Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 6-8 meet expectations for alignment and usability in all grades. Lessons and tasks are centered around high-quality texts. Texts provided with the materials 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. Materials build knowledge and skills through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The instructional materials meet expectations for use and design, teacher planning, learning of the standards for students and professional learning support for teachers. Standards-aligned assessment, differentiated instruction, and support for learners are accounted for within the materials. Suggestions for technology use are present. Overall, the 6-8 materials attend to alignment to the standards and to structural supports and usability.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
35
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
30
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

Texts are of quality, rigorous, and at the right text complexity for grade level, student, and task, and are therefore worthy of the student’s time and attention. A range of tasks and questions and task develop reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills that are applied in authentic tasks. Questions and tasks are text-dependent and engage students in rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing.

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 reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for core texts (anchor) being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading that considers the range of students’ interests. Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards and include texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Texts are accompanied by a text-complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading. Texts address diverse cultures, differing historical periods as well as other content areas such as the sciences.

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 6 meet the expectations for core texts (anchor) being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading and considers the range of students’ interests. Many of the central (anchor) texts have won awards or are written by award-winning authors. Many of the core texts have won awards or are written by award-winning authors. Core and anchor texts include a variety of genres and consider a range of students’ interests, including, but not limited to, adventure stories, argumentative topics, natural disasters, mythology, folktales, mystery, and fantasy. Texts are rich in language, engaging, and relevant. Furthermore, texts present universal and multiple multicultural themes which integrate other content areas.

The following are texts that represent how these materials meet the expectations for this indicator:

  • In Unit 1, students read the text, Found: The Missing Book 1 by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This action-packed science fiction story weaves high-tech science into an exciting plot that will engage students. Students also read Gone Missing: A Book of Strange Disappearances and Unexplained Events by John Townsend. This nonfiction book will intrigue students as they will view snapshots of unsolved disappearances either at sea, lighthouses, or people who simply vanished seemingly from thin air.
  • In Unit 2, Earth’s Changing Crust: Plate Tectonics and Extreme Events by Rebecca Harman, details a journey to the center of the Earth to help students answer questions about Earth’s formation. This text is rich in content vocabulary and worthy of careful reading. Students will also have the opportunity to choose from a variety of engaging text exemplars around the topic of Geology such as “Mountains of Fire: Volcanoes Inside and Out” by Spencer Christian and Antonia Felix, “The Fracas Over Fracking” from Odyssey Magazine, and “Volcano!” by Bill Haduch.
  • In Unit 3, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. This is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This series is a New York Times Bestseller and has won several awards including being named ALA Notable Book for 2005, Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2006, and Child Magazine’s A Best Book of 2005. This text’s allusions to mythology and adventure format would be of high interest for students.

In Unit 4, the text Exploring Africa by Deborah Underwood answers questions about Africa using detailed maps and information about plants, animals, weather and natural resources. This text is engaging for Grade 6 students. In addition, three anchor texts are explored in this unit. Africa is Not a Country is a collection of narratives where students can learn about culture of Africa through first person narratives; Modern Africa, which contains several pictures that contribute to the text and African Culture which uses charts/ graphs/ maps to convey information.

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 for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. For example, the Grade 6 materials include a Hook Book Static Library of engaging texts to hook readers, paired core texts, genre studies, and thematic sets of books centered around science and social studies themes. In addition, a 100 Book Challenge Rotating Classroom Library for daily practice at the appropriate level of challenge is provided.

Anchor texts and supplemental texts include a mix of informational and literary texts reflecting the distribution of text types required by the standards. A wide distribution of genres and text types as required by standards are evident, including realistic fiction, myths, nonfiction (including persuasive articles), science and social studies informational text, fantasy, retold classics and historical fiction.

The following are examples of literary texts found within the instructional materials:

  • In Unit 1, students read the text, Found: The Missing Book 1 (Science Fiction) by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
  • In Unit 2, students read the text, Night of the Howling Dogs (realistic fiction) by Graham Salisbury and the text, Quake - Disaster in San Francisco (historical fiction) by Gale Langer Karwoski.
  • In Unit 3, students read the text, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief (adventure fiction) by Rick Riordan and Egyptians Myths Legends, (myths) by Fiona McDonald.
  • In Unit 4, students read the text, The Door of No Return (historical fiction) by Sara Mussi.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read the text, Gone Missing: A Book of Strange Disappearances and Unexplained Events (Nonfiction - Mystery) by John Townsend.
  • In Unit 2, students read a series of text exemplars that includes text such as “What Is the Theory of Plate Tectonics?” by Craig Saunders and “Movement at Plate Boundaries” by Fionna Watts.
  • In Unit 3, students read texts, such as D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire and Tales of the Seven Wonders, by Paula Reece.
  • In Unit 4, students read the texts, Africa (informational) by Deborah Underwood and Life in Ancient Africa (nonfiction) by Hazel Richardson.

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

The materials are designed with flexibility so that consumers can choose and interchange multiple texts sets based on the topics and levels desired. Accompanying task and resource materials are not text-specific so that they apply across multiple text sets and grade bands. The instructional year begins with a literacy lab that is intended to capture readers' attention with engaging text. The text sets are designed so that students will have access to numerous texts at all reading levels that are read in small and whole group as well as independently. The philosophy of the publishers is self-directed learning and reading through literacy and research labs.

Quantitative and qualitative information for anchor texts is provided in the Teacher’s Edition or online in SchoolPace, and the numerous text sets that accompany each unit are leveled according to the publishers framework--IRLA. The publishers state: “The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is a unified standards-based framework for student assessment, text leveling, and curriculum and instruction. The IRLA includes every Common Core Standard for Reading, both in literature and informational text, as well as those Language standards key to reading success, for students in grades PreK through 12.”

Examples of text that are of the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Geology, the core text is a Geology Exemplar Pack. This is an exemplar pack created by the publisher that includes texts at varied levels. The majority of the texts are within the Grade 6-8 grade band when looking at the quantitative, qualitative as well as reader and task. Students read, Volcanoes, Danger from Beneath the Earth (Grade 9 IRLA level) but appropriate as a Grade 7-8 book because the text is easy to follow with one general concept throughout. The text includes several examples of discipline-specific vocabulary. Students also read Good Things Are Worth Waiting For Lexile 680 (quantitative) which is in Grade 2-3 band; however, it is leveled as Grade 5 because of the complex organization of the text and several discipline specific terms that are crucial to understanding the text (quantitative). At the end of the unit, students will pick one topic on which to become an expert. The task of researching the topic and writing an informational book is aligned to the texts that students will read.
  • In Unit 3, Mythology, students read texts such as Tales of the Seven Wonders by Paula Reece (IRLA 7th-8th), D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire: Lexile 1070 (IRLA - 6th), and Religion in the Ancient World: Illustrated Guide by Elizabeth Breuilly (IRLA - 7th-8th). These texts are of the appropriate complexity for Grade 6. After reading and analyzing a range of models, students will use the concepts they have obtained through their readings to craft constructed responses and one essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre as well as publish a short story/picture book in the genre.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that 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).

ARC provides students with access to leveled texts which address a range of science, social studies, history, and literary topics across all grade bands. Rigor of text is appropriate in aggregate over the course of the school year and students will engage with texts at varying levels from unit to unit.

The Publisher Notes explain that the leveled libraries provided with each unit will increase in complexity throughout the school year. The Field Guide explains that students work independently in these libraries; however, teacher guidance supports them to continue to raise their reading levels. Students have access to multiple texts that measure below, at, or above grade level. Scaffolding is not text-specific, but focuses on the skills needed to access texts in that genre (informational text, fantasy novels, argument essays, etc).

The Field Guide (Teacher Manual) directs the teacher to “...read and discuss at least two related grade-level texts, one literature and one informational (texts may be drawn from a school/district’s existing texts and/or those supplied with this unit).” While grade-level texts are recommended there is limited guidance to help schools or teachers choose grade-level texts, apart from the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework) system that accompanies the program.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that anchor and series of connected texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The American Reading Company (ARC) utilizes their IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) System, drawing on the three measures of text complexity, to level texts. The publisher states, “To determine reading level, every book is double-blind, hand-leveled using the three legs of text complexity and located on our developmental taxonomy of reading acquisition. Books in every collection wear a brightly colored sticker identifying their placement within the IRLA's color-coded leveling system.”

Each book has a sticker as to how it was leveled by the IRLA’s System.

For example, Unit 2: Geology. Students read the core text Volcano by Bill Haduch.

  • Quantitative Measure: 1070L (6th-10th)
  • Qualitative Measure: Purpose/Structure: Middle High. The purpose is implied, but can be inferred. There are explicit connections between ideas.Language: Middle High. There is a dense amount of volcano-related vocabulary (e.g., crater, lava flow, pyroclastic flows, lahars).Knowledge Demands: Middle High. The text requires a basic understanding of geology.
  • Purpose and Rationale for Placement: All texts are to help students answer the Essential Question: Why does geology matter?
  • Additional exemplars are provided in this unit that “explore themes related to geology and culture, draw from a variety of disciplines and genres, and were selected because they are robust enough to sustain interesting conversations.”.

Additional texts to accompany the core texts are to be chosen from the Thematic Leveled Research Library in order for students to research their individual topics. These texts have stickers that reflect the IRLA system’s level.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of anchor and supporting texts to provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities for students to engage in reading a variety of texts to become independent readers at their grade level. Texts address diverse cultures, differing historical periods as well as other content areas such as the sciences. Within each unit of study, a variety of books are offered at different levels, as indicated by the company’s IRLA leveling system. Reading Log Sheets are provided within units to support the continuation of Independent Reading (divided by Fiction and Nonfiction to keep students reading a variety of types of books). Students are given a choice on what book to read, what subtopic to research, what topic to write about, which position to support. Research Lab Baskets: The books are organized by reading difficulty. The basket color and the matching stickers show you where each book belongs. The baskets are arranged from least complex to most complex. Students select 3–5 books from a variety of levels.

Instructional materials also identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading as they grow toward independence:

  • The 100 book challenge is a clear indicator/opportunity for students to engage in a volume of reading.
  • The ARC Literacy Lab Overview and Unit is focused on getting students engaged in reading and getting them in the habit of reading independently.
  • Reading Log Sheets are provided within the other units to support the continuation of Independent Reading and the amount of reading they are actually doing.

Materials include a mechanism for teachers and/or students to monitor progress toward grade level independence:

  • Teachers are given explicit direction and guidance in Unit 1 toward determining student’s IRLA for teachers to monitor progress toward grade-level independence. If utilized, this will help students choose “just right” books and progress to achieve grade-level reading experiences.
  • Reading Log Sheets are provided within the other units to support the continuation of Independent Reading (divided by Fiction and Nonfiction to keep students reading a variety of types of books) which helps them monitor their progress with what they are reading.
  • Students complete tasks and teachers check on a daily basis for understanding and completion of task. The guide suggests asking these two questions:
    • What else do students need to learn from this text in order to master this concept?
    • Is there a common misunderstanding to address?

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Materials meet the expectations of materials providing multiple opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills in concert with their practice in reading for understanding. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners to have evidence-based discussion across the year and support is provided for students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Most of the curriculum embeds a variety of writing types throughout the school year that includes a mix of both on-demand and process writing and provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in every unit. The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Materials for the literacy and research labs provide graphic organizers and instructional support tasks for students to engage with text as well as collect textual evidence that builds toward a research topic or literary theme. The general format reading questions (Research Questions), graphic organizers. and instructional tasks are designed to be used across multiple thematic units and across grade levels.

Example text dependent questions include:

  • What claim(s) are the authors making? Underline the sentence that best states their claim. Do you believe them?
  • What evidence do S. Christian and A. Felix provide to support their claim? Did anything surprise you about what you read?
  • Where do they explain their reasoning on how this evidence leads to their claim?
  • Why do the authors include the qualifier “on the planet”?
  • According to the text, why will the future Earth be as quiet and cold as the Moon? What evidence supports your answer?

Additional texts within the unit have questions that are text specific to a genre of text. For example, after a student/teacher has chosen a text of a specific genre, students are to answer the following questions:

  • How does this episode propel the action and how is it important to the conflict(s)?
  • What does this episode reveal about the characters?
  • How does this episode explore a key issue or reveal the author’s position?

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Questions and tasks are organized for students to gather details or practice skills needed for the culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks require students to gather details or information using research questions and graphic organizers to write a story or report instead of utilizing specific texts.

The reading for each unit works to extend students’ knowledge of topics. The culminating tasks are research projects which require students to gather information.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students read and discuss multiple texts and use knowledge gained to write both a narrative and argument essay process writing.
  • In Unit 2, text sequenced dependent questions build to a task requiring students to become an expert on a topic. Students are to select a geological process or product to research and be able to describe it by responding to these questions:
    • Describe this geological process/product including how it is made; explain the theory of plate tectonics.
    • How does plate tectonics determine where this process/product is most likely to be located?; create a timeline showing Earth’s history in geologic time.
    • How is the concept of geologic time important to the study of geology and your process/product?
    • Draw a diagram of the Earth showing the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. How does this process/product impact each of the systems?; How is this process/product important to human societies? In what ways have scientists and engineers worked to control this process/product?
    • By the end of this unit, students will become an expert on one geological process and publish final projects.
  • In Unit 3, a novel study uses mini lessons and shared/close reading of grade level novels to teach the literature standards and literary analysis. Students read from a leveled library of books in this genre and informational texts related to the genre. Teacher materials include a genre card with a list of questions and students are directed to read as many myths as possible and use the guide to discuss the stories and the cultures that created them. The culminating task is for students to create their own myth.
  • In Unit 4, there is scaffolding of activities to build to the culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding, with a sequencing of questions that build toward an argument essay and formal debate or mock trial.
    • In Week 1 students select research topics
    • In Weeks 2-5 students answer research questions including, author's perspective and purpose, conflicting viewpoints, and Aristotle’s rhetoric.
    • In Week 5 students analyze argument mentor texts.
    • In Weeks 6-7 students draft, revise and edit and argument essay.
    • In Weeks 8-9 students publish and present an argument essay for a formal debate or mock trial.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of materials providing multiple opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills in concert with their practice in reading for understanding. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners to have evidence-based discussion across the year.

The Literacy Lab Overview for Unit 1 indicates Speaking and Listening Standards are integrated across all four Units of Study. Page 14 of the Literacy Lab Overview for Unit 1 indicates that the Speaking and Listening Standards 1, 2 and 3 are integrated across all four units of study and page 15 of Literacy Lab Overview indicates Speaking and Listening Standards 4, 5, and 6 are integrated across all 4 units of study.

On page 50 of the Literacy Lab Overview is a 20-35 minutes daily Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text component. During this time there are options for a whole group, grade-level shared reading/writing or students can work in small groups/pairs to practice applying the day’s focus to the shared text or to writing.

Providing students opportunities to have evidence-based discussions is found on page 112 of the Literacy Lab Overview in Unit 1. The Accountable Talk section guides the teacher to have students share which books hooked them, which did not and why, using text evidence to support their opinions. During the Partner Share component, teachers are asked to model the partner share routine they expect students to participate in every day and to spend extra time establishing this routine. Teachers are guided to give explicit direction on how students can share appropriately (e.g., turn to face your partner, one person speaks at a time, active listening, etc.). Next, teachers are provided with a protocol for students to use when working with a partner.

In Unit 2, Geology, multiple lessons provide teachers with direction and opportunities to hone in on both content-specific vocabulary such as continents, crust, core, and Pangea and academic vocabulary, such as gradually, dense, and consistently.

On page 39 of the Geology Unit, students are assigned a partner to work with for this unit and are encouraged to partner share their prior knowledge about the topic. Definitions of accountable talk and evidence-based discussion are provided in materials. For this particular lesson, teachers are guided to teach/model the partner share routine expected for students to participate in every day and to spend extra time establishing this. ”No matter how old your students are, explicit direction on how to share appropriately (e.g., turn to face your partner, one person speaks at a time, active listening, etc.) is important.” Teachers are guided to explain to students that “every day, you will talk with your peers about what you are reading, writing, and thinking.” The lesson for this day proceeds with a partner share and group share activity and a rubric is provided for reflection and accountability.

Sharing Out/Presentation of work/projects at the end of each unit are prevalent in these materials. For example, at the conclusion of the Geology Unit, teachers are guided to give students options for presentation/sharing. They may choose to share their expertise of research questions with their partners or as elaborate as creating a living history/science museum and inviting the community. In peer reviews, students ask to read each other’s stories, sign their names to a list of readers, and make one or two positive comments about the book. For evaluation/reflection teachers are guided to have students reflect on their own writing and score it using the Final Project Scoring Rubric and to think about their goals for the next project.

In Unit 3, World Mythology, on page 50 of the World Mythology Unit provides tips for conversations. These tips include Conversational Moves: Our conversation should deepen and extend our thinking about the topic.

  • "I agree/disagree with ___ because..."
  • "I think the author is trying to..."
  • "I infer that ___ because..."
  • "I noticed that..."
  • "I can connect/relate to that because..."
  • "I'd like to go back to what ___ said about..." "I wonder..."
  • "Do you think that..."
  • "The lesson we can learn is..."
  • "I was confused when..."
  • "I predict that..."
  • "The main idea might be..."

The majority of conversation in week one of the Mythology Unit focuses on students sharing ideas for topics with one another. On day 5, the conversation shifts toward peer review in which students read their paragraph to their partner and the partner has to identify the author’s claim, evidence, and reasoning, tell one thing their partner did well in his/her argument and why, and one thing their partner could do to improve his/her argument and why? This type of accountable talk is ongoing throughout other weeks of this unit.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read-aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate through speaking and listening what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching through text-dependent discussions in each unit. Students regularly engage with the teacher during a Read Aloud (listening) and with the teacher and peers in whole group discussions around the Read Aloud text.

Opportunities to talk and ask questions of peers and teachers about research, strategies, and ideas are present throughout the year. At the end of each unit, students demonstrate their learning through speaking and listening opportunities. Most lessons in the units provide opportunities for the teacher to pose questions and guide class discussion and opportunities for students to share with peers.

A daily component, as indicated on page 50 of the Literacy Lab Overview, is a discussion of complex texts. The materials provide teachers with guidance on accountable talk using partner share and group sharing guidelines. Teachers are given directions on how to model the routines for students to participate every day such as, “Teach/model the partner share routines you expect students to participate in everyday” and “Every day you will talk with your peers about what you are reading, writing, and thinking. Today, when you talk about what you read, please practice using this format.“ A practice rubric is included.

In Unit 2, students engage in a 1-minute partner share to share the day’s focus. Then students will engage in a Group Share/Debate answering the questions, “Who learned something important about this Research Question? Or Who found new information or a new perspective related to the issue/controversy we’ve discussed?” Other aspects of speaking and listening found within this unit include, but are not limited to:

  • In Week 1, on Day 1, a 5 point response rubric will be used daily to guide students through their discussion of their reading, writing, and thinking.
  • In Week 1, on Day 2, the 5 point response rubric will be used to guide the students to share their most interesting example of bias identified in their book.
  • In Week 2, on Day 4, after completing Research Question #2 students share the central idea, supporting ideas, and key supporting details for each supporting ideas of one example of a text.
  • In Week 4, on Day 2, a 6 point response rubric will be used to guide students’ writing to answer the prompt. What is a central idea of this text? How does the author use supporting details to develop this central idea? Student pairs share their responses and give feedback based on the rubric.

In Unit 4, students learn about argument. Aspects of speaking and listening found within this unit include, but are not limited to:

  • In Week 1, on Day 2, students are introduced to Toulmin’s Argument Framework (claiming/evidence/reasoning), to practice and improve argument skills over the course of the unit.
  • In Week 1, on Day 4, students present a book to evaluate and justify using for their research.
  • In Week 2, on Day 5, students participate in Debate Games to practice constructing arguments that connect claims, evidence, and reasoning through oral debates.
  • In Week 4, on Day 5, using the arguments students developed during Debate Games, they will use and categorize the evidence as an appeal to logos, ethos, or pathos to develop points for a mini-debate.

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 6 meet the expectations that materials include a mix of on-demand and process, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Most of the curriculum embeds a variety of writing types throughout the school year that includes a mix of both on-demand and process writing.

On-Demand Writing is included on a daily basis as students respond to prompts about what they are reading. Culminating writings are built from the daily writing prompts as students select which pieces to develop into longer essays. Included in materials are suggestions and guidance for multiple draft development for these longer essays. In the introductory materials of each unit there is a daily expectation that students write to text. Students are regularly writing to text and what they are reading/researching. The final writing/project in each unit is one that is taken through the phases of the writing process (drafting, revising, editing, and publishing).

Writing is a daily occurrence in the Literacy Lab. On the first day, students establish the purposes for writing. For example, teachers tell students, “For the next four weeks, you will write every day and share some part of what you’ve written with a partner. You will write fiction and nonfiction about yourself and about other things.” Students are asked to Write to Task/Prompt Goals such as, Across the next two weeks, students write on a variety of prompts while they practice using the new vocabulary they are learning in their writing. Each day, choose 1-3 prompts that relate to the reading work in some interesting way. The teacher’s guide directs the teacher to select argument and narrative prompts each week so that by the end of the unit, students have several pieces in each mode from which to select ones they would like to publish.

In Unit 2, Students keep a “writer’s notebook.” For example, on page 50 in the Genre Unit study in the teacher’s guides, the teacher is reminded to tell students to, “Stop periodically to remind them to write down what they are thinking, feeling, and wondering (and share with their partners when appropriate).” Then, immediately following, students are asked to share their writing with their peer and discuss it. The next day students move to a more formal style of writing as they respond to a prompt. “What about the setting will be most important to this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.” Finally, at the end of each week in a genre unit, students write a constructed response. On page 75, students are asked to respond to this prompt: What is the most defining literary element in __(genre)__? Why? Use evidence from multiple texts to support your answer. The process from week one repeats for the first 4 weeks in the genre unit.

In Unit 3, the unit begins with students picking a research question from a card. Students spend the next six weeks answering the research questions. Students will then compile all of the constructed responses in order to write a final essay.

In Unit 4, students learn history content as they learn to make and evaluate proficient arguments. Students respond to weekly constructed responses and complete a research essay on a self-selected topic and chose something controversial regarding it and support their position.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year-long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials are organized around four units of study. There is a major emphasis on writing throughout all of these units of study and four different types of writing are emphasized in each unit which provides opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply four different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Students write expository essays, literary analysis, argumentative speech, narrative, and informative pieces.

Examples of different writing opportunities in the materials include:

  • In Unit 1, Literacy Lab, students write narratives. In Week 5, students begin to review the narratives that they have written thus far and choose one to publish. They rework it scene by scene so that each scene plays its role in advancing the plot/communicating the theme(s). They spend week 5 revising and editing their narratives.
  • In Unit 2, Geology, the focus of this unit is building informational knowledge around a topic and writing an informational book to demonstrate that knowledge. For example: Throughout this unit, students are given weekly Independent writing opportunities in which students review their reading and write their own notes related to the day’s Research Question on an informational text. Students work through graphic organizers, called FPO (final project organizer) throughout this unit and write an informational piece for their final project.
  • In Unit 3, World Mythology, students will write four very short essays (constructed responses) and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre as well a write a short story/picture book in the genre. Lesson one states, “For the last four weeks, we have been reading, writing, and thinking about the __(genre)__ genre—specifically about themes in this genre. Now each of you has become expert enough to have something to contribute to the field of literary analysis. Over the next two weeks, you will each write an essay in which you make a claim based on a connection you’ve discovered between our Central Text and one of the texts in the genre you read independently.”
  • In Unit 4, Africa, students will write a research-based argument essay. Each student engages in a carefully scaffolded, extended research project, taking a final written product in the selected genre through the entire writing process from note-making to publication.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for writing being embedded in every unit and every Day as students learn, practice, and apply using evidence from the texts they are reading either as a whole class or independently. The program addresses evidence-based and evidenced-supported writing in every unit.

In Unit 1, Literacy Lab, there are opportunities for students to write on a daily basis about what they are reading by using specific text evidence to support their ideas. Various graphic organizers are provided that help students organize their thoughts before the daily writing. During the Units of Study, students are expected to engage in Research Writing for 20-40 minutes based on the daily Independent Reading.

Unit 1 examples include:

  • On page 49, Literacy Lab Overview Writing Goal: By the end of this Unit, students will have practiced writing in a variety of genres, both in response to text and writing like the authors they read.
  • On page 60 of Week 1 Overview Writing: Students write daily. The teacher uses student writing as evidence and a feedback loop for assessing the success of literacy block instruction.
  • On page 211, Write to Task/Prompt: Choose 1-3 prompts that relate to the reading work in some interesting way. Make sure to choose both Argument and Narrative prompts across the Weeks so that students have several pieces in each mode from which to select ones they’d like to publish.
  • On page 239, Goal: Students generate multiple pieces in multiple modes from which they will select two to publish in Weeks 5 (narrative) and 6 (argument).

Unit 2: Geology Informational Writing Instructional Framework examples include:

  • On page 20, Overview: Students practice reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence in order to produce a final written product demonstrating their expertise in both the Unit and their individual research topics.
  • On page 39, Introduction: We are going to spend the next nine Weeks reading, writing, and talking about the big ideas in __(Unit)__. Each of you will pick one topic on which to become an expert. You will research this topic and write an informational book about it.
  • By the end of this Unit, you will:
    • 1. Be an expert on __(Unit)__.
    • 2. Be an expert on your research topic.
    • 3. Write and publish an informational book on your topic.

Unit 3: Genre Instructional Writing Framework examples include:

  • On page 35: We are going to spend the next nine Weeks becoming experts in __(genre)__. In this Unit, you will:
  1. Read, analyze, and write about one novel in this genre with the class.
  2. Read at least four novels in the genre on your own.
  3. Write four constructed responses and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre.
  4. Write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre.
  • On page 128: In pairs, students use the “Factual Basis” graphic organizer to collect and analyze the factual basis for the Central Text.
  • On page 200: Today, you will have a chance to demonstrate your understanding of how authors develop themes through the plot by writing a short essay in response to the following prompt: What is a central theme of our Core Novel? How is it conveyed by particular literary elements?

Unit 4: Argument Writing Instructional Framework examples include:

  • On page 45: We are going to spend the next 2 weeks reading, writing, and arguing about the big ideas in __(Unit)___. Each of you will pick one topic on which to become an expert. You will research this topic and write a research-based argument essay about it. By the end of this Unit, you will
    1. Be an expert on __(Unit)__,
    2. Be an expert on your research topic,
    3. Find something controversial in your research topic, take a position on this issue, and make a well reasoned, well-researched argument supporting your position.
  • Page 78 (Week 1, Day 4): Set a prompt in response to the text that provides students an opportunity to state a claim and support it with evidence and reasoning. Claim: There is/is not enough information in our Research Library to support my research on…, Evidence, Reasoning
  • In Week 5: Argument Mentor Texts are used to prepare students to draft their essays next Week, select short argument text(s) to serve as mentor texts for analysis this Week. Introductory and culminating sections of informational texts, editorials, and transcripts of speeches can provide suitable examples of argument writing.
  • The emphasis on ongoing constructed responses and research writing opportunities are focused around students’ analysis and claims developed from reading closely and writing with texts/sources. It is through the multiple writing to text opportunities that students are able to build their writing skills over the course of the school year. The students are required to make claims and reasons and discuss these before they write. All of the shorter writing times are used to decide what they want to write about in the longer research paper that is the culminating task for these units.

The four units provide students opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses and well-defended claims.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Language instruction in grammar and conventions is not provided in a sequence consistent with the demands of the CCSS-ELA.

The Literacy Lab Unit 1 provides explicit instruction of CCSS-ELA language standards for vocabulary. Units 2-4 include less explicit instruction of the Language Standards. Students are provided opportunities to demonstrate their skills in the context of their written products at the end of each unit, but there is not specific or scaffolded instruction in the teaching of many of those skills/standards within the units.

Examples of activities and lessons that are embedded in context include the following:

  • In Unit 2, Geology Informational Writing Unit, Week 5 , Day 1, Editing: “Students work in pairs to edit their papers for mechanics, usage, and structure. Hold students responsible for the following and nothing else”:
    • Quotation marks indicate quotations.
    • Each note has a source cited beside it.
    • All abbreviations end with periods.
  • In Unit 2, Geology Informational Writing Unit, Week 8, Day 1, Editing: Materials instruct teachers to work with individuals as they edit to ensure that their work is reasonably error free. Materials provide students an Editing Skills Card, to use as they edit their writing. The focus in this lesson is on the following:
    • Sentence Structure
    • Punctuation
    • Capitalization
    • Spelling/PunctuationIn Unit 4, Africa Argument Writing Instructional Framework, Week 2 ,Day 1: the teacher models Usage and Mechanics. Students work in pairs to edit their papers for mechanics, usage, and structure. Hold students responsible for the following and nothing else”:
      • Quotation marks indicate quotations.
      • Each note has a source cited beside it.
      • All abbreviations end with periods.

The teacher materials list the Language Anchor Standards that this lesson addresses, but do not include the specific grade level Language Standards in the unit.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening through comprehensive texts sets organized around grade-appropriate topics. Students engage in developmentally-appropriate research as they build and demonstrate knowledge and skills in tasks that integrate all areas of ELA.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of indicator 2a that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The texts are organized around grade-level appropriate topics for students in Grade 6. The publisher is intentional about integrating units to include materials that are cross- content. Students build knowledge via a variety of genres and different types of informational text. The texts build knowledge and the ability to read and comprehend complex texts across a school year. While there are recommendations for where each unit fits (grade and location in the year) teachers do have the ability to “mix and match.” Teachers also have the option to incorporate texts from outside the initial text set should they choose to do so.

It is explicit in the course description and pacing that reading is a regular part of the instructional day. Additionally, because curriculum is topic focused, research projects/writings around those topics are part of each unit as culminating tasks. Students can take what they have read in each unit and apply that knowledge toward the completion of their culminating task. For example, cross content literacy unit on science, the focus is on Geology, students will use what they have read throughout the unit to complete their Final Project, an informational book. They convert their responses to several research questions into central idea/key details paragraphs for the book. The texts in this unit that support student’s building knowledge are a mix of fiction and informational text (i.e., Night of the Howling Dogs, Quake - Disaster in San Francisco 1906, Should we Drill for Oil, and Earth’s Shifting Surface). The cross-content literacy unit on social studies is focused on learning about Africa and culminates in students becoming experts about the country. The variety of texts about this topic are also a mix of text types and genres although the bulk of text is informational (i.e., Exploring Continents: Africa, African Myths, African Culture, Modern Africa, Africa is Not a Country, and one work of fiction, The Door of No Return).

Similarly, the unit on mythology exposes students to several text types that range in complexity and support students building knowledge about myths which culminates in students creating an original myth. Text examples for this unit include Percy Jackson and The Olympians, Tales of the Seven Wonders, D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Egyptians Myths Legends, The First Civilizations, and Religion in the Ancient World.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of texts. Materials contain sets of questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts.

The Geology Unit (content based) includes a collection of articles with accompanying carefully sequenced text specific questions:

  1. What claim(s) are the authors making? Underline the sentence that best states their claim. Do you believe them? (Key ideas)
  2. What evidence do S. Christian and A. Felix provide to support their claim? Did anything surprise you about what you read? (Key ideas)
  3. Where do they explain their reasoning on how this evidence leads to their claim?
  4. Why do the authors include the qualifer “on the planet”? (Key ideas)
  5. What does source of all life mean? Why is it so hard to believe that volcanoes are the source of all life? (Vocabulary)
  6. What is the relationship between the terms melted rock and molten rock? (Vocabulary)
  7. Are S. Christian and A. Felix claiming that the ground is made entirely of rock from volcanoes? Yes or no? How do you know? Circle the word that best supports your argument. (Structure)

The genre unit (Mythology) and the Literacy Lab unit (The Launch Unit) incorporate student tasks on a weekly basis that scaffold student understanding of text. An example of a constructed response from the mythology unit is from day one: “Today, you will write a short essay in which you make a claim based on your reading to show what you know about literary elements and __ (genre) __. You may use your “Literary Elements” graphic organizer and W.1 Rubric to help you with your response. Writing Prompt: What is the most defining literary element in __(genre)__? Why? Use evidence from multiple texts to support your answer.”

Additional examples of questions from the genre unit include:

"What is the setting of this book so far and why do you think it will matter to the story? What evidence from the text best supports your answer? What generalizations can you make about settings in this genre? How might setting be important to this genre as a whole?"

An example of a student task in the Literacy Launch unit that requires student analysis includes: “Today, you will have a chance to demonstrate your understanding of how authors develop themes through characters by writing a short essay in response to the following prompt: What is a central theme of our Core Novel? How is it conveyed by particular literary elements? In addition to your essay, you will need to turn in: a Thinking Map with the notes/quotes you used to generate your essay, a W.1 Rubric, with the score you think your essay deserves.”

Additional tasks in the Literacy Launch unit offer students an opportunity to discuss through discussion groups. Questions focus on the overarching concept being taught. Students could choose any book to answer the questions. It could be challenging for a teacher to monitor student understanding and mastery if teacher is not familiar with the self selected text. Examples of questions include:

  • Who are the characters in this story so far?
  • Have we been introduced to a protagonist and an antagonist? What other character types have we met so far?
  • What is each of these characters like?
  • What can you learn about each of these characters through his/her thoughts? Actions? Body language? Reactions to other characters?
  • How does the author use events and/or dialogue to tell you about this character?
  • How/why do you think these characters will matter to the story? What evidence from the text best supports your answer?

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectation required for indicator 2c. The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. The materials contain text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across individual and at least one more text. The majority of analytical questions and tasks apply to single texts, although in two of the four units there are cross-text tasks. Each unit contains several sets of text-dependent questions in which students are required to provide text evidence in their responses.

Within each unit, text-dependent questions appear in the teacher’s guide that are static in nature across multiple texts. Students are reading and completing daily written responses to these questions. At the end of each week there is a culminating activity. For example, in the first unit students complete various written tasks about the core novel they are reading together as a class as well as their independent reading. An example of this is:

Write an argument to support your claim about the author’s theme in our Core Novel; Decide what you think the author’s theme/message is. Support your claim with evidence from the text (literary elements).

Additional tasks are similar to this prompt, requiring students to write about characters, setting, and plot, using the core novel and their independent reading as their basis for analysis.

Another example is in the literary unit (world mythology). Each week there is a specific skill that is focused on and practiced and each week there is a constructed response to demonstrate learning of that new skill. The work throughout the week builds toward the constructed response.

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations for indicator 2d. Materials contain questions and tasks that support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through combined skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening). Culminating tasks incorporate a range of reading, writing, speaking, and listening opportunities.

The culminating task in the cross-content units center around a research project in the science and the social studies units. These units provide a series of questions students answer using the resources provided. The final project for the Geology and the Africa unit is the presentation that addresses the Speaking and Listening Standards; throughout the unit, students read a variety of self-selected materials on their reading level and research a topic of their choice related to the theme which culminates in a task such as a presentation. An example of the type of presentation is Expertise with Research Questions. This can be as simple as sharing with partners or as elaborate as creating a living history/science museum and inviting the community in. The teacher decides what the culminating task will be. Multiple suggestions are included in the teacher’s guide (e.g., Peer Reviews, Oral Presentation to Small Group or a student from another class, Issue Debate/Campaign, town hall meeting to decide what action to take on the issue, or a Fair/Museum).

The questions and tasks preceding support students’ knowledge of a specific topic. For example, in the Geology unit, students are to select a geological process or product to research and be able to answer several research questions to demonstrate mastery of content (e.g., Describe this geological process/product, including how it is made; explain the theory of plate tectonics. How does plate tectonics determine where this process/product is most likely to be located? Create a timeline showing Earth’s history in geologic time. How is the concept of geologic time important to the study of geology and your process/product?; Draw a diagram of the Earth showing the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. How does this process/ product impact each of the systems?; How is this process/product important to human societies? In what ways have scientists and engineers worked to control this process/product?

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the requirements of indicator 2e that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials. Lists of topic specific words as well as high leverage words are provided in all of the units.

Vocabulary instruction calls for students to think about the meaning of words. Definitions are provided in student-friendly language, and word meanings are taught with examples related to the text as well as examples from other, more familiar contexts.

Unit 1: Literacy Lab

The introduction of the teacher’s guide for unit 1 provides an overview of where the language standards are addressed. Listed is the scope and sequence of standard focus throughout all four units for the year. Standard 4 - Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text and is indicated as a focus standard for Unit 1. Language Standards 4 - 6 are then indicated as a focus across the four units.

On page 199 in the Unit 1 Overview (week 3, day 1), academic vocabulary is introduced to students through mini-lessons. Teachers model vocabulary work though the whole class text and ask students to begin noticing words in the texts they read. Week 4 also has a vocabulary focus. The focus this week is on denotation, connotation, and figurative language. Students are directed to “flag at least a new word you want to learn and share.”

Students are also provided with tools that help them work on Academic Vocabulary during the course of Unit 1. For example, as a class, students collect high-leverage academic and technical vocabulary they find and share with the class. The teacher’s guide provides a mini lesson on Language Standard 4 titled “The More Academic Vocabulary, The Harder the Book.” The teacher is directed to introduce/review the three tiers of Vocabulary and introduce the concept that academic language is one of the major differentiators between reading levels. The guide states, “Make sure students understand that: Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are rarely part of everyday speech, even of adults. These words are mostly only in text. Learning academic language works like learning any new language - you need to encounter the same new words and ideas over and over again, in a variety of contexts, to internalize them. Voracious reading provides the immersion required to make this happen.”

Students are encouraged to “practice noticing new vocabulary, categorizing it by Tier, and discussing what each word might mean based on evidence from the text.” The guide says if students have difficulty, the teacher should ask: What might this word/phrase mean? What in the text supports your answer? What is a good synonym? Reread the sentence, replacing the unknown word with your synonym. Does this change the meaning of the sentence? Why or Why not?

Unit 2: Geology

Multiple lessons provide teachers with direction and opportunities to hone in on both content-specific vocabulary and Academic Vocabulary in the texts. Vocabulary is categorized as key concepts that students should be able to define and apply, high leverage academic, and other. Examples in this unit include:

Key concepts include the following: theory of plate tectonics, plates, continents, supercontinent. Examples of high-leverage academic include the following: gradually, monitor, rotate.

Teachers are directed to highlight any high leverage/Tier 2 vocabulary words with the following note to teachers about how to determine which words to teach: “Teaching words in context and developing students’ ability to learn word meaning from context is a rich, essential part of vocabulary instruction. However, choosing the words to spend time on in the context of complex text can be a struggle for teachers. Hiebert (2009) describes three general criteria for determining which words to choose for intensive teaching: 1) words needed to fully comprehend the text, 2) words likely to appear in future texts from any discipline, 3) words that are part of a word family of semantic network.”

In addition, text-dependent questions require students to define words based on context clues. Examples include: What do these words mean and how are they related? Elements, minerals, crystals, atom, stuff. The guide states “While used by the text, most of these terms are not defined within it. Students should be able to discuss the relationship between these terms and develop working definitions.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for materials supporting 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 supported through the writing process and various activities are placed throughout units to ensure students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year.

Students are encouraged to develop stamina and a positive attitude towards writing by writing daily and for various purposes. They engage in activities that include reading and discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write, examine and identify a range of text structures, and they are guided to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing. At the end of each unit, students produce, present, and publish writing pieces as part of a final project.

The materials provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning through writing about what they have read. Writing is embedded throughout the school year in multiple ways. Students are provided with daily prompts to make observations and reflect on their own writing to build skills and knowledge for future writing; in addition, students are required to take at least two of their written drafts in a unit to a final publishable product. Standard practices for writing are built into each day from the onset of unit one throughout the entire course of the school year. Students complete weekly constructed response writing tasks that provides an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of a reading skill that was taught during that week. Students are supported to meet writing goals by using writing rubrics to reflect on their own and partner’s writing. Also included in the materials is guidance for teachers to conference with students to provide meaningful feedback as students write.

Writing instruction spans the whole school year; each unit emphasizes writing and lessons that are embedded that require students to write every day. Each unit requires a different kind of writing (e.g., narrative, informational, and argumentative).

Examples include:

Unit 1: ARC Literacy Lab

The progression of narrative writing starts with students writing about themselves as both readers and writers. There are daily prompts to generate ideas. For example:

  • Day one, Lesson 1: Write a reading autobiography.
  • Day two, Lesson 2: Design the book jacket for your ideal fiction book.
  • Day three, Lesson 3: Complete a genre profile for the book you read today and create a list of books you want to read.
  • Day four, Lesson 4: Write a narrative explaining the role reading has played in your life or an argument trying to convince someone that this thing is important.
  • Day five, Lesson 5: Create your own About the Author page to use with the pieces you will publish write and publish this year.

During week three of this unit the teacher’s guide lists the following goal:

“Write to Task/Prompt Goal: Across the next two weeks, students write on a variety of prompts while they practice using the new vocabulary they are learning in their writing. Each day, choose 1-3 prompts that relate to the reading work in some interesting way (see Suggested Writing Prompts in the following pages). Make sure to choose both Argument and Narrative prompts across the weeks so that by the time you reach Week 5, students have several pieces in each mode from which to select ones they’d like to publish.”

Unit 2: Geology

The focus on writing is research based in which students answer a research question connected to a science theme. The teacher’s guide provides this explanation: (page 110)

“The RESEARCH LABS® Instructional Frameworks focus on a few Common Core Standards, carefully sequencing instruction, practice, and formative assessment to ensure all students master each element of these rigorous reading, writing, and thinking standards. Phase II: Informational Writing Through carefully scaffolded whole-group instruction and differentiated support, all students learn to: 1. Provide an objective summary of any informational text. 2. Determine the central idea(s) of an informational text and use both content and organization analyze the development of this idea(s). 3. Examine how non-fiction authors build on research to craft compelling informational texts. 4. Publish and present a scientifically/historically accurate Final Project book on his/her research topic.”

Extended Writing: Final Informational Piece (Book) Each student engages in a carefully scaffolded, extended research project, taking a final written product through the entire writing process from note-making to publication.

The teacher materials provide this guide (page 133):

“Model how you use the rubric to write a 5-point answer, including how you use text evidence to prove the veracity of your fact (e.g., I read __ by __. It is about...The most interesting thing...This sounds unbelievable, but it says right here on page 24...).”

The teacher’s guide includes a step by step guide for modeling the research process (page 179). Students become experts on each research question: teacher models process and then students apply to their own topics. For example on week 2, day 5:

“By the end of today, you will have completed your FPOs for RQs #1-2. We’ve spent this week analyzing how authors develop central ideas using supporting ideas and details. Today, after we read, each of you will use our RI.2 Thinking Map to draft a short essay demonstrating your current ability to determine an author’s central idea. Your essay will need to answer the question: What is a central idea of this text? How does the author use supporting ideas and details to develop this central idea?”

Unit 3: World Mythology

Students write a comparative essay analysis and a short story. There is a focus on literary analysis. The teacher’s guide includes goals of this unit emphasizing a new focus every week on a literary element, but all follow this general pattern:

“Setting 1. Set Focus Today, you will take a position on something you read and explain your reasons for taking that position. Your position is your opinion. Another word for this is claim. Writing Prompt: What about the setting will be most important to this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.”

The next week focuses on character analysis, then plot. Students make claims and provide evidence and reasoning. Each writing assignment requires students complete a graphic organizer in order to complete the written assignment. The guide to this process includes modeling and some samples along with guidelines for revising and editing.

During week 5 students will write a comparative essay after reading and analyzing two myths.

The teacher’s guide describes goals (page 260):

For the next two weeks, you are the head author in the class— modeling turning your thoughts and analysis into a draft of a literary comparison essay (an argument). Today, each student will craft his/her claim statement and compose a Quick-Write first draft of the rest of the essay. Make sure each student is excited about his/her claim as this energy will sustain the work of writing and re-writing that is to come.

Graphic organizers are provided to support students during this process. The guide to this process includes modeling and some samples along with guidelines for revising and editing.

The final writing task for this unit includes students writing their own story in this genre.

Unit 4: Africa

Students write responses to research questions connected to a social studies theme of Africa. The unit follows the same format as Unit 2: Geology. It begins with topic selection and introduction to argument, six research questions over the course of three weeks, drafting, revising and editing, publishing, presenting, and formal debate.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of indicator 2g that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Units are designed for students to act as researchers and gather details or ideas from texts throughout the unit to build a body of evidence for the culminating task. For these tasks, students select a topic and spend about nine weeks reading, writing, and speaking about their topic. By the end of each unit, students write and publish an informational book or other project demonstrating their increased knowledge about their selected topic. Students are provided with daily independent reading, research, and discussion times.

For Grade 6, the standards require that students “gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standards format for citation.”

The research tasks are a part of two of the four units in the materials provided for review (Unit 2 Geology) and Unit 4 (Africa). Throughout the course of the unit students become an expert on a self-selected topic within the theme and answer research questions specific to the topic.

For example, the teacher’s guide for Unit 2: Geology provides this introduction:

In this unit, students are to select a geological process or product to research and be able to:

  1. Describe this geological process/product, including how it is made.
  2. Explain the theory of plate tectonics. How does plate tectonics determine where this process/product is most likely to be located?
  3. Create a timeline showing Earth’s history in geologic time. How is the concept of geologic time important to the study of geology and your process/product?
  4. Draw a diagram of the Earth showing the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. How does this process/product impact each of the systems?
  5. How is this process/product important to human societies?
  6. In what ways have scientists and engineers worked to control this process/product?

The research task for Unit 4: Africa requires students to select one African country on which to become an expert. Students will be able to:

  1. Draw a map of the country from memory and be able to label the 15 most important political and physical features.
  2. Compare and contrast the various ecosystems in your country.
  3. Place 10 milestones in your country’s history on a timeline. Discuss the significance of each.
  4. Describe the ethnic groups and cultures of your country.
  5. Describe the current government of your country and compare it to that of the USA.
  6. Describe the economy of your country and some of the economic issues it faces.
  7. Discuss the current issues facing your country and how they impact the rest of the world.

The teacher’s guidelines includes this information to support teacher during this unit:

“Teachers use carefully scaffolded whole-group instruction to teach all students to read, write, present, and evaluate arguments. 2. Students practice making claims and supporting those claims with relevant evidence and logical reasoning. 3. Students produce a final argument essay that makes a claim related to their Research Topics and defends that claim with evidence and reasons from their research”

The Africa unit takes students through these steps:

"We are going to spend the next 9 weeks reading, writing, and arguing about the big ideas in __(Unit)___. Each of you will pick one topic on which to become an expert. You will research this topic and write a research-based argument essay about it. By the end of this Unit, you will: 1. Be an expert on __(Unit)__, 2. Be an expert on your research topic, 3. Find something controversial in your research topic, take a position on this issue, and make a well reasoned, well researched argument supporting your position. If you will be grading students’ work in this unit, hand out the point system/grading rubric now. For a sample point system, refer to the Research Lab Grade Tracker in the Introduction.”

Indicator 2h

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

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

The publisher has designed its own book leveling and student reading leveling system called the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment), in which students are able to choose books for Independent Reading at their appropriate level. The teacher’s guide begins with an overview of the entire reading program.

The beginning unit is designed for the first 6 weeks to focus on building students’ reading skills and for teachers to use the IRLA system and publisher’s guidelines in determining student reading level. By doing this, texts are organized and scaffolded to foster independence. In addition, supports and specific procedures are provided for teachers around independent reading. Time is built into the daily lesson for independent reading and students are encouraged to read outside of class as well and to participate in the 100 book challenge. An accountability system helps both the teacher and students track their progress. Unit 1 in this curriculum thoroughly sets up a system in place to support independent reading throughout the year.

There is an overview on Page 9, which provides an explanation of the IRLA Expert Coaching and 100 book challenge piece. The IRLA Expert Coaching supports teachers in using the IRLA to “find the highest level of text complexity students can currently read (and understand) without any help or prompting of any kind from the teacher”.

The following explanation is provided for the system:

The IRLA System is a text complexity analysis system for American Reading Company which is explained in the introduction to Unit 1. Every book provided by the publisher includes a color-coded sticker on the spine. This sticker indicates the book’s IRLA text complexity level.

The 100 Book Challenge is “a community wide reading culture system to bring students’ own reading interests and choices into the center of the curriculum while ensuring that all children experience the rich reading lifestyle.”

Rotating Common Core leveled classroom libraries, places authentic trade books color-coded to each IRLA level at the fingertips of teachers and students, giving each student instant access to just-right text for independent practice, coaching, and conferencing.

There are supports built into the first unit for teacher and student that will be used throughout the year. These include the following: Status of the Class (p 85), Genre Profile (p 104), Genre Record (p 105), Engaged Reader Status Check (p 132), Thinking Maps (throughout), 100 book challenge checklist (p 178), and Reading Log (p 192).

Another strength of the program is that regardless of the unit, every day has a reading component. For example, page 11 of Unit 3: Mythology Unit includes a description of the recommended Research Lab Daily Structure, and includes Independent Reading for 15-20 minutes where students are reading self-selected books. This particular page can be found in each unit.

Further support for the teacher is offered on page 13 of Unit 2:

Leveled Text Sets/Independent Reading provide daily opportunities for students to engage in reading at their independent levels. Providing leveled text sets and a minimum of 15–30 minutes of structured, accountable Independent Reading is crucial to the success of all students, especially those who are struggling readers. With leveled text sets, students are able to do the hard thinking learned in Grade-Level Instruction to books they can read. Spend More Time and Thought on Your Students Who Need It: Students who are currently reading below grade level or learning to speak English should receive extra support. Don’t worry about trying to equalize the time you spend with each student. Become an expert on your students who are struggling. Be sure you know them well enough to teach them; know what they are currently able to do and what they need to learn next.

Likewise, the volume of independent reading can be seen in the cross content units for science and social studies (units 2 and 4). During the 3-topic Trial, before students pick their research topic, students read 15-30 minutes of self-selected Research Lab books.

Teachers conference with students and help them establish Power Goals. These goals are set once a child has been successfully leveled in the IRLA system. These power goals drive the work of small group instruction and 1:1 conferencing. The publisher claims that these goals, which are to be used during the Reader’s Workshop, “accelerate reading growth through Power Goal conferences.”

There is also a SchoolPace/IRLA Performance Management System. This is a web-based system that provides numerous reports to monitor students’ growth and performance in real-time. Incentive Reading Folders, used at school and home, vary by color. Students begin with a blue folder, once 100 Steps of reading are completed ,they move to a red folder. The folder color lets teachers monitor and reward students that are moving and provide additional support for those needing to move.

Furthermore, teachers are encouraged to solicit the assistance of families in the independent reading through home-school letters. The home-school connection is developed through the use of home school letters and the Home Coach Contract that encourages parents to observe students reading 30 minutes, discussing the book and signing the reading log sheet each night. Students are provided with a variety of books, paired specifically to their path of achievement, to take home. Parents are expected to help students develop an independent reading routine using the provided materials.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

Overall, the materials provide good structural support and consistent routines. Use of technology is encouraged, but supplemental support may be needed for students for whom English is a new language and students or teachers with limited technology skills or adaptive needs. Materials provide evidence of connections between the parts of the program, the assessments, and the college and career-ready standards.

Criterion 3a - 3e

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8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Grade 6 materials are well designed, taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The 4 units and 36 weeks of instruction provide flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed while still being able to complete the materials within a normal school year. Materials are well-aligned to the standards and provide documentation for that alignment. Student resources are clear, well-designed, correctly labeled and do not distract from the lessons. There is adequate support for all included resources.

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 6 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The year is divided into 4 Units of Study. The Literacy Lab is a 6 week unit of study, while the 3 Research Labs are 9 week Units. Each lesson is broken up into a suggested 90-120 minute reading blocks.

Each week of the Literacy Lab instruction has weekly goals for standards-based instruction, reading culture, and IRLA coaching. There is a teacher checklist for the week to help measure success. Focus Standards are listed for each week as well as an overview of the daily lesson plans. Each Lesson contains an overview of the key objectives, teacher work, and student work for each part of the literacy block. Daily lesson plans have a two column format. This provides detailed support for how to teach each part of the literacy block. During Week 1 there is a day by day detailed instruction, after that there is a framework in the following weeks. There is a lesson ticker at the top of the pages to show where you are in the lesson. Blackline masters that will be needed for each lesson are found at the end of each lesson. Literacy Lab lessons include a CCSS Mini-Lesson, Read-Discuss Complex Text-Readers’ Workshop, Writing, Read-Aloud, and Reflection. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

Each Week of Research Labs instruction includes goals for expertise, reading, writing, vocabulary, art, and final projects. A unit introduction and research questions help to establish the unit. All graphic organizers and blackline masters can be found within the unit’s opening pages of the unit. There are weekly overview calendars and every lesson includes three parts: Read Complex Text, Independent Reading, and Writing. Standards are listed at the beginning of each week, as well as in the daily learning goals. Each daily lesson plan has two columns with teaching notes, suggested answers, and guided tips. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

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 materials reviewed 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.There are 165 lessons provided, broken into four units. This will allow flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed.

The Teacher’s Guide states, “Our curriculum is a FRAMEWORK, not a script. What should students argue about while they study the Civil War? What lessons should they take away from a study of Science Fiction? It depends. It depends on the children in your classroom. It depends on you. There is no perfect script that will work for all personalities and all classrooms. Instead, we give you a highly structured framework that works in general from which you will need to create the version that works for you, in your district, in your school, in your classroom, with your students.”

Indicator 3c

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

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

Materials provide review and practice resources such as, note catchers, reference charts, anchor charts, checklists, graphic organizers, rubrics, and blackline masters.

Student resources include clear explanations and directions. Activities that are completed with teacher guidance have directions included in the teacher lesson plan notes. Resources that are completed independently or in small groups without direct teacher guidance include clear directions and explanations so that the task can be completed. Examples include:

Unit 2-- Geology: Student materials include very clear diagrams paired with descriptive prose about how movement occurs at plate boundaries as a part of the student research materials provided for the unit.

Unit 6-- Africa: Students are provided with a blackline master to organize their final project. RQ#5 on page 13 provides space for them to list and explain major facts about the country in their own words, as well as to compare those facts to their own government in the United States.

Indicator 3d

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Each day standards are listed at the beginning of the lesson and often referenced in the daily Learning Goal.

For Example, in Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2 the materials state: Today, students will practice identifying, describing, and analyzing the settings in a variety of texts in this genre. They will also begin to generalize about settings in this genre. The standards aligned with this lesson on setting are:

LR.3 (Anchor Standard) Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

RL.6.3 Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Standards are also listed on student facing blackline masters and handouts, organizers, elements of genre cards, common core mini-lessons, rubrics, writing tasks and extended writings.

Indicator 3e

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

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

The material design is simple and consistent. Units are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. Units include graphic organizers, charts, worksheets, tables and other blackline masters that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The Teacher edition contains many useful annotations and suggestions to support teachers who may not be as familiar with the material or content, however there are places in the materials where additional support for the teacher, particularly for students who are not responding to specific aspects of instruction would be helpful.

Abundant educative materials are included in the program to support teachers’ professional learning, including outlines for Professional Learning Communities. Additionally, the materials clearly define the role of research in the development and improvement of the program, and consistently delineates research-based best practices and the source of those practices for teachers who wish to learn more on the topic.

The role of the standards in the materials is well-defined and aligned to college and career ready standards.

There is a clear plan for engaging all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers in the goals and work of the program.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials.

There are places throughout the materials where explicit teacher directions are present and accompanied by additional support for teachers who may need additional help in presenting the materials. For example, in Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher is working with students on close reading of an informational text. The Teacher Guide directs:

Close Reading of Informational Text

Goal: Determine What the Author is Saying/Learn RQ Key Concepts

Select a rich passage from the Central Text that will build students’ knowledge of the key Science or Social Studies concepts at the heart of today’s Research Question. The class will read and re-read this selection over the course of the next two days, so select a passage (or set of passages) that is worth the time and attention. Read the text in appropriate chunks (1–2 pages at most).

First Read: Experience Connected Text Read the text without interruptions. Interject with a quick one- or two sentence aside only when necessary to avoid a major misunderstanding. Establish the routine that all students will use their fingers/pencils to follow along in the text, line by line.

Second Read: Establish Basic Comprehension Students answer each question with partners. Listen in as students share to determine where you need to return to the text with the whole class or to (re)teach/clarify to ensure all students have a basic understanding of the text (can identify the topic and determine a main idea of the text).

  • Tell your partner the topic and a main idea of this text.
  • How does this relate to RQ #__?

Repeated Reading/Write to Text: RQ Key Concepts & Note-Making

Students work with partners to re-read the text in service of completing the graphic organizer. Complete this FPO page for __(a topic covered in the Central Text)__.

(Provide additional copies of this FPO page, reserving students’ FPO packets for their notes on their own research topics.)

Key Science/Social Studies Concepts for This RQ

Let’s re-read this text to learn about the key concepts/technical vocabulary related to this Research Question.

  • Define
  • Explain
  • Give an example

What else do students need to learn from this text?

Is there a common misunderstanding to address?

Is there other vocabulary or concepts students need to know in order to be successful with their independent research?

Thinking Like a Scientist/Historian

  • What does the text say that matches what you already understood about this topic?
  • What did you learn that changes what you understood about this topic?
  • What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
  • What do you wonder about this? What questions does it raise for you?
  • Speculate on…

The text provides the following additional scaffolding to help students as they read informational texts that may contain incorrect information:

Errors vs. Out-of-Date

Human understanding of science and history is constantly evolving. Books may contradict each other, not because of errors, but because our knowledge about the world is growing and changing over time.

  • Errors: Experts in the field would agree that information presented was inaccurate at the time at which the author wrote.
  • NOT an error: Information WAS accurate at the time at which the author wrote, but, since then, the field has learned more and our idea of what is true has changed.
  • Teach students to notice copyright dates.

Annotations and suggestions are presented within the Literacy Lab and Research Lab Teacher Editions. These annotations and suggestions present the structure of the lesson; however, some teachers may need more support and guidance with presenting material.

For example, during Research Labs, the Teacher Work section gives an overview of what the teacher should be doing, for example, In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, the Teacher Edition asks teachers to, “Monitor for Engagement: Ensure all students are on task. Formative Assessment/Writing Coach: Check for Understanding: Observe students as they write. Make sure students are making adequate progress. Share Good Examples: As you locate great examples in students’ work, point them out to the class.” Teachers may need more guidance as to what would constitute adequate progress at that point in the unit as well as what a great example might look like.

There is minimal guidance and support for the use of embedded technology. For example, in Unit 3, Week 9, the Teacher Edition gives publishing ideas that include technology, but does not give any other information to support the use and enhance student learning. The Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their short stories. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas: Create a book, Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, or PowerPoint.”

Indicator 3g

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

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

The Literacy and Research Lab Teacher Editions include notes that give adult-level explanations and examples. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1 of each grade level, there is an explanation of the structure of and purpose for professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs are placed at the end of the week to help perpetuate embedded, on-the-job professional learning. Literacy topics vary based upon the materials. The information page (53- in the grade 6 Literacy Lab) describes the procedure for setting up a PLC as well as pointing teachers toward a potential resource in the DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many (2010) title, "Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work".
  • Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1: The sidebar presents a list of teacher moves to help teachers guide discussions about texts, based upon suggestions from Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey from their book, "Close Reading and Writing From Sources"(2014, pages 98-99). This list includes:
    • Marking: “That’s an important point.”
    • Challenging students: “What do you think?”
    • Keeping the channels open: “Did everyone hear that?”
    • Keeping everyone together: “Who can repeat/explain/ restate...?”
    • Verifying and clarifying: “So, are you saying...?”
    • Pressing for accuracy: “Where can we find that?”
    • Building on prior knowledge: “How does this connect to... (what we read/learned about...)? • Pressing for reasoning: “Why do you think that?”
    • Expanding reasoning: “Take your time; say more.”
    • Recapping: “What have we discovered?”
  • In Unit 3, the front matter includes a quote and a table on page 14 drawn from Ruth Culham's "The Writing Thief" (2014) that includes information about instructional practices that are ineffective and suggested practices to replace the ineffective ones. While the suggestions are practical, and support practices in place throughout the materials, it also provides an example of drawing in educators to further investigate a topic as you would with students.

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 6 meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Standards are addressed throughout the front material of each Literacy and Research lab. The Teacher Editions explain the role of the specific ELA/Literacy standards and how they shaped the reviewed curriculum.

For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “The books in the Research Lab Libraries are leveled and organized by IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) levels. The IRLA is a color-coded Developmental Reading Taxonomy that integrates Common Core State Standards for reading acquisition with a deep knowledge of the demands of literature and informational text for students, grades PreK through 12. Each book’s IRLA level is a result of multiple reading experts independently assessing the specific combination of quantitative, qualitative, and reader/task challenges presented by that title.”

The Teacher Edition also include Standards Mini Lessons which give explanations of what the teacher work looks like based on the standard being taught. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5 the teacher is to talk with students about CCR Anchor Standard 10: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. The directions clearly show how the writing that will be done over the course of the unit and throughout the year will build student stamina and will help them to learn to write for a variety of reasons, purposes, and audiences.

In Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “The Research Lab Units of Study integrate the 3 Shifts and the CCSS into teacher's’ daily practice. Teachers provide grade-level rigor through the use of complex text, grade-level ELA CCSS and Science/Social Studies content, and academic vocabulary. Leveled libraries of informational text and a carefully structured project-based learning format provide the differentiated support needed to ensure that every student is successful. Phase I: Content Area Research includes,

  • 1. Teachers use close reading of complex text to teach the core content of a Science or Social Studies Unit, national/state content area standards, and grade-level Common Core State Standards.
  • 2. Students develop expertise on a specific Research Topic within the Science or Social Studies Unit through daily research in informational texts.
  • 3. Students practice reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence in order to produce a final written product demonstrating their expertise in both the Unit and their individual Research Topics.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.The front material of each Research Lab includes multiple citations and explanations of instructional approaches. Research based strategies are included throughout the program in lesson sidebars. There are also a Research Lab works Cited/Consulted pages that lists all research materials cited or consulted for the program.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Each Research Lab Unit includes parent letter templates that are sent home to inform caregivers about what students are learning and how they can help support student progress. For example in Unit 2, the parent letter includes, “...Students will read various high-quality fiction and nonfiction books, all within their Reading Zone. Most of the reading will be completed in school, but everyone will need to read at home every night as well. You can participate at home by asking questions about what your child is reading, thinking about, and writing over the course of the unit and by making sure your child comes to school every day. Thanks to independent reading and discovery, along with your support, your child is becoming a life-long, self-sufficient learner.”

It is also suggested that parents and caregivers be included in class presentations. For example in Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “This can be as simple as sharing with their partner or as formal as organizing an event to which parents and/or community members are invited as the audience. The following ideas are only to get you thinking.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. Most assessments clearly denote their alignment to the standards. Further, the materials provide good guidance for teachers to determine student performance and implications for instruction. Independent reading is clearly a strong and present focus throughout the materials, with emphasis on helping students to select books of interest and to engage in experiences that build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Students are accountable for their independent reading, supported by strong communication with their families or caregivers for supporting students in their independent reading.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. The Teacher Edition states, “The IRLA is used to determine, monitor, and research the full continuum of each student’s reading spectrum, from independent to instructional to frustration levels. Teachers’ careful research of their students’ reading competencies, by means of the IRLA, allows them to determine just what skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using the full range of instructional formats (e.g., whole-group, small-group, one-on-one), documenting success and progress in the IRLA. The skills/strategies taught may be essential for enhancement of the student’s current reading level, or they may prepare him for the next. The goal of all reading instruction is to produce successful independent readers; therefore, all of this work is designed to advance the students’ independent levels.”


Teachers are provided with checklists, rubrics, notetakers, protocols for conferencing, and student exemplars. There are pre and post assessments, writing rubrics, and assessment guides. Students are constantly assessed with immediate feedback given through student and teacher conferencing.

Indicator 3l

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

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. Daily formative assessments are connected to the daily lessons include the standards being emphasized for the day's lessons at the beginning of the lesson. Some rubrics, such as the CCSS W.1 Argument Practice Rubric, include the standard being addressed. However, during the Research Lab Pre and Post Assessments there are no standards denoted. There are also rubrics such as the Final Project Rubrics that do not denote the standards being emphasized.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Teachers are often directed to conference with students during small group time.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance.

Teachers are prompted to use the formative assessment protocol and questions throughout daily lessons, examples include, but are not limited to,

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, One-on-One Conferences, Once students are making adequate progress with their novels, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with R.2. Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re) teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment Check for Understanding Once students are making adequate progress in their reading, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with R.3. ,Who is the antagonist in your book? ,Why do you think the author chose/created this character?, How does the author use the antagonist to communicate a theme/ message? What quote best supports your thinking? Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re) teach to everyone? Pull a small group?.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, Once students are making adequate progress in their research, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with RI.6. What do you think is the author’s perspective in this book? What makes you think that? How does it compare to other authors you’ve read? Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re)teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Independent Reading is built into every daily lesson during Reading Workshop. Students build stamina in early units to read 30-40+ minutes daily. Students are held accountable in many ways, including accountability talks with partner, groups, and whole class, as well as individual check-ins with the teacher. Rules for independent reading are presented on a class chart and posted in the classroom.

Students are given a focus to think about as they read independently, for Example in Unit 2, Week 2, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Complete your research on RQ #1. Use key details to determine a central idea from your research that is important to this Research Question. Be ready to describe/explain this central idea to your partner.” Students share answers to Focus with a partner and share out to class after independent reading and writing. The teacher uses Accountable Talk to inform instructional decisions.

The 100 Book Challenge Library rotates weekly or biweekly. Students are encouraged to read whatever they want. Students complete a Reading Survey and are provided with a Reading Level Checklist that helps them to determine if a text is too hard, too easy, or in the Reading Zone. In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 5, the Teacher Edition states, “Partner Share: Each partner takes 1 minute to share on today’s focus. Group Share Who learned something important about this RQ (Unit)? Who found new information or a new perspective related to an issue/ controversy we’ve discussed? Encourage an informal class (or small-group) debate. (What makes you say that? So what?) Add to class graphic organizers. ”

Teachers are given specific instruction on how to monitor, encourage, and redirect students. Teachers document student status daily, as engaged, compliant, resistant, or challenged. The Teacher Edition gives suggestions and follow up to keep students engaged during independent reading time.

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
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards, including opportunities for extensions and advanced learning. There are some explicit support within the materials for English Language Learners, however the bulk of instructional strategies falling into the same strategies applied for all students with the use of the IRLA.Flexible grouping strategies are used throughout the materials to facilitate student processing and discussion.

Indicator 3o

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

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

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards, while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation that materials provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards,while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

Support for Language Learners can be found in lesson annotations, for example in Unit 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Support for Language Learners, Find opportunities to support beginning English Language Learners with partners who speak the same native language. Encourage students to use their home language as a support for learning the new language. Speaking, reading, and writing in another language, even during ELA time, will only help, not hurt, students’ English language growth. If this is not possible, try to find these students partners who have previously had the experience of having to learn English or other students who are sensitive to the challenge of trying to learn new content in a new language.” Another example can be found in Unit 1, Week 3, Day 3 the Teacher Edition states, “Accommodating ELLs and Remedial Readers, Ideally all students do Independent Reading in the genre. However, it is paramount that students experience success-level reading: reading where their own skill base is self-extending (i.e., learning to be better readers by reading). When faced with the choice between having a student do his/her Independent Reading with success level books or with books in the genre that are too hard for her/him, choose success level first. “

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet requirements for regularly, including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension activities are provided throughout the materials.

Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals at the student’s level. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided.. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students are encouraged to choose books from the Book Boxes to reach beyond their reading levels. Students who complete a task early are often instructed to work with a peer to better help the peer understand the process.

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons. Students work in pairs, small groups, as a whole group, and one on one with the teacher during Reading Workshop.

For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 4, the Teacher Edition states, “Partner Share: What information does the text you read today assume you already have? Is there a gap between your background knowledge and what the text assumes? What will you do about it? Will you research the information you are missing? Continue without searching for the information? Abandon the book?”

Indicator 3s

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials 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. Accessibility was tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. All access was successful.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials are compatible with multiple internet browsers. While there are regular suggestions that students use digital technologies for research or publication, there is little explicit guidance for teachers to scaffold these activities. Adaptive technology considerations were not found in the materials.Materials are easily customizable for local use and a broad variety of topics and texts are available.

Indicator 3t

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The Teacher Edition notes that teachers should pull in help from librarians and other resources to help aid the use of technology.

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in materials.

Indicator 3u.ii

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials can be easily customized for local use. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. Teachers are given autonomy for choosing the appropriate core text for their classrooms. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units can be used across multiple texts. The Book Boxes can be customized to address local students’ needs.

Indicator 3v

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.). Teachers and/or student collaboration using technology to publish as well as to collaborate with others. For example, in Unit 1, Week 5, Day 5 the Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their essays. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas, Formal essay (cover page, typed, bound, etc.), Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, PowerPoint, or Create a book.”

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Materials are compatible with multiple internet browsers. While there are regular suggestions that students use digital technologies for research or publication, there is little explicit guidance for teachers to scaffold these activities. Adaptive technology considerations were not found in the materials.Materials are easily customizable for local use and a broad variety of topics and texts are available.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials 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. Accessibility was tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. All access was successful.

Indicator 3t

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

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The Teacher Edition notes that teachers should pull in help from librarians and other resources to help aid the use of technology.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in materials.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials can be easily customized for local use. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. Teachers are given autonomy for choosing the appropriate core text for their classrooms. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units can be used across multiple texts. The Book Boxes can be customized to address local students’ needs.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.). Teachers and/or student collaboration using technology to publish as well as to collaborate with others. For example, in Unit 1, Week 5, Day 5 the Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their essays. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas, Formal essay (cover page, typed, bound, etc.), Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, PowerPoint, or Create a book.”

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
IRLA Toolkit - CCSS - Purple 978-1-63437-831-4 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCSS Version 8 978-1-63437-885-7 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCS Version 8 Conference Notebook 978-1-63437-982-3 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017

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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