Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. The instructional materials also include texts that are worthy of student's time and attention, and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. High-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills.The instructional materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with complex text organized around a topic or theme, the building of key vocabulary throughout and across texts, and providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. By integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening and language development, students engage in texts to build literacy proficiency so that students will independently demonstrate grade-level proficiency at the end of the school year.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
32
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. The instructional materials also include texts that are worthy of student's time and attention. The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence, and the instructional materials provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. High-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
20/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for text quality and complexity. Anchor texts include rich texts and topics that are engaging for a Grade 6 student. Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of informational texts and literature. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Specific measures are given for qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task considerations. The materials support students increasing literacy skills over the year, and students are provided with many opportunities to engage in a range and volume of reading.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Anchor texts include rich language and topics and stories engaging for Grade 6 students. Texts consider a range of student interests including (but not limited to) ancient Greece, early to late 20th century experiences, and 19th century rural America and London. Some included texts are reflected in the CCSS appendices as possible exemplars for the grade level.

Some examples of texts that represent the overall quality include the following:

  • Unit A: Boy: Tales of a Childhood, Roald Dahl
  • Unit B: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
  • Unit C: "The Chocolate Collection," a research collection of informational texts focused on the evolving economic and cultural significance of a product (chocolate) in society
  • Unit D: The Greeks: Prometheus and Odysseus
  • Unit E: M.C.Higgins, the Great, Virginia Hamilton
  • Unit F: The Titanic Collection, a research collection of texts focused on 20th century

Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of genres, including novels, informational texts, autobiographies, poetry, and letters.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1b, reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of informational texts and literature. Supplemental text within the modules are also a mixture of literature and informational texts. Texts illustrating the mix of informational texts and literature include the following:

Literature

Unit A:

  • Boy: Tales of a Childhood, Roald Dahl

Unit B:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
  • "The Red-Headed League," Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Unit C:

  • "Chocolate," Rita Dove
  • The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac
  • Chapter 7, "Monseigneur in Town," from A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Unit D:

  • "Prometheus," from Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, Bernard Evslin
  • Book 9 from The Odyssey, Homer, translated by E.V. Rieu
  • "Arachne" from Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes

Unit E:

  • M.C. Higgins, the Great, Virginia Hamilton

Informational:

Unit C:

  • "Prehistoric Americans Traded Chocolate for Turquoise?" Christine Dell'Amore from National Geographic News
  • More Chocolate. Win More Nobels?" Karl Ritter and Marilyn Marchione from Associated Press
  • Letter from Lord Rothschild to Laurence Fish
  • "Pilot Dropped Candy Into Hearts of Berlin," ABC News
  • Appendix C Statement from Labour in Portuguese West Africa, William A. Cadbur
  • "The Tropics" from The Story of Chocolate by National Confectioners Association's Chocolate Council
  • "Good Harvest," Karen E. Lange from All Animals magazine/The Humane Society of the United States
  • "Dark Chocolate: A Bittersweet Pill to Take," Mary Brophy Marcus from USA Today

6F:

  • Sinking of the Titanic, Most Appalling Ocean Horror, Jay Henry Mowbray
  • A Night to Remember, Walter Lord
  • Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, edited by Logan Marshall
  • Testimony of Olaus Abelseth
  • "Letter from the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers Union of Great Britain and Ireland," Ben Tillett
  • Telegraphic transmissions to and from the Titanic
  • "The Iceberg Was Only Part of It," from The New York Times

Other Media:

6C:

  • Act I, Scene Eight from Cosi fan tutte: English National Opera Guide 22, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Nicholas Joh (Book editor), Marmaduke E. Browne (Translator)
  • Several paintings and photographs from the history of chocolate

Throughout the instructional materials, a wide distribution of genres and text types is found including the following examples:

  • Novels: Autobiography and Adventure (i.e., Boy: Tales of a Childhood, Roald Dahl; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain)
  • Primary Sources (i.e., "Can Chocolate be Good for My Health?" Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D from Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Epic Poetry (i.e., The Odyssey)
  • News Articles (i.e.,"Dark Chocolate: A Bittersweet Pill to Take," Mary Brophy Marcus from USA Today)
  • Myths (i.e., "Prometheus")
  • Letters (i.e., Letter from Mary Lines, 1912, Letter from Lord Rothschild to Laurence Fish)
  • Short Stories (i.e., "The Speckled Band")

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1c. Texts are appropriately rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for the grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading. The majority of texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. There are a few texts which fall above and below the band in terms of rigor and complexity; however, the overwhelming majority of texts are within appropriate levels for 6th grade students.

Texts increase over the course of the year in reading levels starting in this range and building through the year, starting in the range 955–1155, and building. For texts with lower reading levels, associated tasks are more challenging for students.

Unit A, Dahl and Narrative, includes Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl. Although starting at a lower range for reading, students are introduced to a text that is vividly written and the story allows them to get connected.

In Unit B, Tom and Sherlock, a main text isThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This text is listed in the CCSS as an exemplar for grades 6-8. The quantitative measure for this text (970 Lexile), which falls within lower ranges of the CCSS stretch band of 955L–1155L. Set within the second unit, this would seem to be an appropriate quantitative measure to use early in the school year. The qualitative complexity of this text would seem to be “very complex." Vocabulary is unfamiliar and archaic and the sentence structure is complex. Although the text would seem to be topically easy for students in Grade 6 to understand, Tom Sawyer’s experiences and his simple life are so culturally disconnected with those of most modern adolescents that it would increase the knowledge demand component of qualitative complexity.

Example text: While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep—for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of low cunning. Said she:“Tom, it was middling warm in school, warn’t it?”

He got home pretty late that night, and when he climbed cautiously in at the window, he uncovered an ambuscade, in the person of his aunt; and when she saw the state his clothes were in her resolution to turn his Saturday holiday into captivity at hard labor became adamantine in its firmness.

The Reader and Task considerations would indicate that this text is appropriately placed for Grade 6. Even though students may not connect with the specifics of Tom’s experiences, there is a universality to his relationships and antics. The humor with which the story is written is engaging and would likely motivate a student to work through their gaps in understanding, especially when they are presented by the difficult language. Tasks presented provide ample scaffolding (sentence starters for discussion, lessons on characterization) to support student participation and success with tasks, however it is not without challenge (ex. Students select quotes from the text as evidence of character traits).

In Unit D, The Greeks, there is included Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Mythsby Bernard Evlsin and William Hofmann. The Lexile level is 800. which is low for Grade 6 students; however, in using a qualitative rubric, the text structure, language features, meaning and knowledge demands is very complex. The language is difficult with difficult vocabulary, irony is included and sub-plots. The interest level for students is high. The tasks include analyzing the text, making connections, read and respond, making arguments, and writing using the text to support.

Example text: More interesting, perhaps, but infinitely more dangerous. For there is this in man too: a vaunting pride that needs little sustenance to make it swell to giant size. Improve his lot, and he will forget that which makes him pleasing—his sense of worship, his humility. He will grow big and poisoned with pride and fancy himself a god, and before we know it, we shall see him storming Olympus. Enough, Prometheus! I have been patient with you, but do not try me too far. Go now and trouble me no more with your speculations.”

An outlier for the program includes a text in Unit E, Reading the Novel: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton. The Lexile Level is 630 which puts it in the 2-3 grade level band, far below the 6-8 band. Using a qualitative rubric the text structure and meaning is slightly complex, and language features and knowledge are moderately complex. The tasks that the students are asked to do with the text include the student to identify character traits, write about them, make meaning and connections with/from the text.

Example text: He remembered childhood, when he was the only one small on the mountain. Watching, sucking his fingers in his mouth. His father, struggling with stones, rounded, man-hewn. Jones, wrenching them from the soil dug away from their base. And looking fearfully at Banina standing over him, as if he hated, despised, what he had to do, but doing it because she said he must. The stones?

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1d, supporting students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the school year. By the end of Grade 6, students have support and opportunities to read and comprehend texts that meet the requirements for the end of the Grade 6 and possibly beyond.

The program starts with texts at the beginning of the grade band in terms of rigor and complexity. Texts "maintain" the grade band complexity and toward the end of the year, students are presented with increasingly complex texts. During instruction there are many formative assessment opportunities to help a teacher guide decisions about their students' learning, and there are summative benchmark assessments that are to be given after three weeks of instruction then after 20 weeks of instruction. The online library offers opportunities for students to select independent reading texts that are on their level of reading along with differentiated opportunities embedded in the program, to support their building stamina with reading alongside being presented with the increasingly complex texts.

There is a clear progression of complexity throughout the Grade 6 year seen as the tasks require that students engage with increasingly challenging texts in challenging ways. Following is a sample of how the program organizes tasks and texts to support growing students' skills over the school year:

  • Unit A in Grade 6 starts with a writing sub-unit, then goes into a close read of Roald Dahl’s Boy with writing about the text. The high quantitative level combined with a fairly uncomplicated narrative structure and simple reader tasks starts off the year. Tasks and reading grow more complex through the following units, with higher demands on the student to work through text.
  • From finding evidence in the text to supporting a point in Unit A, students move to looking for motivations and points of view in Unit B, Tom & Sherlock. Texts in Unit B are more complex, as are the associated tasks.
  • In Unit C students are engaging in debates and including in-text citations in their evidence-based writing. Most texts in Unit C fall into the midrange of the quantitative measures.
  • The Greeks, Unit D in the series, asks students to write essays that explore issues beyond their personal lives, asking bigger questions about the human experience such as, “Are humans destroyed by pride?”
  • The novel read in Unit E, M.C. Higgins, the Great, is read in its entirety following a model to select, describe, and connect evidence. The novel itself is quantitatively lower than other texts, but the application of careful study makes it more qualitatively rigorous.
  • In Unit F, The Titanic Collection, students are called on to synthesize many documents in order to write an essay and create a multi-media project. The final unit is Beginning Story Writing where students create a believable character and a supporting character to write a short story.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 1e. How the publisher identifies text complexity is laid out at a glance in the Teachers Program Guide (TPG) on page 33, with specific measures given for qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task considerations. There is also provided a complexity index that places the text holistically within the 6-8 grade band.

The materials reviewed use an aggregate score for a unit based on text complexity. They use quantitative, qualitative, and reader and tasks measures to place the unit within a 6-9 grade band. The visual of this is the familiar triangle with each section providing information for each component’s complexity. Alongside this triangle is a grid that uses the Amplify formula to present an overall complexity score. On pages 44, the analysis and rationale are presented which states that texts are sequenced for text complexity as well as to intentionally build content knowledge and skills through each grade and throughout the program.

With this method, Amplify has placed units in an order that shows increasing text complexity. This ordering also creates increasing complexity of the skills students require to meet grade level Common Core standards. This is seen within units when, for example, Unit 6C Chocolate, students begin with learning about informational literacy, and begin constructing an evidence-based argument. The culminating research project builds on the skills previously learned. Also, in The Greeks Unit 6D, Lexiles are used as the quantitative measure, a scale of .5-5 is used for the qualitative measure and reader and task are identified within a scale of .5-5. The complexity index was developed by Amplify to “reflect aggregate scores as a guideline to present appropriate curriculum materials and track the students’ path through each grade.”

Lexiles are used as the quantitative measure, a scale of .5-5 is used for the qualitative measure and reader and task are identified within a scale of .5-5. The complexity index was developed by Amplify to “reflect aggregate scores as a guideline to present appropriate curriculum materials and track the students’ path through each grade.”

Page 241-244 of the TPG discusses the rationale for the selection of text for the core units. It calls out “stair casing” the text complexity, explains how the digital environment was designed to help students “tap into the power” of the selected texts, the importance of student engagement in selection of the texts and activities, and the importance in including traditional texts.

Pages 246-318 of the TPG provide a unit by unit discussion of where the texts fit in the sequence of knowledge building by describing both prior knowledge and future learning that will build upon the texts. Additionally, recommendations for enrichment activities, independent reading, and interdisciplinary connections are provided.

The Appendix to the TPG lays out the research foundations for Evidence in indicator 1c and 1d reflect that the texts in the program are of quality and meet the text complexity ranges for the Grade 6 level. The program also has a digital library which allows students to choose from a range of simpler texts to more complex texts for independent reading purposes. There is a teacher edition guide (3-ring binder, page 33) that gives an overview of each unit. It lists the genres and the qualitative measure, quantitative measure and reader and task measure to give an overall text complexity range. It does not list this for each text within the unit. On pages 44-47 of the teacher guide the progression of content and skills is explained. It addresses text complexity. On pages 323-336, in the teachers guide the approach to research is given that explain the selection process for the texts in the program.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations for indicator 1f, providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading over the course of the school year. There are many opportunities outside of the core coursework that supports students to practice with different texts in and out of the topics being studied at the time.

The Amplify Library provides more than 600 texts including a range of genres and texts of varying complexity. The online texts come in a format with the ability for students to highlight and annotate text supporting students' engagement with different texts. The Reading Tracker encourages students to read broadly, following students year to year and can be accessed to provide a view of the breadth of independent reading that is being done by a student over time. To assist students with book selection there are starter lists by genre/subject (page 680-700 of TPG), independent reader’s guides that group works around each unit of study (page 710-736 of TPG), books encountered on Lexica (a game embedded in the library), and peer recommendation lists.

Oral reading is addressed primarily through the “Working with Text Out Loud” and “Working with Text as Theater” learning experiences within the program. Students regularly read along while they listen to a dramatic reading as well as performing themselves with the text orally. Page 95 of the TPG specifically addresses Foundational Skills. Among the areas discussed here are that there are Teacher Tips that are embedded in the lessons that provide purposeful attention to oral reading skills and offer ways for teachers to be more explicit and intentional with reading strategies for students who struggle with phonics and phonological awareness. Differentiation strategies give specific information about how to use the audio and video recordings and how to provide additional fluency work for students who struggle with this foundational skill. There is access to a resource www.freereading.net that is to be used for Tier III intervention activities that can be used in conjunction with Amplify’s supplemental reading intervention program Burst: Reading.

Students regularly listen to professionally read audio versions of the reading while following along with the text. Students often act out sections of dialogue within texts that are not written as plays, in order to capture different characters’ speech patterns and reveal traits. (For example, dramatic readings in Tom Sawyer establish “voice” for each character and indicate phrasing and speech patterns.)

Flex Days are built into the curriculum to provide extra time to revisit or expand on the curriculum. Reading assessments are built into the program and are short quizzes to check understanding. Checks occur throughout the week in the lessons as independent or "solo" tasks. Each of the units provides time for students to be read to, to read aloud and with partners at times. The audio is another tool used by the program to support the development of reading skills.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to culminating tasks to support students' literacy learning. The instructional materials provide frequent opportunities for evidence-based discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary. Materials include instruction aligned to the standards, including well-designed plans, models, and protocols to support student writing. The materials include frequent opportunities for different types of writing addressing different types of text with both on demand and process writing included. Students write throughout the year with support to use text in careful analyses, using text-specific evidence to support their thinking. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in varied assignments. Opportunities for grammar instruction are built into the program that include both in context and out of context instruction. Materials reviewed provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Indicator 1g

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

The Grade 6 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1g. The majority of questions and tasks students complete are text-dependent and/or text-specific, engaging students in going back to the text. The Grade 6 unit has several opportunities for students to respond to text-dependent questions in the form of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ). Throughout all of the units, there is a combination of text-dependent and non-text-dependent questions. Non-text dependent questions are used to build knowledge and connections for students in the readings they will encounter. Some of the more difficult readings (e.g., those with more complex language and/or content) are supported by asking students questions that help them make connections for better understanding. Students are required to provide evidence from the text to support their responses in almost all of the questions throughout the unit. Several of the questions require longer responses that a short written responses and ask students to make inferences as well.

The units in the Grade 6 are dense with text- dependent questions in the form of multiple choice questions used to assess reading comprehension as well as constructed responses that delve more deeply into the texts. Students are required to provide text evidence throughout the units in responding to questions and prompts. Most often, responses show an understanding of the text at an inferential level. Each unit, focuses on how the writer has crafted his/her narrative and students are examining the text for examples.

Some text-dependent questions and tasks that students will encounter in the Grade 6 materials include the examples listed here:

UNIT A: For the Roald Dahl piece, the text dependent questions are more on the level of short answer responses yet require students to understand the text on multiple levels. Many of the questions prepare students for a writing task, such as the following:

  • Write about one candy that sounds really appealing or repulsive to you and why. Describe 2–3 details from the text in your response.
  • Dahl says earlier in the chapter that Mrs. Pratchett was “a horror” (page 24). Do you agree or disagree? Describe 2–3 details from the passage to show why.
  • Consider the three passages you read from “The Great Mouse Plot” and “Mr. Coombes” and the emotions you identified Dahl feeling. Did Dahl’s emotion change a little or a lot throughout the three moments? What are some of the things you notice and the ideas you have about Dahl or his friends when you put these moments together?
  • Choose another moment where Dahl’s description gives you a clear idea about the type of person the Matron is. Does this moment present a similar or different idea about the Matron than the soap moment?

UNIT A: In Unit A, students are asked to look for evidence from the text to identify Tom's character from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Students begin by locating text evidence of Tom’s character. Quotes from the text are used on a character matrix.

Students paraphrase dialect from the text, and many of the questions and activities include both comprehension checks which use multiple choice text dependent questions as well as highlighting and discussing text as it relates to characterization. Examples include:

  • Choose one text excerpt you highlighted from one of the skits,and describe everything you noticed about that excerpt, and tell what it shows about Aunt Polly, or Tom, or both.
  • Compare how Twain and Dahl show the reader the character's traits in each text.
  • How would you compare the reasons Tom is tricky in the jam scene and swimming scene with his reason for being tricky in the fence scene?

UNIT C: Unit C contains a scavenger hunt where students comb texts by doing close reading to answer a number of text-dependent questions. These questions range from low level ("How did Gail Halvorsen get the nickname 'Uncle Wiggly Wings'?") to higher level ("What arguments does Cadbury make to convince plantation owners to stop using slave labor?") In addition, there are several opportunities for constructed response where students are applying the knowledge gained through the scavenger hunt to new questions:

  • Read the excerpt where Benjamin Franklin lists supplies that he ordered for the soldiers of Colonel unbar’s regiment. After reading the list of the supplies that were delivered, what can you conclude about the fact that chocolate was among these items? Support your answer with evidence from the text.
  • Read the passage from Mark Twain’s memoir, Life on the Mississippi. How does Twain use chocolate to portray the Mississippi?

UNIT D: Unit D focuses on the Greek Myths. Prometheus requires students to answer text-dependent multiple choice and constructed response questions Some questions focus on students’ opinions and are not text-dependent, but others direct students back to the text, such as:

  • What are the two strongest points Zeus makes? Give a reason that explains why each one is strong.
  • Think like Prometheus: In your own words, list two reasons that fire might make humans more interesting.
  • Think like Zeus: In your own words, list two reasons that fire might make humans more dangerous.

UNIT E: Students are required to answer both multiple choice text-dependent questions that check comprehension as well as constructed response questions, such as:

  • Describe one trait that stands out to you about M.C., the Great, in Chapter 1.
  • Use textual evidence to support your answer.
  • Does M.C. feel comfortable or uncomfortable on Sarah’s Mountain?
  • Describe 2–3 details from the text to show how he is comfortable or uncomfortable.

Work with the novel focuses on the idea of connection and change as students work through a series of text-dependent questions and discussions.

UNIT F: Unit F mirrors the format of Unit C with scavenger hunts, close reading, and answering text-dependent questions. The solo in the first lesson expands the students' “text” dependent questions to the use of images to which students answer constructed responses such as:

  • What luxuries does the first-class room have that the second-class room doesn't have?
  • What luxuries does the second-class room have that the third-class room lacks?
  • Compare this image with the Max Beckmann painting, "The Sinking of the Titanic." What are the similarities and differences between these two images?

Indicator 1h

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

The Grade 6 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1h, as sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks to build to culminating tasks to support students' literacy learning. All units end with a writing task that requires students to take what they have learned and evaluated throughout the unit and apply to the task, citing evidence from the associated texts. There are different types of writing that is required within the culminating tasks.

The writing tasks require evidence based arguments, narratives, and information research. From Unit A to the last unit, students are building their writing skills in addition to the text dependent questions they are challenged to address. Samples from the materials that represent this indicator include the following:

The culminating task in Unit 1 is an essay: "Who does Dahl describe as causing more trouble: the boys or the adults? Use details from one moment in the book to show who is really causing more trouble." Students refer back to work done while reading the text when they identified “moments” on a personal chart or on the class chart. The text-dependent questions throughout the unit highlight either the adults or the students and set up the context for the culminating essay. Students discuss Dahl’s emotions and identify possible large themes and small, concrete connections to practice synthesizing ideas in Lesson 6.

The culminating task in Unit 2 is an essay: "In his stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle includes false clues (or “red herrings”) that are either not important or that point you in the wrong direction. Write an essay in which you identify one of the false clues or red herrings Doyle uses in “The Red-Headed League” and do the following: Explain why this detail seemed important and what it led you to predict. Explain what in fact was true about this detail." This task builds on the emphasis of finding clues/suspicious details which took place while working with the text earlier in the unit.

The culminating task for Unit 3 is to develop a research question, research to find information, and then write a short piece in response to the question. With the scavenger hunt format emphasizing close reading of a variety of sources to answer specific questions throughout the unit, the prior lessons in the unit support this culminating task. Students focus on organizing their thoughts and preparing for a debate in Sub Unit 4. There is a “Pro-chocolate” group and an “Anti-chocolate” group that present their opening statements and counter arguments. All students complete a Peer Evaluation Form during each group’s debate. A post-debate reflection allows students the opportunity to consider their own work and comment on how to improve it.

In Unit 4 students write a culminating piece after working with the texts: "Using two of the following characters—the humans from 'Prometheus,' Odysseus from the Odyssey, or Arachne from 'Arachne' and answer the following question: Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not? Use your answer to make a claim about whether or not these characters have been destroyed by their pride. Be sure to support your claim with textual evidence from the stories and the poem."

In Unit 5, students write a culminating paper in response to the prompt: "What is one way M.C. has changed since the beginning of the book, and who is one person who influenced that change?" This is supported by the work done while working with the text, which focuses on the idea of connection and change as students work through a series of text dependent questions and discussions. An emphasis is placed on making and supporting a claim.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The 6th grade materials fully meet the expectations for indicator 1i, providing students frequent opportunities to practice academic vocabulary and syntax in their evidence-based discussions. Each unit/lesson is set up in the same manner , beginning with a vocabulary lesson. Then it poses a class discussion topic and offers other opportunities for students to work in pairs or small groups to have discussions. On pages 134-141 in the teacher guide, the vocabulary words for each unit/lesson are listed.

Frequent oral language opportunities to do Think-Pair-Share, peer questioning in groups, and partner talk. Sentence frames are provided to support students who need more help applying new vocabulary and syntax.

Samples of how students get practice in modeling academic vocabulary include work with Socratic seminars. Examples of different listening and speaking activities that support students' development with practicing language over the course of the school year include the following:

  • Unit A: Using text clues to “act out” these characters helps students study how dialogue and narration work together in a text.
  • Unit D: Prometheus; assign or have students determine their roles and spend a few minutes reviewing the text and gathering details to use in their scene. As they work, they should focus on the different characteristics of fire and how humans react to those qualities.
  • Unit F: Students assume the identity of an actual Titanic passenger. They search through primary and secondary source materials to determine their passenger’s class of travel. Students synthesize this information and write a first-person narrative from the point of view of their passenger, incorporating language from the texts. This lesson is most successful when students are separated into groups according to their class of travel and allowed to role-play. The issues of discrimination based on gender and class become apparent as students work together to flesh out their personas.

Lessons typically begin with discussion and end with sharing. Some of these discussions are around the text and others focus on things like crafting writing. Teachers and students are given vocabulary and terms with which to work in these sections.

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 6 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1j. Students have multiple opportunities for text-dependent discussions in each unit. Each lesson has an opportunity for the teacher to pose a question and have the class discuss it. In addition, each lesson provides opportunities for students to share with partners.

For example, in Unit 1, lesson 1: Students discuss passages from Boy to engage with the liveliness of Dahl's writing and to recognize his use of focus and showing (This is a whole class opportunity). In lesson 4 students work with a partner to have a brief discussion with a partner about the question, "What are some of the things you notice and the ideas you have about Dahl or his friends when you put these moments together?"

Each Unit/lesson is set up in the same manner generally, starting with a vocabulary lesson, then posing a class discussion topic. The materials offer other opportunities for students to work in pairs or small groups to have discussions. The discussions are always text-dependent and the students are instructed to answer questions citing evidence from the text. Videos, audio recordings or photos/images are sometimes used to promote/start the discussion. The materials include dramatic readings, debates, and other protocols for teachers to provide students multiple opportunities and ways to build their speaking and listening skills while using the texts as anchors.

In the teacher guide, questions are provided as models for teachers to move student discussions and listening skills. Pedagogy for the program include three areas that address speaking and listening. Daily Lesson Patterns include 15-25 minutes at the beginning of each lesson for collaboration and interpretation. Included are the following:

  • Working the Text Out Loud
    • (Page 78, T Guide): Early units have students listening to, and sometimes watching a dramatic reading of the text.
    • This includes follow-up discussions that ask students to consider how the the performer interprets the texts, students are asked to interpret and make meaning out of the texts.

Some examples of these materials meeting the expectations of these indicators include:

  • Reading the Novel
    • In unit E, M.C. Higgins, the Great, Lesson 1: Students listen to a recording of the first few passages of M.C. Higgins to consider this first image of the main character.
  • Working with Text as Theater
    • Students are given opportunities to perform and interpret the text on their own, and they are asked to construct meaning for the audience
  • Using Text as Referee
    • In Unit B, "Tom and Sherlock, Lesson 3: Who Is This Guy, Really?" students rehearse a scene between Tom and another character to get more comfortable with Twain’s language and to make the characters come alive in the classroom.
  • Debate
    • Students are engaged in activities that require debating ideas and push to use language purposefully and respond to other students and what they say

Quests

Students must participate in speaking and listening when engaging in the Quests, which are interactive and collaborative. Quests create multiple opportunities for students to work in pairs, small groups, and as a class. The discussions, both “in character” and “out of character” within the contexts of the works they read are critical to each lesson. (An example: "Tom Sawyer Treasure Hunter," in which each leg of the competition requires students to work in groups. The collaboration and competition creates a highly social atmosphere.)

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials meet the expectation of a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects appropriate for Grade 6. Students write both "on demand" and "over extended periods." On Demand Writing is included in multiple lessons within a collection. Students are required to write 10-15 minutes a couple times a week on different topics. Culminating writings are built from the regular writing tasks completed in the context of reading and writing instruction.

On-demand writing activities happen almost daily, with students answering text-specific questions and prompts. Notebook structures support this type of student demonstration in a low-stakes environment. Higher-stakes essay prompts are also employed throughout the materials. Some examples of on-demand writing includes:

As students read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain in Unit B, they will encounter these on-demand writing tasks:

  • Lesson 3: Choose one text excerpt you highlighted from one of the skits, describe everything you noticed about that excerpt, and tell what it shows about Aunt Polly, or Tom, or both.
  • Lesson 5: Find a moment when Tom shows his trickiness at work. Describe what is happening.
  • Lesson 7: Do the lines you highlighted show you something about Tom that you didn’t know before? Explain your answer.
  • Lesson 8: Describe the way Tom acts in response to Aunt Polly’s accusation, and explain what his response shows about him.
  • Lesson 11: Compare the way Tom acts in the scene with Huck to how he acts with another character in an earlier scene. Explain whether Tom is showing the same traits in each scene.

As students read "The Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle, they will encounter these on-demand writing tasks:

  • Lesson 2: What details about Helen and her story does Holmes think might be suspicious? How do you know he finds them suspicious? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
  • Lesson 5: Write about 2 details: 1. Pick one detail and describe how it turned out to be a useful clue for Sherlock Holmes. 2. Pick another detail that you or someone else once thought might be important, but it turned out not to be, and explain why..

Process Writing is evident throughout the program. Some examples that illustrate this include:

In Unit E, MC Higgins, the lessons target the character and development of M.C. Higgins in order to streamline what students focus on and students practice both the small- and large-scale analysis involved in novel reading and written response. Students select details (about the character) from a specific moment in the novel, describe what those details reveal about the character in that moment, and then must connect particular moments and details and explain which aspects of the character remain consistent, which become more complex, and in what ways the character is changing.

Over the course of five lessons, students will explore and describe how M.C. Higgins changes over the course of the novel and which character most influenced that change. The unit lessons have prepared students to identify and analyze one of these changes by providing them with many opportunities to identify connections between the things M.C. has done or said or thought and to describe details that point to a contrast or change in this boy. Once establishing a claim, The remaining four lessons take them through the essay writing process: Develop evidence into structured paragraphs, Refine a claim statement to best express the drafted argument, Revise to strengthen use of evidence, Craft an introduction to engage the reader, Practice writing a conclusion, Polish for conventions

In Unit F, Titanic, students spend six lessons researching and writing a four-paragraph essay. They choose from an argumentative essay: Who’s to blame for the loss of life on the Titanic? and An informative essay: the Titanic Orphans. This lesson sequence reinforces skills learned in earlier units including writing a compelling introduction and a strong conclusion. Students also learn how to create in-text citations, frames for quotes, and a Works Cited Page.

Indicator 1l

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

The materials meet the expectations providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 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 sources.

Some examples that show how the materials meet the expectations of these indicators include, but are not limited to:

Argument Examples:

  • Arachne: Lesson 2: Pick one of Arachne's behaviors or actions and describe the character trait that motivates it. Cite 2–4 details that support your claim, and make sure those details come from at least two moments in the passage.
  • Arachne: Lesson 4: Does Minerva treat Arachne fairly? Why or why not? Give three reasons based on the text to support your answer.

Informative/Explanatory Examples:

  • Boy: Tales of Childhood: Lesson 2: Write about one candy that sounds really appealing or repulsive to you and why. Describe 2–3 details from the text in your response.
  • Unit 6; Who were the Titanic orphans? Who was responsible for the sinking of the unsinkable ship?

Narrative Examples:

  • Boy: Tales of Childhood: Lesson 7: Look at the dialogue you filled in for the photo of the students standing in the cafeteria line. Write 5–7 sentences describing this moment. Use dialogue and narration, including precise details, to show what people are saying, doing, and how they speak and look.
  • Arachne: Lesson 5: Using your answers to the previous questions as a guide, write your own version of the Arachne myth, making sure to give Arachne a different talent than she had in the Hughes version. Use specific details to help show readers what Arachne's talent is and how she shares it. For example, if Arachne's talent is singing, don't just tell readers that she is good at it. Instead, include details that show what her voice sounds like or what songs are her favorites. As you write about Arachne's punishment, think about Arachne's five senses. What does she feel when she is punished? What sounds does she make? What does she touch or see when she is punished? Does she taste anything? Describing some of these details can help your readers understand what Arachne experiences. If you finish with time to spare, add two more details to help readers understand Arachne’s attitude.

Indicator 1m

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

The Grade 6 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 1m, providing frequent opportunities for students to practice evidence-based writing. Students write throughout the year with support to use text in careful analyses, using text-specific evidence to support their thinking. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in varied assignments. One of the highlighted learning experiences in the program involves choosing the best evidence. This is addressed through the themes (making meaning, language development, effective expression, and content knowledge):

Making Meaning: After students find a piece of evidence to support their claim or their answer to a text-dependent question they are asked to write 1-2 sentences to explain how this evidence led them to this answer or connects to their claim.

  • Language Development: Students will learn and practice “describing your evidence.” In other words, noting those aspects of your chosen evidence that best illustrate your idea. As they describe what they notice in those words, students are encouraged to comment at the word level, explaining how an author’s particular word choice impacts the meaning of a sentence or passage.
  • Effective Expression: The lessons present multiple opportunities for students to compare how they are using the text to build a claim or develop an understanding. The structure around these moments allow students to learn how to express their ideas and listen to another perspective.
  • Content Knowledge: Lessons present multiple opportunities for students to compare how they are using the text to build a claim or develop an understanding. As students review how they might support a particular claim based on the text, they share and become cognizant of the knowledge they are gaining through their close reading.

Some specific examples that represent this program's evidence-based writing include the following. All tasks require students to identify specific components of the texts read:

  • Unit A Dahl Essay Prompt: Who does Dahl describe as causing more trouble: the boys or the adults? Use details from one moment in the book to show who is really causing more trouble.
  • Reread this moment from the book. Highlight 3–4 details from this moment that show either Dahl and the boys or the adult(s) causing trouble. For each highlighted detail, add a note labeled "Essay Evidence." (Before completing the essay students examine a sample essay.)
  • Unit C Chocolate: Lesson focuses on writing a claim and supporting that claim with textual evidence. The chocolate sample essay is deconstructed as students work in pairs to highlight claims and evidence. The Elements of a Research Essay are discussed and students begin to see that this essay will be similar to the essays they wrote in other units earlier in the year. Students write their claims and work on their body paragraphs, keeping track of where in-text citations will be inserted during a later lesson.
  • Unit D The Greeks: Students review the use of textual evidence in the sample essay. How do you know that this sentence is giving textual evidence, “He gets the Titans to chase him up Mount Olympus, and when he gets halfway, he whistled for his cousins, the Hundred-handed Ones, who had been lying in ambush."
  • Unit F, Titanic: Write the claim from the sample essay on the board: First-class and second-class passengers had a much better chance of survival than those in third class on the Titanic. Today you’re going to use the evidence from your research to write two body paragraphs for your essay. To do that, you first need to decide on the claim you will make for your essay. To help with this process, we’re going to read this sample claim and a sample research essay written about it.

The Grade 6 materials include daily writing instruction and practice, end of unit writing, and digital platform writing work.

Indicator 1n

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

Materials meet the requirements of indicator 1n as they 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. Opportunities for grammar instruction are built into the program. The program includes three PDFs named Mastering Conventions with over 1,000 pages of exercises for grammar skills. The program has embedded grammar throughout the curriculum and in each unit.

In Unit 1, the Getting Started sub-unit focuses on jump-starting student writing by developing their focus and stamina. Continuing throughout the unit with regular opportunities for writing and connections to selected texts, students develop their idea and build their sense of syntax. The lessons start with practice in communicating ideas effectively and develop ideas before formal grammar instruction begins.

Examples:

  • Lesson 1: Write about one recent moment you noticed from lunch.
  • Lesson 6: Write about a recent moment when you were doing something with friends or a friend. Show, don’t tell, the emotion you felt in that moment.

Revision Assignments are provided and provide time for students to practice revising their own writing. Revision assignments are provided as part of the Flex Days. Each revision assignment focuses on one of the following five areas:

  • Complete sentences
  • Pronoun use
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Verb tense
  • Sentence combining

Teachers are encouraged to review each student’s work for the skill they need to work on and provide the lesson appropriate and most beneficial for the student.

Flex Days and Over-the Shoulder conferencing (OTSC) with targeted feedback allowing teachers to “regularly instruct students on grammar” and focus on individual skills for individual students. Flex days are designed to pace the grammar instruction and contain a regular time for review, reinforcement and/or extension activities to help all levels of students. Lessons include short drills and revision assignments to practice the skills. Flex Days examples:

  • Flex Day, Grammar 1: Unit 1, Lesson 5: Defining and Identifying Pronouns
  • Flex Day, Grammar 9: Unit 3, Lesson 20: Introducing Reflexive Pronouns

The OTSC is targeted feedback for students. Each grade level provides models of how a teacher would respond to specific concerns in a text. Teachers are instructed to “point to the sentences, name the skill, and comment on it.” A few examples of the types of feedback provided include, but is not limited to;

  • “This subordinate clause makes it clear how truly strange his behavior appeared.”
  • “These three complete sentences clearly illustrate your idea, and make it easy to follow.”

Rubrics are provided in the TPG to track student progress with their control of grammar in the writing prompts. For example, a conventions rubric has the following language to guide teachers and students:

1 Needs Improvement

2 Developing proficiency

3 Proficient

4 Exceeds expectations

Student writes a minimum of 25 words, but there are many fragments and/or run-ons that prevent the reader from understanding the writing.

Student writes a minimum of 50 words, and most sentences are complete. Errors impeded the reader’s ability to understand the writing.

Student writes a minimum of 85 words, and most sentences are complete and punctuated correctly. Errors might detract the reader, but do not impede the reader’s ability to understand the writing overall.

Student writes a minimum of 120 words, and, almost all of the sentences are complete and punctuated correctly.


Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with complex text organized around a topic or theme, the building of key vocabulary throughout and across texts, and providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks require students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. By integrating reading, writing, speaking, listening and language development, students engage in texts to build literacy proficiency so that students will independently demonstrate grade-level proficiency at the end of the school year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

Indicator 2a

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

The Grade 6 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 2a. Texts within units are connected and arranged by topics (and sometimes theme, which is appropriate for grades 6-8): Dahl & Narrative, Tom & Sherlock, The Greeks, Reading the Novel, and research units The Chocolate Collection and The Titanic Collection are organized in ways that indicate purposeful design to build knowledge and to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex text.

Some examples of how the materials represent the expectations of this indicator to build students' knowledge include the following:

The Greeks selections combine "Prometheus" from Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, Bernard Evslin, Book 9 from The Odyssey, Homer, translated by E.V. Rieu and "Arachne" from Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes to make connections among the characters and respond to the following question: Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not? Students build knowledge about mythology and other historical fiction constructs.

The Chocolate Collection combines several selections to build student knowledge and research skills on the historical, social, and scientific perspectives on topic of Chocolate. Selections include a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres to build knowledge and comprehension of difficult texts on the topic. Multiple perspectives are also included in the following: "Chocolate" Rita Dove, Chocolat, Joanne Harris, The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac, Chapter 7-"Monsiegneur in Town" from A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2b. The materials contain sets of coherently sequenced equation and tasks requiring students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students are given frequent opportunities to practice identifying and studying specific elements of texts, from analyzing words to looking at the structures of paragraphs and the larger text itself.

Each unit focuses on how the writer has crafted his/her narrative and students are examining the text for examples. Each lesson includes a list of vocabulary words to use. Also included are vocabulary lessons and videos to teach the vocabulary words. Each lesson starts with a vocabulary lesson.

A representative example of how the program addresses this indicator comes from Unit B. Students are asked to look for evidence from the text to identify Tom's character. Much of the questions again, build on the writing tasks throughout the year. Discuss how a piece of dialogue and narration helped you understand a character or emotion.

  • Look at the words Mrs. Pratchett uses. How would you describe her to someone? Explain your answer using 1–2 pieces of her dialogue.
  • Based on your highlighted details, what is one idea you have about the type of person the Matron is?
  • Choose another moment where Dahl’s description gives you a clear idea about the type of person the Matron is. Does this moment present a similar or different idea about the Matron than the soap moment?
  • What words does Jeffrey Tambor emphasize to help you see the problem and solution in this scene
  • What words does he emphasize to help you see the contrast between Aunt Polly’s character and Tom’s character?

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing 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 questions are used to assess reading comprehension and to connect the reader to the text in a deeper way. Questions are employed to build students' knowledge. Many lessons contain a section titled “Connections to other lessons” that assists the teacher with understanding how pieces both in the past and future fit together.

Many short answer responses require students to demonstrate understanding of the text on multiple levels. Many of the questions prepare students for an upcoming culminating writing task. In Unit 2, students are asked to look for evidence from the text to identify Tom's character. Much of the questions again, build on the writing tasks throughout the year. Each unit, focuses on how the writer has crafted his/her narrative and students are examining the text for examples. Same questions that represent how this program meets this expectation include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Write about one candy that sounds really appealing or repulsive to you and why. Describe 2–3 details from the text in your response.
  • Dahl says earlier in the chapter that Mrs. Pratchett was “a horror” (page 24). Do you agree or disagree? Describe 2–3 details from the passage to show why.
  • Consider the three passages you read from “The Great Mouse Plot” and “Mr. Coombes” and the emotions you identified Dahl feeling. Did Dahl’s emotion change a little or a lot throughout the three moments? What are some of the things you notice and the ideas you have about Dahl or his friends when you put these moments together?
  • Choose another moment where Dahl’s description gives you a clear idea about the type of person the Matron is. Does this moment present a similar or different idea about the Matron than the soap moment?

In each Unit, students are presented with opportunities to work across texts. For example, in Unit C, students discuss the Gettysburg Address relative to The Declaration of Independence to figure out the meaning of Lincoln when he uses the word “new.” Next, the discussion asks students to figure out the meaning of “equal” as used in both documents.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2d. The sets of questions and tasks students are asked to work with and complete support their ability to complete culminating tasks in which they are demonstrating knowledge of topics and/or themes. The materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to each culminating task. Many tasks are focused on writing productions; however, students engage in speaking and listening as well as reading and writing to prepare for tasks, providing learning through integrated skills. Some examples of culminating tasks that showcase students' demonstration of topics and themes through a combination of skills include the following examples:

  • The culminating task in Unit 2 is an essay. In his stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle includes false clues (or “red herrings”) that are either not important or that point you in the wrong direction. Write an essay in which you identify one of the false clues or red herrings Doyle uses in “The Red-Headed League” and do the following: Explain why this detail seemed important and what it led you to predict. Explain what in fact was true about this detail. This task builds on the emphasis of finding clues/suspicious details which took place while working with the text earlier in the unit. The culminating task for Unit 3 is to develop a research question, research to find information, and then write a short piece in response to the question. With the scavenger hunt format emphasizing close reading of a variety of sources to answer specific questions throughout the unit, the prior lessons in the unit support this culminating task. Students focus on organizing their thoughts and preparing for a debate in Sub Unit 4. There is a “Pro-chocolate” group and an “Anti-chocolate” group that present their opening statements and counter arguments. All students complete a Peer Evaluation Form during each group’s debate. A post-debate reflection allows students the opportunity to consider their own work and comment on how to improve it. In Unit 5 students write a culminating paper in response to the prompt: What is one way M.C. has changed since the beginning of the book, and who is one person who influenced that change? This is supported by the work done while working with the text, which focuses on the idea of connection and change as students work through a series of text dependent questions and discussions. An emphasis is placed on making and supporting a claim. In lesson 16 of Sub Unit 1, Students discuss what is the same from the beginning to the end of the story and what has changed. As stated in the Teacher’s Guide “Allow this complexity a central place in your discussions. Let kids disagree with the character, let them find contradictions in what he says and thinks, and point out those moments where two students both use the text well and arrive at distinct interpretations. The opportunity of this book is that it is not an obvious answer; it is an opportunity for exploration and discussion."

Indicator 2e

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

The materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of indicator 2e. Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary instruction is designed for students to master up to 500 new words every year. Words are chosen for their support of comprehension of texts, unfamiliar words that appear in middle school texts. Repeated encounters with vocabulary- through texts, activities, interactive multimedia, teacher talk, games, audio and video shorts-- support students as they interact with new words and practice them in and out of contexts.

On pages 134-141 in the teacher guide the vocabulary words for each unit/lesson are listed so teachers may prepare and anticipate different approaches to supporting students' vocabulary development. For students, vocabulary is addressed through a daily vocabulary lesson. These short lessons are presented through the Amplify Vocabulary App. With animations, the app introduces important vocabulary that will be encountered in that day's lesson. Each unit is also organized to begin with vocabulary prior to students diving in to the text(s).

Teachers are also guided via a "words to use" section in the Teacher Guide to use these words for modeling and exposure, as noted in indicator 1i. This practice with vocabulary is intentionally built to span the whole year's worth of instruction.

The "Reveal tool" is an online feature that identifies (reveals) new words for the student and gives a contextual definition to enable students to continue reading with minimal interruption. The tool tracks the words a student needs help with so the teacher can access this later. It also puts them in a personal glossary for the students.

A sampling of the words students will encounter and study in their year-long work with the instructional materials:

  • Unit 2: Tom and Sherlock- seldom, contemplate, conduct, citified, finery, glowering, jeers, coppers. thrash, laborious
  • Unit 3 : The Chocolate Collection- antioxidant, archaeology, bartered, misconception, enigmatic, inevitable, sustainable
  • Unit 4: The Greeks--enlighten, aptitude, vaunting, sear, notion, clustered, bouquet, contemptuous
  • Unit 5: Reading the Novel-- gingerly, ponderous, lithe, inkling, fleeting, premonition, exertion
  • Unit 6: The Titanic Collection-- ramifications, superfluous, formulation, magnitude, calamity, peril

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation of 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. Students are provided with prompts to make observations and reflect about their own writing to build skills and knowledge for future writings. Standard practices for writing are set in motion in the first unit and continue throughout the year with different writing tasks. Lessons include targeted writing instruction, writing skill drills, and revision assignments. Also included in the materials is guidance to teachers about how to use Over-the Shoulder Conferences to provide immediate and meaningful feedback as students write. Teachers are directed to use affirmation comments, skill reminders and oral revision remarks to support students.

In Unit A, Dahl and Narrative, the progression of writing the narrative starts with getting the interest of the students and their own stories. In the first unit, students are provided with multiple prompts (both text-dependent and not) to generate ideas. For example:

  • Lesson 1: Write about one recent moment you noticed from lunch.
  • Lesson 2: Write about one moment when you saw or did something new or unexpected.
  • Lesson 4: Write about a moment when you were nervous.
  • Lesson 5: Write about a recent moment that took three minutes or fewer.
  • Lesson 6: Write about a recent moment when you were doing something with friends or a friend. Show, don’t tell, the emotion you felt in that moment.
  • Lesson 8: Choose one of the moments from your comic strip and write 5–7 sentences about just that moment.

After they are more comfortable with their stories, students read the Dahl text and respond to prompts connected to the text to focus on the details (a narrative element they will practice later).

In other units, students work to synthesize details into a cull writing piece. For example, when studying "The Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle, students encounter these directions:

Write about 2 details: 1. Pick one detail and describe how it turned out to be a useful clue for Sherlock Holmes. 2. Pick another detail that you or someone else once thought might be important, but it turned out not to be, and explain why. What details from the text seem ordinary but actually might be suspicious? Using textual evidence, explain why.

After reading "The Red-Headed League" by Arthur Conan Doyle, students encounter an essay Prompt: "In his stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle includes false clues (or “red herrings”) that are either not important or that point you in the wrong direction. Write an essay in which you identify one of the false clues or red herrings Doyle uses in “The Red-Headed League” and do the following: Explain why this detail seemed important and what it led you to predict. Explain what in fact was true about this detail." Students build their understanding and practice incorporating small pieces into larger texts.

The program also supports the writing process by having students use texts as mentor texts and examples from which to practice their own writing craft. Some examples illustrating this:

"Using your answers to the previous questions as a guide, write your own one-page version of the Prometheus myth. If you finish with time to spare, think about the attitude you want each character to show. Add two more details to every character to help show that attitude." This provides practice summarizing material while building writing fluency.

At the end of the year, there is Beginning Story Writing in Unit G that culminates several of the writing tasks introduced throughout the year. In this unit, students have an opportunity to focus on fiction writing: moving from the personal narrative (in previous units) to the fictional narrative. Students receive targeted writing instruction, skill drills, and revision assignments.

Indicator 2g

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

The materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of 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. There are two culminating research units in the Grade 6 materials. The first one falls after third in the sequence of seven units, while the second one comes six out of seven. Both projects develop over the course of the unit, introducing the students to a variety of genres and information relevant to the topic.

In Unit C, The Chocolate Collection, students begin learning the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, in addition to learning to identify the credibility and uses of sources. Students generate their own research questions but are provided sources to start with. The unit focuses on argument writing after students have learned the research methods and concerns. The unit ends with a culminating activity that synthesizes all the work/skills they learn throughout the unit.

Students review two commercial websites and find an article from each website. One of the articles should be written by a reliable author and the other one by an unreliable author. Each website must have a link to learn about the author’s credentials. Students will be evaluating the author’s credentials, so it’s important that an About the Author link is accessible and the link includes credentials and experience that students will understand, e.g., job experience and education.

An example of the progression of writing that happens within a Unit includes the following examples:

  • Questions after reading early texts:What are 2 ingredients in chocolate that are not good for your health?What is GERD, and how does eating chocolate effect this condition?
  • Students are given another opportunity to read through materials and research information provided by the teacher. Teacher prompts: "Take a quick look through the texts that we did not get a chance to read today. Which one looks the most interesting to you? Select one to read for tonight's Solo. You are expected to answer the close reading questions."
  • About midway through the unit, students are drafting an argument based on the research.
  • Students complete more research and look for details to support ideas as they prepare for argumentative writing:
    • What if you provided evidence in your response that proved that one type of chocolate was better than others? Would that be more persuasive? Let’s try it.
    • Read the facts about different types of chocolate and then answer these questions about your favorite type.
    • What is your claim about your chocolate of choice?
    • Assignment: Write your own argumentative letter informing a local candy store owner about issues involved in chocolate production. Be sure your letter includes a claim and at least 2 pieces of evidence to support the claim. Use your pre-writing outline to guide your response.
    • After reading and prompting from the teacher, students get to choose a topic they want to further develop and research for their own.

Students spend six lessons researching and writing a (minimum) four-paragraph essay. This lesson sequence reinforces skills learned in earlier units including writing a compelling introduction and a strong conclusion. Students also learn how to create in-text citations, frames for quotes, and a Works Cited Page.

Detail for students to learn research writing practice includes specific checklists, such as guiding questions:

  1. Have I found 2–3 valid sources that provide useful information about my topic?
  2. Is the information I’ve gathered focused on my topic?
  3. Do I have enough information to write an introduction, 2 body paragraphs, and a conclusion?
  4. Are there any gaps in my research?

Students are guided through the writing with editing, revision, research and peer response. Teacher shares models, rubrics and over the shoulder conferences.

A concern for program is that students have a choice with some Units and may choose to write only in the informative or argument for a final research product. Although this may occur, students are working with both writing tasks throughout both research units, which both require students to read and analyze informative, narrative and argument text types.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2h, supporting students' independent reading development..

Pages 327-336 of the TPG lays out the Independent Reading program. It sets out three goals. 1) Making Reading More Independent – This involves setting up and guiding the selection and then letting students decide what to read. 2) Making reading more social by providing book sharing sessions, and 3) Making reading more about the book and less about the essay.. Assignments are lighter than those around core texts not graded, and involve choice to hold students accountable while still making the focus on the reading itself. During independent reading students set weekly goals, reflect on their own reading, and log progress by describing and critiquing one strategy they have used and when they decide on another strategy they could try (TE, page 199). Throughout the curriculum, there are opportunities and TIPS for teachers to help guide students and take responsibility for their learning. The TE gives some guidelines on how to help students and more input for guiding these discussions with students. This helps kids set goals and helps teachers guide them.

The Reading Tracker (following page 736 of TPG) requires that students log progress weekly in relation to a goal that they have set for weekly reading (#pages). It also requires reflection on reading by responding to prompts (done when student is halfway through the reading). Reflection relates to how challenging the text is for the student, paraphrasing text, noticing aspects of the story structure supported with text evidence. Students also track their reading path by identifying texts by genres of fiction and non-fiction, identity of the character time of the setting, and location of the setting.

The world of Lexica, an extra resource, requires that students encounter characters and objects that “wander in and out” of books in the Amplify library. Reading choices and reading progress has consequences in the game which supports independent reading.

Teachers are encouraged to solicit the assistance of families in the independent reading through home-school letters.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for instructional supports and usability. The use and design of the materials facilitate student learning. The materials take into account effective lesson structure and pacing, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Materials are designed to ease teacher planning and support teacher learning and understanding of the standards. Standards addressed and assessed in each lesson are clearly noted and easy to locate. The materials reviewed provide teachers with multiple strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners. Content is accessible to all learners and support them in meeting or exceeding the grade level standards. Students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English are provided with some support, although the teacher may need to access outside materials to ensure building toward language proficiency and reading comprehension in English. Materials also provide students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level some extension and advanced opportunities. Materials also support the effective use of technology to enhance student learning.

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
8/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The use and design of the instructional materials facilitate student learning. The design of the materials is consistent, simple, and not distracting. The annual pacing guide makes lesson structure and pacing clear. The thirty-six weeks of instruction is reasonable for a school year. All resources include clear directions, explanations, and standards alignments.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The lesson architecture appears on pages 101-103 of the TPG. The daily lesson begins with 5 minutes of Building Vocabulary where students work independently on the vocabulary activities while the teacher checks in with students. This is followed by 15-25 minutes Collaborate and Interpret where one of the following tasks is performed: Working with Text Out Loud, Working Visually, Working with Text as Theater, Choosing the Best Evidence, or Using Text as Referee. Next is the 15-25 minute Produce segment which includes Writing for an Authentic Audience, Revising, or Debate. In the 5-10 minute Prepare for Independent Work part of the lesson, students wrap up their learning with sharing, discussion, and introducing the Solo. The daily lesson ends with 20-60 minutes of Independent Work time where students complete the Solo, read independently, play in the World of Lexica, create a video for ProjectEd, or Build more vocabulary with VocabApp.

In the teacher’s digital guide there is a clear structure and pacing laid out for each lesson and each lesson segment. For example, in the Tom Sawyer lesson segment, for three minutes students highlight text from the swimming trick scene that shows how Tom acts with Aunt Polly and Sid so that they will have passages ready for the Character Matrix app. One minute is devoted to discussion, and two minutes are devoted to highlighting.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The annual pacing guide for 6th grade appears on pages 38-39 of the TPG. The 7 units are taught over a 36 week/180 day school year.

Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

The Student digital materials contain ample practice resources within each lesson segment. The predictable format that is used throughout each lesson makes it easy for students to follow along and engage with the texts as well as the activities. Tasks are chunked to provide frequent practice with a skill throughout the lesson. The directions are clearly written, and texts and work spaces are provided conveniently alongside. Writing is strongly supported in the organization of the student materials. Students’ written responses are preserved within the lesson and show up later for sharing. They are also easily accessible within a section of the program called “My Work.” Of particular strength are the Solo activities that often act as a formative assessment where students can display their competence with a text independently. In addition to the directions given within the student materials, there are scripted oral supports within the teacher’s materials for the teacher to use during instruction.

For example, in Unit A Dahl & Narrative, Sub Unit 3, Lesson 1: Introducing the Text Solo 1 of 8, students read “The Bicycle and the Sweet-shop.” Alongside the text, students are prompted to “Highlight two places in your reading that grabbed your attention” and “Add a note to describe what you noticed and think about this place in the text.”

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials including publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

An overview and alignment for each unit appears in the TPG on pages 51-57. The specific standards are identified by lesson as being taught explicitly or practiced in the sub units. Additionally, in the digital teacher’s edition, Skills and Standards are called out for each lesson sequence.

For example, The Greeks Unit D, Sub Unit 3, Lesson 2 cites CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1
and CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.9.

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The student online edition is well laid out with a predictable format and ease of use. There are supporting graphics that are not distracting that serve as recognizable links within the content rather than as illustrations. The use of drop down menus and expanding windows keeps the screen clean. When students are reading text or engaging in tasks, the design provides easy access to everything students need without extra distraction.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials meet expectations for teacher learning and understanding of the standards. The materials include a teacher's edition with annotations and suggestions on how to present the content. The materials include adult-level explanations and examples and explanations of the role of specific standards in the context of the overall materials. The instructional approaches of the program are explained in the context of the overall curriculum. Strategies for informing stakeholders about the program and about how they can support student progress and achievement are provided, and overall, the materials do support teacher learning and understanding of the standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for materials containing a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The program includes a teacher’s edition with each lesson containing an overview, prep, connections to other lessons, vocabulary, skills and standards, and tips on differentiation. Throughout the lesson, suggestions on how to present the content are provided. Materials also include specific guidance for embedded technology.

Indicator 3g

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation of materials containing a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The program includes a Teacher Program Guide which includes a program overview, pedagogical approach, pacing guides, guidance for skill instruction, assessment, universal design, and more: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/ela/resources/ela-california-edition/teacher-program-guide/

Also, a section of the Teacher Program Guide addresses technology & Multimedia: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Strategic_Use_of_Technology_and_MultimediaCA-program-over.pdf

Indicator 3h

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The Teacher Program Guide includes unit overviews that show the connection between standards and the Amplify program. The guide provides program organization maps broken down by sub-units to indicate how the Common Core Standards are aligned to the instructional program.

https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Unit_Overviews_and_AlignmentsCA-program-over.pdf

The Amplify approach to standards based instruction is further clarified in their document on skill instruction and practice.

https://help.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Skills_instruction_and_practiceCA-Assess.pdf

Indicator 3i

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies.

Amplify ELA provides a guide to their research-based strategies in the research base section of the teacher’s program guide that fully goes into detail to explain the implementation model.

https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Research_BaseCA-Appendix.pdf

The guide also includes the pedagogical approach: https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Pedagogical_approachCA-Assess.pdf

Indicator 3j

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 contain multiple strategies to inform stakeholders about the program including discussion of the program’s approach to feedback and revision, guidance to teachers on supporting student progress through identifying areas of concern through formative assessments, and enlisting support of parents through home/school communications

Resources are found at https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Home-School_ConnectionCA-Extended.pdf and https://resources.learning.amplify.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Assessment_and_FeedbackCA-Assess.pdf.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials meet expectations for providing teacher resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the standards. Formative and summative assessment opportunities are provided throughout the materials. All assessments clearly indicate which standards are being emphasized, and teachers are provided guidance on how to interpret student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Routines and opportunities to monitor student progress are included throughout the materials.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. There are ample opportunities for assessment placed throughout the program to serve formative needs and to pinpoint summative progress towards standards.

Formative Assessments include Over-the-Shoulder conferences, Spotlight, Solo, and Reading Comprehension Checks. Reading Comprehension checks are placed within each text in the form of a multiple choice “Solo” which checks explicit and implicit understanding. The TE indicates that these “Solos” will occur about 3 times weekly and provide formative assessment for both the class as a whole and individual students. Over-the-shoulder conferences are a staple of the Amplify ELA program and enable teachers to provide nuanced feedback and subtle individualized direction while every student works on a common activity. Over-the-shoulder conferencing is such a key part of the Amplify lessons that a technical feature to support it has been built into the digital lesson structure. When teachers see the symbol and click on it, they see 3-4 squares that describe characteristics of student behavior or student work, specific to the activity that teachers should look for. When teachers click on one of these squares, the system provides direction to the teacher about how to support students approaching the activity in different ways. These context-specific over-the-shoulder conferences always include an “on-track” example and a way to push the “on-track” student further.

The instructional materials include Summative Assessments. End of Unit Essays require the student to write about the text and cite evidence from the text. End of Unit assessments integrate reading and writing skills. The twice yearly summative assessment provides analysis that is tied directly to standards.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the requirement for assessments clearly denoting which standards are being emphasized.

Amplify ELA includes three grades that are each built on seven units of instruction. Within each unit, several sub-units divide a unit’s texts and skills into manageable learning goals. Pages 50-71 in the teachers edition outline which standards are taught in each unit and sub-unit.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

The Teacher Program Guide provides rubrics and scoring practices for the following skills:

  • Focus
  • Use of evidence
  • Logical structure
  • Conventions

Writing assessments are provided to guide the teacher on what skills to target for each student. Used in conjunction with formative writing assessments, teachers can support areas of growth for the needs of each student.

Within the lessons, teachers have access to suggestions for what to say in a particular situation to students in the over-the-shoulder conferences. In addition, the daily reports also provide suggestions for ways teachers can intervene to improve student productivity.

Indicator 3m

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for including routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The following provide opportunities to monitor student progress:

  • Over-the-shoulder conferences allow the teacher to provide “in the moment” feedback to students as they work through a challenging activity or complete a writing prompt
  • Sharing is part of the writing routine. Students produce a specific idea about a text.
  • Spotlight is a digital app that allows teacher to highlight student examples and project those to use for instruction or appreciation.
  • Revision agreements ask students to do a short piece of differentiated revision on one of their pieces of writing. Student practice a particular skill at the same time as they practice the skill of revising itself.
  • Written comments allow students to have the teacher’s recorded feedback. Targeted comments both provide specific feedback on the piece of writing and a small model to guide future writing.
  • Reading comprehension check is a series of 5-8 multiple choice questions tied to a text that the students have not seen before. This is part of the students’ independent work or solo activity.

Indicator 3n

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The materials include a Digital library, and Lexica motivates students to read outside of school. The materials include a Reading Tracker. Pages 639-736 in the teachers guide provide a student guide to the digital library and offer students choices and selections. This includes Starter lists, Independent Reader’s Guides, Lexica, and Peer recommendations. Strategies to support independent reading include Book talks, teacher modeling via think-alouds, book sharing, and partner reading. Accountability and Progress are tracked by digital readers, book sharing conversations, one-on-one conversations, and reading trackers.


Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
8/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners and opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Materials regularly provide support for students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level or in a language other than English and additional extensions and advanced opportunities are available for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Indicator 3o

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so that the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

As noted in the TE on pages 210-216, Amplify uses Universal Design to meet all students where they are and encourage growth. The following is a list of the strategies used to engage all learners:

  • Modeling- Teachers demonstrate how to perform certain tasks, provide examples of student work, and model thinking process aloud
  • Formative Assessment Practices- Teachers monitor student understandings and progress through "understanding checkpoints" and provide elicit feedback
  • Language Production Supports- Teachers provide sentence frames and word banks to enable all students to produce academic writing and speech
  • Background Knowledge- Teachers connect new learning to student experiences and prior learning.
  • Visual Supports: The materials use visuals to guide student language and content learning
  • Oral Language Support: Teachers provide opportunities for students to practice academic discourse frequently.
  • Attention to Language Forms: Teachers foster discussion of how to effectively use words and conventions to convey meaning in context
  • Working with Text Aloud: The materials encourage performance of theater exercises with text, viewing performances of text, and hearing audio versions of required readings as needed
  • Working with Routines: The materials include clear, structured routines that are established at the beginning of the year.


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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for materials regularly providing all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade level standards.

Lessons are coded for different levels. In each lesson there is a differentiation lesson with multiple variations. It is located right at the bottom of the first page and is available to all students. Teachers can combine the lessons and the differentiation easily. Teachers are provided with supports to guide them through the instruction with a variety of learners (disabilities, reading below level, advanced, and EL). Supports include grouping strategies, focusing different students to different parts of the reading, and stopping before discussions to do partner read alouds. Targeted support for students who are learning English is limited.

Flex Days are embedded in each unit to allow students to catch up or move ahead with a variety of activites, including Quests, vocabulary, and language work. Students can work on revisions during these days as well, although there is limited specific support for teachers to assure implementation of this differentiation. On these days, teachers can direct students individually to work on the skills they need, although may need to identify outside resources to support this work.

Three levels of differentiation are provided for the most difficult primary source documents in the Collection. Adapted versions, paraphrased versions, and Spanish version are provided. Alternative vocabulary exercises are also available.

Indicator 3q

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the requirements for regularly including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Flex Days provide time for advanced students to read from the Amplify library and expand vocabulary and language knowledge through games. Supplemental texts to provide additional reading and engagement for advanced learners are identified to accompany all units in the Amplify library.

The instructional materials include extensions and advanced opportunities throughout. For example, over the Shoulder conferences include guidance for the teachers to push students more deeply about a particular topic. Throughout the materials, teachers are provided challenge questions to support the advanced learners. Challenge Writing Prompts are also available.

Indicator 3r

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons.

Within the lessons, students work in collaborative groups and pair-share partners, and teachers are provided with tips on how to organize students. Teachers are encouraged to group students by ability and by language use at different times. Students have the opportunity to work with heterogeneous and homogeneous groups. When students work with partners, sometimes they choose their partners and other times the teacher chooses. For example, in The Chocolate Collection Unit C, Sub Unit 4, Lesson 1 students are arranged in groups to share evidence.

Indicator 3s

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructions materials partially meet expectations 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 (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

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

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed.

On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Materials reviewed are compatible with multiple Internet browsers and operating systems, follow universal programing style, and are accessible on mobile devices. Materials support the effective use of technology throughout modules and lessons and can be easily customized for individual learners. Materials support the use of adaptive or other technological innovations and include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

Indicator 3t

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Technology is used in the following ways:

  • research, integration of dynamic media, and sharing of ideas
  • express and publish information and opinions using digital media and technology (Evidenced in Research units)
  • virtual library with eReader and scaffolds, audio support, and interactive questions
  • Storyboard authoring tools
  • research collections
  • apps/quests
  • learning about using reliable resources and being responsible with internet

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials are easily differentiated to meet the different needs of students. The materials provide real time data to give feedback and help teachers respond to student needs. The eWriter includes feedback tools, so teacher feedback is immediate for students. They can view and comment as students are in the process of writing and make immediate adjustments.

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed can be easily customized for local use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students. Teachers are also able to add notes to the materials.

Indicator 3v

0/
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials include some technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate. For example, teachers can use Spotlight to showcase student work for other students to see.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Materials reviewed are compatible with multiple Internet browsers and operating systems, follow universal programing style, and are accessible on mobile devices. Materials support the effective use of technology throughout modules and lessons and can be easily customized for individual learners. Materials support the use of adaptive or other technological innovations and include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructions materials partially meet expectations 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 (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

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

On a laptop running Windows 10 Home version 1511, everything was accessible using Chrome version 49.0.2623.112. The teacher and student digital program were accessible using Firefox version 45.0.2, but the texts could not be accessed. Using Internet Explorer 11, the teacher and student digital program were accessible, but the texts could not be accessed.

On HTC Android phone Chrome version 50.0.2661.89 everything was accessible, including texts, but it was difficult to move around the pages and see the full content on the program.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

Technology is used in the following ways:

  • research, integration of dynamic media, and sharing of ideas
  • express and publish information and opinions using digital media and technology (Evidenced in Research units)
  • virtual library with eReader and scaffolds, audio support, and interactive questions
  • Storyboard authoring tools
  • research collections
  • apps/quests
  • learning about using reliable resources and being responsible with internet

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials meet expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials are easily differentiated to meet the different needs of students. The materials provide real time data to give feedback and help teachers respond to student needs. The eWriter includes feedback tools, so teacher feedback is immediate for students. They can view and comment as students are in the process of writing and make immediate adjustments.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The materials reviewed can be easily customized for local use. Differentiation and extension opportunities available throughout the instructional materials allow many opportunities to personalize learning as appropriate for students. Teachers are also able to add notes to the materials.

Indicator 3v

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

Materials include some technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate. For example, teachers can use Spotlight to showcase student work for other students to see.

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016

Report Edition: 2016

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
http://www.amplify.com/curriculum/amplifyela Copyright: 2016 0

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

X