Alignment: Overall Summary

The Benchmark Advance 2021 materials for Grade 5 partially meet the expectations of alignment. Texts included are partially of quality, although the rigor and complexity is appropriate for the grade. The program includes opportunities for students to learn and practice most literacy skills while engaging with texts. The materials partially support knowledge building, with text sets that are connected in different ways. Writing, speaking and listening, and language work is embedded throughout the year.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
38
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
24
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The Benchmark Advance 2021 materials for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Included texts are at an appropriate text complexity level and are accompanied by practice in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language aligned to the grade level standards. Some texts included are not at the same level of quality as others, so the teacher may need to take that into consideration. Speaking and listening protocols are consistent and engaging throughout the school year. Most tasks and demonstrations students complete are text-dependent. The program meets the expectations for foundational literacy skills instruction.

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.
18/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

Some texts included in the Benchmark Advance 2021 program are of high quality, however a number of the anchor texts are excerpts from published works and lack the depth for students to grow their understanding of story elements. Other texts included do not provide enough content, lack engaging illustrations, or do not possess the complexity to be engaging for readers. The texts provide students the opportunity to read from a wide variety of genres with a balance of literary and informational texts. The majority of the texts are at the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 4 students, and the materials include text complexity information for most texts. Overall, most texts grow in sophistication over the course of the year to support student mastery of grade level standards by the end of the year. By the end of the year, students have the opportunity to engage in a wide range and volume of reading to support their literacy growth.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1a.

The texts across the units include two short reads, two extended reads, and a poetry read out loud selection. Anchor texts include a variety of genres and a range of topics that would be appealing and engaging to students. Genres include, but are not limited to, biographies, folktales, fables, myths, and informational texts. Many texts include engaging pictures, colorful illustrations, character relationships and motives, and rich vocabulary. Excerpts from published works lack the depth for students to grow their understanding of story elements and are not of significant enough length to provide a complete, engaging text for readers. Other texts do not provide enough content, lack engaging illustrations, or do not possess the complexity to be engaging to readers.

Examples of high-quality anchor texts in the program include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow (excerpt from The Wiz) by L. Frank Baum captures a scene from The Wizard of Oz. The author/illustrator uses colorful illustrations and actual pictures from the original movie and engaging characters in Dorothy and the Scarecrow.
  • In Unit 4, Something Uneasy in the Air by Newberry Award Winning author Cynthia Kadohata is a historical fiction text featuring a German Shepherd.
  • In Unit 7, “The Railroad’s Impact on Native Americans” by Odia Wood-Krueger contains engaging illustrations and a map. The headings and the content are organized to help students understand the content.
  • In Unit 9, “Cesar: Si, Se Puede! Yes, We Can!” by Carmen Bernier Grand contains real photos of Cesar Chavez on each page. This narrative poem’s engaging text is supported by illustrations that explain the impact people have on civil rights. The text begins with a short description of the life of Cesar Chavez.

Examples of texts not considered appropriate for use as anchor texts in the program include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, “The First Town Meeting” from The People of Sparks by Jeanne DePrau lacks illustrations, paragraph numbering, and additional details to help students understand the characters. The passage ends without letting the reader know what the town’s people decided.
  • In Unit 8, "Earthquakes" by Kathy Furgang is a short read that provides very condensed, generic information about causes of earthquakes, how they are measured, and how the Earth's surface is changing. The piece lacks depth and quickly covers a lot of information.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1b.

Students engage with a variety of literary and informational texts throughout the units. There is a wide range of texts throughout the units that reflect a near 50/50 balance of literary and informational texts. Texts include, but are not limited to, drama, fantasy, folktale, play, realistic fiction, opinion, poem, science informational text, informational social studies, and informational poem.

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

  • Unit 1, “Milton the Mole” by Carol Pugliano-Martin
  • Unit 2, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow by William F. Brown
  • Unit 3, Stanley’s Release and Holes (excerpt) by Louis Sachar
  • Unit 4, Training by Anne Sewell
  • Unit 6, The Valiant Little Tailor by the Brothers Grimm
  • Unit 7, “Where Two Rivers Meet” by Odia Wood-Kureger
  • Unit 9, They Were My People by Grace Nichols

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

  • Unit 1, “The Cost of Green Energy” by Tom Cardigan
  • Unit 3, Solving Problems by LIsa Benjamin
  • Unit 5, “Great Women of Science and Math” by Lisa Jo Rudy
  • Unit 7, The Chinese Railroad Workers by Hao Zou
  • Unit 8, Earthquakes by Kathy Furgang
  • Unit 9, Cesar: Si, Se Puede. Yes, We Can! by Carmen T Bernier-Grand
  • Unit 10, The Power of Electricity by Kathy Furgang

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 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1c.

The texts included in the instructional materials fall toward the upper end of the Lexile level range for Grade 4, a variety of texts within the consumable anchor text and small group reading texts have the appropriate level qualitative complexity. Some texts have a complex set of events including a puzzle-like plot, complex ideas, fantasy genre, multiple implied themes, and unfamiliar vocabulary including academic and domain specific words. Instruction and student tasks for students are included to provide the necessary support to make the texts above or below the Lexile grade band appropriate for Grade 4 students.

Some specific examples of texts that are of an appropriate complexity level include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students read Short Read 2: “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” an excerpt from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with a Lexile level of 1020 which is outside of the stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. The fantasy has multiple implied themes but materials provide student support through an introductory Short Read in Week 1, “Dorothy Meets the Scarecrow,” providing background knowledge. The teacher models reading and making connections to Short Read 1. Students annotate and pair and share how the connections support understanding. The materials include a sidebar of scaffolding suggestions for students requiring additional support. Students also listen to the audio assisted ebook of this selection.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, students read Short Read 1: “Earthquakes” with a Lexile of 1030 which falls outside the recommended stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. The text does not require prior knowledge of how earthquakes occur. The selection provides an opportunity for students to build vocabulary, examine cause and effect, and interpret information visually. Students use this selection as they begin the steps of planning, drafting, revising, and editing a science-related research project.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, students read Short Read 2: “Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology” with a Lexile of 1040 which falls outside the recommended stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. The selection is comprised mainly of compound and complex sentences with specific vocabulary and forms of 19th century speech. To support student understanding, the teacher is provided with a vocabulary list and uses a Define/Example/Ask vocabulary routine to introduce new vocabulary. The students read and annotate focusing on vocabulary and then share and reflect with a partner. Two additional mini-lessons focus on the meaning of domain-specific words and phrases, events, ideas, and concepts within the text.

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 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1d.

Texts are worthy of students’ time and attention. The units are designed to build upon one another with increasing demands for knowledge and application as the student progresses through each unit and lesson. Anchor texts are listed within every unit and provide quantitative measures as well as qualitative measures of complexity. Included in the Additional Resources materials for instructors is a detailed rubric for evaluating dimensions of text complexity. Students engage in texts of varying levels and complexity within each unit. Consumable anchor texts containing two Short Reads, two Extended Reads, three Word Study Reads, and one Poetry read for each unit. The complexity of the texts supports students proficiency in reading independently. Reading routines support students gaining increasing independence in reading throughout the year. Tasks are sequenced with an increase in complexity throughout the year with unit assessments to determine student mastery of skill and strategies. Strategies and Skills, a unit overview of weekly skills that indicates which skills are previously taught or introduced, is included in the Teacher Resources. Unit assessments provide an opportunity to measure student proficiency throughout the year, at the end of each unit, and at the end of the academic year.

  • Unit 1 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 740L and 890L. The CCSS recommended range is 770L to 980L. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity page describe substantial to highest complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. There are no qualitative measures for the Word Study Reads although they are part of the consumable anchor text. During Week 3, Extended Read 2: “The Secret Spring” from The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings from the consumable anchor text, Mini-Lessons 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 require students to use this story and complete a variety of tasks. At the end of each Mini-Lesson, students Apply Understanding which are connected to the Mini-Lesson purpose. In Mini-Lesson 1 the purpose is creating mental images. During the Apply Understanding, students finish reading the story, underline details, and sketch something in the margin that represents their mental image. In Mini-Lessons 2 and 5 the focus is grammar skills, and students are asked to complete tasks during this time throughout the week or as homework. The Mini-Lesson focus and Apply Understanding student tasks are connected within all Mini-Lessons. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Identify Key Details and Determine a Main Idea, Compare and Contrast Narrative Points of View, Summarize the Text, Analyze First-Person Point of View, Integrate Information from Multiple Texts to Demonstrate Knowledge, Compare and Contrast the Treatment of Themes in Literature, Explain Differences between Poetry and Prose.
  • Unit 2 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance the Lexile band for all Small Group Texts is between 560L and 740L which is below the ranges aligned to Common Core Reading 770L-980L. Small Group Reading text within the odd units ranged from 610L to 990L. There were several texts below grade level expectations and few above. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Summarize the Text, Describe a Character in Depth, Make Connections Between a Story and an Oral Presentation of the Text, Analyze Author's Use of Descriptive Language in a Poem, Compare and Contrast the Treatment of Similar themes in Stories.
  • Unit 3 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 740L and 920L. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity page describe moderate to substantial complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. There are no qualitative measures for the Word Study Reads although they are part of the consumable anchor text. During Week 1, Short Read 2, students read “The First Town Meeting” from The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau from the consumable anchor text. Mini-Lessons 10, 12 and 13 require students to use this story to complete a variety of tasks. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task. During these Mini-Lessons, the Apply Understanding task include summarize and synthesize to write a one paragraph summary of the story, identify unfamiliar words and search for context clues that will help them write a definition and confirm the spelling, and reread make inferences and write sentences that detail their inference and details that helped them draw it. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Describe the Structure of a Text (Problem/Solution); Explain Events or Ideas in a Text (Problems/Solutions); Interpret Information Presented Visually: Sidebars, Charts, and Photos; Draw Inferences, Integrate Information from Two Texts; Identify Key Details and Determine the Main Idea; Identify a Poem’s Rhyme Scheme.
  • Unit 5 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 820L and 980L. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity page describe moderate to highest complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. There are no qualitative measures for the Word Study Reads although they are part of the consumable anchor text. During Week 2, Extended Read 1 “Who’s Driving?” by Amanda Polidore from the consumable anchor text, Mini-Lessons 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12 require students to use this story to complete a variety of tasks. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task in each Mini-Lesson. Appy Understanding tasks include; drawing inferences, complete Build Vocabulary section in the consumable anchor text, summarize a paragraph independently and compare them, partner work to determine meaning of domain-specific words, complete the Build Grammar and Language section in the consumable anchor text during the week and complete questions 1, 2 and 3 in the Write: Use Text Evidence section of the consumable anchor text. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Describe the Structure of a Text (Problem/Solution), Describe the Structure of a Text (Cause/Effect), Explain Events or Ideas in a Text (Cause/Effect), Explain How an Author Uses Reasons and Evidence to Support Points in a Text, Summarize the Text, Integrate Information from Two Texts on the Same Topic.
  • Unit 7 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 770L and 970L. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity page describe moderate to highest complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. There are no qualitative measures for the Word Study Reads although they are part of the consumable anchor text. Teacher’s Resources, Components at a Glance indicates Word Study Mini-Lessons occur 15 minutes per lesson. Evidence found did not validate that statement. Word Study reads were only found only in weekly Mini-Lesson that focused on grammar and found as a bullet point under Apply Understanding and Build Fluency. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 2, students spend a few minutes during the week reading “My Trip to the Black Hills” to develop fluency and automaticity with homophones. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Describe the Overall Structure of a Text (Chronological), Describe the Overall Structure of a Text (Compare/Contrast), Explain Events or Ideas in a Text, Interpret Information Presented Visually, Draw Inferences, Explain How the Author Uses Reasons and Evidence to Support Points in a Text, Integrate Information from Two Texts to Speak Knowledgeably on a Topic.
  • Unit 9 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 830L and 1000L, which is slightly over the expected Lexile range. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity page describe substantial complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. There are no qualitative measures for the Word Study Reads although they are part of the consumable anchor text. In this unit, the Word study reads have the lowest and highest Lexile in the range. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Describe the Overall Structure of Events in a Text (Cause/Effect), Compare and Contrast the Treatment of Similar themes in Two Poems, Identify Key Details and Determine the Main Idea, Explain How an Author Uses Reasons and Evidence to Support Points in a Text, Explain Events or Concepts in a Social Studies Text, Determine the Theme of a Poem, Integrate Information from Two Texts to speak Knowledgeably on a Topic.
  • In Unit 10, the Lexile levels range from 620L-960L. The qualitative measures for the Short Reads and Extended Reads on the Guide to Text Complexity describe moderate to substantial complexity based on the four dimensions of qualitative complexity. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Explain How an Author Uses Reasons and Evidence to Support Points in a Text, Explain Events, Ideas, or Concepts in a Scientific Text, Interpret Information Presented Visually, Identify Key Details And Determine the Main Idea, Integrate Information from Two Texts to Speak Knowledgeably on a Topic, Analyze Humor and Rhyme in a Poem.

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 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1e.

Each unit has a Unit Resources for Responsive Teaching Guide to Text Complexity within the teacher resources listing total qualitative measures for Short Reads and Extended Reads in the student consumables. Word Study texts within each unit have Lexile levels listed in the Teacher’s Resource Guide Components at a Glance. The text complexity guide provides measures of complexity including purpose and levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands. Each small group text includes an Accessing Complex Text analysis with quantitative and qualitative measures. The Teacher Resources for small groups include a text level and a Lexile measure for each text. Each unit contains three Word Study Reads; the genre and Lexile level are provided for these material.

Examples of how the program shows text complexity include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Short Read 1: “A Bird’s Free Lunch” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 3; This excerpt gives a detailed account of the author’s firsthand observations of birds outside his window; his highly figurative language requires readers to draw inferences about the essay’s purpose.
    • Structure: Score of 3; Events are related mainly in sequence; however, the author deviates twice from that structure: once to describe a past event and again to directly address the reader.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 3; The text is descriptive, with some unfamiliar vocabulary and sentences ranging from simple to complex. The author uses idiomatic expressions that will be unfamiliar to readers.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 2; Familiarity with the appearance and behavior of birds, especially woodpeckers, will help readers follow Burrough’s descriptions.
    • Total QM: Score of 11; Substantial Complexity.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Extended Read 2: “The Secret Spring” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Level of Meaning: Score of 3; Rawling’s text reveals a character’s personality through his inner thoughts, actions, observations, and interactions with nature.
    • Structure: Score of 4; The voice is third-person. The text is sequential, following the narrator on his journey to a secret spring; however, along the way, there are extensive sequences describing plants and landscapes most readers will not be familiar with.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 4; The text contains many complex sentences with extensive adverbial clauses. Pronoun/antecedent relationships will be challenging for many students. The language is formal, and the general academic vocabulary is very rich.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 3; Readers will find the references to specific types of vegetation and the description of the landscape unfamiliar. They would benefit from prior introduction to plants referred to (e.g., magnolia trees, tar-flower, letter-bush, sparkleberry, scrub) to help them visualize the scene.
    • Total QM: Score of 14; Highest Complexity.”
  • In Unit 7,Week 2, Extended Read: ”The Chinese Railroad Workers” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 3; The text has a single purpose of describing the experience of Chinese workers who worked on the construction of the transcontinental railroad; however, the information is detailed and involves multiple facets.
    • Structure: Score of 3; The predominant text structure is chronological, but some paragraphs and sections have a different text structure. Text features include a map, images, and a sidebar that support and expand on information in the text.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 3; This selection uses simple and complex sentence structures and supports academic and domain-specific vocabulary with descriptions, examples,and other context clues.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 3; Readers would benefit from prior knowledge of the landscape over which the transcontinental railroad was built, as well as discrimination against immigrants during the time period.
    • Total QM: Score of 12; Substantial Complexity.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Short Read 2: “Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 3; Through both firsthand and secondhand accounts, this text conveys key details of Benjamin Franklin's major discovery that lightning is a form of electricity; some information on his other achievements (e.g., as a founding father) is also included.
    • Structure: Score of 3; Text structure is predominantly descriptive and features quotations related to Franklin’s scientific ideas, which add a subjective point of view. The text contains an illustration and a time line that highlights significant discoveries about electricity.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 4; The main text features mostly compound and complex sentences with significant extensive domain-specific vocabulary; quoted material is challenging both for its scientific language and concepts and its use of formal 19th-century speech.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 3; While readers will likely be familiar with Benjamin Franklin and his experiments with lightning, many of the scientific ideas and concepts in the texts will be challenging.
    • Total QM: Score of 13; Substantial Complexity.”

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 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1f.

Anchor and supporting texts provide a variety of opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading. The consumable anchor text contains two Short Reads, two Extended Reads, three Word Study Reads, and one Poetry Out Loud selection. Students have multiple opportunities to engage with the text during the Short Reads and Extended Reads. Benchmark provides several Additional Resources (AR), in addition to unit-specific mini-lessons to provide a framework or options for students to engage in reading. Each grade level provides pacing options/sample literacy blocks so that students engage with texts daily with notes, annotating, analyzing text with writing and constructive conversations with read aloud text, anchor text, leveled texts and suggested trade-book lists and novel studies for independent reading. Grouped by instructional level, students have daily opportunities to develop their reading abilities during Small Group reading instruction. During Reader’s Theater, students are in heterogeneous small groups. One-week and three-week pacing guides are available for Reader’s Theater texts. Teachers are encouraged to use Read Alouds to model thinking while reading. Online materials contain a Read Alouds Handbook. Each unit contains suggested Read Alouds titles, model prompts for the teacher and lesson plan for each suggested title.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety and volume of texts to become independent readers at the grade level. The materials also include a mechanism for teachers and/or students to monitor progress toward grade-level independence. Some examples include:

  • Three Pacing Options are offered as Sample Literacy Blocks:
    • 150 minutes reading block: 15 minute read aloud, 75 minute reading and word study, and 60 minute writing and grammar
    • 120 minute reading block: 10 minute read aloud, 75 minute reading and word study, and 50 minute writing and grammar
    • 90 minute reading block: (no read aloud) 60 minute reading and word study and 40 minutes writing and grammar
  • Read Aloud Text provides suggested routines for teaching and student support including student-generated questions, partner work, If I were the author, and word study. The teacher selects a recommended trade book from the list in Additional Resources or uses the short selection in the Read Alouds Handbook. The Teacher’s Resource contains a Comprehensive Literacy Planner at the beginning of each week.
  • Fluency Routines (FR) provide routines for inflection, intonation, pitch, expression, phrasing, word recognition,and pacing with partner time, practice time, and independent reading time.
  • The Think, Speak, Listen resource models and teaches students to support ideas with reasons, evidence, examples, and explanations.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, the Weekly Comprehensive Literacy Planner shows how mini-lessons fit into each day’s instructional plan. For example: Day 1
    • Read aloud: 10 minutes. Recommended Trade book list for independent and read aloud AR
    • Metacognitive, Comprehension, Vocabulary, Word Study, and Grammar/Language Mini-Lessons: 15-30 minutes.
      • “Ready to Race” first read: Ask questions about character and events.
      • Review vowel-consonant -e pattern/syllable patterns
    • Small group/independent reading and conferring: 20-45 minutes
    • Writing Mini-Lesson: Write a new fictional scene: Read prompt and checklist
    • Independent writing time
    • Culminating Tasks: Research and Inquiry: Students should gather information from unit texts and other sources and begin to plan elements they will include in their presentation.

Specific examples of reading opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 5, students read Extended Read 1: “Starting Off” from Mississippi Solo: A River Quest by Eddy L. Harris. The teacher sets a purpose by introducing the difference between a main idea and a summary. The teacher models how to develop a summary by displaying the Determine Main Idea Charts from Week 1. During Guided Practice the teacher poses a practice task for partners or small groups. Partners or small groups share summaries and a group summary is developed. During Share and Reflect, partners explain the difference between the main idea statement and a summary. One or two students share ideas with the class. During Apply Understanding students work independently to write a summary of an informational text they have read during Small Group Reading. These summaries are used to assess understanding of the skill.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, students utilize the Poetry Out Loud selections “A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Learning Targets are provided in the Sidebar. Teacher guidance is provided for model annotation as students analyze rhyme schemes. Student tasks include forming groups for Guided Practice and assigning different stanzas to each group and to annotate and discuss the meaning. Groups share and explain their annotations and explain the rhyme scheme to the class. During Share and Reflect, a representative from each group shares and volunteers are asked if they agree. During independent time, students reread the poem with a partner, paraphrase stanzas after listening and follow along with the interactive ebook while the teacher models how to tap out a rhythm.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, students read Short Read 1: “Rail Tycoons” by Michael Sandler. The teacher sets a purpose by telling students they are revisiting the texts to focus on the timeline used by the author. The teacher models by reading paragraph 1, pointing out the timeline entries and modeling thinking out loud to gain an understanding. During Guided Practice, the teacher poses a question to partners who are then given time to reread and confer. Next, partners share ideas with the group. During Share and Reflect, partners share with each other how timeline information enhances their reading of the text. During Apply Understanding, students review a specific timeline entry and write a short response to a question posed by the teacher. To check understanding, the teacher may read the paragraph, ask a question, and have students say or dictate their response. The teacher may wish to have students complete Interpreting and Explaining Graphic Information Quick Check A or B in Grade 4 Reading Quick Check.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 9, students use both Short Reads and Extended Reads to integrate information from two texts to speak knowledgeably about a topic. With a partner, students discuss the texts, using the consumable anchor text as a reference. The teacher displays a close reading question, monitors conversations, and observes annotations. During Share and Reflect, partners discuss their opinions and supporting text evidence. One pair is invited to share their opinions with the class. During Apply Understanding, students answer question 3 in the Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text independently. During this time, the teacher works with students to circle words and phrases that describe hardships. Students discuss if nature or society has caused more problems for workers.
  • In Unit 10, Short Read 2 in the student consumable Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology by Laura McDonald, students apply the strategies that they have learned to annotate details about the people, place, and events.
  • The Teacher Resource Components at a Glance lays out 10 minutes each day for Read Alouds. The teacher selects a recommended trade book from the list in Additional Resources or uses the short selection in the Read Alouds Handbook.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
14/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The program’s text-based questions, tasks, and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Culminating tasks provide opportunities for students to write and present information about what they have learned throughout the unit. Protocols for speaking and listening are present throughout all units and provide students opportunities to learn to engage in cooperative discussions with peers and teachers. Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers.

Materials include an even mix of short and longer writing tasks, including Inquiry and Research projects which accompany all units. Opportunities to engage in multiple text types of writing are present in the materials, but lack strong opportunities to write using text evidence.

Materials include explicit instruction of most grammar and conventions standards for the grade level with opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. Opportunities for students to apply skills to their writing is limited.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1g.

Text-dependent questions, tasks and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Materials include tasks and assignments which require the implementation of text-dependent writing and speaking. In both Short Read and Extended Read activities (Build Reflect Write pages, Extended Thinking Questions) and Mini-Lesson tasks (Apply Understanding, Share and Reflect, Guided Reading Practice), students are required to draw on textual evidence to support answers to questions and in discussion opportunities. Students have opportunities to work with partners and independently locate evidence throughout the materials. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and activities. The Teacher’s Resource provides a variety of text-dependent questions and tasks for the teacher to use throughout the program. Routines provide daily guides and suggestions for the whole group such as constructive conversation, book discussion questions, specific text-dependent questions, and making connections. The Teacher’s Edition Mini-Lesson Guides provide modeling, independent and small group support, guided practice and apply understanding for implementing text-dependent writing, speaking and activities. Most Constructive Conversations provide a prompt that asks the student and a partner to look back in the text to provide support to answer a given prompt. Students then use that evidence to share their response to the class. Writing prompts are also provided during the independent work time that ask students to provide evidence from the text. Sample answers are provided in the answer guide, to give the teacher an example of an acceptable answer that provides text evidence.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Short Read 1: “A Bird’s Free Lunch” from The Wit of a Duck and Other Papers by John Burroughs and Short Read 2: “The Reeds and the River” from Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wen Xuan, Build Knowledge, students answer the following questions: "What did you learn about nature-and the way animals behave from the personal essay and story excerpt? Make a 2 column chart (see example) on a separate piece of paper. List details from the text you might include on an informative essay about what people might notice when observing nature.” In the Reflect: Discuss the Essential Question sections students answer: “How do we respond to nature?” Discussion support is provided with “One idea I have is ____________. That made me think of ____________.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Apply Understanding, during independent time, students reread the entire story. The teacher directions state, “During independent time, have students write a series of sentences describing a character they have encountered in a previously read leveled text. Students should cite specific text evidence in their descriptions.”
  • In Unit 4, Read-Aloud Handbook, six options for read alouds are offered. Each title has a one-page sheet containing the text, objective, four suggested prompts the teacher can use to model thinking as he or she reads the text, ELL comprehension support questions, and two Extend Thinking questions. In “Capture!” a chapter from Akimbo and the Snakes, part 2 by Alexander McCall Smith, the teacher guidance for the Extend Thinking questions states, “Pose one or more questions to engage students more deeply with the text.” The two questions provided are, “How do you think Uncle Peter’s point of view of these events might differ from Akimbo’s point of view? What is the structure of this story? How can you tell?”
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Extended Read 1: Who’s Driving? By Amanda Polidor, students reread paragraphs 8 and 9 and answer the questions: “What would be the effect of unregulated driverless cars? How do the author’s points in these paragraphs support her overall opinion? Annotate text that supports your answer.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Short Read 1: “Rail Tycoon by Michael Sandler and Short Read 2: “Building Transcontinental Railroad” by Max Prinz, in Read Across Text students answer the questions: “Short Reads 1 and 2 show that the rail tycoons and Theordore Judah helped build the transcontinental railroad. What is one way that their help was the same? What is one way that it was different? Cite text evidence to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 9, during Share and Reflect the teacher directions state, “Have partners discuss their opinions with each other, explaining their reasoning and the text evidence that supports it.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 9, in the cross-text analysis, students complete Constructive Conversations with a partner using all selections from Resources and Their Impacts. Students use the texts to answer the following questions: “Is the cultivation of natural resources beneficial or harmful to humans? Or is it both? Use information from at least two texts in this unit to support your opinion.” Students discuss their answers with their partners and then share out to the class.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 13, Constructive Conversation, the teacher poses a practice task and reminds students to annotate their copy of the texts. The teacher tells students, “Reread paragraphs 2-6 and the caption for the illustration. What idea, or hypothesis, did Benjamin Franklin want to prove and how did he test his idea?”

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1h.

Culminating tasks are rich and of quality, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing, and are evident across a year’s worth of material. The instructional materials contain a Culminating Research and Inquiry Project for each unit that relates to knowledge gained throughout the unit. Guidance is provided for introducing the project, guiding questions are included for researching, and presentation suggestions round out the support. Students reference texts used throughout the unit to complete the culminating task with some projects being completed individually and others in small groups. Culminating tasks ask the students to create presentations and present them to the class. A teacher and student rubric for the project is found in Additional Resources or each unit. Culminating tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students choose a plant or animal from the unit and use information from the texts and additional sources to create a presentation. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, during the Guided Reading, students work with a partner to answer the following question: “How do different people react emotionally when they observe and interact with nature? Synthesize information from at least two of the selections you’ve read in this unit to make informed generalizations.” This question helps students synthesize information from multiple texts related to the topic for the culminating research and inquiry project.
  • In Unit 4, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select a text from a different author that has an animal as the narrator or main character. The guiding questions are: “Based on the unit selections and your research, what do we learn by reading stories from different authors?How did the knowledge you gained through research add to your understanding of the unit texts? What feelings and emotions did you experience reading from an animal’s point of view?” The questions prepare students to complete the project.
  • In Unit 5, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students select one type of technology from the unit texts and create a presentation that discusses the pros and cons of that type of technology. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, during the guided practice, students work with a partner to identify the causes and effects related to the benefits of robotic technology. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 2, Apply Understanding, students answer the following question: “Reread paragraph 7 of ‘Leave Drones Alone.’ How does the author use text structure to suggest that farmers could benefit from drone technology? Cite specific text evidence to support your answer.” These tasks prepare students to complete their Culminating Research and Inquiry Project.
  • In Unit 7, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students create a multimedia presentation to show others how technological advancements impacted different groups of peoples. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 5, Extended Read 1, students answer the following question with a partner under the guided reading, “Reread paragraphs 8-9. What is the chronology of events leading to the completion of the transcontinental railroad? Compare and contrast the roles of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in the railroad’s completion. Annotate the signal words and phrases that helped you answer these questions.”
  • In Unit 8, the Research and Inquiry Project is to research another first-hand account of a volcanic eruption or earthquake and compare the experiences. The guiding questions are: “Based on the unit texts and your research, how do volcanic eruptions or earthquakes impact people’s lives? How did the knowledge you gained through research add to your understanding of the unit texts? How can people prepare for natural disasters?”
  • In Unit 9, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students choose a city from one of the texts and another of their choosing and research both cities to discuss how access to natural resources affected their growth. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 10, Extended Read 1, Apply Understanding, students answer the following prompt, “Evaluate how well the author supports her claim that Florida’s climate brought resources, jobs, and businesses to the state. Cite specific evidence and reasons in your answer.”

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.)
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1i.

The materials provide multiple opportunities for students to use speaking and listening skills to apply their knowledge with a partner, in a small group, or the whole class including Constructive Conversations. The Think-Speak-Listen Flip Book provides teachers and students with a visual guide and scaffolds to show the structure of conversations including sentence stems for various skills within a conversation. The Reviews and Routines provide multiple lessons to help establish speaking and listening routines and procedures. Materials provide grade-level opportunities. There are many opportunities for discussions with partners, and some opportunities for discussions in large/whole groups during Constructive Conversation: Partner, Share and Reflect, Guided Practice, and Apply Understanding.

Materials provide multiple opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials, including support for teachers to identify students struggling with these skills. Some examples include:

  • In the Think-Speak-Listen Flip Book, sentence stems are provided to support student questioning and evidence-based discussions. For example, under the “Describe the Purpose of the Text” section, students are given a list of sentence stems, including: “I think the purpose of this text is to____. An Important question I have from reading this text is ____. The title is ___, but the main focus of the texts is really _______.
  • In Reviews and Routines, there are 15 lessons that help to create routines for the classroom. On Day 4, the class creates an anchor chart to determine the expectations during Constructive Conversations. A sample chart is included in the Review and Routines Additional Material and gives suggestions such as, “Make eye contact with the speaker. Say something meaningful.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 9, “Peter Meets Wendy” and “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” Pages 6-8 and 12-16, Constructive Conversation: Partner, students engage in conversation on the prompt: “In both 'How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow' and 'Peter Meets Wendy' a key event is the characters meeting for the first time. Compare and contrast what the different sets of characters reveal about themselves in these first meetings. Underline evidence in each text and jot your ideas in the margins.” Partners read, find evidence, and jot down ideas before engaging in conversation. The teacher monitors the conversation and observes student answers.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 8, Extended Read 1: “The State Government and Its Citizens”, Constructive Conversation, partners reread and annotate their texts. Conversations focus on the question of explaining how the Constitution helped states solve problems that affected only people in a particular state. Possible student responses are noted in the sidebar and for additional support or extension, the Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy is listed. During Share and Reflect partners discuss what they have learned about how authors write about problems and solutions. Volunteers share answers with the class.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1 the guided practice says, “What can you infer about the way the narrator feels about the dog in 'Here, Boy'? Annotate specific evidence to support your answer.” During Share and Reflect, partners are given a chance to share with their class. Possible answers are provided for the teacher. The Teacher’s Resource also provides varying degrees of support for the teacher to provide for the students. One example is to provide sentence frames such as, “In paragraph _____, the narrator describes/says _______. I know from experience that ______; so, I can infer that_____.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 13, Cross Text Analysis, students are given the following prompt during Constructive Conversations: “Compare and contrast the ways the authors of 'Earthquakes' and 'In Mexico City' approach the topic of earthquakes. Use the following categories for comparing and contrasting: Purpose, Point of View, Text Structure, and Language. Annotate text evidence that supports your analysis.” Possible responses are provided for the teacher. The Share and Reflect section asks partners to reflect on their answers. Modeling is provided under the Reinforce or Reaffirm Strategy to help students that need extra support.

Support for evidence-based discussions encourages modeling and a focus on using academic vocabulary and syntax. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 9, “Peter Meets Wendy” and “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow,” Constructive Conversation: Partner, students should have their copies of “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” and “Peter Meets Wendy” to refer to. Display and read the close reading prompts: “In both 'How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow' and 'Peter Meets Wendy' a key event is the characters meeting for the first time. Compare and contrast what the different sets of characters reveal about themselves in these first meetings. Underline evidence in each text and jot your ideas in the margins.” Give partners time to reread, find evidence, and jot down their ideas. Monitor their conversations, observing how they share similarities and differences in the treatment of events in the two styles of texts.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, Poetry Out Loud: “Concord Hymn,” the teacher models by reading the poem aloud noting how he/she uses details and the Features of Poetry Anchor Chart to examine language and deepen understanding. During Guided Practice, partners reread the poem and annotate word choices and details helping them answer teacher provided questions. During Share and Reflect partners share evidence they found with the class.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 13, Constructive Conversation, the teacher models a constructive conversation with the help of The Power of Electricity Constructive Conversation Script provided in the Additional Materials. The Guided Practice asks groups of students to select a Real-World Perspective question and state, clarify, and build up their own ideas. The Teacher’s Resource then says, “Remind them to use key details, domain-specific language, examples from the unit, their independent reading, and their own experiences in their conversations. Ensure that students finish by comparing and evaluating these ideas. Observe their interaction.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1j.

Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. Students engage in whole-class and peer discussions as part of partner work, culminating research and inquiry projects, and presentations. Teacher guidance is within the Mini-Lessons and at the end of each unit in Additional Resources and under Program Support in Managing Your Independent Reading Program. The Additional Resources contain specific instructions for each piece within the Mini-Lessons. The Managing Your Independent Reading Program provides teachers with specific guidance for conferring with students and group discussions. Materials include practice of speaking and listening skills that support students’ increase in ability over the course of the school year, including teacher guidance to support students who may struggle. Guidance for teachers to support students is found in most Mini-Lessons via Ways to Scaffold the First Reading, Constructive Conversation Checklists, Anchor Charts, and Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy which provides resources for the teacher to help students who may struggle. Speaking and listening work requires students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Most units have a Constructive Conversation, Guided Practice, and Share and Reflect components that require students to use evidence from the texts to support their discussions with their classmates.

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading and researching through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Research and Inquiry Project, students research a character from the unit. The project asks them to “Take a deeper dive to explore one of the characters that you're reading about in this unit. First, choose a character from one of the stories in this unit. Then, go back into the text and gather details about the character. Next, use your library to research and retelling of the story. Then, compare the character in each retelling.” After conducting their research students then present their findings about what they learned about the character from the readings. With a partner or group students present their findings.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 2, Share and Reflect, partners answer the questions, “What inferences did you make about the author’s opinion of robots before reading? Why did she write to the editor? What does she want people to think? How did the inferences you made help you understand the ideas in this letter? Based on the letter, what inferences can you make about the humans and robots working together?” During Access, after reading the teacher asks students to make an inference about the author's opinion of robots based on the title of the selection.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 9, Cross-Text Analysis, the students answer the following question during Constructive Conversation: “Compare and contrast how ‘The Valiant Little Tailor’ and ‘Estrella and the Emerald Ring’ support the adage that ‘Cleverness is better than strength.’ Cite specific evidence from each text to support your ideas.” Possible responses are provided for the teacher. Under the Share and Reflect the following directions are provided for the teacher: “Ask partners to reflect on how reading closely has increased their ability to compare themes in texts from different cultures. Have partners discuss their thoughts about the theme, using their text evidence to support their ideas. Then invite several pairs to share their answers to the close reading question. Encourage students to be respectful when they are sharing. Use this as an opportunity to provide additional modeling if needed.” Modeling is provided under Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 13, Constructive Conversation, Guided Practice, students participate in a constructive conversation using the question on page 30 of the consumable anchor text: “What is the most important resource your school community uses every day? Why?” During Share and Reflect, partners share their ideas and thoughts about the discussion. One or more pairs share their thoughts with the whole class.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing), and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The materials provide opportunities for students to complete narrative, informational, and opinion writing with each unit focusing on a type of process writing. Opportunities exist for students to revise and edit their process writing during mini-lessons with teacher guidance. Each unit contains three Build/Reflect/Write sections. In Week 3 of each unit, students reflect on the year’s worth of cumulative writing in each genre and evaluate what they have learned. Technology is incorporated through research, and students are asked to type their essays to finalize them.

Materials include a mix of both on-demand and process writing that covers a year’s worth of instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students participate in on-demand writing.
    • The consumable anchor text in each unit begins by having students write a personal goal that will lift their learning. At the end of the unit, students return to the same page to write what they did to make progress towards their goal describing the strategies they used.
    • In Unit 5, Small Group text: Safe Rides, Write to the Source, students write an advertisement in response to the following prompt: “Pretend you are selling a car and you need to convince customers that your car is safe. Choose one of the safety features you read about in ‘The Road to Car Safety’ and ‘Driving Into the Future of Car Safety’. Use three or more facts and details from those texts to write an advertisement for your car that emphasizes its safety features.”
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Cross-Text Analysis, students complete the write section of the Build/Reflect/Write. The on-demand writing prompt states, “Using ‘Rail Tycoons’ and ‘The Chinese Railroad Workers,’ compare and contrast the contributions of the railroad tycoons with the Chinese railroad workers. Support your answer with specific text evidence.” The answer key is provided for the teacher in the Additional Materials.
    • In Unit 9 in the student consumable booklet after reading Short Read 1: Seattle: Up and Down -and Up Again and Extended Read 1: Natural Resources and Workers by Alexandra, Writing: Opinion Essay, students write in response to the prompt: “Write an opinion essay in which you state a claim about which resources - and access to them - influence people’s lives the most. Use details and examples from your ‘Build Knowledge’ charts as well as text evidence from this unit.”
  • Students participate in process writing.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Process Writing, students begin writing an Opinion Essay. The teacher models how to brainstorm ideas for an opinion essay and then they work with partners during the Guided Practice to come up with ideas. The Prepare for Independent Writing section allows students to independently complete a Brainstorm Chart and create an opinion statement on the topic that they will be writing about. Students continue working on this writing through Mini-Lessons until Unit 5, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12 when they finalize and share their opinion essay.
  • Students revise and/or edit.
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 10, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, students work to edit and correct inappropriate fragments in their informative/explanatory essay. During the lesson, the teacher models how to correct fragments in writing. The students then work with partners during the guided practice section to correct inappropriate fragments. Students return to their essays and as they draft, write, or edit they correct any inappropriate fragments in their writing.
    • In Unit 2, Week 3 Mini-Lesson 8, during Guided Practice, partners work together to identify sentences that are bland or vague and discuss how to make them stronger. During independent time students continue to revise and edit by focusing on transitions, modal auxiliary verbs and emphasis words or phrases.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Mini-lesson 3, the teacher models how transition words show connections between ideas and make writing smoother. Students return to the first draft of their writing and revise their stories adding signal words to their writing.
    • In Unit 8, students work on a research project. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, students use the Research Project anchor charts and the Research Project Writing Checklist to help them select a topic. In Mini-Lesson 6, students evaluate sources. In Mini-Lesson 9, students gather research notes, and in Mini-Lesson 11, students organize these notes. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 3, using their Student Research Project Planning Guides, partners discuss creating a “hook” within the introduction and those who are ready begin drafting their introduction. Using the same format in Mini-Lesson 6, students draft body paragraphs, and in Mini-Lesson 11, students draft a concluding statement. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, students revise and edit to vary sentence beginnings. In Mini-Lesson 5, students edit for correct comma usage. In Mini-Lesson 6, students edit for usage of domain-specific vocabulary. In Mini-Lesson 8, students edit for correct usage of possessives. In Mini-Lesson 10, students edit for tone, and in Mini-Lesson 12, students add a title and illustrations using the computer.
  • Materials include digital resources where appropriate.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12, Process Writing, students work to publish their informative/explanatory essay. Students use technology to add illustrations to their essay. The Teacher’s Resource provides that during independent writing students have the opportunity to search for or create the illustrations on their lists, using illustration software or supervised Internet searches. Students are then expected to type their final essay. A Keyboard Practice Lesson is provided in the Additional Materials.
    • The culminating Research and Inquiry Project provides presentation suggestions for students which include digital resources in the consumable anchor text. In Unit 8, presentation suggestions include podcast interview, Earth job graphic novel, Earth job infomercial or interactive map. Both the teacher and student rubric for this activity include a presentation component evaluating the creative way the group is sharing data. Teacher guidance for this project is located in the Teacher’s Resource prior to Week 1 Mini-Lessons.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 1l.

Over the course of the year, students engage in a variety of writing text types. Materials include the following writing text type opportunities: two informative/explanatory, two narrative, two opinion, poetry, and a research writing project. In the Program Support, the teacher is provided with the K-6 Writing Plan. On the Text-Based Writing document, the materials list at least one mini-lesson for each unit that is based around a text-based prompt. Other writing opportunities are listed on the document, such as Build/Reflect/Write activities based around the close reading.

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Some examples include:

  • Students have opportunities to engage in argumentative writing.
    • In Unit 1, Small Group Texts, “Animal Survivors” by Jack L. Roberts, in Write to Sources, students write a short opinion writing answering if extinction is human or nature. Students have to include at least three facts from “Ice Age Animals,” “Unusual Animals of Australia,” and “Animal Survival Today” to support their opinion.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, the teacher sets the stage and models how to prepare for the writing task. During Week 1, students analyze mentor writing prompts, texts, and an opinion essay to develop understanding and skills to engage in independent writing. During Week 2, students brainstorm, gather evidence, form an opinion, and plan their writing. For example, in Mini-Lesson 11 students begin to plan and organize. During Guided Practice, partners use their Opinion Essay Planning Guides and their Character and Details Charts to organize their supporting evidence. During independent writing, students continue to work on their planning guides. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, students begin to draft their essay focusing on the introductory paragraph. During Mini-Lesson 6, students incorporate facts and concrete details to support their opinion and reasons and elements needed for an effective conclusion. Mini-Lessons 8 and 10 are for revising and editing. During Mini-Lesson 12, students evaluate and reflect on their writing.
    • In Unit 5, students write an opinion essay about science and technology. Students go through the writing process, beginning with brainstorming to determine a topic for their essay. In Unit 5, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12, Process Writing, students complete their opinion essay. The Teacher’s Resource says, “Ask students who have completed their drafts and typed them up to evaluate their opinion essays based on the rubric. Students should decide whether they are prepared to turn in their final drafts or, based on their self-evaluation, if they would like to revise and edit their essays further.” The Opinion Essay Rubric is provided in the additional materials.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing.
    • In Unit 1, students write an informative/explanatory writing after reading “A Bird’s Free Lunch.” In Unit 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, students respond to the following prompt: “Write an informative/explanatory essay in which you describe the appearance and behavior of woodpeckers. Be sure to include an introduction, relevant facts and details from ‘A Bird’s Free Lunch’ and ‘The World of Woodpeckers,’ and a conclusion related to the information presented.”
    • In Unit 3, Small Group Text, Two Views of Benjamin Franklin by Lee S. Justice and Minnie Timenti, Write to Sources, students write an informative essay about Benjamin Franklin’s qualities or traits. The students consider the qualities they have read about Benjamin Franklin that made him successful and important. They think of a word or phrase to describe Franklin and then write a biography using the descriptions using evidence from the text to explain how Franklin showed the qualities chosen.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 3, the teacher models the process and students work in small groups to discuss the source texts, “Olympic Flame” and “Golden Moment.” During independent writing time, students use the source texts, “Katrina” and “Higher Ground” and use the Main Idea Chart to enter the text title, main idea, and key details. During Mini-Lesson 6, students analyze the writing prompt filling in the Analyze the Prompt section. In Mini-Lesson 9, students reread the source texts and use the compare and contrast chart of their student planning guides to record similarities and differences. In Mini-Lesson 11, students begin the draft. In Mini-Lesson 13, students revise and edit their responses. There is no evaluation of or reflection on this writing.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing.
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3 the teacher sets the stage and models how to prepare for the writing task. During Week 1, students learn how to organize ideas about characters and events using text details. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 3, the teacher explains the students will be working for the next two weeks to plan and write a fictional scene for “Something Uneasy in the Air.” In Mini-Lesson 6, the students gather details about the characters, events, and setting and place the information into their New Fictional Scene Planning Guides. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, students use information in their planning guides to draft the first paragraphs with dialogue that helps the reader understand the characters. In Mini-Lessons 8 and 10, students revise and edit their scenes. In Mini-Lesson 12, students evaluate and reflect on their writing.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, students discuss, analyze, and add details from the source text, “Lucy,” into the Details and Events chart. During Mini-Lesson 6, students use the Student Planning Guide to complete the Analyze the Prompt section. In Mini-Lesson 9, students complete the Who, Where, What, and How rows of their planning guides. In Mini-Lesson 11, students write their drafts during independent writing time. In Mini-Lesson 14, students revise and edit their narratives.
    • In Unit 7 students work on a Historical Fiction narrative piece. In Unit 7, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Process Writing, students begin the process by looking at the Historical Fiction Writing Checklist. The teacher models how to use the checklist to begin the historical fiction essay. Students determine two or three historical periods or events they find interesting. The Historical Fiction Writing Checklist is included in the additional materials.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1m.

Materials provide frequent implied opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Teachers and students are provided with a wide variety of writing prompts in Guided Practice, Apply Understanding, and the Build, Reflect, Write sections that require students to write with evidence from the text. These prompts do not specifically state that students write their answers or what form a writing should take. Although the heading of Build, Reflect, Write implies that writing will occur, students answer questions and cite evidence but are not specifically told to write an answer. In most units, the materials provide teacher guidance on modeling thinking and writing using evidence. Opportunities are then provided where students locate evidence to support the answer to a prompt and headings suggest that writing will occur but does not explicitly state what form this will take.

Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources; however teacher and student instructions are vague and do not always explicitly describe the parameters of the expected responses. Examples include, but are not limited to.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 6, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, the teacher models how to use evidence from a text to help write an informative/explanatory text. The Teacher’s Resource shows one possible way teachers can introduce the topic of the mini-lesson: “We’ve learned that all informative/explanatory essays need to have certain features. One of those features is providing facts and details about the topic. Today, I’ll show you how I read a source text to find facts and details I can include in my essay.” The teacher then models how the students can find evidence from “A Bird’s Free Lunch” to help with their informative/explanatory text.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Teacher’s Resource, Apply Understanding, during independent time, students reread the entire story. The teacher directions state, “During independent time, have students write a series of sentences describing a character they have encountered in a previously read leveled text. Students should cite specific text evidence in their descriptions.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Extended Read 1, the students read “The State Government and Its Citizens.” The interactive eBook for the students states, “What specific programs or services could a state government provide to solve the problems faced by the people of Sparks? Cite specific evidence from 'The State Government and Its Citizens' and 'The First Town Meeting' to support your answer.” The headings imply that students will write an answer but no specific directions are provided for writing a response, nor is there teacher support for exemplar responses.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Short Read 1: “Sugar Maple and Woodpecker” and Short Read 2: “The Valiant Little Tailor,” Build-Reflect-Write, Write: Use Text Evidence, the materials include the following question: “Which details on page 4 of ‘Sugar Maple and Woodpecker’ support the theme "don’t give up'? How does the illustration on Page 7 support the description of the tailor in the text? Cite at least one detail from the text and one from the illustration to support your response. Which story do you think provides a more important life lesson - ‘Sugar Maple and Woodpecker’ or ‘The Valiant Little Tailor?’ Support your response with specific reasons and evidence from the text you chose.” The headings imply that students will write an answer but no specific directions are provided for writing a response nor is there teacher support for exemplar responses.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 10, Extended Read 1, students respond to a writing prompt under the Apply Understanding section for Resources and their Impact. The prompt states, “Evaluate how well the author supports her claim that Florida’s climate brought resources, jobs, and businesses to the state. Cite specific evidence and reasons in your answer.” The headings imply that students will write an answer but no specific directions are provided for writing a response, nor is there teacher support for exemplar responses.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria 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.

Materials provide explicit instruction of grammar and conventions for all standards within the grade level. One to two times a week, students engage in a 15-minute grammar and/or language activity that focuses on various standards. The teacher models the grammar or convention skill, followed by students practicing the skill with a partner. Students have the opportunity to later apply learned skills in workbook activities; however, there are limited opportunities for students to apply skills in context of their writing.

Materials include explicit instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. For example:

  • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • In Unit 6, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher models using relative pronouns to connect ideas in writing using a Relative Pronoun Chart. During guided practice, students work in partners to identify relative pronouns in sentences.
    • In Unit 6, Week 3, Lesson 8, the teacher models using relative pronouns writing. Students use their Relative Pronouns and Relative Adverbs chart to edit their opinion essays written previously.
  • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher engages thinking by introducing progressive verb tenses. Using paragraph 2 of Humans and Robots Can Work Together, the teacher models identifying parts of verb phrases that indicate ongoing action in the future. Students practice identifying and writing sentences from the text that have progressive verbs on page 11 of the text.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 14, the teacher reviews progressive verb tenses using Technology for Tomorrow. The teacher and students practice identifying verb phrases and progressive tense.
  • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 13, the teacher reviews modal auxiliary using the text, “Dorothy Meets Scarecrow.” Students work with a partner to identify the modal auxiliary verb should. During independent time, students practice writing a sentence using modal auxiliary must and should.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher reminds students about modal auxiliary. The teacher displays and reads aloud text demonstrating the different uses of can. Students practice finding modal auxiliary verbs in pairs then practice writing sentences using can on page 11 of Confronting Challenges.
  • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 8, the teacher reminds students that they have practiced ordering adjectives correctly and reminds them that skill is useful in essay writing. The teacher models adding more detail to a description of a chipmunk. The teacher shows how commas are used between adjectives.
    • In Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher reviews the common order for adjectives and provides examples. Students practice reading sentences and identifying adjectives in pairs and summarize what they know about ordering adjectives. During independent time, students practice writing sentences to apply the skill.
  • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher reviews the definition of a prepositional phrase and provides examples. The teacher reviews that speakers and writers use pronouns and prepositional phrases to indicate locations. The teacher provides oral examples and invites students to generate additional sentences. The teacher writes the sentences and underlines the prepositional phrases in each sentence. Using a paragraph, the teacher thinks aloud while highlighting and rereading sentences, annotating the sentences. Students practice identifying prepositional phrases with a partner.
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher reminds students that writers use prepositional phrases to make their writing more detailed and precise. The teacher models prepositional phrases by displaying and reading aloud a list of prepositions and pointing out that prepositional phrases can act as adverbs modifying verbs or as adjectives modifying nouns. The teacher reminds students that prepositional phrases answer questions such as where, when, why, what, and how. Then, the teacher uses a paragraph from “The Chinese Railroad Workers” to model how to annotate the prepositional phrase and analyze its meaning. Students gather in pairs and practice identifying prepositional phrases using another paragraph from the same text.
  • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher reviews what students already know about complete sentences. The teacher models by displaying and reading aloud sentence fragments to show students what inappropriate fragments look like. The teacher displays and reads aloud a paragraph from the text, “Starting Off.” The teacher models through a think-aloud by annotating the sentences within the paragraph and describing appropriate and inappropriate fragments. Students practice with another paragraph from the same text. Students share their ideas with the class.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher sets a purpose for the lesson by telling students that today they will practice identifying and correcting sentence fragments and run-on sentences. The teacher models identifying sentence fragments and run-on sentences with a Modeling Text. Students work with partners to practice using sentences from the same text.
  • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher models identifying frequently confused words and checking their meanings in the text, “Ready to Race.” The teacher models using the homophones to and too, and reviews the spellings and meanings of to, too, and two to confirm the author has used the correct word. The teacher uses context clues and looks up to in the dictionary to confirm the correct word choice for the sentence.
    • In Unit 4, Week 3, Lesson 13, the teacher models identifying frequently confused words. The teacher models using context clues and looking up the words in a dictionary to confirm the correct word choice in the sentence.
  • Use correct capitalization.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher models and explains the concept of capitalization. Using a Model Text, the teacher models identifying proper capitalization. With partners, students underline the capitalized words in the sentence and explain why each one is capitalized. Students apply their understanding during independent time or as homework as they complete the Build Grammar and Language section on page 11 of the Transcontinental Railroad.
    • In Unit 9, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher models and expands on the concept of capitalization. On chart paper, the teacher writes examples of proper nouns and how they should be capitalized. Using an excerpt from the text, the teacher underlines proper nouns and explains why the words are capitalized. Using the same Model Text, students gather in partners and underline the capitalized words in the sentence and explain why each one is capitalized. Students share and reflect by explaining to a partner what they know about proper nouns and capitalization. Students apply their understanding during independent time or as homework as they complete the Build Grammar and Language section on page 11 of the Resources and Their Impact.
  • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 8, the teacher is provided with modeling to review comma placement and quotation marks in nonfiction texts. The teacher tells the students when they write their Informative/Explanatory essay they want to give credit to authors for data or information used. The teacher reviews that quotation marks are used when quoting texts from other sources. The teacher displays the modeling text provided which includes cited information. In independent writing time, students draft and revise their Informative/Explanatory essays, and the teacher encourages them to use a quote from one of their sources making sure they use commas and quotation marks correctly.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 14, the teacher reviews the rules for using commas and quotation marks for dialogue in a text. The teacher displays the modeling text which contains five sentences that include quotation marks and explains whatever words are spoken by a character needs to be placed in quotation marks. The teacher points out that commas are placed either before or after the quotation and why. In guided practice, students work in partners on a practice task correcting capitalization and punctuation in sentences.
  • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 14, the teacher discusses how to use commas in compound sentences. The teacher displays a modeling text with three sentences and models how to use a comma and conjunction to connect two clauses for each sentence.
    • In Unit 8, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher is provided with modeling to analyze how commas are used to separate parts of a compound sentence. The teacher uses a paragraph in the text, “In Mexico City,” for the use of commas and coordinating conjunctions. In Apply Understanding students work on page 27 of “Earth Change” and complete the Build Grammar section for practice with commas and coordinating conjunctions.
  • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher reviews words with vowel teams. In the Apply Understanding and Build Fluency portion of the lesson, students are reminded to “check print or digital reference materials to confirm the definitions and spellings of words they encounter in this lesson.”
    • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 5, the teacher models looking for context clues to determine the meaning of words in paragraphs 5 and 6 in the text. Students choose and circle three words from the paragraph and look for context clues and are reminded to use reference materials such as dictionaries and a thesaurus to confirm their understanding of their words. During independent time, students use context clues to define specific words in the text, cite context clues, and confirm or adjust their definitions using a dictionary.
  • Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Lesson 10, the teacher is provided with modeling to have students edit and choose words and phrases that are specific, detailed, and precise for the purpose of revising their stories. The teacher models editing the model text to eliminate vague language including specific dates and information about the character. During independent writing time, students continue working on their stories. If they have reached the editing phase, they are to focus on adding words and phrases that convey precise ideas.
    • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher explains that writers carefully select words to add clarity and detail to their writing. The teacher models using text to analyze the author's choice of language, including adverbs, adjectives, nouns, verbs, and prepositional phrases. In guided practice, students work in groups to identify the prepositional phrase and adjectives to convey a precise idea about lamps. In independent time, students complete the Build Grammar and Language section on page 27 of The Power of Electricity.
  • Choose punctuation for effect.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 6, the teacher is provided with modeling to explain to students that a way for a writer to add detail and express feeling in their narrative is through punctuation. The teacher is provided a sentence and has students read the sentence placing either a question mark, exclamation mark, or period at the end of the sentence. The teacher guides students to discuss how both the meaning and feeling for the sentence changes for each ending mark. The teacher tells students to be mindful when using punctuation to enhance their narrative writing.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher tells students that writers use punctuation to add expression and bring attention to emotions or personalities of characters in their writing. The teacher models using a sentence from the text, “Hercules’ Quest,” to show how the use of an exclamation point adds to the understanding of the dialogue. In guided practice, students circle all of the punctuation in the text sample to determine how punctuation determines how the words are read and what is learned about the character in the text.
  • Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 13, the teacher discusses the use of sentence fragments. Teacher modeling is provided when using the modeling text. The teacher explains that a sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. In independent practice, students write three complete sentences that continue the narrative in the model text, making sure they do not use sentence fragments.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Lesson 13, the teacher has students identify and correct sentence fragments and run-on sentences. Teacher modeling is provided in the lesson. In guided practice, students identify sentence fragments and run-on sentences and revise sentences to create complete sentences.

Materials include limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in and out of context. Opportunities for students to apply newly learned grammar and conventions skills to their writing is limited. For example,

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 14, students practice using commas and coordinating conjunctions in and out of context. In guided practice, students work in pairs to write three sentences about a play and a fable with four animal characters that contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. During independent time, students write a paragraph with two or more compound sentences using commas and conjunctions correctly.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher displays and reads aloud Relative Adverbs chart and explains their purpose. Students work with a partner to identify relative verbs and tell whether it identifies a time, place, or reason. Students practice the skill by writing sentences on page 19 of Technology for Tomorrow.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher reviews modeling present and past tense and defines progressive tense as “When an author writes about an action that is ongoing, or an activity that continues for some time, they use progressive tense.” The teacher uses guided practice for students to identify the progressive tense in text. Students practice the skill by writing sentences during independent work time.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 5, students practice spelling grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed out of context. During independent time, students use context clues to define specific words in the text, cite context clues, and confirm or adjust their definitions using a dictionary. Students practice spelling grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed in context.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
6/6
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. Instructional materials contain explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. Materials use a synthetic approach to phonics. Instructional materials provide multiple and varied opportunities over the course of the year for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. Word analysis skills are taught primarily within Word Study lessons provided weekly throughout all 10 units. Materials provide multiple opportunities over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. Students read texts multiple times throughout the week during short and extended reads, focusing on a different purpose and goals for understanding each time. Materials also include a Year-Long Assessment plan.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. Students have opportunities to use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in and out-of-context within word study mini-lessons throughout the year. Within the Intervention Teacher Guides, the Grade 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks provide assessment opportunities over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. In Grade 4, the main strategy used to explicitly teach word solving strategies is called Reading Big Words, which outlines how to chunk big words to decode them successfully.

Materials contain explicit instruction of irregularly spelled words, syllabication patterns, and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. For example:

  • Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher displays words argumentative, acute, capsule, subdue, nephew, rebuke, grubby and models using knowledge of short and long /u/ to decode words using flexible syllable division. The teacher guides students to decode short and long /u/ words out-of-context and in “Peter Meets Wendy” page 13. The teacher and students chorally read weekly spelling words with short and long /u/ patterns.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 2, the teacher reminds students that they will be using “Read Big Words Strategy” to decode words, focusing on words with r-vowel syllables. The teacher models decoding using flexible division of syllables. The teacher circles the r-vowel syllable in each word and reviews that the consonant r after a vowel changes the short of long vowel sound to one that is dominated by the letter r, so the vowel and the r will appear in the same syllable. Students practice decoding r-vowel words in “Stanley’s Release.”
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 2, students review vowel-consonant-e syllable patterns and the Reading Big Words Strategy in a 15 minute word study lesson. The teacher tells students they will use the Reading Big Words Strategy to decode words, focusing on vowel-consonant-e syllable patterns and models dividing the following words into syllables to sound them out: untamed, presuppose, unfroze. The teacher models using the Reading Big Words Strategy found in the Additional Materials of the Teacher’s Resource Guide. Students engage in guided practice by practicing reading the following words using the same strategy: unlikely, incomplete, reinstate, subscribe, awaken, lament. Afterwards, students use a paragraph from the text, “Ready to Race,” and are encouraged to break apart difficult words and decode them. The teacher models with the word ladylike. Students transfer knowledge of vowel-consonant-e pattern into spelling words. Students apply their understanding throughout the week as the teacher encourages them to apply the Reading Big Words Strategy to unfamiliar words as they read texts throughout the week.

Multiple assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. For example:

  • In 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks provided, each of which focuses on a single skill and is given one-to-one with the student. The skills included in the Quick Checks are consonant and vowel sounds, prefixes and suffixes, homophones and homographs, and root words. Two assessments are provided per skill. The assessments can be given at any time based on the needs of the students. Quick Checks are intended as a formative assessment to help monitor student progress and help the teacher adapt instruction as needed. A table is provided for scoring the assessments: a student scoring between 80% and 100% can move on to the next Quick Check; a student scoring between 66% and 80% should continue to be monitored and the teacher should consider reassessing; if a student scores below 66%, the teacher should follow the Resource Map provided for intervention resources for remediation provided in Phonics and Word Recognition Intervention lessons.
  • Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks are referenced in Word Study lessons. Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Check #15 to #116. There are 35 Quick Checks for teachers to use throughout the year that pertain to this standard.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 5, in a lesson reviewing short and long /i/ syllables, the materials list Quick Check 7-8 and 17-18 in the Grade 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher assesses students' application of diphthong oi and oy using on page 37 or 38 of Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks.
  • Word Study lessons reference the Spelling Routine on AR3 for instruction and assessment. Under Assess in the Spelling Routine, the teacher is to test students on the week’s spelling words saying each word and using it in a sentence. Students are to write the complete sentence on the paper. The teacher is to analyze the spelling of misspelled words and use the results to plan for differentiated small group instruction and practice.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher is to use Spelling Routine on AR3 for instruction and assessment.

Materials contain explicit instruction of word solving approaches (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words. For example:

  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 2, Word Study, the teacher models decoding the phrase governor of Arizona using their knowledge of syllables and r-controlled vowel spelling patterns. Modeling is provided, “I see an r-controlled vowel in the first word’s second and third syllable, spelled e-r-n and n-o-r.” The teacher also models decoding the word sensor.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Lesson 2, the teacher sets the purpose for the lesson: “You’ve learned that suffixes are word parts added to the end of a word that changes a word’s meaning. Paying attention to and knowing the meaning of suffixes helps us break a word apart and figure out its meaning.” The teacher models decoding focusing on “Read Big Words Strategy” by circling the suffix in each word and explaining that an adjective suffix is a word part that changes the meaning of a word describing the characteristics of a person or thing. The teacher displays a five-column chart with suffixes as headings. The teacher guides students to read the words in the chart and reinforces suffix meanings. Students apply the skill in “Estrella and the Emerald Ring.”

Indicator 1p

Materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions providing instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Materials provide multiple and varied opportunities over the course of the year for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. Word analysis skills are taught primarily within Word Study lessons provided weekly throughout all 10 units. Lessons include explicit instruction of new concepts with teacher models and guided practice, followed by application of newly learned knowledge using connected text from the weekly readings. The Word Study lessons prompt the teacher to encourage students to apply their newly learned skills throughout the week in reading tasks. Materials include word analysis assessments to monitor student learning of word analysis skills. Within the Intervention Teacher Guides, the Grade 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks provide word analysis assessments to monitor student learning of word analysis skills.

Multiple and varied opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Lesson 2, students practice using Read Big Words Strategy to decode words focusing on closed syllables in isolation and in the text, “Peter’s Shadow.” Students chorally read spelling words with closed syllable patterns. Students apply knowledge of closed syllables to decode “Melamut the Crocodile” fluently.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 5, students practice using knowledge of open syllables to break words into syllables and pronounce them correctly in the text Government in Action, pages 4-5 “Solving Problems.” Students chorally read weekly spelling words with open syllable patterns. Students apply knowledge of open syllables on page 11 “Saving Yellowstone” by reading text fluently.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Lesson 2, students review reading words with vowel teams ea, ou, ai, oa, and ee through teacher modeling of the flexible use of syllable division keeping vowel teams in the same syllable, using knowledge of vowel teams to pronounce the words, and identifying and circling the vowel teams in each word. Students chorally read spelling words and identify the vowel teams in the words to correctly pronounce the words, and they work in pairs to dictate and spell the words. During independent time, students complete “Build Vocabulary” on page 19 in Government in Action, and students are to read “Fifty States Plus” to develop automaticity and fluency with vowel team syllable words.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 2, students review vowel-consonant-e syllable patterns and the Reading Big Words Strategy in a 15-minute word study lesson. The teacher tells students they will use the Reading Big Words Strategy to decode words, focusing on vowel-consonant-e syllable patterns. The teacher models dividing the following words into syllables to sound them out: untamed, presuppose, unfroze. The teacher models using the Reading Big Words Strategy found in the Additional Materials of the Teacher’s Resource Guide. Students engage in guided practice by reading the following words using the same strategy: unlikely, incomplete, reinstate, subscribe, awaken, lament. Afterwards, students use a paragraph from the text, “Ready to Race,” and are encouraged to break apart difficult words and decode them. The teacher models with the word ladylike. Students transfer knowledge of the vowel-consonant-e pattern into spelling words. Students apply their understanding throughout the week as the teacher encourages them to apply the Reading Big Words Strategy to unfamiliar words as they read texts throughout the week.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Lesson 2, students review reading words with Latin and Greek roots ven, migr, graph, mit and aud through teacher modeling of the Reading Big Words Strategy. Students chorally read spelling words, recognizing Latin and Greek roots in the words, and they work in pairs to dictate and spell the words. In guided practice, students think of additional words to add to a chart containing the roots in the lesson and provide definitions of their words based on the knowledge of their roots. During independent time, students complete “Build Vocabulary” on page 27 in The Power of Electricity, and read “A Night in Tesla’s Lab” to develop automaticity and fluency with words containing Latin and Greek roots.

Materials include word analysis assessment to monitor student learning of word analysis skills. For example:

  • In 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks are provided, each of which focuses on a single skill and are given one-to-one with the student. Skills included in the Quick checks are consonant and vowel sounds, prefixes and suffixes, homophones and homographs, and root words. Two assessments are provided per skill. Quick Checks are intended as a formative assessment, to help monitor student progress and help teachers adapt instruction as needed. The teacher is to follow the Resource Map provided for intervention resources for remediation in Phonics and Word Recognition Intervention lessons if students score below 66%.
  • Word Study lessons reference the Spelling Routine on AR3 for instruction and assessment. The teacher is to analyze the spelling of misspelled words and use the results to plan for differentiated small group instruction and practice.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher is to use Spelling Routine on AR3 for instruction and assessment for words with soft and hard consonant c and g words.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher is directed to use Grades 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks pages 13-14 to assess student knowledge of short vowel /u/.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher is directed to use Grades 3-6 Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Checks pages 100-101 to assess student knowledge of Greek and Latin roots geo-, archae-, -rupt.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria for instructional opportunities being frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Materials provide multiple opportunities over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. Students read texts multiple times throughout the week during short and extended reads, focusing on a different purpose and goals for understanding each time. The Fluency Routines can be found in the Teacher’s Resource Guide under Additional Resources: Instructional Routines. Materials include 16 Fluency Routines. Materials support prose and poetry in core content during the short reads, focusing on accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings. Materials include assessments within Intervention: Teacher Guides, which provides the teacher and students with information of students’ current fluency skills.

Materials contain 10 Fluency Quick Checks and each is used to evaluate: Oral Reading Accuracy, Reading Rate, Comprehension, and Fluency elements like phrasing, intonation, and expression.

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. For example:

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 2, the teacher models reading paragraph 1 and 2 in “A Bird’s Free Lunch” using a fluent, expressive voice. In Build Fluency, the teacher explains fluent readers read with characterization and feeling, using paragraph 3 in the text. The teacher models the fluency routine with a fluent, expressive voice and provides guided practice. During independent time, students partner-read paragraph 3 for additional practice.
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lesson 2, the teacher models distinguishing between important and unimportant information using Government in Action, pages 4-5, “Solving Problems” and says, “I’ll show you how I identify information in the text, as well as information that is not especially important. Knowing what’s important helps me keep track of the text’s big ideas and focus on my purpose for reading.” The teacher guides students to work in pairs to find two important and two unimportant details in the text. Students use the fluency routine to practice reading text using intonation, appropriate inflection, and pitch. Students mark important information with a sticky note as they read.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 2, the teacher reminds students to monitor their comprehension and draw on strategies they know to stay focused and read with understanding. In Build Fluency, the teacher explains that fluent readers, “confirm or correct word recognition for understanding,” telling students they come across a challenging word to slow down, reread the sentence, and search for context clues. The teacher follows the fluency routine to model the skill using paragraph 2 of the text. During independent time, students partner-read paragraph 2 of “Rail Tycoons” for additional practice. During independent time, students read paragraphs 4-5 of the text and are reminded to continue to apply strategies as they read and annotate the text for understanding.

Materials support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. For example:

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
    • In Unit 5, Week 3, Lesson 11, the teacher discusses figurative language and tells students that metaphors in poetry can add excitement or color to a poem. The teacher models reading the poem, “Sun Tracks.” In guided practice, students reread the poem and analyze metaphors. During independent time, students reread the poem with a partner, thinking about the words they will stress when they read it aloud.
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Lesson 1, the teacher explains to students that fluent readers adjust their speed and pacing when they read aloud depending on the content of the text and the complexity. The teacher follows the fluency routine to model this skill and provides guided practice as needed using paragraph 7 of the text. During independent time, students partner-read paragraph 7 of “The Chinese Railroad Workers.”

Materials support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). For example:

  • Students have opportunities to use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher models using context clues to determine word meaning in Characters in Action, pages 4-5,“Dorothy Meets the Scarecrow.” The teacher reminds students to monitor their reading to make sure they are reading correctly. The teacher tells students to check print and digital materials to confirm definitions and spellings of words.
    • In Unit 2, Week 3, Lesson 1, students read the first 21 paragraphs of “Peter’s Shadow.” The teacher reminds students that readers should constantly monitor their comprehension, one strategy being reading aloud. The teacher asks students to use this strategy when they read the rest of the text on their own. During independent time, students read the entire text.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 2, students read paragraphs 1-9 of “Sugar Maple and Woodpecker.” The teacher reminds students to use strategies that support comprehension, such as asking questions, rereading sentences, or paragraphs they find confusing. During independent time, students partner-read paragraphs 2-6 of the text for additional practice.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills and provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. For example:

  • Fluency Quick Checks provide 10 reading passages which evaluate oral reading accuracy, reading rate, comprehension, and fluency. The teacher can evaluate a specific element or all four. It is recommended that students be tested formally three times in the year: beginning, middle, and end. However, since there are 10 passages provided, the teacher can provide follow up assessments for students needing additional practice. There are equations provided to calculate oral reading accuracy and reading rate goals set for the beginning, middle, and end of the year. There is a rating rubric provided for how to assess oral fluency. A table is provided for scoring the assessments: student scoring 100%, 4/4 can move on to the next Quick Check; students scoring 75%, 3/4 should continue to be monitored and the teacher should consider reassessing; if students score below 50%, 2/4 teachers should follow the Resource Map provided for additional resources to remediate fluency skills.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Benchmark Advance 2021 program is organized by topics and themes across its ten units. However, the texts within a unit do not always form a cohesive set designed to grow students’ knowledge and vocabulary in service of comprehension of texts. Questions and tasks in the units provide students opportunities to examine the language, key ideas, craft, and structure of texts, however, the overwhelming focus is on individual skills rather than serving to support comprehension. Opportunities to analyze topics and ideas within and across texts are found in all units. Most culminating tasks provide students some opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. The program provides a full course of writing instruction with detailed lessons and opportunities for practice for students to grow their skills over the course of the year. Research skills are taught across the course of the year; however, teachers may need to supplement the instruction and guidance to help students grow as researchers. The materials include a plan and support for independent reading throughout the year.

Criterion 2a - 2h

24/32

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2a.

The units are connected by a grade level topic or theme and are framed with guiding questions. However, some units are themes, rather than topics. For example, the texts in Unit 1 focus on the topic of animal adaptations, while the texts in Unit 6 are organized by the theme, Confronting Challenges. Each unit contains a new topic or theme for each of the 10 units, with each unit lasting three weeks for a total of 15 days. There is vertical alignment across the program, meaning each grade has a similar topic or theme that appears at each grade level. Publisher documentation indicates the general topics are science, social studies, technology, literature, social-emotional learning, and culture. However, there is not always consistent vocabulary or content that repeats across texts within a unit, therefore reducing the impact of exploring a single topic for three weeks. While the topics/themes are supported by texts that fall within the topic or theme, the texts do not serve the function of building knowledge of topics, but are instead used as vehicles for instruction and practice of literacy skills. Additionally, the focus of questions and tasks is on building comprehension skills and understanding the parts and structures of texts with little emphasis on the content contained therein. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 2 is organized around the theme, Character Actions and Reactions. The Essential Question is "How do we reveal ourselves to others?" and the knowledge focus is, “...students will read a prose version and a play version of two stories with iconic characters. They will build schema around the following concepts:
    • Fictional novels, short stories, and plays may vary in length or structure, but they all contain characters that lead the reader through the plot.
    • Authors use description, action, dialogue, and tone to illustrate character traits.
    • Characters’ actions and reactions influence a story’s plot, as well as other characters.
    • Real-life actions and reactions have effects on real events and people. Characters often exemplify universal human traits and offer an opportunity for readers to make connections to-- and examine-- themselves, others and the world they live in.”

Enduring Understanding: Characters-- like people-- reveals themselves through their words and actions.

However, the Learning Goals focus on metacognitive, comprehension, vocabulary, word study and grammar/language skills. The Comprehensive Literacy Planner only lists skills that can be broadly applied to multiple texts and do not reference the Essential Question or Enduring understanding for the unit, though these are both referenced in the mini lessons.

  • Unit 3 is organized around the topic of Government in Action. The Essential Question is "How can government influence the way we live?" and the knowledge focus stated for the unit is, “In this unit, students will read informational texts and fictional stories about the interactions between citizens and government. They will build schema around the following concepts:
    • Local, state and federal governments have unique functions but often work together to protect and provide for citizens.
    • Citizens and government interact in civic affairs at the local, state, and federal levels.
    • Characters in stories, similar to people in the real world, hold positions in their fictional societies. Some characters have more power than others. The interactions between these characters help develop the story line and can also build social awareness.”

Enduring Understanding: Governments provide services that affect everyone’s daily life.

However, the Learning Goals focus on metacognitive, comprehension, vocabulary, word study and grammar/language skills. The Comprehensive Literacy Planner only lists skills that can be broadly applied to multiple texts and do not reference the Essential Question or Enduring understanding for the unit, though these are both referenced in the mini lessons.

  • Unit 6 is organized around the theme of Confronting Challenges. The Essential Question is "How do we overcome obstacles?" and the knowledge focus stated for the unit is, “...students will read a range of fictional stories, including a legend, folktale, and myth, that feature characters facing and overcoming challenges. They will build schema around the following concepts:
    • A quest is a story in which the main character goes on a difficult journey to accomplish a mission or goal.
    • Each character responds to challenges in different ways, adn these actions often reveal the character’s human traits.
    • Different culture present and explore universal themes and human experiences in their own unique ways.”

Enduring Understanding: Analyzing how characters confront challenges helps reveal a story’s theme.

However, the Learning Goals focus on metacognitive, comprehension, vocabulary, word study and grammar/language skills. The Comprehensive Literacy Planner only lists skills that can be broadly applied to multiple texts and do not reference the Essential Question or Enduring understanding for the unit, though these are both referenced in the mini lessons.

  • Unit 7 is organized around the topic of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Essential Question is "How do communities evolve?" and the knowledge focus stated for the unit is, “students will read informational texts about how the transcontinental railroad was built, and how it changed the United States and life for the people who lived there. They will build schema around the following concepts:
    • The development of the transcontinental railroad contributed to the economic development of major industries.
    • The technological advancement that created the transcontinental railroad made significant impacts on the United States.
    • Time lines (sic) sequence key events and help illustrate how communities and places change throughout time.
    • As communities develop and change over time, they can become culturally diverse. Interactions between people of different cultures may be positive or negative.”

Enduring Understanding: Many factors, including natural disasters and technological advances, expansionism, immigration, and emigration have profoundly shaped our nation and its communities.

However, the Learning Goals focus on metacognitive, comprehension, vocabulary, word study and grammar/language skills. The Comprehensive Literacy Planner only lists skills that can be broadly applied to multiple texts and do not reference the Essential Question or Enduring understanding for the unit, though these are both referenced in the mini lessons.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 2b.

Short Reads and Extended Read text selections are accompanied by Mini-Lessons where students answer questions and complete tasks that look at word choice, figurative language, main idea, details, and the structure of the text. Mini-Lesson components include questions focused on comprehension, vocabulary, metacognitive, and “fix-up” strategies. Students discuss questions with peers, providing the teacher an opportunity to listen and determine the students’ understanding. Students annotate, jot notes in the margins, and complete two Build Reflect Write sections in the consumable anchor text providing further opportunities for teachers to determine the level of student understanding of literary concepts taught. At the end of every Mini-Lesson, students complete a task during independent work time demonstrating an understanding of key components. By the end of the year, skills are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly. Earlier units involve more modeling and guided instruction. By the end of the school year, students complete more tasks independently without teacher modeling and assistance.

Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address language and/or word choice include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Short Read 1: “A Bird’s Free Lunch” from The Wit of a Duck and Other Paper, Build Reflect Write, students reread paragraph eight of the text and underline similes and metaphors. Then students explain what the author is describing and describe it in their own words. Students then reread the text and explain what the narrator witnesses and how it makes him feel about the kinglet, highlighting the text to show what it reveals about the narrator’s emotional response to nature.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 12, Short Read 2: “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, students examine words authors use to describe characters' actions, emotions and states of being. Students reread paragraphs two and four and use context clues to “identify and explain the differences between the words ‘gazed’ (paragraph two) and ‘looking’ and ‘see’ (paragraph four).”

Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address structure include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1: “Humans and Robots Can Work Together,” students look at the cause/effect structure. The teacher models determining the cause/effect structure, and students fill out a cause/effect chart with a partner. In order for students to apply their understanding, the Teacher's Resource includes the following information, “During independent time, have students respond to the following prompt: Use cause/effect text structure to write about the technology you use and how it helps you.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1: “Earthquakes,” students analyze cause/effect text structure used in this informational science text. Student tasks include, “How does the author use cause/effect text structure in paragraph 2 to explain earthquakes? Cite specific text evidence.” Students then explain how the author uses cause/effect text structure in a separate section of the text citing specific text evidence.

Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, Poetry Out Loud: “You Are Old, Father William,” students analyze descriptions and word choices. Student tasks include, “Read the first two stanzas. What does the poet think about Father William’s behavior? Look at the last two stanzas. How do the word choices and imagery in these stanzas show how the poet feels about Father William?”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, Poetry Out Loud: “They Were My People,” during the guided practice, the Teacher's Resource provides the following prompt, “Ask students to find and underline additional examples of alliteration. Then have them consider how these word choices affect the rhythm and mood of the poem. Ask partners to share the examples of alliteration they found. Monitor and observe their interactions. Check in with readers who seem confused and help them identify the consonants that create alliteration.”

Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address key ideas and details include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 1: “The State Government and Its Citizens,” the teacher models how to determine the main idea and key details. Students then complete the guided practice where they read through a section of the text with a partner and determine the main idea and key details. At the end of the Mini-Lesson, the Teacher's Resource provides the following prompt for independent practice: “During independent time, have students read the section ‘Education.’ Encourage them to annotate the text to identify the key details that support the main idea of this section. Then ask them to write two sentences that explain how the main idea of the section supports the main idea of the text overall. Use students’ writing to assess understanding.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 13, Short Read 2: “Benjamin Franklin The Dawn of Electrical Technology,” students “Reread paragraphs 2–6 and the caption for the illustration. What idea, or hypothesis, did Benjamin Franklin want to prove and how did he test his idea?” During the independent Apply Understanding time, students write a paragraph about how lightning rods work to prevent buildings from burning during a thunderstorm.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 2c.

Most sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. Each unit provides multiple Mini-Lessons with a variety of student tasks accompanying all single text selections with the exception of the Poetry Out Loud titles. Within these Mini-Lessons are content knowledge tasks as well as literacy skills practice. One to two Mini-Lessons accompany each multiple text analysis. The interactive eBook contains Build Knowledge questions at the end of most passages. These questions ask the students to use knowledge gained from the text to answer questions or complete some type of task. Materials provide guidance to teachers in supporting students’ literacy skills. Each week the Teacher’s Resource states the weekly learning goals, such as Skills and Strategies, Spelling Words, and Vocabulary, followed by a Comprehensive Literacy Planner. Learning Targets, Ways to Scaffold the First Reading, materials needed, and possible student responses are listed in the sidebar. Specific teacher guidance is listed in blue italics. Additional Resources for the instructional routines, recommended trade book list, Close Reading Answer Key, Small Group Texts for Reteaching, Text Complexity guide, Special Education Accommodations and Access and Equity information are located at the end of each unit in the Teacher’s Resource. Teacher modeling guidance and how to incorporating knowledge from the text is also provided. There are opportunities for students to incorporate information from various texts or media types. Most units have a section called Cross-Text Analysis where students have to answer questions or complete tasks that incorporate more than one text. By the end of the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is embedded in students’ work via tasks and/or culminating tasks. Earlier units provide more modeling in the mini-lessons, but later units have more guided practice or independent work with each question or task.

Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze within single texts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Teacher’s Resource, Mini-Lesson 12, students read “How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow” from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Questions and tasks associated with the story include: “Reread paragraphs 2 and 4. Use context clues to identify and explain the differences between the words gazed (paragraph two) and looking and see (paragraph four).” During Guided Practice students note clues as they “Reread paragraphs 4 and 14. Use context clues to identify and explain the differences between the words surprised (paragraph 4) and puzzled (paragraph 14).” During the independent Apply Understanding portion, students reread and annotate the entire story, note context clues, and write meanings of the words obliged and tedious.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Extended Read 1: Who’s Driving? by Amanda Polidore, associated questions and tasks include, ”What would be the effects of unregulated driverless cars? How do the author’s points in these paragraphs support her overall opinion? Annotate text evidence that supports your answer.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1:“Rail Tycoons,” the teacher uses the following prompt to model answering a question using chronological order: “What are the steps that led to Cornelius Vanderbilt becoming a ‘rail tycoon?’ Describe how the chronological text structure the author uses helps you understand the process.”

Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Cross Text Analysis,\ “Observing Nature,” “A Bird’s Free Lunch,” “The River and the Reeds,” and “Starting Off,” students answer following prompt: “What are some ways for people to learn more about nature? Create a list of recommendations, synthesizing information from at least two selections you’ve read in the unit.” The Answer Key in the Additional Resources includes sample responses for the teacher.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Close Reading: “Something Uneasy in the Air” from The Best Dog in Vietnam and “Training” from Black Beauty, students answer the question: “Compare the first-person description in paragraphs 5–6 of ‘Training’ to the third-person description in paragraph 3 of ‘Something Uneasy in the Air.’ Which description affected you more as a reader? Cite specific text evidence to support your answer.” In Apply Understanding, students answer Question 1 in Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text: “Compare the first-person narrative ‘Training’ to the third-person narrative ‘Ready to Race.’ Which text do you think represents a more memorable portrait of life on a horse farm? Support your ideas with specific text evidence.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Short Read 1: Seattle: Up and Down—and Up Again by Alexandra Hanson-Harding, Short Read 2: Cesar: Si, Se Puede! Yes, We Can! Poems by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Write: Use Text Evidence, students respond to the following: “What is one after-reading question you had about ‘Seattle: Up and Down—and Up Again?’ Cite the details from the text that informed your question. Think about the mental images you made of Cesar Chavez as you read. What two adjectives would you use to describe him? Cite text evidence to support your choices.” Then in Read Across Texts, students respond to these questions: “In short Reads 1 and 2, workers in Seattle and farmworkers in California faced hardships. What is one way their hardships were the same? What is one way they were different? Cite text evidence to support your answers.”

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).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2d.

Culminating tasks are somewhat engaging and provide students limited opportunities to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. Each unit has a culminating task but these tasks do not always require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic. Questions and tasks throughout the unit help the teacher determine student readiness. Student responses in Constructive Conversation and Apply Understanding provide usable information on student readiness to complete the culminating task. A Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy section provides guidance for how the teacher can assist students who need support. Guiding questions and rubrics are also provided and serve as guidance for students and teachers in completing these projects.

While the culminating tasks provided are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards at the grade level, there is little variation over the course of the year. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project asks students to choose a plant or animal from one of the unit texts and deliver a presentation using information from the text as well as outside resources. The learning targets contain both research presentation skills and science concepts. Some of the research presentation skills listed under the learning targets are, “Conduct short research projects, gathering relevant information from unit selections and other print and digital resources. Create a presentation on a topic, using technology, audio recordings, and visual displays when appropriate.” The learning targets under the Science concepts state, “Plants and animals have traits that affect the way they grow, behave, survive, and reproduce. Animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.”
  • In Unit 2, the Research and Inquiry Project is to look back at the unit selections, select a character from the Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan and describe how the character changes in the different retellings. Students can work individually or with a group to select a research focus, find relevant information from the unit and identify and evaluate additional sources. Three guiding questions are provided and must be included in the presentations. Students use a rubric when planning their presentation and the teacher also uses a rubric when evaluating presentations. The rubrics measure content, presentation, and effort and collaboration. Suggested ideas for presentations found in the consumable anchor text are digital story versions slideshow or interview skit with the author or story character. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities such as to the whole class, another class, to parents, or videotape presentations that are uploaded to the school website. Students who are listening jot down two or more new ideas they heard and one question they would like to ask the presenter.
  • In Unit 3, during the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project students select a public service people use in their lives and research what role the state and federal government play in that public service. Students then present their findings. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Cross Text Analysis, students answer the following question under the Apply Understanding: “What specific programs or services could a state government provide to solve the problems faced by the people of Sparks? Cite specific evidence from 'The State Government and Its Citizens’ and ‘The First Town Meeting’ to support your answer.” An answer key is provided in the additional resources. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 9, Cross Text Analysis students respond to the following prompt during Constructive Conversation: “Both ‘Stanley’s Release’ and ‘ The State Government and Its Citizen’ deal with the topic of state government. Compare and contrast the way each text portrays the role state governments play in people’s lives. Cite specific text evidence to support your ideas.” The Teacher’s Resource states, “Monitor the conversations, observing how they build on each other’s ideas. See the sidebar for a possible response. To provide additional support or extend the experience use Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy.” These questions help the teacher monitor students’ understanding and determine if they are prepared for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 4, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select a text from a different author that has an animal as the narrator or main character. Students can work individually or with a group to select a research focus, find relevant information from the unit and identify and evaluate additional sources. Three guiding questions are provided and must be included in the presentations. Students use a rubric when planning their presentation and the teacher also uses a rubric when evaluating presentations. The rubrics measure content, presentation, and effort and collaboration. Suggested ideas for presentations found in the consumable anchor text are fanzine about the author, online biographical slideshow, author interview skit or students can extend by writing a letter to one of the authors in the unit. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities—to the whole class, another class, to parents or videotape presentations—and upload them to the school website. Students who are listening jot down two or more new ideas they heard and one question they would like to ask the presenter.
  • In Unit 7, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project asks students to look at how technological advancements affected different groups of people. The guiding questions for the project include “How has the community changed since the establishment of the transcontinental railroad? Based on what you have learned from the unit texts and your research, how did transcontinental railroad affect how these communities evolved? What other historical event contributed to the evolution of this community?” A student and teacher rubric are included in the additional materials. The rubric includes the following categories: content, presentation, effort and collaboration.
  • In Unit 8, the Research and Inquiry Project is to research another first-hand account of a volcanic eruption or earthquake and compare the experiences. Students can work individually or with a group to select a research focus, find relevant information from the unit, and identify and evaluate additional sources. Three guiding questions are provided and must be included in the presentations. Students use a rubric when planning their presentation and the teacher also uses a rubric when evaluating presentations. The rubrics measure content, presentation and effort, and collaboration. Suggested ideas for presentations found in the consumable anchor text are podcast interview, Earth job graphic novel, Earth job infomercial, interactive map or students can extend by writing a firsthand account from the point of view of a scientist doing the job they chose. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities—to the whole class, another class, to parents or videotape presentations—and upload them to the school website. Students who are listening jot down two or more new ideas they heard and one question they would like to ask the presenter.
  • In Unit 9, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project students research how natural resources affect the growth of two cities, one from the texts and one that students chose on their own. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Cross-Text Analysis, students respond to the following prompt during the Constructive Conversation: “Reread ‘Seattle:Up and Down-and Up Again’ and paragraphs 3-9 of ‘Natural Resources and Workers.’ Compare how the Great Depression affected the economies of Texas and Seattle. How did these economies recover? Support your answer with evidence from the texts.” The Teacher’s Resource includes the following teacher directions: “Observe students’ conversations. If additional support is needed, use ‘Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy.’ See sidebar for a possible student response.” Then, under Apply Understanding, students answer the following question independently: “Based on ‘Natural Resources and Workers’ and the poems in ‘César: ¡Si, Se Puede! Es, We Can!,’ in what ways are workers a resource that impacts the economy? Support your answer with evidence from the texts.” The answer key is provided in the additional resources. These prompts help the teacher determine if students are ready for the culminating task.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2e.

Materials provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year long component that builds students’ academic vocabulary and supports building knowledge. The Additional Resources section provides routines for vocabulary instruction. Each unit has a Strategies and Skills page which lists both the vocabulary content and the week it is introduced, practiced, and whether or not it will be assessed. The Vocabulary Development resource in the Teacher’s Resource lists General Academic and Domain-Specific vocabulary in each unit which is related to the texts within the unit. Vocabulary for speaking and listening is listed, as well as literary terms used throughout the unit. Students have an opportunity to use some vocabulary multiple times throughout the unit, both in the text and out of the text. However, very few words repeat across texts. Some vocabulary appears in multiple texts, although it is not always clear when that occurs and it is not brought to the students’ attention as a mechanism for building knowledge and expertise on topics. There is no documentation or examples of where vocabulary is found in multiple texts. Vocabulary is listed under one heading in the Vocabulary Development resource, making it a challenge for teachers to know when vocabulary words appear and are targeted multiple times. Student vocabulary tasks do not repeat in context or across multiple texts. Students do have opportunities to learn vocabulary in their reading, speaking and listening although not all words are included in those tasks.

Though some vocabulary is repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts, etc.), there is no evidence of vocabulary being repeated across texts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • On the Vocabulary Development page in the Teacher’s Resource, under the General Academic and Domain-Specific word list which lists text titles, none of the words are denoted as repeating across texts.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Extended Read 1: “Who’s Driving?”, Mini-Lesson 1, Preview the Text/Set a Purpose (3-5 min.), beginning directions state, “Use the Define/Example/Ask Vocabulary Routine to introduce new vocabulary in the selection. See word list on page 46.” There are no additional explicit instructions for this task in this section. The teacher also displays the text, reads aloud the title, and asks students what is inferred by the question mark in the title. During Mini-Lesson 2, students complete a Build Vocabulary activity for four of the seven General Academic vocabulary words; the activity does not include any Domain-Specific words. During Mini-Lesson 5, the teacher models how to determine the meaning of two vocabulary words, navigate and futuristic, using context clues. During Guided Practice, students use context clues to determine the meaning of the words off-road vehicle and terrain. During independent time, students repeat this process with two other unspecified words.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1, students describe the parts of a quest story. The teacher begins by reminding students of the definition of characters, setting, and events. These terms have been used previously. The teacher models finding this information, using those terms in the modeling. Students then work with partners to determine the characters, setting, and events in “Sugar Maple and Woodpecker.” Under the Share and Reflect section, the Teacher’s Resource states, “Have students turn and talk to a partner about how identifying the characters, setting, and events helped them understand Sugar Maple’s and Woodpecker’s quests. Ask one or two volunteers to share what they learned.” Students use these literary terms multiple times throughout the course of this mini-lesson.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 1, Unit Introduction, the teacher writes the following General Academic vocabulary terms on the board: constructive, destructive, and processes. The students view the multimedia video and use audio and visual cues to help them determine the meaning of the words. In the Whole Group Share section, these words are used again when the teacher models how to share out their information: “My group also noted that earthquakes are a process that changes Earth. When an earthquake happens, the land is affected. Buildings can be destroyed. New landforms can be created.” This mini-lesson also points out that the teacher should use the routines for direct vocabulary that can be found in Additional Resources.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, students read “Power Restored in India” and “Benjamin Franklin: The Dawn of Electrical Technology.” A list of vocabulary words, both General Academic and Domain-Specific, are provided in the Vocabulary Development section. In the eBook, The Power of Electricity, students read “Blackout, 1965” for their Word Study Read. The directions state, “Read this personal narrative. As you read, use the strategies you have learned to problem-solve unfamiliar words.” “Blackout, 1965” contains the word blackout, which is a Domain-Specific vocabulary word in “Power Restored in India.”

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

  • At the end of each unit, an Additional Resources section provides detailed guidance for the Vocabulary Routine, Define/Example/Ask (AR4). Teachers use this routine to introduce new words. Step 1: Define. The teacher provides a student-friendly definition of the word. Step 2: Example. The words are used in a sentence. Step 3: Ask. The teacher asks a question requiring students to use the word in their example. The Additional Resources includes another Vocabulary Routine (AR5). This routine can be used to introduce new words and extend tasks following the initial Define/Example/Ask routine. Step 1: Introduce the Word. The teacher introduces features of the word such as a student-friendly definition, synonym, various word forms of the word and word partners and or sentences (compare/contrast). Step 2: Verbal Practice. Discuss the word, use sentence frames, and share favorite ideas to complete the frame. Step 3: Written Practice. Students use the word in writing through Collaborate, Your Turn, Be an Academic Author, or Writing an Academic Paragraph.
  • In Unit 2, under Unit Resources for Responsive Teaching, the Vocabulary Development section provides vocabulary to be used during Speaking and Listening and when discussing reading selections. The section also includes General Academic and Domain-Specific vocabulary. For example, the following literary terms are provided: character, setting, actions, emotions, states of being, event story, drama, thoughts, words, actions, and visual/oral presentation.
  • In Unit 3, Build Reflect Write, on page 19 of the consumable anchor text, students use strategies learned to find meaning and write a sentence for the words conservation, critical, industry, and maintain from “The State Government and Its Citizens.”

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 2f.

Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the whole school year. Each unit contains a unit-long process writing and multiple on-demand writing prompts. The instructional materials provide for teacher modeling of the process writing during Week 1; in Weeks 2 and 3, students work through the processes of brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating their project using a provided rubric, and publishing their final draft. There are multiple resources provided for the teacher including mentor texts, writing checklists, anchor charts, modeling scripts, and K-6 writing plans found within the Program Support. The Writing Plans include the Knowledge Strand, the Writing Mini-Lesson focus, and other text-based writing tasks. Within the writing lessons, the pacing is inconsistent and some parts are missing within units. Editing and publishing often occur on the same day.

Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. Beginning-of-year examples include:

  • In Unit 2, students write an opinion piece. In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, the mini-lesson begins by explaining to students that they will be writing an opinion piece using evidence from two texts. The teacher begins by using an Opinion Mentor Essay as an example essay. The students and teachers work to create the Opinion Essay Anchor Chart based on the mentor essay the teacher reads aloud. Throughout Week 1, the teacher models how to find evidence from the texts to support an opinion, and during independent work time, the students work on a similar task on their own. By Week 3, students are drafting their opinion essays. In Unit 2, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based prompt, the teacher models how to write an introductory paragraph using the Mentor Opinion Essay, and during independent writing, students begin drafting their introductory paragraph.
  • In Unit 3, the writing focus is Informative/Explanatory process writing. In Week 1, the teacher introduces and models how to use a writing checklist and students research and gather information. In Week 2, students use their planning guides to draft an introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding statement, using linking words and phrases. In Week 3, students draft and revise their essays. Revising and editing consist of using domain-specific vocabulary, correct use of commas, quotations, and verb tenses. In Mini-Lesson 12, the teacher models how to decide on illustrations and students add illustrations they have created or use illustration software or internet searches. Those who have finished use the Informative/Explanatory Essay Rubric to evaluate their work.

Middle-of-year examples include:

  • In Unit 5, the writing focus is opinion process writing. In Week 1, the teacher models steps in the writing process each day, and students brainstorm topic ideas. In Mini-Lesson 6, students begin selecting sources. Students take notes from these sources and begin organizing and planning their essays. In Week 2, students use their planning guides and writing checklists to begin drafting their essays using research to support their opinion. In Mini-Lesson 13, students examine how they can use adverbs in their writing using the Opinion Essay Writing Rubric as a guide. In Week 3, students begin revising right away in Mini-Lesson 3 by adding domain-specific vocabulary and terms to their essay. Revising and editing also includes strengthening their reasons by examining their evidence and seeking additional evidence if needed, adding detail by using relative pronouns and relative adverbs and correct use of verb tenses. In Mini-Lesson 12, students type their essays using a computer and evaluate it using a rubric.
  • In Unit 6, students review writing opinion, narrative, and informative/explanatory texts. In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, students are given an incomplete narrative prompt. The task for the week is to complete the narrative. Throughout the week, the teacher uses the Mentor Writing Prompt to model how to write an ending to “A Salute to Cory.” During independent writing time, students write an ending to the student writing prompt, “Lucy.” During Mini-Lesson 3, 6, and 9, students work to fill out charts with information to help them write the ending to “Lucy.” In Mini-Lesson 11, students draft their responses, and in Mini-Lesson 14, students edit their responses.

End-of-year examples include:

  • In Unit 9, the writing focus is research multimedia presentation on a topic or activity of the student’s choice. In Week 1, the teacher models key features of multimedia presentations such as the intended audience, author’s purpose, text, and illustrations. This week students practice with partners and work individually to understand elements of multimedia presentation. In Mini-Lesson 9, students begin brainstorming topics for their multimedia presentation. Students gather facts and details organizing information in their planning guides, charts, and checklists. In Week 2, students begin drafting presentations using note cards. In Mini-Lesson 11, students gather digital photographs for their presentations or use magazines, newspapers, or books. In Week 3, students who are ready can begin the revision and edit process in Mini-Lesson 3. In Mini-Lesson 6, students focus on using headings and proper formatting. In Mini-Lesson 12, students complete their self-assessment using a rubric and turn in their final draft.
  • In Unit 10, students write a cinquain. In Week 1, students learn about the genre and brainstorm topics. Throughout Week 1, the teacher models before the students continue onto independent writing. In Unit 10, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 6, Process Writing, the teacher uses the poem, “Clouds,” to model finding the features of a cinquain, before asking students to do it independently with the poem, “Apple.” In Week 2, students work on drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their cinquain.

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:

  • K-6 Writing Plans are found under the Program Support heading in the online materials. Within this tab, each unit is listed along with the Knowledge Strand, the Writing Mini-Lesson focus, and Other Text-Based Writing Tasks. Other Text-Based Writing Tasks include daily text annotation, individual Apply Understanding activities, Build Knowledge tasks which require students to complete graphic organizers, Write: Use Text Evidence in which students answer questions, writing in response to Small-Group Reading, and Culminating Task writing.
  • Pacing Options are available in the Teacher’s Resource to help teachers plan for a 60-minute Writing and Grammar block within a 150-minute Literacy block, a 50-minute Writing and Grammar block within a 120-minute Literacy block, or a 40-minute Writing and Grammar block within a 90-minute Literacy block.
  • Each unit in the Teacher’s Resource has a Strategies and Skills page stating the Writing focus, a newly introduced strategy or skill, or a previously taught strategy or skill. If the strategy or skill is assessed on the Unit Assessment, a notation is made in this section.
  • Prior to each week’s Mini-Lessons in the Teacher’s Resource, Learning Goals are listed for the week followed by a Comprehensive Literacy Planner detailing how Mini-Lessons fit into each day.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, Process Writing, students work on revising their research project to improve sentence fluency. The Teacher’s Resource provides an example for the teacher to use to show how to revise a passage to vary sentence length. Original and revised model texts are provided for the teacher. The additional materials also include a research project writing checklist, research project writing anchor chart, linking words and phrases chart, and student research project planning guide.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2g.

Each unit contains a three-week Culminating Research and Inquiry Project connected to the unit knowledge strand. The project requires additional student research on the topic and extends student learning. The short projects in the materials are discussions or related directly to the long research projects. Instructional materials provide limited support for teachers in implementing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via provided resources. The materials provide rubrics for each of the Culminating Research and Inquiry Projects, as well as a pacing guide that includes Student Goals and Teacher Support. The instructional materials provide some resources and guides via Mini-Lessons, but the Mini-Lessons lack guidance in employing tasks needed to complete the Research and Inquiry Project.

The Research and Inquiry Project guidance establishes the expectation that students will complete the work, but no specific guidance is provided detailing how this work should happen. The Explore section provides the teacher with some ways to assist students if needed and a list of texts and ideas to help students brainstorm ideas for their projects. Materials provide opportunities for students to apply Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language skills to synthesize and analyze their grade-level readings. Each Culminating Research and Inquiry Project requires students to reference a text and other outside resources. Students always present projects to the class. The Teacher’s Resource includes presentation expectations along with a rubric to guide both the students and the teacher.

Students have some opportunities to engage in a variety of research activities and projects across grades and grade bands. Each Research and Inquiry project contains the same components across the year: an introduction including three guiding questions (one connected to the unit’s Essential Question, one connected to the unit’s Enduring Understanding, and a question about how the knowledge gained through the research helped the student to better understand the topic or them), an exploration section with a few suggested texts, suggestions for the presentation, and a pacing chart with student goals and teacher resources. The teacher and student support is not specific and frequently repeats, verbatim, across units: “Before students conduct their own research, model how to reread and extract information from a unit text. Then model choosing, evaluating, and citing another information source that will help you answer the guiding questions.”

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the Research and Inquiry Project is to look back at the unit selections, select a character from the Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan, and describe how the character changes in the different retellings. Guiding questions include: “How does your character react to events in the story? Are their reactions consistent between retellings? How did the knowledge you gained through research add to your understanding of the unit selections? Do your feelings toward the character change between retellings? Do different words and actions change the reader’s opinion of the characters?” Students gather information from the unit and other print and digital sources and reflect on how a story and characters can be different when retold in different literary forms. Students create a presentation on the topic using technology. The remainder of the questions and supports are the same as previous units with the exception of the Essential Question and Enduring Understanding.
  • In Unit 5, during the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students complete a project called, “Technology Pros and Cons.” The Teacher’s Resource provides a pacing guide for three weeks that provides Student Goals and Teacher Support for each week. For example, the Week 2 Student Goals states, “Use a variety of sources to expand knowledge, keeping in mind the guiding questions and the unit Essential Question. Record and organize data. Start to plan the presentation.” The Week 2 Teacher Support states, “Arrange for computer or tablet access for online research. Create a content bookshelf on Benchmark Universe including the unit small-group texts and other texts with relevant content.” This same guidance is repeated across units, but does not provide further guidance or support for the teacher.
  • In Unit 10, the Research and Inquiry Project is to use the unit selections to guide research of a scientific discovery or invention and compare electricity and the scientific discovery or invention selected by the student. Guiding questions include: “Based on the unit selections and your research, what did this discovery or invention bring to the world? Did it inspire other inventions? How did the knowledge you gained through research add to your understanding of the unit texts? How did this discovery or invention change the way we live?” Students gather information from the unit and other print and digital sources and reflect on how scientific fields have changed over time and how the world has been changed by discoveries and inventions. Students create a presentation on the topic using technology.

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 4 meet the expectations of Indicator 2h.

The program includes a variety of built-in supports/scaffolds to foster independence. The anchor texts include Short Reads and Extended Reads. Students annotate and take notes as they read and reread with both teacher modeling, scaffolding and independent reading. Scaffolds and supports include Tips of Annotation, Personal Learning Goals, Skill and Strategy Objectives, Knowledge Focus, Essential Question, and Build/Reflect/Write activities. Methods for scaffolding the first read are located in the sidebar. Small Group Reading groups are organized using leveled texts. There is a proposed schedule for independent reading which includes a proposed literacy block. The proposed literacy block includes a time for independent reading within the reading/word study section. Suggestions for tracking independent reading, such as a Reading Log, are located in the Program Support in the Managing Your Independent Reading Program (Accountability Plan for Independent Reading in Class and at Home). Student reading materials span a wide range of texts and reading levels.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students have opportunities to read independently during Small-Group Reading time. Materials include various means of student accountability including:
    • A Reading Log with book title, author, genre, date completed, date abandoned
    • Reading response forms for student summary
    • Prompts for reading response journal: This part reminds me of when…, I predice...I think...I wonder...As I read, I thought about…
    • Reading Response Ideas: Connect the event or characters in the book to your own life. Express the central problem in the story. Analyze one character’s behavior.
    • Reading Survey: Do you like to read? Why or Why not? What is your favorite book? Where do you read?
    • Independent Reading: What’s working? What needs work?


Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
N/A

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.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
N/A

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

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.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3n

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

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.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

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.
N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3u.ii

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

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.).
N/A
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/29/2020

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Benchmark Advance 2021 Gr. 4 1-Year Subscription Package 978-1-0786-3849-4 Teacher Benchmark Education Company 2021

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.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

Please note: Reports published after 2021 will be using version 2 of our review tools. Learn more.

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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