Alignment: Overall Summary

Amplify Grade 6 materials fully meet the expectations of alignment to the Common Core ELA standards. The materials include instruction, practice, and authentic application of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language work that is engaging and at an appropriate level of rigor for the grade. 

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

Amplify Grade 6 fully meets expectations for Gateway 1. What students read and hear is rich and appropriately rigorous, and organized to support student comprehension of grade level material. Questions, tasks, and practice opportunities are connected to texts, and provide students not just consistent literacy development, but also opportunities to leverage what they have learned to demonstrate authentic learning and comprehension. Materials include instruction in grade level writing, speaking and listening, language development, and reading. 

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of quality and complexity. Texts are rich and varied, and students have access to increasingly-challenging texts over the course of the year. The materials provide opportunities for depth and breadth of reading in terms of time as well as text types. 

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

Many of the texts studied within the units are noted literary works. Others are modern texts that have received recognition and literary awards. There are considerable opportunities for nonfiction texts to support literary texts. There is a wide variety of texts, including graphic novels, memoirs, narrative nonfiction available to students. None of the texts reviewed were considered to be of low quality. 

Examples of high-quality texts include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, students read excerpts from the classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This is an engaging, timeless text with rich language that is captivating for middle school students.
  • In Unit 6B, students read Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, a contemporary historical fiction novel that is gripping and high- interest with strong content, rich language, and supports the other texts within the unit.
  • In Unit 6C, students read “Is It Fair to Each Chocolate?” from Skipping Stones by Deborah Dunn. This engaging article is thought-provoking and rich in content and academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 6D, students read “Prometheus” from Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths written by Bernard Evslin. This classic myth has rich language and is engaging. 
  • In Unit 6E, students read an Excerpt from Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. This nonfiction account of a teenage boy’s search for his mother from Honduras to the United States is modern and engaging, as well as rich in content and language.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

The balance of informational and literary texts across the year provides a coherent mix of literary and informational text types across topics for the school year. There is a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards, including historical fiction, folktales, non-fiction, biographies, journal articles, speeches, plays, and historical accounts. The varying units provide a total mix of 40% Literary text and 60% Informational text.

Examples of literature found within the instructional materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 6A--Excerpt from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 
  • Unit 6B--Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Unit 6C—”The Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Unit 6D--Excerpt from The Odyssey, a graphic novel
  • Unit 6E--Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall 

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

  • Unit 6A--Excerpt from Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder by Tony Hawk and Sean Mortimer
  • Unit 6B--The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing by Suzanne Jurmain
  • Unit 6C--Excerpt: “Good Harvest,” All Animals by Karen E. Lange
  • Unit 6E--Excerpt from Enrique’s Journey by Sonai Nazario
  • Unit 6F--“Letter from Mary Lines” by Mary Lines

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 criteria that texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis.

The Grade 6 materials typically fall within the 6-8 Lexile band (925L to 1185L) and are within the appropriate rigor range in terms of qualitative measures, which measure elements of language, concepts and themes, and take into consideration the depth of the text itself. When texts fall above or below these bands, there are appropriate accompanying reader and task elements that justify the text's use in the yearlong materials.

Examples of text complexity include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, a single text, Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl (1080L) is used. While Dahl’s work is quantitatively complex, it is of low qualitative complexity. In this unit, students are learning to read like writers and focus on key narrative writing skills, such as creating a character. 
    • In Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 5, Activity 2, the task demand is moderate. Students analyze how Dahl uses precise details and language to slow down and focus on one moment.
    • Sub-Unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 3, the task demand is moderate. Students reread a description, identify an overall impression, and select and explain the text details that give that impression.
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” the overall Lexile levels are 750L - 1080L. All three major texts are qualitatively complex for this point in the school year. Students learn to read like an investigator by identifying, organizing, and evaluating evidence.
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 4. Text: Passage from The Secret of the Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain. 1010L. Qualitative: moderate. Task Demand: Moderate - students look closely at both explicit and figurative language choices to analyze how a key concept and key character are introduced.
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 15, Activity 4. Text: Newspaper Article “Yellow Fever Circles Brazil’s Huge Cities” by Shasta Darlington and Donald G. McNeil Jr. Lexile: n/a . Qualitative: moderate. Task Demand: moderate - students identify central ideas and supporting details.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” the overall Lexile levels of the texts provided are 860L-1540L. The texts for this unit are a collection consisting mostly of informational texts, including primary and secondary sources in different forms such as book chapters, newspaper articles, letters, photographs, and advertisements. There are also literature selections such as excerpts from an opera libretto and a novel. In this unit, students read a range of texts on a topic, comparing and contrasting the author’s perspectives. While the range of Lexile levels are somewhat outside the recommended band for Grade 6, the selections are appropriate due to factors including the short length of many texts, the provision of definitions for challenging vocabulary, and the inclusion of comprehension questions to support the reader.
    • In Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 3. Text: Poem “Chocolate” by Rita Dove. Lexile: n/a. Qualitative: low complexity. Task Demand: moderate - compare and contrast the experience of a poet reading her poem to the experience of reading the poem themselves, specifically compare their understanding of a key idea, feeling, or detail conveyed through each experience.
    • In Sub-unit 4, Lesson 3, Activity 3. Text: Student-identified website about chocolate, pertaining to his/her research question. Lexile: n/a. Qualitative: n/a. Task Demand: moderate - identify central ideas and textual evidence to support them.
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” the publisher reports that the texts comprise a range of Lexile levels from 870L - 1140L, but individual text listings provide a range from 870L - 1240L. Myths are qualitatively complex for this point in the year. In this unit, students analyze what the characters in myths show us about human nature.
    • In Sub-unit 1, Lesson 4, Activity 4. Text: “Prometheus” from Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin. Lexile 870. Qualitative: high. Task Demand: moderate (analyze a character’s actions to evaluate the fairness of the consequence).
    • In Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 3. Text: “Arachne” from Selected Tales of Ovid by Ted Hughes. Lexile n/a. Qualitative: moderate. Task Demand: moderate (explain how Minerva's tapestry reflects her argument).
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” the overall Lexile levels of texts are 770L - 1140L. In this unit, students trace “the hero’s journey” of the main character, analyzing the extensive allusion to The Odyssey. While the quantitative complexity of texts in this unit is mixed, the qualitative complexity is moderate, and the task demands are moderate to high.
    • In Sub-unit 1, Lesson 13, Activity 6. Texts include excerpts from The Odyssey by Homer, translated by E.V. Rieu. Lexile: 1140L. Qualitative score: moderate. Task demand: moderate (compare and contrast Odilia and Odysseus based on their encounters with monsters.)
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1. Text: Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Lexile: 770L. Qualitative score: moderate. Task demand: high (analyze a character’s trait and how it impacts her hero’s journey).
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” the publisher reports that the overall Lexile levels are 800L - 1620L. In this unit, students learn about the sinking of the Titanic, examining the event from multiple perspectives and considering the event through different lenses, such as gender and class. The qualitative complexity of the text in this unit is high.
    • In Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, Activity 4. Texts: “A Letter from Mary Lines” (1912) and a secondary source website of the students’ choice. Lexile: n/a. Qualitative score: n/a. Task demand: moderate (compare and contrast information from primary and secondary sources)
    • In Sub-unit 6, Lesson 1. Text: excerpt from “There is Your Beautiful Nightdress Gone” from A Night to Remember by Walter Lord. Lexile: n/a. Qualitative score: n/a. Task demand: moderate (analyze the difference in treatment between first class and steerage passengers).

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’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 provide students the opportunity to interact with increasingly complex texts as the units evolve throughout the school year. Each unit builds in complexity through the different types of texts that students are asked to interact with. At the start of the school year, students work with texts that are relatively simple and contain ideas that they can relate to in order to build both stamina and confidence in reading. Throughout the rest of the year, the texts that they encounter become increasingly more complex quantitatively as well as qualitatively in order to build their skills as an analytical reader. By the end of the year, students are being asked to engage with texts that are not only written in a more complex way, but that deal with issues, ideas, and emotions that are multi-faceted and challenging.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, students read Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood in addition to several other texts that focus on childhood experiences. In this autobiography, Dahl talks about his adventures and misadventures as a child in school. The writing of the text is relatively straight-forward, and even though Dahl is a British child and the words used to describe different things may at first be different for students, the writing is simple enough for students to effectively use context clues and their own experiences to understand the text. 
  • In Unit 6D, the texts utilized are well-known Greek myths. The language and complexity of the text increases considerably from the first unit, however, the myths used are still known to many students and are easily accessible as stories. The language of these stories increases in complexity and the syntax is more complicated than in prior units, however, the tasks match the expectations and the multiple formative assessments and activities support students in accessing the more complex writing.
  • In Unit 6F, students are provided with their most challenging reading as they are asked to engage with multiple different types of texts from letters, to manifests, to menus, to images from the Titanic. They are also asked to conduct their own research and read the resulting materials from that research. In this last unit of the year, students revisit all of the types of reading and skills they have learned throughout the rest of the units in order to be able to access the more complex texts in this final unit.

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 texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

The materials provide the Lexile levels for each of the texts in the units, and explains what the texts in the units cover and how they are connected as well as what the students will be doing in the units with those texts. In addition to this, there is a Qualitative measure (QT) and rationale that indicates whether the text is at the accessible, moderate, or complex level. The rationale provides the teacher with information about organization, sentence and word complexity, and levels of meaning.  There is also a Reader and Task measure (RT) and rationale that again indicates if the tasks associated with the reading are accessible, moderate, or complex and then comments on what the tasks are asking students to do and how that relates to the quantitative and qualitative measure. The information provided does not explicitly state why specific reading and tasks were placed within the school year.

Some examples of the Lexile and reasoning provided include, but are not limited to:

  • For Unit 6A, the rationale is on page 14 of the “Grade Overviews” and includes the core text with its Lexile level, Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roahl Dahl (1090L).  In addition to this, the Qualitative Level of the text is listed at between accessible and moderate. The rationale tells the teacher that the text “relies on little discipline knowledge” and what is required is fully explained within the text. The Reader and Task measure also lands between accessible and moderate. The rationale tells the teacher that “Tasks and activities may contain some complexity, balanced with engaging topics”. These details combined show why and how this text is appropriate for the start of the school year.
  • For Unit 6C, the rationale is on page 16 of the “Grade Overviews” and lists the Lexile for the unit at 860L-1540L. The Unit Summary tells the reader that “students explore primary documents and conduct independent research to understand the strange and wide range of roles that chocolate has played in cultures around the world throughout its long history.” Because of these types of activities, the Lexile range for the materials is understandably wide. The Qualitative Level for the texts are listed as between moderate and complex and the rationale tells the teacher that “Texts include multiple or intricate purposes” and “The subject matter requires knowledge of discipline or of other texts.” In addition to this information, the Reader and Task measure is also listed at between moderate and complex. The rationale tells the teacher that “Tasks and activities contain nuance and complexity; require students to be persistent; make high level of inferences; students benefit from the knowledge they have built throughout the unit.” The QL and RT information explains why the Lexile range is so broad and why the varied complexities of the texts are appropriate to the task.
  • For Unit 6E, the rationale is on page 18 of the “Grade Overviews” and lists the Lexile for the main novel Summer of the Mariposas as 860L. The Reader and Task rating on this unit is between the moderate and complex level and the rationale tells the teacher that “Tasks and activities contain nuance and complexity, balanced with engaging topics; activities often require inferencing; students benefit from the knowledge they have built throughout the unit.” This information matches the thinking behind using a text that has a lower Lexile level as well as a Qualitative Level that lands at the moderate level this late in the school year. Because the students are being asked to access high level and complex tasks, the text level is appropriately lower than in previous units.

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 for anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading. 

Each unit is centered around a core theme and uses a variety of texts within each unit. In each lesson, students interact with text through either whole-class instruction, reading with a partner, and independent reading, or a combination thereof. In addition, for every unit there are Solo activities which allow students to read additional texts that supplement their learning as well as flex days where teachers can assign additional independent reading as an option for student growth. Within the Amplify learning system, there is also an Amplify library where students can download the texts for the unit as well as independent reading materials. The texts included with the program span a wide variety of genres across both literary and informational text.

Some examples of these include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 2, Lesson 5, students read excerpts from Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl (autobiography), including “The Bicycle and Sweet-shop”. Students independently read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the autobiography The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. This lesson requires students to carefully study the excerpts in order to intentionally slow down a moment in the text and notice how an author incorporates detail into their writing. 
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 6, students read another excerpt from Boy: Tales of Childhood. This excerpt is titled “The Great Mouse Plot”. This lesson continues the emphasis on small moments in writing and in particular asks students to “show not tell” in their writing. 
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 10, students  independently read an excerpt from Tony Hawk's autobiography: Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder. The excerpt is from Chapter 2, "Spaz, That's Me!". In the activity, students compare and contrast this piece with the Roald Dahl autobiography. 
  • In Unit 6B “Mysteries and Investigations,” students read the nonfiction book The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing by Suzanne Jurmain. They read related fiction including an excerpt from Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, as well as “The Speckled Band”, and “The Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They also read a newspaper article on yellow fever in today’s world and The Hippocratic Oath
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lessons 10-14, students read seven chapters from The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing independently and focus on key scenes to support comprehension as a part of the sub-unit’s lessons.
    • In Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 10, they also read Letter from Mabel H. Lazear to Dr. James Carroll.
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 14, students read The Hippocratic Oath as a class. Students work in partnerships to paraphrase sections of the oath, then share their work “jigsaw” style. Later in the same lesson, students independently read and answer questions about “Yellow Fever Circles Brazil’s Huge Cities” from the New York Times. There is one day in the week when students read self-selected material. 
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 1, Lessons 1-5, students read 2 chapters from Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin. Lessons focus on the “Prometheus” story, while students read “Daedalus” independently. Guiding questions support readers’ comprehension of both chapters. Students then choose a myth from one of the following sources: Hero Tales by James Baldwin, Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, by Bernard Evslin, The Puffin Mahabharata by Namita Gokhale, or collections of Norse Mythology, Creation Myths, and End of Days stories compiled by the publisher in collaboration with Lapham’s Quarterly. An optional “challenge writing” task requires students to read an excerpt from the play Prometheus Bound by the Greek dramatist Aeschylus.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students are reading Summer of the Mariposas which is a fictional novel inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey. Throughout this sub-unit, students use the text to write an essay about what it is that allows the hero in Summer of the Mariposas to complete her hero’s journey.
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1 and Sub-unit 2, Lessons 1-4, students read multiple short texts including letters from Titanic survivors, a testimony from a Titanic survivor, excerpts from several nonfiction books, excerpts from wireless transmissions, a newspaper article, two magazine articles, a poem and several websites of their choice. Students answer questions on each text to help them demonstrate their understanding. Students also have one day during which they  read materials of their own choosing.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The Grade 6 materials meet expectations of being aligned to the standards. Students engage in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and working with language in varied and text-connected ways. Instruction includes multiple methods of student interaction with texts, and also includes practice in collaboration and speaking and listening with peers. Culminating tasks include opportunities for students to synthesize and apply what they've learned in authentic ways.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). 

The materials are divided into six units of study, each with a variety of texts and activities that require students to engage directly with the texts.  Lessons include multiple methods of direct student interaction with the texts. Students are asked to employ strategies such as: “Use the Text,” “Select the Text,” “Work Visually,” “Use the Text as Referee,” and “Work Out Loud.”

Students are also required to complete text-dependent tasks in unit assessments, culminating writing tasks, and during reading tasks. In addition, text-dependent questions, tasks and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year and the teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and other activities. Teachers can access students’ written responses immediately when utilizing the online writing tool.  Possible student answers are provided for both written and speaking activities.

Examples of text-dependent/specific questions included in each unit include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, students are asked to revise, "Dahl says earlier in the chapter that Mrs. Pratchett was “a horror” (24). Do you agree or disagree? Describe two or three details from the passage to develop your claim about Mrs. Pratchett." 
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students are asked to read the first four paragraphs of the book The Secret of the Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain. After reading, students are directed to “listen for details that capture your attention in paragraphs 1–4... then, highlight two details in the text that stood out to you and helped create a vivid picture of yellow fever.”
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 2, students are asked to determine "which of the four sources (discussed in class) do you think is the most credible? Which source do you think is the least credible? Support your thinking using evidence from one or more of the websites."
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students complete the following tasks:
    • Card 1: Students individually list 3–5 key items in the Prologue.
    • Card 2: Students determine the important details contained in the first paragraph to consider how the writer chooses to begin the novel.
    • Card 3: Students categorize these details into observations about a central idea in the novel.
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 4, students are asked to explore images from the Titanic to find the answer to a scavenger hunt question then answer questions to show their understanding of the image. For example, the first scavenger hunt question is “How many hats did Molly Brown pack in her luggage for her trip to New York, and what was their total cash value?” The questions that follow say: “Look closely at Molly Brown’s attire. Describe her outfit.” The second question is, “Captain Rostron was also awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor by President Taft for his role in rescuing Titanic survivors. Do you think he deserved these honors? Why or why not?”

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 criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Each unit has several tasks which include text-dependent questions and activities and then ends with a multi-step writing assignment. The last unit of the year also includes a presentation and a multimedia component. The essays gradually build in complexity, vary in topic, and require students to utilize writing, speaking or a combination of both.The culminating tasks are designed to help students synthesize and apply their learning from the unit in an engaging and authentic way through writing and speaking. 

Examples of tasks that are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Boy: Tales of Childhood, students work closely with Roald Dahl's stories about his strange childhood, building on their capacity to write independently using text evidence.
    • In Lesson 3, Using Text Details in Writing Boy: Tales of Childhood students respond to the prompt, “Dahl says earlier in the chapter that Mrs. Pratchett was “a horror”. Do you agree or disagree? Describe two or three details from the passage to develop your claim about Mrs. Pratchett.”
    • In Lesson 11, Focus on an Object  in Boy: Tales of Childhood, students respond to the prompt, “What is one reason that the tuck-boxes are important for the boys at boarding school? Describe two or three details from the text to explain your reasoning.”
  • In Unit 6A: Dahl & Narrative, Sub-unit 4, students stake a claim about who Dahl blames for his childhood troubles in a culminating essay.  In Lesson 1, Introducing the Essay, students respond to the Essay Prompt: “Whom does Dahl describe as causing more trouble: the boys or the adults? Use details from one moment in the book to show who is really causing more trouble.”

As following examples demonstrate, students work closely with texts and are challenged to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in increasingly more complex ways. Some examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” the culminating task is an essay. Students work to explain which character trait is most useful for problem solvers and investigators. The prompt is: “Based on the texts you have read, what stands out to you as one important characteristic to have as a problem solver or investigator? Include two examples of individuals demonstrating this characteristic in your response.” In order to write this essay successfully, students have to look back through the texts in the unit and choose examples of their chosen characteristic. 
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” students read multiple texts about chocolate. Lessons include text-dependent questions and close reading activities. Students then prepare and execute a debate about whether or not school lunches should include chocolate milk. Lessons support students in close reading, gathering evidence, and structuring their argument. For the essay in this unit, students have the option of writing an informational essay about the history of slavery in the production of chocolate or an argumentative essay about the effects of chocolate on brain chemistry.
  •  In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” the culminating task is an essay. Students write a cohesive essay that explains the following: “Using two of the following characters—the humans from 'Prometheus,' Odysseus from The Odyssey, or Arachne from 'Arachne'— answer the following question: Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not? Use your answer to stake a claim about whether or not these characters have been destroyed by their pride. Make sure to support your claim with textual evidence.” As part of the explanation of this essay prompt found in Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, Activity 2, students are asked to review a sample essay, look at the writer’s claim, and then explain why that sentence is the writer’s claim. This activity assists them in forming their own claim statements later on.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” students read Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall and complete a series of text-dependent questions and tasks. The unit builds on previous learning about The Odyssey by requiring students to write an essay that analyzes the hero’s journey of one of the main characters from Summer of the Mariposas.
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” the culminating task is a four-paragraph essay, a multimedia project and a presentation. One essay option is an argumentative essay where students have to research who is to blame for the loss of the Titanic. In order to complete this choice, students have to “research sources in the Collection and on the Internet to collect evidence and prove [their] case. Write an argumentative essay identifying the guilty party and include 2 pieces of evidence proving their guilt.” The other essay option is an informative essay. The directions tell students that as they conduct research, "be sure to look for relevant facts and concrete details about their lives before they boarded the doomed Titanic, how they managed to survive the sinking, and what happened to them after the disaster.” Once students have completed their essay option, then they can create a visual depiction of one of the people they highlighted in their essay. The directions explain that if students wrote an argumentative essay that “your entries will document the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic from your point of view, starting with the earliest date or time in your research and ending with the latest date.” If they wrote the essay about the Titanic orphans then “you will post entries as if you are one of the orphans, documenting your experience from your point of view.” Students then present their media projects to the class.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Each unit/lesson is set up in the same manner, beginning with a vocabulary lesson. Throughout the lessons there are frequent oral language opportunities to do Think-Pair-Share, peer questioning in groups, and partner talk. Sentence frames are provided to support students who need additional help applying new vocabulary and syntax. In addition to those instances, there are also Socratic seminars, presentations, and performances to support students’ development in practicing language and speaking. 

Examples of how materials provide multiple opportunities and protocols for evidence based discussions include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narratives,” Sub-unit 3, in the section labeled Discuss, students analyze Dahl’s key emotions in each section of the story to discuss how these sections work together to develop an understanding of the boys and the themes of the memoir. Students work in pairs to “Consider each event from ‘The Great Mouse Plot’ below and determine whether each event shows that Dahl is pleased or dismayed with how his great idea is unfolding.”
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, students work in pairs to identify and evaluate evidence around theories of yellow fever transmission. The notes in the teacher instructions of this activity explain that students should identify and evaluate evidence that supports and does not support each theory. Also, the directions tell teachers that “as you circulate between pairs, support them to use details from the book to make their evaluation.” In addition to those instructions, it is also explained to teachers that “at the end of the discussion, ask the groups collectively whether the discussion prompted them to rethink their first evaluation and why. Provide an opportunity for students to re-evaluate their evidence in the app based on the thinking that emerged from the discussion.” The instructions also explain to teachers that there is not a correct answer for each evaluation. 
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 2, Prepare for a Debate, the teacher guidelines give students clear instructions to help students understand the debate process. Students write opening statements for the debate and explanations for all the evidence they plan to use for the first part of the debate. Students are instructed on debate cards: "Card 1: Students work in groups to choose strong evidence to write an opening statement for the debate. Card 2: Students work in groups to write explanations for all 3 pieces of evidence for the debate." Students are prompted to use evidence and vocabulary from the text in order to prove their claims during the debate.
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, Activity 4, students read an excerpt from "Arachne" in Selected Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes. Students are discussing the text to paraphrase and reflect upon the arguments made by each character. The instructions in the teacher edition explain that teachers should draw a 3-column chart on chart paper during the discussion and they should be labeled: Character, Character’s Argument, Evidence. Then, it explains “as students suggest evidence from the text, record their ideas on the chart. Leave the chart posted for all students to see. You will refer to this text in the next lesson so be sure to preserve it.” Finally, there are some follow-up questions and discussion prompts provided so teachers can facilitate the discussion in a successful way. 
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas.” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, Connect Text: Create a Sister Character Profile, students work with groups to select and connect key text details and add annotations to identify one sister’s traits. Instructional cards guide students to annotate text and discussion points about sister’s character traits. Card 1 Instructional Guide indicates what students need to discuss: "Card 1: Students identify and annotate text that reveals a Garza sister’s character traits. Card 2: Students discuss with a group which character traits seem most dominant and record textual evidence to support the group’s decision." 
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 2, students reflect on a Socratic Seminar they just had over the materials from the Titanic Collection. The instructions ask teachers to “have students pair up and compare the topics that interest them. Ask them to choose one topic that they will both investigate further. Then the pairs create one Titanic-related research question that they will research together.” After the instructions for the activity, there are several suggestions for teachers and struggling learners provided. First, the instructions explain that, “Research questions should be open-ended. They often, but not always, begin with “how” or “why.” And they should be arguable or open to debate.” Next, they provide examples of good research questions and finally they explain that teachers should “circulate and guide students who are having difficulty generating a new question.”

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 criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. 

Students have multiple opportunities for text-dependent discussions in each unit. Each lesson begins with a vocabulary lesson and then students are introduced to the topic through a discussion. Throughout the unit, the materials offer other opportunities for students to work in pairs or small groups to have discussions centering on the topics presented in the unit. The discussions are consistently text-dependent and the students are instructed to answer questions citing evidence from the text. Videos, audio recordings, or photos/images are sometimes used to promote/start the discussion. The materials include dramatic readings, Socratic seminars, and other protocols for teachers to provide students multiple opportunities and ways to build their speaking and listening skills while using the texts as anchors. For students who need additional assistance, there are sentence frames, guiding questions, and ideas for teacher support. 

Examples of  multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate what they are reading and researching through varied speaking and listening opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narratives,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 8, students use text clues to “act out”  characters in order to develop awareness of how dialogue and narration work together in a text. Student Groups are prompted to act out the scene in front of the class and then discuss how they used Dahl’s dialogue and narration to help them get into character. As students wrap up the unit, they are guided to put together what they have learned about the connection between dialogue, narration, and showing emotion and character.
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, after reading Chapter 2 of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, students share and discuss the details they identified as suspicious from the last activity (Detective Notebook) and respond to a poll about the number of clues they found. Then students choose one suspicious detail to discuss with the class.
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,”, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 4, students read Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. In Activity 3, students explain how Odysseus uses a particular passage or detail as foreshadowing to develop the plot of his story. Then, in Activity 4 students are instructed to share their writing with the class. The instructions for teachers state: “Call on 2 or 3 volunteers to share. Each volunteer should call on 1–3 listeners to comment.” The instructions provide response starters which students can use if they are not sure how to provide feedback. The starters include: “I could picture _____ (character, scene, action) when you wrote _____. When you used the word _____, it helped me understand _____. When you used the evidence about _____, it convinced me that _____. When you explained _____ about the quotation, I realized why you included it.”
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection”, Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, Activity 10, students role-play Titanic passenger profiles in order to understand the historical tragedy. In this activity, students read their passenger profiles out loud to the class. The instructions state, “Raise your hand to share your passenger profile with the class. Introduce yourself to your group. Share your name, country of origin, and one interesting fact about yourself. Share which class cabin you are in, and share how you feel about your cabin and your dinner.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. 

Each unit contains writing tasks and projects which are aligned to the grade level standards. Students write a mix of both on-demand and process writing that gradually increase in complexity as the year progresses. Each unit contains a sub-unit that centers around a process writing task, titled “Write an Essay” in the online program. Throughout the units, there are many on-demand writing tasks that students must complete to show mastery and prepare for the essay assessment. Materials cover a year's worth of writing instruction. Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided. Materials include digital resources where appropriate. 

Writing assignments in the Grade 6 units include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 4, students are guided through the essay writing process inlessons designed to strengthen the final piece of writing. Students respond to the following prompt: “Whom does Dahl describe as causing more trouble: the boys or the adults? Use details from one moment in the book to show who is really causing more trouble.” Over the course of four lessons, students write the body paragraphs, revise and write the introduction, and edit “for clarity and cohesion”. Each lesson incorporates practice in the skills associated with that portion of the writing process. For example, in Lesson 2, students work through activities designed to strengthen their skills with explaining and connecting their evidence to their claims.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection”, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 8, students write a response exit ticket to the lesson on credible sources: “Part 1: Imagine that you are writing a report about air pollution. Select the two most credible sources." Following that text, on the right-hand side of the page is a short-answer prompt: "Why did you choose these two authors? What makes them credible?” 
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 4, students are guided through adding evidence and revising to better support their claims. Directions include, “In your Solo, you underlined 2 places in your body paragraphs where you could revise—a place where you could add more evidence and another where you could develop your evidence further in order to support your claim. Now, you're going to take a few minutes to reread the related part(s) of the text and highlight any additional details you can use to support your claim. 1. Look at the two places that you underlined to revise in your body paragraphs. Then, click NEXT to find the texts you're writing about and highlight more details that could be added to your body paragraphs to support your claim.”
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 2, students “write an essay to explain what characteristic or source of strength helps a Garza sister be successful in her hero’s journey”. There are five lesson days which take students through an entire writing process in order to formulate a complete essay. In Lesson 1, students have to decide on a topic, gather evidence and write a claim statement. Then, in Lesson 2, they write their body paragraphs where they insert their evidence. In Lesson 3, students have a work day (also called a flex day) where teachers can work with students on an individual basis. Following that day, in Lesson 4, students work on revising their essay and write an introduction. The final day, Lesson 5, asks students to write their conclusion and put final touches on their work. 
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” there are a number of digital resources including the websites of government agencies and major non-profit organizations; letters, testimony, and wireless transmissions written by Titanic passengers; passenger manifests; menus; diagrams; photographs, and paintings. These digital resources inform both shorter writing tasks and the culminating essay, in which students choose to write either an argumentative essay in which they assign blame for the Titanic catastrophe to an individual or an informative essay in which they detail the lives of the two individuals known as “The Titanic Orphans." 
    • In Sub-unit 2 Scavenger Hunt and Internet Research
    • In Sub-unit 3 Passport and Internet Research 
    • In Sub-unit 5 Write an Essay

Indicator 1l

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 

Students engage in a variety of writing opportunities throughout daily lesson plans, formative, and summative assessments. These writing activities include opportunities to engage in argumentative, informative/explanatory writing, and narrative writing when appropriate. In addition, the materials provide opportunities for students/teachers to monitor progress in writing skills. Students perform a variety of tasks throughout the unit centered around the text they are studying within the unit. The materials provide a comprehensive overview, instructions, and detailed rubrics for the writing tasks, particularly at the end of each unit, to help guide students through the process. 

Some examples that materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing are found in the following:

  • In Unit 6A, "Dahl & Narrative," Sub-unit 2, Lesson 6, students continue to read excerpts from the writing of Roald Dahl and emulate the narrative techniques he uses. In Lesson 6, students “do a close reading of a passage from Roald Dahl’s Boy and analyze how the writer uses the skills of Focus and Showing.” With teacher guidance and feedback, students use the skills in their own narrative writing. Students are instructed to “Write about a recent moment when you were doing something with friends or a friend. Show, don’t tell, the emotion you felt in that moment.” After writing for at least 10 minutes and a minimum of 100 words, students share their responses with the class. 
  • In Unit 6B, "Mysteries and Investigations," Sub-unit 4, students write an informative/explanatory essay that identifies an important characteristic of an investigator.  Students are required to include two textual examples in which individuals demonstrated this characteristic.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 4, students write an argumentative letter to an imagined candy store owner about issues in chocolate production. Specifically it asks students to “Be sure your letter includes a claim and at least two pieces of evidence to support the claim. Use at least two key vocabulary words in your letter: child labor, means of production, fair trade, means of survival, forced labor, minimum price.”
  • In Unit 6D, "The Greeks," Sub-unit 4, students write an argumentative essay that addresses the questions, “Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not?”  Students are required to illustrate their claim using two characters from the assigned reading and to use textual evidence.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 2, students write an essay to explain “What characteristic or source of strength helps a Garza sister be successful in her hero’s journey.” This essay asks students to make a claim, find textual evidence to support and then write multiple body paragraphs to fully explain and analyze their point. 

Indicator 1m

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Throughout the units, students engage in many different evidence-based writing activities that range in length, organization, and complexity. Students provide short written responses as they actively read texts and use close-reading skills when responding to many questions in the summative and formative assessments. With the major essays that are present in each unit, students utilize evidence-based writing when planning for the essay and as they draft their ideas. 

Examples of writing opportunities focused on students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, students closely read an excerpt from Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood to assess the connotation attached to the word “horror” in Dahl’s description of Mrs. Pratchett. In Activity 6, students then answer the question, “Dahl says earlier in the chapter that Mrs. Pratchett was 'a horror' (24). Do you agree or disagree? Describe two or three details from the passage to develop your claim about Mrs. Pratchett.” This formative writing assessment requires students to write a minimum of 100 words and for “at least 10 minutes” to be scored.
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 5, students learn, practice, and apply evidence-based writing as they write an informative essay. In Lesson 1, they gather evidence and evaluate its strength. In Lesson 2, students develop body paragraphs with a focus on incorporating multiple pieces of evidence. A sample essay is provided as a model. In Lesson 3, students review the relationship between their claims and evidence, revising if necessary. In Lesson 4, students further revise the explanations of their evidence, focusing on describing “this” in the phrase “this shows." In Lesson 5, students revise transitions and work to be more concise in order to better present their evidence.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection”, Sub-Unit 3, Lesson 2, Activity 2, students write claims based on the evidence in the articles and then they evaluate others’ claims to see which are best supported by evidence. The first article is “Is it Fair to Eat Chocolate” by Deborah Dunn. The sidebar explains that students need to read two quotes from the text and then write a response to the prompt “Is there any change that you would like to see in the way cocoa beans are harvested? Write a claim about the change you’d like to see based on the evidence in these quotes.” Then, students read the second article “Appendix C Statement” from Labour in Portuguese West Africa. They read two quotes from this article and then write a claim of their own that would be supported by the evidence.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas," Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, Activity 5, students read the novel Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. After reading a part of Chapter 2, and profiling one of the characters, students respond to the following writing prompt, "which character trait do you think will be important as the sisters begin this adventure? Explain your answer using textual details and your understanding of her character traits."
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 5, students practice evidence-based writing. Students read the article “Rusticles on Titanic Contain New Iron-Eating Bacteria, Study Says” and then answer questions. The first two questions, “What are Halomonas titanicae and how are they affecting the sunken Titanic?” and “What problem might Halomonas titanicae cause?” support close reading of the text. A third question, “How might Halomonas titanicae be useful in recycling?” requires students to explain their answers, including two quotes from the article.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. 

Each unit offers a number of resources to support grammar instruction. Teachers are instructed to use the Introductory Unit A to build the foundational writing skills of Focus, Use of Evidence, and Productivity, as well as the writing routines of Writing Time, Sharing, and Working with Feedback. These units allow teachers to support students as they progress and gain better clarity in their writing. The Grammar Unit contains self-guided instruction and practice activities to cover the key grammar topics and topics for continued practice and review. The Mastering Conventions One, Two, and Three contain whole-class lessons and drills that provide extensive coverage of remedial and grade-level grammar topics. The Grammar Revision Assignments (found in the section of each Flex Day) provide suggested exercises to support students as they practice key skills in the context of their own writing.

Some examples of this include the following, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1: What Are Pronouns?
    • Identifying Pronouns
    • Recognizing the Antecedent
    • Revision: Pronouns
    • Mastering Conventions One Unit 1, Lesson 5: Defining and Identifying Pronouns Unit 1, Skill Drills 5A–5B
    •  Lesson 2: Adding Up the Details, students read excerpts from: Boy: Tales of Childhood: and are prompted to respond to - "Write about one candy that sounds really appealing or repulsive to you and why. Describe two or three details from the text in your response."
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations”, Sub-unit 5, Lesson 5, Activity 6, students apply grammar skills to their essays. Students are asked to revise their essays for sentence flow, style consistency, and then any proofreading issues. First, students are instructed to place their paragraphs in the proper order. Then, they are instructed to read their essays out loud. Next, they are told to check the punctuation and citations of the quotations they used. Finally, they are instructed to correct any errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar that they can find.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Lesson 1: The Complete Sentence - Establish the Foundation
  • Grammar Unit, Sub-Unit 1, Lesson 1: Defining the Complete Sentence
    • Simple Subject and Predicate
    • The Implied Subject
    •  Distinguishing Simple Subject and Predicate
    • Revision: Subject and Predicate
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Grammar Unit, Sub-Unit 3, Lesson 2: Subject Pronouns
    • Rules of Agreement
    • Pronouns to Replace Verbals or Abstract Nouns
    • Demonstrative Pronouns as Subject Pronouns
    • Revision: Pronouns
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection," Sub-unit 4, Lesson 4, students are in the middle of activities centered around internet research and a Socratic discussion. The final day in the lesson is called a “Flex Day”. The lesson overview explains that these days can be used to work on specific grammar instruction. Specifically, the directions read “Direct students to the grammar lesson in the Grammar unit that will provide practice with a needed grammar skill, or teach the grammar lesson from Mastering Conventions that you prepared based on the Grammar Pacing guides in your lesson materials.” There is a pacing guide attached for Grade 6 grammar that gives grade-level appropriate grammar concepts along with the standard that they address and the master conventions activities that would work with that particular concept. For example, if students needed to work on object pronouns, the options the teacher could use are: “Unit 3, Lesson 16: Using Pronoun Case Correctly and Consistently and Unit 3, Skill Drills 16B and 16D.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The materials meet the expectations of Gateway 2. The instructional materials are designed to build students' knowledge as they develop literacy proficiency across reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Texts are organized around cohesive unit topics and/or themes. Student writing,speaking, and presentation are connected to demonstrating knowledge of topics and themes, as well as demonstrating integrated skills. Vocabulary instruction is included not just in analysis of texts, but also across texts and units. Writing instruction and research include systemic and cohesive design over the course of the school year, so students demonstrate grade level proficiency through interwoven literacy components.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

Indicator 2a

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topics and/or themes to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Every unit revolves around a specific theme and topic and uses many texts to support the guiding ideas. Throughout all units, students read a variety of genres and texts that relate to the unit goals and overall topic of the unit. Additionally, students display their knowledge in the completion of end of unit tasks that always include writing and/or a multimedia project.  

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” students read excerpts from Boy: Tales of A Childhood by Roald Dahl as well as several other extra narrative pieces to achieve the unit goal and culminating tasks. The unit overview explains that “students begin with narrative writing to quickly boost their writing production….then, students apply their new observational focus to some lively readings from Roald Dahl’s memoir, Boy: Tales of Childhood, and learn how to work closely with textual evidence.” The culminating task for this unit asks students to write an essay that focuses on “Whom does Dahl describe as causing more trouble: the boys or the adults?” Students have to use concrete details from one moment in the story to support their point. 
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries & Investigations,” Topic & Theme: Reading like an investigator. In this unit, students read stories of mystery and suspense that challenge them to think and respond like investigators. Throughout the unit, students step into the role of investigator, read closely to notice the strategies that different characters employ, create their own theories based on available information, and even predict what the characters may do next. 
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” students read a variety of pieces to explore the topic of chocolate and to achieve the unit goal and culminating task. The unit goal is explained as “ students explore primary documents and conduct independent research to better understand the….roles that chocolate has played in cultures around the world.” In addition, students learn about the reliability of sources and conducting research by constructing an evidence-based argument. carefully analyzing source documents, and building their arguments on solid, relevant evidence. As students reach the end of the unit, they take on the culminating task which asks them to write either an argumentative or informative essay as well as complete an interactive timeline. 
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Topic & Theme: Man vs. gods in ancient Greece. In this unit students are engaged in the complex world of the Olympian gods and familiarizing themselves with the primary characters of Greek mythology. This unit provides students an overview of how storytellers have used literature for centuries to grapple with some of life’s great questions, and it underscores the importance of text as a way for readers to learn about themselves and their communities. 
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” students read a novel The Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall as well as excerpts from Homer’s The Odyssey and Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario to “consider how characters change and develop, compare McCall’s retelling to episodes from Homer’s The Odyssey, contrast the sister’s fictional journey to the non-fiction account of a migrant boy’s journey, and research Aztec mythology to create their own Lotería cards”. The culminating task for this unit asks students to write an essay explaining what allows the hero of Summer of the Mariposas to be successful in specific moments.
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection and experiences of the Titanic passengers.” In this unit students examine the historical aspects of the Titanic, through the stories of the survivors.

Indicator 2b

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

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

The Grade 6 units provide students with frequent opportunities to practice identifying and studying specific elements of texts, from analyzing words to looking at the structures of paragraphs and the larger text itself. Each unit focuses on how the writer has crafted his/her narrative and students are examining the text for examples. Each lesson includes a list of vocabulary words to use. Questions and tasks help students build comprehension and knowledge of topics and themes, and they build on each other in a coherent sequence so that by the end of the year, items are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly.  There is an ample amount of written work throughout lessons that allows teachers to gage students’ understanding of each concept. Questions and tasks help students build comprehension and knowledge of topics and themes. 

Throughout the materials, students independently, and as a whole group, complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts. Students complete multiple reads of texts with scaffolds such as read aloud, partner reading, and independent reading. The instructions have students answer questions and/or complete tasks that move from a literal understanding of the text to deep analysis within the texts or multiple texts. This scaffolded progression can be seen across the units, the sections, the lessons, and the assessments.

Examples of materials that contain sets of coherently sequenced questions include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 11, Activity 3, students discuss the Meaning of The “Tuck-Box”, students use words and phrases from the passage to develop an understanding of the definition and connotative meaning of “tuck-box” in the text.
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students look at an image of Philadelphia in 1793 and answer five questions. The directions and questions are: "1. Look at the image of the city of Philadelphia from the 1790s. In five words or less, describe what you see. 2. Does the sense of community (how people interact with each other) seem strong or weak? Describe a detail from the image that supports your answer. 3. Look at how cared for the buildings and streets look. Does the sense of civic responsibility seem strong or weak? Describe a detail from the image that supports your answer. 4. Does the economic life (whether people seem to have what they need) seem strong or weak? Describe a detail from the image that supports your answer. 5. What do you infer life would be like in Philadelphia in the 1790s? Describe one detail that you observed in the engraving to support your answer."
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 5, Lesson 1, students complete a reading assessment for the unit. The assessment is divided into three different tasks. The first task asks students to “complete 20 selected response questions to show their proficiency with the skills practiced in this unit.'' For one part of this section students are asked to read an excerpt from "Prometheus" in Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin. An example of one of the questions that students are asked after reading the passage is: 
    • Part 1: How would Zeus describe man’s life without knowledge of fire?
    • Part 2: Which quote from the story BEST supports the correct answer to Part 1?
    • The second section of the assessment asks students to answer the following with the same excerpt: “In a well-constructed paragraph, describe Zeus’s attitude toward man. Use at least two details from the text to support your answer.”
    • For the final section students are also asked to read an excerpt from The Odyssey. Then they are asked: “Does the excerpt from The Odyssey better support Prometheus’s or Zeus’s beliefs about humans? Write a well-constructed paragraph using evidence from both texts.”

Indicator 2c

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of high-quality text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts.

High-quality text-dependent questions and tasks are embedded throughout the sub-units to provide opportunities for students to understand and analyze the texts in order to respond to tasks requiring students to develop, evaluate, and support their claims. The text-dependent questions and tasks are coherently sequenced and structured within each unit and across units to support students’ literacy skills. By the end of the year, the summative essays and tasks integrate knowledge and ideas from throughout the unit.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 3, students read three different excerpts from Boy: Tales of A Childhood by Roald Dahl. While reading each excerpt, students answer the question, "What details do you notice that help you understand Dahl's emotion in each scene?" After students answer that question for each excerpt they work with a partner and “highlight any details that show you Dahl's emotion(s) in this moment.” Then, they choose an emotion Dahl feels from the provided list and write one sentence that names Dahl’s emotion and explain how you know he feels this way.
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” students read three major texts: The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing by Suzanne Jurmain and “The Speckled Band” and “The Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As they read the Sherlock Holmes stories, questions and tasks provide opportunities for students to read closely, noticing the strategies that Holmes uses to solve cases. For example, in Lesson 3, students answer questions about “The Speckled Band” individually and then participate in a whole-group discussion. Questions include “What does Holmes inspect most closely during his visit to Stoke Moran?”and “What does Holmes say or do that shows when he thinks a detail is suspicious?” An example of a task is, “Think about which objects or pieces of furniture in the rooms seem suspicious or unusual. What makes you think that these items are suspicious or unusual? Cite at least one piece of textual evidence that supports your inference.” At the end of the unit, students write an essay that requires analysis across the three major texts. The essay prompt requires students to identify and describe an important characteristic of an investigator, using examples from the texts. 
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 3, students read the poem “Chocolate” by Rita Dove and then watch a video of her reciting the poem. After looking at both texts, students answer the questions: “How does Rita Dove use her voice and facial expressions to communicate her ideas or feelings about Chocolate? When we do our own reading, we can linger over or go back to reread a particular line or detail. How does that ability to look closely at a particular line or detail affect your understanding of what the poem is communicating about chocolate?”
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” students read several Greek myths in order to explore how one individual’s story can make us think more broadly about human nature and the roles people play in their communities. After reading the myth “Prometheus," students individually consider questions, then participate in a class discussion. Examples of questions include “Why did Zeus create humans?” and “According to Zeus, what will humans think about themselves if they get fire?” Examples of tasks include, “Think like Prometheus: In your own words, list two reasons that fire might make humans more interesting” and “Think like Zeus: In your own words, list two reasons that fire might make humans more dangerous.” At the end of the unit, students write an essay analyzing the integration of knowledge and ideas across texts. The essay prompt requires students to address the questions “Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not?” Students are asked to support their claim with textual evidence from at least two of the myths they studied.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 12, students respond to a writing prompt after reading Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, "Do the sisters become more united during their journey or not? Use details from earlier and later in the story to support your claim."
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3: Internet Research, students respond to the question, citing text evidence to support their responses. “Write 1–2 paragraphs providing key information you discovered about your topic. Make sure to include two framed quotes from at least two sources.”
    •  In Sub-Unit 3: Passport and Collection Research, Lesson 2, students respond to the question citing text evidence to support their response: “In character, write a letter to a friend or family member at home. Date the letter April 14, 1912. Describe your experiences aboard the Titanic. Use the information you’ve noted in your Passenger Profile to help craft your response. Your letter should include at least one fact from each of the documents.”

Indicator 2d

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials include culminating tasks that are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of different grade level standards, including writing and presentation of knowledge and ideas. Each unit has questions and activities that increase in rigor and depth and support students in developing an ability to complete a culminating task. Culminating tasks vary for each text and include activities comprised of multiple types of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Examples of high quality questions and assignments that lead to multifaceted culminating tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 4, students write an essay for the prompt, “Based on the texts you have read, what stands out to you as one important characteristic to have as a problem solver or investigator? Include two examples of individuals demonstrating this characteristic in your response.” Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 4, Lesson 2, students read an excerpt from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. After reading the excerpt, students identified suspicious details about the Red-Headed League, Duncan Ross, and Holmes’s visit to Saxe-Coburg Square. In the next lesson, students use the evidence they have gathered to examine which details from the story are suspicious and why. This directly connects with the culminating task at the end of the unit. 
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” there are two culminating tasks. The first is a debate about whether or not school lunches should include chocolate milk. In Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, students read four texts about chocolate and health and gather evidence to support both sides of the debate. This lesson also introduces the debate format, criteria for a strong debate, and provides scaffolds for planning. In Lesson 2, students are taught how to plan their opening statements and their counter arguments before beginning the actual debate. The second culminating task in this unit is an essay. Students choose to write either an informational essay about the history of slavery in the production of chocolate or an argumentative essay about the effects of chocolate on brain chemistry. Students learn about these topics in Sub-Units 2 and 3 as they read texts about chocolate and answered text-dependent questions. These lessons consist of a combination of independent, partner, and whole-class work and involve reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. Sub-unit 5 focuses on the essay, teaching students to gather evidence, make claims, write body paragraphs, revise, edit, and cite references.
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 4, students write an essay in which they use two of the following characters: the humans from “Prometheus,” Odysseus from The Odyssey, or Arachne from “Arachne” to answer the following question, "Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not?” Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 3, Lesson 5, students read the Arachne myth. This lesson gives students the opportunity to use new strategies to think through the connection between Arachne's talent and Minerva's punishment. Students rewrite the Arachne myth, endowing her with a new talent and a punishment that fits that talent. Students also use specific details, including sensory details, to show readers how important this talent is and to help them understand the punishment Arachne experiences. This continues the focus that they connect to the culminating task about character traits and the consequences they carry. 
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection”, for the culminating task students write an essay and present a multimedia project centering on the historical tragedy. Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, students choose a text from the Titanic Collection. The directions state, “In your scavenger hunt lessons, you’ve seen many images and read several texts in The Titanic Collection. Today, you’ll choose one additional text that you’re interested in reading. The ideas you generate here will be used again at the end of the lesson when you integrate the information presented by different media types.” This lesson directly connects with the culminating task students complete at the end where they create a profile on a simulated social media app within the program where they use information from their research to post entries from the point of view of a passenger or from one of the orphans from the Titanic.

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 reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. 

The materials provide a year-long approach to building students' academic vocabulary, providing them opportunities to master many new words and apply new vocabulary across multiple contexts. The lesson plans include daily support for this goal at the start of each sub unit. Time is allotted at the beginning of each lesson for vocabulary development delivered through the Amplify Vocab App. “Words to Use” are also listed in the daily lesson guide. Teachers are encouraged to use these words throughout instruction along with the activities that utilize that vocabulary. Students complete assessment activities which show their mastery of using the word in context. The app also provides games for students to study morphology, figurative language, dictionary skills, words in context, and synonyms/antonyms.

Examples of how students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students watch a short video on the definition of the vocabulary word and complete two activities that support the learning of the word in the correct context. For example, this particular lesson has a brief video clip that humorously explains the word “gruff” followed by using the word “gruff” in a sentence. Then, students decide which sentence uses the word “gruff” correctly. Next, students are given a hypothetical scenario and asked which one uses the word “gruff” correctly. 
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, the “words to use” are conquer and corpses.  Students interact with and apply the words in the text, in whole-class discussion, in the writing task, in a comprehension question, and in the exit ticket.
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, students are provided instruction on several vocabulary words using the Vocab app. In the Vocab Word list for this sub-unit provided in the app, the following words are listed for Lesson 1: clench, henchmen, impute, interact, misleading, offences, proximity, summon. Some of these words are “core” words for the unit. 
  • In Unit 6D,  Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, the “words to use” are lurched and outposts.  Students closely read and discuss the paragraph of text which contains these two words.  Students write about how the author introduces a character in this paragraph, giving students the opportunity to use the words in their writing.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 10, students are provided instruction on several vocabulary words using the Vocab app. In the Vocab Word list for this sub-unit provided in the app, the following words are listed for Lesson 10: bristly, flapped, flickering, mumbled, noisily, shredding, streamed. Some of these words are core words for the unit. For example, for the core word “flickering”, students can do an activity called Analogy. The instructions say “compare the words below and pick another pair of words that uses the same analogy”. The activity then states: “Flickering is to Firefly” before listing the examples students can choose from.  
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 3, Passport and Collection Research, students are guided to use the words Blunder, Ineptitude, Distortions, and Inexplicable. Students are prompted to use the vocabulary app to determine the meanings of the designated words. In the app game hashtag it out students uncover the meaning of the word by choosing the correct answer, once the student guesses correctly the definition of the word is revealed.

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to 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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to 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.

Writing is used across lesson plans and assessments as an opportunity for learning and as a way for students to express their understanding. Lesson plans are carefully put together and scaffolded so students read and analyze a text in careful, specific detail before having to write thoughtfully about them. Within lessons, students complete smaller writing tasks such as taking notes, responding to short-answer questions, and writing quick reflection responses before they complete a more demanding writing task which is present in every unit. As the year progresses, students produce a variety of essays that include a variety of styles and text types, gradually increasing in rigor and complexity. In addition, the final essay requires students to incorporate multimedia components or research. Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the whole school year.

Instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations," Sub-unit 5, students write an essay to “explain which character trait is most useful for problem solvers and investigators”. This prompt is considered to be the culminating writing assessment for the unit.  For this particular unit, students are first introduced to the overview for the task, and then asked to get evidence from the text in order to support their claim. Then, students support their points using two examples of people demonstrating this characteristic. In the sub-unit overview it explains that students are supposed to focus on evidence collection and the prompt rather than organization and revision.
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks," sub-unit 4, students are asked the following prompt: Using two of the following characters—the humans from “Prometheus,” Odysseus from The Odyssey, or Arachne from “Arachne”— answer the following question: Are humans destroyed by their pride? Why or why not? Use your answer to stake a claim about whether or not these characters have been destroyed by their pride”. For this sub-unit, students look at a sample essay’s textual evidence and see how it supports the writer’s claim. Also, students have to look at three texts and choose 1-2 pieces of evidence from each text as well as focusing on what character they are going to write about. Finally, students are instructed to share their writing and then collect additional evidence based on feedback. 
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, students are prompted to respond: "Choose either Odilia or the sister you just profiled using the notes in your Amplify Library. Which character trait do you think will be important as the sisters begin this adventure? Explain your answer using text details and your understanding of her character traits." Later, in Lesson 13, students are prompted to respond to the question, "What is one key way in which Odilia compares to or contrasts with Odysseus during each character’s encounter with a monster?"
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection”, sub-unit 5, students write a four paragraph essay that asks students to gather evidence and conduct research from the Internet in order to support their points. In the Sub-unit overview, Amplify explains that they are building on previous units including a “compelling introduction and a strong conclusion”. In addition to the essay, students are also taught in-text citations, frames for quotes and a work cited page. They also have to put together a multimedia project as well as presentation. Another addition to this unit at the end of the year is that students decide between an argumentative essay prompt and an informative essay prompt.  

Indicator 2g

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Research projects start on a smaller scale in the beginning of the year and then gradually progress to a comprehensive research project at the end. 

Examples of the type of opportunities students have to engage in both short and long projects include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries & Investigations,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 3, students practice evaluating the strength of evidence for a specific claim by distinguishing the evidence that supports the theory from the evidence that does not. This skill prepares them for evaluating evidence during longer research projects in the year. In this activity, students are given a theory and then given specific evidence that they have to rank from strongest to weakest. In the next activity (Activity 4), students use the Evidence app to evaluate the evidence for three existing theories of yellow fever.
  • In Unit 6C, Sub-unit 1, “The Chocolate Collection,” the culminating task is a research project. The unit begins with a series of lessons on information literacy. Students learn how to judge the credibility of a website as well as how to quote, cite, and paraphrase information. In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, students then embark on their own research, writing a research question, gathering information, and refocusing the research question as needed.
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” the culminating task is a research project. First, students learn how to tell the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, they then determine if a source is reliable, and demonstrate the understanding of the ethical uses of information. After that, they construct their own research questions and explore the Internet for answers. Then, each student is assigned a passenger from the Titanic’s manifest. They consider gender and class issues as they research and write narrative accounts from the point of view of their passengers. Next, this lesson forms the basis for a Socratic Seminar in which students rely on their research to examine the complicated issues inherent in the Titanic story. As students reach the end of the unit, they synthesize all of the skills they’ve developed to tackle a culminating research assignment, part essay and part multimedia project. In this assignment, they have to choose from an argumentative or informative essay and then create a social media profile for one of the Titanic passengers using the Spinnr app. This project requires students to revisit their research to find relevant information for the profile. Finally, students present and display their findings to the class.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Lessons include some independent reading followed by text-specific questions and tasks that reflect student accountability. Procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons for each unit under the headings of “Extra” or “Solo”. There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for readers at all levels. Students have access to additional texts within the Amplify Library. This library allows teachers to track students’ progress and monitor their choices for reading. Also, each time students read a text independently, there is a tracker for them to monitor their own progress. Assessments are available for the independent reading selections and teachers can assess students formatively during flex days. Student reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade level (and at various lexile levels within the grade). 

Examples of readings inside and outside of class include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 5 in the Grade 6 Solo Workbook on page 27, students are instructed to read an additional selection from Boy: Tales of a Childhood by Roald Dahl. The instructions tell students to “read “Mr Coombes,” paragraphs 1–28. Note two places in your reading that grabbed your attention and describe what you notice and think about this place in the text.” Once students have read the passage they are given 6 questions for comprehension. 
  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries & Investigations,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, students answer questions directly related to the reading. "Question 2. According to the text, what two nations worked together to fight against this disease? Select TWO."
  • In Unit 6C ,“The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, the first lesson directs students toward “Independent Reading." Specifically, the directions instruct students to find something to read and then gives them three options of where they could go to find texts: “suggested reading for lessons in this sub-unit, Amplify Library or the local library." Then it directs students to read 20 minutes or more and then complete the accompanying handout. The handout asks students to explain what they read, provide an opinion on whether or not they liked the text, track how many minutes they read as well as how many interruptions they had during the reading.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 14, students are directed to "Read Summer of the Mariposas Part III 'The Return' and Chapter 16. Identify a stage or figure from the hero’s journey structure (you can find the map of the hero’s journey in your lesson materials).” Then, students are posed three additional questions to check their reading comprehension on that reading selection. 

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

Amplify Grade 6 materials meet the expectations of Gateway 3. The implementation guidance for teachers is comprehensive and clear, and includes not only information about enacting the materials to support student learning, but also information to grow the teacher's development of the content. Guidance for supporting and differentiating for each student is included, as is a comprehensive assessment system so teachers can analyze data and make appropriate instructional decisions. Technology and personalized learning options are outlined and clear. 

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of use and design. Lessons and units are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Guidance for teachers assures the materials can be completed within a regular school year. Alignment documents are included to support instruction, and student materials are organized to maximize learning.

Indicator 3a

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

There are six units of study that are designed around a collection of texts that support a common topic. For example, in the Mysteries & Investigations Unit, students “read like an investigator” and embark on a multi-genre study into the mesmerizing world of scientific and investigative sleuthing. Stories of mystery and suspense are a natural medium for involving Grade 6 students in close reading because the texts are constructed to raise readers’ curiosity. Each unit is divided into sub-units that contain lessons that follow a predictable guided instruction design and have a suggested pacing of 45 to 60 minutes per lesson. There is a Lesson Brief document provided for teachers that helps teachers understand the layout of each lesson. Each lesson launches with a “Vocabulary Activities” section that centers on the Vocabulary App, a “self-guided and adaptive means of learning new vocabulary,” that “introduces students to words that are integral to understanding the texts and key concepts in each unit.” Lessons include whole class, partner or small group, and individual practice with the intended outcomes through the “Present”, “Introduce”, “Connect Text”, and “Discuss” cards. The “Wrap Up” and “Exit Ticket” cards close the class with a review of the lesson and a formative assessment. The “Solo” card provides students with independent practice based on the learning outcomes for the day. Opportunities to differentiate instruction for individual students are available through the lesson. Each unit also includes Flex Days that provide an opportunity for students to receive regular instruction on needed grammar. 

Examples of unit set-up, structures, suggested timings, and sub-units include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, teachers are instructed to launch the lesson with the following instructions in mind: 
    • This first lesson is an introduction to the type of learning, interactions, and underlying principles that around which the Amplify materials were designed. 
    • The lesson activities enable students to get to know each other better, help the class learn to navigate the lesson structure in a low-stakes environment, and engage students with some key classroom principles. 
    • The lesson also allows the teacher to accommodate a variety of initial classroom configurations. 
    • After delivering a short introductory talk, this playful take on the typical “first-day-of-school" lesson helps establish classroom principles. These principles will appear all jumbled (and you will appear to be surprised). 
    • You will then guide your students through a series of word games to reveal the three essential classroom principles and then to experience that principle in action. 
  • In the 6B Unit, “Mysteries & Investigations,” the lesson structure for each lesson appears in the Lesson at a Glance Compilation for the unit of the section as follows: 
    • Vocabulary Activities
    • Class Activities - Download text
    • Classwork - Visuals
    • Reading Selection of first text 
    • Reading - Selection of next text 
    • Writing 
    • Class Share 
    • Exit Ticket
    • Solo
  • Lessons within the 6B Unit and Sun-units include: 
    • Sub-Unit 1: Fever 1793 - Lesson 1: A Nightmare in Philadelphia
    • Sub-Unit 2: The Secret of the Yellow Death: Lesson 1: Meeting a Monster
    • Sub-Unit 3: "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Sub-Unit 4: "The Red-Headed League" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Sub-Unit 5: Write an Essay
    • Formative Assessments and Summative Assessments
  • In Unit 6C, “Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, teachers are provided with an overview of the lesson. The lesson is broken down into specific time lengths for each activity. The directions say, 
    • “Before Class: Prepare for the Activity. Teacher is introduced to the hoax website concept, which will be the guiding example for the first Information Literacy lesson. 
    • Download the Unit Texts (3 min). Students download the core texts for the unit so they will have access to the texts if they lose connectivity during class or do not have connectivity when they take their devices home. 
    • Read: Exploring a Website (5 min) Students explore a website as a first step in determining its credibility. 
    • Discuss: A Website's Credibility (5 min) Students discuss the website to focus on factors that help them determine a site's credibility. 
    • Discuss: What Makes a Website Credible? (10 min) Along with partners, students use a checklist of points to discuss the credibility of the hoax website. Then, they review other sites to check the credibility of the hoax website further. 
    • Discuss: Evaluating Sources (10 min) Students discuss 4 different sources to determine their credibility. 
    • Domain Extensions (10 min) Students identify different domain extensions to determine what they are short for and their respective credibilities. 
    • Exit Ticket (5 min) Students distinguish between sources that are credible and sources that are not credible.

Indicator 3b

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

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

The teacher and students in Grade 6 can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. The Amplify ELA materials include core lessons for 180 days of instruction as well as an extensive amount of supplementary materials that teachers can use at their discretion to support and enrich that experience. Additional instructional experiences have also been created for students to use independently. Working with the pacing guide, teachers see how the biggest parts of the program—units, Quests, and major assessments—can be scheduled over the 180 days of instruction. 

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” the unit is broken up into 26 lessons. For each particular lesson it provides minute-by-minute pacing. For example, the directions state for Lesson 3 that teachers should "Introduce: Framing a Quote (10 min) Students learn how to frame a direct quote from a text to avoid plagiarism.” Then students should "Try It On: Framing a Quote (8 min) Students practice writing framed direct quotes with an introduction to the quote and citation.” Next, they are told to explain “Paraphrasing (17 min) Students are introduced to the concept of paraphrasing an author’s text as another way to avoid plagiarism and then work independently to paraphrase informational text”
  • In some units, options are provided to contract or shorten the unit if necessary. Lessons are identified within each sub-unit that might be unnecessary for some students and would be the lessons to eliminate first if there is a need to do so. For example, in the 6A Unit, “Dahl & Narrative,” Lessons 7 and 8 of Sub-unit 2 could be eliminated. These 2 lessons “provide additional instruction and practice with the writing skills of focus and productivity”.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 2, there are 5 lessons included. Students are instructed in gathering evidence and making a claim, writing body paragraphs, revising and writing an introduction as well as including and polishing the essay. There is also an essay flex day included and the instructions for teachers on this day says, “At this stage in the essay process, most middle school teachers find their students in different places. Some students are tearing through each piece and need to be told to slow down, read their writing, and develop their ideas more completely. Some students are still slogging through the first drafts of their body paragraphs. This lesson is designed with a little more flexibility so that you can guide students to work at the pace that allows them to benefit most from the writing activities.”

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

There are clear, step-by-step directions and explanations for both teachers and students for every phase of the teaching and learning process. Supplemental materials are provided for each lesson and are well-labeled and organized. Each lesson also references the standards addressed and the goal. Throughout most lessons, there are numerous formative assessments built-in to the lesson activities to monitor progress and check for understanding. Each lesson begins with “Vocabulary Activities” that provide differentiated vocabulary support and ends with “Wrap-up” which is a formative assessment that allows students and teachers to monitor learning progressions. “Solo” assignments at the end of lessons provide progress check-ins and practice for standardized testing. Unit assessments gauge the abilities of students to apply what they are learning over the course of the unit by reading, understanding, and expressing their knowledge of a complex grade-level text. Within the lesson plan structure, activities are scaffolded and structured in such a way that students have ample opportunities to practice skills. 

The program has several pieces that provide students with ample review and practice resources, specifically, “Library”, “My Work”, and “Misunderstanding Notebook”. When students click on the Library tab they are taken to a digital library which contains many digital texts that students can read. The My Work tab shows students copies of all of their previous work done online including those pieces with teacher feedback. Each assignment is organized in the units that have been completed. In the “Misunderstanding Notebook” students can document misunderstandings that have occurred during their learning and then connect it to a particular lesson they have studied.

 Examples of resources within the materials include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 10, students revise their use of evidence. Specifically, the lessons asks students to “1. Reread your writing from Lesson 9 and underline a sentence(s) where you used details from the book to develop your idea. (Your teacher may have underlined a sentence for you.) 2. Reread that part of the book and identify one or two more details that connect to your idea.3. Write 3–5 more sentences using those details to explain your idea. Use at least one direct quote.”
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-Unit 1: "Prometheus" activities include: 
    • Activity 1: Vocabulary Activities - students are instructed to open the vocabulary app through the provided link; 
    • Activity 2: Students are instructed to download the texts through the Amplify library, the titles of the text 
    • Activity 3: Students are instructed to interact with the digitally downloaded text vocabulary and where to write the answers to their responses. 
    • Activity 4: Students are Introduced to the Prometheus Myth image and instructed to spend time observing the differences.
    • Activity 5: Students are directed to respond to the question by highlighting the sentences that answers the questions.
    • Activity 7: Students are directed to discuss their Arguments and Points of View, through writing their responses on the digital cards, then discuss their responses whole group.
    • Activity 8: Students are instructed to respond to a class Wrap-Up Poll
    • Activity 9: Students are given a digital Exit Ticket, they are instructed to respond to the multiple choice questions.
    • Activity 10: Students are prompted to read the assigned text in the Solo section and digitally answer questions using text evidence.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 7, students are asked to participate in a fishbowl discussion. The instructions for the inner circle discussion are: Follow the five "C"s of the conversation--Communicate—Share your idea and include supporting evidence. Connect—Agree with someone’s comment and add supporting information or an additional thought. Contrast—Present an alternate point of view and include supporting evidence. Query—Ask a question. Clarify—Answer a question and include supporting evidence. Observe discussion etiquette: Wait for someone to finish before speaking. Don’t hog the floor. Listen and consider seriously the speaker’s idea.If you disagree, do so politely.”

Indicator 3d

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

The 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.

For Grade 6, instructors are presented with a correlations guide that indicates all standard listed within the CCSS for ELA: Reading literature (RL), reading informational (RI), writing (W), speaking and listening (SL), and language (L). Each sub-standard has the correlated lessons identified with focus “cards” and lessons that most strongly support that standard.

When viewing individual lessons standards appear under the “Focus Standards” section of the Prep portion of the Lesson Guide and the “Other Standards Addressed in This Lesson” section. For “cards” providing opportunities to specifically focus on a standard, there is a “Standards” tab and the focus standard for the activities on that card are identified. For the Unit Assessments a Teacher Rationale document aligning “questions to specific grade level standards and standard strands” is provided.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In each unit, once teachers click on the Unit Overview page, they scroll down below the unit icons to the section labeled “Planning for the Unit”. Then, they click on the standards button and all the standards for each of the lessons are listed. For example, in the 6C unit “The Chocolate Collection” sub unit 1, lesson 1, the focus standard is “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.8---Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.” They also explain that there are “Other Standards Addressed in this lesson” which are: “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6---Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.” and “CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.”
  • In the unit overview page for each unit in the print edition, there are standards listed for each portion of the lesson. For example in unit 6A “Dahl and Narrative” on page 6-7, it lists the lesson objective, the reading, writing and the standards that will be addressed in each lesson. Lesson 2, which is titled “Focus on a Moment” says that students will “review Spotlight student exemplars and revise their own writing to use precise details to strengthen focus on one moment” as well as “practice focus by writing on one moment when they did something new or unexpected” and “students will present their writing and respond with constructive comments to their peers’ writing”. On the right hand side of the page, it provides the focus standards that correspond to these goals in red and the rest of the standards applicable to the lesson in black. 

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

The materials are presented in a digital format that is interactive and easy to navigate. They are designed with a consistent, clear layout so that teachers and students know what to expect for each unit, sub-unit, and lesson. There are drop down menus and tabs that provide access to materials from multiple locations. The lessons are presented in a slide format with a slide dedicated to each step of the lesson. Each slide, or “card” as it is referred to in the materials, includes a limited amount of information and uses bullet points and simple visuals to complement this information. Above each slide, there is an instructional guide and an area to add personalized teaching notes. Other resources for the lesson are also tabbed for easy access. The font, media size, and type are all easy to read. The materials use symbols and images to complement the activities that are being covered in each lesson. There is ample room for student answers on all-digital assessment materials.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Student Print Edition, page 8 & 9, students are able to see the title of the lesson and the different sub-units that are included in the unit on the unit overview page. For this unit, the color purple is used to show the lessons that belong to the topic. The overview on page 10 explains: “Let’s begin the year reading all about….you! Remember that disastrous first time you had to push through the crowded hallways, got pinned against the locker, and almost suffocated? Or how about the time the gym teacher gave you one minute to somehow pull yourself to the top of the rope just after you had eaten those extra nachos your friend didn’t want? At the time, those moments made you sweat. Now, they are exactly the moments that can make your audience laugh, gasp, and maybe even fall off their chairs. All you need to do is take a deep breath, focus, and write about what grabbed your attention.” Then, on page 11, it shows students a picture of young students in a lunchroom with the title, Lesson 1--what grabs your attention? And then it asks students to describe what is happening in the picture.
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” after students click on unit heading, they are taken to a unit overview page that details 3 different sub-units. In sub-unit 2 “Write an Essay”, students are led to five different icons that each contain a different lesson. In Lesson 1, students are given two questions with discussion boxes. The directions ask students to “think about these questions for class discussion. Write down at least two ideas in each box during the conversation.” The first box reads, “What are some physical characteristics that might help a hero be successful in a hero’s journey?”. The second box asks, “What character traits (personalities) might help a hero be successful in a hero’s journey?”

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of teacher planning support. The teacher- facing edition is thorough and, where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning. Teacher-facing materials include information to enhance the teacher’s knowledge of content as well as the foundational underpinning of the program itself. Support for stakeholder communications is included.


Indicator 3f

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

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

The Teacher Edition provides numerous support materials in multiple formats. The materials can be accessed digitally or in a print version. There are Unit Overviews for each unit and Lesson Guides for each individual lesson.The Unit Overviews provide tips on contracting the unit when necessary, the reading and writing assignments within the unit, applications to be used, differentiation, and assessment information. Additional teacher references are available with standards, vocabulary, and supplemental texts. Within the Lesson Guides, teachers will find an overview of the lesson, the preparation necessary, the objective, key vocabulary, skills and standards addressed, and methods of differentiation.

Examples of materials available to teachers include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6A, “Dahl and Narrative,” Sub-Unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 1, students are directed to solve an anagram in order to reveal Classroom Principle 1. Specifically, the Teacher Edition directions say “Divide students into groups of 3. Students can share devices if not all students are logged in. Make sure all students using a device are viewing this activity. If not, direct students to the correct location using the activity number and name on the Lesson Map (top of screen)”. The directions continue by saying, “Have students solve the puzzle, using their devices or the class projection. Direct students to click HAND IN at the top right of their screens each time they complete an activity.”
  • In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, students prepare to do a research project on chocolate. In the directions for the Teacher Edition the instructions read that teachers should do the following: “Before class, research online to find a hoax website for your students to explore as they learn about sources that are credible and not credible. There are many of these sites; find one that you think will work best for your students. Ideally, this website will be convincing but suspicious.” The instructions continue on to explain the types of details that teachers should look for when they choose a “hoax website”. Then the instructions explain that “For this lesson to work best and be as much fun as possible, students need to be taken by surprise, which makes it important to keep them in the dark. For that reason, we have carefully worded student-facing information to keep them from uncovering the surprise should they click ahead.”
  • In Unit 6F, “The Titanic Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 2, the Instructional Guide explains to the teacher how to download the unit texts. The Instructional Guide also notes that in certain situations, this step should be skipped. The notes explain how students can reset their personal PINs when using the Amplify Library and other helpful pieces of information.

Indicator 3g

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

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

The Program Guide provides a pedagogical approach to assist teachers in establishing a classroom where students thrive in every area, academically, socially, emotionally, as well as developing age-appropriate skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

The Program Guide Pedagogical Approach gives teachers steps in order to design a well-balanced classroom, supporting the needs of all learners. For example, in the Critical Collaboration and Engagement section, it states that it gives students lessons that immerse them in close reading activities and cognitively challenging work that engages them with collaborative, digital and project based learning opportunities. 

In the Program Guide Integrated Approach Targeted Objectives section, it states that it guides students with working through the text using key standards. While reading analytical texts, using evidence based writing, and academic discussion to support their ideas. Text at the center supports teachers in using complex and diverse texts that develop students skills in middle school and beyond.

Examples of materials provided to teachers for their advancement in the subject area include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 5, Lesson 1, students prepare to write an essay about which character trait most helped the investigators solve problems based on their analysis of their collected evidence. In the materials for the lesson there is a PDF handout labeled “Possible Evidence and Explanations” chart. This instructional resource the different traits that students could choose for their essay along with possible evidence and explanations about the texts that students could choose from. 
  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 6, students engage in a process to find the symbolism in the text. In the Teacher Edition section titled “Preparation” the instructions say “In Activity 4, students search for and select a passage for analysis. Using the keywords 'butterfly' and/or 'mariposa' to search the text is a good way to identify passages. However, some of the places identified do not lend themselves to an easy analysis of the symbolic meaning. You may want to point them toward the suggested passages.” There is also a handout included in the lesson that explains symbolism as well as provides several examples of this concept for 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The Teacher Edition explains the role of specific ELA/literacy standards within every individual lesson, sub-unit and unit as a whole. In addition, there is a Common Core State Standards correlations guide for each grade level and a Common Core State Standards Unit Level Standards Alignment document where educators can see the standards at a glance for each unit. 

Examples of explanations of the role of specific standards includes, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries and Investigations,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students are beginning to read The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing. In the lesson brief, under the section “Skills and Standards”, the curriculum states that the skills addressed are “CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes) and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.” This section also describes other standards that are addressed in the lesson.
  •  In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” page 14 of the Grade 6 Curriculum Map explains that “students consider how characters change and develop, compare McCall’s retelling to episodes from Homer’s Odyssey, contrast the sisters’ fictional journey to the nonfiction account of a migrant boy’s journey, and research Aztec mythology.” 
  • In the Amplify ELA Common Core State Standards Correlations Guide for Grade 6 which can be found in the Resources of the curriculum, all the standards are shown along with the activities from the curriculum that they correspond to. For example, for the first standard it explains, “RL.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.”

The guide also provides support for the activities that are different between the digital and print editions of the Amplify curriculum. 

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The Program Guide provides explanations of the instructional approaches of the curriculum as well as the research based strategies included. The Amplify materials have been created based on research around the developmental needs of middle-grade students including their learning, cognition, and how they develop literacy skills.

The guide lists five research-based pillars: 

  1. A focus on middle grade engagement recognizes that middle grade students thrive when they are given collaborative, social and experiential learning opportunities that provide exploratory curricula using varied and diverse teaching approaches.
  2. Text at the center focuses on providing text that is high quality. The curriculum includes text that promotes a range of cultures and experiences that include a variety of texts that appeal to culturally diverse students. Reading, Writing and Vocabulary are emphasized in the Amplify curriculum. Students are engaged in close reading - the intensive analysis of high quality texts, “in order to come to terms with what it says, how it says it and what it means.” This emphasis is a key component of college and career readiness. Amplify also believes that strong writing instruction improves reading comprehension and fluency. Students write routinely for an authentic audience and are given frequent writing prompts to interpret and paraphrase the texts they are reading. Vocabulary knowledge plays a critical role in reading comprehension and overall success and should include frequent, varied, direct, and contextualized exposures to words and extended in-depth instruction in definitonal and contextual information and word learning strategies. They also include encounters with Tier Two vocabulary. 
  3. High expectations and strong supports meet students where they are, while ensuring grade-level rigor. Differentiated instruction is the core instructional model that Amplify uses to provide six levels of activities, designed to support a range of students from ELL, special needs and advanced students. Amplify uses scaffolds such as text previews, word banks, guiding questions and graphic organizers to support reading comprehension.
  4. Active, multimodal, and collaborative learning is the focus of Amplify’s curriculum, since research suggests that active engagement is key and that students thrive when classroom activities are social and varied. Amplify ELA employs a variety of pedagogical styles, multimodal instruction, and ample opportunity for student collaboration. Varied teaching styles are used across Amplify ELA’s curriculum - Explicit instruction, Active learning, Multimodal instruction Collaboration as well as Effective constructivist learning environments all these teaching styles are incorporated into Amplify’s curriculum in order to support middle grade learners.
  5. Feedback and assessment Amplify ELA curriculum incorporates many opportunities for students to receive feedback on their work. Utilizing formative assessment students are provided with feedback about their work. Regular feedback is critical for teachers and students to monitor their performance.” 

Indicator 3j

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

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

General strategies for how students, parents or caregivers can support student progress and achievement throughout the year are provided. Unit Background and Context documents are provided for each unit in English and Spanish. These guides can be provided to parents and other stakeholders to support the work being done by students at school and at home. In the digital version of the student edition, students have access to “My Work” which houses all of their work from each unit. A “Feedback” tab provides students access to feedback from the teacher on work they have submitted. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to revise previous writing pieces as they learn and practice new skills; however, the materials provided do not provide clear suggestions and ELA/Literacy supports that directly inform stakeholders on how they can support their students progress and achievement. There is no direct link to informing all stakeholders on supporting their learner throughout this program. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6B, “Mysteries & Investigations,” the Unit Background and Context document provides an overview and introduction to the core texts, background and context information for the topic, and key words for the unit. The document is available in English and Spanish. 
  • In Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 6, Activity 4, students revise a previously submitted writing assignment. Students access the “My Work” section of the program to locate the assignment that the teacher designated for revision. The student is able to access the teacher’s feedback and revise the writing based on the current directions. Students have access to all of their submitted assignments and the related feedback.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation of assessment.  Assessment opportunities (both formative and summative) are regularly included and accompanied by guidance on how to interpret data and enact appropriate next instructional steps. 

Indicator 3k

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

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

There are varied opportunities for teachers to use both formative and summative assessments that genuinely measure student progress. All of the information can be found in the Assessment document in the Resources section of the curriculum.

For formative assessments in writing, students’ writing skills are automatically scored by Amplify’s Automatic Writing Evaluator, using a 0–4 rubric score, although this can be changed by the teacher. For reading, teachers can view individualized reports and “this daily measure provides teachers with an understanding of their students’ ability to independently read a grade-level text with accuracy." Finally, teachers can assign exit tickets for each lesson as a quick assessment of student learning on that day. There are also several summative assessments throughout each unit and grade level. These include unit reading assessments, writing assessments and end-of-unit assessments. 

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Within each lesson, students engage in writing assignments related to the text they just read. According to the assessment documentation, “The work students submit is scored and measures their ability to produce sustained writing, focus on one claim or idea, use textual evidence to support and develop that idea or use conventions to communicate in a clear way.”
  • The Assessment document also indicates, “at the end of every lesson, students complete an independent reading activity (“solo”) that measures the accuracy of their answers to auto-scorable reading questions. . .in addition, the reports show where students struggled in the reading, giving teachers and students an opportunity to revisit those portions of the text.”
  • Several summative assessments are located in the program that teachers can assign to their students, including unit reading assessments connected to grade level standards. There are also writing assessments, including one extended response question focused on two nonfiction passages, and end-of-unit essays which cover a range of topics and take multiple days to complete. 

Indicator 3l

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

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Within each unit, several sub-units divide a unit’s texts and skills into manageable learning goals. Each unit overview contains a list of the focus standards as well as the other standards that are covered during instruction. 

Examples of how standards being taught are emphasized include, but are not limited to:

In Unit 6C, “The Chocolate Collection,” the unit overview details the standards that are covered in the assessments under the subheading “Lesson Standards”. For example for Sub-unit 6, the reading assessment, the following standards are covered:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2: Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.5: Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.6: Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.8: Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.9: Compare and contrast one author's presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

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 criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

The assessment brochure provided by the publisher list the variety of ways for teachers to interpret student performance and provide suggestions for follow up. 

These examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students submit their work at multiple places in each lesson including reading responses and selected response items that check for reading comprehension. Data from students responses is populated into reports that indicate if students are comprehending what they are reading. Writing skills are automatically scored by Amplify’s Automatic Writing Evaluator using a 0–4 rubric score, but can also be updated by the teacher.
  • On page 7 of the assessment brochure it explains how “at the end of every lesson, students complete an independent reading activity (“solo”) that measures the accuracy of their answers to auto-scorable reading questions. This daily measure provides teachers with an understanding of their students’ ability to independently read a grade-level text with accuracy. It also gives teachers a picture of progress and challenge with reading comprehension, particularly when a student is working with the same text over multiple lessons. In addition, the reports show where students struggled in the reading, giving teachers and students an opportunity to revisit those portions of the text.”
  • On page 8 of the assessment brochure it discusses the feedback that can be received from the unit reading assessments. In addition, it explains how “the assessment report generates data tied to the most common domains found in standards: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, and Integration of Knowledge and Ideas”.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

In the lessons, teachers are able to monitor student progress through the use of formative assessments in the form of Lesson Exit Tickets, Solo Reading Comprehension, Formative Writing also Embedded Assessment Measures that includes auto-scored reading activities. Additional progress monitoring takes place through the use of summative assessments in the form of essays, constructed and selected response questions. 

Examples of routines and guidance include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6E, “Summer of the Mariposas,” Essay Prompt: What is a special characteristic or source of strength for one of the Garza sisters? How does this characteristic or strength help her succeed in any two moments of her hero’s journey?
  • In Unit 6E, "Summer of the Mariposas," Lesson 1, Reading Assessment - The assessment consists of 20–22 auto-scored questions and 2 constructed response questions. The constructed responses are text-based prompts, where students develop a claim supported by evidence in 10 minutes. The teacher chooses which questions best correspond with the skills practiced in the unit.

Indicator 3n

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

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

Students are given opportunities for reading independently at the end of each unit. The Solo activities included within each unit supports students as they prepare to read independently. The materials indicate how students are accountable based on student choice and interest. The Teacher Guide provides support/scaffolds where needed to guide students as they read independently. Each unit culminates in an Independent Reading lesson with a tracking sheet for students to track their progress as they read independently, holding them accountable outside of class. It also includes ideas for where students can select books from and questions that guide them to expound on what they read. The materials also have suggested minutes they should read. They are also asked to show how they felt about what they read. All of this is aimed at encouraging and building interest, stamina and confidence as well as the motivation to read independently. 

The Program Guide details how students are assigned the Solo activities at the end of each core lesson. Students apply their learned skills while closely reading a new text independently. Students are tasked with answering auto scored questions in order for teachers to monitor progression of students' comprehension. The Amplify library has an extensive variety of texts including different generes, interests, and readability, allowing students to access a multitude of texts. Students also have the opportunity to read in the research Collections to build upon their content knowledge, and adapting their skills to work with primary and secondary sources. The Collection builds students' skills to interact with texts as they answer research questions, compare articles, gather relevant information from credible sources, in preparation for class discussions and debating topics. 

The Research document also details that the reading collection has an expansive range of over 600 texts to appeal to all interests, cultural backgrounds, and ability levels. Within that collection, there are 15 curated Archives, each including 10–30 textual and multimedia sources focused around a topic for independent study. There are also fictional and informational texts and primary and secondary sources connected to the ideas and topics within the units, and teachers can choose to direct students to explore them at any time.

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

The Grade 6 materials meet expectations for providing support and guidance for differentiation. There are specific appropriate guidelines so teachers can assure students who may need different support to reach grade level literacy are available, as well as opportunities for those students who are ready to engage with above-grade level material. Supports are included for students who are also learning English.

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

The strategies for the program are well-documented in the Amplify ELA Research base. In addition, there are specific strategies to help teachers reach all learners including: differentiated instruction, formative assessments, scaffolded tasks, and a variety of active, multimodal, and collaborative learning.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • According to page 5 of the Amplify ELA Research base document that can be found in the Resources section of the Amplify ELA curriculum, “Amplify ELA meets students where they are while maintaining grade-level rigor for all. Through its differentiated instruction model, the curriculum is designed to 'provide equity of access to excellence for the broadest possible range of learners' (Tomlinson, 2015, p. 203)." The document goes on to explain that “this approach follows Vygotsky’s model of support by ensuring that each student is working within their ‘zone of proximal development,’.... In this way, all students are able to work with texts at their grade-band level of complexity and fully participate in classroom culture….Amplify provides six levels of differentiated activities, indicated by a (+) icon in the lessons. For each level of differentiated instructional support, teachers are provided with instructional materials and students are provided with the scaffolds they need in order to complete each classroom activity.” 
  • According to pages 7 and 8 of the Amplify ELA Research base document found in the Resources section, there are several different considerations addressed in the curriculum to support all learners, including explicit instruction, active learning, effective learning environment, multimodal instruction, and collaboration. 
  • On page 9 of the Research base document, there are descriptions of various routines wherein students work together to tackle complex tasks including breaking off into pairs or small groups to analyze texts, compare interpretations, and refine their understanding of the texts. During writing activities, students frequently share their work with peers and provide one another with constructive feedback. Additionally, student-led activities such as Quests, Reader’s Theatre, fishbowl discussions, Socratic seminars, and debates all involve groups of varying sizes and tap into students’ innate need for social interaction. These collaborative activities are situated as part of the classroom culture as determined by the materials.
  • Every lesson has a “Differentiation” tab within the “Lesson Brief” to guide the teacher through the differentiation strategies and techniques available for that particular lesson. Differentiation tips are provided for “Core” students who are on-level and other specific materials for students who are below-level. Tips range from ensuring ensure that the appropriate technology-based accommodations are available to alternate activities within a lesson. For example, if there is an alternate “Solo” available, the “Differentiation” tab will identify and explain the modification and support provided on the alternate version of the “Solo” in contrast to the regular one.

Indicator 3p

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

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

The materials provide six levels of differentiated activities, indicated by a (+) icon in the lessons. For each level of differentiated instructional support, teachers are provided with instructional materials and students are provided with the scaffolds they need in order to complete each classroom activity. These supports and modifications are designed to support a range of English Learners and students with special needs. In addition to these differentiated lessons, they also have reading comprehension support, text previews written with simplified language, and other strategies to support students in their comprehension. Embedded in each unit are Flex Days, these are days that allow students to catch up or move ahead with a variety of activities, including Quests, vocabulary, and language work. Students can work on revisions during these days as well, although there is limited specific support for teachers to assure implementation of this differentiation. 

The Program Guide entails how the Amplify curriculum provides ELL supports that allows teachers to provide ELL students access to grade level content that their peers are able to access. The supports for ELL are available throughout the curriculum and include Vocabulary App, word banks, chunked directions and prompts, reduced amount of text, sentence frames to provide language conventions and support reading comprehension, and graphic organizers. 

Example include, but are not limited to: 

  • Students have Flex Days as they move through the units. The rationale for the day (which repeat no matter what grade level or unit a teacher is in) explain that “The Flex Days are an opportunity for you to provide students with needed grammar instruction and also support additional practice in a targeted area of reading, writing, or language. Depending on students’ performance during the previous sequence of lessons, you might assign a particular group to work on reading fluency, revise an existing piece of writing, create a new piece of writing, practice close reading and discussion, or work on one of the key reading strands.”
  • Each lesson has a “Solo” activity requiring students to independently read a grade level text, usually one of the core texts, and answer numerous questions. The “Solo” activities are differentiated based on discretion and the Embedded Assessment Measure (EAM) report. Students complete “Solo” activities at the level appropriate for their unique needs. There are five levels ranging from "ELL/Substantial" to "Challenge." The writing prompts within the “Solo” activities are also structured with the assigned level. The “Instructional Guide” and “Lesson Briefs” provide teacher guidance as to the differentiation within each level of each activity.
  • On page 6 of the Amplify ELA Research Base document which can be found in the Resources section of the Amplify curriculum, the authors explain how the curriculum has “text previews as well as varying degrees of simplified language and visual supports for each of its differentiation levels. Text previews are not summaries of texts but rather introductions written at a lower level of complexity that prime students with what to focus on while they are reading.” 
  • On page 7 of the Amplify ELA Research Base document which can be found in the Resources section of the Amplify curriculum, there are several supports that are specific to EL learners. For example, the “EL-specific supports include think-alouds, simple Wh- questions, and additional partner work. For EL students, the provision of a think-aloud allows them to model their own thinking within a new language and to build the skills of code switching appropriately while reading complex, grade-level tasks…... Additionally, there is ample research supporting the inclusion of verbal instructional practices for ELs. Amplify ELA therefore includes many verbal experiences for EL students to increase their language acquisition skills to provide a rich educational experience. Last, ELs receive alternative vocabulary instruction during typical instruction time, to include important high frequency words that will appear in texts and may be familiar to native speakers but unfamiliar to ELs.”

Indicator 3q

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The Flex Days, included in every unit, provide time for advanced students to read from the Amplify library and expand vocabulary and language knowledge through the vocabulary app. In addition to these days, there are supplemental texts available in the Amplify library that provide additional reading and engagement for advanced learners. The instructional materials include extensions and advanced opportunities throughout, as well as a Challenge level designed for advanced students.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • According to page 5 of the Amplify ELA Research Base document,  the approach to vocabulary instruction supports above grade-level instruction by allowing the teacher to adjust portions of the program to reflect more challenging tasks. 

The Challenge level extensions provide opportunities for advanced students to engage in more sophisticated comparisons of text, create counterarguments, find evidence to support both sides of an argument, or to extend their thinking about a text or topic. Additionally, advanced students are given challenging writing prompts, asking them to read a new text and explain how it compares to what they have been reading and learning.”

  • On page 59 of the Program Overview guide, there is a comprehensive overview of the Challenge Level. In addition to differentiated prompts in the challenge level that push students past the core prompt, there are extra activities at the end of many lessons that challenge students to read a new text and form a written analysis. The novel guides for each of the texts read in the curriculum provide reading questions and writing prompts that are an additional layer of challenge. There are two other activities that students can pursue on the challenge level. Finally, there are 17 curated archives that focus on a challenge for independent study. These include topics that are close to the texts being studied.

Indicator 3r

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Within the lessons, students have many opportunities to work in groups and teachers are provided with guidance on how to organize students. Teachers are encouraged to group students by many different categories including ability, proximity etc. with times for both teacher-selected groupings as well as student-selected groupings.

For example, in Unit 6D, “The Greeks,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, students create and perform a scene using words and nonverbal elements to communicate an emotion. For this activity the instructions indicate that teachers should “select 4 student groups, one representing each attitude (happy, unhappy, greedy, generous), to act out the scene before the whole class. If you have a large class, select a representative subset of students from each group”.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Comprehensive information about personalization options and technology features and implementation requirements are included. 

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 reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The Customer Technical Requirements documentation provides the requirements needed in order to run the digital platform. The supported device requirements and network environments give details about what is needed by schools in order to use the Amplify digital curriculum in the best capacity.

The Supported Device Requirements for the Amplify Curriculum requires the ability to project from a teacher device. They include the following device recommendations iPad 5+, Operating system: iOS 11+, Browser: Safari 11+ PC, 1.4 GHz dual core or greater, 1024 × 768 or higher, 4GB of RAM or higher., Operating system: Windows: 7+

Browser: Chrome – latest 2 versions. The following devices are recommended for optimal performance and experience: iPad,  iPad Air 2, iPad 5+, Windows, Windows 7+, Chromebook, Acer Chromebook R11, Samsung Chromebook 3, Dell Chromebook 3189, HP Chromebook x2, Mac, Macbook, Macbook Air,  or iMac.

The Network Environment includes minimum requirements for using the digital curriculum, which include Wireless access points 802.11g/n/ac compatible. User devices, connect to Amplify servers via ports 80, 443, and 9933, as well as Whitelist URL’s, in order to ensure that Amplify customers can use the products and services as well as receive important messages.

Indicator 3t

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

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

The digital library is comprised of over 650 classics, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction spanning a wide range of diverse genres that support students as they develop strong literacy skills. Lexile ranges are available for Grades 3-12. Amplify uses custom apps to provide students with interactive experiences in order for them to work with key text elements or skills in new ways. The Vocab App allows students to master core vocabulary words through challenging game-like activities that allow them to decipher meaning through context. Spotlight allows teachers to display student work to the class to foster discussion of strong student work. Quests allow for immersive team experiences, where students collaborate to solve questions using skills based upon core literacy lessons. Along with dramatic readings, interactive questions, polls and Storyboard tools, Quill.org for grammar applications that strongly support student learning within the Amplify Curriculum. 

Other examples of technology within the Amplify curriculum that support student learning include, but are not limited to:

  • Vocabulary videos 
  • Custom apps, storyboards
  • Author videos
  • Video interviews with celebrities sharing ideas 
  • Research and website use protocols
  • Visual Adaptations 

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The Program Guide contains Lesson Briefs that provide the teacher with an overview of the lesson and what types of support they are able to give students within each unit. The Lesson Brief includes Skills and Standards such as the focus and standards covered within the lesson. It also describes differentiated support for the lesson and additional ways to modify student activities.

In the Vocabulary app, teachers are able to assign ELL appropriate vocabulary words from the unit that ask students to interact with the English definition and the Spanish translation, audio pronunciation, and visual definition that align with the vocabulary standards. Writing within each unit is completed by students 2-3 times per week.

Teachers are able to assign writing at 5 different levels to ensure students are working productively. Students write for 10-15 minutes focusing on a claim and providing evidence from the text to support their claim. Teachers are then able to read and respond, giving students targeted feedback electronically. Teachers can assign Exit tickets to gauge student comprehension at the end of a unit. Teachers also have the ability to assign students Solo reading comprehension activities to students at the end of a lesson - where students complete a reading lesson independently. Solos are differentiated to support all levels of learners.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

According to the Program Guide, differentiation is applied throughout the Amplify curriculum in order to allow access to every learner. Basing the curriculum on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), teachers are provided access to differentiated materials to meet the needs of every student. These levels are indicated by a symbol for easier recognition of what support level they are for the teacher.

The curriculum is designed at six levels in order to support all students, designated by symbols so each level is identified easily. The Core level is designed using UDL for students that are reading and writing on grade level, incorporating the use of complex texts. The Moderate Level provides strategic support for students who need assistance with vocabulary, language, and complex texts. The supports provided include guiding questions, sentence starters, and simplified writing prompts. The Substantial Level offers support for students with learning disabilities. The lessons are scaffolded and provide supports in the forms of shorter and simplified writing segments, as well as graphic organizers, shortened reading passages and guided questions. The Light Level supports students that are approaching grade level and are able to work independently with vocabulary, language, and complex texts. Supports for this level also include sentence starters. The ELL/DEV level provide supports that includes simplified vocabulary, word banks, visual cues, and shorter writing prompts, along with shortened reading passages, sentence starters and guided reading questions.

The Challenge Level provides students that are reading at their grade level and above. The Core Challenge prompts can ask students to compare two sections of text, and create counterarguments, as well as find evidence that supports both sides of an argument. 

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

Teachers can use technology for student-teacher collaboration. 

Examples of areas where technology is provided for teachers and/or students includes, but are not limited to:

  • During different unit exit tickets at all three grade levels, students work together using the digital curriculum to collaborate. Students frequently work together to discuss text-based questions and to apply questions from the unit to what they have read. With a partner, students can read passages and then digitally highlight words or phrases that illustrate a particular event, text evidence, or sections that support their statements about the text. 
  • On page 11 of the Formative and Summative assessment documents that is included in the Resources section of the curriculum, it describes the use of the Spotlight App. This app allows teachers to “make it easy for teachers to highlight examples of strong student work and project them for instruction or appreciation”
  • The Quests that accompany the curriculum also contain collaborative technology. For example, in the Who Killed Edgar Allen Poe app the description explains “students play in teams of two or three, and each team represents one character. For each chapter, each of the characters has certain information he or she should bring to the group’s attention, and new pieces of evidence are also presented to the character teams.”
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 06/04/2020

Report Edition: 2019

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Amplify ELA Student Text: Summer of the Mariposas (single paperback) 978-1-62-014010-9 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6A Dahl & Narrative Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-052-0 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6B Mysteries & Investigations Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-053-7 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6C The Chocolate Collection Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-054-4 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6D The Greeks Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-055-1 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6E Summer of the Mariposas Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-056-8 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6F The Titanic Collection Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-057-5 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G6 Solo Activity Set (Black Line Master) 978-1-64383-058-2 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6A Dahl & Narrative Writing Journal 978-1-64383-069-8 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6B Mysteries & Investigations Writing Journal 978-1-64383-070-4 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6C The Chocolate Collection Writing Journal 978-1-64383-071-1 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6D The Greeks Writing Journal 978-1-64383-072-8 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6E Summer of the Mariposas Writing Journal 978-1-64383-073-5 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 6F The Titanic Collection Writing Journal 978-1-64383-074-2 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G6 Student Edition (single) 978-1-64383-076-6 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G6 Teacher License (1 year) 978-1-64383-148-0 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G6 Student License (1 year) 978-1-64383-156-5 Amplify 2019

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.

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

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.

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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