Alignment: Overall Summary

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

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Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
37
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
18
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. Materials include texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The program materials in each Literature Unit and Science and Social Studies Unit contain a text complexity analysis that includes quantitative measure, qualitative measure, and a rationale for including the text. Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines. The lessons throughout the units have sets of high quality sequences of text dependent questions that build to a culminating task. The materials include supporting documents that outline strategies and structures for evidence-based discussions. Materials support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. The majority of lessons include on-demand writing, such as a Target Task that requires students to respond in writing to the text covered in the lesson. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. The program does not explicitly teach word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected texts and tasks. While the program contains texts that could allow students the opportunity to practice reading fluently, the program does not provide explicit instruction on how to read with accuracy, appropriate rate, and prosody.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. There is a wide array of informational and literary text integrated throughout every unit. Materials include texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. The program materials in each Literature Unit and Science and Social Studies Unit contain a text complexity analysis that includes quantitative measure, qualitative measure, and a rationale for including the text. Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines.

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 3 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests. The texts in both Literature Units and Science and Social Studies Units are of publishable quality, many are written by well-known authors, and many are also part of well-known series. The texts are culturally diverse and contain strong academic vocabulary. The texts contain engaging pictures, and the content is written in a manner that is engaging for students.

Examples of literature include:

  • In Unit 1, both The Twits and The Enormous Crocodile are written by Roald Dahl. These are tales that are engaging to third graders.
  • In Unit 2, the three anchor texts are The People Could Fly, American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton, Tales Our Abuelitas Told, A Hispanic Folktale Collection by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flora Ada, and Her Stories, African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton. These texts are culturally diverse, relevant, and engaging.
  • In Unit 3, the anchor text, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children collected by Jack Prelutsky, includes high-interest whimsical poetry that allows the instruction of various poetic skills.
  • In Unit 4, Classic Starts: Roman Myths written by Diane Namm is a collection of classical myths.
  • In Unit 6, students read Charlotte’s Web. The theme, vocabulary, and characters of this classic are appropriate and relatable to students in Grade 3.
  • In Unit 7, students read two texts by Mildred D. Taylor titled The Gold Cadillac and The Friendship. Both texts are culturally diverse and of high interest.

Examples with a science and/or social studies focus include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the texts, If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern, If you Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast by Anne Kamm, and If You Lived with the Iroquois by Ellen Levine, are high interest, engaging non-fiction stories and include vibrant illustrations.
  • In Unit 2, students read a high interest text titled Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker: Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne.
  • In Unit 3, students read Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, which is a high-interest, age appropriate, and engaging nonfiction story.
  • In Unit 4, students read What is a Life Cycle and What is the Animal Kingdom by Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille, which contain colorful pictures, high interest content, and rich academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 5, students read Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and it contains strong content and academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 6, students read What is Religion? One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship by Bobbie Kalman and Mary Pope Osborne, which contain high interest topics for students.
  • In Unit 7, the anchor texts are part of the Science A-Z series and contain strong academic content and vocabulary. Examples of the texts include Wrecking Ball vs. Strong Wall, The Mole Machine, and Simple and Complex Machines by Ned Jensen.


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 3 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Texts include an appropriate mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide array of informational and literary text integrated throughout every unit. The majority of the literary texts are found in the Literature curriculum, and the majority of the informational texts are found in the Science and Social Studies curriculum. Additional supplementary texts are included, resulting in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards, including articles, historical fiction, mythology, folktales, poetry, audio interviews, and songs.

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

  • Literature Unit 2: Her Stories, African American Folktales, Fairy Tales and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton
  • Literature, Unit 3: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Jack Prelutsky
  • Literature Unit 4: Classic Starts: Roman Myths by Diane Namm
  • Literature, Unit 5: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • Literature, Unit 7: The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor

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

  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 1: If You Lived with the Iroquois by Ellen Levine
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 2: A True Book, The Massachusetts Colony by Kevin Cunningham
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 5: Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 6: What is Religion by Bobby Kalman
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 7: Simple and Complex Machines by Ned Jensen


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 3 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The majority of the texts for Grade 3 have the appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures. Texts that fall outside of the Grade 2-3 band for quantitative measures have qualitative features and/or tasks that make them appropriate for Grade 3 students.

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students read If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern, which has a Lexile of 600. The text structure is simple, with illustrations and a predictable pattern of topics, making this book appropriate to teach students about what life was like for the Sioux Indians.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, students read The People Could Fly, American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton, which has a Lexile of 480. The text contains moderately complex cultural materials, but conventional text structure, which makes it appropriate for Grade 3. A few of the short stories have more complex themes that require a more nuanced understanding; however, the task demands of those lessons support student comprehension.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, students read Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker, Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne, which has a Lexile of 550, making it appropriate for students to read in Grade 3.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students read Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, which has a Lexile of 750. The text structure, illustrations, graphics, and page layout support students to independently interact with the text and to help them learn more about Ancient Rome.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, which has a Lexile of 650. The complex sentence structure, but simple levels of meaning and simple text structure, helps students access this text in third grade.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, students read Her Stories, African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, which has a Lexile of 960. Although the Lexile is above the band for Grade 3, the qualitative measures of the text, including language and text structure, as well as the lesson activities, provide support for students that makes this text appropriate.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students read What is a Life Cycle? (The Science of Living Things) by Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille, which has a Lexile of 880. While this text is in the 4-5 grade level band, the qualitative measures, particularly with text structure and subject matter, make this text appropriate for students to read within this unit.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, students read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, which has a Lexile of 870. The qualitative measures, particularly the text structure and knowledge demands, support the placement of the text within this unit. The text contains complex and dense sentence structure, but the easily relatable message of bullying and the relatively conventional text structure makes the sentences easier to understand and access.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students read online books in the Science A-Z series. According to the publisher, all of these are in the highest level of the 5-6 reading grade band. The complex knowledge demands and text structure suggest the text is appropriate in the third and fourth grade band level. For example, one text explains how force and motion work in our everyday life. While the author uses several organizing structures, the text features and diagrams are used to help students understand and access the material.


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 3 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

Texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band. Skills build upon one another in units and across the year. Texts require deeper analysis throughout the year, and themes become more complex in the texts. Questions increase within the depth of knowledge: requiring inferences, analysis, and synthesis throughout the year.

In Literature, Unit 1, students read two fiction texts by Roald Dahl. Students begin to understand how to collect evidence to show how the author describes characters to help the reader understand the characters and setting. Both of the texts are in the grade level Lexile band and reading them together allows for study of themes and character analysis. Target tasks and key questions focus on text-based evidence, use of descriptive language, plot, theme, use of illustrations, character motivation, and point of view. For example, in Lesson 1, students are asked what evidence does the author include to help the enormous crocodile, while in Lesson 8, students are asked what evidence does Roald Dahl include to show that Mr. Twit is an instigator. Students are asked why he includes this evidence, which increases in rigor from the question asked in Lesson 1.

In Literature, Unit 4, students read 6 myths from Classic Starts: Roman Myths by Diane Namm. The unit’s focus is on understanding plot and how central message is developed. Students continue to collect evidence to show how the author's writing moves beyond description to motivation which moves students beyond the literal words of the author implied, while continuing to collect evidence to support their thinking. The conventionality of the text is slightly more complex than previous texts and the myths contain more complex sentences, figurative language, and unfamiliar vocabulary than in the sequence. For example, in Lesson 1, students are asked what details does the author include to show what Jupiter is like, while, in Lesson 9, students are asked why Psyche is unable to find true love. In Lesson 20, the target task moves to a more complex consideration of description with, “Pick two myths from the unit. Compare and contrast the messages, settings, and plots of the two myths.”

In Literature, Unit 7, students encounter challenging texts. They read several poems by Langston Hughes and two books by Mildred Taylor. The texts by Taylor tackle the themes of racism and segregation by painting a picture of discrimination and injustice in the south. She uses conventional text structure and straightforward, familiar sentences to help portray the powerful themes. The knowledge demands make the text more complex and require students to have an understanding of the tension between blacks and whites during this time period. Questions include “Why do Dewberry and Little Man have different perspectives on the ‘incident’?” and “What does this reveal about ?” (Lesson 3). At the end of the unit, students describe the central message of the book, which demonstrates an increase in literacy skills from using evidence to describe a character to analyzing text to describe the central message.

In addition, the Informational Writing Focus Correction areas show a clear progression and increase in demands on students’ performance. For example:

  • In Unit 1, students work on using paragraphs to group ideas and make a claim to show understanding of the text.
  • Unit 2, students use a brainstorm structure that supports the text and task and use paragraphs to group ideas and evidence into one paragraph.
  • In Unit 3 and 4, students add introductions and conclusions to their claim. Students begin using transition words and include two to three sentences explaining each text-based reason.
  • In Unit 5, students select the most relevant text-based evidence to support the claim. In Units 6 and 7, students should have mastered all of the areas according to the publisher, but those that are not mastered should be . The publisher suggests that students should be able to select the most relevant text-based details and examples to support the claim, include a variety of text-based evidence, and use words and phrases to connect different parts of the sentence, etc. order to be proficient by the end of third grade.

Writing projects also increase in demand across the year, especially in Science and Social Studies. Students begin by explaining and end the year by researching and synthesizing. For example:

  • In Unit 1, students explain what it would look like to live with the Northwest Coast Indian.
  • In Unit 2, students write an informational text describing what life was like for Puritans by stating a claim.
  • In Unit 3, students write a letter to a friend explaining whether all leaders in Ancient Rome were tragic by stating a claim and providing supporting evidence from multiple sources.
  • In Unit 6, students begin researching and taking notes on the Buddhist religion by reading multiple texts and synthesizing the information.
  • In Unit 7, students explain the features of a wrecking ball, which requires from multiple texts.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The program materials in Literature Units and Science and Social Studies Units contain a text complexity analysis that includes quantitative measure, qualitative measure, and a rationale for including the text. The text complexity analysis is accessible from the Unit Overview.

The following examples are rationales found in the Literature Unit:

  • In Unit 1, The Twits has a Lexile of 750 and the program explains that there are obvious themes as well as subtle themes in the book that require a deeper understanding of characters and plot.
  • In Unit 2, the Core Text The People Could Fly, American Black Folktales has a Lexile of 480. The rationale states that many stories in this book have dark, sad messages, and an understanding of the time period is necessary to understand the text. The cultural demands of the text make it difficult, but the conventional text structure helps students comprehend the material.
  • Unit 3 is a collection of poems, which does not have quantitative measures. However, the poems have complex figurative and literal language, and the program provides scaffolds to support analysis and comprehension.
  • In Unit 4, the core text, Roman Myths, does not have a Lexile, but the qualitative analysis specifically states the levels of meaning, text structure, and conventionality make them grade appropriate and accessible.
  • In Unit 5, the text, The Hundred Dresses, is written in the 1940s and provides students with more complex sentence structure, but easy relatability to make the text accessible according to the program.
  • In Unit 6, the text, Charlotte’s Web, has a Lexile of 650. The qualitative measures, particularly the complex vocabulary and sentence structure, make the text appropriate for study according to the program.
  • In Unit 7, the text, The Gold Cadillac, has a Lexile of 650. According to the program, the knowledge demands make the text complex despite conventional text structure and familiar sentence structure.

The following examples are rationales found in the Science and Social Studies Unit:

  • In Unit 1, the core text, If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern, has a Lexile of 600. The supplemental texts, If You Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast by Anne Kamma and If you Lived with the Iroquois by Ellen Levine, have Lexiles of 870 and 810, respectively. These texts were chosen because of their simple structure that mimics the structure the students are learning in writing.
  • In Unit 2, there are a variety of texts used with a Lexile range of 570 L to 940L. While the texts are higher than the third grade band, the texts are read alouds to make them accessible.
  • In Unit 3, Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Bryce has a Lexile of 750. The supplemental text, Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, does not have a Lexile. According to the program, it allows the students to practice informational reading strategies using two different types of text structures.
  • In Unit 4, the texts have a Lexile range of 770 to 940. While the quantitative range is in the fourth grade band, the program explains that the qualitative measures, such as text structure and subject matter, make the texts appropriate.
  • In Unit 5, there are no Lexiles given and no rationales provided.
  • In Unit 6, the anchor text, Ancient Greece and the Olympics: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, has a Lexile of 590. Qualitative measures, such as text structure, vocabulary, and knowledge, support the placement of this text in this unit.


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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines. In the Publisher’s Documents, a teacher can use a variety of “text consumptions” from read alouds to independent reading; however, there is no directive for teachers on which text consumption strategy to use, which does not guarantee a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level proficiency. The lessons do not explicitly outline or identify which strategy should be used, other than the occasional sample lesson.

The Publisher’s Document explains various ways to engage with a text, such as read aloud, shared reading, partner reading, independent reading, and small group reading, though teachers must use their discretion on when to use each strategy, which could lead to just one or two types of engagement throughout the year. Without specific information, it is not guaranteed that students will reach grade level proficiency through varied depth and breadth of reading. The Publisher’s Document shares that, in a typical day, teachers and students should engage in 60 - 90 minutes in the literary block, 60-90 minutes in the science and social studies block, 45-60 minutes per day independent reading, guided reading 60 minutes per day, and foundational skills, as needed.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
15/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). The lessons throughout the units have sets of high quality sequences of text dependent questions that build to a culminating task. The materials include supporting documents that outline strategies and structures for evidence-based discussions. Each unit and lesson includes evidence-based Key Questions and Target Tasks that require teachers to use one of the evidence-based discussions. Materials support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. The majority of lessons include on-demand writing, such as a Target Task that requires students to respond in writing to the text covered in the lesson. Materials provide opportunities for students to learn how to write narrative, informational, and opinion pieces across both the Literature and Science and Social Studies units, and include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

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

The Grade 3 materials contain questions and tasks that require the students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support answers. Each unit includes questions or activities in the Target Task and Key Questions section that require students to interact with the text. There are also writing tasks embedded through each unit that require students to interact with the text. Students are asked both explicit and implicit questions and are asked to explain their answer.

In Grade 3 Literature, the first unit focuses specifically on creating a culture of discussion and debate as well as discussion and writing about reading. While in Units 1-2, the focus is more on narrative writing, in Units 3-7, there are multiple text-based writing lessons embedded throughout the unit that support the final writing activity. The support materials for the teacher also provide what is called intellectual preparation during lesson planning which has the teacher consider questions such as 'What does it mean to ask and answer questions about a text?' and 'What does it mean to explicitly refer to the text?' Several examples of evidenced-based questions and tasks are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, after reading The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, students are asked:
    • Compare and contrast the Not So Big Crocodile and the Enormous Crocodile.
    • How do the Not So Big Crocodile's words impact the Enormous Crocodile decision? Why?
    • Do the Not So Big Crocodile's actions make the crocodile more or less likely to reach a child? Explain why.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, after reading "The Goat from the Hill and Mountains" from Tales Our Abuelitas Told, A Hispanic Folktale Collection by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flora Ada, students are asked:
    • What happens each time someone goes to scare the goat away?
    • How does the goat respond? How does the person respond? Why? (Key quote to analyze: "By now the girl was crying, the woman glowering, her husband fuming, and the soldier was stomping about in frustration.")
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, after reading "The Way of Living Things" by Jack Prelutsky students are asked:
    • What is the rhyme scheme in this poem? What mood does it create?
    • What description does the poet include to help the reader visualize living things?
    • How does the poet convey the central message of the poem?
    • What is the significance of the title?
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 14, after Reading Otis and Ephialtes, Twin Giants, students are asked:
    • Read the sentence from page 135. "The two young giants thought the world of themselves." What does this mean? How did this influence the way they acted? Why?
    • Read the sentence from page 137. "Otis and Ephilates watched, listened, and learned." Why does the author include the word learned? What does this reveal about Otus and Ephilates's motivations?
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 19, after reading Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes, students are asked:
    • What advice does Joe give Garvey? Why is it important?
    • What does Garvey realize in the poem, "Photo Album"?
    • Why is the poem on p. 54 titled, "Garvey's Choice"?
    • What choice does Garvey make? Why does Garvey tell Angela and not his mother and father?
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 8, after reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, students are asked:
    • How has Wilbur's perception of Charlotte changed?
    • Described the sheep.
    • What evidence does the author include to show how Wilbur feels about the sheep's comments?

In Grade 3 Science and Social Studies, there are also questions and tasks that require the students to refer back to the text and draw on textual evidence. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 9, after reading If you Lived with the Iroquois by Ellen Levine, students are asked:
    • What role did women play in ensuring that the Iroquois had enough food to eat? Why?
    • What role did men and boys play in ensuring that the Iroquois had enough food to eat? Why?
    • Explain the importance of corn in Iroquois communities.
    • Compare the colonist’s views of land and property with the Iroquois. What does this show about the Iroquois value?
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 20, after reading Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, students are asked:
    • What gifts did the Romans leave behind?
    • Why were Roman structures able to last for so long?
    • Are all Roman structures in the same condition as they were when they were first built? Defend why or why not.
    • How does the information from Eye Wonder build on to the information from Ancient Rome and Pompeii?
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, after reading Forces and Motion by Rob Fridell, students are asked:
    • What is gravity?
    • What is the difference between mass and weight?
    • What is the connection between mass and weight?
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 12, after reading Wrecking Ball vs. Strong Wall, students are asked:
    • What is a pendulum?
    • How does the diagram on page 5 help a reader understand where the ball has the most energy of motion? Why?


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

The lessons throughout the units have sets of high quality sequences of text dependent questions that build to a culminating task. Grade 3 culminating tasks include a variety of projects, such as writing a story, preparing a community presentation, and conducting a research paper. The tasks require students to use evidence from the text they have read, mimic the text they have read, or use skills that they learned throughout the unit with a novel project. Projects require students to integrate the skills of reading, writing, and, at times, speaking.

Below are examples of culminating tasks throughout the program in both Literature and Science and Social Studies:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, students learn the daily procedures of writing about reading and dig deep into narrative writing. At the end of the unit, students write their own creative narrative with a focused plot using the writing of Roald Dahl as a guide. Questions throughout the unit help students with this. For example, in Lesson 11, students are asked to describe what evidence Roald Dahl includes to help readers better understand the characters. This project lasts 4 days.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students describe what it would be like to live with the Hopi or Cherokee Indians hundreds of years ago, which combines knowledge and skill gained from the unit. Students must include details about how they would live, what they would eat and wear, and how they would spend their days.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, students write their own folktales using common characteristics of a folktale. Students read folktales and answer questions about folktales throughout this unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, teachers have the option for students to research different colonies that were not studied in this unit or research different roles and responsibilities in Colonial America. The goal of the project is for students to think critically and apply what they have learned throughout the entire unit.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, students use what they have learned about poetry to write their own free-verse or rhyming poems.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students pick another topic about ancient Rome to explore in depth using their knowledge and skill from this unit. The students create a brochure and a visual representation to show what they learned.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, students discuss and analyze unit-essential questions using details from the entire unit to support a point of view.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students are given the problem that they live in a seaside town that is experiencing large amounts of water pollution. The different animals and organisms are having a hard time adapting and surviving in the harsh environments, and some are becoming extinct. The students must come up with a solution to the problem and persuade others in the community to agree via a presentation.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, students create a poster that describes what bullying is, details the different roles people play in bullying, and has at least two suggestions for how to prevent or stop bullying. Students use what they have learned from The Hundred Dresses and Garvey’s Choice to do this project.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students imagine that they are Wilbur from Charlotte's Web and write a thank you note to each of their friends and explain why they are thankful for their friendship.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, students research another religion and create a presentation to share with classmates that includes information about the religions main beliefs, history, people, and rituals.
  • In Literature, Unit 7, students take a unit test where they read two sections of writing and respond to a prompt about theme. This is addressed throughout the unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, students create a design proposal. Throughout the unit, students learn about pulleys and gears and how to investigate the usefulness of simple machines, all of which will help with the final project.


Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Throughout the Grade 3 curriculum, there are supporting documents that outline strategies and structures for evidence-based discussions. Each unit and lesson includes evidence-based Key Questions and Target Tasks that require teachers to use one of the evidence-based discussions. These questions and the opportunity to choose the protocol provides opportunities for students to take a closer look at the author’s craft, vocabulary, and syntax. There are Match Minis that are videos for teachers that demonstrate how to implement these protocols. It is important to note that because there are lesson frames, and not step-by-step scripts for each lessons, the teachers have to use their own discretion for when to introduce and use the various protocols.

The Rigorous Discussion Guidelinesin the Publisher’s Supporting Documents for Teachers explains strategies and structures to teachers in a step by step guide. Some lessons explicitly refer to these strategies and structures as an option for the lesson, but the teacher has the discretion of when to use them. There is a detailed document providing steps and guidelines to prepare for, lead, and follow up with a rigorous discussion. To prepare for a discussion some teacher guidance includes setting up the classroom space, articulating a question, and anticipating student misconceptions. To lead a discussion, some guidance is provided for modeling note taking for students, providing scaffolding, and tracking data from the discussion. After the discussion, there is guidance on how to use the data to inform future classes, which, also includes a rubric for evaluating student discussion. Text consumption strategies are provided, such as read aloud, shared reading, partner reading, and small group reading which provides opportunities for both listening and speaking. Some of the instructional strategies discussed include:

  • Turn and Talk: Low-risk oral language strategy that provides scaffolded opportunities for all students to formulate and build upon each other’s ideas.
  • Stop and Jot: Gives students a chance to process individually and make sense of information before participating in a turn and talk, class discussion, or moving on with a lesson. (A sample lesson plan for teaching stop and jot is provided)
  • Discussion: Rigorous discussion explicitly fosters habits that increase student thinking by challenging on to test out their own ideas, build on those of their peers, and ultimately lead a persuasive discussion. The length and format of a rigorous discussion can and should vary.

Match Mini Protocols that illustrate various protocols include:

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

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

  • In Literature, Unit 2, lesson 18, there is a sample lesson plan that provides a discussion protocol for students, in which students will engage in a discussion with classmates where they will use their annotations and evidence to back up their perspective.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 13, there are a lot of opportunities for discussions over two days, alternating between turn and talk and class discussion, such as:
    • Turn and Talk: You are going to read the rest of the poems that other kinds wrote, As you read, I want you to think about two questions: Do all poems have to be about the same topic? What makes a good poem?
    • Class Discussion: What did you like from the poems you read? What resonates with you? What topics do you like? Which elements did you find? How did they affect the poems?
    • Turn and Talk: Share poems with partners and then given compliments to partners’ poems.
    • Class Discussion: Share poems with the whole group and then give compliments to the whole group.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 12, the Criteria for Success states that students with participate actively in discussion by agreeing/disagreeing/building as necessary and presenting evidence to backup their claims.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 6, the objective is that students prepare for a discussion of Charlotte’s Webby making a claim for each Essential Question based on their learning throughout the text
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, Lesson 25, after reading several texts including One World, Many Religions: The Ways we Worshipby Mary Pope Osborne, students debate and discussion two or three of the essential questions from the unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, Lesson 2, students are asked various questions about the vocabulary word wedge such as, “What is a wedge?” and “How do wedges make work easier?”. The teacher chooses a discussion protocol for the students to discuss the questions.


Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Materials in Grade 3 support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. There are some examples in the lesson frames and teaching notes, where the word discussion is used explicitly to indicate to the teacher that discussion should be taking place in class. In addition, every lesson has a set of Key Questions, and while it does not explicitly state to discuss, there is often wording such as push scholars to think about, have scholars examine, focus, or explain. These series of questions often progress from discussion to writing. When writing, students have multiple opportunities to present their work and share with their peers in a group or whole class settings. Resource documents provide assistance for teachers in choosing class structures. Intellectual Prep is provided for each unit that specifies the discussions that will be included throughout the lessons.

Below are some examples of opportunities for students to practice their listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching in Literature. Some activities in the Lesson Objectives or Notes section of the Lesson Frames specifically require a discussion to be held by students and provide text dependent questions to be answered by students. Teachers can use their discretion to decide if it is whole group, partner, or small group discussion.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 14, students engage in a discussion on what they learned after reading The Twits and The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, the notes section specifies that the students discuss common messages that are present in different folktales and how characters are similar and different in the text Tales Our Abuelitas Told.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, students read a variety of poems and then engage in a discussion on the noticings between free verse poems and poems with a rhyme scheme.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 11, the sample lesson plan provides opportunities for students to turn and talk during the close reading of the text Classic Starts: Roman Myths by Diane Namm.
  • At the end of Unit 4, Lesson 22, students discuss and analyze the unit-essential questions using details from the entire unit to support a point of view. Then, they engage in a discussion about their analysis.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 7, students have the Target Task of “What roles do Peggy, Maddie, and Wanda play in the hundred dresses game?” In the notes section, the teacher asks the class to discuss first and then write. The lesson includes a sample lesson plan where the teacher has a discussion about bullying before the students write.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 20, students closely read Charlotte’s Web and engage in a class discussion on Wilbur and Charlotte’s relationship before writing a well-organized essay to support the idea. The Notes section of the Lesson Frame includes an explanation of the discussion.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 22 students compare and contrast texts by Mildred Taylor and Langston Hughes. The first day gives students the opportunity to gather evidence and discuss. The second day is a writing day.

Below are some examples of opportunities for students to practice their listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching in Science and Social Studies:

  • In Unit, 1, Lesson 12, the writing/discussion target task is for students to answer the question, “In what ways is the League still the same? In what ways is it different? What caused the change?” Students explicitly refer to page 70 of the text and analyze, “The Iroquois League is, in fact, one of the world’s longest lasting unions. The Great League continues to exist today in the United States and Canada.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 21, students write an informational text about what it would be like to live with the Hopi or Cherokee Indians by conducting a simple research project. They present the project to the class and the teacher and peers give them feedback on their text.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 12, students discuss the first Thanksgiving and what is symbolized by describing the relationship between a series of historical events using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect after reading Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker, Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 19, students prepare for a discussion by making a claim based on their learning throughout the unit.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 22, students brainstorm and gather evidence to support two to three essential questions of the units and then that is followed up with an extended discussion.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, students respond to the following statement: All arthropods are exactly the same. All arthropods can survive in a variety of habitats.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 15, students engage in a whole class discussion on why some roller coasters work better than others.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 7; students observe and record simple machines and then participate in a discussion on which machines they found and which ones were not present. This prepares them for a two to three day project on simple machines.

In the Intellectual Prep section of the Unit Prep teachers determine a discussion focus for the unit based on priority speaking and listening standards, a plan for how to introduce the discussion focus, and reinforce the habit over the course of the unit.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

In the Grade 3 materials, the majority of lessons include on-demand writing, such as a Target Task that requires students to respond in writing to the text covered in the lesson. These tasks vary in type and require students to respond to print and video materials. The writing prompts in Science and Social Studies help students process the concepts that they have learned in the informational text. The Publisher’s Documents have guides for informational writing, narrative writing, and literary analysis. Guides provide writing protocols for teachers to use in instruction, along with explanations on implementing the structure within the lesson frames. Guides provide guidance on supporting students throughout the writing process while allowing for maximum response to student needs in the individual classrooms. The Unit Overviews identify skills that should be focused on in writing, and the Publisher’s Documents help teachers to plan for addressing these skills in the lessons. The information for routines, procedures, and expectations is included in the Writing Focus Areas under Unit Prep, though not specified in each lesson.

Guidance for writing can be found in the Publisher’s Documents for each type of writing. Examples of guidance include the following:

  • Guide to Informational Writing establishes the rationale for informational writing, which is that informational writing anchors lessons that are in Science and Social Studies. The informational writing is completed in response to a text, or a series of texts, in order to build and deepen students’ understanding of content. This guide includes protocols for process writing. The teacher uses the protocols within this document to provide practice in process writing throughout the year. Each step in the process is defined and explained in the document to provide support for the teacher.
  • Guide to Narrative Writing explains that the anchor lessons will not be mastered in one lesson, and teachers will assess student writing and adjust lessons based on what they observe. The lessons should be customized based on the needs of the students, and teachers provide individualized feedback to students during the lessons.
  • Guide to Literary Analysis includes common misconceptions and mistakes in literary analysis, such as excessive reliance on emotional understandings or mistaken beliefs.
  • Implementing Daily writing practices is included in the Publisher’s Documents. This guide states that the lessons can be either one day or multiple day lessons depending on the teaching point.

Most lessons include on-demand writing prompts that are expected to be completed in class. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 3, students complete a written response to the following question: “How do Humpy-Rumpy and Monkey’s words and actions influence the plot of the story?”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 15, students answer the following prompt: “How did the environment influence the way the Northwest Coast Indians meet their basic needs for survival?” While this is on-demand writing, students are taught how to use the cause and effect brainstorm structure.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 2, students respond to the following prompt: “What lesson is the author trying to teach in ‘The Goal from the Hills and Mountains’?”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 18, students write an informational text pretending they are Puritans and describe their daily life along with their reliance upon the environment for survival.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, students learn about poems and have opportunities throughout the unit to write on-demand poems and write about poems. For example, in Lesson 5, students synthesize what they have learned from the different poems that they have read.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 2, students describe how the Roman Empire was founded.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 5, students describe how Jupiter’s actions contribute to the sequence of events.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 18, students answer the following on-demand writing prompt: “How does each poem help a reader build a deeper understanding of how Garvey views himself?”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 10, the writing prompt asks, “In what ways do Newton’s three laws of motion connect to soccer?”
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 20, students describe Wilbur and Charlotte’s friendship.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, students begin writing essays, but are not given more than one day to write the essay. For example, in Lesson 23, students write an essay comparing and contrasting key details presented in two texts about Buddhism.
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 7, students are given several on-demand writing prompts, such as write a journal entry from their own point of view.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, Lesson 12, students describe the different types of wrecking balls.

Process writing is described in detail in the Publisher’s Guide, and writing prompts in both Social Studies and Science provide opportunities to engage in process writing. For example:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lessons 18-22, students rewrite their own creative story with a focused plot using Roald Dahl as a mentor author. Students brainstorm ideas and work on the draft for several days. On Day 18, students can complete a new flash draft or work on theirs from the previous day and add an engaging setting. In the Notes section, the process is broken down as follows:
    • “Students should begin by brainstorming ideas and plot structures.”
    • “Students should draft over the course of several days and mini lessons should be provided as needed.”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lessons 6 and 7, students answer a prompt about what it would be like to live with the Sioux Indians hundreds of years ago. On the second day, students take their brainstorm from the previous day and turn it into powerful sentences. Students share their sentences with the class and critique each other’s work.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 21, students spend 5 days writing their own folktale and include common characters in the folktale. Teachers meet with students and provide small group and individualized instruction based on the needs of the class.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, students learn different brainstorming structures and use them to structure their writing with fluidity. While the focus is on paragraph structure, no series of lessons brings students through the whole writing process.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lessons 8-10, students answer a writing prompt and build on their writing each day.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 27, students spend two days writing a thank you note from the perspective of Wilbur thanking various characters for their friendship and explain why they are thankful for their friendship.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, Lesson 3, students write an essay comparing and contrasting two details in the text. The Notes section indicates that students will have multiple opportunities with this standard and reiterates the importance of scaffolding.


Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Instructional materials provide opportunities for students to learn how to write narrative, informational, and opinion pieces across both the Literature and Science and Social Studies units. The material covers a variety of text types that reflect the distribution required by the standards, and it supports mastery of the standards. There are multiple literary analysis prompts throughout the curriculum. These prompts provide students with opportunities to write informational analysis such as identifying themes or main ideas of passages and opinion analysis such as providing reflections or opinions on an author’s ideas.

Some examples of narrative writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, the focus is narrative writing and students are taught how to write a strong and engaging plot. The students use Roald Dahl as a mentor author for their own creative writing.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 21, students write their own folktale over the course of five days. Their folktale must include the common characteristics of a folktale, especially a lesson.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 13, students write a poem about an object or animal that they like. They must include specific poetic devices.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 3, students write Baucis or Philemon’s journal entry about Jupiter’s visit to their house. The students must include how the characters respond to the events in the story.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 27, students write a thank you note from the perspective of Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web to each of his friends, explaining why they are thankful for their friendship.
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 4, students write Little Man’s journal entry about what happened in the store.

Some examples of informational writing lessons and prompts are below. The curriculum includes many writing prompts that require literary analysis that are connected to the text.

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 13 and 14, students write what it would be like to live with the Iroquois hundreds of years ago. Students must include how they would live, what they would eat and wear, and how they would spend their days.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 5, students write an informational text describing a voyage on the Mayflower by stating a claim and using details and a strong organizational structure to support the claim. Teachers are expected to help students use the structure of pros and cons brainstorming to push the students to write a single paragraph describing what life was like on the Mayflower.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, the focus is on explaining evidence for claims and including an introduction and conclusion to essays. In Lesson 4, students have to write a letter to a friend who thinks that the Roman Empire was founded by Romulus and Remus. In the letter, students must include whether or not they agree and include facts and information from both texts in this unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 7, students write what life would be like without magnets and magnetism.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, the focus is to write an essay that includes information from at least two connected sources and it must include evidence from both.

Opinion writing is included in Grade 3, and many writing prompts require students to analyze literature. Some examples of opinion writing include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 13, students evaluate the animals’ plan for revenge in the story, The Twits.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 4, students have to write about whether the white people have a positive or negative influence on the Sioux tribe.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 19, students pick 1-2 essential questions to analyze and debate. This is the last day of the unit for students to reflect on the essential questions, debate the answers, and then write an extended literary analysis.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 1, the students explain why the poets choose to write in free verse, why the poets include rhyme scheme, and how both help a reader better understand the poet's message.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 13, students have to write a letter to a friend describing if they agree or disagree with the idea that Roman society had the exact routines and structures as we do today.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 11, students write what conclusion the character Maddie reaches in The Hundred Dresses and then, based on their own life and the text, explain if they think Maddie reached the right conclusion.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 8, students have to write what life would be like without energy and the ability to transfer energy.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, Lesson 6, students have to write which simple machine they would remove and which one they would use instead.


Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Materials in Grade 3 include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing. Most units include a writing prompt that requires students to cite evidence from text. Some writing assignments require students to compare two pieces of text and draw evidence from both to support claims. Other assignments require students to close read a particular piece of text and use detailed evidence to support their responses to writing prompts. The Literary Analysis Rubric used to grade all of the writing supports the use of evidence-based writing. Explicit references to the text in the student’s writing yields more points on the rubric.

Examples of evidence-based writing opportunities in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, students respond to the target task: “How do Humpry-Rumpy and Monkey’s words and actions influence the plot of the story in the story, The Enormous Crocodile.”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 18, students have to analyze common messages/lessons across different folktales in the book, Her Stories, African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, by discussing how characters are similar and different across the different folktales by stating a claim and then providing supporting evidence from different stories.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, students explain how the different poets use the structural elements of poetry to help readers better understand the ways of living things. It is explained in the Notes Section that the teacher can push students to synthesize what they have learned from all of the different poems they have read.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 12, the writing prompt is how does the author use key details to convey the central message in the Roman myth, “Cupid and Psyche."
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 13, students use evidence from the text to describe the impact Wanda’s letter has on Maddie and Peggy while reading The Hundred Dresses.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, students have to describe Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. The teaching note explains that this day is a writing/close-read deep dive day, where students have to find a variety of evidence that they think describes Wilbur.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 6, the writing prompt asks, “How does the author use the conversation between Tom Bee and the boys to help the reader better understand the interaction between Tom Bee and John Wallace?” It explains in the Teaching Note that the key for this writing task is for the students to explain what Tom Bee reveals in the conversation between him and the boys about his friendship with John Wallace and why he insists on calling him John.

Examples of evidence-based writing opportunities in the Science and Social Studies units include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 11, students write how the daily routines, rituals, and structures show what the Iroquois valued after reading If you Lived with the Iroquois.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, students respond to the prompt, “Imagine that you, like Lizzy, have just arrived in the New World. Write an informational text describing the challenges and rewards of being in the New World. Make sure to include important facts and details to help the reader visualize what it was like on the ship.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 18, students have to describe Cleopatra, Boudicca, Caligula, and Nero from the text Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 11, students spend two days describing the life cycle of a given organism. They need to then compare the life cycle of their organism with another organism.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 14, students describe what force the author is talking about in the text “Roller Coasters,” and how they make roller coasters more fun.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 7, the target task is to think about the key details in two texts about Judaism that shows an important aspect of Jewish religion. Then students write an essay comparing and contrasting the key details presented in the two texts using specific details and examples from both articles.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 2, the writing prompt asks students, "How are planes, wedge, and screws used to make work easier?" They need to give common examples of each and explain its proposing using the text, Simple and Complex Machines.


Indicator 1n

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Explicit instruction of language standards for grammar and conventions are included in the materials. There are opportunities for students to apply their learning grammar and conventions to their own writing. There are missed opportunities for students to learn all the grade-level grammar and convention standards though.

L.3.1a Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentence.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 7, students discuss and analyze the use of specific nouns in sentences. For example, “At one o’clock, she cooked spaghetti for lunch and she mixed the worms in with the spaghetti, but only on her husband’s plate. (The Twits p. 15) The teacher asks: "What specific words does Roald Dahl use in this sentences? How do they help a reader visualize what is happening?”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 19, students learn that pronouns link to nouns by adding onto their narrative writing piece. After students complete the lesson, they add 2 - 3 sentences to their writing and the teacher circulates to make sure students are using pronouns in their writing.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, students analyze the use of verbs in different sentences.
    • But he neglected to give back to the little bird the feathers he had borrowed. But he didn’t give back to the little bird the feathers he had borrowed.” The teacher asks: "Which verbs paint the strongest or weakest picture?"’
  • In Unit 4, lesson 5, Day 2, learn about the function of adjectives and how to use them in their simple sentence writing. Students analyze sentences with adjectives and think about how the sentences would be different without the adjectives.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Supplemental Lesson, students learn how to use adverbs to show how something happens. The teacher shows five sentences that contain adverbs. The teacher asks prompt questions to elicit the function and meaning of the adverbs. For practice, students read a sentence and are to notice the adverb and use the context of the sentence to figure out the meaning of the adverb.

L.3.1b Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 10, the teacher discusses with students the purpose of plural nouns. Then the teacher has the students read a sentence from the text and talk about how the sentence would change if a singular noun was used instead of a plural noun.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 11, students learn about irregular plural nouns. The key understanding for this lesson are, “Not all nouns follow the same patterns. Some are irregular. There isn’t a trick for forming irregular plural nouns, they just need to be memorized.
  • Child - children
  • Man - men
  • Woman - women
  • Foot - feet
  • Tooth - teeth
  • Leaf - leaves
  • Life - lives
  • Wife - wives
  • Shelf - shelves”

L.3.1c Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood)

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 16, students learn that “Abstract nouns are not concrete things. They can not be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. Common categories for abstract nouns include emotions, feelings, ideas, qualities, states, and events.” Students analyze nouns used in an excerpt of text from the unit.

L.3.1d Form and use regular and irregular verbs

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, students learn the purpose of verbs and how to use them in sentences. The students read the sentence and discuss how verbs help a reader visualize action.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, students discuss and analyze sentences with regular verbs. ‘“The ant climbed up one leg of the unsuspecting goat and bit him hard -- so hard that the goat leaped up and down and finally left the vegetable garden to return to the hills and mountains. The teacher asks, "What do you notice?" "What verbs does the author use? How do they help a reader visualize the action? When does the action in this sentence take place? How do you know?"’ Students then practice rewriting a sample sentence into a different verb tense.

L.3.1e Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses

  • There are missed opportunities for explicit instruction for forming and using simple verb tenses.

L.3.1f Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement

  • In Unit 7, Lesson 9, students analyze the following pair of sentences: “Little Man hide his hands behind his back. Little Man hides his hands behind his back.” The teacher asks students, “What is the difference between these two sentences?" The teacher is instructed to, “Have students add a few sentences to their stories with a focus on using proper subject-verb agreement. Pick two to three sentences to analyze and examine as a class.”

L.3.1g Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified

  • Opportunities for explicit instruction in forming and using comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs are missed. Students learn about adverbs and adjectives, but a focus on comparative and superlative adverbs and adjectives is not emphasized.

L.3.1h Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 10, students learn about the coordinating conjunctions (but and yet) and subordinating conjunctions (although, even though, though and while). “Wilbur and Charlotte have a loving friendship, though Charlotte puts in more of the work. The teacher asks, "What do you notice?" Prompt, "What is the conjunction 'though' doing in this sentence?"’ After analyzing and discussing sentences with different coordinating and subordinating conjunctions the teacher is instructed to, “Have students write additional claims that include a contrasting conjunction. Pick 2-3 student claims to share with the class and analyze together.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 20, students further learn more about conjunctions by learning that conjunctions help an author to have choices. The class discusses how conjunctions impact a sentence.

L.3.1i Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 22, students practice identifying and writing simple sentences. ‘“Coyote was infuriated. The teacher asks: "Who or what does or is something?" "What are they or what did they do?"’ After analyzing simple sentences the teacher is instructed to “Have students identify 2 simple sentences from their writing. Have students read their sentences to a partner. Then together they should discuss how they know it is a sentence. Partnerships should pick a sentence that they think is the best to share with the class.”

L.3.2a Capitalize appropriate words in titles and L.3.2b Use commas in addresses

  • There are missed opportunities for explicit Instruction in capitalizing words in titles and for using commas in addresses.

L.3.2c Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 20, students learn about the purpose of commas and quotation marks and how this helps a reader to better understand. The teacher is prompted that throughout the reading students should be asked why the author is using quotation marks, dialogue and punctuation in the way that she uses it.

L.3.2d Form and use possessives

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 17, students learn that possessives are used to highlight certain information, and students determine how the possessive changes the meaning of the sentence.

The following standards are not addressed in the materials:

  • L.3.2e Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness)
  • L.3.2f Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words
  • L.3.2g Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings
  • L.3.3a Choose words and phrases for effect
  • L.3.3b Recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English

There are opportunities for students to apply grammar and convention learning in-context.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 11, students analyze sentences where irregular plural nouns have been used incorrectly. ‘“They were Muggle-Wump and his wife and their two small childrens. The teacher asks: "What changed? What is the effect of the change?"
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 11, students check their writing to make sure that they used the correct verbs in order to enhance their writing. Students use sentences that describe the shepard from the story, “Tales Our Abuelitas Told, A Hispanic Folktale Collection,” using irregular verbs.


Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
3/6
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks addressing grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

The materials contain section for foundational skills. The teacher can find this in the Unit Prep. Within the Unit Prep, there is Phonics and Word Recognition Focus Areas. This contains information about the syllabication routine and the structural analysis routine that are to be applied to lessons. Explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition is intended to be done daily, but the lessons do not contain the full guidance to the teacher to explicitly teach phonics and word recognition. In Unit 1, Roald Dahl, the Unit Prep information states: “A sample routine is included in lesson 6, however, this vocabulary and word-work routine should take place daily.” Daily lesson plans for vocabulary and word-work are not provided. The assessments for foundational skills are to be assessed through the fluency rubric, but the fluency rubric is to assess fluency and not phonics. There is a prompt for teachers to help students if they are struggling with phonics, by reteaching.

Materials contain some explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year.

  • In Unit 1, the teacher is introduced to the syllabication routine that will be used over the course of the school year. Teachers are informed that this routine should be used on a daily basis. As part of this routine students, “Sound out the word by breaking the word into syllables. Identify the number of syllables and explain how you determined the number of syllables by explaining the type of syllable.”
    • In Unit 1, Lesson 6, students practice breaking the word ordinary into syllables.
  • In Unit 2, in the Unit Prep, teachers are prompted to provide support on syllabication to break down vocabulary words. There is a practice routine included in Unit 2, Lesson 4 with the word, trespassing. The teacher breaks down the word in syllables and then explains to students how they got that number of syllables by explaining the type of syllable.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, students practice reading vocabulary words with the prefix dis- and the suffix -ed.
  • In Unit 5, students are to practice reading prefixes and suffixes. There is a suggested vocabulary routine in this lesson for the word absentmindedly and impatiently. Students look at the base words, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • In Unit 5, teachers are prompted in the writing conference time to have discussions with students in order to determine their level of knowledge and understanding with the phonics skill being taught. Teachers are encouraged to have students check the dictionary for understanding the base of a word during writing consultation if they do not know what it is.

Tasks and questions are sequenced to application of grade-level work (e.g., application of prefixes at the end of the unit/year; decoding multi-syllable words) although a clear sequence of explicit phonics instruction for a teacher with lesson plans is not provided.

  • At the beginning of the year, students are working on breaking words into syllables. In Unit 4 & Unit 5, students practice identifying prefixes and suffixes in order to identify the base word.

Few assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. The assessment of foundational skills is focused on fluency and vocabulary. For example:

  • In the Unit 4, the assessment include the following vocabulary question:
    • 3. Read the sentence from paragraph 19 below. “The Sphinx waited for Oedipus to cry out in terror, fall to his knees, or plead for his life.”What does the word plead mean as used in this sentence? a) claim b) beg c) punish d) decide.”

Materials contain some explicit instruction of word solving strategies (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words. The vocabulary routine does use graphophonic and morphological cues with a heavy emphasis on context cues (semantic cues).

  • In Unit 4, students are focused on looking at prefixes and suffixes to determine the meanings of unknown words. In Unit 4, Lesson 2, students break apart and analyze the parts of the word cheerful. Students then add -ness to the end and discuss the meaning of the new word - cheerfulness. Students then repeat the process with the word carefully.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 3, teachers are provided with the following suggested vocabulary routine to guide students in using context clues and word parts to figure out the meaning of the word lure.

“Suggested vocabulary routine:

  • Word: lure
  • Find the word in the sentence. Read the sentences surrounding the word. (Pg. 22, the entire last paragraph is needed to figure out the meaning of the word)
  • What part of speech is the word? How do you know?
  • Does the word have a prefix or suffix?
  • Which words in the sentence give a clue about the meaning of the word? (don’t fall for it, appealing to your stomach, captivity)
  • Determine a potential meaning of the word.
  • Check to see if the meaning makes sense.”


Indicator 1p

Materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

The materials contain two routines for determining the meaning of words: Structural Analysis Routine and the Syllabication Routine. The vocabulary routine that is used over the course of the school year provides students with instruction in word analysis tasks. In this routine, students analyze the root word, prefixes and suffixes to determine the meaning of unknown words. This routine also includes using context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words. The words analyzed are from texts students are studying. While teachers are told that word work should take place on a daily basis, lessons and vocabulary suggestions are not provided daily. According to the document, “Our Approach to Foundational Skills,” “Morphology routines should take place daily. Teachers should pick 2-3 key vocabulary words and use the structural analysis routine below to deconstruct the word with students.” Assessments focused more heavily on comprehension with a few vocabulary questions rather than on word analysis skills.

There are opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Students count the number of syllables in the word trespassing. The teacher then helps students use context clues to figure out the meaning of the word. “Determine which words in the sentence give a clue about the meaning of the word.(The best clues are actually in the previous paragraph. “Who was approaching her house” implies that someone is coming who shouldn’t be there.) Determine a potential meaning of the word. (I think trespassing means when you go onto someone else’s property and you shouldn’t be there.)”
  • In Unit 4, prefixes and suffixes are added to the structural analysis routine. As part of the routine, students are instructed to, “Examine the word for meaningful parts (base word, prefixes, or suffixes) If there is a prefix, take it off first. If there is a suffix, take it off second. Look at the base word to see if you know it or if you can think of a related word.”
    • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, students go through the structural analysis routine with the word kindness. After analyzing the word, students are also instructed to, “Manipulate the word by adding additional affixes and analyzing how the meaning of the word changes. (How does adding the suffix or prefix change the part of speech of the word? How does the word compare to other words with the same prefix or suffix?)” Students then repeat the routine with the word wickedness.
    • In Unit 4, words containing prefixes and suffixes are also frequently part of text vocabulary. For example, in Lesson 13, some of the vocabulary words used for the text Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants include: dispute, unravels and unwise. In lesson 16, some of the vocabulary words used in the text Romulus and Remus include - restless, imprisoned, injustice, helpless, restless and disbelief.
    • In Unit 5, Lesson 9, as part of the Notes section teachers are advised to, “Make sure to continue the focus on using word parts as a way to determine the meaning of unknown words. Here are a lot of opportunities for review with today's vocabulary words. Model with "thoughtlessness" and "thoughtfully". Have students analyze how the two different suffixes change the meaning of the same root word.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 3, students are find the word lure in Charlotte’s Web. Students identify what type of speech the word is and how they know it is that type of speech. Students determine if the word has a prefix or a suffix. Then they determine the potential meaning of the word.

Materials some opportunities for word analysis assessment to monitor student learning of word analysis skills.

  • During writing conference time, the teacher is prompted to reteach if students are struggling with word analysis, but the materials do not provide specifics in how to reteach the skill.
  • In Unit 6, the assessment contains the following questions about vocabulary:
    • What does heeded mean as used in paragraph 4?
      • a) followed
      • b) ignored
      • c) feared
      • d) challenged
    • Which sentence from the story helps the reader better understand the meaning of the word heeded?
      • a) “A white man said jump, and most black folks did.”
      • b) “I saw nothing. I didn’t want trouble.”
      • c) “Still, Hammer said what he figured to say.”
      • d) “Ed-Rose stared too, but at least he spoke.”


Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

The materials include a variety of texts for students to practice reading fluently with a focus on expression, intonation, volume, and accuracy. Within the Unit Prep of each unit, there is a Fluency Focus Area section. This section lists the fluency focus. There is a Grades 3-5 Fluency Rubric for a teacher to use for assessing each student’s fluency. Students are also to use the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric for self-assessment or for assessing a peer. The rubric contains the following fluency categories: expression and volume, phrasing, smoothness, pace, and accuracy, but there is no guidance for rate with specifics for words per minute at each grade level. The materials do not provide teachers with specific instructional adjustments to help students make progress in fluency. For example, in Unit 5, the materials state, “It is also important to spotlight how to self-correct after reading a tricky, multisyllabic word,” yet instructional guidance is not provided in the materials.

Some opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading.

  • In Unit 1, the Fluency focus areas are: “Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage. Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.”
    • In Lessons 1-4, teachers are instructed: “Lessons 1-4 of The Enormous Crocodile should be read aloud in order to model reading dialogue with the expression and intonation that matches the characters’ feelings and motivations.” Students then work with a partner to practice reading portions of the text with expression.
    • In Lessons 6-7, the teacher continues to work on modeling reading with expression and also asks students the following questions: “Why does an author put words in italics? How does it help a reader know what intonation and expression to use when reading a text?”
  • In Unit 2, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers read smoothly and with accuracy. Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.”
  • In Unit 3, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers read smoothly and with accuracy. Readers read in a conversational manner that matches purpose for reading. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.”
  • In Unit 4, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers read smoothly and with accuracy. Readers read in a conversational manner that matches purpose for reading. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.”
    • During the reading sections, students first read in partners and then they read independently using self-correction strategies.
  • In Unit 5, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers adhere to punctuation, particularly commas. Readers read verse with rhythm and flow. Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.”
    • Students read texts that have different structures such as, “Garvey’s Choice.” After the teacher models how fluency sounds like with this particular text, the students read in partners or independently in order to work on reading with fluency.
  • In Unit 6, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers adhere to punctuation, particularly end marks. Readers read dialogue in a way that shows interpretation of the passage. Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.
    • When reading Charlotte’s Web, one of the fluency skills students work on is paying attention to punctuation, “E.B. White uses a variety of end punctuation in order to help a reader connect with the characters and understand the plot. Students will be pushed to read the sentences based on the punctuation in order to show a deep interpretation of the passage.”
  • In Unit 7, the fluency focus areas are: “Readers use dialect with smoothness and accuracy. Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. Readers adhere to punctuation. Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.

Materials support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. There is an emphasis on accuracy and expression, but there are missed opportunities to emphasize rate.

  • In Unit 1, students learn to read prose (The Enormous Crocodile) with expression and volume.
  • In Unit 2, students read with fluency to match the characters emotions. Students read character dialogue in order to continue to practice this skill.
  • In Unit 3, students learn to read poetry. The unit does not contain new fluency focuses though.
  • In Unit 7, the reading focus is on how to read a dialect. The teacher models reading aloud for students to hear the dialect in a fluent manner. Students reread the text to copy the dialect the teacher modeled.

Materials support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). There are multiple lessons on self-correction.

  • In Unit 2, students read the texts multiple times with a different fluency focus each time. The materials suggest the teacher model how to self-correct when reading difficult words and sentences. The materials contain prompt questions such as, “What strategies does a fluent reader use to self-correct when reading difficult words and sentences?”
  • In Unit 4, the teacher is prompted to model self-correction strategies while reading difficult texts. On the first read, the teacher reads quickly and doesn’t correct any of the errors that they make. On the second read, the teacher reads laboriously, but doesn’t correct any mistakes and during the third read, the teacher reads at a conversational pace, correcting mistakes that are made. The teacher has a conversation with the class that determines what the difference between the three reads was and how they can use self-correction strategies to support learning.
  • In the Unit 6 overview, self-correction is again listed as an area of focus, “...students will continue to work on self-correcting when reading difficult words and sentence structures in order to read with smoothness and fluidity. “

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills, but do not provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. There is a fluency rubric for assessment called the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric.

  • In Unit 2, teachers are informed to have students self-assess their fluency or have a partner provide feedback. The teacher also completes a fluency check point and is told to, “Use data from fluency check-points to help prioritize students for additional fluency support in upcoming units.”
  • In Unit 3, the teacher is is to use the spiraling fluency focus areas from the previous units (smoothness, accuracy, expression). The materials suggest the teacher “Use data to plan targeted feedback and review of previously taught focus areas.” The only data available is from the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric, which does not provide instructional guidance to the teacher for students performing at any of the Score Points.
  • In Unit 4, if a student does not meet the accuracy cut off from Unit 3, the materials suggest additional fluency supports during day two of reading. The suggested supports are general: “Additional models, review of teaching models, or additional word analysis and self-correction support.
  • In Unit 5, students either complete a self-assessment or have a partner provide feedback on their reading. The teacher also assesses the student using the fluency rubric.


Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Materials include a series of questions requiring analysis of all aspects of the texts, including language, details, craft, and structure. 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. In most units, students have multiple opportunities to analyze across texts. Units in both Literature and Science and Social Studies have final projects that require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic. The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year. 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. Guidance for planning independent reading is limited to the Literacy Blocks Document, which contains only broad recommendations. Materials meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

28/32

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

In Science and Social Studies, units are built around a topic, such as machines in Science or Native Americans in Social Studies. In Literature, the units are built around global themes with a central text, such as friendship, racism, or bullying. Although all units are built around essential questions to help build student knowledge, the literature units are split with some being organized around a topic, such as myths and others being organized around a theme, such as what it means to save others. The entire year is built around the themes of courage and friendship, and, according to the course summary, students explore what it means to be a true friend, how friendship evolves and strengthens through conflict, and the ways in which friendships can influence actions. Students learn what it means to show courage, what types of situations call for courage, and how an act of courage can affect others.

Below are the topics covered in the Science and Social Studies units:

  • In Unit 1, students read five texts about Native Americans with a focus on the relationship between living things and their environment. Students learn about daily routines, rituals, and structures for various tribes along with how tribes have changed over the years.
  • In Unit 2, students read about the Pilgrims and Colonial America through the core text of Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker, Pilgrims, as well as many short stories and articles.
  • In Unit 3, students read three texts about the rise and fall of the ancient Roman Empire.
  • In Unit 4, students read about the animal kingdom and adaptations. Students learn about the relationship between living things and their environment along with the differences between different species.
  • In Unit 5, students read five texts about forces and motion. Students learn about energy, Newton’s three laws of motion, and the relationship between force and motion.
  • In Unit 6, students read about world religions. The goal of this unit is to help build understanding, appreciation, and respect for the various religions in our world.
  • In Unit 7, students learn about machines through three texts. Students learn the difference between simple and complex machines and how we use them in our daily lives.

Below are the topics covered in the Literature units:

  • In Unit 1, students read about what it means to save others in the texts, The Twits and The Enormous Crocodile. This unit is also an author study on Roald Dahl.
  • In Unit 2, the topic is Hispanic and African American Folktales. In this unit, students explore the power of oral storytelling, and students are exposed to multiple texts from Hispanic and African American culture.
  • Unit 3 encompasses poetry. The topics of the poems are not connected; however, the purpose while reading them is for students to realize poetry can inspire, motivate, awake, amuse, and help readers. Students learn about why poets employ certain stylistic choices in their poetry, so that they will eventually be able to write their own poetry.
  • In Unit 4, students read several Roman Myths which build upon Unit 3 in Science and Social Studies.
  • In Unit 5, students read the texts, The Hundred Dresses and Garvey’s Choice, which aim to teach students what it means to accept and tolerate themselves and others. Bullying is a topic that is ingrained in both of these texts.
  • In Unit 6, students read Charlotte’s Web and learn about friendship and spiders.
  • In Unit 7, students explore the topic of racism through texts such as The Gold Cadillac and The Friendship, both written by Mildred D. Taylor.


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 3 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

Throughout the units, teachers are provided with series of questions requiring analysis of all aspects of the texts, including language, details, craft, and structure. Units allow for extensive time with one text, and the discussion questions, writing tasks, and Target Tasks build in depth and complexity from beginning of the unit to the end, and the expectation is eventually that students know to use evidence from the text to support their responses. This expectation increases with each unit, building toward independence throughout the year when students are required to complete extensive writing assignments using the text as evidence and/or mentor text for their own writing. Students are pointed to figurative language and word choice, asked to consider decisions made by the authors in crafting and structuring their work, and consider questions around theme and characterization. The units frame questions for discussion, short writing tasks, and extended "Target Task" writing prompts.

Students analyze language in Literature and Social Studies and Science units. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 2, after reading the poem, "A Dragonfly,” some key questions are: "What does the line, 'and wings like spun glass' describe? What type of figurative language does the poet use? Why?
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 2, after reading Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker, Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne, students are asked (to) read the sentence from page 17: "Tempers had grown short during the trip. What is a temper? What does it mean if a temper has grown short? Why was this happening? How was it solved?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 9, after reading Roman Class Structure, students are asked: "Why does the author use the word powerful to describe the patricians? Why does the author use the word 'second-class' to describe the plebeians? Why does the author use the word lowly to describe slaves?"
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 6, after reading Charlotte's Web, students are asked: "What does the phrase his "mind was full" mean? What is Wilbur's mind full with? How does it impact him?"
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 1, after reading The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas, students are asked the following questions to analyze language:"What is the significance of the poem title? What does the phrase 'blacker the berry' mean?"

Students analyze key ideas in Literature and Social Studies and Science units. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 5, after reading The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, students are asked: "How can people step in to help save others? Do you have to be friends with someone to help them?What lesson is Roald Dahl trying to teach?"
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 14, after reading The People could Fly by Virginia Hamilton, students are reminded that the folktales in the book have similar messages/lessons and characters and are asked: "What common messages/lessons are present across the different folktales? How are the characters similar and different across the different folktales?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 4, students read “Letters from a Pilgrim Child (Letter 1),” and determine the main idea by using key details from the text to identify the main idea.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 6, after reading Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, students are asked: "What is the main idea of the section? What key details support the main idea?"
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 8, after reading Classic Starts: Roman Myths by Diane Namm, students are given the writing prompt for the myth "Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules" and write: "How does the author use key details to convey the central message?"
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 3, after reading The Friendship by Mildred Taylor, students are asked to close read for supporting evidence. "Do Little Man and Stacey have the same perspective on the situation? How does this connect to the theme of racism?"

Students analyze details in Literature and Social Studies and Science units. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 10, after reading The Twits by Roald Dahl, students are asked to describe Mr. And Mrs. Twit. "What evidence does Roald Dahl include to help the reader better understand them?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 2, after reading, If you Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern, a key questions is: "What evidence does the author include to show that the Sioux valued every member of the community?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 5, after reading Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, students are asked: "Describe some of the different war machines used by the Roman army? How did they fit with the Romans’ strategy of siege warfare?"
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 10, after reading Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, key questions include: "Why do the girls decide to go to Wanda's house? What evidence does the author include to show how Peggy feels about her visit to the house? How Maddie feels? Do they feel the same way? Why or why not?"
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 4, after reading Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, a key question is: "'Rain upset Wilbur's plans'. What were Wilbur's plans? What do his plans show about him?"

Students analyze craft throughout Literature and Social Studies and Science units. Included in the publisher's documents are questions for teachers to consider when planning the lesson that will support this type of questioning. Examples of questions include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 16, in the unit assessment, students are asked: "How do the three farmers feel at the end of the selection? How will their feelings influence the plot?"
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 13, after reading The Twits by Roald Dahl, students are asked: "The text ends with the following sentence, 'And everybody, including Fred shouted... Hooray!' Why does Roald Rachel end with this sentence?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 2, after reading Magic Tree House, Fact Finder: Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne, students are asked: "Why does the author include the detail that the Mayflower was a cargo ship and didn’t usually carry passengers?
    • The author ends the chapter with the following sentences: “The Pilgrims could not know that even worse times still lay ahead. All the rules in the world could not help them survive.” Explain the power of these sentences and why the author included them.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 3, after reading the poem "Fishes' Evening Song" by Jack Prelutsky students are asked: "Identifying the onomatopoeia. What is the effect on the onomatopoeia?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 12, after reading Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, a writing prompt in the Target Task is: "Explain how the author uses different text features and illustrations to support the idea that gladiators and bath houses were an important part of Roman society. How does this information build on the information from Ancient Rome and Pompeii?"
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 6, after reading The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, students are asked: "Why does the author include the details about Wanda and her reading? What does the author want a reader to understand about Maudie and Wanda by including these details?"
  • In Literature, Unit 6, after reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, students explain the different perspectives by analyze different characters' points of view and reactions to key events in Charlotte's Web (Lesson 8). They also participate in a class discussion about Wilbur and Charlotte's relationship (Lesson 20).

Students analyze text structure in Literature and Social Studies and Science units. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 3, after reading The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, students are asked: "How do Humpy - Rumpy and Monkey's words and actions influence the plot of the story?"
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 9, after reading Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection students are asked: "What common messages/lessons are present across the different folktales?How are characters similar and different across the difference folktales?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 6, after reading Magic Tree House, Fact Tracker, Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne, students are asked: "Why does the author include the section on Master Jones's Map? How does this help the reader better understand where the pilgrims finally settled?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 3, after reading Eve Wonder: Ancient Rome, students are asked: "What is the logical connection between sentences and paragraphs in the text?"
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 8, after reading The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes students are asked: "How does the first part of the chapter build on to earlier sections of the text?"
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 2, after reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, students are asked: "'Fern loved Wilbur more than anything.' Why did the author start with this statement? What evidence does the author include to support it?"
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 3, after reading The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor, students are asked: "Analyze the power of the illustration on pp. 18 - 19. What does it reveal about the different characters and their relationship with one another?"


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 3 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

In most units, students have multiple opportunities to analyze across texts. Although not all units have multiple texts, students have opportunities to analyze within those specific texts when they are the focus of the unit. Every lesson has a set of carefully sequenced key questions that increase in complexity both within the lesson and throughout the unit. Questions ask students to look into the text and consider why the authors use specific text features, phrasing, and character/plot decisions. Students also delve into recurring themes and commonalities of text structure within a specific genre, such as folktales and myths. Sometimes the same questions are repeated in successive lessons for multiple texts over several days, leading to a more complex or comparison question across all the texts once they have been read. Target tasks also include discussion and writing prompts that ask students to dive a bit deeper on more summative ideas.

Examples of students analyzing within and across texts in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, students read two texts written by Roald Dahl. In both texts, students analyze the characters. For example, in Lesson 1, students are asked what evidence does the author include to help the reader better understand the Enormous Crocodile. In Lesson 8, students give evidence to show that Mr. Twit is an instigator.
  • In Unit 2, Lessons 2 and 4, students are asked what lesson the author is trying to teach in the folktales. This leads to the students answering the question, what common lessons are present across different folktales in Lessons 9 and 14. In Lesson 19, students engage in a debate to analyze the essential question, and they are encouraged to use the various texts throughout the unit.
  • In Unit 3, students read different poems. In Lesson 11, students can pick a poem that they have read and they need to describe how the poet uses the structural elements of poetry to help the readers better understand the central message of the poem. This question of how does the poet convey the central message is also found in Lesson 3.
  • In Unit 4, students read Roman myths, and answer how the author uses key details to convey the central message in Lesson 2, and again in Lesson 14.
  • In Unit 5, students read The Hundred Dresses and in Lesson 15, the students identify the central message of the story and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. This question is asked not only in this unit, but other units including Unit 4 and Unit 6. In Lesson 27, students take what they learned from The Hundred Dresses and Garvey’s Choice to brainstorm ways to prevent bullying at their own school and create a poster to explain what bullying is, the roles people play in bullying, and two suggestions on how to prevent or stop bullying.
  • In Unit 6, students read Charlotte’s Web and, similar to previous units, students explain the central message or lessons in the book in Lesson 25. This requires students to analyze this specific text, and take what they have learned both in this unit and in other units about central message to answer this question.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 20, students compare and contrast the settings of the books, The Gold Cadillac and The Friendship, both written by Mildred Taylor, by analyzing the similarities and the differences between settings and explaining why. In Lesson 22, students compare and contrast how Mildred Taylor develops the theme of racism in the two stories.

Students analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across individual and multiple texts in Science and Social Studies. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students learn about Native Americans. Students analyze the various tribes that they have read about in Lesson 22, by explaining why Native American cultures differ across North America. They need to explain the similarities and differences in the way that the various tribes met their needs for survival.
  • In Unit 2, students read about the Pilgrims and Colonial America. Lesson 4 is the third text that students read about the Mayflower, and are asked how the information in this article is similar to and/or different from the information from the other sources. In Lesson 9, students are asked to compare and contrast the Wampanoag tribe with some of the other Native American tribes that they have read about.
  • In Unit 3, students learn about Ancient Rome. In Lesson 7, students are given the writing prompt, “Your friend told you that the Roman army was not very powerful or organized. Do you agree or disagree? Write a letter to your friend explaining why.” Students use both Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 and Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome to successfully answer the writing prompt.
  • In Unit 4, students read about the animal kingdom and adaptations. In Lesson 12, students think of the desert habitats they have read about across multiple texts and describe if they think all of the different types of animals survive in the desert habitat. In Lesson 20, students take everything they have read so far and describe the different strategies for helping to prevent water pollution.
  • In Unit 5, students read about different forces and motion, yet are asked very similar questions. For example in Lesson 10, students are asked to explain how Newton’s Three Laws of Motion connect to soccer by describing the relationship between scientific concepts in a text and in Lesson 12, students explain how the parts of a race car affect how it moves by describing the relationship between different concepts in a text.
  • In Unit 6, students read about different world religions. In Lesson 3, students write an essay that compares and contrasts the key details presented in the two articles they had read about the importance of religions. Similarly, in Lesson 7, students compare and contrast the key details they read about Judaism in two different articles. Students are given the same writing prompt in Lesson 11, but with Christianity.
  • In Unit 6, students read about machines and, in Lesson 15, students analyze and explain how simple and complex machines make our lives easier by integrating information from all of the unit texts.


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

Units in both Literature and Science and Social Studies have final projects that require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic. All units have a culminating project and the questions and tasks throughout the unit prepare the students for the final project. Sometimes the same writing task is given multiple times leading to the end of the unit. All of the questions and tasks support the integration of skills and knowledge by the end of the unit and provide students practice opportunities with a gradual building of expectations. The mini tasks embedded throughout the unit prepare the students for the final task, both by providing multiple opportunities for the same writing prompt with increasing expectations, and addressing the genre and daily series of of text dependent questions. There are reading, writing, and discussion (speaking and listening) elements throughout the unit.

Examples of questions and tasks that support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic in Science and Social Studies include:

  • In Unit 1, students complete a research and writing project. They write an informational text about what it would be like to live with the Hopi or Cherokee Indians by conducting a simple research project. On Day 1, students begin taking notes, which was taught in the unit, then on Day 2, students can continue researching, and on Day 3, students review how to turn notes into powerful sentences. Finally, on Day 4, students finish their writing, revise based on feedback from peers and teachers, and share.
  • In Unit 2, students complete a four-day project to further their understanding of Pilgrims and the Colonies. Potential ideas for the project are to research a different colony that was not studied in this unit or the different roles and responsibilities in Colonial America. Students need to integrate what they learned so far as well as reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills because students not only write a research paper, but they share their findings.
  • In Unit 3, the culminating task is to pick another topic about ancient Rome to explore in depth. Students create a brochure and visual representation to show what they learned. Students both read texts and use their writing skills that they learned to complete this task. Students also integrate speaking and listening because students have to share their brochures and visuals with the class.
  • In Unit 4, students are told that they live in a seaside town that is experiencing large amounts of water pollution and different animals and organisms are becoming extinct as a result. The project requires the students to come up with a solution to the problem, and persuade others in the community to agree. Students make a presentation and use what they learned about animal adaptations throughout the unit.
  • In Unit 6, students learn about different religions such as Judaism and Christianity and, for a culminating project, research a religion that was not covered in the unit and students present their findings to the class.
  • In Unit 7, students use what they learned about simple machines to write a design proposal and create it. This integrates many skills since students have to write about the challenges and successes they had while building their machine.

Examples of questions and tasks that support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, the culminating task is for students to write their own creative narrative with a focused plot using Roald Dahl as a mentor author. This task builds on the knowledge of Roald Dahl as an author and the knowledge of narrative writing gained in this unit and the close reading of Roald Dahl’s books utilized in this unit.
  • In Unit 2, the culminating task is for students to write their own folktale. Previous lessons leading up to this include in Lesson 8, students do a close read of a folktale and they engage in a discussion on the central message and in Lesson 9, students write the common messages that are across the folktales they have read so far. Similarly, in Lesson 14, students discuss the different themes they have read about. These tasks and questions will help students successfully write their own folktale with a central message.
  • In Unit 3, students learn about poetry and, in Lesson 13, the culminating task is to write a poem about an object or an animal, and it must include at least three poetic terms. Students must use their knowledge of poetry and the various elements learned throughout the unit to complete this task. On the first day of this task, students analyze poems before writing their own, then on the second day, students review how structure enhances the poem before continuing to write poems, and on the third day, students share their poem.
  • In Unit 4, students demonstrate their knowledge on the topic of Roman Myths by engaging in a discussion about the unit-essential questions.
  • In Unit 5, students brainstorm ways to prevent bullying and show this on a poster that explains what bullying is, details the different roles people play in bullying, and has at least two suggestions for how to prevent or stop bullying. Students use their knowledge from The Hundred Dresses and Garvey’s Choice to successfully complete this project.
  • In Unit 6, students have to integrate what they learned about Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web to write thank you notes to each of the characters in the book explaining why Wilbur is thankful for their friendship.


Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

In the Vocabulary section of the Unit Prep, there is a categorized frame of how vocabulary will be addressed throughout the unit, including the literary terms, prefixes, suffixes, and roots, as well as text-based idioms and cultural references. The vocabulary categories are framed this way in each unit, with explanations of what these categories are, and the specific examples included in the unit. However, there are not many references in the teaching notes about the how and when of vocabulary instruction; though, the publisher’s document for teaching vocabulary directs teachers to use a 7-step process for direct teaching words every week. Learning the vocabulary is often embedded in the Target Task or Key Questions. However, there is no cohesive-year long plan to hold students accountable for the words across the year or the texts. The instruction is isolated in lessons and units, and does not integrate instruction between units or texts.

According to the Publisher’s Document, the teachers need to:

  • Review and analyze the standards to understand what scholars should be able to do with words at specific grade levels.
  • Introduce new vocabulary every week using the following 7-step process. There is no direct instruction for teachers with each word in the individual units and teachers need to plan how to teach the words using the process. This leaves the teacher to determine what method will work best in the classroom:
    • Step 1: Teacher says the word. Students repeat.
    • Step 2: Teacher states the word in context from the mentor text.
    • Step 3: Teacher provides the dictionary definition and part of speech.
    • Step 4: Explain meaning with student-friendly definition.
    • Step 5: Highlight features of the word.
    • Step 6: Engage student in activities to develop word/concept knowledge.
    • Step 7: Teacher reminds and explains to students of how the new word will be used.
  • Create vocabulary cards and visual representations for all vocabulary words.
  • Plan how to spiral and reinforce vocabulary over the course of the day.
  • Monitor students’ understanding of vocabulary words.

Some examples from the units of teachers highlighting the vocabulary words include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 15, the notes section states that this lesson is intended to help students interact with the vocabulary words at a deeper level and to notice connections between target vocabulary words. In this lesson, students specifically focus on many synonyms for the word "said." However, these vocabulary words are not addressed across multiple texts or throughout the year.
  • In Science, and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 1, students are taught the words "tipi" and "roam" and are asked the question, “Why did the Sioux live in Tipis?”
  • In Literature, Unit 3, vocabulary words are all literary terms in poetry such as "alliteration," "simile," and "onomatopoeia." Questions in the lessons require students to think about these words, such as, in Lesson 1, a question asks why do the poets include rhyme scheme. Vocabulary words are reviewed throughout the unit and in multiple poems.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 14, students are asked what the section "At their Leisure"is mostly about and then what the word means.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, idioms are taught such as "When in Rome", "Do as the Romans Do", "Rome wasn’t Built in a Day", and "The Show Must Go On."
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 5, one of the words is "amphibian" and a question that is asked to students is, “Amphibian’s skin helps them survive. Agree or disagree?".
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 2, the words "disgracefully," "incredulously," "inseparable," and "mock" are taught but not reviewed in future lessons.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 8, words such as "sympathy," "endure," "despite," and "debts" are taught but the words are not reviewed in future lessons.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students are exposed to such words as "injustice," "distribute," "runt," and "vanish." Students are asked in Lesson 1, what does Fran think is “the most terrible case of injustice?".
  • In Literature, Unit 7, teachers are expected to spiral all previously taught prefixes, suffixes, and root words, but no guidance on how to do this is provided.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, lesson 2, one of the vocabulary words is "wedge" and students are asked what is a wedge and how do wedges make work easier.


Indicator 2f

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year. Writing demands in each unit increase. Materials also include spiraling lessons and differentiating for individual student needs. The Unit Summary and Teacher Intellectual Prep sections explain that over time, there is an increase in depth and expectations for student writing. Each unit summary specifies the writing focus of the unit and the expectations for students. Each Unit Overview also specifies expectations for student achievement and the focus for Areas of Correction. The units at the beginning of the year focus on quality sentences and paragraph writing, and gradually build throughout the year toward proficiency with essays. The use of evidence also evolves from students using direct quotations to citing to paraphrasing evidence. Support materials are included in the program as well to help teachers plan when to deliver a mini lesson for example and how to decide which correct area to provide. There is also a Writing Instruction Q & A that includes detailed information on how writing instruction is organized and distributed throughout the year and a rationale for why it is taught this way. This document explains that there are many short, targeted writing days that provide students practice and fluency with a specific writing genre. Teachers gather feedback and data on students’ understanding so the teacher can provide focus correction areas.

Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at Grade 3 by the end of the year.

Examples of how writing progresses throughout the year in Science and Social Studies include:

  • In Unit 1, the foundation of writing is laid out. Students focus on the power of a single sentences and how to create and write different types of sentences. They also begin to learn different brainstorming structures.
  • In Unit 2, students continue to learn more brainstorming structures by grouping ideas and evidence together and then writing strong paragraphs. The goal is for students to do this with fluidity by the end of the unit and to be able to write a paragraph with strong topic sentences and at least one text-based detail.
  • In Unit 3, students learn how to explain evidence in a way that shows a deeper understanding of the content and text. Students also learn how to write a solid introduction and conclusion to the claim.
  • In Unit 4, the main goal of this unit is on explaining evidence in a way that shows a deeper understanding of the content and text. This begins introducing analysis in writing. Students also continue practicing introductions and conclusions.
  • In Unit 5, the expectation is that students begin moving from a Level 3 on the writing rubric to a Level 4. Students are expected to use transition words as a way of linking evidence and to provide structure and order in their writing.
  • In Unit 6, the unit builds on writing instruction from the previous five units. The teacher is expected to use data from the previous unit assessments to select a priority focus correct area for the unit based on the needs of the classroom. The goal is to write longer pieces with information from multiple sources.
  • In Unit 7, students have a culminating writing task and the goal is for all students to receive a 3 or a 4 on the rubric.

Literature examples include:

  • In Unit 1, the writing focus is on establishing expectations and procedures for writing about reading and to write creative narratives using Roald Dahl as a guide.
  • In Unit 2, students write both narrative stories and begin learning literary analysis essays. Students learn how to write a strong claim that answers a question and use evidence from the text. Students also learn a paragraph structure. Lesson 21 specifically states in the Notes section that by using the structure of the stories and folktales in the texts in this unit, students will dive deeper into narrative writing.
  • In Unit 3, the writing focus continues to be on literary analysis essays.
  • In Unit 4, students learn how to take what they have learned from close reading a text to rewriting a section of the text or to extend the text further. Students also learn how to include vivid and precise descriptive details to help readers visualize the events of the story.
  • In Unit 5, the main focus of the unit is on writing literary analysis essays that show a deep understanding of character, genre, and central message.
  • In Unit 6, students work on developing claims and elaborating on evidence. They will also be taught how to explain their ideas across multiple paragraphs.
  • In Unit 7, the focus is on narrative journals and literary analysis that focuses on how the authors develop a theme at a nuanced level.


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

Materials include focused research projects. In some units there is one large project, and in others there are multiple smaller ones. Sometimes these projects are through hands-on learning lab experiences. Students are given opportunity to analyze topics through varied sources and experiences. The rigor of these projects build throughout the year and by the end of the year projects are more independent and require deeper levels of research and analysis. All research projects are located in Science and Social Studies units.

Below are examples of research projects that encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials in the Science and Social Studies units:

  • In Unit 1, students engage in a shared research project on what it would be like to live with the Hopi or Cherokee Indians hundreds of years ago. This project occurs over four days and detailed notes for each day are provided.
  • In Unit 2, teachers have the opportunity to design a hands-on project for students to participate in that helps build a deeper understanding of Pilgrims and Colonies. Potential ideas include researching a different colony that was not studied in this unit or researching different roles and responsibilities in Colonial America. The content of the project is based on class interest and available resources.
  • In Unit 3, students pick another topic about ancient Rome, and then students create a brochure and visual representation to show what they learned.
  • In Unit 4, students use what they know about animal characteristics, life cycles, and adaptations to design an animal that they think is best suited for survival in a variety of habitats.
  • In Unit 6, students research another religion. Students research and take notes on the different beliefs, history, people, and rituals that are unique to the particular religion. Students take what they learned through research and present it to the class.
  • In Unit 7, students are given a chance to research different types of playground features to come up with a solution for a design problem.


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

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

In the Approach to Independent Reading Document provided it states, "students in grades 3-5 have an additional 45-60 minute independent reading block, as well as independent reading assigned daily for homework." The document also includes tables to give suggestions of how to accomplish independent reading during the school day, gradually increasing so that students can sustain independent reading for 6o minutes by the end of the school year. The document explains how a teacher should set up their classroom library and provides an independent reading weekly planning template with samples.

Teachers are also provided with grade-level aligned suggested independent reading lists for both literary and informational texts. There is guidance and protocols for hosting book clubs, book talks, and book reviews. A reading log is provided to keep track of the texts read. Sample prompts and log entries are provided. Protocol is provided for student/teacher conferences based on the reading logs.

Gateway Three

Usability

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The materials do not meet overall expectations for usability and instructional supports. The frameworks for the program often provide more generalized supports for instruction and do not provide lesson and unit-specific guidance to help ensure teacher and student success. The materials do provide strong support for standards alignment and a systematic plan for independent reading. Guidance for supporting students with disabilities, students who are English language learners, and students working above grade level are limited. The materials do not outline how to use technology to support learning in the program. 

Criterion 3a - 3e

4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for use and design that facilitates student learning. Because the materials are designed as more of a detailed information is not present for all aspects of lesson planning and support. In order to meet expectations for knowledge-building, the science and social studies units that must be taught alongside the English language arts units may present a challenge for completion within a typical school year. Materials lack a set of student materials that provide support for the lessons.

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

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The lessons in Grade 3 provide a framework for lesson planning instead of a detailed lesson plan for most of the lessons. These frameworks provide guidance for the teacher in what material to teach and key questions to ask, but do not provide pacing for the teacher. These frameworks, when combined with the Publisher’s Document on Planning an Effective Lesson allow the teacher to have the materials to effectively structure lessons with appropriate pacing of his/her classroom. Additionally, a limited number of lessons have suggested lesson plans, that include pacing and a structure that serve as an example for how a teacher can develop the lesson frames into step-by-step lessons for use in the classroom. The Publisher’s Document specifies that literature lessons should last from 60-90 minutes and the Science and Social Studies lessons should last 60 minutes. Because teachers have autonomy in the discussion and text consumption strategies, the lessons can be completed within individual class periods.


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

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

Lesson objective, reading materials required for the lesson, standards covered, target task, vocabulary, key questions, criteria for success, mastery response, and notes provide the basic framework for teachers. These lessons do not provide any suggested timing or pacing for the lesson, but they allow for flexibility to meet the meets of the individual classroom. For example, in Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 8, the objective is to explain what evidence Roald Dahl uses to show that Mr. Twit is an instigator by analyzing key details from the text that describing character traits, feelings, and relationships. The target task is for students to explain in writing what evidence Roald Dahl includes to show that Mr. Twit is an instigator. A mastery response and criteria for success are provided as well.


While many of the lessons are to be designed in detail by the teacher, some lessons do have specific lesson plans with suggested pacing. These are meant to be models for teachers when planning lessons. These lessons are found in:

  • 1 lesson in Literature Unit 1
  • 2 lessons in Literature Unit 2
  • 2 lessons in Literature Unit 3
  • 2 lessons in Literature, Unit 4
  • 3 lessons in Literature, Unit 5
  • 1 lesson in Science and Social Studies, Unit 1
  • 1 lesson in Science and Social Studies, Unit 4

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.


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


The Literature Units have approximately 159 lessons and 176 days of instruction and the Science and Social Studies Units have approximately 141 lessons and 174 days of instruction days of instruction. According to the Publisher’s Document, classroom instruction while using this program should include 60-90 minutes of Literature, 60-90 minutes of Science and Social Studies, 45-60 minutes of independent reading, and 60 minutes of guided reading.

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (eg. visuals, maps, etc.)


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

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.


Standards are included for each lesson. There is an overview in each unit summary that lists all of the standards covered in the unit. This overview is not separated by lesson, however, each lesson contains a “Lesson Map” which details the lesson number, the standards being measured and the overarching questions that the students are using to address the standard.  


For example, In Unit 1, Lesson 3 (The Enormous Crocodile, . 18-27) the standards listed the lesson are RL3.3 and RF3.4.  The students are asked to, “Explain why Humpy-Rumpy and Monkey’s words and actions are important to the plot of the story by analyzing key details from the text that describe character actions, motivations, and relationships.”  


Both the Literature and Social Studies and Science Units provide a Standards Map within the Unit Overview that indicates which standards are taught within each unit. In this course overview, each unit is labeled and the literature, informational, writing, speaking & listening, and language standards are identified for each unit they are in.
Unit list out the standards for the entire unit, and Lesson Maps specify which lessons, questions, or tasks reflect the listed standard.  Reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards are identified. Lessons list the individual standards covered; however, in some lessons, all standards are not identified. For example, in Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 2, a writing prompt is listed in the lesson frame, but no writing standard is provided. The only two standards provided for this lesson are RL 3.5 and RL 3.6. Similarly, in Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 5, the lesson includes vocabulary instruction, but the standards listed are three reading standards.
Assessment questions are labeled by the standards. For example, in Literature Unit 2, one assessment question is, which word best describes the three farmers, which is attached to RL 3.3 and another question is, what does the phrase ‘wild with rage’ in paragraph 8 show about the three farmers, which is attached to L3.5a.

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

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
5/8
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Criterion Rating Details

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

he standards within and across units.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
The lesson frameworks function as a Teacher’s Guide for implementing this curriculum; however, most of the lessons provide only a framework that ample annotations and suggestions. Within the lesson framework is the Intellectual Prep section that provides annotations and guidelines for presenting the material for students. In addition to the information provided in the frameworks, the publisher has included a number of Publisher Documents that provide guidance for teachers how to present the material contained in the units. The guidance provided is on a variety of topics including but not limited to writing, conducting a classroom discussion and teaching vocabulary in the classroom. The lesson frames have objectives, standards key questions, and notes for the teacher. There is little embedded technology to promote student learning other than linked texts that serve as texts in the unit. . The ancillary documents and the unit in separate the information for teachers multiple sources and locations.
The Publisher's Document provides guidance for teachers on how to present content to are guidelines for teaching vocabulary and giving feedback. There is also a guide to informational writing, literary and narrative writing. These explain how to present the content. However, these guidelines are not for specific units or specific vocabulary words, and the teachers need to create the lessons based on the guidelines. There are also Match Minis, which provide further assistance for teachers on how to present material and use techniques to develop lessons.
Information in the Lesson Frameworks also not specific and much up to the teacher. For example, in Literature Unit 1, Lesson 2, it says for the teacher to teach what descriptive language is and why an author includes descriptive language. It then says to explain that descriptive language can be used as a type of detail to help answer a question from the text and to model using descriptive language as a way of answering the target task question. No other guidance or direction is provided.

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.


Publisher documents provide guidance for teachers to design instruction and prepare lessons including explanations of some of the literary concepts utilized in the program.  While there are adult explanations and examples provided within the publisher documents, they appear to be limited to the publisher’s core beliefs and do not provide research and/or explanation of best practices that will necessarily improve teacher learning.  For novice teachers, there are limited materials that would help advance their knowledge of content prior to teaching.

Within the units, the Intellectual Prep contains a Content Knowledge and Connections section, which provides further guidance for teachers.

Each unit contains an Intellectual Prep section that contains detailed information for the teacher. For example, in Literature, Unit 3, students learn about poetry and information for teachers include:

  • Two main types of poetry are poems that have a specific rhyme scheme and poems that are written as free verse. Both types of poems are defined in detail.
  • The various types of figurative language found in poetry is also defined. Some of these words include alliteration, onomatopoeia, and personification.

In Science and Social Studies, Unit 7, the Intellectual Prep section provides the teacher with background knowledge to research and questions to think about including what do scholars need to understand in order to show mastery of the science standard, but literary concepts are not addressed.

The Feedback as Teaching Tool provided gives a detailed explanation of the approach to writing instruction and examples of how to implement the literacy concepts of revising writing. For example, if students need help with revision, suggested feedback includes:

  • Having students do multiple drafts of the written responses to questions, while applying feedback
  • Sharing exemplary work with students and helping them identify key features to replicate
  • Sharing examples of student work with common errors and collectively correcting them before all students revise their writing to address similar errors.

Another feature included is the Rigorous Discussion Guidelines which informs the teacher how to explicitly increase students’ thinking by challenging them to test out their ideas, build upon those of their peers, and craft persuasive arguments. It reminds teachers that their voice is not central to the discussion and they should be listening for evidence of academic ownership by the students.

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
Materials include Publisher Documents with standards charts and unit progressions. The Course Overviews for Literature and Science and Social Studies found within the Publisher’s Documents provide an explanation of the role of the standards within each unit and across the grade. Additionally, the materials provide an added explanation of how the literary standards addressed in each grade tie to addressed in previous and future grades. The Course Overview also includes a checklist of standards indicating which standards are taught in each unit throughout the year.
The Course Overview explains the skills taught in each unit and how they fit into the overall course, which ties into the ELA standards. According to this document, in third grade literature, students work on determining the central message and explain how it is conveyed through key details. This builds upon the second grade skill of learning how to retell a story and then determining central message. This third grade skill prepares students for the fourth grade skill of using details to determine the theme of a text. Students also focus on character in third their traits, motivations, and feelings as well as the structural elements of fiction. In second grade students are asked to describe the overall structure of a text, where in third grade students describe how each part builds upon each other. The overview also includes a specific Unit by Unit explanation of the approaches to meeting the goal of teaching all the standards. For example, in Unit 1, students review how to describe characters and in Unit 2, students continue to work on describing characters as a strategy for understanding plot and determining the central lesson of the text.
The Course Overview for Science and Social Studies also includes information on how the standards are addressed in the units, although they are not listed by specific standard numbers. For example, students work on determining the main idea of a text, recounting key details, and explaining how they support the main idea. The second focus is the relationship between a series of events. Finally, the third focus is on understanding The students work on distinguishing their own point of view from the author’s point of view.
The Literature Overview also includes explanations for the approaches to meeting the writing standards. The main to the document is for students to write strong, focused paragraphs, with a claim, details, and a conclusion.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.
The website contains an “Our Approach” page that specifically details the approach taken in their Language Arts instruction. This plan includes both explanations of the overall approach taken by the program in determining which strategies to include and documents specifically dedicated to the explanation of some of the instructional approaches of the program, and when they should be implemented. Some of these strategies include think aloud, mini lesson, turn and talk, stop and jot, annotation, and writing about reading. However, there is not any identification of the research upon which these strategies or decision The publisher provides information in support of their materials based upon their use in the school.

It should be noted that within the Teacher Tool Materials “Our Approach to Language” notes that, “The structure of the language lessons in our curriculum draws heavily on the approach outlined in Patterns of Power by Jeff Anderson (Stenhouse Publishers, 2017)” however, that is the only reference to a specific “research based” approach.
The website explains that the goal of the curriculum is to develop students into critical readers, writers, and thinkers. It further explains that the Literature Curriculum is deeply rooted in the following about English instruction:

  • Text First vs. Skills First: Rich and nuanced texts spark students’ thinking
  • Content Selection: Selected texts that both affirm the various cultures represented in classrooms while simultaneously exposing the students to great literature.
  • Writing Instruction: Teach students to construct persuasive arguments and express their own voices
  • Discussion: A powerful tool for testing out ideas and strengthening thinking
  • Word Knowledge: Building word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge
  • Lifelong Learning: Cultivate inquisitive readers, writers, and thinkers.


The Social Studies and Science Curriculum both to expose students to the core knowledge, skills, and habits of thinking needed to be successful in those two domains, while simultaneously honing to read and write about complex informational texts. This curriculum is deeply rooted in the following beliefs:

  • Content Knowledge: In order to become active citizens and make sense of the world around them, students need to develop deep background knowledge about key historic events, scientific concepts, and their own and other cultures
  • Informational Texts: Read, analyze, and write about a broad range of informational texts
  • Project-Based Learning: Hands-on projects, labs, and activities engage students the content and teach important thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Discussion: Powerful tool for testing ideas out and strengthening thinking
  • Word Knowledge: Build word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge.

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

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

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

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

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

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

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

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.


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


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

  • In Literature Unit 2, Lesson 5, the Target Task includes multiple choice questions including which detail from the story best supports the answer to part A with a writing prompt asking students to retell what happens in the story.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 5, key questions are asked including what are the key characteristics of vertebrates and what are the key characteristics of amphibians.

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


Assessments included with each unit specify the standard being assessed by each question by labeling the question with the standard number. Examples of assessment questions and the corresponding labeled standards include:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, students are asked which statement best explains why the animals want to go to Bremen, which is labeled RL3.3
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students are asked what does the word rugged mean as used in the title and in paragraph 1 of the text, which is labeled RI3.4
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students are asked what does the word armor mean as used in paragraph 2 of the text which is labeled RI3.4 and L3.4a
  • In Literature, Unit 7, students are asked how the details in the story show racism, which is labeled RL3.2.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.


Rubrics for scoring writing and projects are included within the teacher materials. In the “Teacher Tools” section of the web-site there is, “A Guide to Assessments” in the ancillary materials that provides, “Suggestions on how teachers respond to or adjust lessons based on assessment data” for both formative and summative assessments.  The guide states, “Data from end-of-unit assessments allows a teacher to make necessary adjustments in planning and feedback for upcoming units. Teachers should look for trends in the classwide data, and respond accordingly” however, the suggestions that are made are generic and vague and do not offer sufficiently detailed guidance for interpreting student performance and/or suggestions other than for teachers to, “Review student data, reflect on current practices, create detailed plans for students who are not making progress.”  While the additional notes section includes student answers for the writing portion of the assessment, there is no clear instruction for interpretation or follow up.

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.


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


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

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


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


The Literary Blocks Document includes Guided Reading instructions that uses the results a separate reading assessment that is not included with the Match Fishtank program.


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

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


The Writing Instruction document contains specific information on how to gather information on student writing and how to use that information in instruction. Included in this is:

  • Focus Correct Areas which are specific writing techniques that students are held accountable for and used daily to give students feedback on their written work
  • Teachers should use data from previous tasks to guide mini - lessons and Focus Correction Areas

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.


The Teacher Tools link on the website provides an English Language Arts Guides specifically titled, “Our Approach to Independent Reading.”  This guide provides a template for “Independent Weekly Planning” as well as a suggested independent reading list by grade level, parent/guardian letter to explain the purpose of independent reading for 30 minutes each night at home and an independent reading log for students to keep track of their reading.  There are also options for independent conference


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

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

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

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.


The Publisher's Document explains the various approaches to meeting the needs of diverse learners and provides strategies for meeting these students’ needs. However, these are not specific for lessons or activities. The Supporting Student Needs in ELA Instruction document specific guidance on how to meet the needs of a range of learners.


Various strategies for diverse learners are outlined in the Publishers Document. In addition, an explanation of how to student error is briefly described, as well as how to prompt students to correct their own errors or refine their thinking. There are various strategies outlined in the Publisher's Document based on students’ needs. For example:

  • Building excitement and enthusiasm for the text and task
  • Building strong reading and writing habits
  • Previewing genre knowledge
  • Circulating and providing feedback during reading and writing for individuals and the group
  • Identifying and/or pre-teaching two key vocabulary words
  • Providing essential background knowledge via other texts or preview.
  • Checking-in with students to ensure they are reading and writing appropriately during independent work
  • Previewing the most important words the text either individually or in a small group
  • Teaching the students additional literal comprehension annotation strategies to use during homework and/or independent reading
  • Creating additional stopping points to pause the students when reading to ask questions to build comprehension
  • Creating an opportunity for the student to pre-read the text
  • Providing an annotated copy of the text that includes definitions, pictures, and synonyms for key vocabulary and idioms
  • Providing a chance for the students to orally plan with a teacher or peer before writing
  • Providing checklists and/or exemplars for writing
  • Segmenting the text based on importance and guiding the student to read some parts more closely than others
  • Providing a read-aloud support to the student before the lesson
  • Providing a graphic organizer for the students to organize their written responses
  • Shortening the section of text the student is expected to read
  • Modifying the lesson’s key or guiding questions to make easier
  • Excusing the student from some or all of the challenging
  • Scribing the student’s written response

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
The Publisher’s Document explicitly states that teachers need to provide supports that never remove the most important thinking and meaning-making, while ensuring that students can access those thinking tasks. It explains that the goal is to support students while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards. Teachers can use the supports outlined in this document to help students who are English Language Learners work with the grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

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

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.


The Text Consumption Publisher’s Document explains the various types of text consumption strategies that teachers can utilize throughout the program. While it does not prescribe how a text should be consumed on any given day, it provides teachers the opportunity to decide how the text is consumed based on the scope of the week, the demands of the text, the target task question, and the students in the class. The various text consumption strategies outlined in the program are read-aloud, shared reading, partner reading, independent reading, and close reading. It suggests that over the course of the week, the text is consumed in multiple different modes, with an emphasis on independent or small-group reading. The document shares the strengths of each grouping strategy and suggestions on when to use each type of grouping. The document also provides a graphic representation of a suggested progression of grouping strategies throughout a week.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

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

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.


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

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.


The materials do not include use of technology in student learning other than providing links to some materials used as texts in the units. However, all of these texts can be printed. At times, the materials state that students should complete research; however, they do not specify that this must occur online.

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 3 do not meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.


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

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

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

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

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

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 01/29/2019

Report Edition: 2018

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

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

Advancing Through Gateways

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

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

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

ELA 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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