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 4 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 4 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 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 4 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 and Science and Social Studies 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 in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, students read Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; it is a Newberry Award recipient and a heartwarming tale.
  • In Unit 2, students read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, which is an engaging and thought-provoking story with vibrant illustrations and rich, figurative language.
  • In Unit 3, students read The Wild Book by Margarita Engle and, despite the Lexile being in the 5-6 grade band, the text structure is simple and the theme is clear, making is appropriate and worthy of reading in Grade 4.
  • In Unit 4, students read Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean and Greek Myth Plays by Carol Pugliano-Martin. These are well-known, but adapted, Greek Myths and are worthy of reading.
  • In Unit 5, students read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, which is a National Book Award Finalist, making it an appropriate text for students in Grade 4.
  • In Unit 6, students read the Newberry Award winning text, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. The historical context and rich language make this novel worthy of careful reading.

Examples in Science and Social Studies include:

  • In Unit 1, numerous texts are included in the unit including Earthquakes by Seymour Simon, which includes strong academic content and vocabulary.
  • In Unit 2, students read Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Recht Penner, which contains strong academic content and vocabulary, and it is engaging for students as it contains vibrant illustrations.
  • In Unit 3, students read Kids’ Guide to Government: National Government and Kids Guide to Government: State Government by Ernestine Giesecke, which have strong academic content and vocabulary, are engaging, and are age appropriate.
  • In Unit 4, students read Forms of Energy by Anna Claybourne, which is of publishable quality due to its content and strong vocabulary.
  • In Unit 5, students read the award winning book Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, which contains vibrant illustrations, engaging and relevant content, and strong vocabulary.
  • In Unit 6, students read A True Book: The Circulatory System and A True Book: The Respiratory System by Christine Taylor Butler, which contains strong vocabulary, along with captivating facts and details.


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 4 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide array of informational and literary text integrated throughout every unit. 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 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.

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

  • Literature, Unit 1: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Literature, Unit 2: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • Literature, Unit 3: Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Literature, Unit 4: Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Literature, Unit 5: Joey Pigza Swallowed by Key by Jack Gantos
  • Literature, Unit 6: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

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

  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 1: How Mountains Are Made by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 2: Let it Begin Here: Lexington and Concord by Dennis Brindell Fradin
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 3: Kids’ Guide to Government, National Government by Ernestine Giesecke
  • Literature, Unit 3: “The Facts about Dyslexia”
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 4: Forms of Energy by Anna Claybourne
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 5: If You Lived when there was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma
  • Literature, Unit 5: “About ADHD”
  • Science and Social Studies, Unit 6: A Tree Book, The Circulatory System by Christine Taylor Butler
  • Literature, Unit 6: Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman


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 4 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 in Grade 4 are the appropriate quantitative measure for Grade 4 students. Texts that fall outside of the 4-5 Lexile band have qualitative features and/or tasks that bring it to the appropriate level for students to access the text.

Some representative examples of texts that fall within the appropriate level of complexity (using quantitative and qualitative measures) include the following:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, students read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, which has a Lexile of 810. The qualitative measures, particularly the text structure and vocabulary, make the text moderately complex and appropriate for placement in Grade 4.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, students read Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Recht Penner which has a Lexile of 780. The qualitative measures, particularly the illustrations, graphics, page layout, and knowledge demands, support the placement of the text in this unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students read Kids’ Guide to Government: National Government and Kids’ Guide to Government: State Government have Lexiles of 970 and 940, respectively, which fall within the stretch grade level band for Grade 4. However, the writing includes simplistic and easy to follow text structure and text features, which will enable students in Grade 4 to access these texts.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, students read Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean, which has a Lexile of 670. The myths follow a conventional plot sequence and use literal, straightforward language.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students read Forms of Energy by Anna Claybourne which has a Lexile of 900. The quantitative analysis, specifically the complex knowledge demands and text structure, support the placement of the core text in this unit.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students read Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, which has a Lexile of 950. The qualitative measures match the task demands of the unit, especially given the placement as the final text for the course. The vocabulary and content knowledge of the text, particularly the setting and specific details about life during the Great Depression and the figurative language used to describe events, makes the knowledge demands of the text moderately complex. There are specific lessons focusing on building background knowledge and unpacking figurative language, making the text more accessible.

One text falls below the appropriate quantitative measure band but has an appropriate qualitative measure and reader and task:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students read How Mountains are Made by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, which has a Lexile of 620. The text is used to build background knowledge for students. Because the text is simple in structure and presentation, it allows students to become familiar with more complex subject matter.

Some representative examples of texts that are above the quantitative measure but do have appropriate qualitative measures and reader and task include:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students read Earthquakes by Seymour Simon which has a Lexile of 1010. The author introduces readers to earthquakes through engaging descriptions and stunning full-color photographs, making the new content accessible.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, students read The Wild Book by Margarita Engle, which has a Lexile of 1050. The qualitative measures, particularly the levels of meaning and text structure, support the placement of the text in this course. The themes of the text are clearly developed over the course of the text, simplifying the levels of meaning. The themes and plot are developed in chronological and a linear manner, making the storyline easier to track and comprehend. The simple levels of meaning and text structure make this text accessible in Grade 4.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students read Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney, which has a Lexile of 1000. It is written as narrative nonfiction and requires the students to understand the genre features of a biography. The texts require varying levels of knowledge demands, but the lessons support students’ in building their background knowledge.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students read Heart and Soul: The Story of American and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, which has a Lexile of 1050. The text structure and sentence structure help to make the text more accessible, despite the complex knowledge demands. The texts describes a period of history, but does not go in depth, making it more accessible to students.


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 4 meet the criteria for materials supporting 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.)

Texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band. Skills build upon one another within 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. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, students look for text-based evidence when they read. Unlike in 3rd grade where they start by citing evidence, here they are asked right away to gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. They make predictions about the texts and consider important themes by finding evidence. For example, in Lesson 20, students analyze why the author decided to write Shiloh in both first person and present tense and how it affects what the narrator knows and what the reader knows.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, students read The Wild Book by Margarita Engle, which has a Lexile above grade level at 1050. The rationale for the text states that the “text does have complex knowledge demands and genre demands; however, the simple levels of meaning and text structure make the text accessible to readers at this level.” Additional support texts in this set are at various Lexiles from 500 to 700. This specific unit builds on previous units in which students have learned about the features of poetry; however, in this unit, “students begin to see poetry as not just stand-alone poems, but as an art form where a poet can express himself or herself freely.” This unit requires students to discuss and write about poetry and to analyze how the author develops theme within individual poems and across a longer work. For example, in Lesson 11 students analyze the figurative language that the author uses to enrich the text.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students read Bud, Not Buddy, which is supported by Children of the Great Depression, a nonfiction text by Russell Freedman. The majority of this unit focuses on spiraling strategies, and students summarize key events, analyze characters and setting, and figure out the meaning of unknown words. The culminating task requires the students to analyze the themes of the book and how the author develops the themes over the course of the novel.

In addition, informational writing focus correction areas are identified in the Science and Social Studies and Literature unit overviews and show a clear progression and an increase in demand for student performance. For example:

  • In Unit 1, students make correct claims that connect to the topic and refer to one text-based detail from the text.
  • In Unit 2, students use strong paragraph structure.
  • In Unit 3, students select the most relevant text-based details, refer to more than one text-based detail, and write 2-3 sentences about each text-based reason. They also write introductions and conclusions.
  • In Unit 4, students elaborate on text-based details, make sure all paragraphs are relevant to the claim, and order the paragraphs in a logical structure.
  • In Units 5 and 6, all focus correction areas have been taught. Individual and small group instruction is provided to students who have not mastered specific skills.

Writing projects from the units, specifically in Science and Social Studies, also show an increase in demands of students throughout the year. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, students write an essay that describes why volcanoes are dangerous, what causes them to erupt, and what devastation follows.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, students analyze the role of black heroes in the American Revolution and why they were important by reading, synthesizing, and explaining concepts.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students provide multiple details from the entire unit to support the claim, which requires students to use information from all the texts.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students describe what the world’s energy future will look like if renewable sources of energy are not found. Students use information from multiple texts, synthesize information, and draw conclusions based on textual evidence.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students explain how courageous individuals create and drive change and how the actions of others inspire us to make and fight for change by stating a claim and supporting it with details from multiple texts.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, students defend if the respiratory system is the same in all animals, which requires students to gather information, compare information from texts, make a claim, and support the claim.


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 4 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 each unit in Literature and Science and Social Studies 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.

Literature contains a text complexity rationale for each unit and explains why the text is appropriate for Grade 4 and the placement within the program, such as:

  • In Unit 1, students read Shiloh, which has a Lexile of 890. The qualitative analysis states that the simple levels of meaning and simple text structure support the placement of the text within this unit.
  • In Unit 2, the core text, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, has a Lexile of 810. The qualitative measures, particularly the text structure and vocabulary, make the text moderately complex, yet appropriate according to the program.
  • In Unit 3, the text, The Wild Book, which has a Lexile in the 5th to 6th grade band of 1050, has themes that are relatively obvious and are clear over the course of the text, making the levels of meaning not very complex according to the program.
  • In Unit 4, the texts throughout this unit are appropriate. For example, the core text, Greek Myths with a Lexile of 670, follows a conventional plot sequence and uses literal, straightforward language.
  • In Unit 5, the core text, Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key, has a Lexile of 940. The program states that the text is told through the eyes of Joey, so there are multiple, subtle layers of meaning that require a deep analysis of the text and an understanding of ADHD. However, the simple text structure and content knowledge, paired with the complex meaning and language makes the text appropriate.
  • In Unit 6, the core text, Bud, Not Buddy, has a Lexile of 950, but with qualitative measures match the reader and task and make it appropriate for Grade 4.

Science and Social Studies units contain a text complexity rationale. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, there are multiple texts, such as How Mountaineers are Made, which has a Lexile of 620 and Earthquakes, which has a lexile of 1010. The program states that the texts in this unit were chosen because of the wide variety of text features, content, and accessibility.
  • In Unit 2, the core text, Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began, has a Lexile of 780. The program states that the qualitative measures, particularly the illustrations, graphics, and page layout, and the knowledge demands, support the placement of the text in this unit.
  • In Unit 3, Lexile scores and rationale for the texts are not provided.
  • In Unit 4, the texts have a Lexile range of 770 to 940. The qualitative measures, particularly the text structure and subject matter, support the placement of the text within this unit according to the program.
  • In Unit 5, the text, The Story of America and African Americans, Heart and Soul: The Story of American and African Americans, has a Lexile of 1050 but no rationale is given.
  • In Unit 6, the core text is unleveled, but the qualitative analysis, specifically the text structure and knowledge demands, suggest that the text is appropriate in the 3rd to 4th grade level. The core text, according to the program, is written as expository nonfiction and uses a variety of organizing structures to describe the differing world religions and how they were created.


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 4 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 teaching notes imply that the students read independently at times, though it is not explicitly stated.

In the Publisher’s Documents, text consumption strategies are listed, including read aloud, shared reading, partner reading, independent reading, small group reading, and close reading. Teachers are to use their own discretion to choose which strategy to use when. Because of this, students are not guaranteed to achieve grade level reading proficiency. The documents also explain the literary blocks. It suggests 60-90 minutes a day for Literature, 60-90 minutes per day for Science and Social Studies, 45-60 minutes of independent reading, 60 minutes for guided reading, and foundational skills as needed. The course summary also states that they set their fiction block of instruction so that over the course of the week students grapple with the text and themes of the unit in multiple ways. However, without direct instruction for teachers on when the text should be read and discussed individually or in small groups or as a class, it is unclear whether all students will engage in a range and volume of reading.

Close reading is specified at times throughout the program. For example, in Literature, Unit 1, students complete a close read in Lessons 1 and 4. Close reading is also found in Literature, Unit 6, Lessons 7, 8, 16, and 20. In addition, sample lesson plans are included at times which do specify how to read a text, though this is not found throughout the program. For example, in Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 7, students are to read Chapter 12 as a class and then reread independently to annotate. In Lesson 11, students partner read Chapter 19. Similarly, in Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 5, the sample lesson plan is for students to read in a small group.

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 4 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 4 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).

Materials contain questions and tasks that require 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. Questions asked include those which require both explicit answers and inferences from the text. The unit summaries that are provided include focus on the progression of learning to use evidence to answer questions and write in response to the text. Every lesson has text-based questions for the teacher to engage with the students in discussion. The questions are specific to analyze the unit text. There are also writing tasks that are embedded throughout each unit with Target Tasks that include writing prompts in response to the text.

In the Grade 4 Literature examples of questions and tasks that require the students to use evidence from the text are as follows:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 8, after reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, students are asked to read the sentence and answer from page 53: “'Judd is sure studying me hard. So is dad.' Why are they both studying him hard? Read the sentence from page 44. 'Law never told me before what I could do with my dogs, won’t be tellin’ me now.' What does this sentence show/confirm about Judd?"
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 16, after students read The Mountain meets the Moon by Grace Lin, students are asked: "What description does the author include to help a reader visualize the lions? How do the lions respond to the Dragon? What information does Dragon learn from them? Summarize what happened in the short story, 'A String of Destiny.' How are the events of this story connected to the rest of the chapter."
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 9, after reading The Wild Book by Margarita Engle, students are asked to answer: "Daily Music: What is the significance of the title? How does the narrator feel? Dance-Smart: What is the significance of the tite? How do the narrator's feelings about dancing at the end of the poem compare with her feelings about reading aloud? Why? Still Struggling: What is the significance of the title? Read the last seven lines of this poem. What do they show about the narrator?"
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, after students read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, students are asked to "Read the quotation from page 18, 'I know I'm not perfect,but I didn't think it was fair that they told me one thing and wrote down another.' Why do Joey and the adults have different points of view? Close read paragraph 2 on page 19. What description does the include to show how Joey feels during the day? Why does the author include this description? Why does Joey not understand Mrs. Maxy's rules? Is he not following them on purpose?"
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 20, after students read Bud, not Buddy by Paul Curtis students are asked: "Compare Bud's experience with the Sleet family with Bud's time in Hooverville. Explain why Christopher Paul Curtis would include both scenes? What do both scenes teach us about the Great Depression?"

Similarly, students are asked to use the text to answer questions and complete tasks in the Grade 4 Science and Social Studies. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 17, after reading If you Lived at the Time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore, the student is asked: "Summarize how Loyalist families were treated after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Was this treatment just? Summarize how you could tell that Someone was a Patriot. How did Patriot families support the war? How did Loyalist families support the war? what roles did women and children play in the Revolutionary War?"
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, after reading Forms of Energy by Anna Claybourne, students are asked "Are heat and temperature the same thing? Explain."
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 22, after reading Parasites, students are asked "What is the section 'They came for Blood' mostly about? What evidence does the author include to support the main idea?"


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 4 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 units have sets of high quality sequences of text-dependent questions that build to a culminating task. In many of the Literature units, students write as a part of the culminating project and some tasks include writing, or rewriting, scenes or parts of the literature from that unit. In Science and Social Studies, projects involve more in-depth research of topics that they learned throughout the units. There is a unit assessment included after each unit.

Examples of culminating tasks throughout Literature and Science and Social Studies include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, students write the next chapter of Shiloh based on what they know about the characters. Questions throughout the unit support this culminating tasks such as in Lesson 7, students have to describe Marty by using specific details to describe a character, the setting, or an event in detail.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, students research a hero of the American Revolution and create an informational children’s book that describes his or her influence during the war. Another option for the culminating task is to write an informational children’s book about the war and the events that led up to the Revolution.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students are told they are hired by the president to advise on proposed reforms to school lunch. Students share strengths and areas of improvement and recommendations for change. Students also include ways to convince other stakeholders and members of Congress. Students complete this task to show they understand how government works, and they focus on the different branches of government throughout the unit.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, students create an additional version of Hercules using the genre structures and points of views learned in the unit.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students are given several choices for a research project including researching one of the key figures in the fight to free slaves. Students research, write, and present on their topic.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students compare and contrast the development of theme in Bud, Not Buddy with other novels from the course. This task occurs on Lesson 34, the theme is discussed throughout the unit, such as in Lesson 4, where students use evidence from Chapters 3 and 4 to explain how the theme is shown through the characters’ actions and thoughts.


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 4 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 curriculum there are opportunities and protocols 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.

In the Publisher’s Support Documents for teachers, there is an explanation of the strategies and structures in a step-by-step fashion. Some lessons refer explicitly to these strategies and structures as an option, and other times, teachers can utilize them when they see fit. 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 them 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.

There is a detailed document that provides steps and guidelines for preparing, leading, and following up a discussion. To prepare for a discussion teachers determine the content goal, anticipate student misconceptions, and articulate a question or problem. To lead a discussion, teachers should start by explicitly naming the habits of the discussion skill that will be practiced, pause discussion and provide think time when needed, and track data from the discussion. After a discussion, teachers should use data to inform future classes. A rubric is included to evaluate the student discussions. Various text consumption strategies are provided, such as read aloud, shared reading, partner reading, and small group reading.

Match Mini Protocols that illustrate various protocols include:

  • Part 1: In-class discussion
  • Part 2: Protocols for classroom discussions which assists the teacher with evidence-based discussing 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 29, teachers are provided with a discussion preparedness protocol after reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. Students are taught how to show active listening by tracking the speaking, using nonverbal signals, and building on what other scholars have shared. Students have their papers to help them make points as well as take notes, and the teacher is the moderator.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 6, the Criteria for Success states that “scholars debate essential questions. Scholars should answer the question and respond to one another-building on, agreeing and/or disagreeing.”
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 16, students discuss why the author included the chorus after reading “Echo and Narcissus.”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 4, teachers pick an activity that reinforces the ideas and concepts from the previous day and challenges the students to use targeted vocabulary to explain what is happening.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students hear a text as a read aloud as opposed to small group or individual reading, with close reading utilized to help the students understand the context.


Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. There are examples of opportunities for speaking and listening in the lesson frames and teaching notes, where the word "discussion" is explicitly used to indicate to the teacher that a discussion should be taking place in class. There are notes in the individual lessons, explanations in the unit summaries, and an explanation in the year-long progression from discussion and debate to discussion and writing. Lessons that provide a sample lesson plan give teachers the most support in providing students with the lesson structure and pacing of a discussion within the text. There are also Key Questions that teachers can choose to use for discussions. Several of the Target Tasks are labeled Discussion and Writing. Questions and tasks require students to return to the text to participate in speaking and listening activities. In addition, Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, deals with a very complex text that is meant to be done as a read aloud for text consumption, which requires students to use their listening skills. The Intellectual Prep for each unit specifies that discussions will be included throughout the lessons.

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

In Literature, there are many opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills about what they are reading and researching. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, after reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, students engage in a discussion on how Grace Lin uses a technique of switching perspectives. They review specific quotes and answer questions, such as:
    • What do the underlined phrases mean?
    • Why would the author include them? How do they help a reader better understand Mini?
    • How would the sentence be different if the author didn’t include them?
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, students discuss as a group how the point of view influences how events are described from the different readings of the Greek Myths.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 20, students engage in a debate where they compare and contrast Bud’s time with the Sleet family and in Hooserville in the text, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Students have the option to debate the statement that Bud could have felt at home anywhere people were nice to him.

In Science and Social Studies there are many opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills about what they are reading and researching. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, the summary states that students will be frequently challenged to debate questions from the text, and therefore, strong habits of discussion are introduced over the course of the unit, such as in Lesson 8 where the Target Task asks students to agree or disagree with a statement about different mountain types, which is used to introduce debate-focused target tasks. In this lesson, students take a stand and use evidence to support their answer. Students are exposed to the expectations of debates. To prepare for the debate, students use the cause and effect brainstorm structure for each mountain type.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, students got the main idea of each paragraph and then as a class, they discuss the main idea of each section. Teachers need to make sure students pull supporting details from the paragraphs and the illustrations. They do the section titled “What is Government” together, and then “The Constitution” independently.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 6, the test is read aloud and students prepare to discuss the information that they learned. Students synthesize the information to describe slavery and articulate how slaves were treated differently than other Americans.


Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 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 individual classrooms. The Unit Overviews identify skills that should be focused on 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.

On-demand writing is found in most Literature and Science and Social Studies lessons. In Literature, on-demand writing activities include retellings and evidence-based responses about characters, setting, and plot. In Science and Social studies, the writing assignments help students process what they have learned regarding the concepts in the informational text by sequencing, making connections, and summarizing. For example:

  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 15, students write an essay that describes how earthquakes happen, why they are dangerous, and potential solutions for minimizing them, within one class period.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 23, students take one day to write an informational children's book about a hero of the American Revolution.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 6, students write an essay that explains how the theme of the poem is shown throughout the speaker. This essay is completed in one day.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 15, students choose one of two different on-demand writing prompts, such as choosing an event from the story and writing it from a different perspective.

Students have opportunities to engage in the writing process in several units. Teachers use the Publisher’s Documents as a guide to help plan the lessons. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 35, students write a narrative story that contains a few similar events or characters from Where the Mountains Meet the Moon. On Day 1, students brainstorm, on Days 2 and 3, students draft, and on Days 4 and 5, students revise, edit, and publish.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 25, students begin a 4-day writing task to create an additional version of Hercules using the genre structures and points of views taught in the lesson. Students brainstorm, draft, edit/revise, and share.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 19 and 20, students describe what the world’s energy future will look like if renewable sources of energy are not found. On the following day, students create a presentation that states a claim and provide evidence to support the increase and decrease of energy sources utilized by their communities.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, Lesson 26, students spend 4 days researching and participating in end of unit projects on constructing an argument that animals and plants have internal and external structures that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.


Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

In the materials, there is equal distribution of text types for writing instruction and prompts according to the standards. Students engage with narrative, informational, and opinion writing prompts, including literary analysis.

Some examples of narrative writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 26, students write the next chapter of Shiloh using what they know about Marty and Shiloh.
  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 8, students write a first-person narrative journal entry and retell a version of an event from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 7, students rewrite the myth Pandora from another character's point of view.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 7, students pick a small moment from their own life and rewrite it in a way that “explodes” the moment. Students use Jack Gantos as a mentor author. Criteria for success includes that the moment should be small but should have a huge amount of detail.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 28, students rewrite a scene from Bud, Not Buddy told from the perspective of Mr. Calloway. Students must include dialogue from the text in their narrative.

Informational writing is throughout the curriculum materials and includes literary analysis. Examples in both Literature and Science and Social Studies are:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 18, students have to describe the interaction between Judd Travers and Marty’s family in Shiloh.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 3, students write to describe minerals, rocks, and soil.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 15, the writing prompt includes many questions about the American Revolution including what significant ideas and values are at the heart of the American Revolution. Students first discuss the questions before writing.
  • In Literature Unit 3, Lesson 13, students write an essay that explains how the theme of the poem is shown through the speaker in the text, The Wild Book.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 8, students describe the similarities and differences between the Senate and House of Representatives. They need to explain how the author uses evidence and reasons to show the difference between the two.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 13, students summarize how fossil fuels work. They explain the pros and cons surrounding the use of fossil fuels as well.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 5, students have to pick a character from Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key and analyze how Joey’s relationship with the character influences the way he feels about himself.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 22, students explain the ways in which women participated in the fight for equality and the challenges they faced.

Opinion writing is found in both Literature and Science and Social Studies and includes:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 9, students explain why they think the author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor of Shiloh uses both first-person and present tense in the text. They write how it affects what the narrator knows and what the reader knows.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 7, students write who they think will most likely win the American Revolutionary War and explain why.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 16, students first compare and contrast the ways in which the different authors develop the topic of learning disabilities and then explains how having a learning disability may impact the way people sees themselves and the way others see them.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, Lesson 19, students explain what the world’s energy future will look like if renewable sources of energy are not found.
  • In Literature, Unit 5, Lesson 9, students explain how a chapter in Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key might have been different if it was told from Mrs. Maxy’s point of view.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 10, students explain how courageous individuals create and drive change and how the actions of others inspire people to make and fight for change in lives. Students use Harriet Tubman to help answer these questions.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, Lesson 6, students have to agree or disagree with the statement, "Cells are an important internal structure in both plants and animals that support survival, growth, and behavior."


Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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.

Material includes frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing. Some assignments require students to close-read a particular piece of text and use detailed evidence to support their responses to writing prompts. While other writing assignments require students to compare two pieces of text and draw evidence from both to support claims. 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 in Literature include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 13, the writing prompt is for students to describe Marty from Shiloh. Included in the notes section of the lesson frame are specific instruction for how to guide students in the use of text evidence. For example, it suggests that the teacher reviews with students that character descriptions should always be based on evidence.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 6, students write an essay that explains how the theme of the poem in The Wild Book is shown through the speaker. They have to include specific details from multiple poems to support their essay.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, the target task writing prompt is “What connections can be made between the original story, the story told in first-person point of view, the poem, and the video? What parts of the text are emphasized in each version? Why?”. Students answer this question using the “Myth of Pandora’s Box.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 6, the students write an essay that describes how Christopher Paul Curtis uses figurative language in Bud, Not Buddy, and how the figurative language affect a reader’s understanding of different characters.

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 9, students pick one type of mountain and describe how it is formed. They need to include important details, vocabulary, and visuals to support their answer. This is the second writing day of the unit. The purpose of the lesson is to teach students how to turn a cause and effect brainstorm into a well-structured paragraph.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, students write an essay that describes why the government has different branches and the reasons for each. They have to use examples from two articles that they read.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 9, the target task writing prompt is “The author starts by saying that ‘electricity is the most useful of all forms of energy.’ How does electricity work and why is it the most useful form?”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 7, students have to agree or disagree with the statement, “It would be easy to survive and grow without a nervous system because our body has lots of other systems” and defend why.


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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 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.4.1e Form and use prepositional phrases

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 26, students analyze and discuss sentences with prepositional phrases. Examples of the sentences are: ‘“He appears around the corner.” “He appears.” The teacher asks, "Which sentence helps a reader better visualize what is happening? Why?"’ Afterwards the teacher is instructed to, “Have students write 2-3 sentences that include prepositional phrases to describe which one? What kind? How? Where? When? Or to what extent?”

L.4.1f Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 7, students examine and discuss examples of complete and incomplete sentences such as, ‘“He thumps his tail.”’ and ‘“Marty is a person who. Marty is a person who is kind and caring.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 13, Day 2, students learn what a fragment sentence is. Students read several different sentences and determine what is causing the sentence to be a fragmented sentence.

L.4.1g Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their)

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, students learn about the different meanings of the words too, to and two and how these are frequently confused words. The students discuss how the author uses the words too and to in a sentence in the story, “The Wild Book.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 10, students learn about the words they’re, their and there and how each of these words impacts the stories they read. Students then practice writing a poem using these words.

L.4.2b Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 13,students learn about the importance of using dialogue in their writing and how this helps keeps stories connected. Students have an example of how rewriting the dialogue helps to better understand the character’s point of view by reading and comparing 2 passages.

L.4.2c Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, students practice analyzing and discussing compound sentences that use and with a comma. For example, ‘“'I’ll buy that one,' Minli said, and she pointed at the fiery orange fish with the black eyes and fin that had caught her eye.” (p. 13) The teacher asks: "What do you notice?" "Is this a compound sentence? Why?"’

L.4.3a Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 22, students practice expanding and adding more details to sentences from a graphic novel they have been reading. For example, “Hercules saw the lion. (Hercules crept towards the lion and aimed his bow right at the lion).” Students are also provided with a list of sentences to rewrite with a partner.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 21, students take one moment from the story, they then rewrite the event from the character’s point of view. They are encouraged to use descriptive details and precise words.

L.4.3b Choose punctuation for effect.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 21, students determine how the questions at the end help people better understand Ed’s perspective and how an author uses questions at the end of a story.

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

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 10, students learn about the words they’re, their and there and how each of these words impacts the stories they read. Students then practice writing a poem using these words.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, students practice analyzing and discussing compound sentences that use but and a comma. For example, ‘“It was one thing to climb on top of him while he was half covered by water, but now on dry land she realized how large he really was.” (p. 70) Students practice using this skill in their writing and teachers are told, “Have students add two to three sentences to their narratives that include the conjunction but to show contrasting ideas. Pick two to three student sentences to analyze and notice together as a class.”

The following standards are not addressed in the materials:

  • L.4.1a Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why)
  • L.4.1b Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses
  • L.4.1c Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions
  • L.4.1d Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag)
  • L.4.2a Use correct capitalization
  • L.4.2d Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed
  • L.4.3c Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion)


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 4 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 4 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, Shiloh, the Unit Prep information states: “A sample routine is included in lesson 4 and 18, 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.

Materials contain some explicit instruction of irregularly spelled words, syllabication patterns, and word recognition consistently over the course of the year.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, students practice syllabication using the sound syllabication vocabulary routine. The students first find the word, tormented in the text. The teacher tells how many syllables are in the word and how they determined this number of syllables. The teacher points out that the word is r-controlled, three syllables, closed and final syllabication rules in the sentences. Students than practice with the words, separate, mysterious and syllable to determine if those syllable rules make sense.
  • In Unit 2, students learn synonyms and antonyms. The teacher asks students to identify what words were tricky when they are reading the texts throughout the unit. What strategies students used to read the word, how many syllables are in the word and how they knew. Teachers are told that students should have mastered all phonics at this level, but that during the first fluency check, they should listen to students read in order to determine which students need more support.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, students complete the vocabulary routine for the words tormented, vanishing and tremble. As part of this routine students practice breaking the words apart into syllables, for example, “Sound out the word by breaking the word into syllables. (tor-ment-ed) Identify the number of syllables and explain how you determined the number of syllables. (Three syllables - r-controlled, closed, final)”
  • In the Unit 6 Prep, Foundational Skills section, teachers are informed: “There are no whole class vocabulary words during this unit. All phonics and word knowledge instruction should take place during individual student conferences or in small-groups. Based on running-records from the fluency check-point in Unit 4, determine which students may still need additional support with syllabication and plan additional small-group word work lessons.” Guidance is not provided for teachers in planning these lessons.

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:

  • The Unit 3 assessment includes the following: “1. Part A What is the meaning of the word drift as it is used in paragraph 18 of “Just Like Home”? (RL4.4, L4.4) a. consider b.wander c. change d. hover.”

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 1, Lesson 3, students practice using this routine with the word mistreated. (The word is from Shiloh)
    • “Find the word in the sentence. (p. 14)
    • Sound out the word by breaking it into syllables. (mis-trea-ted)
    • Examine the word for meaningful parts (base word, prefixes, or suffixes)
      • If there is a prefix, take it off first. (mis- means wrongly)
      • If there is a suffix, take it off second. (-ed, means in the past)
      • Look at the base word to see if you know it or if you can think of a related word. (treat)
    • Ressemble the word, thinking about the meaning contributed by the base, the suffix, and then the prefix. (wrongly - treat - in the past --> something was treated badly in the past)
    • Try out the meaning.
    • What words are synonyms? Antonyms?
    • If needed, check the meaning of the word or pronunciation in a dictionary, glossary, or thesaurus.”


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 4 partially meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

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, specific lessons 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 1, Lesson 18, there is the model vocabulary routine that teachers are prompted to do with students to break down the syllabication in the word, nonsense. Students look at whether there is a prefix and a suffix and how those impact the word. Then students look at the base word to see if they know the base word or another word similar to the base word. Then they determine if there is antonyms or synonyms of the word.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, students analyze the word infuriated by breaking the word into syllables and then analyze the prefix and suffix. Students discuss the word’s meaning and discussing synonyms and antonyms for the word.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, students find the word tormented in the sentence. Students sound out the word by breaking it into syllables, and the teacher explains how they determined the number of syllables in the word. The teacher states there are 3: r-controlled, closed and final. Then students determine the meaning of the word.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, students analyze the word mysterious. Students break the word apart into syllables and analyze the suffix. Students also discuss synonyms and antonyms for the word. Students repeat the process when they analyze the word consolation.
  • In Unit 5, Unit Prep, Foundational Skills Overview, teachers are not provided with vocabulary word lists to use with students. Instead teachers are instructed that, “All phonics and word knowledge instruction should take place during individual student conferences or in small-groups. Based on running-records from the fluency check-point in Unit 4, determine which students may still need additional support with syllabication and plan additional small-group word work lessons. When circulating during independent reading, prompt:
    • Which words were tricky in this section of text?
    • What strategies did you use to read the word and figure out the word’s meaning?
    • How many syllables does the word have? How do you know?
    • What affixes does the word have? How do they influence the meaning of the word?”

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

  • In Unit 4, when the students are reading the selection after completing the vocabulary syllabication practice, the teacher walks around the room and asks:
    • What words were tricky to read?
    • What strategies did you use to figure out the word?
    • How many syllables did the word have?
    • How did you figure that out?
  • In Unit 2, the assessment contains the following questions about vocabulary:
    • What does the word contempt mean as it is used in paragraph 26?
      • a) disapproval
      • b) eagerness
      • c) awe
      • d) weariness
    • Select one sentence from paragraphs 23 through 26 that contains a clue to the meaning of the word contempt. Underline the sentence in the text or copy it below.


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 4 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, smoothness, and accuracy. Units 1-4 contain new fluency skills and Units 5-6 contain fluency skill review. 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 2, the instructions state: “Use data from fluency check-points to help prioritize students for additional fluency supports throughout the unit.” Examples or models of what these supports would look and sound like are not consistently provided.

Multiple 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, “Reads with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage. Uses proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. Uses dialect with smoothness and accuracy. Reads with a rate appropriate to task and purpose.”
    • Teachers are provided with suggestions for teaching fluency in this unit (the text being read is Shiloh) Some of these suggestions include:
      • “On page 14, model how to say and read the word ‘em in a way that accurately reflects the way Marty’s father would speak.”
      • “On page 15, model reading the word lettin’.”
      • “On page 17, model reading the conversation with Judd aloud, placing an emphasis on how to show each characters’ emotion.”
  • In Unit 2, teachers are provided with the focus for this unit which is smoothness, accuracy and expression. Students continue to learn how to read dialogue with expression (taught in Unit 1). Much of how the fluency skills are taught in Unit 2 is left to teacher discretion: “Decide which chapter to read based on the demands of the chapter and the desired teaching point.”
  • In Unit 3, at the end of the unit, students pick their favorite poem and read it outloud to the class.
  • In the Unit 4, the teacher is informed that students will work on fluency in this unit through reading and performing scripts that tie in to the myths being studied. The fluency focus areas for students in this Unit are: “Reads with good expression and enthusiasm throughout the text. Reading sounds like natural language. Varies expression and volume to match his/her interpretation of the passage. Reads smoothly. Reads with a rate appropriate to task and purpose.”
  • In Unit 5, there is review of previously taught fluency skills. There are suggested supports such as: “Review with students how to read different sentences and punctuation with the proper intonation and expression.”
  • In Unit 6, there is review of previously taught fluency skills.

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.

  • In Unit 2, the instructions to the teacher are to: “Continue to emphasize how to determine reading rate.” The teacher is to reinforce that reading a text at a slower rate helps a reader analyze craft. But reading slowly on the first reading takes away for the overall meaning.
  • In Unit 3, students read poems in a verse novel, “Wild Book.” The first time a poem is read, it is read outloud where the teacher models appropriate tone and how to read a poem with fluency. Students practice reading poetry fluently.
  • In Unit 5, students read the text by Jack Gantos, which contains a variety of sentence structures. The teacher is prompted to model how to read with fluency using different punctuation and with proper intonation and expression.

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 the Unit 2 overview, teachers are informed that students will begin working on self-correcting during this unit. Teachers are provided with the following suggestion for teaching this skill, “During one of the first few lessons pick another section of text to read aloud and monitor how to self-correct when faced with a difficult word. After reading aloud and modeling, prompt:
    • What strategies does a fluent reading use to self-correct when reading difficult words?
    • How does self-correcting help a reader better understand the text?
    • What does it sound like for a reader to read smoothly?”
  • In Unit 4, on Days 5, 11, and 16, students read the drama for each Greek Myth. The instructions state that the stories should be read multiple times in order to help students build on fluency.
  • In the Unit 5 Overview teachers are informed: “Review with students how to self-correct when reading difficult words or sentences.”

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.

  • In the Unit 1 overview, teachers are told to have students either self assess or have a partner assess their reading. The teacher also assesses the student on fluency using the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric.
  • In Unit 1, the teacher evaluates students on phrasing, expression and volume with the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric.
  • In Unit 2, the teacher selects 4-5 stories to use as fluency check-points. Students are scored using the Grades 3-5 Reading Fluency Rubric. If a student does not score well on the rubric, the teacher is to “Use data from fluency check-points to help prioritize students for additional fluency supports throughout the unit.” However, examples or models of what these supports would look like are not provided.
  • In Unit 3, students pick their favorite poem from the unit, rehearse it and then perform it for the class. The teacher uses the fluency rubric to score the student’s performance.
  • In Unit 4, students perform a drama that ties in to a myth they have been learning about. The teacher uses the fluency rubric to assess each child’s performance.
  • In Unit 5, students both self-assess their own fluency and the teacher assesses the student using the fluency rubric.
  • In Unit 6, there are no new fluency strategies taught, but the teacher is encouraged to use previous strategies to spiral in fluency standards and areas that students need to improve. The teacher is also prompted to use fluency data from other checkpoints to help re-teach fluency skills.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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. Materials 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. 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 4 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, the units are built around a topic, such as the earth, energy, and African American History. The literature units are built around more global themes rather than topics. The novels and the essential questions of the literature units build toward an understanding of a theme such as personal identify, learning differences, and mythology. All of the units help to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The topics in the Science and Social Studies units are:

  • In Unit 1, students learn about the earth and its changes, and read several books on how mountains are made, rocks, volcanoes and earthquakes. Students learn about physical, geographical, societal, and political factors that influence change in our world.
  • In Unit 2, students read about the American Revolution. They read several texts including the core text Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began.
  • In Unit 3, the topic is government and biographies of famous leaders in government. Students learn about the different types of government in the United States and read about famous leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and President Trump.
  • In Unit 4, students read about energy. They learn what energy is, the different ways that energy is transferred from place to place, and the ways energy can be converted from one type to another. In addition to the anchor text, students read the Energy Resources I Files from Science A-Z.
  • In Unit 5, students read about African American history. They read about slavery and leaders who influenced the movement for equality.
  • In Unit 6, students read all about the structures of plants and animals. Texts center around the internal and external structures of animals and plants to support their survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

The topics, novels, and essential questions that help to organize the Literature units are:

  • In Unit 1, students read Shiloh, which helps students grapple with the overarching question of how a person develops values, identities, and beliefs.
  • In Unit 2, students read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which helps students explore what it means to have good fortune.
  • In Unit 3, the topic is learning disabilities and students read books such as The Wild Book, Fish in a Tree, and Out of My Mind. Students learn about accepting differences, persevering through challenges, and trusting in family during difficult times.
  • In Unit 4, students compare and contrast Greek myths such as Pandora, Arachne, and Hercules.
  • In Unit 5, students read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key and learn about ADHD and how it might influence someone both positively and negatively. In this unit, students focus on how the way others view them impacts the way they view ourselves.
  • In Unit 6, students read Bud, Not Buddy and learn about the Great Depression through the eyes of a young African-American boy. Supporting texts in this unit further students’ knowledge of the Great Depression.


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 4 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 and tasks requiring analysis of all aspects of the text, including key details, language, structure, and craft. Units allow for extensive time with one text, and the discussion questions, writing tasks, and Target Tasks build in depth and complexity from the beginning of the unit to the end. 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 as a 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 asked to consider questions around theme and characterization.

In Literature and Science and Social Studies, students analyze language. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 2, after reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynold Naylor, students answer: "The author uses the description 'like a propeller' to describe Shiloh's tail. What type of figurative language is this? What does it show about Shiloh? Why does the author use this description instead of just telling us how Shiloh was feeling?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 3, after reading Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Recht Penner the students answer the following key question: "The author states, 'The Stamp Act of 1765 was the last straw!' What does the phrase 'the last straw'mean as used in this sentence?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 18, after reading Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrara and Dennis Chavez, student answer the following questions: "Explain the significance of the following statement: Under harsh criticism Chavez pushed for his ideals: ‘Either we are all free or we all fail.' Closely read the following sentence from the text: 'At a time when being a Mexican or Hispanic was regarded with contempt by fellow lawmakers, Charvez devoted his energy to the service of his country, state, and party, with little regard to the decision and discourtesy his ethnicity evoked.' What is the significance of this statement?"

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

  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 13, after reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, students answer the following Target Task writing prompt: "In what ways does having a learning disability impact the way Ally sees herself? How does it impact the way others see her? Use specific details from the text to support your answer."
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 12, after reading Election! A Kid’s Guide to Picking Our President by Dan Gutman students are asked: "What are the main differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties? What evidence does the author give to support the idea that 'all of these people may be Patriotic Americans who love their country, but they have different opinions about the way the government should be run?'”
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, Lesson 6, after reading the texts Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, and If you Lived when there was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma, students are asked the following Target Task questions: "How and why are people or groups in a society treated differently based on race? Is it fair? Use examples from Heart and Soul, If you Lived when there was Slavery in America, and Up from Slavery to support your answer."

Analyzing details is another type of analysis students are asked to complete in Literature and Science and Social Studies. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 2, after reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynold Naylor, students are asked: "What evidence does the author include to show how Marty feels about animals? What evidence does the author include to show how Shiloh is feeling and why? Describe how Shiloh changes over the course of the chapter. What causes the change?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 1, after reading Liberty! How the Revolutionary War began by Lucille Recht, key questions include: "Why did people leave England? Did the King influence people's decisions to leave? Explain why. Explain the significance of the Liberty Tree. How does the illustration help a reader better understand the importance of the Liberty Tree? Why did the author title the section 'Help!'? Who needed help?"
  • In Literature, Unit 7, Lesson 7, after reading Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis students are asked: "Describe what happens at the mission. What can we learn about Bud from his actions? What can we learn about the time period from the actions of others? Why? What evidence does the author include to show the importance of Bud's relationship with Miss Hill? Why?"

Students analyze craft in Literature and Grade 4 Social Studies and Science. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 2, Lesson 5, after reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, the key questions include: "Explain the significance of the statement: 'Her resentment seemed to darken with the fading moon.' Why does the description reveal about ma?"
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 12, after reading Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Target Task writing prompt is: "How does Ted Rand use illustrations to help a reader better understand the events of Paul Revere’s ride as told by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?"
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 1, teachers are told for the book The Wild Book by Margaret Engle for writing Target Task/close reading to make sure to emphasize the following author's craft moves/details from each poem: "The poems are full of feelings and emotion. Some of the later poems become more like short narrative stories, so it's important to analyze the feeling and word choice deeply in these poems. It is also important to analyze and think about the title of each poem and the significance/power it has." Questions include: "How does the author use the structure of poetry and word choice to show the narrator's feelings about word blindness?"

In Literature and Science and Social Studies, students analyze text structure. Examples include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 4, after reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, the following writing prompt is provided: "Read the quotation from the end of chapter 3. 'I'm so mad I can't see. I know I should shut my mouth, but it goes on talking. His name's Shiloh,' I say.' Explain the significance of this quotation and what it shows about Marty."
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 11, after reading Earthquakes by Seymour Simon, key questions include: "Why does Seymour Simon start page 13 with the question, 'Why do most earthquakes in the In United States occur in California?' How does he answer the question?"
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 4, after reading the Greek myth, "Pandora's Box" by Paul Perro, key questions include: "What structural elements of poetry are present in the poem? How is the poem different than verse? What does the author mean by the lines 'if there was hope,/Then no matter what else happened, /The human race could cope'? What parts of the story of Pandora are emphasized in the poem? Why?"


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

The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. In most units, students have multiple opportunities to analyze across texts. Although not all units have multiple texts, students do 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 authors use specific text features, phrasing, and character/plot decisions. 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 of 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.

In Literature, students analyze both individual texts and across multiple texts, such as:

  • In Unit 1, students read Shiloh. In Lesson 22, students explain how Marty’s beliefs, ethics, and values influence his decisions throughout the story to save Shiloh.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 31, students compare and contrast the beginning of Minli’s quest from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon with the beginning of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, students identify and make connections between The Wild Book and “The Facts about Dyslexia." In Lesson 16, students use all of the texts to explain how having a learning disability impacts the way people see themselves and the way others see them.
  • In Unit 4, the focus of the unit is comparing and contrasting Greek myths. In Lesson 4, students read a poem called “Pandora’s Box” and watch a video called “Myth of Pandora's Box” and are asked what connections can be made between the original story, the story told in first-person point of view, the poem, and the video. In Lesson 19, students pick a theme or topic and analyze how it is treated in each of the myths from the unit.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 22, students analyze Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, theyexplain how Joey changed and what he learned about himself.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 34, students compare and contrast the development of theme in Bud, Not Buddy with other novels from the course. This is a culmination for the entire course.

The Science and Social Studies units require students to integrate knowledge and ideas across individual and multiple texts. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students learn about Earth. Students are asked similar questions in Lesson 15 and Lesson 21. In Lesson 15, students write an essay that describes how earthquakes happen, why they are dangerous, and potential solutions for minimizing damage. In Lesson 21, students write an essay that describes why volcanoes are dangerous, what causes them to erupt, and why so many people choose to live near a volcano despite the dangers.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 9, students answer questions about Loyalists and Patriots and the writing prompt asks students to compare and contrast the beliefs of the Loyalists and the Patriots. In Lesson 15, students use all of the texts to discuss the unit-essential questions.
  • In Unit 3, students answer similar questions, but with different texts in Lesson 19 and 23. In Lesson 19, students explain who and what inspired Shirley Chisholm to get involved in politics and fight for change, and in Lesson 23, students answer the same question but about Barack Obama.
  • In Unit 4, students learn about energy and are asked questions such as why does the author use text features to help a reader better understand the Glen Canyon Dam (Lesson 5) and why does the author include the diagram on page 11 (Lesson 15). In Lesson 19, students analyze what they have read by describing what the world’s energy future will look like if renewable sources of energy are not found.
  • In Unit 5, students are asked many questions about the choices of the author. For example, in Lesson 3, students explain how the author uses descriptive details and illustrations to help the reader understand slavery, while in Lesson 9, students explain the evidence the author includes to explain a statement about Harriet Tubman.
  • In Unit 6, students learn about the structures of plants and animals. Students analyze the choices of the author, such as in Lesson 7, the students explain why the author starts the text with a question and the reasons the author gives to support the idea that the size of an animal’s brain compared to its body says a lot about an animal's ability to learn.


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

Units in both Literature and Science and Social Studies have final projects that require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic. For the culminating projects, all units have questions and tasks throughout the unit to 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.

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

  • In Unit 2, students learn about the American Revolution, and, for the culminating project, students either research a famous hero of the American Revolution or write an informational children’s book about the American Revolution and the events that led up to the Revolution. Some of the tasks that lead students to successfully complete this project and integrate knowledge and skills include, in Lesson 8, students explain the role spies played in the Revolution and, in Lesson 20, students analyze the role of black heroes in the American Revolution.
  • In Unit 3, students create a proposal to share with the president describing how the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act should be revised by synthesizing information from the entire unit.
  • In Unit 4, students debate using the key questions and then students complete a project to decide which energy sources they would recommend their community to increase or decrease in use and why. Students create a presentation, which requires integration of skills.
  • In Unit 5, students research, write, and present on an additional person or event. On the first day, the students research the topic of their choice, on the next day or two, students brainstorm and begin drafting, and on the final few days, students create presentations to teach what they learned and present their findings with the class.
  • In Unit 6, students complete a research project that relates to plants and animals which helps to deepen the understanding of the content of the unit.

The questions and tasks in Literature support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students write the next chapter of Shiloh using what they know about Marty and Shiloh. Students have to integrate the knowledge of the characters they gained throughout the close reading of the text as well as integrating the writing skills they practice in the unit.
  • In Unit 3, there are options for a culminating task. One is a writing exercise that relies on the integration of information gained through the close reading of texts in the unit and the other involves speaking and listening and the integration of information gained through the reading of texts in the unit.
  • In Unit 4, students create an additional version of Hercules using the genre structures and points of view learned in the unit. Throughout the unit, students practice rewriting these Greek Myths by writing them from another point of view. For example, in Lesson 13, students rewrite “Arachne” from another character's point of view, and, in Lesson 18, students rewrite “Echo and Narcissus” from another point of view.
  • In Unit 5, students write the next chapter of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key using what they know about Joey, combined with what they know about how Jack Gantos writes. This task requires students to demonstrate knowledge gained from the reading of texts and discussions in the unit into a writing task.
  • In Unit 6, students compare and contrast the development of theme in Bud, Not Buddy with other novels from the course. This requires students to integrate knowledge and skills across the entire course.


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 4 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 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 of how teachers highlight the vocabulary words include:

  • In Literature, Unit 1, Lesson 5, students learn the words impact, influence, and dialect. Then students are asked how does the setting influence Marty.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 2, students learn words such as igneous, sedimentary, fossils, metamorphic, weathering, erosion, and soil. Students are asked comprehension questions such as “What are igneous rocks?” and “What are sedimentary rocks?”
  • In Literature, Unit 2, students learn words such as enthralled, eager, and obedient. These words are taught in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and are not addressed across multiple texts.
  • In Literature, Unit 3, Lesson 4, students learn the words wisdom and optimism. The students then close read the sentences, “I gaze at a page. I am so weary of trying to fill my blank mind with wisdom.”
  • In Social Studies and Social, Unit 3, Lesson 5, students learn the words cabinet, President, and Secretary. Then, students answer questions including what role does the president’s cabinet play in government and why is the president’s cabinet important.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, Lesson 6, students learn the word point of view, and then in Lesson 7, students are given the writing prompt to rewrite the myth, “Pandora,” from another character’s point of view. This Tier III vocabulary word is reviewed across multiple days, but Tier II vocabulary is not reviewed across units and across texts.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students learn words such as chemical energy, matter, calorie, and photosynthesis. Comprehension questions include “What is matter?” and “What is photosynthesis?”
  • In Literature, Unit 5, there are not many pre-identified vocabulary words in this unit. One focus in this unit is to use context clues to figure out unknown words. The goal for this unit is for students to self-identify challenging words.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 12, students learn the word symbolize and then are asked what do the flyer and the suitcase symbolize in this story.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 6, Lesson 19, students learn the word roots and are asked, “Why are roots an important part of a plant and what might happen if a tree didn’t have roots?”


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 4 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 they gradually build throughout the year toward proficiency with essays. The use of evidence also evolves from students using direct quotations to citing evidence to paraphrasing evidence. Support materials are included in the program to help teachers plan when to deliver a mini lesson 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 4 by the end of the year. Literature examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students learn the procedures for writing about reading. This unit lays the foundation for writing claims, paragraphs, and including text specific vocabulary in writing.
  • In Unit 2, students learn how to write strong, focused paragraphs, using different paragraph structures, depending on the question or claim. This builds onto the work done in Unit 1 by challenging the students to make a correct claim that shows a deep understanding of the text and refers to more than one text-based detail to support the claim. Students also begin to learn how to sort information into multiple paragraphs, using transition words to link ideas within and across paragraphs. In this unit, they focus on writing narrative-sequence through journal entries.
  • In Unit 3, students transition from writing paragraphs to focused essays. The instruction focuses on the claim and the conclusion as a restatement of the main ideas from the essay.
  • In Unit 4, students continue to work on literary analysis essays, but the mini-lessons are planned based on data and the needs of the students. The lessons spiral skills from previous units. In this narrative writing unit, the focus is using an organizational structure that matches the demands of the prompt. In the second half of this unit, the students use a graphic novel as a mentor text.
  • In Unit 5, the instruction builds on previous narrative and literary analysis instruction. The teacher is expected to spiral skills based on the class and individual student need.
  • In Unit 6, no new instruction is provided, but rather the teacher uses data from previous assessments and class work to identify three or four high-leverage focus correction areas to review as a whole class and in small groups.

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

  • In Unit 1, the focus is on establishing routines and expectations for a strong writing-about-reading culture. In addition, the focus is writing strong literary analysis or informational essays. This unit serves as the foundation for this type of writing for the reminder of the year.
  • In Unit 2, students build on the work in Unit 1. The students begin to think about what evidence is the best evidence and then how the evidence would best be explained. Students begin learning how to sort information into multiple paragraphs, using transition words, but the main focus of this unit is on paragraphs.
  • In Unit 3, students begin the transition from writing strong paragraphs to writing longer essays. They learn how to unpack a question and write a multi-paragraph essay. They also begin learning how to use evidence from multiple sources and how to reference more than one text.
  • In Unit 5, the teacher is expected to use data to provide differentiated and targeted support for students who are not yet scoring a "3" on all of the rows of the rubric.
  • In Unit 6, the focus of this unit is on ensuring that scholars have mastered all previously taught literary analysis focus correct areas.


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 4 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 provide research projects through Social Studies and Science units that provide research opportunities and analyze materials using multiple texts and materials. 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 2, there are two options for research projects. One is for students to research a hero of the American Revolution and create an informational children’s book that describes his or her influence during the American Revolution. A second option is to write an informational children’s book about the American Revolution and the events that led up to the Revolution.
  • In Unit 4, students analyze multiple texts and source materials to create a presentation that convinces community leaders why one form of energy is better than others. Students can research their targeted renewable energy source with both texts and computers.
  • In Unit 5, students research, write, and present on an additional person or event. They can choose to research one of the key figures in the fight to free slaves, one of the artist of the Harlem Renaissance, a historic African American sports star, or inventions and discoveries made by African Americans.
  • In Unit 6, students research and participate in an end of unit project in order to deepen their understanding of the content in the unit. The teacher has the opportunity to choose the project and options include developing a model of a plant or animal, constructing how the animal or plant uses both internal and external structures, and then presenting the information back to the class.


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 4 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 4 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 4 partially meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.


The lessons in Grade 4 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 or 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 Science and Social Studies, Unit 2, Lesson 6, the lesson objective is to summarize what happened during the Boston Tea Party by using key details to summarize and explain key historical events in a text. The target task involves multiple choice questions and the writing prompt is to summarize what happened during the Boston Tea Party. Criteria for success is provided and a master response, as well as key questions.


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

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 4 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 is based on an eight plus hour school day, which is not the norm in many schools.


The Literature Units have approximately 164 lessons and 174 days of instruction and the Science and Social Studies Units have approximately 160 lessons and 192 days of instruction given the number of projects included. 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 4 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 4 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 6, Lesson 16, after reading, Bud-not Buddy, students are asked to, “Compare and contrast Bud and the man’s perspective on the events of the chapter by analyzing details that describe a character’s point of view in a story” meeting standard RL4.6.


Both the Literature and Social Studies and Science Units provide a Standards Map within the Unit Overview that indicates which standards are taught within each unit. In this course overview, each unit is labeled and the literature, informational, writing, speaking & listening, and language standards are identified for each unit they are in.


Unit Summaries do list out the standards for the entire unit, and Lesson Maps specify which lessons, questions, or tasks reflect the listed standard(s).  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 2, Lesson 5, a writing prompt is listed in the lesson frame, but no writing standard is provided, while two reading standards are listed and two language standards are listed. Similarly, in Literature, Unit 6, Lesson 4, the lesson includes vocabulary instruction, but the standards listed are reading standards. In Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, Lesson 5, students are asked how does the author use reasons and evidence to show the importance as a writing prompt but writing standards not listed.


Assessment questions are labeled by the standards. For example, in Literature Unit 4, one assessment question is, what sentence from the story helps the reader understand the meaning of the word loathing as used in paragraph 5 of the story, which is attached to RL 4.4 and another question is, which sentence best summarizes the plot of Apollo and Daphne which is attached to RL 4.2.

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 4 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

tion of the standards within and across units.

Indicator 3f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 do not include 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 in how to present the material contained in the units. The guidance provided is on a variety of topics including but not limited to teaching writing, conducting a classroom discussion, teaching vocabulary in the classroom, and think alouds. The lesson frames have objectives, standards, target task, 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. Guidance is not consistently written in the form of annotations or suggestion on how to present the content. The ancillary documents and the unit prep are in separate locations, placing the information for teachers in multiple sources and locations.


The Publisher's Document provides guidance for teachers on how to present content to students. For example there are guidelines for teaching vocabulary and giving feedback. There is also a guide to informational writing, literary analysis writing, and narrative writing. These explain how to present the content. However, these guidelines are not for specific units or specific vocabulary words, and the teachers need to create the lessons based on the guidelines. There are also Match Minis, which provide further assistance for teachers on how to present material and use techniques to develop lessons.


Information in the Lesson Frameworks are also not specific and leave much up to the teacher. For example, in Literature Unit 2, Lesson 8, it states that the teaching point is that good writers use relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations. This is then embedded through the lesson guidance and a student exemplar 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 4 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 2, students read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the Intellectual Prep explains the role of storytelling in Chinese culture. In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, there is a lot of information provided for the teacher to build content knowledge on the Civil Rights; however, little information is provided on how to internalize the priority standards for this unit. For example, for standard RI4.8 (explain how an author uses reasons and evidence), the Intellectual Prep provides teachers with questions to think about including what type of evidence does Kadir Nelson use, but the answers are not provided to teachers.

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 4 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. 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.


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 standards 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 fourth grade students work on developing an understanding of theme, a shift from third grade where the main focus was on determining the main message, lesson,or moral of a text. In fifth grade, students will also be asked to explain how the characters respond to the challenges. Another focus is on describing characters and setting in depth, which includes the third grade focus of identifying character traits, motivations, and feelings, while also explaining how characters and setting contribute to the sequence of events. A final focus is on point of view. In third grade students compare their own point of view with that of the character, but do not dive into understanding author’s use of point of view. The Unit by Unit explanations also explain the approach to meeting the goal of teaching all of the standards. For example, in Unit 3, students read The Wild Book, and the focus of the text is to understand the genre features of poetry and how the features support a reader’s understanding of character, setting, and point of view.


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 explaining events or ideas in a text, particularly what happened and why, based on specific information in the text. This prepares students for fifth grade when they need to explain the relationships or interactions between multiple events or ideas in a text. Another focus is on determining main idea and summarizing a text. They need to explain the main idea and explain how it is supported by key details. They are also introduced to the idea of summarizing for the first time. A final focus is understanding author’s craft. This builds upon third grade and prepares students for fifth grade when they are asked to compare and contrast the structure across two or more texts. A Unit by Unit explanation of the approaches to meeting the goal of teaching all standards is included in each unit. For example, in Unit 2, it states that the students continue to focus on describing the connection between ideas in a text based on specific details from the text and images/illustrations.

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 4 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a explanations 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 are based. 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 believes 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 serves both to expose students to the core knowledge, skills, and habits of thinking needed to be successful in those two domains, while simultaneously honing students’ ability 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 in 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 4 partially meets 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 4 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 4, Lesson 5, students are asked multiple choice questions including which line from the drama best supports the answer to Part A. The writing prompt for this lesson is how does the author use the structural elements of poetry to retell what happens in “Pandora’s Box”.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 1, Lesson 4, key questions asked of students include what is earth’s crust like and how is the mantle different from the crust.

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 4 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 Science and Social Studies, Unit 3, students are asked what statement best explains what the chart adds to the article, which is labeled RI4.7.
  • In Literature, Unit 4, students are asked what is the meaning of the word drift as it is used in paragraph 18 of “Just Like Home”, which is labeled RL4.4 and L4.4.
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 5, students are asked why Carver decided to try crop rotation, which is labeled RI4.3.
  • In Literature, Unit 6, students are asked what two details best show how the setting of the story influences the plot, which is labeled RL.4.3.

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 4 do not 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 “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 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 4 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
  • 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 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 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 celebrating multiple strategies used by students to arrive at the same outcome
  • Steps to take the 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 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 4 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
sher states, “We believe students need to engage in a volume of reading inside and outside of class.  Students need opportunities to read independently in order to access a large volume of complex texts, build knowledge, and develop a love of reading.”  In order to achieve this, it is recommended that students have independent reading assigned daily for homework in addition to 45-60 minutes of an independent reading block scheduled in class.  The guide states, “Both of these additional opportunities for independent reading are crucial components of student literacy development, and should be facilitated alongside our core Literature and Science and Social Studies curriculum.”

Criterion 3o - 3r

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 4 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 provides 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 remediate 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 for 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 assignment
  • 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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 the teachers need to provide supports that never remove the most important thinking and meaning-making, while ensuring that students can access those thinking tasks. It explains that the goal is to support students while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards. Teachers can use the supports outlined in this document to help students who are English Language Learners work with the grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

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

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 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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