Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for Reading Wonders Grade 6 partially meet expectations of overall alignment. The materials meet the expectations of Gateway 1. Texts students encounter over the course of the year are of high quality and interest, providing appropriately rigorous questions and tasks to engage students in each grade. The materials organize most speaking and listening activities to support the teacher’s implementation of practice with academic vocabulary and text-focused discussion. Writing tasks and activities attend to the balance and types intended by the standards, often connecting back to associated texts. The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2. There is some support for building students’ knowledge and academic vocabulary, but consistent guidance and focus in these areas does not appear over the course of the school year. The materials provide some planning for academic vocabulary and writing development, although the teacher may need to engage in additional planning to ensure the schedule can accommodate the intended lesson sequences.

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
33
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
22
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
N/A
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 Grade 6 instructional materials meet expectations for Gateway 1. Texts are worthy of students’ time and attention. Texts are of quality and are rigorous and meet the text complexity criteria for Grade 6. The materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading. The materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Grammar and conventions instruction is embedded to facilitate students’ application of language skills but is taught mainly out of context.

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.
18/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of texts being high quality and rigorous and worthy of multiple close reads. Text selections are appropriately rigorous but only partially support students’ building their reading skills over the course of the school year. The program has a balance of genres and text types included to provide students opportunities to read broadly and deeply as they build their literacy skills. Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Anchor texts are found in the student edition of the Literature Anthology as the main texts for each week. Texts are of publishable quality and address several topics of interest which are engaging for Grade 6 students while expanding big ideas and broadening students’ knowledge base and personal perspectives. Anchor texts include a variety of interesting topics that include, but are not limited to historical fiction, articles, narrative nonfiction, poetry, biographies, and expository texts.

Multiple texts are multicultural, well-written texts from a variety of text types and genres. These anchor texts contain rich language and engaging characters or content. Some examples of quality anchor texts include:

  • Unit 1, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick - This excerpt is a creatively written text told from the point-of-view of a captivating narrator.
  • Unit 1, Into the Volcano by Donna O’Meara - This engaging text about a volcanologist will be of interest to Grade 6 students. It contains colorful, striking photographs and crucial diagrams of volcanoes. The language of the text is intelligent with lively adjectives.
  • Unit 2, A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park- This well-crafted text contains an interesting main character: an orphan in the 12th century Korea. The text also contains a common theme students can understand.
  • Unit 3, Major Taylor by Lesa Cline-Ransome - This narrative nonfiction includes a mix of vibrant dialogue and narration about a man who defies a situation in a era of inequality. The illustrations are life-like and spectacular.
  • Unit 4, Years of Dust by Albert Marrin - This text about a historical time in the USA contains impressive photos of the Dust Bowl. The author crafted a text of truth displaying despair, yet perseverance.
  • Unit 5, Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis - This excerpt contains informal language such as “skeeters” and “me and Jingle Boy,” which is engaging and relatable for a Grade 6 student. The text evokes a range emotions and feelings for the reader.
  • Unit 6, The Great Fire by Jim Murphy - This narrative nonfiction contains candid descriptions of the Great Chicago Fire. The descriptions of disaster are vivid and engaging with academic language.

Many anchor texts are of high quality but include only an excerpt of the original text such as Before Columbus and Pharaoh’s Boat, which may impede students’ full understanding of the text. There are limited opportunities built into the program for students to read entire chapter books or texts, making it challenging for students to analyze how a particular chapter or scene fits into the overall structure of the text.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Texts that all students access include an appropriate mix of literature and informational text for Grade 6. Text genres represented include, but are not limited to, expository texts, narrative nonfiction, articles, biographies, folktales, poetry, realistic fiction, and drama.

Anchor text selections include 13 literary texts and 17 informational texts. Unit 6 is predominantly informational text with Week 5 dedicated to poetry.

  • Literature examples include Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell, Roman Diary by Richard Platt, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, The Hero and the Minotaur by Robert Byrd, and “To You” by Langston Hughes.
  • Informational examples include Journey into the Deep by Rebecca L. Johnson, Who Created Democracy? by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, “Stewards of the Environment,” Years of Dust by Albert Marrin, Planet Hunter by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein, and Extreme Scientists by Donna M. Jackson.

Paired text selections include 13 literary texts and 17 informational texts.

  • Literature examples include “Enough,” “Maestro,” The Music of Many, Aminata’s Tale, The People Could Fly, and The Mystery of the Missing Sandals.
  • Informational examples include Donna O’Meara: The Volcano Lady, The Genius of Roman Aqueducts, Margaret Bourke-White: Fearless Photographer, Get Fit for Fun!, Looking Back to Move Forward, and Making the Scientific Method Work for You.

The included companion texts, weekly differentiated texts, and complex extended texts are also a mixture of text types and genres.

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. The majority of texts are at the appropriate quantitative level. Texts that are above or below grade-level quantitative bands have qualitative features and/or tasks that bring them to the appropriate level for students to access and utilize the text.

Examples of texts that are of the appropriate complexity include:

Unit 1, Week 4: Into the Volcano

  • Quantitative: Lexile 960; Text Evaluator 48
  • Qualitative: This text has a very complex structure with information displayed in diagrams in various places on the page. The main sections are marked with headings. The text features and graphics are essential in understanding the content of the inner workings of volcanoes. For language features, the vocabulary is sometimes unfamiliar and subject-specific. Many sentences contain clauses and transition words. The purpose is easy to identify. The subject matter is challenging, especially for students who do not live near volcanoes.
  • Reader and Task: To help the reader obtain the necessary background knowledge about volcanoes, there is a 10-minute mini lesson called, Introduce the Concept. Students view a photograph of an erupting volcano. Then students participate in a collaborative conversation about the dangers of volcanoes. During the first reading of the text, students fill in a main idea and details graphic organizer. Students use the organizer to help them summarize the text after they complete the reading.

Unit 2, Week 1: The Technology of Mesopotamia

  • Quantitative: Lexile 990; Text Evaluator 52
  • Qualitative: The organization of the text is evident with main idea and details. There are headings to help students know what to expect to read about in The Technology of Mesopotamia. The text features and graphics are integral to the understanding the text. The language conventionality is easy to understand. The vocabulary is very complex and subject-specific to Mesopotamia. The purpose of the text is moderately complex and is easy to identify based on the text. The subject matter is complex, since Grade 6 students may be less familiar with Mesopotamia.
  • Reader and Task: To assist students in building background for the text, there is a 10-minute mini lesson about early civilizations. Students are introduced to the following vocabulary prior to reading the text: artifact, communal, derived, inscription, and millennium. While reading the text, students take notes in a problem and solution graphic organizer. After the first read, students summarize how early inventions helped people solve problems. During the second read, students analyze the author’s craft of word choice and point-of-view.

Unit 3, Week 2: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

  • Quantitative: Lexile 1000; Text Evaluator 49
  • Qualitative: The text is chronological, but it may be difficult to predict where the plot is going. The conventionality is very complex with figurative language and abstract repetitions of phrases. The vocabulary is moderately complex with some challenging words such as roused, dory, and vastness. The sentence structure is very complex with clauses. The life experiences are difficult because the character’s experiences are uncommon to Grade 6 students.
  • Reader and Task: There is a 10-minute mini lesson designed to help prepare students to delve into identifying and analyzing the theme. During the first reading of the text, students take notes in a Theme Chart wherein students collect details to help them determine the theme. After the reading, students summarize the most important events in the story. In the second reading of the text, students analyze author’s craft, which helps students write to the following question: “How does Gary D. Schmidt use Turner’s encounter with the whale to help you understand the message in this story?”

Unit 4, Week 2: Seeing Things His Own Way

  • Quantitative: Lexile 1050; Text Evaluator 63
  • Qualitative: The organization of the text is moderately complex with a backstory/flashback. The graphics supplement the text. The conventionality is very complex with figurative language such as, “The howling winds, gusting up to 100 miles per hour, roared like a fleet of jet planes.” The vocabulary is moderately complex with very complex sentence structures. The purpose is easy to identify especially when students reach the end of the text.
  • Reader and Task: To prepare students for the text, there is a 10-minute mini lesson on building background about people meeting personal challenges. There is also a 10-minute mini lesson to help students learn vocabulary associated with the text. During the first reading of the text, students take notes in the Author’s Point of View Chart. This helps students summarize how Erik met his own personal challenge. After the second reading, students write to the following prompt: “How does Marty Kaminsky convince you that Erik should be seen as a role model?”

Unit 5, Week 1: The Hero and the Minotaur

  • Quantitative: Lexile 1050; Text Evaluator 63
  • Qualitative: This text contains complex characters. The conventionality is very complex with figurative language such as, “...oceans churned and roared before him.” The vocabulary is complex with Greek gods and goddess names and locations. It contains complex sentence structure such as: “So when the king traveled to Troezen, met Princess Aethra, and had a son with her, the mother and baby stayed safely in that town, while he returned to Athens.” There are multiple levels of meaning. The life experiences portrayed are distinctly different from the common reader.
  • Reader and Task: To help students gain the background knowledge needed to read the text, there is a 10-minute mini lesson about myths as well as a 10-minute mini lesson on genre. Students learn about heroic exploits (brave adventures) and myths as stories passed down from generation to generation. During the first reading, students fill in a character, setting, and plot chart. This is used to help students summarize the most important events in the plot. Students also write a response to the following prompt: “How does the way the author begins and ends the myth help you understand Poseidon’s influence in Theseus’s life?”

Unit 6, Week 1: The Story of Salt

  • Quantitative: Lexile 1050; Text Evaluator 63
  • Qualitative: The organization is evident with headings provided to hint at the topics. The text features such as a timeline about salt through the centuries enhance the reader’s understanding of content. Some vocabulary is unfamiliar with words such as sodium chloride, ornate, salt domes, and organic. The sentence structure is complex with clauses and transition words. The purpose of the text is moderately complex with subject matter that includes a mix of recognizable ideas and challenging abstract concepts.
  • Reader and Task: To prepare students to read about salt, there is a build background 10-minute mini lesson about natural resources. Students learn about commodities and distribution of work. Commodity and distribution are also discussed in a 10-minute vocabulary mini lesson. During the first reading, students write notes in a Main Idea and Key Details Chart. After reading the text, students summarize the ways that salt has had an impact on different civilizations throughout history.

One text, Pharaoh’s Boat, is slightly above the stretch Lexile grade band. This text has a Lexile of 1170. The text structure is accessible to students as the organization is sequential and similar to most expository texts students encounter. The topic of Egyptian pharaohs is sometimes introduced prior to Grade 6, making the text at this higher lexile level more accessible. The reader and task activities support the understanding of the text.

Two texts, Little Blog on the Prairie and How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay, have Lexile levels below the grade band, 820 and 810 respectively. The qualitative features elevate these texts to grade level. Little Blog on the Prairie contains shifts from narration to blogs written by the main character. How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay contains lyrical and metaphorical writing.

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.)
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectation of supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. While the anchor texts, paired-texts, and leveled readers typically fall within the grade band and increase across the school year, the task demands do not increase in complexity throughout the school year. Students complete similar tasks during each week’s readings (summarizing) and after each week’s readings (Write to Two Sources) throughout all six units even though the texts usually increase in complexity. Tasks are not consistently tailored to meet the needs and demands of the texts in order for students to reach independence with grade-level materials by the end of the school year.

Anchor and supporting texts increase in complexity, based on quantitative and qualitative components, over the school year. Each week, students build knowledge and read about a different topic or concept.

  • Unit 1 texts start with a text below the Lexile stretch band with Little Blog on the Prairie at a Lexile level of 810 with qualitative complexity in genre, specific vocabulary, prior knowledge, sentence structure, and connection of ideas. The tasks associated with Little Blog on the Prairie are for students to identify the characters, settings, and plot events of the story by taking notes during the first and second readings of the story. Students summarize the story’s important events. In the reread, the task is to analyze the author’s craft of dialogue, character, and text structure while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to a photograph on page 7 of Unit 1, week 1. Students answer: “How does the photograph connect to what you read this week?” Students also Write to Two Sources based on the anchor text and paired text: “Write a short narrative from Gen’s point of view about visiting New York City to take an art class. Use text evidence from two sources to support your answer.”
  • Unit 2 contains Roman Diary with a Lexile of 840 and qualitative complexity in specific vocabulary, genre, prior knowledge, organization, and purpose. The tasks associated with the text are for students to take note of details which connect to figuring out point-of-view. Students take notes and summarize daily life in ancient Rome. In the reread, the task is to analyze the author’s craft of the characters while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to the world. Students discuss the week’s readings in relation to the cave painting of the buffalo from Ariée, France (page 54) and answer the following question: How does the cave painting connect to what you read this week?” Students also Write to Sources based on the anchor text and paired text: “Based on what you read about Roman aqueducts, write a short narrative about an ancient Roman showing a newcomer around the city and explaining the aqueducts to him or her.”
  • Unit 3 contains The Pot that Juan Built with a Lexile of 1000 and qualitative complexity in prior knowledge, connection of ideas, organization, and sentence structure. One task associated with The Pot that Juan Built is for students to take notes on the sequence of events. Students take notes in a graphic organizer and then summarize what Juan Quezada’s village accomplished when people worked together. In the reread, the task is to analyze the author’s use of details while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to the world. Students are guided to see the connection among media, music, and text and answer the question: “How does the Blast connect to what you read this week? To the song?” Students also Write to Sources based on the anchor text and paired-text: “How can culture improve a community?”
  • Unit 4 contains Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl with a Lexile of 1040 and qualitative complexity in genre, organization, purpose, sentence structure, and connection of ideas. One task associated with Years of Dust is for students to use details to figure out point-of-view. Students summarize what they learned about the conditions on the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl era. In the reread, students analyze the author’s use of descriptive details to figure out the importance of buffalo while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to the world. Students also Write to Two Sources based on the anchor text and paired text. Students respond to the following prompt: “Could the Dust Bowl of the 1930s have been prevented?”
  • Unit 5 contains Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 with a Lexile of 1080 and qualitative complexity in specific vocabulary, sentence structure, genre, and connection of ideas. One task associated with Before Columbus is for students to identify cause and effect using a graphic organizer. Then, students use the notes to summarize the advances in farming made by Native American people. In the reread, the task is to analyze the author’s use of illustrations and a map to help the student understand the text while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to the world. Students also Write to Two Sources based on the anchor text and paired-text. Students respond to the question, “What innovations have people made in working with plants to meet their needs?” The three texts in this week contain Lexiles at or above 1010, yet the same amount of time is allotted to the reading of these texts compared to texts which are in the Lexiles in the 800s and 900s.
  • Unit 6 contains Extreme Scientists with a Lexile of 1130 and qualitative complexity in sentence structure, organization, specific vocabulary, and connection of ideas. One associated with this text is for students to identify main idea and details in order for students to summarize Hazel Barton’s work as a microbiologist. In the reread, the task is to analyze the author’s use of captions and descriptive language to help the student understand the text while using the Close Reading Companion. In the integration task, students integrate knowledge and ideas and make connections to Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” Students also Write to Two Sources based on the anchor text and paired-text. The companion text, anthology text, and paired text are all texts with Lexiles of 1130 or above, yet the same number of readings and rereadings are allotted for close reading as less complex texts.

Teacher materials include direction for differentiation to increase students’ literacy skills through the ACT (Access Complex Text) directions and the Research Base Alignment resource book. The directions guide teachers through scaffolded activities such as rereading and paraphrasing, student-generated questions, citing text evidence, evaluating the strength of evidence cited, writing about texts, teacher modeling, use of text-dependent questions, graphic organizers, think-alouds, student collaboration, and note-taking. Although scaffolded activities are provided throughout the materials, the same amount of time for reading and analysis is allotted for every text. More complex texts may not get more instructional time focused on understanding it and analyzing it since there are fixed routines in place every week for close reading and rereading.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that anchor texts and the series of texts connected to them being accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

The teacher's edition Differentiate to Accelerate Chart explains the text complexity attributes of each whole class text, the Lexile and TextEvaluator levels of the texts, and the places within the lesson that will help the teacher determine if the text is appropriate in terms of reader and task.

The following example is from Unit 5, week 1:

"Thunder Helper" 980L, Teacher Edition 51

  • Qualitative: What Makes the Text Complex?
    • Genre: Myth, T17
    • Sentence Structure, T19
    • See Scaffolded Instruction in Teacher Edition, T17 and T19.
  • Reader and Task: The Introduce the Concept lesson on pages T10–T11 will help determine the reader’s knowledge and engagement in the weekly concept. See pages T16–T25 and T38–T39 for questions and tasks for this text.

The Hero and the Minotaur, 1030L, TE 50

  • Qualitative: What Makes the Text Complex?
    • Specific Vocabulary
      • Word Origin, T25A
      • Context Clues, T25E, T25G
    • Genre
      • Myth, T25C, T25E, T25M
      • Parody, T25S
    • Purpose Values, T25I
    • Connection of Ideas
      • Relationships, T25I, T25K
      • Foreshadowing, T25O
    • Sentence Structure, T25U
    • See Scaffolded Instruction in Teacher Edition, T25A–T25V.
  • Reader and Task: The Introduce the Concept lesson on pages T10–T11 will help determine the reader’s knowledge and engagement in the weekly concept. See pages T40–T41, T48–T49, T52–T53, T58–T59, and T38–T39 for questions and tasks for this text.

The Teacher Edition also contains the Instructional Path at the beginning of each week. This path lists all texts read, why students are reading the text, the educational focus, and how the texts connect to one another during the week.

Unit 3, Week 1 Instructional Path, T4-T5

  1. Talk About Common Ground: Guide students in collaborative conversations. Discuss the essential question: What happens when people share ideas? Develop academic language. Listen to “The Neighborhood Problem” and discuss the story.
  2. Read “The Rockers Build a Soccer Field”: Model close reading with a short complex text. Read “The Rockers Build a Soccer Field” to learn about how sharing ideas helps build the soccer field, citing text evidence to answer text-dependent questions. Reread “The Rockers Build a Soccer Field” to analyze text, craft, and structure, citing text evidence.
  3. Write About “The Rockers Build a Soccer Field”: Model writing to a source. Analyze a short response student model. Use text evidence from close reading to write to a source.
  4. Read and Write About How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay: Practice and apply close reading of the anchor text. Read How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay to learn about how two people from different cultures learn from one another. Then use text evidence to understand how the author uses text, craft, and structure to develop a deeper understanding of the story. Write a short response about How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay.
  5. Independent Partner Work: Gradual release of support to independent work. Includes text-dependent questions, scaffolded partner work, talk with a partner, cite text evidence, complete a sentence frame, guided text annotation.
  6. Integrate Knowledge and Ideas: Connect Texts, Text-to-Text, Discuss how each of the texts answers the question: What happens when people share ideas? Text to Poetry compares information about common ground in the texts read with John Milton Hay’s poem, “Words.” Performance Task: Analyze the task and form a research plan.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet expectations that materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. There are supports to build students’ comprehension of grade-level texts in oral and silent reading.

Texts available daily to students include close reading texts, the literature anthology, paired texts, differentiated texts, interactive work text, differentiated texts, and extended complex texts.

Weekly routines include opportunities for students to practice choral reading, partner reading, repeated reading, timed reading, echo reading, oral reading modeling, and independent reading of a variety of texts.

For example, in Unit 4, week 2 students participate in an interactive read aloud introducing the following essential question: “How do people meet personal challenges?” This leads to students participating in a shared reading and rereading of “She Had to Walk Before She Could Run” then a close reading and rereading from the Literature Anthology of Seeing Things HIs Own Way. Students also read a paired text, “Get Fit for Fun!,” and then a small group reading where students are working with a differentiated text and are either being read to, echo reading, or reading with the support of a partner. Extended complex texts are also available for students to read. Students are given a purpose for reading with each reread and complete graphic organizers or answer questions to support comprehension.

In Unit 6, Week 2 students participate in an interactive read aloud introducing the following essential question: “How do we learn about historical events?” A shared reading and rereading of “The Great Fire of London” is followed by a close reading and re-reading from the Literature Anthology of The Great Fire. Students read a paired text of “Aftermath of a Fire” and participate in small group reading where students are working with a differentiated text and are either being read to, echo reading, or reading with the support of a partner. Extended complex texts are also available to read. Students are given a purpose for reading with each reread and complete graphic organizers or answer questions to support comprehension.

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 materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that students will have opportunities for rich, rigorous discussions and writing tasks that are evidence based. Questions and tasks associated with the texts focus students’ attention back to the texts and are organized to build their speaking and listening skills. Grammar and conventions instruction is embedded to facilitate students’ application of language skills but is taught mainly out of context. Each unit includes opportunities for on-demand and process writing, and the materials include culminating tasks at the end of each unit.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments requiring students to engage directly with the text and to draw on textual evidence to support what is explicit as well as making valid inferences.

During each whole-group selection, students are asked to answer a variety of literal, inferential, and evaluative questions. During whole-group reading of primary texts, students are asked to reread to find answers to text-dependent questions. Question sets are included with each page of text. Many teacher-directed tasks support students in making connections between the text and illustrations. Questions and activities engage students in text-dependent writing and speaking opportunities.

Examples of text-dependent questions found throughout the units:

  • “Reread page 31. What is the setting? What actual event is the story about?” (Unit 1, T89A)
  • What real event from history is mentioned on page 143? (the fire that destroyed a large part of Rome) • What other details reflect the story’s time and place?” (Unit 2, T153M).
  • “Reread page 232. Ask: What do you notice about the way this life story is written?” (Unit 3, 217C)
  • “Reread the poem. What words and phrases express the mood and feeling of the narrator?” (Unit 4, T281C)
  • “According to the text, what has Luisa been doing over the past few weeks?” (Unit 5, T25G)
  • “Why does the author start the story with italicized text?” (Unit 6, Teacher Edition, page T89C)

Examples of text-dependent tasks and assignments found throughout the units:

  • “Who are the main characters in the story? (Homer and his brother Harold) What is the setting? (Gettysburg, at the start of the battle) What problem do the characters face? (Homer wants Harold to come home, but Harold has been arrested and faces court-martial.) Add the information to your sequence chart.” (Unit 1, T89E)
  • “Think about how Iliona’s master might want to reward her for her heroic act. Turn to your partner and make a prediction using evidence from the story. ” (Unit 2, T153N)
  • “Why was Anderson’s performance in New York unsuccessful? (Because she was African American, few Americans came to hear her.)
  • "Use a signal word to show the cause and effect in the last sentence of the paragraph at the top of page 210." (Anderson went to Europe because she hoped European audiences would accept her.) (Unit 3, T213)
  • “Reread the first three lines of 'Primer Lesson.' Help students understand what 'proud words' are."
  • "What kinds of words are not easy to call back?" (Words that hurt someone’s feelings, or words that make someone mad.) (Unit 4, T281F)
  • “Encourage students to discuss with a partner how inventions can solve problems. Ask them to cite text evidence. Use these sentence frames to focus discussion: I read that Kevlar® . . . This is an example of how . . .” (Unit 5, T145)
  • “Read page 397 together. As you read, model how to take notes. I will think about the Essential Question as I read and note main events and details.” (Unit 6, T80)

The Close Reading Companion, the Student Literature Anthology, and Reading/Writing Workshop include text dependent questions, writing prompts, and discussion prompts that require students to engage in the text directly. The Respond to the Text questions at the end of the main literature anthology selections include summarization, writing, and making connection questions. The "make connection" questions ask students to provide evidence from the texts in the unit to answer the connection questions. Write to Source Lessons included in each weekly lesson routine include writing tasks that require student to provide evidence from the Literature Anthology texts in their writing. The Practice Book also provides questions/tasks that are tied directly to text unless the practice is a very specific skill such as decoding.

Teacher modeling for text-dependent tasks is provided throughout instruction.

There are also “Text to Self/World” questions that are not text-dependent but relate to the theme of the text being read such as, “Talk about what you had to consider at a time when you made a difficult decision.” (Unit 4, Week 3, T145) and “Do you feel that forming an alliance can make a difference in people’s lives? Explain why or why not.” (Unit 2, Week 4, TE page T89R).

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for materials culminating tasks that support series of text dependent questions and activities. Students are provided with a Unit Big Idea and a weekly Essential Question. Students discuss the questions, make connections, and usually create a graphic organizer to be used at the end of the unit. There is repetition of this process built into the culminating tasks over the course of the school year.

Each week, an essential question is addressed throughout the texts and tasks. This Essential Question is revisited at the end of each text with a Make Connections Question. At the end of the week, students integrate ideas through text connections to revisit the Essential Question and create a graphic organizer using notes from the weekly read. Students use their weekly graphic organizers and notes to participate in a collaborative conversation in the "Wrap Up the Unit: The Big Idea" section. Students present their ideas and create a top five most important list as a class and are encouraged to continue building knowledge through research and discussions.

Unit 2 Big Idea:

  • What can we gain from reading about past civilizations?

Unit 2, Week 3 Essential Question:

  • What was life like for people in ancient cultures?

Questions at the end of the week’s texts:

  • Talk about the way in which the past affects the speaker in each poem.
  • How does the past teach us about ourselves?
  • What do these poets remember and celebrate from the past? Why is it important to them?

End of Week Integrate Ideas: Text Connections:

  • Students create a four-door foldable to record comparisons about the week’s texts. Students are to compare the information they have learned about what the past can teach us about the present.

End of Unit: Wrap Up the Unit: The Big Idea:

  • The teacher writes “What can we gain from reading about past civilizations?” on the board. In small groups, students will compare the information they have learned throughout the unit in order to answer the big idea question. Students use an accordion foldable to record comparisons of texts. Students present their ideas and list ideas on the board. If there are more than five ideas, students vote to narrow down the list to the top five most important ideas. Students are encouraged to continue building knowledge about the unit's big idea.

Unit 6 Big Idea:

  • When is it important to take action?

Unit 6, week 5 Essential Question:

  • Why is taking a break important?

Questions/tasks at the end of the week’s texts:

  • Talk about the way each poet expresses an understanding of how people may take time to relax.
  • How is taking a break from technology also important?
  • In what ways do “Drumbeat” and “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” both offer and incentive to take a break from the activity in our lives and enjoy some recreation?

End of Week Integrate Ideas:Text Connections:

  • Students create an accordion foldable to record comparisons about the week’s texts. Students are to compare the information they have learned about why taking a break is important.

End of Unit: Wrap Up the Unit: The Big Idea:

  • The teacher writes “When is it important to take action?” on the board. In small groups, students will compare the information they have learned during the course of the unit in order to answer the big idea question. Students use an accordion foldable to record comparisons of texts. Students present their ideas and list ideas on the board. If there are more than five ideas, students vote to narrow down the list to the top five most important ideas. Students are encouraged to continue building knowledge about the unit's big idea.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for frequently providing opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax (small group and whole class). Each week, unfamiliar words are introduced and taught through a variety of activities and strategies that include discussions, writing, word morphology, and a 'define, example, ask' routine. Each page identifies academic language that can be found in the text on that page.

Protocols and routines are presented in “Start Smart” pages at the beginning of Unit 1. Teachers are instructed to teach these procedures and routines to students in the first days of the school year. These procedures and routines will be used throughout the school year.

  • “Build Background” (pages S5-S6 and pages S19-S20): Introduces the concept of the weekly essential question. Protocol is introduced for using concept words related to the big idea, academic language, and domain-specific words in partner discussions.
  • “Collaborative Conversations”: Teachers are instructed to have students watch a video outlining procedures for partner and small group conversations, then share discussion guidelines revolving around turn taking, careful listening, adding new ideas, preparing for discussions, asking and answering questions, taking on discussion roles, and being open to all ideas.
  • “Comprehension: Theme” (pages S11-S12): Teachers are guided to teach students how to answer a question by paraphrasing part of the text.
  • “Genre: Literature” (pages S13-S14): Teachers are guided to instruct students about close reading to help the students analyze and evaluate what they read and use direct quotes to cite text evidence.
  • “Comprehension: Author’s Point of View” (pages S23-S24): Teachers are guided to teach students about citing text evidence when making an inference.
  • “Genre: Informational Text” (pages S25-S26): Teachers are guided to teach students about using facts, details, graphs, charts, and diagrams as text evidence.

During weekly lessons, multiple collaborative opportunities are presented daily, with modeling and explicit directions provided to facilitate evidence-based discussions with a focus on academic vocabulary and syntax.

  • Academic language is highlighted in the margins of the Teacher Edition, providing ease of reference and use.
  • Routines and procedures are provided as periodic reminders for collaborative conversations and peer conferences.
  • The vocabulary routine attends to speaking and listening skills associated with evidence-based discussions, academic vocabulary, and syntax. Students utilize a wide variety of graphic organizers and sentence frames throughout the school year.
  • In Unit 5, week 3 students are directed to, “Look at the fourth paragraph on page 381. What happens in nature when genetic codes in offspring get slightly scrambled? From this context, how would you define mutations? Now look at the next paragraph. During the first read of Before Columbus The Americas of 1491, students are asked, "What context clues help you figure out the meaning of hybrid?”
  • In Unit 6, week 5, students collaborate and reread “How Many Seconds?” on pages 438-439. Students use the poem’s structure and any feelings expressed by the speaker to determine whether it is a lyric poem, an ode, or both, and to explain their answer. Modeled directions are provided for students.

Lessons include frequent opportunities for the teacher to frame and guide discussion during Collaborative Conversations.

  • In Unit 3, week 3, during a Build Background mini lesson, students are advised to add new ideas. As students engage in partner, small group, and whole-class discussions, the teacher is to encourage them to share and listen openly in their conversations. The teacher is then directed to remind students to stay on topic, connect their own ideas to things their peers have said, and to look for ways to connect their personal experiences or prior knowledge to the conversation.
  • In Unit 2, week 4, during a Build Background mini lesson, students are advised to listen carefully. The Teacher Edition states, “As students engage in partner, small group, and whole-class discussions, encourage students to follow discussion rules by listening carefully to speakers. Remind students to always look at the person who is speaking, respect others by not interrupting them, and to repeat peers’ ideas to indicate that they’ve been listening and to check their comprehension of the ideas.“

Indicator 1j

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

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

Protocols and routines for speaking and listening are presented in “Start Smart” pages at the beginning of Unit 1. Teachers are instructed to teach these procedures and routines to students in the first days of the school year. These procedures and routines will be used throughout the year.

Multiple collaboration opportunities are provided throughout the week such as Text Connections, Research and Inquiry, End-of-Unit Routine, Integrate Ideas – Inquiry Space and Research and Inquiry, Wrap Up the Unit – Text Connections, and Publishing Celebrations.

  • In Unit 1, week 2 students work with a partner to look for text evidence that explains how Sarah and her brother form the alliance and discuss why the alliance was so strong. Students are given sentence frames to focus the discussion.
  • In Unit 4, week 3 students work in a group to reread “Treasure in the Attic” Students identify other important details about a main character or plot event, and add them to the graphic organizer. Then, they are directed to use all the details to determine the theme of the play.

Students are provided speaking and listening opportunities about the target vocabulary in the Reading/Writing Workshop throughout the year. In the Smart Start instructions to teachers in Unit 1, there are specific instructions about listening comprehension such as to take turns talking, listen carefully, add new ideas, use text evidence, prepare for discussions, ask and answer questions, take on discussion roles, and be open to all ideas.

There are also speaking and listening checklists in the online teacher resources and in the description of assessments in week 6 of each unit that instruct students as they engage in partner, small group, and whole class discussions.

There are varied weekly projects (e.g., interviews, oral presentations, research displays, interviews, timelines, speeches) in which students work in pairs or small groups. Then, students work in small groups to present a project through a culminating unit project.

Listening comprehension lessons are included in each weekly interactive read aloud. Students are prompted to think about the genre and the strategy prior to listening to the read aloud by the teacher.

A presentation checklist is provided in the materials for students to evaluate student presentations.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Writing projects, tasks, and presentations aligned to standards and allow students to learn, practice, develop, and apply writing skills across the course of the school year. Writing projects, tasks, and presentations are associated with texts of various genres, topics, or themes. Writing tasks are embedded throughout lessons and provide students opportunities for short and extended writings. For example, students write to sources, answer text dependent questions, take notes, complete graphic organizers, and complete research projects and presentations. Students write informative, opinion, and narrative pieces focusing on topics such as ideas, voice, word choice, organization, and sentence fluency. Students are provided opportunities to work through the various stages of the writing process during which they revise their writings and conference with their peers and teacher. There are also anchor papers in the Assessment Handbook.

Each unit includes on-demand writing prompts.

  • Respond to the Text: Students immediately respond to a text that has been read. For example, in Unit 6, week 2 students write to respond to the prompt, “How does Jim Murphy’s use of cause and effect help you understand the story of the Great Chicago Fire?” Students are given sentence frames before writing.
  • Write to Sources: This is a 5-day routine of evidence-based writing that repeats each week. For example, in Unit 3, week 4 students write to respond to the prompt, “In what ways were the paths to success for Marshall Taylor and Margaret Bourke-White similar?”
  • After Reading the Differentiated Texts: For example, in Unit 2, week 1 students reading the on-level text are prompted to use evidence from the text to identify the problems that people living on floodplains in ancient times had to face.
  • Research and Inquiry and Inquiry Space: Writing including evidence from researched texts. For example, in Unit 4, week 4, students create a foldable to compare the information they have learned about how people discover what they have in common from the week’s texts.

Each unit includes two genre writing process writing lessons that include 3 week process writing lessons. Students are provided with an expert model in week 1, pre-write in week 2, draft the writing in week 3, and proofread, edit, publish, and evaluate during week 3. Students can complete one or both of the lesson.

The following are examples of the writing lessons:

Unit 1: Narrative Writing

  • Autobiographical Sketch, T344–T34, week 1, expert model and pre-write; week 2, draft and revise; week 3, proofread/edit and publish.
  • Evaluate Personal Narrative, T350–T355, week 4, expert model and pre-write; week 5, draft and revise; week 6, proofread/edit, publish, and evaluate.

Unit 3: Opinion Writing

  • Book Review, T344–T349, week 1, expert model and pre-write; week 2, draft and revise; week 3, proofread/edit and publish.
  • Evaluate Book Review, T350–T355, week 4, expert model and pre-write; week 5, draft and revise; week 6, proofread/edit, publish, and evaluate.

Unit 5: Informative/Explanatory Writing

  • History Research Report, T344–T349, week 1, expert model and pre-write; week 2, draft and revise; week 3, proofread/edit and publish.
  • Evaluate Book Review, T350–T355, week 4 expert model and pre-write; week 5, draft and revise; week 6, proofread/edit, publish, and evaluate.

Writer’s Workspace includes graphic organizers, tools, templates, model writing and organizers, scoring rubrics, writing traits mini lessons, and editing checklists for informative, opinion and narrative writing.

Indicator 1l

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. The writing prompts are balanced between informative and narrative.

Process writing prompts include opportunities for students to address different types of writing:

  • Unit 1 - Narrative Text - Autobiographical Sketch and Personal Narrative
  • Unit 2 - Informative Text - Explanatory Essay and Formal Letter
  • Unit 3 - Opinion Writing - Book Review and Argument Essay
  • Unit 4 - Narrative Text/Poetry - Fictional Narrative and Narrative Poetry
  • Unit 5 - Informative Text - History Research Report and Science Research Report
  • Unit 6 - Opinion Writing - Argument Essay and Book Review

On demand prompts and quick writes include opportunities for students to address different types of writing:

  • In Unit 5, week 1 students add an event to a story. For example, “Create additional conversation between the boy and the elders before they decide to let the boy fight the enemy alone.”
  • In Unit 3, week 4 students write to answer the prompt, “Reread the section ‘Racism and Rejection.’ Identify the key events and tell what they have in common. Then summarize the main ideas in the section”
  • In Unit 1, week 5 students write to answer the prompt, “What is the easiest form of money to use and why? Support your argument with relevant evidence and clear reasons.”

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. The materials include weekly opportunities for students to respond to one or two texts in a variety of writing modes including informative, opinion, and narrative analysis.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based writing are:

  • Unit 1, week 2: Students answer the prompt, “How does the author help you understand how Homer changes from the beginning of the story to the end? Use these sentence frames to organize your text evidence.”
  • Unit 2, week 2: Students answer the prompt, “Write an analysis that compares and contrasts Plato’s and Aristotle’s beliefs about democracy.”
  • Unit 3, week: Students answer the prompt, “Does the author successfully support her argument for building energy-efficient houses? Use text evidence to support your answer.”
  • Unit 4, week 5: Students answer the prompt, “Write an analysis of the point of view in, 'Hi Rachel.'"
  • Unit 5, week 3: Students answer the prompt, “How has the process of creating silk changed over time? Use details from the text.”
  • Unit 6, week 3: Students answer the prompt, “Why is collaborating with others so important in providing the best care for manatees? Use text evidence.”

The Write to Sources weekly lesson objectives are to have students write in response to the texts of the week. Students write to the Reading/Writing Workshop text by writing in response to a prompt. Most prompts require text evidence to answer. Some prompts do not require text evidence.

  • Day 1: Writing Fluency – Students respond to a text-dependent question.
  • Day 2: Write to Reading/Writing Workshop Text – An evidence-based expert model is provided and discussed, students analyze their prompt, take notes with evidence, then write.
  • Day 3: Write to Literature Anthology Text – The teacher guides students in analyzing the prompt, identifying and collecting evidence, students write, then the teacher conferences with students (guidance is provided for conferencing).
  • Days 4 and 5: Write to Two Sources – The teacher guides students in identifying and collecting evidence, students write, then students conference with peers. Guiding questions are provided for peer conferences.
  • Throughout the week, the Teacher Edition and supplemental online materials provide instructional supports for analyzing models, analyzing prompts, collecting evidence, using graphic organizers, structuring responses, and conferencing.

Indicator 1n

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for materials to 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. Most grammar lessons are taught out of context and do not connect to the weekly theme, essential question, or texts read. Although explicit instruction is present each week, the activities and contexts used each week are repetitive and do not increase in sophistication of contexts. Grammar, spelling, and writing are three separate lessons that do not always connect to the weekly texts.

Grammar and convention are explicitly taught each week. This instruction is a part of every weekly lesson.

Weekly Grammar Instruction:

  • Each week, a specific grammar skill is identified for instruction.
  • Each day begins with a "Daily Language Activity" which is a sentence with errors for the students to correct.
  • On Day 1, the weekly skill is introduced in a 5-10 minute lesson, followed by a partner activity to reinforce the concept.
  • On Day 2, the weekly skill is reviewed in a 5-10 minute lesson, followed by a partner activity to reinforce the concept.
  • On Day 3, the weekly skill is not addressed. A lesson is included that focuses on a mechanics and usage skill, followed by a partner activity to reinforce the concept.
  • On Day 4, the lesson focuses on proofreading. Students work with a partner to complete the activity.
  • On Day 5, students are assessed on the weekly skill through a reproducible with isolated sentences and/or words.
  • Grammar Practice Reproducibles pages are provided for students who need additional support.

Grammar routines are described in the “Instructional Routine Handbook” on page R67. Grammar instruction is separate from writing instruction. Once a week, students are provided an opportunity to edit for errors related to the grammar instruction for that week. This weekly opportunity occurs on Day 2 of the “Write to Sources” activities for each unit and week. Materials do not consistently build students' abilities to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing.

  • For instance, Unit 6, week 3, page T157 instructs teachers to, “Have students use Grammar Handbook page 458 in the Reading/Writing Workshop to edit for errors in using negatives.”

Spelling lists are designed to practice language standards and foundational skills. The students learn these skills in a five-day routine that includes word sorts. For example, students spell words with short vowel sounds in Unit 1, week 1. Throughout the year, students use spelling patterns and generalizations. For example, students vowel alternation with spelling words in Unit 4, week 2.

The Unit and Benchmark Assessments assess grammar, mechanics, and usage in context. The context of grammar/convention instruction does not become increasingly sophisticated over the course of the year as the same instructional routine and instructional activities are repeated throughout the units.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 partially meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Materials include a plan to grow vocabulary as well as strategic instructional supports to guide students to close reading. Students write to address multiple topics over both short and extended time frames. However, students will not be able to adequately refine and reflect on their writings before moving on to a new topic; therefore, materials do not fully support increasing students’ writing skills and ability. Students will work on a series of short and long research projects throughout the year. There is not sufficient time built in to complete these projects and no guidance for teachers on how or when the projects and tasks would be completed. 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

22/32

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for texts being organized around a topic/topics or themes to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Each unit of study is organized around a theme. Each week of the unit is then organized around either a topic or a theme that addresses an essential question related to the unit’s theme. Unit themes are broad and do not build vocabulary and knowledge across weeks, which would allow students to access future texts within a unit.

Each weekly topic/theme shares common vocabulary throughout the texts but does not necessarily provide the opportunity to establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter in a one-week setting. Weekly topics/themes do not provide students the opportunity to refine and share their knowledge before continuing on to a new topic and set of texts.

Some topics/themes do promote some growth of knowledge, but sufficient time is not allotted for students to refine that knowledge and to be able to access and comprehend future complex texts proficiently.

  • In Unit 6, the theme is Taking Action. In week 3, the topic for the week is Investigations. Texts within the week share common vocabulary. During the week, students listen to, read, discuss, and write about the following texts:
    • “Space Neighbor”
      • Students summarize what they are learning about the moon.
    • “Researcher to the Rescue”
      • Students learn about Dr. Mignucci’s efforts to rescue marine animals, citing text evidence to answer text-dependent questions.
      • Students reread and cite text evidence to analyze text, craft, and structure.
    • Model Writing about Investigations
      • Students read and analyze a short-response student model writing.
    • Extreme Scientists
      • Students use text evidence to understand how the author presents information about the microbes and bacteria found in caves.
      • Students learn about Hazel Barton’s job as a microbiologist, which takes her to the depths of the world's most dangerous caves.
    • “Making the Scientific Method Work for You”
      • Students compare information about different experiments in this text to Extreme Scientists.
    • Students also read differentiated texts during small group such as Adventure Under the Ice and “What’s Bean Happening?”
  • In Unit 3, the theme is accomplishments. In week 3, the theme is inspiration. Texts within the week share common vocabulary. During the week students listen to, read, discuss and write about the following texts:
    • “A Spur-of-the-Moment Speech”
      • Students discuss the challenge Senator John F. Kennedy issued.
    • “Jewels from the Sea”
      • Students read to learn about a group of women who have been inspired to change their community, and cite text evidence to answer text-dependent questions.
      • Students reread to analyze text, craft and structure, citing text evidence.
    • Model Writing about “ Inspiration”
      • Students read and analyze a short response student model writing.
    • The Pot that Juan Built
      • Students read to learn how a potter used local materials to turn his community into a village of successful artists.
      • Students reread and use text evidence to understand how the author presents information about how Juan changed the lives of the people who live in Mata Ortiz.
    • “A Box of Ideas”
      • Students compare this to The Pot That Juan Built.
    • Students also read differentiated texts during small group such as: Coming Together for Change and “Food for Thought.”

According to suggestions in the Teacher Edition, weekly texts are read, reread, discussed, and written about on a four-day timeline. On the fifth day, students will integrate ideas between texts and complete the weekly assessment.

Throughout lessons, the time allotted to each text for reading, rereading, discussion, and note taking is outlined but support for teachers who need to flex or change the timeline is minimal. For example, in Unit 5, week 2, teachers are to close read “Journey to Freedom,” complete a mini lesson on the strategy of making predictions, have a mini lesson on the skill of cause and effect, and a mini lesson on the vocabulary strategy of understanding adages and proverbs. Each of the following mini lessons is allotted ten minutes during a shared read of the text.

  • In the Comprehension Strategy: Make Predictions section ten-minute mini lesson, the teacher reviews how to make predictions, model a prediction during the close read of page 326, and have students work in pairs to discuss predictions about Abigail’s actions when, returning home with the herbs, she meets a neighbor. Pairs then discuss whether their predictions about how the story would end were confirmed by details in the text.
  • In the Comprehension Skill: In the Character, Setting, Plot: Cause and Effect ten-minute mini lesson, the teacher reviews the skill with students. Teachers then model how to use a graphic organizer and identify plot events at the beginning of the text. Teachers then model recognizing and interpreting character’s reactions to events. Students write a summary using the information and work in pairs to complete the graphic organizer by recording significant plot events in the story and characters’ reactions to those events. Students are to discuss each event as they complete the graphic organizer. Finally, students work in pairs to summarize characters' reactions to story events.
  • In the Vocabulary Strategy: In the Adages and Proverbs ten-minute mini lesson, the teacher explains what adages and proverbs are. The teacher models an adage in the text and discusses the meaning. Students then work in pairs to interpret the meaning of the two proverbs from the text.

This time frame does not necessarily allow time for extended collaboration or discussions to build student knowledge and access future texts or grow the ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for materials containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students are provided the opportunity to participate in the close reading of the three weekly texts and respond to questions and tasks. Instructions to the teacher support guiding to read, re-read, the closely consider texts. Close reading of three texts in one week requires significant periods of literacy instructional time; support for this work is outlined in the teacher implementation materials.

Close reading occurs on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.

During Days 1 and 2, students participate in close reading of the companion text using the Close Reading Routine with the Reading/Writing Workshop.

  • In Unit 1, week 3 students closely read the text, “The Monster in the Mountain.” During the first read, students identify key ideas and details. Students are encouraged to take note of words they do not understand and questions they have. During the second read, students find key details in each section and list them in the graphic organizer. Students are directed to find the main idea of each section.
  • In Unit 6, week 2, students closely read the companion text, “The Great Fire of London.” During the first reading, students are asked to identify key ideas and details. Students are encouraged to take note of words they do not understand and questions they have. Students answer the following question about author’s craft: “How did the author describe London in 1666? What did the author’s details help you understand?” For the second read, students analyze the text, craft, and structure focusing on asking and answering questions, text structure, and genre. Students answer questions such as, “What caused this event to happen?” and “How do you know that information in this paragraph is from a primary source?" "Which exact words were written by Samuel Pepys in his diary?”

During Days 3 and 4, students participate in close reading of the anchor text in the Literature Anthology.

  • In Unit 1, week 3, student closely read the anchor text, Journey into the Deep. During the first reading, students are asked to generate a question of their own and share the question with a partner such as “What parts of the world’s ocean are the scientists studying?” Students continue reading to find the answer. Also in the first reading, students look for details when asked, “What details in the first column help you understand what it feels like to be inside a submersible?” During the second read, students are asked to evaluate author’s craft: “How does the author use text features to help you understand what it’s like under the ocean?”
  • In Unit 3, week 2, students closely read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. During the first reading, students look for key details about the characters, setting and plot: “What challenge does Turner face in this paragraph on page 199? How successful is he at meeting the challenge?” During the second read, students analyze author’s craft when asked the following questions: “Read page 199. How does the author help you understand Turner’s feelings toward Lizzie?”
  • For the reread on Day 4 in Unit 3, week 5, students use the Close Reading Companion to answer questions by collaborating and filling in graphic organizers to write responses to author’s craft questions such as:
    • “Why does the author begin the selection with information about President Theodore Roosevelt?”
    • “How does the author use text features to help you understand how important recycling is?”
  • For Unit 6, week 4, students closely read Pharaoh’s Boat. This 16-page text is content heavy for students to closely read in two days. Teachers are directed to build vocabulary in the first read with words such as aloft, purified, and apprenticed. During the first read, students are asked questions about key ideas and details such as:
    • “What are the people in the illustration doing? During what time period do you think the boat was built?”
    • “According to page 494, what happened after the curator gave Ahmed fragments of wood, ivory, and pottery?”

Students also participate in another close reading on Day 4. This is with the paired text. Students are expected to participate in two close reading lessons on Day 4, which is a significant amount of reading and analyzing for one day.

  • In Unit 2, week 5, students read “Maestro” and “Tradition.” During the first read of the two poems, the teacher asks students to respond to the following prompts:
    • “What shared message do “Maestro” and “Tradition” have?”
  • For the reread of the paired poems, students respond to the following craft and structure questions:
    • “How does the poet help you see who inspired the maestro?”
    • “How do the poets use point of view to set the tone in their poems?”
  • In Unit 5, week 4, students read “Excursion to Mars.” The teacher has students follow the Close Reading Routine. During the first read, students respond to the following key ideas and details prompts:
    • “What technology makes Anisisbro a unique kind of robot? Reread the fifth paragraph on page 410 and paraphrase how Gene describes the robot.”
    • “List the sequence of steps Anisisbro takes, in order.
  • For the reread of the paired text, “Excursion of Mars,” students respond to this author’s craft question: “How does the author help you visualize the fictional technology in the story?”

In the Integrate sections of many weeks, students have the opportunity to connect all the texts they have read.

  • In Unit 5, week 2 of Integrate, students are provided the opportunity to discuss the information from all the week’s reads plus a song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Students are guided to answer: “How does ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ connect to what your read this week?”
  • In Unit 1, week 5 of Integrate, students are provided the opportunity to discuss about all the week’s readings with Pieter Angillis’s painting of Covent Garden. The teacher is to guide students to see the connections between the texts and the painting. Students respond to: “How does the painting connect to what you read this week?”
Because students follow the same routine for close reading with each companion text, each anchor text, and each paired-text in every week, students analyze each text in the same manner for key ideas and details, craft and structure, and language. The Close Reading Routine structures the analysis of each text the same way, building routines to support students' focus on the texts themselves.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that ask students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. The units are organized by themes and have a broad range of topics that do not always connect or build knowledge and ideas. Each week has a new topic/theme connected to the unit theme, but that does not necessarily build knowledge or ideas.

Although there are multiple questions and tasks that direct students to analyze integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts, the time allotted these questions and tasks is not sufficient for students to analyze the information. Each unit contains five weekly text sets with questions and tasks created for each set. Each text set centers around a theme or topic with questions and tasks that asks students to refer back to the text to find and support answers to questions and to complete tasks. Questions and tasks require connected knowledge and ask students to connect ideas between multiple texts. Rubrics for each week and for each unit guide teachers in what to look for to support student learning. The amount of class time allotted to each text and question set may not be sufficient to provide the time needed for students to analyze texts and gain knowledge and ideas, and teachers may need to use outside resources to plan accordingly.

Unit 3, week 4, examples of questions and tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Compare Texts: As students read and reread “Margaret Bourke-White: Fearless Photographer,” encourage them to take notes and think about the Essential Question: How can one person affect the opinion others? Teachers are directed to ask students to think about how the queen got the information she needed and compare it to what they learned in Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist.
  • First Read Strategy: Summarize: Summarize the events in the story that led Major Taylor to compete in his first bicycle race.
  • Make Connections: How was Marshall able to affect the opinions of others?
  • Read/Summarize/Guide: Students summarize the selection.
  • Reread/Analyze the Text : After students read and summarize, the teacher is to have them reread to develop a deeper understanding of the text by annotating and answering questions on pages 217B-217P of the Close Reading Companion.
  • Integrate: Text to Media: Post Online: Teachers are directed to remind students to discuss their responses to the Blast along with information from all the week’s reads. How does the Blast connect to what you read this week? To Cornelius’s photograph?
  • Access Complex Text:Specific Vocabulary: The teacher is to review strategies for finding the meaning of an unfamiliar word, such as using context clues, word parts, or a dictionary. They are also to point out the word maneuvered in the fourth paragraph on page 243.
    • How does the overall meaning of the sentence help you figure out the meaning of maneuvered?
    • Substitute the meaning you determined in the sentence to see whether it makes sense.

In Unit 6, week 3, examples of questions and tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Compare texts: As students read and reread “Excursion to Mars,” the teacher is to encourage them to take notes and think about the Essential Question: How does technology lead to discoveries? Tell students to think about how this text compares with what they learned about Arctic animals in Planet Hunter.
  • First Read Strategy: Genre Expository Text: What relationship is explained on these pages?
  • Read/Summarize/Guide: Students summarize the selection.
  • Reread/Analyze the Text : After students read and summarize, have them reread to develop a deeper understanding of the text by annotating and answering questions.
  • Make Connections: How does advanced robotic technology lead to discoveries in this story?
  • Integrate: Text to Fine Art: How does Hall’s etching connect to what you read this week?
  • Access Complex Text: Prior Knowledge: Tell students that observatories on Earth are often located on a mountaintop in an area where there is clear air and little light from towns and cities, which can obscure a clear view of the night sky.
    • What might happen if the observatory was located farther down the mountain?
    • Why might the summit of a dormant volcano be a good place for an observatory?

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).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for questions and tasks supporting 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). Students read, discuss and listen when addressing the Unit Big idea and the weekly Essential Question Text Connection Questions. Students do not have to write at length about the question; instead, they create graphic organizers to aid in class discussion. The weekly discussions and creation of the graphic organizer would lead to students being able to complete the Unit Wrap Up. The Big Idea questions are frequently broader than the focused knowledge building that may be happening in the lessons.

The Unit 4 Big Idea is "How do people meet challenges and solve problems?" This topic is broad.

  • The Unit 4, week 3 Essential Question is "How do people uncover what they have in common?" This question is broad and will not build knowledge of a topic.
  • The questions at the end of the week's texts are repetitive and do not require students to broaden their knowledge of a topic. Questions at the end of the week’s texts include the following:
    • Talk about how Silvina discovers what she has in common with the Gomez family.
    • How did the students in Kek’ class find a way to discover what they have in common?
    • How was Aminata able to uncover what she and her classmates in their new school have in common?
  • In the End of Week Integrate Ideas: Text Connections section, students create a layered book foldable to record comparisons about the week’s texts. Students are to compare the information they have learned how people discover what they have in common.This task asks students to compare the texts using a foldable. There are few directions to support this task to promote deeper thinking or building knowledge.
  • In the End of Unit Wrap Up the Unit: The Big Idea section, the teacher writes “How do people meet challenges and solve problems?” on the board. In small groups students will compare the information they have learned during the course of the unit in order to answer the Big Idea question. Students use an accordion foldable to record comparisons of texts. Students present their ideas and list ideas on the board. If there are more than five ideas, students vote to narrow down the list to the top five most important ones. Students are encouraged to continue building knowledge about the Unit Big Idea. This task is a listing what you have learned task. Students share out answers, vote on a top five, and then move on to a new unit. This task repeats itself in all six units.
  • The Unit 5 Unit 5 Big Idea is "How can discoveries open new possibilities?" This topic is broad.
  • The Unit 5, week 3 Essential Question is "How do people benefit from innovation?" This question is broad and will not build knowledge of a topic.
  • The questions at the end of the week's texts are repetitive and do not require students to broaden their knowledge of a topic. Questions at the end of the week’s texts include the following:
    • Talk about the role humans play in silk production. How have innovations over time benefitted people?
    • Talk about how people’s lives have been helped by innovations in farming.
    • How have plants provided medical treatments for people throughout history?
  • In the End of Week Integrate Ideas: Text Connections section, students create an accordion foldable to record comparisons about the week’s texts. Students are to compare the information they have learned discoveries open new possibilities. This task asks students to compare the texts using a foldable. There are few directions to support this task to promote deeper thinking or building knowledge.
  • In the End of Unit Wrap Up the Unit: The Big Idea section, the teacher writes “How can discoveries open new possibilities?” on the board. In small groups students will compare the information they have learned during the course of the unit in order to answer the Big Idea question. Students use an accordion foldable to record comparisons of texts. Students present their ideas and list ideas on the board. If there are more than five ideas, students vote to narrow down the list to the top five most important ones. Students are encouraged to continue building knowledge about the Unit Big Idea. This task is a listing what you have learned task. Students share out answers, vote on a top five, and then move on the a new unit. This task repeats itself in all six units.

Indicator 2e

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. The number of words a student is introduced to in a five-day setting, along with the time spent on vocabulary activities/tasks, may be amended to meet site-specific needs. Direction is given in the Teacher’s Edition for teachers to review vocabulary in future lessons or how words build knowledge to access future grade-level texts. The teacher edition states, “The words are always reviewed the next week in Build Vocabulary. In addition, you should do a periodic cumulative review of vocabulary words about twice per unit.”

In the Professional Development Instructional Routine Handbook, a supplemental resource, teachers are guided through a 4-step routine that can be use year-long to introduce vocabulary. (pages R41-R42)

  • Step 1: Introduce (tell students what the vocabulary routine will be)
  • Step 2: Model (I Do - Define/Example/Ask)
  • Step 3: Guided Practice (We Do - Ask students to identify examples and non-examples of the word; Guide students in creating word squares)
  • Step 4: Provide Independent Practice (You Do): “Individual turns allow you an opportunity to assess each student’s skill level and provide additional practice for those students who need it. Near the end of each week, students should write sentences in their word study notebooks using the words” (page R42).

In the Professional Development Instructional Routine Handbook, teachers are also provided with instructions on introducing vocabulary in context: “As you close read the selection with students, take a moment to point out the Build Vocabulary words and their definitions...Unlike the Define/Example/Ask Routine, the purpose of the Build Vocabulary words is to simply point out and define these rich vocabulary words to enrich and broaden students’ vocabulary and promote understanding of the text” (page R43). In this supplemental resource, the Define/Example/Ask routine is explained:

  • Define: “You will tell them the meaning of the word using student-friendly language--words they already know” (page R44).
  • Example: “You will give them an example of how the word is used, using their own common experiences” (page R44)
  • Ask: “You will ask them a question that helps them connect the word to words they already know and use the word in speaking” (page R44).

In the “Smart Start” of the Teacher Edition, year-long protocols and routines are presented at the beginning of Unit 1. The “Smart Start” pages guide teachers in introducing students to the following instructional routines that are addressed in weekly lessons:

Vocabulary Routine

  • The Define/Example/Ask routine is introduced to students

Building Vocabulary

  • Teachers are instructed on building word walls, selecting five to ten words per week from the texts.
  • Teachers are instructed to “try to include useful words that students might use in writing and speaking.”
  • A Periodic Vocabulary Review routine is outlined in the margin, stating that students will encounter the vocabulary words in multiple contexts. It does not mention in which contexts/activities/resources the students will repeatedly encounter these words. It does state, “The words are always reviewed the next week in Build Vocabulary. In addition, you should do a periodic cumulative review of vocabulary words about twice per unit.” Review instructions include:

1. Review the words using the Word Lists online PDF.
2. Have students write sentences using the words. Then have partners discuss each other’s work.
3. As needed, students can check the meanings or pronunciations of words using the Glossary on Literature Anthology pages 552-568.

Build Background

  • Introduces the concept of the weekly Essential Question.
  • Teachers are instructed to introduce concept words related to the Big Idea and guide students to generate words related to the Essential Question. Explicit instructions/routines for this are not provided.
  • In the “Collaborative Conversations” box, teachers are instructed to have students watch a video outlining procedures for partner and small group conversations, then share discussion guidelines. None of the discussion guidelines include procedures for ensuring inclusion of academic vocabulary in speaking activities.

Vocabulary Strategy

  • The week's vocabulary strategy is introduced through a 10-minute mini lesson using the Reading/Writing Workshop text.
  • For example, in Unit 2, week 2, the vocabulary strategy is Greek and Latin Prefixes: Teachers are to explain that students can determine the meaning of unfamiliar words by breaking the word into parts. Students can sometimes use familiar Greek and Latin prefixes to help figure out what a word means.
  • Students are instructed to practice applying the skill with one or two words in the shared read (in the Reading/Writing Workshop text). Example from Unit 3, week 4: “Use context clues to determine the meanings of the following words from “Marion Anders: Struggles and Triumphs.”
  • The Teacher Edition usually provides one or two opportunities for teachers to direct students in applying the vocabulary strategy skill during the close read. For example in Unit 6, week 1: “The Latin root com means “to connect” or “ to compress.” Turn to a partner and look for words with this root on page 422. Then figure out the meaning of each word.”

Close Read - Build Vocabulary

  • Throughout the close read (in the Literature Anthology), "Build Vocabulary" words are called out in the margins of the Teacher Edition. These words are not related to the "Words in Context" or the "Vocabulary Strategy." Instructions are not provided with the words, but definitions are.
  • For example, Build Vocabulary words in the close read for Unit 1, week 4, include the following words: feisty, flank, memoir, plume, treacherous, depression and crystalize.

Close Read - Access Complex Text: Specific Vocabulary

  • At one or two points during the close read, a vocabulary word, word part, or term is called out in the Teacher Edition for teachers to discuss with students.
    • In Unit 6, week 3, these words/terms include the following: toxic and byproducts.

Close Read - Companion Text

  • In the companion text following the anchor text, vocabulary words are highlighted.

Build Vocabulary instruction is also included in the language arts lessons. During a Build Vocabulary lesson, students practice weekly vocabulary using strategies such as connect to words, expand vocabulary, reinforce the words, connect to writing, and word squares. Words in Build Vocabulary are also listed along with their definitions in the Teacher Edition for teachers to address while reading the weekly Literature Anthology.

Build Vocabulary

  • In a 5-day routine, students practice vocabulary words introduced that week. For example, in Unit 3, week 4, Day 1 students answer questions about the following words: adept, aristocracy, collective, perseverance, prevail, prominent, spectators, trailblazer.
  • Students practice the words through questions, sentences, changing inflectional endings, writing definitions, completing sentence stems, drawing representative pictures, creating word squares, and writing their own sentences.

Build More Vocabulary

  • Each week, additional vocabulary skills are introduced or reviewed. These skills include, but are not limited to homographs, homophones, shades of meaning, academic vocabulary, context clues, related words, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • With the exception of the "Context Clues" activities, most practice activities involve students creating sentences with the words, discussing examples, creating charts, and composing/decomposing words with word parts.

Academic Words are also in bold in the Teacher Edition notes and listed and labeled in a side box in the Teacher Edition. These words are used in student questioning and directions.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet expectations for materials supporting 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. Students write to address multiple topics over both short and extended time frames and are provided with mentor texts, conference questions, anchor papers, and rubrics to help them self-evaluate writing as well as giving them a tool for teachers to evaluate and give feedback. The required time the weekly lesson would take with the amount of writing students are responsible for is unbalanced. Students may not be able to adequately refine and reflect on their writings before moving on to a new topic, therefore, materials do not fully support increasing students’ writing skills and ability.

Students participate in both on-demand and process writings throughout the year. Each week students Write to Sources and Work on a Genre Writing.

Write to Sources process has students read and reread texts to take notes, cite text evidence to support their ideas and opinions, and write short analytical responses. After reading, students write to build writing fluency, analyze model responses, incorporate stronger evidence, and focus on a writing trait. Write to Sources provides students with student exemplars and analyzes writing prompts while modeling organizational tools such as graphic organizers.

  • In Unit 4, week 4
    • Students read the prompt: “Write about Silvina’s relationship with Mike and Carl.”
    • Students analyze the prompt and reread to note literary elements such as sequence, ideas, and strong conclusions.
    • Students then analyze text evidence by looking at model student notes.
    • Students analyze the student model and discuss focus on a topic, sentence structure, and a strong conclusion.
    • Students then write to answer the prompt and craft their responses focusing on a topic, sentence structure, and a strong conclusion.
    • Students check for errors in pronoun/verb agreement.
    • Students then analyze the prompt: Imagine that Aminata and Kek were both in Mrs. Hernandez’s ESL class. Write a diary entry from Ms. Hernandez's point of view describing her impressions of Aminat and Kek on their first day.
    • Students use two texts as sources to answer the prompt.
    • Students analyze text evidence and look at another student exemplar to discuss.
    • Students analyze the student model and then write to answer the prompt.

Write to Sources also hosts Teacher Conferences and Peer Conferences.

  • In teacher conferences, teachers and students talk about the strength of the writings and focus on how the writer uses text evidence, and the teacher makes concrete suggestions and suggests revisions. Focuses and sentence stems are given in the Teacher Edition to guide the suggested revisions. For example, Unit 5, week 3 suggests that teachers focus on a sentence by stating, “Rewrite your thesis sentence to explain the focus of your writing. Teachers may also focus on a section by stating, “This section has many good details, but they are not well organized. Rewrite this section to put the details in a logical order. ” Teachers may also focus on a revision strategy. The teacher can have a student underline a section and use a specific revision strategy, such adding detail.
  • In the Peer Conference notes, three questions are given to focus the conference conversation. For example in Unit 2, week 2, the student conference notes tell the teacher, “Did your partner clearly state a claim? Did your partner organize text evidence and supporting details effectively? Did your partner sum up the argument in a strong conclusion?”

Genre Writing takes place over a three-week period. Each unit has two genre writing topics. These topics are not always tied to a unit text and do not always require text evidence. During the genre writing, students analyze an expert model, prewrite, draft, revise, proofread and publish, and evaluate their writing using a student rubric.

  • In Unit 4, students write a fictional narrative in weeks 1-3. Students write about what, in their opinion, would make an interesting story.
    • Students read and analyze a model student response and discuss the features of a fictional narrative.
    • Students discuss and plan for the purpose and audience of their writing.
    • Students participate in a mini-lesson about strong openings.
    • Students work in a small group to brainstorm ideas and plan their writing using a story map organizer.
    • Students then study a revised student model and participate in mini-lessons on developing characters and plot.
    • Students revise their drafts.
    • Students discuss an edited student model and edit their own papers.
    • Students publish a final presentation of their fictional narrative writings, in print or digitally.
    • Students then use the student rubric to evaluate their own fictional narrative essays and reflect on their progress as writers. Students are asked to consider areas where they feel they have shown improvement and to think about what areas need further improvement.
    • Students set writing goals and prepare for teacher and peer conferences.

To evaluate genre writings teachers are directed to use the rubric and anchor papers provided to help evaluate student writing. Teachers are directed to review with individual students the writing goals they have set and discuss ways to achieve these goals.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for including a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Students will work on a series of short and long research projects throughout the year. In Units 1, 5, and 6, students will work on short Research and Inquiry projects each week. In Units 2, 3, and 4, students will work on three longer online Inquiry Space performance tasks. Teacher instructions in the Teacher Edition for Research and Inquiry and Inquiry Space are brief and do not contain explicit direction for effectively guiding students through the research process with online and print materials. Neither the Research and Inquiry projects nor the Inquiry Space performance tasks are designated time during the suggested lesson plan for the week for core or optional student tasks until week 6 of the unit. There may not be sufficient time built in to complete these projects and there is inconsistent guidance for teachers on how or when the projects and tasks would be completed.

Research and Inquiry: Weekly Projects

  • These are week-long projects that take place during three out of the six units in the school year during Unit 1, Unit 5, and Unit 6.
  • Students conduct research and create short projects such as interviews, summaries, illustrations, poems, story maps, and brochures.
  • Speaking and listening skills are incorporated on Day 5, when students present their projects.
  • Teacher instructions in the Teacher Edition are brief and lack explicit directions for effectively guiding students through the research process with online and print materials.
    • Unit 5, week 3: “Find Resources - Review how to locate and use reliable print and online resources. Students should verify all facts in multiple sources.”
    • Unit 6, week 2: “Find Resources - Review the difference between primary and secondary sources, as well as the importance of using both kinds when reflecting on historical events. Students should look for both types of sources online and in multiple print resources.

Unit 1 Changes - Weekly Projects

  • Week 1 - Create a Presentation, T38
  • Week 2 - Create a Presentation, T102
  • Week 3 - Make a Venn Diagram, T166
  • Week 4 - Write a Description, T230
  • Week 5 - Make a Chart, T294
  • Week 6 - Choice of Blog About How an Invention Impacted a Life, Propaganda Poster, Multimedia Presentation, Natural Force Presentation, News Article

Unit 5 Discoveries - Weekly Projects

  • Week 1 - Write a Summary, T38
  • Week 2 - Develop a Research Plan, T102
  • Week 3 - Create a Print Ad, T166
  • Week 4 - Make and Outline, T230
  • Week 5 - Make a Timeline, T294
  • Week 6 - Choice of Modernized Myth, Presentation on the Underground Railroad, Commercial for an Early Innovation, Visual Representation of Discoveries, Presentation for a Tool Improvement

Unit 6 Taking Action - Weekly Projects

  • Week 1 - Make a List, T38
  • Week 2 - Create a List of Sources, T102
  • Week 3 - Make a List, T166
  • Week 4 - Make a Pamphlet, T230
  • Week 5 - Conduct a Survey or Interview, T294
  • Week 6 - Choice of Poster or Slideshow About a Natural Resource, Mock Interview About Studying a Historical Event, journal Entries by an Explorer/ Scientist, Article About an Archaeologist’s Discovery, Persuasive speech About a Vacation Location

Inquiry Space

Inquiry Space is a digitally-delivered program that provides students practice and instruction in integrating and applying reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills to build and share knowledge about a science or social studies topic. Inquiry Space performance tasks are found in Units 2, 3, and 4. Each six-week project is made up of six levels that step out the research, writing, and presenting process. Inquiry Space is not allotted time during the suggested lesson plans in either the core nor optional plans until week 6 of the Unit.

  • Level 1: Analyze the Task - purpose and audience, keywords, research plan, design your presentation.
  • Level 2: Evaluate Sources - skim and scan, evaluate sources.
  • Level 3: Take Notes - taking notes from audio sources, taking notes from video sources, paraphrasing, research plan, taking notes from print sources.
  • Level 4: Write an Outline and Draft - organizing notes, outline to draft, student model outline, opinion statement, paraphrasing, writing rubric.
  • Level 5: Revise and Edit Your Draft: revised student model, edited student model, cite sources, proofreader marks, peer conferencing checklist, revise and edit checklist, writing rubric, peer conferencing video.
  • Level 6: Publish and Present - how to give a presentation, presentation checklist, listening checklist, presentation rubric, how to publish your work, design your presentation, record and edit audio.
  • For example, in Unit 4, students complete a Narrative Performance Task. The Teacher Edition states, “Each week, students will complete one level of a six-week narrative performance task in a digital environment. Via a game-like interface, students are assigned a task and work independently to plan and conduct research, synthesize information, and communicate ideas in writing and presentation.
  • Resource Toolkit: At each level, a toolkit of resources is available to students. The point-of-use resources include a variety of animated tutorials, videos and slide presentations that students can view to help them at each level.
  • Projects integrate reading and writing skills throughout all six weeks. Projects incorporate speaking and listening skills in the fifth and sixth weeks as students peer conference and later present their projects.

The Inquiry Space projects require research skills over the six weeks of the unit, but there is not a progression of skills sequenced across a school year. Additionally, there is not a gradual release of responsibility over the course of the school year with regards to the research skills.

  • Research skills are introduced through narrated, text-heavy slideshows and tutorials. Students are directed to apply skills by answering free-response and yes or no questions/prompts in a step-by-step research process (analyze the task, evaluate sources, take notes, create a story map and write a draft, revise and edit your draft, publish and present). Students have the option to skip the instructional slideshows and tutorials.
  • During the “evaluate sources” step, they evaluate and select three out of four digital sources provided in Inquiry Space.
  • Various research skills are addressed as students take notes from multiple sources. However, each unit’s project follows a similar pattern of instruction, with small changes according to the type of writing required.

Unit 2 Inquiry Space - Investigate: Ancient Egypt - Informative

  • Week 1 - Research Plan, T38-39
  • Week 2 - Evaluate sources, T102-103
  • Week 3 - Take notes on sources, T166-167
  • Week 4 - Outline and draft, T230-231
  • Week 5 - Collaborative conversation, revise, edit, T294-295
  • Week 6 - Publish and present, T330-331

Unit 3 Inquiry Space - Take a Stand: Hubble Space Telescope- Opinion

  • Week 1 - Research Plan, T38-39
  • Week 2 - Evaluate sources, T102-103
  • Week 3 - Take notes on sources, T166-167
  • Week 4 - Outline and draft, T230-231
  • Week 5 - Collaborative conversation, revise, edit, T294-295
  • Week 6 - Publish and present, T330-331

Unit 4 Inquiry Space - Write About: Asian Elephants - Narrative

  • Week 1 - Research Plan, T38-39
  • Week 2 - Evaluate sources, T102-103
  • Week 3 - Take notes on sources, T166-167
  • Week 4 - Outline and draft, T23-231
  • Week 5 - Collaborative conversation, revise, edit, T294-295
  • Week 6 - Publish and present, T330-331

Included in the materials are student and teacher checklists for Research and Inquiry, which are to guide the research process and the presentation. Speaking and listening skills are incorporated on Day 5, when students present their projects.

A “Research Roadmap” PDF is available for students, providing free-response questions to guide them through their project, but the materials lack explicit instructions for effective research.

Reading Digitally

Reading Digitally occurs during week 6 of each unit. After reading the Time for Kids digital article, four options are provided for work around the Time for Kids article. Two options are about research, Research for Study and Independent Study.

  • In Unit 3, week 6, Research Online states, “Point out that there are no real restrictions on publishing on the internet, so students should evaluate carefully.”
  • In Unit 3, week 6 in Independent Study, students choose a topic related to the article, conduct internet research, and present to the group.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Students are allotted 20 minutes of daily sustained silent reading as well as time during Small Group when they do reading activities using their Workstation Activity Cards. Suggested Timeframes for Daily Independent Reading Grade are 30-40 minutes for Grade 6 students. Directions are provided for an independent reading routine at the beginning of the Unit 1 (in the “Start Smart” pages) and each week in the differentiated Small Group directions. Students keep an independent reading log to track texts read.

Start Smart - “Independent Reading”

  • The rationale for sustained silent reading is explained, and teachers are directed to set aside 15-30 minutes for this per day, depending on the grade level. It is specified that “Students can read independently during sustained silent reading time, as well as during Small Group when they do reading activities using their Workstation Activity Cards.”
  • Teachers are provided with directions on helping students select a book, as well as helping them “create a reading log, or response journal, where they record reactions and feelings about what they are reading.”

Differentiated Instruction Small Group - “Self-Selected Reading”

  • Teachers are provided with differentiated instructions for assisting students in selecting a book for sustained silent reading and providing them with guidance for purposeful reading.
  • How to Choose a Good Independent Reading Book: The book students choose to read can be easy, at their independent reading level (texts that are “just right”), or challenging--but of high interest. Students should be encouraged to choose a book at their independent reading level most of the time. Share the following guidelines with students to help them choose an appropriate independent reading book.
  • For example in Unit 6, week 3, students may self-select a text during small group. The Teacher Edition states, “Have students choose an expository text for sustained silent reading. Before they read, have students preview the book, reading the title, and viewing any illustrations, photos, or graphics. As students read, remind them to summarize to help them think about the main ideas and details."

Teachers are given suggestions on how to set up a classroom library and organize texts. Classroom library trade books provide options for independent reading. A unit bibliography also provides additional suggestions of titles related to the unit themes.

As students read their independent reading books, they will be documenting what they think about what they read in an Independent Reading Journal. Students are encouraged to ask questions about what they are reading and find answers. Students are also directed to identify words they do not know and cannot figure out. Students are directed to take notice when parts of what they read are confusing or they do not understand what they've read. Teachers are given ways to support and scaffold the way students can read, think about, and reread texts such as using Thinking Codes when reading.

Teachers are directed to track independent reading goals and confer with students about their independent reading. It is suggested that teachers engage the students in a conversation about what they are reading and why they chose that specific text. Asking additional questions, as appropriate, can provide the teacher with valuable formative assessment information about a student’s reading development. These questions may include questions about the text’s genre, text features, referring back to specific “Think Codes” students have left in the text, general comprehension of text, and more focused questions on how the author presents information in a section of the text on which the student may have commented. Teachers are also instructed that they may take notes and lists strengths and weaknesses a student may have to keep track of student progress.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
N/A

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
N/A

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.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
N/A

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
N/A

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

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.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
N/A

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.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

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.
N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
N/A

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.).
N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2017/04/05

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Wonders Grade 6 Close Read Companion 978‑0‑02‑130649‑4 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Reading Wonders Grade 6 Literature Anthology 978‑0‑02‑139013‑7 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 4 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑676568‑3 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Reading/Writing Workshop Grade 6 978‑0‑07‑676573‑7 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 1 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑676867‑7 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 5 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑677723‑5 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 2 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑678210‑9 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 3 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑679889‑6 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
Wonders Grade 6 Unit 6 CCSS Teacher's Edition 2017 978‑0‑07‑680401‑6 McGraw-Hill Education 2017

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

The ELA review criteria identifies the indicators for high-quality instructional materials. The review criteria supports 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 review criteria 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 complements the review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. 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).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, 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.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, 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.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations