Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for alignment. While texts partially meet some expectations, the majority of work done in reading, writing, speaking, and listening do not meet the expectations of the indicators.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
0
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

Does Not Meet Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

Grade 5 StoryTown materials do not meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
13/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed partially meet the criteria that anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading/listening and consider a range of student interests and reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Materials have the appropriate level of complexity and support students’ literacy skills over the course of the school year. The instructional materials reviewed partially meet the expectation of supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year and partially meet the criteria for range and volume of reading to support students' reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Anchor texts in the majority of lessons and across the year-long curriculum are of publishable quality. Anchor texts are well-crafted, content rich, often award winning titles, and include a range of student interests, engaging students at the grade level for which they are placed. However, many texts include excerpts that may be missing information needed for students to understand the text. In some texts, much background knowledge is needed for students to engage with the materials. For example:

  • In Theme 1, Lesson 3, students read “Chang and the Bamboo Flute” by Elizabeth Starr Hill. This is an age/grade appropriate text, which is thought-provoking and worthy of multiple reads.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 8, students read an excerpt from “When Washington Crossed the Delaware” by Lynne Cheney. This is an age/grade appropriate text, which contains strong content and academic vocabulary, and it contains vibrant illustrations.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 12, students read “Ultimate Field Trip 3: Wading Into Marine Biology” by Susan G. Goodman. This is an age/grade appropriate text, which contains thought-provoking material and vibrant illustrations.
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 16, students read and excerpt from “The School Story” by Andrew Clements. This is a modern, age/grade appropriate text, which contains engaging, vibrant illustrations.
  • In Theme 5, Lesson 23, students read an excerpt from “Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Barrio” by Tony Johnston. This is a modern, age/grade appropriate text.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 27, students read “Klondike Kate” by Liza Ketchum. This is a thought-provoking, age/grade appropriate text.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Anchor and paired texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. Each of the six Themes for the year integrates various genres to support student’s understanding of the Theme. Additional self-selected reading selections are suggested as part of the classroom library to support the Themes. Text types include realistic fiction, magazine articles, autobiography, poetry, interview, biography, photo essay, narrative nonfiction, myth, fable, tall tale, folktale, expository nonfiction, historical document, and informational narrative.

The following examples of literature found within the instructional materials include:

  • Theme 1: "Rope Burn" by Jan Siebold
  • Theme 2: "When the Circus Came to Town" by Laurence Yep
  • Theme 3: "Storm Along" by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Theme 4: "The School Story" by Andrew Clements
  • Theme 5: "The Power of W.O.W!" by Crystal Hubbard

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

  • Theme 1: "Tree Houses for Everyone" by Tiffany Sommers
  • Theme 2: "Tejano Conjunto Festival" by Kathleen D. Lindsey
  • Theme 3: "Voyage into the Past by Ann Collins
  • Theme 4: "Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Edison by Marfe Ferguson Delano
  • Theme 5: "Kids in Action” by Elizabeth Schlelchert
  • Theme 6: "Hupa and Yurok Baskets" by Gerald Hausman

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The majority of texts are at the appropriate quantitative level. Texts that are above or below grade level quantitative bands have qualitative features and/or tasks that bring it to the appropriate level for students to access the text. Within the series, quantitative texts levels range from 590L-1140L, with some text above and some below, the current grade level Lexile band. Books identified for small group instruction are noted as below level, on level, advanced, and Intended for ELL students.

Example of texts that is above the quantitative measure, but is at the appropriate level based on qualitative analysis and associated task:

  • In Theme 4, students read "Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison" has a quantitative measure of 1140L. The text is supported with text features such as illustrations, a map, diagrams, headings, embedded context clues for more difficult vocabulary, and less dense chunks of text on most pages.

Examples of texts that are below the quantitative measure, but are at the appropriate level based on qualitative analysis and associated task:

  • In Theme 2, students read "When the Circus Came to Town" which measures quantitatively at 590L. The text is historical fiction, which is a more challenging genre for students. It also has a more sophisticated theme, idiomatic language, and an unusual setting.
  • In Theme 5, students read "Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Barrio" with a measure of 600L. This text is realistic fiction, a familiar genre to students, but it includes Spanish as part of the dialogue, and references to culture that increase the rigor of the text.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

As the year progresses, students read texts at a variety of complexity levels. For each text, the routine for reading and analyzing the text is similar and does not change based on text complexity. Scaffolding remains the same with no gradual release of responsibility and very little increase in expectations. Expectations from beginning to ending units don't seem to increase significantly. Most comprehension skills or strategies so not spiral back during the year, and don't necessarily increase in rigor or increase students' skill development. Culminating tasks do not require an increase of skills across the year and do not lead to proficiency in reading independently at grade level at the end of the school year.

While there is a variety of text complexities across the year, and most texts increase in difficulty throughout the year quantitatively, scaffolding remains the same with no gradual release of responsibility and very little increase in expectations. For example,the skill of writing a summary is introduced through a practice book activity in Theme 4, Lesson 18 when students are provided prompting to “State the story title and genre. Tell what the characters hoped to accomplish, what problems they encountered, and how they overcame them.” The skill is revisited in Theme 5, Lesson 21 as a whole group Comprehension Strategy lesson. A transparency is displayed for students as the teacher explains the steps in summarizing a text: retell the most important events or ideas, a summary does not include minor details, should present ideas in the same order as the selection, and should be told in the reader’s own words without changing any of the author’s ideas. The teacher provides prompting during a “Think Aloud” to guide the students through the writing of the summary by providing a summary of the passage. Students are provided a guided practice to summarize a passage as a whole group and independent practice to summarize with a partner. Summarizing is revisited in Theme 5, Lesson 22 where the directions provided follow the exact protocol from the previous instruction. Students are guided through the writing of the summary with a Think Aloud. Theme 6 includes two opportunities to practice the skill of summarizing in Lessons 28 and 29. In each of these lessons there is a transparency provided for the teacher to complete a Think Aloud review of summarizing demonstrating the steps in completing a summary. The students complete a summary as a group and the students are provided an opportunity to practice summarizing a paragraph with a partner. There is no increase in student independence or ability to complete a summary without teacher assistance.

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.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are not accompanied by a text complexity analysis or a rationale for educational purpose and placement in Grade 5. The publisher identifies anchor text by genre, and leveled readers are suggested by Below-Level, On-Level, and Advanced. Texts are identified as Below-Level, On-Level, and Advanced and no specific complexity level or rationale is provided.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

There are opportunities for students to read a range and volume of texts. The materials provide some experiences with independent reading. Teacher materials lack explicit directions to help students build their skills to read on grade level independently by the end of the year, and weekly lessons have minimal time dedicated to students reading independently.

In each lesson, students interact with a getting started story, a read-aloud, a whole-group vocabulary selection, anchor text, paired text read, and a self-selected text read during center work. Leveled readers are provided for small-group, differentiated work. Resources are provided to offer students a variety of texts of different lengths and genres. There are longer main selections, which often are excerpts from complete literary or informational books for children. There are paired selections, shorter in length, provided as a companion text, so students can compare and contrast characters, genre elements, text features, content, and other aspects of the texts.

A Reading Adventure: Student Magazine is used for supplemental lessons to extend the Common Core. Additional texts related to the Themes are provided as leveled reading selections. These selections are suggested in the Resources section of the Teacher Edition on pg. R9.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
3/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed do not meet the criteria that questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based, requiring students to engage with the text directly. Materials do not contain questions sequence that build to a culminating task. Materials provide some protocols for discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax, but do not provide adequate opportunitiy for evidence-based discucssion. Materials partially meet the criteria for including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Materials offer some opportunities for students to engage in writing tasks across the text types required in the standards. Materials do not include frequent opportunities for evidence based writing. Materials do not meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

The materials reviewed some contain questions and tasks that require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support answers. However, the questions and tasks do not meet the expectations of the Grade 5 standards. There are some quality examples provided in the Extending the Common Core State Standards Teacher Support Book, but only a few examples are included for each theme. The teacher will need to supplement throughout the year's worth of material to ensure students have support to master Grade 5 standards.

Questions asked include those which require explicit answers and some inferences from the text. Materials include questions requiring students to engage with the text in multiple sections including Check Comprehension, Monitor Comprehension, and Making Predictions. Students must engage with the text to answer questions and complete activities. Examples of text dependent/specific questions, tasks, and assignments include:

  • In Theme 1, Lesson 4, Day 2, the teacher is provided formative questions to monitor student comprehension. Students are asked, “What did Ellen do all through her days at school that led her to be successful?" Then, after reading the selection, students are asked to respond to the question, “How can you tell that the author wants readers to know that music is important to Ellen Ochoa?”
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 11, after reading a set a paired text, students are asked, “Compare the experiences of the characters in “Sailing Home: A Story of a Childhood at Sea” to the experiences of the kids in “Voyage into the Past.” In what ways was the school aboard the John Ena similar to the schools in the United States today? In what ways was it different?”
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 17, Make Inferences section, students are asked to “review a short fiction story they have recently read. As they revisit the text, ask them to pause to identify inferences they make or have made about the characters and events.”
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 18, students are asked to find answers to the questions in the Monitor Comprehension section. Students are required to use the story from the Anthology text, “Project Mulberry.” Students are asked, “What is the problem for Patrick that tops can’t be taken off the cartoons? Why can’t Julie open the eggs?”
  • In Theme 5, students are required to read the play, “A Royal Mystery.” The questions that follow require textual evidence and engagement with the text in order to achieve comprehension. Examples are: “In Scene I, Althea and Rena meet. How do their actions in Scene II build on Scene I? What do you learn about Althea?”
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 29, students reread p. 763 of “The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon” by Bea Uusma Schyffert and are asked to answer the following: “Why do you think the author included details about Michael Collins’ time alone in the capsule? How do you think the author feels about the fact that Michael Collins never got to walk on the moon?” These inferential questions require textual evidence to support the answers.

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).
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

At the end of each lesson, students answer questions which can be either personal response or text-dependent as they read each text selection. Reading selections are directly or loosely tied to the unit’s overarching theme. At the end of each main selection, students discuss or write responses to five Think Critically questions about their reading, but these questions do not build to a culminating task that integrates skills.

The Reading-Writing Connection, identified as Theme Writing, takes students through the steps of the writing process leading to a final written product and ending with an on-demand piece of the same genre. While the process piece is not dependent upon questioning from the lessons’ anchor texts, there is a text used to teach the writing genre or analyze a specific writing trait. Daily, weekly, and theme planning do not provide teachers with time allotment or suggestions for how and when the Theme Project and Reading-Writing Connection are to be completed.

Materials are divided into Themes. Each of the six Themes includes a culminating Theme Project related to the Theme but not necessarily to the Theme’s text. These projects follow the same routine of Building Background and Following Project Steps leading to a final project. The final project may include a writing component. The Theme Projects can be completed without reading or understanding the text selections within the Themes. The projects do not integrate skills developed during instruction throughout the unit. For example:

  • In Theme 1, “Finding a Way,” the Theme Project is to select a remarkable individual from history, research the person, write a profile, create a display, and present. While all anchor texts are related to the Theme, this project could be completed without reading or responding to the texts in any of the lessons from the Theme.
  • In Theme 5, the Reading-Writing Connection is a persuasive composition. Students read “Interrupted Journey” by Kathryn Laskey and the teacher discusses persuasive writing. With the teacher’s direction, students analyze a student model of persuasive writing and proceed to choose their own topic for a persuasive composition. The completion of this Theme-long piece is not dependent upon the reading of the anchor text or deep understanding of the Theme.

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.)
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The curriculum provides opportunities for students to engage in evidence-based discussions but not all are rich and rigorous. The opportunities provide limited protocols to support vocabulary and syntax throughout each unit or within lessons. Materials include practices to build robust vocabulary and application of content words, but not academic vocabulary and syntax. Themes provide limited information on how teachers can provide support and scaffolds with collaborative conversations. Most discussions are whole group with limited opportunities for small group or peer-to-peer discussion.

Each Theme has a Speaking and Listening page that provides minimal scaffolding of instruction for students to prepare and share their writing. Although speaking and listening tasks are included in various spots throughout the year, there is limited instruction to support students’ mastering of listening and speaking skills. The opportunities do not adequately address the mastery of grade-level speaking and listening standards. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In each lesson, the Warm-Up Routines include objectives such as “listen attentively and respond appropriately to oral communication; and to write and speak in complete sentences." There are some basic directions about communicating with words and without words. Two discussion questions are included after each warm-up read aloud.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 6, students are provided with opportunities to discuss in small groups or partnerships. They are asked to work in pairs to “discuss how the theme would be different if Carolina was excited about the move.” Students are further provided an opportunity to discuss by sharing their ideas. Also, in Theme 4 during the Practice/Apply section, students are asked to work in small groups to complete an activity from the Student Magazine. They are encouraged to draw examples from the story to support their talking points.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 13, some opportunities to hold evidence-based discussions are provided in the Comprehension Strategy section, when students work in pairs to read a passage from a tall tale or another type of narrative text. Students use a cause and effect graphic organizer to record the information they find in the text. Partners then share and talk about their choices. However, other questions for discussion do not require textual evidence, such as Questions of the Day which are included for each lesson. These questions provide opportunities for discussion but do not require students to utilize the text and are not addressed at any other point during the lesson. For example, in Theme 2, Lesson 6, Day 3 the question is “Name an activity that you find irresistible. Why do you feel that way?” This question could be answered without any reference to the text.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 6, students are asked to discuss text-based questions such as: “Discuss character’s actions and motives.” Within these activities, however there are not specific routines or protocols provided to scaffold instruction or teach how to hold these discussions.
  • Activities are present that include opportunities for teaching students to hold a discussion about a text such as in the supplementary Teacher Support Book, Theme 4, Speaking and Listening, pg. T47, the teacher provides students with rules for effective discussions in this lesson extension. The teacher is instructed to “Point out that during the discussions, partners or group members should listen to one another, build on one another’s ideas, and try to express their own ideas clearly. Explain to students that following a few simple rules, such as coming to the discussion prepared, can help them have more effective discussions.”
  • In the Resources section of the Teacher Support Book, pg. R9, is a sheet to provide to students entitled, “Discussion Rules and Roles,” with rules, roles, and responsibilities that students can refer to when participating in a discussion. Rules include: "Prepare for the discussion, Set a goal and assign roles, Express your own ideas clearly, Build on other people’s ideas, Ask follow-up questions, and Use appropriate language formal vs. informal." With this lesson extension, students are to use the Students Magazine, p. 59, and read “What About Me?” They then practice using the rules and roles for discussion. There is a similar lesson extension focusing on Collaborative Discussions in the Teacher Support Book, Theme 5, pg. T57. However, in each of these examples, discussions do not incorporate the use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

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.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Some grade appropriate speaking and listening opportunities are provided over the course of the year. Students have opportunities to ask classmates and their teacher questions and answer questions about ideas presented. The curriculum includes minimal protocols and graphic organizers to support academic discussions. Anchor text for each lesson are read by students with the teacher asking whole-group discussion questions throughout the reading to monitor comprehension. Teachers are not provided direction or protocols for these discussions. Each theme has a “Speaking and Listening” page that provides very little scaffolding of instruction for students to prepare and share their writing or how to gather evidence from text to include in discussions. Although speaking and listening tasks are included in various spots throughout the year, there is limited instruction to support students’ mastering of listening and speaking skills. Many discussions do not require students to return to the text or provide evidence for their thinking. Students will often be asked to speak about something they have written, but do not have many opportunities to speak about what they have read.

The materials contain some activities for students to engage in speaking and listening activities but do not provide many opportunities for follow up questions, supports, or appropriate feedback. Questioning opportunities are provided but do not provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in peer conversations to develop answers. Many discussions do not require students to return to the text or provide evidence for their thinking. Examples include:

  • In Theme 3, Lesson 11, in the Speaking and Listening section, students prepare and deliver an oral presentation that describes a setting. The teacher shares strategies for listening (focus attention on the speaker, create a picture in your mind of what you hear, save questions until the end). After listening to peers’ presentations, students are asked to share any sensory details that the speaker used which were effective and are encouraged to ask questions about details that could use elaboration.
  • During each lesson, students are provided a Speaking and Listening opportunity. For example, in Theme 6, Lesson 29, students give an explanatory speech, and listen to their classmates’ explanatory speeches. Tips are provided to organize content, and for speaking and listening strategies, however students do not have to refer to texts to prepare for the presentation.
  • Theme 5, Speaking and Listening, students are asked to role-play and interview. Next students will listen to their classmates role-play interview. A rubric is provided for students to follow as they present their persuasive speech. Teacher’s guide does not provided scaffolded instructions to supporting students speaking and listening skills, nor does it have students discussing what they are reading or researching.
  • In Theme 5 of the “Teacher Support Book: Extending the Common Core State Standards”, in the Speaking and Listening section, the teacher discusses the importance of listening carefully during group discussions so that the listener can draw conclusions about the topic. In small groups, students deliver a persuasive speech while each group member listens then asks clarifying questions then summarizes the speech. Students then draw conclusions on the opinions presented in each group member’s speech.

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.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Within each lesson, students read paired texts. Following these readings, a writing prompt requires students to use their knowledge of the texts to complete an on-demand writing task. As part of the daily, small group instruction, students have a short writing assignment aligned with the whole-class writing activity for that lesson. In each Lesson, students are asked to work through the writing process to produce a short piece of writing. Day 1: Introduce, Day 2: Pre-write, Day 3: Draft, Day 4: Revise/Edit, and on Day 5: Revise/Share.

Each Theme includes a Reading-Writing Connection that spans the entire five week Theme incorporating the stages of the writing process, prewrite, draft, revise, proofread, and publish. Materials include both on-demand and process writing with opportunities for students to edit and publish pieces. Each process writing is completed within a one week time frame. While there are many opportunities for writing, there is little evidence to suggest students write routinely over an extended time frame as required by the writing standard, W.3.10.

Writing opportunities exist for on-demand writing at the end of each selection with a timed writing. Writing prompts include some guidance for students but lack pacing guidance. Student writing opportunities frequently do not require textual evidence. There is no provision for utilizing digital resources in writing. On-demand writing opportunities include prompts such as:

  • In Theme 4, Lesson 17, Day 2, students write on-demand to the prompt: "Think about a neighbor you know well. Write how you met your neighbor and tell how he or she is like."
  • In Theme 1, Lesson 2, after reading “Line Drive” by Tanya West Dean and “Ninth Inning” by Anna Levine, students respond to the following on-demand task: "The author had a plan for making herself a part of the action on the baseball field. Write a set of tips for someone who wants to do the same thing. Use a web to brainstorm ideas."
  • In the Teacher Support Book, an extra writing lesson is provided for each Theme. For example, for Theme 3, there is a lesson on Adding Support in an Explanatory Text. Students use a piece of text from the Student Magazine as a model for the topic of the lesson. For example, for Theme 3, students use examples from an article on service dogs to learn how to add quotations from reliable sources.
  • Once during each Theme, students are asked to complete one 45-minute on-demand piece of writing in response to a prompt. Students prewrite, organize ideas using a graphic organizer, draft, revise and proofread.

Writing opportunities also exist for process writing during each five week Theme. Writing prompts include guidance for students but lack pacing guidance. Literary selections are utilized as mentor texts but writings do not require textual evidence. There is no provision for utilizing digital resources in process writing. Process writing opportunities include prompts such as:

  • In Theme 2, a reading and writing connection task requires students to move through the writing process by prewriting, drafting, revising, and evaluating and publishing. The teacher’s manual does not provide digital resources or suggestions for online support for this long written assignment.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 11, Day 1, pages T68-T69, students analyze a mentor text to identify types of sentences. On Day 2, they analyze the student model for types of sentences. On Day 3, students prewrite from a prompt. On Day 4, they begin their draft, and on Day 5, students use a partner and a checklist to discuss their writing.
  • In Theme 6, in the Teacher Support Book, pages T68-T69, there is a supplementary lesson on Conducting a Research Project. Teachers are advised to “Tell students they should use additional print and digital sources to add information or clarify concepts not fully explained.” This is one of the few examples of students using technology to produce and publish writing.
  • Students have the opportunity to write a more extended process piece during the 5-week Theme. Each Theme focuses on one or more traits. For example, the focus traits in Theme 3 are Sentence Fluency and Composition. A literature model is provided, and students self-select their topic within the form being taught. For example, in Theme 3, students write an expository nonfiction piece on a topic of their choice. Students plan, draft, revise for specific craft elements, edit, and publish. Pacing or time allocations for this process piece is not clear.

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

The Reading-Writing Connection ties a process writing task to the anchor text in Lesson 1 of each Theme. The writing genres for each of the six Reading-Writing Connections are: Personal Narrative, Response to Literature, Expository Essay, Autobiographical Narrative, Persuasive Essay and Research Report. The writing prompts are balanced between informative and narrative with few opportunities for opinion pieces. Weekly lessons partially support students’ skill development to complete the Reading-Writing Connection. Genres for the weekly lessons include: newspaper story, cause/effect essay, letter, how-to composition, character description, skit, and narrative scene. While materials provide sufficient opportunities for a year’s worth of writing, materials lack the rigor to support students in meeting the standards for writing.

Materials lack instructional writing support for students and teachers. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Theme 1, Reading-Writing Connection, students write a Personal Narrative. However, the daily writing activities for Lesson 4 focus on writing a Newspaper Story. When students analyze the mentor text, “The Darling Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter” by Bonnie Christiansen, and the student model, the focus is on word choice, not the organization of a newspaper article, providing little support for students writing their own article. The rubric used by student pairs to discuss their writing does not address Standard W.5.2. and the instruction needed to be proficient in informative/explanatory writing.

The materials contain a balance of types of writing, but writing tasks do not build in rigor throughout the year as shown by:

  • Theme 1 – Reading Writing Connection: Personal Narrative; On Demand Writing – personal narrative
  • Theme 2 – Reading Writing Connection: Response to Literature; On Demand Writing – How to Paragraph
  • Theme 3 –Reading Writing Connection: Expository Composition; On Demand Writing – essay on why you like an outdoor place
  • Theme 4 – Reading Writing Connection: Story; On Demand Writing – story about getting lost
  • Theme 5 – Reading Writing Connection: Persuasive Composition; On Demand Writing – Persuasive Composition
  • Theme 6 – Reading Writing Connection: Research Report; On Demand Writing – opinion piece about insects

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Writing prompts do not frequently provide opportunities for students to produce evidence-based writing. The materials sometimes address evidenced-supported writing in one question at the end of each main selection. When students are required to return to the text to answer a writing prompt, there are no clear teacher directions for how to support students in this exercise. While reading the main selection, questions are included for discussion, but no support or scaffolding is provided to infuse writing into daily routines.

The first four lessons in each of the 6 Themes contain a Paired Selection in which students compare the anchor text in that lesson with an additional, shorter text, often of a different genre but on the same topic or a related topic. Questions follow each pairing, but there is no clear direction requiring students to respond to these questions in writing. The questions are Text to Self, Text to Text, and Text to World connections that do not require careful analyses, and many can be answered without returning to the text. Each paired text includes a written response, but these responses often do not require analysis of how the texts approach similar themes. There are times when students are directed to reread a section or paragraph of a text, but the questioning following this is frequently class discussion with no written component and no careful analyses or well-defended claims. Lessons do not routinely require writing after a close reading of text. Daily writing prompts, Reading-Writing Connection extended writing, on-demand writing, and most paired-selection writing tasks do not require students to engage in text-dependent analysis. There are very few opportunities for students to write opinion pieces supported with reasons. Examples of writing tasks showing a lack of consistent evidence-based writing include:

  • In Theme 2, Lesson 6, students are asked to write a personal response. In Theme 2, Lesson 8, students are asked to write a journal entry. These forms of writing do not provide an opportunity for evidence-based writing.
  • In Theme 6, students are asked to write a more extended piece of writing that is a research report. Students write on a topic of their choice.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 1, Reading-Writing Connection, students complete a Response to Literature. In this response, students form an opinion about the text, “Chang and the Bamboo Flute” by Lulu Delacre, and how it connects to their life. Students are instructed on the formation of a strong opinion using precise language. However, there are no specific questions students answer requiring careful analyses or well-defended claims in their responses.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 27, students read “Klondike Kate” by Liza Ketchum and “Sourdough” by Jane Scherer and respond to the following questions: “Kate Ryan learned skills that helped her earn money. What practical skills would you like to develop? In “Sourdough,” the discovery of sourdough is described as a lucky accident. How was sourdough a lucky accident for Kate Ryan? Kate Ryan never gave up. Do you think her attitude is a good one to have? Explain.” Students then complete a writing assignment to write a character sketch of Kate Ryan. None of these questions require drawing evidence from the text to support analysis or reflection in how these texts approach similar themes.
  • On Day 3 of each lesson, there are 3 questions related to comparing texts. Many of the questions ask students to make text-to-self and text-to-world connections. For example, in Theme 4, Lesson 18, Day 3, Question 1 asks students, “What kind of science project would you enjoy working on?” In Theme 4, Lesson 18, Day 3, Question 3 asks students, “What lessons do you think Julia and Patrick learned from their science fair projects?”

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.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for StoryTown Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. The materials do provide some out of context direct instruction for the standards articulated in this indicator; however, teachers will need to create new engagements for in-context application to ensure students can apply and demonstrate these standards in their work.

The Teacher Edition materials for Grade 5 include a five-day lesson sequence for spelling, grammar, and writing for every lesson in each of the six themes. In each theme, the final lesson includes a five-day sequence lesson that reviews the skills taught in spelling, grammar, and writing. Review lessons provide opportunities for students to practice skills both in and out of context. Grammar and convention skills increase in sophistication; however, there are many instances of grammar and convention skills that overlap with previous grade level Language standards. For example, in Grade 5, Theme 1, the grammar focus includes complete, declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences which are introduced in the Grade 1 Language standards and are also included in the Grade 4 grammar lessons. In addition, grammar lessons in Theme 2, include simple and compound sentences which are introduced in Grade 3 Language standards and are also included in the Grade 4 grammar lessons. In addition, the majority of the language standards for Grade 5 are not covered in the main materials of the program, but rather in the Extending the Common Core State Standards. In this supplement, students do have the opportunity to learn grammar and convention skills through modeling, guided practice, and independent practice; however, lessons provide one opportunity for student mastery and do not follow the five-day sequence of the lessons contained in the main materials.

Materials include some instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. For example:

  • Students have opportunities to explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences. For example:
    • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 1, page T16, the teacher reminds students that an interjection is a word or phrase that shows feeling or emotion. In Guided Practice, students revise sentences by adding punctuation before or after each interjection and correct capitalization.
    • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 2, page T28, students participate in a grammar lesson to explain the function of prepositions and to correctly use prepositions.
    • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 3, page T38, the teacher reviews with students that conjunctions are used to join different parts of sentence and that different types of conjunctions serve different purposes.
  • Students have opportunities to use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions. For example:
    • In Theme 5, Lesson 23, the teacher models past and present tense verbs. On Day 2, the students complete each sentence with a future tense verb. On Day 3, the students complete sentence frames with the correct tense of the word “look.” On Day 4, the students write about whether they are a cat person or a dog person. Students include verbs in all simple tenses - past, present, and future. On Day 5, students copy sentences and correct any errors using the appropriate verb tense.
  • Students have opportunities to use a comma to set off the words yes and no, to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence, and to indicate direct address. For example:
    • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 4, page T48, students participate in a grammar lesson to use commas to set off an introductory word or phrase such as yes or no. The student revises ‘Yes, I’m a busy person.’ to include the comma after yes.
  • Students have opportunities to use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works. For example:
    • In Theme 6, Lesson 29, students participate in a five-day grammar lesson to punctuate titles and dialogue correctly.
  • Students have opportunities to spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed. For example:
    • In Theme 6, Lesson 28, students participate in a five-day spelling lesson sequence to correctly spell words that contain Latin word parts.

Materials include some opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. For example:

  • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 2, pages T28-T29, students participate in a grammar lesson to explain the function of prepositions and to correctly use prepositions. The teacher models how to identify the preposition and its function in the sentence. The students are guided to complete sentences with the correct preposition and to identify the function of each preposition. Students independently complete a worksheet. Students work in partners to describe an event from the article using sentences with prepositions. Students write an email to a friend, using at least two sentences that include prepositions. Students write a paragraph containing prepositions. They explain the function of each preposition.
  • In Extending the Common Core State Standards, Theme 6, pages T66-T67, students participate in a grammar lesson to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense and to form and use perfect verb tenses. The teacher reviews verb tenses with students. The teacher uses Think Aloud to demonstrate correcting the shift in verb tense. The teacher guides students to discuss the meaning of each sentence, depending on the verb tense used. Students work with a partner to complete a worksheet. Partners describe a favorite movie or television show using the past perfect, present perfect, or future perfect verb tenses. The teacher reminds students to check for the correct use of verb tenses when they edit their writing. Students work with a partner to write a paragraph describing an event. Students look for and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
  • In Extending the Common Core State Standards,Theme 2, pages T24-T25, students participate in a vocabulary strategies lesson to compare and contrast the varieties of English dialects and registers used in stories and poems. The teacher models how to compare the wording used in a formal register to the wording we would use today. Students are guided to restate phrases used in a poem to modern language. Students are guided to compare and contrast a narrative and a poem. Students work in partners to use a two-column chart to compare and contrast the varieties of English in an article with those used in modern English.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
4/6
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. Materials meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Indicator 1o

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

The materials reviewed for Story Town Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

Teacher Edition materials provide a five-day instructional sequence that focuses on spelling words correctly using a spelling pattern. Each lesson includes Decode/Word Attack instruction that explicitly teaches students to use structural analysis to decode and read unknown words connected to the spelling focus of the lesson. Instruction is provided out-of-context and is not connected to students’ reading. There are many lessons that include instruction from previous grades. Students take a weekly test and a theme test for each of the six themes. However, assessments do not include phonics and word recognition. In addition, opportunities are missed to provide instruction in irregularly spelled words.

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

  • Students have opportunities to use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context. For example:
    • In Theme 1, Lesson 2 during Decoding/Word Attack Syllable Patterns: Open Syllable Patterns and CVCe patterns, the teacher writes the word broken on the board, reads it aloud, tells how many syllables there are and where the word should be divided. The teacher writes client and deride on the board asking student show many syllables are in each and where they should be divided. The teacher writes five more words on the board and students break each word into syllables and reads each word. This is a review skill.
    • In Theme 2, Lesson 6, during Decoding/Word Attack Syllable Patterns: Consonant -le, the teacher writes the world little on the board and reads it aloud. A student identifies which syllable receives the stress. The teacher tells students that the vowel sound in the second syllable is a schwa. The teacher writes a chart on the board with six words broken into syllables. Students decode and read each word.
    • In Theme 3, Lesson 14 during Decoding/Word Attack Unaccented Syllables: Schwa + n, Schwa + l, Schwa + r, the teacher writes barrel and clever on the board and reads the word explaining that the vowel sound in the first syllable receives the stress and the vowel sound is neither long nor short. The teacher writes five words on the board, guiding students to read each word and identify the sounds.
    • In Theme 4, Lesson 18 during Decoding/Word Attack Structural Analysis: Suffixes -ous, -eous, -ious, the teacher writes righteous on the board and asks a volunteer to read it. Students break the word into syllables and identify the root word. Students look through content area textbook for three words that have the suffixes -ous, -eous, and -ious.
    • In Theme 5, Lesson 22 during Decoding/Word Attack Structural Analysis: Suffixes -ation, -ition, -sion, -ion, the teacher writes a chart on the board listing three words for each suffix. Students are asked to pronounce each word, breaking them apart if needed. The teacher then lists story-related words on the board guiding students to divide the words into syllables identifying the suffix.
    • In Theme 6, Lesson 26 during Decoding/Word Attack Structural Analysis: Prefix + Base Word + Suffix, the teacher writes the words invaluable and reorganization on the board and identifies the prefix and suffix. A student volunteer identifies the base word. The teacher shares that looking for prefixes, base words, and suffixes can help the reader break longer words into syllables.

Limited assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. Phonics is assessed through the weekly spelling tests. For example:

  • In Theme 4, beginning on page A2 and going through A6, there are Using Assessment to Inform Instruction pages for Lessons 16 through 20. These pages show the tested skills for the lesson. None of the Spelling skills are listed as a tested skill.
  • In Theme 4, on page A6, tested skills are listed from the Theme 4 Test. Spelling is listed as a tested skill and there are Spelling Practice Book pages listed for extra practice.
  • In Theme 4, pages S2 through S39, students participate in Small-Group Instruction lessons. None of them include the Spelling/Phonics skill as a reteach.
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 18, Day 5, page T215, students participate in a posttest of the spelling words from this lesson.

Materials contain explicit instruction of word solving strategies (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words. For example:

  • In Theme 2, Lesson 7, page T137, students participate in a Decoding/Word Attack lesson to use structural analysis to use knowledge of syllable patterns to decode multisyllable words.
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 17, page T149, students participate in a Decoding/Word Attack lesson to use structural analysis to determine word roots with suffixes and to use knowledge of root words and affixes to determine the meaning of complex words. Students read aloud the word attendant.

Indicator 1p

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

The materials reviewed for Story Town Grade 5 partially meet the criteria for materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Core materials include Leveled Readers and a reading selection for each lesson. The Leveled Readers are provided on three levels: Below-Level, On-Level and Advanced and include the Robust Vocabulary words from the lesson. Opportunities are missed for students to practice or apply word analysis skills in connected text. Independent activities ask students to find examples in their content area text books. In addition, there is no evidence in the core materials that students are assessed in their ability to use word analysis.

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

  • In Theme 1, Lesson 1 during Decoding/ Word Attack Closed Syllable Patterns, students look for multisyllabic words closed syllable patterns in the text, Rope Burn.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 7, page T150, Leveled Readers are provided for students on three levels: Below-Level, On-Level and Advanced. Leveled Readers include the Robust Vocabulary words from the lesson: fret, assured, nudged, outlandish, ruckus, proclaimed.
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 9, during Decoding/Word Attack Syllable Patterns: Three Medial Consonants, the teacher writes the words wealthy and accomplish on the board underlining the consonants. The teacher makes a chart and guides students to break four words into syllables. Students work with a partner to find three words with the VCCCV pattern in a magazine article.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 13, during Decoding/Word Attack Structural Analysis: Suffixes -able, -ible, -ment, -less, the teacher guides students to break each of four words into syllables and read the words. Students then identify the suffix in each word. Small groups of students look in trade books and the Student Edition for four longer words with suffixes -able, -ible, -ment, and -less. Students list the words and break into syllables.
  • In Theme 5, Lesson 23, during Decoding/Word Attack Silent Letters, the teachers writes whistle, assign, and kneel on the board and identifies the silent letters. Students work together to sort ten words by their silent letter. As pairs, students look through their content-area text books for three other examples of words with silent consonants.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 28, page T222, Leveled Readers are provided for students on three levels: Below-Level, On-Level and Advanced. Leveled Readers include the Robust Vocabulary words from the lesson: summit, accustomed, streamlined, essential, secure, acclimate.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 26, during Decoding/Word Attack Structural Analysis: Prefix + Base Word + Suffix, students break apart five words identifying the prefix, base word, and suffix and completing a chart on the board. Pairs of students look through their content-area textbooks to find three words that have a prefix, base word and suffix to add to the chart.

Materials include limited word analysis assessment to monitor student learning of word analysis skills.

  • The Benchmark Assessments contain three tests (Beginning-of-Year, Mid-Year, and End-of-Year), which contain word analysis assessments. The Vocabulary and Word Analysis section is about vocabulary in the context of sentences rather than assessing students word analysis of morphemes or multisyllabic words. For example:
    • In the Beginning-of-Year Assessment, students answer the following multiple choice question: Always clever and practical, Michelle is a ___ problem-solver. Stealthy, resourceful, suitable, prideful

Indicator 1q

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

The materials reviewed for StoryTown Grade 5 meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Fluency is addressed weekly and alternate between lessons that focus on accuracy, intonation, pace, expression, reading rate, and phrasing. Students listen to the teacher model reading fluently, and students participate in choral reading, echo reading, and partner reading. Students are provided the opportunity to practice reading fluently during Literacy Centers, Differentiated Instruction, and Readers’ Theatre. In addition, students participate in Strategy Focus lessons that include instruction in ways to monitor comprehension by rereading and reading ahead to clarify. Fluency skills are assessed in the Weekly Test and Theme Test. Small group instruction lessons are available for teachers to use to reteach the fluency skill for those students that score Below-Level.

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

  • In Theme 1, Lesson 1, during Fluency: Accuracy, the teacher models reading a passage fluently and accurately. Students choral read the page with the teacher. Students then track print and echo read page 33 pronouncing each word accurately. Students read page 34 with a partner while the partner listens and follows along, providing feedback about accuracy.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 10, students participate in Readers’ Theater with “The Secret Ingredient.” Students are reminded to read with expression in order to show the characters’ feelings.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 14, during Fluency: Pace, the teacher models reading a passage fluently with appropriate pace. Students then choral read the page with the teacher slowing down when a text includes difficult concepts.
  • In Theme 5, Lesson 23, students can self-select from the leveled classroom library a book to read independently such as Average by Barbara Cooney and Easy by Pat Mora.

Materials support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary.

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings. For example:
    • In Theme 2, Lesson 7, during Fluency: Expression, the teacher models reading Student Edition page 181, fluently with expression. The teacher reads it again telling students to pay attention to the pace, volume, and intonation to express the characters’ feelings. Students then choral read the page with the teacher.
    • In Theme 4, Lesson 17, during Fluency: Intonation, the teacher models reading a passage fluently guiding students to notice how intonation can reflect changes in the mood of a story. Students then choral read the page with the teacher. Students track print and echo read page 447 matching the teacher’s intonation.
    • In Theme 5, Lesson 22, during Fluency: Expression, the teacher models reading a passage fluently with expression. The teacher reads it again telling students to pay attention to the way the reader matches expression with the characters’ feelings. Students then chorally read the page with the teacher. Students track print and echo read page 581 mirroring the teacher’s expression
    • In Theme 6, Lesson 26, during Fluency: Accuracy, the teacher models reading a passage accurately using the respellings of words. Students then choral read the page with the teacher. Students track print and echo read page 672 focusing on pronouncing each word accurately.

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

  • Students have opportunities to use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. For example:
    • In Theme 1, Lesson 4 during Comprehension Strategy Monitor Comprehension: Reread on page T232 and T233, students are reminded that when they read something they do not understand, rereading can help.
    • In Theme 5, Lesson 24, the Fluency Practice is about rereading. Students are directed to “Read the passage several times until you feel you have the correct pace.”
    • In Theme 6, Lesson 26, the Fluency Practice is about rereading. Students are directed to “Read the page aloud three times or until you can read with it accuracy.”

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills and provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. For example:

  • In Theme 2, pages A2 through A5, the Weekly Test for Lesson 6 through 10 show that fluency is a tested skill. In Lesson 6, the Fluency focus assessed is expression. The Reteach lessons for expression can be found on pages S7 and S17.
  • In Theme 2, page S7, the Fluency small group reteach lesson objective is to read aloud with prosody, using appropriate expression. There are activities for students that scored Below-Level, On-Level and Advanced. For students that are still not able to read aloud with expression after the reteach lesson, the teacher is directed to use the Strategic Intervention Resource Kit for additional resources.
  • In Theme 6, pages A2 through A5, the Weekly Test for Lessons 26 through 30 show that fluency is a tested skill. In Lesson 26, the fluency skill assessed is accuracy. The Reteach lessons for accuracy are on page S7.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

Criterion 2a - 2h

0/32

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria for texts being organized around a topic to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Each unit is organized around a central theme with a theme introduction at the beginning entitled Build Theme Connections. This section introduces the big idea or theme and includes a poem and brief discussion. Unit themes are broad and do not focus on specific vocabulary or knowledge across daily lessons. Students are not supported in accessing texts and building conceptual knowledge throughout the five-week theme. The series of texts in each lesson are sometimes cohesive and related to the central theme, but there are limited opportunities embedded for students to build expertise on specific topics so that they can increase their knowledge and vocabulary.

Materials do not provide teachers with guidance to help connect the texts to broader concepts. Sufficient time is not always allotted for students to refine their knowledge in order to access and comprehend future complex texts proficiently. Examples include:

  • In Theme 1, the overarching idea is Finding a Way, which revolves around the idea of people face challenges, and must find ways to face them and find success amidst adversity.The overarching idea in Theme 1 is very broad. Some of the texts and questions connect to the idea of facing challenges, but there is no focused line of inquiry to connect texts back to the central theme. In Lesson 3, students are given the following questions while they read or listen to texts:
    • Day 1: Question of the Day: Think about a character from a movie. What did the character do that showed his or her motives? Texts: “The Deaf Musicians” (read aloud during the Listening Comprehension) and “Monkey Business” (Build Robust Vocabulary)
    • Day 2: Question of the Day: How do you think Chang’s mother will react when Chang returns home with the gift-wrapped wok? Text: “Chang and the Bamboo Flute” (main selection)
    • Day 3: Question of the Day: What is a chore that you do grudgingly? Text: “Evren Ozan, Musician” (paired selection)
    • Day 4: Question of the Day: What can you do if you come across an unfamiliar word in your reading?
    • Day 5: Question of the Day: How might a storm cause flooding near a river? Text: “A Case of Nerves (read-aloud during Warm-Up Routines)
  • In Theme 6, texts are organized around the topic of exploration. There are eight literary pieces and two informational pieces centered around the topic. Though centered around a topic, texts do not build knowledge about the topic. There are few vocabulary terms shared between texts and students do not bring knowledge gained from one text to access another. In Theme 6, Lesson 28, the anchor text, “The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest” by Steve Jenkins, is paired with “On Top of the World” by J. Patrick Lewis, from A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme. The leveled texts used in small group instruction include “The Sensational Seven Summits” by Lisa Moore, describing the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents; “Meet the Sherpas” by Lisa Moore, describing the Sherpa people of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet; and “Watch Your Altitude!” by Lisa Moore, describing the causes and dangers of Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS.

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

After reading the core text for a lesson, students either discuss or write responses to the Think Critically questions. However, there are very few examples of questions requiring students to determine author’s purpose for the use of specific language or craft, and these were found in the separate Teacher Support Book. Questions often ask about key ideas and details, but rarely addresses language, craft, or structure of texts.

Additionally, the sequence of questions lacks coherence. Teachers could select any of the six themes to start with and see the same approach is used in every lesson, which does not provide sufficient growth of rigor. Throughout the materials, students independently and as a whole group complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts. Lessons also teach these skills discretely and they are not embedded within the lessons. Students are asked questions during whole group instruction as the teacher monitors comprehension. Examples include:

  • In Theme 1, Lesson 3, during whole group instruction, the teacher asks the following question to monitor comprehension: “What does the author mean when she says that “a sharp sorrow stabbed Chang?”
  • In Theme 2, Lesson 7 in the text When the Circus Came to Town, author’s craft is addressed in the question, “How does the author show that Ursula is nervous? Is his description effective in helping you relate to her feelings? Explain.”
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 11, during whole group instruction, the teacher asks the following questions to monitor comprehension: “What does each parent teach the children? Why isn’t Miss Shipman able to teach geography to the children? How do the ship’s crew feel about the children?”
  • In Theme 5, Lesson 24, during the whole group instruction, the teacher asks the following questions to monitor comprehension: “How does Lulu save Chester? Contrast the way Lulu and Chester each feel about continuing the tour.”
  • In the Teacher Support Book, the following supplementary lessons address analyzing the structure of text: Compare and Contrast Text Structures, Analyze Point of View, and Explain Relationships Between Ideas.
  • In Theme 2 Lesson 7, the Listening Comprehension read-aloud Language and the Circus, includes a brief genre study on expository nonfiction. Students are then advised to listen to the read aloud for the specific purpose of learning the history behind familiar phrases.
  • In Theme 4, Lesson 19, before reading Inventing the Future, students learn about the elements of biography, and are taught to use a main idea and details chart.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 28, before reading On Top of the World, students preview and analyze both a poem and almanac entries, including the purpose of visuals.
  • In Theme 6, Lesson 27, the narrative nonfiction selection, Grand Canyon, asks students to analyze sentence variety.

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The units are organized into six themes that span the school year. Each theme includes an overarching idea, with text selections that directly or loosely connect to that concept. Each weekly lesson has a new topic connected to the unit theme, but it does not build knowledge or ideas. Some questions and tasks support students’ analysis of ideas, but most are intent on building students’ literal comprehension of text.

As a theme progresses, students may come to understand more about the theme’s big idea, but the overarching concept is broad and deep comprehension or integration of ideas would often be incidental, not intentional. Tasks and/or culminating tasks are often disconnected from a thematic study. The amount of class time allotted to each text and question set may not be sufficient to provide the time needed for students to analyze texts and gain knowledge and ideas. The teacher’s edition contains little direction for how teachers support students' engaging in a deep analysis of and across texts.

Within each weekly lesson, text-specific questions appear in the Think Critically section. There are typically 5 questions following each selection. Examples of questions and tasks that meet the expectations are:

  • In Theme 2, Common Goals, focusing on working together, in Lesson 6, after reading the anchor text, “The Night of San Juan” by Lulu Delacre, students orally respond to the question, “What theme about friendship do the characters’ actions suggest?” Students complete an on-demand writing task, “Why do you think Jose’ Manuel’s grandma seems less scary when the girls sit down with her to eat corn fritters? Use specific details from the selection to support your ideas?” After completing the paired text, a photo essay, “Tejano Conjunto Festival” by Kathleen D. Lindsey, students respond orally to “What are some similarities between the Tejano Conjunto Festival and the “Night of San Juan”?” There are no instructional directions for teachers to support students’ engagement or scaffolding to encourage the integration of knowledge across texts.
  • In Theme 4, Dare to Be Great, focusing on creativity, in Lesson 19, after reading the anchor text, “Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Edison” by Marfe Ferguson Delano, students orally respond to the question, “Tell what type of person Thomas Edison was. Use details from the selection in your description.” Students complete an on-demand writing task: “You read about many of Thomas Edison’s inventions. Choose one of the inventions you read about. Describe the invention and tell how it was used. Use information and details from the selection in your answer.” After completing the paired texts, two primary sources, one a letter written by Thomas Edison and one an advertisement for his phonograph, students orally respond to the following: “How is the phonograph advertisement different from an advertisement for a music player that you might see today?” Students are not directed to use text evidence to respond.
  • In Theme 6, Feats of Daring, focusing on exploration, in Lesson 27, after reading the anchor text, “Klondike Kate” by Liza Ketchum, students orally respond to the question, “Klondike Kate said about herself, 'I wasn’t build for going backwards. When I once step forward, I must go ahead.' Did she describe herself accurately? Give an example to support your answer.” Students complete an on-demand writing task: “Write a letter from Klondike Kate to her friends in Vancouver, telling them why she wanted to stay in the north, at Whitehorse. In your letter, include details from the selection.” After completing the paired text, “Sourdough” by Jane Scherer, students respond orally to the following: “Having read 'Sourdough,' why do you think the author of 'Klondike Kate' stressed the importance of the sourdough starter that Kate got from the Wrangell’s baker?” Students are not directed to use text evidence to respond.

Each theme is followed by a Theme Wrap-up in which teachers guide students in making connections across the texts in the theme by asking whole-group questions. These questions do not require an analysis of ideas across texts to complete.

  • In Theme 2, the question is, “In what way do the selections in this theme tell about working together?”
  • In Theme 4, the question is, “In what way do the selections in this theme focus on creativity?”
  • In Theme 6, the question is, “In what way do the selections in this theme tell about exploration?”

Students return to the graphic organizer started at the beginning of the theme to include information about all the selections read. Most of the graphic organizers do not support students in a deep analysis of multiple texts.

  • In Theme 2, the graphic organizer is a chart that students complete showing the problem and solution in each selection.
  • In Theme 4, the graphic organizer is a sequence chart about the creative process showing ways the main character in each selection uses creativity to solve a problem.
  • In Theme 6, the graphic organizer is a chart that students complete of places to go and tools explorers use in those places.

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).
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

Each Theme has a big idea that aims to tie the unit together. Texts and discussions, directly or loosely, connect to the big idea. Each Theme also includes a Theme Project. Theme Projects do not consistently integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening, nor do they require close reading and comprehension of the texts read. Question sets that accompany texts within the Theme do not support students in integrating skills required for the Theme Project. For example:

  • In Theme 1, the teacher introduces the theme, "Finding A Way," and the students analyze the characteristics and motivations that enable people to achieve extraordinary goals as the Theme Project (pages T12-T13). The teacher leads a discussion on individual who have achieved great things to build background knowledge and students follow the project steps: Brainstorm a list of remarkable individuals from history and choose one to research, research what that person was like, write a profile of their subject, create a display such as a shoebox, and present. Completion of this project can be achieved without reading or analysis of the anchor text and, it fails to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of the theme. Students are asked to use paper, pencil, markers, notebook paper, shoe boxes, art supplies, print resources about selected individuals, and computer with Internet access to analyze the characteristics and motivations that enable people to achieve extraordinary goals. Students can complete this task without reading any of the selections during the week.
  • In Theme 5, pages T14-T15, the teacher introduces the theme, “Making a Difference,” and helps students access prior knowledge by leading a discussion about people who have made a difference in the students’ lives. Students develop the theme by beginning a web of ways people can make a difference in their communities. Students will add to this chart as they read the theme selections. At the end of the five week theme (page T324), the teacher leads discussion of the Theme Wrap-up asking the following questions: “In what way do the selections in this theme tell about communities? Why do you think 'Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride' was included in this theme? Imagine that you could join one of the community projects you read about in this theme. Which project would you choose and why?” Students review and revise the chart started at the beginning of the theme and respond by reflecting on and writing about what they learned about communities. Students are asked to use pencils, notebook paper, recent local newspapers, and the Internet to address a community problem or issue, and develop a plan to solve it. Students can complete this task without reading any of the selections during the week. These tasks are not multifaceted, nor do they require students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards for fifth grade.
  • In Theme 3, pages T78-T91, the teacher introduces the theme, "Go with the Flow," and the Reading-Writing Connection task is an expository composition on a topic of their choice. The writing lessons across the theme are: Lesson 1-Descriptive Paragraph: Setting, Lesson 2-Compare and Contrast Composition, Lesson 3-Descriptive Paragraph: Character, Lesson 4-Cause and Effect Paragraph, Lesson 5-Student Choice: Revise and Publish. While some of the daily writing supports students in completing the culminating task of an explanatory essay, they do not build the student’s knowledge of the theme. Students are asked to use pencil, markers, note cards or large paper, print or Internet resources to create a display that shows how water formed certain landforms in an area. Students can complete this task without reading any of the selections during the week.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

The materials do not include a cohesive, year-long plan that allows for repeated exposure and use of different types of vocabulary or for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year. Some vocabulary is repeated before texts and within the anchor texts but not across multiple texts. Attention is paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and, although key academic vocabulary is used in discussion, it is not taught directly. Students are provided minimal opportunities to accelerate vocabulary learning by using vocabulary in their speaking and writing tasks. Opportunities are present for students to learn, practice, apply, and transfer words into familiar and new contexts such as centers, discussions, and partner work. Examples include:

Within each weekly lesson, students have the opportunity to interact with 8 target words. Words are introduced in context. On Day 1, the 6-8 words are introduced in a contextual setting. On Day 2, students review the words in the Connections: Comparing Texts section. This section follows the paired selection. On Day 3, words from the week are revisited by answering a question about each word. On Day 4, students extend word meanings answering critical thinking questions related to each word. On Day 5, there is a Cumulative Review of words from the current and previous week. Words are encountered in two of the reading selections for that week, a passage specifically written to introduce the words, and the main selection. The words are not found in the paired selection or Leveled Readers. For example, in Theme 4, Lesson 17:

  • On Day 1, the teacher introduces the 7 vocabulary words for the week using student-friendly explanations: extravagant, unimaginable, gourmet, throng, embarked, precarious, and hiatus. Students are asked questions such as: “Why might an actor want to avoid being on a long hiatus? Describe what an extravagant party might be like. Describe a situation in which you might see a throng.” Students read the Vocabulary selection, “Between Two Lives,” and respond to questions: “If there was a throng of partygoers at Mila’s party, would you say the party was crowded? Why does Mila consider her situation precarious? Why is Mila’s hiatus not as much fun as she’d hoped?” In the Word Detective section, students are encouraged to find vocabulary words outside the classroom this week looking in advertisements, newspapers, etc. They write them in their vocabulary journal and tell where they found it and how it was used.
  • On Day 2, after reading the anchor and paired texts, students work in pairs writing the vocabulary words on index cards, placing them face down, and taking turns turning over two cards and using them both in a sentence for review.
  • On Day 3, students reinforce word meanings by responding to questions about the anchor text, “Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street” by Roni Schotter: “Why is Mr. Sims on hiatus? Do you think Olivier has an extravagant life? Explain. What happens that makes a throng gather on 90th Street?”
  • On Day 4, students extend word meanings by answering questions that include vocabulary words: “Name a precarious place, and tell why it’s precarious. What is one thing that you think is unimaginable?”
  • On Day 5, students complete a cumulative review from Lessons 16 and 17 by answering vocabulary-related questions in a group discussion.

Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

The materials reviewed offer prompts and performance tasks, and students practice writing in each lesson; however, materials do not increase the student’s writing skills over the course of the school year. Students write to address multiple topics and genres across the year with limited cohesiveness in placement throughout themes. Rubrics are provided to help students self-assess their writing, but are general in nature and do not address specifics required by the standards. The teacher edition has limited development in well-designed models, protocols and support for teachers in helping students meet the writing standards for third grade.

There are options for daily prompts provided each day in the Suggested Lesson Planner, but no instruction is provided for these. A weekly writing task is built into the instruction; these writing forms are not connected to the overall theme writing mode.The teacher’s edition includes several lesson plans for the Reading-Writing Connection process piece in each Theme, but no pacing time frames are suggested. A 45-minute on-demand writing task connects to the extended writing mode. Examples include:

  • In Theme 3, Lesson 12, students complete an on-demand explanatory response to the prompt “How do plants and animals of Cobscook Bay survive in a harsh environment? Use information and details from the selection to explain your answer.” However, instruction on explanatory paragraphs appears in Theme 6, Lesson 26. The teacher directs students in analyzing the mentor text and student model, use a main idea chart to plan, and steps to write their draft. Students then use peer conferencing and the provided rubric to self-assess. While students are instructed to include details in their paragraph, there is no instruction on linking ideas using words, phrases and clauses or using precise language and domain-specific vocabulary as required.
  • In Theme 5, Lesson 25, Day 4 students and teachers are not provided with a well-designed protocol for teachers to implement and students to progress monitor. Students are asked to publish their portfolio selection. Next a series of tips are bulleted that may be helpful for students. The directions say, “Tell students to: Make sure creative writing include specific details that appeals to the senses” but it does not suggest what this would look like or sound like. The scoring rubric provided is on a 6-point scale measuring conventions, support, organization, and focus. The rubric is generalized for any paragraph and does not provide the support students would need to effectively offer feedback for a their selection.
  • In Theme 2 the Reading-Writing Connection writing mode is Response to Literature, the on-demand writing task is a timed response to a book, story, or other piece of literature. The weekly writing lessons include: Lesson 6: Personal Response Paragraph, Lesson 7: Journal Entry, Lesson 8: Biography, Lesson 9: Explanatory Paragraph, Lesson 10: Revise and Publish choice piece. Daily prompts for Theme 2, Lesson 6 include:
    • Everyone has read a good realistic fiction story. Think about a realistic fiction story you have enjoyed reading. Write a paragraph telling why you liked this story.
    • Some stories are set in real places that are unfamiliar to you. Think of a story you have read that was set in an unfamiliar place. Write a paragraph telling what you learned about that place by reading the story.
    • Write a response to “The Night of San Juan.” Begin by telling what the story is about. Then tell what you think is the story’s theme. Conclude by sharing your opinion about the story.
    • Everyone has helped someone else overcome a problem. Think about a time when you helped someone. Describe what the problem was and how you helped the person solve the problem.

Teacher guidance for weekly writing lessons lack specificity and do not include direction or questions to support individual or small group writing conferences. All instruction is intended for whole-class delivery. For example, in Theme 2, Lesson 6, Day 1, students are introduced to a personal response paragraph. They are told they will write a personal response paragraph, look at a passage from “The Night of San Juan,” and add details about a central idea to the story web.

The required time the weekly lesson would take, along with the amount of writing students are responsible for, is not indicated in the materials. Students do not have time to adequately refine and reflect on their writing before moving on to a new topic. Different forms and modes of writing are introduced throughout the year without in-depth instruction, and without spiraling back to build previously introduced skills. Students will not demonstrate proficiency by the end of the school year.

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Each unit includes a Theme Project. This is outlined at the beginning of each theme, and teachers decide when and how to integrate it into the flow of the theme. The materials do not include a progression of focused lessons, or engaging topics to research, nor do they provide students with robust instruction, practice, and application of research skills as they employ grade-level reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills. The research skills that are directly taught minimally build to student independence. Materials lack the direction and support for teachers to facilitate these projects. Research skills for Theme Projects do not follow a clear progression; it is unlikely that students develop deep knowledge on a given topic.

Theme Project research topics are often broad, may employ print or online resources, and almost always involve art supplies. In Theme 6, Research Report is the focus of the Reading-Writing Connection. This incorporates a purpose and audience for writing, more of a writing process progression, a checklist for elements of a research report, and a 4-point scoring rubric; however, the topic does not develop students’ knowledge of multiple text or source materials or require investigation of different aspects of a topic. For example:

  • In thTheme 1 Project, students identify an historical figure they consider to be remarkable and research this person to answer the research question, “What are the characteristics and motivations of people who overcome challenges to accomplish great things?” The teacher directs students to use an encyclopedia, social studies textbook, or other nonfiction sources to complete their research. Students record bibliographical data on the sources. There is little direction for how teachers support students completing this project. This project does connect to the unit theme, “Finding a Way,” where students read about characters who discover their inner strengths and find ways to succeed; however, it does not require students to synthesize and analyze the texts and source materials within the theme to complete the project.
  • In the Theme 3 Project, students create a visual display of one landform that water shaped through erosion, weathering, or deposition, and answer the research question, “How can water shape landforms?” The teacher directs students to use an encyclopedia, science textbook, or the internet to complete their research. There is little direction for how teachers support students completing this project. The project does connect to the unit Theme, “Go with the Flow,” where students read about some of the ways water can cause changes and how living things adjust to the ebb and flow of water in their lives; however, it does not require students synthesize and analyze the texts and source materials within the theme to complete the project.
  • In the Theme 5 Project, students create and implement a plan for community service and answer the research question, “What can we do to address a problem or need within our Community?” The teacher directs students to gather information about their topic and take notes on what they find, recording bibliographic information. There is little direction for how teachers support students completing this project. The project does connect to the unit Theme, “Making a Difference,” where students read about how individuals have worked to make a difference in the lives of others; however, it does not require students synthesize and analyze the texts and source materials within the theme to complete the project.
  • In Theme 6, the Reading-Writing Connection is a research report on a topic of their choice. While there is instruction on skills, such as reference sources earlier in the school year, this is the first opportunity to write a report. Students are guided through the writing process of Pre-Write, Draft, Revise, Proofread, Evaluate/Publish. Within each of these lessons there is modeling, guided practice, and apply to writing. Students are required to take notes, categorize information, and provide a list of sources as directly taught during whole group instruction.

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.
0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 5 do not meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Students read a main selection and paired selection each week as part of the reading program. They also read a short passage with each week’s Build Robust Vocabulary lesson. Additionally, a Leveled Reader is included each week as a way to differentiate instruction and reinforce skills introduced in whole group. However, the materials offer few ways to support students who struggle with grade level texts, nor do they provide instructional scaffolds that lead readers toward independence. A weekly independent reading objective is included with the suggested literacy centers at the beginning of each weekly lesson, but the routine provided is simplistic, with no suggested time allotments, accountability, or goal-setting components. The are no procedures for independent reading at home and/or while reading core texts nor an independent accountability system appropriate for in- and out-of-school independent reading. While opportunities for independent reading exist, they are minimal and do not build students’ reading abilities or their knowledge base and vocabulary. Examples include:

  • Each theme contains suggested titles for additional related reading by “Easy, Average, Challenge”; however, teachers are not given suggestions on how to set up the classroom library or how to help students select an independent reading book in the teacher edition.
  • Each anchor text has “Options for Reading” suggesting that below-level students read in small group, on-level students read in whole group or with a partner, and advanced students read independently.
  • In Theme 1, Lesson 3, prior to reading “Chang and the Bamboo Flute” by Elizabeth Starr Hill, teachers are instructed to preview the selection with below-level students in a small group and model how to use the preview and genre to set a purpose for reading; to use the Monitor Comprehension questions as on-level students read the selection in whole-group or partner-read and complete Practice Book page 2; and have advanced students read the selection independently using the student Practice Book page 2 to monitor their own comprehension.
  • During “After Reading” whole-group comprehension instruction, students are often directed to reread specific sections to respond to questions.
    • In Theme 3, Lesson 13, after reading “Stormalong” by Mary Pope Osborne and “Paul Bunyan Makes Progress” by Pleasant DeSpain, students are reviewing cause and effect. The teacher directs them to reread specific selections and answer questions.
    • In Theme 5, Lesson 21, prior to reading the anchor text, the teacher is providing direct instruction on author’s purpose and perspective. Students are directed to read a paragraph then complete the provided graphic organizer
  • Students work in 15-minute centers during guided reading when they are not meeting as a small group. Literacy Centers include a reading center instructing students to choose one of the additional theme books and use their reading log to keep track of their independent reading. Teachers are not provided direction on helping students select a book or how to record in their reading log. There is no direction for how teachers are to follow up with students on their independent reading log.
  • In Theme 3, Lesson 11, the student objective during a literacy center rotation titled “Reading Log” is to “select and read books independently." The Management support system states, “While you provided direct instruction to individuals or small groups, other students can work on these activities.” There is no evidence of a clear protocol or accountability system in place other than recording their reading in a reading log.
  • Teacher Support Book, Extending the Common Core State Standards Companion states, “After completing each theme in StoryTown, The Teacher Support Book builds on and extends the instruction in that theme to meet the Common Core State Standards.” However, there are no instructions and/or protocols that support and/or encourage independent reading.
  • Reading Literacy Center includes one objective: to select and read books independently. Reading Log routine:
    • Look for these books about working with others to solve a problem: Thimbleberry Stories by Cynthia Rylant; Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka; Unwitting Wisdom: Ships of the Air by Lynn Curlee.
    • Select one that you find interesting.
    • Keep track of what you read each day in your Reading Log.

This simple routine and log is repeated with each weekly lesson, with the three book suggestions being the only difference. No time allocations for independent reading are included. Other than a reading log form, no guidance for goal-setting or accountability is included.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
0/8

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
0/2

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
0/2

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
0/2

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
0/8

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

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.
0/2

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
0/8

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
0/2

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
0/10

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.
0/2

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.
0/4

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3s

0/

Indicator 3s3v

0/

Indicator 3t

0/

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/

Indicator 3u.ii

0/

Indicator 3v

0/

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0

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

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Thu Apr 12 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2008

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Storytown Student Edition Ride The Edge Thm 1 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1534-3175-4 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 1 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3709-7 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 2 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3711-0 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 3 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3712-7 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 4 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3733-2 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 5 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3734-9 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Storytown Teacher's Edition Ride The Edge Thm 6 Grade 5 Ride the Edge 978-0-1535-3735-6 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Storytown Reading Adventure Teacher Support Book Grade 5 978-0-5476-8566-3 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Storytown Reading Adventure Student Magazine Grade 5 978-0-5476-8590-8 Copyright: 2008 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

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.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

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.

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.

X