Alignment

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

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Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

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Meets Expectations
Partially Meets Expectations
Does not Meet Expectations
Usability

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Meets Expectations
Partially Meets Expectations
Does not Meet Expectations

Alignment

Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies for Grade 7 meet the expectations of alignment to the standards. The materials provide appropriate texts and associated tasks and activities for students to build literacy proficiency and advance comprehension over the course of the school year. Students engage in writing, speaking and listening, and language tasks to build critical thinking as they grow knowledge and build skills to transfer to other rigorous texts and tasks.

GATEWAY ONE

Text Quality and Alignment to the Standards

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

Overall, the Grade 7 materials meet the expectations for Gateway 1. A variety of high quality, complex texts support students’ growing literacy skills over the course of the year. However, some text types and genres called for in the standards are not represented.

Materials support students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the year using high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks. Materials do not include explicit instruction targeted for grammar and convention standards.

Criterion 1a-1f

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  •  18 18
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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.

Overall, the Grade 7 materials meet the expectations for Text Quality and Complexity. The anchor texts (including video, audio, and visual texts) are of high quality, are appropriately complex, and support students’ growing literacy skills over the course of the year, including opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading that will move them toward grade-level proficiency. The materials only reflect a partial coverage of the text types and genres required by the standards.

4/4
Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Texts encompass many text types such as poems, speeches, informational texts, personal narratives, and media (such as newscasts and online sources). Additionally, texts exhibit exceptional craft, rich vocabulary and syntax, as well as provide useful information. The materials allow teachers and students an adequate amount of time to spend working with complex texts that are engaging and consider a range of interests.

  • In Unit 1, students read “To Build a Fire” by Jack London. This short story tells of a young man surviving harsh weather conditions and builds content knowledge about life near the north pole. Students also read “The Last Expedition” by Smith Elder; this personal narrative is written in journal format and is about Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the arctic. This text is of high interest for Grade 7 students.
  • In Unit 2, students read “A Single Garment of Destiny” by Janet Murguia. This is a notable speech comparing the African American experience with the Hispanic American experience. The speech was given at the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast in Birmingham, AL, in 2008. Students also read an excerpt of Cesar Chavez’s “Address at The Commonwealth Club of California” in 1984. This speech emphasizes the importance of the rights of farmworkers.
  • In Unit 3, students read “A Dire Shortage of Water” by Emily Sohn. This text engages students and builds content knowledge about the effects of drought in the southwestern area of the United States. Students also read “The Coming Water Wars” which was published by Princeton University. This text’s content and graphics are highly engaging and provide valuable statistics about the present and future water supply and possible consequences of water shortages.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Beam in Your Eye” by William Saletan. This article is engaging as it compares the use of Lasik surgery to the use of steroids in professional sports. It is also worthy of reading as it provides an alternate perspective on the legality of steroids. Students also read “Steriods” which is published by Kid’s Health. This informative article builds content knowledge by providing general background knowledge on performance-enhancing drugs and the dangers associated with them.
2/4
Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

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

The core texts include a majority of informational texts and a small number of literary titles. Supplemental texts within the modules are also weighted heavily toward informational texts. A wide distribution of genres and text types as required by standards to support student literacy development in Grade 7 is not evident. They include, but are not limited to, speeches, historical fiction, non-fiction, articles, videos, photography, websites, and periodicals. To fully meet the expectation of the balance for Grade 7 according to the Common Core State Standards, and to ensure students have opportunities to engage with texts from a broad range of cultures and periods, the teacher would have to add a range of text types to include literature with the following sub genres: adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries, myths, science fiction, realistic fiction, allegories, parodies, satire, and graphic novels.

The only example of literature found within the instructional materials for Grade 7:

  • Unit 1, Text 6, To Build a Fire, by Jack London

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

  • Unit 1, Text 1, Photos by Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen
  • Unit 2, Text 2, “A Single Garment of Destiny” by Janet Murguia
  • Unit 4, Text 1.3, “Steroids” by Kid's Health
  • Unit 4, Text 2.3, “Performance Enhancing Drugs: A Cheat Sheet” by Katie Moisse
  • Unit 4, Text Set 2 - Additional Text (AT), “The Future of Cheating in Sports” by Christie Aschwanden
4/4
Indicator 1c

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

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

The texts with provided Lexile levels range from 860L to 1450L which means that most texts fall within either the Current Lexile Band or the Stretch Lexile Band for Grades 6-8. The texts are appropriate for Grade 7 according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Some texts do exceed these bands, but the tasks are designed to make them accessible to seventh graders. The few texts that do not have Lexile scores provided qualitatively meet the requirements for this grade level because they serve as introductory pieces for a unit, provide different perspectives on a controversial topic, and/or build content knowledge.

  • In Unit 1, Part 3, Activity 1, students read To Build a Fire by Jack London. This text measures at 970L which falls within the Current Lexile Band and the Stretch Lexile Band for Grades 6-8. This piece also has qualitative value in that it adds to students’ content knowledge as it provides the opportunity for students to compare this fictional account with accounts of actual polar explorers. The text also provides multiple points of view and the opportunity for very close reading. The tasks associated with this text make it appropriate for Grade 7 students.
  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 1, students read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” The excerpt measures at 870L. The speech’s “structure and rich language make its qualitative complexity seem higher than its quantitative measure.” Although students may know the history of this speech, “the guiding and text specific questions provided to support their reading focus on the structure of the speech, its use of language, the perspective on the events in Memphis (and beyond) that King presents, and the speech’s central ideas about injustice and 'dangerous unselfishness,' which connect it to the other two text in the unit.” The tasks associated with this texts make it appropriate for Grade 7 students.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Water - Introductory Text” by Zachary Odell which has an estimated Lexile level of 900-1000; this level of text complexity is appropriate for the grade level. This piece also has qualitative value in that it introduces fairly complex scientific vocabulary, makes connections between water and the lives of animals and humans, and builds student knowledge of the subject matter. The tasks associated with this text make it appropriate for Grade 7 students.
  • In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 1, students read “What is a Performance-Enhancing Drug?” by Luke Bauer which has a Lexile level of 910L; this level of text complexity is appropriate for the grade level. This text also has qualitative value in that it builds student content knowledge about steroids and human growth hormones and makes connections between these substances and the world of sports. The tasks associated with this texts make it appropriate for Grade 7 students.
4/4
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.)

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

Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band. Skills build on one another, as well as the complexity of the texts to support the thinking and literacy skills. In the units with the texts sets, there is a full range of the Lexile stretch band providing opportunities to challenge students by giving them complex texts while also providing more reachable texts as they are working on analysis and synthesis skills.

Each unit has questioning path tools and a toolbox of graphic organizers that allow students to record thoughts for discussion and build student understanding. Students focus on attending to literacy skills that include attending to details, deciphering words, comprehending syntax, interpreting language, identifying relationships, making inferences, summarizing, questioning, recognizing perspective, evaluating information, delineating argumentation, forming claims, using evidence, using logic, using language, presenting details, organizing ideas, using conventions, publishing, and reflecting critically.

As the year progresses, questions and tasks build literacy skills and student independence:

  • In Unit 1 students read closely for textual details. Students read nine texts and draft a multi-paragraph explanation to show their understanding of the texts they have read.
  • In Unit 2, students begin making evidence based claims.
  • In Unit 3, students research to deepen their understanding of a topic.
  • At the end of the year, in Unit 4, students are building evidence-based arguments using the skills from each of the previous units to evaluate and write an evidence-based argument.
2/2
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

While not all texts have a text complexity analysis, most texts include instructional notes and text notes. There is clear rationale for the purpose and placement of the chosen texts. The instructional notes include a recommendation on how students should read the text (silently and independently, listen to text, read aloud, etc.) and the language in the text. In the teacher’s edition, the curriculum explains the purpose and value of the texts in the Text Notes provided for teachers. For example, some texts are chosen for their value in reinforcing literary techniques while others were chosen as appropriate introductions to a particular time period or topic. All texts were chosen because they were appropriate for seventh-grade students while still allowing some flexibility for a variety of reading levels. Quantitative and qualitative measures are discussed in the text notes section.

Examples of instructional and text notes found in Grade 7 materials include the following:

  • Unit 2, Speech by Janet Murguia, Text Notes: “Murguia ties her speech to the civil rights movement led by King, while also invoking the name and accomplishments Cesar Chavez later in the speech. Murguia characterizes the African American and Hispanic American communities as being dually marked by opposing experiences of ‘hope’ and ‘hate,’ connecting her speech to her own life-as do King and Chavez-by saying: ‘I know the power of Dr. King’s Dream-I am a child of his hope-yet, I also know hate'.” Instructional Notes: “Unlike the other two texts in the unit, this speech will be read and analyzed independently by students using a Questioning Path that they construct themselves. Measuring at 1000L (the middle of the Grades 6-8 complexity band) and focused on contemporary issues, it should provide students with an opportunity to read and analyze a challenging text independently and to develop an original evidence-based claim based on their own approach to examining the text.”
  • Unit 3, Instructional Notes: “The Common Sources used in this activity should be selected to present clear and different perspectives on some aspect of the general topic of the unit or one of the subtopics students have been investigating.” The list of 5 Common Sources with sets of various sub sources, provides a summary or overview of each the texts which can be searched for online.
  • Unit 4, Historical Timeline: History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports Text Notes: “Complexity levels for the timeline entries vary. Although the chunking and text features make them accessible, some vocabulary will have to be defined. Even though the later sections of the timeline concentrate on superstar athletes who have recently been accused of using PEDs, ...simply scrolling through it and reading only the titles, students should learn that this issue is not a new one.”
2/2
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

Students read a variety of texts including images, journals, videos, websites, historical narratives, short stories, letters, informational texts, and historical speeches. Most texts are accompanied by a Questioning Path Tool which provides both text-dependent and text-specific questions that guide them into a deeper reading of the text. Finally, each unit provides various student checklists and teacher rubrics that can be used to monitor progress throughout the year.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and disciplines and also to experience a volume of reading as they grow toward reading independence at the grade level. Evidence is as follows:

  • Unit 1 is based on numerous texts, both fiction and nonfiction, about exploring the North Pole. In Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 2, students read The North Pole Ch. XXI. The curriculum provides support for this reading via the Questioning Path Tool. This tool provides four levels of both text-dependent and text-specific questioning which include questioning, analyzing, deepening, and extending.
  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 3, students read Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Students are initially supported by a guiding question from the analyzing section of the model Questioning Path Tool. They then discuss their first impressions of what his speech is about. Next, students are introduced to the text-specific questions from the Questioning Path Tool. In Unit 2, students also read “A Single Garment of Destiny” by Janet Murguia and an excerpt of Cesar Chavez’s “Address at The Commonwealth Club of California.”
  • In Unit 3, Part 3, Activity 2, students read texts from Common Source Set 5 such as, “The Unfiltered Truth about Water” and “The Coming Water Wars.” Students use these texts to gather background information on the topic of water and pose Inquiry Questions. Teachers are provided with sample text-dependent questions “to drive initial close reading...and discussion.”
  • In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, students read “What is a Performance-Enhancing Drug?” The curriculum provides support for the analysis of this informational text via the Questioning Path Tool. This tool provides both text-dependent and text-specific questions in the levels analyzing and deepening.

Criterion 1g-1n

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Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations of indicators 1g through 1m. The materials support students as they grow their writing skills over the course of the year. High-quality, text-dependent questions and task support students as they grapple with materials, actively participate in discussions of content, engage in a variety of writing types, and demonstrate their learning with evidence-supported arguments. Materials do not include explicit instruction targeted for grammar and convention standards.

2/2
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).

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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).

The Grade 7 units include questions and tasks that focus on gathering evidence, knowledge, and insight from what students read. Questions and tasks delve systemically into texts to guide students toward extracting the key meanings or ideas found there. Coherent sequences of text dependent/specific questions and activities are present to ensure text focus and increased reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.

The program includes a Literacy Tool Box that is a collection of adoptable resources designed to increase literacy skills. The toolbox includes handouts, graphic organizers, checklists, and rubrics which are used throughout the program. These instructional materials support scaffolding, include activities that encourage responses that require text evidence, and can be used in many different contexts.

Text-dependent questions and tasks that students encounter in the Grade 7 materials include, but are not limited too:

  • In Unit 1, Part 3, Activity 1, students listen to To Build a Fire by Jack London in order to analyze the details by responding to text dependent questions including the following: “How are important events or characters described? How does the author’s choice of words reveal his purpose or perspective? What events detailed in paragraph 8 cause the man first to be ‘shocked’ and then grow ‘very calm’ (paragraph 9)?”
  • In Unit 2, Part 2, Activity 2, students listen to “Dr. King’s Memphis, Excerpt 4,” paragraphs 29-52 and respond to text-dependent/-specific questions including the following: “What do I learn about the author and the purpose for writing the text? What claims do I find in the text? Dr. King concludes his Memphis speech by saying , ‘Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind.’ From what he says after these sentences, what do you think Dr. King meant?”
  • In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 2, students are asked to research and read about a topic to answer the following questions and develop their own text dependent questions: “What do I want to learn more about? What are some things I might investigate to understand the topic better?”
  • In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 1, students are prompted to organize the evidence from research and list supporting details from the text to support their claim.
2/2
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).

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for containing sets of high-quality sequences of text dependent/specific questions and activities that build to a culminating task designed to help students synthesize and apply their learning from the unit in an engaging and authentic way.

Materials provide Questioning Path Tools for many texts and provide both text-dependent and text-specific questions to help students analyze the texts. Each unit also has a Literacy Toolbox with student materials to help guide the students through each task and build to the culminating task. Tasks are developed using the writing process and are rich, scaffolded, and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do using reading, speaking, and writing.

  • In Unit 1, the culminating writing task asks students to analyze three related texts, then write several paragraphs about their analysis. Next, students lead a discussion about the three texts. To prepare for this final task, students work through these texts using the Questioning Path Tool and analyze each text by responding to text dependent/specific questions. These questions help students deepen their understanding of the text. For example, in Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 3, the Questioning Path Tool for The South Pole Ch. XII asks students to answer the question, “In paragraph 1, what details does Amundsen provide to describe how challenging the final approach to the South Pole was? How do the details and mood of paragraph 2 contrast with this opening description?”
  • In Unit 2, students are asked to write an Evidence-Based Claim essay as a culminating task. The activities throughout the unit build on each other and help prepare students for the end task. There are five parts to this unit, each building on evidence-based claims and ending with the development of evidence-based writing. Each part uses Questioning Path Tools to help students analyze the text, identify claims within the text, and eventually create claims of their own. For example, in Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 2, students independently read paragraphs 29-52 of Dr. King’s "Memphis, Excerpt 4" and answer questions such as, “What claims do I find in the text?” and “In the final section of the speech, King tells a story from his own recent experience of being attacked and then receiving a letter of support from an unlikely source. What are the key details of this story, and why are they important?”
  • Unit 3 is devoted to research. Students create a Research Portfolio and develop a reflective research narrative using information from their portfolios as a culminating task. After choosing a research topic, students then conduct the research process, developing a research portfolio which will then be used to write the research perspective. Throughout the unit, teachers are provided Text Notes to help guide students as they analyze the common texts that will be used as sources. For example, the instructional materials provide text dependent discussion questions as part of the Researching to Deepen Understanding Common Source Set including “What does the text suggest about the topic area: 'Water: Why is it so valuable?'" and “How credible and relevant is the source as a starting point for further research?"
  • In Unit 4, the culminating task is writing an evidence-based argument. The entire unit focuses on argument beginning with issues, analyzing arguments, taking a position, organizing an argument, and finally writing their argumentative essays. Throughout the unit, Questioning Path Tools are provided to help guide students analyze the common texts that will be used as sources for their evidence-based argumentative essays. For example, in Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, the Questioning Path Tool for “Steroids” provides text-specific questions such as, “What reasons does the narrator give for focusing on gas use in the video? What are steroids and how do they work?” and “What does the article say about the dangers of using steroids?”
2/2
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.)

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Materials provide protocols for evidence-based discussions. Students are provided with multiple opportunities to work with partners, small groups, and when appropriate, large groups, to practice application of academic vocabulary and syntax and to build communication and presentation skills.

  • In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 2, students examine the image(s) in small groups. They use the Guiding Questions Handout from the Literacy Toolbox to help with the task of answering questions such as “What details stand out to me as I examine this image? What do I think this image is mainly about? How do specific details help me understand what is being depicted in the image?”
  • In Unit 1, Part 5, Activity 3, students are in small groups and each student takes turns facilitating a discussion. Each student in the group is an “expert” on a different book. Students give a summary with evidence and then present a question to the group. They then facilitate a discussion about it using text evidence when commenting. After discussing, students reflect on and self-assess their use of the Discussion Habits Checklist in their final discussion.
  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 3, students participate in a close read of an excerpt of the text, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”
  • Students participate in a whole class discussion and answer the question,“What in the text makes you reach your observation or conclusion? Point to the specific words or sentences.”
  • In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 2, students begin the research process by exploring a topic. Students work in reading teams in which they read sections of the website. They use Guiding Questions Handout from the Literacy Toolbox to help them answer text-dependent questions to guide their close reading. After students summarize, they share with the class what other information that may want to know about the topic, Value of Water.
  • In Unit 3, Part 4, Activity 3, students organize and write evidence-based claims. Then students present their findings for evaluation and respond to feedback from their classmates and the teacher.
  • In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 5, students work in small groups to discuss an opening argument and how they might respond to it before individually choosing an argument and responding. This follows the gradual release of responsibility model where teacher models, we do together, the independent work.
  • In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 1, students work on developing skills to write collaboratively and are encouraged to hold informal text-centered check-in discussions with a peer or teacher.
2/2
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

Materials support students’ practice and application of their speaking and listening skills in concert with their practice in reading for understanding. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners, small groups, and when appropriate, large groups to practice sharing information they have summarized and synthesized and present research they have conducted individually and/or in groups. Students work through various tasks throughout units using provided graphic organizers from the Literacy Toolbox as well as using collaboration and discussions to assist students in refining their work. Appropriate scaffolds help guide students through activities in the units, leading to and supporting the culminating tasks. Speaking and listening work is embedded across the year's instruction to support students' increasing skills. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Part 3, Activity 2 following a first read with students annotating the text, there is a class discussion on the author’s use of visualization. The teacher facilitates the discussion with a Guiding Question, “How does the author’s choice of words reveal his purpose or perspective?”
  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 3, students listen to an “Excerpt of Speech Regarding the Memphis Garbage Workers Strike Delivered at Bishop Charles Mason Temple” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As students listen to the speech, they identify the “key details about the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, its connection to King’s experiences in the civil rights movement, and the Biblical parable he recounts about the Good Samaritan - and its connection to the strike.” Next students discuss what they observe the stories are about and why they were mentioned during the protest. Students are placed into discussion groups as they answer the following questions from the Questioning Path Tool:
    • At the end of paragraph 9, Dr. King states, “I’m happy… to be in Memphis.” In the paragraphs that follow this statement, he makes a simple claim about the reason he supports the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike: “The issue is injustice,” and then he states that “we’ve got to march again.” Why does he make this claim?
  • In Unit 3, Part 2, Activity 7 students work in collaborative teams to conduct research using a research frame graphic organizer to guide their research. Student teams study similar topics and discuss information gathered on their research frames and share summaries. Teams give feedback to each other to refine and guide the research process.
  • In Unit 4, Part 3, Activity 2, students participate in an activity and place themselves on a point in a continuum where they must choose their position on “Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) in Sports.” Students start on the continuum (either for or against PED’s in Sports--or somewhere in between). As students state their position on PED’s in Sports and the reasons they feel this way, students are encouraged to move on the continuum if their position changes. Students are required to speak and listen effectively.
  • In Unit 4, Part 4, Activity 3, students work in small groups to find evidence to support an argument and its claims using graphic organizers such as the Delineating Arguments Tool to help guide the students through this process. Students are discussing their findings and listening to peer responses.
2/2
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.

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

Materials include a mix of both on-demand and process writing that covers a year’s worth of instruction and includes encouraging the building of knowledge about a topic. Many opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are found. There are digital resources, short and longer writing tasks as well as culminating projects supported and connected to texts and/or text sets. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to Grade 7 Common Core State Standards.

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

  • In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 4, students view Celebrating 100 Years: Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition 1911 produced by Viking Cruises. After viewing the videos several times, students create a two column chart (what was important in the video in the first column and why was it important in the second column). Then students use the two column chart to “write a few sentences explaining something they have learned from the video.”
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 3, students work in pairs to write a draft Evidence-Based Claim. This draft will “focus on less formal, more fluent writing, trying first to get their ideas out on paper so that they and others can examine them.”
  • In Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 7, students use their notes from one of the texts that they read for this unit to write paragraphs analyzing one of the arguments. The analysis must include the following:
    • State the author’s position
    • Identify the elements of the argument
    • Make an evidence-based claim about how the author’s perspective shapes the position and argumentation
    • Use evidence from the text to support analysis

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

  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 7, students independently complete an Organizing Evidence-Based Claim Tool for the claim they have formed in Activity 5 and draft a one to two paragraph evidence-based claim from the text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech regarding the Memphis Garbage Workers’ Strike. In Activity 8, students use the collaborative review process and revise one aspect of their draft evidence-based claims paragraph.
  • In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 4, student compile a research portfolio of sources on the theme of Water- A Valuable Resource. The three possible areas of interest for further investigation is one modeled by teacher, one identified by the class, and one identified by the student. In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 2, students will use their portfolios to write a two-page reflective narrative that tells a story about the search, how they came to their perspective on the topic, and their experience of inquiry and conducting research. An extension activity is suggested as a part of the presentation of this information to the class.
  • In Unit 4, Part 5, students engage in a collaborative, question-based process to develop and strengthen their argumentative essays. Students work with their teachers and peers to draft, revise, and publish their own argumentative essay on “Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports.”
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Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Writing is embedded throughout the curriculum; however, the writing instruction does not fully reflect the distribution of the standards, in particular the various elements of narrative writing. Narrative writing is only included as a follow-up reflection to longer research projects. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 5, students write a short paragraph explaining their analysis and reference or list support textual details of the text, “The North Pole” by Robert E. Peary. In Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 5, students continue the process by using their analysis to independently write a text-based explanation of one of the texts read previously in the unit.
  • In Unit 1, Part 5, Activity 4, students are asked to write an explanatory essay of their analysis of a text as their culminating task, citing evidence to support their analyses.
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 7, students independently complete an Organizing Evidence-Based Claim Tool for the claim they have formed in Activity 5 and draft a one to two paragraph evidence-based claim from the text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech regarding the Memphis Garbage Workers’ Strike. In Activity 8, students use the collaborative review process and revise one aspect of their draft evidence-based claims paragraph.
  • In Unit 2, Part 5, Activities 1-6, students are asked to write an Evidence-Based Claim essay as a culminating task for this unit. Students revise their essays by sharing in small groups and receiving feedback from their peers.
  • In Unit 3, Part 1, Activity 4, student compile a research portfolio of sources on the theme of Water - A Valuable Resource. The three possible areas of interest for further investigation is one modeled by the teacher, one identified by the class, and one identified by a student. In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 2, students use their portfolios to write a two-page reflective narrative that tells a story about the search, how they came to their perspective on the topic, and their experience of inquiry and conducting research. An extension activity is suggested in presentation of this information to the class.
  • In Unit 3, Part 5, Activities 1-4, students write a reflective research narrative explaining their thinking and how their story developed. Students receive feedback from peers to assist in revising their drafts before writing their final copies for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 4, Part 5, Activities 1-5, students write an argumentative essay as the culminating task for the unit and the series.
  • In Unit 4, Part 5, students engage in a collaborative, question-based process to develop and strengthen their argumentative essays. Students work with their teachers and peers to draft, revise, and publish their own argumentative essay on "Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports."
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Indicator 1m

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

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

Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year 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 Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 5, students write a short paragraph explaining their analysis of the text, The North Pole, by Robert E. Peary, and reference or list support textual details. In Unit 1, Part 4, Activity 5, students continue the process by using their analysis to independently write a text-based explanation of one of the texts read previously in the unit.
  • In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1, students read a speech given by Cesar Chavez, President of United Farm Workers of America at The Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco. Students complete the Forming Evidence-Based Claim Tool by asking a question from the Questioning Path Tool. Students record “key details, connections, and/or evidence-based claims.”
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 7, students independently complete an Organizing Evidence-Based Claim Tool for the claim they have formed in Activity 5 and draft a one-to-two paragraph evidence-based claim from the text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech regarding the Memphis Garbage Workers’ Strike. In Activity 8, students use the collaborative review process and revise one aspect of their draft evidence-based claims paragraph.
  • In Unit 3, the culminating writing activity involves students researching to deepen their understanding. Students are asked to write a narrative by telling a story about what they have learned, use the notes and claims from previously written assignments, connect ideas, and reflect on what they have learned.
  • In Unit 3, Part 5, Activity 2, students draft their own reflective research narratives, working from the draft narrative and statement of their perspectives they have developed previously, using evidence from their tools, and incorporating claims they have developed in response to inquiry questions.
  • In Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 7, students write paragraphs analyzing one of the arguments about steroids that they have read by:
    • Stating the author’s purpose
    • Identifying the elements of the argument
    • Making an evidence-based claim about how the author’s perspective shapes the position and argumentation
    • Using evidence from the text to support the analysis
  • In Unit 4, Part 5, students work with their teachers and peers to draft, revise, and publish their own argumentative essay on “Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports.” In this argumentative essay, students state a claim and use evidence from texts to support their position.
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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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The materials present tables in the initial overview of each unit and sub-sections outlining the alignment to Common Core State Standards. The materials are focused on select standards for the reading, writing, and speaking and listening standards and do not state a direct alignment to the language standards. However, the materials do provide opportunities for students to demonstrate some, but not all, language standards. This occurs in the form of reading and demonstrating understanding of the text and intentions of word choices by the authors. The provided rubrics direct students and teachers to expect standard English language conventions and punctuation to be demonstrated in writing assignments. However, the materials are not as specific for these expectations as specified by the Common Core State Standards for language conventions. The materials do not clearly provide opportunities for students to practice all language and grammar expectations outlined by national college-and-career readiness standards.

The materials promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Instructional materials provide opportunities for students to grow their fluency language standards through practice and application. Materials do not include explicit instruction targeted for grammar and convention standards. Although using language and conventions are part of the writing skills on the academic habits checklist, no guidance is provided to teachers on how to facilitate this learning in or out of context. Student Skills Checklist include Using Language and Using Conventions. The Skills Lists state, "Using Language: Writes and speaks clearly so others can understand claims and ideas. Using Conventions: Correctly uses sentence elements, punctuation, and spelling to produce clear writing." Students assess their evidence of demonstrating these skills within the context of writing but receive no explicit instruction of grammar or conventions during the unit.

GATEWAY TWO

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

The instructional materials meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Texts and tasks are organized around topics and themes that support students' acquisition of academic vocabulary. Comprehension of topics and concepts grow through text-connected writing and research instruction. The vocabulary and independent reading plans may need additional support.

Criterion 2a-2h

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The instructional materials meet the expectations of the building knowledge criteria. Texts and tasks are organized around topics and themes that support students' growing academic vocabulary and understanding and comprehension of topics and concepts. The materials partially support a comprehensive vocabulary plan and independent reading plan over the course of the year. The materials include cohesive writing and research instruction that is interconnected with texts to grow students' literacy skills by the end of the school year.

4/4
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that texts are organized around topics and/or themes to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Grade 7 materials are grouped around topics such as Unit 1’s focus on polar exploration, Unit 3’s focus on the value of water, and Unit 4’s focus on the use of steroids and human growth hormone; this intense focus builds not only literacy skills but students’ content knowledge. The instructional materials allow students to develop a range of reading and writing skills. Texts are set up to increase in complexity both in regards to the reading difficulty, as well as the writing tasks complexity.

  • Unit 1 Reading Closely for Textual Details “We reckoned now that we were at the Pole” presents students with “a series of texts related to the polar exploration, more specifically the 1911 race to the South Pole between British explorer, Robert Falcon Scott, and Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen.” Students are offered a variety of texts that give them the opportunity to build literacy skills and content knowledge including narrative journals, photos, videos, excerpts from novels, and websites.
  • Unit 2 asks students to make evidence-based claims through activities based on a close reading of the three related speeches: Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 “Mountaintop” speech in support of the Memphis sanitation workers; Cesar Chavez’s 1984 California Commonwealth club speech about the importance of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union; and La Raza president Janet Murguia’s 2008 “Single Garment of Destiny” speech presented at the Dr. Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast in Birmingham, Alabama. As the unit progresses, students are expected to read and analyze the speeches with peers and then independently.
  • Unit 3 focuses on conducting research to deepen understanding and is centered on the topic, “Water: Why is it so valuable? The instructional materials provide a common text that can be used to build background information for teacher modeling and as the focus for skill development lessons. The sources have been chosen because they are relevant to one of the possible Areas of Investigation that students may be exploring. Unit 3 texts include, but are not limited to:
    • Water in the Solar System: “The Solar System and Beyond is Awash in Water”--National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    • Water-Stressed Countries: “Why Water”--Blue Planet Network
    • Sustainable Use of Water:”Water Footprint of an American”--The Nature Conservancy
  • Unit 4 asks student to write evidence-based arguments centered on the topic, “Doping can be that last 2 percent.” Students are offered a variety of sources including articles, timelines, videos, and political cartoons which offer multiple perspectives on the use of steroids and human growth hormone. Students will use these texts to move from guided to independent practice for the close reading skills associated with analyzing an argument.
4/4
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.

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics. Consistently throughout the Grade 7 instructional materials, higher order thinking questions are provided in the form of both text-dependent and text-specific questions. These questions are embedded into Questioning Path Tools that are used by students as guides when analyzing texts.

  • In Unit 1, students read a variety of texts centered around the topic “We Reckoned now that we were at the Pole”. Students analyze these texts via Questioning Path Tools which provides questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure. For example:
  • Text 6 “To Build a Fire”
    • In the first paragraph, what does the dog know that the man doesn’t? How does London use this difference and related details to compare the character of a dog to the character of the man?
    • How is what happens to the man an example of irony, especially given what the dog thinks in the first paragraph and what the man thinks in paragraph 6?
  • Text 9 Scott’s Last Expedition
    • In his final entries, Scott’s writing becomes very different from the writing in his earlier entries (compare these to Text 2). How are the writing and its presentation of details different? What does this change in his writing style suggest about how his perspective on his experiences has changed in his final days?
    • What details recorded in Scott’s journal suggest how desperate his party’s situation was during the last weeks?
  • In Unit 2, students read a three speeches centered around the topic “We organized”. Students analyze these texts via Questioning Path Tools which provides questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure. For example:
  • Dr. King’s Memphis Speech, Excerpt 2, Paragraphs 10-20
    • At the start of paragraph 18 Dr. King tells his audience:”Now the other thing we”ll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. ”What do the phrases”external direct action” and “external economic withdrawal” mean in this statement?
    • What evidence does Dr. King then provide to explain why there is potential “power” for the nonwhite poor of America in ‘withdrawing economic support” from businesses that do not stand up for “fair treatment”?
  • In Unit 3, students read a variety of texts on the topic “Water: Why is it so valuable?”. The Guiding Questions Handout is used to analyze sources for perspective and includes text dependent questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure such as “What details or words suggest the author’s perspective?”
  • In Unit 4, students read a variety of texts on the topic “Energy Crossroads”. Students analyze these texts via Questioning Path Tools which provides questions that require students to analyze language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure. For example:
  • Text 1.2 Historical Time Line: History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
    • What do I notice about how the text is organized or sequenced?
    • What unfamiliar words do I need to study or define to better understand the text
4/4
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across texts.

These questions are provided through Questioning Path Tools and the Guiding Questions Handout. These questions guide teachers as they support student growth in analyzing language, determining main ideas and supporting evidence, identifying author’s purpose and point of view, and analyzing structure of text. Both the student work with individual and multiple texts and teacher materials provide support in growing analytical skills of students. Evidence follows:

  • In Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 2, the Questioning Path Tools provides text-dependent questions such as, “In the first paragraph, what keywords and phrases does Peary use to describe the dangers of the 'leads' that Arctic travelers are likely to encounter?” These questions help student analyze texts as they build content knowledge about polar exploration.
  • In Unit 2, students read three speeches centered around the topic, “We Organized!” Students work through each text in chunks to make evidence-based claims. Throughout the unit, students encounter several opportunities to respond to text-dependent questions and tasks that require them to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across these texts. For example, in Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 2, students answer text-dependent questions such as, “In the final section of the speech, King tells a story from his own recent experience of being attacked and then receiving a letter of support from an unlikely source. What are the key details of this story, and why are they important?” The text-specific questions “help students...move from literal comprehension of key details to analysis of King’s message in the story he tells from his life and the subsequent review of his accomplishments.”
  • In Unit 3, students read a variety of texts and use information from these sources to organize a body of research and write a reflective research narrative that communicates their evidence-based perspective on their area of investigation, which can also be expressed in an optional multimedia presentation. In the Researching to Deepen Understanding Common Source Set section, the instructional materials provide text-dependent questions to help process sources as they build knowledge. Questions include, “What does the website suggest about the topic area: 'Water: Why is it so valuable?' What questions or directions for research does it suggest to you?”
  • In Unit 4, students read a variety of texts and use information from these sources to write an argumentative essay. The instructional materials provided text-specific questions, via Questioning Path Tools, to help students analyze some of these common sources. For example, in Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, students answer questions such as, "What does the article say about the dangers of using steroids?” Questions like this one, help students see topic of the use of performance-enhancing drugs from different perspectives.
4/4
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).

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a theme through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

Grade 7 materials include sets of questions and tasks to support students to complete culminating tasks in which they are demonstrating knowledge of topics and/or themes. Each module has several Questioning Path Tools that scaffold the material to encourage the successful completion of culminating tasks. The materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to each culminating task. Tasks engage students in speaking, listening, reading, and writing which provide learning through integrated skills. Culminating tasks showcase students' demonstration of topics and themes through a combination of skills, print, and nonprint texts.

  • In Unit 1, the culminating task asks students to write a text-based explanation about one of three final texts, including The South Pole, Ch. XII, Scott’s Last Expedition January 1912, Scott’s Last Expedition March 1912. In preparation for this writing, students read and discuss the texts and then analyze the texts independently. Because the focus on this unit is for student to read closely for textual details, the instructional materials integrate the development of explanatory communication skills into the close-reading process and provide Questioning Path Tools to guide students. For example, in Unit 1, Part 3, Activity 2, students participate in structured text-centered discussions in which they examine their first impressions of the texts.
  • In Unit 2, Part 5, Activity 4, students write an evidence-based essay using claims they created based on “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez’s California Commonwealth Club Address, and “A Single Garment of Destiny” by Janet Murguia as a way to demonstrate their mastery of the unit’s objectives. In preparation for this writing, students have previously read and analyzed each text with text-specific Questioning Path Tools as guidance. In Unit 2, Part 5, Activity 5, “the class discusses final evidence-based claims essays...and reflects on the Literacy Skills and Academic Habits involved in making and communicating evidence-based claims.” This activity asks students to speak about “the process through which they arrived at their claim - how it emerged from their reading of the text and how they honed it.” They also listen as other students share their experience.
  • Unit 3 asks students to write a reflective research narrative that communicates their evidence-based perspective on their area of investigation centered around the topic, “Water: Why is it so valuable?” To prepare for this final task, students explore topics, collaborate with peers, pose and refine questions, and organize information. Questions and tasks are designed to help students analyze connections that “aid in comprehension, deepen understanding, and prepare students to express their evolving perspective.” For example, students build their listening and speaking in Unit 3, Part 1 when they are initiating inquiry. Students initially explore a topic and build background knowledge through reading and text-centered discussion, then initiate inquiry by generating questions collaboratively that can frame and direct their research.
  • The final goal of Unit 4 is for students to be able to write an evidence-based argument centered around the topic, “Doping can be that last 2 percent.” In Unit 4, Part 5, Activity 1, “students learn about the collaborative, question-based approach to developing and improving writing...in the context of talking out a first draft.” This is part of the four components of the Collaborative Workshop. Through this collaborative process, students read each other’s papers and write and edit their own papers. This process is driven through peer editing that asks students to both speak and listen about their own writing and the writing of others.
2/4
Indicator 2e

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

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

Grade 7 materials attend to vocabulary that are essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words through the inclusion of specific vocabulary words in the Questioning Path Tool and teacher-led discussions regarding those questions meant to deepen student understanding of the text. There is some support to accelerate vocabulary learning in certain tasks, though it is not consistent through all reading, speaking, and writing tasks. Some opportunities are present for students to accelerate vocabulary learning in reading and writing. There are instances when the vocabulary is repeated in various contexts; however, this is not consistent. Academic vocabulary and Academic Habits are included in the instructional materials, and there are vocabulary words glossed in the texts provided. Examples include:

  • While the curriculum provides opportunities for students to increase their vocabulary, materials do not provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive, yearlong vocabulary development component. The curriculum states, “Although leaving many decisions about the teaching of vocabulary to the teacher, the program provides opportunities for students to increase their vocabulary in areas related to specific content and fundamentals to overall literacy.”
  • Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 3 asks students to read The Last Expedition, Ch. V. The instructional materials identify and define vocabulary that might be unfamiliar to students. However, the only vocabulary instruction provided comes in the form of questions such as, “What do the author’s words and phrases cause me to see, feel, or think? Toward the end of his entry, Scott capitalizes 'Nature' and then uses what words to characterize the 'blizzard' and the 'crevasse' as 'Nature’s…'? What do these words - and the description that follows them - suggest about how Scott views Nature?” No guidance is evident to support teachers to extend this for students to learn, practice, apply, and transfer words into familiar and new contexts and across texts.
  • In the Unit 2 overview, there are places where vocabulary is implied in the Literacy Skills, like “Attending to Detail—Identifies relevant and important textual details, words, and ideas,” but there is no explicit yearlong plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words. The textual focus on three speeches centered on the topic, “We organized!” For all three speeches the instructional materials identify and define vocabulary that students might not be familiar with. In Unit 2, Part 3, Activity 1, the Questioning Path Tool for Cesar Chavez’s Commonwealth Club Address does not specifically highlight words but asks “How do specific words or phrases influence the meaning or tone of the text?”
  • Unit 3’s texts are centered around the topic, “Water: Why is it so valuable?" The texts are not provided by the instructional materials, therefore unfamiliar vocabulary words are not identified or defined. In Unit 3, Part 3, Activity 2, the only vocabulary instruction is provided via questions such as, “What details or words suggest the author’s perspective?”
  • Unit 4’s texts are centered around the topic, “Doping can be that last 2 percent,” but they are not provided by the instructional materials, therefore unfamiliar vocabulary words are not identified or defined. In Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 1, students are asked to explain how words add to the meaning of the text. For example, students are asked, “How does the author define performance-enhancing drugs? What words are used?” Opportunities for students to learn, practice, apply, and transfer these words, phrases, or images into familiar and new contexts are not evident.
4/4
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Grade 7 materials support students through the writing process in well-designed lessons, models, and protocols for teachers to monitor writing development. Feedback is provided by peers, the teacher, and self-evaluations to ensure that students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year. Students apply their learned knowledge to their writing and continue to build on it to make it strong and meet grade-level expectations following rubrics and standards.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Part 2, Activity 5, “students write a short paragraph explaining their analysis of the text and reference (or list) supporting textual details.” In Part 3, Activity 3, “student groups consider a comparative question and individually write an explanatory paragraph using their question.” The writing assignments in Unit 1 lead, guide, and instruct students to the final project, which requires students to independently write a text-based explanation by including paragraphs that are drawn from their notes from one of the three final texts they have read.
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 3, students work in pairs to write “a paragraph that communicates an evidence-based claim using one of their claims” from previous assignments. In Part 5, Activity 4, students independently draft an evidence-based essay. The writing assignments in Unit 2 lead, guide, and instruct students to the final project which requires students to write a one to two paragraph evidence-based claim.
  • In Unit 3, Part 2, Activity 5, the teacher models how to take notes related to a specific topic through research. In Part 3, Activity 4, “students develop evidence-based summaries and evaluations of relevant sources using their notes and annotations.” The writing assignments in Unit 3 lead, guide, and instruct students to the final project which requires students to write a reflective research narrative.
  • In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 5, “students develop and write a multi-part evidence-based claim about the nature of the issue.” In Part 2, Activity 7, “students write short essays analyzing an argument.” The writing assignments in Unit 4 lead, guide, and instruct students to the final project which requires students to write an evidence-based argument.
4/4
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

Grade 7 materials include a progression of projects found in each unit. Units 1 and 2 build skills, such as reading closely for textual details and making evidence-based claims, that will be needed to conduct the research projects outlined in Units 3 and 4. Units 3 and 4 encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and sources. Students engage in research projects that require them to analyze different aspects of the topic using multiple texts and source materials.

  • In Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 5, students use Guiding Questions to independently explore UNESCO World Wonders Project’s “Scott’s Hut and the Explorers’ Heritage of Antarctica.” This activity asks students to “apply close-reading skills in the context of Internet research but also enrich their understanding of the topic and other texts they will encounter in the unit.” This activity also asks students to share information they acquired through the Internet research with their small groups.
  • In Unit 2, Part 2, Activity 1, “students independently read part of the text...to look for evidence to support a claim made by the teachers.” For this activity, students read and analyze paragraphs 29-52 of Dr. King’s Memphis speech. This activity also helps prepare students for later research by asking them to find supporting evidence from a nonfiction text to support a claim.
  • In Unit 3, students conduct research centered on the topic, “Water: Why is it so valuable?” Students choose an area to investigate and gather information to deepen their knowledge on the topic using multiple texts and sources. There is a learning progression in this unit to help guide students through the research process. For example, in Unit 3, Part 2, Activity 5, students “annotate sources and record key information, personal impressions, and ideas for further exploration.” In Part 4, Activity 2, students organize evidence and evidence-based claims in preparation for the culminating writing task.
  • In Unit 4, students conduct research centered on the topic, “Doping can be that last 2 percent” and write argumentative essays; students choose an area to investigate and gather information to deepen their knowledge on the topic using multiple texts and sources. There is a learning progression in this unit to help guide students through the research process. For example, in Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 3, “student teams read and delineate arguments and write an evidence-based claim about one position on the issue.” This activity prepares students for the culminating task by asking them to analyze the text, "Congressman Elijah E. Cummings Urges the National Basketball Association to Adopt a Zero-Tolerance Drug Policy," “an accessible, foundational argument related to the unit’s issue.”
2/4
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that materials provide a design for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

In Grade 7, students regularly engage in independent reading after the teacher models Academic Habits and processes guided by the materials. Independent reading, as noted in the evidence, includes opportunities for reading time both inside of class and outside of class in the form of homework. Students independently practice Literacy Skills while reading and analyzing texts. This includes a range of text types - from visual-based texts to printed texts of multiple genres. Students do read portions of text independently as close reading activities at various Lexile levels. However, there is no detailed schedule for independent reading to occur--in or outside of class time. The majority of independent reading occurs during class. The materials do not include direct guidance for students to track their progress and growth as independent readers; no accountability system is in place. At times, the materials leave the option for outside of class independent reading to take place, but scheduling and tracking of this is left up to the discretion of the teacher. Evidence includes:

  • In Unit 1, Part 3, Activity 4, “students independently read texts using Guiding Questions to frame their first reading.” The instructional materials suggest that “this reading...can be done as homework or in class.” A common Questioning Path Tool for texts 7, 8, and 9 provide built-in support as they help students focus on certain aspects of the text to foster understanding and analysis. While the instructional materials provide supports/scaffolds that foster independence, they do not include procedures for independent reading, a proposed schedule for independent reading, or an accountability or tracking system.
  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 2, students independently read Dr. King’s Memphis Speech, Excerpt 1, Paragraphs 1-9. The Teacher’s Edition includes instructional notes that have students begin reading independently the nine paragraphs of this speech considering the first two questions on the Questioning Path Tool. After a brief discussion of the first paragraph, students listen as this part of the speech is read aloud. Next, students use the second Guiding Question to prepare for independent reading of paragraphs 10-20. While the instructional materials provide supports/scaffolds that foster independence, they do not include procedures for independent reading, a proposed schedule for independent reading, or an accountability or tracking system.
  • In Unit 3, Part 3, Activity 3, “students … read sources closely, analyzing them for content, perspective, and relevance.” The Instructional Notes suggest that students conduct an independent close reading of sources by selecting a common source and working independently to read the source closely using both the selected Inquiry Question and the Forming EBC Research Tool. The instructional materials use independent reading throughout this unit and provide guiding questions and text-specific questions to help students move from a literal understanding of the common texts to a deeper analysis; however, they do not include procedures for independent reading, a proposed schedule for independent reading, or an accountability or tracking system.
  • In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, “students read and analyze a background text to develop an initial understanding of the issue.” Students are only required to read and analyze one of three texts, but the Instructional Notes suggests that students be provided with the additional texts so that they can do additional reading if desired. These Instructional Notes also state, “by this unit, student should have begun to develop independence as readers who can approach and initially question any text.” The instructional materials use independent reading throughout this unit and provide guiding questions and text-specific questions to help students move from a literal understanding of the common texts to a deeper analysis; however, they do not include procedures for independent reading, a proposed schedule for independent reading, or an accountability or tracking system.

GATEWAY THREE

Instructional Supports and Usability Indicators

MEETS EXPECTATIONS

The materials provide a clear, useful, standards-aligned teacher edition, including information to bolster the teacher’s understanding of both the content and pedagogy. Additional information outlines the program’s instructional approaches, philosophy, and the research that undergirds the program.

The materials provide information for students about the program, but there are no information or protocols for communicating with families about the goals and structure of the program.

Routines and guidance within the program assist teachers in progress monitoring, though the connections between the assessments and the standards they are measuring is not clear. Sufficient guidance is provided for interpreting student performance, though specific strategies or guidance for remediation for students who are not proficient is not offered.

The materials do not outline a consistent plan for holding students accountable for independent reading. Student choice is often limited within the independent reading options.

Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers, “platform neutral;” they follow universal programming style and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The included technology enhances student learning, including differentiation for the needs of all learners. The program does not provide technology for collaboration. The materials can be easily customized for local use.

Criterion 3a-3e

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Materials are designed with great consideration for effective lesson structure, pacing, and are designed to be completed within a school year, including some flexibility for local academic goals and content. Ample review and practice resources are provided and all materials are clearly labeled and accompanied by documentation that delineates their alignment to the standards. The design of the materials is minimalistic (orange, black, and white color scheme) and may not be engaging for students.

2/2
Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Grade 7 materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The lesson structure is built upon four units. Each unit has 5 parts and each part is broken down into 4-8 activities. The activities can be be completed within 1-2 days. At the end of each part, there are formative assessment ideas. At the end of each unit, students complete a culminating project (summative assessment).

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students are taught how to read closely in Unit 1:
    • Part 1-Understanding Close Reading
    • Part 2-Questioning Texts
    • Part 3-Analyzing Details
    • Part 4-Explaining Understanding
    • Part 5-Discussing Ideas
    • The culminating project for Unit 1 is a reading closely final writing and discussion project. Students study a text by reading it closely, write a text-based explanation, lead, and participate in a text-centered discussion.
  • Students are taught how to make evidence-based claims in Unit 2:
    • Part 1-Understanding Evidence-Based Claims
    • Part 2-Making Evidence-Based Claims
    • Part 3-Organizing Evidence-Based Claims
    • Part 4-Writing Evidence-Based Claims
    • Part 5-Developing Evidence-Based Claims
    • The culminating project for Unit 2 is an Evidence-Based Claim Final Writing Tasks. Students develop and write an Evidence
  • Students are taught how to research in order to deepen their understanding in Unit 3:
    • Part 1-Initiating Inquiry
    • Part 2-Gathering Information
    • Part 3-Deepening Understanding
    • Part 4-Finalizing Inquiry
    • Part 5-Developing and Communicating an Evidence-Based Perspective
    • The culminating project for Unit 3 is a Research Written Task. Students write a research reflective narrative.
  • Students learn how to write evidence-based arguments in Unit 4.
    • Part 1-Understanding the Nature of an Issue
    • Part 2-Analyzing Arguments
    • Part 3-Evaluating Arguments and Developing a Position
    • Part 4-Organizing an Evidence-Based Argument
    • Part 5-Developing Writing Through a Collaborative Process
    • The culminating project for Unit 4 is an argumentative final essay.
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Indicator 3b

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 materials provide effective guidance and flexibility for teachers to address all the content and supplement with local academic goals and curricula. The materials address intertwined essential skills delineated in four units. Each unit focuses on a Core Proficiency for literacy that builds skills applicable beyond the English language arts classroom. The materials are vertically aligned by consistently addressing the same Core Proficiencies in four units for grades six, seven, and eight.

Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • The materials consist of four units focused on four essential proficiencies that are designed to intertwine the building of knowledge. Each unit delineates standards-aligned Academic Habits into five parts with a varying amount of activities that range from 1 to 3 instructional days as determined by the teachers.
  • The materials recursively focus on 20 essential Literacy Skills and 12 Academic Habits applied to text-centered analysis tasks in order to maximize student understanding of skills. Tasks include reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • The materials bundle multiple standards and literacy skills into four Core Proficiencies. Each unit focuses on a different proficiency for students to master. The Core Proficiencies include: Reading Closely for Textual Details, Making Evidence-Based Claims, Researching to Deepen Understanding, and Building Evidence-Based Arguments.
  • The materials provide guidance for structuring yearlong instruction and supplementing with local curricular content based on students’ needs as determined by the teacher.
  • The materials are vertically aligned and follow the same formula and address the same Core Proficiencies from grade-to-grade with increasingly complex texts and opportunities for independent work.
2/2
Indicator 3c

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.)

The student resources include texts for Units 1 and 2. There are lists of texts available for Units 3 and 4. All four units include various tools (graphic organizers) to assist students with reviewing, practicing, and completing activities. All of the tools are labeled correctly with clear directions and/or explanations for how to use the tools. Examples include:

  • Unit 1, pages 7-34 include a list of texts that will be read for this unit. The tools/graphic organizers provide an Approaching the Text Tool, Analyzing Details Tool, Questioning Path Tool, Model Questioning Paths, Reading Closely Graphic, Guiding Questions Handout, Attending to Details Handout, Reading Closely Skills and Habits Checklists, and Final Writing and Discussion Assignment.
  • Unit 2 of the student edition, pages 81-107 include the speeches that will be read for this unit. The tools/graphic organizers provide an Approaching The Text Tool, Analyzing Details Tool, Questioning Path Tool, Modeling Questioning Paths, Forming Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Supporting Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Organizing Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Attending to Details Handout, Guiding Questions Handout, Writing Evidence-Based Claims Handout, Making Evidence-Based Claims Skills and Habits Checklists, and Final Writing Tasks Handout.
  • Unit 3 of the student edition, pages 156-161 include a list of texts that will be read for this unit. The tools/graphic organizers provide a Forming Evidence-Based Claims Research Tool, Organizing Evidence-Based Claims Research Tool, Taking Notes Tool, Exploring a Topic Tool, Potential Sources Tool, Research Frame Tool, Research Evaluation Tool, Research Plan Handout, Research Portfolio Handout, Attending to Details Handout, Posing Inquiry Questions Handout, Assessing Sources Handout, Connecting Ideas Handout, Researching to Deepen Understanding Skills and Habits Checklist, Area Evaluation and Research Evaluation Checklists, and Final Writing Tasks Handout.
  • Unit 4 of the student edition, pages 233-234 include a list of texts that will be read for this unit. The tools/graphic organizers provide an Analyzing Details Tools, Questioning Path Tool, Forming Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Organizing Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Delineating Arguments Tool, Evaluating Arguments Tool, Guiding Questions Handout, Connecting Ideas Handout, Evidence-Based Arguments Terms Handout, Model Arguments Handout, Building Evidence-Based Arguments Skills and Habits Checklist, and Final Writing Tasks Handout.
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Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

The materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of both primary and supporting standards at the following levels: year, unit, and part. Both the Reading Closely: Guiding Questions Handout and the Questioning Path Tools, which are used extensively throughout the instructional materials, are aligned to specific reading and writing standards. Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • In the Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies: User Guide, the materials provide an Alignment of Targeted CCSS with OE Skills and Habits chart. This chart provides the CCSS Anchor Standards and the aligned Literacy Skills and Academic Habits.
  • For each unit, the materials provide the CCSS alignment and divide the standards into primary targeted skills and related reading and writing skills from supporting CCSS; in addition, the instructional materials provide the targeted and supporting standards for each part of each unit.
  • Throughout the materials, students use the Reading Closely: Guiding Questions Handout. This handout organizes questions into four areas: Language, Ideas, Perspective, and Structure. The language questions address Common Core State Standards R.4, L.3, L.4, and L.5. The ideas questions address Common Core State Standards R.2, W.3, R.8, R.9. The perspective questions address Common Core State Standard R.6. The structure questions address the Common Core State Standard R.5.
Indicator 3e

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 reviewed for Grade 7 partially 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 visual design, while not distracting or chaotic, does not help students engage with the subject. Materials are printed in black and white with orange headings, very few graphics or pictures are provided, and the graphic organizers do not allow much room for student response. There is no color-coding to help convey structure and speed up visual searching.The materials are not visually engaging. Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • In the Unit 1 materials, the only visuals provided serve as Text 1 and include black and white images from polar expeditions; however, the materials do use a Youtube video from Viking River Cruises. As part of Unit 1’s Literacy Toolbox, students are provided a blank Reading Closely Graphic with a Guiding Questions Handout as a reference. Once students fill in the Reading Closely Graphic with questions, there is no room left to answer those questions.
  • In the Unit 2 materials, no visuals are provided. In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 2, students are provided a Questioning Path Tool for Dr. King’s Memphis Speech, Excerpt 3, Paragraphs 21-28. This tool provides seven questions; one question has multiple subquestions. There is no room for students to take notes or answer questions.
  • In the Unit 4 materials, no visuals are provided; however, the unit does provide a common course set that suggests texts such as blogs and newscasts that are accessible on the Internet. This unit provides many tools that can be used during research. Unlike many other tools, the Taking Notes Tool allows ample room for students to organize information from sources and record personal comments.



Criterion 3f-3j

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Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

The materials provide a teacher edition with strong support, clear guidance, and abundant useful instructional notes. Advanced literary concepts are supported with additional information to bolster the teacher’s understanding of both the content and the pedagogy. The standards alignment within the materials is clearly delineated within unit overviews.

The instructional approaches and program philosophy are described within the materials as well as the program’s focus on research-based strategies.

The materials provide information for students about the program, but there are no information or protocols for communicating with families about the goals and structure of the program.

2/2
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

The Grade 7 teacher’s edition provides annotations and suggestions for how to present the content in the student edition through text and instructional notes. The technology that is embedded to support and enhance student learning include The Odell Education Literacy Toolbox and texts. The Odell Education Literacy Toolbox (www.wiley.com/go/coreliteracy) is an electronic version of the graphic organizers that are included in the teacher and student editions. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, technology includes videos and websites for students to view. An example of a video that students view is Roald Amundsen South Pole by Viking River Cruises. An example of of a website that students use is https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute. An instructional note in Part 1, Activity 2 states the following:
    • “Text 1 (found in the Reading Closely Unit Texts) presents students with a set of visual images selected to build curiosity about the unit’s topic, create context for reading the texts, and provide initial practice in looking closely or visual scanning. Introduce students to the set of images they will study but provide minimal contextual information. Have students scan all four image sets (composed of nine images), then assign specific sets or images to groups or individuals for closer analysis.”
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, Activity 5, a text notes state:
    • “The third excerpted speech in the unit (in the unit texts) is an address from the contemporary Latina leader, Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR-a national Hispanic advocacy group); she delivered the speech at the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 1, 2008. With the speech’s title, ‘A Single Garment of Destiny’ (based on a quote by Dr. King from Birmingham jail), Murguia ties her speech to the civil rights movement led by King, while also invoking the name and accomplishments of Cesar Chavez later in the speech. Murguia characterizes the African American and Hispanic American communities as being dually marked by the opposing experiences of ‘hope’ and ‘hate,’ connecting her speech to her own life-as do King and Chavez-by saying: ‘I know the power of Dr. King’s dream-I am a child of his hope-yet, I also know hate.’”
  • In Unit 3, all of the texts that students read “are accessible for free on the Internet without any login information, membership requirements or purchases. Because of the ever-changing nature of website addresses, specific links are not provided. Teachers and students can locate these texts through web searches using the information provided.” An instructional note in Part 4, Activity 3 is the following:
    • “In this reflective activity, students will use a new, comprehensive tool from the RDU Literacy Toolbox, the Research Evaluation Tool. They will use this tool to consider the important characteristics of a developing body of research, to receive feedback from the teacher and peers, and to plan revisions to their research frame and its components based on that feedback and their own self-assessments.”
  • In Unit 4 states, “the unit generally employs texts that are accessible on the web for free without any login information, membership requirements, or purchase. Some informational texts may, however, need to be accessed through online database portals (e.g., EBSCO, Gale), which are available to teachers and students through their state or district library systems. Because of the ever-changing nature of website addresses, links are not provided. Teachers and students can locate these texts through web searches using the information provided.” An example of a text note in Part 1, Activity 2 is the following:
    • “This short background article defines PEDs, explains that they are not allowed in many sports, and asks a couple of questions about the topic itself. It provides a glimpse into the history of this issue, which will prime readers for Text 2, a historical timeline. It briefly describes the culture of sports and suggests why some athletes turn to PEDs.”
2/2
Indicator 3g

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

The Grade 7 teacher’s edition contains a user guide including adult-level explanations and definitions of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

The User Guide includes the following: an explanation of the Proficiency-Based Approach to Developing Literacy, a list of definitions for Literacy Skills and Academic Habits (teacher and student versions), The Literacy Toolbox, Question-Based Approach to Reading, Text-Centered Discussions, Text-Centered Writing, A Skills-Based Approach to Assessment and Evaluation, Alignment of Targeted CCSS, Media Supports, and Electronic Supports/Electronic Version of Materials.

2/2
Indicator 3h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

The Grade 7 teacher’s edition explains the role of the literacy CCSS standards for each of the four units. Units are broken down into parts and the literacy CCSS standards are listed for each part.

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, Part 1, the CCSS standards aligned to the 5 activities are: RI.7.1, RI.7.2, and RI.7.4.
  • In Unit 2, Part 3, the CCSS standards aligned to the 6 activities are: RI.7.1, RI. 7.2, RI. 7.3, RI.7.6, and SL.6.1.
  • In Unit 3, Part 1, the CCSS standards aligned to the 6 activities are: W.7.7, W.7.8, W.7.9, W.7.4, RI.7.1, RI.7.2, and SL.7.1.
  • In Unit 4, Part 4, the CCSS standards aligned to the 4 activities are: W.7.1, W.7.5, W.7.9, RI.7.1, and SL.7.1.
2/2
Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain an explanation of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

The Grade 7 materials contain instructional approaches of the program and research-based strategies in the User Guide of the teacher’s edition.

The User Guide contains explanations of how to use the graphic organizers/literacy toolbox, text-centered discussions, text-based writing, teacher modeling, read-alouds, rubrics, checklists, and academic vocabulary.

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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially 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.

While the instructional materials contain strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program, there is no evidence that this program is shared with stakeholders, nor are there any suggestions included as to how parents or caregivers can support their student’s progress and/or achievement.

Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • Within the materials, there are checklists and rubrics that give feedback to both teachers and students. For example, in Unit 1, students can use an informal skills-based checklist to self- and peer-assess the literacy skills of Attending to Details; Summarizing; Identifying Relationships; Recognizing Perspective; and Using Evidence. Another checklist is found at the end of Unit 2 that is broken down into Reading Skills, Thinking Skills, Writing Skills and Essay Content and ranges from Emerging (Needs Improvement) to Excelling (Exceeds Expectations) and leaves room for comments by the teacher as to the strengths and areas of growth observed in the work, as well as areas for improvement in future work. However, while there are many checklists included for student reflection and teacher feedback, there are no strategies for including other stakeholders.

Criterion 3k-3n

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

Routines and guidance within the program assist teachers in monitoring student progress. Regular opportunities to assess student progress are included within the materials; however, the assessments do not make strong connections between what is being assessed and the standards that are emphasized within that assessment. Sufficient guidance is provided to support teachers in interpreting student performance, though specific strategies or guidance for remediation for students who are not proficient is not offered.

The materials do not outline a consistent plan for holding students accountable for independent reading, and student choice is often not an option for the independent reading that is required, though the opportunities for student choice do require students to be held accountable for the selections in order to build stamina and confidence.

2/2
Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The program regularly and systematically offers assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress through formative assessments after every part in every unit and a final project that culminates each unit. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, Part 2, the formal formative assessments include the RC Literacy Skills and Discussion Habits Rubric. The less formal formative assessments are the Discussion Habits Checklist and the RC Literacy Toolkit. The summative assessment is the Final Writing and Discussion Assignment. The assignment consists of students becoming text experts by reading a text closely, writing a text-based explanation, and leading and participating in a text-centered discussion.
  • In Unit 2, Part 4, the formal formative assessments include the Making EBC Literacy Skills Rubric. The less formal formative assessments are the Student EBC Literacy Skills and the Academic Habits Checklists. The summative assessment is a Making Evidence-Based Claims Final Writing Task. The tasks require students to develop and write an evidence-based claim and a global or comparative evidence-based claim essay.
  • In Unit 3, Part 3, the formal formative assessments include RDU Literacy Skills and the Academic Habits Rubric. The less formative assessments are Student RDU LIteracy Skills and the Academic Habits Checklist. The summative assessment is Researching to Deepen Understanding Final Writing Task. Students are required to write a reflective research narrative that includes a story about what they learned, connect ideas, and reflect on research.
  • In Unit 4, Part 4, the formal formative assessments include the Building EBA Literacy Skills and Academic Habits Rubric. The less formal formative assessment is the Student Checklist. The summative assessment is an Evidence-Based Argument Writing Task. The task consists of students writing a “multiparagraph essay that makes a case for their position.”
Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:

0/2
Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

While the instructional materials do make connections between the assessments and the development of Academic Habits/Literacy Skills, such as Attending to Details and Communicating Clearly, and provide checklists for students to use to self-assess these habits and skills, the assessments do not clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. The instructional materials provide alignment for the year, unit, and part, but do not provide alignment at the activity or assessment level.

Evidence that supports this rationale include, but are not limited to:

  • Each unit is divided into five parts and each part has either a formative or summative assessment. The instructional materials do provide targeted and supported standards for each part, but alignment is not clearly provided for assessments. It is not possible to easily determine which standards apply to each part of an assessment.
  • Only the Questioning Path Tools, which can be used as formative assessments, are aligned to specific reading and writing standards, but the instructional materials do not identify which standards are aligned to which questions.
1/2
Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

Students are assessed often, via formative and summative assessments, and teachers are provided many tools, such as unit-specific rubrics, to help them interpret student performance; however, the instructional materials do not provide strategies or suggestions for how to remediate students who did not master the skills/habits.

Throughout the instructional materials, unit-specific rubrics are provided as tools to assess Literacy Skills and Academic Habits. Each rubric uses a four-point scale to help teachers and students identify areas of strength, weakness, and growth. Teachers are prompted to consider evidence of the skills/habits and rate accordingly. This system of rubrics allows teachers to compare student performance as the year progresses. The instructional materials do not provide follow-up suggestions for students who do not master the skills/habits.

2/2
Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The Grade 7 materials include routines and guidance that identify opportunities to monitor student progress. Within a unit, each part culminates with formative assessments so teachers can monitor student progress. At the end of each unit, a final project (summative assessment) is provided to monitor student progress.

Indicator 3n

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 for Grade 7 partially 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. There is very little student choice in the Grade 7 instructional materials for independent reading. In the few occasions where there is choice, materials do hold students accountable for their selections and may contribute to their stamina and confidence.

While independent reading is built into earlier units, student independent reading choice is built into only Unit 3 and 4. Unit 3 explores the value of water, and Unit 4 has students analyze opposing positions on the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Within each unit is a common source set and while students read many of the same texts as their peers, there is some choice, depending on the inquiry path they wish to follow. Within the Student Edition, there are many materials that hold students accountable for this reading--the Exploring a Topic Tool, Potential Sources Tool, Taking Notes Tool, Research Frame Tool, and Research Evaluation Tool. Since Unit 4 is focused on Building Evidence-Based Arguments, the tools to hold students accountable include the Questioning Path Tool, Forming Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Organizing Evidence-Based Claims Tool, Delineating Arguments Tool, and Evaluating Arguments Tool. These tools can support students in building the notes and skills necessary to write the summative assessments at the end of each unit.

Criterion 3o-3r

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

Routines and guidance within the program assist teachers in monitoring student progress. Regular opportunities to assess student progress are included within the materials; however, the assessments do not make strong connections between what is being assessed and the standards that are emphasized within that assessment. Sufficient guidance is provided to support teachers in interpreting student performance, though specific strategies or guidance for remediation for students who are not proficient is not offered.

The materials do not outline a consistent plan for holding students accountable for independent reading, and student choice is often not an option for the independent reading that is required, though the opportunities for student choice do require students to be held accountable for the selections in order to build stamina and confidence.

2/2
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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Teachers determine whether students need more or less scaffolding and time. Differentiation support is integrated into the scaffolding and design of the instructional materials. At times, teachers are reminded to determine whether students need more or less time to develop a Core Proficiency. Most units include supplemental texts. These can be used by the teacher to give students additional opportunities to develop skills. The supplemental texts are categorized as “Extended Reading.” In addition to this, the materials claim to be designed so schools can use local curricular materials. This flexibility allows for teachers to determine the text complexity appropriate for students.

Examples of general supports found on pages xxxi-xxxii of the teacher’s edition include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Unit Design and Instructional Sequence: Students encounter visual images and multimedia texts that reinforce the skills of identifying details and making text-based observations from those details. Thus before they ever encounter print texts of grade-level complexity, students begin to develop skills and strategies through visual learning experiences. Then they learn to transfer these skills to the reading of more complex texts.
  • Short Texts, Focused Reading: Many texts are short in length which enables students to focus on sections of the texts. Text-dependent questions included in the Instructional Notes help with more challenging sections of the texts.
  • Read Aloud and Modeling: Students listen to teachers read fluently as they follow along.
  • Guiding Question Framework: This structure helps scaffold students’ thinking as they develop reading skills.
  • Graphic Organizers: The program’s instructional tools provide students with precise and guided processes and scaffolds for interacting with texts.
  • Reading Teams: Students are given opportunities to work individually or in different reading teams. These reading teams can be based on ability, depending on the teacher’s grouping.
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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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 texts and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Opportunities to read, write, speak, and listen to grade level text and meet or exceed grade level standards are found. The students read the same grade level texts throughout each unit, with the teacher modeling, scaffolding instruction, or reading aloud during whole group learning. There are general supports built into the series to help make students who are not at grade level and students who speak a language other than English successful with the grade level text and grade level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Unit Design and Instructional Sequence: Students encounter visual images and multimedia texts that reinforce the skills of identifying details and making text-based observations from those details. Thus before they ever encounter print texts of grade-level complexity, students begin to develop skills and strategies through visual learning experiences. Then they learn to transfer these skills to the reading of more complex texts.
  • Short Texts, Focused Reading: Many texts are short in length which enables students to focus on sections of the texts. Text-dependent questions included in the Instructional Notes help with more challenging sections of the texts.
  • Read Aloud and Modeling: Students listen to teachers read fluently as they follow along.
  • Guiding Question Framework: This structure helps scaffold students’ thinking as they develop reading skills.
  • Graphic Organizers: The program’s instructional tools provide students with precise and guided processes and scaffolds for interacting with texts.
  • Reading Teams: Students are given opportunities to work on different reading teams or individually. These reading teams can be based on ability, depending on the teacher’s grouping.
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Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Materials contain integrated suggestions, Extended Readings, and optional activities to extend learning. The mix of activities offered allow for advanced students to explore texts or more complex texts while practicing the Core Proficiencies skills at greater depth. Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • The materials suggest teachers consider the needs and background experiences of students before beginning a unit of study. Specifically, if a student has “advanced skills” or “extensive previous experience,” the teacher can expect the instruction to “move more rapidly.”
  • For advanced students, the materials also suggest teachers concentrate time on engaging students with the Extended Reading texts provided in some units and “emphasize more complex topics.”
  • The materials are vertically aligned and utilize the same lists, handouts, and rubrics provided in the Literacy Toolbox. For advanced students and students with previous experience, the materials recognize they will rely less on the Literacy Toolbox supports and are encouraged to “use their own, developing strategies” for analyzing texts.
  • At times, the materials will present optional assessment opportunities for teachers to collect evidence and for students to demonstrate understanding. In Unit 1, Part 5, the Summative Assessment Opportunities offers an optional collection of evidence through a writing task. Multiple pathways to accomplish the writing are provided by the materials. This is done as a supplement to the summative discussion activity. Due to the intentional vertically aligned design of the materials, this option is presented in every grade level.
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Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The materials are designed with collaboration as an essential Academic Habit. Students are provided regular opportunities to work as a class, in pairs, and in small groups. In each variation, students develop literacy skills by completing a Literacy Toolbox resource, analyzing text, and collaborating on writing. Evidence that supports this rationale is as follows:

  • In Unit 2, Part 1, Activity 4, after the teacher models the formation of an evidence-based claim (EBC), students practice the skill in pairs with the support of the Literacy Toolbox resources.
  • In Unit 3, Part 2, Activity 6, students work in collaborative research teams “to talk through their research frames and share general summaries of what they have learned so far in each Inquiry Path area.”
  • In Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 2, “students are placed in expert groups to read and analyze one of three texts. Then...students jigsaw into cross-text discussion to share and compare what they have learned from the text each has read.”

Criterion 3s-3v

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

Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers, “platform neutral;” they follow universal programming style and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

Effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate is supported. There are multiple opportunities for teachers to differentiate instructional materials for multiple student needs, including supports before, during, and after each selection. The materials can be easily customized for local use. The program does not provide technology for collaboration.

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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet 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.

“The series provides the materials in the Literacy Toolbox in a digital as well as print format. They are PDF files that may be edited. Students may type in forms and email their work to the teacher as a digital option” (xxxii). Note: Student work cannot be saved or emailed.

The materials in the digital Literacy Toolbox are all PDF files that can be downloaded and printed; however, if students write on a PDF, no typing can be saved. The publisher recommends students email their work to their teacher. Since students cannot save work, it cannot be emailed, only printed in order to save any work. This also means students must complete what they are working on or it will not be saved to continue working on assignments.

No information was provided on platforms. It was tested on and appears to be compatible with Windows and Apple and is platform neutral. It is web-based and compatible on multiple browsers. It was tested on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. It also worked on iPad and iPhone to pull up the digital material, but was not able to edit PDFs on these devices.

“Many texts throughout the Developing Core Literacy Proficiencies Program are available only online. Because of the ever-changing nature of website addresses, specific links are not provided” (xxxii). Most texts for Units 3 and 4 are not provided for students or teachers and they must go online and search for the titles provided.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Many texts are accessible online to build background knowledge and can be used to supplement the anchor texts. Teachers are provided with an opportunity to utilize audio versions of texts available online and in print format for students to follow along with the text. The PDF versions of handouts and graphic organizers are editable and provided by Odell Education; therefore, students can type directly on the handouts and these can be submitted electronically to the teacher. Text Sets include a variety of options beyond print, such as videos, audio recordings, images, and timelines. Teachers could choose to assign independent reading and annotations at home due to the accessibility through both the publisher website with a password and the free resources available online. Key words are provided when web addresses are not to assist teachers and students in locating the resources. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, a reenactment of the moment when Captain Scott and his crew reach the South Pole is provided via YouTube included in the Reading Closely Media Supports.
  • In Unit 2, the Making Evidence-Based Claims Media Supports provide direction for locating the audio recording of the 1984 speech by Cesar Chavez which can be found on YouTube. A video recording of “A Single Garment of Destiny” is also provided via YouTube.
  • In Unit 3, the Researching to Deepen Understanding Common Source set provides texts that are accessible for free on the Internet. For example, students and teachers can access “Introduction to Water” by Frank Gregorio, which can be accessed via YouTube.
Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.

Indicator 3u.i

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

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

The Grade 7 materials include a criteria-based assessment system throughout the four units. Students utilize handouts and graphic organizers to practice and demonstrate proficiency relating to targeted skills. The graphic organizers and tools can be used as a formative assessment by the teacher and completed digitally by students using the editable PDFs provided by Odell Education. Student annotation and submission for evaluation can take place electronically. The graphic organizers are included as an instructional tool to support English Language Learners and students reading below grade level: “Visually, the tools help students understand the relationships among concepts, processes, and observations they make from texts. In addition, Media Supports are included in the instructional materials: ‘The various media (i.e. videos, audio, images, websites) can be assigned and explored at the student or group level to differentiate experiences for students based on their interests and abilities.’” Students who require more challenging texts have the opportunity to explore topics using texts at higher levels of complexity. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students utilize an Approaching Texts Tool that teachers can use to gauge students’ ability to create guiding questions for the first reading of the text and create text-specific questions to help focus the rereading of the text; the tool can be printed and handwritten or completed digitally using an editable PDF.
  • In Unit 2, Media Supports include restored archival footage of Roald Amundsen’s successful South Pole expedition that can be accessed using an electronic device via YouTube.
  • In Unit 4, Common Source Sets offer a variety of complexity levels from which teachers may choose for exploration by students.“This Common Source should be accessible to students, but it also should provide some additional reading challenges, often by referencing technical information or terminology.”
Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 can be easily customized for local use.

The online resources available allow teachers the opportunity to print additional copies for annotation and offer editable PDFs for students to use and submit their work electronically. Teachers have the choice of which texts they would like to use as model texts when presented with Common Source Sets, such as in Unit 4. Also, teachers can differentiate for students and choose specific texts in the Common Source Sets that individual students or small groups will read together. Additional resources are available to allow for further exploration and to allow an opportunity to increase the level of complexity for students who need an additional challenge. The tools provided offer a method for formative assessment, and teachers can make decisions regarding future units based on student performance. The following Instructional Notes are an example of guidance to the teachers:

  • Teachers can use these Common Sources as a model in several ways, depending on the classroom context and emerging student interests.
    • Select a single source for modeling that matches with the direction for investigation that the class is likely to pursue. All students read and work with this single Common Source.
    • Use one source for modeling and a second for guided practice. All students read both sources, working with one as a class and the other in small groups.
    • Use all three sources (and additional ones if helpful), grouping students by possible topic interests and modeling and practicing within groups.
    • Find other, similar Common Source(s) related to the topic and subtopics the class is examining.
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.).

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

While students are encouraged to collaborate with one another throughout the five units in a face-to-face format, there are no opportunities for students to create group projects or peer assess each other’s work virtually. Teachers would need to seek out these opportunities when planning the lessons outside of the tools offered in the instructional materials. OE offers Professional Development to educators on the website: “Odell Education (OE) collaborates with districts and schools that are implementing the Core Literacy Proficiencies Program. OE works with educators on the foundational principles of the instruction, as well as the integration of the units into their curriculum and the use of the materials in their classrooms.” However, opportunities for teachers to engage online with their colleagues is not present on the website.