Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The Grade 8 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

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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

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The Grade 8 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 8 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
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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 8 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 8 students. Texts consider a range of student interests including (but not limited to) British colonial Africa and Middle East, Colonial America, American Slavery and the Civil War, 19th century science and technological developments, 20th century art, and competition among countries.

Some examples of included texts that have won awards and/or are written by award-winning authors are indicative of the collection as a whole, and include the following:

  • Unit A: Going Solo, by Roald Dahl
  • Unit B: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin, "Declaration of Independence"
  • Unit C: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Frederick Douglass (CCSS Exemplar Text), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Ann Jacobs, "Gettysburg Address," Abraham Lincoln
  • Unit D: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • Unit E: "The Space Race Collection" is an informational and literary text set focused on the development and events of space exploration. A few examples from this collection include (but not limited to): "Moon Speech-Rice Stadium," John F. Kennedy, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, Homer Hickman, “Buzz Aldrin on His Lunar Home, The Eagle," Marc Myers

Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of genres, including novels, informational texts, autobiographies, memoirs, historical documents, and letters.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations, 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 units are a mixture of literature and informational texts.

Some examples of text sets illustrating the mix of informational texts and literature include the following:

Literature

Unit C: Liberty and Equality

  • "Song of Myself," Walt Whitman

Unit D: Science and Science Fiction

  • Gris Grimly's Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • "The Tables Turned," William Wordsworth
  • The Innovators, Chapter 1, Walter Isaacson

Unit E: The Frida & Diego Collection

  • "Sonnet 130," William Shakespeare
  • "Letter to Ella and Bertram Wolfe," from the letters of Frida Kahlo
  • Excerpt of "Frida Kahlo" from the Smithsonian

Informational

Unit B: Biography and Literature

  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson
  • Letters and Documents authored by Benjamin Franklin
  • "Declaration of Independence," Continental Congress

Unit C: Liberty and Equality

  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Ann Jacobs
  • "To My Old Master," Colonel P.H. Anderson
  • The Boy's War, Jim Murphy
  • A Confederate Girl's Diary, Sarah Morgan Dawson

Unit D: Science and Science Fiction

  • "The Introduction to Frankenstein," Mary Shelley
  • Selections for The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson
  • "Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage," L.F. Menabrea translated with notes by Ada, Countess of Lovelace
  • "Debate on the Frame-Work Bill, in the House of Lords, February 27, 1812," Lord Byron

Unit E: The Frida and Diego Collection

  • "Rockefellers Ban Lenin in RCA Mural and Dismiss Rivera," from The New York Times
  • My Art, My Life: An Autobiography, Diego Rivera
  • "Detroit Industry: The Murals of Diego Rivera," from NPR
  • The Diary of Frida Kahlo, Frida Kahlo

Other Media

Unit D: Science and Science Fiction

  • History of a Six Weeks Tour through a Part of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland with Letters Descriptive of a Sail Round the Lake of Geneva of Chamounix, Mary Shelley

Unit E: The Frida and Diego Collection

  • Photographs, paintings and murals of and by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

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

  • Diary (i.e., A Confederate Girl's Diary, Sarah Morgan Dawson)
  • Historical Documents (i.e., "Gettysburg Address," Abraham Lincoln)
  • Biography/Autobiography (i.e., The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin)
  • Memoir (i.e., Going Solo, Roald Dahl)
  • Speech (i.e., "Moon Speech-Rice Stadium," John F. Kennedy)
  • News Articles (i.e., "Rockefellers Ban Lenin in RCA Mural and Dismiss Rivera," from The New York Times)

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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. According to the publisher materials, the range of quantitative (Lexile) measurement over the year is 870-1540and the range of scores for Qualitative measures ranges from 1.5 to 3.

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.

Unit A, World War II and Narrative includes a focus text that is quantitatively in the middle of the stretch band recommended by the CCSS (1080 Lexile). While much of the emphasis of the unit is the use of the text as a mentor text for writing, reading skills, such as close reading for detail and comparing and contrasting are specifically addressed. The qualitative measures are midrange, and the tasks associated with the first texts in the school year make this an appropriate placement. Students write about their own experiences with detail before reading Dahl as a model for writing with detail. Activities require a close reading of the text with annotations and discussion and comparisons of events from the story.

Unit B, Biography & Literature includes texts with quantitative measures ranging from 1300-1450, exceeding the stretch band of quantitative rigor. Therefore it is appropriate that the qualitative measures are somewhat lower to ensure students' comprehension of the texts. Reading tasks, such as text annotation, are emphasized, as well as an in depth character study of Franklin, which leads to several tasks where students analyze the "Declaration of Independence" in light of what they know of Franklin’s character.

Unit C, Liberty and Equality, includes texts with the quantitative measures ranging from 900-1500. This is another unit focusing on leaders and their language use to make meaning and connect history, meaning the qualitative measures are mid-to high range. Paraphrasing, and other reading activities are required to unpack the text. Activities include interactive readings and other medias to help students understand complex language and structures.

Unit D, Science and Science Fiction, includes texts with quantitative measures ranging from 980-1540. Qualitatively, the materials are midrange, supporting students' engaging with unfamiliar language and structures. The structure of the graphic novel allows for emphasis on working with story structure. The texts within the Poe section allow many opportunities to compare texts. In this unit, there is an interesting connection to today's technology using the past inventions and ideas or authors.

Unit F, The Space Race, includes texts with qualitative measures ranging from 870-1490. Qualitative features of the texts in this unit skew lower, as the content is more complex. Students tackle reliability and ethical use issues within the variety of texts. The research and conversation on space and independent research is appropriate for 8th grade students as they prepare to go to high school in a few months. The tasks in this unit give students an opportunity to demonstrate skills required for higher level reading and synthesis.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 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 8, students have support and opportunities to read and comprehend texts that meet the requirements for the end of the Grade 8 and possibly beyond. Texts are placed so students interact with increasingly complex literacy learning over the year. Texts themselves 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 the Grade 8 materials, the program starts with texts in the middle 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.

Thereis a clear progression of complexity throughout the Grade 8 year seen in both the complexity index of texts and increasing demands of reader’s tasks. 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 8 starts with a writing sub-unit, then goes into a close read of Roald Dahl’s Going Solo, with writing about the text. The high quantitative level combined with a fairly uncomplicated narrative structure and simple reader tasks starts off the year. (Note: Students have also read a text by Dahl in grade 6. The revisiting of the author makes the writing more accessible. Writing 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, they move to looking at the motivations of characters in Unit B, Biography and Literature.
  • In Unit C, Liberty and Equality, students are evaluating details in memoirs that cross genres and writing that is evidence-based.
  • Science and Science Fiction, Unit D in the series, students debate human experiences and moral issues on complex topics, such as, scientific and technological developments.
  • In Unit E, The Frida and Diego Collection, students synthesize multiple texts to develop an argument and evaluate various perspectives on a topic.
  • In Unit F, The Space Race Collection, students take a research topic from beginning to end, starting by developing a question, conducting research and synthesize many documents in order to write an essay and create a multi-media project.
  • The final unit is Advanced Story Writing where students create a believable character and write an original short story. This unit also draws from previous grades' work, building from grade 6 to grade 8 in complexity, each year referencing and offering practice of skills taught previously as students creating a new narrative furthering the development of the narrative elements.

Indicator 1e

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

The materials for Grade 8 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 6th-8th grade band. The materials reviewed use an aggregate score for a unit based on text complexity.

The program uses 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 8D, Science and Science Fiction, students begin reading graphic novels and progress to writing evidence-based arguments based on scientific and technological developments. The culminating research project builds on the skills previously learned. Also, The Space Collection Unit 8F requires students to develop a question, research and create a multi-media project.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 8 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. Students practice reading orally and silently, and there are built in components of the curriculum for teachers to attend to students' development in reading.

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 (pages 680-700 of TPG), independent reader’s guides that group works around each unit of study (pages 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, in Unit B, students are introduced to Lincoln and Douglass through dramatic readings and animations.)

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
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Criterion Rating Details

The Grade 8 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 8 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 8 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 8 are dense with text-dependent and specific 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 8 materials include the examples listed here:

Unit A: WWII and Narrative combines multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses.

  • "Describe one difference between the ways that Mdisho and Roald think about war. Use details from the text to show what you mean."
  • "Choose one of the details listed on the board (or one of your own) and explain how it connects to your idea about whether Mdisho or Roald acted more heroically in his encounter with the Germans. (This new detail might add to your idea, or it might change it. Either way is fine!)"

UNIT B: Biography and Literature combines multiple choice text-dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses,

  • "What does Isaacson mean when he calls Franklin 'the founding father who winks at us' (1)? Make sure you cite textual evidence to support your ideas."
  • "Isaacson asserts that the change from 'sacred and undeniable' to 'self-evident' was made by Franklin, but other historians are not so sure. Does this edit sound like something Franklin would have written? Cite textual evidence to support your ideas."

Unit C: Liberty and Equality combines multiple choice text-dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses.

  • "What does Douglass emphasize in the beginning of his autobiography and what is he telling the reader about what matters to him?"
  • "Do you agree with Jacobs’s statement, 'Such were the unusually fortunate circumstances of my early childhood' (1, 3), that she was fortunate for not knowing until she was 6 that she was a slave? Note that there is no wrong answer here, but you must support your reasons for agreeing or not agreeing with evidence from the text."
  • "Why is this chapter titled 'What a Foolish Boy'? Give two concrete details from the chapter and tell how you think each supports your answer."

Unit 4: Science and Science Fiction combines multiple choice text dependent questions to check comprehension with constructed responses. Some examples include:

  • "Chapter 2 of Volume II ends with Victor Frankenstein saying, 'For the first time I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were' (85). What does this mean, and why does he say it? We know that the creature has demanded a mate, and we know that Victor is afraid of disappointing him. So why does Victor destroy the mate he was creating right after seeing the creature’s face in the window?
  • "What would Lovelace, Byron, or the speaker in Wordsworth's poem (choose two) say about the world Brautigan imagines?"

Unit D: The Frida & Diego Collection contains a scavenger hunt where students comb texts by doing close reading to answer a number of text-dependent questions. In addition, there is an opportunity for constructed response where students are applying the knowledge gained through the scavenger hunt to new questions that relate to Grade 7, Unit 1.

  • "In seventh grade, while reading Red Scarf Girl, you may also have studied the use of propaganda posters in China. They were designed in very specific ways, and you explored what they were meant to communicate. Let’s venture beyond the current scavenger hunt and revisit 'Mao as the Sun.' Study the poster again. You will compare this poster to Diego Rivera’s painting Man, Controller of the Universe. Select three design details from each of the two pieces of artwork, and compare how they communicate their message."

Unit E: The Space Race unit also contains a scavenger hunt where students comb texts by doing close reading to answer a number of text dependent questions. In addition, there is an opportunity for constructed response where students are applying the knowledge gained through the scavenger hunt to new questions.

  • "During the scavenger hunt, you read diverse texts and you examined several images. Read the poem 'Stars' by Robert Frost and describe what he sees. Support your answer with at least three details from the text."
  • "Man has been dreaming of space travel for hundreds of years. In the 1960s, the dreams became a reality. But man has also been thinking about 'aliens' who may one day visit our planet. Published in 1898, The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells is about Martians invading earth. Read the passage below and respond to the following prompt: How do Wells's opening paragraphs create a feeling of suspense. Cite at least three examples."

Indicator 1h

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

The Grade 8 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 in writing and speaking. Samples from the materials that represent this indicator include the following:

The culminating task in Unit A is an essay: "Choose two people that Dahl meets over the course of his three years away from home and compare the overall idea Dahl presents about each person. How do the details Dahl uses convey this idea?"

The culmination for Unit B includes an essay and an activity. Students write a culmination essay to the prompt: "What are two different sides of Franklin that you’ve noticed in the readings? Describe each side, discuss where you remember seeing evidence of it, and explain whether the two sides seem connected or contradictory."/. In a culmination activity at the end of Sub Unit 1, students imagine how Franklin would behave in various modern-day scenarios.

The culmination essay for Unit C asks student to choose from two prompts:

  • "How does Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, try to change what his readers/listeners believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that 'All men are created equal'?"
  • or "How does Douglass, in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, try to change what his readers believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that 'All men are created equal'?"

For Unit D, students write a culminating essay and debate an argument on the following prompt: Is the creature human? Students are assigned a group, a side, and a role, and then groups develop the arguments they will deliver during the debates on the question of who better deserves our sympathy: Victor Frankenstein or his creature.

In Unit E, the culminating activity is research and writing. Students select Frida & Diego-related topics that they would like to explore, work independently to construct effective research questions, then search the Internet for reliable sources that will provide the relevant information they need to answer their questions.

The culminating activity for Unit F is Socratic Seminar where students rely on their research to examine issues inherent in the history of the Space Race. At the end of the unit, students synthesize all of the skills they’ve developed to tackle a culminating research assignment that is part-essay, part-media project.

Indicator 1i

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

The 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 and debates. A few ways students use this speaking and listening protocol to practice is illustrated in the following examples:

  • A routine that provides an opportunity for evidence-based discussions is the spotlight procedure. Student work is posted digitally and discussed by the class. An example of this routine is found in Grade 8, Unit 8A, Sub Unit 2 Getting Started, Lesson 2 “Focus on a Moment.” The spotlighted assignments facilitate discussion around exemplary work. In this unit, papers that have an effective focus are used. The Spotlight app allows teachers to display work on a classroom digital “wall” and tag the selection with a citation for its effectiveness.
  • Unit B: Students discuss questions with a partner, referring to specific words and phrases in the text to substantiate your answers: "Whom are the writers of the Declaration of Independence talking about? Whom are the writers of the Declaration of Independence talking to?"
  • Structured classroom debates provide opportunities for students to choose their position, prepare opening arguments, listen to the opposing side, and construct impromptu rebuttal.

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 D: Science and Science Fiction, Lesson 2, Victor’s Scientific Passions. Students translate four quotations from the block of text on pages 34-35 to understand what Victor wants to know, how he looks for answers, and what he ends up discovering.
  • In the Liberty and Equality unit students perform speeches from Frederick Douglass after watching interpretations and reading speeches. Students study the content, language, and structure of these texts to prepare.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 8 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 E, The Frida and Diego Collection, Sub Unit 1 Information Literacy Lesson 1, students participate in a class discussion about the credibility of a text. In addition to working as a class, students work in pairs. Instructions include, “Students work with partners to discuss the reliability of the tree octopus site and then participate in a class discussion about source dependability.”

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, Teacher Program 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
    • For example, in Unit B, students listen to an audio clip and follow along in the reading, and are introduced to Franklin’s many interests and accomplishments.
  • 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.
    • Example: Unit D, Sub Unit 1, Frankenstein, students engage in a “Sympathy Debate.” Students continue with the routine of preparing for a debate with a group, side and role by finding the main idea of their position. After the debate, the class holds a discussion and receives feedback of their performance.

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. For example, in Declare Yourself, students debate in a mock Second Continental Congress.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectation of a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. 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. One Unit selection of on-demand writing includes:Find something that Lincoln claims the "we" have in common, and say whether you agree or disagree with him based on the readings that the class looked at today. Later in the Unit, students write an essay:

  • Essay Prompt: How does Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, try to change what his readers/listeners believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that "All men are created equal"?
    or
    How does Douglass, in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, try to change what his readers believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that "All men are created equal"?

Process writing builds over the school year. The lessons usually start with a focus on the body of the essay before considering its other parts. As the year progresses, each essay assignment adds a new structural element on which students focus. By the end of the year, students are writing essays that flow from their internalized understanding of argumentative structure, rather than adhering to the rules of a formula. Each Lesson Overview for the first essay lesson explains the logic behind its sequencing of elements and provides details about writing an essay on each unit’s text. Revision is addressed in the context of authentic writing.

In Unit F, students spend six lessons researching and writing fully processed text. This lesson sequence reinforces skills learned in earlier units and grades, 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. The unit concludes with a media project and presentation. Students will create a visual representation of their research and essays using the online collage app Loupe. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for their collage.

Indicator 1l

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

The 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. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. 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:

  • Unit D: Argue both sides of a question about the creature’s humanity and defend your final answer.
  • Unit E: Frida Kahlo: Who was right Rivera or Rockefeller?

Informative/Explanatory Examples:

  • Unit B: Write an essay where you examine the different facets of Franklin and resolve the contradictions within his character.
  • Unit C: How does Douglass, in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, try to change what his readers believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that "All men are created equal"?

Narrative Examples:

  • Unit G: Advanced Story Telling: This unit is consistent with grade 6 and grade 7 in that is provides an opportunity for students to write narrative and incorporate the elements of the narrative studied for the year. Each year builds on the previous writing tasks and narrative elements.

Indicator 1m

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

The materials for Grade 8 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 of 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 examples. All tasks require students to identify specific components of the texts read:

  • Unit A: Develop your ideas and weave them together into an argument that’s easy to follow.
  • Unit B: Write an essay where you examine the different facets of Franklin and resolve the contradictions within his character.
  • Unit C: Claim whether Lincoln or Douglass redefined the concept of equality. How does Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, try to change what his readers/listeners believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that "All men are created equal"? How does Douglass, in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, try to change what his readers believe about what it means to be dedicated to the American idea that "All men are created equal"?
  • Unit E: Who was right, Rivera or Rockefeller?

The Grade 8 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
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Indicator Rating Details

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. 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.

Instructions for grammar instruction are found on pages 142-161 of TPG, and includes spelling. Flex days are used to teach explicit grammar instruction and is available at the end of the Get Started sub-unit in Unit 1 for each grade level. These exercises cover the language skills for grammar advised by the CCSS for grades 3-8. The program allows pacing to be at the discretion of the teacher depending on the skills of the students. The lessons provide opportunities for the teacher to target specific skills. In addition to the flex days, the program instructs teachers to use time during revision activities and over the shoulder conferences to target grammar skills for students who may need extra time. The program provides examples for teachers on how to encourage students with grammar skills. For example:

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 from gym class.
  • Lesson 8: Write about a moment when you met someone who was very different from what you expected him or her to be.

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 9: Identifying Participles
  • Flex Day, Grammar 7: Unit 3, Lesson 12: Changing Verb Voice for a Different Impact

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 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 105 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 140 words, and, almost all of the sentences are complete and punctuated correctly.


Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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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
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 8 instructional materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 2a. Text units are arranged by theme: Dahl & Narrative, Biography & Literature, Liberty & Equality, Science & Science Fiction, and research units The Frida & Diego Collection and the Space Race 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 Science & Science Fiction Unit pairs Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein with a selection about Ada Love, computer programmer, both working to build students' knowledge around science understandings in culture and how innovation is perceived in society.

Biography & Literature selections of Excerpts from Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson; The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin; Benjamin Franklin documents (letters and other documents authored by Franklin); and the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress are included to build knowledge of Franklin and trace his development as a writer and thinker.

Liberty & Equality pairs writings by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln with selections that focus on slavery and the Civil War. The pairings are purposeful to the end of helping students to reach the established goal of thinking how the world could be different.

Indicator 2b

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

The Grade 8 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 2b. Students work with texts and work to analyze language, key ideas, the craft and structure of individual text, and look closely at the texts to grow knowledge about topics. Students read closely and thoroughly and explore the meanings of texts through tasks and questions that integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The materials focus on the small pieces that make up texts as well as the larger structural and organizational components that support students' understanding of how the text is developed.

Materials use paraphrasing as a technique to practice identifying the specifics of language choices and impact of key vocabulary. An example is in Unit 8A with "The Voyage Out." Directions to the teacher include an explanation of this strategy in use: “... one reason we have students paraphrase: to create an alternate version to compare to the original. By putting these two versions side-by-side, students can notice what makes the original special—and can see more clearly how these distinctive qualities make a particular kind of impact on the reader.” Students get an opportunity in Unit A to work with paraphrasing and studying the impact of language: “Try rewriting Dahl’s language so it sounds like something you could say to a friend.” and “Why do you think Dahl might have chosen these words instead of those you chose in your paraphrase?”

Identification and analysis of important words is a key element throughout the materials. Students are directed to sections, paragraphs, phrases, and words throughout text study in the online components: “Students zoom in on a short phrase and consider the impact it makes.” and “the highlighted phrase gives us a strong feeling for what’s going to happen in Little Red Riding Hood. " There are suggestions for the teacher to support students in this effort as they consider the impact of different words and their meanings.

Other examples from the materials that demonstrate how this program supports students' growth with these literacy components include the following:

In Unit 8A, students study Roald Dahl's language choices and craft as an author. Examples from the lesson include this prompt: “So, as readers, we want to keep asking ourselves why did the author chose to keep this part instead of leaving it out? And why did he tell us about it in this way instead of in another? What kind of impact is he trying to make on us, his readers?” “Students select details in both passages as examples of what makes Dahl's 2 descriptions different.”

In Unit 8C, Liberty & Equality, students analyze the revisions Lincoln made to the Gettysburg Address to focus on the craft involved in constructing the speech. Particular attention is paid to the word “Dedicate” and how the different ways it is used in the speech. This is compared to the use of the word in other texts in the Unit: students analyze the meaning of the second paragraph of The Gettysburg Address with five groups each taking a different text to see how the word “dedicate” is used. Ex. “In this excerpt, what does Douglass seem to be dedicated to?”

In this same Unit, students to reflect deeply on the texts they have studied. The following example comes from lesson for students revising their essays on Douglas and Franklin: “Students reflect on whether their ideas about Lincoln's or Douglass's strategic language choices have or have not changed since they wrote their initial claim statements.” This is preceded by study of the language choices within each piece.

Indicator 2c

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

The Grade 8 materials meet the expectations of indicator 2c. There are ample opportunities for students to gain practice and build knowledge with text dependent questions and tasks throughout the year with multiple texts within the units. Some of these questions relate to one text and others require students to use information from multiple texts. The strong layering of topics within each unit leads to deeper understandings and integration of knowledge and ideas. Additionally, this is further supported by the connections between units within the grade level and across grade levels.

Lessons build on one another. An example is a lesson from Unit B: Biography & Literature. Sub-Unit 2, lesson 1 shows this building of knowledge. After studying Benjamin Franklin for fourteen lessons, students are asked to focus on the last phrase of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and think if it is something Benjamin Franklin would have written. “Lesson 1: Focus on the last phrase of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: 'a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.' Does this sound like something Franklin would have written?"

Another example is found in Unit C, Liberty & Equality. In Sub-unit 4, lesson 1, "A New Nation," students look for connections between the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. “Reread the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, highlighting words that help explain why the writers were forming a new nation. “ In the next lesson (lesson 2), "Dedicate," students analyze the meaning of the second paragraph of The Gettysburg Address with five groups each taking a different text to see how the word “dedicate” is used. For example, “In this excerpt, what does Douglass seem to be dedicated to?”

In Unit D, Science & Science Fiction, Sub-Unit 3, lesson 5, students reflect and write on multiple texts. From the overview: “In “The Tables Turned,” students connect Wordsworth’s poem to a passage from Frankenstein, and in “Man and Machines,” students connect Brautigan’s poem to any two passages from Lessons 1–4.”

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.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2d. The materials build students' knowledge of topics using sequences of high quality questions and tasks that culminate in engaging tasks that allow them to demonstrate integrated literacy skills. Some examples of how these materials meet the expectations of this indicator include the following examples:

In Liberty & Equality, Unit 8C, students complete the sub-unit on Frankenstein in Unit 8D, Sub-unit 1, lesson 14, with a debate. This unit includes material to help prepare students for the roles in the debate, short video clips to watch, as well as a poll and opportunities for discussion.

One culminating tasks, along with an essay, for the Friday & Diego Collection is a multi-media collage presentation. This project is based on the research students have done throughout the unit. The following is directions for one task: “Tell students that they will have eight minutes to get ready for their presentations. They should choose the person that will present the collage. Then they will help the presenter by discussing the collage and taking notes for the presenter to use during the presentation. The notes should be brief: they should be reminders for the presenter, not a script. The group discussions should answer the following questions:

  • What is the main idea for the collage? What are you trying to convey?
  • Why did you choose various elements in the collage?
  • What will the closing thought be? It should restate the main idea and leave the class with something to think about.

The penultimate unit again tasks students to address multiple texts in their research through a Socratic seminar and media project. Notes to the teacher support implementing this work well, as there is a lot of detail in the instructions: “Tell students that they will have eight minutes to get ready for their presentations. They should choose the person that will present the timeline. Then they will help the presenter by discussing the timeline and taking notes for the presenter to use during the presentation. The notes should be brief; they should be reminders for the presenter, not a script.”

Many tasks leverage the use of technology. The culminating task for the Frida & Diego Collection uses an app called Loupe to create an interactive collage. The Space Race Collection uses myhistro.com to create an interactive timeline. The entire content leverages the use of technology as it is a digital curriculum. This is powerfully realized in interactive vocabulary exercises, quick class polls that are displayed and discussed, access to immediate feedback on multiple choice assessments, Spotlight app to highlight student work, and loom workspace app that assists students with research and citing relevant sources.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials for Grade 8 fully meet the expectations of indicator 2e. The materials provide a year-long approach to building students' academic vocabulary, providing them opportunities to master many new words, practice those learned earlier, and apply new vocabulary across multiple contexts. Similar to Grades 6 and 7, the materials include a goal for students to master 500 new vocabulary words over the course of the school year. The lesson plans include daily support for this goal: five minutes are allotted at the beginning of each lesson for vocabulary development delivered through the Amplify Vocab Application. Vocabulary words are also listed in the daily lesson guide. Teachers are encouraged to use these words throughout instruction. These words are found in a “Words to Use” section of the Teacher Guide where descriptions of vocabulary routines are provided for both whole class and paired instruction.

Mastery is measured through assessment activities determining the right use of a word in context. Games also exist to study morphology, figurative language, dictionary skills, words in context (via the Lexica activity), and synonyms/antonyms study

The Amplify ELA Program Guide lists domain-specific vocabulary in different subject areas including Social Studies, Art, Science, and ELA Literacy. For example, in Grade 8, "The Frida & Diego Collection" lists the words: mural, sketch, scaffold, mezzanine, chiaroscuro, fuchsia, fresco, iconic, commissioned, and aesthetic alongside descriptions of the skill-building activities where they employ the vocabulary.

Other examples of vocabulary development appear in the questions and tasks students encounter during lessons; for example, in Unit 8B, Lesson 1 “Walter Isaacson packs a lot of meaning into his language. Sometimes a single word or short phrase tells us a lot. Let’s look at 'civic improvement' from paragraph 1, sentence 4.” Students create a word web to understand the academic vocabulary building of the phrase listed.

The Reveal tool is a feature students use while reading text that identifies and marks vocabulary as accessible through context or needing more support. A digital application, the support is provided to students as they click on the word to bring up a substituted word in context. The words identified with the Reveal tool are words necessary for understanding the text. A list is provided of a selection’s Reveal words at, above, or across grade level, with additional information on part of speech, context, and definition. Students are encouraged to incorporate these words in their writing.

Proficiency with vocabulary is monitored with short assessments that require the student to select a word used in the correct manner.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

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 to generate ideas. For example:

  • Lesson 1: Write about one recent moment from gym class.
  • Lesson 2: Write about one moment when you saw something unexpected on your way home. After they are more comfortable with their stories, students read Dahl and respond to prompts connected to the text to focus on the details (a narrative element they will practice later).

Examples of prompts that follow these idea generation activities include:

  • Lesson 5: Describe one difference between the ways that Mdisho and Roald think about war. (Use details from the text to show what you mean.)
  • Lesson 7: After hearing Mdisho’s story, Roald says: "I myself am tremendously proud of you….To me, you are a great hero" (Mdisho of the Mwanumwezi, 57).
  • Who do you think acted more heroically in his encounter with the Germans, Mdisho or Roald? Compare the two characters by using a specific detail from each of their stories.

Unit G includes a culminating writing assignment at the end of the year that requires students to use the skills they have practiced and learning from the beginning of the year. The lessons have progressed throughout the year from skills and tasks for writing. In this unit, students will demonstrate their skills with the following:

  • Moving from personal narrative to writing a fictional narrative
  • Use their author’s craft to show perspective in their writing
  • Push students from using prompts to creating their own stories through their imagination
  • Create believable characters

As modeled in previous lessons, students and teachers will participate in the following:

  • Targeted instruction, skills drills and revision assignments
  • Over-the-shoulder conferences (OTSC)
  • Writing process including peer review

Indicator 2g

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

The materials for Grade 8 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 8 materials. They fall at Unit 5 and 6 out of 7 units. 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 E, The Frida & Diego Collection, students practice and demonstrate identifying the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, in addition to learning to identify the credibility and uses of sources. The unit concludes with a media project and presentation. Students create a visual representation of their research and essays using the online collage app Loupe. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for their collage. Students chose between an informative or argument essay to finish the unit.

In Scavenger Hunts, students are provided sources and asked to search for answers. This provides opportunities to read through selections and allow students to research on a basic level as they uncover content and practice identifying good research evidence.

The overview provides some framing for how the research projects work with the year-long writing and reading development plans: "Students spend lessons researching and writing a five-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. The unit concludes with a media project and presentation. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for the timeline."

After students have practiced both informative and argument, they can choose from either to write their final paper and project in this unit. After reading and prompting from the teacher, students get to choose a topic they want to further develop and research for their own.

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.

The concern for the two units is that students have a choice with both and may choose to write only in the informative or argument. Although this may occur, students are working with both writing tasks throughout both research units. The 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
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Indicator Rating Details

The Grade 8 materials fully meet the expectations of indicator 2h, providing a design (including accountability) for how students will engage with independent reading. 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. Printables are available for students to record reading goals, pages read, reflections, and tracking of genres.

Many lessons conclude with a “solo” activity for reading. In these solos, students read a passage and answer multiple choice questions as a comprehension check. An example from Unit 8B ("Declaration of Independence, lesson 1") students read "Jefferson’s Role in the Declaration of Independence"

Other solos have students read texts of their own choice. For example, in Science & Science Fiction, Sub Unit 3, lesson 3, “Students have time for independent reading. Let them know that this activity is not optional.” Space is included for students to record information about their reading.

The system that tracks independent reading is embedded with the Amplify Library. The Reading Tracker 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 (p 680-700 of TPG) independent reader’s guides that group works around each unit of study (p710-736 of TPG), books encountered on Lexica, and peer recommendation lists. There are additional strategies called out to support independent reading such as book talks, teacher modeling through think-alouds, book sharing, partner reading, vocabulary work in context, writing and online book pages for sharing. Suggestions for accountability are writing on shared documents, online posts, one-on-one conferences with students.

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.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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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 opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade level standards. 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

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8/8
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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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 Liberty and Equality lesson segment, for fifteen minutes students read the first six paragraphs of the text with no support to see what they can figure out on their own before seeing the dramatic reading of the same paragraphs. Three minutes is a whole class Intro & Read. Students read and then complete Multiple Choice 1 for two minutes, and students read and then complete Multiple Choice 2-6 for ten minutes.


Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 8th grade appears on pages 42-43 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 8 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 E Frida & Diego, Sub Unit 2, Lesson 2, students reread the text starting at paragraph 9. The teacher prompts students to highlight in yellow two details to use in an argument and highlight in blue one detail that they think the other side might present but that they do not consider to be valid evidence.

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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, World War II and Narrative Unit A, Sub Unit 3, Lesson 2 citations include CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.3, CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2, and CA CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2.B.

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 8 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 8 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 8 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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 8 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
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 8 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
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 8 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 8 meet the expectations of assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

TE: Rubrics and examples of student work are included, the gradebook tracks student scores, student goal setting

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 8 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 8 meets 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 8 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, but may need additional support from external resources.

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 8 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 8 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 Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Unit C, Sub Unit 2, Lesson 1, students work in pairs and then move to groups. Students move from one partner to another.

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 8 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 8 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.

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