Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Calvert partially meet expectations of alignment to the standards. Materials meet the expectations of providing texts worthy of students’ time and attention. Instructional materials partially meet the expectation of providing opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Materials meet the criteria for providing opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Instructional materials partially provide coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills and do not provide culminating tasks in which students can demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. The foundational skills included in the materials partially meet expectations.


See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
32
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
20
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

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations for text quality for complexity and alignment to the standards. Materials include questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-based. Materials do not provide opportunities for discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and partially supports student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. Materials meet the criteria for providing opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Students have opportunities for evidence-based writing. Materials 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. The instructional materials partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. 

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
18/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for including anchor texts that are of publishable quality, are worthy of especially careful reading and/or listening, and consider a range of student interests. Texts meet the text complexity criteria for each grade and reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Students engage in a range and volume of reading. Materials meet the criteria that anchor texts and the series of text connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. Materials partially meet the expectations for materials supporting students’ literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Texts are high quality, including rich language and engaging content. Accompanying illustrations are high quality as well, supporting students' understanding and comprehension of the associated text. Examples of quality texts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students read The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. The Lemonade War is an award-winning, engaging realistic fiction story. Students are likely to relate to the characters, and the plot is uncomplicated but captivating. Illustrations are realistic, pleasing to the eye, and support the text.
  • In Unit 1, students read The Frog Princess: A Tlingit Legend from Alaska by Eric A. Kimmel. The Frog Princess: A Tlingit Legend from Alaska is a retelling of a magical tale of transformation. It is a unique cultural experience for readers. Students are likely to enjoy the rich language, determination of the princess character, and relate to the parents’ protective actions and intolerance of their daughter wanting to leave to live with the Frog People. Watercolor illustrations are appealing and support the story.
  • In Unit 2, students read, Treasure in the Trees by Christopher Cheng. Treasure in the Trees is a realistic fictional text that focuses on scientific observation. The text contains dialogue, past-tense, third-person narrative, and use of flashback. It also contains domain-specific descriptive vocabulary, academic vocabulary with definitions in context, idioms, and figurative language. Students will learn about the preservation of animal habitats and ideas about land development.
  • In Unit 2, students read About Earth by Pauline Cartwright. In this informational text, students will understand several explanations about geographical and environmental phenomena that occur on planet Earth. The sections of the text are organized by headings, text features, diagrams, and photographs that offer varying degrees of text support. The text contains domain-specific vocabulary with definition support in the glossary and varying sentence length. Students learn about several scientific processes and phenomena of Earth including gravity, water, light, weather, and geology.
  • In Unit 3, students read Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live by Shirin Yim Bridges. Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live is an informational text that assists students in understanding the way of life of people who live in extreme climates and building knowledge of people students have never encountered. The text contains diagrams and photographs, domain-specific vocabulary including words in other languages, and geographic and cultural proper nouns. Students will be exposed to cultural diversity and the impact of climate on people's way of life.
  • In Unit 4, students read Weather by Seymour Simon. Weather is an informational text. Students will understand the forces of weather and weather patterns. The diagrams, pictures, and specific word choice help students understand the topic.
  • In Unit 5, students read Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. This narrative text focuses on a blind Native American boy whose grandfather tells the story of the grandson’s birth and a great race. It uses the story as a metaphor and students are exposed to strong vocabulary such as wounded. Students are expected to use the word wounded and explain how it makes them feel as they read.
  • In Unit 5, students read Paul Bunyan by Stephen Krensky. Students are asked to read the literature chapter text Paul Bunyan and are exposed to vocabulary such as hitched, stubborn, and comfortable. This text is of publishable quality and worthy of children’s interest.
  • In Unit 6, students read Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds. In this historical fiction text, students are introduced to Rosa Parks. They are asked to understand the meaning of segregation, boycott, and racism. These are large concepts for students to comprehend. This is an example of a challenging piece of text.
  • In Unit 6, students read Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel. This is the true story of an immigrant girl who proves to be brave. Students learn the central focus and character traits by comparing this story with others that they have read.

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 3 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards.

Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide array of informational and literary text integrated throughout every module. Additional supplementary texts are included, resulting in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards, including folktale, historical fiction, legend/fairy tale, poetry, tall tale, realistic fiction, and explanatory text.

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

  • Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?: The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
  • Unit 1, Lesson: Elements of a Great Story: The Frog Princess: A Tlingit Legend from Alaska by Eric A. Kimmel
  • Unit 1, Lesson: Begin a Great Story: The Case of the Gasping Garbage by Michele Torrey
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees: Treasure in the Trees by Christopher Cheng
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Zudu’s Tour of Earth: About Earth by Pauline Cartwright
  • Unit 4, Lesson: What Causes Weather to Change on Earth?: “Weather” by Anonymous
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Surviving a Natural Disaster: “Tornado Season” by Adrien Stoutenberg
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters’ Perspectives: Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and Paul Archambault
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations: Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale: Paul Bunyan, adapted by Stephen Krensky
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks: “Our Garden” by Jessica Quilty
  • Unit 6, Lesson: The Hidden Power of Poetry: “Walking Home After School” by Ann Whitford Paul

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

  • Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon: The Moon Seems to Change by Franklyn M. Branley
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life: City Homes by Nicola Barber
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life: When a Storm Comes by Jennifer Johnson
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Using Main Idea to Understand Life in the Grand Canyon: Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live by Shirin Yim Bridges
  • Unit 4, Lesson: What Causes Weather to Change on Earth?: Weather by Seymour Simon
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Around the World: “On the Same Day in March” by Marilyn Linger
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Surviving a Natural Disaster: Living Through a Natural Disaster by Eve Recht
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks: “Back of the Bus” by Aaron Reynolds
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks: “Rosa Parks: Hero of Our Time” by Garnet Nelson Jackson
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Step by Step by Step: Every Story has a Path: “Honoring Code Talkers” author unknown

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

Most texts fall between the text complexity range for third grade. Examples of texts that support appropriate complexity include, but are not limited to, the following:

Unit 1

  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies: This realistic fiction text, with a quantitative measure of 580 Lexile, requires students to keep a large conflict in mind as the main characters solves multiple smaller conflicts. The text structure and elements of fiction are familiar to students.
  • The Frog Princess: A Tlingit Legend from Alaska retold by Eric A. Kimmel, 530L: This retelling of an Alaskan legend (fairy tale) helps students understand fantasy elements and characters’ opposing motivations. Character actions reveal the theme. It is written in episodes as a third-person narrative. There is complex vocabulary without in-text definition (awoke, headman, morsel, summons), but students are able to follow the plot that leads to a moral.
  • The Case of the Gasping Garbage by Michele Torrey, 460L: This realistic fiction (mystery) requires students to understand conflict and resolution, and use logical thinking and observation to note how characters develop and change. The novel is divided into chapters; episodes are often formatted as scientific experiments. The text includes domain-specific vocabulary with context clues and definitions, low linguistic support from illustrations, and use of idioms and figurative language.
  • Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco, 630L: In this text, strong thematic messages are interpreted through character change. The text organization is familiar and illustrations support understanding of the story. Sentence structure is very complex. Students are able to relate to the characters and theme of being afraid in a thunderstorm.

Unit 2

  • Treasure in the Trees by Christopher Cheng, 710L: In this realistic fiction chapter book, students build understanding of character motivation that utilizes scientific observation and proof about preservation of animal habitats and land development.
  • About Earth by Pauline Cartwright, 650L: In this informational text, students develop understanding of geographical and environmental phenomena that occur on Earth. Students are introduced to text features, diagrams, and photographs offering varying degrees of complexity and text support.
  • The Moon Seems to Change by Franklyn M. Branley, 530L: This supporting text contains scientific concepts and vocabulary about the moon supported by diagrams.

Unit 3

  • Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live by Shirin Yim Bridges, 740L: This informational text builds knowledge in the way of life of people living in extreme places. Most of the text is organized in text features, including diagrams and photographs, requiring the reader to discern in which order to read the information.
  • City Homes by Nicola Barber, 740L: This supporting text helps students build knowledge in text about different kinds of dwellings in cities and cultures that might be unfamiliar.
  • The Song of Sky and Sand by Stephen Davies, 680L: This supporting text contains complex thematic narrative organized in chapters and episodes over multiple settings with extensive use of dialogue.

Unit 4

  • Weather by Seymour Simon, 1020L: This text includes complex sentence structure and complex domain-specific vocabulary. Knowledge demands include natural processes of Earth, how scientific tools and methods are used to understand weather, and the driving forces of weather and weather patterns.
  • Living Through a Natural Disaster by Eve Recht, 940L: The headings and text features throughout this selection are critical to full understanding of the content. This text includes complex domain-specific vocabulary.
  • On the Same Day In March by Marilyn Singer, 950L: This text requires students to have an understanding of geography, weather related events, and understand differences in weather around the world.

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.)
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting 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.)

Students frequently interact with texts, but there is not an observable decrease in scaffolds or increase in student responsibility which would indicate greater independence with skills as the year progresses. While texts generally fall within appropriate text complexity grade level and stretch bands, support and scaffolds provided within the materials do not change or gradually decrease as the year progresses to ensure that students are supported to access and comprehend grade-level texts at the end of the year. Additionally, as the year progresses, opportunities are missed for questions and tasks to increase student’s ability to independently access more complex texts.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Let’s Solve Nisha’s Mystery!, Part 3, students read a segment from “Treasure in the Trees,” and explore the central message of the text. Students explore key events in the beginning, middle, and end of the story, using a main idea and key details graphic organizer.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Great Readers Use Illustrations, Part 5, students find the central message by looking at key details in the text and illustrations using a Central Message Web to write down the central message and details.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: What Causes Weather to Change on Earth?, Part 4, after reading pages 16-21 in Weather, students answer the questions: “What types of clouds are shown in the photograph on page 19? What can they tell you about coming weather?; What types of clouds are shown in the photograph on page 20? What can they tell you about air currents?”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Part 5, students read a new text, Weather Forecasting, and complete a Main Idea Chart for two pages of the text. Students identify the main idea on the two pages and three supporting details.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Parts 1-8, students read Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale. Students then look for how the story is written and for story elements.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Parts 1-6, students are asked the following questions: “Why do the boy and Mrs. Parks play with a marble on the bus? How does a crowd of people getting on the bus affect their game? Students look at the phrase turnip pile on page 77. (a turnip is a root vegetable. A pile of turnips would just sit in a pile without moving). Why might the author have used these words to describe Mrs. Parks in this situation? What clues in the story let you know that Mrs. Parks is arrested for her actions?”

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that 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.

In the platform’s Before You Begin materials, the publisher provides a description of several text selections. The materials state, “TEXT SELECTIONS: You can find more information about some texts you will read in your course in the text selection rationales. As you select texts to read independently, find books that have similar challenges to what you are reading, as well as finding books of different genres and topics. Use your Reading Log to create a balanced reading life!” The text selection rationales are provided through a link to a document that includes each text title, author, text genre, student task, and both quantitative and qualitative text features. The quantitative measure is provided through a Lexile score and the qualitative feature chart gives measures such as levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands.

A text complexity analysis is provided for the anchor texts in each unit. Most texts include instructional notes, text notes, and the rationale for the purpose and placement of the anchor and support texts is embedded into the student and teacher notes. The instructional notes include a recommendation for how students should read the text (e.g., silently and independently, listen to text, read aloud) and support students with vocabulary they will encounter in the text. At times, the teaching notes also indicate specific strengths in the texts. For example, some texts are chosen for their value in reinforcing literary techniques while others were chosen as appropriate introductions to a particular time period or topic. All texts were chosen with third grade students in mind, as well as intentional variability in genre, readability, and interest.

Instructional and text notes found in Grade 3 materials include information in the introduction box such as, “This document outlines the complexity of each anchor text as text complexity is defined in Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards, Figure 1. Quantitative complexity of the text is measured in Lexile Level for each text. Task complexity refers to how the text demands contextualized within a larger learning activity, often the unit project. Qualitative complexity descriptors, as identified by the Common Core, are listed in the table according to the factors of qualitative evaluation as listed in Appendix A. Across these three complexity domains, the reader will see that complexity monotonically increases across the course of the year.”

In Unit 1, Tell the World Your Story!, students read the text The Frog Princess by Eric A. Kimmel. The complexity information provided by the publisher includes the quantitative measure of Lexile 530L and the qualitative features of:

  • Levels of Meaning: Understand fantasy elements and character motivation; character actions revealing theme; opposing motives
  • Structure: Episodic; dialogue; past-tense, third-person narrative; plot supported by illustrations; diverging character subplots
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Complex vocabulary (awoke, headman, morseL summons, shaman) without in-text definition support; some complex vocabulary is necessary for comprehension; brief, self-contained fairy tale
  • Knowledge Demands: Fantasy elements; structure of fairy tale to provide a moral

In Unit 3, Coming to You Live From...?, students read the informational text Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live by Shirin Yim Bridges. Students utilize this text, among others, as they create a persuasive advertisement to convince others to live in an extreme place. The publisher includes the quantitative measure of Lexile 740L and the following qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Understand the way of life of people living in extreme climates; build knowledge in context of people never encountered
  • Structure: Most text organized in text features; reader must discern in which order to read information; text features, diagrams, photographs carry the majority of information; sections organized in similar structures; introductory and concluding sections
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Domain-specific words including words in other languages; geographic and cultural proper nouns; domain specific words defined in context; low glossary support
  • Knowledge Demands: Cultural diversity; the impact of climate on way of life

In Unit 5, Learning from the Stories of Our Elders, students read the fiction book Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Students will form opinions as they read and will use this text and others, to write an opinion piece that will convince others to live in an extreme place. The publisher includes the quantitative measure of Lexile 550L and the following qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Learners will explore content to understand that oral histories transmit experience, explanations and wisdom for generations. Readers understand that stories help us explain the world to each other and through generations, through central message, moral and theme.
  • Structure: picture book, told as a narrative from grandfather to grandson.
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: word knowledge used from writing expectations, words specific to Native American culture
  • Knowledge Demands: cultural diversity and knowledge of Native American storytelling

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 3 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Students interact with several texts in each unit within the PLUS framework of Project, Learn, Use, and Show. The stories read and reread in lessons are underlined and hyperlinked. Learners can independently read text or enable the audio read-aloud capability by clicking on the hippo icon. Students are provided opportunities to read paired texts in Sleuth that provide information on a range of topics. Materials also include leveled readers.

Students also read independently selected texts outside of the course materials. Students keep a Reading Log during the course. They are asked to read at least two to three" books per week in addition to the books in the ELA course. Students are asked to keep their Reading Log up to date all year long and it is also referred to in some of the lessons. To find books, students can refer to a document called Independent Reading Resources, or visit their local library.

The materials ask the learning guide to select the option most appropriate for an individual student to access the text. For example in Unit 1, the Teaching Notes state:

  • "Read the story aloud to your student while he or she follows in the text.
  • Play an audio recording of the story (if applicable) while your student follows in the text.
  • Have your student read the story aloud with another student or with you, either chorally or by reading alternate sections.
  • Have your student read the story independently."

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Tell the World Your Story!, students read several fictional texts from the Text Collection including Lemonade War, The Frog Princess, The Case of the Gasping Garbage, The Case of the Gasping Garbage, and Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.
  • In Unit 2, Welcome to Earth, the Perfect Vacation Spot, students read expository and fictional texts from the Text Collection including The Moon Seems to Change, “A Whale of a Rescue,” Treasure in the Trees, About Earth, and “Backyard Safari.”
  • In Unit 4, What Is Weather and What Can It Do?, students read multiple text types related to weather. Texts include “Weather” (informational text), “Weather” (poem), On the Same Day in March, “Tornado Season,” and “Living Through a Natural Disaster.”
  • In Unit 6, Is it Truth or Fiction, or Both?, students read a variety of text types including informational, historical fiction, and poetry.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
11/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for providing opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Materials meet expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based, requiring students to engage with the text directly. Materials partially met the expectation that materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills. Materials do not provide opportunities for discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and partially supports student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. Materials meet the criteria for providing opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Students have opportunities for evidence-based writing.  Materials partially meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Materials for lessons and lesson parts include guiding questions, journal topics, and graphic organizers that require students to engage in or refer back to the text. Students engage with each text directly by writing in an English Language Arts Journal and using textual evidence to support answers. Although questions and tasks are mainly text-dependent, many are surface level and do not ask students to analyze texts deeply.

Examples of text-based questions, assignments, and tasks include but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story? Parts 1-5, students answer questions over several daily sessions connected to “Location, Location, Location” from The Lemonade Wars, including the following questions:
    • “Who are the characters?”
    • “What big problem do they have?”
    • “What is the plot?”
    • “What is the theme?”
    • “Where does Evan set up his lemonade stand?”
    • “How much does he charge for lemonade?”
    • “What good thing happens as a result?”
    • “What bad thing happens as a result?”
    • “Why does Evan go into the Big Dipper?”
    • “What does he learn while he’s there?”
    • “What does he decide based on what he learns there?”
    • “How do Evan’s ideas and actions affect what happens next?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Parts 1-5, students answer questions over several daily sessions connected to the text, Paul Bunyan, including the following questions:
    • “Who are the characters in this story?”
    • “What do the illustrations show about the text?”
    • “How are Paul and Babe alike? How are they different from most living things?”
    • “What are some ways the narrator describes Paul Bunyan’s size that could not be true in real life?”
    • “What do these wild exaggerations tell you about the narrator’s view of Paul and his story?”
    • “What happens to the characters? How do they feel about what happens?”
    • “What do the key details reveal about the central message of the story?”
    • “What trait does Paul share with Babe and the Elmers as well as with Sam’s pots and other cooking tools?”
    • “Paul brushes his hair with a half-grown pine tree. Is this detail realistic or exaggerated?”
    • “How does the storyteller exaggerate how cold the winter was?”
    • “What effect do these exaggerations have on the reader? What does that tell you about the author’s main purpose?”
    • “What is the central message of ‘The Year of the Two Winters’?”
    • “If you believe the storyteller, what geographical features did Paul and Babe create in North America?”
    • “What comments by the storyteller reveal his or her point of view?"

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).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Materials contain sets of text-dependent questions and activities which Learning Guides can utilize to support students with culminating tasks. While text-dependent questions are included, many text-dependent questions are surface level and do not build towards completion of the culminating task. Some units include a culminating unit task called a project, which requires students to gather details or information to write a specific genre of writing at the end of the unit, while other units include a writing task.

Evidence includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Unit 2 begins with an overview of the project "Welcome to Earth." Throughout the unit students read about natural phenomena on Earth, such as the moon and trees and compare them to human-made things on Earth. Students answer questions such as: "What is the main idea?, What facts and details support the main idea?, How does the moon’s position in relationship to the sun affect what the moon looks like to someone on Earth?, What does the title, The Moon Seems to Change, say about the main idea of this book?" For the project, students are expected to take their learning from the unit and create a brochure which explains why Earth is a great place to live.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Life in the Grand Canyon, Parts 1-4, students read about two different ways of living: city life and the Havasupai people who live on the floor of the Grand Canyon. Students answer questions such as: “What do you learn about life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the photographs? What specific details help you understand life there better? According to this introduction and the photographs, what are extreme places? What question could you ask about the section heading 'Life on Earth' to help you identify the main idea? What do you notice about the children in the picture on p. 6? What can you learn from the pictures of the land where the Havasupai live? How is it different from where you live?” In the project, students are expected to make an advertisement about an extreme place. Students try to convince people to live in the extreme place by creating an advertisement for television. Students describe which place they would prefer to live and provide two to three supporting details for their opinion. In the television advertisement, students must include an introduction to the location, including facts, definitions, and details about the chosen location.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Character’s Perspectives, Part 1 begins by preparing students for an end of unit opinion writing that will occur in the last lesson of the unit. Students are directed to select their favorite text from those read during the year, (e.g., Case of Gurgling Garbage, Treasure in the Trees, About Earth, Weather) and write an opinion piece about why it is their favorite. Students consider the questions: "What is my topic? What is my opinion about the topic? What do I want to convince my readers about? How can I express my opinion clearly to my audience? What reasons can I include that support my opinion on my topic?"

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.)
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The materials provide occasional opportunities for students to share with small groups or peers online, but these opportunities are inconsistent. Although each lesson/lesson part refers students to “discuss with their Learning Guide,” there is limited instruction to support students’ mastering of listening and speaking skills. Discussions focus on students’ experience with a topic or reading skill, but use of academic vocabulary and syntax is implied, not specified. Students frequently discuss their learning with the Learning Guide individually. Teachers are only provided direction on the answers to the questions; protocols for these discussions are not included. Frequently, there are no directions for the Learning Guide to assist in prompting students to support statements with evidence or use academic vocabulary or syntax during their discussions. Examples of included speaking and listening opportunities and protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the Before You Begin section, under Discussions, there is a link for speaking and listening resources. The speaking and listening resource includes a speaking guide, listening guide, and discussion techniques.

Examples under “discussion protocols” include, but are not limited to, the follwoing:

  • "Have a one-to-one discussion with your student in which he or she explains his or her thinking while you ask probing questions
  • Your student can explain learning and concepts to someone who is not involved with his or her schoolwork, such as a sibling, relative, or friend."

Under the Speaking Guide section, sentence stems are provided. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • "I agree/disagree with you when you said…
  • This evidence from the text made me think…"
  • The Scope and Sequence states that opportunities for collaboration might include:
    • "Students suggesting the lessons they learned and the event that helped them learn it to other students in order to get feedback or confirmation.
    • Students contributing to a “life lessons” page that contains important life lessons from multiple contributors. Students can draw from this page for ideas."

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Students have opportunities in each lesson to share with the Learning Guide answers to questions, graphic organizers, and written pieces. A speaking and listening guide is available that provides the criteria for speaking and listening and suggestions for the Learning Guide. However, these suggestions are not directly linked, referenced, or modeled during lessons/lesson parts.

The materials contain some activities for students to engage in speaking and listening activities but do not provide many opportunities for follow-up questions, supports, or appropriate feedback from the Learning Guide. Questioning opportunities are provided between the student and Learning Guide, but do not provide opportunities for students to engage in peer conversations to develop answers unless there is more than one student together during the lesson. Additionally, there are few opportunities for students to build presentation skills.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees Part 2, students read chapter 2 of the text, Treasure in the Trees. Students look for the central message of the text by using the details in the text that help explain what happens in the text and analyze character feelings. As students read, they think about the following questions: “What shows Nisha’s feelings about her parents? What shows why Nisha cares about the thing in the tree?” Students are directed: “Talk about your answers with your Learning Guide.” The teaching notes tell the Learning Guide: “As your student answers the questions about the text, he or she will be identifying details.” The teaching notes provide the details from the text that students should reference as evidence.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life, Parts 1-4, in Part 2 students read City Homes and are tasked with answering the following questions: “What details do all the photographs have in common? What did you learn from the photographs that was not in the text?” The teaching notes state: “Your student should recognize that all the photos show houses crowded together. Your student should recognize that the photos show pictures of modern-looking buildings made of wood, concrete, and glass.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Character’s Perspectives, Parts 1-4, students read the text Knots on the Counting Rope and discuss the following questions with the Learning Guide: “Who are the characters in the story? How do the characters share stories? Who are the main characters? What knowledge do you think the Grandfather is sharing with the Boy? Why was the Grandfather 'heart-pounding afraid' when he rode to get the Boy’s grandmother.” The Teaching Notes offer the following supports: "Make sure your student understands the concept of metaphor. The counting rope stands for passing time and the Boy’s growing confidence. The story should not be taken as an authentic representation of Native American culture. Your student should identify the characters as the Grandfather and the Boy. The Grandfather shares his knowledge with the Boy by telling him the story of his birth, and the Boy responds by telling the parts of the story he knows and by asking questions. One possible response to the final question is that the Grandfather was afraid that he would not make it back with the grandmother before the Boy was born.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Every Story has a Path, Part 4, students revisit the text Brave Girl. Students select four events from the text, and describe how each one builds on earlier parts of the story. The teaching notes direct the Learning Guide to provide a Story Sequence Chart to students that are having trouble putting together four events and describing how they build upon one another. The teaching notes do not provide the Learning Guide with protocols for how to instruct the student to use the Story Sequence Chart or information about the details and evidence from the text that students should be including on the chart or in their response. After completing the task, students are directed to type their ideas into the provided text box.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Students have frequent opportunities for on-demand and process writing, as well as short, focused projects completed through a variety of instructional tasks. Students write drafts for process pieces over several days with time and guidance in revising and editing their writing. Students publish their work for various audiences using digital resources and technology. The teacher guide provides explicit instruction and modeling throughout the writing process. Students analyze examples of high quality writing from the texts they read. Writing lessons embedded in each unit are based on the texts students are reading. On-demand writing occurs as students respond to reading in various formats. Materials include both short and longer writing tasks and projects, which are aligned to the grade-level standards being reviewed. Writing tasks include longer projects, short constructed response, writing in English Language Arts journals, and completion of graphic organizers.

Opportunities for on-demand writing include, but are not limited to, the follow:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Conclude, Part 3, students look at the narrative they are drafting and find one section that could use more description. Students add in a paragraph describing how a character responds to a situation, which ends with a sentence describing what will happen next. Students use examples from The Case of the Gasping Garbage to help if needed. The paragraph is written in the English Language Arts journal and shared with the Learning Guide. Students are also tasked with looking at conclusions using the text The Case of the Gasping Garbage. Students pick one of the chapters from The Case of the Gasping Garbage and choose one of the main characters. In the English Language Arts journal, students describe how that character helped solve a problem in the chapter in order to create closure by following the sequence of events.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Thinking About Our World, Part 2, students are asked to take their learning from throughout the unit to compare the main ideas of three texts. Students will write a paragraph about the main ideas of the three texts. Students state the main idea of each text and compare and contrast any ideas from within the text. Students refer to all three texts in their writing.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Learn about Big City Life, Part 2, students participate in the following on demand writing assignment, choosing one of the chapters from The Case of the Gasping Garbage and one of the main characters. In the English Language Arts journal, students describe how that character helped solve a problem in the chapter in order to create closure following the sequence of events. At the end of the description, students explain how the conclusion creates closure: “Did the character’s actions lead to the conclusion?” “Were all the problems resolved?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Character’s Perspectives, Part 1, students engage in on-demand writing by selecting a favorite text from those read thus far this year and writing an opinion of it. Texts students select from include: Case of the Gurgling Garbage, Treasure in the Trees, About Earth, and Weather. Students consider the topic, their opinion about the topic, about what specifically they wish to convince readers, how to support their opinion, and how to clearly express their opinion to their audience.

Opportunities for process writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Project: Tell the World Your Story!, students engage in process writing by designing, crafting, revising, and publishing a narrative. Students will read a series of narratives and analyze the author’s craft in each, in order to replicate this in their own writing. They examine the fundamentals of storytelling such as narrative structure, development of characters and their impact on the story, and how the author connect events to bring the story to life. Students practice writing components of a narrative throughout the unit by practicing with mini-narratives, and compose pieces of their final project throughout the unit. Students revise their writing to ensure the story unfolds naturally, and edit for conventions. Finally, students publish their narrative in a print version illustrated mini-book or by using an online publishing platform.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson:Thinking About Our World, Part 2, students are asked to take their learning from throughout the unit to compare the main ideas of three texts. Students write a paragraph about the main ideas of the three texts. They must state the main idea of each text and compare and contrast any ideas from within the text. Students must refer to all three texts in their writing.
  • In Unit 3, Project: Coming to You Live from…, students create a television advertisement about one of the places in the world they learn about during the unit. In their ad, students try to convince someone to move to an extreme place. Their ad includes an introduction, opinion supported with reasons, linking words that flow in a logical way, and a concluding statement. Students are encouraged to record and publish their advertisement after writing it, using online tools to create their presentation. This is a process piece of writing.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why Weather is Important?, Parts 1-5, students are using the text Weather to gather information and background knowledge to write a news report on a weather related topic. Students spend time during each lesson part gathering evidence or writing a portion of the news report. Students are directed to use the text Weather as an example of how to organize the information they are including in their informative news report.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories are Passed Down Through Generations, Part 1, students use a Main Idea Chart to organize the reasons and examples for opinions. Students write an opinion in the top box of the chart. Then students write the most important reason in the first detail box. Below the reason they list the examples that support that reason. Students are then asked to place the next most important reason and examples in the middle detail box. Finally, students place the least important reason and examples in the last detail box. Students show the Main Idea Chart to the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 3, students use the text Back of the Bus to look for evidence to support their opinion of the theme of the text. Students analyze the character, the connection between actions of the character, and their effects in the story and other characters. Students also analyze the author’s point of view in how they describe the events in the story and the clues they provide in the text to help the reader determine the theme.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Students have frequent opportunities to write in multiple modes and genres of writing over the course of the school year. Writing projects, prompts, and short constructed response tasks are balanced among narrative, informative, and opinion writing. Each unit includes a writing type which connects to the texts students are reading. Texts from various genres serve as models that students are asked to emulate in their writing. Each lesson part includes support in building specific skills within the focused writing genre. Modeling and guiding questions have students apply craft elements in their writing. Though narrative, informative, and opinion prompts are addressed in Grade 3, informative and opinion writing are more heavily emphasized.

Examples of writing prompts that address the different text types of writing and reflect the distribution required by the standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1 Project, Your Story, Narrative, students complete a narrative writing project in which they teach a story about a lesson learned to others. Throughout the unit, students will use the English Language Arts to record analysis of texts, responses to questions, graphic organizers, and notes that will be used to complete the project. Over multiple lesson parts, students will complete a character chart analyzing the characters in the text Lemonade War to assist in character development of their narrative story, use a four column chart to record ideas for character, problem, solution and events for their story, learn about dialogue and choose two characters and an event from their own story to develop dialogue, use the text ThunderCake to analyze character change and sequence of events, and analyze their writing revising for descriptive words and phrases.
  • In Unit 2, Project, Welcome to Earth, the Perfect Vacation Spot, Informative/Explanatory, students design, write, revise, and publish an informative brochure that explains to a family of aliens visiting Earth for the first time for vacation. The brochure will help the aliens learn characteristics of planet Earth. Students use the information learned from reading nonfiction and fiction texts about features of Earth and important natural and human-made phenomena. The brochure includes an introduction, three explanatory paragraphs, at least three different features of Earth, an explanation of why the aliens might want to visit that feature, and pictures or captions. Students are able to publish their writing either by creating a hard-copy version or by using online publishing platforms.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Zudu’s Tour of Earth, Part 7, Informative/Explanatory, students apply all the learning throughout the lesson to write an informative paragraph related to one of the topics they read about in the text About Earth. Students use facts and details from the text to explain the topic. Students are encouraged to conduct additional research to expand on the topic further. Once students have collected all the facts, they analyze the facts for a common main idea. Students use the main idea to organize the information in the writing.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Using the Main Idea to Understand Life in the Grand Canyon, Part 3, Informative/Explanatory, students read Deep Down and write a paragraph telling the key details the author includes to develop this topic.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Learning from the Stories of Our Elders, Opinion, students learn the process of opinion writing and use text analysis to understand how an author creates this type of writing. Students are tasked with writing an opinion about an environmental issue. This takes place over multiple lessons. In Lesson: Reading About Character’s Perspectives, Part 2, students plan the opinion piece with consideration to the following questions: “What is my opinion about the text? How can I express my opinion clearly to my audience? What reasons might I give to support my opinion? What details from the text can I use to support my opinion?” Students then write a paragraph about an opinion about the text Knots on a Counting Rope. In Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 2, students use text evidence from the text Storm in the Night to support four opinion statements written in the ELA journal. In Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Part 7, students revise the opinion essay.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Giving Reasons to Be Right, Parts 1-4, Opinion, students are moving forward with the writing of their opinion piece on the topic "What makes a good citizen?" Students have already completed an opinion statement from the previous lesson, Meeting Rosa Parks. In this lesson, students identify and draft the key points they want to include in their opinion writing to support their opinion statement. Students are guided through writing the introduction paragraph using the opinion writing reminders that the introduction should introduce the topic and state the writer’s opinion in a way that gets the reader’s attention. Students use the previous texts they have read and guidance from the teacher guide to create a list of reasons that support their opinion statement. They begin to work through putting it all together into an organized opinion writing.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Truths in Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 1, Opinion, students read Brave Girl, a historical fiction text about factory workers and a workers’ strike. Students analyze the characters Clara and Grace and how their actions in the text support the author’s perspective. Students compare and contrast the actions and choices of Clara and Grace and write an opinion paragraph explaining how the characters are similar.

Indicator 1m

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Each day students carefully analyze and synthesize texts, write to sources, use texts as a source, and defend claims as part of writing instruction. They respond to text-dependent questions to understand texts more deeply, and use texts as a source of information to support their opinions. Student responses to English Language Arts Journal questions provide students with frequent opportunities to gather and use evidence from the text to support their responses. There are many writing opportunities that are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence. The materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story? Part 3, as students read “Location, Location, Location” in The Lemonade War, they notice how characters are the engine of a story. They are asked to respond to the following questions: “Where does Evan set up his lemonade stand? How much does he charge for lemonade? What good thing happens as a result? What bad thing happens as a result?” Students respond to these questions in their English Language Arts Journals.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Begin a Great Story, Part 4, students write one to two paragraphs about a character, choosing either Drake or Nell. Students review Chapters 1–3, looking for details that help show who the character chosen is. Students include the details already noted and other details, too. Students are tasked with finding words and phrases in the text that help paint a picture of the character, either Drake or Nell.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Solve Nisha’s Mystery, Part 1, students are reading Treasure in the Trees with a focus on learning more about a character as the story and events unfold. Students are asked to respond to the questions: “How do we see that Nisha is good at science? How does Nisha use her imagination? How do the pictures in the book help us see these things about her?” Students respond to these questions in their English Language Arts Journals.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Zudu’s Tour of Earth, Part 3, students continue to read the text Dry Places on Earth with a focus on main idea and details and how the photos in the text can support the reader’s understanding of the main idea. Students respond in their English Language Arts Journal to the following questions: “What is the main idea of the section? How do the photos support the main idea?”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Comparing Illustrations from Different Places, Part 1, students compare and contrast two texts using text information and graphic features. They respond to the following questions: “How is the Danakil Depression similar to where Ramata lives? How do the text features and photographs in the informational text and the illustrations in the literary text help you understand the cultures?”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 7, students read Watch Out for Hurricanes and When a Storm Comes and fill in a two column chart. Students make use of these notes and write a brief paragraph that compares the main ideas of these two books making sure to include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why is Weather Important?, Part 1; Using the text Weather, students analyze the text to determine how illustrations and words help a reader to understand important information in the text. Students answer the following questions: “How do the illustrations help you understand the text better? Describe one example. How does the writer introduce and develop a topic with facts, details, and features? Describe one example. How does precipitation form clouds and fall to Earth?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 3, students read a section of Storm in the Night and look for clues about the central message. They respond to the following questions: “Why does Thomas say that the man should have thought about his grandfather? How can you tell from the details and the illustrations that it’s getting late at the end of the story? Why do you think Grandfather chose to tell Thomas the story about the storm?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Part 5, students read Paul Bunyan and identify the differences between the students’ own point of view and those of the storytellers and characters in the tall tale. Students are tasked with thinking about the following questions: "What comments by the storyteller reveal his or her point of view? What is my point of view about what I am reading in this story? What in the text leads me to respond this way?" Students write the analysis and answers to the questions in the ELA journal.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 3, students reread the text Back of the Bus and analyze the text for clues about the plot and theme/message of the story. Students look for evidence in the text to answer the following questions: “On page 71, what seems to be the reason the police are called to the bus? On page 77, what does the policeman do when he arrives? How does this event affect the plot of the story?”

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 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 include instruction of most grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. However, opportunities are missed for students to learn about capitalizing appropriate words in a title, about producing simple, compound and complex sentences, about using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions and about pronoun-antecedent agreement. Students learn about the functions of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives; however opportunities are missed for students to explain the function of each within a sentence. Additionally, opportunities are missed for students to use reference materials to confirm or check word spelling.

Materials include limited instruction of most grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. However, opportunities are missed for students to explain the function of verbs and adverbs and their functions in a particular sentence. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters’ Perspectives, Part 1, students learn that nouns are words that name a person, place, or thing and that the subject of a sentence is usually a noun. Students are told how to locate a noun in a sentence by first looking for the verb. Examples are used to demonstrate this. Students are then asked to read sentences and to locate the nouns.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters' Perspectives, Part 1, the materials state, “Nouns are words that name a person, place, or thing. The subject of a sentence is usually the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about. To find the noun in a sentence, look for the verb and think about what or who is performing the action described. Look at the following sentences: The turtle crawled slowly out of the pond. The turtle ate some grass. In these sentences, turtle is the subject. This noun tells what the sentences are about. Pond and grass are the other nouns that describe things in these sentences.” Students are provided additional sentences and asked to find the nouns.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 3, students learn that adjectives are words that describe people, animals, places, and things.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Clara Stands Up, Part 3, students are reminded that pronouns are words that are used in place of nouns and that pronouns are used to avoid overusing nouns. The materials explain the importance of using pronouns correctly as a writer so that the reader understands which noun the pronoun is replacing.
  • Students have opportunities to form and use regular and irregular plural nouns. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Begin a Great Story?, Part 1, students are directed to the first page of Chapter 1 of the text to read a description of Drake’s laboratory. The materials explain that the description includes both singular and some are plural. The materials explain that a singular noun means one person or thing and that a plural noun means more than one person or thing. The materials then explain that we add -s to most words to make them plural but that for some words, we add -es or -ies. The materials explain that to make the word plural add -es to words that end in sh, ch, tch, s, ss, and x. Examples are given: “one peach” but “some peaches” and “one match” but “some matches.” There is further explanation that if a word ends in a consonant and y, the y is changed to an i before adding -es to make the plural. Examples are given: baby/babies and lady/ladies.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters’ Perspectives, Part 4, students learn that some words do not change at all in plural form. Students are directed to look at the word sheep on p. 17 of Knots on a Counting Rope as an example. Students are then given the following words: deer, moose, trout, salmon, aircraft. Students are directed to select two of these words, write one sentence with the singular noun and one sentence with the plural noun for each word and to show the sentences to the Learning Guide.
  • Students have opportunities to use abstract nouns. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Clara Stands Up, Part 1, students learn that nouns that name traits, emotions, concepts, or ideas are called abstract nouns and that an abstract noun works in a sentence like a regular noun and can be a subject, direct object, or indirect object.
  • Students have opportunities to form and use regular and irregular verbs. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Characters Impact a Story?, Part 2, students learn how to form the past tense of irregular verbs. Irregular verbs are described in the materials as verbs that don’t form the past tense just be added the ending -ed and that the spelling of the verb might change.
  • Students have opportunities to form and use the simple verb tenses. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 4, Lesson: Surviving a Natural Disaster, Part 1, students learn that when you describe events from the past, you use a special form of verbs called the past tense. The materials explain that the past tense is used to describe actions or events that have happened before now and are finished. The materials explain that for regular verbs, the past tense is formed by adding -d or -ed to the end of it.
  • Students have opportunities to ensure subject-verb. However, opportunities are missed for students to learn pronoun-antecedent agreement. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: What’s Special About the Moon, Part 2, students review that subjects are nouns and that verbs are actions and that nouns can be either singular or plural. The materials explain that when you talk about an action in the past, you use a past-tense verb and that some past-tense verbs have different forms for singular subjects and plural subjects.
  • Students have opportunities to form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why is Weather Important?, Part 2, students learn that one type of descriptive detail is a comparison using adverbs. The materials explain that comparative adverbs compare one thing to another. An example is given: “The balloon floated higher than the clouds,” the adverb higher compares the floating height of the balloon to the height of the clouds. The materials also explain that superlative adverbs compare one thing to all of the other things that are like it. An example is given: “The blue balloon floated highest of all the other balloons,” the adverb highest compares the floating height of the blue balloon to the height of all the others. The materials further explain that superlative adverbs are formed by adding –est to the adverb, or by using the word most or least with an adverb.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 3, the materials state, “You already know that adjectives are used to describe nouns. Writers use nouns to create clear descriptions. They use adjectives to make writing more interesting. Writers use special adjectives to compare nouns. Adjectives that compare two nouns are called comparative adjectives. Adjectives that compare three or more nouns are called superlative adjectives.” Materials continue, “Notice that the endings -er and -est are added to the end of tall to form the comparative and superlative adjectives. These endings are usually added to shorter words. The word more is used to compare two things. The word most is used to compare three or more things. These words are usually used before longer words to form comparative and superlative adjectives."
  • Students have opportunities to produce simple, compound, and complex sentences. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees, Part 2, students look at simple and complex sentences.
  • Students may have opportunities to use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Conclude Their Stories, Part 2, students learn about speaker tags and how to properly use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 3, students look at how writers use commas in dialogue to help readers understand their writing.
  • Students have opportunities to form and use possessives. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Step by Step by Step: Every Story Has a Path, Part 2, students learn about the possessive form of a noun. Examples are given:
      • In Below Deck: A Titanic Story, tears streak Grace’s cheeks. In the phrase Grace’s cheeks, the word Grace’s tells whose cheeks the tears are streaking. The ending, apostrophe plus s, changes the noun Grace into its possessive form.
  • Students have opportunities to use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Conclude Their Stories?, Part 2, students add suffixes to base words.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 4, students identify the sound and the vowel patterns ei and eigh of the following words with their Learning Guide: neighbor, leisure, receive, ceiling, flight, and sleigh.
  • Students have opportunities to use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 1, students use a four-column chart to sort words and think of words with the /er/ sound. Students then look for words that are spelled with r-controlled vowels in the text Storm in the Night. Students read these words to their Learning Guide and choose three of the words to write in a sentence.
  • Students have limited opportunities to consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Comparing Illustrations of Different Places, Part 2, the teacher notes state, “You may wish to review rules of basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling. He or she can also use a word processing program’s spelling and grammar checking to check for errors. Your student may wish to consult reference materials, such as a dictionary. Provide your student with a list of common editing marks to help him or her keep editing work consistent.”

Materials include opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Around the World, Part 2, students check their writing for mistakes they may have made with past tense irregular verbs and correct them. They also change present tense irregular verbs, in a given sentence, to past tense. Students write the following irregular verbs in the past tense and share their answers with their Learning Guide: go, be, become, begin, break, catch, feel, grow, have, leave, see, sit, sleep, and take.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: The Hidden Power of Poetry, Part 3, students find nouns and pronouns in the poem “The Little Black-Eyed Rebel.” Students rewrite given sentences to replace the underlined noun with a pronoun.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
3/6
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.  Materials partially meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

Materials provide phonics and word recognition instruction for students consistently over the course of the year that are sequenced to application of grade-level work, and provide instruction of word solving strategies. Teacher materials provide examples of what to look for in student tasks, suggestions for supporting students, and help in understanding the topic of focus. However, there are missed opportunities for explicit instruction in the phonics skills and in decoding words with common Latin suffixes. In addition, students are provided limited opportunity to apply the skills in guided practice or to demonstrate proficient use of the skill.

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life, Part 3, the Learning Guide writes the prefixes un-, re-, mis-, dis-, and non-, on a vertical list. Using a sound spelling card, the Learning Guide shows how the meaning of wrap changes depending on the prefix. The Learning Guide repeats with additional spelling cards. The Learning Guide explains how each prefix changes the meaning of the word.
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Great Readers Use Illustrations to Understand a Story, Part 2, students identify and use suffixes –ly, -ful, -ness, -less, -able, and –ible. Students are instructed to find the word in their text. Then, students discuss with their Learning Guide how suffixes change the meaning of a word and define care, careless, careful, and carefully.
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 4, students are introduced to the suffixes -ful, -ness, -less, -able, and -ible. Students are directed to “watch for words with these suffixes” in their self-selected reading.
  • Students have opportunities to decode multi-syllable words. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?, Part 1, students are asked to find the word number in the reading as an example of the VCCV pattern in a two syllable word and how the initial vowel is a short vowel. Students are then asked to find additional VCCV words within the text and to answer if they follow the same rules when the words are said.
    • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why Is Weather Important?, Part 2, students identify syllable patterns by reading a VCCCV pattern word hundreds. Materials instruct students to divide the word between the stand-alone consonant and the blended consonants: hun/dreds. The materials then suggest that students try dividing additional VCCCV words and the Learning Guide checks for correctness.
  • Students have limited opportunities to read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words. Instruction on irregularly spelled words includes prompts for teachers to help students memorize words. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 2, student materials introduce r-controlled vowels. Students read, “When a vowel is followed by the letter r, it often makes a special sound. Think about the word park. Say the word out loud. Do you hear the sound that the a and r make together? Your Learning Guide will go over other examples of words with r-controlled vowels with you.” The materials suggest the following for the Learning Guide, “Explain to your student that vowels often make a special sound when followed by the letter r. Find the sentence on p. 17 that contains the word dark. Read this sentence aloud to your student. Write the word dark on a piece of paper and circle the ar. Ask your student to say the word out loud. Ask your student if he or she hears the effect of the r on the sound the a makes.”
  • Some tasks and questions are sequenced to application of grade-level work (e.g., application of prefixes at the end of the unit/year; decoding multi-syllable words). Early units contain a focus on Grade 2 standards such as common vowel teams. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: What’s Special about the Moon?, Part 1, students are introduced to vowel digraphs (e.g., ee, ea, ai, ay, oa, and ow).
    • In Unit 2, Lesson:What’s Special about the Moon?, Part 4, students work on oa and ow. The Learning Guide is instructed to ask students to think of words containing oa that make the long o sound.
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is the Mystery in the Trees?, Part 1, students find words using vowel digraphs, (e.g., ee, ea, ai, ay, oa, and ow) and create pairs of words with different digraphs that make the same sound.
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 4, students are introduced to the suffixes -ful, -ness, -less, -able, and -ible and their meaning.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 2, the Learning Guide informs the students that when a vowel is followed by the letter r, there is a special sound. Students listen to the Learning Guide say words with r-controlled vowels.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Giving Reasons to be Right, Part 2, students learn about -er, -less, and -y.

Materials contain no evidence for assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery.

Materials lack explicit instruction of word solving strategies (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?, Part 1, students are asked to find the word number in the reading as an example of the VCCV pattern in a two syllable word and how the initial vowel is a short vowel. Students are then asked to find additional VCCV words within the text and to answer if they follow the same rules when they are said.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Giving Reasons to be Right, Part 2, students learn the meaning of the following suffixes: -er, -less, and -y. Students read three sentences that contain those suffixes on base words. Students are to “use what you have learned about suffixes to give the meaning of words.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?, Part 3, the materials provide some strategies on what to do when coming across unfamiliar words. These include: looking for clues on the page, breaking the word into syllables, and looking in the dictionary.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Thinking About Our World, Part 1, students are instructed as to where to break words ending in le into syllables. Materials state, “look again at the word little. It has two vowels, so it has two syllables.” Students are instructed to break a list of le ending words into syllables in their journal and show responses to their Learning Guide.

Indicator 1p

Materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Materials provide opportunities for the students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. However, there are limited opportunities for students to analyze challenging words in context and in a research-based progression. Additionally, materials contain no evidence of students being assessed in their ability to apply word analysis skills.

Limited and varied opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?, Part 1, students are asked to find the word number in the reading as an example of the VCCV pattern in a two syllable word and how the initial vowel is a short vowel. Students are then asked to find additional VCCV words within the text and to answer if the words follow the same rules when they are said.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 4, students are introduced to the suffixes -ful, -ness, -less, -able, and -ible. Students are directed “watch for words with these suffixes” in their self-selected reading.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 1, students are instructed to, ”Look at the word constant on p. 9 of “Weather.” Find the VCCCV pattern in the word constant. Then, find the two blended consonants and the stand-alone consonant. Use them to divide the word into two syllables. Read each syllable. Then, put the two syllables back together, and read the whole word.” The teacher notes state, “Be sure your student understands that a syllable is a part of a word that has a single vowel sound and is pronounced as a unit. Guide your student through dividing syllables in known words, such as darkness and kitchen. Demonstrate dividing syllables between the blended and stand-alone consonants in the VCCCV pattern. Guide your student through dividing words into syllables, decoding each syllable, and then using this technique to read the whole word.”

Materials do not include word analysis assessment to monitor student learning of word analysis skills.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Materials include some opportunities to practice and read fluently with accuracy and rate. Students have opportunities to use appropriate expression and are provided opportunities for successive readings of a text. However, there are missed opportunities to instruct and assess students in their ability to read grade-level text with appropriate rate and accuracy. Opportunities are missed for students to receive explicit instruction to support students in applying reading skills when productive struggle is necessary.

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

Students have opportunities to read grade-level text with purpose and understanding. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life, Part 1, students read City Homes. Students are instructed to notice the illustrations and to discuss how the illustration helped them to understand the text.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters' Perspectives, Part 1, the teacher notes state, “Guide your student in reading pp. 6–11 of Knots on a Counting Rope. Select the appropriate option for your student:
    • Read the story aloud to your student while he or she follows in the text.
    • Play an audio recording of the story (if applicable) while your student follows in the text.
    • Have your student read the story aloud with another student or with you, either chorally or by reading alternate sections.
    • Have your student read the story independently."
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 2, students reread Below Deck: A Titanic Story and Brave Girl. Then the students answer questions that compare and contrast the two texts.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 4, students read a drama. As the students read the drama, they are instructed to pay attention to the characters to uncover the central message.

Materials contain limited opportunities to support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon, Part 4, the student materials state, “Now you are going to read two poems about the moon. Poems are different from explanatory texts. They may not have facts. Often, they are about the feelings the writer has about something. They use language differently, too. They use rhythm. Sometimes, they use rhymes. As you read these poems, think about what they tell you about the topic. Think about how they are different from The Moon Seems to Change. Read two poems. They are 'Summer Full Moon' and 'The Moon Is a White Cat.’” Teacher notes state, “Talk about the different purposes of poetry and informational texts. Guide your student to think about the importance of language in poetry. Demonstrate reading the poems aloud with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down through Generations, Part 1, the student materials state, “Listen to your Learning Guide read the poems ‘Storm’ and ‘The Wind’ aloud, found in Text Collection Volume 2, Unit 3 Poems. Pay attention to your Learning Guide’s use of expression. Does hearing the poem read with expression help you understand the poem? Read the poems out loud to your Learning Guide.”

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

  • Students have opportunities to use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life, Part 2, students reread City Homes. Students are instructed to study the photographs and captions to identify key details.
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Reading to Learn About Big City Life, Part 3, students read a poem. Students read the poem “Living Above Good Fortune.” They read the poem once for understanding. They read it again to analyze the author’s word choice.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 5, the students read the drama Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun: A Cherokee Tale aloud with their Learning Guide. Students are instructed to use parts of the script to guide their reading, use expression, and relay meaning with their voice.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Finding Truths in Historical Fiction, Part 8, students read their final written essay to create a audio presentation. Students are instructed to work with their Learning Guide to use the final draft of their essay to practice reading fluently and with expression. Students are to read it several times so that they are relaxed and confident and to read with expression.

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

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 1, teacher notes state, “Assess your student’s fluency. Have your student listen as you read the first page of the passage. Tell him or her that you pronounce all words, including unusual names such as Danakil (DAHŸnuhŸkihl), accurately. Point out that readers of informational texts can slow down a beat to read unusual place names and other unfamiliar terms or ideas accurately. Have your student follow your example by reading the passage. Check your student’s accuracy as he or she reads.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down, Part 1, the teacher notes instruct that while assessing the student’s fluency Learning Guides should, “Explain that reading with expression means that people change their voice as they read. They can read faster or slower, louder or softer. They can use their voice to show feelings such as excitement or fear. Have your student follow along as you model reading aloud from Storm in the Night, first reading without expression and then reading with expression. Explain that reading with expression makes a story more exciting. It also helps the listener understand what is happening.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for building students' knowledge and vocabulary to support and help grow students’ ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Materials partially meet the criteria for texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Materials partially meet the criteria for 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 and do not meet expectations that  questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic. Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year and include full support for students’ independent reading.

Criterion 2a - 2h

20/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students knowledge and vocabulary which will over time support and help grow students’ ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The Grade 3 Language Arts curriculum materials are organized around a topic/topics or themes; Grade 3 materials consist of six units. The materials do not explicitly state how and why texts are organized within a unit, and what central idea or topic the texts are intended to support. For each unit, there are texts present that relate to the project or title of the unit; however, clear topics are not always present and there is not a clear indication of deep knowledge building that occurs throughout each unit. While there are areas where students are building knowledge of a specific topic, the teacher would have to supplement with additional texts or tasks in order to grow student knowledge of the topic. While information from the texts help students successfully complete the unit projects, the way the text sets are organized may not always help students’ grow in their ability to independently and proficiently comprehend complex texts.

For each unit, there are texts present that relate to the project or title of the unit; however, clear topics are not always present and there is not a clear indication of deep knowledge building that occurs throughout each unit. While there are areas where students are building knowledge of a specific topic, the teacher would have to supplement with additional texts or tasks in order to deep the student’s knowledge.

The texts within a unit are typically organized around a topic, but in some situations the texts do not relate to the given topic. For example, Unit 2 starts with the “Welcome to Earth” project and the theme of space and understanding Earth is the common theme throughout the unit. All texts that students read and interact with throughout this unit relate to building knowledge towards this topic. However, units that do not have a project do not have a common topic running through the entire unit. In those units, there might be smaller topics within a set of lesson parts or the topics are not about building knowledge towards an idea but rather towards the application of the CCSS standards. Units that do not have a unit project do not have a guiding question or culminating task to help determine if the students are building knowledge on the given topic. The texts provided are not ample to help the students build knowledge and work towards reading complex text.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • During Unit 1, students engage in lessons and read texts that are organized around narrative writing. Students read a series of narrative stories from a variety of genres throughout the unit. The texts in Unit 1 include “Location, Location, Location” from The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, The Frog Princess, a Tlingit Legend from Alaska retold by Eric A. Kimmel, The Case of the Gasping Garbage by Michele Torrey, and Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. Students examine the main ideas, development of characters and their impact on the story, and how the author connects events to bring the story to life. In addition to helping students comprehend what they are reading and better understand the structure of narrative texts, the focus of the lessons help students to better understand the fundamentals of storytelling, including narrative structure, character development and the role of description in story development. Students study author’s craft across genres that can then be replicated in their own writing. As part of a unit project, students plan, craft, revise, and publish their own narrative writing.
  • In the Unit 2, the topic is “Outer Space." For the project Welcome to Earth, the Perfect Vacation, students will design, write, revise, and publish an informative brochure that explains to a family of aliens visiting Earth for the first time for vacation. Students create brochure that will help aliens learn characteristics of planet Earth. Students use information learned from reading nonfiction and fiction texts about features of Earth and important natural and human-made phenomena.
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon, Parts 1-3: students read the explanatory text The Moon Seems to Change. This text provides students with an example of a text that explains information and gives students information about space. Students use the text to write about the main idea and supporting details and think about the main idea and details that will be the focus of their brochure. Students also analyze the text features used in the text and begin to plan which text features they are going to include in their brochure. Students also watch a video titled “North America: A Geographer’s View From Space."
    • Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees, Parts 1-4: In the previous unit, students practiced identifying the main idea, details, and text features to begin preparing for the brochure project. During the lesson parts of Mystery in the Trees, students are using the texts to start developing the background knowledge about natural features in the world. Students will use this information to determine what natural features they are going to include in the brochure for aliens.
    • As students move into Unit 2, Lesson Let's Solve Nisha’s Mystery!, Parts 1-4, they continue the work of developing ideas and using pictures along with text to convey information.
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Zudu’s Tour of Earth, Parts 1-7 students read About Earth a text about an alien named Zudu that is taking a tour of Earth and writes about what he sees. Students pull information from this text as inspiration for how to design a brochure for an alien.
  • In Unit 3, students read about locations around the world where people live, such as cities, The Grand Canyon, the desert, and other extreme places you would not expect people to live.
    • The texts include City Homes by Nicola Barber, Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live by Shirin Yim Bridges, The Song of Sky and Sand by Stephen Davies, and the poem “Walking Home from School” by Anne Whitford Paul. As a unit project, students create a one-minute television advertisement encouraging people to come live in one of the places that they read about in this unit.
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Life in the Grand Canyon, Parts 1-4, students read Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live. A comprehension focus for this series of lesson parts is finding the main idea. Students learn about life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. They also learned how to write an introduction and how to develop a topic with details.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Parts 1-5, students are introduced to the concept of weather through the text Weather by Seymour Simon. Students answer questions such as: “What types of clouds are shown in the photograph on page 19? What can they tell you about coming weather?”
    • During this unit, student complete two writing pieces. A news report about weather and an essay about a weather event. Students work throughout the Weather Changes on Earth, identifying main idea, details, purpose/use of graphics, and learned more about weather and clouds.
    • During Lesson: Why is Weather Important? Parts 1-5, students are using the “tools” gained previously, to determine which “tools” (e.g., main idea, using pictures and illustrations, and connecting ideas in texts) will be most helpful to apply while reading. Student use these “tools” to develop the weather topic they will be using in their news story. Students answer questions such as: “How does precipitation form in clouds and fall to Earth?"
    • In Lesson: Weather Around the World, students read “On the Same Day in March.” Students learn about weather around the world in different places and answer questions such as: “Why does the snow melt when a chinook blows in Alberta, Canada?”
    • In Lesson: Surviving Natural Disasters, Parts 1-6, students develop the news report further by including personal events to the writing. Student take the weather topic and using examples from the text Living Through A Natural Disaster, students draw on personal experiences with the weather event they have chosen and add additional paragraphs to their writing to includes these experiences.
  • In Unit 5, students read stories that center around the idea of learning from the stories of our elders. Texts include Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz, and Paul Bunyan adapted by Stephen Krensky. In this unit, students learn that key details can help determine the central message or lesson in a text. They analyze characters from the texts, and learn how to articulate various characters’ points of view, and compare them to their own. They look at how details in illustrations provide information about the story, and explore how understanding characters’ feelings and actions helps get at the central message of the text. Students also compare characters and the way the stories are told. They engage in opinion writing, and how their point of view must be supported with reasons.
  • In Unit 6, students are reading stories about real-life people whose actions have changed or made a difference in the world.
    • In Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 1-6, students learn about Rosa Parks through the fiction text, Back of the Bus and the nonfiction text, Rosa Parks: Hero of Our Time. They practice writing opinion paragraphs around the concept of theme or central message and answer questions such as: “What happens after Mrs. Parks refuses to give up her seat? Why does the bus sit still for so long?”
    • In Lesson: Giving Reasons to Be Right, Parts 1-4 students build on their previous learning of Rosa Parks, a person who stood up for what she believed in and now learn about factory workers that stood up for workers’ rights through the text, Brave Girls: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. Students begin to write their opinion piece on the topic of “What Makes a Good Citizen?” Students discuss with the Learning Guide evidence from the text that shows the author’s opinion that the character Clara Lemlich believed workers needed better job conditions.
    • In Lesson: Clara Stands Up, Parts 1-4, students continue to work on their opinion writing and discuss with the Learning Guide, “Look at the abuses described by the author. What was the purpose of these bad practices? How can you tell how the author feels about the strike, Clara and the girls who picketed in 1909?”

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

The materials are coherently sequenced, with lesson parts connecting with previous learning. There is clear articulation of how work with previous texts, tasks and skills relates to new learning. The materials include questions and tasks with most texts requiring students to analyze language, key details, craft, and structure. Most lesson parts allow for in-depth analysis for some aspects of language, key details, craft, and structure. Most lessons include question types that help students build understanding, and integrate ideas and knowledge across several days. Students utilize graphic organizers and an English Language Arts journal to analyze the text. Questions are sequenced from basic to more text-based and varied in type. Many of these skills are developed through the instructional tasks included in the PLUS format (Project, Learn, Use, Show) for each Unit. Each unit and/or part requires a different analysis of the language, structure, story elements, and craft, yet ample amount of practice is built into the program and cyclical planning ensures that concepts are introduced, taught, and then practiced at a higher level later in the unit or in another unit.

The following series of daily tasks and question sets exemplifies a coherent and connected sequence:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How do Authors Begin a Great Story?, Part 3, students answer the questions “What is one action a character took that caused an event to happen? What caused the character to take that action? How does this action contribute to the sequence of events?” after reading chapter 6 of the text The Case of the Gasping Garbage.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 2, “You’ve seen how writers use illustrations. Art can present information. Let’s learn more about life in an extreme place. We’ll use text and text features to do so. We’ll also use them to find the main idea. Reread the last four pages about the Afar in Deep Down. As you read, think about this question: What are some examples of the extreme life in the Danakil Depression?”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 5, “Last time, you worked on finding main ideas. You also linked ideas to compare and contrast them. Today, you will learn about point of view. You also will learn what makes a strong conclusion in a piece of writing. Read the last section of Deep Down, called 'What’s It Like Where You Live?' As you read, think about this question: Do people everywhere think the same things are extreme? Talk to your Learning Guide about this after you read. Good readers use text features to understand what they read. Answer the following questions using details from the text. How is this part of the text different from other parts? How did the author define extreme earlier in Deep Down? What does she mean by it on this page? Write your responses in your English Language Arts journal.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Parts 2-5, students are reminded in Part 2, “Last time, you read the beginning of Weather and found the main idea. Today you will think about how explanatory texts answer questions about a big idea.” In Part 3, “Last time, you read pages 4-9 of Weather. You thought about how writers use important details in an explanatory text. Today you will read pages 10-15. Think about what key facts and details the author includes and how the graphics relate to the information in the text.” In Part 4, “You found out how weather patterns occur. Today you will read pages 16-21 and learn about different types of clouds and how they develop.” In Part 5, students have already read and learned about weather through the book Weather. In this lesson part, students read a poem titled “Weather” to see another way a writer can explore the topic of weather.

Evidence of the analysis of language, key ideas and details, craft, and structure include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Comparing Different Places, Part 1; After skimming the following texts, “Surviving in One of Earth’s Hottest Spots” in Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, and Chapter 4 of The Song of Sky and Sand, students answer the questions “What is similar about the texts? What is different?” Students then compare and contrast the two texts using text information and graphic features to answer the questions, “On page 9 of Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, what do you learn about how the Havasupai felt about their fruit trees? How is the Danakil Depression similar to where Ramata lives? Where does the text say so? How do the text features and photographs in the informational text and the illustrations in the literary text help you understand the cultures?” Students use a Venn diagram to compare the texts' key ideas and details.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Comparing Different Places, Part 3: "Climate is one topic that was shared across all the texts. Climate is part of a larger topic: geography. All three texts have information about what the landscape is like and about where places are. What words and pictures in Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, City Homes, and The Song of Sky and Sand gave you information about location, climate, and geography? What information about transportation did you learn from the words and pictures in Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, City Homes, and The Song of Sky and Sand?” (language)
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 1 students read Weather and respond to the questions, “What are the main ideas of pages 4-9? What important facts and details support the main ideas?” in their journal.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 3, students complete a Cause-and-Effect graphic organizer using pages 10-15 in Weather. Students use signal words to help them locate an effect and then identify the cause.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan's Tall Tale, Parts 1-8, Students read Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, then look for how the story is written and story elements. “Who are the characters in this story? What do the illustrations show about the text? How are Paul and Babe alike? How are they different from most living things? What are some ways the narrator describes Paul Bunyan’s size that could not be true in real life  “What are some descriptions of other things that could not be true in real life?” “What do these wild exaggerations tell you about the narrator’s view of Paul and his story?” “How is it different from your point of view?”

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The questions posed throughout each unit require students to return to text selections in order to recall details, analyze various aspects of the text, evaluate characters’ actions and motivations. Question sets are sequenced coherently within each lesson to support students in building knowledge about the story elements, structure as well as author’s purpose, perspective and craft. Students may also integrate their knowledge across texts, and are asked to compare and contrast texts, as well as replicate what they are learning in their own writing. However, the focus of the questions and tasks are often on the surface or mechanics of the process, rather than on developing deeper understanding of a topic.

While most questions and tasks are coherently sequenced, many are literal and do not require more than a basic demonstration of comprehension of a detail within the text. For example:

  • Unit 1 examples include: In “Location, Location, Location” from the realistic fiction story, The Lemonade War, students are asked to think about characters and how their actions, motivations and the events in the story create plot. Questions sets include: “Where does Evan set up his lemonade stand?”,  “What good thing and bad thing happen as a result?”, “What does Evan learn by going to the Big Dipper?”, “What does he decide based on what he learns there?”, “How do Evan’s ideas and actions affect what happens next?”, “What big problem and smaller problems does Evan face?”, “What are his solutions to his problems?”, “What are the result of these solutions?”

In the fairy tale The Frog Princess, text-dependent question sets include: “Why does the headman’s daughter follow the young man in green into the water?”, “How do the Frog People treat the daughter? How do you know that from the text?”, “Why is the headman interested in the traveler’s story?”, “What happens when the daughter returns to her parents? How does she feel then?”, “Why does the young man in green knock on the girl’s door? Why is this an important part of the story?”, “What is the lesson of the story?”
After reading “Location, Location, Location”, from The Lemonade War, and The Frog Princess, students are asked, “How do the two authors use their characters to help you understand the narratives?”, “How do the motivations of the characters lead to the events in the plot?”, “How do the characters help you understand the theme of each story?”, “How are the messages of each narrative the same and different?” These do present students with critical thinking practice, but do not build students’ knowledge of a topic.



  • Unit 2, Lesson: Thinking About Our World, Part 2: Students are asked to take their learning from throughout the unit to compare the main ideas of three texts. Students previously read the texts, The Moon Seems to Change, Treasure in the Trees, and About Earth. Students analyzed the texts for main ideas and details. Students begin to compare the texts by answering the questions, “Which book uses pictures to support the ideas of the text best? Why is this important? Compare in The Moon Seems to Change and Treasure in the Trees. How is the art used in different ways? Compare About Earth to the other two texts. How are the pictures in that text different?” Student complete a Three Sorting Circles graphic organizer to compare how the author uses text features in each text. Students also write a paragraph about the main ideas of the three texts. They must state the main idea of each text and compare and contrast any ideas from within the text. Students must refer to all three texts in their writing.

In this example, the focus is on identifying main idea and surface level understanding of the concepts at hand, rather than providing students opportunity to grow knowledge of the topics within the texts.

  • Unit 5 examples include: In the first section of Paul Bunyan, “Growing Up”, students respond to the following series of questions: “Who are the characters in this story?”, “What do the illustrations show about the text?”, “How are Paul and Babe alike? How are they different from most living things?”, “What are some ways the narrator describes Paul Bunyan’s size that could not be true in real life?” “What are some descriptions of other things that could not be true in real life?”, What do these wild exaggerations tell you about the narrator’s view of Paul and his story? How is it different from your point of view?”
  • In the next section of Paul Bunyan, “Starting Out”, students respond to the following series of questions: “What trait does Paul share with Babe and the Elmers as well as with Sam’s pots and other cooking tools?”, “Paul brushes his hair with a half-grown pine tree. Is this detail realistic or exaggerated?”, “Why do you think the storyteller of a tall tale includes details that are exaggerated?”
  • In the next section of Paul Bunyan, “The Year of the Two Winters”, students respond to the following series of questions, “How does the storyteller exaggerate how cold the winter was?”, “What effect do these exaggerations have on the reader? What does that tell you about the author’s main purpose?”, “What is the central message of ‘The Year of the Two Winters’?”
  • In the next section of Paul Bunyan, “Moving On”, students respond to the following series of questions, “If you believe the storyteller, what geographical features did Paul and Babe create in North America?” “What is funny about the events in ‘Moving On’? Students then identify the differences between your own point of view and those of the storytellers and characters in the tall tale. As you review the text, think about the following questions: “What comments by the storyteller reveal his or her point of view?”, “What is my point of view about what I am reading in this story?”, “What in the text leads me to respond this way?” In this example, the teacher will have to revise and/or add to the lesson to highlight any knowledge beyond the writing structures.


Some sequences of questions and tasks do provide students a focus to build knowledge of a topic or concepts. For example:

  • Unit 3 examples include: In Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, the focus is finding main ideas based on supporting details in the text. Students analyze the selection for specific details in both the text and photographs. Question sets include: “What do you learn about life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the photographs?”, “What specific details help you understand life there better?”, “What do you notice about the children in the picture on p. 6?”, “What can you learn from the pictures of the land where the Havasupai live?”, “How is it different from where you live?” “Read over the beginning of Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live. How does the author introduce the topic of the Havasupai people?”

In this example, the questions engage students in developing specific understanding of the Havasupai people and the geography represented in the text.


Another example of students engaging with knowledge building via questions is in Unit 4. In this example, the sequence of questions and tasks support the coherent growth of information:

  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 1 students read Weather and respond to the questions, “What are the main ideas of pages 4-9? What important facts and details support the main ideas?” in their journal. In Part 2, it states “Last time, you read the beginning of Weather and found the main idea. Today you will think about how explanatory texts answer questions about a big idea.” In Part 3, it states “Last time, you read pages 4-9 of Weather. You thought about how writers use important details in an explanatory text. Today you will read pages 10-15. Think about what key facts and details the author includes and how the graphics relate to the information in the text.” In Part 4, “You found out how weather patterns occur. Today you will read pages 16-21 and learn about different types of clouds and how they develop.” After reading pages 16-21 in Weather, students answer the questions: “What types of clouds are shown in the photograph on page 19? What can they tell you about coming weather?; What types of clouds are shown in the photograph on page 20? What can they tell you about air currents?” in their journals. In Part 5, Students have already read and learned about weather through the book Weather. In this lesson part, students read a poem titled “Weather” to see another way a writer can explore the topic of weather. After reading the poem “Weather,” students answer the questions “The poem treats the topic of weather differently than the text treats the topic. What is the main difference?; What do you think the poet is trying to say about the weather?”

Indicator 2d

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
The Grade 3 curriculum contains 6 units, of which only Units 1, 2, and 3 provide culminating projects. As students move through each unit, they are working on specific activities integrating reading and writing that will help them complete the project. As the student engages in the learning provided in each unit, they are guided through limited activities that help to complete the overall project. When students have completed their projects they  share with the group who is in their English Language Arts course. This collaboration provides speaking and listening opportunities.
Rather than demonstrating comprehension and knowledge of a topic, projects focus mainly on writing skills and writing process elements. Students utilize Information from some of the texts read during the units. Units 4-6 do not include culminating tasks in the form of projects. They include some short and extended writing tasks related to texts and skills taught during the unit. Opportunities are missed for oral presentation in all of the projects and writing tasks.
Most culminating tasks do not support the requirements of this indicator in the year-long materials. Some examples illustrating how the materials do not engage students in culminating tasks that build knowledge include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Tell the World Your Story: Project Your Story, students read a series of stories (“Location, Location, Location” from Lemonade Wars; The Frog Princess, A Tlingit Legend from Alaska; The Case of the Gasping Garbage; and Thunder Cake) to understand the fundamentals of storytelling (structure, character development, and description.) Students apply their understanding of story elements to design, craft, revise, and publish their own narrative. Students are required to use the narrative story elements, revise the writing to ensure that events occur naturally, edit for conventions, and publish the narrative as either a paper or digital copy. In this example, the culminating task does engage students in showing skills practiced, but does not provide them opportunities to build knowledge nor share knowledge they have grown from the preceding texts.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What’s Special About the Moon, Part 2,  the text The Moon Seems to Change tells the student about a topic. It gives information about the moon. It explains something.  When student write the brochure about Earth, students will explain, too. Good writers state ideas clearly. They use details to explain a main idea. To get ready for that, students will practice. Students write a paragraph that explains a topic. Choose one of these topics:  video games, flowers or cars. Students are tasked with telling the reader about the topic. Think of a main idea. That is the single most important thing the writer wants to say. Then, think of details to help explain the main idea. They should support that main idea.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Let’s Solve Nisha’s Mystery, Part 1, students learn how to use pictures along with text and to include key details to assist students with the final project of creating a brochure.  Students read the rest of Nisha’s story to learn more about the characters to a better idea of what Nisha is like by looking at both text and pictures. Students use an Illustration T-Chart to write details from the pictures. Then, students will note what clues the pictures give about the story.  Students look at the picture on p. 25 of Treasure in the Trees and answer the following questions to complete the T-chart.  What do you see in this picture? What else is on the ground? What is Nisha doing?  What clues do these details give you? How do they help you understand the story?. Students write about the illustrations pp. 26 and 27 in the ELA Journal, explaining how each picture helps to understand the story better.Students then write a paragraph about both pictures, talking about the details in the pictures, how the pictures work with the text and explaining how they add to  understanding of it. Students are tasked with using linking words to compare and contrast the pictures and answer the questions, Do they both show us something about Nisha? Does one show us more about her than the other? Do they both add things to what is said in the text? Does one add more than the other? In Part 4, students utilize the learning and apply it to writing about the first two features of the brochure.


In this example, the focus of the task is about the production of the brochure and representing students’ comprehension of the basic components of the story. This culminating task is related to the material but does not provide students access to growing knowledge about a topic.

In the following examples, students are asked to complete culminating tasks that do focus and support building knowledge about topics.The readings preceding the tasks organized around topics, and the tasks requires students to return to the detail and larger content of the texts to complete the integrated task. Per the earlier note, for students to have support with speaking and listening, the teacher will have to engage with supplemental work.

In Unit 2, the Culminating Task:  students make a brochure explaining why Earth is a great place to live.  Students read about natural things on Earth and thought about things that make Earth special.  Students are tasked with thinking about natural features of Earth that stand out for you. What can you say about forests or oceans? What places do you think are worth seeing? What do you think aliens should see when they come to Earth?  The final brochure has to include multiple features that allow students opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the natural world that they have learned through their readings.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson Life in the Grand Canyon, Parts 1-4 Students read about two different ways of living: city life and the Havasupai people who live on the floor of the Grand Canyon. In this project, students are making an advertisement about an extreme place. Students are trying to convince people to live in the extreme place. In their writing, students compare living in the big city with the life of the Havasupai. Students will describe which place they would prefer to live and provide two to three supporting details for their opinion. In this task, students demonstrate their understanding of the geographical and cultural information learned from these related texts.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The Grade 3 materials offer some opportunities for students to interact with and build academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary is introduced at the start of almost every lesson in some units, but rarely referred back to during the instruction across the Lesson Parts. Explicit vocabulary instruction is limited on variations for applying meaning and use of the words. Student application is limited to asking students to use the words in a sentence.

Within each lesson, there may only be one lesson part that includes explicit vocabulary instruction and the explicit vocabulary instruction may or may not include practice with all the words listed at the start of the reading. Explicit vocabulary instruction is inconsistent. Implicit vocabulary instruction is limited and may consist of a note to students that states, “If you see words you do not know, write them in your ELA Journal.”

Word-learning strategies are the focus of the Benchmark Vocabulary lessons throughout some units to increase student independence when coming to unknown words in text. Materials do not provide guidance for the Learning Guide that outlines a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component and there are limited opportunities for students to learn, practice, apply, and transfer words into familiar and new contexts. Examples of vocabulary outlined include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Think About Characters and Words?, Part 3, students receive instruction on how to figure out the meaning of an unknown word. For example, students are directed: “Look for clues on the page. There might be other words that mean the same thing. There could even be a definition. Look closely at the word, and break it down into parts. Look in a dictionary to find out the meaning of a word. If one way doesn’t work, another way will.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Are the Elements of a Great Story the Same for Every Story?, Parts 1-4, students read The Frog Princess and are given a list of vocabulary words from the text. In Part 2, students are referred back to the strategies learned in Part 3 of "What Makes a Great Story," and tasked with choosing three of the words and using one or more of the three methods to figure out meanings and explaining each meaning to the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Authors Think About Characters and Words?, Part 3, students are directed to look for specific words in the text. These words are pre-taught and defined before students read the text to support students’ comprehension of the text. They include:
    • "ingredients (p. 8)—Ingredients are the things used in a recipe: in this case, to make thunder cake.
    • dry shed (p.12)—To understand dry shed, think about the words dry and shed. What do they mean? You can work out that a dry shed is a place people store things that they want to keep dry.
    • trellis (p.17)—Trellis is a frame used to help plants grow. Look at the illustration on page 16 to see an example of a trellis."
    • Several Tier II vocabulary words are also noted that students will encounter in the text: overcome, horizon, squinted, luscious.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon, Part 1, students are introduced to the text, The Moon Seems to Change and provided with a list of vocabulary (quarter, crescent, waxing, waning, phases) In Part 3, there is explicit vocabulary instruction. Students are provided strategies (e.g., look for clues, use text features, infer, look in a dictionary) for determining meaning of unknown words. Students go back to the text and to determine meaning of the words waxing and waning using the provided strategies. Students then repeat the process using the words crescent, quarter, and phases.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees, Part 4, explicit vocabulary instruction includes strategies for how to read words that students might not have seen before. Strategies include: “look closely at the word; look for clues on the page; look in a dictionary.” Students are directed to practice using the word exasperated. Students break the word down into syllables, use the text to find clues regarding meaning, look in a dictionary to confirm meaning, and write sentences using the word. Students repeat the process using the words gnarled, scowls, frustrated, grove, underside, and urged.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 4, instruction is provided to help students understand how to use suffixes in words to gain deeper understanding words used in the text, Deep Down. Below is a sample of the instructional protocols used:
    • “On p. 21 of Deep Down, the author used many descriptive words. One is the word traditionally. Do you see the word traditional inside traditionally?
    • Traditionally has the suffix -ly added to traditional. A suffix is a set of letters that is added to the end of words. Adding -ly changes a word into an adverb. It means 'in a _____ way.' In this case, it means in a traditional way.
    • Write the word traditionally in your ELA Journal. Underline the suffix -ly.
    • What other words can be changed by adding the suffix -ly to mean in a _____ way?
    • Safe can become safely, meaning in a safe way. With your Learning Guide, add four or five words to your ELA Journal that follow this suffix pattern.
    • There are other suffixes that are often used. Examples are: -ful, -ness, -less, -able, and -ible. As you read your self-selected texts, watch for words with these suffixes. Spotting suffixes that have been added to a familiar word is another skill that helps you read and understand new words.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 4, explicit vocabulary instruction provides students with strategies to use when they come across words that are new. Strategies include: break down the word into parts, look for clues in the text, and use a dictionary to determine meaning. Students then practice with the words unstable, blanketing, and veil-like.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Are Passed Down Through Generations, Parts 1-4, students compare the texts Knots on A Counting Rope and Storm in the Night. In Part 4, students use the strategies learned from Part 2 of Stories Passed Down Through Generations to understand the word ceremony. Students then use the same strategies to comprehend the word interrupting from Storm in the Night.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan's Tall Tale, students are provided instruction in how to break apart words they encounter and may not know. Students are instructed:
    • "Can you break the word into parts? See if you know the meaning of a part of the word.
    • Can you guess the meaning of the word based on the meaning of the sentence? Look for clues in the context.
    • Is the word in bold? Is there a definition of the word on the page? If not, look to a dictionary to find the meaning of the word."
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 1, students are watching a video about Rosa Parks. As students watch/listen to the video, they are directed to listen for the words segregation and racism. Students listen for how the video explains the meaning of the words in the video. The teacher notes instruct the Learning Guide to help students pronounce the words segregation, racism, and boycott prior to watching the video. After the video, students are to discuss the meaning of the words with the Learning Guide and explain how the video helped students to understand the meaning. The teaching notes direct the Learning Guide to help students use context clues, examine the structure, or use a dictionary to develop meaning.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 2, students are directed to page 74, the word scratchy, in the text Back of the Bus. Scratchy whispers is a term the text uses to describe a type of whisper. Students are to think about the meaning of scratchy and how this meaning is used to describe the events in the text. Students then analyze the text for context and connotation for the words: scratchy, fierce, belong, pale, and punchy. Students use each word in a sentence and share with the Learning Guide. Teaching notes remind the Learning Guide to support students through the activity by reminding students about the difference between literal and figurative language.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Clara Stands Up, Part 1, students are provided with explicit instruction on the common suffixes -y and -ish. Students learn the meaning of these two suffixes and then practice what they have learned through determining the meaning of the words childish and scary. Students are asked the following questions as they utilize their knowledge of suffixes to determine the meaning of the aforementioned words: “What is the suffix? What does it mean? What is the base word? What does the whole word mean?” The teaching notes provide the following guidance for instruction: “Have your student tell you that the base word of chilly is chill and chilly means 'having the qualities of being slightly cold.' The base word of babyish is baby, and babyish means 'somewhat a baby.' Have your student repeat this process with childish and scary. Give your student more examples to practice these two suffixes, if necessary. Possible words include stormy, selfish, breezy, yellowish, curly, and darkish.”

Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.

At the beginning of each unit, background knowledge for content and writing skill areas is embedded into the first select lessons. As the unit continues, selected texts, writing tasks, writing stamina, and any projects increase in length and complexity. The learning guide gradually releases responsibility to students; from modeling and full support to independent completion with scaffolded support. Students demonstrate this understanding through a variety of instructional tasks within the PLUS structure (Project, Show, Use, Learn).

Throughout the units, students have multiple opportunities to respond using text-based evidence to support their answers. Students respond in their ELA Journals, through discussion with their learning guide, show their learning via interactive online tasks, and complete culminating projects that encompass a unit’s worth of knowledge. Students participate in shorter writing tasks and have opportunities to go back to the writing tasks to revise by adding content or incorporating the skill they are learning (e.g., description) In multiple units throughout, the smaller writing tasks are pieces of the culminating project. Each unit has an assessment or culminating task that at some point would have required interaction from all four literacy domains (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).

According to the Support Services document, “Instead of providing ancillary materials for Learning Guides, Calvert provides customers access to highly-trained, certified professional educators for any questions or needs that arise from the curriculum! Education Counselors have considerable experience in the classroom and are extensively trained on the curriculum. The Advisory Teaching Service (ATS) is an optional service that may be purchased from Calvert that enhances the services offered by education counselors.”

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

In the Unit 1, Tell the World Your Story, Project, students plan, craft, revise, and publish their own narrative. Students read several stories from a variety of genres, in order to understand fundamentals of storytelling such as narrative structure, character development, and lively description to support the development of a unique, narrative story.

  • Students examine author’s craft in four narratives: “Location, Location, Location” from The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies; The Frog Princess, a Tlingit Legend from Alaska retold by Eric A. Kimmel The Case of the Gasping Garbage by Michele Torrey; Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. In each narrative, students examine the main ideas, the development of characters and their impact on the story, and how the author connects events to bring the story to life. By reading each of these texts, students take note of exemplary author’s craft across genres that can then be replicated in their own writing.
  • Students also practice writing components of a narrative throughout the unit, practicing with mini-narratives and composing sections of their final project throughout the unit.
  • At the end of the unit, students combine the elements of their narrative, revise for the natural unfolding of events, and for conventions. They publish their narrative either by writing out a print copy, creating an illustrated mini-book or by using an online publishing platform (for example, storybird.com).
  • Students also review their own writing using the rubric criteria, which include the following: event sequence unfolds naturally; characters and events are developed through dialogue, actions, and thoughts; temporal words and phrases signal event order.

Unit 2 begins with, Project, Welcome to Earth, the Perfect Vacation, students will design, write, revise, and publish an informative brochure that explains to a family of aliens visiting Earth for the first time for vacation. The brochure will help the aliens learn characteristics of planet Earth. Students will use the information learned from reading nonfiction and fiction texts about features of Earth and important natural and human-made phenomena. The brochure will include an introduction, three explanatory paragraphs one at least three different features of Earth, an explanation of why the aliens might want to visit that feature, and pictures or captions. Students are able to publish their writing either by creating a hard-copy version or by using online publishing platforms.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon, Parts 1-3: students read the explanatory text, The Moon Seems to Change. This text provides students with an example of a text that explains information and gives students information about space. Students use the text to write about the main idea and supporting details and think about the main idea and details that will be the focus of their brochure. Students also analyze the text features used in the text and begin to plan which text features they are going to include in their brochure.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Our Special Moon, Parts 4-5: Students read the text, A Whale of a Rescue.” The purpose is to give students more opportunities to practice looking for supporting details in a new text, which will then enable them to complete this task more successfully in their brochure. During these lesson parts, students start to analyze example brochures and think about the following questions: “What kind of information do brochures have? How do they present the main idea? What kind of details do they give? How do they use headings to make some information stand out? What kinds of illustrations are there? How do they help a reader make sense of the information?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees, Parts 1-4: In the previous unit, students practiced identifying the main idea, details, and text features to begin preparing for the brochure project. During the lesson parts of Mystery in the Trees, students are using the texts to start developing the background knowledge about natural features in the world. Students will use this information to determine what natural features they are going to include in the brochure for aliens.
  • As students move into Unit 2, Lesson Let's Solve Nisha’s Mystery!, Parts 1-4, they continue the work of developing ideas and using pictures along with text to convey information.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Zudu’s Tour of Earth, Parts 1-7 students read the text, About Earth, about an alien named Zudu that is taking a tour of Earth and writes about what he sees. Students pull information from this text as inspiration for how to design a brochure for an alien. This text also shows students how fiction texts can include similar components of informational text such as text features.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Thinking About Our World, Parts 1-2, students will deepen their understanding of the texts by comparing and contrasting the texts, The Moon Seems to Change, Treasure in the Trees, and About Earth. By comparing main ideas, students will learn more about Earth. They will also compare research and sources that they will be using for their brochure.
  • Unit 2 wraps up with students taking all the information, skills, and strategies they learned throughout the unit to complete the unit project brochure. Students will present the brochure to the teacher guide when completed.

In Unit 3, students read about how people live in different places around the world. Students create a television advertisement about one of these places trying to convince someone to move to an extreme place.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Using Main Idea to Understand Life in the Grand Canyon, Part 2, students develop information about the topic chosen by adding facts, definitions and details to the introduction paragraph that has already been written.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Great Readers Use Illustrations to Understand a Story, Part 3, students previously planned an essay by writing an outline to organize thoughts and choose the categories. Students use that outline to write a draft of an essay. In this step, students will write down ideas in the correct order including, an introduction to the topic, facts and details that support the topic, transition words or phrases to connect ideas, a conclusion.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Comparing Illustrations of Different Places, Part 1, students previously wrote a draft of an informative essay. The next step is to revise. There are different ways to revise an essay. Students are tasked with adding more details if something is not clear or removing text if it does not contribute to the topic.
  • In the Unit 3, Coming to You Live From…?, Project, after reading about how people live in different places around the world, students create a television advertisement about one of these places. In the ad, they try to convince someone to move to an extreme place. Through their advertisement, students must: Introduce the topic; state their opinion; support their opinion with reasons; use linking words so that reasons flow in a logical way; provide a concluding statement. Students write and record the advertisement before presenting it. Students can use pictures, backdrops, props, even background music. Some online tools they might use include: Apple iMovie, Windows Movie Maker; PhotoStory3; Animoto, or Voicethread. A Project Rubric helps students understand how their advertisement will be scored.

In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Parts 1-5, introduce students to the concept of weather through the text, Weather by Seymour Simon. During this unit, student complete two writing pieces. A news report about weather and an essay about a weather event. Students work throughout the Weather Changes on Earth, identifying main idea, details, purpose/use of graphics, and learned more about weather and clouds.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why is Weather Important?, Parts 1-5, students are using the “tools” gained previously, to determine which “tools” (main idea, using pictures and illustrations, and connecting ideas in texts) will be most helpful to apply while reading. Student use these “tools” to develop the weather topic they will be using in their news story.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Around the World, Parts 1-3, students work to revise and edit their news reports to strengthen how they have organized the information and the word choice they use to explain the weather topic.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Surviving Natural Disasters, Parts 1-6, students develop the news report further by including personal events to the writing. Student take the weather topic and using examples from the text, Living Through A Natural Disaster, students draw on personal experiences with the weather event they have chosen and add additional paragraphs to their writing to includes these experiences.

In Unit 5, Lesson: Reading About Characters’ Perspectives, students learn about the features of opinion writing: a clear statement of topic and opinion. reasons for your opinion supported by details and facts, a structure that groups information in a way that makes sense, words and phrases that show reasons for your opinion, and a concluding statement linked to the opinion. Students select a favorite text they have read this year, and write an opinion of it.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, students write another opinion statements about another book they have read, and opinion statements with reasons about relationships between people of different generations. They also write a paragraph about the central theme of “Storm in the Night.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Parts 1-2, students learn to write concluding sections in an opinion piece. They write a conclusion section for their previous writing about relationships between people of different generations.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Part 3, students learn how to take notes of facts that back up reasons in opinion writing.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Part 4, students take what they have learned about opinion writing to begin a complete essay about which of two pets is better to own.

In Unit 6, students are reading stories about real-life characters whose actions have changed the world.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 1-6, students learn about Rosa Parks through the fiction text, Back of the Bus and the nonfiction text, Rosa Parks: Hero of Our Time. They practice writing opinion paragraphs around the concept of theme or central message.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Giving Reasons to Be Right, Parts 1-4, students build on their previous learning of Rosa Parks, a person who stood up for what she believed in and now learn about factory workers that stood up for workers’ rights through the text, Brave Girls: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. Students begin to write their opinion piece on the topic of “What Makes a Good Citizen?” Students write an introduction, supporting reasons for their opinion, and an outline.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Clara Stands Up, Parts 1-4, students continue the opinion work. They begin by reviewing the outline for word choice and linking words. Students then work on writing a strong conclusion that readers remember.

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

Units include some projects that incorporate research skills. Texts read throughout the given unit are at times, used to complete projects. Students complete projects that encourage them to utilize skills learned and develop knowledge of some texts and some sources. While opportunities for students to develop research skills are present, students do not necessarily need to analyze a topic in order to complete the project. There are opportunities for students to engage with print and digital materials through the LEARN Cards to increase their skills in order to pursue answers to questions related to the content.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Project: Welcome to Earth, the Perfect Vacation, students design, write, revise, and publish an informative brochure that explains Earth to a family of aliens visiting for the first time for vacation. Students create a brochure that will help aliens learn characteristics of planet Earth. Students pull information from the text as inspiration for how to design a brochure for an alien.
  • In Unit 3, students read about how people live in different places around the world. They complete a project in which they create a television advertisement about one of these places and try to convince someone to move to an extreme place. The Teacher Notes state that the ad should include facts, definitions, and details about the location chosen and state: “Your student might need to find more facts online and learn more about the location he or she has chosen.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Parts 1-5, introduces students to the concept of weather through the text, Weather by Seymour Simon. Students learn about weather patterns and how the Earth’s atmosphere is linked to different weather patterns. Students apply their knowledge about weather around the world to create a weather news report; however, students do not need to use the texts to complete this project.

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 materials for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

The materials provide some ideas for independent reading. The Before You Begin section states there is a reading log. The lessons provide scaffolding opportunities to help foster independent reading. Guidance is provided through the teaching notes. The Before You Begin section says that the students will be reading two to three books per week outside their class texts.

The LEARN Card activities as students are encouraged and reminded to read books independently, while noting the titles of the books read in their Reading Log. In the Getting Started portion of the platform, the following information is provided for students: “You should be working to read at least 2–3 books per week in addition to the books in your ELA course. Your Reading Log is a great way to see how much you have read and the kinds of books you enjoy reading. To create your Reading Log, make a table that contains the book’s title, author, number of pages, and the dates you were reading the book. Remember to keep your Reading Log up to date all year long, since you will refer to it in some of your lessons. To find texts to read outside of your classwork, you can use independent reading resources, or visit your local library and ask your librarian.”

Information about Independent Reading expectations is found in the “Before You Begin” portion at the beginning of the school year. The materials suggest 30 minutes of independent reading per day of instruction. The Learning Guide is at liberty to decide when students actively engage in Independent Reading throughout the day.

Students are asked to keep a Reading Log as noted in the “Before You Begin” section. It is suggested that students read on average two to three books per week above and beyond curriculum expected materials and texts. A link is provided for the Learning Guide to assist in helping students find independent reading books at their level. The resource that is provided includes Lexile bands that are appropriate for each grade level and a listing of retail stores and online platforms to find books. No specific mention of titles is provided, only a list of suggested guidelines to support the Learning Guide.

In the “Before You Begin” materials, there is a section dedicated to “Reading Log.” Within this section there is a hyperlink to a document titled, “Independent Reading Resource.” This document is intended for the Learning Guide. It provides directives about text selection, a table with Lexile bands, and links to websites for book lists. Students are directed at different times during the units to apply a standard/skill they have learned during instruction to their independent reading. Students then complete self-selected reading and record their progress in their reading log. The Learning Guide has flexibility to have students read texts independently. Therefore, it would be up to the discretion of the Learning Guide, not the design of the curriculum. Teachers are provided limited instruction on how to support reader independence. Directives for both student and Learning Guide are repetitive. There is no pattern or routine to when students are given directives towards independent reading and the reading log.

  • In the Getting Started Section of each unit students can access the protocols in the Independent Reading Resources Link under the Reading Log section. Criteria for independent reading selections is provided as well as the quantitative complexity measures for each grade level. This section also contains several resources containing reading lists and a Lexile website where Learning Guides can obtain quantitative complexity of a text. The materials state:
    • "Texts are comprehended by your student while reading independently (or comprehended when read aloud to emergent readers)
    • Encompass a wide breadth of topics, genres, formats, and challenges
    • Include both fiction and nonfiction texts
    • Be of interest to your student and allow him or her to explore new areas of interest
    • Strive to meet quantitative complexity requirements for your student’s grade band"

Students are tasked with reading at least two to three books per week in addition to the books in the ELA course. Students create the Reading Log, make a table that contains the book’s title, author, number of pages, and the dates. Students are tasked with keeping the Reading Log up to date all year long, since it will be referred to it in some of lessons.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: How Do Characters Impact a Story?, Part 1, students are tasked with choosing the two best books or stories independently read in the past two weeks from the Reading Log. Students will use the books to make a T-Chart in the ELA Journal. Students are instructed, "Fill in the title of the chart, "Characters’ Motivations." Use the titles of the two stories chosen as the column headings. Who was the main character in each story? Write each character’s name under the title of his or her story, then think of a problem each character faced. How did they solve it? Write the characters’ actions below their names, finally, remember the characters motivations. Were they alike or different? Write each character’s motivations at the bottom of the column." Students tell the Learning Guide about the two characters. Students then use the T-Chart to write a short paragraph comparing the actions and motivations of the two characters chosen.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: What Makes a Great Story?, Part 4, students are tasked with reading two to three books per week for enjoyment and record titles as well as why those books are better and write the reasons in the Reading Log, remembering to mention some details from the text.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Mystery in the Trees, Part 4, “Reading Log,” students are reminded that while reading the text, Treasure in the Trees they thought about what characters say and do. It states, “When you read for fun, you can do the same thing. As you read, think about the characters. What do they say? What do they do?” Students are directed to write the titles of the books they are reading in their reading log. The teaching notes for the Learning Guide state to ask students to share the books they are reading independently and to encourage them to talk about the characters in the books. The Learning Guide is given a suggestion for a question, “How do the character’s create the plot?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Let's Solve Nisha’s Mystery!, Part 2, “Reading Log,” students have been thinking about the key events within a chapter of the story. As students read, they are to think about which events change what happens in the story. Students are to write the titles of books they read in their reading log. The teaching notes for the Learning Guide include a reminder to have students share out the books they are reading and to encourage students to talk about the key events and why the even counts as key events.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Living in Desert and Ice, Part 3, students read a section of Deep Down and consider the following question: “What makes the Sami homeland an extreme place to live?.” As students reflect upon the reading, the teaching notes provide the following guidance for the Learning Guide: “Talk about your student’s thoughts on the reading. He or she should share examples such as how cold the land is, the fact that they live farther north than anyone else on Earth, and the fact that the sun never sets in the summer.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: What’s Different? Two Authors, Two Approaches, Part 1, the teaching notes include the following guidance for the learning guide in order to promote fluency and accountability in student reading: “Monitor your student’s accuracy, a key part of fluency. As he or she reviews the texts, have him or her read a section aloud to you. He or she should read the texts aloud with few mistakes because the texts are already familiar. Have your student read aloud a brief passage from each text to establish accuracy. Then, discuss your student’s responses to the questions. Your student might find any of the places mentioned and shown in photos to be interesting—or unappealing. Prompt him or her to give specific reasons for wanting to visit the selected places. You might also ask your student to elaborate on why.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Weather Changes on Earth, Part 1, students read the text Weather, the teaching notes for the Learning Guide state that the Learning Guide can select the best student option for reading, which can include the student reading the story independently. The other additional notes are directives for students reading aloud and how to give feedback for fluency.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Why is Weather Important?, Part 3, students read the text Weather. As they read, they learn how scientists use information to understand weather now and in the future. Students think about the following questions: “How do the illustrations help me better understand the text in this section? How does the writer use linking words to connect scientific ideas?” In the teaching notes, the Learning Guide is directed to choose the best approach for reading for the student and the encourage the student to write down vocabulary words that are unfamiliar.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Stories Passed Down Through Generations, Part 1: students read the text Storm in the Night. As they read, the following guidance is provided in the teaching notes for the Learning Guide to support and assess fluency in student reading: “While your student is reading, assess his or her fluency. Explain that reading with expression means that people change their voice as they read. They can read faster or slower, louder or softer. They can use their voice to show feelings such as excitement or fear. Have your student follow along as you model reading aloud from Storm in the Night, first reading without expression and then reading with expression. Explain that reading with expression makes a story more exciting. It also helps the listener understand what is happening.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Paul Bunyan’s Tall Tale, Part 1: students read the section “Growing Up” in Paul Bunyan. The following guidance is provided in the teaching notes for the Learning Guide to support accuracy in student reading: “Explain that reading with accuracy means reading words without mistakes. Have your student follow along as you read aloud pp. 22–27 of “Growing Up,” focusing on the pronunciation of longer or unfamiliar words for accuracy. Model reading with accuracy. Have your student read the same passage aloud, stressing accuracy. Monitor fluency, accuracy, and understanding. Monitor progress and provide feedback. For optimal fluency, your student should read the passage three to four times.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Meeting Rosa Parks, Part 3, students reread the text Back of the Bus and are analyzing the text for clues about the plot and theme/message of the story. Students look for evidence in the text to answer the following questions: “On page 71, what seems to be the reason the police are called to the bus?; On page 77, what does the policeman do when he arrives?; How does this event affect the plot of the story?”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: The Hidden Power of Poetry, Part 1, students read the poem, “The Little Black-Eyed Rebel,” about a person who lived during the time of the American Revolution. Students think about the question, “Why is the black-eyed rebel watching the boy?” In the teaching notes, the Learning Guide is reminded about vocabulary students might need to help with understanding (rebel), suggestions to help student understand how poetry is read differently than a story, resources to help students with poetry, and guidance on fluency.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
N/A

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

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

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

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 04/15/2019

Report Edition: 2018

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

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.

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