phrases that help you to identify the themes of the texts.” During Guided Practice, students participate in Collaborative Conversations: Peer Group to complete a Venn Diagram. During Share, students share their answers. In Apply Understanding, during independent time, students write several sentences listing similarities and differences of the poem’s themes.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 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 Program Reference Guide provides rationale for the texts in the materials.

  • Shared Readings connect to the unit topic and are intended to be used to model fluency.
  • Texts for Close Reading selections are designed to capture students’ interest and imagination. These texts state standards for achievement.

Each unit has a Guide to Text Complexity for the Short Reads and Extended Reads. A quantitative (Lexile score) and total qualitative measure based on analysis of the four dimensions of qualitative text complexity (purpose and levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity and knowledge demands) are provided. The four dimensions of qualitative text complexity form a rubric. Using this rubric, texts receive a score out of four for each dimension and those scores are added together to determine the overall score. Examples of analysis provided include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, the first Short Read “A Bird’s Free Lunch” has a Lexile level of 870. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. The second Short Read “Shimerdas” has a Lexile level of 880. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read is “Being in and Seeing Nature: The Writing of John Burroughs” which has a Lexile level of 1020. The total qualitative measure is highest complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read is “Birches” and “In Summer” with no Lexile levels. The total qualitative measure is the highest complexity.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, the first Short Read is Earthquakes which has a Lexile level of 1030. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. The second Short Read is “The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906” which has a Lexile level of 990. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read is “Volcanoes” which has a Lexile level of 980. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read is “Mount Vesuvius, 79 CE: Letter from Pliny the Younger” which has a Lexile level of with 880. The total qualitative measure is substantial complexity.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

The instructional materials provide clear opportunities and explicit supports for students to engage in a volume of reading. Each Unit offers students a variety of text types, topics and disciplines in order for students to become independent readers at the grade level. Students have an opportunity to participate in interactive read-alouds, silent reading, choral reading, echo reading, partner reading, and independent reading. Trade books for independent reading are available.

Each Unit provides students with multiple opportunities to engage with text. These opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The focus of Unit 1 is Government in Action. Throughout Unit 1, students engage in two short reads and two extended reads. The genres and texts in Unit 1 are as follows: Week 1, an informational text short read (“Solving Problems”); Week 1, a science fiction short read (“The First Town Meeting”); Week 2, informational social studies extended read (“The State Government and its Citizens”); and Week 3, a realistic extended read (“Stanley’s Release”). During small group reading, independent reading, and conferring, students read from six texts, such as After the Earthquake and Hats Off to the President: A White House Mystery. Students can read and participate in Reader’s Theater with Cesar Chavez Comes to Visit or Rights and Wrongs: The Civics Game Show. Trade books are available in the Unit, such as A Taste of Freedom: Gandhi and the Great Salt March by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes.
  • The focus of Unit 10 is The Power of Electricity. Throughout Unit 10, students engage in two short reads and two extended reads. The genres and texts in Unit 10 are as follows: Week 1, a journalism short read (“Power Restored in India”); Week 1, an informational science short read (“Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology”); Week 2, informational science extended read (“The Power of Electricity”); and Week 3, an informational science (“Nikola Tesla: Electrifying Inventor”). During small group reading, independent reading and conferring, students read from six texts, such as Snap, Crackle, and Flow and Working with Electricity and Magnetism. Students can read and participate in Reader’s Theater with Blackout and Loki and the Magic Hammer. Trade books are available in the Unit, such as The History of Money: From Bartering to Banking by Martin Jenkins and Westlandia by Paul Fleischman.
  • Students engage in reading different volumes of texts. For example, in Unit 8, Weeks 1-3, students read informational texts and personal essays ranging from 880L to 1030L during whole group reading. In small group reading/Independent reading/conferring, student texts range from 710L to 950L. Small group reading texts are accompanied by a Text Evidence Question Card and Teacher’s Guide for each title. The Differentiated Instruction planner helps teachers to group students by their reading development. Reader’s theater selections are present in levels H through U.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The Grade 4 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and build towards a culminating task that integrates skills. The instructional materials provide multiple opportunities for discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and partially supports student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. The materials include frequent opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Materials meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the 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 Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, 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).

Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent/specific questions, tasks and assignments for all learners through modeling, guided practice and applying understanding with scaffolding for light, moderate, or substantial support throughout the year. The Read Aloud Handbook, Build Reflect Write Handbook, and the E-book provide text-dependent questions, writing prompts, and speaking opportunities requiring students to engage in the text and make real world connections. Text-dependent/specific reading mini-lessons are included each day requiring all students to cite text evidence to support their answers explicitly or using valid inferences from the text. During whole-group, students are asked to answer a variety of literal, inferential, and evaluative questions by re-reading for evidence and/or annotating key details.

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 3, students find key events in the text and summarize using their annotations of key events. Teacher modeling of annotating p. 12 of “Come Away, Come Away!” is provided followed by partner guided practice of p. 13 using the same text. The teacher uses text-dependent questions to provide corrective/directive feedback. For example; “Read paragraph 2. Does this paragraph offer any important events? Tell me what you found in paragraph 3.” Applied understanding of the annotation and summarizing is done with p. 14 of the same text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 4, students reread “A Bird's Free Lunch” noting examples of the compare/contrast structure and circling any signal words. Example of text-dependent questions to provide directive/corrective feedback; “What words do you see that signal a comparison or contrast?” and “Does the author tell how two things are alike?” “Does he tell how two things are different?”
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 2, students read the text “The Hopeville Ledger: Town Tackles Energy Debate”, underlining key details and starring the main idea in each paragraph. If students are struggling, there are supports for teachers to scaffold students to understanding of the key details and main idea. Students use text annotations to write a short summary of the text using main idea and key details.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 8, students use close reading to describe the overall structure of events in text (cause and effect). Students reread paragraph 6 of “Natural Resources and Workers.” Example of a text-dependent question, “What were three effects of the depression in California in the 1870s?” While reading, students annotate the effects with stars and number them in the margins. Students have a collaborative conversation with a partner and complete a cause and effect chart. Teacher provides modeling and/or engages students in self-reflection to build metacognitive awareness.

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 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 of quality are evident across a year’s worth of material. Teachers and students are provided with a unit Big Idea and a unit Essential Question. The Essential Question is restated at the beginning of each week in the unit. Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions related to the unit big idea which prepares students for success on the culminating tasks. Culminating tasks are varied throughout the year and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing and integrates standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

  • In Unit 2, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, students read several fantasies and fairy tales to plan, draft, and revise their own fairy tale. Students draw upon what they learned about the elements of fairy tales as they write and focus on developing one or more characters in their narratives. The sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks prepare students for the culminating task of writing their own fairy tale. There is light, moderate, and substantial support materials and suggestions available for teachers to use with struggling students.
  • In Unit 5, the Essential Question is introduced: “How do we make decisions about developing new technology? In Week 1, Lesson 14, students learn to integrate information from two texts (“Sunshine is Free: Go Solar!” and “Natural Gas: The Natural Choice for Hopeville”) in order to speak knowledgeably about a topic. Students use the texts to list pros and cons of solar energy. In Week 2, Lesson 14, students do a close reading to integrate information from two texts in order to speak knowledgeably on a topic. Students close read the text, so they can answer: “How do economic factors affect people’s use of green solutions?” Students are placed in peer groups to converse. In Week 3, Lesson 14, students closely read texts to decide if textual evidence supports hybrid cars. While in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group, students discuss their annotations. During independent time, students write a paragraph answering the close reading prompt.
  • In Unit 6, the Big Idea is introduced with a video, discussion, and an Essential Question. Journal entries are the culminating task. In Weeks 1 through 3, tasks build to the culminating task of writing journal entries. In Week 1, students read a mentor narrative journal entry, analyze characters and events, read to find character traits, and develop the character’s voice. In Week 2, students read and analyze a prompt, reread to find character information, read to find story events, and plan journal entries. In Week 3, students use dialogue and description, revise to include more detail, correct adjective order in sentences,and then evaluate and reflect on their writing.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Teacher materials provide support and direction needed for teachers to implement grade level standards in speaking and listening and help scaffold instruction for students who need extra support. Multiple modeling opportunities are well supported across the year. Materials provide multiple opportunities and support of protocols and implementation focused on using academic vocabulary and syntax for evidence-based discussions as well as teacher guidance across the year’s curricular materials to support students’ increasing skills. These materials are found in the Review and Routines section titled “Build Respectful Conversation Habits” and “Turn and Talk”.

During each unit, students have collaborative evidence-based discussions with a partner multiple times a day. Weekly lessons offer multiple collaborative opportunities daily, with modeling and explicit directions provided to facilitate evidence-based discussions with a focus on academic vocabulary and syntax. Students utilize graphic organizers that require students to cite their evidence in whole group, small groups, and peer work to use academic vocabulary and syntax. Each week, students apply the understanding of their evidence-based conversations and share out their findings to the whole group. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 2, students respond to specific questions in partner conversations regarding graphic features and drawing inference from story details during Turn and Talk to Reflect on Strategies. Partners discuss and answer each of the following questions; “Why is this skill important?,” “How did you use this skill?,” and “Why would a reader want to use this skill?” The teacher provides modeling such as: “You said that drawing inferences helps us understand a text. Could you tell me more about why you think so?” The teacher calls on a member of each pair to present and reminds students to speak in complete sentences using formal English. In Week 3, Lesson 8, students reread a piece of the text, “Stanley’s Release” and underline unfamiliar words and underline context clues that help determine its meaning. Student pairs respond to prompts and share answers to the questions. The teacher is provided with light, moderate or substantial supports for students who require extra help.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 1, students work in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group to generate questions that will guide their inquiry about observing nature. Students follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles. To provide support and direction for teachers, the materials give sentence frames to support participation of all students. For example; “I wonder [what, how, why] ________.” and “I wonder how _______ affects _______.”. Each group’s Summarizer is asked to share guiding questions and ideas the group generated while other groups add to their ideas. Teachers are directed to listen for opportunities to explain that speakers should use a clear, audible voice in any group discussion so that everyone can be aware of their ideas. Students should also speak in complete sentences as they express ideas in formal class discussions.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 11, students discuss close reading prompts, annotate instructions, compare annotations and resolve any discrepancies by using text evidence that best support the author’s point. Teacher will call on students to share answers and encourage other students to express their ideas by linking their comments to responses of other students. If necessary, sentence frames can be used to support students. For example; “I agree with [Name] that ____.”, “When I read that same sentence, it made me think of ____.” and “I disagree that ____, because ____.”.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Lesson 1,during Collaborative Conversations Peer Group, students work in peer groups to generate questions to guide their inquiry about the unit topic throughout the unit. The teacher monitors and reminds students to construct strong, open-ended questions rather than narrow questions that have one answer. Students write their questions and initial ideas. Each group has a designated discussion Director, Note Taker, and Summarizer. Students follow the agreed-upon rules for discussion, such as listening respectfully and taking turns. Sentence frames support the participation of all students. For example; “I wonder [what, how, why] _____.” and “I wonder how ___ affected _____.”. In Week 3, Lesson 6, students utilize the text “The Power of Electricity” in order to determine the meaning of domain specific words. Students work in peer groups to complete Word Meaning charts. Groups share out how they determined what to write in each category on their Word Meaning Chart. Students pose questions for speakers to respond to, and students are encouraged to make comments that build on others’ remarks.

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 materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 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.

While the materials provide clear guidance and instructional supports for teachers, such as graphic organizers, extensive modeling opportunities, and sentence frames for students to use in peer responses, the engagement with texts in service of comprehension is inconsistent. Students are presented with activities to practice speaking and listening, but the focus of these activities is on the protocols rather than on demonstrating comprehension of texts and concepts to grow students' overall literacy skills.

  • In Unit 5, Week 3, Lesson 5, students have collaborative opinion conversations with a partner utilizing text evidence to support their thinking. Sentence frames are provided as supports for students to reinforce speaking and listening skills. Examples include the following: “I like what you said because _____.”, “I also happen to think that _____.”, “Maybe we should include _____.” Guidance to assure students are engaged in the text itself are inconsistent as the focus is on the exchange primarily. This activity does support students in building their own opinion language but uses the text itself as a secondary resource to the activity.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast the events and themes in “Rabbit and Coyote” and “The Valiant Little Tailor” with partners. Before beginning, the teacher models with another student how they should conduct their student conversations in their partners. Partner A describe events and theme in “Rabbit and Coyote” and partner B compares those events and theme to the events and theme in “The Valiant Little Tailor.” Teacher models with another student how they should conduct their student conversations in their partners. The focus and support from the teacher does encourage practice with speaking and listening, but the focus on evidence is secondary to the work.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Lesson 4, students introduce their topic using an informative report. Students utilize peer practice to create a hook for each of their reports. Partners practice and explain why their hooks will entice the reader to want to know more about their topic. The focus of this exercise is about students helping one another with their reports, and the engagement with the text itself is secondary.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 15, students self-assess their multimedia presentation using the Multimedia Presentation Rubric and the think-alouds in the chart containing examples of each component in the rubric. Students ask partners to share their self-assessment using the rubric and the examples from their presentation that support their self-assessment. Partners are invited to share what they learned from each other’s presentations. This encourages students to draw evidence from their peers' text creations.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 14, students share with a partner their conclusions and supporting evidence after close reading and comparing two texts. Students express their agreement or disagreement with the evidence presented. Text Integration Charts for students to use when speaking help them organize evidence. Students must reflect on their strategy application through follow-up questions, such as “How did you identify what text evidence is relevant to the close reading question?”

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 Benchmark Grade 4 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.

Materials include multiple varied opportunities for both on-demand and process writing tasks that span the year’s worth of instruction. Writing projects, tasks, and presentations are connected to texts of various genres, topics, and themes. Each unit includes daily on-demand writing and the Performance Tasks have process writing over a three week span. Writing tasks are aligned to grade level standards, embedded into student work, provide occasions for short and extended writing and allow students to learn, practice, develop and apply writing skills throughout the year. Lessons culminate by having students respond to prompts in their Build, Reflect, Write manuals which lay the foundation for advanced writing tasks that students will engage in throughout the unit. Students are provided the opportunities to work through various writing process stages throughout the year by writing to sources, answering text-dependent questions, taking notes (annotating), completing graphic organizers, research projects and presentations. Students write and revise informative, opinion, and narrative pieces focusing on topics such as ideas, voice, word choice, organization, and sentence fluency. Examples of the mix of on-demand and process writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lessons 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15, students complete an in-process writing task of a personal letter. This task provides multiple opportunities to plan, revise and edit work. In Week 3, Lesson 13, students use a rubric to evaluate a draft and think about how to revise it requiring students to read and evaluate a mentor response to a narrative prompt, make improvements, and use a rubric to guide edits.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, after reading “The Gnat and the Lion” and “The Gnat and the Bull,” students use their Build, Reflect and Write manuals to analyze the effects of Gnat’s actions in each fable. Students respond to the unit Essential Question which will used as support in completing the following writing task; How do you think the Gnat in “The Gnat and the Lion” would describe himself? Students write a fictional account of a conversation between themselves and the Gnat in which he tells them about himself. Students include dialogue in their account and make sure to use details and text evidence from the fable.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 14, students are asked to describe characters using details from stories. Students have a close reading prompt modeled where they underline and annotate a text, a close reading prompt where it is guided and they annotate text, and then they apply their understanding and write one or two paragraphs where they compare and contrast characters reactions in different stories. In Unit 2, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, students are asked to write a Fairy Tale with modeling, guided practice, brainstorming, rough draft, revising/editing, and final draft.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students write an informative report. In Lesson 10, students are provided with the opportunity to take notes from a video source.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 13, students are asked to explain how a writer uses historical photographs to support a point in a text. Modeling and guided practice with a graphic organizer helps the students organize their thoughts and be able to explain how photographs support a point in a text. Students are then asked to write a paragraph that analyzes how the text is supported with historical photographs and direct quotations. In Unit 7, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, students are asked to write a News Report with modeling, guided practice, brainstorming, rough draft, revising/editing, and final draft.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, 2, and 3, students write and present a multimedia presentation. Week 3, Lesson 4 includes the opportunity for students to include multimedia elements (digital resources) to support and enhance their work.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 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 a progression of multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply narrative, opinion, and informative writing. The materials provide tasks for students to use different genres/modes of writing, which are both connected to texts and stand-alone writing projects. The instructional guide provides supports for teachers to assist students as students progress in writing skills such as: graphic organizers, checklists, and rubrics. Each unit has mentor and anchor texts to support student writing which is embedded daily.

Each week focuses on a different writing genre, appropriately aligned to the text. Mini-lessons are scaffolded throughout the week in order to support student outcomes. Exemplar writing samples and other instruction support accompany each unit. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lessons 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15, students complete an in-process writing task of a personal letter. In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 13, students use a rubric to evaluate and revise their drafts. This performance task requires students to read and evaluate a mentor response to a narrative prompt, make improvements, and use a rubric to guide edits.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 14, students write a brief paragraph comparing the themes of “The Gnat and the Lion” and “Snow White Meets the Huntsman”. Students include text evidence to support their ideas.
  • In Units 1, 2, and 6, narrative writing is featured. In Unit 1, students write a personal letter using the mentor text, “Solving Problems” and the Personal Letter Planning Chart graphic organizer. In Unit 2, students write a fairy tale. Week 2, incorporates dialogue, characters, and events using signal words and concrete/sensory details. A checklist and rubric are provided. In Unit 6, students write narrative journal entries using events and details from a source text and develop a character using anchor charts, prompts, and a checklist. Students also develop the character’s voice, use dialogue, and add description to develop events.
  • In Unit 5, the focus is on writing an opinion essay using an opinion writing checklist to write evidence-based opinions. To support students and teachers to monitor progress in writing skills, In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 3 an Opinion Essay Writing Checklist is provided for support as well as writing exemplars for each writing type under the drop down menu “Writing Exemplars”.
  • In Units 4 and 5, opinion writing is featured. In Unit 4, students write an Opinion Essay with a topic opinion and mentor and anchor text evidence to support the opinion. In Unit 4, Week 1, Lesson 3, teachers model to support students when brainstorming topics for their opinion piece. In Unit 5, students write an Opinion Essay using credible print sources and plan and organize the essay using domain-specific vocabulary.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Lesson 4, students write a journal entry and use dialogue.
  • In Units 3, 7, 8, and 9, informative writing is featured. In Unit 3, students write an informative report from a print and video source. In Unit 7, students write a news report with information from multiple sources and the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Why, and Where) to organize. In Unit 8, students evaluate online sources and take notes from credible online sources. In Unit 9, students prepare a multimedia presentation which includes researching and preparing an explanatory text that includes many facets of multimedia.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 13, students work on writing poems using a checklist to make final revisions and edits.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Materials provide frequent opportunities that are varied and build writing skills over the course of the school year. Materials provide opportunities for students to learn, practice and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. In each unit, the majority of writing opportunities are focused on students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. Students are required to respond to evidence-based writing prompts in the Build, Reflect, Write notebook. Prior to responding to the text, students are provided pre-work that adequately supports their responses. Students frequently generate ideas by closely reading text. Instructional support for teachers is provided throughout the units to guide students’ understanding of developing ideas and components of structured writing. Examples of opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 4, students analyze a text to explain how an author uses reasons and evidence. After rereading parts of “Solving Problems” and compiling evidence into an Author’s Evidence Chart, students write a paragraph supporting the claim that the government can influence how people live.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 13 students practice analyzing figurative language in “The Shimerdas.” Partners work to complete the chart for the grasshopper’s example. Teachers observe students as they work and use observations to determine the level of support the students need.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 5, students write an opinion essay stating their opinion. Students begin the opinion essay with a strong introduction that clearly states the opinion. Partners use their notes and organization charts to discuss their opinions and what hook they might use in their introductions.
  • Unit 6, Week 2, Lesson 4, during independent time, students answer the following question: “What are the features of a correctly written narrative journal entry?” Teachers use students’ writing to evaluate their understanding of the assignment.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 3, students read “The Open Road” and respond to the following prompt: “Write a short news report describing the history of Route 66, and how dust bowl refugees used it to move west. Make sure to include facts, details, and quotations from “The Open Road” and “Dust Bowl Refugees” in your news report.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 9, students write a news report and incorporate information from multiple sources. Students are provided with a Text Sources Chart and a model to use information from the source texts in the news report. Mentor text excerpts and source text excerpts allow for students to engage in evidence-based writing with clear information provided through both direct reference and paraphrasing.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Lesson 3, students read paragraphs 1-3 while numbering key events. Teachers will observe students’ annotations assessing their ability to identify important versus unimportant information. Students work with a partner to compare the key events they identified. Students write a summary of this section of the text.

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 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 Grade 4 program has multiple opportunities for whole class instruction aligned to the Grade 4 language standards. All grammar and conventions standards are taught over the course of the school year through reading, language, vocabulary, and writing mini-lessons. These lessons provide opportunities for teacher modeling and guided student practice. Grammar lessons are also applied to independent student writing projects. After the specific language standard has been taught, students apply the skill to their own writing. Students receive direct instruction using the mentor text and dictionaries, and students have access to class charts.

Materials include instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Examples of each language standard include:

  • L.4.1a:
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Lesson 15, Conventions of Writing: Relative Pronouns, the teacher explains what a relative pronoun is to student and students write two sentences about westward expansion, using relative pronouns.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Lesson 13, Writing to Sources, three sentences are displayed which have a line to write a missing word. The teacher reads the first sentence while thinking aloud and shares that a relative clause that refers to the subject of the sentence, a person. Partners complete the second and third sentences explaining their reasoning. During independent writing, students continue to draft their news reports paying attention to their use of relative pronouns.
  • L.4.1b:
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, students are taught that present progressive tense describes a continuing action in the present. Partners identify and explain the use of the present progressive tense in three sentences.
  • L.4.1c:
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, students learn about using modal auxiliaries to express necessity.
  • L.4.1d:
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, the teacher explains the correct way to arrange adjectives within a sentence, During independent writing time students are instructed to write at least two sentences in which they use a series of adjectives in the correct order.
  • L.4.1e:
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 15, Processing Writing,the teacher models a think aloud identifying prepositional phrases. Students work with partners to annotate the remaining sentences by underlining the prepositional phrases and circling the word(s) that they are modifying. During independent time, students write three original sentences about green energy. Students identify the noun in each and add a prepositional phrase to describe the noun.
  • L.4.1f:
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, the teacher explains that when authors write informative reports, they use complete sentences and avoid writing in fragments. The class reads three sentences and identifies why a sentence is a complete sentence and what the possible fragments could be. During independent writing, students write three complete sentences. Students underline the subjects and verbs to make sure there aren’t any sentence fragments.
  • L.4.1g:
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, the teacher reviews homophones such as see/sea and whole/hole with students. The teacher has students practice identifying homophones in a series of sentences. During independent writing time, students are instructed the following, “Using at least four of the commonly confused words studied here, write a short paragraph stating your opinion about owning a pet.”
  • L.4.2a:
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 15, Conventions of Writing: Correct Capitalization, the teacher models correct capitalization using a modeling text and by sharing a list of capitalization rules with students. Students write a journal entry with at least five sentences where they correctly use capitalization.
  • L.4.2b:
    • In the Writing and Language Handbook, there is a Language Mini-Lesson about commas and quotation marks. Students view direct speech examples. Students practice looking for quotes in a resource and then write the quotation or excerpt in two different ways.
  • L.4.2c:
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 15, Conventions of Writing: Correct Comma Usage, the teacher explains how a comma can be used to form a compound sentence when used before coordinating conjunctions such as and, but, so and yet. During independent writing time students are instructed to write about the comma rules they learned about in the lesson.
  • L.4.2d:
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 12, Word Study & Vocabulary, students work on spelling grade appropriate words with vowel-consonant-e syllable patterns in context.
    • In Unit 8, Week 3, Lesson 12, Word Study & Vocabulary, students review the variant vowels al, au and aw. The teacher reads Escape of Pompeii and draws attention to the word pause. Students read the rest of Escape for Pompeii and circle words that have the variant vowels al, au, or aw.
  • L.4.3a:
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 10, Writing to Sources, students revise their informative papers adding concrete details to make their papers stronger.
  • L.4.3b:
    • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 7, Process Writing, the teacher thinks aloud how to write headers for the multimedia presentation such as adding an exclamation point to help emphasize the final point and to add playfulness to the header. During independent time, students write headings that are precise and prepare the audience for the main idea and key details, using punctuation.
  • L.4.3c:
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 15, Writing to Sources, the teacher demonstrates the use of informal as opposed to formal language in writing and how dialogue can be written informally.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Lesson 7, Writing to Sources, the teacher displays and reads the Informal Voice text explaining that, in the paragraph, the writer uses words and phrases that sound like casual spoken language. The Formal Voice Text is displayed and read. The teacher explains that in this paragraph the writer does not use slang, contractions, or exclamation points. Partners review their news report drafts, looking for instances of informal language. They discuss how they might revise it to be formal.

Criterion 1o - 1q

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

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks addressing grade-level CCSS for foundational skills to build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression. Materials meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks guide students to read with purpose and understanding and to make frequent connections between acquisition of foundation skills and making meaning from reading. The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for instructional opportunities being frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Indicator 1o

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

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks addressing grade-level CCSS for foundational skills to build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, morphology, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression.

Over the course of the year, lessons include the introduction of new foundational skill(s), teacher modeling, guided practice, partner work, graphic organizers/charts, and application to short read texts. Teacher instruction and student practice provide many opportunities over the course of the school year for students to work with prefixes, suffixes, irregularly spelled words and multisyllabic words. Each week the teacher models how to decode a syllable using different vowel sounds, compound words or syllable rules. When teaching prefixes and suffixes, students identify how the prefix or suffix changes the meaning of the base word. Lessons are primarily taught during the Word Study and Vocabulary portion of the core reading materials. The Word Study and Vocabulary lessons provide students an opportunity to learn word analysis that is then applied in and out of context. The lessons frequently include how the word is understood through word analysis and proper pronunciation. The skill of decoding and understanding the meaning of words is introduced early in the week and applied later in the week during word study and vocabulary lessons. Foundational skill lessons build in complexity over the course of the year and there is a clear progression for students to work towards grade-level comprehension.

Materials (questions & tasks) support students’ use of combined knowledge of all letter sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology, according to grade level. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 11, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply long i (VCe, igh, y, ie, i) and short i in context through teacher modeling and guided practice of the reading “Melamut the Crocodile” and record their findings of short and long i vowel sounds in a graphic organizer. “Ask partners to read “Melamut the Crocodile.” As they read, ask them to underline words with long i sound once and the short i sound twice. “Tell them to use what they know about letter patterns to help them decode words and build meaning, using context clues to help them when necessary. Students can record their findings on a Word Sort Chart. Provide additional modeling as needed. 'I am not familiar with the word in paragraph 3. As I try to pronounce it, I recognize the ie spelling pattern in the last syllable. I know this spelling pattern makes the long i sound, so now I know how to pronounce the word. I recognize the word terrified, which I know means “very afraid.” And if I wasn’t sure of the meaning, the word tremble earlier in the paragraph would be a clue, because being very afraid can cause someone to tremble. Now I know that Melamut is very afraid of the dentist, which is an important detail in the story.'”
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Lesson 8, Word Study & Vocabulary, students are introduced to noun suffixes -dom, -ity, -tion, -ment, -ness and complete a word sort chart. “The suffix -dom is a noun suffix, a word part added to the end of a root, or base, word. The new word formed by adding -dom is always a noun. This suffix means “the state, or condition, of being.” So, freedom means “the state, or condition, of being free.” Display the words attention, enjoyment, and powerlessness, and circle the suffixes -tion, -ment, and -ness. Explain that these noun suffixes also mean “the state, or condition, of being,” and identify for students the root words (attend, enjoy, and powerless) and how the suffixes turn them into nouns. Display a Word Sort Chart and a list of words to sort (freedom, equality, creation, employment,sadness). Ask students to identify the column in which each word belongs. Discuss the meaning of the word in each column as it relates to the suffix.”

Questions and tasks cohesively build to the application of skills to read accurately unfamiliar, multisyllabic words in-context and out-of-context for Grade 4. For example:

  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Lesson 11, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply previous knowledge of noun suffixes -dom, -ity, -tion, -ment, -ness to context. Students locate noun suffixes in the text, “Dolores Huerta” and the content of the text that helped them comprehend the text.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 12, the teacher reviews the word roots ven, migr, graph, mit and aud. The teacher then models how to decode the word emigrated in the text, “A Night in Tesla’s Lab.” “I don’t recognize this word, but using my knowledge of the word root migr, I can infer that the word has to do with moving. Context clues help me to confirm this inference: the phrase “from Europe to America” indicates that the word emigrated means “moved from one place to another.” My ability to understand this word using word roots and context clues helps me understand the paragraph.” Students go on to find other words in the text that contain the roots reviewed by the teacher, some of these words include - inventor, emigrated, audience, venue, audibly and shadowgraphs. Along with discussing the text, the class also discusses the following question, “How did your understanding of word roots help you comprehend the selection? Give an example.”

Materials (questions & tasks) support students’ use of combined knowledge of all letter sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology, according to grade level. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 8, Word Study & Vocabulary, students are introduced to short vowels a, e, ea i, o, u and complete a word sort chart. “Display the words establish, document, and running. Break each word into syllables, then help students identify the closed syllables and the short vowel sounds: e stab lish (short e, a, i); doc u ment (short o); run ning (short u, i). Point out that in multisyllabic words the unstressed syllable often has the schwa sound, not a short vowel sound. This is the case with document. Create and display a Word Sort chart and a list of words to sort (national, delegate, historical, popular,ugly). Read aloud the five headings, then read each word aloud and model thinking to identify the column in which it belongs. Discuss the meaning of the word in each column. I hear the /a/ sound in national. Listen: /na/tion/al/. I know the /a/ sound is the short a sound, so I will write the word national in the short a column.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 11, students are reminded that the letter r changes the sound of the vowels that comes before it can help them read and pronounce certain words. Students follow along as the teacher reads paragraph 6 of “City Kid, Country Kid.” Students are drawn to the word participate. The teacher explains that when a reader comes to a multisyllabic word such as participate, you can use your knowledge of r-controlled vowel sounds to help them read the word. Breaking the word into chunks may help you recognize word parts so they can read it. Participate can be broken into four chunks. Students then read “City Kid, Country Kid” on page 10 and underline words with the r-controlled vowel sounds of -ar,-or, and air. Students then write the words in a chart and write a possible definition for each word in the notation column.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 8, Word Study & Vocabulary, students are introduced to noun suffixes (-ology, -ant, -er, -or, -ery) and complete a five column word sort chart to develop meaning for the suffix in each word. “Display a five-column Word Sort chart and a list of words to sort (ecology, participant starter, inspector,bravery). Read each word aloud, and ask students to identify the column in which it belongs. Use sample sentences to model the meaning of the suffix in each word: Ecology is the study of Earth’s ecosystems. A participant is a person who participates in an activity. A starter is a person who tells runners when it’s time to start the race. An inspector is a person who inspects items in a factory to make sure they are made correctly. Bravery is a quality shown by people who face dangerous situations bravely.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Lesson 9, the teacher models how adding -ful or -y to the end of a noun can turn the word into an adjective using the text “Questions and Answers About the Oceans.” “I see the root words sun and color in paragraph 7. I know something that can be described as colorful is full of colors. And a place that is sunny should get plenty of sun. I notice that sunny has a double n because some nouns require doubling the ending consonant before adding -y.” The teachers also explains the suffixes -ent, -ic and -ive to students and points out the word “acidic,” in the previously read text. Words with these suffixes also appear on students’ weekly spelling list - sandy, impressive, optimistic, dependent, cumulative, confident and historic.

Materials cohesively build to application of skills to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out-of-context. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 11, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply previously learned knowledge of short vowels to context. Students read, “Susan B. Anthony” with a partner and circle multisyllabic short vowel words in the text. “Have students read the rest of “Susan B. Anthony” with a partner. Ask them to circle the multisyllabic words that have short vowel sounds and highlight the letter or letters in each word that stand for the short vowel sound, then use their understanding of multi-syllabication to help them comprehend the text. Since there are many short-vowel words in the passage, you may ask students to find at least five examples of each vowel sound.”
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 12, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply previously learned knowledge of noun suffixes to context. Students read “Lucy Larcom’s New England Girlhood” and underline words that have the suffix -ology, -ant, -er, -or, or -ery. Students complete a chart with suffixes and definitions.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 9, using the text “Old Cities Revitalize,” the teacher models how knowing the meaning of different prefixes can help students understand the story, “These prefixes tell “where.” The prefix per- means “through.” For example, a performance is an act that takes place from beginning “through” to the end that is, throughout on a stage. The prefix en- means “in.” You might enlist a friend to be part of a performance to be “in” the performance.” The teacher also reviews the meanings of the prefixes pro-, em- and im-. Words with these prefixes also appear on students’ weekly spelling list - produced, program, embarked, energy, percent, permitted, permanently and imminent.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 12, the teacher reviews the previously taught prefixes re-, bio-, im-, ex- and micro- with students. “Now let’s try biography. A graph is a diagram or chart of something and the prefix means “life.” What does biography mean? Yes, it is a chart or list of events in someone’s life.” Students then circle and write definitions for words with re-, bio-, im-, ex- and micro- in the text, “Marie M. Daly: Biochemistry Pioneer.” Afterwards the teacher is instructed to “Bring students together. Invite individuals or partners to share words they circled in the text and to provide a definition based on their word analysis. Use this opportunity to clarify the meaning of words students circled but were unable to define.” Words with some of these prefixes are also a part of students; weekly spelling list: biologist, biochemistry, reaction, postdoctoral, immigrant and microbiologist.

Indicator 1p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks guiding students to read with purpose and understanding and to make frequent connections between acquisition of foundation skills and making meaning from reading.

Over the course of the year, materials provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery of word analysis skills and apply word knowledge to grade level texts. Opportunities occur in core materials during Word Study and Vocabulary lessons through teacher modeling. Within the Word Study and Vocabulary Lessons, Process Writing and Writing to Sources Lessons, students have opportunities to identify word parts that allow them to decode the word properly and understand the word through word analysis which then allows them to understand the text better. The lessons provide opportunities for students to practice the word analysis with grade level text and encode through spelling. Students apply new skills to text through the use of partner work, independent work, and graphic organizers. Lessons increase in complexity to allow students access to applying word analysis skills to grade level text and support meaning of text. Lessons also included opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of a text through the use of an Apply Understanding portion at the end of reading lessons.

Multiple and varied opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate mastery of the application of word analysis skills to grade level text. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 11, students apply their knowledge of open syllable patterns to the text, “The Birdseed Thief.” The teacher models how knowing open syllable patterns can help students decode words in the text, “ I see the word local and identify that the first syllable is an open syllable ending in the letter o. Since I know that open syllables usually contain long vowels, I try pronouncing the word with a long e sound in the first syllable. When I pronounce the word this way, I recognize it as a word that I know: local, which means “nearby.” Thus, being able to recognize the open syllable pattern helps me read and understand the word and the sentence.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 11, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply their knowledge of suffixes -ly, -ily, -ways, -wise (meaning: in what manner) in context. Students underline words that end with the suffixes -ly, -ily, -ways, and -wise in the text, “Chi Li and the Serpent” and complete a graphic organizer to jot their definitions of the words in the text. “Sample think-aloud: In the last sentence of this paragraph, the word barely describes the adjective enough, so I know that barely is an adverb. I’ll use my knowledge of the suffix -ly to determine the adverb meaning. In an adverb, this suffix means “in what manner.” Barely, then, means “in a bare manner.” Bare can mean “having nothing extra.” Now I understand that the people have just enough to eat, but nothing extra. Guided Practice-Have students read “Chi Li and the Serpent.” As they read, ask them to underline words that end with the suffixes -ly, -ily, -ways, and -wise. Students should use their knowledge of these suffixes as well as the context of the selection to help them understand the meaning of each word. Students should jot their definitions in the notation column of the page.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 12, Word Study & Vocabulary, students apply knowledge of Latin Roots mis (“send”), agri (“field”), duc/duct (“lead”), man (“hand”) in context through the reading of “John Henry.” Students first participate in a teacher model of how to use Latin Roots to create meaning of words in the text. They then participate in Guided Practice with a partner to fill out a graphic organizer. “Review the meanings of the Latin roots mis, agri, duc/duct, and man. Read aloud the first paragraph of “John Henry,” and stop to model how you can use your knowledge of Latin roots to better understand the meaning of words. Think about the word missile. What does the word mean? By understanding that mis can mean “send,” I can better understand that a missile is an object that is sent from one place to another, the way hammers are hurled by John Henry. Have student read the passage with a partner. Ask them to circle words that use the Latin root mis, agri, duc/duct, or man.”

Materials include supports for students to demonstrate they have made meaning of the grade-level text. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 5, Short Read 1 Mini-Lesson, students locate and explain the meaning of idioms in the short reading text, “A Bird’s Free Lunch” and work with a partner to complete an Idiom Chart. “Sentence 2 of this paragraph says that the author sat and watched the birds “eat their free lunch.” I realize that the birds are eating food, but the term free lunch is interesting to me. Birds don’t really eat meals the way people do. They don’t literally eat lunch. And birds would never have to pay for their food. They look for food or hunt for it. The author doesn’t mean for us to read these words literally. Free lunch is an idiom the author uses as part of his writing style. He means to say that, since the birds don’t have to work to get this food, it’s like getting a free lunch. I can add this to my idiom chart. Ask partners to read paragraph three, circling any idioms they find. Have them add the idioms and their meanings to their Idiom Charts. Remind students that idioms include words or phrases that are not meant to be read literally. Provide directive and/or corrective feedback as needed to help students.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Lesson 12, students apply their knowledge of words endings with spelling changes to the text “Blackout, 1965.” The teacher models this with the word “charging.” “Think about the word. If I don’t recognize this word, I can use my knowledge of spelling changes to figure it out. I know that -ing is a suffix, so I will remove it. If I do so, I am left with the word which I don’t recognize. However, I know that sometimes the -ing suffix causes a root word to drop a silent e. If I add a silent e to form the word which I do know. I’ve figured out that is a form of the word. In this way, understanding spelling changes can sometimes help me decode words to figure out their meanings.” As students read the rest of the story they are instructed to, “circle words that drop a silent e, change y to i, or add a consonant in order to take an ending.” After discussing the text, the teacher also asks, “How did your knowledge of spelling change patterns help you understand this selection? Give an example.”

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria for instructional opportunities being frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Fluency practice is included once a week in the whole group mini-lessons. Students have opportunities to build fluency of the grade-level text. These lessons are provided consistently each unit during Week 1, Lesson 2 and Week 2, Lesson 3. Routines are included for teachers to reference during the lesson. Fluency extends to small group Reader’s Theater during Week 3 of each Unit.

Over the course of the school year, students practice fluency through the use of Small Group Reader’s Theater scripts. When students perform Reader’s Theater, they practice reading fluently with expression, accuracy, and rate. Fluency lessons are explicitly modeled during Reader’s Theater. Reader’s Theater is during the 15-20 minute block of Small-Group Independent Reading Conferring. Some Reading-Mini Lessons include fluency lessons and students are learning how to read with accuracy.

Opportunities are provided over the course of the year in the small group Reader’s Theater materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. For example:

  • During the rereading portion of Reader’s Theater texts, teachers are provided with options for students to practice reading fluency through echo reading, partner reading, and chorally reading aloud to practice rate, pitch accuracy, and/or expression skills taught during the teacher model.
  • In small group instruction text, Haiku, students practice reading poetry with attention to pauses. “Read and Respond to Haiku Poems-Give the “Autumn Haiku” on page 6 an expression reading. Make sure you read it as a fluent phrase.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Reader’s Theater, Robin Hood Shoots for the Queen: A Legend from England. Fluency objectives for the script include, “Students will: Build fluency through echo-reading, choral-reading, and repeated reading. Read with appropriate pauses. Read question marks.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Reader’s Theater, Pet Care Kids. One of the literacy objectives for this script is, “Students will develop fluency and expression.” The teacher is also instructed, “During the first rehearsal, offer suggestions for expression and voice.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, teachers choose from options in the differentiated instruction planner during small-group reading and independent reading time. An option during this time includes Reader’s Theater. Teacher guidance includes, “Group students heterogeneously for multi-leveled reader’s theater experiences that build fluency and comprehension. Use the 5-day lesson plans provided, pages 116–127.” Directions include suggestions for Modeling, preparing, and feedback for performances. For example, the Handbook teacher notes state, “Model Fluency: Read with Expression—Characterization/Feelings:
    • Explain that fluent readers look for clues about what characters are like and how characters feel so they can read with expression. Ask students to follow along as you read a short excerpt.
    • Read aloud page 4 up to “But it’s so hot outside.” Demonstrate how to use context to correct word recognition and understanding. Change your tone to convey how each character feels about the blackout.
    • Say: Turn and talk to a partner. How did reading with expression help you understand how Sarah and Grandpa feel?

Materials support reading of prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. For example:

    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 2, students practice building fluency. The Teacher Edition states, “Explain that fluent reading requires readers to read at an appropriate pace. Follow the fluency routine to model this skill and provide guided practice. Use paragraph 3 of “The Gnat and the Lion.” During independent time, have students partner-read this paragraph for additional practice.” The fluency routine is Reading Rate: Speed/Pacing- Fast. The routine includes:
      • Model: Explain that fluent reading will sometimes read aloud at a fast pace. Help students recognize situations in which they might read quickly. Ask students to listen and follow along as you read a short excerpt in two different ways. First, read aloud the text slowly. Next read aloud the same text, this time at a faster pace. Say: Turn and talk to a partner. How was the second reading more realistic? Based on your monitoring of partners’ conversations, you may wish to read the section again at an appropriate pace.
      • Practice: Have students choral-read the same section, making sure to read at a faster pace to sound like normal conversation. Provide general corrective feedback and/or validate students’ efforts.
      • Independent Time: Have students reread the text as a small group, with a partner, or independently by following along with the interactive e-book. Prompt them to monitor their comprehension.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 10, Short Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students practice fluent reading of the text, “The Shimerdas.” Before demonstrating fluent reading the teacher reviews the terms accuracy, rate and expression as they relate to fluency. After reading aloud the first paragraph, the teacher says, “I use text cues to find the right expression to use as I read aloud. Here, for example, I see there is a comma in the second line. That usually means the reader should pause briefly. Let’s read the sentence together again.” The teacher then has students practice echo reading portions of the text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 6, Extended Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students practice fluency reading of the text, “In Summer.” The teacher reviews the elements of fluency chart with students before beginning (accuracy, rate, expression) and then models reading aloud the first couple of lines of the poem. Students then practice echo reading portions of the poem.
  • In the Informal Assessments K-6, Section 3, a rubric for assessing students’ phrasing/fluency, intonation, pace, and accuracy.
  • In the Intervention materials, there are Fluency Quick Checks with a Reader’s Theater Assessment Rubric and fluency quick checks for Grade 4. Also in the Intervention materials, there is Intervention Fluency with passages at different levels.

Materials support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). The main strategy emphasized is the use of context clues. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 10, Short Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students practice using context clues to find the meaning of unknown words in the text, “The First Town Meeting.” “Explain that today students will use context clues to figure out unfamiliar words and phrases. Remind students that context clues include definitions, restatements, and examples.” The teacher models using context clues and then the class creates a chart with the following headers - Word/Phrase, Context Clues, Our Definition, Revised Definition Using References. The class fills in the chart together, using words from the text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 10, Short Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students are reminded that “The Shimerdas” is a fictional account about the character Jim Burden. The teacher then reviews the fluency chart explaining to students what it means to read with accuracy. The teacher models reading fluently and thinking aloud how she uses text cues. It is modeled how the reader confirms or self-corrects understanding of words they are unsure about by using context to help with unfamiliar words. Students then read paragraph 7 with a partner, confirming, or self correcting as needed using context clues.

In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 3, students practice building fluency. The Teacher Edition states, “ Explain that fluent reading requires readers to self-correct word recognition and understanding. Follow the fluency routine to model this skill and provide guided practice. Use stanza 1 of “Waiting.” During independent time, have students partner-read this stanza for additional practice.“ The fluency routine is Confirm or Correct Word Recognition and Understanding. The routine includes:

  • Model: Explain that fluent readers monitor their reading to make sure they read words correctly, using what they know about word families and word parts, and making sure that the words they read make sense in context.Read aloud a section of text stopping at a word and modeling how you use your word knowledge to read it correctly. Model how you think about the meaning of the word in context to confirm that you read it correctly. Say: Turn and talk to a partner. What did you notice me doing to self-correct my word recognition? Based on your monitoring of partners’ conversations, you may wish to model with another word in the text.
  • Practice: Have students choral-read the same section, paying attention to the punctuation and using it to help them read with appropriate phrasing. Provide general corrective feedback and/or validate students’ efforts.
  • Independent Time: Have students reread the text as a small group, with a partner, or independently by following along with the interactive e-book. Prompt them to monitor their comprehension and reread, pay attention to word parts, and use context to confirm their word recognition and understanding.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Lesson 6, Extended Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students practice using context clues to find the meaning of unknown words in the text, “Hercules’ Quest.” “Ask students to skim and scan “Hercules’ Quest” for the words Hercules, Titans, and Olympus. Ask them to underline context clues that help them understand these words.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Lesson 6, Extended Read 2 Mini-Lesson, students use context clues to determine word meaning. “Distribute a Context Clues Chart. Ask students to circle harness in paragraph 4. Have partners take turns telling each other what they think this word means, using clues in the sentence. Remind them to consult a reference source if they cannot find a context clue. Provide directive or corrective feedback as needed.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Grade 4 instructional materials partially meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials partially support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized a topic. Academic vocabulary is addressed in each module. There is partial evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks partially meet the criteria for requiring students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. Materials meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

26/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students' knowledge and vocabulary which will, over time, support and help grow students’ ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Each three week unit contains shared reading, mentor reading and extended reading texts covering a variety of genres related to an essential question which sometimes focuses on a topic and other times focuses on a genre or issue.

Examples of text sets that are not centrally focused on units to build knowledge include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Characters’ Actions and Reactions, the Essential Question is “How do we reveal ourselves to others?” Text include: “The Gnat and the Lion,” “The Gnat and the Bull,” “Snow White Meets the Huntsman,” “Come Away, Come Away!,” and “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow.” During this unit, students learn to use the texts to help them compose a fairy tale. Students also learn how to analyze a character in depth. The focus is on the skills demonstrated by the texts rather than a common topic.
  • In Unit 4, Understanding Different Points of View, the Essential Question is “What do we learn when we look at the world through the eyes of others?” Students have multiple opportunities to read texts such as “Here, Boy,” “Waiting for Stormy,” and “My Breaking In.” The focus on the thematic perspectives is not topic based.

While these units explore literary themes, they do not focus on the topical knowledge-building called for in the standards.

Some text sets do provide opportunities to build knowledge on topics. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 7, Developing a Nation, the Essential Question is “How do communities evolve?” Students build knowledge around the development of communities and historical components. Students read and compare selections about the development of the United States to understand how communities evolve. Week 1, the teacher explains that over the next three weeks, students will read informational texts, allowing them to add or revise their ideas of the essential question. In Weeks 1-3, students use the following texts to dig deeper into the content and grow their vocabulary: “Pilgrim Feet,” “Before the Rain Came,” “The People Could Fly,” “The Open Road,” “Dust Bowl Refugees, “Building the Transcontinental Railroad,” and “The Oregon Trail.”
  • In Unit 8, Earth Changes, the Essential Question is “How do Earth’s natural processes impact our lives?” Students have multiple opportunities to read a series of texts on earth changes. Texts such as “Earthquakes,” “Volcanoes,” and “The San Francisco Earthquake 1909: An Eyewitness Account,” help students build vocabulary. Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects deepen students’ understanding the Essential Question through inquiry-based learning. Projects utilize connected texts to answer the Essential Question. Projects utilize connected texts to answer the Essential Question. These projects include creating a museum exhibit and reporting drought data.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 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.

Short reads, extended reads and independent readings assist students in developing a deeper understanding of key ideas. Language lessons provide opportunities for students to explore word choices and text structure. Sequences of questions and tasks support students’ skill development in analyzing components of texts, so students may navigate the content, draw conclusions and articulate their evidence-based opinions.

Opportunities are provided for students to analyze language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of texts in order to determine main idea, describe text structures, and explain author’s reasoning. To support students in developing a deep conceptual understanding of texts in each unit, questions and tasks are scaffolded, becoming progressively more complex. Questions accompanying the texts require students to use inferential knowledge to deepen their understanding of the texts. Questions and tasks push students’ thinking around the text structure, language and author’s craft.

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 4, students analyze characters based on the their actions and dialogue from “The Gnat and the Lion” and “The Gnat and the Bull.” The teacher models how to use dialogue and actions to understand a character. Students help analyze characters based on their words, actions, and descriptions within the specific texts.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 2, students read the text “The Hopeville Ledger: Town Tackles Energy Debate,” underlining key details and starring the main idea in each paragraph. Students use their text annotations to write a short summary of the text with the main idea and key details, synthesizing evidence from the text into focused demonstration of what they read.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3 students identify key details and determine main idea from the text “The Oregon Trail.” Students read paragraphs 15-16 underlining key details as they read. Students annotate and assess their ability to differentiate between important and unimportant information. Partners work to identify key details from this section to determine main idea. Students share key details and main idea of the section while other students listen carefully to determine whether the key details support the main idea.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 3, students preview the selection “Natural Resources and Workers.” Students annotate paragraphs 1 and 2 and work with a partner to discuss the key details they underlined and determine the main idea. Students use a graphic organizer to record paragraphs they read, key details found and the main idea(s) from the text. During independent time, students read paragraphs 3-11 annotating key details and determining main ideas for the paragraphs.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 partially meet the criteria that 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.

The materials for Grade 4 contain many coherent questions and tasks that support students’ development in analysis of knowledge and ideas as well as providing opportunities for students to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts, but texts are often focused on basic understanding of the texts and not on building knowledge.

Examples of text-based questions and tasks that do not necessarily build knowledge include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the topic is Characters’ Actions and Reactions. To build knowledge around this topic students read four supporting texts. Students complete multiple tasks that require them to integrate knowledge and ideas. The following tasks require students to integrate knowledge:
    • Week 1, Lesson 14, students reread “The Gnat and the Lion” and the fairy tale “Snow White Meets the Huntsman” in order to compare the characters in both texts. Students record their findings on a chart and during independent time, and write a brief paragraph comparing the themes of “The Gnat and the Lion” and “Snow White Meets the Huntsman.” While students examine literary thematic treatments, they will need support to extend this to topical knowledge.
  • Similarly, in Week 2, Lesson 14, students compare and contrast similar themes in “The Valiant Little Tailor” and “Molly Whuppie.” After teacher modeling and collaborative conversations, students record their findings on a compare/contrast chart. Students use these findings to write a short paragraph in which they use text evidence to compare the themes of “Molly Whuppie” and “The Valiant Little Tailor.”
  • In Unit 6, Extended Read 2, students read “Hercules’ Quest.” Students answer text-dependent questions such as: “What do the little tailor from “The Valiant Little Tailor,” Molly from “Molly Whuppie,” and "Hercules" all have in common?”

    Other questions and tasks do build knowledge of a topic. Some examples are as follows:
  • In Unit 1, students summarize texts and interpret information presented visually such as sidebars, charts, and photos.
    • In Week 1, Lesson 2, the teacher models how to pick out key details and determine the main idea of a text in the first two paragraphs of “Solving Problems.” Guided practice is provided for paragraphs 3-5 of Solving Problems with guiding text-dependent questions such as: “What type of problem does the author describe in these paragraphs? What did the government do? How did the state and federal governments work together?”
    • In Lesson 4, the teacher models how to analyze author’s evidence and students are provided guided practice in “Solving Problems” with guided text-dependent questions such as: “What examples does the author give of “different levels of government”? How are the levels of government different from each other?”
  • In Unit 10 Extended Read 1, students read “The Power of Electricity.” Students reread paragraph 3 of “Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology” then reread paragraph 18 of “The Power of Electricity.” Based on those two texts, students answer: “How is NASA’s future plan to collect energy similar to Franklin’s lightning experiment?” In Week 3, Lesson 14, students use “Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology” and “Nikola Tesla: Electrifying Inventor” to learn about the discoveries, inventions, and lives of two great scientists. Students form opinions about which one was greater. After rereading the two texts, students record their findings on an opinion/reason chart and use these findings to write 2-3 paragraphs answering the close reading question. Students are encouraged to state their opinions clearly and use their annotations from the texts as evidence to support their points of view.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 partially 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).

Each unit concludes with culminating tasks requiring students to draw from multiple texts across the Unit. These tasks reflect students’ understanding of the unit strategies or skills. Daily tasks prepare students for the culminating tasks and provide teachers with feedback. Students demonstrate an integration of skills to demonstrate mastery of the unit skill or strategy. However, completion of culminating tasks does not always demonstrate knowledge of a topic.

There are tasks during Small-Group and Independent Reading. Materials contain a Build, Reflect, and Write reflection sheets that take place during Reader’s Workshop: Texts for Close Reading. Students reflect upon the unit’s topic and essential question.

Materials contain Connect Across Discipline Inquiry Projects which require students to read, write, think, speak, and listen to apply the content knowledge they have gained. These projects can be found in the Additional Resources section of the Teacher’s Resource System volume. However, these projects are optional, and time is not allotted in planning to complete the tasks.

Examples of culminating tasks that reflect students' understanding of unit skills and strategies through integrated skills include the following:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, teachers scaffold the skill of integrating information from two texts to speak knowledgeably on a topic. The culminating task in Week 3, Lesson 14, asks students to “look at paragraph 1 of ‘Stanley’s Release,’ the Attorney General, ‘the chief law enforcement officer for the state,’ comes to the detention center to secure Stanley’s release. Which branch of the state government does the Attorney General represent? Reread paragraphs 6-9 in ‘The State Government and Its Citizens’ to find evidence to support your answer.” While students integrate information from the two paragraphs to answer the question and demonstrate their mastery of this skill, they do not demonstrate knowledge of a single topic. In the applied understanding, students write a paragraph describing how they determined which branch of government the attorney general represents. The teachers ensure that they “tell them to use words, phrases, or sentences from the text in their paragraphs. Use students’ paragraphs to evaluate their understanding of the strategy and use of text evidence.”
  • In Unit 5, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, teachers scaffold the skill of explaining how an author uses reasons and evidence to support points in a text. The culminating task in Week 3, Lesson 14, ask students to look at Paragraph 7 of “Opinions About Green Transportation” and explain one downside to hybrid cars. Students are asked the following question: “How does the main idea of paragraph 13 of ‘The Hopeville Ledger Editorial Pages’ support or contradict this point?” In Applied Understanding, students write a paragraph answering this question, but do not demonstrate knowledge of a specific topic within their response.
  • In Unit 9, Weeks 1, 2, and 3, teachers scaffold the skill of comparing and contrasting the treatment of similar themes in two poems. The culminating task in Week 3, Lesson 14, ask students to reread “Green Gold” (page 7) and lines 51-68 of “Fields of Flashing Light” (page 24). Students are asked the following questions: “How are the themes of these poems similar? In what ways do they differ?” In Applied Understanding, students write several sentences about the themes of the two poems. The teacher ensures to “remind students to list similarities first, then differences, and to use their annotations to help them provide support for their answers.” While students write several sentences about the themes, they do not demonstrate knowledge of a theme rather they compare and contrast the two themes to note similarities and differences.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 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.

A scope and sequence is provided allowing for identification of the academic and domain-specific vocabulary for each week within the unit of study. Vocabulary instruction is highlighted throughout each unit and is addressed both explicitly and embedded in context. Teachers are provided guidance and suggestions outlining differentiated support in order to meet the needs of various learners that is cohesive and spans across the year.

Opportunities are provided for students to use and respond to the words they learn through playful informal talk, discussion, reading or being read to, and responding to what is read. Word study and vocabulary mini-lessons are a part of the instruction each week with a text to accompany the lessons. Vocabulary builds throughout the week and across texts within a one-week period. Specific texts are used which focus strictly on domain specific vocabulary. Academic vocabulary is also a part of the unit assessment as well as the weekly assessment.

Vocabulary lessons highlight the most relevant vocabulary words aimed at building knowledge of the unit topic and support comprehension. To support students’ understanding of complex texts, the following vocabulary words and mini-lessons are targeted. Opportunities to interact and build vocabulary include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Build Vocabulary, the vocabulary words are disturbed, defeated, proud, and miserable from “The Gnat and the Lion” and proud from “Snow White Meets the Huntsman.” The instructional focus is Understand and Use Words That Signal States of Being. For Making Meaning with Words, the vocabulary words are miserable (“The Lion and the Gnat”), pardon (“The Gnat and the Bull”), arrogant, envy, and pity (“Snow White Meets the Huntsman”). The instructional focus is Understand Figurative Language- Similes.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, the lesson type is Build Vocabulary and the vocabulary words from shared, mentor, and extended texts are Hercules, Titans, Olympus, Herculean, titanic and Olympian from “Hercules’ Quest.” The instructional focus is Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases in a Text (Mythological Allusions). To support instruction, teachers are provided an if/then strategy to address potential barriers students may encounter in this lesson.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 1, the teacher shows the unit video and asks students what new ideas the video brings to mind related to the Essential Question. New ideas are added to a class list and the academic vocabulary words livelihood, migrations, and development are written on the board. The teacher replays the video and ask students to use audio and video clues to determine the meaning of these words. In Week 2, Lesson 9, the teacher builds vocabulary by introducing prefixes trans-, pro-, sub-, super- and inter- explaining that there are other prefixes that can answer the question “Where?”
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, the vocabulary instruction for Build Vocabulary includes agriculture, mission, and quota from “Natural Resources and Workers” and agriculture and mission from “John Henry.” The instructional focus is Determine Meaning of Domain-Specific Vocabulary. In Making Meaning with Words, students learn the meaning of disrupted, functioned, harvest, and contributors from “Natural Resources and Workers.”

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 Benchmark Grade 4 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 instructional materials include embedded writing across the year using a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students writing development. The writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the year. Students write to address multiple topics over both short and extended time frames and are provided with mentor texts, writing prompts, and rubrics to help them self-evaluate writing, as well as give teachers a clear picture to evaluate and give feedback. The required time the weekly lesson would take, along with the amount of writing students are responsible for, is balanced and takes place during each three week unit. Students are provided time to adequately refine and reflect on their writing before moving on to a new topic. Discussion regarding writing also takes place with peers and with the teacher.

Students participate in both on-demand and process writings throughout the year. Students are required to respond to evidence-based writing prompts in the Build, Reflect, Write notebook. Prior to responding to the text, students have pre-work to support their response. Students read and reread texts, use annotation, cite text evidence to support their ideas and opinions, and write short analytical responses. Students are provided objectives directly related to the writing process during the lessons. Writing requires students to synthesize information gathered while engaging with text sets and use the writing to demonstrate comprehension of complex texts. Writing is used as a vehicle for research and building knowledge, and range of writing activities and increase in rigor from the beginning to the end of the school year. To provide comprehensive support, teacher materials to support students’ writing development by providing well-designed lesson plans, models and/or exemplars, and protocols to support student writing. Materials attend to not just end results of writing work, but also provide guidance for practicing, revising, and creating.

  • The Benchmark Program Reference Guide includes a component that outlines writing alignment: Writing Aligned to Common Core Expectations. This resource shows the writing progression and distribution of writing types and skills for grades K-6.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students read “Come Away, Come Away!” and respond to the following prompt in their Build, Reflect, Write journals: “What story details support this view of Peter’s character? Write an informative essay in which you answer this question, using details and evidence from “‘Come Away, Come Away!’” To prepare for this prompt, students record on a chart what they have learned about the characters Peter and Wendy and reflect on what the dialogue tells them about the characters and about the characters' relationships.
  • In Unit 3, students write to sources creating an informative report. Based on the texts “A Bird’s Free Lunch” and “The World of Woodpeckers,” students describe the appearance and behavior of woodpeckers by supporting their ideas with facts and details from the text and video. In Lesson 6, students reread a source text closely to find the facts and details needed to draft the mentor text using an Appearance and Behavior Chart to help. In Lesson 9, students view a video about woodpeckers taking notes and using a chart to organize the information. In Lesson 12, students begin to organize their information into an informative report using a paragraph and content planning chart.
    • In Week 2, Lesson 4, the new mentor writing prompt is based on information from “Being in and Seeing Nature” and “The World of Chipmunks.” Students write an informative report describing the appearance and behavior of chipmunks using facts and details from the texts and video. Students use Student Writing Prompt and Informative Report Writing checklists. In Lesson 7 students reread paragraph 6 of Being in and Seeing Nature and the teacher models how to find facts and details about chipmunks in the source text. In Lesson 10, students view and take notes from a video source to find facts and organize the information on a chart. In Lesson 13, students plan and organize their informative report using an Informative Report Planning Guide and other tools from previous lessons. The teacher uses the following prompts to monitor and support students: “Directive Feedback, Put your facts into categories. The categories can be the sections of your report. Self-Monitoring and Reflection, Take a look at your facts and details. Do you feel you are ready to draft? Why or why not? Validating and Confirming, You generated very interesting facts for each category!”
    • In Week 3, students begin writing the report. In Lesson 4, students introduce the topic clearly and hook the reader. In Lesson 7, students incorporate information from the sources they used and provide a section for concluding statements. In Lesson 10, students look back at their descriptions and revise them to make them stronger. Students add adjectives to their writing and order these adjectives correctly. In Lesson 13, students edit their work. In Lesson 15, students evaluate their edited reports using a writing rubric to make sure it is ready to turn in. The teacher monitors and asks students the following questions: “How do you feel this assignment helped your writing develop? What was the most challenging part of writing the informative report? What strategies did you use to overcome the challenges?”
  • In Unit 7, students read “The Open Road” and respond to the following prompt: “Write a short news report describing the history of Route 66, and how dust bowl refugees used it to move west. Include facts, details, and quotations from ‘The Open Road’ and ‘Dust Bowl Refugees.’” In Week 1, students are supported in Lessons 3, 6 ,9 and 12 by gradually building a coherent product. In the Build, Reflect, and Write notebook, students respond to the following writing prompt: “Using facts and details you learned from ‘The Open Road,’ ‘Dust Bowl Refugees’ and ‘Black Sunday,’ write a letter from the point of view of a dust bowl refugee traveling west in the 1930s.” To support students in completing this task, students identify cause-and-effect relationships discussed in the selections and record findings on a chart.
  • In Unit 10, students write a cinquain, a newly introduced writing genre. To support students in completing this task they engage in the following progression:
    • Week 1, students organize ideas after being introduced to the genre, understanding the cinquain form, brainstorming ideas for a cinquain, evaluating ideas and narrowing to the focus and developing ideas through freewriting.
    • Week 2, students draft a cinquain, revise to use strong vivid verbs and alliteration to strengthen and revise the poem, use a checklist to edit and use keyboarding skills to publish.
    • In Week 3, students reflect on narrative, informational/explanatory and opinion writing, prepare to share their writing and then share their writing.
    • Comprehensive teacher support provides a model cinquain in Week 1, Lesson 3. Additionally, teachers and students are provided with a Cinquain checklist in Week 2, Lesson 13. In Week 2, Lesson 10, during conferring and monitoring, teachers are provided guidance to validate student efforts and support students who get stuck by prompting them with corrective feedback questions. Guidance in writing the Cinquain is provided throughout the unit, including an anchor chart, a cinquain features chart and a several model cinquains. This tools are used to guide students in successfully completing the task.

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 Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.

The instructional materials provide a Program Reference Guide component that outlines writing alignment. This resource shows the writing progression and distribution of writing types and skills for grades K-6. In Units 8, 9 and 10, students conduct research independently or with a peer. In each unit, students conduct research to write in a different mode. Daily research and writing process mini-lessons support students’ independent work. In addition to a progression of writing tasks that increase in complexity across the grade levels, tasks also increase over time ,vertically, through the grade levels. In Grade 4, students participate in independent/peer research projects. Research opportunities are sequenced throughout the year to include a progression of research skills that build to student independence. Opportunities are provided for students to integrate their language skills across units and topics. Students are provided with robust instruction, practice, and application of research skills throughout their grade level reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills. These skills are supported and put into practice as they build knowledge about a topic or topics. Support for students to develop and apply research skills are explicitly provided throughout each unit. The mini-lessons and topic-driven text sets support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic.

  • In Unit 2, Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects, students can participate in a research project called “Make an Observation Journal.” Students research animal behaviors using internet sources including videos. Students participate in a class discussion on what can be observed about animal behavior, and students observe an animal to collect observational data on the animal behavior. In groups, students present their reports to the class.
  • In Unit 4, students research and write an opinion piece.
    • In Week 1, students read a mentor text to find facts and details and then use that text evidence to form an opinion.
    • In Week 2, students read and analyze the following prompt: “In your readings, you have encountered two different narrative points of view, first person and third person. Which style do you think is a more effective way of telling a story? State your opinion in an essay, and provide reasons that are supported by details from two of the following readings; Here, Boy, Waiting for Stormy, A Dog’s Life, and Quiet!” Using research, students develop reasons based on facts and details from the text and use the evidence to support their opinion for the essay.
    • In Week 3, students begin the writing process and incorporate their research evidence in their opinion writing.
  • In Unit 7, students work on writing a news report. This requires students to read mentor news reports, analyze how writers incorporate information from multiple sources, gather facts and details from sources, and use notes to organize the report.
    • In Week 1, students learn how to organize news reports in the Five Ws by analyzing the Mentor text.
    • In Week 2, students reread “The Open Road” and “Building the Transcontinental Railroad” in order to take notes for the news report prompt.
    • In Week 3, students revise the news report for sentence length, structure, and formal language.
  • In Unit 8, students read several informative texts about climate and weather. Throughout the unit, students plan, draft, and revise an informative report on a science topic of their own choosing. Students are reminded throughout the unit that an informative report provides facts and details about a topic.
    • In Week 1, the focus is Organize Ideas and the mini-lesson tasks are: brainstorm a topic, evaluate online sources, gather information and take notes from online sources, organize the informative report and form and use the future tense.
    • In Week 2, the focus is Draft and the mini-lessons are: introduce the topic, develop the topic with specific details, use linking words and phrases to connect ideas, provide a concluding statement and produce simple, complex and compound sentences.
    • In Week 3, the focus is Revise, Edit and Publish and the mini-lessons are; revise to improve sentence fluency, revise to include domain specific vocabulary, edit for correct use of verb tenses, edit to correct coordinating and subordinating conjunctions and include illustrations to aid comprehension.
  • In Unit 10, Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects, students can participate in a research project about electrical currents called “Record Radio Interviews.” Students research the electrical inventions of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. After researching the inventions, students write imaginary radio interviews and perform the interviews to the class.

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 materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Benchmark materials provide the opportunity for students to read independently throughout the school year. The materials include a resource in Program Support titled, “Managing Your Independent Reading Program,” which details the expectations for teachers and students to be reading both in class and independently at home. The “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” includes: resources for organizing independent reading, the classroom library, room arrangement, anchor charts, mini-lessons for promoting independent reading, reading response journals and logs, discussion groups and book recommendations, guidance for conferring with students, and information on growing your classroom library. According to Benchmark materials, “Students should also be encouraged to develop a routine of reading daily at home for a minimum of 20 minutes, either independently or with a parent.” In the independent reading stage, students are required to self-select and to read materials at their own ‘just-right’ levels.” For Fluent Readers, the Five-Finger Method is recommended for book selection:

  1. Choose a book that you would like to read.
  2. Turn to any page and begin reading.
  3. If there are five words you can’t pronounce or that you don’t understand, the book is too difficult for you.
  4. Repeat the process until you find a “just-right” book.

A tracking system is recommended in the “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” to track students’ independent reading in the form of a reading log and reading response journal. Reading response journals are kept by students and used to record personal responses to texts they have read or will read. Teachers demonstrate proper techniques, provide mini-lessons on how to respond to literature and model several prompts by listing them on chart paper, and hang the paper on the wall. The reading log is also suggested as an independent reading tracking tool. In reading logs, students keep a record of what they have read by writing the book title, author, illustrator, genre, and date read.

There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers and procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons, for example, as stated in the text, “Within Benchmark Advance, students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups of students to conduct differentiated small-group reading instruction, model fluency skills through reader’s theater, or reteach skills and strategies.” Students complete a variety of reading activities in the reading block. Students have shared reading and mentor read-alouds each week. There are also a set of small group texts that will be used in small group time. Each set of texts is leveled according to Guided Reading levels. Student independent reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels. These texts titles are included as a teacher resource, Recommended Trade Books.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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Gateway Three Details

The materials reviewed meet the expectations for usability. Materials are well-designed and include support for implementation over the course of a school year. Materials include clearly labeled navigation and resources to aid teachers to support students’ literacy growth. The design of the materials supports effective lesson structure and pacing. Student resources include review and practice, clear directions, and explanations, and correct labeling of reference aids. Visual design is not distracting to students and support students’ learning.

The materials support teachers in helping students to learn and understand the concepts in the standards. Teacher’s editions explain the role of specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Materials include strategies for communicating with stakeholders about the program and how they can support students in their learning.

There are a variety of assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. There is sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance on assessments and suggestions for follow-up. Materials also provide routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. Students are accountable for independent reading.

Materials meet expectation for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. There are clear supports for students who struggle as well as those who work above grade level.

Instructional materials include useful technology to enhance student learning. They include materials to support students’ personalized learning via navigable online platforms. The digital platform offers opportunities to enhance student learning as well as opportunities for both student and teacher collaboration.

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for being well-designed and taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The Read Aloud Handbook, Build Reflect Write Handbook, and the E-book provide text-dependent questions, writing prompts, and speaking opportunities requiring students to engage in the text and make real world connections. Daily specific text-dependent reading mini lessons are included requiring all students to cite text evidence to support their answers explicitly or use valid inferences from the text.The materials meet the expectations for the teacher and student reasonably being able to complete the content within a regular school year with the pacing allowing for maximum student understanding. . The materials meet the requirements for resources including ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanations, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g. visuals, maps, etc). The materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items. The visual design is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Examples of effective lesson structure and pacing include but are not limited to the following:

  • The Read Aloud Handbook, Build Reflect Write Handbook, and the E-book provide text-dependent questions, writing prompts, and speaking opportunities requiring students to engage in the text and make real world connections. Daily specific text-dependent reading mini lessons are included, requiring all students to cite text evidence to support their answers explicitly or use valid inferences from the text.
  • There are ten units of study. Many units focus on a Science or Social Studies themed topic. Within these topic-driven units, there are three lessons. These lessons include two Short Reads and two Extended Reads designed to build knowledge and vocabulary around the identified topic. Supplemental and leveled texts also support this topic with a balance of literary and nonfiction texts.
  • Materials provide explicit details for executing whole group instruction. Culminating tasks for each unit builds student engagement with the text and depth of understanding of the topic. To promote inquiry-based learning and reinforce topics across disciplines, each unit includes a section entitled, Connect Across Disciplines: Inquiry Projects Introduction. These interdisciplinary projects can be found under the Additional Resources tab. These projects are designed to deepen students’ understanding of the unit concepts and essential questions through inquiry-based learning.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, there is an outline of a suggested time frame for addressing the read aloud (10 minutes), mini-lessons (15 minutes), small group/ independent reading (15-20 minutes), writing (15 minutes) and word study (10 minutes).

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The instructional materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build academic skills across texts. A scope and sequence is provided allowing for identification of the units and lessons within the year. Supplemental and leveled texts also support this topic with a balance of literary and nonfiction texts. The balance of genres with extensive topics across units serve to build student knowledge and vocabulary at various levels of depth and meaning. Students read across text sets organized around a topic. Texts gradually increase in difficulty over the course of the year and resources provided scaffold support for all students in order to move students toward grade level proficiency. Teachers are given guidance and suggestions outlining support to meet the needs of various learners across the year. For example:

  • There are 10 units that are each broken into three weeks. Each week contains 15 lessons. There are a total of 450 lessons and students cover 2-3 lessons each day.
  • Lessons are set up for 365 minutes per week and/or 73 minutes per day which includes interactive read alouds, reading mini-lessons, small group and/or independent reading, writing mini-lessons, and word study mini lessons.
  • A unit includes two Short Reads and two Extended Reads designed to build knowledge and vocabulary around the identified topic. Each unit also includes three vocabulary mini lesson texts and leveled readers for independent and small group reading.
  • In Unit 2, Characters’ Actions and Reactions, anchor texts are: Short Read 1, “The Gnat and the Lion” and “The Gnat and the Bull”, literary text, fable. Short Read 2, “Snow White Meets the Huntsman”, literary text, fairy tale. Extended Read 1, “Come Away, Come Away!”, literary text, fantasy. Extended Read 2, “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow,” from the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , literary text, fantasy. Supplementary texts are: Treasure Island: My Sea Adventure, literary text, adventure. The Black Stallion, literary text, novel excerpt. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, literary text, fantasy. Coyote Brings Fire to the People, Iktomi and Muskrat; Raven and Crow’s Potlatch ,literary texts, folktales. Alice in Wonderland, literary text, novel excerpt. Storm Scenes from Two Classic Works of Children's Literature: The Wizard of Oz and 2 The Cay, literary texts, novel excerpts.

Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (eg. visuals, maps, etc.)

Materials provided include trade books, shared readings, mentor read alouds, scaffolded activity strategies, close-reading texts, performance tasks, a leveled text library, Reader’s Theater, and interventions. All of these are digitally interactive, i.e. where annotation is required it is done digitally. Each of these resources include ample opportunity to review and practice, clear directions (in some interactive tools directions are also given orally), and correct labeling. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 14, directions are provided to students to practice identifying supporting text details. Students work with a partner to complete the third row of the Compare/Contrast chart. Partners identify details that support the focus of one text, and provide details supporting the focus of the other text. “Partner A: The purpose of “Solving Problems” is to explain how different levels of government can work together to solve problems. The text provides examples of times when this can be necessary, such as after natural disasters [par. 2] and during economic crises [par. 3-5]. Partner B: The focus of “The First Town Meeting” is different from the focus of “Solving Problems.” “The First Town Meeting” describes how a fictional town government solves a single problem. Since this text focuses on a single problem and includes specific characters and dialogue, it can give us details on what it’s like when government leaders meet to solve a problem. For example, suggestions are sometimes made that the group decides against [par. 5-6], and solutions can be developed when one person builds on another person’s ideas [par. 13-15]. As needed, use text-dependent questions to provide corrective/directive feedback. For example: Which communities are described in “Solving Problems?” What community is described in “The First Town Meeting?” How are they alike? How are they different? What type of information is “The First Town Meeting” able to provide because it includes specific characters and dialogue?
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 14, directions are provided reminding students they have learned how to integrate information from two texts to develop knowledge about a topic and express their knowledge. Teachers will tell students that in this lesson, they will integrate details from two texts they have read: “Green Transportation Solutions” and “Town Tackles Energy Debate.” “Before students reread, point out that the question, “How do economic factors affect people’s use of green solutions?” is the idea to focus on and explore as they look through the texts. Give students time to reread and annotate the assigned paragraphs.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 8, directions are provided to remind students that in previous lessons they used text evidence to explain Benjamin Franklin’s method in his scientific work. Students will use text evidence to explain the relationship between two scientists and inventors, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Daily lessons and Performance Based Assessments specifically denote the standards to which the lessons and tasks are aligned. This publisher-produced alignment to standards is provided in Benchmark Program Reference Guide under the heading of ELA Correlations to the Common Core Standards. It is also provided within each lesson within each Unit. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 11, students learn that informational texts, graphic elements such as photographs often convey information not found in the text. In a previous lesson (Lesson 8), students analyzed photographs along with the text to find evidence that different states have different needs. This is aligned to RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively. In this lesson, students share their answers, and students are encouraged to build on ideas, ask clarifying questions, or express conflicting ideas. This is aligned to SL.4.1c.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 4, previous writing lessons focused on finding and creating visual elements for multimedia presentations. In this lesson, students combine text with multimedia elements in a presentation, and use words and phrases that link ideas in the presentation. This aligns to W.4.2c Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases.

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The instructional materials included utilize a digital visual design that is not distracting or chaotic, and supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject. The digital materials are easily navigated through a clear design and interface. For example:

  • The digital materials in the Benchmark program are easily navigated through clicking the grade level and specific unit from the My Library. The teacher’s online resource includes easily clickable tabs for navigation throughout the program. A Unit timeline is also provided across the top in order to easily navigate from unit to unit.
  • The digital student text allows space for annotations and close reading notes to be added during reading. The paragraphs are numbered for students to easily locate text passages as needed during time spent with the text.
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, Lesson 4, students are provided with a New Reporting Writing Checklist to utilize in completion of a writing task that does not include any distracting or chaotic features.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation for materials containing a Teacher's Guide 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.The materials contain a Teacher's Guide that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary. The materials reviewed meet expectations for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Materials reviewed contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies. The materials reviewed 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.Specific materials are provided, including a Family Welcome Letter (available in English and Spanish) for the program, School-To-Home letters for each unit, and daily take-home activity calendars.

Indicator 3f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.

Materials include a Teacher’s Resource System (TRS) that includes a clear outline of each unit as well as notes and suggestions about presenting content. The TRS also includes the objectives of the lesson, explanations of where to find descriptions of routine, and suggested ways to present content as well as possible questions to ask. Each question asked is followed by a sample student answer. The TRS includes scaffolded instruction boxes to address learners needs with suggestions and ideas on how to differentiate instruction for those students who may struggle.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 14, partners work together to complete the third row of the Compare/Contrast chart. Teachers suggest that one partner identify details that support the focus of one text, and the other partner provide the details supporting the focus of the other text. A sample conversation is given to the teacher as an example of how to model this conversation. This program is all digital and, therefore, if teachers need more guidance with the digital process they can access the Exploring the Program Digitally in the teacher resources.
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, Lesson 8, teachers display and discuss the close reading prompt and annotation instructions. “Give students time to skim and annotate. Remind students that they should refer to the notes they took when they read the passage for the first time to find the text evidence that will support their responses. Provide modeling and/or engage students in self-reflection to build metacognitive awareness.” There is an If/Then chart that helps teachers to know what to do when students need extra support
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Lesson 14, teachers display and distribute a Text Integration Chart. “Ask groups to identify these aspects of each text by skimming and scanning the texts to gather information. Remind students that the information for each item needs to be based on text evidence. You may wish to have each group designate a discussion facilitator, recorder, and summarizer. Inform students that group collaboration requires that they listen carefully to their peers and consider everyone’s perspective. Monitor group discussions and be aware of students who may not be participating or comprehending the group task.” Teachers are instructed to provide modeling and/or engage students in self-reflection to build metacognitive awareness of their reading strategies to reinforce or reaffirm the strategy.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.

To develop teachers’ ability to improve their own knowledge of the subjects, ongoing teacher support is provided throughout each unit, including: sample modeling, if/then strategies, strategies for differentiated support and ways to scaffold the first reading. To provide comprehensive support, teacher materials support students’ writing development by providing well-designed lesson plans, models and/or exemplars, and protocols to support student writing. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent/specific questions, tasks and assignments for all learners through modeling, guided practice and applying understanding with scaffolding for light, moderate, or substantial support throughout the year. The instructional materials include embedded writing across the year using a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students writing development. Materials provide guidance to teachers in supporting students’ literacy skills. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 2, teachers are provided a sample model for previewing the text.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Lesson 6, teachers are provided a chart housing if/then strategies for locating relevant evidence. These strategies target common barriers for students and provide suggested think aloud strategies to address these barriers.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 9, teachers are provided suggestions for differentiated support to assist students in using roots to determine meanings of words. This teacher support is found under “Integrated ELD” and gives suggestions for light, moderate or substantial support.
  • To provide comprehensive teacher support, teachers are provided a model Cinquain in Unit 10, Week 1, Lesson 3. Additionally, teachers and students are provided with a Cinquain Checklist in Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 13. In Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 10, during Conferring and Monitoring, teachers are given support in validating students’ efforts and supporting students who get stuck by outlining sample corrective feedback. Guidance in writing the Cinquain is provided throughout the unit, including an anchor chart, a Cinquain features chart and a several model Cinquains. These tools are used to guide students in successfully completing the task.

Indicator 3h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Each unit is designed to address key shifts in curriculum and instruction that reflect research on how best to prepare students for success in the globally competitive society of the 21st century. A Skills and Strategies grid that lists the standards used in each unit which correlates to texts and activities for reading, writing, speaking, and listening can be found in the Program Reference Guide. Each week contains a Comprehensive Literacy Planning Guide which lists the lessons covered and corresponds the standards and skills. For example:

  • When each unit is opened, there are two tabs that introduce the teacher to the unit: Unit Strategies and Skills overview and Components at a Glance which gives the teacher a three week glance of the texts used for each unit.
  • Skill and Strategy grids for Grade 4 can be found on pages 90-108 of the Program Reference Guide which is an online tool of the program.
  • The Comprehensive Literacy Planning Guide for each weekly lesson reflects the order of the week's mini-lessons in the Teacher Resource System.
  • Each weekly lesson also includes a Reading and Writing workshop planner and writing and vocabulary grids that outline lessons for writing and vocabulary.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meets the criteria that materials contain a explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

Materials include an Implementation Guide that provides a walkthrough of the curriculum citing and explaining the rationale and research-based strategies including but not limited to the principles of backwards design and the design principle of backward mapping. For example:

  • The Program Reference Guide states, “This program was built to address key shifts in curriculum and instruction that reflect research on how best to prepare students for success in the globally competitive society of the 21st century. Benchmark Advance enables all students to master rigorous learning goals with the support of strong differentiated instruction, focused English language development, and responsive teaching based on ongoing assessment. As a flexible comprehensive solution, Benchmark Advance meets the needs of districts implementing a reading collaborative, balanced approach, or workshop model. A careful backward-mapping process was applied in the creation of lessons that promote meaning-making strategies in Week 1 and close reading opportunities in Weeks 2 and 3. Each Essential Question, is crafted to support the tenets of Understanding by Design, promotes thinking about a topic or concept from many perspectives simultaneously. Benchmark Advance is a forward-thinking program that reflects a 21st-century vision. A state-of-the art digital portal provides access to online planning tools, interactive, customizable e-books built for annotation and accessible on any device, weekly teacher presentations, online assessments that prepare students for tech-enabled and tech-enhanced tests, and reporting features that enable teachers to identify and respond to the learning needs of every student.”
  • In the Additional Resources tab there are clear explanations of the instructional approaches of the program. These explanations include information about: connecting content across disciplines, pre-teach and reteaching routines, small group strategies, and the collaborative conversation approach. Research based approaches are mentioned throughout the additional resources. The program contains supportive information on expanding the reading skills of learners, under the tab titled, Literacy and Language to Advance All Learners. The Access and Equity document discusses how to support students with disabilities and references “Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning and Behavior Problems [Vaughn, S. & Bos, C. (2012). Boston, MA: Pearson]”, which has provided many of the strategies used within the materials.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.

The Benchmark Program contains strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program. Specific suggestions are provided for how they can help support student progress and achievement outside of the school day. Specific materials are provided, including a Family Welcome Letter for the program, School-To-Home letters for each unit, and daily take-home activity calendars. For example:

  • In the Home-School materials, a Family Welcome Letter is provided that helps to inform all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/Literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement. For example, the opening letter explains each book is meant to be used for just three weeks. After three weeks of reading and working with the texts in class, students will bring the annotated book home. Your student’s annotations will allow you to see exactly how they are interpreting and engaging with the readings. As your student is working through each unit, you’ll notice that all of the readings are centered on one topic. These topics include social studies and science content as well as literary subjects such as point of view, theme, and character. Every three weeks, you’ll receive a school-to-home letter that will provide additional activities you can do at home with your student. These activities connect to the unit topic as well as the vocabulary, comprehension, and phonics/word study skills being taught during the unit.
  • In Unit 6, the School-to-Home letter provides specific information about the unit and additional suggestions to integrate the home-school connection. “Welcome to our next unit of study, ‘Confronting Challenges.’ We are kicking off our sixth unit in the Benchmark Advance program. As with the previous units, I am providing suggested activities you and your child can do together at home to build on the work we’re doing in class. In our sixth unit of study, ‘Confronting Challenges,’ we will read and compare a variety of genres to understand how characters in fiction overcome challenges and face obstacles. We will be reading a variety of genres, including trickster tales, fairy tales, folktales, and myths. This unit will allow you and your child to consider what kinds of traits make up a hero, and how average, everyday people have the traits of courageous heroes.
  • A Daily Take-Home Activity Calendar is included for each unit. This resource provides daily activities for each day, Monday-Friday, for weeks 1, 2 and 3. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, the following information is provided for Monday: “Solving Problems, p. 4 invite your child to read aloud the first page of the selection. Discuss how the photo and captions support the information in paragraph 2.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Materials have phonics screeners, weekly and unit assessments, informal assessments and interim assessments. Assessments are in paper format as well as online format. Materials reviewed meet the expectations for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized. Materials meet the expectations for assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Materials provide teachers with guidance for administering assessments and interpreting results through rubrics and scoring guidance documents.The materials contain information to guide teachers in analyzing assessment as well as foundational checklists to help guide the assessment material. The materials include a developmental writing checklist for teachers to use to analyze students’ skills to determine students’ level of writing and how to implement lessons and mini lessons. Instructional materials meet the expectations for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Benchmark for Grade 4 provides several opportunities for student assessment, both formative and summative during each unit, which include: informal assessments, 4 interim assessments per unit, end of week one assessment, end of week two assessment, and a unit assessment after the end of week three. Each assessment is located in a separate, ancillary document located under the “Assessment” tab. Included in the guide for each of these assessments are overviews, types of questions, and instructions on how to administer the tests. For example:

  • Page 4 of the informal assessment guide provides information to teachers about a wide variety of informal literacy assessments that enable teachers to:
    • obtain multiple perspectives on the literacy growth occurring in their classrooms;
    • monitor and reflect on their teaching and students’ learning;
    • make informed decisions about students’ progress and needs;
    • select appropriate materials and instructional techniques that match students’ current level of development;
    • document progress over time through a cumulative portfolio;
    • report progress to students, parents, and administrators
  • Page 5 Rhodes and Shanklin (1993) outlined the eleven principles of literacy assessment. Each of these principles is supported in Benchmark's informal assessments. A chart is included on page 5.
  • An overview of the interim assessment program is found in the Interim Assessment and Performance Task guide. On page 5, the overview states “This book provides a set of Interim Assessments and Performance Tasks designed to assess students’ progress in reading and writing, based on the standards and skills taught across the units. Both types of assessment are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for each grade level”.
  • An overview of the weekly and unit assessment can be found in the Weekly and Unit Assessment guide. On page 5 the overview states, “This book provides a set of Interim Assessments and Performance Tasks designed to assess students’ progress in reading and writing, based on the standards and skills taught across the units. Both types of assessment are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for each grade level.

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
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Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet, the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Benchmark identifies standards in the formative and summative assessments. Standards are explicitly a component of the test and questions are directly correlated to the standards and evidence of this can be found in the answer key of the informal assessment, performance tasks, interim assessments, end of week and end of unit assessments. For example:

  • Standards for each of the questions on the interim and performance tasks can be found in the Interim Assessment and Performance Task Guide for each unit in the answer key. The answer key is found at the end of the list of units for Grade 4 and contains the question number, answer, standard tested, and DOK level.
  • Standards for each of the questions on the weekly and unit assessments can be found in the Weekly and Unit Assessment Guide in the Answer Key. The answer key is found at the end of the list of units and each unit contains question number, answer, standard tested and DOK level.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

Materials provide teachers with guidance for administering assessments and interpreting results through rubrics and scoring guidance documents. For example:

  • Interim and Performance Based Assessments provide teachers with notes and guidance regarding administration of assessments. The information provided guides teachers to allow students to complete the assessment over multiple lessons, to review the Essential Questions, and revisit the main selection texts. Sample responses are provided for what a 2/2 response would resemble. As a part of the Interim Assessment and Performance Guide, teachers are provided information on how to administer, score, and use assessment data.
    • Directions for administering interim assessments is on page 9 of the guide.
    • How to score interim assessments is on page 10 of the information guide.
    • On page 11 of the guide it states, “Reviewing a student’s assessment with the student may also be helpful. It can provide an opportunity for students to see which questions they answered incorrectly and why their answers were incorrect. This kind of review will help them be more successful next time”.
  • Guidance is provided for teachers in administering and scoring assessments, along with interpreting student assessment scores on Weekly and End-of- Unit Assessments. For example, in the Weekly and Unit Assessment Information Guide, an assessment overview is provided and in that overview, on page viii, assessment administration information is provided. On page x, how to score assessments is provided. On page xii, how to use assessment results is provided. A rubric for scoring the extended response items of the End-Of-Unit Assessment can be found in the answer key.
  • Instruction and guidance are provided for administering Oral Reading Assessment found in the informal Assessment Guide and an overview is found beginning on page 4 of the guide. Information on Oral Reading Assessment begins on page 19 of the guide. Small group reading assessment can be found on page 40 of the same guide.

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

Students’ volume of reading is reinforced through encounters with short reads, extended text, leveled texts and suggested texts from the classroom library. Materials include mechanisms for teachers to monitor student progress toward grade level independence. Students are assessed using informal assessments, weekly formal assessments and performance tasks. Each assessment is located in a separate ancillary document located under the Assessment tab. Additionally, students are required to respond to evidence-based writing prompts in the Build, Reflect, Write notebook. Prior to responding to the prompt, students are given pre-work to support their response.

  • To support students and teachers in monitoring progress in writing skills, Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 3 introduces an Opinion Essay Writing Checklist. Writing exemplars for each writing type are given under the drop down menu Writing Exemplars.
  • During Unit 1, Week 2, students read an informational social studies extended text “The State Government and Its Citizens.” In Week 3, students read an extended realistic fiction text “Stanley’s Release.” Over those two weeks, students are learning to refer to details. For the Unit Assessment students answer questions about details that support the main idea.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 3, students read “Quiet!” and engage in a lesson on explaining key events and summarizing. At the conclusion of the lesson, during independent time, students read paragraphs 6-8 and use the key detail to write a short summary of those paragraphs in the margins of the texts. The teacher reviews students’ work to evaluate students’ skills in identifying, summarizing, and explaining key background details.

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The instructional materials reviewed detail how students are held accountable for independent reading. This outline is based on student choice and interest. It supports students in building stamina, confidence, and motivation. The materials provide a resource called Managing Your Independent Reading Program that provides guidance on setting up an independent reading area and tracking student progress. Guidance is available to teachers throughout each unit for incorporating the independent reading program. Materials are provided for teachers, students, and parents/caregivers to track the reading activities students do both inside and outside of school. With each lesson, students engage in 20 minutes of daily independent reading while small group reading is taking place.

Teachers are able to assign independent reading to students if necessary to help them gain deeper knowledge in the objectives. An independent reading log is kept for each student so that students and teachers are able to track self-selected texts used for independent reading. The Managing Your Independent Reading Program includes; resources for organizing independent reading, the classroom library, room arrangement, anchor charts, mini-lessons for promoting independent reading, reading response journals and logs, discussion groups and book recommendations, guidance for conferring with students, and information on growing your classroom library. To support independent reading outside the classroom, students are given a Daily Take Home Activity Calendar. For example:

  • The Comprehensive Literacy Planner outlines 20 minutes per day of independent reading and usually occurs between mini-lessons 2 and 3. This time is specified for independent reading and conferring and small group reading.
  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 3, students partner read paragraph 2 to identify and underline additional key details and look for a possible stated main idea. During independent time, students read paragraphs 3-9.
  • A list of recommended, award-winning trade books is provided for every unit in Benchmark, with titles that expand on the unit topics. Students are encouraged to read these trade books during independent reading. Some trade books that support the Unit topic, Observing Naturing, for Unit 3 are: Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps, Biography, Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard, Informational Non-fiction, One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin, Biography, and The White House Is Burning: August 24, 1814, Informational Non-fiction.

Criterion 3o - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Materials meet the expectations for providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English, extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.The materials contain a differentiated instruction planner, as well as, an integrated ELD component. A recommendation of light, moderate or substantial support for students is available. Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The Differentiated Instruction Planner and Advancing Foundational Skills for English Language Development provide multiple resources and strategies to meet the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and support them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standard. For example:

  • The Differentiated Instruction planner helps to guide teachers through meeting the needs of all learners. It provides Small-Group Reading Instruction Options: Unit-Specific Leveled Texts for Differentiated Instruction, Close Reading of Complex Text, Reader’s Theater, Literature Circles, Reading Strategy Instruction, English Language Development and Intervention. Independent and Collaborative Activity Options: Read Independently, Read Collaboratively, Write Independently, Conduct Research, Apply Understanding, Answer Questions Using Text Evidence, Practice and Build, Reflect, Write.
  • The Advancing Foundational Skills for English Language Development provides guidance and support for students. It is recommended that foundational skills instruction for English Learners be adapted based on: the student’s age and level of schooling, the student’s previous literacy experiences in his or her native language, the student’s level of oral proficiency in the native language and in English, the native language writing system used, and how closely the student’s native language is related to English. Therefore, students’ language and literacy characteristics need to be taken into consideration and individualized instruction may be needed in order to provide the appropriate foundational skills instruction.
  • Each lesson includes Integrated English Language Development with specific guidance for multiple levels of support: Light Support, Moderate Support, or Substantial Support. As noted in the Program Guide, strategies to support ELLs are embedded into every core lesson at three levels of scaffolding intensity. The goal of these strategies is to target the most cognitively or linguistically challenging task in each lesson with substantial, moderate, or light support so that all learners benefit from the core instruction. Therefore, teachers are able to consider and provide the level of support students need in relation to specific lessons, and to use the strategies flexibly.
  • Additional resources are provided in the Grade Resources regarding Access and Equity: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities and Meeting the Needs of of Students Who Are Advanced Learners.

Indicator 3p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.

The 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. For example:

  • The Teacher’s Resource System provides daily scaffolding for immediate opportunities to support students during lessons, and the Scaffolded Strategies Handbook provides more extensive follow up to support students whose primary language is something other than English.
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 5, Integrated ELD supports include; Light Support Read “Public Health and Safety” with students. Challenge them to summarize the main idea of the section in one sentence. For example: State governments are responsible for educating and protecting the health and safety of their citizens. Moderate Support Read “Public Health and Safety” with students. Have partners work to identify key details and the stated main idea in the section. Provide the following sentence frame to help students summarize. State governments _____ (run hospitals, patrol highways) and _____ (monitor public spaces), thereby_____. (protecting the health and safety of their “citizens). Substantial Support, Read “Public Health and Safety” with students. Provide sentence frames for students to use when discussing the key details. For example: Hospitals are run by _____. _____ patrol the highways and _____. _____ also can issue Amber Alerts. Ask: Which sentence contains the main idea of the section? The state government _____.”
  • Each lesson includes Integrated English Language Development with specific guidance for multiple levels of support: Light Support, Moderate Support, or Substantial Support. As noted in the Program Guide, “Strategies to support ELLs are embedded into every core lesson at three levels of scaffolding intensity. The goal of these strategies is to target the most cognitively or linguistically challenging task in each lesson with substantial, moderate, or light support so that all learners benefit from the core instruction. Therefore, teachers are able to consider and provide the level of support students need in relation to specific lessons, and to use the strategies flexibly.
  • According to the Program Guide, the English Language Development Teacher's Resource System is designed to develop students’ awareness of how English works in both spoken and written language, and allows teachers to provide English Learners with the skills necessary for learning, thinking, and expressing in the English language. The texts for English Language Development are excerpted and supported, not adapted. Benchmark ELD takes a large piece of grade-level ELA content and amplifies it for the learner. Amplification is done through visuals/pictures/graphic elements, leveling, and explanations to scaffold meaning. The English Language Development Assessment provides teachers the tools to evaluate and document English Learners' growth in language proficiency over time using formative assessment tools that are directly related to learning activities and tasks from the TRS lessons and are based on the program’s informational and literary texts.
  • The Advancing Foundational Skills for English Language Learners provides additional support to accelerate foundational skills, print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency for English Learners at Grades 3−6. The Think-Speak-Listen Flip Books work to engage students in academic conversations with the conversation sentence starters provided in the Think-Speak-Listen Bookmarks and Flip Books.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The Access and Equity section contains an article titled, “Meeting the Needs of Students Who Are Advanced Learners”, which details how to meet the needs of students who are advanced learners. The article discusses how to recognize students who are advanced learners and provides guidance to the teacher for differentiating instruction for students in this group. Some of the suggestions for differentiating instruction are: “flexible grouping and small-group instruction for most reading and writing activities allows teachers to group student with similar levels of advancement or similar talents/interests. Flexible pacing and If/Then "Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy" instruction within the mini-lessons allows teachers to compact the content and accelerate the instruction in each lesson, within each standard, as needed.

Each unit offers support for accelerated learners in the Independent Writing Time and/or Apply Understanding and the Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Project. The small group options provided in the Differentiated Instruction Planner provides opportunities that include: Unit Specific Leveled-Text for Differentiated Instruction, Reader’s Theater, and Independent Reading. Managing an Independent Reading is outlined in the Grade Resources and has guidance for setting up and managing a classroom reading program, strategies to help students self-select books and texts, ideas to support book-sharing, partner-reading, and discussion circles, activities to promote reflection and writing in response to reading, prompts, questions, and strategies to support engaging one-on-one conferring between teacher and student and home-school letters. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 11, in the Apply Understanding of the Teacher’s Resource System, there is a Challenge Activity provided which is different from the required activity for students. “Challenge Activity, Have students write 2-3 sentences explaining in detail how they would feel in Zero’s situation, and why.” In Unit 1, in the Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Project, there is a challenge project that students are asked to Present News Articles. Students are asked to distinguish between news and editorial reporting, research information and visuals to build knowledge on the effects of Colorado River dams, interpret visual and informational text to create an editorial opinion video, and share thinking with peers.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 8, in the Apply Understanding of the Teacher’s Resource Guide, there is a Challenge Activity provided which is different from the required activity for students. “Challenge Activity, Ask students to answer another question using text evidence: Which of the two strategies context clues or word part meanings was more helpful to you? Explain your answer.” In Unit 5, in the Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Project, there is a challenge project where students are asked to Write an Editorial. Students are asked to research a geological process involving fossil fuels, use technology to write and create a video, articulate the process used to create my video, and share thinking with peers.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 14, in the Apply Understanding of the Teacher’s Guide there is a Challenge Activity provided which is different from the required activity for students. “Challenge Activity, Challenge students to write a paragraph on how the natural resources discussed in each poem affect the narrator’s viewpoint. How do natural resources affect the lives of both Chávez and the speaker? Ask students to find text evidence from each poem to support their answer.” In Unit 9, in the Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Project, there is a challenge project that students are asked to Design Solar Solutions. Students are asked to list and compare resources used in cooking, follow directions to design and use solar ovens, evaluate the benefits of different solar oven designs, and share thinking with peers.

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Students participate in partner and small group Think/Pair/Share, Whole Class Discussion, Small Group Discussion, Read Alouds, Shared Reading, Literature Circles, Independent Reading for both Informational and Literary texts, and Leveled Texts. The Teacher’s Resource System provides small group options for teachers to meet the needs of their students. Teachers are encouraged to use information gained from whole group instruction to help determine where students need additional supports or extensions during small groups. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 2 students read with partners paragraphs 3-5 and work to identify and underline another key detail that supports the main idea. Teachers point out that the key detail will probably be another type of problem that governments work together to solve. Refer to the Ways to Scaffold the First Reading sidebar for students who need extra support to read the assigned paragraphs.
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, Lesson 2 students work with a partner and the teacher assigns each pair one of the following skills: identifying key details/main ideas and evaluating evidence used by an author. “Have each pair briefly answer one of these questions about last week’s readings; Where did you look in the text to identify the key details and determine the main idea? How did the author use reasons and evidence? Partners should build on each other’s ideas and support each other to understand how the strategies helped them comprehend the text. Teacher will call on them to summarize what their partner explained.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 10, students are asked to rehearse their multimedia presentations with a partner and use the Multimedia Presentation Speaking checklist to offer each other comments about effective elements and suggestions for improvement.

Indicator 3s

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meets the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

Materials are available to access with a sign-in and password. Once signed in, an educator can access a Quick Start Guide that provides information on using all components of the system. Teachers can also access a table of contents for the resources. Pieces for teachers include accessing information in Spanish, messages, student management, assessments, reports, e-planner, and a blog. When students sign in, they have access to the program components, assignments, reading log for students, and a My Library tab for independent reading and trade books. All materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers and platform neutral. Components can be accessed on PC’s, tablets, and a mobile device. On the website, teachers can create classes to assign work, check on the status of assignments, create groups, and post class calendars. Videos are used to introduce the units and also throughout units to help with student comprehension.

In the Quick Start Guide, it reads, “This guide will help you get started with your new digital materials for Benchmark Advance and Adelante. You’ll discover how to use interactive e-books and access your teacher resources”. The introduction goes on to say, “Benchmark Universe includes all your content, planning, and management tools. You have everything you need to integrate technology into your reading/language arts curriculum, with tools to differentiate and personalize learning for your students.”

Indicator 3s3v

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 include digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) that are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers , “platform neutral”, follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Materials reviewed meet expectations for supporting effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.They include Digital materials that provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students using adaptive or other technological innovation. Materials can be easily customized for local use. The instructional materials reviewed meet the criteria that 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.)

Indicator 3t

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meets the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Materials in Benchmark support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. At the beginning of each unit, a short video is used to introduce the unit and discuss the Essential Question for each unit. Technology is used to enhance learning through research as students organize projects or just as enhancement to reading and writing assignments. Technology is also used to publish writing and aid in student presentations to enhance speaking and listening skills. The home school connection component is used to bring parents/guardians into the learning by providing activities for the students and parents to use together at home. Daily activities, anchor texts, support materials, assessments, home-school activities, word study tools, and other components are all in digital form and user friendly to enhance student learning. Examples of this include, but re not limited to:

  • A video is used as an opener for each unit. In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 1, the teacher displays the Unit 7 video and while students are watching, they are asked to draw responses or write questions and ideas they might have about the video. The teacher introduces vocabulary words and or words related to the narrative text such as central message, theme, and moral. After viewing, discuss then takes place about the essential question and the teachers asks if there were any other words that students were not familiar with.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 10 students are asked to view, listen to, and take notes from a video source. This video is incorporated into their writing prompt where they are using two sources to to write an informative report and support their ideas with facts and details from both sources. Also in Unit 8, week 3, lesson 15 students use technology to publish their writing.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3 in Lessons 4, 7, and 10, students are assemble a multimedia presentation use to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. Presentations use media such as sound, images, and video, as well as text, to present and share ideas. In lesson 13 students present to their peers as well as practice listening while others present.
  • Unit 6 in the home school connection gives parents an overview of the unit (Confronting Challenges) and the essential question and then breaks down information into the following topics with explanations and suggestion for an activity at home within each: Topic connection, vocabulary connection, comprehension connection, and word study connection. Under the topic connection, parents are asked to “Read a story with their child and map out the conflicts that the main character faces. Fold a piece of paper into four columns and label the columns “Problem,” “Feelings,” “Actions,” and “Solution.” Fill out the chart for the book you are reading, to identify how the character in the book confronted a challenge and the feelings the character experienced along the way.

Indicator 3u

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Indicator 3u.i

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners. An online Screener Assessment is used to pinpoint students' struggles. Digital materials provide Informal, Weekly, and Unit assessments. Teachers can view data individually, by student, from the class assignment list. Teachers can customize their leveled texts and personalize this learning for each student. There is a Quick Start Reference that helps both teachers and students navigate the digital program. There are also interactive close reading texts so that each student will be able to annotate the text digitally.

Students are able to access E-Books at their instructional or independent level. The teacher can assign particular books for students to read. The teacher is able to model highlighting and annotating on the smartboard or screen.

Indicator 3u.ii

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Materials can be easily customized for local use. The online tool, Benchmark Universe, allows teachers to use the customization tools in each e-book to differentiate instruction. When the e-book launches, the student can fill in a name for the customized e-book and click Yes. The teacher can also utilize the ePlanner for lesson planning. In the Manage Students component, the teacher can keep track of student learning in classes and groups. The teacher can customize the Reading Log for each student. The Reports component is customizable for each teacher. Assignments can be selected and assigned by the teacher.

Using the Edit Tools, the teacher can zoom in on any area, add window shades, highlight text, add diagrams and links. The teacher can add new pages, YouTube videos, and more.

Indicator 3v

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.)

The materials contain E-Books and videos to access the learning. Students can interact with the teachers using the online components such as assignments or reading logs. The materials do not reference other technology opportunities for students to work on projects collaboratively utilizing websites, discussion groups, or webinars.

Professional development is available online through tutorials, onsite orientations, and online trainings. Access to professional development can be found on the Benchmark website.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 include digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) that are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers , “platform neutral”, follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Materials reviewed meet expectations for supporting effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.They include Digital materials that provide opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students using adaptive or other technological innovation. Materials can be easily customized for local use. The instructional materials reviewed meet the criteria that 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.)

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meets the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

Materials are available to access with a sign-in and password. Once signed in, an educator can access a Quick Start Guide that provides information on using all components of the system. Teachers can also access a table of contents for the resources. Pieces for teachers include accessing information in Spanish, messages, student management, assessments, reports, e-planner, and a blog. When students sign in, they have access to the program components, assignments, reading log for students, and a My Library tab for independent reading and trade books. All materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers and platform neutral. Components can be accessed on PC’s, tablets, and a mobile device. On the website, teachers can create classes to assign work, check on the status of assignments, create groups, and post class calendars. Videos are used to introduce the units and also throughout units to help with student comprehension.

In the Quick Start Guide, it reads, “This guide will help you get started with your new digital materials for Benchmark Advance and Adelante. You’ll discover how to use interactive e-books and access your teacher resources”. The introduction goes on to say, “Benchmark Universe includes all your content, planning, and management tools. You have everything you need to integrate technology into your reading/language arts curriculum, with tools to differentiate and personalize learning for your students.”

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meets the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Materials in Benchmark support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. At the beginning of each unit, a short video is used to introduce the unit and discuss the Essential Question for each unit. Technology is used to enhance learning through research as students organize projects or just as enhancement to reading and writing assignments. Technology is also used to publish writing and aid in student presentations to enhance speaking and listening skills. The home school connection component is used to bring parents/guardians into the learning by providing activities for the students and parents to use together at home. Daily activities, anchor texts, support materials, assessments, home-school activities, word study tools, and other components are all in digital form and user friendly to enhance student learning. Examples of this include, but re not limited to:

  • A video is used as an opener for each unit. In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 1, the teacher displays the Unit 7 video and while students are watching, they are asked to draw responses or write questions and ideas they might have about the video. The teacher introduces vocabulary words and or words related to the narrative text such as central message, theme, and moral. After viewing, discuss then takes place about the essential question and the teachers asks if there were any other words that students were not familiar with.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 10 students are asked to view, listen to, and take notes from a video source. This video is incorporated into their writing prompt where they are using two sources to to write an informative report and support their ideas with facts and details from both sources. Also in Unit 8, week 3, lesson 15 students use technology to publish their writing.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3 in Lessons 4, 7, and 10, students are assemble a multimedia presentation use to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. Presentations use media such as sound, images, and video, as well as text, to present and share ideas. In lesson 13 students present to their peers as well as practice listening while others present.
  • Unit 6 in the home school connection gives parents an overview of the unit (Confronting Challenges) and the essential question and then breaks down information into the following topics with explanations and suggestion for an activity at home within each: Topic connection, vocabulary connection, comprehension connection, and word study connection. Under the topic connection, parents are asked to “Read a story with their child and map out the conflicts that the main character faces. Fold a piece of paper into four columns and label the columns “Problem,” “Feelings,” “Actions,” and “Solution.” Fill out the chart for the book you are reading, to identify how the character in the book confronted a challenge and the feelings the character experienced along the way.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
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Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners. An online Screener Assessment is used to pinpoint students' struggles. Digital materials provide Informal, Weekly, and Unit assessments. Teachers can view data individually, by student, from the class assignment list. Teachers can customize their leveled texts and personalize this learning for each student. There is a Quick Start Reference that helps both teachers and students navigate the digital program. There are also interactive close reading texts so that each student will be able to annotate the text digitally.

Students are able to access E-Books at their instructional or independent level. The teacher can assign particular books for students to read. The teacher is able to model highlighting and annotating on the smartboard or screen.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Materials can be easily customized for local use. The online tool, Benchmark Universe, allows teachers to use the customization tools in each e-book to differentiate instruction. When the e-book launches, the student can fill in a name for the customized e-book and click Yes. The teacher can also utilize the ePlanner for lesson planning. In the Manage Students component, the teacher can keep track of student learning in classes and groups. The teacher can customize the Reading Log for each student. The Reports component is customizable for each teacher. Assignments can be selected and assigned by the teacher.

Using the Edit Tools, the teacher can zoom in on any area, add window shades, highlight text, add diagrams and links. The teacher can add new pages, YouTube videos, and more.

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 4 meet the criteria that 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.)

The materials contain E-Books and videos to access the learning. Students can interact with the teachers using the online components such as assignments or reading logs. The materials do not reference other technology opportunities for students to work on projects collaboratively utilizing websites, discussion groups, or webinars.

Professional development is available online through tutorials, onsite orientations, and online trainings. Access to professional development can be found on the Benchmark website.

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Fri Mar 16 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Texts for Close Reading Unit 4 978-1-4900-3972-5 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 10 978-1-4900-9190-7 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 9 978-1-4900-9197-6 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 6 978-1-4900-9202-7 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 8 978-1-4900-9204-1 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 4 978-1-4900-9208-9 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 5 978-1-4900-9209-6 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 8 978-1-4900-9212-6 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 9 978-1-4900-9213-3 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Texts for Close Reading Unit 10 978-1-4900-9222-5 Benchmark Education Company 2015
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 4 Unit 1 and 2 978-1-5125-2304-1 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 4 Unit 3 and 4 978-1-5125-2305-8 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 4 Unit 5 and 6 978-1-5125-2306-5 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 4 Unit 7 and 8 978-1-5125-2307-2 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr 4 Unit 9 and10 978-1-5125-2308-9 Benchmark Education Company 2018

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.

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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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