Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The StudySync instructional materials meet expectations for alignment in all three gateways. The materials include rich and rigorous texts used with reading, writing, speaking, and listening work that builds students' knowledge while developing their overall literacy. The materials include support for students to practice and apply research skills, integrating multimodal texts throughout the year. The materials include supports for teachers to implement for specific classrooms. In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

Materials meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. The instructional materials include texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide some opportunities for writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Materials include text-dependent and text-specific questions, and tasks that help prepare students for the each unit’s Extended Writing Task, which integrates writing, speaking, or both. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are taught as integrated skills. Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level. Materials provide 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.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

Materials meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. Students engage in a range and volume of reading in service of grade level reading proficiency, and consistent opportunities are provided for textual analysis. The materials meet the criteria for text complexity and for support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their 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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. They consider a range of student interests.

Texts address a range of topics that are high-interest and age-appropriate for Grade 6. Topics include the immigrant experience, the Egyptian pyramids, classical mythology, and segregation. Many of the core texts are CCSS exemplar texts, written by award-winning authors, and contain rich vocabulary, both academic and content-specific. Texts are worthy of multiple readings. Examples of high quality texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep. This coming-of-age first-person memoir is a CCSS exemplar text rich in sensory detail that introduces students to the immigrant experience.
  • In Unit 1, students read “Eleven”, by Sandra Cisneros. This selection is a CCSS exemplar text. Students can relate to both the age and experience of the main character through the first-person account of an embarrassing birthday event.
  • In Unit 1, students read “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert Frost. This selection is a CCSS exemplar text. This poem is a thought-provoking, timeless classic that addresses complex ideas through accessible language.
  • In Unit 2, students read A Short Walk Around the Pyramids & Through the World of Art, by Philip Isaacson. This nonfiction selection is a CCSS exemplar text and contains descriptive language, academic vocabulary, and an interesting combination of history and art.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. This text is an award-winning novel with a modern take on classical texts. It contains high-interest content as well as elements of fantasy and adventure.
  • In Unit 2, students read Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad, by Rosemary Sutcliff. This novel is a CCSS exemplar text and provides students with an age-appropriate retelling of the Iliad/Trojan War. It also serves as a model for teaching plot structure and characterization.
  • In Unit 3, students read A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. This novel is a CCSS exemplar text. It contains dialogue with complex structure and vocabulary with multiple meanings.
  • In Unit 3, students read Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, by Ji-Li Jiang. This first-person narrative contains dialogue. Prior knowledge of Chinese Communism would assist in student understanding.
  • In Unit 3, students read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor. This novel is a CCSS exemplar text. This selection is suggested as a full text study as it is rich in cultural references and uses dialogue to reveal the plot.
  • In Unit 4, students read Rosa Parks: My Story, by Rosa Parks. This nonfiction text contains flashbacks. Prior knowledge of segregation and “Jim Crow” laws would assist in student understanding.
  • In Unit 4, students read Sunrise Over Fallujah, by Walter Dean Myers. This novel contains narration, dialogue, and tone for student analysis. It also introduces readers to military terms and vocabulary.
  • In Unit 4, students read An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, by Jim Murphy. This text contains complex sentence structure and introduces students to medical terms and vocabulary.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts. There is a wide array of informational and literary anchor texts for every unit. Additional supplementary texts are included, resulting in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards. Literary texts include novels, short stories, poems, drama, fairy tales, mythology, and fables. Informational texts include memoirs, art, magazine articles, editorials, autobiographies, and biographies.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
  • In Unit 2, students read Aesop's Fables by Aesop, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and "Perseus" by Robert Hayden.
  • In Unit 3, students read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, and “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
  • In Unit 4, students read “Rosa” by Rita Dove, Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, and “My Father is a Simple Man” by Luis Omar Salinas.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read Guts: True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books by Gary Paulsen, “The Father of Chinese Aviation” by Rebecca Maksel, and Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals.
  • In Unit 2, students read Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself by Catherine M. Andronik, A Short Walk Around the Pyramids & Through the World of Art by Philip M. Isaacson, and The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug For Troy by Laura Amy Schlitz.
  • In Unit 3, students read I Am An American: A True Story of Japanese Internment by Jerry Stanley, Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley, and Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang.
  • In Unit 4, students read Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks, Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman, and An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy.

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 instructional materials for Grade 6 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade. Most texts fall within either the Current Lexile Band or the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. Texts range from 730L to 1330L; most texts are appropriate for Grade 6 according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to the associated student task. Some texts exceed these bands, but the tasks are designed to make them accessible. Examples of texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 6 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Lexile level is 940L which falls within both the Current Lexile Band and the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. Qualitative features include young characters who are faced with a challenge. This popular work of literature is told with first person narration. Scaffolds are provided to access the text.
  • In Unit 2, students read Book of the Dead. The Lexile level is 1010L; this level falls at the high end of the Current Lexile Band and within the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. However, students are only reading 660 words, and there is a pattern to the sentences that are presented in a list style.
  • In Unit 3, students read Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp. The Lexile level is 1120L which exceeds the Current Lexile Band and but falls within the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. This text is placed toward the middle of the Unit 3, so students are more than half way through the course of the year. Students read 750 words and focus on main idea.
  • In Unit 4, students read Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Lexile level is 930L. Based on Lexile, this text is appropriate for 6th grade readers. In this text, students focus on informational text structure. An opening text precedes the main content. This could provide good discussion for 6th grade students as they focus on text structure.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for 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.)

The instructional materials provide a variety of texts appropriate for the grade band. Texts increase in complexity as the units progress. While some texts fall at the high end of the grade level, students are also provided more accessible texts as they learn how to analyze texts. Along with increasing text complexity, students’ writing also increases in complexity. Students are asked to read, analyze, and respond to texts in writing.

To ensure student success, each unit contains an Access Path where teachers can find resources scaffolded for English Language Learners. This Access Path also contains handouts that provide support for handling text complexity in the areas of purpose, genre, organization, connection of ideas, sentence structure, specific vocabulary, and prior knowledge.

Each unit focuses on the use of textual evidence to support analysis by students. This helps students evaluate information within texts, organize ideas, make inferences, create claims, and use evidence within their own writing. By the end of the year, students use textual evidence in independent writing assignments such as argumentative essays. Examples of increased literacy skills over the course of the school year include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the text study of The Island of the Blue Dolphins, textual evidence is defined. Finding and using textual evidence to support an inference is then modeled for the students. Finally, students practice this skill by answering a series of multiple choice questions.
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself, students answer questions such as, “Before Hatshepsut became pharaoh, what practice does the text say she had for the job? Include evidence from the text to support your answer.” Students are also required to provide feedback on the quality of a peer’s answers by responding to the question, “How strong was the evidence presented in the answers? Which questions had the strongest evidence? Which questions would have benefited from stronger evidence?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, students use textual evidence to support their answers in comparing the text to A Wrinkle in Time. Students are prompted to use textual evidence when the prompt says, “Support the claim or claims you make in your comparison and contrast with evidence from both texts as well as from the television episode.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Extended Writing Project, students complete an argumentative writing assignment. As a part of their assignment, students use textual evidence. The prompt states, “To support the ideas you will include textual evidence from at least one selection in Unit 4 and research from three other print or digital sources.”

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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.

Most texts include instructional notes and text notes. These are all found in the ELA Grade Level Overview booklet. At the beginning of each unit, there is an overall explanation of the unit. This includes the balance of literary to informational texts, the essential question, and an analysis of the text complexity of particular texts. In response to texts that are above the recommended Lexile band, the publisher provides scaffolds to assist all students in accessing the text. Quantitative, qualitative, and reader task information is included for most texts. Qualitative features such as Scaffold Instruction to Access Complex Text (ACT), ACT features, publication date, and genre. Quantitative features such as Excerpt Lexile, Full-text Lexile, and Word Count are also provided. In response to texts that are above the recommended Lexile band, the publisher provides scaffolds to assist all students in accessing the texts. Examples of texts being accompanied by text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students analyze point of view and use textual evidence in Hatchet to support analysis as one of the primary task demands in this unit. The excerpt Lexile is 730L. The Grade 6 ELA Grade Level Overview states, “This task’s demands makes this an important, challenging selection for students even though the quantitative dimensions of the excerpt are lower than others in the unit. Understanding the protagonist’s point of view can be especially difficult for English learners because of the reliance on sentence fragments, so the First Read lesson accompanying this text is scaffolded with additional grammar supports.”
  • In Unit 2, students read the nonfiction text in Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself which is about how Hatshepsut became Pharaoh. This text is written in a biography format, giving students the opportunity to review features such as “chronological order, point of view, historical context, and how the subject is described, either directly or indirectly.” The Lexile level is 1010L. This task is may be challenging due to some difficult vocabulary and complex sentence structure.
  • In Unit 3, students read Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp. This nonfiction text focuses on the plight of Okie children living in Kern County, California, during the 1930s. The Lexile level is 1200L. “Students challenged by the selection’s complex sentence structure and organization have a path through the selection. Students will also master analyzing an author’s point of view.”
  • In Unit 4, students read Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. This excerpt is about Eleanor Roosevelt’s personal transformation and how she transformed the role of First Lady. The Lexile level 1110L. “While it falls slightly above the recommended quantitative band, combines accessible, high-interest details and a humorous, conversational tone with heavy intertextuality. Its complex sentence structure is scaffolded by additional grammar support.”

Indicator 1f

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

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

Each unit exposes students to high-quality texts that cover a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures with a balance of literary and informational texts. Reading is done independently, as a whole class, aloud, and silently. All of the anchor texts and supporting materials revolve around a central theme and essential question for each unit. Reading materials increase in complexity as the year progresses. Teacher supports are gradually released in order to help students achieve success in reading grade-level texts independently. Examples of students engaging in reading a range of texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students begin the first week’s first lesson by reading the Blast background and materials included in several research links. The next day the students participate in the First Read of Hatchet, where they read and annotate the text. Day three includes skill work on Point of View, where students read both the definition and model sections associated with the skill. Students then complete a Close Read of Hatchet, including a detailed reading and annotation of the selection. On the final day, students complete a First Read of Guts: True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books, where they pay close attention to comprehension while annotating the text.
  • In Unit 2, over the course of nine weeks, students complete a full-text study of The Lightning Thief and read ten other partial texts that are a balance of fiction and informational texts, including one poem. The texts are all related to the unit title, “Ancient Realms.” Informational texts include Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself; Book of the Dead; Book of Exodus; A Short Walk Around the Pyramids & Through the World of Art, and The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy. Fiction texts include Aesop’s Fables; Perseus, Heroes Every Child Should Know: Perseus; Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad; and Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Students have opportunities to interact with the texts through whole class read-alouds, individual silent reading, First Reads, and Close Reads.
  • In Unit 3, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of Red Scarf Girl. Students also complete two skill lessons, one on informational text elements and one on connotation and denotation. Students read excerpts of Red Scarf Girl to practice the skills. Students also engage in a Blast where they read background information regarding China’s Cultural Revolution. In Unit 3, there are two full text studies: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. Students also read excerpts from additional texts, including The Mighty Miss Malone, The War of the Worlds,Farewell to Manzanar, The Time Machine, The Misfits, Stepping on the Cracks, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, and A Christmas Carol.
  • In Unit 4, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of Sunrise Over Fallujah. Students also complete two skill lessons, one on point of view and one on tone. Students read through excerpts of Sunrise Over Fallujah to practice these skills. Students also complete a Blast where they read background information regarding the military and how people can respect and honor them. In Unit 4 there is a full text study on Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Throughout Unit 4, students read excerpts from additional texts, including Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, The Help, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story Of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, Story of an Eyewitness: The San Francisco Earthquake, A Long Way From Chicago, and A Horseman in the Sky.

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

Materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Materials include both text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that help prepare students for the each unit’s Extended Writing Task, which integrates writing, speaking, or both. The instructional materials provide multiple opportunities for evidence-based discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and support student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. The materials include frequent opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Materials meet the expectations 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. Materials reviewed provide many tasks and opportunities for evidence-based discussions and writing using evidence from texts to build strong literacy skills.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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 for Grade 6 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly. Grade 6 consists of four units of study that contain a variety of texts and activities. The majority of the questions and associated task require students to engage with the text directly. The Think tab of each First Read section contains a series of constructed response questions that require textual evidence. The Your Turn portion of the Skill sections contain multiple choice questions that refer specifically to the text. The Close Read sections require an extended writing task that asks students to synthesize text details and to cite textual evidence. Students answer text-dependent discussion questions tied to different types of media that can be accessed via StudySyncTV. When answering text-dependent questions, students are given directions on where to look for details and what information should be included. Sample exemplar answers are provided for all questions. Examples of text-dependent/specific questions, tasks, and assignments include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Hatchet, students refer to the accompanying StudySyncTV episode, and answer text-specific questions such as, “What evidence does Josh provide to support his statement that the story is written in third-person point of view?” and “What evidence do the students give to show that the point of view is not objective?”
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad, students answer text-specific questions such as, “What does Paris’s choice for the winner of the contest help you infer about him? Indicate the textual evidence you used to make your inference.”
  • In Unit 3, in the First Read of The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, students answer text-specific questions such as, “Use details from the text to write two or three sentences explaining why the Maple Street neighbors are suspicious of Steve.” and “Write two or three sentences explaining why Tommy shouts, 'It's the monster! It's the monster!' Support your answer with textual evidence.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Skill section on Tone for Sunrise Over Fallujah, students are asked two-part multiple choice questions such as, (A) “In this passage, what is the narrator’s tone toward Jonesy?” (B) “Which line from the passage supports your answer?”

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates writing, speaking, or both.

Materials include both text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that help prepare students for the each unit’s Extended Writing Task. These culminating tasks integrate writing, speaking, or both. There are questions that prompt thinking, speaking, and writing tasks that focus on the central ideas and key details of the text. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are taught as integrated skills. The Extended Writing Tasks ask students to explore the theme and essential question of the unit in depth. Students reconsider what they have learned through analyzing texts, conducting research, and contemplating their own life experiences. Each unit has a different mode of writing. Over the course of the year, students demonstrate proficiency in constructing long-form argumentative, argumentative literary analysis, informative/explanatory, and narrative works. Once submitted, these writing assignments can be adapted and delivered as oral presentations. Examples of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the informative/explanatory form of writing. Students probe the unit’s central question, “What happens when life changes direction?”, as they write an informative/ explanatory essay that explains how three individuals in three of the unit’s reading selections faced life-changing experiences and how those experiences had both a personal and societal impact. In the Close Read for Hatchet, students answer questions independently and share and discuss in small, heterogeneous groups or pairs, their annotations with a focus on the point of view presented in the selection. One question included in this activity is “How might Brian's experience be a turning point that could affect his viewpoint about himself and life? Cite specific textual evidence to support your statements.” This skill helps students prepare for the culminating task of writing an informative/explanatory essay.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on literary analysis and addresses the following prompt: “Despite all the advances of modern life, we continue to draw inspiration from the ancient world. Ancient culture’s influence is visible in our modern-day words and expressions, mythological references, laws, and values. Draw on a theme, idea, or lesson expressed in selections from this unit to write a literary analysis that demonstrates how ancient culture continues to shape the modern world.” Students draw upon what they learned about the importance of looking at history to make a claim about the themes or central ideas in multiple texts. They support their claim with reasons and relevant evidence from the cited texts.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative form. Students probe the unit’s central question, “When should we stand up for others and ourselves?”, as they write a fictional narrative about someone who takes a stand to help another person or to make a positive change. In the Extended Writing Project skill lesson, entitled “Narrative Techniques and Sequencing”, students, individually or as a class, read the Define section of the lesson. In small groups or as a class, students use these questions to spark discussion with classmates about the purpose and function of the ending of a fictional narrative. One example is, “According to the definition, what is the purpose of a narrative's conclusion?” This supports students as they write their own narratives for the culminating task.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Instruction builds on what students previously learned about this form when they crafted a literary analysis in Unit 2. Students probe the unit’s central question, “What does it mean to be a hero?”. They write an argumentative essay that identifies an individual from the unit who, in the writer’s opinion, best exemplifies the qualities of a hero. In the Extended Writing Project lesson, “Prewrite”, students consider the following questions to decide on a subject of their argumentative essay:
    • Which person from the unit showed great bravery? What did he or she do that was brave? Did he or she feel brave at the time?
    • Which person from the unit made a great sacrifice? What did he or she give up? Why?
    • Which person from the unit did the most to make the world a better place to live? Give an example of that person's actions.
    • Which person from the unit do I admire most? Why?

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Each unit provides frequent and varied opportunities for students to engage in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer discussion that reference the text under study and incorporate understanding and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. A Speaking and Listening Handbook provides teachers with explicit instructions to teach and model academic conversations. Strategies are included to guide students as they practice and assess evidence-based discussions. Checklists and graphic organizers provide support to students as they prepare for discussions. Rubrics guide teachers and students as they evaluate academic conversations. Examples of how materials meet the criteria of this indicator include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Hatchet, students watch the accompanying SyncTV video as a whole group. Teachers remind students to notice the way students in the video use academic vocabulary during their discussion. The teacher determines places to pause the video to discuss key points with students. For example, at 1:59 teachers ask, “How do the students use textual evidence to determine that Hatchet is told from a third-person limited omniscient point of view?”
  • In Unit 2, in the text study of The Lightning Thief, students are provided an excerpt of text to read and annotate. The Teacher Edition suggests that students then break into pairs or small groups to discuss inferences made while reading. Four questions are provided to guide discussions, including the following examples: “What prediction did you make as you read the story? Were you able to confirm it with evidence in the text? Or did you have to revise it because of new details?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of an excerpt of A Wrinkle in Time, with partners or small groups, students share and discuss their annotations that focus on the plot presented in the selection. The teacher provides students with questions to guide their discussion. For example, teachers can ask students, “Even though this reading is an excerpt, how can you tell that the plot is moving forward?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Extended Writing Project’s lesson for Audience, Purpose and Style, the whole class discusses the Driving Question: "Who is your audience and what is your purpose for writing your argumentative essay?" There is then a small group discussion to activate prior knowledge with questions such as, “Why is knowing one's purpose for writing helpful?”

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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.

Students are provided frequent and varied opportunities to engage in speaking, listening, and presenting activities surrounding their study of texts and associated reading, writing, and research tasks. Opportunities for speaking, listening, and presenting can be found throughout the unit in the Blasts, First Reads, Skills, and Close Reads.

Speaking and listening are also important aspects of the Research Project students complete in each unit. After sharing and discussing the results of individual members’ research findings, each group plans and delivers a formal presentation in either the narrative, argumentative, or informative mode. Multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings are used to reinforce key points.

The Speaking & Listening Handbook is utilized during the Research project by students, who are required to respond critically and constructively to the work of their peers. This handbook also provides teacher support in the form of lesson plans, handouts, checklists, rubrics, and formative assessments that help them teach and assess the Speaking and Listening standards.

Examples of speaking and listening tasks, relevant follow-up questions, and supports include but are not not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Close Read for The Pigman, students read and annotate the text. They then share and discuss their annotations in small groups or pairs with a focus on point of view. One question students discussed was, “What did you especially notice about how the author uses point of view in these two chapters? Cite specific textual evidence to support your statements.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Skill-Textual Evidence for The Lightning Thief, in pairs, students make an inference about Percy, his mother, or his father. Students write their inference in the middle circle of a character web. In the outward radiating circles, students write textual evidence and personal knowledge or experiences that support their inference. Students may utilize Popplet to create and illustrate their graphic organizers. Students post and present their ideas to the class. Next, the class discusses whether or not each inference is logical or plausible given the supporting evidence.
  • In Unit 3, in the Research portion of the unit, in small groups, students create a research project in response to the guiding question, “When should we stand up for others and ourselves?” After reviewing, discussing, and assembling the research, groups present their findings to the whole class.
  • In Unit 4, in the Extended Writing Project’s lesson for Audience, Purpose and Style, there is a whole class discussion of the Driving Question, "Who is your audience and what is your purpose for writing your argumentative essay?" There is then a small group discussion to activate prior knowledge with questions such as, “Why is knowing one's purpose for writing helpful?” The Lesson Plan includes an option for students to present in the form of an oral report. Supports such as “Remind students to use formal rather than informal language in their presentations." are included. To help students prepare and deliver presentations, refer to the Presentation Skills in the Speaking & Listening Handbook.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Each unit of study asks student to engage in both on-demand writing and process writing. Students engage in on-demand writing via Blasts and Think questions that are part of Close Read assignments. In addition to shorter, on-demand writing, the students complete an Extended Writing Project at the end of each unit. Each of the four units covers one of these essential writing forms: narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing. These Extended Writing Projects take students through the writing process including the following: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and editing/proofreading/publishing. Students explore different aspects of the writing process and are given a variety of writing practice opportunities to hone their skills and enhance their understanding of each unit’s particular writing form. Examples of on-demand and process writing include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Close Read of Island of the Blue Dolphins, students complete an on-demand writing task. Students use evidence from the text to complete three prewriting questions before composing a response to the on-demand writing prompt. The writing prompt states, “How would telling Karana’s encounter with the wild dog from the third person omniscient point of view reveal more information about the thoughts and feelings of both characters? Use your understanding of text evidence and point of view to arrive at your answer. Support your writing with evidence from the text.” After completing their writing, students submit feedback to two other peers so that they may use it to improve their writing.
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Aesop’s Fables, students engage in a multi-step writing assignment in response to the following prompt: “Though written centuries ago, how do the themes of Aesop’s fables continue to inspire and inform readers even today? Consider the themes in the fables you have read, along with the thoughts, words, and actions of the characters, and the author’s use of personification to support and express themes. Explain how these are still relevant to an audience of readers today. Respond by developing and supporting your ideas with textual evidence from at least three of the fables you have read.” Students brainstorm their reactions to the prompt in small groups or as a whole class and organize this information into a three-circle graphic organizer. Next, the students write using a rubric to guide the process, and once finished, they participate in two peer reviews of each other’s writing.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students probe the unit’s central question, “When should we stand up for others and ourselves?”, as they write a fictional narrative about someone who takes a stand to help another person or to make a positive change. Other lessons on the Extended Writing Prompt include the skills lessons on organization, descriptive details, and narrative techniques and sequencing. Short constructed responses that accompany all Close Read lessons in the unit help students demonstrate understanding of the specific reading and language skills developed in conjunction with the texts, such as identifying plot in A Wrinkle in Time, exploring point of view in “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child”, and analyzing theme in Les Misérables.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Students respond to the prompt, “Recognizing that not everyone agrees on what it means to be a hero or who our heroes are, write an argumentative essay that identifies an individual from the selections in this unit who you feel best exemplifies the qualities of a hero.” Students are given the opportunity to draft, revise, edit, and publish their piece. In order to find information and provide validity for their argument, students are asked to conduct research in at least three print or digital sources in addition to unit selections. Short constructed responses that accompany all Close Read lessons in the unit help students demonstrate understanding of the specific reading and language skills developed in conjunction with the texts, such as the evaluation of two arguments in the Point/Counterpoint article “Celebrities as Heroes” and the analysis of purpose and point of view in the nonfiction excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery and The Education of a George Washington: How a Forgotten Book Shaped the Character of a Hero.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing. The materials provide for a variety of writing tasks across the school year that vary in length and depth, tie to classroom texts and “Big Ideas,” and represent equally narrative, informative/explanatory, literary analysis, and argumentative writing.

Students engage in writing activities throughout each unit. Students write short constructed responses as part of each Close Read lesson for each text in the unit. This informal writing allows students to demonstrate understanding of the specific text while practicing the featured type of writing. Students engage in informal writing through the annotations that students create as they closely read various texts in the unit.

In addition to shorter, less formal writing opportunities, the end of each unit of study includes an "Extended Writing Task". Students are given writing prompts connected to the unit texts. Throughout the unit and school year, students have opportunities to learn, practice, and apply writing types addressed in the standards. StudySync also provides guidance and support for students to develop and strengthen writing as needed, through planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. Students also have opportunities to use digital sources for research and presentation. Examples of opportunities to address different text types include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Extended Writing Project, students write an informative/explanatory essay. Students are asked to, “Write an informative/explanatory essay in which you explain how three individuals in three of the excerpts you have read faced life-changing experiences, and analyze the impact of these changes on their lives and their countries.” A rubric is provided to help monitor student progress.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on literary analysis, a form of argumentative writing. Students write an essay in response to this prompt, “Despite all the advances of modern life, we continue to draw inspiration from the ancient world. Ancient culture’s influence is visible in our modern-day words and expressions, mythological references, laws, and values. Draw on a theme, idea, or lesson expressed in selections from this unit to write a literary analysis that demonstrates how ancient culture continues to shape the modern world.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Extended Writing Project, students write a fictional narrative based on the prompt, “In this unit, you’ve been reading fiction and nonfiction narratives—imagined and true stories—about characters and real people who had to choose whether to stand up for themselves, another person, or their community. What motivated them to speak and act as they did? When and why do people decide it’s time to take action? Write a fictional narrative about someone who takes a stand to help another person or to make a bad situation better. Think about why your character decides to take a stand. What does your character hope to change? What does your character do? What is the outcome of your character’s efforts?”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Students write an essay according to these directions: “Every day the media run headlines celebrating heroes among us. The firefighter who charges into the burning building to save an infant is a hero. The nurse who risks her own life to help patients with infectious diseases—she’s a hero too. What qualities do all heroes have in common? What makes one person more heroic than another?”

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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.

The materials provide students with writing activities that vary in length and purpose in response to a variety of texts. The First Read lesson for each text requires students to complete short answers to text-dependent questions. The Close Read lessons at the end of each text include an extended writing prompt that requires students to synthesize close reading and skills work that they have done with the text. At the conclusion of each Full-Text Unit, there are two opportunities for long-form writing response connected to an anchor text. One of these is always analytical in nature and requires an argumentative or informative/explanatory response to the whole text. Lastly, the Extended Writing Project requires students to return to texts they have read throughout the unit. They then analyze these mentor texts. Examples of evidence-based writing to support careful, well-defended analyses include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of “Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and The Brian Books,” students read and annotate a portion of the text. Students then answer text-dependent questions such as, “What does the excerpt tell you about Gary Paulsen’s life before he became a successful writer? Cite textual evidence in your answer.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of A Short Walk Around the Pyramids & Through the World of Art, students read the texts and focus on the author’s arguments regarding the pyramids. During the writing portion, students use what they noticed about the texts to answer the following writing prompt: “Do you find Isaacson’s argument about the qualities and impact of the pyramids persuasive? Why or why not? Explain Isaacson’s argument, including the relationship between his claim, reasons, and evidence. Use your understanding of argument and claim to evaluate Isaacson’s text. Support your writing with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Full Text Study of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, at the conclusion of reading the text, the students read a companion text: “An Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s Statement at the Rivonia Trial, 1964.” They then complete a compare and contrast essay in response to the prompt: “In an essay of at least 400 words, compare Mandela’s descriptions of apartheid to Taylor’s descriptions of Jim Crow segregation in Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry. What do the two systems have in common and to what extent do Mandela’s critiques of apartheid apply to segregation as it is depicted in Taylor’s novel?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of Celebrities as Heroes, students respond to a prompt asking them to evaluate two sides of an argument. The prompt states, “If you trace and evaluate the argument of each author, which author is most convincing? Which author most effectively uses reasons and evidence to support his or her claim? Is each claim fully supported by reasons and evidence? If not, which aspect of the particular claim remains unsupported? Use your understanding of purpose and point of view as you evaluate the argument in each passage. Support your opinion with textual evidence.”

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 include a student edition and an annotated teacher edition of the Grammar, Language, and Composition Guide. The guide can be used for students who need more instruction and support either in a small group or individual setting. The lessons can be used for pre-teaching or reteaching. The second part of the Grammar, Language, and Composition Guide focuses specifically on grammar and usage, with each chapter focusing on a specific grammar or usage skill. The lessons provide instructions, practice, and review. Grammar and usage instruction and practice is also embedded in each of the units of study in the First Read Section of several texts. These lessons and tasks build in complexity.

Grammar, usage, and mechanics instruction occurs throughout the Core Program. It is designed to help students develop a complex understanding of language to enhance comprehension of texts. The grammar strand is structured around instruction, practice exercises, and student application. After receiving direct instruction and completing a practice handout on the lesson’s grammar, usage, or mechanics concept, students are prompted to analyze the use of this concept in a given text. They then answer questions about the purpose and effect of the concept. Students may also be prompted to practice the skill through short revision tasks. Core concepts are revisited with opportunities for application throughout a grade level. Language instruction also occurs throughout a unit’s Extended Writing Project. Students can immediately apply grammar, usage, and mechanics concepts to their own writing, by revising their drafts to incorporate the concept. They edit their drafts and apply the concept. Examples of explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Hatchet, grammar instruction moves from simple to more complex. Students begin by determining the complete subject and predicate of a sentence and determine if a sentence is a fragment. Later, in the First Read of The Pigman, students work on simple and compound sentences.
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy, students work on punctuating nonrestrictive elements. After the teacher explains the use of dashes and parentheses, students apply this knowledge to the text. The lesson plan states, “Encourage students to apply what they have learned by analyzing the use of dashes and parentheses in the The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy.” A series of questions are provided for the teacher to prompt the students in this discussion.
  • In Unit 3, in the First Read of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, students work on dialect. Students begin with an independent assignment and then look at examples within the text. Later in Unit 3, students revise their narratives during the Extended Writing Project. While revising, students are asked to go into their drafts and check on their character’s dialect. Students complete another practice assignment before going back into their own narratives to determine whether they have accurately expressed the dialect.
  • In Unit 4, in the First Read of “Rosa,” students work on avoiding vague pronoun references. Teachers are directed to a specific teaching resource page to guide instruction about vague pronouns. This resource page includes examples and practice items. There are suggestions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners in the lesson plan. The teacher is then prompted to help students analyze pronouns in “Rosa.” Question prompts and suggested answers are included. Some of the question prompts include the following:
    • Who is "she" in lines 1 and 10? How does the reader know this?
    • Who are "they" in line 11? How is the reader supposed to know this?
    • What is the effect of Dove using these vague pronouns rather than nouns or pronouns with clearly established antecedents?

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized around a topic. The materials do not consistently include a coherently sequenced set of questions requiring students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Materials include models and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Materials provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Students regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class, and an accountability system is provided as an additional support.

Criterion 2a - 2h

30/32
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The materials do not consistently include a coherently sequenced set of questions requiring students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Materials provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Students regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class, and an accountability system is provided as an additional support.

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. The instructional materials are organized around themes to increase students' comprehension of complex texts. The curriculum for Grade 6 is organized under a thematic umbrella focused on how people face crucial decisions and learn from their responses. The themes of the four units include: “Turning Points,” “Ancient Realms,” “Facing Challenges,” and “Our Heroes.”

The teacher will need to identify time and possible other resources to support students in transitioning from topic and theme to the next. The supports that are provided may not be robust enough to assist all students in making meaning of the essential questions as they consider the texts together.

Each unit includes fiction and nonfiction selections to build content knowledge. Students are required to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. At the beginning of each unit, students consider the “Big Idea” or essential question of the unit. As students read and analyze texts, they encounter additional discussion questions related to the essential question. Reading, writing, and discussion tasks ultimately lead to a culminating activity that requires students to synthesize what they have learned about the texts and how they relate to the overarching idea of the unit. Examples of texts centered around topics to build students ability to read and comprehend complex texts include but are not limited to:

  • Unit 1 combines several selections to build understanding within the theme “Turning Points.” Students explore life-changing events from a variety of perspectives, as they read fiction, memoirs, nonfiction narratives, articles, autobiographies, and poetry. The unit begins with an excerpt from the Newbery-award-winning novel Hatchet, which gives insight into a 13-year-old boy’s state of mind when he is stranded in the wilderness. Other selections include accounts of the struggles that real people have faced, including Melba Pattillo Beals’ experience as a key figure in the fight for school integration and Jackie Robinson’s rise to baseball fame when he enters the Major Leagues.
  • Unit 2 studies the theme of “Ancient Realms.” Students explore how history informs and inspires people from a variety of perspectives; students read fiction, myths, nonfiction narratives, and poetry. The unit begins with an excerpt from Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself, which sheds light on what life was like in ancient Egypt, how society was governed, and what happened when a female pharaoh came to power. Other selections share stories of history, including Philip Isaacson’s critique on the Egyptian pyramids, the Greek myth of Perseus, and morals learned through Aesop’s Fables. Throughout this unit, students explore the different ways that history can inspire and inform people. These texts work together, but may require extra time to support students in understanding not just the content connections but also the differences in rigor and text difficulty between the texts.
  • Unit 3 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “Facing Challenges.” Students explore what motivates people to stand up for others and themselves, how they take a stand, and the outcomes of their actions. The disparate text content may need extra support from the teacher to assure that all students can access the texts used to fully engage with the themes. For example, the unit begins with an excerpt from the novel A Wrinkle in Time, which showcases the bravery of two siblings who set out on a dangerous journey to find their father. The use of this text is coherent with the overall theme, but the selection will need extra explanation beyond what's included for Grade 6 students to fully engage. Further in the unit, other selections share stories, past and present, of people who take a stance against injustice, including a selection that focuses on educator Leo Hart who stood up for “Okie” children during the Great Depression, an account of the efforts of Japanese Americans to prove their loyalty to the United States during World War II, and two sides of an argument about whether schools are acting to prevent bullying.
  • Unit 4’s theme is “Our Heroes.” Students explore a variety of texts that celebrate real-life heroes. The unit begins with an excerpt from Rosa Parks: My Story in which Parks recalls the courage and strength it took for her to defy the laws of segregation and take a stand against injustice. Other selections tell more stories of courageous individuals, both ordinary citizens and historical figures.These include Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, “Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson”, and “My Father is a Simple Man.”

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 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.

The materials contain sets of coherently sequenced higher order thinking questions and tasks that provide students with multiple opportunities to analyze language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts to build understanding within each thematically-based unit. The Cold Read activity for each text encourages students to refer to pre-defined vocabulary and contains higher order thinking questions in the form of both text-dependent and text-specific questions. This type of activity is designed to help students make meaning of what they are reading as they prepare for the Close Read’s Extended Writing Prompt. This prompt asks students to closely analyze the text using evidence. Examples of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Close Read for Dragonwings, students analyze language when they respond to the prompt: “How do the word choices the author makes have an impact on the reader’s understanding of Moon Shadow and his world? What do they reveal about Moon Shadow’s point of view? Use your understanding of connotation and denotation to explain Moon Shadow’s thoughts and feelings. Support your writing with evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of “The Negative Confession,” students reread confessions 11 through 42. Students are then asked to “analyze the details, choosing eight confessions, with details that together suggest a similar central idea. Summarize the central idea in your own words, and use textual evidence that supports your thinking.”
  • In Unit 3, students compare and contrast different media versions of “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”. They note how the change in medium creates changes in plot, character, or setting. Students also compare and contrast how the authors of “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and A Wrinkle in Time approach the theme of characters confronting a possible monster from another planet or outer space. To make either of these comparisons, students have to identify and analyze relevant details and make inferences.
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “In the Education of George Washington: How a Forgotten Book Shaped the Character of a Hero,” students respond to the following prompts: “How effectively does the author, Austin Washington, convey his point of view regarding the events at Valley Forge and the role of Baron Von Steuben in the American war effort? How do the presentation of facts and details, as well as the use of language, support the author’s point of view? Do you find the author’s point of view convincing? Why or why not? CIte evidence to support your answer."

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the 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 materials provided students multiple opportunities, through questions and tasks, to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Each unit contains texts that are represented in more than one format, several texts that explore/represent one theme, and several argumentative prompts that give students the opportunity to state and claim and use evidence from the various texts to support their claim.

Throughout the year, students thoroughly read, write about, and discuss numerous reading selections. Each unit includes prompts for informational, argument, and literary analysis writing tasks that require students to cite evidence from multiple texts. Each unit also includes a Research Project.

Instruction begins with a First Read Lesson, designed to emphasize meaning making and content comprehension. First Read lessons include StudySyncTV, which models critical thinking with collaborative passages that students are reading, and end with a series of short answer text-dependent questions. Students are then introduced to Skill Lessons and Close Read Lessons to support knowledge building, and culminate with a short constructed response that synthesizes their work. Each unit also contains a Full Text Study which comes with companion texts. This text set becomes the resource for the final activity for the Full Text Study, where students are asked to complete sustained writing tasks in response to prompts that require them to compare and contrast two or more of the texts in the set. Examples of 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 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students compare the written version of “The Road Not Taken” with an audio version of the poem. To further knowledge building, in the Write section, students are asked, "How does Robert Frost’s use of poetic structure and poetic elements in 'The Road Not Taken' support the poem’s meaning in both the print and audio versions of the poem? Explain what you believe the poem means, and how the poem’s meaning is shaped by at least one aspect of poetic structure and at least one poetic element. Examine whether or not you experience these differently when you listen to the audio version, and whether hearing the poem read aloud changes your understanding of its meaning. Introduce your response with a thesis statement, and support your ideas with clearly organized details and quotations from the text."
  • In Unit 2, in the close read of Heroes Every Child Should Know: Perseus, students respond to a writing prompt comparing this text to “Perseus.” The prompt is as follows: “Compare and contrast how the shared plot events in the poem 'Perseus' and the myth Heroes Every Child Should Know: Perseus affect the character of Perseus, as well as how he changes as a result. In your response, analyze what Perseus learns about himself in each text, along with how that realization impacts the resolution shared with readers. Remember to support your writing with evidence from the text.” Students use both texts to analyze a character and use text evidence to support their answer. In this example, students work with questions to understand not only character, but the text knowledge as well.
  • In Unit 3, students are provided with one of the the Full Text Studies is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. After reading the main text, students read a portion of Nelson Mandela’s “Statement at the Rivonia Trial, 1964.” Students write an essay according to these directions: “In an essay of at least 400 words, compare Mandela’s descriptions of apartheid to Taylor’s descriptions of Jim Crow segregation in Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry. What do the two systems have in common and to what extent do Mandela’s critiques of apartheid apply to segregation as it is depicted in Taylor’s novel?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “The Story Behind the Bus,” students are asked to analyze the purpose and point of view of writers on two related, but different, texts. Students respond to the following prompt: “Rosa Parks: My Story and 'The Story Behind the Bus' both tell about Rosa Parks’s famous refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. However, each author writes for a different purpose and from a different point of view. How are the two presentations of the same event similar and different? Use your understanding of the content as well as purpose, style, and point of view to compare and contrast the two texts.” A Build Background component is included at the beginning of this lesson to supplement to provide context and more support for students to assure comprehension and meaning of texts.

Indicator 2d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).. Students are consistently presented with culminating tasks and projects to showcase their skills learning.

Most culminating tasks support knowledge building. Examples of tasks that have students demonstrate building knowledge through integrated standards-based skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, in the Skill: Compare and Contrast section of Heroes Every Child Should Know: Perseus, students compare the poem 'Perseus' to the text Heroes Every Child Should Know: Perseus. This task provides teachers with information on what background knowledge students need before completing the culminating task. One of the prompts in the culminating task asks, “How might two versions of the same story teach different lessons to present-day readers? Select a Greek myth of particular interest and compare and contrast it with a text, audio, video, or animated version of the same story.”
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form. Students answer the question, “When should we stand up for others and ourselves?” as they write a fictional narrative about someone who takes a stand to help another person or to make a positive change. In preparation for the culminating writing activity, students practice skills necessary for narrative writing. For example, in Referring to the Student Model text, “Take One Shot,” students answer the following prompt: “Write one paragraph of rising action for your narrative. Use your paragraph to develop an event that leads to your story’s climax. Include elements such as dialogue, sensory language, and specific details. Be sure that the text structure of your paragraph is clear, and that transitions clarify any changes in time or setting. When you are finished, trade with a partner and offer each other feedback. Remember that comments are most helpful when they are constructive.”
  • In Unit 4, students study the qualities and actions of real-life heroes, both ordinary people and historical figures, through stories of their courage and strength. The Extended Writing Project requires students to write an argumentative essay that defines the qualities of a hero and defends the hero from one of the texts in the unit as exemplifying these qualities. Throughout the unit, students utilize the opportunity to think about, write about, and discuss the qualities and actions of heroes, including the following prompt from the Close Read section of Rosa Parks: My Story: “The excerpt you read from Rosa Parks: My Story is part of Parks’s autobiography, a nonfiction narrative she wrote to tell about her life. In the excerpt, Rosa introduces and elaborates on a time when she behaved in a very courageous way. Using the excerpt as a model, write a real-life story, or personal narrative, about a time when you responded to a conflict or problem in a brave, kind, or generous way.”

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Students do have year long engagement with vocabulary.

Grade 6 materials include a list at the beginning of each unit with academic and literary terms that are tied to instruction of the unit is provided for teachers in Unit Overview and provide teachers with guidance for incorporating vocabulary and its ongoing relevance in the Teacher Wrap of the Unit Overview. The Tier 2 Academic vocabulary is given less support than the literary terms. Vocabulary is repeated in various contexts with largely literary terms and Tier 2 Academic Vocabulary is repeated and applied across texts. Vocabulary essential to the understanding of a text is given attention through point of use definitions and pronunciation and students are supported to accelerate their vocabulary through reading, speaking, and writing tasks including the supplementary support of three Academic and Social Language Preview activities per unit.

Students are also provided with a Vocabulary Handbook that includes lessons in each unit. The Vocabulary Handbook includes lesson on topics such as synonyms, context clues, base words, and prefixes. Instructional presentation, practice activities, and assessments are also included for each unit. Examples of opportunities for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Dragonwings, key vocabulary are printed in boldface, so that students take notice of them as they conduct a first read. After reading, students answer questions related to the boldface words. For example, students answer the question, “Use context to determine the meaning of the word 'lynched' as it is used in Dragonwings. Write your definition of 'lynched' here and tell how you got it.” Later, in the Close Read of Dragonwings, students are provided with the vocabulary words and the definitions. Students then write about the word choice used in this selection.
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of Red Scarf Girl, students work on the vocabulary presented in the text. After going over the vocabulary, students complete a fill-in-the-blank activity to check their understanding of each word. Students then have a discussion about the connotation and denotation of words. The lesson plan tells the teacher, “Make sure that students have acquired and accurately use academic-specific words and phrases related to the skill, and demonstrate a command of formal English appropriate to the discussion.” In this example, the teacher may need to add or supplement more information or lessons to assure students are fully growing their vocabulary in service of broader literacy skills.
  • In Unit 4, Lessons 9 and 10 focus on building Academic Vocabulary. Ten words are defined and modeled in sample sentences. Students then complete a drag and drop exercise where they place the related word part for each word in the correct column. Students explain how the word part can help them remember the meaning of the word. Students are asked to use the definition of the word part in their explanation. This exercise promotes the practice of working with words, but the teacher may need to do further work to ensure that these exercises are also in service of comprehension and knowledge building.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. To achieve this goal, instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Direct instruction on the writing process builds as the year progresses. Within the unit, students write in response to driving questions in Blasts, comprehension questions in First Reads, and discussion questions in Close Reads. These informal writing opportunities prepare students to write more formally as part of each unit’s Extended Writing Project and Research assignments. For Research, students discuss, plan, research, write, and deliver presentations. In the Extended Writing Project, students complete a writing project in one of the three primary modes of writing with the help of a student model, graphic organizers, rubrics, and extensive scaffolding of writing skills. Students engage in all phases of the writing process. Examples of materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills over the school year include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Extended Writing Project is an informative piece. It provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the informative/explanatory form and offers an example of a structured academic grade-level response to the prompt. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how informative elements work together to create an effective essay. Students analyze how the model employs specific skills to capture and retain readers’ interest, examine the process the writer used to develop the essay through graphic organizers and road maps, and identify how the model might benefit from revision. Direct instruction is provided in the areas of organization, body paragraphs and transitions, and sources and citations.
  • In Unit 2, in the Skill: Informational Text Elements for Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself, students analyze “informational text elements...within an informational text is essential for readers to reach an in-depth understanding of how a particular element is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated.” In the Skill: Central or Main Idea for Book of the Dead, students determine “the central or main idea of an informational text requiring students to synthesize details by making inferences and comprehending explicit statements.” Students master these skills in the first part of the unit, progressing to analyzing argument and claim, before moving onto lessons which focus on literary elements. Though its qualitative and quantitative dimensions are similar to other texts in the unit, the task demands associated with the final informational text, an excerpt from The Hero Schilemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy, are more challenging. Students are required to analyze the author’s point of view and use of figurative language and how these elements support the author's ideas.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Analysis of plot and story structure are key task demands. Students are provided ample scaffolds as the components become more sophisticated. The recommended full-text read for this unit, Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is also one of this unit’s Common Core Appendix B exemplar texts, which emphasizes analysis of story structure. By the time students have reached the final literary selections in the unit, they are prepared to address the more complex ideas of theme and tone, and begin to incorporate these elements into their own writing.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. Instruction builds on what students previously learned about this form when they crafted a literary analysis in Unit 2. The Extended Writing Project provides a Student Model that contains the essential features of the argumentative form. An example of a structured academic grade-level response to the prompt is provided. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how argumentative elements work together to create an effective argument. Students examine how the ideas and and information in the model were developed through research. They also analyze how the model exemplifies specific skills that enhance the argument’s persuasive power. Students then identify how the model may benefit from revision. Direct instruction is provided on research and note-taking, body paragraphs and transitions, and sources and citations.

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 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 of the four units in the Grade 6 materials include multiple opportunities for students to engage in research activities and present their findings. Each unit begins with a Big Idea Blast that gives students an opportunity to draft a response to the driving question of the unit. The Blast includes multi-media research links related to the theme. As students interact with the research links in the Blasts, they formulate a broader understanding of the theme and texts within the unit. The First Read of each selection includes a Build Background activity that asks students to work collaboratively on a small scale research inquiry that complements the text they are reading.

Each unit also includes an extensive, multi-step Research Project related to the unit’s theme. This is a culmination of skills and knowledge students have gained over the course of the unit. After sharing and discussing results of individual members’ research findings, each group plans and delivers a formal presentation in either narrative, argumentative, or informative mode. Each group uses multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings to reinforce the main ideas.

If the purpose is to inform, students present evidence to develop the subject matter. If the purpose is to present an argument that supports a claim, students use evidence that both supports their opinion and addresses counterarguments. The Speaking & Listening Handbook is utilized during this phase of the Research Project both for speakers and for listeners, who respond critically and constructively to the work of their peers. Each unit provides suggested topics for each research project. Examples of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Research section gives students a variety of topics to help answer the following question: “What happens when life changes directions?” Students research examples of turning points and their effects. The research project serves as a resource for the Extended Writing Project, which is an informative/explanatory essay. Multiple texts such as the novels Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins, and the poem, “The Road Not Taken” develop knowledge on the topic. Students plan a presentation and present their research.
  • In Unit 2, the essential question for the Research Project is, “How does history inform and inspire us?” Students research examples of different ways history impacts individuals, groups of people, and even nations. Myths and fables from other times and cultures are used to teach lessons. Texts in this unit include “Aesops Fables” and the Greek myth, “Perseus.” Students read stories of history, including Philip Isaacson’s critique on the Egyptian pyramids to learn about monumental structures that were built long ago. This knowledge allows students to confront and analyze different aspects of the topic. The research project serves as a resource for writing the Literary Analysis, which is the Extended Writing that students produce at the unit’s close.
  • In Unit 3, the essential question for the Research project is “When should we stand up for others and ourselves?” Students research instances when individuals have confronted choices about defending themselves, their family, or their community. Texts include A Wrinkle in Time, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, Red Scarf Girl and I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment. Additional texts related to the theme are available from the StudySync library. Teachers may choose to include some of these texts in addition to texts from the unit to broaden available source materials, creating a customized course of instruction for students.
  • In Unit 4, the essential question for the Research project is, “What does it mean to be a hero?” Students research ideas about heroism and examples of heroes from fiction and real life. There are five informational texts in this unit including “Sullivan Ballou Letter”, a speech by Sojourner Truth, and one work of fiction, The Red Badge of Courage. Lessons learned from stories of heroism serve as models for individual behavior and inspire courageous and creative responses to modern issues. The Extended Writing Project provides an opportunity for students to write an informative text about the effects the Civil War on Americans and their views of freedom. Multiple texts and source materials provide resources for students to develop knowledge on the topic.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

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

The Core Program Overview includes a structured guide titled “Building an Independent Reading Program.” This section provides an overview of why independent reading is important, and gives details on how to set up a program in the classroom. A five-step plan provides choice for students to select texts and read independently at home and at school. This includes referring students to the StudySync Library where they can explore other titles in the library that share the same themes addressed by the units.

The Core Program Guide states, “In addition to the time you spend reading in class, it’s important to set clear expectations for independent reading outside of the classroom. Students should read outside of class for a set amount of time each day. As students become stronger readers, the time spent reading outside of class should also increase.”

Suggestions for accountability include reading logs, notebooks, online reflections, and informal conversations. Students can be asked to complete end-of reading activities such as filling out a Google Form, pitching books, producing movie trailers, writing reviews on GoodReads, designing movie posters, and participating in a book club style chat. Examples of opportunities for students to regularly engage in a volume of independent while being held accountable include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Program Guide encourages students to explore the StudySync Library and find texts related to the theme, Turning Points. For example, students might independently read other books in the Hatchet series. Students can "test drive" a portion of a text to see if they would like to read the full text.
  • In Unit 2, the StudySync Library includes several additional texts related to the theme Ancient Realms. Additional texts include Cosmos by Carl Sagan, Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome: Heracules by E.M. Berens, The Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabel Allende, and The Histories of Herodotus translated by George Rawlinson.
  • In Unit 3, the theme is Facing Challenges. Students are expected to read independently both in school and at home. Teachers are encouraged to request parent signatures on a reading log or ask students to keep an ongoing log of their reading in their notebooks or online where they reflect on their reading each week. Questions should be provided to direct student reflections. The Core Program Guide stresses that it is important for a teachers to decide on an amount of time appropriate for independent home reading for their student population, then communicate that expectation clearly to both students and parents.
  • In Unit 4, students are encouraged to read texts on the theme, Our Heroes, during independent reading. The pacing guide gives suggestions for further and independent reading including texts such as The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Story of an Eyewitness: The San Francisco Earthquake by Jack London, and A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck. The Core Program Guide states, “Your independent reading program should be ongoing, so it’s important to set up a system for recording what students are reading. This can be easily done using a Google Form to create an online reading log. As students finish each book, they should complete a form providing basic information about their book, a rating and a written review.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for being well-designed and taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The materials offer resources that connect the Common Core State Standards to the elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Digital features are interactive and simple. In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section entitled, “Instructional Path.”

The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously-taught skills. In the Core Program Guide, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program. Along with the scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the Access Path, teachers locate differentiation suggestions for beyond grade-level learners that stretch their thinking, adding more opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement.

In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and several features of the program were designed to model the communication style utilized on social media.

Criterion 3a - 3e

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8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations for being well-designed and taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The materials meet the expectations for the teacher and student reasonably being able to complete the content within a regular school year with the pacing allowing for maximum student understanding. The materials, through an integrated approach that combines reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting, along with instructional routines that are predictable and easily understandable, provide students with activities and opportunities to practice what they are learning. The materials offer resources that connect the Common Core State Standards to the elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Digital features are interactive and simple. The layout is consistent throughout the materials, following the same format depending on the type of activity and assessment the students complete.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Each lesson is designed for a fifty-minute period. The year-long instruction is broken into four units. Each unit is broken into forty-five lessons, totalling 180 days of instruction. Each unit follows a similar structure, and a Full Text Study is provided for each unit. Most lessons begin with a First Read, then a Skill lesson, followed by a Close Reading activity. Each lesson includes detailed lesson plans for the teacher, as well as online materials for students. Each lesson plan has clear guidelines for a core path as well as an access path that may include categories for beginner, approaching, intermediate, and advanced. Units 1 and 3 contain an alternative pacing guide that incorporates core instructional units with English language development lessons.

Each unit also includes a Pacing Guide that helps teachers utilize the resources offered in each StudySync Core ELA and English Learner unit. The pacing guide weaves lessons from every segment of this Core ELA unit: the Instructional Path, Extended Writing Project, Research Project, and Full-Text Study. An additional column helps the teacher align Core ELA unit content with lessons from its companion English Learner unit.

Indicator 3b

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

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

The pacing guide for each unit divides the unit into forty-five days in order to be able to complete the curriculum in an 180-day school year. Instructional days often contain more than a single task. Pacing is based on fifty-minute instructional days, but teachers may need to modify the suggested pacing to fit their scheduling needs. This can easily be accomplished by selecting ten to twelve of the texts available in each unit. Examples of pacing that allows for maximum student understanding and the ability to complete the content within a regular school year include but are not limited to:

  • A Shortcuts section, which highlights areas where teachers can trim the unit to ensure they cover the most important sections.
  • Suggestions for for shortening a unit include the following: “replacing the Research Project with a Crowdsourcing Activity: Instead of a 12 day research project, you can make the research component of this unit an informal exploration using a crowdsourcing activity, and eliminate Repeated Author’s Purpose and Point of View skill lessons. Each unit focuses on developing specific skills. Some of these skills are repeated throughout the unit to ensure students have plenty of practice with those skills. If you are in a rush and looking to cut some of the content in a unit, you can eliminate one or two of these skill lessons and feel confident your students will still be exposed to the information they need about author’s purpose and point of view.”

Indicator 3c

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

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

The materials, through an integrated approach that combines reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting, along with instructional routines that are predictable and easily understandable, provide students with activities and opportunities to practice what they are learning.

Unit components offer clear explanations and directions, teacher and student models, and a variety of instructional routines and opportunities to practice and apply skills. Student writing and text annotations can be saved to an electronic binder where students can receive peer and teacher feedback. With more than 40 short, constructed responses over the course of a grade level, the materials provide frequent opportunities for on-demand writing practice.

Lessons are clear and detailed. For example, in Unit 1, students study the skill of Central or Main Idea while reading Guts: True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books. As an introduction to the skill, students are provided with a definition of the skill, both in written form and through an informational video. Next, students dive deeper by observing the application of the skill through further explanation and a model. During this model section, students have the option of using an annotation tool and/or listening to the audio version of the text. Students have the opportunity to practice what they learned through the “Your Turn” section. Here, students read a short passage, analyze the text, and answer two multiple-choice questions.

Indicator 3d

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

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

The materials offer resources that connect the Common Core State Standards to the elements of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The Scope and Sequence document provides a grid that shows where all of the informational and literature standards are covered within each unit; specifically where they are introduced as practice/application only or instruction along with practice and application. There is information at the bottom of the page that connects the task to the Common Core Standard being addressed every assignment that students complete. Each lesson comes with a detailed lesson plan that outlines the objectives and lists the Common Core Standards addressed in the lesson. Each step of the lesson plan is detailed, and mentions the relevant connections to the CCSS.

All sections and handouts in the Speaking and Listening Handbook include references to the Common Core State Standards being addressed. For example, in Unit 2, in the First Read of Book of the Dead, students answer Think questions that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. For example, students answer the following question: “Using textual evidence, explain why this text is called “The Negative Confession.” This question aligns to CCSS.RI.6.1. In the Close Read of Book of the Dead, students answer the following writing prompt: “Reread confessions 11 to 42 of “The Negative Confession.” Analyze the details, choosing eight confessions, with details that together suggest a similar central idea. Summarize the central idea in your own words, and use textual evidence that supports your thinking.” This prompt aligns to L.6.2.B, RI.6.1, RI.6.2, W.6.10, W.6.4, W.6.5, and W.6.6.

Indicator 3e

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

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

Digital features are interactive and simple. The layout is consistent throughout the materials, following the same format depending on the type of activity and assessment the students complete. There is space for the students to record their answers. The font, media size, and type are easy to read. There is blank space on each page, and margins are of adequate size. The graphic organizers and handouts provided for students are easy to navigate.

The First Read of each text shows the title of the story with a small visual. Underneath, tabs to access additional information for each phase of the assignment, Intro, Read, and Think, are available. Some texts have another tab for StudySync TV. Each activity has an associated symbol that can be found throughout the materials. The font size, titles, and media are easy to see and read. There is sufficient space for the students to write their short answer responses to the text questions.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and ancillary materials. In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section entitled, “Instructional Path.” The materials meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The materials provide a document in the Core Program Guide entitled, “Research-Based Alignments.” The document provides a summary of key research findings and recommendations for best practices of instruction in English Language Arts, focused on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, Media and Technology. Educators are encouraged to provide parents with a general overview of StudySync, as well as send home the Student User Guide, Grade Level Overview documents to familiarize caregivers with StudySync, and individual student reports.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Detailed lesson plans are provided for each text within the units. Access Paths, Blasts, First Reads, Close Reads, and Skill Lessons are provided along with detailed instructions, activities, and answer keys for each task suggested in the lesson plans. Embedded technology includes Tech Infusions, which are extension activities that incorporate technology such as Padlet, Diigo, PollEverywhere, etc. Another technological feature is Blast activities. This feature allows students to participate in a classroom version of social media, beginning with a driving question and a shared reading of background on a topics. Students then response to the driving question in a public forum. They participate in a poll, and review live research links to learn more about the Blast’s topic. Blast responses go live in real time, providing an opportunity for students to give each other feedback, select favorite responses, and reflect on the driving question again in response to ideas shared by their peers. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Skill Lesson: Poetic Structure for “The Road Not Taken,” teachers are provided the following detailed instructions in the lesson plan: “After watching the Concept Definition video, have students read the definition of poetic structure. Either in small groups or as a whole class, use these questions to engage students in a discussion about poetic structure. Make sure students follow the rules for collegial discussions. What types of poetic structures are you familiar with? Do all poems have structure? Why or why not? What other poems have you read that have interesting structures?”
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of The Lightning Thief, an embedded Tech Fusion assignment is included as follows: “Compare and Contrast. Have students use Popplet to create visual aids that compare and contrast the two visions of Percy's father as presented in the excerpt. Have students consider the following: What positive qualities are presented? What negative qualities are presented? How have both the presence and the absence of this man affected the lives of both Percy and his mother? Have students present their work to the class for discussion.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of Red Scarf Girl, the teacher is provided with the following embedded Tech Infusion activity: “Have students create an interior monologue in Ji-Li's first-person voice, describing what she thinks during her 'study session.' Remind students to use their memory of their first reading of Red Scarf Girl to provide text elements, such as dialogue and descriptive details, for Ji-Li's monologue. Invite students to post their monologues on a class blog such as Pen.io, Blogger, or Edublogs.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read for “The Story Behind the Bus,” the teacher is provided with guiding questions for a classroom discussion: “In small, heterogeneous groups or pairs, ask students to share and discuss their annotations with a focus on how the authors of both texts present a similar topic in the selections. In what ways were Rosa Parks's actions heroic given the social, political, and historical contexts of the time? Cite specific textual evidence to support your answer.”

Indicator 3g

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

In each lesson plan, teachers are provided full explanations and examples of the more advanced literary concepts in the following sections of the Teacher’s Edition section entitled, “Instructional Path.” The Access to Complex Text section includes information to access the complex text by providing actual literary concepts and examples found in the featured text. The Overview section provides a summary of the text, and identifies the literary concepts included in the featured text. Answer Keys are provided with all activities, along with Access to Complex Text features for each text. This assists the teacher is scaffolding instruction for the students, so that they all may access the complex text. A Teacher’s Glossary is included in each unit which includes linguistic, grammatical, comprehension, and literary terms. Examples of explanations and examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of Hatchet, the teacher is provided with the following information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text: “To help students understand the main character of Brian, and the internal and external conflicts he faces, provide scaffolded instruction for a close reading of the more complex features of this text. For example, let students know that the limited-third person narrator focuses on Brian and his situation and does not visit other characters as this voice relays Brian's thoughts, words, and actions. This narrative choice causes readers to sympathize with Brian as they, too, do not know whether a rescue mission is in progress.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Book of Exodus, the teacher is provided with information to help students access complex text. The lesson plan provides the following background information: “The Book of Exodus chronicles the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. It tells of their difficult passage through the wilderness to the land of Canaan. Moses led his people on this journey. Once his people were safe, Moses climbed Mount Sinai, where God spoke to him from the heavens. The two established a covenant. The two stone tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain were inscribed with the Ten Commandments. The commandments went on to become the basis for Judaic law.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Grade 6 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the following prior knowledge to help students access complex text, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: “Students may not know about the racial and economic inequalities of sharecropping or the grave effects of the Great Depression on African American small landowners and sharecroppers. This may make it difficult for students to understand the significance of Thurston Wallace’s power over the characters in the story.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Grade 6 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with information to help students identify claims and evaluate each author’s arguments in “Celebrities as Heroes.” For example, teachers are given the following information on the author’s purpose: “Students may be challenged by the fact that the writers have cross-purposes; though each author writes for the purpose of persuading the reader to accept his or her point of view as more convincing, they take contradictory positions.”

Indicator 3h

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

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

StudySync’s Program Overview states, “The core program was built from the ground up to fully align with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The program’s instruction targets requirements of these standards.” The program offers a variety of high-quality texts. The selections presented in each unit and grade offer a balance of literary and informational texts. These texts offer complex themes and ideas as well as compelling characters and language. Alignment is evident in the Scope and Sequence. In this chart, texts are listed in order by unit. For each text, the materials identify which standards are being practiced and which ones are being taught and practiced. This is indicated by an “o” and an “x” respectively. At a glance, teachers can tell which Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language standards are being addressed by each text.

Indicator 3i

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The materials provide a document in the Core Program Guide entitled, “Research-Based Alignments.” In this document, the publisher provides an overview of the research upon which the instruction in StudySync was built. The document provides a summary of key research findings and recommendations for best practices of instruction in English Language Arts, focused on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, Media and Technology. The document summarizes key research findings and research-based recommendations related to effective reading instruction from several key sources. Some of the key sources are as follows:

  • Reading Next-A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy: A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York 2nd Edition (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). Written in conjunction with staff from the Alliance for Excellent Education, this document describes 15 key elements of effective adolescent literacy programs. Designed to improve adolescent achievement in middle and high schools, the elements are subdivided into instructional improvements and infrastructural improvements.
  • Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices: A Practice Guide (Kamil, Borman, Dole, Kral, Salinger, & Torgesen, 2008). This report provides clear and evidence-based recommendations for enhancing literacy skills in the upper elementary, middle, and secondary levels. An analysis of the quality of the evidence supporting each claim is provided.
  • Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension (2002). This review of the research on reading comprehension instruction was conducted by the Reading Study Group for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Research and Improvement.
  • Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading. A Report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Graham & Herbert, 2010). This document provides a meta-analysis of research on the effects of specific types of writing interventions found to enhance students’ reading skills.
  • Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools. A Report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Graham & Perin, 2007). This report provides a review of research-based techniques designed to enhance the writing skills of students in grades 4-12. Additionally, specific findings have been incorporated from other recent, reputable related research.

Indicator 3j

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Educators are encouraged to provide parents with a general overview of StudySync: the philosophy behind the program, the types of assignments and assessments students will complete, skills they will learn, the expectations for students using a digital program, and how caregivers can support students at home. Teachers may choose to conduct a StudySync curriculum night to introduce parents to the program, as well as send home the Student User Guide and Grade Level Overview documents to familiarize caregivers with StudySync. In order to view and analyze their child’s progress, parents should receive individual student reports. These printable reports contain every StudySync assignment given and completed by the student, including student’s responses, average review scores from peers, and specific feedback and scores from teachers. Student reports can inform teachers and caregivers areas in which students need additional support.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. The Teacher Introduction portion of the Core ELA Assessments document describes the assessments’ key areas of focus. At the culmination of each unit, students are assessed on key instructional concepts and their ability to write to prompts. The information that these assessments reveal informs future instruction, leveling and grouping, and the need for remediation and/or reteaching. The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously-taught skills. In the Core Program Guide, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program; instructions to utilize the StudySync library; suggestions on taking a trip to the library; methods to set up time to read, reflect, and discuss; ways to stay organized using a reading log and Google forms; and ideas for students to share their independent reading books with others.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials contain formative and summative assessments that can be used to measure student progress. There is a placement test that can be given at the beginning of the unit. Each unit has a summative assessment that tests comprehension, skills, vocabulary, and writing. Teachers use the responses in the First Read, the Skills lessons, Close Reads, Blasts, and Extended Writing Projects to conduct ongoing formative assessments. These formative assessments contain a variety of assessment types including multiple choice, short answer, discussion, and extended response. Formative assessments are found throughout the unit, and the End of Unit summative assessments are found in the Core ELA Assessment materials.

The materials provide Placement and Diagnostic Assessments, which are typically given at the beginning of the school year. These assessments focus on fluency and spelling, including an upper-level spelling inventory. The materials also provide oral reading and maze fluency assessments.

In the final portion of a Skills lesson, students respond to two short questions about a different passage of text from the First Read. These assessments provide teachers with immediate feedback on student performance, and the program contains guidance to teachers on how to alter instruction based on that performance.

Throughout each unit, students are assessed on their understanding of key instructional content along with their ability to write to sources. The results of these summative assessments provide teachers with data to track year-long progress and inform instructional decisions.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

Formative assessments are built into each unit through Blasts, First Reads, Close Reads, and Skills Activities. Each formative assessment includes notations of the standards that are being addressed. The Teacher Introduction portion of the Core ELA Assessments document describes each assessment's key areas of focus. The answer key at the end of each downloadable paper copy of the assessments provides item-specific information such as content focus/skill, Common Core State Standard, and Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level. The online version of the assessments offers the same metadata for each item along with tech-enhanced item functionality.

For example, in Unit 1, in the First Read of Island of the Blue Dolphins, students answer the following questions: “Why does Karana, the narrator, decide not to shoot the wounded dog? Cite textual evidence to support your answer.” and “Use context to determine the meaning of the word fortunate as it is used in Island of the Blue Dolphins. Write your definition of 'fortunate' here and tell how you got it. How might the word 'fortunate' be related to the word 'fortune'?” These questions serve as a summative assessment and support teachers to identify mastery of the Common Core State Standards RL.6.1, L.6.4.A, and L.6.5.B.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

At the culmination of each unit, students are assessed on key instructional concepts and their ability to write to prompts. The information that these assessments reveal informs the teacher about grouping, future instruction, and the need for remediation and/or reteaching. End-of-unit assessments also generate reports for students and parents on strengths, deficiencies, standard and skill proficiency levels, and across-unit growth. End-of-year assessments also indicate students' readiness for state testing.

  • After the Unit 1 end-of-unit assessment, the materials guide the teacher in how to modify instruction based on outcomes such as, “If students score less than 75% on the comprehension items in unit assessment...then reteach the following skill lessons as needed using the Access 4 Handout and the Approaching instructional scaffolds in the Access Path: Point of View, Connotation and Denotation, Textual Evidence, Story Structure, Central or Main Idea, and Informational Text Structure.”

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The StudySync materials provide for ongoing review, practice, and feedback. The Core Program Guide explains that assessments available in StudySync ELA allow for monitoring student progress, diagnosing possible issues, and measuring student achievement in relation to their understanding of previously taught skills. Assessments included within the program help teachers gather data to address students’ instructional needs. They also measure the critical components of reading. Assessment options are grounded in research. Each unit has a Research and an Extended Writing Project, which include routines and guidelines that help teachers monitor student progress in writing. Routines and guidance include but are not limited to:

  • Placement and diagnostic assessments to support decision-making about appropriate instructional levels for students. The assessments serve as a baseline and help teachers to monitor student progress throughout the school year.
  • Each Unit provides teachers with lesson plans that “point teachers toward minute-to-minute formative assessment opportunities.” First Reads, Skills, Close Reads, and Extended Writing Projects offer “medium cycle assessment opportunities for students and teachers to chart progress toward key learning outcomes. End of unit assessments and performance tasks test key skills and measure progress summatively.”
  • Each chapter of the Language and Composition Handbook focuses on a specific grammar or usage skill. Each chapter begins with a pretest, followed by instruction and practice, and ends with a post test.

Indicator 3n

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

In the Core Program Guide, the publishers offer a general plan for an independent reading program. In this section, the publisher provides components for a successful independent reading program: instructions to utilize the StudySync library, suggestions on taking a trip to the library, methods to set up time to read, reflect, and discuss, how to stay organized using a reading log and Google forms, and ideas for students to share their independent reading books with others. In each Unit’s pacing guide, a “Suggestions for Further and Independent Reading” section is provided to offer suggestions for texts related to the Core ELA program texts by theme, author, setting, etc. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the Guide suggests that “The StudySync Full-text Unit for The Lightning Thief offers books for further reading that expand the themes of quests, journeys, and heroes. Two books describe very different journeys: Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of a road trip across America with his pet poodle and Enrique’s Journey, Sonia Nazario’s Pulitzer-winning account of a Honduran boy’s search for his mother in the United States.”
  • In Unit 3, the Guide suggests that students look for independent reading on topics connected to topics addressed in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, such as the Great Depression and Jim Crow South. Examples of books students might choose include one of the other books in the series about the Logans, written by Mildred D. Taylor. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is third in the series of eight. Before it are The Land and Song of the Trees. After it are Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Friendship, Mississippi Bridge, The Road to Memphis and The Well: David’s Story. Another option is Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies to meet the needs of range of learners so content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding grade-level standards. The materials provide access supports for the reading of texts such as Audio Options, Audio Text Highlight Tool, Audio Speed controls, Video Content with Closed Captioning, Text Enlargement, and Keyboarding. The materials provide supports for students who are full English language learners, and they provide supports for students who are learning Standard English. Along with the scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the Access Path, teachers locate differentiation suggestions for beyond grade-level learners that stretch their thinking, adding more opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement. Throughout each instructional unit, students are encouraged to learn in groups.

Indicator 3o

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

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

Throughout each instructional Unit, differentiated lessons are provided for teachers to use. This Access Path provides differentiated lessons classified as emerging, intermediate, advanced, and approaching. The lesson plans include a column of suggestions to help teachers adequately differentiate the lesson. Student grouping is suggested in many lessons. Differentiated worksheets are provided. ELL students may be provided with additional sentence frames while receiving access to the same materials.

Each lesson includes a full set of Access Handouts. Access Handouts are differentiated through the use of sentence frames, graphic organizers, glossaries, and many other activities. Access handouts provide students with support to complete core assignments alongside their on-grade level classmates.

Teachers can create multiple online classes and custom learning groups. This allows teachers to assign texts and the weekly Blast based on Lexile levels. Teacher can customize the directions and requirements for entire classes, smaller groups, or individual students. Teachers can “modify prompts, turn on audio readings, and extend due dates” to help students meet learning goals.

Indicator 3p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Students read grade-level texts through the support of teacher modeling and scaffolded instruction. Students work as individuals, in small groups, and as a whole class. Student Models are provided via multimedia introductions. These show students how to interact with the text. Reading skills are supported by explicit grammar and vocabulary instruction. The instructional materials include ways teachers can adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

For each Unit, teachers may choose the Core unit or EL Unit. The EL Unit includes materials and assessments for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. All lessons contain a Core Path and an Access Path for teachers along with Access handouts for students to support instruction in the Access Path. The program provides instructional materials that may be used for pre-teaching, reteaching, remediation, and small group instruction. Documents include the following: Grammar, Language, and Composition Workbook, Vocabulary Workbook, Spelling Workbook, Standard English Learners Handbook, and Foundational Skills.

The materials provide supports for reading texts, such as Audio Options, Audio Text Highlight Tool, Audio Speed controls, Video Content with Closed Captioning, Text Enlargement, and Keyboarding. The materials include supports for English language learners and for students learning Standard English, with tools such as Contrastive Analysis Drills, Translative Drills, and Discrimination Drills.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

There are activities specific to students reading beyond grade level in the Access path for each unit. These activities aim to guide high ability students further into the core path content should they complete the activity before other students. Along with scaffolds that differentiate instruction for English learners in the access path, suggestions are provided that stretch learners' thinking. For example, students may have additional opportunities for collaborative and creative engagement. Core path questions support the use of reading comprehension strategies, inference techniques, and the application of textual evidence. The beyond-level activity may, for example, ask students to brainstorm how two characters might talk their way out of trouble. Technology may also be leveraged to support these students.

For example, in Unit 1, the Access Path’s Beyond section for Hatchet offers students a Tech Infusion. Advanced students are asked to work in pairs and “brainstorm how Brian might use each item he has with him to improve his chances for survival.”

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Throughout each instructional unit, students are encouraged to learn in groups. Students participate in collaborative conversations about texts, and receive instruction in whole group, small group, and one-on-one settings. Students also watch StudySyncTV group discussions, which serve as models,

Throughout every instructional unit, the lesson plans include a column with suggestions for the teacher to differentiate the lesson. Differentiated worksheets are included. Grouping suggestions are provided in many lesson plans. ELL students may utilize additional sentence frames and still receive access to the same materials. Examples of scaffolds and differentiation include:

  • In the Close Reads for each text, students express their ideas in collaborative conversation groups before planning and writing a short constructed response.
  • The Access Path guides teachers to leverage technology tools, such as Closed Captioning and Audio Text Highlight to engage and instruct learners. Additionally, the Access Path guides provide suggestions for alternating between whole group, small group, and one-on-one instruction.
  • At each grade level, the Speaking and Listening handbook is divided into four sections: Collaborative Discussions, Critical Listening, Research Using Various Media, and Presentation Skills. Each section is comprised of a comprehension lesson plan, including student handouts, checklists, and rubrics. Each section contains formative assessments that can be used and repeated for the following activities: engaging in small or large-group discussions, listening critically and responding to information and ideas shared by others, conducting research and assembling findings, and presenting in the narrative, informative, and argumentative modes using multimedia elements.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, “platform neutral,” follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. In addition to being delivered entirely online, teachers can customize texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site based on classroom and individual students’ needs. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals. StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and several features of the program were designed to model the communication style utilized on social media.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The StudySync materials are accessible online and can be printed for student use. Teachers can log in to StudySync from any computer with Internet access. The program is compatible with multiple Internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. The program is well-adapted to the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials include a “complete and comprehensive cross-curricular English Language Arts literacy curriculum in an easy-to-use digital format.” StudySync uses technology to create a digital learning environment that is available from any desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.

In addition to being delivered entirely online, many components of the program provide multimedia experiences to promote increased engagement for students. Teachers may customize the learning experience of students based on their needs. They do this by customizing texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site.

Texts include digital tools, such as annotation and audio tools. This enhances the reading process and makes it more accessible for students. Each Unit contains video and audio features to support text accessibility and comprehension. StudySyncTV and SkillsTV videos provide models of students engaged in collaborative discussion. Students may integrate multimedia components into presentations.

Within Blast activities, students complete social-media style activities, such as writing a 140-character response to a guiding question or participating in a digital poll. Students may view and interact with the results from their blasts and their classmates’ blasts along with poll participation.

In First Reads, students have access to technology tools that allow them to digitally annotate text. Digital annotations are saved in each student’s reading and writing binders. Students have access to audio recordings of text for additional support with fluency and in building phonological awareness.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The materials reviewed for Grade 6 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers can adapt learning experiences for students based on individual needs.

  • Teachers use technology to scaffold assignments based on students’ interests and reading abilities. They may assign one of four digital Access Handouts depending on a student’s ability. Teachers can also customize the directions, expectations, and due dates for a whole class, a small group, or an individual student.
  • Teachers have access to a library of content, texts, and excerpts. This allows teachers to target specific skills and choose texts based on Lexile levels.
  • The materials include audio, closed captioning, and vocabulary support for students.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Materials can be easily customized for local use. Teachers can customize digital materials for local use according to student interests and abilities. The Core Program Guide states that every lesson contains resources and guidance for teachers to both scaffold instruction for three levels of English learners and approaching grade-level learners, and enrich and extend activities for beyond grade-level learners. Every lesson plan is divided into two parts: the Core Path, for core instruction and for scaffolded instruction, the Access Path.

Assignments can be customized. Teachers choose which Access Handout to include, add teacher notes or directions, decide whether or not to include audio, limit the number of Think questions, and select a suggested writing prompt or include their own. This digital customization of assignments allows teachers to customize assignments for the whole class, small groups, and/or individuals.

  • In Unit 1, the Pacing Guide states, “The pacing guide presents a suggested plan of attack that will help you cover the content in this unit, while making the connections between the anchor text and the StudySync selections clear for your students. Although this is a suggested outline of lessons, you can adapt, alter, eliminate, or re-organize the lessons to best meet the needs of your students. You may do all of this in class or you may decide to divide the assignments between in-class work and homework. Ultimately, you are in the best position to decide what is manageable for your classes given the time constraints you are working within.”

Indicator 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

StudySync digitally delivers instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Teachers have the option to print materials. To ensure student are engaged in learning, “several features of the program were designed to mimic the style of communication on social media.” Students complete Think questions, Skills Focus questions, and writing prompts online; this allows for peer review where students are encouraged to provide and receive feedback.

  • In Unit 1, in the Blast for “Eleven,” students create a theme for a blog (i.e., famous authors, interviews with athletes, information for pet owners, etc.) Using Blogger or Edublogs, students write a blog post that fits with their theme. Students can include tags, hyperlinks, headings and subheadings, photographs, and captions.
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of the Book of Exodus, students respond and collaborate in an extend, discuss, record activity. Small groups or the whole class can discuss how their understanding of the excerpt increased during the Close Reading in comparison to the First Reading. Students can use a voice recording app (Voice Memo on the iPhone or Smart Voice Recorder for Androids) or VoiceThread to capture each group's ideas.

Additional Publication Details

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

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 1-year 978-0-0767-8473-8 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 1-year 978-0-0767-8474-5 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 2-years 978-0-0790-0308-9 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 3-years 978-0-0790-0311-9 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 4 years 978-0-0790-0314-0 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 5-years 978-0-0790-0316-4 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 6-years 978-0-0790-0319-5 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 7-years 978-0-0790-0321-8 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12 Student Subscription, 8-years 978-0-0790-0324-9 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 2-years 978-0-0790-0385-0 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 3-years 978-0-0790-0388-1 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 4-years 978-0-0790-0390-4 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 5-years 978-0-0790-0393-5 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 6-years 978-0-0790-0395-9 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 7-years 978-0-0790-0398-0 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017
StudySync ELA Grades 6-12, Teacher Subscription, 8-years 978-0-0790-0401-7 Copyright: 2017 McGraw-Hill Education 2017

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.

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