Alignment: Overall Summary

LearnZillion Guidebooks meet the expectations of alignment to the standards. The materials include engaging and appropriately rigorous texts that demonstrate the balance of text type and also support students' knowledge building through organized sets and sequences. The majority of questions, tasks, and activities in which students engage are text-focused, attending to the depth of close reading and analysis called for in the standards. Students have access to consistent and coherent vocabulary building, writing instruction, and speaking and listening over the course of the year.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
35
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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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

Materials include high-quality texts, worthy of multiple reads, appropriate for Grade 6. These materials grow in complexity over the course of the year to support students’ increasingly sophisticated skills. Students respond to text-based questions and tasks both orally and through a variety of writing modes as outlined by the standards.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
19/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The LearnZillion materials for Grade 6 include high-quality texts, worthy of multiple reads. Students are exposed to a wide variety of grade-appropriate texts, including, historical fiction, poetry, journal articles, and speeches, that grow in complexity over the course of the year to support students in engaging in a range and volume of reading that will support their developing literacy skills.

Text complexity information is provided for all anchor texts but is not made available for all texts in the units.

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 expectation that anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.

Materials include a mix of informational texts and literature, consider a range of student interests, and are relevant for a variety of purposes. Authors of the anchor texts are noted in their various fields as accomplished writers. As illustrated below, the selections are content-rich and range in topic, based on the Unit Goal specified in each unit, from archaeological investigation to the Great Depression. Texts directly support students as they seek to address each Unit Goal through various formative and summative activities.  

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, students read the nonfiction text,  If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge by Mark Aronson, who is an award-winning author. He joins the research crew and records their efforts to uncover Stonehenge’s secrets, and National Geographic had a hand in the archeological team’s goal. The story is used as a primary source and includes remarkable, captivating photos and explanatory maps coupled with illustrations.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, students read the speech, “Stanford Commencement Address (2005)” by Steve Jobs. The speech reinforces the main claim and universal message that a young person, specifically a recently graduated student, should know that perseverance is above money and with motivation one can achieve their dreams. This reinforces the Unit Goal that success takes “hard work, deliberate practice, and the ability to learn from failures and persevere.” There is elevated language and the audience is college graduates. The author is well-known, credible, and relevant.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit,  students read the fictional text Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Students experience intense dilemmas where the main character survives an extreme situation and surfaces from the experience determined to shape his own fate. The text directly reinforces the difficult concept of understanding how positive and clear thinking, problem-solving, and vigilance prove necessary in the “face of grave danger and overwhelming odds.” Paulsen is a renowned author for young adult literature, having written hundreds of books and magazine articles regarding “coming of age” tales about wilderness.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit,  students read the historical fiction text, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. This text is considered a verse novel; despite its length at roughly 230 pages, it is easy to read due to white space on the page. Hesse won the Newbery Medal for Out of the Dust.
  • In the "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit,  students read The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This text is canonical for Grade 6, winning the Newbery Medal in 1959, and Speare is credited as one of America’s most influential, top 100, children’s writers. The protagonist in this story must make an ultimate decision between her heart and her responsibility. This is a relatable text as it questions friend choices based on societal expectations.

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 expectations that materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Core texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide variety of informational and literary text integrated throughout every unit. Texts include historical fiction, poetry, informational texts, journal articles, speeches, photos, and letters. In five units, the distribution of texts is roughly 55% literary and 45% informational.

Examples of literary texts in the materials include, but are not limited to:

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 8, a poem, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lessons 1-23, a novel, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 7, a film, Episode 1: My First Adventure, from: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume One - The Early Years
  • In the "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 1, a poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 39, a poem, “Leaving the Dust Bowl” by Bob Bradshaw

Examples of informational texts in the materials include, but are not limited to:

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 1, a video, A Courage of Famous Failures by Steve Jobs
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 35, website article, “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by John Branch of The New York Times
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 6, a video, “The Excavation Process: How We Excavate” by Oregon State University
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 9, a historical document/audio recording, "Puritan Laws and Character" excerpt from History of the United States of America by Henry William Elson, transcribed by Kathy Leigh
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 34, an informational article, "10 Things You May Not Know About the Dust Bowl" by Christopher Klein

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis.

All anchor texts presented have a range of Lexile levels. The publisher provides a “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” for all anchor texts that ranks each text according to the following categories: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose, Text Structure/Organization, Language Features, and Prior Knowledge Demands. The categories are rated with the following scale for the Grade 6 textbook: Slightly Complex, Moderately Complex, Very Complex, and Exceedingly Complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges section, within the “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” provides information regarding challenges students may face with the anchor texts presented, considering the amount of time spent with anchor texts. Lastly, within the Guidebook, “How do the materials support all learners?” under the “Reading” section, states the following: “Texts for each unit are purposefully selected to support knowledge building. Each unit includes text analyses, which identify the knowledge building connections among the units and texts.”

While supplemental texts do not provide a “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis,” supplemental texts are chosen based on the Unit Goal presented for every unit. Some of these texts are not accompanied with Lexiles, provided via the publisher or via the Lexile Framework, but they are still considered at or above grade level, considering the concepts, text type, language, and grammar used throughout.

Most anchor texts used throughout all units are within grade appropriate Lexile bands:

  • If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge (nonfiction) by Mark Aronson; Unit If Stones Could Speak. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 1070L, and is ranked based on the following categories and ratings:
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: very complex
    • Language Features: very complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: not ranked, but reinforces knowledge of Stonehenge and archaeological excavations helpful
    • The Potential Reader/Task Challenges include map referencing, which interrupts reading flow, and students must “read all print on each page, as the captions and other components of the text’s structure are heavily laden with content.”
  • “Stanford commencement address (2005)” (nonfiction) by Steve Jobs, Unit Steve Jobs. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 950L, and is ranked based on the following categories and ratings:
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose:  moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: slightly complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that students may not be familiar with the purpose of a commencement speech, and there are also theoretical concepts present that students must decode.
  • Hatchet (fiction) by Gary Paulsen, Unit Hatchet. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 1020L, and is ranked based on the following categories and ratings:
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: moderately complex
    • Language Features: moderately complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that students “background knowledge of wilderness and its challenges will impact accessibility and comprehension,” recognition of complex themes, and “subtle changes in the protagonist’s character and identify how his decision-making ability develops during the novel” will impact student understanding.
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (fiction), by Elizabeth George Speare, Unit The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 850L, and is ranked based on the following categories and ratings:
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: very complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • The Potential Reader/Task Challenges include students having “some degree of prior knowledge of the late 17th century and the early colonies, specifically of the shipping trade and the sometimes tense relationship that colonists had with their mother country” and understanding “the strict religious beliefs and practices of the Puritans. Some understanding of the distinction between Quakers, Puritans, and other religious sects of the time period is beneficial.”
  • Out of the Dust (historical fiction) by Karen Hesse, Unit Out of the Dust. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 701L, and is ranked based on the following categories and ratings:
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: moderately complex
    • Language Features: very complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • The Potential Reader/Task Challenges include complex figurative language and verse structure, regional and historical vocabulary terminology might need to be explicitly taught, and “lack of background knowledge related to the setting may result in students struggling to recognize the severity of external conflicts.”


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 expectation that 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).

The materials consist of five units of study, and all units have a distinct beginning, middle, and end. This is evident as supports are removed throughout the unit so that students are gradually responding to and completing increasingly complex materials and text to develop complete independence through Cold Read tasks and through independent reading assignments, such as the build up to literature circles. All anchor texts and supplemental texts are considered “increasingly complex,” even if provided with a Lexile level below grade band or with no Lexile present; all texts engage students with complex ideas and situations. Though the quantitative measure of the texts over the course of the year may not appear to grow, the qualitative features of the texts grow increasingly complex and the gradual release of responsibility employed through the phases of each unit place a greater cognitive load on students, requiring them to engage with texts in increasingly more sophisticated ways.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • “Stanford Commencement Address”
    • Lexile: 950L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: slightly complex:
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: reader unfamiliarity with the modality of the text (commencement speech) and some theoretical concepts presented in the speech

Students begin the unit by listening to the texts in their original format (audio/video files) to reading the texts themselves and synthesizing two commencement speeches (the Stanford speech by Steve Jobs and another by J.K. Rowling) in a culminating task.

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond
    • Lexile: 850L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: very complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: prior knowledge about the late 17th century and the early colonies, the shipping trade, the tenuous relationship between the colonists and England, the distinction between Quakers, Puritans, and other religious sects of the time period, as well as the strict religious requirements of some sects.

Throughout the unit, students move from a more simple character analysis to much deeper analyses of the relationships between characters and their relationship to the text. For the culminating task, students must compose an argumentative essay: “Who is Kit most loyal to in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?” Students are directed to “support your claim with clear reasons. Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence, including direct quotations and page numbers.” To assist with this challenging task, students are given a graphic organizer where they chart Kit’s choices, and there are three sections within the chart: “Challenging Events or Situations,” “Kit’s Decision about That Event,” “Who Kit Was Loyal To and How Did She Feel.”

  • Out of the Dust (historical fiction)
    • Lexile: 701L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: moderately complex
    • Language Features: very complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: complex figurative language and verse structure, regional and historical vocabulary terminology, lack of background knowledge related to the setting.

Over the course of the unit, student tasks grow from examination of the literary elements of the text to completing a literary analysis/argument essay to synthesize all they have learned while reading the novel, including how the setting affects characters and events and how the author develops themes in the novel. They write in response to the prompt: “How does the phrase 'out of the dust' relate to a theme of the novel?" To answer this question, students are to write a literary analysis that includes a claim, supporting reasons, and several pieces of relevant text evidence.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation 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.

Each unit contains a section entitled “Text Access” that provides the teacher with a table that lists the text titles, excerpt or full text, the author/source, text type, how it is used in the unit, and the access type. This page also includes a link to the “Reading Guide,” which is an explanation of the process by which the authors of the materials selected the texts for each unit. This is an overview and does not contain information about specific texts.

Each unit also contains a link to a text complexity and text analysis page which provides information on the anchor text, including the complexity of the meaning/central idea/purpose, language features, text structure/organization, language features, prior knowledge demands, and potential reader/task challenges. There are no text analyses for the other selections included in the unit. In the “Understanding LearnZillion Guidebooks Language Arts” section, on the “How do the materials support all learners?” page, the authors state, “Texts for each unit are purposefully selected to support knowledge building. Each unit includes text analyses which identify the knowledge, building connections among the units and texts.” However, a text complexity analysis is given for only the anchor texts.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, the anchor text is ​If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge by Marc Aronson. The materials provide a detailed analysis of the text. It has a Lexile of 1070. Information provided includes:
    • The meaning, central ideas, and purpose are moderately complex with the text having several central ideas for students to grasp.
    • The text structure and organization are very complex; even though the text has a first-person point of view, it is densely informational.
    • The prior knowledge demands are mild, but a knowledge of Stonehenge is helpful.
    • The language features are very complex due to the wide use of domain-specific vocabulary.
    • The potential reader and task challenges are that the reader must refer to a map at the beginning of the text in each chapter, potentially causing an interruption in flow.
  • In the "Hatchet" unit, the literary anchor text is Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. The materials provide a detailed analysis of the text. It has a Lexile of 1020. Information provided includes:
    • The meaning, central ideas, and purpose are moderately complex, with the theme of survival in the wilderness potentially being unfamiliar to many students.
    • The text structure and organization are moderately complex, with character development happening through inner monologue and flashbacks.
    • The prior knowledge demands are moderately complex, again with students potentially being unaware of what wilderness is like.
    • The language features are moderately complex with sentence fragments often used for inner monologues.
    • The potential reader and task challenges are that themes build slowly and character development is subtle.
  • In the "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" unit, students read the anchor text ,The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare. The Lexile for this text is 850, which is below grade level for 6th grade. Information provided includes:
    • Overall meaning, central ideas, and purpose are moderately complex due to the multiple layers of meaning that unfold throughout the text on subjects such as religious beliefs, cultural conformity, identity, love, self-control, and integrity.
    • The text structure and organization are slightly complex. The story is written in chronological order but has some complexity in storyline.
    • The language is moderately complex and is common to the 17th century (in which the reader may not be familiar).
    • Prior knowledge demands are moderately complex. “While the life experiences and themes of the characters of the text are relatable to many readers, there are frequent allusions to ideas, practices, or items from the time period that requires more background knowledge on the part of the reader to fully."
  • In the "Out of the Dust" unit, students read the literary anchor text, Karen Hesse’s novel, Out of the Dust. Within the “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” document, the Lexile is listed as 701. Based on the Lexile Framework for Reading, sixth grade students on Lexile should be reading between 855 to 1165; thus, while Out of the Dust is not within the band for sixth grade students, the “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” document indicates the following information to explain why it is included:
    • Overall meaning, central idea, and purpose is moderately complex.
    • The text structure, organization, and prior knowledge demands are also sees as moderately complex.
    • Language features are pegged as very complex as the language is rich with metaphors and many terms are specific to regional and historical timelines.

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 expectation that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

The materials contain five units for each grade level. The unit design language informs the consumer that a full academic year consists of four Guidebook units, thus giving teachers some options for instruction by including an additional unit. Each unit has a title that represents an anchor text or topic, and the selections within each unit are related to the main text or topic and the unit goal, which is thematic in nature. Over the course of a week, students encounter multiple high-quality texts across a variety of genres. Students read, discuss, and write about these texts as a whole class, in small groups, and independently. The lessons also often include re-reading activities to further promote understanding. The readings and the activities that accompany them vary in purpose and length. Additionally, the “Supplemental Resources” section at each grade level includes a collection of five-day close reading exercises focused on one text.

  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, students participate in a whole-class novel reading of the historical fiction novel, The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Students read to “...understand the influence of family expectations and religious values on the development of one’s personal identity. Students express their understanding of how informational texts in coordination with literary texts enhance their comprehension of time periods and the theme and setting of the novel.” Students begin reading the novel in Lesson 3 with a teacher read-aloud, and conclude the novel in Lesson 24. Students keep and maintain a reading log throughout the novel reading. During this time, they read with a partner, and participate in independent reading. Students also read poetry in this unit such as Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken,” and Nikki Giovanni’s “Choices.” Additionally, students read informational text on the Salem Witch Trials and Puritan life to support the understanding of the setting of the novel.
  • For the "Hatchet" Unit, students complete a whole-text study of the novel, Hatchet, over the course of eight to nine weeks. During the unit, students read a variety of text types and lengths as they explore the conflict of man vs. nature and how people can learn from others’ survival experiences. Along with Hatchet, students read excerpts from another literary text, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. They also read a variety of informational texts: “Your Story: Are You a Survivor?” from National Geographic, “The 25 Most Incredible Survival Stories of All Time” from Outdoor Life, “What Would Peter Do?” and “Survival by the Numbers” from OutdoorSafe Inc., "Help Me Make It Through the Night: Surviving a Wilderness Emergency" from the New York State Conservationist, and "Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek" from the New York Times.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, students read this historical fiction novel to understand “...how people respond to adversity, the lessons that can be learned from hardship and failure, and what happens when we take good fortune for granted. Students are guided to express their understanding of the social and environmental issues farmers faced in the 1930s, noting how reading literary and informational texts enhances their understanding of the topic.” During this unit, the students interact with the novel through teacher read-aloud, partner reading, independent reading, and multiple opportunities to reread pertinent sections of the novel. Students begin the novel in section 1 and read through section 8, with informational text interspersed. Students keep and maintain a reading log throughout the unit. Students read multiple informational texts about the Depression and the Dust Bowl during this unit. For example, “10 Things You May Not Know About the Dust Bowl” by Christopher Klein is read in lesson 34. There are also opportunities for students to make connections with photos from this time period.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, in Lessons 7-11, students view a film, Episode 1: My First Adventure, discuss the realistic and unrealistic aspects of the film, compare the film to a poem, and analyze it for claims and evidence. Afterward, they read and compare and contrast two companion texts, “Archaeology: Then and Now” from Intrigue of the Past, Part !: Fundamental Concepts Introduction and “Archaeology 101”.

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 majority of questions and tasks given to students are grounded in the text, requiring students to engage with the text repeatedly, and to support their ideas and statements with text evidence. Students are required to demonstrate their skills and knowledge through integrated tasks that require both writing and speaking to express their learning.

Through the use of prompts and protocols, students learn to engage in collaborative, text-based conversations with peers that support them as they learn to communicate about what they are learning and appropriately incorporating new vocabulary into their discussions.

The materials provide instruction and opportunity for students to write daily in a variety of modes for multiple purposes and audiences in both on-demand and extended tasks. Students receive explicit grammar instruction and opportunities to practice their grammar both in and out of context to support their writing.

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 expectation 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 materials are divided into five units of study, each with a variety of texts and activities that require students to engage directly with the texts. Activities include different ways for students to interact directly with the texts: “Let’s Read,” “Let’s Write,” “Let’s Discuss,” and “Let’s Work with Words.” Lessons conclude with a text-dependent formative activity called “Let’s Express Our Understanding.” Students are also required to complete text-dependent tasks in Section Quizzes, Culminating Writing tasks, and Cold Read tasks.

Examples of these types of questions, tasks, and assignment include, but are not limited to:

  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 18, students discuss scenes from chapters 6-10 in the novel and how they represent the changing identity of the main character, Kit. In order to express their understanding, students write a CER paragraph (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) using these prompts: Claim-What do I know based on the text? What is my response to the question?, Evidence-How do I know this? What in the text tells me this?, Reasoning-Why does the evidence support the claim?
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 22, students support and contradict claims in Job’s address. Students are instructed in the “Let’s Write” task (Card 10) to “Get into a group and read your assigned quote, then locate an idea or quotation from Jobs’ speech that supports or contradicts the quotation.” In the group, students should discuss why the quote they selected either supports or contradicts the claim. Then students are to rotate groups and do this until they have read all the claims and quotes in the room.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 24, in the “Let’s Prepare” section (Cards 1-4), students examine themes across genres by first looking at the “Migrant Mother” images by Dorothea Lange and then identifying topics and themes in the photographs in the “Let’s Discuss” tasks in Cards 5-9. Then in the “Let’s Read” task (Card 10), students reread the poem, “Baby”, from Out of the Dust and discuss what themes from the poem are shared with the “Migrant Mother” images. As a next step, in the “Let’s Express Our Understanding” (Card 11), the students “Choose a poem from Out of the Dust, and explain how it shares a similar theme with the photographs. Which words or phrases in the poem help express the theme? Include text evidence in your response.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 3, students are asked the question on Card 5 “Let’s Discuss”, How does Brian use prior knowledge to guide his decisions at the end of chapter 2? Use evidence from the text to support your response.” The teacher is instructed to have the students jot down their response to the question and then turn and talk to a neighbor about their answers. The teacher should also use teacher talk moves to make sure that the students complete all 4 goals listed on the right-hand side where goal 3 is for the students to provide evidence for their claims.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials have 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).

Each unit is organized around a topic or text and includes a goal for the students for what they will learn and how they will demonstrate their understanding. The culminating writing task for each unit connects to the unit goal and incorporates the skills that the students have learned throughout the unit as defined in the unit goal. The lessons include sequences of text-dependent questions that guide their understanding of the selections in the unit and build to the culminating writing task. Lessons leading up to culminating tasks, require the demonstration of various skills, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, students complete a culminating writing task that responds to the prompt “Compare and contrast how a central idea in Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address and J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address is introduced and elaborated.” Tasks and questions that require students to show their understanding include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading and examination of these two texts above to explore how an author’s word choice, use of evidence, and selected organization reflect a text’s purpose and then by writing their own personal narrative based on the models.
  • Discussion and writing to identify the central idea of part of “Stanford commencement address (2005)”.
  • Identification of supporting and contradicting claims in Jobs’ address in which students use an evidence chart and analyze several quotes from the speech to see if the evidence supports or contradicts a claim.
  • Comparing and contrasting the central ideas and themes of “The Story of David & Goliath” and “Casey at the Bat.” This task connects with the unit goal: “Students read literary and informational texts about the role of failure in success. Students understand that success takes hard work, deliberate practice, and the ability to learn from failures and persevere.

In the "Hatchet" Unit, students complete a culminating writing task in which they “express their understanding of characters in literature by analyzing the struggle of man versus nature and the life lessons we can learn from others’ survival situations.” The culminating writing task requires students to, “Write a multi-paragraph report explaining how Brian was successful and/or could have improved his situation if he had followed the steps provided in the article case studies. Conclude the report by making a claim and providing clear reasons and evidence about the instructional value of Hatchet.” This culminating task connects to the unit goal: “Students read literary and informational texts to understand how positive thinking, slowing down to think clearly, problem solving, and constant vigilance support survival in the face of grave danger and overwhelming odds. Students express their understanding of characters in literature by analyzing the struggle of man versus nature and the life lessons we can learn from others’ survival situations.”

Lessons that build to this activity include, but are not limited to:

  • Gathering evidence on characters
  • Analyzing how the author develops a character
  • Comparing and contrasting literary and nonfiction texts
  • Analyzing how an author develops a character’s point of view.

In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, the culminating task has students write a literary analysis that includes a claim, supporting reasons, and several pieces of relevant text evidence in response to the prompt, “Consider the title of the novel: Out of the Dust. How does the phrase 'out of the dust' relate to a theme of the novel?” This prompt reflects the unit goal of having “Students express their understanding of the social and environmental issues farmers faced in the 1930s, noting how reading literary and informational texts enhances their understanding of the topic.” Lessons throughout the unit that build to this culminating task include, but are not limited to:

  • Making connections between the novel and historical events
  • Examining word choice
  • Uncovering emerging themes
  • Analyzing, comparing, and contrasting themes across genres

In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, students complete the following culminating task: “Who is Kit most loyal to in The Witch of Blackbird Pond? Write an argumentative essay to support your claim with clear reasons.” This culminating task connects to the unit goal: “Students read literary and informational texts to understand the influence of family expectations and religious values on the development of one’s personal identity. Students express their understanding of how informational texts in coordination with literary texts enhance their comprehension of time periods and the theme and setting of the novel.”

Previous tasks and questions that support the culminating performance task include, but are not limited to:

  • Analysis of how episodes, series of episodes, and scenes contribute to the plot and identity of Kit, the protagonist of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, primarily through discussion, reading of chapter 6 and discussion of how political episodes and character responses impact the plot
  • Readings of Chapters 8 and 9 of The Witch of Blackbird Pond and use of sticky note annotations to monitor Kit’s responses to episodes in the text which attempt to influence her values
  • Discussion of an excerpt from Chapter 9 along with the reading, annotation, and discussion of  Chapter 10, analyzing how particular scenes in the text contribute to the plot
  • Writing of a Claim Evidence Reasoning (CER ) paragraph to analyze Kit’s changing identity. A graphic organizer is employed to assist students with the analysis prior to writing their CER.

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.)
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials provide 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.

In order to support the use of discussion in the classroom, the materials include a Resource Library. Documents in the Resource Library that outline protocols for speaking and listening include:

  • Teacher Talk Moves helps students clearly express their ideas, listen carefully to others’ ideas, provide evidence to support their claims, and establish new ways of thinking.
  • Conversation Stems offers students with listener prompts and speaker responses.
  • Discussion Reflection allows students to rate themselves and their peers on the quality of their participation.
  • Conversations Guide provides teachers with a step-by-step guide for preparing for productive classroom conversations.
  • Student Discussion Tracker gives students a format for recording the development of a conversation with a peer.
  • The Resource Library also includes instructional strategies and procedures for classroom discussion constructs such as Accountable Talk, Gallery Walk, Philosophical Chairs Debate, and Student-Led Discussions such as a Fishbowl and Socratic Seminar.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax include, but are not limited to:

  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 8, students are given this overall goal for the lesson, “ Discuss the historical context of the witch and how it impacts the plot.” The Accountable Talk document is listed as a tool for the teacher. Conversation Stems and Speaking and Listening Tracker are also included in the Resource Library. The protocol for the discussion is listed in the Teacher Notes, including the Teacher Talk Moves.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 9, students participate in a Fishbowl Discussion to compare and contrast the central message of the texts that they have read. On the “Let’s Discuss” slide the teacher explains what a Fishbowl Discussion is and students follow the Fishbowl Discussion protocol included in the additional materials for the lesson. Students also use a FishBowl Discussion Student Tracker, located in the Additional Materials section, to gauge their partner’s engagement in the actual FishBowl Discussion.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 12, students study a paragraph from Chapter 8 as they consider how the author develops the main character's point of view. The teacher asks the students to think for 30 seconds about this prompt: “What is Brian’s most important rule for survival?” The teacher then asks the students to turn and talk for 30 seconds then share out with the whole group following the Accountable Talk protocol included in the Additional Resources section of the lesson.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 21, students will have just completed an argumentative essay. Students begin this lesson by being divided into pairs/groups, and they read the beginning of the poem “Spring 1935.” Specific instructions for students are as follows: “After you read each poem, talk with your partner about what you have learned about either Billie Jo or Pa, and add those notes to your character analysis chart. Don’t feel like you need to write down something after reading every poem. If you can’t think of anything you have learned that fits any of the categories on the character analysis chart handout, continue reading.” Students are then presented with the following questions paired with a quote on the slide: “Why do you think the author chose to use the words and phrases in bold? What effect do they have on the reader?” The teacher uses the Teacher Talk Moves, located in the Teacher Notes section when facilitating to guide partner discussions. Students are then paired and given one to two minutes to discuss their shared answer to the questions posed.

Indicator 1j

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

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

Within the individual lesson design, students are often asked to engage in discussions specifically through the “Let’s Discuss” portion of the lesson, but conversation opportunities can also be found throughout the sequence of activities in a lesson. Students use their speaking and listening skills throughout the culminating tasks in each unit, particularly for the extension tasks where students are required to deliver a presentation to the class.

Examples of speaking and listening activities used while students are reading and researching include, but are not limited to:

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 28, in the “Let’s Discuss” task (Card 7), students participate in a discussion around the two texts, “Casey at the Bat” and “The Story of David and Goliath”, with opportunities to discuss and respond in their own Reading Log. Students discuss questions such as, “‘How is Casey portrayed in 'Casey at the Bat’? How is Goliath portrayed in 'The Story of David and Goliath’?” At the end, students are given an additional prompt: “You have just shown that both texts teach the lesson that there is a consequence to being arrogant. Now, respond to the following in your reading log: Compare and contrast how this idea is conveyed in both texts.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 19, in the “Let’s Prepare” task (Card 3), students discuss how Paulsen uses “memory moments” to develop theme. Students reread Chapter 15 with a partner and work with a partner to record the memory and evidence in the graphic organizer. While completing the graphic organizer, students talk to each other using Conversation Stems. Ask, “Why might this memory be important?” and record their interpretations in the graphic organizer. Then the teacher will conclude the group work by conducting a whole-class discussion (using Teacher Talk Moves) in response to the questions: “What memory moments did you notice in Chapter 15? Why might this memory be important?”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 22, students read Chapter 17 in small groups and annotate the text in order to prepare to answer this question in the “Let’s Read” task (Card 7), in a whole-class discussion: “What elements of the Salem Witch Trials influence the plot in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?”
  • In "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 13,  students are asked to participate in a discussion about Chapter 2. They are instructed to interact with the text by using context to uncover word meaning and answer comprehension questions that are text-specific.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 37, students design and build a news page that contains their news story about the Dust Bowl, graphical elements, and links to multimedia content. They also create a bibliography page that lists all their sources.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that 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.

Each unit has a Culminating Writing task that is text-based, an Extension task that is narrative or research writing, and a Cold Read task that includes a multi-paragraph essay on a new text. Both the Culminating Writing task and the Extension task include multiple steps, scaffolding, and supports to take students through the writing process, and the Cold Read task requires on-demand writing.

Examples include:

  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lessons 34-38, students complete an Extension task in which they write a news article in a multimedia format. In Lessons 34- 38, students research The Dust Bowl, in order to answer one of these two questions: “What were the causes of the Dust Bowl, and what efforts have been made to prevent similar disasters? What was daily life like in the Dust Bowl area during the 1930s?” During this process, students research, create a bibliography, and self-reflect on their writing.     
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lessons 25-30, students complete a Culminating Writing task for the unit by writing a multi-draft essay in response to this prompt: “This is a book about questioning what others believe to be true, not accepting ideas just because famous people say they are right. And that is the really big story here—how a new idea, a new way of thinking, can go from being dismissed to capturing the attention of the world. What does the author Marc Aronson mean and how does he explain and support this idea throughout the text?” In order to answer the question, the students are instructed to: "Read the quotation. Review the text to determine the meaning of the quotation. Determine 2-3 reasons the author provides which support this central idea. For each reason, select details, examples, evidence, etc. the author provides as support." The students are then instructed to write an essay that explains how the author introduces and elaborates his central idea and purpose: “Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence, including direct quotations and page numbers." The students participate in several lessons that take them through all phases of the writing process.

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lessons 29 and 30, students do a Cold Read task where they read paragraphs 18-22 of “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” by J.K. Rowling. Initially, students answer a series of multiple-choice questions. Then the directions of the Cold Read task instruct them to “Read these sentences from Steve Jobs' Commencement Address “Stanford commencement address (2005)” and J.K. Rowling’s speech “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.” 1. It turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. (Jobs) 2. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. (Rowling). The students are then asked to “Write [a] multiparagraph essay that explains how these ideas contribute to the development of the central idea of each text. Cite evidence from both speeches to support your response. Be sure to observe the conventions of Standard English.”

  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lessons 38 - 43, students complete a collaborative research paper as an Extension task. As a group, students write a report detailing the following: "an overview of the person you researched (e.g., who was he or she, where did he or she live); an overview of the context in which the person lived (what were the challenges or beliefs surrounding the person); the actions the person took in relation to his/her situation; how those actions illustrate his/her values and beliefs; and the impact of his/her actions on today’s society."Students gather relevant information from several sources, including first- and secondhand accounts, through library or Internet research, assessing the credibility of each source. In the report, students should cite evidence from their research by quoting or paraphrasing conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Indicator 1l

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

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

Students engage in a variety of writing opportunities throughout daily lesson plans, formative, and summative assessments. These writing activities are a blend of on-demand and process writing pieces that help students learn and express their understanding. Each unit includes three culminating tasks that represent a variety of argumentative, informative/explanatory, narrative, and literary analysis text types. For Culminating Writing tasks, “Students synthesize the topics, themes, and ideas of the unit into a written product such as an essay, narrative, or article.” For Cold Read tasks, “Students read a new text or two related to the unit topic and answer multiple-choice questions as well as respond to a writing prompt. For Extension tasks, “Students extend what they have learned in the unit to make connections between their learning and their lives through a narrative or personal essay or between their learning and the world through research about a related topic.” The materials provide exemplars and rubrics for the culminating activities to help guide students through the process.

Examples include:

  • In the “Steve Jobs”Unit, Lesson 33, students begin a Culminating Writing task where the students “Draft an essay that demonstrates our understanding of a central idea in both Jobs and Rowling’s commencement speeches.” In the essay, students compare and contrast the central ideas of the two commencement speeches.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, students complete an on-demand cause and effect writing Cold Read task by answering the following questions: "According to 'Legacy,' what were the causes of the Dust Bowl? Identify at least three causes and provide evidence for each cause. What lessons were learned? What evidence does the article provide in support of this idea?"
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, students address different text types of writing. In Lesson 6, students write a summary (informative) of “Archaeology 101” and view videos of archaeology in action. In Lesson 9, students write a multi-paragraph argumentative essay that introduces their claim and provides reasons and evidence to support the claim. In Lesson 34, in the Extension task, students are charged to “Create an archaeological report detailing the findings (including visuals, e.g., drawings, photographs) and a write narrative description of daily life based on artifacts and evidence located at the site.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, the Culminating Writing task is an argumentative essay. Students respond to the prompt: “Who is Kit most loyal to in ​The Witch of Blackbird Pond​?”

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 expectation that materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Throughout the materials, students participate in a variety of evidence-based writing activities with differing length and organization. Students take notes on the texts they are studying by using organizers such as character evidence charts and character analysis charts. Students use reading logs, reading journals, and field journals to record answers to text-based questions that are part of the daily lesson plans in order to understand reading through writing. Students answer questions about what they read on post-reading questions handouts. They synthesize what they learned through writing as one of the kinds of activities in the “Let’s Express Our Understanding” portion of the lessons. Examples include:

  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 9, students write a compare and contrast paragraph using a CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) graphic organizer. The teacher begins the lesson by saying, “How does Gary Paulsen use diction to develop the main character, Brian? When you wrote your response, you focused on writing a claim and providing evidence to support that claim. Today, we are going to practice writing a strong reasoning sentence or sentences to complete the response paragraph.”
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 2, students examine the “Winter 1934” section of Out of the Dust. They analyze how the characters, Billie Jo and Pa, develop by taking notes on a character analysis chart. Afterward, they write in their Reading Logs in answer to this prompt: "Review your completed character analysis chart: Winter 1934. Write down one piece of text evidence that tells you something about Billie Jo’s character. Explain what it tells us about her."
  • In "The Witch at Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 21,  students read and annotate Chapter 16 of the text then discuss the chapter in pairs. Afterward, students use their Reading Logs to answer this question: “How does Speare use specific word choice and details to foreshadow conflict in the plot?”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 3, students have previously read the poem, “Travel,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. For this lesson, to support the writing task, students also engage in a class discussion. Students reread “Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson independently, and “as [students] read, [they must] underline ideas that repeat throughout the poem.” The prompt for the evidence-based writing task is as follows: “Write a written response in the Reflections/Discoveries section of your field journal. In your response, identify a theme in ‘Travel.’  Then explain how this theme is conveyed through details in the poem. Be sure to introduce your topic, use details to develop your topic, and provide a concluding statement.”

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that 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. There are many Interactive WriteAlong videos listed that match the Language/Grammar Common Core standards devoted to this grade level. Materials also include student practice sheets for students to complete while watching the Interactive WriteAlong videos. Within all Extension tasks and Culminating tasks, directions and rubrics for grammar and conventions are considered but not always explicitly taught. For example, some limited directions state that students “revise and edit” within these tasks without providing clear instructions in revising and editing specific grammar and conventions. Most grammar and conventions instruction is located in the “Teacher Notes” within the slides in each lesson or in the WriteAlong videos.

Examples include:

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 28, as part of the Culminating Writing task, students learn how to punctuate direct quotations in their essays. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes. Students are directed to: "1-Separate the quotation by using a comma. 2-Put quotation marks around the text that you are quoting. 3-Include the page number inside parentheses. 4-Put the end punctuation after the closing parentheses.”
  • In “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 39, as part of the Extension Task, students are asked to revise and edit their speech, a research-based first-person address about how the person they studied overcame failure. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes: "1-Add, remove, and rearrange sentences. 2-Revise sentence structures. 3-Replace general words with more specific ones.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 28, as part of the Culminating Writing task, students learn how to practice revising sentences by expanding or combining them. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes. They are told that: "1-Varying the length of sentences helps the reader of your essay stay interested and engaged. 2-These conjunctions can help you to combine and expand sentences in your writing. 3-Use 'and' when ideas are similar and 'but' when ideas are different.” They are then asked to: "1-Find three places in your draft or your partner’s draft where you could expand or combine a sentence. 2-Rewrite the sentence using the conjunctions.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 42, as part of the Extension task, a collaborative research report, students learn how to properly use direct quotations and paraphrasing. Then they are asked to “Continue revising the collaborative research report with your group to ensure the group is accurately citing evidence.” Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Grade 6 LearnZillion materials build students’ knowledge and skills as they grapple with complex text and engage in texts analysis within and amongst multiple texts. Carefully and intentionally-sequenced questions and tasks scaffold student learning, allowing them to successfully demonstrate their newfound knowledge and skills as a part of a culminating task. Vocabulary is taught explicitly and reinforced within and across texts in a unit. The materials support students in learning and deploying research skills to build deep knowledge of a topic. Students read and incorporate multiple sources into their research. The materials also support students with a comprehensive plan to engage in independent reading.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

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 expectation that texts are organized around topics and/or themes to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

All units provide students and teachers with a Unit Goal, which is located within the “Unit At-a-Glance” box. All texts are centered around each Unit Goal; students complete extension tasks, culminating tasks, cold-reads, and various other formative assessments that center around the concept of each Unit Goal. The topics include, but are not limited to archeology, survival, and The Great Depression.   

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, the unit goal states, “Students read literary and informational texts to understand that archaeologists, like detectives, work to piece together the past through investigation. Students express their understanding by analyzing evidence and drawing meaningful conclusions about history, texts, and their environment.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as the basics of archaeology, profiles of archaeologists, a poem about travel, and information about excavation. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, If Stones Could Speak.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, the unit goal states, “Students read literary and informational texts about the role of failure in success. Students understand that success takes hard work, deliberate practice, and the ability to learn from failures and persevere. They express their understanding by exploring how an author’s word choice, use of evidence, and selected organization reflect a text’s purpose and then by writing their own personal narrative based on the models.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as articles about overcoming obstacles and a mindset for achievement, a video on famous failures, the story of David and Goliath, and the letters of Wilbur Wright. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, Steve Jobs’ "Stanford Commencement Address (2005)".
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, the unit goal states, “Students read literary and informational texts to understand how positive thinking, slowing down to think clearly, problem-solving, and constant vigilance support survival in the face of grave danger and overwhelming odds. Students express their understanding of characters in literature by analyzing the struggle of man versus nature and the life lessons we can learn from others’ survival situations.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as various survival stories and information about how to survive in the wilderness. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, Hatchet.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, the unit goal states, “Students read literary and informational texts to understand how people respond to adversity, the lessons that can be learned from hardship and failure, and what happens when we take good fortune for granted. Students express their understanding of the social and environmental issues farmers faced in the 1930s, noting how reading literary and informational texts enhances their understanding of the topic.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as information about the drought, wheat prices, and the conditions in the Dust Bowl to the first-hand accounts of someone who lived through that time period. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, Out of the Dust.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation 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.

Throughout the materials, students independently and as a whole group complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts. Students complete multiple reads of text with scaffolds such as read aloud, partner reading, and independent reading. The instruction has students answering questions and/or completing tasks that move from a literal understanding of the text to deep analysis within the texts or multiple texts. This scaffolded progression can be seen across the units, the sections, the lessons, and the assessments.

  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lessons 12 and 13, and in the Section Three Quiz, students answer a progression of questions around the novel: “Part A: Which statement best describes how the tone of this passage impacts the mood? Part B: Which words from the excerpt contribute to the speaker’s tone in Part A? Which two words would you choose to describe the tone of this poem? Explain your choices. Use text evidence to support your answer.”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 37, students complete a Cold Read task. Students have 40 minutes to complete six questions about “Profiles of Archaeologist” from Intrigue of the Past by Research Laboratories of Archaeology. Questions include: "Which best describes the impact of Linda-McNaughton’s statements? What statement explains how each goes about trying to solve the problem through his/her work as an archaeologist? Which statement summarizes Aronson's advice in: The Ever-Changing Timeline of Stonehenge?"
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 2, students analyze word choice in Steve Jobs’ “Stanford Commencement Address (2015)” with the following questions: "Identify words and phrases that are important to the meaning of the text. Discuss the questions: How does Jobs' word choice affect the tone? How does the tone of the speech affect the reader’s understanding? Answer the question: How does the author’s word choice and tone help you understand his experiences?"

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation 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.

Students have frequent opportunities to think about, discuss, and write about multiple texts within the daily lesson structure and as part of culminating activities and assessments. Students are often asked to reflect on texts as they relate to one another and revisit their understanding of texts after they have experienced new selections. Cold Read tasks, Culminating Writing tasks, and Extension tasks often include writing prompts that ask students to synthesize understanding across texts.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 8, students “read a nonfiction text on survival and then use the advice in the text to determine whether or not Brian is making good decisions in the aftermath of the crash.” The students engage in a series of text-dependent questions to complete the lesson using the novel, Hatchetand “What Would Peter Do?” These texts and questions support the building of knowledge around survival. The teacher tells the students to “Read along as I read 'What Would Peter Do?' aloud. Pause and think: What is the main idea? What are supporting details? Given that Brian’s situation in the wilderness was an emergency, did he follow the advice offered in 'What Would Peter Do?' The teacher then does the following: “Use teacher talk moves so students clearly express their ideas (Goal Two), provide evidence to support their claims.”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lessons 2 and 3, students read the poem, “Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and analyze the language and theme of the poem. In Lessons 7 and 8, students watch and analyze the film, “Episode 1: My First Adventure” from The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume One - The Early Years. In Lesson 8, students also reread the poem, “Travel”, and think about similarities and differences between the film and the poem and how their understanding of the poem has changed after having watched the film. They discuss in pairs and as a whole class and write about it in their Field Journals.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lessons 1-6, students read and analyze word choice, central ideas, details, and claims in the "Stanford Commencement Address (2005)." In Lessons 7 and 8, students read and analyze the poems, “To Failure” by Philip Larkin and “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, using the TP-CASTT protocol. In Lesson 9, students participate in a fishbowl discussion to compare and contrast the central message of all three texts.
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 33, for the Cold Read task, students read “Identity” by Julio Noboa Polanco and answer a series of multiple-choice questions. Afterward, students complete a writing prompt. They are asked to read two lines from “Identity” (“If I could stand alone, strong and free/I’d rather be a tall ugly weed”) and respond to the prompt: “In an extended response explain what the speaker means by this statement. Then, explain how this point of view is reflected in The Witch of Blackbird Pond and compare and contrast how “Identity” and The Witch of Blackbird Pond approach the same theme.”

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 expectation 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 materials contain lessons and tasks that build to culminating activities. Each unit has an established goal that is described for the teacher in the introduction to the unit and to the students in the first lesson of the unit. The students are also informed in the opening of the first lesson how they will eventually demonstrate that they met the goals of the unit, which is their successful completion of the culminating tasks. Each unit contains three culminating tasks: a Culminating Writing task, an Extension task which is either narrative or research in nature, and a Cold Read task. For each of the culminating tasks, the materials provide student directions, rubrics, and exemplars.

Examples of culminating tasks include:

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, the unit goal is “Students read literary and informational texts to understand that archaeologists, like detectives, work to piece together the past through investigation. Students express their understanding by analyzing evidence and drawing meaningful conclusions about history, texts, and their environment.” In Lessons 25-30, students complete an essay “that explains how the author introduces and elaborates his central idea and purpose.” The lessons in the unit support the culminating task and the unit goals by providing opportunities to read, write, and discuss throughout the lessons. In Lesson 4 and 5, students read from an informational text,  “Archaeology 101,” to summarize the text using a summarizing document. “In this lesson, students learn about the role of an archaeologist and are able to work with a partner to discuss and also write about “the central idea and important details of sections from “Archaeology 101.”
  • In the "Out of the Dust Unit," the unit goal is “Students read literary and informational texts to understand how people respond to adversity, the lessons that can be learned from hardship and failure, and what happens when we take good fortune for granted. Students express their understanding of the social and environmental issues farmers faced in the 1930s, noting how reading literary and informational texts enhances their understanding of the topic.” For the Cold Read task at the end of the unit, students read a new selection, “Legacy,” from The Dust Bowl (a PBS website). They answer a series of multiple choice questions, followed by a writing prompt where they answer this question: “According to ‘Legacy,’ what were the causes of the Dust Bowl? Identify at least three causes and provide evidence for each cause. What lessons were learned? What evidence does the article provide in support of this idea?”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, the unit goal is “Students read literary and informational texts about the role of failure in success. Students understand that success takes hard work, deliberate practice, and the ability to learn from failures and persevere. They express their understanding by exploring how an author’s word choice, use of evidence, and selected organization reflect a text’s purpose and then by writing their own personal narrative based on the models.” In the Extension task, students conduct research on a person who overcame failure. Then the students write a speech that emulates Jobs’ commencement address in first person that address about how the person they studied overcame failure.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, the unit goal is “Students read literary and informational texts to understand how positive thinking, slowing down to think clearly, problem solving, and constant vigilance support survival in the face of grave danger and overwhelming odds. Students express their understanding of characters in literature by analyzing the struggle of man versus nature and the life lessons we can learn from others’ survival situations.” Students complete the culminating task: “Select an event from Hatchet. What did Brian do to aid or hinder his survival? Does Hatchet have instructional value as survival guide? Write a multi-paragraph report explaining how Brian was successful and/or could have improved his situation if he had followed the steps provided in the article case once about the instructional value of Hatchet.” To support students in completing the essay, students “reread chapter 5 with a partner and look for words and phrases that stick out,” and in Lesson 7, students “write a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) paragraph with a claim and evidence.” Students work in partners and are given the following questions to consider and answer while working together: “What words/phrases make me see clear images? What words/phrases make me hear sounds? What words/phrases are used in a different way than I’m used to seeing?” Students share out their answers to the whole class, and then complete the following task: "Respond to this question in your reading journal handout: How does Gary Paulsen use diction to develop the main character, Brian? Write a claim and support your claim with at least two pieces of text evidence.” Students are given a “CER Paragraph Frame” document that acts as an outline for their paragraph response.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The Resource Library for each unit includes a “Vocabulary Guide” that includes the following: words and phrases to teach, words and phrases to define, and two whole-class instructional strategies for teaching vocabulary: semantic mapping and word displays. Each unit contains a text complexity and vocabulary analysis document. The vocabulary analysis portion provides a list of vocabulary words and where they appear in the anchor text. The words are categorized by whether they can or can not be determined in context and whether they demand less or more teaching time. “Section supports” within the unit structure outline a protocol for explicitly teaching vocabulary and provide specific “Vocabulary Tasks” and “Mentor Sentence Language Tasks.” Within the lesson plan structure, the “Let’s Work With Words” section focuses on the development of vocabulary and language through explicit instruction and formative practice.

  • In the “Vocabulary Guide,” teachers examine their vocabulary instruction across the year and throughout all lessons and units. Suggestions are given to teachers to speed up vocabulary growth for all students including, but not limited to, “reading aloud texts that are written at a level above the students’ independent reading levels, or prompting students to read a series of texts on the same topic.”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, “Section Supports” provide additional support for teachers including “Protocols for Explicitly Teaching Vocabulary.” In this section, teachers are given steps to explicitly teach the word “naively.” The steps include: teacher presentation, definition, explanation, connections, and application.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, teachers are provided with a “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis.” Within this document, teachers are provided with critical vocabulary in If Stones Could Speak Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge. Vocabulary found within the anchor text is divided into a square diagram chart labeled the following: “Words that demand less teaching time,” “Words that demand more teaching time,” “Words that can be determined in context,” and “Words that cannot be determined in context.” Words are further divided via the chapter in which they appear, for example: “Chapter 8: excavations, homelands, hypnotized.” Students encounter all words from the “Text Complexity Analysis” throughout the unit.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 5, students practice vocabulary within the “Let’s Work With Words” section. Students are presented with the word “drought” and two definitions. Based on the “Teaching notes,” teachers “Divide the class into pairs using an established classroom routine. Direct pairs to select a partner A and B...Then direct partner A to begin the discussion by answering the question on the slide: ‘Have you ever experienced a drought?’ Then direct partner B to respond and share. Conclude the discussion by conducting a whole-class discussion in response to the question on the slide.” Students will then continue to read the text, where their purpose is directly linked to the vocabulary word: “Your purpose in reading this text is to determine causes and potential remedies of droughts.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 6, students complete the “Let’s Work With Words” section. Students complete a semantic map graphic organizer, and the teacher details the following from the “Teaching notes”: “Yesterday, when we read the informational text, ‘Puritans’, there were two words that were important but unfamiliar to us: ‘frivolity’ and ‘persecuted.’...today we are going to use semantic maps to help us more deeply understand and use the words to describe Kit and her situation in The Witch of Blackbird Pond. We will complete a semantic map for ‘frivolity’ together and then you will work with a group to complete a map for ‘persecuted'.”

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 expectation 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 lesson plans 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 graphic organizers, and writing quick responses to guiding questions before they are asked to complete more demanding writing tasks for more complex selections at the end of the unit. Classroom discussion is used as a regular tool to prepare students for writing assignments, and more in-depth writing assignments are broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks to prepare students for writing the rough draft. Students learn the components of good writing on a smaller scale through language tasks that focus on sentence-level meaning and writing structures. Each unit concludes in a multi-draft Culminating Writing task that synthesizes the students’ understanding of the texts they read in a formalized fashion. Additionally, Extension tasks are included for either narrative or research writing.

For example:

  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 13, students write a narrative based on a portion of the text. They choose a portion and change the point of view from third person to first person. Students write a paragraph choosing their scene.
  • In "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lessons 25-30, students begin the writing process for the Culminating Writing task. Specifically, in Lesson 27, they write a first draft to answer the prompt: "Write an essay that explains how the author introduces and elaborates his central idea and purpose.” In Lesson 28, the students take their writing and cite evidence using direct quotations as they revise. In Lesson 29, they add transition words to their draft as they revise it and, finally in Lesson 30, they publish their draft.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 17, students complete a written response to the Cold Read task. They have 40 minutes to complete the task. Part of that task is writing a multi-paragraph response that determines the central idea of the article and explains how the author uses the events of Hershey’s life to develop the central idea. Students cite evidence from the article to support their response. They also observe the conventions of standard English.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 19, students write an argumentative essay. In this argumentative essay, students write five paragraphs, including introduction, body, and a conclusion paragraph. The body paragraphs should have a topic sentence, a sentence that explains the reasoning, pieces of evidence, and a conclusion. This serves as the first draft of their argumentative essay.

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 expectation 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.

Students engage in lessons and activities where they gather information from sources for the purposes of research and supplemental understanding of texts. They draw evidence from literary and informational selections to discuss the texts and support claims they make about the texts. Students also complete larger research projects at the end of units that require them to obtain information from multiple credible sources and synthesize that information to convey their understanding of a topic or task.

For example:

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 16, students participate in a lesson to trace different theories about Stonehenge. Students also must identify the evidence to back up these various theories using an evidence chart. Students begin the evidence chart with a teacher model and then finish it independently. This lesson explicitly teaches how to locate a theory or claim and how to identify the evidence that supports the theory.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lessons 36-41, for the Extension task, students conduct research on a person who overcame failure then write and present a speech about this person.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lessons 32-38, for the Extension task, students work in small groups to investigate survival stories and create a multimedia presentation explaining the main character trait that resulted in the person’s survival.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lessons 34-38, for the Extension task, students read “10 Things You May Not Know About the Dust Bowl” by Christopher Klein then research the answer to one of two research questions: “What were the causes of the Dust Bowl, and what efforts have been made to prevent similar disasters? What was daily life like in the Dust Bowl area during the 1930s?” After students complete the research, they create an interactive news article.

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 expectation 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.

Students have frequent opportunities to engage in independent reading through scaffolded lessons and self-selected materials. Students read portions of the anchor text independently after they have experienced the teacher reading the text to them and after reading the text in pairs. Students are held accountable through the use of reading logs, discussion, formative, and summative assessments. Students also reread selections independently after having listened to them or read them in pairs. For Cold Read tasks, students are required to read selections independently and complete multiple choice questions and writing tasks to show their understanding. Each unit comes with a “Family Resource” document with a suggested book list for helping to deepen students’ knowledge of the topic being studied. It also provides suggestions for how parents can plan and encourage independent reading activities at home.

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 11, students are instructed to "Reread 'Archaeology: Then and Now' from Intrigue of the Past, Part 1: Fundamental Concepts Introduction and 'Archaeology 101' with a partner." After rereading the texts, the students work with a partner to compare and contrast the two texts using an “H-Chart.” Finally, the students independently record their answers to a reflection question in their “Field Journal.” Both the H-chart and Field Journal hold students accountable for their partner reading.
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lessons 16 and 17, students complete a practice Cold Read task where they independently read the article, “Milton Hershey” from the Louisiana EAGLE, and answer multiple choice questions and write a written response to demonstrate understanding of the text.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lessons 39 and 40, students complete a Cold Read task where they independently read the informational text, “Legacy” from The Dust Bowl, and the poem, “Leaving the Dust Bowl” by Bob Bradshaw, and express their understanding of the texts by answering multiple-choice questions and completing an essay.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 5, students are told to read the rest of Chapter 4 independently, starting with the paragraph that begins with “Brian opens his eyes.” The students have to annotate the text and complete a reading journal handout.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The Grade 6 instructional materials meet the expectations of Gateway 3. The materials provide clear and consistent guidance for implementation and teacher support, including useful digital tools and assessment information to monitor student progress. The materials provide support for differentiation, especially for students who struggle, although extensions and guidance for students who perform above grade level are inconsistent. 

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Supplemental materials are provided for each lesson and are well-labeled and organized. Each lesson also references the standards addressed and the goal. Materials include clear alignment information and scope and sequence documents. Digital interface materials are navigable and designed with a consistent layout.

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 expectation that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The materials for each grade level contain five “Guidebooks” or units of study. The Grade 6 units include "If Stones Could Speak", "Steve Jobs", "Hatchet", "Out of the Dust", and "The Witch of Blackbird Pond". These units are designed around a collection of texts that support a common idea. Each unit is divided into sections that contain lessons. Lessons follow a predictable backward design model and have a suggested pacing of 50 minutes per lesson and also includes a plan for 90 minute block classes. There is a Roadmap document provided for teachers to complete and share with students that helps teachers and students understand the purposeful layout of the lessons. Each lesson launches with a “Let’s Review” section, so students can reflect on what they learned leading up to that lesson, and a “Let’s Prepare” section so they know the learning outcomes, what materials they will need, and how they will demonstrate their understanding at the end.

After teachers launch the lesson, they guide students through a series of tasks that build their understanding of the targeted skills. These tasks are focused on reading (“Let’s Read!”), vocabulary and language (“Let’s Work with Words!”), speaking and listening (“Let’s Discuss!”), and writing (“Let’s Practice!). Each lesson concludes with a “Let’s Express Our Understanding” section which is a formative assessment of what the students learned during the lesson. Finally, the “Let’s Close” section at the end of the lesson reminds the students what they accomplished during the lesson.

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 7, the teacher launches the lesson by reminding students that they recently “identified how the central idea is conveyed through Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement address.” The teacher then shares the activities for the lesson: “Read the poem 'To Failure' by Philip Larkin, determine the meaning of phrases in the poem, and analyze ideas in the poem.” The teacher also points out what materials the students will need for the lesson. The students then perform a series of tasks which incorporate writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 14, the teacher launches the lesson by reminding students that they recently “analyzed a speech delivered by President Roosevelt and wrote an argument using text evidence from it.” The teacher then shares the activities for the lesson: read a letter written by Dust Bowl resident Caroline Henderson, answer questions about the text, and examine unfamiliar vocabulary terms. The teacher also points out what materials the students will need for the lesson. The students then perform a series of tasks which incorporate writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, in all lessons, the teacher is given suggested pacing for each part of a lesson. For example, in Lesson 1, the suggested pacing for the “Let’s Prepare” section is one minute. Later the students participate in a gallery walk that has ten minutes as the suggested time. The end of the lesson has a five minute suggested time for a lesson reflection.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit,  Lessons 34-35, students participate in six lessons to complete a culminating writing task to “Write a multi-paragraph report explaining how Brian was successful and/or could have improved his situation if he had followed the steps provided in the article case studies.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, there are 43 lessons and four quizzes designed in a sequential order.

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 expectation that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.  

All information regarding pacing and content can be found within the LearnZillion Guidebooks, “What’s in the Curriculum?” and “How do I prepare to teach guidebooks?” Also, instructors are presented further pacing overviews through the “Assessment Overview” in every unit. This allows instructors to see the backwards design implemented within every unit. Each lesson equates to roughly fifty minutes, and a full academic year contains four units; however, there are five units included that can be used, depending on individual instructor pacing. The following units are included:  "If Stones Could Speak", “Steve Jobs”, "Hatchet", "Out of the Dust", and "The Witch of Blackbird Pond".

  • Within the “What’s in the Curriculum?” Guidebook, the Suggested Pacing provides the following information regarding “how long a slide might take; however, this is a suggestion, not a mandate. The pacing for each lesson totals no more than 50 minutes, but teachers will likely find they need to spend more time on some lessons depending on the needs of their students. Thus, teachers can adjust the lesson timing as needed given their school schedule and students’ needs. When adjusting the pacing, consider the ratio of time. Pacing is a meaningful signal about where the focus of a lesson is--the biggest chunk of time often signals the most important part of the lesson and where teachers should think first about what scaffolding needs to be in place to ensure productive struggle. A full academic year includes four Guidebook units.”
  • In the “How do I prepare to teach guidebooks?” Guidebook, the following design is indicated: “The units use a backwards design model, which means the lessons and sections build students’ knowledge and skill in preparation for the unit assessments. The unit assessments are aligned to end-of-year expectations and grade-level standards.” The Guidebook gives the following two examples: “1) In a section, students might read the same text multiple times across several lessons or students might read several texts to extract evidence and ideas to complete a task, such as writing an essay, delivering a formal presentation, or engaging in a Socratic seminar. 2) In a lesson, students engage with one or more unit texts to build the knowledge and skills they will need for the unit assessments.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit “Assessment Overview,” students complete the following major tasks throughout the unit: Daily Formative Assessments, Section Quizzes, Culminating Writing task, Extension task, Cold Read task.

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
  1. The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).  

Each lesson ends with “Let’s Express Our Understanding” which is a formative assessment that allows students and teachers to monitor learning progressions. Digital quizzes at the end of sections provide progress check-ins and practice for standardized testing. Unit assessments gauge the students’ ability to apply what they are learning over the course of the unit by reading, understanding, and expressing their knowledge of a complex grade-level text. Within the lesson plan structure, activities are scaffolded and structured in such a way that students have ample opportunities to practice skills. There are clear step-by-step directions and explanations for both teachers and students for every phase of the teaching and learning process. Supplemental materials are provided for each lesson and are well-labeled and organized. Each lesson also references the standards addressed and the goal.

  • In all Units, clear directions and explanations are included in each lesson design.  Each lesson launches with “Let’s Review!” and “Let’s Prepare!” and ends with an assessment of student learning through “Let’s Express Our Understanding!” and “Let’s Close!”. Each lesson includes at least one or more tasks focused on reading (“Let’s Read!”), vocabulary and language (“Let’s Work With Words!”), speaking and listening (“Let’s Discuss!”), or writing (“Let’s Practice!”).  In the “Let’s Close!”, students are provided a summary of the lesson they just completed.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 7, after having read Chapter 5 of the text independently in Lesson 6, reread the chapter with a partner. This rereading gives students the chance to discuss the words and phrases that stand out to them as they study the author’s use of diction. Partners share their findings with the whole class, and afterward students write individual responses to the prompt “How does Gary Paulsen use diction to develop the main character, Brian?” in their reading journal handout.

Indicator 3d

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

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

In every unit, instructors are presented with a scope and sequence that indicates all standards listed within the CCSS for ELA: Reading literature (RL), reading informational (RI), writing (W), speaking and listening (SL), and language (L). When viewing individual lessons standards appear under the title of the lesson, and when accessing lessons, the standards still appear in list format at the top of the lesson, above the slides; however, when instructors hover over the standard, a detailed description from CCSS is provided.

  • In each unit, a Scope and Sequence document is included which identifies which Common Core Standards are addressed in each section of the Unit. For example in the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lessons 1-3 cover the literature standards RL6.1, RL 6.2, RL 6.4, RL 6.6, PL 6.10 and the informational text standards  RI 6.1, RI 6.4, RI 6.7, RI 6.10.
  • For each Cold Read task, the answer key provides the Common Core Standards for each questions. For example, in the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 29, the first question of the Cold Read task measures mastery of RI 6.4 andi 6.10.
  • In each lesson the standards addressed in that particular lesson are listed on every page of the Lesson Plan. For example, in the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 6 covers these standards L.6.5a, L.6.5b, L.6.5c, RL.6.1, RL.6.10, RL.6.3, RL.6.4, RL.6.5, RL.6.6, SL.6.1, SL.6.1a, SL.6.1c, W.6.10, W.6.9. A task in Lesson 6 that incorporates standard RL 6.1 is when students respond to the question “What did Brian’s English teacher, Perpich, teach him?” and in the Teacher Notes the teacher is instructed to “ provide evidence to support their claims (Goal Three).”  Another task including standard RL 6.5 is “Think about this question: What is Brian learning about survival? As you read, make annotations on your sticky notes when you notice parts in the text that help you to respond to that question.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, there are section quizzes with the standards listed for each question in the Teacher’s Notes section. For example, the section two quiz the first question measures Standards RI.6.2. “What is the central idea of the excerpt?”

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 expectation that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.  

With the exception of a few selections from each grade level unit, the materials are presented in a digital format that is interactive and easy to navigate. They are designed with a consistent, clear layout so that teachers and students know what to expect for each unit and lesson. The lessons are presented in a slide format with a slide dedicated to each step of the lesson. Each slide, or “card” as it is referred to in the materials, includes a limited amount of information and uses bullet points and simple visuals to complement this information. Alongside each slide, there are detailed, if not extensive, teaching notes. The font, media size, and type are all easy to read. The materials use symbols and images to complement the activities that are being covered in each lesson. Handouts and graphic organizers are well-designed and easy to read. There is ample room for student answers on all-digital assessment materials.

  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 1, in the student view, students see the title of the lesson and each individual card. Card 1 shows a visual of the cover of the book Hatchet and information on the outcomes of the unit: “You will show you have met the unit goal and understand complex texts by:
    • writing an essay to evaluate Brian’s approach and explain if Hatchet could be used as a survival guide.
    • conducting a presentation explaining a successful survival character trait.
    • reading, discussing, and writing about texts.”
  • In the "Steve Jobs" Unit, a variety of graphic organizers are used to help students gather information from Jobs' Stanford Commencement speech including:
    • A SOAPStone chart that  helps students analyze Jobs' address. The SOAPStone acronym guides students to examine:
    • S: Who is the speaker?
    • O: What is the occasion?
    • A: Who is the audience?
    • P: What is the purpose?
    • S: What is the subject?
    • TONE: What is the tone?

Each step has a question or questions that help the students to think deeply about each question. The chart is clear, easy to read, and includes prompts reminding students to cite evidence as a way of supporting their analysis.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The teacher edition materials include useful implementation support, including detailed lesson plans, extra examples (that are educative when appropriate), and supporting materials for in-class instruction. The rationale for placement and use of the standards and instructional moves are included, as are community- and parent- facing materials to further support implementation.

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 expectation 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.

The materials provide detailed lesson plans for every step of the instructional process. The lessons are designed as slideshows, and as the students view each slide (“card”), the Teacher Edition lists detailed directions for explaining the content of the card and the instruction that goes along with it. Along with directions (Teaching Notes), the materials list “student look-fors,” “supports for differentiation,” “guiding questions and prompts,” and “additional notes.” The Teaching Notes also include links to numerous instructional strategies that can be used in the lesson. In the additional resources section for each unit, teachers have access to “Let’s Set the Context” videos that can be used “for students who need extra support with the content and texts in advance of the unit.”

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 4, Card 3, the “Teaching Notes” list these directions for the teacher: “Read the slide. Briefly explain how this lesson prepares students for another lesson and/or the end-of-unit assessments. Throughout the lesson, compare students’ responses and work to the student look-fors. Determine the students who need additional support with reading, understanding, or expressing their understanding of complex, grade-level texts. During this lesson or before the next lesson, support those students individually or in a small group using the Additional Supports for Diverse Learners.”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 12, Card 5, the “Teaching Notes” list directions and Supports for Differentiation Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc): "If students are not providing answers similar to the Student Look Fors: Ask: How can we analyze Wilbur Wright throughout his letters? Ask: How is Wilbur Wright introduced? What do we learn about him during the events he describes and illustrates through his examples? Ask: What about his letters can give us information about what kind of person he was?"
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, there are three additional videos that teacher can watch or assign to support struggling student. These videos are found in the “Section Resource” in the “Out of the Dust: Let's Set the Context Videos”: “These instructional videos are for students who need extra support with the content and texts in advance of the unit. Assign one or more videos to those selected students to watch on their own on any device.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 3, students are given this question “How does Brian use prior knowledge to guide his decisions at the end of chapter 2? Use evidence from the text to support your response.” The teacher is given detailed steps for the directions for the student task, support for differentiation and student look-fors as the students complete the task in the “Teaching Notes.”

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation 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.

Instructors are presented with a large body of supporting materials to improve knowledge of the subject including all LearnZillion “Understanding the Curriculum” Guidebook supports. Teachers are also presented with extensive “Teaching notes” that accompany every lesson included within the unit; this includes prompting, explanations, and tips. Within the “Teaching Notes,” teachers are provided with how-to guides, research, examples for certain reading /discussion strategies. Within each lesson, instructors are also given student exemplar responses, especially for larger, writing projects so that instructors understand the task presented to students and the level at which students should perform.

  • Within the “Understanding the Curriculum” Guidebook,  instructors are presented with the following Guidebook supports: “What’s in the curriculum? How are the materials designed for the classroom? How do the materials support all learners? How do I prepare to teach Guidebooks? How do I customize the curriculum to meet my districts unique needs?” All Guidebooks present instructors with teaching strategies and research-based approaches on how to deliver content to students. Instructors are also presented with a “Unit at-a-glance” in every unit, and in this section of the unit, instructors are presented with the following supports: Unit goal, scope and sequence, assessment overview, text access, and text complexity and vocabulary analysis.
  • In each individual lesson, instructors are presented with “Teaching Notes” on the right hand side; they are formatted in a bulleted list. For example, within the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 7, the Teaching Notes are as follows for Slide four: "Say: Before I begin reading aloud, complete the 'Title' section of the TP-CASTT handout. Make a prediction of what the poem might be about based on the title. After students write a prediction, say: Since the title of the poem is 'To Failure,' you might have predicted that the poem is about failure. Since the word 'to' is in front of 'failure,' the author might be speaking to failure.’”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 5, on Slide 4, in the “Teaching Notes”, teachers are given supplemental information on each instructional strategy presented: Accountable Talk, Summarizing, and Reading Logs. The strategies are hyperlinked to an explanation, implementation steps, research to support each strategy, and other supplemental information such as videos to show the strategy being used in a classroom. This information would be helpful if teachers are not familiar with the strategies being used.
  • Within each lesson presented, there are tabs presented above the presentation: Lesson plan, Additional materials, and About this lesson. Within the “Additional materials” tab, instructors are often presented with complete, exemplar student examples so that instructors are able to evaluate student performance as students complete assignments. This is even referenced in the “Teaching notes” to the right hand side of the presentation within “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 7: “Throughout the lesson, compare students’ responses and work to the student look-fors to determine the students who need additional support with reading, understanding, or expressing their understanding of complex, grade-level texts. During this lesson or before the next lesson, support those students individually or in a small group using the Additional Supports for Diverse Learners.” In the “About this lesson” tab, instructors are also presented with an overview of the lesson so that they may apply backwards planning based strategies. For example from “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 7: “Students will read 'To Failure,’ by Philip Larkin, and analyze the figurative and connotative meanings to determine the message of the poem.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lesson 10, on the right side each, card in the “Teaching Notes” is included. Listed in the “Teaching Notes” section, there are the following items: directions for the teacher to teach the lesson, a suggested pacing guide, supports for diverse students and students look-fors. There are even scripted questions and statements that the teacher may follow: "Say: As you read with your partner, think about what challenges Brian faces and how he responds to these challenges. Pause to record annotations on your sticky notes as you read.”

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 expectation that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

The materials state that “The goal for the LearnZillion Guidebook units is to ensure that all students read, understand, and express their understanding of complex, grade-level texts…[and] for all instruction to meet the standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language.” The materials provide extensive supports for teachers in the “Understanding LearnZillion Guidebooks” section. These support materials include “What is in the curriculum?” which details the unit and lesson designs; ‘How are the materials designed for the classroom?” which outlines the instructional framework, including approaches to whole-class instruction, small-group instruction, and independent reading; “How do the materials support all learners?” which offers guiding principles for diverse learners and identifies supports for reading, writing and language, and speaking and listening for all students during whole-class instruction and small group instruction; “How do I prepare to teach Guidebooks?” which provides step-by-step instructions, a roadmap template for instruction, and a resource library; and “How do I customize the curriculum to meet my district’s unique needs?” which explains how to modify the content of the materials to suit one’s needs.

The Scope and Sequence document for each unit lists each of the Common Core State Standards for the appropriate grade span and indicates each section that each of the standards is included. Each lesson includes a list of standards included in the lesson. The standards are listed by code, but the teacher can hover his/her cursor over each code to reveal the wording of the entire standard.

  • The materials  “English Language Arts Framework” states, “The lessons in each LearnZillion Guidebook unit are meant to be taught as whole-class instruction. During this time, all students should meet grade-level standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language with complex texts.”
  • “The guidebooks approach to support” lists “Guiding Principles for Diverse Learners,” including “All students should regularly engage with rich, authentic grade-appropriate complex texts.”

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 expectation that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

Within the “Understanding the Curriculum” section, instructors are presented with the following Guidebook supports: “What’s in the curriculum?” “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” “How do the materials support all learners?” “How do I prepare to teach Guidebooks?” and “How do I customize the curriculum to meet my districts unique needs?” All of these resources include explicit explanations of the instructional approaches of the program. The research-based strategies included in the curriculum are listed and cited throughout the program. All units within the program utilize a backwards design approach and teach to CCSS. Explanations include research-based strategies of whole class, small group, and independent reading. Also, supplemental texts and anchor texts are provided with “Text Access” that includes a Reading Guide paired with works cited and a “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” per anchor text. Within the Teaching Notes of each lesson, research-based instructional strategies are included in which they are hyperlinked for easy access for the teacher with explanations, implementation steps, research, and videos of the strategy being used.

  • At the close of “What’s in the Curriculum?” section, “instructors are presented with a list of writing and reading resources are made available to represent how this Guidebook was created to support the strategies listed within the Guidebook. For example, one of the reading resources is as follows: “Beers, K., & Probst, R. (2012). Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading. Heinemann.”
  • Within the “What’s in the Curriculum” section, in the “Unit Design” section, the rereading strategy is presented and explained in the following statement: “In a section, students might read the same text multiple times across several lessons or students might read several texts to extract evidence and ideas to complete a task, such as writing an essay, delivering a formal presentation, or engaging in a Socratic Seminar.”
  • In the “How do the materials support all learners?” section, the program list the research that supports that all learners must “regularly engage with rich, authentic grade-appropriate complex texts” and that “Instructional supports should not supplant or compromise rigor or content.”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 5, on Slide 4, in the Teaching Notes, teachers are given supplemental information on each instructional strategy presented: Accountable Talk, Summarizing and Reading Logs. The strategies are hyperlinked to an explanation, implementation steps, research to support each strategy and other supplemental information such as videos to show the strategy being used in a classroom. This information would be helpful if teachers are not familiar with the strategies being used.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation 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 materials offer extensive assistance for teachers within their classroom and outside of their classroom when dealing with stakeholders, specifically the "How do the materials support all learners?" Guidebook. Also, there is a “Family Resources” section in individual unit that informs parents of what their students are learning and how they might help their children at home gain skills, read independently, and discuss topics happening within the ELA classroom. Teachers also have the autonomy to print materials, utilize G Suite, or use the LearnZillion digital platform to assign materials and assignment to students; so, parents have easy access to all documentation.

  • In the LearnZillion “How do the materials support all learners?” Guidebook, the following goal is presented: “The goal of LearnZillion Guidebooks Language Arts is for all students to read, understand, and express their understanding of complex, grade-level texts. To ensure that all students, including those who struggle, are able to reach this goal, a teacher must support students throughout the instructional process.”
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “If Stones Could Speak: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” For example parents are given questions to discuss throughout the unit. For example. “What is an artifact? How do you know?”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “ Steve Jobs: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” Parents are given an overview of the assessments the students will be taking in the unit. For example, “Culminating Writing Task​: Your child will bring together all her learning near the end of the unit by writing an essay in response to the prompt: ​Compare and contrast how a central idea in Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address and J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address is introduced and elaborated on.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “ Hatchet: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” For example parents are given additional text suggestion relating to the topic of the unit. For example, in this unit, Dogsong by Gary Paulsen and The Black Cat by Scott O’Dell are listed as possible additional texts for independent reading.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “ Out of the Dust: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” For example, parents are given additional text suggestion relating to the topic of the unit and an explanation of what independent reading should look like at home. "Prioritize reading. Protect time every day for reading (weekends and school breaks too!). Before bedtime is a great time to read.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress, incorporating varying levels of formative assessment opportunities and types, culminating tasks in writing and reading, and extension tasks that are identified to support specific standards as they are taught, practiced, and applied. Routines and materials for monitoring progress are also included. However, the materials only partially support teachers in unpacking and using this information once students demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

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 expectation that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Each of the five units is divided into sections and lessons, and assessments are built in at each level. Each lesson ends in a formative assessment called, “Let’s Express Our Understanding,” and teachers can use the outcomes from these written tasks, handouts, or discussions to inform their instruction moving forward. Digital quizzes at the end of sections assess the knowledge that students have accumulated, and the format of the quizzes provide practice for the students on the structure of standardized tests. At the end of each unit, students complete three assessments: a Culminating Writing task, a Cold Read task, and an Extension task. For the culminating writing task, “students synthesize the topics, themes, and ideas of the unit into a written product such as an essay, narrative or article.” The Cold Read task requires that “students read a new text or two related to the unit topic and answer multiple-choice questions as well as respond to a writing prompt.” For the Extension task, “students extend what they have learned in the unit to make connections between their learning and their lives through a narrative or personal essay or between their learning and the world through research about a related topic.”

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, after Lesson 6, students take a quiz after having completed the first two sections of instruction. This quiz covers the first three texts that students have read and studied: the informational piece “Archaeology 101" by the Archaeological Institute of America, the poem "Travel" by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the video "What is Archaeology?". Students answer multiple choice questions and order and organize information to practice the skills they learned.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, after Lesson 29, students take a section 6 and 7 quiz. The quiz “assesses students’ retention of knowledge based on what was taught and read in sections 6 and 7 of the Guidebook unit Out of the Dust.” Options for teachers are also given: It is “up to the teacher to give students access to the text(s) or not when administering the assessment. Similarly, the teacher can decide whether or not students may use their filled in graphic organizers from this section.”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, Lesson 33, students complete a Cold Read task: “Students read 'Identity.' Then students answer a combination of questions.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, students complete a Culminating Writing task after completing the anchor text, Hatchet. They write a multi-paragraph essay with a claim, reasoning, and evidence in response to the prompt: “Select an event from Hatchet. What did Brian do to aid or hinder his survival? Does Hatchet have instructional value as a survival guide?”

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 expectation that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The following assessments are included throughout all units: Daily formative assessments, section quizzes, culminating writing tasks, extension tasks, and cold read tasks. Within every unit, an assessment overview is included detailing and overviewing the purpose for all types of assessments including writing rubrics with CCSS language dictating the scoring categories. Also, when clicking on the drop down menu for each section of lessons, under each individual lesson lists specifically which standards are learned and utilized. When clicking on each individual lesson, hovering over the standards offers the full CCSS description for instructors, as well. This is standard for all lessons; however, this also occurs for lessons that include assessments--including larger assessments that span over the course of entire sections (e.g. culminating writing task, extension task, etc.).

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, after Section 1, every question on the quiz is connected with a particular standard. The Standard(s) are denoted in the teacher notes section on each slide. Card 3 of 8 is Question 1 and the standard that the question addresses is RI.6.2, RI.6.1.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 39, the students complete a Cold Read task. In the Cold Read task, the standards that are being assessed are denoted in the lesson plan. The standards are RI.6.1, RI.6.10, RI.6.2, RI.6.3, RI.6.4, RL.6.1, RL.6.10, RL.6.2, RL.6.3.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 30, located in the “Assessment Overview” is the following Culminating Writing task: “Students continue the writing process by editing and publishing an essay to answer the prompt: Write an essay that explains how the author introduces and elaborates his central idea and purpose.” The standards listed are as follows: L.6.1a, L.6.1c, L.6.1d, L.6.2a, L.6.2b, L.6.3a, L.6.3b, L.6.6, RI.6.1, W.6.10, W.6.2a, W.6.2b, W.6.2c, W.6.2d, W.6.2e, W.6.2f, W.6.5, W.6.6.

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. Teachers receive guidance within each lesson through the teaching notes which include “student look fors” that teachers can use as models of quality grade-level responses. Student exemplars are provided for culminating writing tasks and extension tasks, and writing rubrics are available as well. Although teachers can assess the answers to quizzes and Cold Read tasks, it is unclear how teachers assess the results of the students’ completion of these tasks, how this information is organized, and whether it is easy for teachers to use the information to interpret student performance and therefore inform instruction. In the “HELP” section, reports are provided which show the percentage correct. Teachers are not provided with “next steps” if students do not meet the standards.

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 4, Card 6, students are given a quote from the text “Archaeology 101”: “Often, these objects are buried and must be excavated before they can be studied,” and they are asked “What is the meaning of the word 'excavated' as it is used in the text?” In the Teaching Notes, the “student look-fors” are listed:
    • Students should be discussing the meaning of the word “excavate” with a partner.
    • Students should define “excavated” as: To engage in digging out the material or hollowing out something.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, in the Section 3 quiz, students are asked to read a poem from Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and answer the question: “Which two words would you choose to describe the tone of this poem?” In the Teaching Notes, teachers can click on the phrase “view scoring guidance” which opens another window that contains the exemplar student response: “The speaker of this poem has a depressed tone. When she lists all of the objects she has treasured during her childhood—what she calls ‘the gatherings of my life’—her tone is sad and depressed because she wishes she could still be the young, carefree child she was before her Ma passed away. Toward the end of the poem, her tone is regretful because she wishes she had gone through the boxes with her Ma when she still had the chance. Now, she says, her hands hurt, and she hasn’t ‘got the heart.’ She sounds depressed and regretful because she misses her Ma terribly.”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 36, students complete an Extension task. In the additional materials there is a rubric and an exemplar for the teacher to use. The Extension task rubric is on a scale of 0-3 and covers writing conventions, reading and understanding about the text, and writing about the text.

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 expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The LearnZillion Guidebooks provide teacher a multitude of guidance and opportunities to monitor student progress. Each unit provides daily formative assessments, section quizzes, a Cold-Read task, a Culminating Writing task, and an Extension task. When considered as a whole unit, students are assessed in a variety of ways, including multiple choice, short answer, extended response, essay writing, and performance task. Rubrics and student exemplars are often included in the teacher and student materials. The online quizzes upload to a teacher report that can be used to monitor student progress. Daily lessons have “look-fors” in the “Teaching Notes” for teachers to monitor daily instruction and provide extra scaffolding if needed.

  • Each lesson can be assigned to a student or many students by clicking on the “Quick Assign” button in the Learnzillion Teacher’s Guidebook. Once students have completed an assessment, the teacher can view the results. The results are color-coded to indicate proficiency.
  • Each Grade 6 Unit is designed to provide formative and summative assessments. Including daily formative assessments, section quizzes, Cold Read task, Culminating Writing task and Extension task.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, the “Teacher’s Notes”, “Student Look Fors” instruct the teacher to “compare students’ responses and work to the student look-fors. Determine the students who need additional support with reading, understanding, or expressing their understanding of complex, grade-level texts.”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, every section ends with a type of assessment. This creates a variety of assessments for the unit’s CCSS. Sections 1, 3, and 6 end with a section quiz. Sections 2, 5, 8 and 9 end with a task. Sections 4 and 7 end with a Cold Read task.
  • In "Hatchet" Unit, after Lesson 14, students respond to a writing prompt to check for understanding: “Respond to this question in your reading journal handout: Based on what you know about Brian so far, do you think he will survive? Why or why not? What evidence in the text makes you think this?”
  • In "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" Unit, a 6-8 writing rubric, and a student exemplar for the Culminating Writing task and the Extension task is provided.

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Both Guidebooks, “What’s in the curriculum?” and “How are the materials designed for the classroom?”, present supports for giving students choice including independent reading. The texts were “selected for Guidebook units based on three main criteria: diversity, authenticity, and complexity.” A “Reading Guide” is also provided through “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” that reinforces “accountability for independent reading is necessary, but it should also not be cumbersome for students, as one of the goals of engaging students in independent reading is to increase their enjoyment in reading.” In many lessons, independent reading is accompanied by a graphic organizer such as a Split-Page Note Catcher or a Vocabulary Log. In all research lessons and sections throughout all units, students must choose texts from a teacher provided list or research different texts and resources on their own; many independent reading choices support Extension task efforts. Also, students, instructors, and especially parents are presented with a family resources guide specific to each individual unit that reinforces independent reading within the home; a list of fiction and nonfiction texts are presented that tie back in with the Unit Goal for students to read to deepen understanding and promote stamina, confidence, and motivation within the classroom.

  • In The Reading Guidebook which is available to Grade 6 teachers, a section on “Volume of Reading” list ways to support independent reading within the program. This section supports the idea that “it is essential that students are engaged in reading lots of texts throughout their K-12 experience, both during class and on their own.” Included in the “Resource Library” are resources for implementing a “Reading Log” for independent reading including tips for implementation and videos.
  • Each unit has a PDF form that list ways that families can support learners at home. In this “Family Resource” there is a section titled “What does independent reading look like at home?” This list suggestions finding time to read, choosing books to read, and how to discuss the independent reading with their student. This section informs parent that independent reading will help “build your child’s confidence with reading, her reading stamina and reading achievement, and will help her do better in school.” This resource includes a list of potential additional texts that support the topic of the unit. For example in the “Steve Jobs” Unit, the text Second-Chance Soccer by Thomas Kingsley Troupe is listed as a potential additional text.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, students are given a “Summarizing Chapters Handout,” “Tracking Theories Handout,” and a “Vocabulary Log” to use during reading to hold students accountable for their reading of the text, If Stones Could Speak.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, students use a multitude of graphic organizers such as the Split-Page Note Catcher, Vocabulary Log, and a Dust Bowl Timeline. These graphic organizers hold students accountable for their reading in class.

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.
8/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials meet expectations for supporting learners who may struggle and /or need alternate inputs, although extension supports for those who demonstrate above level proficiency inconsistent. The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that 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 expectation that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

Each unit includes “Let’s Set the Context” videos that are designed to support students who need help understanding the content and texts before beginning a unit. Each video is paired with a handout that students use to record their understanding of the video. The “Teaching Notes” for lessons often provide “Supports for Differentiation” that guide teachers in knowing how to respond when students are not “providing answers similar to the Student Look-Fors.” Units also include a page titled “Additional Supports for Diverse Learners” which contains information on how to support learners before reading the text with foundational skills, reading fluency, and knowledge demands and during reading the text with support for language, engaging in academic discussions, expressing understanding in writing, and developing language proficiency.

  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, in the “More resources for this unit” section, there are three videos that are designed to help students who need additional support understand the context of the unit’s anchor text. Each of the videos is paired with a handout that students use to record their understanding at key points in the video. The topics for the unit include “The North Woods of Canada,” “Survival,” and “Surviving an Avalanche.”
  • For those students needing more support outside the grade-level lesson, LearnZillion recommends a small-group structure in addition to the main lesson: “This may be intervention for students below grade level and/or additional time and supports for diverse learners. Groups should be flexible and change size and composition often based on students’ needs.” Suggestions for the small groups included, but are not limited to engage in independent reading on their instructional level or language, engage in targeted reading or writing foundational skills or participate in additional instruction.
  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 8, there is a section when the students move to group work that gives these additional instructions: Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc.): "Ask: Did you identify the same places in the film? Were the places you identified in the same columns? Were there places in the film where the line between realistic and unrealistic was blurred?”
  • Additional Resources are provided for teachers to work with students that need more support. An audio of many of the text are provided. In every unit there is a Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis that provide teachers the information on where the complexity lies in the text, and possible vocabulary to instruct. In every unit is a section called “Let’s Set the Context” with videos to provide additional background knowledge for students who need that type of support. There are “Section Supports” within the Units that provide foundational support for students. There are also additional writing, and grammar instruction available in the “ELA Instructional Videos: WriteAlong and more.”

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

Teachers are presented with the “How do the materials support all learners?” Guidebook which provides many big picture approaches to how instructors can support diverse learners in whole class instruction and small group instruction with reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening. Once instructors begin teaching lessons that appear within their respective sections, each section provides a “Section Supports” specific to each section within the unit; this includes language and fluency supports that require students to read texts already read in class or that represent the same ideas as the Unit Goal. Within all lessons instructors are presented with “Teaching Notes.” This section includes additional assistance and direction for diverse learners are presented under the section titled “Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc).” Also, “Let’s Set the Context Videos” are provided for students who need extra support with the content and texts in advance of the unit. Teachers may assign one or more videos to those selected students to watch on their own on any device. Students encounter stopping signs across the video when they pause to complete part of a handout. Students need a printed handout for each video.

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 11, students must “use textual evidence to support a claim.” Within the “Teaching Notes,” while students reread “Letters of Wilbur Wright” by Wilbur Wright independently, the following support is listed under the section titled “Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc)”: “Support individuals with less reading proficiency in reading the text. Choral read the text.” And, “if students need support with the vocabulary of the text, give students access to a visual dictionary for Wright Brothers.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Section 1, the instructor is presented with “Section Supports.” In “Section Supports,” the following supports are outlined and detailed for instructors: “Before the Section,” which includes support for knowledge demands and support for language “During the Section,” which includes support for explicit language teaching and support for meaning that also references the “Additional Materials” of the lesson “Fluency Task,” which lists seven steps. Examples of the steps include: “5. Throughout the week, direct students who need fluency practice to read the passage at least 3 times a day for a week for a fluent reader, who documents the student has read aloud the text. 7. At the end of the week, ask students to read aloud the [Section 1 Fluency Task] for an audience of their peers.” The “Vocabulary Task” is a protocol for explicitly teaching vocabulary that requires diverse learners to complete a vocabulary task. The “Mentor Sentence Language Task” is a protocol for teaching with mentor sentences that requires diverse learners to complete a mentor sentence language task.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 24, students “examine themes across genres.” On one slide, students are presented with a photo and asked the following: “What is the subject/topic? What does the photographer wish to communicate about the subject/topic?” The following support is listed under the section titled “Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc)”: "If students are not providing answers similar to the Student Look-Fors: Ask: What exactly was the photographer taking pictures of? Ask: What do you suppose was the subject the photographer intended to document? Ask: Pay attention to the emotional reaction you have when you look at the photographs. What is it? Ask: What messages do you receive as a viewer of the photographs?”

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the expectation that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The “Family Resources” document provides information for families about each unit, including a list of suggested reading if parents would like to “deepen your and your child’s knowledge on the topic being studied.” Other than the information on the “Family Resources” document, there are no apparent opportunities for students to engage in extensions of their learning.

  • In the "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, the “Family Resources” document provides parents with a list of suggested texts if they would like to “deepen your and your child’s knowledge on the topic being studied.”
    • Solving the Mysteries of the Past by Gerald Aksomitis
    • The Lost Colony of Roanoke by Caitie Mcaneney
    • Human Migration: Investigate the Global Journey of Humankind by Judy Dodge Cummings
    • Shackles for the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, A Bitter Past, And a Rich Legacy by Michael Cottman
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, the “Family Resources” document provides parents with a list of suggested texts if they would like to “deepen your and your child’s knowledge on the topic being studied.”
    • The Struggle to Be Strong: True Stories by Teens About Overcoming Tough Times by Al and Sybil Wolin Desetta
    • The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
    • Every Day After by Laura Golden
    • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

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 expectation that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Within both Guidebooks, “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” and “How do the materials support all learners?”, grouping strategies are presented to instructors including small group, whole group, pairs, and individual settings. Within every lesson, instructors are presented with “Teaching Notes” that include specific grouping strategies and reference helpful documentation, such as the conversation stems learning tool.

  • In "If Stones Could Speak" Unit, Lesson 5, students review “Types & Processes of Archaeology.” On the slide, students are presented with an excerpt from a text and the question, “What is the meaning of the word ‘conserve’?” In the “Teaching Notes” it provides the following grouping supports: “Assign students to partners using an established classroom routine….Explain to students that using context clues and looking for root words can help us to understand the meaning of words and phrases. Instruct students to turn and talk with a partner, discussing their answer...Prompt pairs to use the conversation stems learning tool as they discuss.”
  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lesson 1, the lesson begins with whole class instruction as the teacher gives an overview of the unit goals then launches a video for the class to watch. After the video, there is a whole class discussion. The teacher then reads a text aloud and students work in pairs to respond to the text. Lastly, the students work individually to write a paragraph about the video and/or the text.
  • In the "Out of the Dust" Unit, Lesson 5, students conduct research on the drought years. The teacher reads the text out loud then guides the students through a whole-class discussion. Then she pairs students to continue the discussion. She reads aloud to them again, and afterward the students reread the text in pairs and discuss it. Lastly, students complete an individual writing assignment on the text in their reading logs.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The Learnzillion materials operate on multiple platforms, and utilize technology to enhance (rather than detract from) student learning. Options for customizing the materials for local use are available, although specific personalized learning supports aren’t present. Digital collaboration is not fully integrated into this program for peer-to-peer nor teacher-to-class engagement.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The Learnzillion materials are accessible on multiple platforms and devices. The program is compatible with the browsers Microsoft Edge, Mozilla firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. It is compatible with Microsoft, Apple, and Google operating systems. It will function on Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch models, Google Android devices, Chromebook devices, and windows tablets.

All digital materials, including documents, slide decks, and videos, were accessible on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The digital format is clear and easy to read. The navigation on all devices were smooth and straightforward. The LearnZillion platform is accessible and usable on a Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhones. Navigation on the mobile device is clear and straightforward. The digital image was clear and easy to read on the mobile device. The site worked on different browsers even though the recommended browser is Google Chrome.

Indicator 3t

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

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

The LearnZillion platform is almost exclusively online, which presents opportunities to provide effective use of technology to enhance the learning process. Instructors are presented with the Guidebook “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” that provides WriteAlong videos for support for students. All lessons are presented via a slideshow that include various photos, such as novel covers, various types of media--photos included--and, cartoon images of students participating that cover a wide range of student ethnicities and cultures. Students also can access “Let’s Set the Context Videos”;  students also are able to utilize audio read alongs for anchor texts and various supplemental texts.

  • Within the Guidebook, “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” instructors are presented with “interactive WriteAlong videos for targeted writing and grammar interventions, as well as other short (3-10 minute) videos intended for teacher and student use focused on targeted concepts and skills. Organized by topic.”
  • All lessons provide a Powerpoint presentation that include various photos, such as novel covers, various types of media--photos included--and, cartoon images of students participating that cover a wide range of student ethnicities and cultures.
  • Instructors can also present “Let’s Set the Context Videos”: “These instructional videos are for students who need extra support with the content and texts in advance of the unit. Assign one or more videos to those selected students to watch on their own on any device. Students encounter stopping signs across the video when they pause to complete part of a handout. Students need a printed handout for each video.”
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, Lessons 32-38, the students complete the Extension task. In the Extension task, they complete research and create a multimedia presentation that will be shared with the class. The presentation comes with a rubric where a focused area is multimedia components.
  • In "The Witch of Blackberry Pond" Unit, Lesson 9, students read an informational text about Puritan life and practice finding the central idea and supporting that idea with text evidence. An audio recording of “Puritan Laws and Character” by Henry William Elson is embedded in the lesson.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
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Indicator 3u.i

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

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

Aside from a small portion of the texts being available via audio or video, the materials do not provide any other opportunities for personalized learning through adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers are able to “quick assign” tasks to a whole class or individual students.

  • In the “Steve Jobs” Unit, Lessons 1-5, an audio recording of Steve Job’s Commencement address is available through a link to an outside website.
  • In the "Hatchet" Unit, there is a link to an audio version of the text on an outside retail audiobook source, but the students would have to sign up for a free 30-day trial or purchase the audiobook to access it.
  • In all units, teachers are able to “Quick Assign” by clicking on any lesson, selecting the pink “Quick Assign” button in the top right corner next to the lesson title. The LearnZillion code and assignment URL appears. Teachers are able to copy the LearnZillion code or the assignment URL and share it with students by class or individually.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

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

Within the “LearnZillion Guidebooks” tab, instructors and stakeholders are presented with the Guidebook, “How do I customize the curriculum to meet my district’s unique needs?” This Guidebook provides examples of how school districts can customize for local use through the almost exclusively online platform; mainly considering the online platform, materials remain up-to-date and extremely adaptable.

  • LearnZillion provides a section in the Guidebooks on how to customize the program to meet district initiatives and priorities. “How do I customize the curriculum to meet my district's unique needs? Using customization to support all teachers and students.” Districts are provided with information on how to customize the content. They can “add, edit, rearrange or remove pages, lessons, slides, documents and more with just a few clicks.” In this way any priority can be easily added into existing content.
  • Videos showing that district teachers engaging in a learning strategy or protocol can be easily uploaded. “A regular stream of new videos can spotlight teachers who have newly mastered the teaching strategy and use it effectively with their students.”
  • Any additional content can be easily added into the lesson, so teachers do not need to go to an additional place to see the additions. “Revised lessons and the associated teaching notes that actually embed this instructional strategy at the right moment, providing teachers with an active learning context that is consistently reinforced over the course of a Guidebook.”
  • Additional resources from LearnZillion can be used in order for teachers to “leverage this opportunity by using their ability to customize the LearnZillion Guidebooks.”

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.).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).

The materials do not include a collaboration platform but do include directions on integrating LearnZillion into Google Classroom. No directions are given on using Google Classroom as a collaborative tool, but Google Classroom does have a collaborative tool as a discussion board (stream) in which students have the ability to comment and/or communicate with each other. A teacher has the ability to assign, share, and grade an assignment using a LearnZillion code or link. This code works in any browser. LearnZillion does not allow students to collaborate within its platform but does integrate in other technology platforms.

  • Outside Technology Integration
    • Sync your SIS classes/roster through Clever
    • Integrate LearnZillion with your LMS
    • Integrating LearnZillion with D2L Brightspace
    • Integrating LearnZillion with Canvas
    • Integrating LearnZillion with Schoology
    • Integrating LearnZillion with Blackboard
    • Creating a Common Cartridge on LearnZillion
    • Import Content from Common Cartridge into your Canvas Course
  • Under the “Help” tab a person can click on “Assignments and Reporting” and under that tab one can find “How do I assign, share and grade an assignment.” When one clicks this hyperlink, step-by-step directions are provided.
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 04/02/2019

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
LearnZillion Guidebooks English Language Arts Curriculum Student Unit Reader Grade 6 978-1-5066-9915-8 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Student Handouts - Grade 6 978-1-5939-9516-4 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Curriculur License Grade 6 - 1 Year 978-1-9492-3364-3 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Curriculur License and Student Handouts Grade 6 - 1 Year 978-1-9492-3382-7 LearnZillion 2018

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

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

Advancing Through Gateways

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

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

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

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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