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
27
52
58
40
52-58
Meets Expectations
28-51
Partially Meets Expectations
0-27
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 Kindergarten 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. Materials partially address foundational skills to build comprehension so that students can make connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading.  Materials partially meet expectations for including materials, questions, and tasks that provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 (including read-aloud texts in K-2 and shared reading texts in Grade 2 used to build knowledge and vocabulary) are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading/listening and consider a range of student interests.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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:

  • In Unit 1, students read A House For Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. This text deals with change and contains vibrant illustrations. The story revolves around Hermit Crab, who has outgrown his shell. He is nervous and frightened but sets out on a journey to find a new shell.
  • In Unit 1, students read Life In A Pond by Charles R. Smith. This informational text contains strong content vocabulary and real-life pictures related to ponds. Students learn what a pond is, and what kinds of plants and animals live in ponds.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. This Caldecott award-winning children’s story includes vibrant illustrations and an engaging plot where the setting is the focal point of the story.
  • In Unit 2, students read Farming Then and Now by Charles R. Smith Jr. This informational text contains both realistic and engaging illustrations regarding farming, and it provides a variety of facts regarding a possible day in the life of a farmer.
  • In Unit 3, students read Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This Caldecott award-winning children’s story includes engaging illustrations.
  • In Unit 3, students read What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda Dewitt. This classic picture book uses colorful, simple diagrams to explain meteorology in a fun, engaging way. It is filled with rich climate vocabulary and clear explanations of everyday weather instruments. Both text and artwork were vetted for accuracy by Dr. Sean Birkel of the Climate Change Institute.
  • In Unit 4, students read Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong. This picture book contains striking illustrations and focuses on cultural aspects of a Chinese American family during the 4th of July.
  • In Unit 4, students read Making Music by Cameron Macintosh. This informational text includes some content specific vocabulary as well as text features, including labeled illustrations/pictures and subheadings.
  • In Unit 4, students read Clothes in Many Cultures by Heather Adamson. This informational text contains interesting pictures that show clothes from different cultures. The text contains content specific vocabulary.
  • In Unit 5, students read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. This picture book contains vibrant illustrations to explain the life of a flower. A seed is carried on a journey avoiding disaster to survive and grow into a giant flower releasing its seed into the air.
  • In Unit 5, students read Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole. This picture book containing a familiar rhyme for readers provides an engaging guide for creating a garden. The concluding page provides gardening suggestions for the reader.

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 Kindergarten 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 narrative, poetry, social studies and science informational texts.

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

  • Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way: Where is Home Little Pip? by Karma Wilson
  • Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home?: Where is Home Little Pip? by Karma Wilson
  • Unit 1, Lesson: A Home For a Crab: A House For Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House: “Henry and the Sugarbugs” by Michelle Vivaldi Tocci
  • Unit 2, Lesson: What Are the Seasons in a Year?: Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell
  • Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?: The Old Things by Deanna Noonan
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Unit 3, Lesson: What Will the Weather Be?: What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda DeWitt
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!: Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July: “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane DeRolf
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July: “Kids” by Bobbi Katz
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July: Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden: Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town: On the Town: A Community Adventure by Judith Casely
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town: “Our Block” by Lois Lenski
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Walking in the City: “Manhattan Lullaby” by Norma Farber
  • Unit 6, Lesson: The City Never Sleeps: While I Am Sleeping by Malaika Rose Stanley

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

  • Unit 1, Lesson: Is A Pond A Good Home?: Life In A Pond by Carol K Lindeen
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?: Farming Then and Now by Charles R. Smith
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July: Celebrating the New Year! by Elyse Schwartz
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!: Making Music by Cameron Macintosh
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!: We Travel by Kari Capone
  • Unit 4, Lesson: We Are All Different!: Clothes in Many Cultures by Heather Adamson
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns: Plant Patterns by Nathan Olson
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Places to Go: Places in my Neighborhood by Shelly Lyons
  • Unit 6, Lesson: Walking in the City: Neighborhood Walk: City by Peggy Pancella

Indicator 1c

Texts (including read-aloud texts and some shared reading texts used to build knowledge and vocabulary) have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and a relationship to their associated student task. Read-aloud texts at K-2 are above the complexity levels of what most students can read independently.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for texts (including read-aloud texts and some shared reading texts used to build knowledge and vocabulary) have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and a relationship to their associated student task. Read-aloud texts at K-2 are above the complexity levels of what most students can read independently.

Texts in Kindergarten are read aloud to students and fall in the Lexile level range of 310-740. Examples of texts that support appropriate complexity include, but are not limited to:

Unit 1

  • Where is Home Little Pip? by Karma Wilson: The text has a quantitative measure of 520 Lexile. This text has a character-centered plot. The theme relates to finding one’s home, and the concept of home is extended to any location where those who care for each other are together. This text has a chronological order with illustrative support. Students are familiar with animals and their habitats.
  • A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle: This text has a quantitative measure of 540 Lexile. Students will be successful with this character-centered plot with the theme of finding a new home. This text is presented in chronological order and has illustrations to support the text. Students will be engaged as hermit crab finds and decorates his new home with help from his sea friends.
  • Life in a Pond by Craig Hammersmith: The text has a quantitative measure of 420 Lexile. This text has a demanding nonfiction structure but the vocabulary and setting will be familiar for students. Illustrations support the text and students will be engaged wanting the learn about frogs, insects, plant, and other pond life.

Unit 2

  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton: The text has a quantitative measure of 890 Lexile. This literary text is an event-driven plot focused on the effects of urbanization. Events occur in chronological order over many years and the text includes some unfamiliar verbs and descriptive words.
  • Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell: The text has a quantitative measure of 690 Lexile. In this literary text, students connect many details about each season to the season itself with support from the text.
  • Farming Then and Now by Charles R. Smith Jr.: The text has a quantitative measure of 600 Lexile. This informational text examines actual past and present farming methods while exploring the theme of change developed through changes on a farm. Past and present farming methods are examined in a then-and-now format for comparison. Information is displayed in a variety of text features including text boxes, speech bubbles, sidebars, and photographs supporting written text. The text contains both academic and domain-specific vocabulary.
  • The Old Things by Diana Noonan: The text has a quantitative measure of 390 Lexile. This text is highly supported by images that require students to build knowledge of items with which they are likely unfamiliar.

Unit 3

  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: The Snowy Day falls in the Lexile band for Grade 1 and has a Lexile score of 500. The text has a simplistic character structure and plot. The language is easy to comprehend and the story line is predictable and chronological. The illustrations are simplistic, as well, but help support students in comprehending the text and show details about Peter’s snowy day adventures.
  • Weather Words and What they Mean by Gail Gibbons: Weather Words and What they Mean falls in the Lexile band for Grade 1 and has a Lexile score of 450. The story focuses on academic vocabulary specifically related to different types of weather. The language is easy to comprehend and the book has a clear structure and format (i.e., vocabulary word, definition, example). The illustrations are semi-complex including speech bubbles and the words are located on various parts of the pages to support the knowledge it is conveying. The illustrations support students in comprehending informational text and understanding how simplistic vocabulary connects to more complex vocabulary (e.g., moisture to clouds to water vapor to stratus clouds).

Unit 4

  • Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong: The text has a quantitative measure of 720 Lexile. This literary text has a first person narrative that is easy to follow in chronological order. Unfamiliar vocabulary is given context based on illustrations within the text. This rhythmical text is a good text to be read aloud, allowing a model for fluency.
  • Making Music by Cameron Macintosh: The text has a quantitative measure of 390 Lexile. This informational text contains many domain specific vocabulary words. A glossary is included, which helps support the vocabulary. Students use this text to help them complete their own informational writing, giving them facts and details to include in their writing.
  • Clothes in Many Cultures by Heather Adamson: The text has a quantitative measure of 520 Lexile. This simple text is supported with pictures and text features to help the students better access the information. The students use this text to help gather more information on different cultures.

Unit 5

  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle: The text has a quantitative measure of 400 Lexile. Students will be able to follow the chronological order of a seed as it is carried in the wind to begin growing and producing another seed. Illustrations support the text.
  • Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole: The text has a quantitative measure of 740 Lexile. Students will be able to follow the chronological order of this story. The illustrations support the text and there is key on each page for plants, animals, and garden tools.
  • Plant Patterns by Nathan Olson: While this text is beyond Grade K reading levels, with a Lexile of 740L, the simple text and colorful photographs ensure students will understand the different types of plant patterns being introduced.
  • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman: While this text is beyond Grade K reading levels, with a Lexile level of 570, the poetry structure and illustrations will help students understand the spirals found in nature.

Unit 6

  • On the Town: A Community Adventure by Judith Caseley: The text has a quantitative measure of 570 Lexile. In this literary text, a boy explores his town for a classroom assignment helping the reader to learn about the importance of community helpers. Domain-specific vocabulary, context clues, and illustrations help define challenging words and the use of symbols and illustrations help to convey meaning.
  • Places in My Neighborhood by Shelly Lyons: The text has a quantitative measure of 470 Lexile. In this informational text, students must connect details and locations while relying on text features to support understanding.
  • Neighborhood Walk: City by Peggy Pancella: The text has a quantitative measure of 620 Lexile. This informational text conveys factual information about living in cities and utilizes text features including table of contents, headings, graphics/pictures to convey meaning, picture captions, glossary and index. The text contains complex sentences containing lists and domain-specific vocabulary.
  • While I Am Sleeping by Malaika Rose Stanley: This literary text chronicles the events happening overnight, requiring some knowledge of professions and awareness of the passage of time while the student is sleeping.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (leveled readers and series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectation that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade-level skills.

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, supports and scaffolds provided within the materials do not change or gradually decrease as the year progresses to ensure that students can independently access and comprehend grade-level texts at the end of the year.

Some examples that demonstrate supporting students’ increasing literacy skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students read several texts about where animals live. Students describe how pictures and words relate to one another, ask and answer questions about key details, retell a story including key details, write details about characters, settings, and events, and write an informative text with a topic sentence, facts, and text elements. At the end of the unit, students draw a picture of their home and describe it.
  • In Unit 2, students read several literary and informational texts that are not necessarily connected to a theme. In the Lessons that make up Unit 2, students work with their Learning Guide to identify specific literary elements to include characters, events and setting. Additionally students learn how to ask and answer questions about text, learn about opinions and how to compare and contrast details in a text. Unit 2 does not have a project, so there is no culminating activity to demonstrate their learning of these skills other than the Unit Quiz.
  • In Unit 3, the Learning Guide and students engage in multiple texts about weather and different kinds of weather. Students work to write questions and sentences about weather and how they feel about it to demonstrate their understanding of weather vocabulary and concepts.
  • In Unit 4, students read literary and nonfiction text that look all cultural differences and similarities. During the first lessons, while students read Apple Pie, 4th of July, students focus on identifying the characters and events in the story. They practice retelling and sequencing events. In the Lesson: Let’s Make Music, students focus on determining the main idea and details from a text. Toward the end of the unit, during Lesson: We Are All Different, students look at two texts, Clothes in Many Cultures and Making Music, to determine what reasons the author gives to support the big idea in each text.
  • In Unit 5, students read several texts about patterns in nature. Students identify common types of texts, identify major events in a story, use key details to understand a text, use details to retell a story, and write an opinion text, including an opinion statement and supporting reasons. At the end of this unit, students create their own pattern and describe it.
  • In Unit 6, students read several literary and informational texts that provide information about living in a city. In the lessons that make up Unit 6, students work with their Learning Guide to identify events in a story, find details about characters, learn how a text is organized, and identify main idea and key details. Additionally, students continue to ask and answer questions about text, learn more about opinions, and how to use reasons to support an opinion. The Unit 6 USE activity asks students to employ the skills they have developed through the year by writing an opinion about a favorite book from one of the units. They are assessed on their ability to write a topic sentence that states their opinion, include reasons that support the opinion, include a sentence comparing or contrasting their favorite book with another book read, and write a concluding sentence restating the opinion.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2) and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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. This link takes you to a pdf 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 for most lessons. 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 Kindergarten students in mind, as well as intentional variability in genre, readability, and interest.

Instructional and text notes found in Kindergarten 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.”

Examples include: 

In Unit 2, students read the literary text The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. The instructional task is identified as verbally describe the setting while the text is read aloud. The complexity information provided by the publisher notes the quantitative measure of Lexile as 890L and the qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Event-driven plot, effects of urbanization, family ties
  • Structure: Changes related to setting, events occur in chronological order over many years, unconventional text placement, picture support
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Some unfamiliar verbs, descriptive words, personification
  • Knowledge Demands: City life versus country life, one home’s experience with urban sprawl, passage of time

In Unit 2, students read the informational text Farming Then and Now by Charles R. Smith. The instructional task is identified as writing an opinion about the text with reasons to support the opinion while the text is read aloud. The complexity information provided by the publisher notes the quantitative measure of Lexile as 600L and the qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Fictional time travelers used as means of examining actual past and present farming methods, theme of change developed through changes on a farm
  • Structure: Past and present farming methods in then-and-now format for comparison, clear connection between past and present, information in text boxes, speech bubbles, and sidebars, photographs supporting written text
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Challenging academic and domain-specific vocabulary, some in-context clues to meaning and a glossary, time-related words, comparison words, simple and complex sentence
  • Knowledge Demands: Farming and farm work, farm crops, past and present

In Unit 4, students read the text Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong. The task for this text is to write a narrative with a sequence of events and the text is a read-aloud. The complexity information provided by the publisher includes the quantitative measure of Lexile 720L and the qualitative features of:

  • Levels of Meaning: Learning to balance two cultures
  • Structure: First-person narrative, chronological order, explicit connections among events
  • Language Conventionality: Clear, common language, some unfamiliar vocabulary defined in context and through illustrations, domain-specific vocabulary related to time and number
  • Knowledge Demands: Concept of time, Fourth of July, multicultural families

In Unit 6, students read the literary text On the Town: A Community Adventure by Judith Casely. The instructional task is identified as write a book review with support for opinions while the text is read aloud. The complexity information provided by the publisher notes the quantitative measure of Lexile as 570L and the qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Explicit: a boy explores his town for a classroom assignment, implicit: the importance of community helpers
  • Structure: Illustrations support understanding of text and aid in implicit purpose, ongoing notebook included in illustrations
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Domain-specific vocabulary, context clues and illustrations help define challenging words, use of symbols and illustrations to help convey meaning
  • Knowledge Demands: Community workers and locations

In Unit 6, students read the informational text Neighborhood Walk: City by Peggy Pancella. The instructional task is identified as writing a travel brochure with opinions while the text is read aloud. The complexity information provided by the publisher notes the quantitative measure of Lexile as 620L and the qualitative features:

  • Levels of Meaning: Explicit: to convey factual information about living in cities
  • Structure: Main ideas and details, table of contents, headings, graphics/pictures to convey meaning, picture captions, glossary, index
  • Language Conventionality and Clarity: Complex sentences containing lists, domain-specific vocabulary
  • Knowledge Demands: General understanding of neighborhoods and communities, basic understanding of the large number of people and locations in a city.

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 Kindergarten meet the criteria that support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

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, poems, and decodable books. Students keep a Reading Log and independently read two to three books per week in addition to the books in their English Language Arts Course.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Tell About Your Home, students read several texts about where animals live. These texts include: Where is Home, Little Pip?; A House For Hermit Crab; and Life in A Pond.
  • In Unit 2, Reading About Then and Now, students read several texts about homes, seasons, and customs. These texts include: Life in the Little House, Four Seasons Make a Year, Farming Then and Now, and The Old Things.
  • In Unit 3, Weather in the World, students listen to, independently read, and interact with a variety of informational texts about different kinds of weather. Students listen to the following stories as their Learning Guide reads and discusses the content and may be reread independently after they were introduced by the Learning Guide: Come On, Rain!, The Snowy Day, What Will the Weather Be?, Farming, Then and Now, and Weather Words and What They Mean.
  • In Unit 4, Reading about World and Each Other, students read several texts that help them determine the difference between poems and stories. Students also read texts about making music and about different cultures. Students listen to the texts as the Learning Guide reads them aloud. Students may also reread them with the use of the audio feature. These texts include: “The Crayon Box That Talked” (poem), “Kids” (poem), Apple Pie 4th of July, Celebrating the New Year, Making Music, We Travel, and Clothes in Many Cultures.
  • In Unit 5, Knowing About Patterns and Structures, students read several texts about the patterns that are found everywhere around them. These texts include: The Tiny Seed, Jack’s Garden, Plant Patterns, and Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature.
  • In Unit 6, Exploring Communities, students read several texts about communities. These texts include: On the Town: A Community Adventure, Our Block, Jack’s Garden, Places in My Neighborhood, Neighborhood Walk: City, a poem (Manhattan Lullaby), While I Am Sleeping, and So Funny.

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 Kindergarten 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-based, 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 Kindergarten meet the expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based, 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).

Text-dependent questions and tasks are found throughout the parts of each unit. The questions are prompted prior to a reading to set the purpose of reading, and discussed with the Learning Guide after learning has taken place or as part of a task in writing responses in the English Language Arts Journal. Students use text evidence to support their answer and make comparisons with other texts.

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 1, students listen to Where is Home, Little Pip? After listening to the story, students are asked to describe a character. The materials prompt the student by stating, “Look at the second page of the story. What details about Little Pip do you find in the words and the pictures?”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home?, Part 1, students listen to Where is Home, Little Pip? The LEARN Card includes directions that instruct the students to “Use the words in the story to draw pictures that answer these questions. Then, talk about your drawings with your Learning Guide. How do Pip’s parents find her? What words tell you this? What do Pip’s parents do when they see her again? How do you know?”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 4, students are asked to think about details that describe a character. After listening to a section from The Snowy Day, students are prompted to discuss a variety of text-based questions. One questions states, “How does the picture on p. 57 help you understand how Peter feels when he sees more snow falling?”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 4, students reread Apple Pie 4th of July, identifying details about characters. The LEARN Card directions state, “Talk about these questions with your Learning Guide: Look at pages 12 and 13. What does the girl want to do on the 4th of July? How do you know? Look at pages and 17. How does the girl feel about staying in the store all day? How do you know?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 7, students research the topic “What I need in order to make a garden.” Students are instructed to take a picture walk through Jack’s Garden and “Look for information in the pictures and the labels to help you answer the topic question.” Students then use the text to help them make a list of what is needed to make a garden.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: The City Never Sleeps, Part 3, students think about the previously read text, While I Am Sleeping, considering the importance of setting in a story. The LEARN Card directions state, “Talk about these questions with your Learning Guide: Where does the story take place? What details tell you this?”

Indicator 1h

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate, may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate, may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).

The culminating task for each unit is found at the end of each unit and can be identified as the Show section of the materials. Tasks provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through a combination of integrated skills including reading, writing, drawing, and speaking and listening while allowing for a variety of project choices throughout the year. In Grade K, Units 1, 3, and 5 are constructed around a core project idea or culminating task. Each lesson in Units 1, 3, and 5 uses the text to engage students in activities to prepare them for completion of the project. While projects are included in Units 1, 3, and 5, students do not necessarily need to use the texts to complete the projects.

Evidence of opportunities that build to a culminating task include:

  • In Unit 1, Tell About Home, students draw a picture of their home and describe it. Students do not use the texts read in the unit in order to complete this project. A project rubric is provided. When the project is complete students are expected to share with their family or other students in the same course.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 2, students read the text Where Is Home, Little Pip? and must describe the character in detail.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home, Part 2, students continue reading Where Is Home, Little Pip? and describe in detail the setting.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home For Crab, Part 3, students reread A House For Hermit Crab and look at how pictures and text work together to help the reader make meaning. Students will need to have a drawing and descriptive text working together in their final project.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 2, students write details about ponds. The materials state, “Now, write or dictate a list of details about what ponds look like. Then, go through your list of details to decide what you would like to include in the drawing to help show your reader what a pond looks like. Use the first detail and start drawing.” This task helps students prepare for the culminating task, or project, for Unit 1. The project, which is introduced on the first day and assessed at the end of the unit, asks students to describe their home. The prompt states, “You will think about your home, draw a picture of it, and describe it with words.”
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond A Good Home, Part 5, Students reread Life In A Pond and draw a picture of a pond and write a sentence describing the pond.
  • In Unit 5, Project: Knowing about Patterns and Structures students are introduced to the culminating task, or project, they will focus on for this unit. In this project, students write about the patterns they see around them and make a pattern of their own. Students do not use the texts they read in the unit in order to complete this project. The materials state, “Here is what your project needs to include: two different patterns, sentences that describe the two patterns, drawings of the two patterns, ideas for your own simple pattern.” After completing the project, students are given a task for collaboration. The materials state, “After completing the project, you can share your patterns with your group. Your Learning Guide can help you. This a good time to look for other patterns you like.” A project rubric is provided.
    • In Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 1, students read the text Jack’s Garden. One pattern in nature is the life cycle of seeds growing to plants. Students are told to, “Look at pages 10–17 in Jack's Garden. What are the four steps you find in the cycle of a plant? Tell your Learning Guide.”
    • In Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 2, students read the informational text Plant Patterns. Then students are asked to, “Read pages 4–7 of Plant Patterns. What do these pages tell you about patterns? How do the text and pictures on pages 6–7 explain what is and what is not a pattern? Use a Two-Column Chart to show this information.”
    • In Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 2, students reread the text Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. Students then choose a topic and write about it.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 part refers students to discuss with their Learning Guide, there is limited instruction to support students’ mastery of listening and speaking skills. Discussions focus on students’ experience with a topic or reading skill, but use of academic vocabulary and syntax is not addressed. Students discuss their learning with the Learning Guide individually.

Teachers are provided direction on the answers to the questions but do not receive adequate guidance, support, or protocols for hosting discussions. Speaking, listening, and discussion protocols are identified in the Before You Begin section of the materials. This speaking and listening resource gives some sentence stems but does not provide a clear expectation of when these protocols should be used throughout the program. The protocols are rarely referenced in materials. Discussion formats are not varied throughout the course of the year.

Examples include but are not limited to:

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:

  • "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:

  • "I agree/disagree with you when you said…
  • This evidence from the text made me think…"
  • In the Unit 1 Project, Tell About Your Home, The Teaching Notes states, “Guide your student as needed as he or she goes online to interact with other students.” No additional guidance is provided for the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?, Part 5, the Teaching Notes state, “Guide your student in a conversation about how the answers to these questions reveal similarities and differences between the texts. Your student should recognize that both texts include details about how things have changed over time. Your student might note that the details in Farming Then and Now are all related to farming. The details in The Old Things are related to things most people have in their homes.”
  • In the Unit 3 Project, Weather in the World, students are asked, “What is your favorite kind of weather or season? When do you like to play outside the most? What do you do when the weather is too bad to go outside?” After watching a video, students are prompted to discuss what they learned with their Learning Guide. The Teaching Notes state, “Guide your student through the use of the online forum to answer the questions above.”

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

The Kindergarten materials include some opportunities for students to listen and speak about what they are reading. These opportunities occur as students engage with the text used in a lesson, either through reading or read-aloud. Specific tasks occur in the LEARN Card and vary between asking the student to discuss answers to the questions with the Learning Guide and/or record responses in their English Language Arts Journal.

Throughout each unit, students are prompted with questions and/or activities that they are to complete with their Learning Guide. The materials prompt the Learning Guide to have the student go back into the text to support their evidence, look at pictures or text features, or to connect grammar skills with text. Students are encouraged by the Learning Guide to click on the Collaboration button throughout their learning to connect with other students who are using the materials.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home, Part 1, students use words from the story to draw pictures to answer questions and then talk to their learning guide about the answers. The questions include: “How do Pip’s parents find her? What words tell you this? What do Pip’s parents do when they see her again? How do you know?” The Teaching Notes do not provide the Learning Guide with protocols to guide the discussion but rather provide answers that the student should give.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Is This?, Part 5, students reread Farming Then and Now and The Old Things. The students talk with their Learning Guide about the following questions: “What is the main topic of Farming Then and Now? What is the main topic of The Old Things? How is the main topic of The Old Things like the main topic of Farming Then and Now?” The platform provides the Learning Guide with answers but no other follow-up guidance or supports are provided.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping For Rain, Part 1, students are asked to provide their Learning Guide with the answers to the following questions, “What do you know about Tessie? Why does Tessie want it to rain?” There are no follow-up questions for the learning guide, but rather the Teaching Notes provide suggested answers.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 4, students discuss the following questions with their Learning Guide: “Look at pages 12 and 13. What does the girl want to do on the 4th of July? How do you know? Look at pages 16 and 17. How does the girl feel about staying in the store all day? How do you know?” Students also listen and watch Reading and Writing Story Elements activities for Character on BrainPOPJr. Students discuss how a character reacts in a story they have written with their Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 4, students are told to, “Tell your Learning Guide the answer to these questions: Are Plant Patterns and Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature stories or informational texts? What types of patterns does the author tell about in Plant Patterns? What types of pattern does the author tell about in Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature? Remember: you can always look at the texts if you need to.” The platform provides the Learning Guide with answers but no other follow-up guidance or supports are provided.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 7, students read On the Town: A Community Adventure. Students discuss the following questions with their Learning Guide, “What do Charlie and Papa do at home? How does the top picture on page 28 show what the words tell?” The platform provides the Learning Guide with answers but no other follow-up guidance or supports are provided.

Indicator 1k

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

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

Students have a number of opportunities for on-demand and process writing, as well as short, focused projects completed through a variety of instructional tasks. Many of the short, focused projects are a piece of a larger compilation at the end of a unit or a section of the unit. To demonstrate understanding of the text, students write on-demand and draw pictures to show meaning or in response to text through instructional tasks heavily throughout each unit. In the latter part of each unit, the writing tasks become more complex and demand more content or evidence to support the rationale. Writing assignments are integrated with the reading components of the program. Opportunities for editing and revising of written content is embedded within the lesson and often associated with a literature task, such as finding details in text and then adding details into writing. Additionally, the curriculum provides rubrics to depict criteria. The curriculum also uses a variety of digital resources with interactive components for students to demonstrate knowledge.

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home For Crab, Part 5, after reading A House for Hermit Crab and Where Is Home, Little Pip?, students retell the story to their Learning Guide. Then they are instructed to fill out the Key Events Chart for both stories and must, “Place the title of each story on the line at the top of the page. Then, fill in details that describe the beginning, middle, and end of each story.”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, students read The Little House and then work on the skill of retelling. Students are given the following on-demand writing prompt: “Write some words to tell about the changes Little House experiences. Write some words to tell about how Little House was then, or in the past. Then, write some words to tell about how Little House is now, or in the present. You can also draw a picture to show Little House then and now.” The teaching notes suggest that the students may dictate to the Learning Guides.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Part 6, Students read the books What Will the Weather Be and Weather Words and What They Mean. When students are finished they record things they like about both stories in their English Language Arts Journal. Next the directions state students should, “Write or dictate 2–3 sentences saying which book you liked better and why. Use examples from the book to explain your reason. Remember to be careful about spelling, punctuation, and spaces between words. Upload your answer below.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 2, students read the poem “Kids”. Students are then asked to record their own rhyming sentences in their English Language Arts Journal. It is suggested that the Learning Guide help the students record their rhyming sentences.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: The City Never Sleeps, Part 4, students read two texts, While I Am Sleeping and Neighborhood Walk: City. When they have finished, they complete a Venn Diagram to show details in the text that are the same and different.

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

  • Unit 1 Project, Tell About Your Home: Students are asked to watch a video on animals and their specific needs for food, shelter, and space. Following the video students are instructed to keep notes on the different types of settings they read about in the unit. The project writing states, “You will think about your home, draw a picture of it, and describe it with words. Here is what your project needs to include: how your home looks, what you like about your home, and drawings or pictures of your home.” After students complete the project, they are instructed to share it with their online group.
  • Unit 3 Project: Weather in the World: In this unit students read about different types of weather. Students are instructed to write and illustrate their own book about weather. Their project must include, “At least four sentences (one for each kind of weather), details and weather words, pictures that go with the text you have written, and one sentence and one picture on each page.” When students are done they go to the online collaboration page to share with the group their favorite weather or season and what activities they like best in this weather.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 4: Students read the text Tiny Seed. Then they write their opinion about the illustrations in the story. Student directions state, “ Now, you will look at your sentence to see how you can make it better. Remember that writing is done in steps. First you plan, then you write, and then you revise. When you revise, you add facts, details, or examples to make your writing clearer. Look at your opinion sentence. What interesting detail could you add to make it clearer to the reader? Add it now.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Walking the City, Part 6, Students use a chart they completed in Part 5 that depicted words and pictures that were related in the story Neighborhood Walk: City. Students used the chart to write a title/main topic for a travel brochure. In Part 6, students utilize their chart and previous writing of the title/main topic to draft an opinion for the brochure. Students gain a preview at the end of the lesson that lets them know that in Part 7, they will provide reasons for their opinion using the text to support their writing project.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Students engage in writing tasks across the text types required by the standards. Students use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose many types of writing, including opinion, informational, and narrative, while utilizing the writing process. There is a balance of short writing pieces which build up to longer writing pieces. Longer writing tasks are completed over the course of a unit or lesson part. Writing opportunities are scaffolded with Learning Guide supports: draw about the text, use graphic organizers to pull evidence from texts, and write shorter pieces over time to revise and edit a final piece. Rubrics are included with each larger writing piece, providing the criteria for grading. In some instances, examples are shared. Students have the opportunity to create their writing digitally and upload it to the platform or hand write  and upload a picture of their work.

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:

  • In Unit 1 Project, Tell About Your Home, Informative/Explanatory, students draw a picture of their home and describe it with words.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 4, Narrative, students create a personal narrative by connecting life events: “Think about something you can do now but could not do in the past. Write sentences to tell about what you can do. Make sure you write about not being able to do it in the past. Draw a picture to show what your words tell.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Part 6, Opinion, students have read two weather texts, What Will the Weather Be? and Weather Words and What They Mean and must give their opinion: “Which book did you like better? Write or dictate 2–3 sentences saying which book you liked better and why. Use examples from the book to explain your reason. Remember to be careful about spelling, punctuation, and spaces between words. Upload your answer below.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 7, Opinion, students have read about two types of weather and must tell how they feel about two different types of weather: “Now, think of words that describe the two kinds of weather. Write them down. Now, write words that tell your reaction to the weather. Now, use those words to write two sentences. Each sentence will tell about one about one type of weather and how you feel about it. Don't forget to use capital letters and ending punctuation! Finally, review your work and check it against the rubric.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 5, Narrative, students listen to page 24-30 in Come On, Rain! and use key details to retell the story. Students use the Key Events Chart to record details of one event from the story to record the beginning, middle, and end of the event. At the end of the part, students work with their Learning Guide to write about an event (beginning, middle, and end) with a character and a setting.
  • In Unit 3 Project, Weather In the World, Informative/Explanatory, students write their own book about weather. Students must include four types of weather in their book. They draw a picture and write a descriptive sentence for each type of weather.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: We Are All Different!, Part 6: Informative/Explanatory, first, students write out the facts they learned from Making Music and Clothes in Many Cultures, two texts the students read in the unit. Students are then prompted to “choose a fact from each list about the topic of different cultures. Write a sentence about each fact. One sentence should be about music in different cultures. The other sentence should be about clothes in different cultures.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 2, Opinion, students will learn how pictures and words work together to tell a story. The Learning Guide reads pages 5-13 from Jack’s Garden. Student use a Text and Pictures graphic organizer to depict how the words are supported by the illustrations on pages 8-13. Students draft an opinion piece about having a garden using the facts and details from Jack’s Garden: “Do you think it would be fun to have a garden like Jack’s?” Students are encouraged to use evidence from the text to support their opinion.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Walking in the City, Part 8, Opinion, the USE Card directions state, "You have been learning about and practicing writing opinions. Now, you will write an opinion about a new topic. Think about your favorite outdoor activity. Write an opinion about why you enjoy this activity. Include at least two reasons to support your opinion. Remember, your reasons should be facts and details. They should not give more opinions.”

Indicator 1m

Materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.

Materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing. The materials require students to justify their answers with evidence from the text or illustrations from the text when appropriate, often discussing their answers with the Learning Guide prior to writing. As students move through the units and parts of units, the tasks become more complex and build upon previous tasks that were completed. Students are engaged in tasks that require writing with evidence from the text or using the text as a mentor text to mimic the craft. Materials provide opportunities for students to recall information from the text by discussing it with their Learning Guide or organizing their thoughts on purposeful graphic organizers. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 1, students read the story Where Is Home, Little Pip? Students are asked to think about the major events that have happened in the story so far, draw a picture of each event on a separate piece of paper for each drawing, and then, put their pictures in the correct order. Finally, students must use their drawings while retelling the story.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 1, the LEARN card directions state, “The main topic of an informational text is what the text is mostly about. Key details tell about the main topic. Think about the details in Farming Then and Now. What do most of the details in the text tell about? This is the main topic. Write the main topic in your ELA Journal. Under the main topic, write three key details in the text that tell about it.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping For Rain, Part 3, students have read Come On, Rain! Students are instructed to retell the story in order and can look back at the pictures to help them. The directions state, “Look back at pages 6–12 of Come On, Rain! What happens in this part of the story? Tell your Learning Guide. Use the pictures and words to help you remember. Then, choose one event from these pages. Draw, dictate, or write to retell that event.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: We Are All Different!, Part 1-3 students write an informative text. In Part 1 they choose their topics. In Part 2, they complete research to find out facts about their topic. The materials say, “Use one or more sources to find facts about your topic.” During Part 3, students use the research to write two complete sentences about their topics.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 1, students read Jack’s Garden. Students answer the opinion question, “What kind of tools do you need to make a garden?” The directions state, To answer the topic question, look at the pictures on pages 6–7. These show the tools Jack used to make his garden. Would you use the same tools? Make a list of the tools you would use for your garden. Write the list in your English Language Arts Journal."
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Walking in the City, Part 1 students began reading Neighborhood Walk: City. Before writing their opinions students are asked to gather facts on certain pages of the text. After the students look for connected facts the materials say, “Choose two connected facts in the text. Then, form your own opinion. Write a sentence to tell an opinion about cities based on the connection you made. Write one fact that supports your opinion."

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed 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.

Calvert Kindergarten materials provide instruction on the grammar and convention standards for Kindergarten. However, much of the instruction is incidental rather than explicit. Also, opportunities for students to practice the skills and master the skills is limited. Instruction on nouns, verbs, prepositions, end punctuation, using sound-spelling knowledge to spell words phonetically, and letter formation is limited. Reminders are often provided rather than explicit instruction.

Over the course of the year’s worth of materials, grammar/convention instruction is provided. Materials include limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. However, practice is not frequent. Examples include:

  • Students have opportunities to print many upper- and lowercase letters. For example:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Loses her Way, Part 4, students practice writing upper and lower case letters for A, B, C, D, and E. Specific instructions for letter formation could not be found.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home?, Part 4, students practice writing the letters for K, L, M, and N.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow from Seeds, Part 7, when learning about the /ks/ sound students practices writing an upper and lowercase x.
  • Students have opportunities to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs. For example:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 5, the student practices identifying nouns and draws and labels a picture of a place s/he would like to visit.
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: A Home for Crab, Part 5, students look at a series of pictures in the story and think of verbs to describe the actions the crab is doing.
  • Students have opportunities to form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/. For example: 
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 3, students practice saying and writing the plural form of the following nouns: flower, color, pattern, row, and tulip.
  • Students have opportunities to understand and use question words (interrogatives). For example:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home?, Part 1, students draw pictures that answer the following questions: How do Pip’s parents find her? What words tell you this? What do Pip’s parents do when they see her again? How do you know?
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 2, the Learning Guide explains to the student that good readers ask and answer questions in order to better understand the story. Students complete the key details graphic organizer to help reiterate this concept.
  • Students have opportunities to use the most frequently occurring prepositions. For example: 
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: The City That Never Sleeps, Part 4, the Learning Guide reads the student sentences that contain a prepositional phrase such as, “Many people travel on city buses.” The student then writes their own sentence that contains a prepositional phrase.
  • Students have opportunities to produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities. For example: 
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 6, students expand on a sentence by adding a detail to the sentence stem: "The flower grows."
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?, Part 1, students write an opinion about an object, the students are prompted to add on to the sentence giving an opinion and starting with the sentence with the word because.
  • Students have opportunities to capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I. For example: 
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for Crab, Part 1, students practice capitalization by having the Learning Guide write a sentence where words are capitalized. The Learning Guide writes the sentence, “Whom does the Hermit Crab see?”
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 6, while reading the text Come On, Rain!, the Learning Guide is instructed to, “As you read the text, pause to point out that all the sentences begin with a capital letter. Then, have your student find the word I. Point out that the word I is also always capitalized.”
  • Students have opportunities to recognize and name end punctuation. For example: 
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 4, students practice looking at ending punctuation. The Learning Guide writes 2 sentences and points out the ending punctuation to the students and why there is ending punctuation that is different.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 3, the student learns about question marks. The student reads the sentence, “Why did the seeds sprout?” and then writes their answer to the question in their English Language Arts journal.
  • Students have opportunities to write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds. For example: 
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 4, students write the letter from the name for letters k, l, m, and n.
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 3, students write short /a/ words.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 5, the Learning Guide reads words aloud and the student practices writing down the beginning sound that they hear. Words read aloud include: hug, jug, mug, rug and tug.
  • Students have opportunities to spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships. For example: 
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 4, the Learning Guide reads words aloud to the student, if the student hears a short /u/ in the word, the student practices writing down the word. Words the learning guide says include: fun, mop, nut, log, cub rub, box, run, mat and rug.

Criterion 1o - 1t

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
11/22
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness, and phonics that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression for application both in and out of context. Materials partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge and directionality. Materials partially meet the expectation that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high-frequency words. Materials partially meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks providing systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. Materials partially meet the criteria for supporting ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported. Materials partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills.


Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relations, phonemic awareness, phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression for application both in and out of context.

Calvert Kindergarten materials do provide practice with alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, and phonics. However, the level of practice and application is not frequent or adequate. The materials do not provide enough opportunities for the students to practice or apply the skills that they are learning. For example, students learn about the letters Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii and Jj all in the same lesson at the beginning of the year in Kindergarten. The instruction on these letters is very brief. While the lessons state that students will practice identifying words that start with these letters, this is not actually done in the lesson.

In addition, there is not a systematic and explicit way of teaching the skills. Each part (one-day lesson) has a student section and a Learning Guide section. Many “parts” do not address foundational skills at all. For example the following lessons do not include foundational skills:

  • Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Loses Way, Parts 1, 3, 4, and 5
  • Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Finds Home, Parts 2 , 4, and 5
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather, Parts 1 and 5
  • Unit 3, Lesson: Weather in the World, Parts 1 and 2
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 4
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4

Evidence for standard R.F.K.3.D was not evident and practice for blending sounds in spoken words (R.F.K.2.C) was insufficient. Standards are also mislabeled throughout the program. For example, in Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, the lesson is labeled as having R.F.K.2.D taught, yet nowhere in the lesson do students complete phoneme isolation activities.

Students have some opportunities to learn and understand phonemes (e.g. produce rhyming words, segment syllables, blend onsets and rimes, pronounce vowels in CVC words, and substitute sounds to make new words). Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Gets Lost, Part 2, the student is told, “Listen as your Learning Guide says rhyming words. Then you say the words. What part of the words sound the same? Try to make other words that rhyme with these words.” The Learning Guide is told, “Use the Picture Cards can and fan for this exercise.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Finds Way, Part 1, the student is told, “Words have parts called syllables. Say the words pen and pencil. Count the word parts in the word pen. The word pen has one part. Say the word parts in the word pencil. The word pencil has two parts. The word pen has one syllable, and the word pencil has two syllables. Say the words cab, cabin, and cabbage. Divide the words into parts. How many parts does each word have? How many syllables does each word have?” The Learning Guide is told, “Cab has one part and one syllable. Cabin and cabbage each have two parts and two syllable
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Pip Finds Home, Part 3, the student is told, “Words have parts called syllables. Say the word penguin. Count the word parts in the word penguin. The word penguin has two parts. When you say a word, you can hear the word parts, or syllables, in the word. Say the words Mama, Papa, and Pip. How many words parts does each word have? How many syllables does each word have?” Learning Guide is told, “Mama and Papa each have two parts and two syllables. Pip has one part and one syllable.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What are The Seasons in a Year?, Part 1, students learn how to read the word at. Then they read the word bat. Students than read more words with the a sound. A teacher at this time could add other at words in order to teach this skill.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 4, students read the words, ant and bat and identify where they hear the a sound. Then they read the word hot, and identify which word it would be if you substituted the o for an a sound.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: We Are All Different!, Part 2, students read words with e in the initial and medial position. They say the sounds in the word b/e/d, jet, and then they make up other cvc words using the letters, b, l, p, n, m, s, and w.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July. Parts 1 and 2. The student is told, “Now you will use the poem to identify rhyming words. What makes two words rhyme? Tell your Learning Guide. Reread The Crayon Box That Talked with your Learning Guide. Listen for rhyming words. Stop when you come across words that rhyme. Say them aloud. What rhyming sound do they share? Write the two words in your ELA Journal. Repeat this activity as you and your Learning Guide read the rest of the poem.” The Learning Guide is informed, “Confirm that rhyming words share the same ending sound but might not be spelled the same way. Answers may include: I, why; along, wrong; me, see; green, between; sky, by; new, through; away, say; I, sky; unique, complete.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 4, students practice changing words with sounds u and a.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 5, students have some practice with the initial /j/ sound. While initially the instructions for the lesson are clear, none of the word pairs provided start with the /j/ sound.
    • What is on the picture your Learning Guide is holding? What sound does the word start with? Now, listen as your Learning Guide pronounces word pairs. Repeat those words. Which ones begin with the same sound as that word in the picture?” The subsequent teaching notes are extremely unclear, “Display the picture card jet. Your student should identify the picture as a nest; the beginning sound /j/. Use word pairs tap–zap, zoom–boom, rest–zest, dipper–zipper, cone–zone.”

Lessons and activities provide students some opportunities to learn grade-level phonics skills while decoding words (e.g. one-to-one correspondences, long and short sounds with common spellings, and distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying sounds of the letters). Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 2, students look at the picture cards provided and identify where they hear the /a/ sound in the word. It is either at the beginning, middle, or end. After that students draw a picture of a word that has an /a/ sound.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for Crab, Part 2, students begin to practice blending sounds leaf, fox, loaf, hammer, lemon, and ladybug.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Parts 2-5. The student is told, “Look at the picture cards. Say the words with your Learning Guide. What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word ox? What sound do you hear in the middle of the word top? The beginning sound of ox is the same as the middle sound of top. Look at the picture cards your Learning Guide shows you. Listen to the words. Which show pictures of words that begin with the /o/ sound? Which show pictures of word have the /o/ in the middle?” The Learning Guide is told, “Display picture cards ox and top. With your student, say each word clearly, stressing the /o/ sound. Then, continue with picture cards block, octopus, otter, frog, olive, doll. Help your student identify the sound. Help your student write the words in his or her ELA Journal and underline the o.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 3, students listen while the Learning Guide states three words that start with the letter b. Students repeat the words and then they pick out word cards that start with a letter b and then they write an upper and lower case b.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 2, students look at the picture card with the long /a/ sound with a picture of a lake. The learning guide then shows students the following list of words: hat, rake, jam, snake, and vase.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 2, students Learn about the a_e spelling pattern for long /a/. “Look at the picture cards your Learning Guide shows you. Say the words with your Learning Guide. Look at the word lake. Do you hear the long /a/ vowel sound? The letters a and e spell this sound. Display picture card lake first. Next, display picture cards hat, rake, jam, snake, and vase. Your student should identify that the words rake, snake, and vase have a long /a/ sound.”

Materials have a sequence of phonemic awareness instruction to build toward application, however phonological awareness is not practiced daily. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 2, students are to listen for syllables in three different words (Mama, Papa, Pip) and identify the number of syllables per word.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 2, students are to identify initial sounds. The Learning Guide says leaf, fox, loaf, hammer, lemon, and ladybug. The students name the beginning sound.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are the Seasons in a Year?, Part 1, students identify what learning sound they hear when they read the word at and middle sound when you say the word bat.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 3, students identify words that begin with the same sound of /b/. The Learning Guide states the word and shows a picture card for the following words: bed, bat, boat, box, mop, bus, bag, jet, and bubble.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 1, students identify words that rhyme. Students listen to “The Crayon Box that Talked” and identify rhyming words.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 1, students listen for the short /u/ in words such as umbrella, sun, drum, jug, nut, and duck.

Materials have a sequence of phonics instruction to build toward application however, it is lacking cohesiveness. At the beginning of the school year, students are working on basic skills such as letter recognition and by the end of the school year students are working on skills that are beyond the Kindergarten standards, such as long /e/ spelling patterns ea and ee. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is A Pond A Good Home?, Part 2, students finish up identifying, recognizing and writing the letters of the alphabet by working on the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses her Way, Part 4, students identify upper and lowercase a, b, c, d, and e.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 3, students focus on learning the initial sound /w/ in words. Students look at pictures and state the first letter for each the word. The learning guide then says other words and the student picks which word also starts with the sound /w/.

Indicator 1p

Materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acqusition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge and directionality (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).

Calvert Kindergarten materials provide instruction on identifying key words and letters, upper and lower-case letters, high-frequency words, and syllabication. However, instruction is not explicit and the frequency is not cohesive. In two units of a total of 47 parts (daily lessons), only 6 letters receive alphabet and phonetic instruction. Instruction for letter formation is not explicit, and there is no reference for students or teachers on how to form letter. Instead students are simply told, “write an uppercase and lowercase x.”

Materials include some lessons for students to learn how to identify and produce letters. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find her Home?, Part 2, students learn the letters F, G, H, I, and J. The Learning Guide uses letter cards to point to each letter and have the student say the letter. The student then writes the letters in their learning journal.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses her Way, Part 4, students say the letters A, B, C, D, and E. Once the student repeats the letter after the Learning Guide, they write the upper and lower case letters.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 7, students practice identifying the final /x/ sound, and at the end of the lesson, students write uppercase and lowercase Xx. The student directions state:"Listen as your Learning Guide pronounces box. Repeat the word. Tell your Learning Guide what letter spells the ending /ks/ sound in box. Now, sort the picture cards. Put the cards that end with x in one pile. Put the cards that do not end with x in another pile. Now, write an uppercase and lowercase x.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 2, students practice identifying the /z/ sound and letter. The text states, “What letters are these: Zz? Tell your Learning Guide. Look at this word: zoo. What is the first letter in the word zoo? What is the sound that spells that letter? Tell your Learning Guide. Now, listen as your Learning Guide says some words. If the word begins with /z/, stand up. If it does not, fold your hands.”

Materials include some tasks and questions about the organization of print concepts (e.g. follow words left to right, spoken words correlate sequences of letters, letter spacing, upper- and lowercase letters). Instruction in print concepts is not always explicit. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 2, students are listening to the learning guide read the story, Where is Home, Little Pip? When the Learning Guide is reading, they are prompted to demonstrate for students that they read top to bottom and left to right.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Part 1, has student practice putting a finger in between writing words to show spacing, but it is noted as a reminder.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 3, has student write upper and lower case r.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 4, reminds the Learning Guide to have the children start left to right, but it isn’t instruction. The same lesson also has students write upper and lower case b.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 6, the Learning Guide is informed, “As you read the text, pause to point out that all the sentences begin with a capital letter. Then, have your student find the word I. Point out that the word I is also always capitalized.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 1, reminds the Learning Guide to have the children start left to right and have them watch the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Make Music, Part 5, students write upper and lower case g.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 2, students practice tracking print, “As you read the text aloud, have your student read along with you, following from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom. When you get to the end of a page, ask your student what you should do next. (Go to the top of the next page.)”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 3, students are provided with instructions that explain the structure of a sentence, focusing on ending punctuation, in this case a question mark. “A sentence always tells a complete idea. A sentence always begins with an uppercase letter and ends with a punctuation mark. A question always ends with a question mark. Read this sentence: Why did the seeds sprout? Point to the uppercase letter in the sentence. Point to the question mark. Tell your Learning Guide what kind of sentence this is. Then, write an answer to the question in your ELA Journal.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 6, the learning guide brings the students attention to the spaces between words. “Have your student read the first sentence on p. 28 aloud. Ask him or her to point to the words and spaces between the words. Then, have your student follow along as you read.”
  • Some of the text features taught to students in Kindergarten are above Kindergarten standards. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 7, students create a four column chart for different text features: Front/Back Cover, Glossary, Read More/Internet Sites, and Index.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid-Grade 1 and through Grade 2.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high-frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid Grade 1 and through Grade 2.

Calvert Kindergarten materials contain some components of the indicator, however, the reading books are high level reading and complicated words for a student who is not yet reading. High-frequency word instruction is not explicit. There are gaps in the instruction with no high-frequency word instruction. For example, in Unit 6, there are no explicit lessons on high-frequency words. In two units with a total of 47 parts (daily lessons), only 3 lessons include instruction about high-frequency words. Students have some practice reading/writing decodable words, yet much of this practice is oral, and opportunities are missed to have students read and write cvc words. While some books are mentioned, it is not clear that these are decodable books. There are times when students listen to the Learning Guide read and then read sentences out of the anchor book but with little explanation to the Learning Guide. Units 3 and 4 do have activities including fluency and accuracy but these are incidental in design.

Some opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to purposefully read emergent-reader texts. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: The Little House, pages 20 - 28, Part 4, students are able to reread the text, but they can also listen to the story to hear the words read correctly.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: What Will the Weather Be?, Part 5, students read Red Fan.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 3, the materials state that students read independent reading books.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 4, the materials state, “After you read pp. 12–13, have your student read them aloud with you a few times, working to read with accuracy each time. Remind your student to finger point each word and read each word carefully.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 1, the materials state, “Guide your student in reading Plant Patterns. 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.
    • As appropriate, have your student repeat after you, whisper-read with you, or choral read with you.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 3, the teacher reads aloud pages 8-11 of the text Plant Patterns, the teacher is instructed, “As you read, have your student find and read the names of the flowers he or she sees.”

Materials provide limited support in students’ development of automaticity and accuracy of grade-level decodable words over the course of the year. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 1, the Learning Guide explains when they are reading the story that the student can read with accurate rate in order to ensure that others can understand the story. The learning guide models by reading the page fast and then slow and then the student reads the same page.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 2, fluency is addressed but without much specificity. The Learning Guide is told, “ Have your student read along silently, following the words from left to right and top to bottom. On p. 33, have your student read the first two sentences with you and then without you. Check for fluency.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 4, fluency is addressed but without much specificity. The Learning Guide is told, “Have your student read the last three sentences on p. 54 with you and then without you. Assess fluency.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 6, students practice identifying the medial /u/ sound in a series of picture cards. Opportunities were missed to have students practice reading cvc words with medial /u/. “Display the picture card bus. Your student should identify the vowel sound /u/ in the middle. Then, display picture cards drum, truck, pen, mug, cat, nut. Your student should identify the /u/ sound in drum, truck, mug, and nut.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 4, students have the opportunity to practice reading some CVC words and changing medial sounds. “Read this word with your Learning Guide: ran. Now, read this word: run. How did the word ran change to make the word run? Tell your Learning Guide. Read this word: cat. Change the letter a to the letter u and write the word. What is the new word? Now, listen to the words your Learning Guide says. If the word has the /u/ sound in the middle, write it down.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 1, students identify the long /a/ vowel sound in similarly spelled word pairs. The text states, “Look at the picture cards your Learning Guide shows you. Say each word. Listen to the middle sound. Do you hear the difference in the middle sounds in can and cane? The middle sound in cane is the long a vowel sound."

Students have limited opportunities to read and practice high-frequency words. High-frequency word instruction is not cohesive. For example, there are 10 lessons with no high frequency word instruction between Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 2, and Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 5. There is no high-frequency word instruction in Unit 6. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 4, students practice high-frequency words the and little. The students say and spell the words without and with the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 2, there are the following high-frequency words: me, with, she, and little. Students write a sentence with the words and draw a picture.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 5, students learn two high-frequency words: see and look. The text states, ”You see words like see and look many times when you read. Play Sight Word Bingo to practice some of them.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: What Will the Weather Be?, Part 2, three high-frequency words are addressed: see, look, and for.
  • Unit 5, Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 5, students learn about the high frequency words come, where, we, and she. The text states, “Say and spell the word come with your Learning Guide. Now, say and spell these words: we, where, she. The words come, we, where, and she are words you will read many times. Tell your Learning Guide which word in this list starts with the /k/ sound. Which word starts with the /w/ sound? Now, read these sentences with your Learning Guide. Point to the words come, we, where, and she. Then, draw a picture to show what the sentences mean. Where are you going? We are going to Nan's party. She is six years old today. Do you want to come?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 7, students learn about the high-frequency words where, is, come and was. The text states, “Say and spell each word in this list with your Learning Guide: where, is, come, was. These are words you will read many times. Say each word slowly again and listen to the beginning sound: where, is come, was. Tell your Learning Guide what sound each word begins with and what letter goes with that sound.”

Indicator 1r

Materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Calvert Kindergarten materials do provide some practice with word recognition and analysis skills. However, the level of practice and application is not frequent or adequate for student success. Although high-frequency words, rhyming, and some onset phonics are found in the units and parts, an opportunity is missed to provide students with decodable readers when it comes to high-frequency word instruction. The materials do not provide enough opportunities for the students to practice or apply the skills that they are learning in connected texts and tasks.

Some materials support students’ development learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills (e.g. one-to-one correspondences, syllable segmentation, rime and onset recognition, long and short sounds with common spellings, and distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying sounds of the letters) in connected text and tasks. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 4, the Learning Guide talks to the student about how the sentence says, “Pip starts to look for her home.” Then the Learning Guide talks to students about the fact that the picture shows that Pip is all alone in the cold, empty, snowy place and that the pictures show what the words tell about.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Parts 2-5, the student is told, “Look at the picture cards. Say the words with your Learning Guide. What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word ox? What sound do you hear in the middle of the word top? The beginning sound of ox is the same as the middle sound of top. Look at the picture cards your Learning Guide shows you. Listen to the words. Which show pictures of words that begin with the /o/ sound? Which show pictures of word have the /o/ in the middle?” The Learning Guide is told, “Display picture cards ox and top. With your student, say each word clearly, stressing the /o/ sound. Then, continue with picture cards block, octopus, otter, frog, olive, doll. Help your student identify the sound. Help your student write the words in his or her ELA Journal and underline the o.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Parts 1-2, the student is told, “Now you will use the poem to identify rhyming words. What makes two words rhyme? Tell your Learning Guide. Reread The Crayon Box That Talked with your Learning Guide. Listen for rhyming words. Stop when you come across words that rhyme. Say them aloud. What rhyming sound do they share? Write the two words in your ELA Journal. Repeat this activity as you and your Learning Guide read the rest of the poem.” The Learning Guide is told, “Confirm that rhyming words share the same ending sound but might not be spelled the same way. Answers may include: I, why; along, wrong; me, see; green, between; sky, by; new, through; away, say; I, sky; unique, complete.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: We Are All Different!, Part 5, students practice listening for the beginning and middle short /e/ sound in words. “INITIAL AND MEDIAL /E/ Look at a picture card. What is it? An egg! Listen to the beginning sound: eeeegg. Egg begins with the /e/ sound. Look at another picture card. What is it? Do you hear /e/ at the beginning or in the middle? Sort more picture cards with /e/. Put words that begin with /e/ in one pile, and words with middle /e/ in another pile, and words with no /e/ in a third pile. Listen to some words. Clap if they have the /e/ sound. What letter spells the /e/ sound? Ee. Read two sentences. Circle the letter that spells the /e/ sound. Draw a picture for each sentence.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 4, students learn about the short /u/ sound. The teacher is instructed to, “Display the picture card up. Then, display the picture card sun. Your student should recognize the initial and medial sound /u/. For practice, use word pairs rag-rug, cub-cab, hot-hut, big-bug, cut-cat.”

Materials provide some opportunities to read high-frequency words in connected text and tasks. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 3, the student is told, “Look at the words your Learning Guide writes. These are words you will read many times. Say and spell the words. Listen to the sounds in each word. Say each sound slowly.” The Learning Guide is told, “Write and display the words I and am for your student. Write the sentence frame I am _______. Have your student complete the sentence with his or her name. Point to the words as your student reads.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 5, students learn about the high-frequency words said, was, what, and she. “Say the word said. Spell said aloud for your Learning Guide. Listen to the beginning sound. Next, say and spell the words was, what, and she. These are words you will read many times. Now, use the words to complete these sentences. Write the sentences in your ELA Journal _____ is reading a book. _____ book is she reading? The book _____a birthday present. She _____it is a very good book.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 2, students learn about the high-frequency words: yellow, blue, green, and have. “Say the word yellow. Spell yellow aloud for your Learning Guide. Listen to the beginning sound. Next, say and spell the words blue, green, and have. These are words you will read many times. Now, use the words to complete these sentences. Write the sentences in your ELA Journal: I see a _____ sky. We _____ an apple tree. The leaves are ______. The sun is _____. “
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 2, students say the word am. Students repeat the words what, said, and was. They identify which word started with the sound /s/ and which one started with the sound /w/. Students write sentences using the words.

Lessons and activities provide students some opportunities to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills while encoding (writing) in context and decoding words (reading) in connected text and tasks. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 4, students practice writing words with the short /a/ sound. The text states, “List simple one-syllable words for your student, such as top, tap, cat, pan,and sip. Spell the words with the /a/ sound for your student to write down if he or she has trouble spelling the words independently.”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are the Seasons in a Year, Part 2, students look for words that start with an /s/ in the story Four Seasons in a Year, “Initial /s/ - Look at the word sun. Say it out loud. Listen for the beginning sound. The beginning sound in sun is /s/. Look at the picture cards your Learning Guide shows you. Which pictures show words that begin with the /s/ sound, like sun? Tell your Learning Guide another word that begins with the /s/ sound. The /s/ sound is spelled with the letter s. Do you see any words in the story that begin with s?”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Parts 1-2, students are asked to write their own sentences using rhyming words.

Indicator 1s

Materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meantingful differentiantion of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials supporting ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.

Calvert Kindergarten materials provide some assessment opportunities of Kindergarten foundational skills. These opportunities are found in the unit quizzes. There are some quick check assessments that are used throughout the program, but these focus on comprehension and text structure rather than foundational skills. There are missed opportunities for guidance on how to determine if a student needs additional support on mastery of skills based on assessment results. Protocols and guidance are minimal for how to support a student if the student is not understanding a skill and then how to reassess the student. The guidance is often for the Learning Guide to reread the information to the student.

Some assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence of foundational skills. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 1, the Learning Guide is prompted to listen to the student reading the text at the appropriate rate. The Learning Guide then listens to the student read the page with accuracy to determine that they are not reading the page too slow or too fast. A rubric for determining too slow or too fast is not provided to the Learning Guide.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Her Home?, Part 3, students are working on identifying syllables in a word. The Learning Guide listens to the student break words into syllables.
  • In Unit 2, there is a Unit Quiz at the end. Question 11 asks about the beginning sound of a picture shown.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, there is one assessment within the 7 parts. One of the questions is about assessing left-to-right directionality for a student following materials. The Learning Guide is told, “While your student is reading, assess whether he or she follows in the correct direction.” This informal instruction to assessment is quite common in the materials. There is no notation of an observation checklist or the duration of the assessment.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: What Will the Weather Be?, there is an assessment of fluency. The Learning Guide is informed, “Have your student choose a sentence to read aloud. Ask your student what the words are made of (letters) and what the words are separated by (spaces). While your student is reading, assess his or her fluency (proper speed, accuracy, and expression).” There is no recording mechanism for proper speed, accuracy, and expression. There are no guidelines for what is proper speed, accuracy, and expression.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with some information of students’ current skills/level of understanding of foundational skills. Examples include:

  • At the end of each lesson, students self-evaluate their understanding by answering the following question “How well do you feel you understand the concepts from this lesson part?” Students then mark one of the following answers, “I feel that I understand the concepts very well. I feel comfortable with the concepts. I feel that I need more practice with the concepts.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 5, students are working on identifying words that start with the same sound of /h/, /p/, and /l/. The Learning Guide begins the activity by reading the title of the book and having the student identify which words go together. The Learning Guide and student review the first sentence. The Learning Guide displays the picture cards for leaf, lemon, and jam. If the sounds are the same the student stands up. This activity allows the learning guide and student to become aware of how well the student understands whether sounds are the same or not in context with /h/, /p/, and /l/.
  • In Question 9 of the Unit 1 Quiz, students identify two words that rhyme after they read the poem or the poem is read to them.
  • In the Unit 4 Quiz, students’ print concept knowledge is assessed when a student has to choose the sentence with the correct spacing between words for the sentence “Emily has a cat.”

Some of the materials support teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery in foundational skills. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, students write a story about changes that Little House experiences. The Learning Guide is prompted to have the student draw pictures instead of writing them if the student is struggling to write.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 1, students practice capitalizing the first letter of a sentence. Teachers are provided with the following instructions for extra practice if the student is struggling, “If your student struggles with the concept, repeat the activity with other simple sentences. Then, write a sentence that begins with a lowercase letter and have your student correct it. Remind your student to end sentences with proper punctuation.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 1, students are working on writing their own rhyming sentences. In the teaching notes, the Learning Guide is provided with additional ideas to help a struggling student, “If your student struggles with this activity, suggest he or she begins by choosing a pair of rhyming words from the following list: go/slow, fast/past, yes/dress, chase/race, mouse/house. Then, help him or her construct the first sentence.”

Indicator 1t

Materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills.

At times, Calvert materials provide high-quality lessons and activities to reach mastery of foundational skills for Kindergarten learners. However, multiple opportunities to learn and practice each foundational skill are lacking. The foundational skills are often taught in one lesson. Sometimes the materials review foundational skills taught and learned. Materials do not routinely provide the guidance to the Learning Guide in areas where students may need more practice and in areas where students could use enrichment.

Some materials provide high-quality learning lessons and activities for every student to reach mastery of foundational skills. However, multiple opportunities to learn each foundational skill is lacking. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 2, students learn about the Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, and Zz letters all in one lesson. Students identify the letters and write them in their journal. Students also practice looking for words in the text Life in the Pond that contain these letters.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 2, students determine which words are rhyming words when the Learning Guide says them.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 4, students practice learning the upper and lower case letters by looking at the letter cards, naming each one and then writing each upper and lower case letter.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 2, students learn about initial and medial /a/. Students practice looking at picture cards and identifying whether they hear the /a/ sound at the beginning or in the middle of the word. Students also draw a picture of a word that has the /a/ sound.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are the Seasons in a Year?, students practice reading high-frequency words have and is. Students write down the words three times and then write them in a sentence.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 6, students practice the initial and medial /i/ sound. Students look at a picture that correspond to the word the Learning Guide states. They answer what the middle sound is in the word and beginning sound. Then students write down the words.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 4, students practice the beginning /i/ sound. Students practice identifying a word card that starts with /i/, clapping when they hear /i/ in a series of word pairs (such as lap-tap, lit-hit), and adding /i/ to make new words (such as - _ip, _et, _it). If the student needs more practice, the teacher is also instructed to have the student find words that begin with /i/ in a book.

Materials provide minimal guidance to teachers for scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support each student’s needs in foundational skills. An example of scaffolding for skills includes:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?, Part 4, students practice writing sentences about the story. Students are prompted to dictate the sentence if they are not able to write it.

Students have minimal practice opportunities with each grade level foundational skill component in order to reach mastery. Examples include:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 4, students learn about the beginning b sound and practice sorting pictures that begin with this sound. Students also practice writing the letter b.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 5, students learn about the /n/ sound and review the /b/ sound. To review the /b/ sound, students identify which word start with /b/ from word pairs such as, “bet-get, rest-best, bell-well, book-hook.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 6, students practice the /b/ sound again, by changing phonemes in words such as hit to bit and cat to cab.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 1, students practice identifying the word with long /a/ in word pairs such as - tap/tape and rat/rate.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 2, the Learning Guide explains to the student that a_e produces the long /a/ sound. The student then identifies which words have the long /a/ sound from the picture cards for the words lake, hat, rake, jam, snake, and vase.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 3, the Learning Guide has the student identify which words contain the long /a/ vowel sound by looking at the following picture cards cat, snake, lake, rake, bat, man, and vase. The student also identifies the word that contains long /a/ from the word pairs tap/tape and man/mane.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 4, the student practice adding -e to can and cap to make the long /a/ words cane and cape.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 to build students knowledge and vocabulary which will over time support and help grow students' ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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.

Kindergarten materials consist of six units. Some units are built around a topic and the texts that students read build knowledge and vocabulary towards learning of that topic. Other units are based on a theme and texts that students read are related to that theme. The unit topics/themes are sometimes lacking depth and as a result the texts used in the lesson parts are not always strongly related to the topic/theme. The lessons do sometimes provide structured instructional tasks leading to students’ ability to complete a PROJECT that is aligned to the unit topic/theme.

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, in Unit 2 students are learning about the topic “Reading About Then and Now,” but an entire lesson focuses on the seasons in the year without relating it back to the topic. Some of the topics are vague, such as Unit 4, which focuses on “Reading about the World and Each Other.” 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:

  • In Unit 1, the focus is “Homes.” Throughout Unit 1 students are reading texts, engaging in discussion with their Learning Guide and writing about the homes. Some examples of these instructional tasks focused on building understanding of homes:
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 5, students find details about another animal in Where Is Home, Little Pip? and use pictures and words to show the Learning Guide the animal’s home.
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 1, after reading A House for Hermit Crab students draw pictures that answer these questions. “Where does Hermit Crab live? In what type of house does Hermit Crab live in?”
    • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 2, students write or dictate a list of details about what ponds look like.
  • In Unit 2, the focus is “Reading About Then and Now.”
    • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, students read Life in the Little House, a story about a what a house experiences over time. In Unit 2, Seasons in a Year, Part 1 students read Four Seasons Make a Year. This text focused on the changing seasons, and the tasks incorporated throughout this lesson focused on finding key details and finding the meaning of unknown words. This text does not build knowledge on the topic “Reading About Then and Now.”
    • In Unit 2, the unit focuses on “Reading About Then and Now.” Throughout the course of the unit, students read four texts: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Four Seasons Make A Year by Anne Rockwell, Farming Then and Now by Charles R. Smith Jr., and The Old Things by Diana Noonan. Three of these texts focus on the topic for the unit, and this is a limited number of texts for a unit’s worth of materials.
  • In Unit 3, the focus is “Weather.” Throughout Unit 3 students are reading texts, engaging in discussion with their Learning Guide and writing about the weather. Some examples of these instructional tasks focused on building understanding of weather:
    • Before beginning Unit 3, Weather in the World, students watch and listen to the video Big Rain Cloud and think about what the video teaches about how rain happens.
    • After reading of Come On, Rain!, in Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 2, students talk about the answers to these questions with the Learning Guide: “Why do Tessie and Mamma want it to rain? How does Mamma feel about the weather? How does Tessie feel when she sees gray clouds rolling in?”
    • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 7, students will pick two kinds of weather, brainstorm words that describe each kind of weather and write a short sentence about each kind of weather.
  • In Unit 4, the unit focus is “Reading About the Worlds and Each Other.”
    • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 1, students read “The Crayon Box That Talked.” This text shows is an example of a poem, and all the tasks associated with this text have the students identify features of a poem and rhyming words.
    • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 2 students read the poem “Kids.” This poem discusses how kids are similar and different, but they all like to have fun. The tasks associated with this text mostly focus on what makes "Kids" a poem and rhyming words.
  • In Unit 5, the focus is “Patterns and Structures.” Throughout Unit 5, students read texts, engage in discussion with their Learning Guide, and write about patterns and structures. Some examples of these instructional tasks focused on building understanding of this topic:
    • In Unit 5, Patterns and Structures, students complete a project that includes two different patterns, sentences that describe the two patterns, drawings of the two patterns, and ideas for their own simple pattern.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 1, students look at pages 10–17 in Jack's Garden and identify the four steps in the life cycle of a plant.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 3 – After reading Plant Patterns students think about these questions: “What kind of pattern is the writer describing? How do pictures help you understand words in the text?”
  • In Unit 6, the focus is “Exploring Communities.”
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 7, students read On the Town: A Community Adventure. The tasks associated with this text ask students to determine how words and pictures give details about the characters, setting, and events in the story.
    • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 8, students read the poem “Our Block.” Students determine if the pictures relate to the text, as well as looking at rhyming words. Both these texts relate to communities.


Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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. During each part, students engage in orally discussing what they had read or writing a response in their English Language Arts Journal. 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:

  • Every lesson part begins with a reminder of the previous work and lesson understanding and a connection to the new learning that is upcoming in the lesson. For example, in the Unit 5 Project: Knowing About Patterns and Structures, the end of unit task for learners states, “Patterns are everywhere! In this project, you are going to find some patterns in your life and write about them. With your Learning Guide, you will think about what patterns you see. Then, you will write sentences to describe them. Finally, you will make your own pattern!” Each unit has questions and tasks that support students in being able to complete the final project on patterns. Students first read The Tiny Seed and complete questions and tasks that lead the reader to see the pattern of a seed. In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds Part 2, the Learning Guide rereads pages 4-9 of The Tiny Seed aloud. Then the guide asks, “How do pictures help you understand the story? Where do the seeds go?” In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 3, the Learning Guide rereads pages 10-15 of The Tiny Seed. Then the guide asks, “What happens to the seeds next?” Students are gathering information to fill out a sequential chart of what happens to seeds. In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 4, the Learning Guide has the learner retell what has happened on pages 4-15 in the story The Tiny Seed. Then the Learning Guide is instructed to, “Read this sentence from The Tiny Seed: After their long trip, the seeds settle down. You know the word trip in this sentence means a long journey. But trip can also mean to stumble. Some words like trip have more than one meaning. How can you figure out which meaning is being used? Readers use the words and sentences around a multiple-meaning word to figure this out.” In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 7, the Learning Guide helps the learner finish reading The Tiny Seed. Then, the student directions state, “Discuss with your Learning Guide how the end of the story is like the beginning of the story. What pattern will be repeated?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, students read The Little House. As they read, students are suppose to think about the following questions: “What events happened in the past? What events in the story are happening now?” Students work with their Learning Guide to write the main events in order. They students are prompted with the following directions: “This story takes place in two different places. Tell your Learning Guide about how the setting changes. Next, tell your Learning Guide about the two most important events in the story. Retell the events using the words ‘first’ and ‘next.’”

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 2, students reread A House for a Hermit Crab. They are encouraged to keep in mind the following two questions: “What is Hermit Crab doing on these pages? How does each event affect the next one?” Students discuss the story after it is read with their Learning Guide. The purpose of the Learning Guide in this part of the lessons is to help them make sense of the details in the text. Students work to write details for an event they created (focusing on characters and setting).
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?, Part 1, students read the text The Old Things with a focus on linking the words and the illustrations. As they read, students are encouraged to think about the following question: “What do the pictures show about the words in the text?”

The Learning Guide discusses the front cover and asked students to make connections with the title and the picture on the front cover. Students transition to a writing time where they choose an item from the book and write an opinion using the format of stating your stance and then giving a reason.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 1, the LEARN Card directions state “Now, you will read about a boy named Peter. You will retell what happens to him on a snowy day. Retelling a story helps you check that you understand everything that happened in it. Tell your Learning Guide the answer to these questions: 'What does Peter do when he goes out in the snow? What details help you understand what Peter is doing?'”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!, Part 2, students are working on how words help them understand the text. At the beginning of the lesson, the students think about the question: “What do I do when I don’t understand a word in a text?” After rereading Making Music the Learning Guide asks: "What is a choir? What does the author say on p. 7 about singing in a choir? What do the pictures show to help you?” After discussing using pictures to help you understand a word, the Learning Guide is prompted to explain to students that they can also use a glossary or a dictionary to learn the meaning of words. The students are prompted: “Words in bold letters in this text are special because they are in the glossary at the back of the book. A glossary tells what words mean. Turn to the glossary at the back of Making Music. Find the word choir and read what it means with your Learning Guide.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!, Part 3, students are rereading Making Music. Students are encouraged to stop periodically throughout the book to discuss with their Learning Guide how the instruments are alike vs. different: “How are clapsticks and panpipes alike and different? How are tribal drums different from other drums?” The curriculum uses page 8 as an example for pointing out the author’s structure of cause and effect. Students utilize the cause and effect chart provided to find connections while they read. Students also use a T chart graphic organizer to keep track of their questions and answers as they read.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 5, students have previously read The Tiny Seed and Jack’s Garden. As they reread the stories, they are encouraged to think about how they are alike and to contemplate the following: “Who are the main characters in the stories? What are the settings for the stories? What role do plants play in both stories?” Students then engage in discussion with their Learning Guide using the following questions as a guide: “How are the main characters, the tiny seed and Jack, different? How are the settings for both stories alike? Both books tell about seeds sprouting. How do they tell about this differently?” Students then complete a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the two stories.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 6, students read a section of On the Town: A Community of Adventure. While reading, students are asked to think about the following questions: “Do you see any words you don’t know? Do you see any words that have meanings that might be similar to other words?” After reading students are asked to discuss with their Learning Guide what the word bouquet means by looking at the pictures and listening to their Learning Guide read the last two sentences on the page. Students then complete a Word Categories chart using words from the text. The instructions state, “Write at least two more words or phrases in each circle that are related to the people, places, and things from the story.”

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 Kindergarten 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, and evaluate characters’ actions and motivations. Question sets are sequenced coherently within each lesson to support students in understanding story elements, structure, author’s purpose, perspective, and craft. Some sets of questions and tasks promote building knowledge on a topic, but others do not and would need supplementation by the teacher to support students in learning more than a surface understanding of the material.

Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that do not consistently build knowledge include the following. In these examples, the questions and directions focus on surface reading comprehension and/or reading strategy practices.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for Crab, Part 4, LEARN Card, students reread parts of both stories Where Is Home, Little Pip? and A House for Hermit Crab. They discuss the following questions with their Learning Guide: “Both Pip and Hermit Crab are wandering around. Why? Are they happy to be wandering around? What does Pip ask the whale? What does Hermit Crab ask the sea anemone? How does Pip feel at the end of the story? Why? How does Hermit Crab feel at the end of the story? Why?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What is This?, Part 2, LEARN Card, students listen to pages 2–7 in The Old Things and talk about these questions with the Learning Guide: “Why can’t Gran take all her things with her? What can you tell about how to play records from the photograph on page 4?” Then, in Part 5, from the LEARN Card: Students will compare and contrast two texts about the same topic. They read part of Farming Then and Now and The Old Things and think about these questions: “How are the details in the two texts the same? How are the details in the two texts different?” In Part 6, LEARN Card, students talk about these questions with the Learning Guide: “Look at the photographs on pages 12 and 13 of Farming Then and Now. What do they show you about the meaning of the words “shearing a sheep?” Look at the letter Tom wrote Gran on p. 15 of The Old Things. What clues can you find about whether it was easy or hard for Tom to write the letter with the pen?” Then, in Unit 2, What Is That?, Part 7 students complete the following task to check for mastery, “You have been reading Farming Then and Now and The Old Things. You will use what you have learned about comparing and contrasting to tell how the details in these texts are alike and different.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Places to Go, Part 2, LEARN Card, students fill in an Ask and Answer Questions Chart. Under “Questions” they write a question they have about the topic and then find the answer in the text. In Part 5, from the LEARN Card: Students compare and contrast two books. They reread On the Town: A Community Adventure and Places in My Neighborhood. After they read, they talk about these questions with the Learning Guide: “What is the main topic of Places in My Neighborhood? How is the topic of this book like the main topic of On the Town: A Community Adventure?”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: The City Never Sleeps, Part 1, LEARN Card, students use a Three-Column Chart to show where they found details about the characters in While I Am Sleeping. In Part 3, LEARN Card, students read pages 14–24 of While I Am Sleeping and talk about these questions with the Learning Guide: “Where does the story take place? What details tell you this? When does the story take place? What details tell you this?” In Part 4, LEARN Card, students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast Neighborhood Walk: City and While I Am Sleeping.

Some sequences of questions and tasks are organized to support students' building knowledge of a topic and in integrating this knowledge in tasks. For example, the following samples lead students to knowledge about the world while they are engaging with close reading. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are the Seasons in a Year?, Part 2, LEARN Card, students listen to the Learning Guide read pages 30–35 of Four Seasons Make a Year and discuss the answers to these questions: “Which flowers bloom in spring? Look at the pictures on pages 30–31. How do the words connect to the pictures?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 3, students work on comparing and contrasting using the text Farming Then and Now. The materials tell the student: “Now, complete a Compare and Contrast Venn diagram. Label the left circle 'Then,' the right circle 'Now,' and the shared space between them 'Both.' Under 'Then' write details about farming in the past. Under 'Now' write details about farming in the present. Under 'Both' write a detail that was the same then as it is now.” In Part 5, students listen to the Learning Guide read pages 12–13 of Farming Then and Now and talk about the questions: “How many people does it take to shear a sheep today? What is different about how people shear sheep today and how it was done long ago?”
  • In Unit 5, Knowing Patterns and Structures, students read several text to learn that patterns are everywhere. And for their project they create their own pattern and describe it. In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow from Seeds, Part 1, students read The Tiny Seed and answer the following questions: “How does being a tiny help the tiny seed? What does the tiny seed finally become?” In Part 5, students listen to their learning guide reread pages 18-25 of The Tiny Seed. “What do the seeds become?” Students look at the illustrations on pages 24-25 and answer the question: “How do they help you understand what is happening in the story?” Then, in Part 6, students follow along as their learning guide rereads pages 26-29 of The Tiny Seed and answer the following questions: “How does the tiny seed change again? How do the pictures help you understand events in the story?”

Some sequences include support for building knowledge, although the teacher may have to provide supplements and/or revision to the lesson to assure the focus on the topic is clear to the students while they are completing other tasks. 

For example, in Unit 3, Lesson: Wonderful Weather Words!, Part 5, LEARN Card, students reread What Will the Weather Be? and Weather Words and What They Mean and answer the following questions: “How are the topics of both books alike? How are they different? Both books talk about weather fronts. Which book tells more about fronts?” The questions are surface level but may be engaged further to encourage students to share their knowledge from these texts about 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).
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 (i.e., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The Kindergarten curriculum contains six units, of which only Units 1, 3, and 5 provide culminating projects. As the student engages in the learning provided in each unit, they are guided through limited activities that help to complete the overall project.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, although often this information is only in service of the strategy at hand, rather than to build knowledge about a topic of study. Students demonstrate skills developed during the unit during these tasks.

The following are examples of tasks that represent how students are using the coherent questions and tasks to culminate in something larger, but the end product is focused on the skill or surface understanding of the concept, rather than on their deeper understanding and application of knowledge. 

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Tell About Home: In this unit project. students draw a picture of their home and describe it. A project rubric is provided. When the project is complete students are expected to share with their family or other students in the same course.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Little Pip Loses Her Way, Part 2, students read the text Where Is Home, Little Pip? and must describe the character in detail. Students will use details in their final project.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Does Little Pip Find Home, Part 2, students continue reading Where Is Home, Little Pip? and describe in detail the setting. Students will use details in their final project.
  • In Unit 3, students work to finish their own weather book that was started and worked on incrementally throughout the unit. The weather book requires students to utilize academic vocabulary related to weather. Students rewrite their last two sentences in their booklet and draw pictures to match their sentences. Students use the online platform Storybird to publish their writing and illustrations. The Learning Guide converses with the student as they complete their culminating task about the grading rubric and provide constructive feedback about their project. At the end of the unit, students complete an 8 question interactive assessment that covers vocabulary, parts of a book, and grammar.

Some tasks provide students better opportunity to do close study of the texts they have worked with, but to assure students are building knowledge beyond just practicing strategies, the teacher will have to supplement and refine the lesson. 

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home For Crab, Part 3, students reread A House For Hermit Crab and look at how pictures and text work together to help the reader make meaning. Students will need to have a drawing and descriptive text working together in their final project. The teacher will have to refocus this component to underscore the knowledge of crabs and their habitat. 
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond A Good Home, Part 5, Students reread Life In A Pond and draw a picture of a pond and write a sentence describing the pond. This is project practice since students will need to draw a picture of their pond and describe it.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Knowing About Patterns and Structures: In this project, students write about the patterns they see around them and make a pattern of their own. A project rubric is provided. When the project is complete students are expected to share with their group, other students in the same course. Students would need to complete the course to correctly understand patterns in nature.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden Part 1, students read the text Jack’s Garden. One pattern in nature is the life cycle of seeds growing to plants. Students are told to, “Look at pages 10–17 in Jack's Garden. What are the four steps you find in the cycle of a plant? Tell your Learning Guide.” This will help them as they start to brainstorm a list of some patterns they see in nature for their final project.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 2, students reread the text Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. Students then choose a topic and write about it. This is practice for the project of writing about a pattern in nature.


Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 Kindergarten curriculum 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. 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. The Calvert Grade K instructional 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:

Vocabulary Words

  • In Unit 1, Lesson: A Home for a Crab, Part 1, students are given a list of vocabulary words contained in the text. The Learning Guide is told to read the LEARN card to the student, which contains the list of vocabulary words. At the end of this part of the lesson, students use describing words to give details about the characters in the text. While students may utilize some of the vocabulary words in their description, there is not instruction for the student or Learning Guide for them to do so.
  • Unit 2, Lesson: Life in the Little House, Part 1, Vocabulary List: country, curious, buds, swell, brook, carriage, cellars, stories, shabby, shutter, frost, harvest, gasoline, glance, twinkled
  • Unit 4, Lesson: Let’s Make Music!, Part 1, Vocabulary List: drumsticks, rattles, important, instrument, world, bells, note, memory, stomp, hum, strips, wrap, decorate

High Frequency Words:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are The Seasons In A Year?, Part 3, High Frequency Words, the student directions state, “Look at this word: have. Listen as your Learning Guide reads the word to you. Sound out the word with your Learning Guide. Now, look at this word: is. Sound out the word with your Learning Guide. Write these words down three times each. Then, tell your Learning Guide a sentence that uses each word.”

Benchmark Vocabulary:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: What Are The Seasons In A Year?, Part 5, Benchmark Vocabulary, student directions state, “Sometimes, readers find words that they do not know. Sometimes, they can find clues about the meaning of the word in the text. Another way to find the meaning is to look in a dictionary. Find the word crackle on page 52 of Four Seasons Make a Year. Work with your Learning Guide to find the meaning of this word from clues in the text."
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 8 Benchmark Vocabulary, student directions state, “Sometimes readers find words they do not know. Sometimes, they can find clues about the meaning of the word in the text. Another way to find the meaning is to look in a dictionary. Find the word listening on page 29 of On the Town: A Community Adventure. Work with your Learning Guide to find the meaning of this word from clues in the text.”

Application of vocabulary activities:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 4, as readers come across words they do not know, they are instructed to find clues about the meaning in the text or pictures. If they does not work they are instructed to find the meaning in a glossary or dictionary. Students are instructed, “Fill out a chart with your Learning Guide about words in Farming Then and Now. Now, complete a Word Meanings chart. Start with a Three-Column chart. Use these column headings: Word, Meaning, What I Did. Under 'Word' you should write words you do not know. Under 'Meaning' write the meaning of the word. Under 'What I Did' write how you found the meaning.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 1 students are given a list of vocabulary words (squinting, listening, soothe). The only directions provided are for the teacher to read the LEARN card aloud, which has the vocabulary words listed at the bottom. Then, in Unit 3, Hoping for Rain, Part 5 students are given the following prompt under the “Benchmark Vocabulary” heading: “You may have read new words in the last part of the story. Do you know what racket, wordless, or sparkles mean? Reread the sentences in the story that contain those words. Can you figure out what they mean? Work with your Learning Guide to look up the words. Then, write a sentence for each.” The Learning Guide is given the page numbers where these words appear, a definition for each word, and sample sentences for the words.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 7, students practice finding the meaning of unknown words by looking in the text to determine the meaning of senseless and spoonful. Students then create a Word Part and Meaning Chart where students separate the word from the “word part” (suffix) to help determine what the words means. These words were in the text that students were reading, but they were not introduced to the student before reading the text, or at other points throughout the lesson.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson: Apple Pie 4th of July, Part 3, as readers come across words they do not know they are instructed, “Touch the word customers on page 14. You can ask, 'What does customers mean?' Then, look for clues. You can see people and money in the store. You can read the words 'for soda and potato chips.' These clues show that customers are people who buy things at a store. Touch more words that are new to you. Ask, 'What does that word mean?' Look for clues in pictures and from words you do know. Try breaking the words into smaller parts that you do know. You can also look up the words in a dictionary. Talk with your Learning Guide about what these new words mean. You can keep track of new words in a T-Chart. Write 'New Words' at the top of the page. Then, write 'Word' at the top of the left column. Write 'Meaning' at the top of the right column. When you find a new word, add it to your chart. In the right column, draw a picture or write a sentence that will help you remember what it means."
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Super Swirls, Part 3, students are asked to act out some of their vocabulary words. The prompt states, “Act out the meanings of the words swirl, twist, and curl. Then, look on pp. 42–43 for the words cling, grasp, and hold on. How are they similar in meaning? How are they different? Act out these words.” The Teaching Notes provides some examples to the Learning Guide about how students may act these words out. Students are then told, “Now, choose three words from this activity. Write a sentence for each one in your ELA Journal. Your Learning Guide can help you. Be sure to start your sentences with a capital letter and end with a period. Check that you spell all the words correctly.” The Learning Guide is provided with sample sentences using these words.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures in Town, Part 6, as students come across words they do not know, they are instructed, “Sort words into groups to help them understand the meanings of the words. Groups are called categories. You will use a Word Categories Chart to place words from the story into categories. Now, complete a Word Categories chart. Start with a Three Sorting Circles Graphic Organizer. Charlie and Mama go to many places. They meet many people. They do many things. Write 'People' at the top of one circle. Write 'Places' and 'Things' at the top of the other two circles. Write at least two more words or phrases in each circle that are related to the people, places, and things from the story.”


Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 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, Learn, Use, Show).

Throughout the units, students have multiple opportunities to respond using text-based evidence to support their answers. Students respond in their English Language Arts 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 (ie: 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 Calvert 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.”

In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 7, students select animals that live in a pond and then write about them. The prompt states, “Now, write or dictate one sentence about each of the animals and plants that live in ponds. Include a key detail in each sentence.” Prior to this lesson, students worked on finding details from the text. In Unit 1, Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 2, students begin writing an informative piece by writing or dictating a list of details about how a pond looks. This aligns with the standard W.K2.

In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From?, Part 1, the LEARN Card directions state, “The main topic of an informational text is what the text is mostly about. Key details tell about the main topic. Think about the details in Farming Then and Now. What do most of the details in the text tell about? This is the main topic. Write the main topic in your English Language Arts Journal. Under the main topic, write three key details in the text that tell about it.”

In Unit 3, Lesson: Hoping for Rain, Part 4, students work on narrative writing. The students have been working on how events change a story and in this part they are looking how those events relate to a character. The prompt states, “Think of a new character and setting. Then, think of something that happened to your character in the past. Think of something that is happening to your character now. Write them down with help from your Learning Guide.” This aligns with the standard W.K3.

In Unit 4, Lesson: We are All Different!, Part 5, the LEARN Card directions state, “You can compare and contrast the details in the books. You can also compare and contrast features such as pictures, labels, and headings. Now, write a compare-and-contrast paragraph about Making Music and Clothes in Many Cultures. First, tell your Learning Guide how the books are alike in two ways. Then, tell two ways they are different."

In Unit 5, Lesson: Plant Patterns, Part 7, students conduct research. The prompt states, “Last time, you listed facts about a topic. Now, you will research a topic. When you research a topic, you look for information about it in books and magazines, or on Websites. You take notes on what you find. Then, you use your notes to write about the topic.” The Learning Guide is prompted to help guide the students through the pictures and help them take notes. This aligns with standard W.K.7.

In Unit 6, Lesson: Places to Go, Part 2, the LEARN Card directions state, “Good writers always support their opinions with reasons. This makes their opinions more believable. Look at the opinion you wrote last time about your favorite place in your neighborhood. You will now write a sentence to tell a reason for this opinion. Read your sentence from last time. Think about why you chose this place as your favorite place. In your English Language Arts journal, write a sentence to give a reason for your opinion."

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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.

In Unit 1, Show: Tell About Your Home, Part 1, students work on their project. The instructions say, “You have read about a few different settings. You have gathered information about them and words that describe them. Now, you will use those words and your knowledge of your home to draw a picture of it.” Students practice research skills to collect information; however, they do not need to use information from sources to complete this project.

In Unit 3, Project: Weather in the World, students create a weather book containing four sentences and illustrations. Throughout the course of the unit, students read about weather and weather-related stories before creating their own weather book.

In Unit 5, Lesson: Let’s Visit Jack’s Garden, Part 1, students learn about opinion writing and how writers use research to find facts and details about a topic. The student task states, “Now, you will find facts and details about gardens in the story, Jack’s Garden. Your topic is garden tools. Your topic question is: What kind of tools do you need to make a garden? To answer the topic question, look at the pictures on pp. 6–7. These show the tools Jack used to make his garden. Would you use the same tools? Make a list of the tools you would use for your garden. Write the list in your ELA Journal.” This is an example of a short research project but students do not necessarily need to use information from the text to create the list.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 2-3 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 Calvert’s 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. Calvert suggests 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 2-3 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.

When reading texts during a lesson, the Learning Guide is offered suggestions for how to read with students that includes read the text aloud to the student, play an audio recording of the text (if applicable) while the student follows in the text or have the student repeat after you, whisper-read with you, or read along with you.

  • In the Before You Begin section, there is a “Reading Log” section. In this section, it states, “You will be asked to keep a Reading Log for your ELA course. You should be working to read at least 2–3 books per week in addition to the books in your ELA course.” This section also includes a link titled “independent reading resources,” which helps the students find texts outside the classwork to read. The "Before You Begin" section also has a “Text Selection” section that states, “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!”
  • In the Independent Reading Text Selection link provided in the Before You Begin section a quantitative Lexile level chart is provided. Under the grade band listed as “K-1” it says, “N/A (Learning Guides should read aloud to students).” There is no further explanation on how the Learning Guide should assist kindergartners grow their independent reading on this document.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson: Is a Pond a Good Home?, Part 2, students read Life in a Pond. The Teaching Note states, “As you read the sentences, have your student point to the words, moving from right to left and from top to bottom.” This instruction helps students grow in their independent reading.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson: Where Does Food Come From? Part 6, student directions state, “Remember to read books on your own for fun. Write the title and author of books you read in your Reading Log. Write a few words to tell how feel about each book that you read.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson: Snow Day!, Part 1, students begin reading The Snowy Day. The teaching notes provide the following instructions for the Learning Guide, “Guide your student in reading The Snowy Day. 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. As appropriate, have your student repeat after you, whisper-read with you, or choral read with you. While your student is reading, assess his or her engagement. Is your student following along with the text?” There is not a form provided for the Learning Guide to help them track the student’s independent reading.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson: Flowers Grow From Seeds, Part 2, students listen to their Learning Guide read pages 4-9 of The Tiny Seed. The Teaching Notes state, “Encourage your student to read the first two sentences on p. 4 aloud. Have your student point out the spaces between the words. Ask your student what words are made up of (letters). Then, have your student follow along as you read pp. 4–9 aloud. Allow your student time to explore the illustrations.” This incorporates independent reading into the lesson.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson: Adventures In Town, Part 6, students write a book review on a book they have read as part of their lessons or a book they have read on their own. Students are expected to “first, name the topic. The topic of a book review is the book, so give its title. Next, tell your opinion of the book. After that, give reasons for your opinion. You can tell if you like or dislike the book and why.”


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 K-2 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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