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 7. 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 7 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 7 meet the expectation that anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading.

Materials include a mix of informational and literary texts, consider a range of student interests, and are relevant for a variety of purposes. Authors of the anchor texts are accomplished writers in their various fields. The selections are content-rich and range in topic,  based on each Unit Goal related to topics ranging from anthropology to slavery. Texts directly support students as they seek to address each unit goal through various formative and summative activities.   

Anchor texts and text sets include a mix of genres, including novels, verse novels, informational texts, speeches, biographies, and excerpts from larger works:

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit,  students read the nonfiction text Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker. Walker has composed works of literature for over 20 years. Students experience anthropologists walking through the process of investigating human remains via colonial-era sites to unearth the causes of death, uncover the historical stories of each remain, and determine characteristics of skeletal remains, such as gender. The presence of this text supports the Unit Goal.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, students read the fiction text, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which is an iconic story known throughout the world. This canonical text supports students understanding of the Unit Goal, where students evaluate “selflessness and valuing people over material possessions.” The author is also a world-renowned writer, and one that students will continue to experience through all grades in middle school and high school.
  • In "The Giver" Unit,  students read the fiction novel, The Giver, by Lois Lowry. The novel is composed an American writer who has composed over forty children's books. Lowry has two Newbery Medals, one for The Giver in 1994. The novel follows Jonas, a twelve-year-old boy in a dystopian world. Many Grade 7 students will be able to empathize with the character given his situation and age.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, students read the nonfiction essay, "How to Write a Memoir," by William Zinsser. This text is full of helpful guidelines for creating a memoir, with suggestions on selection of research, what a student’s focus should be, and how to best utilize rhetorical strategies like voice and tone. Zinsser is recognized as a writer, editor, and teacher. He has written for the New York Herald Tribune and has regularly written for other leading magazines.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, students read the biography, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley. The author was born a slave and purchased her freedom; she became head of the Domestic Science Department at Wilberforce University in Ohio. The biography was first attacked considering its content, and details slave life becoming a privileged witness to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The text essentially combines a memoir, perhaps political, with slave narrative.

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

Core texts include a mix and variety of of informational and literary texts integrated throughout every unit. Text include historical fiction, poetry, informational texts, journal articles, speeches, photos, and letters. Including all five units, the distribution of texts is roughly 57% literary and 43% informational.

The following are examples of literature:

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 5, a poem, “Ode to the Virginian Voyage” by Michael Drayton.
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, Lesson 1, a short story, “Treasure of Lemon Brown” by Walter Dean Myers.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 22, a song, “Imagine” by John Lennon.
  • In “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 19, a short story, “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes.
  • In "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 28, a poem, “O Captain, My Captain” by Walt Whitman.

The following are examples of informational text:

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 41, a video, "30,000 Skeletons" by Smithsonian Education.
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, Lesson 11, an informational article, “The History of Christmas” by British Broadcasting Channel (BBC).
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 45, a speech, Newbery Acceptance Speech, June 1994 by Lois Lowry.
  • In “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 34, a website FAQ, "Advice for Writers" by Rick Riordan.
  • In "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 32, an informational article, “A Fitting Friendship Between Dressmaker and Mary Todd Lincoln” by Jeanne Kolker.

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 7 meet the criteria 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 and 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 aforementioned are rated with the following scale for the Grade 7 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 “How do the materials support all learners?” Guidebook 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:

  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland (nonfiction) by Sally M. Walker. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 1140L, and is rated based on the following categories and ratings: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose, rated moderately complex; Text Structure/Organization, rated moderately complex; Language Features, rated moderately complex; and Prior Knowledge Demands rated moderately complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that the story emerges from the archaeological forensics. ELL students and students reading below grade level may need additional scaffolding to understand the story the author infers from weaving pieces together.
  • Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (biography) by Elizabeth Keckley. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 1100L- 1200L, and is rated based on the following categories and ratings: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose rated moderately complex; Text Structure/Organization rated at slightly complex; Language Features, rated at exceedingly complex; and Prior Knowledge Demands which is rated moderately complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference indicates that “Reluctant readers may struggle to find a purpose for reading this historical text, and lack impetus to read some of the more mundane events. For this reason, students may benefit from a basic understanding of the people and the time period before beginning the reading so they make connections between the people they encounter in the reading and important historical events, and more fully appreciate the value of the text as a primary source of interesting historical information.” The Potential Reader/Task Challenges also reference that “Students will need to interpret figurative language in the form of metaphors in order to fully understand the text,” and that they “may struggle with archaic language in the form of vocabulary and expressions, which may impede their understanding.”
  • A Christmas Carol (fiction) by Charles Dickens. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 560L, and is rated based on the following categories and ratings: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose rated moderately complex; Text Structure/Organization rated slightly complex; Language Features rated very complex; and Prior Knowledge Demands rated moderately complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that students might struggle “foremost with the complexity of the sentences and archaic references and language,” and students “will need some historical and geographical context to understand some of the jobs and social relationships of the characters, as well as to understand some of the spelling and use of words that are specifically English in nature.”
  • The Giver (fiction), Lois Lowry. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 760L, and is rated based on the following categories and ratings: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose rated moderately complex; Text Structure/Organization rated slightly complex; Language Features rated slightly complex; and Prior Knowledge Demands rated slightly complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that the “culminating writing task asks students to identify how the main character’s experiences develop a theme, which will require that they acknowledge how the main character reacts to events and other characters over the course of the entire novel. Some students may find the sheer scope of that task a daunting one.”
  • How to Write a Memoir (nonfiction/essay), William Zinsser. Based on the text complexity analysis provided, the Lexile of this anchor text is 760L, and is rated on the following categories and ratings: Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose rated moderately complex; Text Structure/Organization rated very complex; Language Features rated very complex; and Prior Knowledge Demands rated moderately complex. The Potential Reader/Task Challenges reference that students “may be unfamiliar with nonfiction essays in which writers write about their craft. This type of ‘how-to’ text may require some framing prior to reading,” students “need to understand the use of dashes,” and students may not understand the author’s “personal experiences as an adult writer; he provides anecdotes which [they] likely won’t relate to.”

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 7 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. 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. For example:

  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
    • Lexile: 1140L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: moderately complex
    • Language Features: moderately complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: the analysis that occurs during archaeological forensics and the story is inferred from this work may be challenging for some students to understand, particularly English language learners and students reading below grade level

In this unit, students engage in close reading to determine the meaning of unknown vocabulary, identify conclusions reached as a result of the archaeologists’ work, and to seek out evidence to support claims made by the archaeologists about their findings. In Lesson 29, students complete the explanatory writing culminating task: “The idea that forensic anthropologists explore bones to tell the stories of the past is developed throughout Written in Bone. What is another central idea of the text? How are both ideas developed over the course of the text?” To assist students in this task, students are given an evidence chart with the following prompts that they must give response to: “Central Idea: How does the author develop this central idea? Text evidence? How does this evidence support how the author develops the central idea?” There are two sections within this evidence chart, so students are to identify two central ideas and respond to all questions within the evidence chart based on both central ideas created.

  • The Giver
    • Lexile: 760L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: slightly complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: slightly complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: the culminating task requires students to identify how the main character’s experiences develop a theme over the course

In The Giver Lessons 1 and 2, students are introduced to the unit goal of “reading dystopian literature and related informational texts to understand how individual perspectives are shaped by knowledge and memory and to determine whether perfection is worth the sacrifice.” They begin reading the novel, determine word meanings in context and their connotations, and analyze the text’s setting as a point of entry into the text. In Lesson 14, students preview and select an independent reading novel to accompany their study of The Giver. They revisit and discuss the essential questions of the unit: “What makes an ideal society? How much should the government be able to control/ limit your individual rights for the benefit of society? In what ways are we influenced by our society? How can one person impact his/her society?” in preparation for reading and analyzing the new text and eventually comparing and contrasting it with The Giver. In Lesson 39, students begin preparations for the extension task which requires the students to “compare and contrast the theme of your [independent reading] novel with the theme of The Giver...and work with a small group of your peers to create a multimedia presentation to compare and contrast the theme of your novel with the theme of The Giver.”

  • Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House
    • Lexile: 1100L- 1200L
    • Meaning/Central Idea/Purpose: moderately complex
    • Text Structure/Organization: slightly complex
    • Language Features: exceedingly complex
    • Prior Knowledge Demands: moderately complex
    • Potential Reader/Task Challenges: historical text might not be initially engaging for reluctant readers, complex figurative language (e.g., metaphors), some archaic language

Students are introduced to the author and the topic of slavery in this unit. They explore unfamiliar vocabulary terms in the text, examine the text for meaning and tone how it shifts over the course of the texts, and determine how words and phrases impact understanding of the sequence of events. Students are to include text evidence to support their answer. For the culminating task, students research various accounts of the American Civil War time period by researching various topics.  These topics include a specific person, an idea, or an event. The students are to use both primary and secondary sources in their research, that includes the anchor and related texts. From that research, they are to prepare a presentation plan that compares and contrasts the various portrayals of their chosen topic and explain how the different perspectives build an understanding of the person, event, or idea.

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 7 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 that “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 text. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the "Written in Bone" unit, students read the anchor texts Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker. The materials provide a detailed analysis of the text. It has a Lexile of 1140. Qualitative information provided includes:
    • The meaning, central ideas, and purpose are moderately complex because of students having to understand how forensic science can be used to examine the past.
    • The text structure and organization are moderately difficult because of the multi-level structure and variety of text features.
    • The prior knowledge demands are moderately complex due to an assumption of knowledge of first permanent American settlement and investigative TV shows.
    • The language features are moderately complex with some domain-specific vocabulary.
    • The potential reader and task challenges are that the text attempts to tell a story through weaving separate pieces together which may be confusing for the reader.
  • In "The Giver" unit, students read the literary anchor text, The Giver by Lois Lowry. The materials provide a detailed analysis of the text. It has a Lexile of 760. Qualitative information provided includes:
    • The meaning, central ideas, and purpose are moderately complex because of a rich combination of conflicts and themes and potential unfamiliarity of dystopian fiction.
    • The text structure and organization are slightly complex because the main character is sometimes transported to other times and places.
    • The prior knowledge demands are slightly complex, and it would be helpful for students to have read a text with a man vs. society conflict.
    • The language features are slightly complex because of the creation of new vocabulary terms to describe the dystopian world.
    • The potential reader and task challenges result from the large scope of the culminating writing task which requires an in-depth character analysis.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" unit, students read the literary anchor text, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Within the “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” document, the Lexile stands at 701. Based on the Lexile Framework for Reading, Grade 7 students should be reading between 925L to 1235L; thus, while A Christmas Carol is not within the band for Grade 7 students, the “Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis” document includes the following qualitative information:
    • Overall meaning, central idea, and purpose is moderately complex.
    • The text structure, organization, and prior knowledge demands are also seen as slightly complex.
    • Language features are pegged as very complex as the language is frequently figurative and descriptions are dense with high level vocabulary.
    • Prior knowledge demands are moderately complex.
  • In the “Memoir” unit, students read the literary anchor text, “The Circuit” by Francisco Jimenez. This short-story is a based on the author’s young life in a migrant working family from Mexico that moves around the United States harvesting crops. The Lexile is 880 which is below the grade level band for Grade 7. Qualitative information provided for this text includes:
    • Overall meaning, central idea, and purpose is moderately complex.
    • The text structure and organization demands are very complex. Connections between ideas in the essay are often implicit or subtle. There are no headings as seen in other nonfiction texts, so readers are unassisted as they try to understand the connections between Zinsser’s anecdotes and advice.
    • Prior knowledge demands are moderately complex. The author refers to concepts that deal with ancestry, heritage, and oral history that may not be familiar to all readers.
    • Language concepts are very complex. Students may struggle with the inclusion of Spanish words.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" unit, the students read the anchor text of Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley. This text has a Lexile between 1100-1200 which is on grade level. The text is moderately complex because of the meaning and purpose of this text is not immediately evident to students until students gain some understanding of the time period. The text is extremely difficult because of the outdated language that is used.

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 7 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, and 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 "Written in Bone" Unit, in Lessons 18-22, students read a story from Blood on a River by Elisa Carbone and a poem, “Indian” by Stephen Vincent Benet, to understand how an author develops contrasting points of view in a literary text, analyze how the structure of another poem, “Pocahontas” by William Makepeace Thackeray, impacts its meaning, and participate in a class debate to express opinions supported by text evidence.
  • For "The Giver" Unit, students complete a whole-text study of the novel, The Giver, over the course of eight to nine weeks. During the unit, students read a variety of text types and lengths as they work “to understand how individual perspectives are shaped by knowledge and memory to determine whether perfection is worth the sacrifice.” Along with The Giver, students read excerpts from other literary texts: “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and “The Human Abstract” by William Blake. Students participate in independent choice reading groups of additional literary texts: Maze Runner by James Dashner, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and Feed by M.T. Anderson. Students also study two informational texts: the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award acceptance speech.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, students read excerpts from the Behind the Scenes, Or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House in order to understand about “the Civil War, a tumultuous period in our country’s history. Students understand that by examining different perspectives through various accounts, real and fictional, they can gain a deeper understanding of the time period and express their understanding through identifying and then comparing and contrasting different accounts of people, events, and ideas of the time.” Students read the prologue in Lesson 4 and continue reading excerpts through Lesson 34. Students read informational texts throughout the unit such as “Notable Visitors: Frederick Douglass” from The Lehrman Institute and “A Fitting Friendship Between Dressmaker and Mary Todd Lincoln” by Jeanne Kolker. Students keep and maintain a reading log throughout the unit.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, students read an informational text as the anchor text for the unit. “How to Write a Memoir” by William Zinsser serves as the anchor text, and is an “advice piece written by the famous memoir writer Zinsser. “ Students read the text in this unit in order to explore and understand “about a writer’s craft to understand the importance of memoirs and “coming of age” literature. Students express their understanding by exploring their own voice and style as a writer, observing the firsthand connection between reading and writing, as they write their own memoir. “ Students read this informational text over the first four lessons of the unit. Then as students read multiple memoirs in different genres, they go back to this piece to analyze the memoirs. Some of the additional memoirs the students read are “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto and “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros. Students also read an independent novel of their choice that falls into the memoir genre. These selections are A Summer Life by Gary Soto, Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers, The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez, Guts by Gary Paulsen, Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton and Rick Bundschuh, Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic, and Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl

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 7 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 Giver" Unit, Lesson 10, in the “Let’s Express Our Understanding” (Card 10), students use split-page notes to answer text-dependent questions while reading The Giver. Students answer the questions, “What does The Giver mean when he says, ‘We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.’?Consider all that we have read thus far: What has the community sacrificed for Sameness? Why? Cite textual evidence.” In Lesson 5, in the “Let’s Work with Words” task (Card 7), students answer the questions, “What caused Jonas to feel humiliation? How do Jonas’ feelings help you determine the meaning of the word 'remorse'?”
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 15, in the “Let’s Discuss” task (Card 5), the students are asked the questions, “Which has greater influence on Samuel in Blood on the River-the setting or the other characters? What are three reasons to support your claim?" The class is divided into two groups one group labeled “character” and the other group labeled “claim.” Each group has to find three reasons from the text to support their claim. Then the two groups are broken into three smaller groups based on the reason that supports the claim and are challenged to find text evidence to support that claim and share it with their group.
  • In the “Behind the Scenes” Unit, Lesson 17, in the “Let’s Discuss” task (Card 7), students view the video “Mary Todd Lincoln—Influence Peddler” from the Biography Channel website. Then on the “Let’s Write” task (Card 8), they complete a film analysis on a handout. The handout asks the students to answer the questions and provide evidence from the film for each question, such as: "What main ideas does the film address? What specific details does the filmmaker include to help develop those main ideas? What is the filmmaker’s attitude toward Mrs. Lincoln? (What is the film’s tone?) What is the filmmaker’s purpose for producing the film?"
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 34 includes a Cold Read task. All the questions require students to draw explicitly from the text, such as: “Which sentence best states the central idea of 'The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money'? Which detail from the text best supports your answer to Part A? Write a multi-paragraph essay that explains how Albom distinguishes Morrie’s point of view from his own as well as from others mentioned in the selection, such as Ted Turner, who claim that 'more is good.' Use effective transitions and cite evidence from the selection to support your response.”

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 7 meet the expectation that sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills including 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 the culminating tasks, require the demonstration of various skills, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, students complete a writing culminating task to explain, “What is Keckley’s position on slavery? What is her position on Mrs. Lincoln? How does she develop and support her position on each topic?”

Previous lessons that support the Culminating Writing task include, but are not limited to:

  • Identification and paraphrasing of claims, including the use of a Slavery Claim Chart to complete the following directions: “Choose one sentence containing a claim about slavery from your slavery claim chart, and explain it thoroughly. What does the author mean by the statement? How does she support her claims? Include evidence in the form of direct quotations from the text.”
  • Comparison and contrast of different accounts and purposes for writing
  • A discussion in which partner students discuss, “How does each description serve the purpose of the writer?”
  • Exploration of how “different authors advance different interpretations.”
  • Reading and discussion of A Fitting Friendship Between Dressmaker and Mary Todd Lincoln by Jeanne Kolker. This culminating task connects to the unit goal: “Students read literary and informational texts about the Civil War, a tumultuous period in our country’s history. Students understand that by examining different perspectives through various accounts, real and fictional, they can gain a deeper understanding of the time period and express their understanding through identifying and then comparing and contrasting different accounts of people, events, and ideas of the time.”

In the "Written in Bone" Unit, the Culminating Writing task requires students to write an essay with logical reasoning and relevant evidence in response to the prompt, “The idea that forensic anthropologists explore bones to tell the stories of the past is developed throughout Written in Bone.” The culminating task relates to the unit goal for students to be able to “express their understanding by corroborating details of the past, deciphering an author’s purpose, and writing their own fictionalized version of a historical account.”

Questions and tasks that lead to this culminating task include:

  • What is another central idea of the text? How are both ideas developed over the course of the text?
  • Interaction with texts by evaluating evidence in an informational text
  • Analysis of the structure and author’s craft moves in an informational text
  • Analysis of how structure and word choice impact a work’s meaning
  • Analysis of how the structure of a text contributes to the central ideas
  • Identifying claims and analyzing text evidence that supports those claims
  • Comparing and contrasting author's purpose

In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, the Culminating Writing task requires students to write a literary analysis to support a claim in answer to the prompt, “What does Dickens want us to understand about the 'business' of being human?” The culminating task relates to the unit goal for students to be able to to “express their understanding by exploring how literature resonates with readers and has ‘staying power,’ becoming a part of our language, culture, and moral code.” This culminating task connects to the unit goal: “Students read various memoirs and texts about a writer’s craft to understand the importance of memoirs and 'coming of age' literature. Students express their understanding by exploring their own voice and style as a writer, observing the firsthand connection between reading and writing, as they write their own memoir.”

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

  • Analysis of a theme and its development
  • Examining changing perspectives
  • Comparing and contrasting depictions of traditions across texts
  • Gathering text evidence to prepare for a scholarly discussion

In the “Memoir” Unit, students are presented with the following culminating task: “Does the memoir you read support and/or contradict Zinsser’s advice for writing a memoir in ‘How to Write a Memoir’? Write an essay that compares and contrasts the memoir you read with Zinsser’s advice.”

Previous lessons that support the culminating performance task include, but are not limited to:

  • Read “Oranges” by Gary Soto and analyze how the author uses vivid language to convey a theme
  • Read sections of “How to Write a Memoir” and evaluate whether “Oranges” illustrates Zinsser’s advice
  • Read and summarize connections in “Short Memoirs: Six Little Words Can Be Revealing” and use of the examples to write a six-word memoir.

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 7 meet the expectation that materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

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

  • The Teacher Talk Moves document which helps students clearly express their ideas, listen carefully to others’ ideas, provide evidence to support their claims, and establish new ways of thinking.
  • The Conversation Stems document offers students with listener prompts and speaker responses.
  • The Discussion Reflection document allows students to rate themselves and their peers on the quality of their participation.
  • The Conversations Guide provides teachers with a step-by-step guide for preparing for productive classroom conversations.
  • The 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 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 Giver" Unit, Lesson 12, students are paired to compare two texts, The Hunger Games and The Giver. They are given the task to use the Conversation Stems protocol to discuss the question, “What similarities do you see between The Reaping in The Hunger Games and The Ceremony of Twelves in The Giver?” Teachers use the Teacher Talk moves and protocol listed in the Teacher Notes.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 23, students engage in a Fishbowl Discussion about what we should treasure using the question in Card 2, “What should we value more - experiences or possessions?” and use text evidence, Accountable Talk, and Conversation Stems to support their discussion. Card 5 gives the norms for the class to follow when during the Fishbowl Discussion. The protocol for Student Led Discussions (Fishbowl and Socratic Seminar) are located in the Additional Materials section.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 2, students work in pairs to do a paired/partner reading of the preface of Behind the Scenes using their vocabulary logs and comprehension questions as tools. The protocol for the paired/partner reading is included in the Teacher Notes section of the lesson. Students are then given 30 seconds to discuss the prompt: “What claims does the author make about slavery?” Afterward, they share their thoughts in a whole class discussion format.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 6, students reread the poem, ‘Ode to the Virginian Voyage’ by Michael Drayton, and analyze the author’s word choice and structure and how these elements contribute to the meaning of the poem. Students are divided into pairs and must respond to the following prompts: “Highlight at least five words/phrases from the text that have connotative or figurative meaning. Note the connotative or figurative meaning of each in the margin.” With the same partners, students must continue analyzing the poem together: “Reread the poem. Mark the rhyme scheme on the poem. Note any patterns in stanza formation.” The protocol for the paired partner discussion is located in the Teacher Notes section. The instructor concludes partnered analysis work with a whole class discussion: “Conduct a whole-class discussion about the rhyme scheme and the author’s choices in stanza formation.” Included in the additional materials is a Student Discussion Tracker which allows the teacher to keep track of the students’ participation and knowledge demonstrated in the discussion.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 14, in the “Let’s Discuss” task (Card 5), students are asked to participate in a discussion around the short story, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros. They talk about the text and then make connections to a plot chart. For eight minutes, students discuss the connections they notice between the two columns. As students discuss, the teacher prompts them to use the Conversation Stems learning tool. The teacher concludes the discussion by asking students to draw arrows between entries on the plot chart handout to illustrate the connections.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 16, students participate in a class debate after preparing claims, reasons, evidence, and opposing claims related to their reading of Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone and their analysis of how the setting and other characters influence the main character, Samuel. The students form two teams, one for setting and one for character, and use their notes to inform their activity in the debate.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 29, students participate in a partner feedback activity where they evaluate each other’s rough drafts of a culminating writing task. They begin by underlining and highlighting an important aspect of each other's drafts such as claims, evidence, and explanations. Next, they participate in a discussion following these prompts: “What strengths do you see? What areas of the essay can be strengthened or further developed? What recommendations do you have to do this?”
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 23, students participate in a Philosophical Chair where they discuss the anchor text, The Giver. The room is divided into two sides, one “yes” side and one “no” side. Within the Philosophical Chair, students are presented with various questions that they must respond to by moving from one side to the other. A few examples of the presented questions are as follows: “Is experiencing colors, joy, and love worth also experiencing pain, war, and hate? Why or why not? ‘Imagine’ and The Giver both depict a world in which equality and peace is valued more than choice and loyalty. Which values are more important for a community? Are the costs of reaching perfection (as presented in The Giver) worth living a perfect life? Is that kind of life ‘perfect’?” The teacher concludes the debate by asking students for 1-2 minutes to share the most compelling text evidence that helped them refine their perspective. Students then record their thoughts on chart paper or some other collection method. Students can also jot notes on their individual pieces of notebook paper.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lessons 42-43, students demonstrate their ability to research a topic, synthesize the information, and create and present a multimedia presentation to an audience. Students use their notes to create a multimedia presentation and then present it to the class.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lessons 27-30, students complete a Culminating Writing task where they write a multi-draft literary analysis for the question: "What does Dickens want us to understand about the 'business' of being human?” In order to answer the question, students must "Trace the changes in Scrooge’s character over the course of A Christmas Carol. Identify the moments throughout A Christmas Carol that Dickens uses the word 'business' to develop a character, such as Scrooge being described as a man of 'business' and Marley’s ghost saying 'Mankind was my business' in Stave I. For each moment, determine the different meanings of 'business' and the different points of view or perspectives the characters have about what 'business' is most important. Evaluate how the changes in Scrooge over the course of the text teach the reader what Dickens wants us to understand about 'business.' Determine a theme of A Christmas Carol which explains what Dickens wants us to understand about the 'business' of being human. Locate relevant evidence to support how that theme is developed through the changes in Scrooge’s character."
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lessons 39-44, students complete an Extension task where they first write an essay to analyze a theme in a dystopian novel they chose to read after finishing the whole-class read of The Giver. Afterward, the students work in small groups to create a multimedia presentation to compare and contrast the theme of their chosen novels and the theme of The Giver. The students are instructed that the multimedia presentation should present the common theme across the texts and how it is portrayed similarly and differently in the texts as well.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 42, students complete the second portion of the Cold Read task (Part 2). Students are given forty minutes to complete the following on-demand writing task: "Compare and contrast how forensic anthropology is explained in ‘Puzzles of the Chesapeake, ‘Forensic Anthropology,’ and ‘30,000 Skeletons.’ Write an extended response that explains which medium you think is most effective in explaining the role of a forensic anthropologist. Cite evidence from at least two sources to support your response. Be sure to observe the conventions of Standard English."
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lessons 30 - 33, students compose a major process writing task. Based on the “Teaching Notes,” students are told by the instructor, “You are going to write an essay comparing your independent reading memoir to Zinsser’s advice. Before we engage in this process, let’s work together to understand the question.” The instructions from the “Culminating Writing Task Directions” state the prompt and directions, “How does the independent reading memoir you read support and/or contradict Zinsser’s advice for writing a memoir in ‘How to Write a Memoir’? Write a multiparagraph essay that compares and contrasts the memoir you read with Zinsser’s advice. Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence, including direct quotations with parenthetical citations.”

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 "Written in Bones" Unit, Lesson 29, students begin the Culminating Writing task where they draft an essay to answer the prompt, ”The idea that forensic anthropologists explore bones to tell the stories of the past is developed throughout Written in Bone. What is another central idea of the text? How are both ideas developed over the course of the text?”
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, students address different text types of writing. In Lesson 23, students participate in literature circles and have to write argumentative text through introducing claims and acknowledging opposing claims. They do this by discussing their independent reading memoir and recording ideas, evidence which supports or challenges those ideas, and their reflections/ reactions. In Lesson 30, students begin to write for the Culminating Writing task. The students respond to the question: "How does the independent reading memoir you read support and/or contradict Zinsser’s advice for writing a memoir in 'How to Write a Memoir'?" They write a multiparagraph essay that compares and contrasts the memoir they read with Zinsser’s advice. They cite several pieces of textual evidence to explain their answer. In Lessons 34-40, students begin writing a narrative memoir that is based on a real and appropriate personal experience using the techniques that they have learned. They are to engage the reader by establishing a point of view, introducing characters, and organizing a logical sequence. They are also to use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses, relevant details, and sensory language.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, students complete the Extension task in which they research and a written report on the topic: “How has Charles Dickens influenced modern society?” They must include sufficient relevant evidence to support their view.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, students complete the following Culminating Writing task: “In the Preface to her memoir Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, Elizabeth Keckley discusses two topics: slavery and Mrs. Lincoln. What is Keckley’s position on slavery? What is her position on Mrs. Lincoln? How does she develop and support her position on each topic throughout her memoir? Write an essay explaining Keckley’s positions on both slavery and Mrs. Lincoln. Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence, including direct quotations and parenthetical citations.” Students compose an analysis regarding Keckley’s position on slavery and Mrs. Lincoln.

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 7 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 "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 39, students complete a Cold Read task by writing a short essay based on their understanding of the text: “In paragraphs 1-5, Keckley contrasts two very different reactions of emancipated slaves to liberty. Write a multi-paragraph essay that analyzes how the different ideas held by freedmen and freedwomen about their 'liberty'—their lives after slavery—influence the lives they build. Use evidence from the passage to support your response.”
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 2, students read Chapter 1 of Written in Bone and identify conclusions that the author is making. They organize this information on a chart, discuss it, and evaluate evidence in the text that supports each of the conclusions they found. Using their Reading Logs, they write a response to this question: “Is the text evidence relevant and sufficient to support the conclusions in the text?”
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 4, students begin Chapter 2 of The Giver and use split-page notes to answer questions and write about the text: "What does Jonas’ conversation with his parents reveal about how decisions are made within their community? Write a paragraph to describe how Jonas’ feels about his community and how it operates. Cite text evidence to support your response. Cite at least two pieces of text evidence to support your description of the community."
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 19, students read “Thank You Ma’am” and analyze contrast and contradictions to understand character development. Students listen to the teacher read the text and discuss their answers to text-based questions. They then reread the text and annotate it taking note of contrasts and contradictions. They mark the contrast or contradiction with a sticky note and ask themselves, “Why would the character act this way?” They write the answer to this question on each of the sticky notes.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.

In the LearnZillion Guidebooks, specifically “How are the materials designed for the classroom?”, there are many Interactive WriteAlong videos listed that match the Language/Grammar Common Core State Standards devoted to this grade level. Materials also include student practice sheets for students to complete while watching the Interactive Writealong videos. All Extension task and Culminating Writing task directions and rubrics for grammar and conventions are considered but not always explicitly taught. For example, some limited directions state for students to “revise and edit” within these tasks directions without clear instruction in revising and editing addressing 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.

  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 9, students participate in a lesson to determine word meaning through a semantic map. “Ask the pairs to select two unknown words from their independent reading memoir and complete a semantic map handout for each word.”
  • In "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 8, students identify how imagery impacts meaning. “Examine vocabulary and figurative language and the impact on meaning.” As students read Chapter 3, they are instructed to “underline examples of imagery that illustrate lightness and darkness.” Explicit instructions are included in the Teacher’s Notes.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 38, students use a Literary Analysis Task Scoring Rubric to edit and revise their essay for “ Language creates cohesion and clarifies relationships among ideas. Specifically, they will focus on cohesion and clarity by using precise language and eliminating redundancy. Explicit instructions are located in the Teacher’s Notes.
  • In the Guidebook there is a section for supplemental resources. In this section, there are “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.” These topics include, but are not limited to capitalization, tenses, and parts of speech. These videos provide limited instruction on any topics. No practice or other explicit instruction is included.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 31, as part of the Culminating Writing task, students learn how to revise writing to include coordinate adjectives. They are instructed to find adjectives in three provided sentences; they are given the definition of coordinate adjectives; they are given a two-part test to check for coordinate adjectives (“Is the quality of the noun or pronoun being described by the adjectives the same? Place 'and' between the adjectives. Does the sentence still make sense?”). Finally, they are instructed to: "1-Identify places in the sample essay to add coordinate adjectives. 2-Review your essay and check that you punctuated coordinate adjectives correctly. 3-Identify two places in your essay where you could add coordinate adjectives. 4-Revise your writing.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Grade 7 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 7 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 presented within the materials 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, as students must 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 Jamestown, dystopias, and The Civil War.

  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read literary and informational texts about the meaning and redemption found through selflessness and valuing people over material possessions. Students understand how writers use stories to teach us these lessons and how characters’ choices affect the plot and build the theme of a story. Students express their understanding by exploring how literature resonates with readers and has 'staying power,' becoming a part of our language, culture, and moral code.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as articles about how experiences rather than material goods make readers feel better, stories like “The Gift of the Magi,”  and Tuesdays with Morrie. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, A Christmas Carol.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read dystopian literature and related informational texts to understand how individual perspectives are shaped by knowledge and memory and to determine whether perfection is worth the sacrifice. Students express their understanding by analyzing how a theme is developed through characters and their contrasting points of view and also comparing and contrasting the themes of similar texts.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as dystopian texts like The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent, and stories and poems like “Harrison Bergeron” and “The Human Abstract.” The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, The Giver.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read various memoirs and texts about a writer’s craft to understand the importance of memoirs and 'coming of age' literature. Students express their understanding by exploring their own voice and style as a writer, observing the firsthand connection between reading and writing, as they write their own memoir.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as memoirs by Walter Dean Myers, Gary Paulsen, and Zlata Filipovic, and stories and poems such as “Thank You Ma’am” and “Oranges.” The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, "How to Write a Memoir."
  • In "Behind the Scenes" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read literary and informational texts about the Civil War, a tumultuous period in our country’s history. Students understand that by examining different perspectives through various accounts, real and fictional, they can gain a deeper understanding of the time period and express their understanding through identifying and then comparing and contrasting different accounts of people, events, and ideas of the time.” Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as stories of escape from slavery, information about the Underground Railroad, and biographies of Mary Todd Lincoln. The Culminating Writing task and Extension tasks refer back to the anchor text of the unit, Behind the Scenes.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 instructions have students answer questions and/or complete 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 Giver" Unit, Lessons 35-38, the Culminating Writing task directions are sequenced to provide students with carefully sequenced questions in order to thoroughly analyze the text. For example, 

"How do Jonas’ experiences develop a theme over the course of The Giver? To answer this question:

  • Identify key events in The Giver and Jonas’ reaction to or opinion of them.
  • Describe the impact of the setting and interactions with characters on Jonas (e.g., How do other characters have an impact on Jonas and what impact does he have on other characters?).
  • Compare and contrast the way Jonas views the setting, characters, and events with the way other characters in the novel view the setting, characters, and events.
  • Examine how these elements change over the course of the novel (e.g., How does Jonas interact differently with other characters or react differently to events over the course of the novel? What causes Jonas’ interactions or reactions to change?)
  • Determine the theme of The Giver based on these elements. First, identify a topic that is central to key ideas in the novel (for example, perfection or Sameness). Then, identify what the author conveys about that topic through the text.
  • Locate evidence that supports the development of a theme of The Giver.
  • Write a literary analysis that develops a claim logically and demonstrates an understanding of the text. Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade­-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support the analysis, including direct quotations and parenthetical citations."

In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 34, students complete a Cold Read task. Students have 40 minutes to complete six questions about “The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money” from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albann. Questions include:

  • What meaning is implied by the word smokescreen?
  • How does Albom’s use of the word 'smokescreen' impact the tone of the passage?
  • Which sentence best states the central idea of “ The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money”?

In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 8, students discover how imagery impacts meaning in Chapter 3 of Behind the Scenes. Students reread the first part of Chapter 3 and underline examples of imagery involving lightness and darkness. They then choose one example and answer this question: “What purpose does the author have for including the imagery? In other words, what point does the imagery help her to make?”

In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 21, students are instructed to reread “Thank You Ma’am” and complete the perspectives chart. The directions for the perspectives chart are as follows: “As you reread ‘Thank You, Ma’am’ by Langston Hughes, chart the events of the story from Mrs. Jones’ perspective in left hand column and the events from Roger’s perspective in the right hand column.” Students then complete the final question “How does knowing both perspectives contribute to the meaning of ‘Thank You, Ma’am’?” Students then must respond to the following question and discuss: “Is ‘Thank You, Ma’am’ a strong or a weak example of Zinsser’s advice about perspective?”

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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. For example:

  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 10, students compare and contrast two different accounts of emancipation. Students read an excerpt of chapter 11 from A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and previously read excerpts from Behind the Scenes and answer questions to learn about differing emancipation stories. They answer the question: “How do Keckley and Douglas each feel about working for their 'masters'? Find text evidence to support your statements. Be prepared to share your findings with the class.”
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, Lessons 34 and 35, students complete a Cold Read task where the students respond to questions and demonstrate their knowledge through completion of the task. Questions include: “What meaning is implied by the word smokescreen? How does Albom’s use of the word smokescreen impact the tone of the passage? Which sentence best states the central idea of 'The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money?' Task: Write a multi-paragraph essay that explains how Albom distinguishes Morrie’s point of view from his own as well as from others mentioned in the selection, such as Ted Turner, who claim that 'more is good.' Use effective transitions and cite evidence from the selection to support your response.”
  • In the "Written in Bone" unit, Lesson 10, students read Chapter 4 of Written in Bone with a partner and identify claims and evidence in the text. The teacher then does a read-aloud of “August-September 1607” from "Jamestown: 1607, The First Months: Observations Gathered Out of a Discourse on the Plantation of the Southern Colony in Virginia by the English, 1606, Gentleman” and the students identify claims and evidence in the text. In Lesson 11, students analyze both texts using the SOAPSTone protocol, discuss and then write about how the two texts are similar and different.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, students are presented with the following Extension task: “Select a dystopian novel from a list of possible titles to read in addition to The Giver. Some possible texts are listed below. The texts are listed in order of complexity from least to greatest. Possible texts: Maze Runner, James Dashner; Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Unwind, Neal Shusterman​; Divergent, Veronica Roth; Uglies, Scott Westerfeld; and, Feed, M. T. Anderson. Once you have selected your independent reading text, set a schedule and goals for reading and keep track of reading in a reading log or journal. At the end of the unit, you will write an essay that analyzes a theme of your chosen novel. Then, compare and contrast the theme of your novel with the theme of The Giver. Explain how the theme is developed in each text. Use evidence from the texts to support claims. Then, you will work with a small group of your peers to create a multimedia presentation to compare and contrast the theme of your novel with the theme of The Giver. Your multimedia presentation should present the common theme across both texts, and then logically explains how it is developed similarly and differently in each text.”

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 7 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 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.

  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read literary and informational texts about the meaning and redemption found through selflessness and valuing people over material possessions. Students understand how writers use stories to teach us these lessons and how characters’ choices affect the plot and build the theme of a story. Students express their understanding by exploring how literature resonates with readers and has 'staying power,' becoming a part of our language, culture, and moral code.” In the Culminating Writing task: “What does Dickens want us to understand about the 'business' of being human? Write a literary analysis to support your claims in answer to the question and demonstrate an understanding of the text.” Students read, write, and discuss multiple texts to be able to respond to the culminating task. In Lessons 8-10, students continue their exploration of characterization and analyze the change in Scrooge. “Ask: What does Scrooge see in this scene? What do his actions and reflections suggest about his perspective?” This supports students to be able to understand the shift in Scrooge's character, and also to be able to build on the knowledge of the “meaning and redemption found through selflessness and valuing people over material possessions.”
  • In the "The Giver" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students understand how individual perspectives are shaped by knowledge and memory and to determine whether perfection is worth the sacrifice.” The Culminating Writing task is, “How do Jonas’ experiences develop a theme over the course of The Giver? Write a literary analysis that develops a claim logically and demonstrates an understanding of the text.” Students read, write, and discuss to be able to complete the culminating task. In Lesson 23, after students have identified the theme in “Imagine” by John Lennon, students participate in a discussion on “Imagine” and The Giver , in which both "depict a world in which equality and peace is valued more than choice and loyalty. Which values are more important for a community?” This discussion supports the completion of the culminating task and building students’ knowledge around knowledge and memory.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read various memoirs and texts about a writer’s craft to understand the importance of memoirs and 'coming of age' literature. Students express their understanding by exploring their own voice and style as a writer, observing the firsthand connection between reading and writing, as they write their own memoir.” For the Cold Read task at the end of the “Memoir” Unit, students read a new selection, “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto. They answer a series of multiple choice questions, followed by a writing section where they respond to the prompt, “Throughout the story 'Seventh Grade' by Gary Soto, Victor learns many things about himself as a result of the interactions he has with other characters. Write a multi-paragraph essay that examines the ways in which both Teresa and Mr. Bueller help Victor become more confident in himself and excited about his seventh grade year.”
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, the unit goal is, “Students read literary and informational texts about the Civil War. Students examine different perspectives through various accounts, real and fictional, that helps them gain an understanding of the time period. They identify and compare and contrast different accounts of people, events, and ideas of the time.” In the Extension task, students investigate various accounts of the American Civil War time period by using primary and secondary sources to research a specific person, an event, or an idea to create a 5-8 minute multimedia presentation. In the presentation, students compare and contrast the various portrayals of the chosen topic and explain how the different perspectives build a more complete understanding of the person, event, or idea.

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 7 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, “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 "Christmas Carol" 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 “melancholy.” The steps included: teacher presentation, definition, explanation, connections, and application.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 1, students complete a “Let’s Work With Words” section within the lesson. Students read a passage from The Giver, and they focus on the word “apprehensive.” Students then discuss the following with a partner: “What emotion words does Jonas consider in this excerpt? Why is Jonas apprehensive? Define apprehensive. In what ways is the meaning of apprehensive similar to/ different from frightened?”
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 9, students complete the “Let’s Express Our Understanding” section; students must complete a semantic map of an unknown word of their choice. Teachers are instructed: “Ask the pairs to select two unknown words from their independent reading memoir and complete a semantic map handout for each word.” In the “Let’s Close” section, students reviewed their learning regarding academic vocabulary within the anchor text: “You also used various strategies to define unknown words.”
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 27, students complete a “Let’s Work With Words” section within the lesson. Students are instructed to “choose 4 circled words from your text and add them to your vocabulary log.” Teachers are supported via the following Teaching note: “If students are having trouble choosing words, let them choose from among some Tier 2 words in this chapter: discernible, spectral, fleeting, mortality, presentiment, assassin, demean, plunders, haughty, scorn, constituted, tranquility, throng, penitent, subdued, affliction, solemn, palpitating, grandeur, paroxysm, tempestuous, imperious, haggard, condole, prostrated, appeal, effectual, dispense, interred, commenced, vehemently.” Instructors must also “remind students to store their vocabulary log handouts in the ‘Vocabulary Log’ section of their reading logs.”

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 7 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 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 either narrative or research writing based.

For example:

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 29, students complete an explanatory writing task: “Today we are going to express the understanding we’ve built across the unit by engaging in the writing process.” In Lesson 15, students support claims using the text, Blood on the River, and create counter claims. In Lesson 26, students learn and practice how to write a logical argument. In Lesson 30, students have a lesson on writing conclusions. In Lesson 31, students participate in a lesson on revising to include coordinate adjectives and then revise and edit their essay.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lessons 36-42, students participate in an Extension task to research and answer the guiding question: “How has Charles Dickens influenced modern society?” The seven lesson section includes instructions and practice for students as they complete their essay. The lessons are:
    • Lesson 36: Introduce the research task, summarize an article and develop research questions.
    • Lesson 37: Refine your research questions, identify search terms, and assess the credibility of sources.
    • Lesson 38: Gather evidence, paraphrase and quote from sources.
    • Lesson 39: Engage in peer review.
    • Lesson 40: Outline your essay.
    • Lesson 41: Draft your research report.
    • Lesson 42: Peer feedback and revisions
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 34, students participate in a timed writing activity. Students answer the prompt: “What are the similarities and differences in the point of view of Harrison and Jonas, and the way each character responds to his society and interacts with other characters? Cite textual evidence to support your response.” The teacher introduces the Painted Essay strategy for students to use as a way to structure their essay. Share the painted essay structure as one way to help them plan and organize for their essay by talking through each of the colors of the essay.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lessons 30-33, students write an essay using the writing process: “Throughout this unit, we have built our understanding of the quality criteria for memoir writing. We’ve considered writing advice from an expert and evaluated 'coming-of-age' literature according to his criteria. Today we are going to express that understanding by engaging in the writing process.” Students begin the essay in Lesson 30 and complete a first draft in Lesson 31. After revising in Lesson 32, they complete their final draft in Lesson 33. Students are guided through a revision process in Lesson 32 using highlighters to color code certain elements in the draft such as the thesis statement, and how the thesis is developed in their 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 7 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 to 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 "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 37, students participate in a lesson on how to create a bibliography of their sources. Teachers are instructed in the Teaching Notes to “Give students instructions for creating a bibliography page like the one displayed on the screen that lists all of their sources. Google Docs is a good application to use for this purpose.” A model bibliography is presented to the students.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lessons 40-43, students “investigate accounts of the American Civil War time period by researching a specific person, event, or idea.” Students use their research of both primary and secondary sources to prepare a presentation plan that compares and contrasts the various portrayals of their chosen topic. Students then present their ideas in a brief multimedia presentation.
  • In the "The Giver" Unit, Lessons 39-44, students work with a small group to compare and contrast a theme in their independent reading books with a theme in the anchor text, The Giver. They must use evidence from both texts to explain how the themes are developed.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lessons 40-43, for the Extension task, students investigate various accounts of the American Civil War time period by researching a specific person, event, or idea. After they complete their research, they create a presentation plan that compares and contrasts different perspectives of their given topic.

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 7 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 also reread selections independently after having listened to them or read them in pairs. Students are held accountable through the use of reading logs, discussion, formative, and summative assessments. 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. For the independent reading project, the teacher materials include a letter to parents that outlines and encourages student accountability.

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 27, students read Chapter 9 of Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker independently. Students are given 15 minutes to independently read and then annotate the text and respond to a question about forensic artists.
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, Lessons 34 and 35, students complete a Cold Read task where they independently read “The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money” from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and express their understanding of the text by answering multiple choice questions and completing an essay.
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 8, students select and begin reading an independent reading memoir that they will independently read over the course of the rest of the unit. This novel is tied to the Culminating Writing task that they will complete at the end of the unit.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 28, students read and discuss Chapter 22 of The Giver, analyze word meanings and their connotations, and analyze how the change in setting impacts Jonas’ character. On Card 12, students read Chapter 23 and complete their reading log for that chapter independently for homework.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The Grade 7 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 7 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 7 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. Units include Written in Bone, Christmas Carol, The Giver, Memoir, and Behind the Scenes. 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 of the lesson, what materials they will need for the lesson, and how they will demonstrate their understanding at the end of the lesson. 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 Giver" Unit, Lesson 4, the teacher launches the lesson by reminding students that they recently “paraphrased the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, compared values between our society and Jonas’, and began to consider unit essential questions.” The teacher then shares the activities for the lesson: begin reading Chapter 2 of The Giver and make inferences about Jonas’ community (the text’s setting) based on character interactions. The teacher also points out what materials the students will need for the lesson. The students then perform a series of tasks which include reading, listening, speaking and writing.  
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 13, the teacher launches the lesson by reminding students that they recently “began to analyze how our independent reading memoirs follow advice for memoir writers.” The teacher then shares the activities for the lesson: read “Eleven” from Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros and identify external and internal conflicts. The teacher also points out what materials the students will need for the lesson. The students then perform a series of tasks which involve reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.  
  • In the "Written in Bone" 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 Review!” section is two minutes. Later in the lesson the students participate in a journal task and seven minutes is the suggested time. In the “Let’s Discuss!” section, seven minutes is the suggested time for a discussion on forensic anthropology and the title of the book.
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lessons 26-31, students participate in six lessons so “Students continue engaging in the writing process to answer the prompt for the Culminating Writing task: "What does Dickens want us to understand about the 'business' of being human?”
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit,  there are 43 lessons and five 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 7 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 “What’s in the Curriculum?” and “How do I prepare to teach Guidebooks?” 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 50 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 units included are as follows: Written in Bone, Christmas Carol, The Giver, Memoir, Behind the Scenes.

  • Within “What’s in the Curriculum?” Guidebook, 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.”
  • Within the “Memoir” Unit, in the “Assessment Overview,” students are presented with the following major tasks that will be completed 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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 a 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 “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 10, students prepare for a literature circle discussion. At the end of the lesson, after analyzing different aspects of their independent reading memoirs, and preparing to participate in a literature circle discussion, they express their understanding of the lesson by filling out a handout on their assigned literature circle role.

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 7 meet the expectation that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Within 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 & 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 Section 1 of the "Written in Bone" Unit, the  informational reading standards covered are  RI 7.1, RI 7.2, RI 7.4, RI 7.5, RI 7.6, RI 7.7, RI 7.8, and RI 7.10. There are no literature standards covered in this section, as the text is only informational.
  • For each Cold Read task, the answer key provides the Common Core Standards for each questions. For example, in "The Giver" Unit, the first question of the Cold Read task measures mastery of CCSS: RL.7.1, RL.7.4, RL.7.10.
  • In each lesson the standards addressed in that particular lesson are listed on every page of the Lesson Plan. For example, in the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 14 covers these standards RI.7.1, RI.7.10, RI.7.2, RI.7.4, SL.7.1, W.7.10, W.7.3. An activity that incorporates standard RL 7.1 is “Write a summary of the section of the text assigned to your group. Include the details you believe will most interest a student in another group who has not read your section.”  Also in this lesson, SL 7.1 is implemented in the activity, “Tell students that their summaries will be read by students in the other groups. If students finish early, suggest they share their summary with another student in their group, compare the contents, and add to their summary events they may have omitted in their first draft.”
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, there are section quizzes with the standards listed for each question in the Teacher’s Notes section. For example, in the Section 3 quiz,  the first question measures Standards RL.7.3: “How do Rachel’s thoughts influence the plot of the text?”

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 7 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 “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 10 , Card 3, teachers show the students the activities for the day. Students see a visual with five rectangles, each containing a phrase: discussion leader, headline reporter, diction decoder, and story mapper. They also see this information: "Today we will: Analyze different aspects of our independent reading memoirs. Prepare for a literature circle discussion."

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 7 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’s 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 "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 5, 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 “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 13, Card 6, the “Teaching Notes” list these directions and supports for the teacher: “Direct students to reread ‘Eleven’ and complete the plot chart handout by listing the events that happen in the classroom and what happens in the narrator’s mind. Guiding Questions and Prompts: If students need support with the vocabulary of the text, give students access to a visual dictionary for ‘Eleven.’ As needed, before students reread the text, model how to complete the plot chart handout. Explicit directions are given for the teacher to model the plot chart handout in the “Teaching Notes” and the answers to the plot chart are included in the “Additional Materials.”
  • In the Guidebook ,“What’s in the Curriculum” section, the program states that “Support is central to the design of LearnZillion Guidebooks. Each LearnZillion Guidebooks unit comes with approximately 40 classroom-ready daily lessons. Because the lessons include everything you need to teach, teachers can focus on adjusting the lesson supports so all students meet the lesson and unit assessment goals, instead of spending time creating whole-class lessons to teach. Each lesson follows a common structure, which creates consistency across all grades and lessons. This helps both students and teachers stay on track.”
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, there are three additional videos found in the “Section Resource” in the “Christmas Carol: Let's Set the Context Videos.” Teacher can watch or assign to support struggling student: “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 Giver" Unit, Lesson 7, students are given this task, “With a partner, discuss and answer question numbers 7-8 on your split-page notes handout.“ The teacher is given detailed directions in the “Teaching Notes” to complete this seven minute task including detailed steps for the directions for the student task, support for differentiation and student look-fors as the students complete the task.

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 7 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 LearnZillion “Understanding the Curriculum,” 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 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” for every unit, and within 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; the “Teaching Notes" are formatted in a bullet point list. For example, within "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 15, the Teaching Notes are as follows for slide four: “Assign students independent reading novels for the extension task. (Note: This should have been determined prior to the start of the lesson, and based on student preferences from the book preview during the previous lesson). Share expectations for students’ independent reading and reading journal according to an established classroom routine (e.g., students read every night for 20 minutes, students map out the number of pages they will read each week, etc.). Say: ‘Your purpose in reading your text is to get a feel for the novel that you will be reading.’”
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 10, on Slide 5, in the “Teaching Notes,” teachers are given supplemental information on the instructional strategy, Paired/Partner Reading. The strategy is hyperlinked to an external website which offers an explanation, implementation steps, research to support the strategy, and a video to demonstrate the strategy in a classroom. This information would be helpful if teachers are not familiar with the strategies.
  • In each lesson, there are tabs above the presentation: “Lesson Plan,” “Additional materials,” and “About this lesson.” In 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 referenced in the “Teaching Notes” to the right hand side of the presentation in "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 15: “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 "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 11, on the right side of each card, “Teaching Notes” are included: 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: You will read 'The History of Christmas' independently. Direct students to read 'The History of Christmas.' Direct students to write a 3-5 sentence summary of the text on their analyze structure handout when they have finished reading."
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 2, on the right side each card, “Teaching Notes” are included. 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: "Ask: Why did this particular event/thing stand out to you? If you had to name the most important thing that happens in these chapters, what would you say and why? What does this reveal about Jonas and/or his community?”

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 state in the “Unit Design” section: “Each text collection has a shared idea, such as the American Revolution, and includes a diversity of materials: podcasts, interviews, song lyrics, films, and authentic fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as novels commonly celebrated by teachers and students.”
  • The materials state in the “Unit Design” section: “LearnZillion Guidebooks embeds the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Specifically, the curriculum was designed to support learners through (1) multiple means of engagement (the 'why' of learning), (2) multiple means of representation (the 'what' of learning), and (3) multiple means of action and expression (the 'how' of learning).”

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

In 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. Research-based strategies are listed and cited throughout the program. All units 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 end of the “What’s in the curriculum?” section," instructors are presented with a list of writing and reading resources 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.”
  • In 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.”
  • The “How do the materials support all learners?” section lists 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 "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 10, on Slide 5, in the Teaching Notes, teachers are given supplemental information on the instructional strategy presented, Paired/Partner Reading. The strategy is hyperlinked to an external website which offers an explanation, implementation steps, research to support the strategy, and a video 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 7 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 “How do the materials support all learners?” Guidebook offers extensive assistance for teachers inside and outside the classroom when dealing with stakeholders. Also, there is a “Family Resources” section in each unit that informs parents of what their students are learning and how they might help their children in the 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 platform to assign materials and assignment to students; so, parents have easy access to all documentation.

  • In the Guidebook, “How do the materials support all learners?”, 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 “Memoir” Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “Memoir: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” For example, parents are given questions to discuss throughout the unit, such as “What does it mean to 'come of age'?”
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “Christmas Carol: Family Resources” that provide “family-friendly supports aligned to the unit.” For example, 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 question: What does Dickens want us to understand about the 'business' of being human?”
  • In the "Behind the Scene" Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “Behind the Scene: 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: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Chasing Lincoln’s Killers by James Swanson, and possible additional texts for independent reading.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, a section is included in the “More resources for this unit” labeled “The Giver: 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 7 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 7 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 included 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 “Christmas Carol” Unit, Lesson 10, students take a quiz after having completed sections two and three of instruction. This quiz covers Stave I and Stave II of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Students answer multiple choice questions and sequence events in the text to practice the skills they learned. After Lesson 34, students complete Part I of the Cold Read task. After reading “The Eighth Tuesday We Talk About Money” from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, students answer multiple choice questions on the reading.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, after lesson 27, the students take a Section 6 quiz. The quiz “assesses students’ retention of knowledge based on what was taught and read in this section of the Guidebook unit. The quiz is designed to look backwards at the end of a section, so 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."

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 7 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 that details the purpose of 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, a list specifies which standards are learned and utilized. When clicking on each individual lesson, hovering over the standards offers the full CCSS description for instructors. 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 Giver" Unit, Sections 1 and 2 quiz, every question 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 question addresses standard RL.7.3.
  • In “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 30, in the Culminating Writing task, “Students begin the writing process to answer the question: Does the memoir you read support or contradict Zinsser’s advice for writing a memoir in ‘How to Write a Memoir’?” The standards are as follows: RI.7.1, RI.7.10, RI.7.2, RI.7.3, RI.7.4, RI.7.5, RI.7.6, RI.7.9, RL.7.1, RL.7.10, W.7.10, W.7.2a, W.7.2b, W.7.2c, W.7.2d, W.7.2e, W.7.2f, W.7.4, W.7.5
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 29, students begin a Culminating Writing task in which students “write an essay with logical reasoning and relevant evidence. Be sure to use proper grammar, conventions, spelling, and grade-appropriate words and phrases. Cite several pieces of textual evidence, including direct quotations, and parenthetical citations.”

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 7 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 and rubrics are provided for Culminating Writing tasks and Extension tasks. 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 "Written in Bone" unit, in the Section 4 quiz, students are asked, “Think about the author’s purpose in Written in Bone and 'August-September 1607' and how each text supports its purpose. Write a paragraph that contrasts the purpose of each text.” In the Teaching Notes, teachers can click on the phrase “view scoring guidance” which opens another window that contains the exemplar student response: “In Written in Bone, Sally M. Walker’s purpose is to engage and inform readers about forensic anthropology and the importance of telling the stories of the past. As a result of this purpose, Walker includes many graphic elements, including maps, photographs, charts, and drawings. Walker’s purpose is different from other authors because she is reconstructing past events in order to communicate them to a present-day audience. In ‘August-September 1607’, Percy's purpose is to record his firsthand experience as a colonist in Jamestown in 1607 in order to report back to the leaders of the London Company and the King. The structure of the text is chronologically dated entries with accounts of actual events, like a journal or diary. Percy’s purpose is important because he was there; his account is a primary source document that was used by the leaders of the London Company during the early 1600s.”
  • In the "The Giver" Unit, Lesson 2, students are given a passage from the text The Giver and asked to discuss with a partner: “What is surprising about this conversation? What can you conclude about Jonas’ community given these details?” In the Teaching Notes, teachers are given “student look-fors” for this discussion: “In partner and whole-class discussion, students should note: 1-Lily has trouble coming up with the word animals, and it is revealed that Lily and Jonas do not actually know what the word animal means. This suggests that their community does not have animals of any kind, which is surprising because animals are often relied upon for food sources and/or companions. 2-Lily describes the visitors as a group of ‘Sevens,’ which suggests that people in the community are grouped and considered by their ages, at least in childhood. This may be a way that the community tries to organize things.”

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

The LearnZillion Guidebooks provide teachers with guidance and opportunities to monitor student progress. Each unit provides daily formative assessments, as well as section quizzes, Cold Read tasks, Culminating Writing tasks, and Extension tasks. When considered as a whole unit, students are assessed in a variety of methods 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 “student 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.
  • In "The Giver" 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. 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 “Memoir” Unit, every section ends with a type of assessment. This creates a variety of assessments for the unit’s CCSS. Sections 1, 3, 4, and 7 end with a section quiz. Sections 2, 5, 6, and 9 end with a task. Sections 10 end with a Cold Read task.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 7, students complete the rest of the graphic organizer after seeing a model, and working with a partner: “Say: Now you will complete columns three, four, and five of your handout. Please use the first row of your handout as a model.”
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, an Extension task and Culminating Writing task are provided. Also, an exemplar for the writing and presentation is included, as well as a multimedia rubric.

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 7 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 connect to the Unit Goal to deepen understanding and promote stamina, confidence, and motivation.

  • In the Reading Guidebook that is available to teachers, a section on “Volume of Reading” lists ways to support independent reading. 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 includes a PDF form that lists ways families can support learners at home. In this “Family Resource” there is a section on “What does independent reading look like at home?” This section lists suggestions for 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 with help can “build your child’s confidence with reading, her reading stamina and reading achievement, and will help her do better in school.” This resource also includes a list of potential, additional texts that support the topic of the unit. For example in the "Written in Bone" Unit, the text, The Bone Detective by Donna Jackson, is listed as a potential additional text.
  • In the “Christmas Carol” Unit, students are given the following graphic organizers: “Summarizing Chapters Handout,” “Character Analysis Handout", and “Vocabulary Log”. These hold students accountable for their in-class reading of A Christmas Carol.
  • In "The Giver" Unit, students participate in literature circles with an independent reading choice. Students read a dystopian novel of their choice in order to “compare those themes to The Giver in preparation for the multimedia component of their Extension task.” Choices include Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and Feed by M.T.Anderson.
  • In “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 8, “students select and begin reading an independent reading memoir that they will write about for the Culminating Writing task.” Students and parents are given a letter with the following information: “Your student will be reading a memoir that relates to our unit focus, coming of age, and lives in transition...We have set up a system in which students set goals for their reading, keep a reading log (about the text and their own opinions about the book), and write reviews of the texts they are reading. Ask your student to share these documents with you. Be sure you know your child’s reading goals so you can support him/her on staying on track, celebrate successes, and help solve problems as needed.”
  • In "The Giver" Unit, “More resources for this unit” tab, LearnZillion provides “Hatchet: Family Resources.” This PDF guide provides parents, students, and teachers with a suggested independent reading book list: Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, Elite (Book 2 of Hunter series) by Mercedes Lackey, and Shades Children by Garth Nix. Also, the “What does independent reading look like at home?” section is presented within the PDF support guide. In this section, the following is stated:

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 7 (meet, partially meet, do not meet) the criteria 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; during reading the text with support for language, engaging in academic discussions, expressing understanding in writing, and developing language proficiency.

  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 7, students learn how to determine the central idea of a text and how the author develops the central idea. During the lesson, the teacher models how she thinks through the central idea of Written in Bone, and the students record the model on a handout. In the Teaching Notes, there is a section labeled “Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc.)” that reads, “As needed, prior to modeling how to locate the central idea, discuss the meaning of the phrase 'central idea' and how an author may develop a central idea.”
  • In "The Giver" 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 for students to record their understanding at key points in the video. The topics for the unit include “Values and Rights in a Constitution,” "How Do Communities Develop Common Knowledge and Shared Memories,” and “Utopian and Dystopian Societies.”
  • 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 include, but are not limited to engaging in independent reading on their instructional level or language, engaging in targeted reading or writing foundational skills, or participating in additional instruction.
  • In each lesson there are suggestions for the teacher to further support struggling or ELL learners. For example in the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 18, there is a "Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc.) section that gives additional instructions when the students move to group work: "During the read aloud, provide a synonym or student-friendly definition for difficult words. To keep students actively involved during the read aloud and to practice their reading fluency, engage students in choral reading or echo reading. When explaining the focus for the reading, provide examples of how points of view can be different. If students are not able to identify characters who have distinct points of view about Native Americans, focus them by asking,  What is Samuel’s point of view about Native Americans ? What is Reverend Hunt’s point of view about Native Americans?”
  • Additional Resources are provided for teachers to work with students that need more support. An audio of many of the texts are provided. In every unit, Text Complexity and Vocabulary Analysis is provided with information on where the complexity lies in the text and possible vocabulary to instruct. Every unit includes a “Let’s set the Context!” section 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 7 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 from respective sections, “Section Supports” include 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 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 stop signs in the video when they pause and complete part of a handout. Students need a printed handout for each video.”
  • In the "Christmas Carol" Unit, Lesson 6, students must “analyze how setting shapes Scrooge’s characterization.” The following is presented on the slide: "Follow along as I read part of Stave 1 aloud. Start at: ‘This lunatic, in letting Scrooge’s nephew out, had let two other people in.’ As I read, consider: How does Scrooge respond to the men? How does his response support what we know about his character?” Within the “Teaching Notes,” the following support is listed under the section titled “Supports for Differentiation (ELL, SPED, etc.)”: “To keep students actively involved during the read aloud and to practice their reading fluency, engage students in choral reading or echo reading." 
  • In "The Giver" Unit, Section 7, the instructor is presented with “Section Supports.” In “Section Supports,” the following supports are outlined and detailed: “Before the Section,” which includes support for foundational skills and support for reading fluency. “During the Section” Support for Meaning: See the "Additional Materials" section of specific lessons Support for Engaging in Academic Discussions: Use related supports from the Supports Flow Chart. Support for Expressing Understanding in Writing: Use related supports from the Supports Flow Chart. Support for Developing Language Proficiency: Use related supports from the Supports Flow Chart.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 15, students must “identify main idea, tone, and purpose of selections from the anchor text.” On one slide, students are presented with the following instructions: “Share your summary with others in your group. Decide which summary is best to share with the class.” 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: Which summary does the best job of covering all of the important parts of our section? Which summary is most interesting to read? Which summary is clearest?”

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.” However, there are no apparent opportunities for students to engage in extensions of their learning.

  • In the “Christmas Carol” 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 Secret Garden by Frances H. Burnett, The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion by Eric Greitens, Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera Cleaver, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt.
  • In the “Memoir” 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 Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, Sounder by William H. Armstrong.

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 18, students practice “analyzing how an author develops contrasting points of view in a literary text.” On the slide, students are presented with the following directions: “With a partner discuss Samuel’s an Reverend Hunt’s points of view about Native Americans. Find text evidence to support this point of view. Complete the chart.”
  • In the “Memoir” Unit, Lesson 9, students work to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. Students spend 20 minutes reading their independent reading memoirs and record their progress in their independent reading logs. Afterward, they work with a partner to create a semantic map for an unknown word in each of the partner’s texts.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 14, students read and summarize a portion of Chapter 5, 6, or 7 of Behind the Scenes in small groups.

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 teach-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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 was smooth and straightforward. The digital image was clear and easy to read on the mobile device.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” Guidebook that provide WriteAlong videos for support for students. All lessons are presented via a slideshow that includes 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"; and, students also are able to utilize audio read-alongs for anchor texts and various supplemental texts.

  • In the “How are the materials designed for the classroom?” Guidebook, 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.”
  • 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 Giver" Unit, “a downloadable audio recording of The Giver is available.” The audio recording is hyperlinked to each lesson throughout the unit that requires the instructor or students to reference the anchor text.
  • In the "Written in Bone" Unit, Lesson 42, students complete the Cold Read task. Part of the task has the students watch a video and then respond. In the "Teacher Notes" section, teachers see directions on how to use various laptop methods to access the video.
  • In the "Behind the Scenes" Unit, Lesson 42, students use their notes to create and present a multimedia presentation to an audience. A rubric is provided with one area on multimedia components.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 "The Giver" Unit, there is a link to an audio version of the text on an outside source (Audible.com), but the students would have to sign up for a free 30-day trial or purchase the audiobook to access it.  The same is true in the "Behind the Scenes" Unit where an audio recording of Behind the Scenes is available.
  • In all Units, teachers are able to “Quick Assign” by clicking on any lesson and selecting the pink “Quick Assign” button in the top right corner next to the lesson title. 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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectation that materials can be easily customized for local use.

In the LearnZillion Guidebooks tab, instructors and stakeholders are presented with the“How do I customize the curriculum to meet my district’s unique needs?” Guidebook that 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.” 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 added into existing content.
  • Videos showing district teachers engaging in a learning strategy or protocol can be 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 added into the lesson, so teachers do not need to go to other places 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 so teachers can “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.).
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 can be placed in any browser.

  • 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, teachers can click on “Assignments and Reporting” and under that find “ How do I assign, share and grade an assignment.” By clicking 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 7 978-1-5066-9918-9 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Student Handouts - Grade 7 978-1-5939-9518-8 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Curriculur License and Student Handouts Grade 7 - 1 Year 978-1-9492-3383-4 LearnZillion 2018
LearnZillion Guidebooks Curriculur License Grade 7 - 1 Year 978-1-949233-65-0 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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