Alignment: Overall Summary

Amplify Grade 7 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 7 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 7 fully meet the expectations of quality and complexity. Texts are rich and varied, and students have access to appropriately rigorous 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 7 meet the expectations that anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. 

The texts and materials included in these units pull from a diverse range of content as well as authors. The units include classic stories, from past centuries, period pieces that allow students to learn about particular eras in time and allow them to get a glimpse into time they were not aware of. Anchor texts include rich language, thought-provoking content and age appropriate texts that are relatable for Grade 7 students. 

High-quality texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 7A, students read an excerpt from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This timeless classic uses rich language and interesting characters to engage students in reading.
  • In Unit 7B, students read both the poem, “Harlem,” and the play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry. The title for the classic play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” comes from the poem “Harlem.” The play deals with captivating themes about an African-American family from Chicago trying to better themselves after a death in the family. 
  • In Unit 7C, “Recovery from the Passage of an Iron Bar Through the Head” by John M. Harlow, MD. This text is a high-interest medical journal text. 
  • In Unit 7D, students read “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe. This classic, high-interest short story is considered to be one of Poe’s best. The horror tale has a clever plot based on revenge along with rich vocabulary words filled with double meanings. 
  • In Unit 7E, students read "Sonnet 130" by Willaim Shakespeare. This is a classic parody of the love poems written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and is intriguing and worthy of study.
  • In Unit 7F, students read an excerpt from the age appropriate text, Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Heart. This saga has an interesting theme and rich vocabulary.

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 7 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 67% Literary text and 33% Informational for the grade 7 school year.

The following are some of the examples of literature found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 7B--A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Unit 7C--“A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” by Emily Dickenson
  • Unit 7D-- “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Unit 7E--“Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare 

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

  • Unit 7A--Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang
  • Unit 7C--Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
  • Unit 7E--Frida Becomes My Wife by Diego Rivera and Gladys March
  • Unit 7F-- “The Magic Equation” excerpt from California: The Great Exception by Carey McWilliams

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

The Grade 7 materials generally fall within the 6-8 Lexile band (925L to 1185L) and are within the appropriate range of rigor in terms of qualitative measures, which gauge elements of language, concepts and themes, and take into consideration the depth of the text itself. When texts are above or below these bands, there are appropriate reader and task elements that substantiate the rationale for the text within the scope of the program.

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

  • In Unit 7A, the overall quantitative level is 780L. The unit focuses on the memoir of Ji-li Jiang’s life during China’s Cultural Revolution and narrative writing. Red Scarf Girl serves as a mentor text for students to model their own narrative writing. Students are learning to read like writers and to notice how authors clearly develop a single moment, topic, or idea in their writing.
    • Sub-unit 3, Lesson 9, Activity 5, Text: Red Scarf Girl: “The Liberation Army Dancer” (64-70); “Graduation” (8-25) by Ji-li Jiang. Lexile-780. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate- Students compare and contrast Jiang's description of home at the beginning of the story to the current point in the story. This prepares students for the upcoming writing prompt analyzing why Jiang's emotions regarding her home have changed throughout the story. Students are learning to understand how the author’s description of the setting can affect the reader’s understanding of the story.
    • Sub-unit 3, Lesson 12, Solo, Text: Red Scarf Girl “Epilogue” (paragraphs 1-21) by Ji-li Jiang. Lexile-780. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate- Students read the assigned text independently and answer six text-based questions in varying formats designed to build understanding and assess comprehension and skills. Questions focus on skills taught in the related lesson.
  • In Unit 7B, the overall Lexile levels are 870L-1400L. Students read a mix of poems, plays, short stories, and excerpts from Lorraine Hansberry’s autobiography To Be Young, Gifted and Black that focus on responding to conflict. Students note the changes in characters as they face hardship and analyze the techniques that the authors use to convey these changes within the characters they have created. Students closely read texts to better understand the underlying moves authors make within the structure of narrative writing.
    • Sub-unit 2, Lesson 12, Activity 4, Text: A Raisin in the Sun: Act II, Scene Three (34-134) by Lorraine Hansberry. Lexile-NP. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate. Students read a scene from the play with a focus on the character they chose in a previous assignment. Students then describe their character’s reaction to an event and explain how this represents an obstacle for their chosen characters. Students focus on specific moments in the text to support their claims.
    • Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, Solo, Text: “Sucker,” Chapter 1 (paragraphs 28-55) by Carson McCullers. Lexile 870L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate. Students read the excerpt from the short story independently and answer ten text-based questions of varying formats to build understanding and assess comprehension and skills. Questions focus on skills taught in the related lesson.
  • In Unit 7C, the overall Lexile levels are 970L-1310L. Students read a collection of informational texts that focus on the workings of the brain, explore the impact of the brain on being human, and better understand how their own teenage brains affect their actions and understandings. Students focus on synthesizing information from reading multiple texts to strengthen their own understanding of the topic, and to develop and defend their own opinions. There is also a focus on collaborative, problem-driven discussions with their peers.
    • In Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, Activity 5, Text: Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, Chapter 1 - “Horrible Accident in Vermont” by John Fleischman; Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, Chapter 1 - “Adolescence isn’t an aberration” by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. Lexile 1030L/1310L. Qualitative: High. Task Demand: High. Students begin the argumentative writing process by developing a claim in response to the prompt asking them to compare the behavior of Phineas Gage to that of an adolescent. Students gather evidence from both texts and use the frames and organizers provided to formulate their claims. This activity is part of the writing process in creating a well-written essay.
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 4, Solo, Text: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, excerpt from Chapter 3 - “Yes, Father-Sister” by Oliver Sacks. Lexile 970L. Qualitative: High. Task Demand: Moderate. Students read the text independently and then answer eight questions with varying formats designed to build understanding and assess comprehension and skills. 
  • In Unit 7D, the overall Lexile levels are 820L-1530L. Students read a collection of complex and classic literary pieces from authors such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and D.H. Lawrence. The texts were chosen for their poetic use of vocabulary and strong visual aspect. In this unit, students focus on “Reading Like a Movie Director” as they closely read and analyze the texts. Students compare and contrast the perspectives of characters within a narrative and evaluate the reliability of a fictional narrator.
    • In Sub-unit 1, Lesson 6, Text: “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Lexile 820L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: High. Students collaboratively assess evidence regarding the sanity of the narrator of the text. Using a debate format, students teams present their strongest evidence, hear the strongest evidence from the other side, prepare and present their counter-argument refuting the opposing evidence, and conclude with written closing statements.
    • In Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 3, Text: “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe. Lexile 700L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: High. Students identify and evaluate the choices of the director made in the film adaptation of the text in regards to characters and settings. Students argue their choices for the film adaptation based on their reading of the text. 
  • In Unit 7E, the overall Lexile levels are 910L-1430L. Students read and analyze primary source documents as well as research independently to learn about the famed artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In this unit, students focus on the skills necessary to independently and effectively conduct an argumentative research project. 
    • In Sub-unit 5, Lesson 1, Text: The Frida & Diego Collection. Lexile: 910L-1430L. Qualitative: High. Task Demand: High. Students utilize texts from The Frida & Diego Collection to write either an informative or argumentative five paragraph research paper. Students conduct research using the texts provided and online sources. Students are required to support their claims with relevant research and clear evidence. 
    • In Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, Solo, Text: “Letter to Ella and Bertram Wolfe” from The Letters of Frida Kahlo: Cartas Apasionadas compiled by Martha Zamora. Lexile NA. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate. Students read a letter from Kahlo to Ella and Bertram Wolfe lamenting the current state of her relationship with Rivera. Students read the text independently and then answer seven questions with varying formats designed to build understanding and assess comprehension and skills. 
  • In Unit 7F, the overall Lexile levels are 1020L-1600L. Students read, analyze, and assess the reliability of primary, secondary, and tertiary source documents to construct personal research questions in relation to the California gold rush. In this unit, students explore varying historical perspectives as they research and investigate the complex issues within the California gold rush.
    • In Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, Solo, Text: Excerpt from Chapter 1- “A Letter from Gold Mountain” in Good Fortune: My Journey to Gold Mountain by Li Keng Wong. Lexile 630L. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: Moderate. Students read an excerpt of the memoir of the author’s trek with her family to Gold Mountain during the California gold rush. Students read the text independently and then answer eight questions with varying formats designed to build understanding and assess comprehension and skills.
    • In Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, Text: Various Texts from The Gold Rush Collection. Lexile NA. Qualitative: Moderate. Task Demand: High. Students read assigned texts independently and then work with their group to create open-ended questions based on those texts in preparation for a Socratic seminar.

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 7 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 7 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 7A, the anchor text in this unit is Ji-li Jang’s Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution. The language in this text is appropriately complex for seventh grade, but focuses on the life experiences of a girl approximately the same age of the students, therefore, even though her experiences are unique to China, her reactions, emotions, and thoughts are similar to what any student her age would face. This makes the more complex aspects of the text accessible to students. 
  • In Unit 7C, students interact with texts that focus on the brain. The majority of these texts use a heavy amount of scientific language and information. These challenging texts utilize a format that is accessible to seventh graders because they are written in a way that connects the scientific language and ideas to specific people’s stories. This enables students to understand the science in context. Although the content is challenging, the support systems provided make them appropriate for the grade and build on skills they have learned in previous units.
  • In Unit 7E, students are provided with their most challenging reading as they are asked to engage with multiple different types of texts from paintings and  letters, to an autobiography. They are also asked to conduct their own research and read the resulting materials from that research. In this second to 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 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 7 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 for 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 7B,  the rationale is on page 21 of the “Grade Overviews” and lists the Lexile for the unit at 870L-1400L. The Unit Summary tells the reader that students read a short story and a play that explore the “compassionate understanding of how families facing hardships can both support and inflict harm on each other, and both provide students with rich opportunities to observe the growth and change of characters whose motivations are often hidden, even from themselves.” The Qualitative Level for the texts are listed as complex and the rationale tells the teacher that “Levels of meanings and/or theme may be conveyed with some subtlety.” The Reader and Task measure is also listed at moderate. 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.” Because the Lexile level of the materials that students are reading is high, it is appropriate that the Qualitative Level and Reader and Task measure is not higher than moderate.
  • For Unit 7D, the rationale is on page 23 of the “Grade Overviews” and lists the Lexile for the unit at 820L-1530L. In this particular unit the Unit Summary tells the teacher that “students learn a set of visualization techniques to read like a movie director.” In addition to reading a variety of different texts in this unit, students will also “watch thoughtful, animated adaptations of ‘The Raven’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ and compare the movie adaptations to the original texts.” The Qualitative Level for the texts are listed as between moderate and complex. The rationale for this tells the teacher that “Levels of meaning and theme are multiple, ambiguous and/or revealed over the course of the text.” Despite the relatively high level of both the Lexile and QT of the texts, the comparison and use of visual elements makes it more accessible for students. In addition to this, the Reader and Task measure is listed at moderate, and the rationale tells the teacher that “Tasks and activities may contain some complexity, balanced with engaging topics; activities often require inferencing; students benefit from the knowledge they have built throughout the unit.” Because the Lexile level and the complexity level of the materials that students are reading is high, it is appropriate that the Reader and Task measure is not higher than moderate.
  • For Unit 7F, the last unit in the year, the rationale on page 25 of the “Grade Overviews” tells the teacher that the collection of texts fall between 1020L-1600L. The Unit Summary states that “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, part media project.” In this final unit. Students will be using all of the skills that they have learned throughout the year. The Qualitative Level is between moderate and complex with a rationale that states, “Texts include multiple or intricate purposes” and “The subject matter requires knowledge of discipline or of other texts.” This is appropriate for texts that fall at the end of a year because of the reading and skill building that has led up to this unit. Finally, the Reader and Task measure is also between moderate and complex. Students will be using skills that they have already learned in other units throughout the year. The Rationale states “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.”

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 7 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 topic and/or theme and uses a variety of texts. 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.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Lesson 5, students write about a moment where they felt a strong emotion. For an additional reading options, they can independently read an excerpt from the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
    • In Lesson 6, students explore the usage of powerful verbs. As an independent mentor text, they look at the poem "A Boy's Summer Song" by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
    • In Lesson 12, when students are working on revision, they read the prologue from Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang. 
  • In Unit 7B, “Character & Conflict,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 2, there are sixteen lessons. In Lesson 7, students choose a character to follow throughout the play, A Raisin in the Sun. Students use a structured process and Want/Obstacle/Action graphic organizer to map their character as they continue to read an excerpt from Act I, Scene One.
    • In Lesson 9, students describe and analyze the reaction of their character after the house is purchased following their reading of Act II, Scene One. In the “Solo” activity, students independently read an excerpt from Act II, Scene Two in A Raisin in the Sun and answer questions focused on details and evidence.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 3, there are three lessons. The point of the unit is for students to compare and contrast two different case studies in order to learn how the brain works.
    • In Lesson 1, students read excerpts from the non-fiction book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. These excerpts include "Yes, Father-Sister," "The Lost Mariner," "Eyes Right!" etc. Then, students read excerpts from the non-fiction text Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman. They read, "Putting Phineas Together Again"; and "'Horrible Accident' in Vermont".
    • In Lesson 3, students read another excerpt from the text The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. Finally, they may also choose to read the poem “The Brain” by Emily Dickinson if they have not already done so.
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 1: Poetry, students read three poems focused on visual imagery: “The White Horse” by D.H. Lawrence, “The Silence” by Garcia Lorca, and “A narrow fellow in the grass” by Emily Dickinson. These poems build the foundation for the type of “visual close reading” that is required throughout the unit.
    • In the following three sub-units, students read three works by Edgar Allen Poe. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” students focus on analyzing the perspective of the narrator in relation to that of the reader. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” students examine the choices made by the director while comparing the film version to the text. In the “The Raven,” students examine the text through the critical lens of a director.
    • Students may also choose to use the Amplify Library to read additional works by Emily Dickinson, texts about Edgar Allen Poe, and a plethora of other horror and supernatural short stories from the late 1800s.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example, in Sub-unit 1, there are four lessons.
    • In Lesson 1, students learn how to evaluate sources. In order to do so, they read from the NOAA government website; the Earth and Planetary Science department website at The University of California, Berkeley; an article about the Marine Life Protection Act from Wikipedia; and the home page for The Ocean Foundation. They are also given an outdated website for the Missouri Botanical Garden intended to show students about non-credible sources; as well as an article from The Guardian online news site. For all of these websites, they are asked to determine the credibility of each source.
    • In Lesson 2, students look at four additional sites to determine credibility. The first is the NASA government website, the second is a news article from MIT, the third site is from CNN, and the fourth is Terravivos.com, another non-credible website link. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” students read a variety of texts to achieve grade level reading. For example in Sub-unit 3, “Dear Diary and Collection Research,” students are reading and analyzing primary and secondary sources to write journal entries based on the perspective of the historical fiction character they create.
    • In Lesson 1, students read "The Gold Rush Collection". This collection includes non-fiction examples such as, “Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining—Hairbreadth ‘Scapes, & c.” from The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-1852;” “July 22-August 10” from The Gold Rush Diary of Ramon Gil Navarro; and “Good Haul of Diggers” from Digger: The Tragic Fate of the California Indians from the Missions of the Gold Rush. The collection also includes a fictional except from The call of the Wild by Jack London, “The Toil of Trace and Trail."
    • Students use their research from these texts to write a minimum of five journal entries accurately depicting the first-hand experiences of the characters they created. The option of reading an additional text, “A Letter from Gold Mountain” from Good Fortune: My Journey to Gold Mountain by Li King Wong, and responding to either a narrative or informative writing prompt is also provided.

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 7 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 7 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). 

The 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, examples of text dependent questions are as follows:.
    • Reread the Prologue and highlight:
      • Two words or phrases Ji-li uses to describe how she feels.
      • A word or phrase that shows that Ji-li expects her life will get better or worse.
    • How hopeful do you think Ji-li is at this moment in her story? Which details in the Prologue lead you to think so?
  •  In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 3, Activity 3, students are asked to discuss and compare case studies:
    • Students first complete these text-dependent tasks in writing:
      • make observations about the impact of Peggy's brain injury.
      • make observations about the impact of Mrs. S.'s brain injury.
      • compare the details of the cases of Peggy and Mrs. S.
    • Students then participate in a whole-class discussion based on the questions: 
      • What would you do if you were in Peggy or Mrs. S.'s situation? 
      • Can you think of any other solutions?
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 3, students are asked to read the short story “The Tell Tale Heart”. Students are then asked to “reread paragraphs 17 and 18 carefully and highlight any places in the text where, as a reader, you don't believe the narrator's description of what is happening. Launch the Tell-Tale Art app and make storyboards of paragraphs 17 and 18 from your perspective as a reader.”
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 8, What Do the Details Show?
    • Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are writing about the same topic—their relationship—in these two texts.
      •  Briefly identify one or more facts that Frida emphasizes about that relationship.
      • Briefly identify one or more facts that Diego emphasizes about that relationship.
      • Analyze the key details that each author (Frida and Diego) chose to emphasize in their writing. Based on the key details from each author, how would you describe their relationship?
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Connection,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students are asked to read an excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Call of the Wild by Jack London as well as an excerpt from The Gold Rush Diary of Ramón Gil Navarro. Following their reading, students are asked to answer the question, “What are the types of realistic details in The Gold Rush Diary of Ramón Gil Navarro that Jack London uses in his fictional portrayal of life on the frontier?"

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 materials reviewed for Grade 7 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).

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task. 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3: Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang, students are asked to interact closely with Ji-li Jiang's memoir about China's Cultural Revolution, building on their capacity to write independently using text evidence. In Lesson 4, students respond to the prompt, "'That poor guy,' I finally said. 'He should know better than to dress that way, but I’d just die if somebody cut my pants open in front of everybody like that.' In this last moment of the scene, Ji-li feels a mix of emotions. Describe her different emotions. Use evidence from anywhere in the scene to support your ideas.”
  • In Unit 7B, “Character and Conflict,” the culminating task is an essay. After reading the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, students write about how one character (Walter or Mama) changes from the beginning to the end of the play. To help them decide which character to choose, in Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students look at the final scene of the play and then answer one question for each character using evidence from the play to support their response. The question for Walter reads: “What actions does he take in this final scene of the play to get what he wants?” The question for Mama reads “What actions does she take in this final scene of the play to get what she wants?”
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students respond to the prompt, “Some behaviors are more typical during adolescence. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? What evidence from the text supports your answer?” Later in the unit, in Sub-unit 4, students are tasked to write an essay about brain science in which they compare and contrast Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent. In Lesson 1, students respond to the Essay Prompt: “Compare and contrast Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent.”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” the culminating task is an essay. The prompt asks students to think about “Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not?” In order to complete this prompt, in Sub-unit 5, Lesson 1, Activity 5, students are asked to “collect one or two pieces of evidence about each of Poe’s narrators”. Then in a chart they are asked to analyze their evidence and “write one or two sentences explaining what the evidence shows about the narrator.”
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, students research on the internet in order to write claims based on the evidence they have found. In Lesson 3, students are asked to “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 Unit 7E, Sub-unit 5, students are tasked with collecting evidence and responding to one of two research questions in order to write their culminating essay. In Lesson 1, students respond to the Essay Prompts: 
    • Research Option 1: Informative Essay, “Frida Kahlo: The Early Years. Why did Frida Kahlo begin painting? How did this circumstance affect the type of paintings that she did? What did that mean for her long-term career? Write an informative essay about the beginning and development of Frida’s artistic work.” 
    • Research Option 2: Argumentative Essay “Who has the right to decide what public art should be: the artist or the public? There was controversy surrounding Diego Rivera's mural, Detroit Industry. Why did many people object to this work of art? What role does the public play when a work of art is being commissioned for a public space? What role does the artist play? Should Rivera have followed the demands of the public or was he right to follow his artistic instincts? You will write an argumentative essay stating your claim that either Rivera was right to follow his artistic vision or the public was right to demand that he paint the mural they envisioned. Be sure to identify at least 2 sources you can use in your work. As you conduct your research in both the Collection and on the Internet, be sure to look for relevant facts, concrete details, and clear evidence to support your claim.”
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” the culminating task is a five paragraph essay followed by a media project (an interactive timeline) and a presentation. For the essay, students can choose between an argumentative and informative topic. The first option asks students to answer the prompt, "was the gold rush good for the state of California?" In order to complete this task, students will have to compile evidence from research on this topic. The second option asks students to choose one of two famous individuals from the gold rush era and conduct research on their lives. After completing the essay, using the research that they collected, students will be placed into small groups and “plot 5–10 significant moments from the history of California’s Native American people during the gold rush era”. Their timelines will then be presented to the rest of 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 materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

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 7B, “Character and Conflict,” Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 11, students are in the middle of reading A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. The lesson asks them to discuss why a particular character should get the money and why other characters should not. The instructions in the teacher guide provide discussion starters to help students and there are also prompts for the teacher that explain more tips to make the discussion run smoothly. Specifically it says, “For discussion, consider one character at a time. Let’s discuss Ruth. First we’ll hear from Ruth’s group. Why should she get the money? Now let’s hear from the other groups. Why shouldn't Ruth get the money? For maximum participation, instead of appointing a spokesperson, invite each group member to offer one reason.”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 6, students debate the sanity of the narrator in the story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. In this part of the lesson the debate is about to begin. The instructions explain that teachers should “make sure that each group has the opportunity to present an opening argument (a piece of evidence and an explanation for how that piece of evidence demonstrates one of the conditions for sanity or insanity). Students will need to navigate back to find their opening argument. Allow groups to reconsider which argument they will present if another group has already presented the same piece of evidence.” After these instructions, there are additional directions included to navigate the debate as well as an explanation of debate format for teachers. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, students collect information on the Gold Rush era of history. For this lesson, they are asked to “write down one or more interesting or important facts that they learned while exploring the Collection”. The directions also explain that teachers should “Prompt students who finish early or need an extra challenge to explain why the fact is important or interesting”. Also, when students are finished, the directions explain that teachers should call on a couple of them to share responses with the class.

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

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 7B, “Character and Conflict,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 2, students read from Act 1, Scene 1 in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. For this activity, students listen to part of Act 1. Then, they are assigned one of three characters: Mama, Travis, or Ruth. Students are given five minutes to practice their character's lines in order to get comfortable and more fluent with the language. “The class reading of the scene will go better, and everyone—not just the students who are chosen to read—will start to get familiar with the language.” Materials also include specific instructions for students stating, “Practice reading lines with your group. Do not read the words in parentheses out loud. They are stage directions and give you hints about how to deliver your lines. Read the first line to yourself. On the count of three, read the first line together. Do it again. Repeat for each line. (Decide as a group if you want to do a few lines at a time instead of one line at a time.)”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 1, students are instructed to memorize the first stanza of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven”. They are given many techniques and supports for how to successfully memorize this chunk of the poem. Then, the class is given practice time to recite the poem together before doing it on their own. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 2, students are asked to share their findings on the Gold Rush collection that they have been studying. In particular, the directions state, “Tell students they will continue reviewing the texts and images from The Gold Rush Collection today. Ask them to turn to a partner and discuss a few new facts they learned or ideas they developed about the gold rush in the last lesson or in their reading last night.”

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

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 7 units include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative”, Sub-unit 3, Lesson 4, Activity 3, students read an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang. Then, the directions state, “Students write for at least 10 minutes, producing at least 100 words in order to provide basis for formative assessment.” Then, after reading the text, students are asked the following prompt: “In this last moment of the scene, Ji-li feels a mix of emotions. Describe her different emotions. Use evidence from anywhere in the scene to support your ideas.”
  • In Unit 7B, Character and Conflict, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 4, after reading “Sucker” by Carson McCullers, students write on-demand about what causes Pete to change his feelings toward Sucker, using details from the text. Later in the unit, students read A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. One example of a smaller, on-demand writing project is a study of a major character’s motivation in Sub-unit 2, Lesson 6, where students analyze stage directions and dialogue to speculate what the playwright wants the audience to know about the characters at a key moment in the text, when the Mama receives the $10,000 check.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 8, students write a narrative from the perspective of Phineas Gage. Students read several excerpts from Chapter 3 in Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman and assess “the reliability of the information that the author provides about Phineas.” Students then “Choose the job reported in the book that you think Phineas is most likely to have done. Pretend that you are Phineas, and tell the story of that time in your life. You can write your story as one of the following: a diary entry, a letter home, a response to the author's writing. Use the information you thought was most reliable, but mix in a few details that you think are fun and interesting, too!” After writing a minimum of ten minutes and 100 words, students share these formative writing assessments with their peers.
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” Sub-unit 5, Lesson 1, students are prompted to write an essay on the following question, "Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not?"
    • Lesson 2: Writing Body Paragraphs
    • Lesson 3: Essay Flex Day
    • Lesson 4: Revising and Writing an Introduction
    • Lesson 5: Writing a Conclusion and Editing the Essay - The essay lessons use daily revision to organize and improve writing, enabling students to build up to the final, finished essay as they go through the steps of the writing process.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” students write a five paragraph essay. This particular essay required students to spend six lessons researching and writing. The first day students gather evidence. Then, students make a claim and write two body paragraphs and the conclusion. Once students finish the essay they edit and revise. Students also learn how to create in-text citations, frames for quotes, and a Works Cited page. Finally, the unit ends with a media project and presentation. Students create a visual representation of their research and essays using the online collage app Loupe.

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 7 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 is found in the following:

  • In Unit 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” students write an essay after reading Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang. Students  “brainstorm memorable moments from Red Scarf Girl and then draft a focused body paragraph about what Ji-li was like before the change, using details from a moment in the text”.
  • In Unit 7B, “Character and Conflict,” Sub-unit 4, students write an informative essay about either Walter or Mama from A Raisin in the Sun.  In the essay, students describe one way that their character changes from the beginning to the end of the play, using textual evidence.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science”, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 8, Activity 5, students write a narrative essay after reading Chapter 3 in Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science by John Fleishman. Specifically, the prompt asks them to ”choose the job reported in the book that you think Phineas is most likely to have done. Pretend that you are Phineas, and tell the story of that time in your life. You can write your story as one of the following: a diary entry/a letter home/a response to the author's writing.”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-unt 4, students write an argumentative essay about one or more of Poe’s works, addressing these questions, “Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not?” Students support their claim with evidence from one or more texts.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 5, students research and write a five-paragraph essay.  In Lesson 1, students are presented with the option to write an informative essay or an argumentative essay. For the informative essay, students are asked: “Why did Frida Kahlo begin painting? How did this circumstance affect the type of paintings that she did? What did that mean for her long-term career? Write an informative essay about the beginning and development of Frida’s artistic work. As you conduct your research in both the Collection and on the Internet, be sure to look for relevant facts, concrete details, and clear evidence to support your claim.” For the argumentative essay, students are asked: “Who has the right to decide what public art should be: the artist or the public? There was controversy surrounding Diego Rivera's mural, Detroit Industry. Why did many people object to this work of art? What role does the public play when a work of art is being commissioned for a public space? What role does the artist play? Should Rivera have followed the demands of the public or was he right to follow his artistic instincts? You will write an argumentative essay stating your claim that either Rivera was right to follow his artistic vision or the public was right to demand that he paint the mural they envisioned. Be sure to identify at least 2 sources you can use in your work. As you conduct your research in both the Collection and on the Internet, be sure to look for relevant facts, concrete details, and clear evidence to support your claim.” For both options, students spend the next six lessons gathering evidence, writing, revising, and editing their essays. Students also generate a works cited list for their research and writing.

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 7 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 4, students read “Destroy the Four Olds!” from The Red Scarf Girl. Students focus on specific text from this scene: “'That poor guy,' I finally said. 'He should know better than to dress that way, but I’d just die if somebody cut my pants open in front of everybody like that.'” Students then respond to the following writing prompt: “In this last moment of the scene, Ji-li feels a mix of emotions. Describe her different emotions. Use evidence from anywhere in the scene to support your ideas.” This formative writing assessment requires students to write a minimum of 100 words and for “at least 10 minutes” to be scored.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science”, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 4, students read a passage titled “Adolescence isn’t an Aberration” from the text Inventing Ourselves by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. After reading this passage, students write a response to the following prompt: “Some behaviors are more typical during adolescence. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? What evidence from the text supports your answer?”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, Activity 8, students practice evidence-based writing. After reading “The Cask of Amontillado”, students are prompted to close read a passage. They first copy and paste two things that the narrator (Montresor) does or says that makes Fortunato want to go inspect the Amontillado in Montresor’s vaults. Then, they use these pieces of the text to answer the question, “Why does Fortunato excitedly say ‘Come, let us go’?”
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection”, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, Activity 4, students are asked to look at different paintings. One is Flower Day by Diego Rivera and the other is Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo. After looking at them, students compare the feelings they have when they look at them. Specifically, the directions ask them to “refer to two elements in each painting (color, depiction of humans, nature imagery) to explain how the painting generates that feeling.”
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 5, students learn, practice, and apply evidence-based writing. In this unit, students have the option to write either an argumentative essay on “Why was the Gold Rush good for the state of California?” or an informational essay on either John Sutton or Elsa Jane Guerin, important individuals from the Old West. For either essay, students are guided through internet research to gather evidence in Lesson 1. Then, in Lesson 2, students are guided in writing body paragraphs that include at least two pieces of textual evidence, some description, and an explanation of how the evidence supports their claim. Lesson 3 provides students with instruction on writing introductions, supports students in crafting an engaging lead, and in giving readers sufficient context to understand the claims and reasons. In Lesson 5, students revise transitions and work to be concise in order to better present their evidence. In Lesson 6, students create both in-text citations and a Works Cited page to properly document their evidence.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative,” Sub-Unit 2, students are prompted to, "Describe a moment when you ate a disgusting food. Use specific details to help your reader imagine how the food looked, tasted, and smelled—and what your face looked like when you ate it."
    • Lesson 4: Choosing Your Moment - Describe your most boring moment.
    • Grammar Unit, Sub-Unit 1, Lesson 6: The Simple Subject II
      • Nouns
      • Simple Subject
      • Verbals
      • Compound Subject
      • Revision: Subject and Predicate
      • Mastering Conventions One: Unit 2, Skill Drills 13A–13D
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students are prompted, "Some behaviors are more typical during adolescence. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? What evidence from the text supports your answer?"
    • Grammar Unit, Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 1: Modifying the Subject
      • Adjectives
      • Adjective Phrases
      • Prepositional Adjectives and Adjective Phrases
      • Adjective Clauses
      • Revision: Modifiers and Dependent Clauses
    • Mastering Conventions Two Unit 2, Lesson 8: Finding and Fixing Misplaced Modifiers—
      • Adjectives Unit 6, Lesson 20: Finding and Fixing Comma Errors With Adjectives
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 4, teachers assign students self-guided grammar lessons from the Grammar Unit or lessons from Mastering Conventions as part of the Flex Day 1 activities.  Three additional Flex Days and an Essay Flex Day are scheduled throughout Unit 7D. Teachers are provided with multiple resources to support grammar instruction during the Flex Days. Teachers have access to the Grade 7 Flex Days Activities Guide, the Grammar Pacing  Guide, and the four Mastering Conventions lesson books. Data from the Solo assignments can be used to guide grammar instruction for individual students as well.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, students are asked to "Write a poem with at least eight lines describing the animal you chose."
    • Grammar Unit, Sub-Unit 4, Lesson 3: Clear Pronoun Reference I
      • Vague Pronoun Reference
      • Pronoun Reference in Longer Passages
      • Variety in Longer Passages
      • Revision: Pronouns
  • Mastering Conventions Two Unit 6, Lesson 22: Using Apostrophes Correctly

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 7 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 topic or theme 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” students read the memoir Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang to achieve the unit goal and culminating tasks. The unit goal states: “after exploring the details of how they describe their own experiences and emotions, students pay the same kind of close attention to analyzing the details presented in the unit’s core text”. Throughout the unit, students pay close attention to how to describe experiences in order to successfully complete the culminating task of an essay that asks students to answer the question: What is one way Ji-Ling changes over the course of her story?
  • In Unit 7B, “Character & Conflict,” Topic & Theme: Individual dreams, family dynamics, and societal restrictions. In this unit students read plays and short stories that both provide a magnified view of how characters respond to conflict, as well as provide students with rich opportunities to observe the growth and change of characters whose motivations are often hidden, even from themselves. The unit activities engage students with practicing the skills of focus and use of evidence, while using close textual analysis to notice larger structural development that the authors make across the narratives. 
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” students read a variety of non-fiction texts to achieve the unit goal and culminating tasks around the topic of brain activity. Specifically, the unit goal is to have “students explore a series of informational texts that expose the intricate workings of the brain, challenge their concept of what it means to be human, and help them consider how their own growing brains are impacted by their daily experiences”. In order to achieve this goal, students read the non-fiction account of Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science and excerpts from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat by Oliver Sacks as well as other smaller non-fiction articles. Then, students use their knowledge to write an informative essay: compare and contrast Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent.
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” Topic & Theme: Reading like a movie director. In this unit students delve into navigating reading complex and challenging texts that may seem nonnegotiable to this age group. Students will practice using a set of visualization techniques  called “Reading Like a Movie Director.” Using these skills will help students gain the confidence needed in order to know that they can negotiate complex 19th-century texts. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego collection,” students read and explore primary source documents and conduct independent research on the lives and careers of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. They will use all of this research to write an argumentative or informative essay as well as create a multi-media collage of their work. 

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 materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

The Grade 7 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 text 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl & Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1, students are asked, “How hopeful do you think Ji-li is at this moment in her story? Which details in the Prologue lead you to think so?” In Lesson 9, students are asked, “Compare how Ji-li felt in her home at the beginning of the story to how she felt after the Red Guards searched her home. Use details from the setting to support your ideas.”
  • In Unit 7B, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, Activity 3, students read an excerpt from the text “Sucker” by Carson McCullers. While reading students, “1. Highlight one place where you get an idea about who the narrator is. 2. Highlight one place where you get an idea about who Sucker is.” Then, students, “share the highlights you made with a partner. You’ve met two characters, Sucker and Pete (narrator). Ask each other the following: What is your impression of each character? What do you think each character wants the most? Individually record the main points of your conversation. About what did you and your partner agree? What did you identify as wants for each character?”
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 8, students are asked, “Choose the job reported in the book that you think Phineas is most likely to have done. Pretend that you are Phineas, and tell the story of that time in your life. You can write your story as one of the following: A diary entry; A letter home; A response to the author's writing. Use the information you thought was most reliable, but mix in a few details that you think are fun and interesting, too!” 
    • In Sub-Unit 2, students are asked: Some behaviors are more typical during adolescence. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? What evidence from the text supports your answer? 
    • Sub-Unit 4, Lesson 1, students complete an Essay Prompt, "Compare and contrast Phineas's behavior and brain to those of an adolescent."
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-Unit 2, Lesson 2, students are asked to address an informative writing prompt and to Compare and contrast “Mao as the Sun” to Diego Rivera’s painting "Man, Controller of the Universe". "Explain how the design details from each piece of artwork communicate the artist's message. Use details from both images to support your thinking."
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Connection,” Sub-unit 6, Lesson 1, students complete the unit reading assessment. First, students “complete 20 selected response questions to show their proficiency with the skills practiced in this unit”. One part of the assessment asks students to “read this passage from The Gold Rush Collection: Excerpt 'Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining—Hairbreadth ‘Scapes, &c.'" Once they have read the passage, students are asked, “In paragraph 7, Dame Shirley states that she has learned the ‘secret of the former gold ‘mineresses’ success. What is the secret Dame Shirley learned?” After the questions, students are asked the following prompt, “using information from “The Magic Equation,” write an argument about whether the gold rush was good for California. Include at least two details from the passage to support your claim.” Finally, students are asked to read another text selection and then respond to the following prompt, “Contrast the ways that 'Letter the Tenth: Amateur Mining—Hairbreadth ’Scapes, &c.' and 'The Magic Equation' present information about the economics of gold mining.”

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 7 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 5, Activity 3, students read an excerpt of Chapter 3 from Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang. Students examine the phrase, "The classrooms buzzed with revolutionary fervor." Students then highlight two examples that describe how the classrooms “buzzed.” and then "In your own words, describe how the atmosphere at Ji-li’s school has changed.”
  • Unit 7B, “Character and Conflict,” Sub-unit 1, students read Carson McCullers’s short story “Sucker” with a lens of how characters respond to conflict. First, students notice  and highlight lines that develop each of the two main characters, write about their impressions of each character and his motivations, and discuss these with a partner. Students work individually with specific quotes to find insights into the character, Pete, and as a class, draw a conclusion of how the narrator views Pete. They also use quotes about Pete to gain insight about the narrator, first working individually, then participating in a class discussion. This culminates in a writing assignment in which students address how the narrator’s feelings about Sucker change, and what central idea the author conveys regarding their relationship. Later, in Sub-unit 3, students have an opportunity to analyze characters and their response to obstacles across two texts. After reading Langston Hughes’s poem “Mother to Son” and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, students write about the character’s advice to their children, comparing and contrasting their responses to the challenges they anticipate for their children.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 8, Activity 2, students read an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science by John Fleischman. After they read the excerpt students answer the question, "What did Phineas do after he left Boston? In the chart below, list the work Phineas did after he left Boston, where he did the work, and the source of the information about his work."
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” students read a collection of poems and short stories written in the nineteenth century, using the strategies of making mental images and storyboards to tackle challenging language. In Sub-unit 1, Lesson 2, students read “A narrow fellow in the grass” by Emily Dickenson. They identify images that describe the snake and make mental images of the images, then analyze the images and their impact on the reader. A writing task asks students to answer the prompt, “In what ways do the images in the poem make snakes seem not scary? In what ways do images in the poem make snakes seem scary? Why might Dickinson have included both types of images? Use specific images from the poem to make your arguments.” Later in the unit (Sub-unit 5), students analyze across three works by Edgar Allen Poe. Working with a partner, they compare and contrast the trustworthiness of the three narrators, providing textual evidence for their ideas. As a culminating activity, they write an essay about whether or not one of the narrators can be trusted to accurately describe the actions in the text.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 2, students have read and discussed several different articles on both artists before they prepare for a Socratic discussion. In Activity 2, they are put into groups and then they are responsible for consulting The Frida & Diego Collection and working together to write two or three open-ended questions about this text to ask the class during the Socratic seminar.
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, students respond to this question citing text evidence, “Write one or two 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, Lesson 2, students respond to the question citing text evidence, “Using information in your research chart, write at least five journal entries telling of your experiences during the gold rush. If possible, use information from all four columns of the chart. Remember to include maps and images.”

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 7 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 7B, “Character and Conflict,” the culminating task is to write an essay describing how Walter and Mama change from the beginning to the end of the play. Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 7, Activity 5, students chose a character to follow for the rest of the play. Then, students brainstorm ideas about this character's motivations and they visualize the character's wants/obstacles/actions in a chart. In the directions it specifically says, “All students will choose either Walter or Mama to write about in the essay for this unit. Direct students' character selection accordingly.”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” the culminating task is an essay which asks students: “Can you trust that the narrator is accurately describing what’s happening in the story or poem? Why or why not?” Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, Activity 5, students discuss Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “A Tell Tale Heart”. The directions for the formative assessment explain that at this point students have just looked back over their two storyboards and reviewed the similarities and differences between them: Students are asked at this point to “Raise your hand if you find that the narrator's description of what was happening is largely reliable—your storyboard pretty much matched his version of events. Raise your hand if you find his version of events unreliable—you could find a few details where your storyboard shows a different perspective of what is happening than the narrator's description.” Then students are asked, “Do you agree or disagree with the narrator's description of what is happening? Use details from the text to explain your reason and support your claim.” This writing prompt is directly connected to the essay students write later in the unit.
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Connection”, students write an argumentative or informative essay by the end of the unit using research they have collected on the Gold Rush as well as putting together an interactive timeline about the events of the gold rush. Earlier in the unit, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1, students are asked to use a set of criteria to assess a source’s credibility. This skill connects later on to the research students conduct on their own in order to write their essay and put together their interactive timeline. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” there is a three-part culminating task: students write essays about either Kahlo or Diego, create digital collages that conveys the message of the essay visually, and present their collages to their peers. Lessons in Sub-units 2 and 3 support students in gaining the background knowledge of the Mexican artists. These lessons consist of a combination of independent, partner, and whole-class work and involve reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. An example is Sub-unit 2 Lesson 1 in which students identify key details that each artist including in writing about their relationship and analyzing what these choices show about their relationship. Sub-unit 5 supports the writing of the essay with lessons that teach and support the gathering of evidence, the development of a claim, drafting, revising, editing, and citing sources.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 9, students watch a short video that teaches the definition of the vocabulary word “taunt” complete two activities that support the learning of the word in the correct context. For example, the video clip explains the definition of the word and uses the word in a sentence. Then, students are given two sentences and asked to choose which sentence uses the word correctly. Next, students are asked the question, “Which sentence is a 'taunt' that a little sister might say to her older brother?” Then, students choose the correct response from a list of options. 
  • In Unit 7B, “Character & Conflict,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, students watch a short video that teaches the definition of the vocabulary word “doggedly” and then complete two activities that support the learning of the word in the correct context. Students read a sentence and determine if the word is used correctly, while also practicing using connotation and denotation to determine meanings of unknown words included in the  word list. Students are asked questions to assist with understanding of the word “Which word do you think Lorraine Hansberry used in the sentence below: youthful or childish? Why do you think she chose it?” Students then try it on their own, “Instructions: Review each of the following quotes with a partner. Determine whether the connotation of the word in blue expresses a positive, negative or neutral feeling.” After reviewing with a partner, students move onto The Vocabulary App - they play Extreme Weather Vacation - “In Extreme Weather Vacation, you’ll explore word connotations further by ordering a word and its synonyms or antonyms according to shades of meaning.” 
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 7, 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 7; fever, indulging, irreverent, manifesting, recovered, regarded, strength, walk, weak. Some of these words are “core” words for the unit. For example, for the core word “irreverent”, students can choose an activity called “Horoscope”. For this activity, students read the fictional horoscope that contains the word “irreverent” and then they are asked the question, what is an example of irreverent behavior?
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” students are tasked with learning four words from the word list that they will use to interact with while reading this lesson. The main vocabulary study for this unit is Figurative Language. Students begin with a word list, then are introduced to figurative language definitions and usage.  They then learn ways to use figurative language, “Which of the following phrases is used figuratively? Which is used literally? He courageously ran toward the sounds of alarm. She pounced like a lion on her opponent.” Students then practice using a word figuratively and literally, “Which of the following sentences uses figurative language to show that something is gaunt? Which uses literal language?” Students are then prompted to try it on their own, “Choose a new word from the word list, then write a definition of that word. Brainstorm at least two examples of figurative language that communicate the meaning of the word. Then write a short paragraph that uses the word and incorporates your figurative language.”
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” teachers are given a specific vocabulary strategy to focus on. For instance, in the “Materials” section which can be found on the Unit Overview, teachers can see a vocabulary area of focus guide. For this particular unit, the focus is on prefixes and suffixes. On page 8 of the guide, the question at the top reads, "why learn about prefixes and suffixes?" Then, the guide explains that “Recognizing the prefix and suffix of an unknown word helps you break apart the word to begin to determine its meaning. Then, it shows the word “reaction” and explains the definition of the term along with the prefix, root and suffix of the word. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” students use the Work That Word template in order to interact with the vocabulary words in the unit. Students are prompted to determine the meaning of an unknown word using context clues, roots, prefixes and suffixes, and using paraphrasing to restate the sentence in their own words. These strategies along with the next step, Refine Your Word Understanding, where students interact with vocabulary words by finding synonyms, antonyms, connotations, and figurative language as well as practicing dictionary skills. Students also practice using synonyms and antonyms with the required vocabulary word list, “Choose a new word from the word list and write a short paragraph using the word and a synonym and antonym of it.”

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 which 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 7B, “Character and Conflict”, Sub-unit 4, students write an essay after reading the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury. This piece of writing is supposed to take five lessons and the unit overview explains to teachers how this is the beginning of the year so the focus is more on process not product. Students are only producing one body paragraph at the end of this Sub-unit. In Lesson 1, teachers are told to explain the essay prompt which asks students to describe how the character of Walter or Mama changes throughout the play. The next activity helps students to choose which character they will write about and then provides them with specific scaffolding for which scenes the student should focus on when discussing the character changes. Then, in Activity 6, the instructional guide explains to teachers that they should direct students to “Consider what you said about Walter or Mama in your short answer. Your goal is to develop this idea into a clear body paragraph, where you examine and analyze your evidence so the reader can fully understand what you are saying about the character.”
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe”, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, Activity 4, students read the poem “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” by Emily Dickinson. Following their reading, students are given a writing prompt which asks them “to analyze the evolving imagery of the snake in the poem”. In the teacher’s instructional guide, it also explains that students should “write for at least 10 minutes, producing at least 100 words." After students write for this amount of time, the next activity prompts them to share their writing with their peers and then give specific feedback about a specific place in their writing that had an impact on them. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 3, students are prompted to respond, "Write 1–2 paragraphs providing key information you discovered about your topic. Make sure to include two framed quotes from at least two sources." 
    • Sub-Unit 5: Write an Essay, Lesson 1, students are given the option to write an Informative Essay about Frida Kahlo responding to the prompt, "The Early Years Why did Frida Kahlo begin painting? How did this circumstance affect the type of paintings that she did? What did that mean for her long-term career? Write an informative essay about the beginning and development of Frida’s artistic work."
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection”, Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, students read an excerpt from a diary titled “Excerpts from July 22–August 10, 1849, The Gold Rush Diary of Ramón Gil Navarro." Following their reading, students analyze the features of a dairy and explain how the organizational structure contributes to its meaning. Next, using research from Sub-unit 2, students are asked to “write journal entries about the Gold Rush from your character’s point of view. You will write at least 5 entries, with 5 different dates, from your character’s point of view.” The instructions tell students to also include descriptive details that bring the Gold Rush historical period to life and be able to share and reflect upon their writing when completed.

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

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 using language skills to synthesize and analyze their grade level reading include, but are not limited to: 

  • In Unit 7B, “Character and Conflict,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, students research the life of the author Lorraine Hansberry. First, they read an excerpt from her autobiography To be Young, Gifted and Black and complete close reading questions analyzing her perspective. Then, in an optional activity, they look at images of the Civil Rights Movement to understand Hansberry’s support for the movement. Finally, they compare her life to the characters in the play A Raisin in the Sun. These three activities that focus on close reading of a text and research of a historical event help students with the longer research projects that will take place later in the year. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” the culminating task is a research project. The unit begins with lessons on information literacy in which students learn how to tell the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. They also determine if a source is reliable and understand the ethical uses of information. In the next lessons, they use these skills as they construct their own research questions and explore the Internet for answers. Students read a variety of texts about the artists.
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” the culminating task is a research essay and project. Just like in 6th grade, at the beginning, students learn how to tell the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources; determine if a source is reliable; and understand ethical uses of information. Then, students begin to develop and sharpen their sourcing abilities when they construct their own research questions and explore the Internet for answers. After that, students conduct research to learn about the wide diversity of people who took part in the California gold rush. They use the information they gather to write narrative accounts from the point of view of a specific person living through this era. This lesson leads to a Socratic Seminar in which students rely on their research to examine the complicated issues inherent in the gold rush story. As students reach the end of the unit, they synthesize all of the skills they’ve developed for a culminating research assignment which is part essay and part media project. They write either an argumentative or informative essay, then create an interactive timeline for the gold rush using the MyHistro app. 

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 1 in the Grade 7 Solo Workbook on page 10, students have the option of reading from the text Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang in the section titled “The Liberation Army Dancer,” paragraphs 1–15. After reading this passage, students are asked to “list the following, "one moment in the memoir when Ji-li felt happy and one moment when she felt upset. For each moment, explain why she’s feeling what she’s feeling”. After that, students are given six different comprehension questions to answer. 
  • In Unit 7B, “Character and Conflict,” there are 29 lessons during which students read A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, "Harlem" by Langston Hughes, an excerpt from To Be Young, Gifted and Black: An Informal Autobiography of Lorraine Hansberry by Lorraine Hansberry, and "Sucker" by Carson McCullers (870L). Each day, students read and answer questions. Their written work serves as a tracking system. Interspersed are four days in which students read materials of their own choosing and fill out a tracking form.
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2 in the Grade 7 Solo Workbook on page 96, students have the option of reading from the chapter “The right sort of risks,” paragraphs 1–8 from the text Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. After reading this section, students are asked to “note TWO places in the passage that grabbed your attention and describe what you noticed and think about each place in the text”. Then, students answer five different multiple choice questions and one short answer question about the text. 
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” students read two short stories and a poem by Edgar Allen Poe as well as three other poems and one legal ruling. Each day, students read and answer questions. Their written work serves as a tracking system. Interspersed throughout the twenty-nine day unit are four days in which students read texts and fill out a tracking form.
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2 in the Grade 7 Solo Workbook on page 169, students may choose to read “Life with Frida” from Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo, paragraphs 1–13. Once they have read the text, students answer the prompt, "Explore the image from The Frida & Diego Collection that you chose at the end of this lesson. What do you find most interesting about this image?” Then, after they write their response they have to answer 5 multiple choice questions and an additional short answer question. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” is a research unit in which students read nonfiction book excerpts, letters, diary entries, a poem, a magazine article, song lyrics, and websites of their own choosing. Each day, students read and answer questions. Their written work serves as a tracking system. Interspersed throughout the twenty-five day unit are four days in which students read materials of their own choosing and fill out a tracking form.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

Amplify Grade 7 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 7 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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 plays and short stories that provide a magnified view of characters responding to conflict. Each unit is divided into sub-units that contain lessons. Lessons 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: The Flex Days 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 7A, "Red Scarf Girl & 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 curriculum was 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 7B Unit, “Character & Conflict,” 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 sub-units include:
    • Sub-Unit 1: "Sucker" - Lesson 1: "The room was mine and I used it as I wanted to."
    • Sub-Unit 2: A Raisin in the Sun: Lesson 1: Meet the Younger Family
    • Sub-Unit 3: Dreams Deffered: Lesson 1: "Harlem"
    • Sub-Unit 4: Write an Essay: Lesson 1: Essay First Steps
    • Sub-Unit 5: Character and Conflict Unit Reading Assessment: Lesson 1: Character and Conflict Reading Assessment
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 3, Activity 2, teachers are asked to launch the lesson in the following manner: 
    •  Introduce Activity by playing Visual Neglect video. 
    • Give students time after the video is over to write down their responses.
    • Replay the video at least one more time to see if students notice anything new.”
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 4, teachers are given preparation instructions to help them prepare for the lesson. 
    • Plan to put students in small groups and assign each group a text (text options are listed in Materials). 
    • Have chart paper ready.

Indicator 3b

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The teacher and students in Grade 7 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. 

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

  • Within the “Planning Your Year” section of the “Program Guide," the “Pacing and Flexibility” section provides the following information, “Most of the Amplify ELA lessons are designed as a carefully sequenced series of experiences that build students’ skills in order to master the grade-level CCSS for ELA/Literacy. Teachers should follow the lessons, one by one, in most units, using Amplify’s formative assessment tools to decide when they can speed up or when they need to slow down. These lessons are generally described as taking around 45-60 minutes, but teachers should monitor student progress, looking in the instructional guide to find out what sorts of mastery to look for before moving on from activity to activity. Certain lessons will span more than one 45-minute block. And most lessons contain enough activities to explore with students for an extended double literacy block if the teacher has that option.”
  • In Unit 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 1, pacing breaks the following way, “Library Navigation (7 min). Students practice using List and Search functions to find books in the library. Introduce: Your Point of View (6 min) Students identify their perspective about one food to begin to understand a writer's point of view. Try It On: Point of View (3 min) Students note details they find disgusting to explore their point of view. Discuss: Analyzing an Image (2 min) Students examine a photo to identify the precise details that show point of view. Observe Details (3 min) Students create and analyze photographs to explain how the details convey feelings. Write (12 min) Students use the precise observations they've identified to convey their "disgusted" point of view. Share (12 min) Students give their classmates feedback about a specific place in their writing that made an impact on them. Present: Eating Something Really Disgusting! (3 min) Students watch people react to a disgusting taste test.”
  • In Unit 7C, “Frida and Diego Collection,” teachers are instructed with four lessons to cover sub-unit 1 “Information Literacy”. The first lesson is Evaluating Sources Part 1, the second lesson is Evaluating Sources part 2, the third lesson is Avoiding Plagiarism and the fourth is a flex day. The instructions for flex day explain that teachers will offer “opportunities for students to revise an existing piece of writing, create a new piece of writing, develop reading fluency, practice close reading and discussion, or work visually with complex texts.”

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

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

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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Activity 6, students are asked to “Think about the first time you finally were able to do something you'd never done before. Write five words to describe how it felt.” Then, they had to “describe in detail one brief moment when you were finally able to do something you’d never been able to do before. Use specific details to help your reader understand how you felt. Use this sentence starter to help you get started writing. I had a hard time learning to _______.”
  • In Unit 7E, “Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Llesson 4, Activity 2, students are instructed to practice their reading rate. Specifically, the directions in the activity explain that “Rate is the speed of your reading. It can be normal, fast, or slow. Read at a normal speed. The words sound better, and they are easier to understand. If you read too fast, you can make mistakes. Practicing tricky words helps your reading sound smooth, like you are talking to a friend. Then, the directions explain that students should, “Listen to the audio and follow along in the passage. Highlight words that are new to you. Read aloud the words you highlighted. Listen to the audio if you need to hear them again.”
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, Scavenger Hunt: Exploring the Collection:
    • Activity 1: Vocabulary Activities - students are instructed to open the vocabulary app through the provided link. 
    • Activity 2: Share with a Partner, students are instructed to collaborate with a peer to create a list.
    • Activity 3: Research Scavenger Hunt 1 - students scan the digital text to determine the answers to the questions provided.
    • Activity 4: Scavenger Hunt 2: Students are instructed to examine images to answer the questions.
    • Activity 5: Students share what they learned digitally on the card 
    • Activity 6: Students are directed to discuss their Author's Point of View through writing their responses on the digital cards, then discuss their responses whole group.
    • Activity 7: Students are given a digital Exit Ticket, they are instructed to respond to the multiple choice questions.
    • Activity 8: Students are prompted to read the assigned text in the Solo section and digitally answer questions using text evidence.
    • Activity 9: Students are instructed in two Challenge Writing prompts, to answer digitally an informative or argumentative prompt.

Indicator 3d

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

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

For Grade 7, 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 7A unit “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative” sub unit 4 lesson 4, the focus standards are:
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1--Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1---Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.6---Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • The other standards addressed in the lesson are
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.6---Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.9.B--Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims").
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.10---Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.”
  • In Unit 7C, “Brain Science,” Print Edition, students are asked to read the non-fiction text “Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman”. After reading the text, Sub-unit 1, Lesson 1 is presented called “The Tamping Iron and the Skull”. On the right hand side of the page, the words “Lesson 1” can be seen and underneath that the standard for the lesson is listed “Standard RI.7.2.”

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 7 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 7C Unit, “Brain Science,” Student Print Edition, Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, page 367, students are asked to look at a colorful and labeled diagram of a brain. After viewing the photo, students are asked to “review ‘Horrible Accident in Vermont’, paragraph 34 on page 265”. Then, they are asked to highlight 2 portions of Blakemore’s text that you think relate to Phineas Gage’s symptoms. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, students are asked to look at three different images of Diego Rivera’s art by clicking on the photos on the right hand side of the webpage. The first is Detroit Industry (South Wall). The second one is Man, Controller of the Universe at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The third is Dream of a Sunday Afternoon on the Alameda Central. 

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 7 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” there are instructions for teachers to explain to students how to log in to the curriculum. For each of the web browsers that students/teachers could have, there is a list of steps provided that explain to students how to log into Amplify. Once students have logged in the directions in the teacher edition explain to “select the Student Status icon to view your class and select Start Class. Use the activity numbers and names to direct students in this Welcome lesson.”
  • In Unit 7B, “Character & Conflict,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 2, the Lesson Brief provides the teacher an overview of the lesson, the objective, skills and standards, differentiation strategies, and required preparation. In the Preparation section, additional opportunities to “enhance students’ connections to the lesson” are provided for the teacher to review prior to the lesson. Supplements include additional reading-- an article and a poem, a photograph, and possible discussion points. The teacher may choose to use any of the activities.
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” Sub-unit 3, guidance for implementing the Quest: Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe? Is provided. Teachers are instructed to become familiar with the Quest and the accompanying teacher guide and student materials. The Teacher Guides provides teachers with an overview, necessary preparation, and the steps in completing the Quest with students. The Teacher Guide also houses a Student View so the teacher can troubleshoot issues the students may have. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 3, there is a teacher-only activity provided in the teacher edition to help educators prepare for talking to students about plagiarism. Specifically the instructions state that “Before class, research online for real-life examples of plagiarism or reuse. One example that students may find relatable is the case between musicians Sam Smith and Tom Petty. Sam Smith’s song “Stay With Me” was found to have a number of similarities to Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down.” There are multiple articles online that discuss the issue and exactly how the music in the two songs compares. Students can listen to both songs and consider if they sound alike and can also compare the notes of both songs against each other. The similarity in chords is also a powerful way of introducing students to patchwork plagiarism (discussed in Activity 5), in that it demonstrates how much similarity between two works is considered too much.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The 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 7D, “Poetry and Poe,” Sub-unit 1, Lesson 2, students read and analyze the poem “A narrow fellow in the grass” by Emily Dickinson. This lesson asks students to identify moments of imagery in the poem. A resource is provided for teachers that goes through the entire poem and shows teachers examples of imagery along with the possible response of the students. 
  • In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” Sub-unit 4, Lesson 2, students prepare for a Socratic Seminar over texts centering on the California Gold Rush. Students are asked to prepare a list of guidelines for participating in the discussion. To assist teachers with this task, in the teacher’s guide there are suggested rules for both speaking and listening.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The 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 7C, “Brain Science,” the Unit Overview identifies key reading and writing skills as well as the type of texts to be studied. An explanation of how the unit supports the overall goals of the curriculum and how the unit builds on the other units is also provided. For example, “In the Brain Science unit, students explore a series of informational texts that expose the intricate workings of the brain, challenge their concept of what it means to be human, and help them consider how their own growing brains are impacted by their daily experiences.” The Overview continues to explain the types of texts they will be reading, the skills they will be learning, and the overall goals for the unit. An additional Skills and Content section lists the types of reading and skills to be addressed in the unit.
  •  In Unit 7F, “The Gold Rush Collection,” the Grade 7 Curriculum Map explains that “students explore primary documents and conduct independent research to better understand the complex story of the California gold rush.” The Unit Summary goes on to discuss how students will “construct their own research questions and explore the Internet for answers” and that students will participate in a Socratic seminar to discuss the gold rush and “the complicated issues” that surround it. The writing requirements and culminating research assignment for the unit are also outlined.

Indicator 3i

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7 partially meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

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 7A “Red Scarf Girl,” the Unit Background and Context document provides an overview and introduction to the core text, Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang. Background and context information for the topics of communism and Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution is also summarized. Keywords for the unit are identified. The document is available in English and Spanish. 
  • In Unit 7E, “The Frida & Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 3, Lesson 4, 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 7 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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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. “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:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7A, “Red Scarf Girl and Narrative,” Sub-unit 4, students have to write an essay as a part of their final assessment. The standards that are covered by this assessment are listed in the unit overview under the subheading “Lesson Standards”. Specifically, these are the standards addressed in Lesson 1--Focus on the body paragraph:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 7 here.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

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 7 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. 

Some examples of this are, 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 7 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 7A, Red Scarf Girl, Narrative Lesson 2: Ji-li’s Troubles Begin, Exit Ticket. In Activity 9, students demonstrate understanding of how Ji-li's point of view is different from, yet related to, her family's perspective.
    • In Sub-unit 4, the students demonstrate their comprehension of the text through writing. "Students draft a second body paragraph about the moment when they noticed a change in Ji-li and describe the text details that illustrated this change." Then they revise. "Students revise their writing to further explain their strongest or most relevant pieces of evidence."
  • In Unit 7D, “Poetry & Poe,” Lesson 7: Flex Day 2, Write, Connect Two Texts, students create a new piece of writing connecting two texts. "Invite students to create a new piece of writing where they make connections between two texts. You might ask students to connect the core text to a related article, story, or poem."
    • In Sub-unit 2: Lesson 4, Solo Comprehension Questions: "1. Describe one moment in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' where you think the narrator DOES NOT 'know he was doing what was wrong.' 2. Describe one moment in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' where you think the narrator DOES 'know he was doing what was wrong.'"

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 7 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 upon 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Grade 7 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level 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 are designed to “maintain academic rigor and high cognitive demand while scaffolding to support learners at different language levels.” 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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7E, “The Frida and Diego Collection,” Sub-unit 2, Lesson 2, students review what they have learned about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The directions ask students to “Work with a partner to create a list of a few new facts you discovered about Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera in the last lesson or in your reading last night.” Pairings are student-selected.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Technology and personalization information is comprehensive and detailed to support implementation.

Indicator 3s

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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: A Raisin in the Sun (single paperback) 978-0-67975-533-3 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7A Red Scarf Girl & Narrative Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-087-2 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7B Character & Conflict Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-088-9 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7C Brain Science Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-089-6 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7D Poetry & Poe Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-090-2 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7E The Frida & Diego Collection Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-091-9 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7F The Gold Rush Collection Teacher Edition 978-1-64383-092-6 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G7 Solo Activity Set (Black Line Master) 978-1-64383-093-3 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7A Red Scarf Girl & Narrative Writing Journal 978-1-64383-104-6 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7B Character & Conflict Writing Journal 978-1-64383-105-3 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7C Brain Science Writing Journal 978-1-64383-106-0 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7D Poetry & Poe Writing Journal 978-1-64383-107-7 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7E The Frida & Diego Collection Writing Journal 978-1-64383-108-4 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA Unit 7F The Gold Rush Collection Writing Journal 978-1-64383-109-1 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G7 Student Edition (single) 978-1-64383-111-4 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G7 Teacher License (1 year) 978-1-64383-164-0 Amplify 2019
Amplify ELA G7 Student License (1 year) 978-1-64383-172-5 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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