Alignment: Overall Summary

This report was published on June 8, 2017.

The Wit and Wisdom materials meet the expectations of alignment to the standards to support students' growing skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The program is built on engaging and high quality texts and present strong multimedia options alongside printed texts. The materials provide strong opportunities for students to hone their writing, speaking, and listening skills throughout the content while demonstrating their growing content knowledge.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
34
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

Texts included with these materials are of high quality, appropriately complex, and include opportunities to apply reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills across a variety of tasks designed to grow students’ literacy skills over the course of the year.

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.
20/20
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Criterion Rating Details

Core texts consider a range of student interests, are worthy of careful reading, and many are written by award winning authors. Included are a mix of informational and literary texts centered around a single theme or topic per module to facilitate the learning of the content. Each module contains a wide array of informational and literary text integrated to support knowledge acquisition on the module’s topic. The texts are at the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Core texts are accompanied by a rationale for purpose and placement as well as support for all learners as they grapple with complex text. The materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year while engaging in a range and volume of reading. Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for core texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading and considering a range of student interests.

Core texts cover a range of topics of interest to Grade 6 students. Many of the core texts are written by award-winning authors, and many of the texts themselves have also won awards.

Examples of central texts that are worthy of careful reading include the following:

  • Module 1:
    • Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse (John Newbery Award)
    • Bud Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis (John Newbery Award and Coretta Scott King Award)
  • Module 2:
    • The Odyssey, by Homer (Peabody Award) Homer; Translation by Robert Fagles; Reading by Ian McKellen
  • Module 3:
    • Blood on a River, by Elisa Carbone (IRA Teacher’s Choices Award)
    • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland, by Sally M. Walker (YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist)
  • Module 4:
    • Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance, by Jennifer Armstrong (ALA Best Books Award)

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 materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. The materials contain a balance of both informational and literary texts. There is also a variety of text types, including multimedia, novels, poetry, paintings, videos, articles, speeches, and myths.

Examples of Core Texts and supplemental texts from the module are listed below:

Literary
  • Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis (novel)
  • Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes (poem)
  • The Odyssey, Book 9, translation by Geoffrey Steadman (myth)
  • Blood on the River: James Town 1607, by Elisa Carbone (historical fiction novel)

Informational

  • The Hero’s Journey Outline, by Christopher Vogler (article)
  • The Mythology of Star Wars, by Bill Moyers and George Lucas (video)
  • What Makes a Hero? by Matthew Winkler (video)
  • Rethinking Jamestown, by Jeffery Sheler (scientific article)
  • Address to Captain John Smith, by Chief Powhatan (speech)
  • Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance, by Jennifer Armstrong (historical account)
  • Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize Speech (speech)

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that the majority of texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task.

Though some texts fall outside the recommended Lexile range, the materials are accompanied by a qualitative analysis that provides a rationale for use of each text. Texts in the lower end of the Lexile range are typically used to foster student interest or supplement knowledge or evidence needed to complete more demanding tasks. Texts that are below the grade-level complexity according to quantitative measures have both qualitative measures and reader and task associations that make the text appropriate for Grade 6. For example, in Module 4, students read the text, I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World, by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick. This text has a quantitative measure of 830L and covers several complicated events that create a complex plot. It has unfamiliar words and deals with a mature storyline of what life was like for the main character as she lived in Pakistan. Students must read, annotate, and analyze events within the text to help answer questions such as, “How do Malala and her community respond to the hostile environment in Pakistan?" "How does Yousafzai’s and McCormick’s portrayal of Malala develop the concept of heroism?" and "How can the challenges of a hostile environment inspire heroism?” The qualitative measure and reader and task relationship make this text appropriately complex for the grade level.

Texts that rise above the grade level complexity according to quantitative measures and qualitative measures have reader and task scaffolds and accommodations so that students can access the complex texts. For example, in Module 4 students read the text, Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance, by Jennifer Armstrong. The text has a quantitative measure of 1090, which is above the grade-level band. The text contains complex characters and themes. The story is straightforward but can be dense and complex with students needing to make connections across chapters as well as understand figurative language. Students must also understand the text structure and some of the unfamiliar vocabulary and have some background knowledge of Antarctica and exploration. The lessons, questions, and tasks throughout Module 4, as well as the Focus Questions and class discussions, allow this text to be accessible to Grade 6 students.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Each module builds in rigor over the course of the school year, providing students opportunities to learn and demonstrate literacy skills at grade level by the end of the school year. Series of texts have a variety of complexity levels and are accompanied by tasks that provide opportunity to practice increasingly rigorous skills. The Appendices of each module give teachers access to the quantitative and qualitative features of each core text, including the knowledge, structure, and language use within the texts.

The knowledge, structure, and language use within the texts expands through the modules. Some examples of this expanding rigor are found in the following examples:

  • Module 1: Bud Not Buddy (950L): The cultural knowledge could present a challenge for students not familiar with the Great Depression. The novel incorporates attitudes and experiences specific to this period, including homelessness (“Hoovervilles”), racism, and the development of jazz as a form of African-American cultural expression. There are limited academic vocabulary demands. The text is at an appropriate level for a student at the beginning of the Grade 6 year.
  • Module 3: Written in Bone (1140L): This fascinating study introduces students to the field of forensic anthropology, detailing the ways artifacts reveal compelling stories of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century life in the Jamestown and Maryland colonies. The author’s detective-like curiosity combines with descriptions of forensic methods to show students the ways excavation can provide answers—as well as raise new questions—about American history. The text provides students an opportunity to build cultural knowledge of the early colonies, to understand the Great Depression and the Great Migration, and to understand the various hardships of colonists’ lives.

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 for Grade 6 meet the criteria for providing information to the teacher about the text complexity and features of the anchor texts. Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. A rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level is included.

Each text is accompanied by a text complexity rubric found within the Teacher Edition in Appendix A of each module. The text complexity rubric provides the quantitative, qualitative and reader/task considerations. There is a rationale for each selection presented under the title and author's name, along with a key learning objective. The information provided includes a list of Common Core standards that are met within the piece. The rubric also offers a detailed explanation of the qualitative areas such as meaning/purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands. On this same page, the quantitative Lexile measure is stated.

Materials also include a rationale for placement, which is located in the Module Summary section that states in a few sentences why most texts are applicable to the student. For example, the Module 1 Summary is found below:

  • “However, the frame of this story—its era—is important for students to understand if they are to grasp the extremity of the hardships that Bud and Billie Jo experience. To that end, the module includes engaging supplemental materials about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. These materials historicize the novel’s themes of persevering in times of difficulty. They also help students envision life during this period. To these ends, students read about Hoovervilles and study first person accounts of young people’s experiences as migrants riding the rails. They examine Dorothea Lange’s iconic photograph 'Migrant Mother' and analyze the powerful poem 'Mother to Son' by Langston Hughes. They listen to jazz music and watch a fictionalized video about a General Motors labor strike. The anchor texts, complemented by these materials, press students to analyze the ways in which ordinary people responded to and transcended the extreme hardships of the Great Depression.” (GM Grade 6, Module 1, Module Summary)

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for core texts and supporting materials providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading.

Each module includes lessons with supplementary texts of varying lengths. These texts are read independently, in groups, aloud, and silently, offering multiple opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. Materials also offer multiple novels across the year. Teachers read aloud the back cover of a novel, the first chapter of a novel, and sample sentences to highlight the structure of the text or specific vocabulary terms pertinent to the text. Students then take responsibility for group or independent reading. Opportunities for teacher read alouds and small group work are also available during the scaffolding options component. Students engage with the the majority of content reading independently as homework.

The lists below demonstrate the range and volume of reading across all modules and include additional independent reading from the “Parent Tip Sheet.” Examples of texts include:

  • Module 1
    • 2 literary novels, 2 historical texts, 1 journal, 1 piece of music, 1 poem, and 3 videos.
    • Books to Read at Home include:
      • Children of the Depression, Russell Freedman
      • On the Blue Comet, Rosemary Wells
      • Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories, Richard Peck
      • Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool
      • My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
      • Sounder, Williams H. Armstrong
      • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor
      • No Promises in the Wind, Irene Hunt
  • Module 3
    • 1 historical fiction novel, 1 scientific account, 3 paintings, 1 article, 1 speech, and 1 video.
    • Books to Read at Home include:
      • Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions and Debates, Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robert Shaw
      • The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare
      • The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Jean Fritz
      • Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, Candace Fleming
      • Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China, Jane O’Connor

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in writing, speaking, and listening work that requires them to gather evidence from texts and sources. Opportunities to ask questions and hold text-based discussions using academic vocabulary with peers and teachers about research, strategies, and ideas are present throughout the year. Questions throughout the modules build knowledge as students prepare to complete the culminating tasks. Writing tasks are varied and include longer, focused, evidence-based writing tasks.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the texts. Questions draw the reader back into the text and support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Reading and writing (and speaking and listening) are done in a cohesive learning environment. Students read and reread to write and discuss. The materials provide opportunities for evidence-based discussions and writing. Examples of student directions include: “Cite evidence” as you participate in Socratic Seminar, “Please remember to include proper citations for your textual evidence,” and a writing rubric requires students to use “textual evidence that develops your idea.”

Below are examples of text-dependent/specific questions included in each module:

  • Module 1, Lesson 1:
    • "What lessons has Bud learned since turning six?”
    • "What is the significance of Bud's suitcase?”
  • Module 1, Lesson 6:
    • "What kind of evidence can be cited from Kentucky Flood to support this topic statement?"
  • Module 1, Lesson 10:
    • “What details on page 9 does Cross include that help establish context for the story?”
    • “What textual details in 'The War' intrigue readers about The Odyssey and orient them to the story? What questions are created by these details? Reference your Observe-Infer-Wonder chart for ideas.”
  • Module 1, Lesson 22:
    • "In what areas of the translations did word choice differ? How did this reveal different ideas about Penelope’s character?"
    • "In what areas of the translations was word choice the same or very similar? What does this reveal about Penelope’s character?"
  • Module 3, Lesson 4:
    • “What is the meaning of the word barren, based on its context?”
    • “How does Hughes’s delivery, his image, and the integration of the other poem affect your understanding of ‘Dreams’?”
  • Module 3, Lesson 25:
    • “Why might rulers create monuments, such as statues, buildings, or other structures?”
    • “How might these monuments connect with the themes and ideas of Animal Farm?”
  • Module 4, Lesson 2:
    • “What did you notice and wonder about Antarctica, based on the author’s description?”
    • Stranded means ‘to be left behind or put into a helpless position.’ Would you expect the crew of the Endurance to survive after being stranded in Antarctica? Explain your response with text evidence.”
  • Module 4, Lesson 13:
    • “The third line of the song uses the word reckons, which means ‘to settle accounts or to deal with.’ What does it mean to reckon 'the rough with the smooth'? What does it mean to 'never [swerve]'?"
    • “How do the poem’s lines capture Shackleton’s leadership style as portrayed by Armstrong?”

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation that they should contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Each module begins with an Essential Question; each module also contains multiple Focusing Questions that deal with the core text. Each of the daily lessons work toward answering the Focusing Questions while building the skills and knowledge needed to complete the End-of-Module Task. Supplementary texts help to build knowledge while integrating skills such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

For example, in Module 2 the Core Texts are Odyssey and Ramayan. The Essential Question is, “What is the significance and power of the hero’s journey?” The End-of-Module Task is, “Part 1: Plan your original monomyth using the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables. Part 2: Choose two stages to fully develop into narrative scenes. Part 3: Use technology to create a presentation, and choose one of your narrative scenes to present in a fluent read to share your hero and his/her journey with the class.” During the module lessons student read, discuss, and write to build knowledge through various activities and routines. Students work towards understanding the Focusing Questions to build knowledge and complete the culminating task.

Focusing Questions for Module 2 include:

  • Focusing Question 1: How does Ramayana: Divine Loophole exhibit the genre expectations of the monomyth?
  • Focusing Question 2: How does The Odyssey exhibit the genre expectations of the monomyth?
  • Focusing Question 3: How do translations of The Odyssey and Ramayana expand our understanding of these texts?
  • Focusing Question 4: How does the monomyth genre persist in and influence the stories we tell?

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations providing students frequent opportunities to practice academic vocabulary and syntax in their evidence-based discussions. Each module gives the students ample opportunity to hold evidence-based discussions with Think-Pair-Share, Socratic Seminars, Jigsaw discussions. Gallery Walk/follow-up discussions, etc. The materials offer scaffolds to help students hold academic conversations, including evidence to support students’ claims. Scaffolds include sentence starters, evidence graphic organizers, and teacher-facilitated discussions.

Academic vocabulary instruction is found throughout the modules. Teachers use multiple strategies in introducing, discussing, and using new vocabulary. Each module contains Appendix B, entitled Vocabulary, which clarifies the category in which each word is listed. The materials vocabulary is presented in three categories: Content Vocabulary, Academic Vocabulary, and Text-Critical Vocabulary. Students create vocabulary journals and also participate in Vocabulary Deep Dives and Style and Conventions Deep Dives.

Examples of how students have opportunities for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary include:

Module 1:

  • Students are asked to engage in a (modified) Socratic Seminar in which they cite and explain evidence from Bud, Not Buddy to respond to questions.
  • Students are asked to engage in a Socratic Seminar in which they cite and explain evidence from Out of the Dust to respond to questions.

Module 2:

  • Working with a small group, students are asked to choose another text (book or film) with which they are all familiar and that they think is an example of the monomyth genre. Then, students use the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables to organize the characters and events.

Module 3:

  • In Lesson 5, students complete a Factor Tracker, then share their facts (evidence) with others in the class.
  • In Lesson 18, students think-pair-share on big ideas in the novel, Blood on the River, and search for evidence to support their claims.

Module 4:

  • In Lesson 8, students work in small groups to answer three (3) text-dependent questions. Students use their response journals and the text to provide evidence for their claims. Students cite page numbers of the evidence recorded.
  • In Lesson 20, students work in pairs to answer the question, "How does using sources responsibly work in research writing?" First, they are asked to discuss and record their thoughts on the question, "In what ways does this essay’s author responsibly incorporate evidence from the three different sources?"

Indicator 1j

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

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

Speaking and listening work requires students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Opportunities to ask questions and hold discussions with peers and teachers about research, strategies and ideas are present throughout the year.

Within this curriculum there are multiple opportunities for speaking and listening that include whole group discussions and small group discussions. In addition, through the lessons there are instructions for the teacher and tips on facilitating whole group, small group, and partner speaking and listening. Students specifically practice these skills in every module in Socratic Seminars. Materials include speaking and listening rubrics, as well as the Socratic Seminars. There is a tracking form that helps the teacher track students’ ability to perform skills with speaking, listening, and reading (citing evidence).

Module 1, Lesson 2:

  • Students Think-Pair-Share about unanswered wonderings from chapter 2. Students share questions with text-based answers or predictions.

Module 2, Lesson 2:

  • As a whole group, students brainstorm how technology enhances and supports the production and publishing of student work. The teacher displays ideas and adds others that are missing.

Module 3, Lesson 12:

  • In small groups, students discuss and write responses for specific text-dependent questions in their response journals. Afterwards, the class reconvenes to discuss group responses.

Module 4, Lesson 9:

  • Student pairs skim two pages (designated by the teacher) and discuss what they notice and wonder about Armstrong’s selection of sources. They record these observations and questions in their Response Journals. After five minutes, the teachers reconvenes the class and asks for volunteers to share.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Students write both on demand and over extended periods throughout every nine-week module. There are informal and formal responses over the course of the module, where students learn, practice, and demonstrate the stages of expository writing, narrative writing, and argumentative writing. Materials include short and longer writing tasks and projects. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade-level standards being reviewed. Students also keep a response journal to record thoughts and ideas.

Module 1 emphasizes students’ understanding and implementation of explanatory writing as a multiple-step process. In particular, the purposeful sequence of activities focuses on students’ ability to compose: (1) a ToSEEC paragraph that has a topic statement, evidence and elaboration, and a concluding sentence; (2) an introductory paragraph that contains a hook, introducing section, and thesis; (3) a mini-essay that includes an introduction and two body paragraphs containing relevant and sufficient evidence, thorough elaboration, and appropriate transitions; and (4) a full essay that includes a cause-and-effect structure, precise language, a formal writing style, and a concluding paragraph. For the End-of-Module Task, students apply what they have learned about structure, development, style, and conventions to write a well-developed cause-and-effect explanatory essay.

  • Focusing Question Task: Write a ToSEEC paragraph in which you explain what makes Bud a survivor.
  • End of Module Task: Write a cause-and-effect ToSEEC essay (introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion) in which you explain how Bud or Billie Jo’s responses to hardship(s) (cause) contributed to his/her transformation (effect).

Module 2 builds upon students’ understandings of explanatory writing, incorporating it into the analysis of the anchor texts. This module also introduces narrative writing and the production and publishing of technology-based presentations. Narrative writing is purposefully scaffolded so students are given the opportunity to experiment with context building, narrative techniques, transition words, precise word choice, and conclusions before drafting their own original myths in the End-of-Module Task. Students create technology-based presentations to introduce their character and context as part of the third Focusing Question, giving students an opportunity to rehearse and perfect their production and delivery. For the End-of-Module Task, students apply what they have learned to write two full scenes from their own original monomyth and use technology to present their ideas to their peers.

  • Focusing Question Task: 1. Part 1: With a partner, complete the Character Archetype and Stages of a Hero’s Journey tables for Ramayana: Divine Loophole. Part 2: On your own, write an explanatory essay in which you synthesize your understanding of Ramayana: Divine Loophole by explaining how this text illustrates the genre expectations of the monomyth as well as how it might diverge from those expectations.
  • End of Module Task: Part 1: Plan your original monomyth using the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables. Part 2: Choose two stages to fully develop into narrative scenes. Part 3: Use technology to create a presentation and choose one of your narrative scenes to present in a fluent read to share your hero and his/her journey with the class.

Indicator 1l

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

The materials meet the expectations providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources.

Examples of writing prompts found throughout the modules that show how the materials meet the expectations of these indicators include:

  • Write a cause-and-effect essay (introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion) in which you explain how hardship (cause) changes Billie Jo’s relationship with another character, a particular object, or the land (effect).
  • Write a claim and two argumentative paragraphs in which you argue who had the greatest impact on Samuel’s growth and change as he navigated the unknowns in his new world of Jamestown.
  • Write an explanatory essay in which you synthesize your understanding of Ramayana: Divine Loophole by explaining how this text illustrates the genre expectations of the monomyth as well as how it might diverge from those expectations.
  • Write an explanatory essay in which you compare and contrast Carbone’s and Walker’s presentations of Richard Mutton. As part of your response, explain how each author introduces Richard and how each describes his character and his experiences in Jamestown.
  • Part 1: Plan your original monomyth using the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables. Part 2: Choose two stages to fully develop into narrative scenes. Part 3: Use technology to create a presentation and choose one of your narrative scenes to present in a fluent read to share your hero and his/her journey with the class.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing with evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students' analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year.

The following examples demonstrate evidence-based writing opportunities across all four modules:

Module 1:

  • Write a mini-essay (an introduction and two body paragraphs) in which you explain how people during the Great Depression and the characters in Out of the Dust sustained their spirits during this difficult time in our history. You must use evidence from both Out of the Dust and Hoover’s Prodigal Children: Hungry Times on Mean Streets.
  • Read the poem, Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes. Respond to multiple-choice questions, and then using evidence from the poem and Bud, Not Buddy, write a paragraph in which you explain how the perspective of the speaker of the poem compares or contrasts with Bud’s mother’s perspective about life.

Module 2:

  • Students Jot-Pair-Share for the following question: Consider what you have read in the first two chapters of The Odyssey. How does this story’s settings, characters, and plot so far resemble those of the monomyth?

Module 3:

  • Students write an explanatory essay comparing and contrasting Carbone’s and Walker’s presentations of Richard Mutton. Part of the response is an explanation of how each author introduces Richard and how each describes his character and his experiences in Jamestown.
  • Students answer the question, “Should Captain Smith or Reverend Hunt be Jamestown’s next president?” Students review the text and collect evidence for the group’s assigned candidate. When the class reconvenes and shares findings, students record evidence for the other candidate so that they can then determine their own claim.

Module 4:

  • Students analyze the main idea of Chapters 16 and 17 by completing the chart. In the chart the main ideas and factors of the main ideas are stated. Then, the student provides support/evidence from the book of these factors and their support of the main idea of each chapter.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of the context. Each lesson has a deep dive in either vocabulary or style and conventions for 15 minutes of instruction, allowing students to practice the skills throughout the modules. Writing rubrics include grammar and conventions, and there are checklists at the End-of-Module tasks to assess application of conventions listed in the language standards.

Examples include:

Module 1:

  • Lesson 19: Identify and explore how complex and compound-complex sentences signal differing relationships among ideas.
  • Lesson 25: Explain how phrases and clauses affect writing.
  • Lesson 26: Complete sentence frames using sets of appropriately punctuated modifiers.
  • Lesson 28: Appropriately use coordinate adjectives to add description in writing.
  • Lesson 32: Employ phrases and clauses appropriately to enhance writing.

Module 2:

  • Lesson 11: Identify transitional phrases and clauses and explain their function in specific instances.
  • Lesson 12: Use transitional phrases and clauses in writing.
  • Lesson 16: Recognize and correct misplaced modifiers.
  • Lesson 21: Explain why subjects are important when using participial phrases.
  • Lesson 17: Revise argument paragraphs by using phrases or clauses to create transitions, add detail or precision, or clarify relationships.

Module 3:

  • Lesson 14: Identify phrases and clauses and explain their function in specific instances.
  • Lesson 15: Revise an argument paragraph by using phrases to create transitions, adding detail and precision, and to clarify relationships.
  • Lesson 17: Revise argument paragraphs by using phrases or clauses to create transitions, addjng detail or precision, or to clarify relationships.
  • Lesson 24: Combine simple sentences to create complex sentences that communicate multiple ideas.

Module 4:

  • Lesson 6: Identify vague pronouns in context.
  • Lesson 8: Correct vague pronouns to improve clarity.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

Materials provide ample opportunities for students to build knowledge through content-rich, integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language experiences.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of anchor texts organized around appropriate topic(s), and more commonly theme, to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently at grade level. Students read different kinds of texts focused on the same themes and topics, building content knowledge of that topic/theme by the end of each respective unit. Examples include:

  • Module 1: The module is organized under the theme, Transcendence and Transformation and the topic of “The Great Depression.” Eleven texts are included in 6th Grade Module 1. The core texts, Bud, Not Buddy and Out of the Dust explore the themes of suffering, struggle, and survival during the Great Depression. These themes are supported through the supplementary texts that provide students with historical context about the social and economic challenges of the time. The module includes engaging supplemental materials about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. These materials historicize the novel's themes of persevering in times of difficulty. They also help students envision life during this period. To these ends, students read about Hoovervilles and study first person accounts of young people’s experiences as migrants riding the rails. They examine Dorothea Lange’s iconic photograph, Migrant Mother and analyze the powerful poem, Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes. They listen to jazz music and watch a fictionalized video about a General Motors' labor strike.
  • Module 3: The module is organized under the theme, Transformation and the topic of “Narrating the Unknown Jamestown.” The module begins with asking the students two major questions: "Howdid the struggle for power shape the settlement of the New World? What factors led to the near extinction of the Jamestown colony?" These questions and others shape students’ inquiry as they explore Blood on the River, Written in Bone, and other texts about the Jamestown colony. Students incorporate ideas from both of these worlds—the vivid historical fiction of Blood on the River and the engaging scientific discoveries of Written in Bone—to better understand the challenges faced by those in the Jamestown colony. Students study arguments in context, looking at Jeffery Sheler’s article, Rethinking Jamestown, as both a model of argumentative writing and as another perspective on what recent scientific research has revealed about the true experiences of the Jamestown settlers. Samples from the text selections include: “Rethinking Jamestown” a scientific article written by Jeffery Sheler, “Address to Captain John Smith,” a speech by Chief Powhatan, and Nighthawks, a painting by Edward Hopper.

All modules develop student’s knowledge through structured learning activities that provide effective scaffolding of content leading to students comprehending 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 instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations of materials that contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks requiring students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Questions are organized into three categories: Focusing Questions, Content Framing Questions, and Craft Questions. Within the Content Framing and Craft Questions, there are additional categories of questions.

Examples include:

Module 1:

  • Lesson 2: Add appropriate transitions to a paragraph to clarify the relationships among ideas.
  • Lesson 6: Connect details and themes in Kentucky Flood to evidence from Bud, Not Buddy.
  • Lesson 10: Analyze how the author’s use of slang and idiom helps to develop characters and convey meaning.

Module 2:

  • Lesson 1: Compare and contrast details from the short film with details from the text to build understanding about Ramayana and Hindu mythology.
  • Lesson 4: Analyze how the structure of Ramayana functions and advances its plot.
  • Lesson 9: Write an explanatory essay about how Ramayana: Divine Loophole aligns to the monomyth’s expectations and themes, after aligning the text’s structure and archetypes to those of the genre.
  • Lesson 12: Analyze scenes that depict Odysseus’s arête, hubris, and humility, and explain how they establish Odysseus as the hero archetype.
  • Expand word knowledge of select words in The Odyssey using the Frayer model; use the relationship between words to better understand a word’s meaning.

Module 3:

  • Lesson 8: Write two explanatory paragraphs that analyze how word choice conveys Samuel’s perspective about a factor threatening Jamestown.
  • Lesson 10: Analyze how characters’ perspectives about the New World and its people impact the decline and development of Jamestown.
  • Lesson 16: Apply an understanding of language and content to a new text through independent reading and analysis, and explain what challenges Carbone encountered and what solutions she used while writing her historical fiction novel.
  • Lesson 17: Examine how Chief Powhatan’s speech sequences its ideas and includes powerful details to produce a clear argument.

Questions are organized into three categories: Focusing Questions, Content Framing Questions, and Craft Questions. Within the Content Framing and Craft Questions, there are additional categories of questions.

A representative example of how the program addresses this indicator comes from Module 3, Focusing Question #1: How do the settlers respond to the challenges of their journey to the unknown?

Content Framing Questions:

  1. Wonder: What do I notice and wonder about Blood on the River?
  2. Organize: What’s happening in chapters 1-3 of Blood on the River?
  3. Organize: What’s happening in chapters 4-6 of Blood on the River?
  4. Reveal: What does a deeper exploration of characterization reveal in Blood on the River?
  5. Distill: What are the emerging big ideas in chapters 9-10 of Blood on the River?
  6. Reveal: What does a deeper exploration of social and environmental factors reveal in Blood on the River?
  7. Reveal: What does a deeper exploration of conflict reveal in Blood on the River?
  8. Reveal: What does a deeper exploration of word choice reveal about Samuel in Blood on the River?

Craft Questions:

  1. Examine: Why is listening to interpret important?
  2. Examine: Why is correct pronoun number important?
  3. Experiment: How does listening to interpret work?
  4. Experiment: How does pronoun number work?
  5. Examine: Why is the collection of evidence prior to formulating a claim important in argument writing?
  6. Experiment: How does collection of evidence and formulation of a claim work in argument writing?

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. There are limited questions used to assess reading comprehension and connect the reader to the text in a deeper way. Questions are employed to build students' knowledge.

Each module has a section entitled, “Major Assessments” for the teacher at the beginning of the module that displays all the “Focusing Question Tasks”, the standards involved, and the elements needed to be successful on the “End-of-Module (EOM)” culminating task. Also, each module contains a section entitled “Module Map” that discusses the “Focusing Question Tasks, Central Texts, Content Framing Questions, Craft Questions, and learning goals.” Many questions and tasks do not require students to demonstrate understanding of the text on multiple levels. Many of the questions do prepare students for an upcoming culminating writing task (EOM). In each module, students are presented with opportunities to work across texts.

Some questions/tasks that represent how this program meets this expectation include the following:

Module 1:

  • Synthesize across texts and express understanding of hardships faced during the Great Depression.
  • Connect details and themes in 1930s GM Sit-Down Strike to evidence from Bud Not Buddy.
  • Relate the information from video to Bud Not Buddy.
  • Compare and contrast the message conveyed by the two texts: Bud Not Buddy and Mother to Son.
  • Explain what multiple texts convey about how people endured the Great Depression: Out of the Dust, Hoover’s Prodigal Children: Hungry Times on Mean Streets, and all other texts presented in this module.

Module 2:

  • Compare two versions of the monomyth structure and determine how their stages align.
  • Compare and contrast how Penelope’s character is depicted in illustrations and different translations.
  • Contrast the experience of reading and listening to a Ramayana translation.
    Compare and contrast how Sita’s character is depicted in illustrations and different translations.
  • Apply an understanding of language and content to a new text through independent reading and analysis.

Module 3:

  • Evaluate the development and effectiveness of Sheler’s argument.
  • Explain how photographs in Written in Bone deepen understanding of the text’s central ideas.
  • Compose an objective summary and evaluate how Walker constructs his argument in Chapter 3 of Written in Bone.
  • Compare and contrast two author’s presentations of the events.
  • Compare and contrast how Carbone (Blood in the River) and Walker (Written in Bone) introduce and present info about Richard Mutton.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Grade 6 fully meet the expectations that questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a theme (or, for grades 3-5. a topic) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening). The sets of questions and tasks students are asked to work with and complete support their ability to complete culminating tasks in which they are demonstrating knowledge of topics and/or themes.

Each module has several Focusing Question Tasks that scaffold the material to aid in the successful completing of the EOM task. The materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to each culminating task. Many tasks are focused on pieces of writing; however, students engage in speaking and listening as well as reading and writing to prepare for tasks, providing learning through integrated skills.

Some examples of culminating tasks that showcase students' demonstration of topics and themes through a combination of skills and print and nonprint texts include the following examples:

Module 1:

  • The culminating task (End of Module-EOM) in Module 1 is as follows: Students write an explanatory essay in which they examine how Bud or Billie Jo’s responses to hardships result in his or her transformation. This task captures students’ understanding of how hardship can, ironically, contribute to the human spirit’s resilience. In preparation for this EOM, students are engaged in the following activities: (1) a paragraph that has a topic statement, evidence and elaboration, and a concluding sentence; (2) an introductory paragraph that contains a hook, introducing section, and thesis; (3) a mini-essay that includes an introduction and two-body paragraphs containing relevant and sufficient evidence, thorough elaboration, and appropriate transitions; and (4) a full essay that includes a cause-and-effect structure, precise language, a formal writing style, and a concluding paragraph. Students apply what they have learned about structure, development, style, and conventions to write the EOM Task.
  • In informal and formal responses over the course of the module, students learn, practice, and demonstrate the stages of expository writing. In particular, the purposeful sequence of activities focuses on students’ ability to compose a well-developed, cause-and-effect explanatory essay.
  • Students also extend their speaking and listening skills in three Socratic Seminars about Bud, Not Buddy and Out of the Dust, by following rules for collegial discussions and engaging in evidence-based, collaborative conversations. Students set and monitor speaking and listening goals, including the ability to disagree strategically and defer politely to another speaker, leading to more effective communication and learning. Students are also presented with a plethora of print and non-print texts to assist in successfully completing the EOM task. These texts include music: It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills, photography: Migrant Mother, by Dorothea Lange, poetry: Mother to Son, and videos: Black Blizzard, from History.com.

Module 2:

  • The culminating task (End of Module-EOM) in Module 2 is as follows: (1) Plan your original monomyth using the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables. (2) Choose two stages to fully develop into narrative scenes. (3) Use technology to create a presentation, and (4) Choose one of your narrative scenes to present in a fluent read to share your hero and his/her journey with the class. Having begun the module by focusing on the structure, characters, and themes of the monomyth, students use their knowledge of this genre to create an original hero’s journey.
  • In preparation for this EOM, students are engaged in the following activities: The module builds upon students’ understandings of explanatory writing, incorporating it into the analysis of the anchor texts. This module also introduces narrative writing and the production and publishing of technology-based presentations. Narrative writing is purposefully scaffolded so that students are given the opportunity to experiment with context building, narrative techniques, transition words, precise word choice, and conclusions before drafting their own original myths in the EOM Task. Students create technology-based presentations to introduce their character and context as part of the third Focusing Question; students are given an opportunity to rehearse and perfect their production and delivery. For the EOM Task, students apply what they have learned to write two full scenes from their own original monomyth and use technology to present their ideas to their peers.
  • Students develop their speaking and listening skills in three Socratic Seminars about Ramayana: Divine Loophole and The Odyssey, by following rules for collegial discussions and engaging in evidence-based, collaborative conversations. Students set and monitor speaking and listening goals: they practice reducing mental interference to enable effective listening; they reflect aloud the knowledge they acquire from others by paraphrasing their peers’ insights and contributions; and they practice maintaining eye contact when presenting to achieve increased audience engagement. Students are also presented with a plethora of print and nonprint texts to assist in successfully completing the EOM task.These texts include: an article: The Hero’s Outline, by Christopher Vogler, an essay: A Practical Guide to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Christopher Vogler, and a video: The Mythology of Star Wars, by: Bill Moyers and George Lucas.

Module 3:

  • The culminating (EOM) task in Module 3 is as follows: “Write an essay in which you argue whether it was the social or the environmental factors faced by Jamestown’s early settlers that were most significant to the settlement’s struggle to thrive.” In preparation for this EOM, students are engaged in a variety of activities. This module focuses on argumentative writing. Students’ previous learning about the selection of relevant evidence serves as a springboard to evaluating which evidence best supports a claim. Students dive deeply into the development of claims and the organization of argumentative writing, focusing on the process by which an argument is drafted; they begin by considering evidence before crafting a claim, and then continue by selecting the best reasons and evidence that can be used as a defense. Similar to past modules, students also focus on improving their writing’s clarity and sustaining a formal style. Besides developing their argumentative writing skills, students again practice explanatory writing to complete textual analysis and to compare two authors’ portrayal of the same Jamestown colonist. Taking all of the module’s texts into account, students study the evidence they have accumulated before selecting a claim for the EOM Task, supporting their argument with ideas from both a literary and informational text.
  • Students cultivate a stronger understanding of how to develop and support a claim while engaging in three Socratic Seminars. Students’ speaking and listening goals for this module focus on listening to interpret and practicing the presentation of claims and evidence. Continuing to grow their public speaking skills, students give mini-research presentations to their peers, integrating visual displays to clarify their findings.
  • Students are also presented with a plethora of print and nonprint texts to assist in successfully completing the EOM task. These texts include: paintings, such as Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper, a speech: Address to Captain John Smith, by Chief Powhatan, and a video: Innovation in Plain Sight, by Amy Herman.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary is taught both implicitly and explicitly, using words in the core and supplementary texts. As texts are read multiple times, students gain new vocabulary. Explicit vocabulary instruction focuses on Content Specific Vocabulary, Academic Vocabulary, and Text Critical Vocabulary. Materials focus on elements of vocabulary, such as abstract or multiple meanings, connotation, relationships among words, and morphology.

Vocabulary Routines can be found in the Resources section of the Implementation Guide and include routines and instructional examples such as the Frayer Model, Morpheme Matrix, Outside-In, Relationship Mapping, and Word Line. Teachers utilize Word Walls and Vocabulary Journals for students to record newly-acquired words and vocabulary strategies.

Appendix B includes vocabulary support that explains the implicit and explicit vocabulary instruction. For example, Core lessons, 75-min. daily: vocabulary study that is essential to understanding the text at hand. Instructional strategies are explicitly introduced and practiced during vocabulary instruction and put into practice during a reading of the text. Vocabulary Deep Dives: vocabulary instruction and practice that advances students’ knowledge of high-value words and word-solving strategies, focusing on aspects such as abstract or multiple meanings, connotation, relationships across words, and morphology. The appendix also includes a Module Word List and a list of words that would pose a challenge to student comprehension.

Examples include:

Module 1:

  • Lesson 1 - Cope vs. Endure
    • Students are asked the to answer the following two questions as an Exit Ticket.
    • What does Bud have to endure?
    • What is an example of Bud coping with a situation?
  • Lesson 23: Launch
    • Using the Outside-In strategy, what might the word deformed mean?
    • How would the meaning change if Billie Jo had described her hands using another adjective, such as injured?
    • How does the word deformed reveal Billie Jo's perspective of her hands? Students Think-Pair-Share to complete the task.

Module 2:

  • Lesson 7 - Suffix -ive in Manipulative and Extensive
    • The end of lesson question:“Who in Ramayana could be described as manipulative, and why?” or “What in Ramayana could be described as extensive, and why?”
  • Lesson 11: Vocabulary Deep Dive (Define Words in Context)
  • Lesson 16 - Word Relationships: Jubilant, Triumphant
    • The end of lesson question: “Which is more likely—for the hero of a myth to be triumphant because he or she is jubilant, or to be jubilant because he or she is triumphant?”

Module 3:

  • Lesson 16 - Explore Content Vocabulary: Expedition and Excavated
    • End of lesson task: Students compose a Quick Write in response to the following question.
    • How did studying expeditions and things that were excavated prepare Elisa Carbone to write Blood on the River?
  • Lesson 27 - Examine Sentence Variety
    • End of lesson task: Students compose a Quick Write in which they cite a unique example of sentence variety in Walker’s text and explain how it engages reader interest.
    • Lesson 29: Vocabulary Deep Dive (Explore Academic Vocabulary: serv as in preserve)

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation 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.

Through explicit learning-to-write instruction, teachers gradually release responsibility for a specific writing strategy through a series of lessons. One or more of the following Craft Stages shapes each lesson. (Implementation Guide)

  • Examine: Students analyze how an exemplar models one or more writing strategies. The exemplar can come from authentic texts, class collaborative writing, or a module resource.
  • Experiment: Students practice applying a target strategy. Scaffolded tasks provide significant support by limiting
    the volume of writing, providing parts of a writing piece, or focusing on a relatively simple topic.
  • Execute: Students plan or draft a full writing piece, paying particular attention to applying the target strategy to
    support the purpose of the task.
  • Excel: Students revise, edit, and respond to feedback on the pieces they drafted in the Execute stage, focusing on the target strategy. They reflect on their use of the strategy to refine their thinking about its use in current and future writing.

Students write an average of twenty or more minutes of writing pers lesson and are given explicit instruction of writing strategies. Students write both on-demand and process writing while accessing complex texts. There are a variety of writing performance tasks and Craft Lessons address 5 features; Structure, Development, Style, Conventions and process.

Students study Mentor texts and get feedback from the teacher, a peer, and themselves as well as being provided with writing checklist and rubrics to ensure that writing skills are grown throughout the year.

Module 1:

  • Focusing Question Task 1: After reading chapters 1-5 in Bud Not Buddy, students write a ToSEEC (paragraph containing a Topic Statement, Evidence, Elaboration, and a Concluding Statement) paragraph in which students explain what makes Bud a survivor.
  • Focusing Question Task 2: Students write two ToSEEC paragraphs in which they explain two hardships people faced during the Great Depression, citing evidence from Bud, Not Buddyand “Hoovervilles.”
  • End of Module Task: Students write a cause-and-effect ToSEEC essay (introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion) in which you explain how Bud or Billie Jo’s responses to hardship(s) (cause) contributed to his/her transformation (effect).

Module 2:

  • After lesson 9, students, with a partner, complete the Character Archetype and Stages of a Hero’s Journey tables for Ramayana: Divine Loophole.
  • In lesson 16, students think-pair-share on if and how their partners effectively concluded the scene written for The Odyssey using the narrative techniques taught.
  • End of Module Task: Students plan an original monomyth using the Character Archetypes and Stages of the Hero’s Journey tables, choose two stages to fully develop into narrative scenes, and lastly create a presentation on one of the scenes.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area, by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials. Modules are divided into Focus Questions that build knowledge of a topic using multiple texts. The focus questions all build to the End-of-Module Task that encompasses a module’s worth of texts and source materials. Students also complete shorter research projects throughout the modules. Teachers are also encouraged to use pausing points to complete student-led research projects. In every grade, at least one EOM Task focuses on a sustained research project. In addition, students conduct a variety of short research projects throughout the year.

Examples include:

  • Module 2: Students examine the genre of the monomyth by first reading Ramayana: Divine Loophole, a stunningly illustrated retelling of the Hindu story of Rama, told in words and pictures by Sanjay Patel. This ancient myth is organized in three phases typical of the hero’s journey: (1) the hero Rama in his ordinary world, (2) he embarks on an epic journey to defend what is good and defeat what is evil, (3) and finally he returns home able to become a king after overcoming the obstacles of his quest. Students examine this structure again in Gillian Cross’s retelling of The Odyssey, which chronicles Odysseus’s transformation through tests and trials from an extraordinary mortal to an epic hero. They complete their study of these two myths by exploring other translations and the texts’ illustrations to build their knowledge of the hero’s journey and the archetypes it develops.
  • Module 4: The module focuses on the difficult choices an individual must make in the face of adversity. By examining Shackleton, his crew, and Malala’s heroic actions, students learn how people transcend their hostile environments, and they progressively build a nuanced definition of heroism that includes both physical and moral courage as defining traits. To strengthen their understanding of what heroic actions resemble, students also watch the National Geographic video Lost Treasures of Afghanistan, which features the story of five Afghani citizens who protected one of their country’s most ancient treasures from being pillaged by the Taliban. By studying all of these individuals’ heroic actions, students contemplate how a single person can impact a group of people, a larger community, or even the entire world.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations 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. The majority of lessons require some independent readings of text followed by text-specific questions and tasks that reflect student accountability. Students are asked to annotate texts. Additionally, most homework assignments include independent readings and tasks that require students to produce evidence of reading and to keep an independent reading log.

Module 1:

  • Lesson 1: Students read Chapter 2, annotating as they have done for Chapter 1. (1) Read the text carefully and annotate to help you read fluently. (2) Each day: a. Practice reading the text three to five times. b. Evaluate your progress by placing a √+, √, or √- in each unshaded box. c. Ask someone (adult or peer) to listen and evaluate you as well. (3) Last day: Respond to the self-reflection questions
  • Lesson 5: Students read and annotate chapters 6–7, annotating information about new characters with a “C,” information about the setting with an “S,” and Bud's reactions with “BR.”
  • Lesson 14: Students finish the book, annotating in the margins any events where doors open for Bud with “D.O.” and any surprises with an exclamation point.

Module 2:

  • Lesson 12: Students read pages 74-99 in The Odyssey and add to the character and setting sections in their Response Journals.
  • Lesson 16: Students read pages 158-71 in The Odyssey and add to the character and setting sections in their Response Journals.

Module 3:

  • Lesson 10: Students read chapters 19–20. As was similar in Lesson 9, students identify and briefly explain one factor (social and/or environmental) that threatens Jamestown, and one factor (social and/or environmental) that contributes to Jamestown’s development. Students should continue recording these factors in the Factor Tracker section of their Response Journals.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

Materials are designed to support teachers in providing standards-aligned instruction for all students and are easy for both students and teachers to navigate. The instructional design includes ample opportunities for assessment and support to use data to improve instruction and student learning.

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials are well-designed and easy to navigate. Alignments to standards are clear and appropriate. Student materials provide appropriate support for the acquisition and practice of key literacy skills.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Each lesson is designed for a 90 minute block. Each module contains from 33-37 lessons. The total minimum number of days to cover every lesson in the module is 139. This pacing allows for unexpected or special school events which may interfere with traditional pacing.

A module overview is found at the beginning of each module which includes: Module Summary, Essential Questions, Suggested Student Understandings, Texts, Module Learning Goals, Module in Context, Standards, Major Assessments, and Module Map.

Materials include detailed lessons plans with supporting materials which include an agenda for the lesson including Welcome, Launch, Learn, Land, Wrap and a Vocabulary Deep Dive or a Style and Convention Deep Dive. Each section has hyperlinks included for materials needed such as graphic organizers or articles.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

Each module provides 32-38 lessons, and each lesson is designed for a 90 minute block. Each of the four modules can be completed in a 9 week grading period. Teachers and students can reasonably complete the content within a 36-week school year as long as their schedule provides a 90 minute block of time for English Language Arts.

Indicator 3c

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

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

Students have access to an array of materials that provide ample review and practice resources such as, note catchers, reference charts, anchor charts, new-read assessments, supporting excerpts or texts, close read guides, essay rubrics, reference aids, model writings, vocabulary words list and definitions, and speaking and listening checklists.

Student resources include clear explanation and directions. Activities that are completed with teacher guidance have directions included in the teacher lesson plan notes. Resources that are completed independently or in small groups without direct teacher guidance include clear directions and explanations so that the task can be completed.

  • In Module 1, Lesson 8 includes a graphic organizer that is organized and divided into three sections and written in bold print. The first section asks for an example of figurative language, the second section asks “What does it mean?” and the third section asks “What does it reveal about the characters?”
  • In Module 3, Lesson 3 includes a graphic organizer that is clearly written and divided into three sections: Chapter, Plot Development, Character Development.

Indicator 3d

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

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

Alignment to the CCSS is documented in multiple places in the curriculum including the following sections: Module Map, Module Learning Goals, Standards, Major Assessments, and Lesson Agenda (section-”Standards Addressed”).

For example, in the overview of each module there is a Module Map that includes learning goals and standards addressed in these goals as well as a “Standards” section which includes all Reading (Informational and Literary), Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language standards addressed in each module. In the Major Assessments section of the Module Overview, each standard is listed for each Focusing Task Question Activity and each End of Module Task.

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The material design is simple and consistent. All modules are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. All modules include graphic organizers, charts, worksheets, tables and other activities that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise. Each handout and/or activity are hyperlinked in each lesson overview and detailed lesson plan.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

Materials provide strong support for teachers to facilitate planning, use of all parts of the program, alignment to the standards, research of best practices that underpin the program, and information for involving students and their families/caregivers about supporting the student as a learner.

Indicator 3f

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meets the expectation for materials containing 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. There is limited integration of technology and or guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The materials contain a teacher's edition that provides teaching notes for each lesson that provide a Focusing Question, Content Framing Question, as well as a lesson summary. The lesson overviews also include an “At A Glance” outline of each lesson as well as Learning Goals and Standards Addressed.

The following are examples which demonstrate how the materials are useful and offer good guidance for teachers:

Module 1:

Lesson 8, Launch Post the Focusing Question and Content Framing Question.

Students brainstorm and share types of figurative language they know and can recognize in context.

“Explain that authors use figurative language to convey meaning and help readers better understand information about the story or characters.If needed, review with students that similes use like or as to compare two unrelated ideas and that metaphors state that one thing is the other.”

Lesson 8, Teacher’s Note: “Ensure that students see the contrast between the Amoses and Lefty’s family. Chapter 11 includes Bud’s first insights into what it means to be part of a family and impacts his transformation.”

Lesson 19

Wrap-Up: “The lesson assumes that students in past grades and lessons have been exposed to and have a basic understanding of figurative language and imagery. If students have not had such exposure, consider grouping students differently according to skill level, and work alongside students who need additional support.”

Module 4:

Lesson 6, Teacher Note: “Ideally, students can use the next block of time to find and evaluate an additional source that can be used to support the research for their chosen individual. This may require students to evaluate more than one source depending on the quality of the site they initially select to assess. If students can work in a computer lab, or if they have access to computers in the classroom, they can accomplish this task. If students need to visit a computer lab, the rest of today’s lesson can also take place there, since students will be writing two paragraphs for Focusing Question Task 1. If students do not have access to computers at school, have students complete Handout 5A for homework.”

Lesson 6, Next Steps: “For those having trouble completing Handout 5A, check the sources that students are selecting. Determine whether the issue is linked to types of sources they’ve found or a misunderstanding about the task. Address misconceptions, and select a credible source to assess as a group, using the checklist on Handout 5A to help students understand the process.

For students who struggle with the first paragraph of the Focusing Question Task Assessment, consider providing students with a photograph and text pairing, such as the photograph on page 49 and the text of chapter 1. Suggest that the details in this photograph, and the ways in which Antarctica are described in chapter 1, could be cited and explained to complete the requirements of paragraph 1. For the task’s second paragraph, consider providing struggling students with another photograph and text pairing, such as the photograph on page 53 and the text on page 54.”

Indicator 3g

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

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

The Implementation Guide provides multiple explanations and charts regarding curriculum terminology. The implementation Guide also explains at length the research behind each approach in the curriculum. There are also Appendixes that include adult level explanations as well as sample student answers and annotated responses teachers can use to improve their knowledge of what standards being met would look like in a response.

Indicator 3h

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet expectations for materials containing a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

Materials include an extensive Implementation Guide which goes into great depth about how the curriculum as a whole addresses all of the standards. Additionally, a “Module in Context” and a “Module Learning Goals” document are provided in the Module Overview of each unit. The Module in Context includes an overview of how the materials address the Common Core shifts as well as a detailed account of how the CCSS standards have a role in the curriculum. The Module Learning Goals articulate specific standards as they are addressed in each individual Module.

Indicator 3i

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials containing explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identifying research-based strategies.Materials include resources found primarily in the Implementation Guide that provide explanations of the instructional approaches and identify research-based strategies. The Implementation Guide lists what research says, what students need and how Wit and Wisdom materials provide what students need within the curriculum.

For example:

Research Says: “Performance on complex texts is the clearest differentiator in reading between students who are likely to be ready for college and those who are not.” (ACT 16-17) “But as expectations of college and career reading have held steady or increased, the complexity of Grades K-12 texts have held steady or increased, the complexity of Grades K-12 texts has declined (Adams 4-5; NGA Center and CCSS) 3).”

Students Need: “Students need to be able to unlock meaning from complex texts.”

Wit & Wisdom Responds: “Instead of basals, Wit & Wisdom students read complex, grade-level books they love from classics such as The Story of Ferdinand and Animal Farm, to new favorites such as Last Stop on Market Street and The Crossover, to captivating nonfiction such as I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban and An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Students use these texts at every turn-to learn, and eventually master, essential reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary skills.”

Some Core Practice examples include:

Vocabulary: “The Wit & Wisdom approach to teaching vocabulary thorough knowledge of word meanings is key to understanding any complex text and to learning as a whole (Chall and Jacobs; Anderson and Freebody 77). Vocabulary instruction in Wit & Wisdom is accordingly designed to achieve three key student outcomes:

  • Better comprehension of complex texts
  • Broader and deeper knowledge of words and word parts (including affixes and roots)
  • Increased ability to determine the meanings of unknown words As a text-based curriculum,

Wit & Wisdom teaches vocabulary both implicitly and explicitly using words in the core and supplementary texts. Through repeated readings of complex, knowledge-building texts, students implicitly learn many new words (Feitelson, Kita, and Goldstein 340; Miller and Gildea 96; Nagy and Scott 273). Explicit vocabulary instruction focused on the three student outcomes emphasizes three categories of high-leverage vocabulary words and phrases.”

Questioning: “Students monitor their understanding of the text by recording questions they have about it. During their first encounter of the text, students record questions they have about it. When students return to the text, they continue to monitor their understanding, recording any additional questions that arise while also looking for answers to their original questions. After the first stage of reading, students share, and when possible, answer these text based questions, or problem solve about how to answer the questions. For example, students may return to the text, consult a reference source, or conduct research. This helps students maintain engagement with and focus on the text while reading and monitor their comprehension of what they are reading. This helps teachers formatively assess students to indicate their understanding of the text and learning from previous modules.”

Indicator 3j

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

Instructional materials reviewed contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement. There is a series of Parent Tip Sheets that provide a summary of each module in the curriculum; including a list of module texts, additional books to read at home, sample questions, and activities to extend thinking and learning. There are also several resources available, such as blogs about learning, on the greatmind.org website to help parents better understand how to support their child.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Materials offer regular opportunities for systematic and strategic data collection to inform instruction and describe student progress and performance.

Indicator 3k

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for materials regularly and systematically offering assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Each module incorporates a series of checkpoints in the form of Focusing Question Tasks that help students demonstrate the knowledge and standards they are learning throughout the module. These tasks build to an End of Module (EOM) Task which is labeled in the materials as Major Assessments. Teachers can monitor student progress throughout the module to ensure that students are prepared to complete the summative task (EOM). As formative assessments, the materials provide several New Read Assessments per module in which students demonstrate their understanding of the standards covered at that point in the module. Students independently do a cold read of an informational or literary text and then complete various question (multiple choice, open-ended, short response, multi-select, etc). After answering questions, students also complete a short writing task accompanied by a graphic organizer to capture their thinking).

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed clearly denote which standards are being emphasized in lessons.Standards are found in multiple places and times during the module. Each lesson include Learning Goals which are connected to and labeled with a standard. In each module, there is a tab labeled Module Overview. A chart is provided that lists all of the standards for---- New Read Assessments, Socratic Seminar, and EOM (End of Module) Assessments. All standards assessed are labeled clearly.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of assessments providing sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Appendices include Answer Keys, Rubrics, and Sample Responses as well as rubrics for all writing types tasks.

Materials regularly provide:

  • Sample answers and recommended scripts to share with students
  • Suggestions for differentiation
  • Next steps, if students had difficulty. ‘Consider reviewing handout…. and re-watching ……”
  • Rubrics for scoring student tasks


Guidance for Interpreting Student Performance and suggestions for follow up can be found in the teacher’s notes and in the wrap section of each lesson.

Indicator 3m

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectation for including routines and guidance that provide opportunities to monitor student progress.

All modules of Wit and Wisdom follow the same format and elements for student performance. The New Read Assessments are routine and help teachers monitor students progress towards standards mastery. The Focus Questioning Tasks routinely and regularly build to the End of the Module (EOM) Assessment and monitors student progress. Checklists are provided with tasks so that students are prepared for the EOM Assessment.

A variety of resources are available in Appendix C to assist teachers in monitoring progress. Some examples include:

  • Self, peer and teacher evaluations
  • Checklists for poetry performances and Socratic Seminars.
  • Speaking and Listening Rubrics

Indicator 3n

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.In each module, Appendix D contains a curated Volume of Reading text list, which includes texts that add to the module and offer students choices at varying levels of complexity. Based on the Content Framing Questions, a set of Volume of Reading Reflection Questions appears in the Student Edition of each module, giving students guidance and structure to apply the Content Framing Questions independently to books of their choice. Time for Volume of Reading is not included within the ninety-minute module lessons, but it is noted that it should be a high priority and is included in the sample daily schedules in the Getting Started Section of the Implementation Guide.

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.
10/10
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials provide multiple strategies for supporting all learners throughout the program, including strategies for students.

Indicator 3o

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for providing teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so that the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

Examples include the following:

  • Focusing Question Tasks - These tasks may also come with a recommendation for differentiation depending on student performance or ability.
  • Scaffolding or Extension boxes are located within lesson materials in the Teacher’s Edition. There are also recommendations for teachers to review, re-watch, or re-read materials depending on how students performed on lesson tasks.
  • The Next steps in the “Land/Wrap” section of the end of each lesson will also give recommendations for teachers to support students who didn’t understand portions of the lesson.

Indicator 3p

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

The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. Materials include explicit vocabulary and grammar instruction, Text-dependent questions that focus all students on key terms, phrases, and passages for rereading and repeated exploration, partner work that includes oral practice of written responses , and multiple authentic opportunities to use academic language with support, such as explicit teaching about speaking and listening, sentence frames, and vocabulary support

Example of materials for supporting below grade level students include:

  • In each lesson, there is a section titled “Land/Wrap”. Teachers are given strategies to assist struggling students with the complex text or task in the “Next Steps” section (located in at the conclusion of every lesson). For example:“For students who had trouble recognizing the challenges Carbone describes, encourage them to skim pages 227–229 for keywords that indicate a challenge (e.g., “not the easiest thing in the world” [227], “not always easy” [228], “Another challenge” [229]). Pair students to reread these sections to identify the challenge Carbone is referring to and the solution she developed to address this challenge.”

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet requirements for regularly including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension activities are provided throughout materials. These are included in boxes in the Teacher’s Edition lesson plans. For example, Module 3, Lesson 13, A set of extension activities are included in the lesson plan concentrating on Reasons, Evidence, and Elaboration.

Indicator 3r

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

Materials reviewed meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons. Lessons indicate where pairs, whole group, small group, or individual groupings are utilized for instruction. Each lesson provides students opportunities to work through more than one type of grouping. Teachers are also provided suggestions for how to assign roles or divide groups. For example, Socratic Seminars are used frequently and teachers are given detailed instructions on how to model the strategy and assign groups and responsibilities. Other routines that provide opportunities for grouping include, but are not limited to anchor charts, boxes and buttons, categorization, chalk talk, choral reading, echo reading, fishbowl, gallery walk, give one-get one- move on, graffiti wall, grammar safari, graphic organizers, jigsaw, link up, literary dominoes, mix and mingle, outside-in, partner reading, praise/question/suggestion, question corners, quick write, quiz-quiz-trade, reader’s theater, and response techniques.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Materials work well on all technology platforms and are easy to access. They are easily customizable for local use. Supports for teachers to use technology as a part of the learning process with students is available. Adaptive technology is not offered with this program.

Indicator 3s

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

The materials 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. Accessibility was tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. All access was successful.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.Technology is used throughout modules and lessons to enhance student learning and draw attention to evidence and texts.

  • In Module 2, Lesson 25, teachers use a video of The Odyssey as one of the available texts for the lesson. In this lesson, students also conduct a peer-edit on their partner’s technology-based project to help ensure that each guideline is being met and to help prepare them for the End-of-Module Task in which they will complete another technology-based presentation.
  • In Module 4, Lesson 30, students will be viewing segments of a video titled Lost Treasures of Afghanistan. Students take notes for each segment in their Response Journals, listing bullet points about what they learned as they watch.
  • In most lessons, a document camera is used to display student work, show examples, and direct student’s attention to evidence and tests.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials do not meet expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Adaptive or other technological innovations are not included in the instructional materials. The only digital instructional materials provided are documents which teachers can edit themselves.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

Materials can be easily customized for local use. The Implementation Guide states, “When observing teachers, school leaders should keep in mind that Wit & Wisdom is not a scripted program, and Wit & Wisdom instruction will vary from classroom to classroom. While the lessons can be implemented as written, teachers will study the modules and come to know them as deeply as the educators who wrote them. Teachers should use their knowledge of the modules and of their students to customize lessons when needed.” However, all handouts and lessons can only be downloaded in pdf form and can not be edited.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials do not include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate.

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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 02/27/2020

Report Edition: 2016

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

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

Advancing Through Gateways

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

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

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

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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.

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

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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