Alignment: Overall Summary

The Benchmark Advance 2021 materials for Grade 6 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

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
32
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
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

|

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

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Benchmark Advance 2021 materials for Grade 6 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.

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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Some texts included in the Benchmark Advance 2021 program are of high quality, although a number of the anchor texts are excerpts from published works and may need supplementing so students grow their understanding of story elements. 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 6 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 included 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, In Hiding (from The Diary of Anne Frank: a Play) by Frances Goodrich and Alver Hackett retells the events as written by Anne Frank, the Jewish girl living in hiding during Hitler’s authoritarian regime. The text provides historical background and includes photos of the secret passage used to hide Anne and her family during the war.
  • In Unit 5, “Updating Archaeology” by Ken Floyd includes numbered paragraphs, bolded headings, engaging photos, and a useful timeline. A side note on the first page provides background knowledge allowing the reader to learn a little about archaeology.
  • In Unit 7, “The Golden Age of Greece” by Catherine Goodridge includes pictures that support student understanding of the content. Engaging material includes how the Golden Age of Greece created a foundation for Western civilization.
  • In Unit 8, Studying Earth’s Core by Tom Johnson is supported with photos of erupting volcanoes that Jules Verne used as his setting in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Additional features include a diagram of the earth, subheadings, photos, and captions. The text is organized for the reader to read sections or the entire text during the first read.

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

  • In Unit 3, "Aristotle and Democracy" by Michael K. Smith is a highly-dense short read that would require substantial support for students. The complexity of ideas and vocabulary are too substantial without significant teacher support and readers may lose interest quickly.
  • In Unit 6, Short Read 1 contains two poems, "Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti and "The Hill" by Helene Johnson. The poems may not engage Grade 6 students without significant scaffolding.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 balance of literary and informational texts. Texts include, but are not limited to, dramas, poetry, legends, plays, narrative fiction, memoirs, informational social studies, informational science, and research nonfiction.

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

  • Unit 1, “City Kids, Country Kids” by Amanda Jenkins
  • Unit 2, “In Hiding” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
  • Unit 3, Revolutionary Dreams by Nikki Giovanni
  • Unit 4, “Uphill and the Road” by Christana Rosetti and Helene Johnson
  • Unit 5, “Galileo’s Gift” by Colleen Kessler
  • Unit 6, The Legend of Mulan: The Ballad of Mulan; Mulan Joins the Army by Ouyand Yuqian
  • Unit 7, “James Madison: The US Constitution” by Jill Purdy
  • Unit 9, Going East by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

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

  • Unit 1, The Writings of John Muir by John Muir
  • Unit 3, The Haudenosaunee Confederacy by Monica Halprin
  • Unit 5, “The Science of Flight” by Alexandra Hansen-Harding
  • Unit 7, Rome’s Augustan Age by Tracy Telling
  • Unit 9, Going Out by Leslie T. Chang

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of Indicator 1c.

The texts included in the instructional materials fall within the Lexile level band for Grade 6. Some texts have a complex set of events and characters including historical fiction that require an understanding of the time period, a complicated plot, time shifts, and unfamiliar vocabulary including academic and domain specific words. Student instruction and tasks are included for many texts to provide the necessary support to make the texts above or below the Lexile grade band appropriate for Grade 6 students.

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

  • In Unit 7, Week 1, students read Short Read 2: Ancient Egypt Golden Empire with a Lexile of 1070. The text complexity is moderate making the text appropriate for Grade 6. The text has a single purpose as stated in the title: to describe Ancient Egypt Golden Empire, but it conveys this description with facts and details the readers can compare and contrast and from which they can then draw conclusions.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students read Extended Read 1: “Cassie’s Fight” an excerpt from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry with a Lexile of 930. Although the Lexile is at the low end of the recommended Grade 6 Lexile band, the qualitative measures are in the highest complexity range. The setting is in a rural mid-20th century southern area and examines issues of racism. This excerpt tells a sequence of events that leads up to the narrator and another character having a confrontation. Student tasks include drawing inferences, open syllable patterns, summarizing, compare and contrast, demonstrating understanding of connotations and nuances of word meanings, recognizing vague pronouns. Close reading is required to analyze how words develop plot and character’s response to plot events.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, students read Short Read 1: “The South Pole” an excerpt from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea with a Lexile of 930. The text is written in novel form and is chronological and features multiple characters. Student tasks include applying metacognitive strategies, analyzing the impact of word choice on meaning, examining vowel patterns, comparing and contrasting reading a story to listening to a story, and recognizing vague pronouns.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 and 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.

  • Small Group Reading text within the odd units ranged from 760L to 1180L. The Lexile range expectations for Grade 6 are 955-1155. Texts are below and above grade level expectations.
  • Unit 1 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 900L and 1180L which is slightly below and above the range of expected Lexile levels. 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. During Week 2, Extended Read 1, students read “This Fascinating World of Nature” by Wangari Maathai from the consumable anchor text. Mini-Lessons 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12 require students to use this story. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task in each Mini-Lesson. Tasks in this section occur daily during independent work time, over the course of the week during independent time and as homework when specified. Apply Understanding tasks include read the story and write during-reading questions in the margins and one after-reading question, complete the Build Vocabulary section in the consumable anchor text, write sentences summarizing how two stories are alike and different, complete the Build Grammar section in the consumable anchor text, and answer questions 1, 2 and 3 in the Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text. Note, Mini-Lesson 4 uses this story, but not during the Apply Understanding task. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Determine a Central Idea and How It Is Conveyed Through Details, Analyze How a Key Idea is Developed in a Text, Compare and Contrast Authors' Presentations of Events, and Analyze Features of Poetry.
  • Unit 3 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 910L and 1140L which is slightly below and above the range of expected Lexile levels. 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 1, Short Read 1, Students read “Aristotle and Democracy” by Michael K. Smith from the consumable anchor text. Mini-Lessons 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 require students to use this story. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task in each Mini-Lesson. Tasks in this section occur daily during independent work time, over the course of the week during independent time and as homework when specified. Apply Understanding tasks include read and underline important information making notes in the margin to show how details support the central idea, reread and determine domain-specific meaning of the word equality confirming the meaning using a dictionary, complete Build Vocabulary in the consumable anchor text, complete Build Grammar in consumable anchor text. Note, Mini-Lesson 7 uses this story, but not during the Apply Understanding task. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Analyze How a Section of Text Contributes to the Development of Ideas, Determine Author's Point of View or Purpose, Analyze How a Key Event is Developed in a Text, Determine Central Ideas and Key Details, Cite Text Evidence to Support Inferences and Analysis, Integrate Information from Multiple Texts, and Analyze Author’s Word Choice and Structure in a Poem.
  • Unit 5 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 950L and 1220L, which are both below and above the range of expected Lexile levels. 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 3, Extended Read 2, students read “Updating Archaeology” by Ken Floyd from the consumable anchor text. Mini-Lessons 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 require students to use this story. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task in each Mini-Lesson. Tasks in this section occur daily during independent work time, over the course of the week during independent time and as homework when specified. Apply Understanding tasks include; underline important details and mark in the margins why these details support the big idea, complete Build Vocabulary in the consumable anchor text, answer Write: Use Text Evidence Close Reading questions 1, 2 and 3, and complete Build Grammar and Language section in the consumable anchor text. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Analyze How a Key Idea is Developed; Trace and Evaluate an Author’s Argument, Claims, and Evidence; Integrate Information in Different Media or Formats to Develop a Coherent Understanding; Determine an Author’s Point of View or Purpose and Explain How It Is Conveyed in the Text; and Determine a Central Idea of a Text and How It Is Conveyed Through Particular Details.
  • Unit 7 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 940L and 1070L, which is slightly below the Lexile expectations. 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. 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 in one weekly Mini-Lesson that focused on Grammar and found as a bullet point under Apply Understanding and Build Fluency. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 5, students were asked to spend a few minutes during the week reading “The Great Wall of China” to develop fluency and automaticity with /ou/ and /oi/ vowel combinations. Students are reminded to monitor their reading to make sure they read accurately using knowledge of word families and syllables. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Trace and Evaluate the Author’s Argument, Claims,and Evidence; Analyze How a Particular Sentence or Section of Text Fits into the Overall Structure and Contributes to the Development of Ideas; Cite Evidence to Support Analysis of the Text; Integrate Information from Two Texts to Develop a Coherent Understanding of a Topic; and Compare and Contrast Authors’ Presentation of Events.
  • Unit 9 Teacher’s Resource Components at a Glance Lexile ranges for Short Reads, Extended Reads and Word Study Reads are between 920L and 1150L, which are slightly below the range of expected Lexile levels.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 1, students read Short Read 2: “Kublai, the Great Khan” by Susan Virgilio from the consumable anchor text. Mini-Lessons 10, 12 and 13 require students to use this story. The purpose of each Mini-Lesson connects to the Apply Understanding student task in each Mini-Lesson. Tasks in this section occur daily during independent work time, over the course of the week during independent time and as homework when specified. Apply Understanding tasks include read and annotate text to support comprehension and integrate information from the story and another story writing five to six sentences about how timeline events correspond with events from the other story. Note, Mini-Lesson 12 uses this story but requires the students to select a previously read biography to determine author point of view and answer a specific question by writing three to four sentences using text evidence. Skills in Apply Understanding include:
    • Specific Skills: Cite Textual Evidence to Support Analysis and Inferences, Integrate Information Presented in Different Media and Formats, Determine an Author’s Purpose and Point of View in a Text, Determine Central Ideas and Key Details, and Compare and Contrast How Different Texts Approach Similar Topics.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 3, Extended Read 2: “The Writings of John Muir” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 3; These excerpts from John Muir’s writings give a firsthand account of the author’s childhood in Scotland and Wisconsin, and later as a young man. It is straightforward in style but serves as a window for the reader into the formative years of this well-known naturalist and preservationist.
    • Structure: Score of 3; The voice is first-person. The text is sequential, however there are substantial gaps in time in some cases from one entry to the next, and some episodes have a heavy narrative, anecdotal structure,while others are treated more succinctly as field notes or quick observations.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 4; The language by turns is formal and whimsical, but heavily detailed, with rich academic terms and content vocabulary, as well as many instances of figurative language. The text contains many complex sentences that may be challenging for many students.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 3; Familiarity with elementary Earth Science and Life Science terms (such as hollow, prairie, etc.) is helpful. The references to specific types of animals and vegetation are supported with images.
    • Total QM: Score of 13; Substantial Complexity.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Short Read 1: “Aristotle and Democracy” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 2; The text has two purposes: to provide information about Aristotle and to offer insight into his contributions to our understanding of government, with students being given opportunities to analyze the development of ideas and draw conclusions.
    • Structure: Score of 2; The predominant structure is thematic, with the two themes of Aristotle and democracy presented concurrently.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 3; Sentences are complex, with subordinate clauses, and the language includes Aristotle’s own highly academic, somewhat archaic constructions and vocabulary that is domain specific to politics.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 4; Most readers will not have prior knowledge of either Aristotle or his challenging, theoretical concepts of government.
    • Total QM: Score of 11; Substantial Complexity.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Extended Read 1: “The Legend of Mulan” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 4; Along with a lengthy introduction, this text group combines a ballad about the legendary female warrior Mulan with a play on the same topic. The ballad conveys subtle meaning through language and images that call for interpretation. The play has a simple theme reflected in the title: Mulan joins the army, but the fact is only revealed over the course of the text.
    • Structure: Score of 3; Structure is in two modes; a poetic ballad with rhyming lines and clear stanzas and a play with dialog and stage directions. There are multiple characters in both modes, and some of the action in the play is hard to predict.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 3; The ballad’s language is richly figurative, adding to the tone, with archaic constructions and vocabulary (steed, hie, wintry), though some are directly defined or given strong context. Language of the play is slightly stilted in a period fashion, but has few complex sentences; vocabulary is mostly familiar.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 2; Familiarity with ballads about legendary characters would be helpful for full comprehension.
    • Total QM: Score of 12; Substantial Complexity.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Extended Read 2: “Track Cycling for Young People: Pros and Cons” has a text complexity description stating:
    • “Purpose and Levels of Meaning: Score of 2; The clear purpose of this selection is to present three different opinions about the sport of track cycling.
    • Structure: Score of 3; Three different opinions are clearly presented. Connections between argument and evidence are clear and direct. The text includes a Q&A section, a bulleted list, and photos that help support concepts in the running text.
    • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Score of 3; Paragraphs include complex sentences, academic vocabulary, and other context-dependent words.
    • Knowledge Demands: Score of 3; Track cycling may not be a sport of which students have a lot of background knowledge.
    • Total QM: Score of 11; 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 or 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.
  • 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.

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

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 12, students read Short Read 2: “Protectors of the Land Wangari Maathai and John Muir” by Laura McDonald. The teacher explains the purpose is to examine figurative language called personification. The teacher models by reading a quote and interpreting Muir’s use of personification in the quote. During Guided Practice the teacher poses a question to student partners, gives them time to read, annotate, and confer. The class is brought together to share ideas they identified. Additional modeling from the teacher may be needed. During Share and Reflect, partners reflect on how the use of personification helps them understand point of view. One or two students share their ideas with the class. During independent Apply Understanding time, students reread, identify one example of personification, and explain how this helped them form a picture in their mind. To check for understanding, students may work with a partner to identify an example of personification on page 9 or have students complete Personification Quick Check A or B in Grade 6 Language Quick Checks.
  • In Unit 2, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1: In Hiding from the Diary of Anne Frank: A Play during guided practice in the annotate, pair, share section of the student consumable book, in two to four sentences, students write a summary of Anne’s soliloquy after reading. Students then discuss.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, students utilize the Poetry Out Loud selection, “Revolutionary DREAMS” by Nikki Giovanni. Learning Targets are provided in the Sidebar. Teacher guidance is provided to model how to define the words militant, radical and riot using examples from the poem. The student task is a partner Guided Practice to read line 11-16 and think about how author word choice shows change in speaker attitude. During Guided Practice, the teacher checks in with students needing support and calls on one or two students to share their ideas. During Share and Reflect, partners reflect on how the poem adds to their understanding of how people can be change makers. The teacher asks one or two students to share ideas with the class. During independent time, students reread the poem with a partner and they may listen and follow along with the audio-assisted ebook.
  • In Unit 6, AR Week 1, L3 mentor text, Traveling West in the Mentor Planning Guide: Journal entry, after reading the text, students analyze the prompt: "Imagine that, like James you traveled west on the Oregon trail in 1846. Write a journal entry describing what you saw and felt on the first day of your journey."
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 4, students read Extended Read 2: ”The Golden Age Of The Inca Empire” by Vincent Banks. The teacher sets a purpose by displaying and discussing the close reading question reminding students to annotate when reading. Partners reread and annotate sections in this text and locate and annotate evidence in another text. Based on teacher observations during this time, the teacher determines the level of support students need. Based on observations, the teacher selects students to share their responses with the class. To provide additional support or extensions the teacher can use the Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy. During independent Apply Understanding, students answer question 1 in Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text.
  • In Unit 8, Short Read 1: The South Pole an excerpt from “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne, students read the text and answer the question: "What did you learn about the relationship between people and Earth from the story and science text? Make a chart. List details that you might include in an essay about relationships people have with Earth and its structures."
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 1, students read Extended Read 1: “The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today” by Alexandra Hanson-Harding. The teacher previews the text and sets a purpose to monitor comprehension by drawing on strategies students know. Students read and annotate paragraphs 1-4 underlining text that helps support their comprehension. During Share and Reflect, partners address three questions and as a class one or two students share ideas. During independent time students can reread paragraph 2 to build fluency. During independent Apply Understanding time, students reread paragraphs 5-12 continuing to apply strategies and annotate to support comprehension. Students may listen and follow along with the interactive ebook referring back to anchor charts as they progress through the story.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 2, students read Short Read 1: “Marjory Stoneman Douglas Friend of the Everglades” by Amanda Polidore and Extended Read 1: “This Fascinating World of Nature from Unbowed” by Wangari Maathai. Students then answer the following prompts: "In 'The Fascinating World of Nature,' Wangari Maathai uses personal anecdotes to describe how she has interacted with nature. What idea developed from her sharing the specific examples of when she interacted with nature? Compare and contrast the details in ‘Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Friend of the Everglades’ (page 4) to ‘The Fascinating World of Nature’ (page 12). How do the similarities and differences in the ways these authors approach the themes of conservation and activism help build knowledge of these subjects.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 7, Constructive Conversation, students engage in a partner conversation. The teacher displays and discusses the following close reading question and reminds students they should annotate their copy of the text: “Both ‘Feyrouz the Brave’ and ‘Jason’s Challenge’ contain scenes in which the main characters have fateful encounters with an old woman. Compare and contrast the way each of these scenes contributes to the plot of each story. Cite evidence from each text to support your thinking.” During Apply Understanding, the teacher tells students that during independent time they will answer question 2 in Write: Use Text Evidence: “Compare and contrast the endings of ‘Feyrouz the Brave’ and ‘Jason’s Challenge.’ Which ending provides a better sense of resolution? Cite specific text evidence to support your writing.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 11, during Guided Practice partners reread paragraphs 9-15 in “A Little Seed” to find evidence of Bud’s voice and determine how they can convey his voice in their journal entries. Students underline and write notes about the evidence in the consumable anchor text and create and record this information in their own Character Voice Chart. During Share and Reflect, the teacher brings students together to share evidence they collected during Guided Practice. The teacher asks them to “reflect on how they will use the information to develop and convey Bud’s voice in their journal entries. Add student evidence to the class chart. Save the chart to use again in Week 3.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Discuss the Source Text, students engage in a text-dependent discussion about the narrative using some or all of the following questions: “Who are the characters? Where and when does the narrative take place? What do the characters do? Why do they do it? What events happen in the narrative? How do the characters feel about the events?” During Analyze the Source Text time, the Details and Events Chart is displayed. Students work in small groups to find details and evidence in the narrative that answer the questions stated during Discuss the Source Text time. Students are invited to share their answers while the teacher enters the information into the Chart.
  • In Unit 7, Short Read 1: “The Golden Age of Greece” by Catherine Goodridge and Short Read 2: “Ancient Egypt’s Golden Empire” by Vidas Barzukas, in Build Reflect Write, students answer, "What did you learn about life in ancient Greece and ancient Egypt? Make a chart like example (2 column), on a separate sheet of paper. List details from each text you might include in an informative essay about the different ways people lived in ancient civilizations.”
  • In Unit 8, 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 “The Truth About Crater Lake” by Elizabeth Barber, 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: “What evidence does the article provide that origin myths have an important function for the survival of a culture? Why do places like Crater Lake often become sacred to indigenous people?”
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students read “Marco Polo, China Trader.” During Constructive Conversations, students are given the following prompt to answer with a partner: “How does Marco Polo’s role change during his travels to China, while living in China, and upon his return to Europe? How do these changes make him a global citizen? Annotate text evidence to support your ideas.” Students share their answers with the class and possible responses are provided for the teacher’s use.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Constructive Conversation: Partner, the teacher displays the close reading question and reminds the student to annotate the copy of the text. The close reading question is “In ‘Humans to Mars: Yes or No?’ the author quotes a NASA spokesperson who says, ‘Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit’ How is the view of the human spirit conveyed in ‘Flip, Spin, and Soar!’ similar to this view? How is it different? Support your thinking with evidence from the text.” During independent Apply Understanding time, students answer question 3 in Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text: “Compare and contrast how ‘Mission to Mars’ and the section ‘Biking’s Unsolved Physics Mystery’ present how scientists develop and test their theories. Support your thinking with evidence from the text.”

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 select an environment and use text evidence and additional resources to show how humans continue to raise awareness about the region. The Learning Targets says the students should “create a presentation on a topic, using technology, audio recordings, and visual displays when appropriate”
  • In Unit 2, Research and Inquiry Project, students select a character from the unit texts and one from their own reading to analyze how they respond to challenges. The guiding questions are: “How has this fictional character’s story changed you? What did this character do or say to inspire you to change? Based on what you have read in the unit texts and in your own reading, what qualities do inspiring these characters have in common? Why do you think readers admire these qualities? How can the inspiring actions of fictional characters help people in real-life situations?”
  • In Unit 4, Research and Inquiry Project, students select an author from the unit texts and one from your own reading to analyze their writing style. The guiding questions are: “How did the author’s life experiences influence their work and writing style? Select another author from the unit text and compare and contrast his or her writing style with the authors in your presentation. How is it similar or different? How do the authors’ own experiences shape the points of view of the narrators in their works?”
  • In Unit 5, Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students select a career from one of the texts and do additional research to determine how they use technology in their career. In the introduction for the Inquiry Project, the teacher is provided with guiding questions for students to use in completing the project: “What are the benefits of using this advanced technology in the workplace? What are the negative aspects? (Essential Question), How can the technology you have researched be applied to offer careers discussed in the unit texts? Can this technology be combined with other technologies to help people in other fields? (text evidence), As technology continues to advance, how will it affect the workforce in the future? (Enduring Understanding)” In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 8, Short Read 1, students answer the following question during the Guided Practice: “One robot can cost as much as $250,000 and many smaller police units cannot afford that. Their officers, therefore, have a higher risk of injury or death in dangerous situations that could be more safely handled by robots.” In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 6, students learn to write an argument essay and support their claim with reasons and evidence. This is direct preparation for the culminating project.
  • In Unit 9, Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students learn about an item traded along the ancient Silk Road and on traded along the modern Silk Road and compare and contrast those two items. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students respond to the following prompt during the Constructive Conversations: “How does Marco Polo’s role change during his travels to China, while living in China, and upon his return to Europe? How do these changes make him a global citizen? Annotate text evidence to support your ideas.” In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 10, Extended Read 1, students answer the following question during the Apply Understanding: “In the past and present, consumer demand has dictated the manufacturing and transportation needs of global trade. Based on the evidence in the text, what can you infer about consumer demand and how it affects trade on the modern Silk Road?” These questions help prepare the student for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 10, Research and Inquiry Project, students select a modern mode of transportation and use additional resources to compare and contrast what has been learned about space exploration and bicycling. The guiding questions include: “How does this technology use physics to help us understand Earth? How can we apply the physics from this modern technology to other activities, such as sports? How can understanding physics help us in our everyday activities and tasks?”

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of Indicator 1i.

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, Unit Resources for Responsive Teaching, Vocabulary Development, the document gives a list of words to use to assist with Speaking and Listening. The document states: “The following words and phrases may be useful during your class discussions around the topic of characters at crossroads. Consider using these terms as you introduce and reflect on the Essential question. Only some of these words appear in the unit selections.”
  • In Unit 4, Mini-lesson 7, Extended Read 2: “Miguel’s Prophecy,” Constructive Conversation: Partner, students “reread paragraphs 16-17. How does the proverb Miguel quotes from Esperanz’s papa show Miguel’s point of view towards Esperanza? What do you think the proverb means? Describe how it relates to Miguel and Esperanza’s conversation. Cite specific evidence from the text to support your answer.” Students then share their analysis with a partner and then the partnership shares with another set of partners.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 10, Extended Read 1: “The Great Migration and the Growth of Cities,” the teacher displays and reads aloud the Close Reading question requiring students to “Cite specific evidence from the text to support your thinking.” Possible correct students' responses and evidence are located in the sidebar. Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy provides support and extension ideas for this time. During independent Apply Understanding time, students answer a question from the consumable anchor text which asks students to “Cite specific evidence from the text to support your answer.”

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, Unit Resources for Responsive Teaching, Vocabulary Development, there is a list of words to use to assist with Speaking and Listening. The document states, “The following words and phrases may be useful during your class discussions around the topic of characters at crossroads. Consider using these terms as you introduce and reflect on the Essential question. Only some of these words appear in the unit selections.”
  • In Unit 6, week 1, Build Grammar and Language: Focus on Fragments in Dialogue and Conversation, students find and read the fragment in context on page 8. Students are told: “Fragments are often used in written dialogue, though they may not be grammatically correct.
    • Find and write a second fragment from the text that captures the way people may speak or converse.
    • Write your own fragment. It can be a common expression or something you often say when conversing informally with others.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 5, Extended Read 1: “The Great Migration and the Growth of Cities,” students use context clues to determine word meaning. During Constructive Conversation: Partner, a sample Context Clues Chart is provided and partners are tasked with finding context clues, developing a definition and finding a dictionary definition for each word provided by the teacher. A Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy suggestions are provided for students needing support or extensions. During Share and Reflect partners discuss what they found and why it is important to understand the meaning of the words.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students read “In Hiding” and complete the Guided Practice tasks for partner work: “Read the remainder of Anne’s soliloquy. Underline two examples of text evidence that help you identify the scene as part of the rising action. Write your reasoning in the margin.” Students share their answers. Possible responses are provided. Under Share and Reflect the Teacher’s Resource says, “Ask partners to share how knowing the stages of plot development adds to their understanding of the text. Ask one or two students to share with the class.”
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 10, Constructive Conversation: Partner, students discuss the following Close Reading question with a partner: “How does the author support the claim that ‘Understanding the ocean and its impact on Earth’s other spheres is critical to human survival?’” Time permitting, the teacher may ask students the extension question: “What evidence was most effective in supporting the author’s argument? Why?” During Share and Reflect, partners discuss how reading closely has deepened their understanding between the ocean and the Earth’s other spheres. During Access, partners discuss why the author noted the giant squid in the text.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 2, Share and Reflect, students answer the following questions: “What strategies did you use as you read? How did they help you? What new knowledge did you gain about the golden age of Greece and ancient cultures from you reading? How did this selection change or expand you thinking about the Essential Question? Why do we consider certain civilizations 'great'?” One or two students will share ideas with the whole class. During Access, “Allow students to listen and follow along with the interactive e-book. Have them orally discuss their strategies with a partner, if necessary.”
  • In Unit 10, students complete a Culminating Research and Inquiry Project about Physics at Work. The following guidance is given for expectation during presentations: “Assign audience members a meaningful purpose for listening attentively to the presentation. For example: Listen and take notes to write an article about the presentation you heard. Students should be prepared to identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points. Encourage students to actively listen by using a two-column chart to second the speaker's reason and evidence from the presentation. Be prepared to conduct a follow-up Q&A with the presenters.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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. Some examples include:

  • 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 1, Small Group Leveled Text, “Living Things and Their Environments,” students write a press release where they gather information, write a headline, write the body of the press release, edit, include a photo or drawing, and submit the press release.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 12, Apply Understanding, students reread a passage and star details that add support to the idea that the pharaohs lived very different lives from ordinary Egyptians. Students then write a few sentences explaining how the section contributes to the development of the idea that life was different for the Pharaoh and for other people.
    • In Unit 9, in the student consumable in Writing: Informative/Explanatory Essay, after reading Short Read 1: “Marco Polo, Chine Trader,” Short Read 2: “Kublai, The Great Khan,” Extended Read 1: The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today, and Extended Read 2: Going Out, students write how different societies can affect one another even from different parts of the globe. They explain what it means to be a global society using details from the text as examples.
  • Students participate in process writing.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, the teacher introduces students to argumentative writing using modeling, anchor charts, and Mentor text to analyze the author’s use of facts, details and writing structures. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 3, the teacher reminds students of their earlier work and how that work will help them plan their own argument essays about what qualities a true friend must have. In Mini-Lesson 6, partners use “In Hiding” to find friend qualities and add them to a three-column chart. In Mini-Lesson 9, students use evidence to form a claim. In Mini-Lesson 11, students plan and organize their argument essay. In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 3, students build an opening paragraph by discussing and orally rehearsing with a partner during Guided Practice and then working independently to draft their own. In Mini-Lesson 6, students focus on drafting reasons for their claim using supporting text evidence. In Mini-Lesson 8, students focus on ways to clarify relationships between their claims and reasons and varying sentences by using correlative conjunctions. In Mini-Lesson 10, students continue to draft, revise, and edit paying close attention to any inappropriate shifts in pronouns and verb tense. In Mini-Lesson 12, students self-evaluate their work using a rubric.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Process Writing, students begin their argumentative essay. The teacher models brainstorming how to come up with a topic, and during the Guided Practice, students work with partners to brainstorm ideas. Students then create a brainstorming notes chart and fill out two rows of the chart. Student work continues on this writing through Unit 5, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12 when they finalize and publish their essays.
  • Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • In Unit 4, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 6, students are revising with a focus on looking for ways to add temporal transition words, phrases, and clauses to better convey sequence. In Mini-Lesson 8, students revise and edit to add precise words and phrases and sensory language to improve their descriptions. Students can refer to the Journal Entry Anchor Chart and the Journal Entry Writing Checklist for support.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 10, Process Writing, students edit their historical fiction writing. The teacher models how to use a dictionary to help correct spelling in a text. Students then work with partners to practice editing text to correct spelling. The Teacher’s Resource gives instructions for students to pay attention to their spelling when revising using the dictionary as necessary to correct misspelled words.
    • In Unit 10, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 11, students use the Limerick Anchor Chart and the Limerick Writing Checklist to edit and improve their drafts. Using the checklist, students make necessary corrections and check off each item on the list.
  • Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Some examples include:
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12, Process Writing, students use technology to publish their informative/explanatory essay by typing their final copies on a computer. A keyboarding lesson is provided in the additional materials.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, in the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students use the information learned from the unit texts and combine it with research from other sources to create a multimedia presentation that explains the similarities and differences between democracy in the United States and the British monarch.
    • The culminating Research and Inquiry Project provides presentation suggestions for students which include digital resources. In Unit 2, suggestions include a video or podcast interview, magazine profile or digital slide-show. 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.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, students use the Mentor Opinion Essays, “The Dog and the Bone” and “The Ant and the Dove”, to highlight key features such as a clearly stated opinion, topic introduction, text evidence used as a support, and a conclusion related to the opinion and prepare students to write about which fable has the more important message. In Week 2, students begin to form their own ideas, gather evidence, and organize their essay. In Mini-Lesson 11, students organize their information and plan their essays. Using the Opinion Planning Chart, students record their ideas for the introduction, paragraph 2, paragraph 3, and the conclusion. In Week 3, students begin writing, starting with the introduction in Mini-Lesson 3. In Mini-Lesson 6, the teacher explains that students will finish drafting their essays. With a partner, students orally rehearse ideas for their body paragraphs and during independent writing time students who are ready draft body paragraphs. In Mini-Lesson 8, students revise and edit focusing on verbs. In Mini-Lesson 10, students revise and edit focusing on linking words, and in Mini-Lesson 12, students determine if they are finished and use a rubric to evaluate their essay.
    • In Unit 5, students write an argumentative essay on a topic of their choosing. Students go through the writing process, beginning with brainstorming. In Unit 5, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12, Process Writing, students complete their argumentative essay. The Teacher’s Resource states, “Direct students to consult their Argumentative Essay Writing Rubric.” The Argumentative Essay Writing Rubric is provided in the Additional Resources.
    • In Unit 5, in the student consumable, after reading Short Read 1: “Robot Cops” and Short Read 2: “Robots in the Workplace,” students write an opinion essay answering the prompt: “Technology innovations have completely changed the way people work. Is this technology good or bad for people's jobs?”
  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing.
    • In Unit 1, students work on an informative/explanatory essay. The writing prompt is based on mentor text read during the unit. In Unit 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, the prompt is included in the additional materials. The prompt states, “Write an explanatory essay in which you discuss effective ways to protect nature. Your essay must be based on ideas and information from ‘Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ and ‘Protectors of the Land.’ Be sure to use evidence from both sources and avoid overly relying on one source.”
    • In Unit 3, Build/Reflect/Write, after reading Short Read 1: “Aristotle and Democracy,” Short Read 2:“The Haudenosaunee Confederacy,” Extended Read 1: “Queen Elizabeth I of England, and Extended Read 2: “Queen Elizabeth of England”, students write an informative essay answering the prompt: “Why might some societies be democracies and others monarchies? Write an informative essay about why societies might form different kinds of government. Use text evidence from this unit.”
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 11, students begin to write their drafts for the writing prompt: “Think about famous historical figures you have studied. Choose one specific person who interests you. Write a brief informative/explanatory essay about the person you selected. Include evidence from at least one source text in your response." In Mini-Lesson 13, students revise and edit their work checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing.
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, students work to develop characters from the Mentor Text. During independent writing time, students create a Character Traits Chart for a character from a previously read leveled text. During Week 2, students plan their narrative journal entries based on an event in “A Little Seed.” In Mini-Lesson 3, the writing prompt is, “You are Bud Caldwell. Write a journal entry in which you recount your first conversation with Herman E. Calloway and how you explained to him why you think he could be your father. Be sure to use what you have learned about the setting, characters, and events in ‘A Little Seed.’” In Week 3, Mini-Lesson 8, students revise and edit using their Journal Entry Anchor Chart and Journal Entry Writing Checklist to look for places to use precise words and phrases and sensory language to improve descriptions.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 11, students organize their notes using the Journal Entry Writing Checklist and write in response to the prompt, “Imagine that, like James, you traveled west on the Oregon Trail in 1846. Write a journal entry describing what you saw and felt on the first day of your journey. Use details from ‘Traveling West’ in your journal entry.” In Mini-Lesson 12, students revise and edit their entries.
    • In Unit 7, students work on writing a Historical Fiction narrative piece. Students begin by reading the mentor text, “The Ship’s Boys,” and looking at the Historical Fiction Writing Checklist. Both are provided in the additional materials. Students work through the writing process to finalize this narrative in Unit 7, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 12, Process Writing. A rubric is provided in the additional materials for this lesson.

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.

Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 6, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, the teacher models how to use information from a text to write an informative/explanatory essay. The Teacher’s Resource gives the following example teachers could use to set up the lesson: “We’ve discussed that all informative/explanatory essays need to have certain features. These features include facts and details that support the topic. Today, I’ll show you how I use a source text to find relevant facts and concrete details to support the topic I have established in the introduction to my essay.” The teacher modeling provides an opportunity for students to learn the process of writing and essay.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 7, Apply Understanding, students answer Question 2 in Write: Use Text Evidence located in the consumable anchor text: “Compare and contrast the endings of ‘Feyrouz the Brave’ and ‘Jason’s Challenge.’ Which ending provides a better sense of resolution? Cite specific text evidence to support your writing.” The heading implies that students will write an answer, but no specific directions are provided for students to respond, nor is there teacher support for exemplar responses.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Short Read 1, students read “Aristotle and Democracy.” In the interactive eBook, students respond to the following prompt: “How would Aristotle argue that democracy is the best form of government? Use details from the text to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Teacher’s Resource, during the independent Apply Understanding section, students annotate the rhythm and rhyming patterns in the last stanza of the poem, “Eldorado," and write a brief explanation of the poem’s structure.
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 8, Extended Read 1, students answer Question 1 in the Write: Use Text Evidence: “In paragraph 2 of ‘Rome’s Augustan Age,’ we learn that Augustus once said, ‘I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.’ How well do the paragraphs that follow support Augustus’s claim? Support your ideas with specific text, evidence and examples from the text.” The heading implies that students will write an answer but no specific directions are provided for students to respond, nor is there teacher support for exemplar responses.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 2, students answer Question 1 in Write: Use Text Evidence: “In ‘Going Out,’ what can you infer about the factory work and factory workers in China? Cite evidence from the text in your answer." The heading implies that students will write an answer, but no specific directions are provided for students to respond.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, during the independent Apply Understanding time, students answer Question 3 in Write: Use Text Evidence in the consumable anchor text: “Compare and contrast how ‘Mission to Mars’ and the section ‘Biking’s Unsolved Physics Mystery’ present how scientists develop and test their theories. Support your thinking with evidence from the text.” The heading implies that students will write an answer, but no specific directions are provided for students to respond, 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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:

  • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher displays and reads aloud a chart of subjective verbs and guides students to identify and analyze subjective pronouns in the text, “Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Friend of the Everglades.” Students work in pairs to read and annotate text to identify and analyze subjective pronouns.
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher reminds students they have been learning objective and subjective pronouns and sets the purpose for today’s lesson to focus on possessive pronouns. The teacher displays and reads aloud text from “The Writings of John Muir” and models how to analyze and annotate the text. Students work in pairs to analyze and annotate the remaining text, explaining how the possessive pronoun functions in the sentence.
  • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher tells students that intensive pronouns refer back and emphasize a noun or pronoun in a sentence, but can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. The teacher displays “We Continue Our Decent” and models identifying possessive pronouns. Students work in pairs using the mentor text to practice identifying possessive pronouns.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, students complete a worksheet by circling intensive pronouns in sentences and filling in the blanks in sentences with intensive pronouns.
  • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • In Unit 2, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher displays “Feyrouz the Brave” and models identifying pronouns and verb tense. The teacher says, “First I’ll find and underline the pronouns, and then I’ll make sure they’re the correct case. I find two pronouns in this sentence: she and her. The pronouns must refer to female Feyrouz since the other characters mentioned are male. The pronoun is third-person singular, which is correct in this instance.”
    • In Unit 2, Week 3, students complete a worksheet by circling the correct pronoun from a set of three in sentences. The students read three sentences and underline the incorrect pronoun, then rewrite the sentence using the correct pronoun.
  • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher sets the purpose for the lesson by explaining that they have been working on using subjective, objective, and possessive pronouns in their writing, but if they use vague pronouns their writing will be confusing. The teacher models recognizing and correcting vague pronouns using “Cassie’s Fight” on pages 12-16 of Characters and Crossroads. Students work with a partner to identify and circle pronouns in sample text.
    • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher starts the lesson saying “Previously, we learned about the importance of pronouns agreeing with their antecedents in number and person. Today we’ll learn how to make sure that pronouns are clearly linked to their antecedent.” The teacher displays and reads aloud paragraph 4 from “Probing the Ocean Deep” and models how to correct vague pronouns. Students work in pairs to apply skills to the text.
  • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 7, the teacher sets the purpose for the lesson saying, “Today we’re going to examine how and why authors break rules of standard English in order to create style and add meaning to their texts.” The teacher displays paragraph 6 from “A Little Seed” and models thinking while analyzing the text. The teacher displays a practice text and students work in pairs to revise the sentence to follow standard English.
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 13, the teacher displays an unedited model text and reads aloud the first sentence, revising the sentence using variations of standard English. Students work in pairs to revise the remaining sentences using variations of standard English.
  • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Lesson 8, the teacher sets a purpose for the lesson by telling students that writers often use punctuation as a tool to develop rhythm and style. The teacher models by using stanzas from “Eldorado.” The teacher thinks aloud to explain why the author used dashes within the stanzas. The teacher circles the dashes to draw attention to them and make note that they will pause when they come to the dashes when reading. Students practice with partners using a new text, “The Broken Sphere.” Students identify and circle the dash and explain why they think the author has included it in the text.
  • Spell correctly.
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Lesson 10, the teacher sets a purpose for the lesson by telling students that they will learn how to edit for correct spelling and punctuation errors and ensure that the pronouns they use relate clearly to the noun. The teacher models using an Unedited Modeling Text and models how to identify errors by thinking aloud. Students practice with a partner and use a Practice Text to correct spelling, punctuation, and pronoun use. Students prepare for independent writing by continuing to work on their essays. As they draft, revise, and edit, students are to watch for and correct errors in spelling and punctuation and clarify unclear pronouns.
  • Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 5, the teacher sets a purpose for the lesson by telling students that they will learn how to use different sentence patterns, rather than the same one over and over again, to add detail to their writing and make it more interesting to the reader. The teacher models this with the text and annotates thinking by noticing that there are a mix of simple and complex sentences in the writing. Students practice using the same text with partners, annotating the different sentence types and discuss why the author made those choices and think about how the varied sentence structures and the punctuation change the pace and possibly the meaning of the section.
  • Maintain consistency in style and tone.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Lesson 3, the teacher reminds students that informative/explanatory essays are written using a formal style and tone. They will learn how to revise their essays to maintain a formal style and tone throughout the essay. The teacher models using a draft modeling text and thinks aloud while changing a word, phrase, or sentence within the draft text. Students practice with partners and discuss what they would change to present a formal style and tone, recording their edited versions. Students prepare for independent writing where they review their informative/explanatory essay drafts and make revisions to maintain a formal style and tone.
  • Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher models using context clues to determine the meaning of the word examinations in the text, “Cassie's Fight.”
    • In Unit 8, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher models using context clues to determine the meaning of the word strewn in the text, “The South Pole." Teacher instructions state, “That sounds to me as though the sea is hiding something under the water but that the narrator is concerned that the banks are located throughout the sea. I think strewn means 'scattered about'.”
  • Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible)
    • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 2, the teacher models using the Reading Big Words Strategy with words that contain Greek roots bio, hydro, atmo, and photo. The teacher is provided with modeling to circle the Greek root in words provided in the text and scripting to explain the meaning of the root and applies the meaning of the root to determine the meaning of the words. “The Greek root bio means life. Scientists that work in biology study living organisms.”
    • In Unit 9, Week 3, Lesson 2, the teacher uses the Reading Big Words strategy to decode words with Latin roots. The teacher writes the words provided on the board, reads the word, and circles the Latin root in each word. Modeling and Scripting is provided. The teacher models with the root migr telling students that it means to move, and explains how adding the affixes creates similar, but different meaning with words immigrate and emigrate. The teacher models with additional root words. In guided practice, students work with a Latin roots chart with roots and sort and discuss the meaning of additional words, defining the words based on what they know about the roots words. Students are to use dictionaries to confirm their definitions and use the words in a sentence.
  • Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
    • In Unit 4, Week 3, Lesson 2, the teacher models using the Reading Big Word Strategy on words with vowel teams oo, ou, ui, and oe. The teacher displays words provided and models dividing the words into syllables to read them. In Apply Understanding and Build Fluency students are reminded to check print and digital reference materials to confirm and pronunciations, definition, and parts of speech of words in the lesson. The teacher is to provide the Reference Materials Guide to students needing additional support.
  • Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
    • In Unit 8, Week 1, Lesson 12, the teacher has students look at the text, “Glaciers on the Move” for unfamiliar domain specific words and use context clues to help them determine their meanings. The teacher has students underline unfamiliar domain specific words in the text, look for and annotate clues surrounding the words to help determine the word’s meaning. During independent time, students write three to four sentences describing glaciers using the domain specific words they found in the text.
    • In Unit 10, Week 1, Lesson 5, the teacher models using context clues to determine the meaning of the word complex in the text, “Mission to Mars.” The teacher models explaining that the word complex is homograph and discusses the possible meanings of the word. The teacher tells students to confirm their final definition conclusion by looking it up in a dictionary. In Apply Understanding and Build Fluency, students are to complete “Build Vocabulary” in “Forces: Going to Extremes” on page 10.
  • Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Lesson 5, students practice identifying and interpreting figurative language in the text, “A Little Seed." The teacher displays a question for students to apply to the text for understanding of the meaning of roach-infected head in the text. The teacher allows students time to reread and annotate context clues in a portion of the text and discuss their responses. Students discuss how the meaning of figurative language helps them understand the tone and the intention of characters in the text. In Apply Understanding, students select a text, annotate, and identify examples of figurative language. Students write three to four sentences to explain the types of figurative language found and their interpretations of that figurative language.
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Lesson 8, the teacher models how to read a text closely to show how personification helps readers understand the concepts of the text. Teacher modeling is provided to reread a paragraph in the text and answer the question, “How does the personification of the stream help you understand the author’s description?” In guided practice, students work in groups or partners to answer a close reading question about personification, and must reread and annotate the text. During independent time, students answer a close reading question in which they are to underline key details and write their explanations.
  • Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Lesson 4, the teacher models how authors use item/category word relationships. The teacher discusses how items can be grouped into categories, using the item/category relationship analogy. Teacher modeling is provided to determine the definition of fields in the text and how the items within the category of fields help the reader better understand the meaning of the word. In guided practice, students work in groups or pairs and continue to review the text for examples of item/category word relationships, underlining the items and annotating the text. During independent time, students locate and record two item/category word relationships in an informational text leveled reader students have previously read. They are encouraged to use sticky notes to annotate the text.
    • In Unit 9, Week 2, Lesson 5, the teacher models the author’s use of parts/whole relationships to clarify meaning in the text, “The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today.” The teacher directs students to reread the first paragraph, make annotations to highlight the relationships between words in the text, and write word meanings in the margins of the text. In Apply Understanding, students are to identify words related to the concept of hostile landscapes in paragraph 3 of the text. Students define the words, cite the parts/whole word relationship, and use reference materials to confirm the meaning of their words.
  • Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Lesson 12, in Extended Read 1, the teacher models using context clues to understand a word’s connotation and nuance. The teacher is provided with modeling to explain to students the concepts of connotation and nuance. The teacher models determining the meaning of the word stricken in the text “Jason’s Challenge.” Teacher directions state: “Stricken must have a negative connotation and must mean that the king is unhappy.” In guided practice, students find words listed in a chart and work in partners to annotate the text to determine the connotation and meaning of each word and confirm their meanings with reference materials. During independent time, students reread a page of the text and find the meaning of the words fixed, gripped and clamor.
    • In Unit 10, Week 2, Lesson 5, the teacher has students determine words’ connotative meanings in the text, “Flip, Spin, and Soar.” Students choose from words steep, jammed, and breathtakingly found in a paragraph of the text, and they must identify the word meanings and connotations. Students list two other words with the same meaning, looking up the meaning either online or in a thesaurus as needed. Students explain the connotations of the words with similar meanings and why the author chose the word they did. During independent time, students select a level reader they have previously read and find three to four words with connotative meanings. They define their words and why the author chose them instead of words with similar meanings.

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 1, Week 1, Grammar and Spelling Activity Book, page 8, students complete a worksheet by reading sentences and circling the pronoun to complete the sentence correctly.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Lesson 13, the teacher displays unedited text portion of the Modeling Text, reads aloud sentence 1, and points out the underlined pronoun they. Students work in pairs to identify vague pronouns and revise the sentences.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
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 consistently 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, although supporting comprehension of knowledge not consistent. 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, may need teacher supplement to assure they provide adequate 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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, Legendary Journeys. 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 4 is organized around the theme The Reader’s Perspective. The Essential Question is "How does the journey through life influence a person’s point of view?" and the knowledge focus is, “In this unit, students will explore different points of view on a range of topics by reading poetry and realistic fiction, as well as an informational text. They will build schema around the following concepts:
    • Every story-- both real and fictional-- has a point of view that affects the way it is told.
    • People’s-- and characters’-- points of view are influenced by their life experiences.
    • People come from diverse backgrounds and have diverse values and traditions, so they may view experiences in different ways."

Enduring Understanding: Part of an author’s craft is developing the point of view of the speaker or narrator in a story.

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 topic Legendary Journeys. The Essential Question is "What inspires a quest?" and the knowledge focus is, “In this unit, students will read a range of literature including fantasy, a legend, narrative poetry, and a screenplay, about characters that are on a quest. Students will build schema around the following concepts:
    • A quest is a classic literary form in which the protagonists, or main characters, go on a journey or search for something.
    • The outer journey of the quest is usually accompanied by an inner journey, as the protagonists learn and grow.
    • The lessons protagonists learn on quests can often be applied to real-life situations.
    • Quest tales are part of the oral or written tradition of nearly every known culture.
    • Though a quest may be distinctly linked to a specific culture, these tales explore universal themes that speak to all people."

Enduring Understanding: Certain ancient themes are continually explored in literature.

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 9 is organized around the topic Economic Expansion. The Essential Question is "What does it mean to be a citizen in a global society?" and the knowledge focus is, “In this unit, students will read informational texts about early and modern trade routes and the impact of international trade. Students will build schema around the following concepts:
    • Trade routes, such as the Silk Road, have developed since ancient times to transport goods from one place to another.
    • Today’s global economy is based on the international trade of goods, services, and resources.
    • When people have needs and wants that exceed the resources available to them, they will seek better economic opportunities elsewhere.
    • Throughout history, the trading of goods and services has been a major catalyst in the exchange of culture (knowledge, religion, and language) between different groups of people."

Enduring Understanding: Today’s global economy had its beginnings in the trade routes of ancient times.

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 10 is organized around the topic Forces: Going to Extremes. The Essential Question is "How does our knowledge of forces help us make sense of Earth-- and beyond?" and the knowledge focus is, “In this unit, students will read informational texts about force and motion, and how humans use their knowledge of physics to push boundaries in space exploration and sports. Students will build schema around the following concepts:
    • The force of gravity impacts all aspects of life on Earth and space exploration.
    • The laws of motion explain what happens when forces make things move.
    • Humans use their understanding of forces and motion to carry out small- and large-scale tasks (work)."

Enduring Understanding: Movements on Earth and in space is controlled by force and motion.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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 3, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 11, Poetry Out Loud, students use the poem, “Revolutionary Dreams,” to look at the author's word choice. The students reread lines 11–16 in the poem and think about the author’s word choice. Teachers guide students using the following questions: “As you reread this section, think about the change you hear in the speaker’s attitude. How have her dreams changed? How does the word awoke imply a change? Why does the author repeat the word natural in this section? What do you think she means when she refers to “a revolution” at the end of the poem?”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1: “The South Pole” from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, students analyze the author’s word choice and how those choices affect meaning and tone. During Guided Practice: Annotate, Pair, Share, partners reread the last paragraph on Page 4 and discuss words used to describe the island. During Share and Reflect, partners discuss how analyzing word choices deepens understanding of text tone and meaning. During the independent Apply Understanding section, students reread the entire passage to find words related to Captain Nemo and his feelings.

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

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 8, Extended Read 1, students read “The Fascinating World of Nature.” The lesson focuses on the use of personification. The teacher provides students with the following prompt, “Reread paragraph 4. How does the personification of the stream help you understand the author’s description? Underline the key details in the text and write your explanation in the margin.” The teacher models how to answer the question, using an example provided in the Teacher's Resource. The students discuss the following prompt with a partner: “Reread paragraph 4. What image does the personification of rain create in your mind? How does this image affect your feelings about the topic? Underline the key details in the text and write your explanation in the margin.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 2: “The Meeting" and "A Little Seed” from Bud, Not Buddy, students answer the following Close Reading question: “Compare and contrast how the authors of ‘The Meeting’ and ‘A Little Seed’ use conflict to develop the main character’s point of view. Cite specific evidence to support your answer.” During independent Apply Understanding, students answer Question 1 in Write: Use Text Evidence from the consumable anchor text: “Reread paragraphs 1-2 of ‘A Little Seed’ and paragraphs 4-7 of ‘The Meeting.’ Compare and contrast the way each author uses figurative language to develop the narrator’s point of view. Cite specific evidence to support your answer.”

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

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1: “In Hiding” from The Diary of Anne Frank: A Play, students examine how scenes fit into the overall structure of a play. During Guided Practice, partners complete the following task, “Read the remainder of Anne’s soliloquy. Underline two examples of text evidence that help you identify the scene as part of the rising action. Write your reasoning in the margin.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 8, Extended Read 1, students read “Rome’s Augustan Age” and look at how the structure of the paragraphs help to develop ideas for the text as a whole. The teacher provides students with the following prompt, “In paragraph 2 of 'Rome’s Augustan Age,' we learn that Augustus once said, ‘I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.’ How well do the paragraphs that follow support Augustus’s claim? Support your ideas with specific text evidence and examples from the text.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 13, Short Read 2: “Glaciers On The Move,” during Constructive Conversation: Partner, students complete the following task in pairs: “Reread paragraph 1 of ‘Glaciers on the Move.’ Why do you think the author included the quote from John Muir? Annotate the text for details that support your analysis and jot your ideas in the margin.”

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

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students work to determine the key idea of “Robot Cops.” The teacher begins by reminding students that they worked on this skill in Unit 1, and then has students work with a partner on the following Constructive Conversation prompt: “Underline the key ideas in the text that the photographs and captions on pages 4 and 5 elaborate. Then draw lines from the key ideas to the corresponding photographs or captions. Discuss how the author uses the photograph and caption to elaborate the key idea. Jot your ideas in the margin.” Students have an opportunity to share with their class.
  • In Unit 9, Short Read 1: “Marco Polo, China Trader” by Andrea Matthews and Extended Read 1:The Silk Road, Yesterday and Today” by Alexandra Hanson-Harding, students use text evidence to answer the following: “The author writes that the old Silk Road ‘would be remembered in legend.’ Do you think the author has the same point of view of the modern Silk Road? Why or why not? Use details from the text to support your thinking.” Students then describe Marco Polo’s journey to the Silk Road and back using details from the selections.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 1: “Flip, Spin, and Soar!", Constructive Conversation: Partner, students respond to the following question, “Review the graphic features of ‘Flip, Spin, and Soar!’ What is the central idea of the text, and how do the details in the graphic features support it?”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 1, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students read “Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Friend of the Everglades.” The teacher then models answering the following prompt: “Reread paragraphs 2–3. How do the events in these paragraphs develop the idea that Stoneman Douglas was an influential naturalist?” The students then work with a partner to answer the following question, “How do the events in paragraphs 4–6 develop the idea that Douglas is a defender of the Everglades?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, “In Response to Executive Order 9066” and “Executive Order 9006,” Mini-Lesson 10, Share and Reflect, partners answer the following questions: “How do the narrator’s words and thoughts help you create a mental image of her? What do you know about the narrator’s feelings based on the mental images you created? What other strategies did you use and how did they help you? How did the poem deepen your understanding of the topic?”

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

  • In Unit 5, Week 3, Mini-Lesson 4, Extended Read 2, students read “Updating Archeology” and answer the following question during Constructive Conversations: “Reread paragraphs 1 through 4. What role does Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb have in introducing the key idea of this article? Support your answer, with information from the text.” In Mini-Lesson 7, Extended Read 2, students answer the following question for Apply Understanding, “In ‘Updating Archaeology,’ the author claims that ‘Technology has allowed archaeologists to save time and money while conducting excavations.’ Write 4–5 sentences explaining what example you think best supports that statement.” In Mini-Lesson 9, Extended Read 2, students complete the following during the Apply Understanding section, “Examine the chart in ‘Robots in the Workplace’ and the time line from ‘Updating Archaeology.’ What trend do these graphics features show? What can you infer about the future of archaeology?” These mini lessons work together to help the students build knowledge.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Write: Use Text Evidence, Short Read 1: “The Golden Age of Greece” by Catherine Goodridge and Short Read 2: “Ancient Egypt’s Golden Empire” by Vidas Barzukas, students answer the following questions: “Religion was very important to the ancient Greeks. What details from pages 4–5 support this statement? What can you infer about the lives of Egyptian pharaohs? Use supporting information from the text in your answer. Read Across Text: Both ancient Greece and ancient Egypt left behind large monuments. How were those monuments similar? How were they different? Use evidence from the texts to support your answers.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, “The South Pole” from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and “We Continue Our Descent” from Journey to the Center of the Earth, during Constructive Conversation: Partner, students reread and annotate while answering the prompt: “Both ‘The South Pole’ and ‘We Continue Our Descent’ deal with the theme of exploration and discovery. Compare and contrast the setting of each story and the ways that the characters respond to these settings. What can you infer about the message that each text conveys about exploration and discovery? Support your thinking with details from the text.” During Share and Reflect, partners discuss how common elements reveal Verne’s thoughts and opinions. During the independent Apply Understanding time, students answer Question 3 in the consumable anchor text: “Compare and contrast Captain Nemo from ‘The South Pole’ and Professor Hardwigg from ‘We Continue Our Descent.’ How do their demeanors reflect how these texts approach the theme of leadership? Support your thinking with details from the text.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 an environment and research how humans continue to raise awareness for the region. The Learning Targets cover both Research Presentation Skills and Science Concepts. The following are some of the learning targets for research presentation skills: “Conduct short research projects, gathering relevant information from print and digital sources. Create a presentation on a topic, using technology, audio recordings, and visual displays when appropriate.” The learning targets for science concepts state: “Human activity can cause habitat destruction, introductions of invasive species, overuse of resources, and climate change. Humans can develop ways to reduce their impact on the environment.”
  • In Unit 2, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select a character from the unit texts and one from your own reading to analyze how they respond to challenges. 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 video or podcast interview, magazine profile, or digital slide show. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities 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, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project asks students to choose a government system they learned about in the unit and compare and contrast it with similar government systems of another country. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 7, Short Read 1, students work with a partner to answer the following guided practice question, “Work with a partner or in a small group to reread paragraphs 3-4. Annotate the paragraph for details and write down your ideas in the margin. Then have students draw their own conclusions on the role of citizens in a democracy.” Possible responses are provided in the Teacher’s Resource. In Week 2, Mini-Lesson 12, Extended Read 1, students respond to the following prompt during Constructive Conversation: “Based on his views on democracy and government, would Aristotle consider Queen Elizabeth to be an ‘absolute monarch’? Why or why not? Use details from both texts to support your response.” The Teacher’s Resource then states, “Give partners time to reread, annotate the text, and discuss their responses. Observe their conversations to determine the level of support they may need. Ask several students to share their ideas with the class. See the sidebar for possible response. To provide additional support or extend the experience, use ‘Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy.’” These tasks help the teacher determine the student’s readiness for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 4, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select an author from the unit texts and one from your own reading to analyze their writing style. 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 interactive author biography, imagined author podcast, author video interview, fanzine about the author, or students can extend by writing a letter to one of the unit’s authors. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities 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 6, the Research and Inquiry Project is to choose two stories, one from the unit and another from your own selections, reading to compare and contrast characters and their quests. 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 quest comic book, interactive quest map, quest animated summary, video interview, or students can extend by writing their own quest story. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities 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 7, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project asks students to act as a tour guide and present a wonder from an ancient civilization to travelers. The following are the guiding questions for the presentation, “How do these creations contribute to the ‘greatness’ of an ancient civilization? Based on what you have learned from the unit texts and your research, how have the contributions of ancient civilizations influenced modern civilization? How can an ancient civilization’s creations help you learn about their culture and values?” A teacher rubric and student rubric are provided in the additional materials. The rubrics cover the following topics, content, presentation, effort and collaboration.
  • In Unit 9, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project asks students to work with a partner or a group to explore an item shared along the ancient Silk Road and an item shared along the modern Silk Road and share the information to the class through a multimedia presentation. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 13, Cross Text Analysis, students respond to the following prompt during Constructive Conversation, “How can you integrate information from the maps in ‘Marco Polo, Cina Trader’ with ‘Kublai, the Great Khan’ to increase your understanding of the world they lived in?” The Teacher’s Resources states, “Observe student conversations to determine the level of support they need. Select several students to share their ideas with the class. See the sidebar for possible response. Use Reinforce or Reaffirm the Strategy to provide additional support or to extend students’ learning experience.” This helps the teacher determine if students are prepared for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 10, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select a modern mode of transportation and use additional resources to compare and contrast what has been learned about space exploration and bicycling. 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 interview, online presentation, poster, biography, or students can extend by writing a short informational text about the physicist they researched. Teachers can structure authentic presentation opportunities 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.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 4, one of the literary terms mentioned in the Vocabulary Development section of the unit resources is metaphor. In Week 1, Mini-Lesson 4, Short Read 1, the teacher reminds students that they worked with metaphors in a previous unit. The teacher then models finding metaphors in the poem, “Up-Hill.” Students work with partners to answer the following prompt: “Read the second and third stanzas of ‘Up-Hill.’ What are two examples of metaphor in these stanzas? What is your interpretation of these metaphors?” In the Apply Understanding section, students independently read “The Road” and find and interpret two metaphors in the poem. The students continue work with metaphors in Unit 4, Week 2, Mini-Lessons 5 and 8.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Short Read 1: “Robot Cops” and Short Read 2: “Robots In The Workplace,” Mini-Lesson 1, during View Multimedia and Build Vocabulary (3 min.), the teacher shows students the Unit 5 video. The teacher “Write[s] the Domain-Specific vocabulary, such as advances, inventions, and effects, on the board.” These words are not Domain-Specific vocabulary for this unit. The teacher replays the video so students can listen for those words, noting how they are used. The teacher clarifies any misunderstandings the students may still have about the vocabulary. The materials include a Developing Vocabulary Using Routines statement in a box on the bottom right of the page. Teacher guidance reminds them to use the provided routine for direct instruction of new vocabulary words. Additional teacher guidance notes that these words can be found on page 8 and routines can be located in the Additional Resources section. Teacher directions state, “After reading, extend vocabulary learning using the Academic Vocabulary Routine as well as having students complete the weekly 'Build Vocabulary' in Texts for Close Reading.” In Mini-Lesson 4, the teacher models how to determine meaning using Latin roots. The first word modeled, subterranean, is a General Academic vocabulary word, but the next two words used to model the process are not General Academic or Domain-Specific vocabulary words. During Guided Practice, students annotate and figure out meanings of six additional words, none of which are General Academic or Domain-Specific vocabulary words. In Mini-Lesson 5, during Use Decoding and Context Clues to Determine Word Meaning, the teacher points out the word, autonomous, a Domain-Specific vocabulary word, and models using syllabication to read the word. During the independent Apply Understanding and Build Fluency tasks, students complete the Build Vocabulary activity in the consumable anchor text, defining and writing a sentence for four words. Three of the eight General Academic vocabulary words are included, as well as one of four Domain-Specific vocabulary words.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, students complete the Build Vocabulary activity included in the Build Reflect Write section of the eBook, Forces: Going to the Extreme. Students fill out a chart with the following four words: efficient, feasible, impractical, resistance. Students use the new vocabulary strategies to determine their own definition for the words and a sentence using the words. These four words are listed in the General Academic and Domain-Specific list provided for the teacher in the Vocabulary Development. These words are in the texts read throughout this week, but they are not repeated from one text to another.

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: firsthand account, metaphor, simile, idiom, poetry versus prose, and point of view.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 1, Unit Introduction, the teacher writes the Domain-Specific words mythology and holy grail on the board. Students watch the Unit 6 video and use audio and visual clues to determine the meaning of the words. At the end of the mini-lesson, there is a section titled “Developing Vocabulary Using Routines.” This section outlines how teachers should use the vocabulary routines found in Additional Resources and mentions the list of General Academic and Domain-Specific vocabulary that is provided in the Vocabulary Development section. Neither mythology nor holy grail are listed in the Vocabulary Development section.
  • In Unit 7, 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 clamor, composed, distorted and undisputed from “Rome’s Augustan Age.”

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 1, the writing focus is Informative/Explanatory, write to a text-based prompt. In Week 1, the teacher models how to identify key features of an essay and use anchor charts, planning guides, and checklists to identify and organize information in preparation for writing. In Mini-Lesson 6, students read paragraphs 2 and 6 of “Protectors of the Land” and write additional facts and details that support the Mentor Text’s topic. In Mini-Lesson 11, students analyze the author’s concluding statement and draft a new concluding statement, summarizing the essay in their own words. In Week 2, students plan to write their own informative/explanatory essay based on details from “Protectors of the Land” and “This Fascinating World of Nature.” Students annotate sources, identify facts, and plan for writing using their Facts and Details Charts and their Informative/Explanatory Essay Planning Guides. In Mini-Lesson 11, students plan graphic elements for their essays. In Week 3, students begin writing their essays using their Essay Planning Guide, Essay Writing Checklist, Essay Anchor Chart, and Essay Writing Rubric. Students begin with the introduction, followed by body paragraphs that incorporate facts, definitions, and details. In Mini-Lesson 8, students focus on using precise and descriptive language and domain-specific vocabulary. In Mini-Lesson 10, students finish drafting and begin revising and editing focusing on spelling, punctuation, and correct pronoun usage. In Mini-Lesson 12, students evaluate their essays using a rubric and reflect on the process with a partner.
  • In Unit 2, students write an argumentative essay. In Unit 2, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based prompt, the teacher provides the mentor writing prompt and mentor text, and uses them to discuss elements needed in an argumentative essay. Throughout Week 1, the teacher uses the mentor text to model how to analyze an argumentative essay, before students work on their own independently. By Week 3, students are drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their argumentative essay. While there is a mini-lesson on how to create an introductory paragraph for an argumentative paragraph, there is no clear instruction on how to create a concluding paragraph.

Middle-of-year examples include:

  • In Unit 5, the writing focus is opinion process writing. In Week 1, the teacher models elements of the process, and students work to become familiar with the steps and begin brainstorming a topic. Students examine and select credible print and digital sources and organize claims and reasons using two-column charts, checklists, and anchor charts. In Week 2, students begin writing the introduction, supporting claims with reasons, and writing a concluding statement. In Week 3, students begin revising their drafts focusing on varying sentence lengths, using formal language, proper use of pronouns and inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person. In Mini-Lesson 12, students evaluate their essays and if ready, use technology to create a title and publish their essays.
  • In Unit 6, students review writing narrative, argumentative, and informative/explanatory essays. In Unit 6, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Writing to a Text-Based Prompt, students write a journal entry in response to a text that they read. The Teacher’s Resource says, “Display and read aloud ‘Traveling West,’ stopping to highlight key details and events. Quickly demonstrate how you distinguish between important and unimportant details and events.” While the teacher models using the mentor writing prompt, the students use their independent writing time to respond to the student writing prompt. Mini-lessons 3, 6, and 9, are used to analyze the text and find details. Students begin drafting their response in Mini-Lesson 11, and revise and edit in Mini-Lesson 14.

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. By the end of the unit, students present a news report with the class. In Week 1, the teacher models key features of a news report including the audience, purpose and how facts and details contribute to the topic. In Mini-Lesson 11, students use the Brainstorm Chart to come up with two to three topics for their news reports. In Mini-Lesson 14, students select credible sources and take notes. In Week 2, students begin to draft sections of their news reports. In Mini-Lesson 3, students draft their introduction using the News Report Anchor Chart, News Report Writing Checklist, and Note-Taking Charts. Students draft the script with facts and details as well as the concluding statement. In Mini-Lesson 11, students gather images for the news report. In Mini-Lesson 13, students fill in their own Storyboard Planning Charts. In Week 3, students revise, edit, and evaluate their news reports. Edits focus on the use of domain-specific vocabulary and maintaining an objective tone. In Mini-Lesson 12, students complete a self-evaluation using the News Report Writing Rubric and reflect upon what they would do differently next time.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Mini-Lesson 3, Poetry Writing, students write a limerick. The teacher begins by distributing the Limerick Writing Checklist and the mentor text, “There Was an Old Man with a Beard.” Students use this mentor text to determine the key features of a limerick. Throughout Week 1, students analyze the features of a limerick, brainstorm ideas for a limerick, and begin to develop their ideas. In Week 2, students draft their limerick, work on how to end it well, revise, edit, and read it aloud.

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 6, Process Writing, students work to vary sentence patterns in their multimedia presentations. The materials provide teachers with guidance on modeling how to vary sentence patterns, as well as an example script they can use. The Additional Materials include a model text, a practice text, a multimedia presentation planning guide, a multimedia presentation writing checklist, and a multimedia presentation anchor chart.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 select a character from the unit texts and one from your own reading to analyze how they respond to challenges. Guiding questions are as follows: “How has this fictional character’s story changed you? What did this character do or say to inspire you to change? Based on what you have read in the unit texts and in your own reading, what qualities do inspiring these characters have in common? Why do you think readers admire these qualities? How can the inspiring actions of fictional characters help people in real-life situations?” Students gather information from the unit and other print and digital sources and reflect on how confronting challenges is part of life and people learn from these situations. Students create a presentation on the topic using technology.
  • In Unit 5, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project, students complete a project called Cutting Edge. The Teacher’s Resource contains a pacing guide, that shows the teacher how to plan the culminating task through the three weeks of the unit. The pacing guide includes Student Goals and Teacher Support. For example, under Week 1 for the Student Goals, the pacing guide states, “Select a research focus. Identify relevant information from the unit selection(s). Identify and evaluate sources of additional information and begin to conduct research.” Under Teacher Support for Week 1, the pacing guide states, “Work with groups who need assistance choosing a research focus. Create a content library with additional sources students will need, or arrange for groups to have library time.” This guidance for teachers repeats across all units without variation and does not include additional resources to support the teacher or students.
  • In Unit 6, the Research and Inquiry Project is to choose two stories, one from the unit and another from your own reading, to compare and contrast characters and their quests. Guiding questions include: “Why are stories about quests so popular? What makes them appealing to readers? Based on what you have learned from the unit texts and your research, what do you think these characters learned from their quests? The quest is a recurring theme in literature. What other themes are common in literature?” Students gather information from the unit and other print and digital sources and reflect on how quests about heroes having to overcome obstacles to reach a goal are a part of most cultures folklore. Students create a presentation on the topic using technology.
  • In Unit 7, for the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project students complete a project called Tour Guide. The Explore section in the Teacher’s Resource gives the following information: “If students need help in selecting an ancient civilization, preview the unit texts with them. Below is a list of examples from the unit texts. Encourage them to discuss what achievements they thought were the most interesting.” Underneath is a list of unit texts and the ancient civilizations they include, as well as the contributions that civilization made. This format for additional resources repeats across units yet it contains no additional support.
  • In Unit 10, the Research and Inquiry Project is to select a modern mode of transportation and use additional resources to compare and contrast what has been learned about space exploration and bicycling. Guiding questions include: “How does this technology use physics to help us understand Earth? How can we apply the physics from this modern technology to other activities, such as sports? How can understanding physics help us in our everyday activities and tasks?” Students gather information from the unit and other print and digital sources and reflect on how scientists and engineers can use physics to develop technology for exploring the Earth and beyond helping us to improve our daily lives. 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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

+
-
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 Rating Details

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 Rating Details

Indicator 3d

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

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 Rating Details

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 Rating Details

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 Rating Details

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

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 Rating Details

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 Rating Details

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
+
-
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
abc123

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/29/2020

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Benchmark Advance 2021 Gr. 6 1-Year Subscription Package 978-1-0786-3851-7 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

X