Alignment: Overall Summary

The Fishtank ELA K-2 materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards. High-quality texts are paired with strong social studies and science content to provide students with opportunities to read, write, and communicate with others effectively and with increasing sophistication.

**The materials reviewed do not include a formal foundational skills component and instead recommend pairing the materials with a high-quality foundational skills program.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
32
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
17
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Fishtank Grade 1 materials include high-quality, appropriately-leveled texts worthy of careful reading. Texts provide support for students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the year. While the materials provide for a range of reading, there is a lack of information to support the teacher in selecting additional texts to support a volume of reading beyond the core texts.

Text-based questions, tasks, and assignments (including those in writing and oral language) engage students directly to the texts and build to culminating tasks that designed to demonstrate both content knowledge and skills.

Materials do not include explicit instruction and practice in grammar.

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.
19/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank Grade 1 materials include high-quality texts worthy of careful reading and include a variety of folktales, historical fiction, realistic fiction, biographies, and poetry. Texts are at the appropriate level of complexity, incorporate disciplinary vocabulary (where appropriate), and provide support for students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the year. A text complexity analysis accompanies the materials to provide information about the levels of the texts and why they were selected for inclusion in the units.

The materials provide for a range of reading, however, beyond the core texts, there is a lack of information to support the teacher in selecting additional texts to support a volume of reading.

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 Grade 1 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. The texts across Literature, Science, and Social Studies materials address a range of interests, and the reading selections would be interesting and engaging for students. Unit texts include a variety of genres and consider a range of students’ interests including, but not limited to, traditional fairy and folklore tales, biographies, realistic fiction, historical texts, nonfiction, animals, and cultural texts. Academic, rich vocabulary can also be found within selected texts as well as enriching illustrations to help build knowledge.Throughout the program, the anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Many are written by well-known published authors. Examples of this in Literature include: 

  • Literature Unit 1 includes as anchor texts Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco and Jamaica Tag-Along by Juanita Havill featuring classic themes and rich vocabulary and illustrations.
  • In Literature Unit 2, the texts Anansi and the Magic Stick and Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel, exposes students to folklore tales with engaging storylines and vibrant illustrations.
  • In Literature Unit 4, one of the texts used is Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw which is a culturally relevant, age appropriate text with rich language.
  • In Literature Unit 5, the text Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez is an award-winning story of a bond between grandparent and child. 

Similar to Literature, the anchor texts in Science and Social Studies are also publishable and feature informational texts. These include:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, an anchor text is Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney. This book helps build concepts of maps and expands student knowledge about geography.
  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, one anchor text is Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkey. This is an award-winning picture book biography with an engaging story line.
  • Anchor texts for Science and Social Studies Unit 5 include Tut's Mummy Lost... and Found by Judy Donnelly and The Ancient Egyptians by Jane Shuter which provide opportunities for students to build knowledge on ancient civilizations in age-appropriate texts with rich illustrations and academic vocabulary.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Students engage with a wide array of literary and informational texts throughout thematic units using read-alouds, shared reading and independent reading. Texts types include folktales, historical fiction, realistic fiction, adventure, biographies, and poetry.

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

  • Literature Unit 1, Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco
  • Literature Unit 1, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow
  • Literature Unit 2, Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric A. Kimmel
  • Literature Unit 3, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka
  • Literature Unit 4, One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
  • Literature Unit 5, Grandfather Counts by Deborah J Short 
  • Literature Unit 5, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco 

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

  • Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Explore Antarctica by Bobbie Kalman
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs by Patricia Lauber
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 2, I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats around the World by Steve Jenkins
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 3, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4, The Ancient Egyptians by Jane Shute
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton 
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, Brave Girl, Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, Harvesting Hope, The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull

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 Grade 1 meet the criteria that 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.

Quantitatively, the texts range in complexity from 390-1030 which are presented as interactive read-alouds and/or mini reading workshops and shared readings. Qualitatively, the texts present complex ideas, vocabulary, and themes that allow students to acquire knowledge and delve into rich discussions and analysis of complex texts and how they relate to each thematic unit. Most unit overviews provide the publisher’s rationale for text selection as evidence that consideration was given to all aspects of text complexity when choosing texts for the units.

In Unit 1, students read Big Al by Andrew Clements, which has a quantitative measure of 740L. Qualitatively students analyze character motivations, feelings and actions to explain why Big Al has more friends than anyone else. Students also read Explore Europe by Bobbie Kalman, which has a quantitative measure of 690L. Qualitatively, students use vocabulary and key details to create a travel commercial convincing their audience that they should visit Europe.

In Unit 2, students read The Paper Crane by Molly Bang, which has a quantitative measure of 660L. Qualitatively, students are asked to explain how the stranger’s gift changed the man’s life and what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details from the illustrations and text about character to show understanding of the lesson. Students also read Time to Eat by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, which has a quantitative measure of 920L. Qualitatively, students are asked to explain how different animals have adapted in order to get the food they need to thrive and not starve, by determining the meaning of unknown words and details in a text.

In Unit 3, students read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! byJon Scieszka, which has a quantitative measure of 510L. This text asks students to explain why the Big Bad Wolf thought the real story was about a “sneeze and a cup of sugar” by retelling stories and including key details about characters and events. Students also read Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh, which has a quantitative measure of 1040. This complex text exposes students to Diego’s murals and how they teach about the past.

In Unit 4, students read The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles, which has a quantitative measure of 800L. This complex text asks students to explain why Ruby’s story is one of courage, faith, and hope by using key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson. Students also read Tut's Mummy Lost... and Found by Judy Donnelly, which has a quantitative measure of 540L. Students are asked to explain if preparing a king for death was a quick and sad process by using illustrations and key details to identify reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

In Unit 5, students read A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams, which has a quantitative measure of 530L. Qualitatively, students analyze if buying a different piece of furniture would mean as much to the family, by using key details from the text to describe characters, events, and the central message. Students also read Ada's Violin by Susan Hood, which has a quantitative measure of 820L. Qualitatively, students explain how the main character’s actions transformed the entire community and what they can learn from him and the Recycled Orchestra, by identifying the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

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).
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ literacy skills (comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex texts to develop independence of grade level skills.

Throughout Grade 1, the units are designed to build upon one another with increasing demands for knowledge and application as the student progresses through each thematic unit and lesson.  Anchor texts are listed within every unit and provide quantitative measures as well as a text selection rationale. Students engage in texts of varying levels and complexity within each unit, but the expectations and rationales are clear to the purpose of the instruction and how to prepare for each lesson prior to its start. In the beginning of Grade One, students build upon what they learned in Kindergarten by applying the skill of asking and answering questions using key details. It also serves as a foundation, establishing routines for read-alouds and class discussions. In the middle of the year, students begin to analyze text for more nuanced messages including using text and illustrations to make inferences and compare and contrast across multiple texts.  By the end of Grade 1, students use grade level text to engage in close reading strategies determining the central message of a text, describing characters in-depth using details from the text and illustrations, and identifying words and phrases that enhance understanding. 

In Literature Unit 1, the texts are read alouds including Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco and Jamaica and Brianna by Juanita Havill. In this early unit students are learning to answer questions about key details and characters. Students also begin writing in response to the text including learning to rely more on emphasizing words rather than illustrations in their writing. Students are expected to read at least 15 minutes a day at this point in the year. 

Literature Unit 2, builds upon the skills learned in Unit 1. Students continue answering questions about texts that are read aloud such as Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel  and A Story, A Story by Gail E. Haley but the questions now require a deeper understanding of the text. Students also began to analyse the importance of the setting to a text and to evaluate character traits. Students continue to write daily in response to text with a focus on using details from the text and illustrations.

In Literature Unit 4, students are expected to retell stories including key details of read aloud stories such as Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw.  Students are also learning to identify central messages from text. Comparing and contrasting is introduced in Literature Unit 3 and built upon in Unit 4 where students begin to compare and contrast more nuanced messages and across multiple texts. In writing student expectations grow as they are expected to answer questions with details and now add explain their evidence.

Literature Unit 5, builds readings skills by moving to shared reading of texts in the final lessons. Students move from listening to read aloud texts to participating in shared reading of Ling and Ting, Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin and Sofia Martinez, Abuela's Birthday by Jacqueline Jules. Students continue to work on determining a central message and providing descriptions of characters and their traits but now using grade level texts and shared reading. In writing students are now expected to be able to write a response to a text in a structured way that answers questions with evidence and explanations of the evidence.

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 Grade One 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. The Core Texts for each grade level are listed in the Unit Summaries and each text is aligned with a Text Selection Rationale that indicates both the Quantitative and Qualitative reasoning for their placement within the materials.  This includes both the ELA materials as well as the Science and Social Studies materials. 

  • In Unit 1, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “With a Lexile range of 460L–740L the quantitative measures place all core texts in the 2–3 grade band. Due to the higher Lexile levels and text demands, these texts are inaccessible to scholars independently and, therefore, are appropriate for read aloud.”
  • In Unit 3, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “All of the texts have a single layer of meaning and obvious theme, a conventional text structure, clear illustrations that link to words and texts, vocabulary that is literal and straightforward, and familiar knowledge demands.”
  • In Unit 5, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “While many of the texts have simple and obvious themes and structure, scholars’ understanding of the time period or location of the text is important for understanding character motivation and ultimately the lesson that they learn.”

Indicator 1f

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially 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.

All but two included anchor texts for First Grade are specified as read aloud texts and fall above the Lexile band for this grade level. Two texts are included as shared reading texts in the final 5 lessons of the grade. The Course Summary explains that the approach to reading at this level is intended to teach good reading habits while developing deep comprehension of texts through read alouds. Included in this Summary is an explanation of how using interactive read alouds and teacher modeling and guided discussions builds student reading strategies and habits. The course overview explicitly states that the type of reading strategies to be addressed in each lesson are not identified but are left to teacher choice after analyzing target task question, lesson objective, and key lesson standards to decide which reading habit best supports comprehension of the text. The Text Consumption Guide in the publisher’s documents specifies that most texts will be consumed as read alouds in Kindergarten with the exception of shared reading texts allowing students to build strong listening comprehension while building knowledge and vocabulary. The Literacy Blocks guidance indicates that First Grade will engage in 20 minutes of independent reading and 60 minutes of guided reading daily in addition to the 45 minute literature block. Specific texts for these times are not indicated. 

The anchor texts are clearly listed in each unit and include a quantitative measure as well as a text rationale for why it was selected.  At this grade level, the texts included in the units are presented as read alouds, shared reading and provide progression toward independent reading in some lessons. There is a broad range in lexile and volume that students are exposed to covering a myriad of text types including fiction, non-fiction, folktales, poetry, historical fiction, and biographies. The teacher materials also allow a plan for shared, guided, and independent reading however, specific texts, leveled texts and/or supporting texts are not included within the materials. Opportunities to meet differentiated student needs were not clearly evident and it was unclear how proficiency would be formatively and/or summatively measured throughout the year.

In Unit 2 of the Literature materials, the quantitative measures fall within a second to third grade band 470-890L and are appropriate as read-alouds.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The qualitative measures of the texts, particularly the levels of meaning, support the placement of the core texts as part of this unit. The text structures, illustrations, vocabulary, and knowledge demands of the text are simple, with a few texts being slightly more complex, and are appropriate for the first part of first grade.”

In Unit 3 of the Science and Social Studies materials, the quantitative measures fall within a second to third grade band 490-1040L with a few in the third to fourth grade band level and are appropriate as read-alouds.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The challenges faced by the heroes studied, be it a civil rights challenge or a women’s rights issue, are often unfamiliar to a first-grade reader and require subject-specific knowledge to fully grasp. Therefore, the knowledge demands of the majority of core texts are mildly complex.”

In Unit 4 of the Literature materials, the quantitative measures fall within a second to third grade band 460-920L and are appropriate as read-alouds.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The qualitative measures of the texts, particularly the levels of meaning and knowledge demands, support the placement of the core texts as part of the unit. Many of the texts have multiple layers of meaning along with more subtle themes that are revealed over the course of the text.”

In Unit 5 of the Science and Social Studies materials, the quantitative measures fall within a second to third grade band 290-820L.  The rationale provided for the text selection (in part) states, “There are many texts in the unit that require an understanding of the civil rights movement and segregation, two historical concepts that may be unfamiliar to a typical first grader. Therefore, even though some of the unit’s texts have a lower Lexile level that may be closer to scholars’ independent reading level, the subject matter makes them moderately complex and worthy of study.”

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
13/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank Grade 1 materials employ the use of text-based questions, tasks, and assignments that require students to engage directly with texts to support their comprehension, content knowledge, and vocabulary. These questions, tasks, and assignments build to culminating tasks that require students to demonstrate their understanding of the topics they have been studying through drawing, dictating, writing, and speaking. Students engage in evidence-based discussions about the texts they are reading (or having read to them) and are supported with specific protocols included with the program to participate in a variety of discussions with peers. Materials do not include explicit instruction and practice in grammar.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria 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).

Throughout the units, students are asked to answer a variety of questions related to the texts being read. Discussion is embedded into each lesson, which supports students drawing on textual evidence to support their learning of explicit and inferential information. The text-based questions and tasks require the students to produce evidence from texts to support opinions or statements when writing and speaking. Questions draw the reader back into the text and support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. 

Examples of evidenced-  based questions and tasks in Literature are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 8, after reading Jamaica Tag - Along,  students are asked:
    • What does Jamaica really want and how does her brother feel about it? What in the story makes you think that?
    • How is Jamaica feeling? Why is she feeling that way?
    • How does Jamaica treat Berto? Why?
    • Why does Jamaica change her mind about Berto? What is she elarning?
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, after reading, Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric A. Kimmel, “Turtle explains to Anansi that, ‘One of us can work while the other gets tired.’ Students are then asked:
    • What happens on the second day? Is there a pattern?
    • Why does Anansi want to do the cooking? Is Anansi changing?
    • When Anansi has the choice to eat or get full, what choice does he make? Why?
    • Why does Anansi go to the justice tree? Why did the justice tree not believe Anansi?
    • Why did Anansi not talk to Turtle for along time?
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, after reading, The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell, students are asked (to):
    • Describe the setting of the story using details from the text and the illustrations
    • What does the first little javelina use to build his house?
    • Retell what happened when the coyote comes. 
    • What does the second little javelina use to build his house? 
    • Retell what happens when the coyote comes.
    • What is the coyote remembering when he makes the bowl?
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 22, after reading, Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack, students are asked:
    • Why does Mama Frances tell 'Tricia Ann to hold her head up and act like she belong to somebody? Why is that important?
    • How does 'Tricia Ann feel when she gets on the bus? 
    • What does 'Tricia Ann do in the park? How is she feeling?
    • What advice does Jimmy Lee give ‘Tricia Ann?
    • How does ‘Tricia Ann end up in the lobby?
    • Why does ‘Tricia Ann almost quit and go home? What advice does Blooming Mary give her? How does ‘Tricia Ann respond?
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson, students are asked:
    • How do Grandma and the little girl feel about visiting day? 
    • Why does Mr. Tate not come? How do you think this makes her feel?
    • How do Grandma and the little girl feel as they are getting on the bus?
    • How does the little girl feel when she has to leave her father? 
    • How do the illustrations help a reader better understand how the little girl feels?

Several examples of evidenced-  based questions and tasks in Science and Social Studies are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, after reading Explore South America by Bobbie Kalman, students are asked:
    • What are some of the countries in South America? What makes them a country?
    • What is the climate like in South America? Do all areas of South America have the same climate?
    • What is the heading on pp. 12–13? How does the heading help a reader?
    •  What is the heading on p. 14? What facts from pp. 14–15 match the heading?
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 14, after reading Red - Eyed Tree Frog, by Joy Cowley, students are asked (to):
    • How has the red - eyed frog adapted in order to survive in the rainforest?
    • Create a food web that shows the connection between the different animals mentioned in the text. 
  • In Unit 3, lesson 18, after reading Mahalia Jackson, Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan, studente are asked (to):
    • Read the sentence from p. 4. ‘She felt like a peacock with her feathers all spread out.’ What does this sentence mean? Why does the author include it?
    • Why does Aunt Bell say that ‘one day you’ll walk with kings and queens?’ What does she mean by this?
    • How does singing help Mahalia?
    • What does it mean to be a “bundle of nerves”? Why was Mahalia a “bundle of nerves”?
    • Why does Mahalia sing gospel?
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, after reading The Ancient Egyptians, students are asked (to):
    • What pattern did Egyptian life follow? Why?
    • It was very hot in ancient Egypt. How did the Egyptians cool themselves off?
    • Describe ancient Egyptian houses. What made them unique? How do the illustrations on pp. 24 - 25 help a reader better understand the houses?
    • The author says that ‘Egyptian children worked hard.’ Explain.
    • What toys did Egyptian children play with?
    • Describe ancient Egyptian medicine. How does it compare to today’s medicine?
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 19, after reading, Harvesting Hope, The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull, students are asked (to):
    • Describe what life was like on the ranch. How does the author use both the words and the illustrations to help a reader understand what it was like?
    • Compare and contrast life in Arizona with life as a migrant worker. How did the changes make Cesar and his family feel?
    • What happened when Cesar went to school? How did the way he was treated change his attitude?
    • What does it mean to feel powerless? Why did Cesar and the other farm workers feel so powerless?
    • What was Cesar Chavez’s cause?

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).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 1 meet the criteria for materials that contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills for students to demonstrate understanding. Although not labeled as a culminating task, units contain a final lesson that brings together the information and skills learned throughout the unit. The final tasks incorporate a combination of skills including drawing, dictating, writing and speaking. 

  • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 16, All Unit Texts have as a final task: “Write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend by using details from the unit to support an idea.” Within the task students are further directed: Pick two of the essential questions. "What does it take to be a good friend?  What causes friendships to change? How do we make and keep friends? How does being a good friend help build a strong community?" To prepare for this task within the unit students answer questions including but not limited to:
    • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 1, Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin, students explain what the author wanted us to learn, by asking and answering questions about key details in a text. They are asked to make connections to what it means to be a good friend and be part of a strong team.
    • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 3, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow, students explain what Howard learns about listening and what we can learn from Howard’s story that will help us be a good friend and part of a strong team by asking and answering questions about key details in a text.
    • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 6, The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, students explain why the author ends the text by saying “Maybe, just maybe, Brian’s not so invisible after all,” by asking and answering questions about character feelings and motivation. They are also asked to make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.
    • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 8, Jamaica Tag-Along by Juanita Havill, students describe how Jamaica’s feelings change by asking and answering questions about character motivation and feelings. They are asked to make connections to what it means to be a good friend and part of a strong team.
    • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 12, Big Al by Andrew Clements, students are asked to explain why Big Al has more friends than anyone else and what we can learn from Big Al to make our team stronger. Students do this by asking and answering questions about character motivations, feelings, and actions.
  • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 23, All Unit Texts have as a final task: “Debate and discuss unit essential questions by stating a claim and then supporting the claim with details from multiple texts.” The essential questions are provided for the teacher in the Unit Prep and include: "Why should you not talk to strangers? How does hard work and patience pay off in the end? Why is it important to respect others’ property and privacy? How does the setting of a story change what happens in a story?" Students prepare for this task by activities including but not limited to:
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 3, The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell, students explain how the three little javelinas use teamwork to outsmart the coyote by retelling stories and including key details about characters and events.
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 4, Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, students explain how the big bad pig changed and what caused the change by using details about characters to describe how a character changes from the beginning to the end of a story.
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 8, choose two Three Little Pigs books, have students describe similarities and differences between two versions of The Three Little Pigs by comparing and contrasting adventures and experiences of characters in a story.
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 11, Leola and the Honeybears by Melodye Benson Rosales students describe what lesson Leola learns and how she learns it, by retelling stories and the lesson characters learn by including key details about characters and events. 
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 13, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems students describe the Dinosaurs and if their plan worked by retelling stories and including key details about characters and events.
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 17, Pretty Salma, A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly students retell what lesson Salma learns and how she learns it by retelling stories and the lesson learned by including key details about characters and events.
    • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 21, Little Red Riding Hood by Karen Mockler, students to retell what happens in Little Red Riding Hood and how the version was similar to or different than other versions by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 21, All Unit Texts have as a final task: Discuss all unit essential questions. Extend: "Write a letter to someone in your family thanking them and explaining why you love and appreciate them." The essential questions are provided for the teacher in the Unit Prep and include: "What makes a family? Are all families exactly the same? What does it mean to love and care about someone? What does it mean to accept and appreciate someone’s differences?" Students prepare for this task by activities including but not limited to:
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 2, My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel students explain how Murete’s, Yeyo’s and Saruni’s words and actions show they love and care about each other by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 4, Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson students describe the relationship between the little girl and her grandmother, and the little girl and her father, and how they show love by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 8, students describe what makes a family and if all families are the same by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background knowledge.
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 9, Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan students Describe why Rubina stands up for her sister and what we can learn from her, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message. Within this unit teachers also Preview that the girl is from Pakistan. Also preview that sometimes different cultures have different customs. 
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 12, students participate in a discussion to explain what it means to love and care about someone and what it means to accept and appreciate someone’s differences by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background knowledge.
    • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 18, Dear Juno by Soyung Pak, students explain what differences made it hard for Juno and his grandmother to communicate and how they were able to overcome the differences by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for First Grade 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 opportunities for students to use speaking and listening skills to apply their knowledge using evidence based discussion in smaller groups and within the larger class.  The protocols for evidence based discussions are included in the ancillary teacher materials and outline recommendations and frameworks to plan and use within the lessons. The Rigorous Discussion Guidelines detail how to prepare and lead effective classroom discussions as well as recommendations for how to maximize learning after the instruction.  It includes a three level rubric for student-led discussions that measures students’ skills in speaking and listening, advancement of discussion, analysis, preparation and providing evidence. The Intellectual Prep section of the units have teachers determine the focus for habits of discussion that aligns with target speaking and listening standards, based on the classroom needs. Teachers then create a plan for how to teach and reinforce the discussion habits over the course of the unit during daily partner and whole-group discussions. 

The Rigorous Discussion Guidelines in the Publisher’s Supporting Documents for Teachers explains strategies and structures to teachers in a step by step guide. Some lessons explicitly refer to these strategies and structures as an option for the lesson, but the teacher has the discretion of when to use them. There is a detailed document providing steps and guidelines to prepare for, lead, and follow up with a rigorous discussion. To prepare for a discussion some teacher guidance includes setting up the classroom space, articulating a question, and anticipating student misconceptions. To lead a discussion, some guidance is provided for modeling note taking for students, providing scaffolding, and tracking data from the discussion. After the discussion, there is guidance on how to use the data to inform future classes, which, also includes a rubric for evaluating student discussion. Examples from the Rigorous Discussion Guidelines protocols include but are not limited to:

  • Design pre-work/mini-lesson that provides necessary context needed to start forming an informed opinion of a particular content goal
  • Model and practice facilitation of an effective discussion when initially introducing rigorous discussion
  • Skillfully facilitates discussion using a variety of strategies

The Publisher’s Documents also contain an Instructional Strategies Guide that highlights different ways for students to engage in an evidence based discussion. These include:

  • Turn and Talk which is a language strategy that provides scaffolded opportunities for all students to formulate and build upon each other’s ideas. It is suggested that teachers use this when there is more than one right answer or for a meaty part of the text that is worth discussion and analysis.
  • Discussion, which helps increase student thinking by challenging one to test out their own ideas, build on those of their peers, and ultimately lead a persuasive discussion. It should be used to evaluate or test theories as well as synthesize a lesson. 

Match Mini Protocols that illustrate various protocols include:

  • Part 1: Illustrates discussion protocols 
  • Part 2: Provides a protocol for the classroom discussion. This part assists the teacher with evidence-based discussions using the text-based questions and vocabulary. 

Examples from the lesson frameworks include but are not limited to:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 3, the teacher discusses with students the characteristics of a good listener. Students then create a mini-poster that highlights key characteristics of a good listener. Finally, the students teach a partner what is on their posters.
  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 4, students write and then share with partners and then with teams. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 23, students participate in a class discussion on why it is important to understand the world around them and what makes each continent similar or unique by preparing for a discussion and then sharing details from the unit and texts to support points. 
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 6, students defend if Anansi is a good friend and brainstorm advice for how he can become a better friend, by participating in a class discussion using evidence from the text.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 16, students participate in a class discussion on whether the food chain is unfair to the animals at the bottom who have no way to defend themselves and can easily get eaten. They have to use evidence from multiple texts from the unit and the teacher is directed to reinforce and teach targeted discussion habits for the unit before the discussion. 
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 27, directs teachers to take anecdotal notes to assess mastery of the unit’s habits of discussion focus. There is a whole-class presentation protocol for this day for when students present their four-day project. 
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 8, the teacher sets up a discussion to describe similarities and differences between two versions of “The Three Little Pigs” by comparing and contrasting adventures and experiences of characters in a story.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 12, students analyze and debate the unit essential questions by stating a claim and providing evidence from multiple texts. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 8, students engage in a debate on whether writing hieroglyphics is similar to writing in English. 
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 8, students discuss the essential question of what makes a family and if all families are exactly the same. After the discussion, students then write about their own family and what makes their family unique. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 17, students are asked to, synthesize what they have learned from the past few lessons by debating and analyzing how ordinary people work together to fight for a better future and what we can learn from them.”

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that 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.

Materials in Grade 1 support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. There are some examples in the lesson frames and teaching notes, where the word “discussion” is used explicitly to indicate to the teacher that discussion should be taking place in class. In addition, every lesson has a set of Key Questions, and while it does not always explicitly state to discuss, these provide opportunities for discussion and the Notes section of the lesson frame frequently indicates that a discussion should occur.  These series of questions often progress from discussion to drawing or writing. Students have multiple opportunities to present their work and share with their peers in a group or whole class settings. Resource documents provide assistance for teachers in choosing class structures. Intellectual Prep is provided for each unit that specifies the discussions that will be included throughout the lessons. 

Examples of opportunities for students to practice their listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching in Literature and Social Studies and Science include but are not limited to: 

  • Some activities in the Lesson Objectives or Notes section of the Lesson Frames specifically require a discussion to be held by students and provide text dependent questions to be answered by students. Teachers can use their discretion to decide if it is whole group, partner, or small group discussion.
  • In Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, How Full is Your Bucket for Kids, students are asked to, “Describe what it means if someone fills your bucket, by asking and answering questions about character feelings.”
  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 6, Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel, Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric A. Kimmel, Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel, Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric A. Kimmel is specified as a Discussion lesson centered around the objective: Defend if Anansi is a good friend and brainstorm advice for how he can become a better friend by participating in a class discussion using evidence from the text and class discussions. The Notes section of the lesson frame specifies: 
    • The first part of the lesson should be set up as a discussion of if Anansi is or is not a good friend. Pick a Habits of Discussion teaching point to reinforce in both partners and whole class. 
    • After scholars have had a chance to discuss and debate if Anansi is or is not a good friend, have them discuss what advice they would give him based on what they learned about what it means to be a good friend in Unit 1. 
    • As a culmination, have scholars write a letter to Anansi telling him what they think he could do to be a better friend.
  • In Social Studies and Science Unit 3, Lesson 11, All Unit Texts, the Lesson Objective specifies that the students will, “State an opinion about which artist is their favorite by participating in a class discussion and then writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and supports the opinion with two or three details from the text.
  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 15, two of the Three Little Pigs books, the lesson states, “Push scholars to think about the main things that are similar and different across the different texts and as an extension, have scholars act out the ways in which the versions are similar and/or different.”
  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 8, students are asked to, “Describe what makes a family and if all families are the same by participating in a class discussion using details from the unit and background knowledge.”

Indicator 1k

Materials include 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
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectations for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The instructional materials reviewed partially meet the expectations that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused tasks. The unit materials provide opportunities for students to complete narrative, informational, and opinion writing. The Instructional Strategies guidelines, available in the ancillary materials detail Stop & Jot’s in which students respond to questions in writing, and are designed to be incorporated into each lesson using the Planning a Lesson protocol and lesson plan template. Also, the Literacy Block guide denotes a Writer’s Workshop for 45 minutes daily in which, “The majority of language standards are taught and reinforced”. 

  •  Literature Unit 1, Lesson 4, students are asked to, “Write about something they are good at, something about the way they look, or anything else” and in Lesson 16, “Write a letter to the kindergarteners about what it means to be a good friend.
  • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 22, students “Use what they know about folktales to create a folktale.”
  •  Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 12, students "Write a letter to a current artist introducing themselves, sharing their knowledge from the unit, and asking questions based on their learning.”
  •  Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 22 and 27, students “Write an opinion piece about which artist is your favorite and why.”
  •  Literature Unit 4, Lesson 7, students “Describe Ruby’s wish and how she made it come true by using key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters in-depth.”
  •  Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 20, students “Write an opinion piece that states an opinion and provides supporting reasons for why they would or wouldn’t want to have been there when they opened King Tut’s tomb.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, the Unit Assessment states, “Pick 3 of the vocabulary words below. Draw a picture of the word and use the word in a sentence.”

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for First Grade partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Within the instructional materials, students have opportunities for writing that address opinion, narrative and informative text types; however, they do not reflect the distribution by the standards. The majority of the writing lessons and prompts are informational and opinion pieces. According to the Grade 1 Literature Standards Map, the only writing genre covered is opinion writing. According to the Grade 1 Science and Social Studies Standards Map, informational and opinion writing is covered, but narrative writing is not. Narrative writing prompts are found in a few places, but no instruction is involved and the distribution is not reflective of the standards. 

Some examples of narrative writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 6, after discussing as a whole if Anansi is a good friend or not, students write a letter to Anansi telling him what they think he could do to be a better friend. 
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 22, students work in groups to write and act out their own folktales. Students are provided with a graphic organizer that helps them think about the characteristics of folktales. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 2, students work in groups and write a story about Ancient Egypt that will be a play. Students use a story map as a guide to write the script. 

Some examples of information writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 4 and Lesson 7, students create an informational postcard. In Lessons 10 and 13, students create an informational brochure. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 25, students defend if young animals always look exactly like their parents and if they are able to do everything their parents can do when they are born by writing a well - structured informational essay using details from multiple texts. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 27, students defend a statement about lizards by writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 35 students write a newspaper article that contains a title, describes a problem, explains why it’s a problem, details all of the steps taken to solve it, and explains why the change was important.

Some examples of opinion writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 16, students write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend by using details from the unit to support the idea. 
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 19, students defend if folktales are or are not silly stories that connect to their lives, by stating an opinion and using facts and examples from the unit to support the opinion. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lessons 11, 22, and 27, students state an opinion about which artist is their favorite by writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and supports the opinion with two or three details from the text.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lessons 10 and 15 students explain why they would or would not want to live in ancient Egypt by writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and provides supporting reasons from the unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 20, students explain why they would or would not have wanted to be there when they opened King Tut’s tomb by writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and provides supporting reasons from the unit. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lessons 12, 18, 23, and 32, students write a thank -you letter to one of the change agents from the unit by stating an opinion and supporting it with facts and details from the unit. 

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria for materials including regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.

The materials provide students the opportunity to learn, practice and apply evidence-based writing. Students are required to recall relevant information and details in their application of the lessons including, but not limited to, informational and opinion responses. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. The unit summaries state that students should be writing daily in response to the text.  

Examples of evidence based writing found in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 15, after reading “Each Kindness”, students  write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend by using details from the unit. 
  • The Unit 2 Summary explains that students will write daily in response to the text. The focus of this unit is on ensuring that students are answering the question correctly and using correct details from the illustrations and text to support their answer. 
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, students write a letter to Anansi telling him what they think he could do to be a better friend after reading several Anansi stories. 
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 19, the students write a letter to their friend sharing their opinion about folktales and stories. Students are expected to use the folktales they have been reading during the past 18 lessons of the unit. Students begin this lesson with a discussion and the writing can extend across several days. 
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 23, students first discuss how they can use the lessons from three stories in their own lives and then as an extension activity, students can write about it. Students are expected to write about reading every day. In this unit, they begin to learn how to include details from the text in their answers. 
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 12, student discuss one or two of the essential questions and then are given time to write an answer. 
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 26, students make a comic strip showing the obstacles their characters had to overcome to learn or go to school. 
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 9, there are multiple opportunities for students to write during the lesson using discussion question as a writing prompt. 

Examples of evidence-based writing found in Science and Social Studies include:

  • In Unit 1, students focus on establish the routines and procedures for writing about reading. In this unit, students create multiple postcards over the course of the unit. The focus of the unit is to retell specific details about each continent they read about. 
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, students create a postcard of what they read and “saw while they visited”. The postcard must include a few sentences that describe what they did. 
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 13, students create a travel brochure that highlights the different things you can see and do in Asia after reading “Explore Asia”. 
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, students discuss if all animals need the exact same body parts in order to survive. Then they write a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts. 
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 19, students defend a statement about frogs, by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using multiple texts. Similarly in Lesson 27, students defend the statement that all lizards are exactly the same and need to be in order to survive. 
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 27, students write an opinion piece about which artist is their favorite after reading several biographies. Their writing needs to include an opinion and support it with two or three details from the text. 
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 10, students explain in writing whether they would or would not want to live in ancient Egypt by stating their opinion and providing supporting reasons from the texts in the unit. 

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not 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 do not include instruction in language and grammar conventions. There was no evidence of students receiving explicit instruction and opportunities to apply learning both in and out of context.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Fishtank Grade 1 materials provide a variety of texts throughout the units organized around specific topics and including a wide range of literary and informational texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Students engage in text analysis throughout all units that allow them to understand the language, structure, key ideas, and craft of individual texts. Text-dependent questions guide students as they interact with the texts and help them to integrate knowledge and ideas within and across texts. Culminating tasks, including a progression of focused, shared research projects within the materials are supported by strong questions and activities that build knowledge of the topic at hand and requires students to demonstrate their learning through a combination of writing and speaking. An intentional plan for developing content-area vocabulary is also present in the materials.

While the materials provide frequent opportunities for text-based writing, there is a lack of structured, direct instruction of writing.

The materials support students with suggestions and plans to integrate independent reading.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
30/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank Grade 1 materials provide a variety of texts throughout the units organized around specific topics and including a wide range of literary and informational texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Students engage in text analysis throughout all units that allow them to understand the language, structure, key ideas, and craft of individual texts. Text-dependent questions guide students as they interact with the texts and help them to integrate knowledge and ideas within and across texts. Culminating tasks, including a progression of focused, shared research projects within the materials are supported by strong questions and activities that build knowledge of the topic at hand and requires students to demonstrate their learning through a combination of writing and speaking. An intentional plan for developing content-area vocabulary is also present in the materials.

While the materials provide frequent opportunities for text-based writing, there is a lack of structured, direct instruction of writing.

The materials support students with suggestions and plans to integrate independent reading.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials reviewed for Grade One provide a variety of texts throughout the units which are organized around specific topics and themes of study that include a wide range of literary and expository texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Literary themes include Folktales, Fairytales, and Stories Around the World.  Social Studies units include biographies, narrative non-fiction, and themes on Ancient Egypt.  Science topics include Animals and Animal Adaptations.   In addition to gaining content knowledge, vocabulary is embedded throughout including literary terms, as well as targeted vocabulary to enhance understanding.   

  • Literature Unit 1 is organized around the theme “What it takes to be a friend”
  • Literature Unit 2 is organized around the topic of folktales and stories.
  • Literature Unit 3 is organized around three classic fairy tales: The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood. 
  • Literature Unit 4 is organized around reading and writing around the world.
  • Literature Unit 5 is organized around the topic of families and how they differ.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 1 is organized around the topic of continents.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 2 is organized around the topic of animals.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 3 is organized around the topic of biographies.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4 is organized around the topic of ancient Egypt.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5 is organized around the theme of what it means to be fair and just.

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 Grade 1 meet the criteria that 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

 Throughout the units, students complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts.  They are provided multiple opportunities to analyze language in stories and passages, identify key ideas and details, and examine the structure of passages, pictures and texts as they relate to the unit topic.  Scaffolding is provided to students and the rigor of the material increases over the course of the year. Examples of sets of questions found in the instructional materials include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Explore Africa by Bobbie Kalman, students are asked, “What does the word 'climate' mean? What clues does the author give to remind a reader what the word means?”
  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 5, Anansi Goes Fishing by Eric A. Kimmel, students are asked to, “Explain if Anansi learned a lesson, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.”
  • In Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 4  Action Jackson by  Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, students are asked to, “Describe Jackson’s studio. What makes it unique?” and, “What does Jackson do when his 'inspiration is gone'?  What can we learn from him?”
  • In Literature Unit 4, Lesson 3, Rain School by James Rumford, students are asked, what does the author mean by, “The students’ minds are fat with knowledge.” And, “What happens to the school? Why does it not matter?”
  • In Literature Unit 5, Lesson 3, A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams, students are asked, “How does the family feel about the chair? What in the story makes you think that?” and, “How do the colors and the borders around the pictures show the mood?”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-based questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade One meet the expectations for materials containing 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 Literature and Science and Social Studies Units center on a topic or theme with embedded text dependent questions throughout. Students work with individual and multiple texts throughout the materials that require them to analyze information, build knowledge and demonstrate understanding of material, often using discussion, graphic organizers, projects, and illustrations that draw upon textual evidence by identifying key details, comparing and contrasting texts.

  • Literature Unit 1, Lesson 11, Enemy Pie by Derek Munson asks students to “Describe how the narrator’s relationship with Jeremy Ross changes, by asking and answering questions about character feelings.”
  • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 8 asks students to ““Describe similarities and differences between two versions of The Three Little Pigs by comparing and contrasting adventures and experiences of characters in a story.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 2, Lesson 2, What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins asks students to “Explain how different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways, by using illustrations and details in a text to make connections between pieces of information in a text.”
  • Literature Unit 4, Lesson 19, Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora the students are asked to, “Explain how the Library Lady changed Tomás’s life, by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal information about character and motivation.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 6, The Ancient Egyptians by Jane Shuter, students are asked to, “Describe how ancient Egyptians lived and what reasons the author gives to explain why they lived that way, by using illustrations and key details to identify reasons an author gives to support points in a text.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, Lesson 20, Harvesting Hope, The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull students are asked to, “Explain how Cesar Chavez was able to motivate others to work together to fight for a better future and what lessons we can learn from him, by identifying the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.”
  • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 19, Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell asks students to “Explain what lesson can we learn from Uncle Jed and why, by using key details to describe characters, events, and the central message.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meets the expectation that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening). Within the materials, there are opportunities for students to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through completion of culminating tasks. In many instances, students are asked to produce work that shows mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking and listening) at the appropriate grade level.

  • Literature Unit 1, Lesson 19, specifies that “Scholars will identify one way that they can be a good friend and recreate the demonstration done in Each Kindness by writing their idea on a rock and dropping it into a tub of water. This allows scholars to better understand the unit essential question of what makes a good friend by applying it to their life through the intrapersonal, verbal-linguistic, and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences. It also allows sets scholars up to form a positive classroom community for the rest of the school year.” The Project Overview section of the lesson frame further details that students will:
    • Turn and Talk: What is one what you can be a good friend? Share out.
    • Hand out rocks and permanent markers to each student. Have scholars write how they will be a good friend at school on their rock.
    • Model how to drop the rock gently into the water to create ripples. One by one have each scholar say what they are going to do to be a good friend at school and drop their rock.
    • Class Discussion:
      • What book does this remind you of? (Reread or picture walk the relevant section of Each Kindness)
      • What happened when you dropped your rock?
      • What happens when you are a good friend?
    • Give each scholar their rock and a paper towel. Allow them to dry it off. Hand out paints and brushes. Have them decorate their rock to display in the room for the rest of the year.
  • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 22, students are asked to, “Create and act out folktales in groups by applying knowledge of folktale characteristics” which builds on information gathered throughout the unit about common characteristics of all folktales.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Lesson 29, includes a final project where “Scholars will use their knowledge of different art mediums from throughout the unit in order to write an artist statement about themselves. They will then present these artist statements and display their artwork from throughout the unit at a gallery parent event. This project allows scholars to apply knowledge about artists acquired throughout the unit to themselves and gives them a chance to apply the unit essential questions of why would someone make art and where do people find inspiration to themselves. In addition, this is the first time in this unit that they are applying what they’ve learned about biographies in order to write one.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 26 states, “Scholars will work in groups to create sets and present short skits about different areas of Ancient Egypt within the classroom. This project allows scholars to engage with the unit essential questions of what was daily life like in Ancient Egypt through the visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and interpersonal intelligences.”
  • Literature Unit 5, Lesson 21 asks students to “This is the final discussion/writing-about-reading day. Have scholars discuss the unit essential questions based on everything they have learned in the unit. Once they are done, have them write a thank-you letter to someone in their family. If there is not enough time, spread the letter writing across multiple days.”

Indicator 2e

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

The materials reviewed for Grade One 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet expectations for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials. There are established routines for teaching vocabulary including a seven step process that includes repetition, definition, part of speech, examples in context as well as other word concept knowledge.  Vocabulary instruction calls for students to think about the meaning of words and definitions are provided in student-friendly language. Word meanings are taught with examples related to the text as well as examples from other, more familiar contexts. Every unit provides instruction in literary terms as well as text based content vocabulary. Strategies for teaching students how to understand meanings of unknown words are also embedded and include using context, word parts, literal and figurative language as well as traditional classroom resources.

  • Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 8, students are asked to, “Pick three words you learned from the text today. Use each word in a complete sentence that describes what you might see in Africa.”
  • Literature Unit 1, Lesson 10, The Teacher Guide states, “The doll is being bossy. What does it mean to be bossy? How is the doll bossy on this page?”
  • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 20, students are asked to, “Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings by participating in word sorts and activities using target unit vocabulary.”
  • Literature Unit 3, students use word sorts to, “Sort unit vocabulary into teacher determined categories. Explain why the words belong in each category.”
  • Literature Unit 4, the Unit Overview states, “Scholars will also be pushed to notice the words and phrases an author includes to suggest feeling and appeal to the senses.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, Lesson 3, the Teacher Guide states, “The focus of this lesson is on deepening scholar understanding of the word 'fair' and what it means for something to be fair. It is important that scholars understand this concept so they are able to connect with why the characters in the books are fighting for justice and change.”

Indicator 2f

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade One partially 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.

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade One partially meet the expectation for materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills, and building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year. While the units include assessments for increased writing expectations and rubrics for both short answer and lengthier writing activities, the ELA Program Overview explicitly states, “We do not ask scholars to use formulas, templates, graphic organizers, etc., as the primary method for structuring evidence-based essays.  Scholars regularly write about what they read.” The ancillary materials provide Teacher Feedback as a Teaching Tool recommendations for writing and the Unit Summaries provide recommendations within the Writing Focus Area for teachers, however, while the design is intended to use student work and teacher feedback to improve and increase writing skill, the absence of structured, direct instruction can be challenging for teachers and impact students’ ability to demonstrate growing proficiency. Although there is not a specified writing for every lesson, the Publisher’s Documents specify that students should spend a minimum of 45 minutes daily working on writing. The key questions and target tasks provide multiple opportunities to have students respond to text when there is not a specified writing ask. 

Literature examples include:

  •  Unit 1, writing focus continues building on the skills developed in Kindergarten to respond to text in writing. While building a writing routine is a primary focus “scholars will also be working on correctly answering a question by answering the question and adding an inference, critical thinking, or facts to show understanding of the question.”
    • Lesson 16, Write an opinion piece about what makes a good friend by using details from the unit to support an idea.
  • Unit 2, students are expected to be writing for 15 minutes daily without teacher interference. At this point in the year students continue to respond to text in writing but now are also “adding an inference, critical thinking, or facts to show understanding of the question.”
    •  Lesson 6 of the ELA materials, students are asked to, “Write an opinion piece based on the target task which says, 'Is Anansi a good friend? Why or why not? What advice would you give him on how to be a better friend?'”
  • Unit 3, students continue to respond to texts in writing but build on their skills level by beginning “ to move from stating facts that help answer the question to including an inference or some level of critical thinking” as well as using specific details from text to support their claims.
  • Unit 4, students now build on their writing in response to text as they “begin to focus on explaining their evidence and thinking.”
  • Unit 5 brings all skills together and students are challenged to not only use evidence to support their writing but to find the best evidence to do so and to fully explain it in writing.
    • Lesson 21 of the ELA materials, students are asked to, “Write a letter to someone in your family thanking them and explaining why you love and appreciate them.”

Science and Social Studies examples include:

  • Unit 1 focuses on establishing writing routines.
    • Lesson 4, Create a postcard of what you saw on your visit to North America by writing an informational text that names a topic and supplies one or two facts about the topic.
  • Unit 2 focuses on building students writing endurance as they write in response to a text. 
  • Unit 3, students continue to respond to texts in writing but build on their skills level by beginning “to move from stating facts that help answer the question to including an inference or some level of critical thinking” as well as using specific details from text to support their claims.
    • Lesson 11, State an opinion about which artist is their favorite by participating in a class discussion and then writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and supports the opinion with two or three details from the text.
  • Unit 4 focuses on students explaining their use of evidence to support their claims. 
    • Lesson 4 of the Social Studies and Science materials, the Teacher Guide states, “After participating in the lab or activity, scholars should then write about how the activity deepened their understanding of heat."
  • Unit 5 focus on the fact that “scholars should be challenged daily to think about if the evidence they are picking to support their answer is in fact the most relevant and accurate evidence from the text.”
    • Lesson 10, Explain why you would or wouldn’t want to live in ancient Egypt, by writing an opinion piece that states an opinion and provides supporting reasons from the unit.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

The materials reviewed for Grade One contain a progression of research and writing projects that allow for students to develop knowledge and understanding a topic using various texts and source materials. At the end of many units, there are projects that require students to review, analyze and synthesize their understanding of specific topics culminating into a final project or activity.  Throughout the units there is a progression of tasks that build student knowledge using reading, writing, and speaking/listening skills. Examples of culminating activities include but are not limited to varied oral and dramatic presentations, reports, interviews, and labs. 

  •  Science and Social Studies Unit 1, Lesson 7, students, “Create a postcard of what you saw and where you went on your visit to South America, by writing an informational text that names a topic and supplies one or two facts about the topic.”
  • Literature Unit 2, Lesson 22, students, “Apply their knowledge of folk tale characteristics to write and act out their own folktales. This allows them to apply the unit essential question of what lessons can we learn from reading folktales through the intrapersonal, verbal-linguistic, and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences. This project builds on information gathered throughout the unit about common characteristics of all folktales.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 2, students “Take a stand on if the food chain is unfair by participating in a class discussion and then writing a well-structured informational essay using details from multiple texts.”
  • Literature Unit 3, Lesson 26, students, “Act out and retell different versions of the play.”  The Teacher Guide states, “Scholars should be broken into small groups, and each group could do a different version of the play. The ultimate goal is that scholars have a deep enough understanding of the three plots from the entire unit that they are able to act out and retell the different stories with minimal support.”
  • Literature Unit 4, Lesson 26 students, “Review the texts and then make a comic strip, from an assigned text, showing the obstacles their character had to overcome to learn or go to school.” After completion students are asked to do a gallery walk.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 4, Lesson 5, students “Go for a walk in the area around the school to determine what habitat types they can see and to gather evidence of animals that live in those habitats.”   The Teacher Guide states that, “This project builds on the previous lessons which introduce different habitats and the types of animals that live in each and allows scholars to connect their learning to their immediate environment.”
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 5, Lesson 24, students are asked to, “Create a living timeline of change-makers by acting out pivotal events and historical figures from throughout the unit.”

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

The Text Consumption Guidance document provides the rationale for independent reading and explains that during independent reading, students gain independence by reading a text on their own that requires them to use all of the strategies learned in class. During independent reading, students actively annotate and make meaning of the text with limited support from the teacher or peers. The materials suggest that independent reading can be used at the end of the lesson as independent practice, on days when the majority of the text is accessible and/or there are features of the text students need to practice accessing independently, or at the beginning of the lesson to allow time for independent analysis before a close-read or a discussion.

Gateway Three

Usability

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The materials for Grade 1 do not meet expectations for use and design that facilitates student learning. Because the materials are designed as more of a detailed information is not present for all aspects of lesson planning and support. In order to meet expectations for knowledge-building, the science and social studies units that must be taught alongside the English language arts units may present a challenge for completion within a typical school year. Materials lack a set of student materials that provide support for the lessons.

The materials provide an alignment document to delineate the standards met in each unit.

Criterion 3a - 3e

Use and design facilitate student learning: Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
3/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Grade 1 do not meet expectations for use and design that facilitates student learning. Because the materials are designed as more of a detailed information is not present for all aspects of lesson planning and support. In order to meet expectations for knowledge-building, the science and social studies units that must be taught alongside the English language arts units may present a challenge for completion within a typical school year. Materials lack a set of student materials that provide support for the lessons.

The materials provide an alignment document to delineate the standards met in each unit.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The instructional materials in Grade 1 provide a framework for lesson planning instead of a detailed lesson plan for most of the lessons. These frameworks provide guidance for the teacher in what material to teach and key questions to ask, but do not provide pacing for individual lesson for the teacher. These Frameworks, when combined with the Publisher’s Document on Planning an Effective Lesson allow the teacher to have the materials to effectively structure lessons with appropriate pacing in his/her classroom. Additionally, a limited number of lessons have suggested lesson plans, that include pacing and a structure that serve as an example of how a teacher can develop the lesson frames into step-by-step lessons for use in the classroom. Grade 1 instruction is broken up into blocks of 45 minutes of Literacy, 45 minutes of science or social studies, 30 - 40 minutes of Word Study, and 45 minutes of Writer’s Workshop.  In addition to those blocks, there is a 60 minute Guided Reading block for targeted reading instruction in comprehension, fluency, and word-work based on student needs. Time is also set aside for Independent Reading for 35 minutes a day by the end of the year. 

According to the Publisher, the lessons are meant to be frameworks. While the lessons provide the main components of the lessons, the detailed planning is left up to the teachers. The goal is for teachers to internalize the content and adapt it to meet the needs of the students. The Publisher suggests that teachers take the following steps when planning a lesson:

  • Look at the lesson objective, target task, and standards. Write an exemplar student response to the target task.
  • Pick a focus for the lesson
  • Decide on class structures
  • Determine how to launch the text, including what background knowledge students need
  • Determine how to engage with the text while reading
  • Figure out what structures will be in place to help students make sense with what they have learned
  • Plan for feedback and how to gather data
  • Determine all accommodations and modifications

Lesson objective, reading materials required for the lesson, standards covered, target task, vocabulary, key questions, criteria for success, mastery response, and notes provide the basic framework for teachers. These lessons do not provide any suggested timing or pacing for the lesson, but they allow for flexibility to meet the meets of the individual classroom.  For example, in Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 15, the objective states that students will be able to explain how Diego’s early life influenced his career and what lessons we can learn from him, by identifying and describing the connection between events and pieces of information in a text. The target tasks asks the student how did Diego’s early life influence his career and a mastery response is provided.

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

The total number of lessons in both Literature and Science and Social Studies may be completed in a typical 180 day school year in a traditional school setting. The lesson framework provides the outline for core instruction; however, many of the lessons within the framework need to be developed through teacher design which. In addition to pacing, the daily schedule sample, which is found in the Literary Blocks description in the Publisher’s Document, has an eight hour school day, which is not the norm in every school and may change the actual number of days needed for instruction.

The Literature Units have approximately 120 lessons and days of instruction and the Science and Social Studies Units have approximately 144 lessons and 156 days of instruction days of instruction. According to the Publisher’s Document, classroom instruction while using this program should include 45 minutes of Literature, 45 minutes of Science and Social Studies, 30 - 40 minutes a day of word study, 35 minutes of independent reading, and 60 minutes of guided reading.

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.).
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (eg. visuals, maps, etc.)

The lesson frameworks do not supply student materials or reference aids. The books that students use are purchased individually for the students to annotate throughout the year.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Standards are included for each lesson. There is an overview in each unit summary that lists all of the standards covered in the unit. This overview is not separated by lesson, which does not allow the teacher to easily locate specific standards and when/where they are taught in the lesson framework. Both the Literature and Social Studies and Science Units provide a Standards Map within the Unit Overview that indicates which standards are taught within each unit. In this course overview, each unit is labeled and the literature, informational, writing, speaking & listening, and language standards are identified for each unit they are in. 

Unit Summaries list out the standards for the entire unit, but do not specify which lessons, questions, or tasks. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards are identified. Lessons list the individual standards covered; however, in some lessons, all standards are not identified. 

While questions and tasks are not labeled by standard, assessment questions are labeled by the standards. For example, in Literature, Unit 3, students are asked to retell what happened in one or two stories from the unit using transition words such as first, next, then. This is tagged to standards RL1.2, L1.1, L1.2, and W1.1. In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students are asked to write what they learned about Ancient Egypt. This is tagged to standards RI1.3, W1.2, and L1.6. 

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

There is no material provided for student consumption except individual books. Therefore, no rating can be assigned. The online framework is designed for teacher use and the only materials suggested for student use are published texts.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Teacher planning and learning for success with CCSS: Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
5/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials partially support teacher planning and learning for success with the standards. While support is provided for some pieces of the learning process (e.g., guides for writing, guidelines for teaching vocabulary), there is a lack of explicit and lesson-specific support for some lessons. There is also limited support to link teachers to research on best practices for the ELA classroom and the research base that the program. There is limited guidance for communications with families to provide a home/school partnership to support the standards within and across units.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. While there is no traditional “Teacher’s Edition” within the materials, the online framework lays out every Grade Level with a Course Summary and Course Map and every Unit with a Unit Summary as well as standards, unit preparation, and lessons.Each Lesson contains an objective, specific text(s) needed, standards covered, target task, key questions, and in some lessons notes for the educator.Although each lesson is not scripted, there are publisher materials that provide guidance for teachers on how to present content to students. For example there are guidelines for teaching vocabulary and giving feedback. There is also a guide to informational writing, literary analysis writing, and narrative writing. These explain how to present the content. However, these guidelines are not for specific units or specific vocabulary words, and the teachers need to create the lessons based on the guidelines. There are also Match Minis, which provide further assistance for teachers on how to present material and use techniques to develop lessons.

While there is a myriad of materials to assist and guide the teacher to develop well-structured lessons, this design could be challenging for new or inexperienced educators to navigate without targeted professional development.Also, there is limited evidence of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning. 

  • Planning a Lesson Guideline specifically states that the intent is to provide a “skinny” framework that provides frameworks rather than detailed lesson plans. It further explains that the main components of the lessons are provided but that detailed planning is left up to the individual teacher.
  • Literature Unit 2, Intellectual Prep, Internalizing the Standards specifies that the teacher will:
    • Identify focus for writing about reading. 
    • Identify the lesson the author is trying to teach in each text, and brainstorm ways the lesson connects to scholars’ own lives. 
  • Literature Unit 5, Intellectual Prep, Building Background Knowledge makes the teacher responsible for determining what and how to build the necessary connections for students: 
    • Find resources to help engage in discussions surrounding family types that are not covered in the unit. Plan ways to introduce and facilitate conversations to build understanding and learning, especially of family types that may be present within the classroom.
  • Science and Social Studies Unit 3, Intellectual Prep, Internalizing the Text and Standards requires teachers to determine and plan information for building student background and projects for students to complete:
    • Read all author’s notes or background information to build a deeper understanding of the different contexts/settings for each biography. Plan book previews that clearly communicate necessary information to scholars. When necessary, pull in information from additional sources. 
    • Brainstorm and plan for projects to help scholars deepen understanding of unit content and materials. Consider completing a project after each “bend” of the unit: one project on painters, one on musicians, and then one on dancers. 

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.The materials do not contain a traditional teacher’s edition, however their online instructional guide provides teachers with a framework for teaching thematic units and lessons. Publisher documents provide guidance for teachers to design instruction and prepare lessons including explanations of some of the literacy concepts utilized in the program. Within the units, the Intellectual Prep contains a Content Knowledge and Connections section which provides further guidance for teachers. In some units this section provides guidance in a literacy concept such as poetry or mythology however in others it is more connected to understanding a thematic concept such as bullying.

  • Feedback as a Teaching Tool provides detailed explanations of the approach to writing instruction and examples of how to implement the literacy concept of revising writing. Some examples include:
    • Students ​need ​help ​with ​revision, ​and ​thus ​feedback ​from ​teachers ​or ​peers ​is ​essential. Ways ​to ​provide ​writing ​feedback ​are:
      •  Have ​students ​do ​multiple ​drafts ​of ​written ​responses ​to ​questions ​while ​applying ​feedback 
      • Share ​exemplary ​work ​with ​students ​and ​help ​them ​identify ​key ​features ​to ​replicate 
      • Share ​examples ​of ​student ​work ​with ​common ​errors ​and ​collectively ​correct ​them ​before all ​students ​revise ​their ​writing ​to ​address ​similar ​errors 
  • Rigorous Discussion Guidelines informs the teacher: Rigorous discussion explicitly increases student thinking by challenging students to test out their ideas, build on those of their peers and craft persuasive arguments. The length and format of a rigorous discussion can and should vary, however, a rigorous discussion should always require students to evaluate and test their initial thinking by considering the ideas and evidence presented by others. A well executed discussion leads students to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of a single task and its application to other tasks. Further, rigorous discussion engages the entire class for an extended period of time. During the discussion the teacher’s voice is not central and there is clear evidence of academic ownership by students. The following guidelines explain what a teacher can do to use discussions effectively to promote learning. Teachers are not expected to use all these strategies at once but will tailor their activities based on the focus of the discussion and the grade level of the students.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 meets the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. While there is not a traditional Teacher’s Edition included with this program, Fishtank ELA K-2 includes an electronic overview of the curriculum which includes standards charts and unit progressions. The Publisher’s Document entitled K2 Literature Overview provides a direct explanation of how the standards are tied to the lessons in the unit.

  • K2 Literature Overview Publisher’s Document, First Grade Literature explains the role of the standards in the course. It statesThe key standards-based comprehension focuses and strategies for First Grade Literature are:
    • Describing characters, setting and major events using key details
    • Retelling stories
    • Understanding of the central message or lesson. 

The document explicitly states that: Asking and answering questions, using context clues, and illustrations are strategies that spiral from year to year as text-demands increase. Therefore, they are not priority standards but should still beintroduced and reinforced over the course of the year. 

    • Connections to the overall curriculum are included within the same document explaining:
      • A focus on describing characters, settings, and events rather than identifying them as the Grade 1 standards required. This is done to meet Grade 1 standards and to prepare for Grade 2 standards. 
      • A focus on retelling stories including events and being able to explain the central message without having to identify it on their own to meet the standards as required for Grade 1 and prepare for Grade 2. 

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade One partially meet the criteria that materials contain a explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies. The publisher materials include a document specifically dedicated to the explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and when they should be implemented. Some of the strategies included are, Think Aloud, Mini Lesson, Turn & Talk, Stop & Jot, Annotation, Discussion, Vocabulary, and Writing about Reading.While there is a clear explanation of instructional approaches, what appears to be lacking is an overview of the research that led to the design of those instructional strategies.

  • Examples of the Instructional Strategies explained include but are not limited to
    • Think Aloud, “The purpose of a think-aloud is to give scholars a glimpse into the teacher’s brain so that scholars can visualize the types of behaviors good readers engage in while reading.”
    • Turn and Talk: “Turn and Talks are a low-risk oral language strategy that provide scaffolded opportunities for all students to formulate and build upon each other's ideas."
    •  Mini-lessons: “Short lessons, between five and ten minutes, that have a narrow focus on a strategy or skill that students need in order to access the text or target task question.”

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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

There is a program overview provided publicly for consumers and it explains the approach to curriculum that Fishtank ELA K-2 uses as well as information about the program, however, there is limited to no evidence about the role that parents/guardians should play to support student growth and success.

The About Match link on the publisher’s website states, “Our curriculum is widely relevant to teachers across the US, particularly those who share our commitment to rigorous, standards-driven and college-ready instruction.”

  • The Approach to Curriculum link on the publisher’s website states, “We think teachers should spend more time planning how to teach — with the unique learning needs of their students in mind—and less time worrying about the basics of what to teach. Good baseline curriculum and assessments free teachers to do just that.”

The ELA Program Overview states, “Through our ELA curriculum we seek to develop voracious readers who are eager to grapple with complex texts [and] prepare our students for academic and life success by building their background and core knowledge.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Assessment: Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials offer regular assessments that allow teachers to accurately assess student progress and to determine how students are progressing in their mastery of the standards and other content. However, there is limited support to guide teachers in their interpretation of assessment results to redirect, reteach, and support students who have not reached mastery and minimal guidance for monitoring of student progress.

The materials provide a systematic approach to supporting students in reading independently and assuring that students are achieving a volume of reading both at school and at home.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Each unit contains a Unit Assessment that assesses focus standards for the unit with most also containing an extended response that assesses both literature standards and writing standards. Assessments at times include reading a text that has not been studied to analyze the transfer of skills. 

Included within lessons are Target Tasks, which are often writing prompts that focus on the lesson objective. Target Tasks can be utilized as formative assessments to regularly measure student progress. Some lessons include key questions, which provide an opportunity for assessing student mastery. Additional lessons include projects and writing that function as assessments of student mastery of both content and literary standards. Examples of formative assessments opportunities include:

  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 6, key questions are asked including why did the wolf say the first little pig wasn’t very smart and why did the cops show up.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 20, the Target Task asks how Cesar Chavez was able to motivate others to work together to fight for a better future and what lessons can we learn from him. 

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Assessments included with each unit specify the standard being assessed. Each question on the assessment is labeled with the coordinating standard number(s).

Examples of assessment questions and the corresponding labeled standards include:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students are asked to pick one continent from the unit and explain why it is special by using three or four details, which is labeled RI.1.1, L.1.1, L.1.2, and W.1.2. 
  • In Literature Unit 2, students are asked to share a lesson they learned from a story in the unit, which is labeled RL.1.2, L.1.1, L.1.2, and W.1.1. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students are asked to pick three vocabulary words from the unit and draw a picture of the word and use it in a sentence, which is labeled L.1.6 and R.1.1.4. 
  • In Literature Unit 4, students are asked to listen to a story and describe the setting using at least three details, which is labeled RL.1.3 and RL.1.7.

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. The Literature Unit Assessments do not provide scoring guidelines or answer keys and there is no guidance given for interpreting student performance and/or offering suggestions for follow up. The Science and Social Studies Unit Assessments provide answer keys, but no guidance for interpreting student performance and/or suggestions for follow up.

Indicator 3m

Materials include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

Although a limited number of lessons provide guidance within the lesson on developing routines and guidance for monitoring student progress through the collection of data, the publisher provides multiple documents that include both general and specific routines and protocols for gathering information on student progress to drive instruction and adjust, as needed. These documents provide the teacher with the rationale on why gathering data is essential and the process by which to gather data. They explain that the teachers use the information gathered to make individual classroom decisions to maximize instruction. 

The Teacher Feedback as a Teaching Tool provides guidance on collecting information in a variety of teaching areas. For example, the information to gather in reading includes:

  • Ask questions to help students make connections, revisit misunderstandings and uncover deeper meaning of text
  • Listen to students read aloud or whisper read in a group to identify moments for correction
  • Conference with students to provide guidance on specific reading skills
  • Monitor annotations to ensure students are noticing key moments
  • Use short comprehension questions mid - reading to monitor comprehension
  • Point out moments of misanalysis or misunderstanding and ask students to re-read 

The Planning a Lesson Document includes a place for teachers to plan for feedback and gather data. However, it does not provide a specific protocol for doing so. Suggestions for ways to gather the data are included within this guidance. It tells teachers to plan for how to give feedback and gather student data. It also gives questions to consider such as how will the teacher circulate to give feedback and check for understanding and what type of data will be gathered. However, no answers are provided.

In the Rigorous Discussion Guide there is information on how data should be gathered to drive instruction. This includes:

  • Tracking data from the discussion such as actively monitoring individual student readiness to transition to the written synthesis task
  • Using data to inform current class including celebrating multiple strategies used by students to arrive at the same outcome
  • Steps to take after the discussion including using data to inform future classes, though no specifics on how to do this is provided.

Indicator 3n

Indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The Teacher Tools link on the website provides an English Language Arts Guides specifically titled, “Our Approach to Independent Reading.”  This guide provides a template for “Independent Weekly Planning” as well as a suggested independent reading list by grade level, parent/guardian letter to explain the purpose of independent reading for 20 minutes each night at home and an independent reading log for students to keep track of their reading.  There are also options for independent conferencing.

The publisher states, “We believe students need to engage in a volume of reading inside and outside of class.  Students need opportunities to read independently in order to access a large volume of complex texts, build knowledge, and develop a love of reading.”  In order to achieve this, it is recommended that students have independent reading assigned daily for homework in addition to 45-60 minutes of an independent reading block scheduled in class.  The guide states, “Both of these additional opportunities for independent reading are crucial components of student literacy development, and should be facilitated alongside our core Literature and Science and Social Studies curriculum.”

Criterion 3o - 3r

Differentiated instruction: Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
5/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials do not meet expectations for providing support for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. While generalized support and suggestions for grouping strategies for students with disabilities, students for whom English is a second language, and students performing above grade level is described in supporting documents, specific supports within each lesson or unit are not provided.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meets, the expectation that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. The publisher document for Instructional Strategies states that, “The manner in which skills and strategies are introduced, practiced, and reinforced depends on the demands of the text, the target task, the scope of the week, and student needs. Each day there is a Guided Reading Block that provides the opportunity for targeted comprehension, fluency, or vocabulary instruction based upon student needs. The materials also include a guide for Supporting ​Students ​in ​ELA ​Instruction that provides instructional methods for all types of supports from standard to intensive. Although the lesson frameworks are written in one manner with material for all learners, Publisher’s Documents explain the approach to meeting the needs of diverse learners and provide strategies for meeting these students needs. The Supporting Student Needs in ELA instruction provides specific guidance in how to meet the needs of learners while still requiring students to meet the standards. The document explains specifically the publisher’s practice of supporting learners while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards: “While ​the ​curriculum requires ​a ​lot ​from ​our ​students, ​the ​teacher ​has ​an ​important ​role ​to ​play ​in ​supporting students ​when ​they ​struggle ​and ​ensuring ​that ​students ​don’t ​struggle ​unproductively. Teachers ​need ​to ​provide ​supports ​that ​never ​remove ​the ​most ​important ​thinking ​and meaning-making, ​while ​ensuring ​that ​students ​can ​access ​those ​thinking ​tasks.” Examples include:

  • Publisher’s Document, “Supporting Student Needs in ELA Instruction”
    • Supports for all students:
      • Build ​excitement ​and ​enthusiasm ​for ​the ​text ​and ​task 
      • Build ​strong ​reading ​and ​writing ​habits 
      • Preview ​genre ​knowledge 
      • Circulate ​and ​provide ​feedback ​during ​reading ​and ​writing ​for ​individuals and ​the ​group 
      • Identify ​and/or ​preteach ​~2 ​key ​vocabulary ​words 
      • Provide ​essential ​background ​knowledge ​via ​other ​texts ​or ​preview
    • Least Intensive support for many students
      • Check ​in ​with ​the ​student ​more ​frequently ​to ​ensure ​they ​are ​reading and/or ​writing ​appropriately ​during ​independent ​work 
      • Preview ​the ​most ​important ​~3 ​polysemous ​words ​or ​Tier ​2 ​words ​from ​the text ​individually ​or ​in ​a ​small ​group ​with ​quick ​connotative ​definitions ​and example ​sentences 
      • Teach ​the ​student ​additional ​literal ​comprehension ​annotation ​strategies to ​use ​during ​homework ​and/or ​independent ​reading 
      • Prompt ​the ​student ​to ​verbally ​share ​a ​plan ​for ​writing ​before ​writing
    • More Intensive supports for some students:
      • Create ​additional ​stopping ​points ​to ​pause ​the ​student’s’ ​reading ​and ​ask questions ​to ​build ​comprehension 
      • Create ​an ​opportunity, ​in ​a ​small ​group ​or ​individually, ​for ​the ​student ​to read ​the ​text ​and ​build ​comprehension ​before ​the ​lesson 
      • Provide ​an ​accommodated ​copy ​of ​the ​text ​that ​includes ​definitions, pictures, ​or ​synonyms ​for ​key ​vocabulary ​and/or ​idioms ​(ELs ​at ​ELD ​level 1-2, ​sometimes ​level ​3) 
      • Provide ​a ​chance ​for ​the ​student ​to ​orally ​plan ​with ​a ​teacher ​or ​peer before ​writing 
      • Provide ​check-lists ​and/or ​exemplar ​texts ​for ​reference ​while ​writing 
      • Segment ​the ​text ​based ​on ​importance ​and ​guide ​the ​student ​to ​read some ​parts ​more ​closely ​than ​others 
    • Most Intensive supports for a few students:
      • Provide ​a ​read-aloud ​support ​to ​the ​student ​before ​the ​lesson ​for independently ​read ​sections ​of ​texts, ​either ​by ​reading ​together ​before ​the lesson ​or ​sending ​home ​a ​read-aloud ​resource 
      • Provide ​a ​graphic ​organizer ​for ​the ​student ​to ​organize ​their ​written responses 
      • Shorten ​the ​section ​of ​text ​the ​student ​is ​expected ​to ​read
    • Supports that should rarely be used unless specified by an IEP
      • Modify ​the ​lesson’s ​key ​or ​guiding ​question ​to ​make ​easier 
      • Excuse ​the ​student ​from ​some ​or ​all ​of ​a ​challenging ​assignment 
      • Scribe ​the ​student’s ​written ​responses ​(in ​early ​childhood ​this ​is ​more common)
    • Additional supports are suggested to use in helping students gain maximum understanding:
      • Provide ​students ​with ​cues ​to ​help ​them ​engage ​in ​productive ​struggle. Example:
        • When ​else: ​Ask ​questions ​that ​point ​students ​towards ​a ​known ​piece ​of ​knowledge ​or ​skill they ​can ​employ ​to ​begin ​the ​task. ​For ​example, ​“When ​else ​have ​you ​seen ​an ​author ​use clues ​to ​show ​us ​how ​the ​character ​is ​feeling? ​How ​could ​we ​use ​that ​here?”
      • Probe ​for ​and ​uncover ​student ​thinking ​errors ​to ​clarify ​what ​needs ​to ​be ​retaught. Example: 
        • Compare ​two ​responses: ​Ask ​a ​question ​that ​prompts ​students ​to ​compare ​two ​possible answers ​in ​order ​to ​elicit ​more ​precise ​understanding ​or ​to ​push ​their ​skills ​to ​the ​next ​level. For ​example, ​“Tara ​said ​the ​narrator ​is ​reliable ​because ​he ​was ​there, ​but ​Noah ​said ​the narrator ​is ​unreliable ​because ​he ​is ​a ​small ​child; ​who ​is ​correct?”
      • Prompt ​students ​to ​correct ​their ​own ​errors ​or ​refine ​thinking. Examples:
        • Provide ​a ​rule ​and ​toss ​it ​back: ​Ask ​students ​to ​take ​a ​rule ​and ​use ​it ​to ​refine ​thinking ​to ​be more ​precise ​or ​accurate. ​For ​example, ​“In ​addition ​to ​the ​beginning ​of ​sentences, ​we ​also use ​capitals ​for ​proper ​names ​of ​people, ​places, ​ideas ​and ​specific ​things. ​Given ​that, ​are there ​any ​other ​places ​we ​need ​a ​capital ​letter ​in ​our ​writing?
      • Remediate ​student ​error ​without ​doing ​all ​the ​thinking 
        •  Eliminate ​a ​false ​choice: Ask ​a ​question ​that ​rules ​out ​an ​easily ​eliminated ​false ​choice ​in order ​to ​help ​students ​focus ​their ​thinking ​on ​the ​more ​important ​moment ​of understanding, ​“We ​know ​this ​character ​is ​not ​called ​Cinderella, ​but ​that ​was ​true ​in ​some ​of the ​other ​Cinderella ​stories ​we ​read. ​How ​else ​could ​we ​determine ​if ​this ​is ​a ​Cinderella story?”

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.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 partially meet the expectation that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The Publisher’s Document explicitly states that the teachers need to provide supports that never remove the most important thinking and meaning-making, while ensuring that students can access those thinking tasks. It explains that the goal is to support students while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards. Teachers can use the supports outlined in this document to help students who are English Language Learners work with the grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension and/or advanced learning opportunities were not evident within the materials. There was little to no guidance for students who quickly master content and could benefit from challenging experiences to expand their learning.

There are no extensions or advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. The materials allow for a multitude of grouping strategies including shared reading, partner reading, small group reading, and guided reading groups. 

  • Examples of grouping strategies include:
    • Examples of grouping strategies:
      • In Shared Reading, “Every student has a copy of the text or can see the text and a fluent reader (teacher or student) reads the text aloud and students read along at the same time, stopping periodically to monitor comprehension.”
      •  In Partner Reading, “Partner reading is a cooperative learning strategy in which two or more students work together in a structured manner to read and engage with a text.”
      • In Small Group Reading, “Small-group reading is done when a teacher pulls a sub-set of students during class to re-teach or review a targeted concept.”
      • In Guided Reading, “Students are placed into groups using data from the STEP reading assessment. Teachers plan group rotation and adjust frequency based on individual data.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The materials do not meet overall expectations for technology use. While the materials and platform are teacher-friendly and easily navigated, there is no support in the materials themselves to support or teacher use of technology, including digital collaboration, local customization, and personalization of learning.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials are web-based and digital. They are compatible with Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Firefox. The materials are also Platform Neutral, working on Apple products, Android phones, and a Windows based computer.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. 

The materials do not include use of technology in student learning other than providing links to some materials used as texts in the units. However, all of these texts can be printed. There were examples of technology used in Science and Social Studies Unit 3. In Lesson 7, the teacher shows students a 40 second slide show on murals before students create their own murals. Similarly in Lesson 19, the teacher projects actual protests signs before students create their own.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The digital materials are for teachers, and are not able to be personalized for students or teachers. Teachers can download materials including assessments, lesson frames, and sample lessons, but they cannot be edited.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 meet the expectation that materials can be easily customized for local use. 

The materials can be used by teachers across the country, and schools can customize as needed for local use. Teachers are given choice in how to teach the daily objectives, teachers can customize the lessons for their classroom. The framework provided lessons plan allows local schools and teachers to customize the program for individual use.

Indicator 3v

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 1 do not meet the expectation that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

There are no opportunities in the materials that allow teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other. There are no websites, discussion groups, or webinars that allow teachers and/or students to interact electronically.

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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 02/24/2020

Report Edition: 2018

https://www.matchfishtank.org/curriculum/elementary-ela-edreports/

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 (No Foundational Skills) Rubric and Evidence Guides

** These review tools are intended to be used for comprehensive programs that do not contain a foundational skills component and are instead designed to be implemented with a supplement.**

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.

This product is an open educational resource and therefore does not have ISBNs. Please visit the publisher site for more information: https://www.matchfishtank.org/curriculum/elementary-ela-edreports.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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