Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of alignment. Rigorous, engaging texts are high quality and are organized to be the central focus of lessons while supporting Grade 6 students’ knowledge building. The materials support student growth in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and developing language skills over the course of the school year, with attention to close reading and analysis of texts, topics, and themes. The materials also meet the expectations for instructional supports and usability, with guidance for differentiation and program design for implementation.

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Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
36
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

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
31
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for high-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills. Texts are worthy of students’ time and attention, are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading and provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for texts are worthy of students’ time and attention, are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading.  Anchor texts are of publishable quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests, and the materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task and the materials support students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. 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 and students have the opportunity to read a diverse range of texts and genres throughout the school year.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests.

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading.  They include works from award-winning authors, as well as traditional classics. They consider a range of student interests including but not limited to, surviving disaster and using your voice for social change.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students read a lyric poem entitled, “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,”  by Maya Angelou. This expressive poem is written by a well-known and award winning author, incorporating some figurative language and images that support the meaning of the text.
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students read an excerpt from A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. Based on a true story, the main character in this novel deals with an internal conflict and asks himself tough questions which will be thought provoking to the reader. Photographs and maps help the reader better understand the challenges of South Sudan, which is the setting of the novel.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students read “A Schoolgirl’s Diary,” an excerpt from I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick.  An autobiography and memoir, this excerpt engages students in discussing culturally relevant content and analyzing characteristics of an informational text. One of the authors, Malala Yousafzai, is a Pakistani Women’s Activist who was also the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner at age 16. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students read “The Boatman’s Flute”  retold by Sherry Garland. This folktale is a Vietnamese folktale that allows students to explore a strong theme and see the connections of storytelling and a people’s culture.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts integrated throughout every unit. The variety of genres and text types include, but are not limited to the following:  science fiction, poetry, editorials, memoirs, dramas, informational articles, and folktales. For each of the six units, there are also suggested independent reading books that can be used to enhance or extend the provided reading selections.

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

  • Unit 1, Finding Courage- “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me”- lyric poem by Maya Angelou
  • Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes- “Zoo”- science fiction story by Edward Hoch
  • Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice- “Words Like Freedom- a poem by Langston Hughes
  • Unit 6, The Prince and the Pauper- play by Mark Twain and dramatized by Joellen Bland 

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

  • Unit 1, Finding Courage- “Wired for Fear”- video by California Science Center
  • Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes- “Wild Animals Aren’t Pets”- editorial in USA Today 
  • Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice- Excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming- memoir by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Unit 5, Never Give Up- Excerpt from Into the Air- graphic biography by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Bill Wylie

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Most anchor texts are placed at the appropriate grade level in the Current Lexile Band (860L-1010L) or the Stretch Lexile Band (925L-1185L) for grades 6-8. Texts below the stretch band increase in complexity due to qualitative features and associated tasks. Texts that are above the stretch band quantitatively have supports in place and associated tasks which enable students to access the text and demonstrate understanding. 

Examples of texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 6 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students read the short story, “The Ravine”. The Lexile level is 680L, which is below the Current Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The qualitative features increase the complexity which helps make it appropriate for grade 6. Qualitative features include some implied meaning and inferential reasoning. The language is moderately complex with some figurative or allusive language and some dialect or other unconventional language.
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students read a novel excerpt from Pax. The Lexile level is 880L, which is included in the Current Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The qualitative features of this text increase the complexity for students due to the greater demand for inference, a more complex point of view, and some figurative language.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students read “A Schoolgirl’s Diary,” an excerpt from the memoir, I Am Malala.  The Lexile level is 820L, which is slightly below the Current Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The qualitative features require students to utilize inferential meaning in order to derive the author’s purpose and point of view. Students answer Notice & Note questions as they read, further honing skills around the relationships between ideas and informational text features such as footnotes and map keys.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials support students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

Assessments provide teachers a good “picture” of reading ability increasing over the course of the school year.  The materials are designed with texts that increase in rigor and complexity, in turn increasing students’ literacy skills as they advance month-to-month and year-to-year. Careful attention is paid to the collection of anchor texts and the design of instruction with those texts and text sets. Students practice a variety of literacy skills including but not limited to: analyzing setting and character, analyzing how a character develops plot, analyzing structure, determining key ideas and details, identifying and analyzing point of view, making inferences, making predictions, citing evidence, analyzing structure, analyzing language, and publishing.

  • In the beginning of the year, the students are making inferences in Unit 1, Finding Courage, while reading an accessible novel excerpt from The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. Questions are available in the margin of the Student Edition, including: “How does Parvana feel about herself at this moment, and how might it affect her future and the future of her family?” (14).
  • In the middle of the year, students are making inferences in Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, while reading an excerpt from Selfe: The Changing Face of Self-Portraits by Susie Brooks, which is at the high end of the grade level stretch band quantitatively. Students use the Notice & Note Contrasts and Contradictions strategies while reading the multimodal text. Some questions they are asked to consider are, “How does Ducreux’s painting contrast with other self-portraits you have learned about? Mark how the author describes Ducreux’s self portrait.” Then, students infer: “What might the artist wish to reveal about himself in this portrait?” (236).
  • By the end of the year, students are able to infer themes in Unit 6, Hidden Truths, while reading and comparing two folktales, “The Boatman’s Flute” by Sherry Garland and “The Mouse Bride” by Heather Forest, that are appropriately complex for the grade level. Students analyze the texts and synthesize: “What have your comparisons revealed about possible themes in each folktale?” (500).

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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. 

Grade 6 instructional materials include a text complexity analysis for anchor texts and series of texts connected to them. There is an accurate rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The materials offer a range of texts appropriate for the grade level and qualitative features increase the level of thinking required of students with texts that fall below the stretch band quantitatively for students. The text complexity information is available consistently in the Teacher's Edition in the Plan and Text X-ray sections.

  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students read an excerpt from the novel Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Quantitative analysis places the text at 880L. The qualitative features indicate that the ideas presented and structures used increase the level of complexity due to inferencing required of students and the complex point of view. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students read an excerpt from the novel Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes with a quantitative measure of 570L. Qualitative measures increase the demand because it requires some inferential reasoning, has some figurative and allusive language, some dialect, and some references to other texts.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students read a biographical mentor text excerpt from The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman. This 1100L text is utilized to show what a traditional biography looks like in comparison to the previously read graphic biography. The text uses technical language and requires students to determine the meaning of new words in context.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Students have the opportunity to read a diverse range of texts and genres throughout the school year. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students analyze four texts using the Notice & Note reading model. The first novel excerpt is from The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, the second is a poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou, the third is an informational text “Fears and Phobias” by kidshealth.org, and the fourth is a video viewing and analysis of “Wired for Fear” by the California Science Center. There are selection tests available following each reading and a Reading Studio is available online for additional support and instruction. Students then collaborate and compare an informational text “Embarrased? Blame Your Brain” by Jennifer Connor-Smith and a short story “The Ravine” by Graham Salisbury. The texts connect to a topic linking the selections to the essential question: “How do you find courage in the face of fear?” Independent reading selections are available for students as a Reader’s Choice. Selections for independent reading options in Unit 1 range in complexity from 760L-870L and are accessible to students at various levels. These include poetry, a short story, narrative nonfiction, and informationl text. The suggested pacing is 30 days to complete Unit 1 (1A-1D).
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students analyze three texts: an excerpt from the novel Pax by Sara Pennypacker, a science fiction piece entitled “Zoo” by Edward Hoch, and an excerpt from “Animal Snoops: The Wondrous World of Wildlife Spies” by Peter Christie. In addition, there are selection tests at the end of a series of lessons for each text, and resources such as Reading Studio to support students as they grow in reading proficiency. Students collaborate and compare while reading the following texts: “Animal Wisdom” a poem by Nancy Wood, “The Last Wolf” a poem by Mary TallMountain, “Wild Animals Aren’t Pets” an editorial from USA Today, and “Let People Own Exotic Animals” by Zuzana Kukol. The unifying essential question is: “What can you learn by seeing the world through an animal’s eyes?” Independent reading selections are available for students as a Reader’s Choice. Selections for independent reading in Unit 2 range in complexity from 810L-1190L and are accessible to students at various levels. These include poetry, short stories, speeches, informational texts, and arguments. The suggested pacing is 30 days to complete Unit 2 (90A-90D).
  • Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read a multimodal text, an excerpt from a memoir written in verse, a narrative piece that focuses on humor, poems, and two argument pieces. Students complete the Analyze and Apply section of the unit while utilizing the previously learned Notice & Note strategies as they read a multimodal text, an excerpt from a memoir in verse, and a narrative piece. Teachers determine whether students engage with the text independently, in a small group, or as a whole group, though instructions and guidance are provided for all options and include cloze read strategies. Students in small groups Collaborate & Compare two separate text sets. The first text set is comprised of two poems; the second text set is comprised of two argument pieces, one of which requires students to complete a mentor text read. Students independently conduct research on various topics connected to the readings throughout the unit, exposing them to informational articles. Independent reading selections are included for varying proficiency levels. The titles suggested are: “I Was a Skinny Tomboy Kid” by Luz VIllanueva, “Words are Birds” by Francisco X. Alarcón, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, “On Dragonwings” by Lucy D. Ford, and “Carved on the Walls” by Judy Young. The independent reading texts suggested reflect variation in type of text. The Giver by Lois Lowry is a suggested novel pairing. The suggested pacing of the unit is 30 days (T27, 244A-244D).
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students read varied genres of texts relating to the essential question, “What hidden truths about people and the world are revealed in stories?” The unit encompasses six texts and four independent texts. The students analyze two texts at the beginning of the unit. The first text is a book introduction from Storytelling by Josepha Sherman and then they read a play, The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain and dramatized by Joellen Bland. Students keep a Response Log throughout the unit where they collect evidence as they read. In the Collaborate and Compare section of the unit, the students read and compare two poems and two folktales. Students read two poems “Archetype” by Margarita Engle and “Fairy-Tale Logic” by A.E. Stallings. Then, they read and compare two folktales, “The Boatman’s Flute” retold by Sherry Garland  and ‘The Mouse Bride” retold by Heather Forest. Students with the digital feature have access to four independent texts: “The Golden Serpent” retold by Walter Dean Meyers (Fable), “Echo and Narcissus” retold by Lancelyn Green (Folktale), “The Fisherman and the Chamberlain” retold by Jane Yolen (Folktale), and “Urban Legends, Suburban Myths” by Robert Carroll (Informational Text). The suggested pacing of the unit is 30 days (418B-418D).

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly, while sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills. The materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax, while also supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. The materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards and include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level. The materials also include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and conventions standards as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). 

The instructional materials for Grade 6 include questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-dependent over the course of the school year. Notice & Note Signposts are activities that guide students and assist them to analyze works of fiction or nonfiction.  Notice & Note Signposts activities include Contrasts and Contradictions activities. Also culminating projects, both oral and written, require students to draw from readings and notations to support their final assessments with evidence. Text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. The Teacher's Edition provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and listening standards. In the Teacher's Edition, there are additional suggestions to prompt writing and discussion around the text with possible answers provided.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, teacher supports are in place for planning and implementation during the reading of The Breadwinner. Contrasts and Contradictions ask teachers to “Discuss with students Parvana’s context, or situation, due to the setting of the story. Have students note how the setting influences her contrasting feelings about her hair.” A Notice & Note question provides students with an opportunity to return to the text: “What contrasting feelings does Parvana experience in paragraph 34? Mark each of her feelings.” 
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students read an excerpt from Pax and respond by answering text dependent questions: Review paragraph 1. What details does the author use to describe key ideas about the fox? Review paragraph 18, especially the last sentence of the paragraph. How does point of view contribute to the character’s voice? Review paragraph 3. What do the fox’s memories suggest about the relationship between the boy and the fox? 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students view a documentary called “Salva’s Story” as a digital text. Students focus on features of a documentary such as animated graphics, voice-over narration, etc. After viewing, students answer questions such as: “Describe the purpose of the voice-over narration in ‘Salva’s Story.'” 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students reread paragraphs 12-23 of “What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka?” and mark the sequence of events as they occur in chronological order. Then they answer, “How do you think the way the text is structured supports the author’s main purpose for writing this text?” Students are guided to deeply analyze and appreciate various aspects of the text, including the relationship between text structure and author’s purpose. 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, teachers introduce students to Notice & Note Signposts during their reading of the text “A Schoolgirl’s Diary” from I Am Malala. Students learn the signposts Big Questions, Number and States, and Quoted Words: “What can you tell from the author’s use of quoted words? Mark the quoted words in paragraph 4.”
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, after reading “The Boatman’s Flute,” students contrast the behavior of the mandarin’s daughter in paragraph 18 with her behavior in paragraph 27. Why did the character act so differently in these two parts of the story? Text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments consistently support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year.

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task. Each unit has several tasks which include text-dependent questions and activities (speaking and writing) such as, but not limited to, the following:  Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Collaborate and Compare, and Notice & Note. The culminating tasks are designed to help students synthesize and apply their learning from the unit in an engaging and authentic way through writing and speaking. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students read a set of texts containing “The Ravine,” and “Embarrassed? Blame Your Brain”. After reading, students work with a small group to synthesize themes that both texts share. Students complete a venn diagram with what they learned about the themes and main ideas in the texts, answer Analyze the Text questions in order to expand their thinking around the themes of the story, and continue exploring the main idea as they prepare a research presentation in the format of a panel discussion. Students are reminded to include information from reliable sources to support their ideas. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students Collaborate & Compare and Analyze the Text to answer text dependent/specific questions such as, “How are the circumstances faced by the poem’s speaker and the novel’s narrator different? How are their responses to their circumstances different? What have you learned from these selections about what it takes to be a survivor?” This builds toward a culminating task in which students write a nonfiction narrative or memoir about what it took for them or someone they know to survive a disaster or difficult event. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students consider Quoted Words, as one example of a Notice & Note signpost. Students think about why an author would quote a person or cite evidence from a source when reading and analyzing nonfiction. While reading independently from the Reader’s Choice list, the materials provide anchor questions for students. For example, “Why did the author use these numbers or amounts?” Students Collaborate and Share their findings with a partner from one of the independent readings. At the end of Unit 4, students create a multimodal argument as the culminating task. During the planning session the teacher will “Remind students they can use Quoted Words to include the opinions or conclusions of someone who is an expert on the topic of their argument.”

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 offer numerous opportunities for students to have evidence-based discussions across many texts in each unit. The groupings during the evidence-based discussions vary greatly, offering students the opportunity to engage in whole group discussions, peer-to-peer discussions, and various configurations of small group discussions. Evidence-based discussions are supported by explicit grouping directions and supports for struggling students within the Teacher's Edition. Specifically in the Plan section of each text in the unit there are specific protocols, sentence frames, and differentiated supports for different types of groupings. The Teacher's Edition also includes supports embedded throughout the student’s text encouraging the incorporation of academic vocabulary. Word Networks provide a means to introduce and discuss academic vocabulary with a partner to begin each unit. Speaking and Listening Studio is included following the reading of each text to prepare the students for collaborative discussions explaining and modeling roles of the members of the group. Then students participate in collaborative discussions and analyze and evaluate presentations.  

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students discuss features of the text using the key term subheading. After reading “Fears and Phobias,” students discuss with a partner how some of the subheadings can be rephrased as questions. Students should discuss: “How does rephrasing the subheadings into questions help them understand what the sections will be about?” 
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students complete and discuss a Word Network with a partner about the academic word benefit. Support is in place for modeling and the materials ask teachers to “...encourage them to include all the categories shown in the completed network, if possible, but point out that some words do not have clear synonyms or antonyms. Some words may also function as different parts of speech–for example, benefit may be a noun or a verb.The materials include four other academic vocabulary words: distinct, environment, illustrate, and respond. After completing and discussing a Word Network for each academic vocabulary word, students will learn and practice the academic vocabulary throughout the remainder of the unit. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, after watching the documentary Salva’s Story, students Think-Pair-Share by first thinking and writing individually, discussing in pairs, and then sharing out their responses with the class: “How do you think Salva’s work has impacted the lives of people in South Sudan?”
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students respond to the essential question “What are the ways you can make yourself heard?” following the reading of a true story “What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka?” Students discuss what they have learned from the text using their previous annotations and relevant details from the text. A reminder to students includes, “As you discuss what you learned from the text, be sure to use the Academic Vocabulary words. Check off each of the words that you use.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students hold a small group discussion. They determine a possible central idea or main idea for the selection. The Teacher's Edition support implementation of these standards to grow students’ skills by giving suggestions such as but not limited to: “Remind group members that you are not looking for a topic. Instead, you are looking for a message that is central to the text.  Provide support for your ideas by citing evidence.” For English Learners, some of the following sentence frames are given for support: “I think this text is mostly about __________. I disagree because ___________.” 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, after reading the poem “Archetype”, students paraphrase lines in a poem and have a group discussion to discuss the messages of “your favorite fairy tales or stories from childhood.” Teacher guidance is in place to assist students with the word paraphrase and English Learner Support is available to assist with academic vocabulary: “Tell students that the word paraphrase and several of the Academic Vocabulary words have Spanish cognates: paraphrase/parafrasis, period/periodo, tradition/tradicion…” In addition, there is guidance for teachers to assist students in having a group discussion and an icon is available in both the teacher and Student Edition to access “Participating in Collaborative Discussions in the Speaking and Listening Studio for more on having a group discussion.”

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. 

Students are engaged in speaking and listening tasks throughout each unit. Specifically, the Collaborate & Compare section of every unit has extensive opportunities for students to discuss with peers around the topic of the unit. These tasks are often accompanied by a checklist that guides and provides feedback to students on the speaking and listening standards. Additionally, at the conclusion of each unit, a culminating writing assignment (Writing Task) is accompanied by speaking and listening opportunities (Speaking and Listening Task). Supplemental speaking and listening resources are provided for teachers and students. In the Teacher's Edition, teachers are provided with prompts and guidance for supporting students’ discussion. For students, the online resource, ED, provides interactive videos on speaking and listening skills.   

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, after reading the poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou, students have two opportunities to present a poem. They have the option of reading the poem aloud in different ways or chorally with a partner. Teachers are also directed to the Speaking and Listening Studio for more guidance. This is an online compilation of interactive videos that hone in on specific speaking and listening skills. 
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students Collaborate & Compare themes from “Animal Wisdom” by Nancy Wood and “The Last Wolf,” by Mary TallMountain. This includes a group analysis of the texts answering questions in which they will compare, infer, evaluate, and interpret. Then, students are given an opportunity to compare the texts in a collaborative group before presenting ideas to the class. Instructions include the protocol: “Identify points you agree on, and resolve disagreements through discussion, basing your decisions on evidence from the text.” The Speaking and Listening Studio is available online and offers additional assistance with giving a presentation.
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, after reading the poem “After the Hurricane” by Rita Williams-Garcia, students write a narrative poem about an event that they have witnessed or experienced and perform the poem at a class-wide poetry jam. Students are given a checklist to assist with their speaking that includes items like maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and use appropriate gestures.  The Teacher's Edition includes suggestions for educators to “model some examples of inappropriate presentations” and “make sure students practice.” English Learner support suggests that teachers have a group of students present one poem and help students with pronunciation if they are uncomfortable.
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, in the Collaborate & Compare section, after reading “The Mouse Bride,” retold by Heather Forest, students present their ideas about theme to their group. They support their ideas with evidence, ask questions and listen carefully, and respond with care, referring to the text for examples. After each group member has presented, students have a small group discussion on which themes seem most relevant to their lives and why.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. 

The materials for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing. There are multiple opportunities throughout each unit for students to write about texts on-demand in shorter responses.  At the end of each unit, there is a process writing piece called the Writing Task. There are multiple times where students spend time researching their ideas and tying them back to written text. Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided. Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade level standards being reviewed.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, after reading from The Breadwinner, students write an on-demand, formal, business letter to one of the aid organizations they researched, either Doctors Without Borders or International Committee of the Red Cross, requesting more information about the organization’s mission.
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students have multiple opportunities for writing connecting to texts they have read. These include writing a story, creating a storyboard, writing an informational essay, and writing an argument. At the end of the unit, students write and present an argument “about seeing the world from the perspective of an animal.” During the writing task, there are opportunities to revise and edit drafts, as well as use a rubric to evaluate the writing. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, after watching the video Salva’s Story, students write a summary of the main events. In this on-demand writing task, students review the video Salva’s Story several times and take notes on the events, jotting down dates provided. Students create a timeline to help them organize the events in chronological order. Then, students write the summary in their own words.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, as the culminating writing task, students write a biographical report about a well-known person from history who refused to give up. Students plan, develop a draft, revise, edit, and publish. A scoring guide and writing techniques support students in the writing process.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.  

Grade 6 materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Students write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. In addition, students write informative/explanatory and narrative responses. These opportunities are often connected to text types and/or topics students have explored throughout the unit. Teachers and students can monitor their writing skills through writing tasks following the readings and the use of rubrics and checklists. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students write an informational essay comparing and contrasting fears and phobias following the reading of the informational text, “Fears and Phobias.” Then, students write an informational essay at the end of Unit 1 which focuses “...on a topic related to fear and how people respond to it.” A scoring guide is available for students to evaluate their work and to “write a paragraph explaining the reasons for the score he or she awarded in each category.”
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students have a variety of types of writing, including writing an argument. During the reading of “Wild Animals Aren’t Pets and “Let People Own Exotic Animals,” students identify claims in arguments and analyze evidence to practice these skills.  Following their learning, students “Take a position, pro or con, about owning the exotic animal you researched. Then, write a formal letter to a government official, supporting your position.” A reminder to provide evidence to support their position is available within the materials.
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students write a nonfiction narrative at the end of the unit. The reading students complete prior to the task provides a model of how to successfully write a nonfiction narrative. Students read “Into the Lifeboat,” by Violet Jessop. This selection “is a memoir, a nonfiction narrative account” and will demonstrate “how a writer uses specific details, thoughtful word choice, and clear imagery  as well as well-placed commas to create an interesting and informative narrative.”
  • In Unit 5, students write a biographical report as an end of unit task and following the reading of an excerpt from Into the Air, a graphic biography by Robert Burleigh and mentor text The Wright Brothers: How they Invented the Airplane. For the end of unit writing task, students “research and write a biographical report explaining why a well-known person from history refused to give up when faced with a crisis or difficult problems to solve.”

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Grade 6 materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Annotations and shorter writing tasks take place consistently throughout the unit. At the end of every text, there is a section called Analyze the Text that proposes five short response questions and all require text support. The students use notes, answers, and annotation to add to an on-going Response Log. Students keep this Response Log throughout each unit to gather text evidence to support the culminating writing task. A culminating writing task (Writing Task) follows each unit, connecting to the essential question and topic. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. Also, online resources are available which include interactive peer and teacher feedback with writing lessons and Level Up tutorials are available to focus on specific writing skills.

  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students fill out a response log throughout the entire unit focusing on the essential question “What can you learn by seeing the world through an animal’s eyes?” Students collect evidence from each of the texts in the unit and are instructed to utilize this response log at the end of the unit as they write an argument responding to the prompt “Write an argument defending your ideas about what you can learn by seeing the world from an animal’s perspective?” Students are reminded throughout the writing process to include evidence from the varied texts to support their claim. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students write an informational essay following the reading of an excerpt from the novel A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The Writing Task asks students to explain how the setting shapes Salva’s experience and character. A Writing Studio for more on writing informative texts is available online and teachers can assign this to students. Requirements for the essay include but are not limited to: “Make sure your essay is guided by a thesis statement or clear controlling idea, and be sure to support your thesis with explicit and implicit evidence from the text.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, after reading the poem, “Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward” by Gwendolyn Brooks, students are asked to Analyze the Text with a short written response. “What theme is the author conveying through this poem? How does she express this theme? Cite evidence to support your inference.”
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students read The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, dramatized by Joellen Bland. After reading this scripted version of the classic, students “support their responses with evidence from the text.” Students Analyze the Text by writing in their notebook and respond to the following:  "Cite Evidence: Do you think Tom Canty is comfortable in his new role as the Prince? Cite evidence in the dialogue and stage directions that explains why or why not. Draw Conclusions: Review Scene 4. Based on the way Miles acts toward the Prince, what type of person do you think he is? Describe some of his character traits. Interpret: What types of information do the stage directions provide in the play? Give some examples. How do your examples help you visualize the action, guide you to adjust fluency (how quickly you read) and add to your understanding of the play?"

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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. 

Grade 6 materials include explicit instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level, including all skills connecting to the anchor standards to ensure college and career readiness. In the materials, Notice & Note direct students to the Language/Grammar within the text. Explicit instruction is provided in the Teacher's Edition. Students improve their fluency with these language standards through practice and application in and out of context. Within all tasks, including culminating tasks, directions and rubrics for grammar and conventions are considered.  In the Teacher's Edition, there are lesson ideas for students who are struggling, as well as reminders for use of the Grammar Studio for interactive lessons on the language standards.  

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, after reading “The Ravine” students have a second lesson on subordinating conjunctions with an increasing level of difficulty from the first lesson of identification of subordinating conjunctions. . “Write three pairs of relating simple sentences. Then, use a subordinating conjunction to connect the sentences in each pair. When you have finished, share your new complex sentence with a partner…” 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students read an excerpt from the novel, Ninth Ward. Prior to reading, the teacher is instructed to introduce subject and object pronouns and have students practice using them in complete sentences, noting the noun the pronoun refers to. After reading the selection, students analyze the examples of pronoun use from the text and then write their own sentences utilizing personal and indefinite pronouns. The students are directed to the Grammar Studio online for more practice with pronouns. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, after reading "Better Than Words: Say it with a Selfie" and “OMG, Not Another Selfie,” students learn how to correctly use commonly confused words. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher's Edition. Students practice commonly confused words its/it’s, affect/effect, there/their/they’re and to/two/too in each of seven sentences.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, after writing the first draft for the culmination writing task, students have a grammar lesson in the editing stage of the writing process. For Unit 5, the focus is on adverbs and conjunctive adverbs.”Writers use adverbs and conjunctive adverbs to add variety and nuance, or shades of meaning, to their sentences.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The materials build students’ knowledge across topics and content areas; however, academic vocabulary instruction is not intentionally and coherently sequenced to consistently build students’ vocabulary. Questions and tasks build in rigor and complexity to culminating tasks that demonstrate students’ ability to analyze components of text and topics. Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills are taught and practiced in an integrated manner.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
30/32

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Grade 6 materials include texts connected by a topic and essential question for each unit that are appropriate for the grade level. The essential question is introduced at the beginning of the lesson, referred to after each lesson, and appears at the end in each unit task.  Students are given the opportunity to build their reading comprehension skills by completing the following tasks within the unit: Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Research Tasks, Create and Discuss, Respond to the Essential Question, Critical Vocabulary, and Language Conventions. The sequence of texts across the grade level is conducive toward scaffolding students to meet the requirements of Standard 10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. The materials include many opportunities for both close reading and independent reading with student choices available with each unit. The topics include the following: Finding Courage, Through an Animal’s Eyes, Surviving the Unthinkable, Discovering Your Voice, Never Give Up, and Hidden Truths.

  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students reflect on the characteristics that help people survive. The essential question is, “What does it take to be a survivor?” Students explore what qualities are needed to survive a disaster. Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as excerpts from two novels where the main characters must find the fortitude to survive in the immediate aftereffects of disaster, a memoir which illuminates the characteristics needed to survive the crash on the Titanic, and a poem demonstrating what it took to survive Hurricane Katrina. The Unit 3 task is to write a nonfiction narrative about what it took for them or someone they know to survive a disaster. Both refer back to the essential question and students use the notes in their response log to complete these tasks.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students explore people who resist the urge to give up. The essential question is, “What keeps people from giving up?” Students explore what keeps people going when they face major problems that seem impossible. Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as a memoir about refusing to give up when faced with injustice, a short story about sacrifice, a poem urging people to keep moving forward despite people who try to keep you down, and a biography about inventors who refused to give up. The Unit 5 tasks are a biographical report and a podcast about the resilience of the human spirit. Both refer back to the essential question and students use the notes in their response log to complete these tasks.
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths,” students read six texts organized around the topic, “Hidden Truths,” and an essential question, “What hidden truths about people and the world are revealed in stories?”  All the texts have something to do the impact of storytelling on cultural and bonding experiences in humans. The Response Log at the end of each text is used to gather relevant details that connect to the essential question. The first text they read is an introduction to a book titled Storytelling, which gives students detailed information about storytelling and its importance.  At the end of the unit, students read two folktales to understand how “..traditional stories are passed down from generation to generation to reveal an important truth all generations need to learn or be reminded about.”

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

In Grade 6 materials, students are expected to cite textual evidence to support analysis, determine theme, and analyze point of view. For most texts, students are asked to analyze language or author’s word choice. Most texts include opportunities for students to analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft. The materials provide instructional supports to ensure students can analyze the text according to the grade level standards, and students apply skills after the reading that correspond to skills they practice during the reading. Examples of student answers and mentor texts are available. This scaffolded progression occurs across units, sections, lessons, and assessments. The questions and tasks help students to build comprehension and knowledge of topics and themes. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students cite textual evidence to support analysis of a text during the reading of an excerpt from The Breadwinner: “How does Parvana come to the realization that Mrs. Weera is right?” Students practice the skill again in Unit 1 with a short story “The Ravine” before they apply the skill during a comparison of two texts later in the unit. 
  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Ideas, students analyze the language conventions when reading the short story “Zoo”: “Writer’s use consistent verb tenses so that readers know when the action takes place. Mark the verbs and verb phrases used in paragraph 5. What generalization can you make about the use of verb tenses in this paragraph? Students then Practice and Apply following the reading by writing their “own sentences using past and present verb tenses consistently to describe when action takes place.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students Notice & Note how the information presented in the afterword challenges, changes, or confirms what they know about the Wright brothers before reading the selection. (386)

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 for Grade 6 include questions and tasks to support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. During the Analyze & Apply section, students read a variety of selections for analysis, annotation, and application of the Notice & Note protocol. Sequences of text-dependent questions support students in their analysis of the texts. The materials provide guidance to teachers in supporting students’ skills in the Teacher's Edition. Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts. For example, each unit includes a Collaborate & Compare section which provides a comparative analysis of two selections linked by topic but different in genre, craft, or focus. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students read “Fears and Phobias” by www.kidshealth.org. After reading, students answer Analyze the Text questions which require them to practice and apply a variety of skills such as: Cause/Effect: "Examine paragraphs 5-7 and identify examples of cause-and-effect relationships." Draw Conclusions: "Review paragraphs 26-32. What factors help people overcome phobias? Explain whether the author believes it is worthwhile to try to overcome phobias and why." Interpret: "What additional information does the boxed feature provide? How does it add to your understanding of the article?"
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, in the Collaborate and Compare section, students compare and contrast “A Voice” by Pat Mora and “Words Like Freedom” by Langston Hughes. They use the two poems to compare speakers, topic, and tone of the poem. “Why might a poet choose to convey multiple tones within the same poem? Explain.” Then students compare with a small group by discussing, identifying, and recording similarities in the texts. In the Teacher's Edition, teachers are provided with additional guidance for this discussion. “Reinforce with students that in this activity they will be making inferences and citing evidence, then making connections  between their poems and their lives.”
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students read the poems titled “Archetype” by Margarita Engle and “Fairy-tale Logic” by A.E. Stallings. Students create a comparison chart for the poems. They make inferences about theme and support those with text evidence. Then students use this chart to write theme statements for each poem, compare the themes,, and share their personal opinions about these themes based on their personal experiences. Students discuss their notes, listen to the ideas of others, and share their ideas. In this final unit of the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is embedded in students’ work.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The Grade 6 materials include culminating tasks that are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of different grade level standards, including writing and presentation of knowledge and ideas. The materials meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks. Each text has clearly defined sets of Notice & Note, Check Your Understanding, and Analyze the Text questions that increase in rigor and depth and clearly support students in developing an ability to complete a culminating task. Culminating tasks vary for each text and are activities comprised of multiple types of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students complete the culminating task  “Write an Informational Essay” which provides an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency to write informatively and strengthen writing as needed through planning, drafting, revising, and editing. In addition, students use technology to produce and publish writing before demonstrating skills which align with the Grade 6 speaking and listening standards with their presentations. 
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students study various texts that enable them to delve into answering the Essential Question: “What can you learn by seeing the world through an animal’s eyes?”  After reading the mentor texts “Wild Animals Aren’t Pets” by USA Today and “Let People Own Exotic Animals” by Zuzana Kukol, students answer Analyze the Text questions about claim and argument, delineate the pros and cons of the arguments presented in each text, and then research the pros and cons of owning another type of exotic animal as a pet. After completing these tasks, students complete a culminating task where they write an argumentative piece about whether or not they should own the exotic animal they researched, and then must present their information in a public service announcement to their peers. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Students independently research in order to answer questions about the author and then utilize their answers to inform further questions they might have for the author after reading her works. Students discuss their ideas with a partner and then write a formal letter to the author describing a “meaningful connection you found between your life and an aspect or event in her memoir.”

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. The components of vocabulary practice are prevalent throughout the lessons. However, the materials do not include cohesive and year long approach with guidance for the teacher to ensure students are actually growing their vocabulary. Activities are consistent but attention to development and guidance for the teacher to give feedback is not.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 include vocabulary instruction across the school year to increase students’ academic vocabulary. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts and across multiple texts included in both sections entitled, Academic Vocabulary and Critical Vocabulary, which helps in the understanding of a selection. Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks. Opportunities for students include a section during the reading of each text in which they are Applying Academic Vocabulary by writing and through discussion. Also, students use and mark the Academic Vocabulary words in their Response Log to the essential question. In addition, a Vocabulary Studio is available online for students to expand their vocabulary with interactive lessons to grow their vocabulary.

  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students complete a Vocabulary Strategy task by using two types of context clues, analogies, and definitions, to figure out the meaning of unknown words, after reading “Into the Lifeboat,” an excerpt from Titanic Survivor by Violet Jessop. To Practice and Apply, students “locate the following words in the selection: hailed (paragraph 19) and whimper (paragraph 20). Mark the context clues and then write definitions for the words. Use a dictionary to check your definitions.” The focus of this activity is on the strategy, and the teacher will have to ensure the new words are used appropriately in context as students use them. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students complete a Vocabulary Strategy: Context Clues following the reading of an excerpt from “Selfie: The Changing Face of Self-Portraits” by Susie Brooks: “Working with a partner, use context clues to determine the meaning of commissioned in the previous example. Write a definition for the word. Finally, look up commision in a print or an online dictionary. Compare your definition to the dictionary definition. Discuss the similarities and differences with your partner.” While this is a an activity considering vocabulary, the focus of the work is on the context clues strategy instead of applying the word into students' use. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students end the unit with a culminating Writing Task, Writing a Short Story. Students move through the entire writing process including planning, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing. In the editing section, students are explicitly reminded via an Academic Vocabulary checklist to include previously learned vocabulary words: emphasize, occur, period, relevant, and tradition in their peer review conversation. Students check off words as they use them, but the teacher will have to attend to their use and address which are embedded into further lessons.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Writing is used across lessons and assessments as a learning tool and as a way for students to express their understanding. Lesson plans are scaffolded so that students develop their understanding of texts thoroughly before having to write thoughtfully about them. Within lessons, students complete smaller writing tasks such as taking notes, filling in charts and graphic organizers, and writing quick responses to essential questions, in addition to holding classroom discussions before they complete more demanding writing tasks for more complex selections at the end of each unit. Students learn the components of good writing through Text X-Ray and Language X-Ray tasks that focus on supports and writing structures. Each unit concludes in a process writing task that synthesizes the students’ understanding of the texts they read. In the Online Ed Resources, there are additional Writing Studio opportunities where students write informational texts, arguments, and narratives. Within the unit, students have multiple opportunities for on demand writing and a complete one process piece. There is always a mentor text provided to use as a model and there is explicit author’s craft and genre characteristics the teacher has students examine. Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, and rubrics and the Language X-Ray give teachers supports and scaffolds to guide students’ writing development. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students end the unit by writing an informational essay, directly aligning with Standard W.6.2, “write informative texts to examine a topic and convey ideas....” Students complete a full writing process beginning with planning, progressing to developing a draft, revising, editing, and, finally, publishing. The Teacher's Edition provides multiple suggestions at each step of the writing process for how teachers should initiate and guide the writing instruction with directions included for English Learner support and what to do when students struggle. 
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students complete a number of writing tasks throughout the unit such as, but not limited to, the following: read an excerpt from Pax by Sara Pennypacker and write a story from the point of view of an animal or an object; read an excerpt from “Animal Snoops: The Wondrous World of Wildlife Spies” by Peter Christie and write an informational essay about an animal; read two arguments “Wild Animals Aren’t Pets” by USA Today and “Let People Own Exotic Animals” by Zuzana Kukol; and write an argument in which they “take a position, pro or con, about owning an exotic animal they researched. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, after students read an excerpt from Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes, students conduct a short research task to find out about the Ninth Ward’s history before Katrina. In the Teacher's Edition, the teacher is given these instructions, “Encourage students to confirm any information they find by checking multiple sources and assessing the credibility of each. Federal, state and local resources are generally reliable sources of such data.” Also, in the Student Edition, students have a Research Tip about the use of search words to find the information they need. For example, they are given examples of search words. “Image of __________” to find photographs of an event.”
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students Collaborate & Compare two texts: an excerpt from Into the Air by Robert Burleigh and an excerpt from The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman. A Writing Studio is available online for additional instruction as to how to use textual evidence when completing a writing task. Teachers can assign these lessons to students and monitor students’ understanding. An example question includes a segment What Does Textual Evidence Look Like? Students read an excerpt and answer questions, such as the following: “An internal citation briefly identifies a source. What does this citation include?"

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 include research projects across the school year that are appropriate for the grade level. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via provided resources. Notes are available in the margin of the Teacher's Edition with the label Research to assist educators in supporting students during the process. Materials provide many opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze per their grade level readings. There are notes available for teachers to assist students when they Create and Present in relation to the research tasks they complete. Materials provide opportunities for short and long research projects. Following the reading of each selection, the materials provide a short Research opportunity in the Respond section and includes a Research Tip for students. Longer writing tasks are available at the end of each unit. Students have the opportunity to complete a research report and the materials further develop this learning with a speaking and listening opportunity.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students Respond to the reading of an excerpt from The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. Students complete a short research task by exploring at least two aid organizations, which may include “Doctors Without Borders” and “International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)” and generate a question that will guide the research. A Research Tip is also available: “Many well known authors have their own websites. Visit Deborah Ellis’s website to find out more about her and the humanitarian causes she supports. Students then write a letter to an aid organization and give a multimodal presentation.
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read a variety of texts that discuss different forms of self-expression. Over the course of the unit, students gather research from texts on a response log in order to answer the question “What are the ways you can make yourself heard?” Students independently research artists, authors, humorists, activists, and photographers, all of whom express themselves differently. Students amass this research throughout the unit and utilize it to complete a culminating task, creating a multimodal argument, where students “Write an argument explaining why your favorite type of self-expression is effective.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students generate several questions about the historical and cultural setting of the story “The First Day of School” based on the Little Rock Nine. They research and answer one or more of those questions and share why they think the Little Rock Nine were chosen to win Congressional Gold Medals.
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, after reading the folktale “The Mouse Bride” retold by Heather Forest, students conduct a short research task in which they Investigate common themes for folktales.  In the Research Tip section, students are told to keep track of their sources by “...copy and paste the URL...title and author…” They look at themes across different cultural ethnicities to see what patterns emerge.

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 6 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.

Lessons include some independent reading followed by text-specific questions and tasks that reflect student accountability. Procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons. Each Unit includes an Independent Reading plan with guidance for teachers and students. There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for readers at all levels. There is a tracking system (which may include a student component) to track independent reading. A timeline is provided for each of the six units; each unit lasts approximately 30 days. The Reader’s Choice in the Independent Reading section includes e-text selections and students check off the texts they select to read on their own. Assessments are available for the independent reading selections and teachers can assess students formatively by listening to partner discussions during the Collaborate and Share task to follow the independent reading.  Student reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels (and at various lexile levels within the grade). Additionally, there are trade books suggested for every unit to foster an independent companion novel as students complete the unit. 

  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, the materials offer a suggested novel connection, The Giver by Lois Lowry. Online resources are available for the teacher and students, including The Giver Study Guide. Scaffolding and supports are in place during the reading, such as a Vocabulary Tracker. Students use a chart to record unfamiliar terms. The guide includes a Book Test with short answer questions and an essay question: “Write an essay that explains how the following Essential Question relates to an important theme in The Giver. Include evidence from the novel to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, the full length of the unit spans 30 days, with a suggested two days set apart explicitly for independent reading. A variety of independent texts are offered to students at the end of the unit for further exploration of the essential question: “What keeps people from giving up?” The Teacher's Edition includes explicit English Learner Support, encouraging teachers to offer independent reading assistance such as having students partner read, having students have discussions in pairs every 15 minutes about what they are reading, and keeping a reading log of Notice & Note signposts. Teachers are encouraged to monitor comprehension by having all students pair up and discuss what they read as the teacher circulates the room, listening in on conversations. 

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for instructional supports and usability indicators.  The materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards, as well as offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. Teachers are provided with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, and digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.

Criterion 3a - 3e

Materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids. While the materials include a Common Core State Standards Correlation as a separate document to use as a reference that lists page numbers when specific standards are addressed, the standards are not provided specifically in a consistent manner within the Teacher's Edition or Student Edition to make these connections explicit and reinforce the skills they are learning. The visual design is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. 

The Grade 6 curriculum is comprised of six units. The pacing guide at the beginning of each unit suggests that the instructional duration will be 30 lessons for each unit. Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Within each unit instruction is divided into Analyze & Apply, Collaborate & Compare, Independent Reading, and End of Unit tasks and assessments. Guidance for teachers in explaining Notice & Note Signposts are integrated into each unit.

  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, the Teacher's Edition includes suggested pacing of 30 days and specifies the number of days to spend on the lessons for each text, including independent reading, within the unit.
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, a unit Instructional Overview and Resources section is found at the beginning of each unit. The unit overview explains the Instructional Focus, Online Ed Resources, English Learner Support, Differentiated Instruction and Online Ed Assessments of the unit, lists reading, speaking and listening, writing, language conventions, and vocabulary components with an at-a-glance planning chart. For example, the Unit 4 Instructional Overview is found on pages 244A and 244B.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, each text is supported with Comprehension Questions, Analyze the Text questions, a short research section, and two project-based assessments that include reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, there is guidance for the teacher in how to explain the Notice & Note Signposts that will be the focus of Unit 6: Big Questions, Word Gaps, and Quoted Words. Within the lessons for each text, there is guidance for the teacher to remind students to use the Notice & Note Signpost.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 materials include a suggested pacing guide for each unit, including the number of days required to complete the reading and activities for the various texts. The pacing allows for maximum student understanding.The suggested amount of time and expectations for teachers and students of the materials are viable for one school year as written and would not require significant modifications.  There are six units in Grade 6 and suggested pacing is 30 days for each unit.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 Days with the Unit Introduction taking place on Day 1, five days to read and complete the activities relating to the novel excerpt from The Breadwinner, three days should be allotted for “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” five days is suggested for “Fears and Phobias,” two days for “Wired for Fear,” nine days to complete the Collaborate & Compare section, two days for the independent reading selections, and three days to complete the culminating End of Unit tasks. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 days. The Unit Introduction will take place on Day 1, the excerpt from A Long Walk to Water takes place over six days, Salva’s Story over two days, seven days is allotted for “Into the Lifeboat” from Titanic Survivor, nine days to complete the Collaborate and Compare section, two days for the independent reading selections, and three days to complete the End of Unit tasks.
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 days. The Unit Introduction takes place in one day, which is consistent with other units. Students read “A Schoolgirl’s Diary” from I Am Malala over seven days, six days is allotted for “The First Day of School,” two days is required for “Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward,” nine days to complete the Collaborate & Compare section, two days for independent reading selections, and three days to complete the culminating End of Unit tasks. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a  Suggested Pacing of 30 days total, with six days to complete the lessons around The Prince and the Pauper, and 5 days to compare and contrast the two poems, “Archetype” and “Fairy Tale Logic.”

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.).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.)

Materials include but are not limited to graphic organizers, response logs, text dependent questions, Notice & Note Signposts, Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text questions, unit assessments, supporting excerpts or texts, close read guides, Research Tips, essay rubrics, Language Conventions, model writings, Quick Start entrance and exit tickets, Critical Vocabulary word list and definitions in the margins of the text, and writing prompts. Student instructions are clear with models and examples to support students. There is ample practice for students to support mastery. Resources are clearly labeled.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, after reading “The Ravine” by Graham Salisbury, students respond to the Essential Question “How do you find courage in the face of fear?” They review their notes from the story they read and add to their response log. 
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, after reading “Animal Wisdom” by Nancy Wood and “The Last Wolf” by Mary Tallmountain, students create theme statements and compare and contrast themes. A graphic organizer is provided to support students in the process. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students are assigned two Create and Present tasks after reading an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  Both activities have clear directions with optional digital support lessons as well as checklists that give direct instruction and reminders to students about what to include in their work and how to accomplish the task. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, each text is supported with a selection test that can be administered. If students show weakness on a specific standard, resources for that standard including digital lessons and practice are suggested.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

The materials include a Common Core State Standards Correlation as a separate document to use as a reference that lists page numbers when specific standards are addressed; however, the standards are not provided specifically in a consistent manner within the Teacher's Edition or Student Edition to make these connections explicit and reinforce the skills they are learning.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students read a novel excerpt from The Breadwinner and answer questions which connect to the CCSS: “In paragraph 53, circle what Nooria says in response to Parvana’s disguise. Underline what Nooria is thinking. Infer: What do you learn about Nooria Here?” There is a correlation to RL.6.3: Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution. The Student Edition and Teacher's Edition include in bold Analyze How Character Develops Plot to call out the standard. RL.6.3 is not listed next to the heading. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students Write a Nonfiction Narrative. Within the task, there are reminders to students, such as “include elements such as setting, pacing, conflict, and dialogue” which connects to standard W.6.3b: Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. The standard is not listed in the margin in a form that clearly labels it such as: W.6.3b or using the standard heading. 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students complete a “Never Give Up Unit Test” which is available to print from the online resources or assign and complete online. There are connections to the CCSS, such as “Use your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots to choose the best answer to each question.” The first test question begins with “The word evacuate comes from the Latin root word vac–, which means “to empty.” What does evacuate mean in the following sentences? The smell of the oven cleaner was so strong we had to evacuate the room.” There are other questions that connect to skills they practice previously in the unit, such as identifying theme. The specific skills are not labeled in any form on the assessment to reinforce the standards and call out those skills.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.

The material design is simple and consistent. All units are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space to capture thoughts as needed. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. All units include graphic organizers that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise. Units and lessons are designed congruently in order to provide a repetitive workflow for both teachers and students. Embedded questions and tasks are not distracting but provide a clear way for students to understand when to engage with what feature. 

  • Background about the author is consistently provided above the text selection. 
  • Annotation Models using the Notice & Note Signposts are consistently provided throughout the materials.
  • Materials are consistently designed throughout lessons with clear repetition in organization for students to clearly understand what they should be engaging in with repetitive headings such as “Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Collaborate and Compare” so that teachers and students can familiarize themselves with expectations for each segment. 
  • Photos, maps, keys, Notice & Note questions, and other embedded tasks are done on a consistent basis and are designed in a clean-cut manner so that students understand when to engage in them and are not distracted by them.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards. The 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 the Teacher’s Edition provides background information and certain supports for teachers to present to students, there is no evidence of explanations of more challenging literacy ideas nor any cited resources where teachers can glean more understanding before supporting students. The Teacher’s Edition explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.  Although the materials include strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program, there is no evidence that the program is shared with other stakeholders, nor are there suggestions for parents and caregivers to support their student’s progress and/or achievement.  

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria 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. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The instructional materials include embedded and ongoing Professional Learning modules. The materials include Notice & Note strategies for close reading, classroom videos, and on-demand Professional Learning modules. A Professional Learning Guide and on demand access to program experts with conferencing and digital demonstrations support implementation. Teachers have the flexibility to customize and teach by theme, instructional purpose, standard, and genre.There are also interactive supports called Studios that can support teachers and/or students in specific standards and skills. Throughout the online and print materials, teachers are guided to more support through margin notes that are easily accessed. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, Notice & Note Reading Model strategies are available prior to reading the novel excerpt from The Breadwinner. The signposts Words of the Wiser, Aha Moment, and Contrasts and Contradictions are introduced. Teaching notes include “Explain that Notice & Note Signposts are significant moments in the text that help readers understand and analyze words of fiction or nonfiction. Use the instructions on these pages to introduce students to the signposts...Then use the selection that follows to have students apply the signposts to the text.” There is an online Reading Studio that is available and displayed in the margin to access more information on these and other signposts.
  • Professional Learning modules are available online including a Getting Started: Welcome module, Introduction module, Exploration module, Reflection module, and Application module. These modules cover topics such as Learning Outcomes and Module Navigation.
  • Links are available in each lesson to access the appropriate studio via the Online Ed resources and a consistent symbol is used to flag these when appropriate. The following studios are available to access: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Grammar, and Vocabulary.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.

Teacher's Edition provide background information and certain supports for teachers to present to students, such as Text X-Ray: English Learner Support feature. There is no evidence of explanations of more challenging literacy ideas nor any cited resources where teachers can glean more understanding before supporting students. They often must read the explanations in the Student Edition.

  • The Teacher's Edition provides explanations of concepts in brief terms but does not offer additional examples or instructions for deepening understanding of content. Information provided is surface level, prompting teachers with what to say to guide students, but not how to conceptually understand ideas deeply themselves. Ex: In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, the culminating task of write a nonfiction narrative gives teachers instructions such as “invite students to offer examples of other words with vivid imagery and sensory details that they could use in their narratives,” but no additional teacher information is given.
  • Background information is given on texts so that teachers can expand students' thinking about how the text might relate to the overall essential question of the unit.
  • The Teacher's Edition includes annotations on how to present information, such as question stems, that will assist students, but there are no clear supports that will assist a teacher in developing their own understanding of concepts. 
  • The Teacher's Edition has Text X-Ray: English Learner Support to provide teachers with rationales and guidance to respond to the needs of all learners. In Unit 1, Finding Courage, Text X-Ray: English Learner Support for “Fears and Phobias,” the Teacher's Edition has Cultural References that may be unfamiliar to students. It offers definitions for those words or phrases and identifies the paragraph where they are found within the text. 
  • The Teacher's Edition consistently offers adult-level explanations of Language Conventions. The instruction is explicit and clear with examples and answers. In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students review how complex sentences combine subordinate clauses with independent clauses. The teacher’s notes provide specific examples within the text to have students mark questions to ask and the correct answer for the teacher. 

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet 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.

Students will read and write across genres, utilizing the Notice & Note Reading Model. Studios are available to address grade level standards including Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Grammar, and Vocabulary. Key Learning Objectives are available for each unit that connect to the grade level standards. The instructional materials include an online option allowing teachers to select a standard set to discover matching resources. In the ancillary materials, there is a CCSS Correlation chart that connects each standard to a lesson or lessons that address that standard. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, students practice skills, including but not limited to: Analyze character and plot and Cite evidence. The learning objectives correlate to the CCSS for the grade level, such as RL.6.1 and RL.6.3.
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eye, while reading “Zoo,” students are focused on the learning objective of, but not limited to, theme, point-of-view, and determining word meanings using Greek roots. Those standards correlate with grade 6 CCSS RL6.2, RL6.6, and L6.4b.
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students practice skills including but not limited to: Explain author’s purpose and Describe the use of figurative language. The learning objectives correlate to the CCSS, such as RI.6.6 and RI.6.4.
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, as students are reading an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming, students are focusing on the learning objectives of, but not limited to, how text structure contributes to the author’s purpose and writing their own biographical poem. These two learning objectives correlate with Grade 6 CCSS RL.6.5 and W.6.3.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The Research Foundations Evidence Base preface to the modules includes how materials address the needs of today’s evolving classrooms. There are five main pillars in the Program Overview: 1. Maximizes growth through data-driven differentiation and targeted scaffolds. 2. Develops learners with positive habits of reading, writing, and thinking behavior to foster agency. 3. Fosters a learning culture with a focus on collaboration, peer interaction, and articulation of views. 4. Unburdens teachers to focus energy on the delivery of powerful instruction through simple, intuitive program design. 5. Empowers and supports teachers to be developers of high-impact learning experiences through embedded and ongoing professional learning. The Research Foundations Evidence Base provides research, explains how the materials deliver the desired outcomes of independence, agency, and metacognition, and explains how the materials integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language strands through lessons, assessments, engagement strategies, and differentiation.

  • Research Foundations: Evidence Base includes a detailed discourse regarding the research-based practices that are integrated into the curriculum, such as student-centered learning, integration of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, etc.
  • Separate research-based categories have detail woven in from specific research studies that were conducted to support their findings, such as data-driven growth in assessments. 
  • Research Foundations includes a section where references are provided to all studies utilized within the curriculum materials. 
  • In the Research Foundations: Evidence Base, Scaffolded Writing, it states the research to support the practices used throughout the materials. They cite research by Biancarosa & Snow, 2004 that Reading and writing have a reciprocal relationship. Annotating and explicitly discussing features of different texts shows more evidence of critical thinking and improved composition.
  • The materials are designed to build teacher capacity. Classroom Videos provide authentic modeling showing teachers and students putting the Notice & Note strategies into action and showing the impact of the routines on students’ interactions with text. 

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 6 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.

The instructional materials include strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program. There is no evidence that this program is shared with other stakeholders, nor are there suggestions for parents and caregivers to support their student’s progress and/or achievement. The program assists students to be autonomous learners and teaches strategies to reach grade level standards. There is progress tracking data available to provide teachers with information to differentiate. 

  • The materials provide opportunities for ongoing assessment and data reporting utilizing a Report on Student Growth and Report on Standards Proficiency.
  • Reports in Ed allow teachers to view progress by class, students, assignments, and skill level. Teachers can adjust instruction based on the results in real time. 
  • The materials include opportunities for formative assessments, peer reviews, and Reflect on the Unit questions which students can use to monitor their progress. 
  • The assessment materials provide data for students and teachers on ongoing progress. Teachers and students have access to growth measurements, unit assessments, and ongoing formative assessments such as daily classwork checks. 
  • Teachers have ways to differentiate and adjust a student's instructional path including but not limited to the instructional purpose, standard, or genre. There are also a variety of supports that teachers can assign based on assessment data. These features are accessible in the online features. 
  • Students can also track their data and access support material in the online features. 

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials offer teacher resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. The materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized and they provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. The materials include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. The materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.


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 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Materials provide regular and systematic opportunities for assessment, including diagnostic assessments, interim assessments, selection and unit assessments, and end-of-unit assessments. Throughout the units are multiple measures of formative assessments for grade level CCSS including, but not limited to, multiple choice, short answer, and longer writing tasks. The online feature also allows for the customized building of assessments. Materials genuinely measure student progress and provide information to inform instructional decisions. The Grade 6 materials include a comprehensive balanced assessment approach that includes baseline, and growth assessments, unit assessments based in standards, and ongoing formative assessments. The Growth Assessment is an adaptive assessment that is given three times a year to measure growth and provide data through an online Student Growth Report that teachers can use to differentiate instruction. Students that are particularly low can take a Reading Comprehension Diagnostic Assessment. 

  • The instructional materials include diagnostic assessments as online resources, such as the Grade 6 Grammar Studio Diagnostic Screening Test Part 1. This particular screening test addresses standard CCSS L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. The diagnostic assessment determines the student’s knowledge of grammar and usage rules and provides data for the teacher to create a personalized path toward mastery throughout the school year.
  • In the Grade 6 online features, teachers can assign and build assessments for students that can be based on a standard(s) or a text. For example, some options for an assessment include, but are not limited to, Literary Criticism Diagnostic, Grade 6 Module Pretest: The Sentence, Level Up Spelling Practice, and a Hatchet Book Test.
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students are assessed on CCSS in a variety of measures. For example, during the reading of an excerpt from Into the Lifeboat by Violet Jessop, students are asked to annotate for “...the author’s word choice in paragraph 11 that creates mental images. How do these images help develop the scene and show the author's feeling about the situation?” At the end of the text, they answer three multiple choice questions including “The author wrote this text to…” and then a short answer to “Consider the  author’s purpose in paragraph 22…”
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and the online resources provide an opportunity to complete a selection test to assess skills practiced during the specific selection. There are eight standards listed prior to completion of the test. Selection tests are available consistently for each unit and text.
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, the Unit Task asks students to Write a Short Story and Reflect on the Unit. A scoring guide is available to evaluate the short story or folktale. Online resources include a Hidden Truths Unit Test which identifies how students performed on key skills and standards practiced throughout the unit. The Unit 6 test includes 20 standards that are listed prior to completion of the test. There are six opportunities per year for students to complete a unit assessment.

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 6 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The Common Core State Standards Correlation booklet denotes which standards are being assessed in both formative and summative assessments. Additionally, in the Online Ed Assessment digital Teacher's Edition, the standards for each assessment are clearly denoted. 

  • In the accompanying Assessment Guide and in the Assessment section of the Research Foundations: Evidence Base, there are images of sample reports on standards proficiency for individual students. Standards are noted on the Assessment Report.
  • Selection Tests for each text are available within the units. Standards are noted in the Online Ed Teacher's Edition. In Unit 1, Finding Courage, after watching the “Wired for Fear” video by The California Science Center, students are assessed on the following six standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.6, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.4. (digital Assessment section).
  • The Common Core State Standards Correlation booklet lists each page within the curriculum where a standard is addressed. 
  • Each assessment that is taken, whether diagnostic, selection tests, or reading comprehension, has standards assigned to each item.
  • Standards view by class is available to show which standards have been covered by which assessments and to what degree of accuracy.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

The materials provide teachers with the opportunity to view student proficiency for any standard at any time. The materials include quality rubrics and scoring guides for end of unit tasks and can be used to assess the Standards to their full intent. The digital platform provides grouping suggestions, resources for follow up, and suggested lessons for teachers to utilize with struggling students. Quality guidance for the teacher to interpret assessment data is provided, including Self-Guided Lessons to allow for Remediation, Support, and Extension.

Culminating assessments include easy-to-use rubrics with built in feedback. 

  • Culminating writing tasks include detailed rubrics with multiple sections and clear skills so that students and teachers can see exactly what skills they need to improve on for follow up.
  • Assessments show student proficiency by standard with multiple views available on the digital platform. Educators can view standard success by student, by class, by assessment, or even choose a student view that shows one student’s mastery of all standards covered at any point in time. 
  • In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, the End-Of-Unit Task is an argument essay. There is a Scoring Guide Rubric to ensure the Standards are assessed to their full intent. The Scoring Guide Rubric assesses students on a scale of one to four with three bullet point descriptors for each of the following: Organization/Progression, Development of Ideas, and Use of Language and Conventions.
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, after reading an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, students answer the three Check Your Understanding multiple-choice questions. The Teacher's Edition says that if any students answer incorrectly, have them reread the text to confirm their understanding before proceeding to Analyze the Text on page 274.

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

In the Teacher's Edition, there are prompts and reminders when there are opportunities to monitor student progress, assess their skills, and provide feedback throughout the process. These include, but are not limited to: assessing an English learner’s comprehension and speaking skills, checking for understanding following the reading of a text, and assessing students’ comprehension skills with an ability to Notice & Note signposts when reading independently.  A pacing guide is available to begin each unit with reminders of the selection tests available online to assign or print. 

  • In Unit 2, Through An Animal’s Eyes, students compare two poems “Animal Wisdom” by Nancy Wood and “The Last Wolf” by Mary TallMountain. English Learner Support is available in the Teacher's Edition, which includes questions for an oral assessment of students’ comprehension and speaking skills. For example, “2. What is a line in this poem that helps you imagine what the wolf looks like when he moves? (The line ‘in the mystery of his wild loping gait’ helps you imagine what the wolf looks like as he moves.)"
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read an excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and the Teacher's Edition includes a prompt to ask students to answer questions independently to Check Your Understanding. Guidance is available, which provides teachers with a key and additional notes: “If they answer any questions incorrectly, have them reread the text to confirm their understanding. Then they may proceed to Analyze the Text on page 274.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, for the Independent Reading part of the Unit, teachers are provided guidance on matching students and texts. Then teachers are instructed to “assess how well students read the selections, circulate throughout the room and listen to their conversations. Encourage students to be focused and specific in their comments.” 
  • In Unit 6, Change Agents, students check off the text or texts that they decide to read independently. A Collaborate and Share activity takes place with a partner. Students discuss what they learned from at least one of the independent readings. Teacher guidance is available in the Teacher's Edition: “To assess how well students read the selections, walk around the room and listen to their conversations. Encourage students to be focused and specific in their comments.” The task asks students to Notice & Note signposts during their reading; teachers can assess students’ ability to identify those when reading independently.

Indicator 3n

Materials 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 6 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.

Teachers select from hundreds of full-length works for fostering love and commitment to reading. Students are also consistently given a choice in their independent reading materials. The materials include a flexible Independent Reading program, which includes an Independent Reading Library full of high-interest, motivating texts. The Notice & Note feature fosters independence in analysis and citation of text evidence. Studios offer additional instruction and provide self-paced instruction for key literacy skills. Independent reading is built into units and lessons with independent reading check-ins provided. 

  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students are held accountable for their reading by the Notice & Note Signposts and Anchor Questions. After Independent Reading, students Collaborate and Share with a partner. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, students independently read “The Boatman’s Flute.” In the Reading Studio Level Up Tutorial, there is a lesson on Myths, Legends, and Tales for more information on the Figurative Language in a folktale, called a trope. 
  • After reading each independent selection, students engage with one another in discussion to share what they learned, what they enjoyed, and other notable takeaways from their reading.
  • Each independent reading selection is paired with a selection test, which allows students to show what they’ve learned through their reading. Teachers can monitor comprehension and standards mastery through the digital platform.

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
9/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards. The 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; however, there are missed opportunities to extend learning for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. The materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

Consistently throughout the six units, teacher supports are in place in the Teacher's Edition to assist English learners  The support is provided via Text X-Ray, which provides light, moderate, and substantial support for English Learners. The materials provide guidance when texts and/or tasks might be challenging or frustrating to students. Teachers are capable of extending the learning with an option available following each text selection and online resources provide the ability to differentiate by creating homogenous and heterogenous groups of students. Foundational support is also provided throughout, such as reading fluency practice, and there are interactive videos, such as the Reading Studio, that can be accessed to provide support for students.  

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, the materials include a Text X-Ray: English Learner Support for “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou. As part of the planning process, teachers “facilitate comprehension by reading the poem aloud. Then read it a second time, pausing to ask students what ideas are brought out in each stanza. Supply the following sentence frames: Just like the speaker, I am not afraid of _____. Unlike the speaker, I am afraid of _____.” The Text X-Ray and the supports and scaffolds throughout the unit guide students at different proficiency levels. 
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, in the “Instruction Overview and Resources” there is a column for “Differentiated Instruction” which list nine “When Students Struggle…” lessons and three “To Challenge Students…” sections. An example of To Challenge Students is found in Brown Girl Dreaming. Students are given the task to “Analyze a Social Issue.” “...Ask students to consider what the author’s amazement at finding someone that looked like her in a book tells them about the prevalence of diverse characters at the time she was in school. Have partners work together to determine how the prevalence has changed, which may include interviewing the school media specialist or librarian.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, students read an excerpt from the biography The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman. Following the reading, students complete a mini-research task. To Extend: “The selection mentions the work of German flight pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Research Lilienthal's life and achievements to find out how his work inspired others to make advances in flight.”
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, in the Teacher's Edition, there are ongoing supports for students that struggle. For example, while reading “The Mouse Bride” retold by Heather Forest, there is a section titled “When Students Struggle…” that give the teacher additional strategies for struggling students in the area of “Time Phrases and Transitions.” For the same text, there is a section to improve reading fluency and a reminder that the online Reading Studio, which is an online interactive tool, can also be used. 

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria 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. All students engage in the same complex text. Scaffolds and supports are provided in the Text X-Ray, so that all students can access the complex texts and meet or exceed grade level standards. Resources are provided on Reading Studio to meet the needs of students who are below grade level or an English Language Learner with opportunities to learn at their own pace on literacy skills. Materials provide support for ELL students or other populations in the When Students Struggle...sections of the Teacher's Edition. In the teacher notes, general statements about EL students and suggested strategies located at the beginning of chapters are implemented in the materials throughout the curriculum. 

  • Text X-Ray sections prior to the reading of each text offer specific directions to teachers on how to make the text and specific ideas, strategies, or concepts accessible to students who need English Learner Support. An introduction to the selection is provided, a rundown on cultural references, and then specific sentence stems as well as directions are provided for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing support for students at varying proficiency levels as they move through the text.  For example, in Unit 1, Finding Courage, “Embarrassed? Blame Your Brain” by Jennifer Connor-Smith, the Text X-Ray tells teachers to provide examples of embarrassment and rejection when introducing the selection. The Text X-Ray also points out Cultural References that may be unfamiliar to students. These include: fitting in, tackle a challenge, hurt feelings, broken hearted, and potty break. There are substantial, moderate, and light instructional supports for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. 
  • Each text includes English Learner Support strategies for teachers to utilize in the form of questions, alternate explanations, other grouping options, and sentence stems. 
  • When Students Struggle support is offered throughout texts in areas where misconceptions might arise or where materials are particularly difficult. These supports offer teachers insight on another avenue that might help students reach their goal.
  • The digital integrated system allows teachers to differentiate instruction. Strategic grouping, Studios in Ed, an online teaching and learning system, and additional practice are delivered via the proficiency reports.
  • Resources are provided in Reading Studio to meet the needs of students who are below grade level or an English Language Learner with opportunities to learn at their own pace on literacy skills. 

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The materials provide an opportunity to extend learning during a mini-research task to follow the reading of various selections. The tasks are meaningful and enrich the learning for students, though it is not indicated that the Extend task is meant to substitute for a different task. There are opportunities to differentiate book groups through the online resources to Create Groups. The pacing guide clearly indicates when differentiation is available “To Challenge Students.” The materials provide some opportunities for advanced students to investigate the grade-level content at a greater depth. These opportunities are in less than half of the texts with no opportunities in the others. Some of these tasks require students to do additional work rather than a differentiated task. 

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, there are only two “To Challenge Students…” tasks provided in this unit.  One is found in the lesson using the poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou. The task is on analyzing imagery and line length. “Have students reread lines 22-27. Ask them to discuss how these lines differ from those immediately before and after them. What is different about the ideas they represent? What is different about the language and form of the lines?” There is no indication that this is a replacement task but rather an additional task. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, there are only three “To Challenge Students…” tasks provided in this unit. One is found in the culminating writing tasks instructions. “Create a Multimedia Presentation. Challenge students to present their narratives as a multimedia presentation. Encourage them to include elements such as photographs, voice-over narration, animation…”
  • In Unit 4, Discovering Your Voice, students read an excerpt from Selfie: The Changing Face of Self-Portraits by Susie Brooks. Guidance is available to the teacher to challenge students to extend the analysis: “Ask students to choose a painting and write an analysis of it, using Brooks’s analyses as their model. Then have them research the artist's life and see whether that makes their analysis of the painting different.” There is no instruction to indicate that this activity is meant to replace another task and appears to be in addition to other work. 
  • In Unit 6, Hidden Truths, the materials provide guidance to Extend learning during a mini-research unit to follow the reading of an excerpt from Storytelling by Josepha Sherman: “In a small group, find multiple folktales online or in the library. Make your own list that shows how these stories begin. Find at least five different examples of opening lines...Discuss your findings with the group.”

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Numerous strategies are presented at varying times throughout the curriculum that encourage students and teachers to engage with each other in partnerships, small groups, and other ensembles and promote class-wide learning and accessibility of materials.

  • In Unit 1, Finding Courage, at the beginning of the text “Fears and Phobias” by kidshealth.org, two small grouping strategies are provided to the teacher as an option for how to group students for reading: reading in a jigsaw and then regrouping to share out, and a think-pair-share grouping where students can share reading responses. These grouping options vary with each text. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, student tasks throughout the unit encourage students at varying times to work with partners or small groups in order to accomplish tasks. For example, after viewing Salva’s Story, a documentary by POVRoseMedia, students Analyze and Evaluate the video by working with a small group to complete a checklist examining “the effectiveness of the features in Salva’s Story.” 
  • In Unit 5, Never Give Up, alternate grouping options are provided for students who may struggle, such as English Language Learners, as a way for them to access more difficult materials and ideas through working with a group instead of independently. For example, after reading the excerpt “A Schoolgirl’s Diary” from I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, the Teacher's Edition prompts teachers to assist English Learners by stating “Read the discussion prompt aloud and clarify any confusion that students have about the question. Allow students to work with partners to share personal experiences and brainstorm ideas to answer the question.” 
  • Before each text selection, there are Small-Group Options, with various methods for grouping students. In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, from “After the Hurricane” by Rita Williams-Garcia, students work in small groups to discuss the free verse poem. The Teacher's Edition has two options for small groups: Pinwheel Discussion and Double-Entry Journal. Explicit instructions are provided on the two grouping options.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criterion for materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms. Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, “platform neutral,” follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations and the materials can be easily customized for local use. The materials do not include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria 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 include instructional technology resources that are web-based and compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox). The materials are accessible on both Windows and Apple platforms. The student resources are accessible on tablets and other mobile devices, as well as personal computers. Examples of devices students can utilize include iPads, Google Chromebooks, as well as other laptops or desktop computers. Small cellular devices can be used with Internet access, though there are limitations with accessing assessments.

  • The student resources open and display on tablets and other mobile devices, as well as personal computers. When accessing the reading selections, students can view and complete activity checks using a small mobile device. A mobile device, such as a cellular phone, is not a conducive device to access the assessments due to the display not configuring correctly to the size needed (e.g. words will string into one long line and will not appear on the page). When using a larger tablet, such as an IPad, students can access the assessments and complete the assessment without difficulty navigating the pages or reading the content. A Google Chromebook allows access and opens assessments correctly.
  • Both Google Chrome and Safari work to access the materials. Popups must be enabled on devices, otherwise the assessments will not be able to open in a new window. Students may need assistance to adjust the settings on the device. An example is the “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” Selection Test which opens and displays all the text, including the Start, Next, and Finish buttons. The same assessment would not open using Safari until the popup function was enabled. 
  • The student materials online allow students to create notes and listen and follow along to read aloud of the texts, with a highlighting feature. Most of the tasks can be done interactively, but some link to a PDF that would need to be printed out or converted to be able to complete digitally. For example, the Word Network graphic organizer at the beginning of Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, links to a PDF. While other PDFs, such as the Compare and Contrast chart in the teacher site, allowed a user to type into the PDF.
  • There are options available to print the materials from the online resources or to work offline using a device when students cannot access the Internet. The student work will sync and update when accessing the Internet again.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. 

Technology is used throughout modules and lessons to enhance student learning and draw attention to evidence and texts with digital annotation tools. The Reading Studio provides independent practice in specific reading skills and strategies. Close Read Screencasts show students how dialogues can reveal meaning and can be used to model readers’ discussions and annotations as they analyze difficult passages. Producing & Publishing with Technology allows students to use technology effectively. 

  • The Reading Studio provides independent practice in specific reading skills and strategies. In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, from A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, the Reading Studio has students use the Notice & Note Signposts Tough Questions, Again and Again, and Aha Moment to help them better understand the story’s themes and characters. 
  • Close Read Screencasts show students how dialogues can reveal meaning and can be used to model readers’ discussions and annotations as they analyze difficult passages. In Unit 3,  Surviving the Unthinkable., “After the Hurricane” from Ninth Ward, in the Student Edition videos there is a Close Read Screencast where there are visual annotations and two narrators talk through what they notice during reading. They model what to notice and they make their thinking visible. They model asking questions. In addition, they discuss why the author’s word choices and use of repetition and the impact it has.
  • Producing & Publishing with Technology allows students to use technology effectively. In Unit 2, Through an Animal’s Eyes, students choose an animal they read about in this unit, and write song lyrics that will portray that animal’s personality and its view of the world.  Students write at least two verses and include a chorus or refrain. They also create the melody or tune. 

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The annotation tools allow students to personalize information. Teachers can use strategic grouping to support differentiated instruction. Independent reading selections incorporate student choice and allow students to explore a variety of genres and teachers can make recommendations and pair students with texts based on complexity. A balanced assessment system provides teachers with a way to personalize instruction; teachers can create a learning path for each student through ongoing assessments. While not as robust as the teacher's abilities, students also have the capability to adapt their learning through features such as read aloud, accessing supports in the online Studios, and a one-click glossary function for some vocabulary.  

  • A Groups function is available in the online resources for teachers to personalize groups of students based on progress monitoring data. These groups can be homogenous or heterogenous to accommodate diverse learners and their individual needs. 
  • In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students complete an Independent Reading Section when they identify texts they select to read. There are five selections available. In the Teacher's Edition there are notes for Matching Students to Texts. Each selection lists the title, genre, and overall rating in terms of whether it is “Challenging” or “Accessible” with the accompanying Lexile level when applicable. Teachers can use this information to personalize and help guide students in using their texts. In Unit 3, the Lexile levels range from 790L-1070L for the independent reading selections. There are additional notes to assist teachers in personalizing for students who need support for noticing and reflecting on the texts in the form of a Reading Log.
  • A balanced assessment system is available with the program to inform instructional decisions; these include a Growth Measure three times per year, Unit Assessments six times per year, and formative assessments with ongoing feedback from daily classroom activities. Examples of formative assessments include: comprehension checks, selection tests, skills practice, and other learning experiences. Teachers have the ability to create assessments online; these can be customized, adapted, and assigned for various groups of students using the technological resources.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Teachers can customize the digital materials. There are embedded ongoing professional learning opportunities to support teachers which includes technical services to plan, prepare, implement, and operate technology. If students do not have Wifi at home, they can download and then access needed materials when they are offline. The program allows the option for teachers to use provided assessments or create their own with Ed, an online teaching and learning system. Teachers have flexibility to customize lesson plans based on their students’ needs. There is an existing folder for specific state resources that can be easily expanded to support states that are using different standards than CCSS. 

  • The Digital Sampler describes A New Comprehensive Literacy Solution and highlights that teachers can use “Into Literature’s instructional path or create their own units with intuitive online planning tools.” Teachers can choose to teach by theme, instructional purpose, standards, and genre. 
  • If students are accessing materials from home using the online resources, those without Wifi can download the materials while at school and read and complete activities offline. 
  • For students who need tests printed, teachers have the capability to access a print-friendly version of assessments to meet those needs.
  • Teachers can create their own unique groups and customize based on their student population and data from ongoing assessments.
  • There is a feature in the online Teacher Resources for “State-Specific Resources.” Presently, the only materials are the CCSS and Indiana State Standards.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the criteria 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.)

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate with each other. Collaboration within the curriculum only occurs in person within groups; there is no utilization of online platforms or technologies that promote teacher or students collaboration.

  • There is no evidence of any online collaboration between students in any format whether that be discussion, editing and reviewing, websites, or webinars.
  • Although there are digital resources such as the Speaking & Listening Studio with self-paced lessons for students, there is not a digital discussion board or any evidence of a website to host student to student or student to teacher collaboration.
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 11/07/2019

Report Edition: 2020

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
HMH Into Literature Grade 6 Student Print/Digital Package 978-1-328-60745-4 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020
HMH Into Literature Grade 6 Teacher Print/Digital Package 978-1-328-60801-7 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020

About Publishers Responses

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complement the rubrics by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

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