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 7 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

Texts consider a range of topics that are high-interest and age-appropriate for Grade 7. Topics include space exploration, animal behavior, the constitution, the underground railroad, the dangers of social media, and humor. Many of the core texts are timeless classics, CCSS exemplar texts, written by award-winning authors, and contain rich vocabulary, both academic and content-specific. Texts are worthy of careful reading. Examples of these texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. This excerpt of a timeless classic is high quality. Focusing on story elements, such as setting, character, and plot, and how they interact, students see how characters in a story may influence the action of the plot, or the plot may influence the actions of the characters.
  • In Unit 1, students read Apollo 13: Mission Highlights, by NASA Kennedy Space Center. This is a high quality informational text that focuses on technical language. It is thought provoking and worthy of reading because it is a first hand account of Apollo 13’s mission to the moon.
  • In Unit 1, students read The Call of the Wild, by Jack London. This timeless classic is age appropriate and high interest because it explores the irrepressible animal instinct that lies in dogs and humans. The third-person narration contains rich language and challenging vocabulary.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, by Linda Monk. This informational text is high interest as it explores the evolving nature of the Constitution. Rich language is thoroughly scaffolded for students to understand.
  • In Unit 2, students read “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson. This is a classic American short story. This age appropriate text is high interest with a relatable setting of small town.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Giver, by Lois Lowry. This text distinguishes between two points of view. It is a high interest, dystopian novel that is relatable as it focuses on what happens to children in the village when they turn twelve.
  • In Unit 3, students read Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, by Ann Petry. This high-interest nonfiction text is worthy of reading as it is based on historical facts and uses primary sources containing Harriet Tubman’s actual words. It also contains photographs of Harriet Tubman.
  • In Unit 3, students read “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus.This Petrarchan sonnet has historical value in that it is engraved on the platform of The Statue of Liberty. This text also provides students with the opportunity to analyze structure and form.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi,” by Jawaharlal Nehru. This speech, dedicated to the leader of the Indian Independence Movement, contains rich language and strong content/academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Dangers of Social Media,” which provides a high-interest representation of two authors’ views on the topic of social media. The text provides both a point and counterpoint for the argument.
  • In Unit 4, students read Thank You, Ma’am, by Langston Hughes. This high interest short story centers around the theme of empathy. This story teaches the reader about forgiving someone.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Ransom of Red Chief,” by O. Henry. This short story is highly engaging and entertaining. It uses both verbal and situational irony to develop the plot and characters.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 poems, novels, short stories, folktales, drama, and mythology. Informational texts include autobiographies, biographical essays, memoirs, editorials, and persuasive essays.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by William Butler Yeats, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and “The King of Mazy May” by Jack London.
  • In Unit 2, students read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Feed by M. T. Anderson.
  • In Unit 3, students read “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, and “The People Could Fly” by Virginia Hamilton.
  • In Unit 4, students read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and “Oranges” by Gary Soto.

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

  • In Unit 1, students read Barrio Boy by Ernesto Galarza, “New Directions” by Maya Angelou, and Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck.
  • In Unit 2, students read Gladiator by Richard Watkins, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, and The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution by Linda R. Monk.
  • In Unit 3, students read Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, “Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi” by Jawaharlal Nehru, and “1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address” by Barbara Jordan.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Teacher Who Changed My Life” by Nicholas Gage, and “California Invasive Plant Inventory” by California Invasive Plant Council.

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 7 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 7 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade. Texts range from 480L to 1360L; most texts fall within either the Current Lexile Band or the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The texts are appropriate for Grade 7 according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Some texts do exceed these bands, but the tasks are designed to make them accessible. Examples of texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 7 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Song of Wandering Aengus.” This poem is appropriate for the grade level because this complex piece of literature has students analyze the poem’s themes and allusion to Irish mythology. This narrative poem is organized sequentially in three stanzas of eight lines each that form a pattern of end rhymes.
  • In Unit 2, students read The Wise Old Woman. This text has a Lexile level of 930L which falls within both the Current Lexile Band and the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. This Japanese Folktale is appropriate for Grade 7 because it teaches a moral and contains robust vocabulary words.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Mother Jones: Fierce Fighters for Workers’ Rights.” This text has a Lexile level of 930L which falls within both the Current Lexile Band and the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. Judith Pinkerton Josephson uses technical language to give authority to her subject. Students will encounter specialized language used in economics, history, and social studies. They will also encounter common or multiple-meaning words that take on technical meanings in this context, such as strike. They will use these words in their writing.
  • In Unit 4, students read “The Ransom of Red Chief.” This text has a Lexile level of 940L which falls within both the Current Lexile Band and the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8. Students read this classic short story exploring the situational irony that besets a pair of kidnappers who get more than they bargained for from the boy they stole for ransom. Through the reading of this text, students understand the irony of the situation in the story, as well as the interplay of character, setting, and plot.

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 7 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 informational texts appropriate for the grade band. These texts increase in complexity as the units progress, and while some texts fall at the high end of the grade level, students are also provided more reachable texts as they learn how to analyze texts. Along with increasing text complexity, the students’ writing also increases in complexity. Students are asked to read texts, analyze these texts, and respond to them 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 analysis of informational text. Being able to read and understand informational text helps students analyze structure, determine the author’s point of view, compare and contrast several versions’ portrayal of the same subject, and determine whether or not an author’s reasoning is sound. By the end of the year, students strengthen their understanding of informational text and its various structures as independent writing assignments such as argumentative essays. Examples of increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the Text Study of Call of the Klondike, in the Skill section on Informational Text Structure, students are introduced to some common informational texts structures such as sequential, cause-and-effect, and comparison and contrast. Identifying these texts structures is then modeled before students practice identifying various informational text structures by answering multiple choice questions.
  • In Unit 2, in the Text Study of Gladiator, students are again exposed to the informational text structures they learned about in Unit 1. The structures are defined, and the teacher models how to interact with the text and identify the structures. As a last step, the students answer a two-part question that asks them to determine the text structure of a passage.
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy, students review some aspects of informational texts before completing a short writing prompt. In the writing prompt, students structure their writing in a similar way to informational text. The prompt states, “Begin with a clear thesis statement and use your understanding of informational text structure to write a short essay to answer the question.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Extended Writing Project, students complete an argumentative writing assignment. As students are working through the writing process they complete a lesson on organizing their writing. This lesson explains that the various organizational strategies that they have studied throughout the year can be applied to their argumentative writing. The lesson states, “Writers of arguments can choose from a number of organizational structures, including compare-contrast, order of importance, problem-solution, cause-effect, and chronological (or sequential) order, among others.” Students then determine which organizational structure makes the most sense for them and uses it to complete their argumentative writing assignment.

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 7 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 read “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.” This text is set in 19th century colonial India which was a time of privilege for British colonialists. “The narrator tells the story of a heroic mongoose who protects a British family from a pair of cobras living in the lush garden.” The Lexile level for this excerpt and the full text is 1010L. This text can be challenging because sentences are complex; it also contains some unfamiliar vocabulary words. Students will need to follow punctuation clues as they decipher units of meaning.
  • In Unit 2, students read “The Lottery.” This text is “a classic American short story that takes place in a seemingly ordinary small town. The plot twist at the end of the story may present challenges for the reader as an ordinary town becomes transformed once the real meaning of the lottery is exposed.” The Lexile level is 1090. Students might find this text challenging due to some difficult vocabulary.
  • In Unit 3, students read “The Long Walk to Freedom.” In this excerpt, Nelson Mandela explores how the system of apartheid shaped his life, his views on freedom and courage, and his hope for the future. The Lexile level for this excerpt is 1270L. Students will need to attend carefully to details in the text to understand Mandela’s ideas. This text is challenging in that students need to analyze how the author contrasts his position from that of others and how sequences of events shaped his thoughts and actions. Teachers will also need to help students understand why Mandela was fighting for social justice in South Africa.
  • In Unit 4, read The Outsiders. In these excerpts, Ponyboy, a Greaser and the narrator of the story, recounts fellow gang-member, Johnny’s, brutal beating at the hands of the Socs. The Lexile level is 660L. To help students access the text, students need to be guided through the flashback sections which may confuse some readers. Also, “students may be confused by the function of dialogue in this text, in that it is used both to recount past events and to move the plot forward.

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 7 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, and teacher interventions are gradually released in order to enable the students to achieve grade-level reading independently. Examples of students engaging in a range of texts include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students begin the unit on day one by reading the Blast background and materials included in several research links. The next day the students would participate in the First Read of Barrio Boy, where they read and annotate the text. Day three includes skill work on the Central or Main Idea where students read both the definition and model sections associated with the skill. Students then complete a Close Read of Barrio Boy, including a detailed reading and annotation of a selection. Finally, students complete another Blast activity to round out the text study of Barrio Boy.
  • In Unit 2, over the course of nine weeks, students do a full-text study of The Giver and/or The Hunger Games and read eight other partial texts that are a balance of fiction and informational texts, including one poem. The texts are all related to the unit title of “The Powers That Be.” Nonfiction texts include Gladiator, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, and Reality TV and Society. Fiction texts include "The Lottery," The Wise Old Woman: Retold by Yoshiko Uchida, Feed, and "I, Too, Sing America." Students have opportunities to interact with these 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 Flesh and Blood So Cheap. Students also complete a skill lesson on informational text structure and use excerpts from Flesh and Blood So Cheap to practice the skill. Students also complete a Blast where they read background information regarding workplace safety. In Unit 3, there is a full text study on Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad. Throughout Unit 3, students read additional texts including The Internationale, The House of Dies Drear, Born in Slavery: Interview with an Ex-Slave, Journal of William Still, I Am an American Day Address, We Real Cool, Midnight’s Children, and Inaugural Address of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
  • In Unit 4, students complete a First Read and a Close Read of “Thank You, M’am.” Students also complete a skill lesson on story elements and use excerpts from “Thank you, M’am” to practice the skill. Students then complete a Blast where they read background information regarding landfill orchestras. In Unit 4 there are two full text studies: The Outsiders and The Miracle Worker. Throughout Unit 4, students read additional texts including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The World I Live In, Blind, Louis Braille: Teacher of the Blind, The Wednesday Wars, A Separate Peace, After Twenty Years, Brian’s Song, The Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea, and Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography.

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 7 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).

Grade 7 consists of four units of study that contain a variety of texts and tasks. The majority of the questions and associated activities 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. Lastly, the Close Read sections require an extended writing task that requires students to synthesize text details and requires citing textual evidence. In addition to answering text-dependent questions about written text, students answer text-dependent discussion questions tied to different types of media that can be accessed via StudySyncTV. When answering these text-dependent questions, students are provided directions on where to look for details and what kind of information should be mentioned in their answers. Sample exemplar answers are given for all questions. Examples of questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-dependent/specific include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of “The King of Mazy May,” students are asked “How is Walt different from most boys? Cite specific textual evidence to support your answer.” Also, in Unit 1, in the Close Read of The Call of the Wild, students answer text-specific questions that require citing textual evidence such as, “How does Buck initially respond to the kidnappers when they try to tie him up with a rope?”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of The Giver, students prepare for a debate. The directions state, “Prepare for the class debate using the graphic organizer provided. Record the character that you are representing, a short summary of the character's point of view, and evidence to show that your character has the most accurate point of view regarding the Ceremony of Twelve.” One example of a text-dependent question in the debate preparation is, “What evidence from the text supports your character's point of view?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Skill section on Informational Text Elements for Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights, students are asked a two-part multiple choice questions such as, (A) “Which of the following events BEST explains why the police eventually allowed the marchers to enter Trenton?” (B) “Which sentence from the passage supports your answer to Part A?”
  • In Unit 4, in the First Read of “Thank You, M’am,” students are required to cite evidence in the “Finding Evidence” section of the Access 4 Handout. One example of a text-specific question is, “What event brought Roger and Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones into contact? What was Mrs. Jones's immediate reaction to this event? Cite specific evidence from the text to support your response.

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 7 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

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 and writing (and speaking and listening) are taught as integrated skills. These Extended Writing Tasks ask students to explore the theme and essential question of the unit in more depth as they reconsider what they have learned through analyzing texts, conducting research, and contemplating their own life experiences. Each unit has a different mode of writing so that 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 instructs students on the specifics of the informative/ explanatory form of writing. Students examine the unit’s central question, “What drives us to undertake a mission?” while reflecting on the ideals and situations that inspire people (in the texts in this unit) to pursue their goals, sometimes while facing personal risk and potential consequences to themselves and others. In the Skill lesson for The Call of the Klondike, students watch the Concept Definition video and read the definition of informational text structure. Either in small groups or as a whole class, students use these questions to engage in a discussion about informational text structure or organizational patterns in informational texts. Students will follow the rules for collegial discussions. One example of a question in this activity is “Can you think of any informational texts or even videos (such as news reports or documentaries) that you've read or seen that employ these common structures?” This will help the students to choose their type of structure for their informative writing piece.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project is a fictional narrative addressing the following prompt: “Imagine how you would feel if the government banned your favorite TV show. You would probably find it terribly unfair if the authorities took your show off the air. In this unit, you have been reading fiction and nonfiction narratives—imagined and true stories—about characters or real people who do not live in fair, or just, societies. All these selections have something in common: like the gladiators of ancient Rome or the people of North Korea, the characters or people in these texts are the victims of unfair laws and unjust rulers. Think about the principles of an open and just society, and contrast them with the rules of a closed and unjust society. Then write a fictional narrative (or story) about a character who is seeking justice in an unjust society. Model your story on one of the texts you have read in this unit.” Students must use the texts that they read during the unit to serve as models for their own narrative that includes a scene, a narrator with a specific point of view, well-described characters, a series of clearly described events, and a theme.
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project concentrates on the literary analysis form of writing. Students examine the unit’s central question,”Why is it essential to defend human rights?” as they reflect on unit texts that present real-life examples of people who have stood up for the rights of others and inspired social change, such as Mother Jones, a defender of child labor laws, and Cesar Chavez, an advocate for the rights of ill-treated farm workers. In the Close Read of, “Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Worker’s Rights,” in small, heterogeneous groups or pairs, students share and discuss their annotations from the text with a focus on the process of identifying and analyzing informational text elements and technical language presented in the selection. One question included in this activity is, “Other than the march, what were some of the ways Mother Jones influenced people's ideas of child labor?”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project challenges students to write an argumentative research paper and consider the unit’s central question, “What are the challenges of human interactions?” where they seek answers that revolve around the idea of the way people affect each other and the environment in which they live. In the Extended Writing Project lesson, Blast-Audience and Purpose, students watch the video "Writing a Thesis Statement." Some of the questions they answer after the viewing include “What is a common mistake that writers make when writing an argumentative essay?” and “How can writers edit their thesis statement to help focus their argument?” This activity will assist students when they write their own argumentative research paper

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

Each of the four units provide 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 the understanding and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. A Speaking and Listening Handbook provides teachers with explicit instructions on teaching and modeling collegial discussions and strategies and handouts to guide students as they practice and assess evidence-based discussions. Checklists and graphic organizers are offered to students to use in preparation for the discussions and rubrics are provided for peers and teachers to assess the 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 The Hobbit, instruction includes a “StudySync” video that shows students discussing the text. After the students watch and discuss the video, the teacher is instructed to put them into small groups and have them engage in their own discussion, modeled after the StudySync video. The students are given guiding questions such as, “What are the two sides of Bilbo's personality? Why might this be important to the action of the plot?”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of The Giver, students are grouped into three teams: one to represent Jonas, one to represent Jonas's father, and one to represent Jonas's mother. Students participate in a debate in which each group argues why their character's point of view regarding the Ceremony of Twelve is the most accurate. Each team supports its claim with evidence from the text and poses questions to challenge the other teams. Students can use the graphic organizer provided in the Access 1, 2, and 4 handouts to record their summary and evidence.
  • In Unit 3, the First Read of The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales includes a set of questions under the Think tab such as, “By remembering that shed is a multiple-meaning word and that depending on its context, it may be a noun or a verb, use context clues provided in paragraph 2 to determine the meaning of’ “shed.” The Teacher Edition suggests that after the students answer the questions individually, they then use the peer review instructions and rubric to complete two peer reviews of the answers to the questions.
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “Thank You, M’am,” in small, heterogeneous groups or pairs, students will share and discuss their annotations with a focus on the setting presented in the selection. Students are provided with questions to guide their discussion such as, “At first, the woman shows anger toward the boy. What causes the woman's feelings about the boy to begin to change? Cite specific textual evidence to support your statements.

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 7 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 given frequent and varied opportunities to engage in speaking, listening, and presenting activities surrounding their study of texts and the associated reading, writing, and research tasks. The 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 then delivers a formal presentation in either the narrative, argumentative, or informative mode using multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings to reinforce its main ideas.

The Speaking & Listening Handbook is utilized during the Research project by students, who will be 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 limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of The Hobbit, students will work in small groups and read one assigned passage from the excerpt. Each group will be encouraged to use Blabberize to create a dramatic reading of the passage. Students are encouraged to be creative in the images they “Blabberize” by photographing themselves as the characters or by creating a collage of characters using images from the Internet. Each group then shares its reading with the class and discusses what the passages contributes to the interaction of the story elements.
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of The Lottery,” students watch a StudySyncTV video that shows students discussing the text. The Teacher Edition suggests providing students with a prompt and having them form small discussion groups that are modeled after the StudySyncTV video. The students can create video or audio recordings of their discussion. One suggested prompt for this activity is, “What elements in the first three paragraphs foreshadow the darker events that are to come in the story? Why do you think Shirley Jackson begins the story in this way?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Research section, students complete topic-specific group research projects connected to the unit’s theme and essential question. The Essential Question, which guides research and is discussed in whole group is, “Why is it essential to defend human rights?” In small groups, students brainstorm individual research questions. The directions state, “In groups, students share what they have learned about their individual research and why this information is important. As students develop their research presentations, they should remember to include relevant facts, details, and definitions. They should use precise language and, when appropriate, domain-specific vocabulary.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Skill-Dramatic Elements section of The Miracle Worker, students watch a video then select a play they have read or seen. They will briefly describe the setting, list the characters, and summarize the main events of the plot, including the conflict. The teacher will compile these examples using a whiteboard or a Padlet Wall. Students will share how these various dramatic elements contribute to the theme of the play, as they understand it. Students can then suggest any changes to the setting, character, plot, or conflict that might have altered the theme by presenting a different message about life or human nature.

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 7 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 7 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 The King of Mazy May students are asked to complete an on demand writing task. Students respond to the prompt, “What inferences can you make about the Klondike Gold Rush from reading “The King of Mazy May”? What textual evidence in Call of the Klondike, a historical account of the Klondike Gold Rush, supports or refutes the idea that London portrayed history accurately in his short story?” Students have the option to use a venn diagram to organize their ideas before responding to this writing prompt.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Prompt focuses on narrative form. Students probe the unit’s central question, “What should be the principles of a just society?” as they consider a situation in which the government has banned their favorite TV show. Three examples of narrative lessons 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 informational text structure, comparing works in different mediums, exploring character and point of view, analyzing figurative language, and raising awareness of word meanings.
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of the 1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, students complete an on-demand writing task. Students respond to the prompt, “How does Barbara Jordan’s speech demonstrate that she believed it was essential to defend human rights? What ideas does she put forth in the speech to support this interpretation?” Students use text evidence to support their claims and after submitting their responses online, students give advice on each other’s writing to help them improve in the future.
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project asks students to write an argument that makes a claim about whether or not humans should take action against invasive species and why. This is an extensive writing task with many phases, including completing several prewriting strategies; considering audience, purpose, and style; practicing research and note taking skills; developing a thesis statement; examining organizational structures; building in supporting details; completing a graphic organizer; crafting introductions, conclusions, and transitions; writing and revising; citing sources; and editing, proofreading, and publishing

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 7 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 7 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 the various units in the text.

In addition to these shorter, less formal writing opportunities, each of the four units of study contains an “Extended Writing Task” that takes place at the end of the unit. These writing prompts are linked to the unit texts. Throughout the unit, students are given opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing types addressed in the standards. StudySync also provides guidance and support from peers and adults, to develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. Students are given opportunities 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 focus on informative/explanatory writing. Students write an essay that addresses the prompt, “Think about what motivates the people or characters in the selections you have read. Consider this question: What drives us to undertake a mission? Write an informative/explanatory essay that answers this question, modeling elements of your writing on the Student Model or a unit selection.”
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on narrative writing. Students write a narrative in response to the prompt, “In this unit, you have been reading fiction and nonfiction narratives—imagined and true stories—about characters or real people who do not live in fair, or just, societies. All these selections have something in common: like the gladiators of ancient Rome or the people of North Korea, the characters or people in these texts are the victims of unfair laws and unjust rulers. Think about the principles of an open and just society, and contrast them with the rules of a closed and unjust society. Then write a fictional narrative (or story) about a character who is seeking justice in an unjust society. Model your story on one of the texts you have read in this unit.”
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project concentrates on the literary analysis form of writing. Students examine the unit’s central question, “Why is it essential to defend human rights?—as they reflect on unit texts that present real-life examples of people who have stood up for the rights of others and inspired social change, such as Mother Jones, a defender of child labor laws, and Cesar Chavez, an advocate for the rights of ill-treated farm workers.”
  • In Unit 4, the Extended Writing Project focuses on argumentative writing. The students write an essay according to these directions, “Write an argumentative essay in which you explore the challenges caused by human interaction (interference) with the environment. Choose an invasive plant or animal, such as the Burmese python that people have introduced into the Florida Everglades or kudzu, a spreading invasive plant. Research your invasive plant or animal in at least three print or digital sources, such as books, magazines, or reliable websites. As you research, ask yourself: Should humans try to solve this problem or let nature take its course?

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 7 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 answer questions that are text-dependent. The Close Read lessons at the end of each text include an extended writing prompt that requires students to synthesize all of the 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 responses that are 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 the texts they have read over the course of a thematic unit in order to draw evidence from and 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 Close Read of The Hobbit, students are asked to complete the prewriting questions given to prepare for their writing assignment. They are asked to support their answers with details, examples, and/or quotes from the text. Questions, such as “Does Gandalf believe Baggins to be more cowardly or fierce? How do you know this?” are text-specific and require textual-evidence in their responses.
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of “Reality TV and Society,” students complete an extended writing prompt that synthesizes all of the work they have done with the text in response to the prompt: “You have read the opposing viewpoints in the article titled “Are Reality Shows Good for Society?” With which author’s point of view do you agree? Are reality shows bad or beneficial for society? Use transitions to show relationships between ideas. In your opinion, which author made the stronger argument? Which writer was more convincing? Why? How strong was the author’s reasons and evidence? Support your own writing with clear reasons and relevant evidence from the text to explain why one author and not the other persuaded you to accept his or her point of view about the influence of reality TV on society. Maintain a formal writing style and end with a strong conclusion.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Full Text Study of Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, at the conclusion of reading the text, the students read the companion text “Locked In and Locked Out.” They then complete a compare and contrast essay in response to the prompt: “Harriet Tubman and many others in the Underground Railroad helped slaves to escape. By contrast, after the Civil War, “Sundown Towns” refused to let emancipated African Americans move in. Write an essay of at least 400 words that compares and contrasts these two denials of freedom—slavery and Sundown: being locked in and being locked out. Respond to one or more of the following questions: What do these two abridgements of freedom have in common and how are they different? How do they each help define the nature of freedom? How do they fit into the spectrum of punishment African Americans faced before and after Emancipation—including Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and “unofficial” racism?”
  • In Unit 4, in the Close Read of “The Dangers of Social Media”, students are asked to think about two different viewpoints regarding social media. Students are then asked to respond to the writing prompt: “In your opinion, which author made the stronger argument? Why was the author you chose more convincing? Support your own writing with sound reasoning and relevant evidence from the text to explain why one author and not the other persuaded you to accept his or her point of view about why preteens should (or shouldn’t) have access to social media.”

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 7 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 a tutorial 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.

The teaching of grammar, usage, and mechanics happens throughout the Core Program and is designed to help students develop a complex understanding of language that they can use to enhance their 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 and answer questions about the purpose and effect of the concept. They 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 is also provided strategically throughout a unit’s Extended Writing Project, which gives students the immediate opportunity to apply grammar, usage, and mechanics concepts to their own writing, by revising their drafts to incorporate the concept and editing their drafts to apply it correctly. Examples of explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of “Barrio Boy,” students learn how to punctuate coordinate adjectives. Students learn a quick test to help them figure out where adjectives are coordinate and need a comma between them. “The test has two parts: (1) Can you replace the comma with "and" and have the sentence still sound correct? (2) Can you reverse the order of the adjectives and have the sentence still sound correct? If the answer is "yes" to each part, then the adjectives are coordinate adjectives and need to be separated by a comma.” Students then read the last sentence of paragraph 12 reading and highlighting adjectives or label them in their notes.
  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of The Giver, students works with simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Students learn that “all four sentence types consist of main clauses or a combination of main and subordinate clauses.” Students also analyze the use of sentence types in The Giver by answering questions such as “Reread paragraph 8. What type of sentence does the paragraph begin with?” and “Explain how the structure of the sentence helps set up a relationship between ideas.”
  • In Unit 3, in the First Read of Long Walk to Freedom, students learn how to properly write simple and compound sentences. After analyzing the structure of both simple and compound sentence, students apply what they have learned by analyzing compound sentence in Long Walk to Freedom by answering questions such as “What are the two main clauses in this sentence from paragraph 4: “I felt fear myself more times that I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness?”’
  • In Unit 4, in the First Read of “Amigo Brothers,” students learn that a main clause is a group of words that contains a complete subject and a complete predicate and can stand alone as a complete sentence. Students also learn that a subordinate clause can also contain a subject and a predicate. However, because it depends on the main clause, it cannot stand alone. Subordinate clauses usually begin with a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun. Students then reread the first sentence in paragraph 4: "While some youngsters were into street negatives, Antonio and Felix slept, ate, rapped, and dreamt positive." Student then highlight the the main clause

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 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

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 and build students' reading comprehension of complex texts. The curriculum for Grade 7 is organized under a thematic umbrella focused on people pursuing a goal, exploring the principles of a just society, fighting for what’s right, and connecting with others. The themes of the four units are as follows: “In Pursuit,” “The Powers That Be,” “Justice Served,” and “Getting Along.” 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 provides both fiction and nonfiction selections to build student content knowledge. Students are required to read and comprehend the complex texts independently and proficiently. At the beginning of each unit, students consider the “Big Idea” or essential question of the unit, and when they read and analyze the texts in the unit, they face further questions and discussions about this essential question. The reading, writing, and discussion tasks ultimately lead to a culminating task that requires students to synthesize what they have learned about the texts as 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’s theme is “In Pursuit.” Students read short stories, poetry, memoirs, and several nonfiction narratives to explore the missions people or characters have pursued to achieve their goals. The first two excerpts in the unit, from Ernesto Galarza’s autobiography Barrio Boy and Farah Ahmedi’s memoir The Other Side of the Sky, are high-interest with their storylines of survival in new environments. Other selections in the unit include travels into the Yukon, into nineteenth-century colonial India, and even into outer space during the perilous Apollo 13 mission. Transitioning between the specific details and contents within these texts may require more support from the teacher to assure students grasp the connections being made.
  • Unit 2 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “The Powers that Be.” Students explore the principles of a fair society through folk tales, short stories, poetry, excerpts from contemporary novels, and nonfiction texts. Multiple perspectives are included in the following: the informational text Gladiator, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” a true story about the dictatorship in North Korea, an excerpt from a futuristic novel, and an analysis of the United States Constitution and the real meaning behind the three words: “We the People.”
  • Unit 3’s theme is “Justice Served.” Students explore the importance of defending human rights through accounts of real people and characters in a variety of texts that include fiction, narrative nonfiction, informational texts, and speeches. Multiple perspectives are included in the following: an excerpt from Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights, a biography of the young Harriet Tubman, a poem honoring labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, and Nehru’s eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi. Throughout this unit, students explore human struggle, determination, and the fight for human rights.
  • Unit 4 combines several selections to build student knowledge around the theme “Getting Along.” Students explore the outside forces that create challenges for human interaction. They read about the steps people take to overcome these forces so that they can form meaningful relationships with other people. Multiple perspectives are included in the following: an excerpt from the novel The Outsiders, the award-winning drama The Miracle Worker, the informational text “California Invasive Plant Inventory,” Langston Hughes’s “Thank You, M’am,” and Willa Cather’s My Ántonia. Throughout this unit, students explore the many challenges human beings face in forming relationships with one another and with the world around them. The use of this text is coherent with the overall theme, but the selection will need extra explanation beyond what's included for Grade 7 students to fully engage.

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 7 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 in order to make and build understanding within each thematically-based unit. The Cold Read activity for each texts 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 that asks students to more 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 Cold Read of “Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure,” students respond to the prompt: “How do the text structure, text features, and added sidebar help you to understand the causes and motivation behind “gold fever” and the process involved in staking a claim? In a clear topic sentence, use these informational text elements (text structure, text features, and sidebar) to make inferences about life in the Klondike, using Pearce’s recollection of the stampede to Swede Creek. Organize and support your writing with evidence from the text, using precise language and specific vocabulary choices from the selection.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Cold Read of Gladiator, students analyze structure as they respond to the prompt: “Why does the author use sequence (or time order) in Gladiator to organize his ideas? How does telling about the events in the order that they happened help you understand what brought about the beginning and end of the gladiator tradition in Rome?”
  • In Unit 3, in the Cold read of “Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress Toward,” students analyze language as they address the prompt: “How does the use of alliteration and other forms of repetition help Gwendolyn Brooks develop her themes in “Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward”? How does the use of figurative language, such as metaphors, contribute to the development of the themes? Use your understanding of poetic elements to determine the themes that emerge in this poem. Support your writing with specific evidence from the text.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Cold Read for The Outsiders, students analyze key ideas as they address the prompt: “Use specific textual evidence to make three inferences about how interacting with Cherry has changed Ponyboy’s point of view about the Greasers and the Socs. Consider which pieces of textual evidence help you make these inferences and how your own prior knowledge supports them.”

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 7 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 read Jack London’s, The Call of the Wild and listen to an audio version of the text. Then, students are asked to complete the following writing task: “Compare and contrast the text and the audio versions of The Call of the Wild. Begin with a clear thesis statement that sets the direction for the rest of your writing. How are the two media alike, and how are they different? At what points does the audio version use expression, intonation, and /or pace to support or interpret the text? In what ways do these interpretations help to develop character, setting, plot, and theme? Using precise language and selection vocabulary, support your writing with evidence from the text and the audio file. Use transitions to show the relationships among your ideas. Present your information with a formal style. Summarize your main points in a conclusion that supports the ideas you have presented.” To further knowledge building, in the Close Read section, students are asked to annotate using the following prompt that deepens their understanding of the text by tying the text's theme back to the Essential Question for the Unit: "How does Buck's story help readers understand what drives individuals to undertake a mission? Highlight textual evidence and make annotations to support your response."
  • In Unit 3, the Extended Writing Project requires students to compare and contrast two texts. Students are asked to “Write a literary analysis in which you compare and contrast the text about Gandhi with the text about Mandela to determine which is more convincing in presenting and supporting the claim that this individual was a great defender of justice and human rights. Analyze the reasons and evidence presented in the text as well as the language that is used to describe the individual’s words, actions, and accomplishments. Then decide which writer was more persuasive in defending his claim about the impact this person had on human rights.”
  • In Unit 4, one of the Full Text Studies is The Miracle Worker by William Gibson. After reading the play, students are asked to watch a film version of the play and write a compare/contrast essay addressing the following prompt: “Write an essay discussing Gibson’s translation of The Miracle Worker from stage to screen. Some questions to consider: How do the formal properties of film dictate certain creative choices? What opportunities does the medium of film offer a storyteller that the theatre cannot? Conversely, how is film more restrictive than the stage? Your essay should reference the film as well as the play in your analysis, offering specific examples of the ways in which the film changes or expands upon the source material. Which version do you prefer and why?” A Reading Guide with key passage breakdowns is included for every section of the text, to ensure that students are able to build knowledge and think critically about the text.

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 7 meet 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).

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 1, in the Extended Writing Project, students focus on the driving force that causes people to set out on a mission to achieve a goal, no matter the cost. Through their reading of short stories, poetry, memoirs, and several nonfiction narratives, students learn about the characters’ and real life people’s pursuit of these missions. The culminating task requires students to write an informative/explanatory essay about the motivation behind a person or character from one of the readings that was compelled to embark on a mission. The reading, speaking, and listening tasks throughout the unit work together to lead to this culminating project by providing questions for consideration along the way, such as in the Close Read of The Call of the Klondike: “How do the text structure, text features, and added sidebar help you to understand the causes and motivation behind ‘gold fever’ and the process involved in staking a claim?”
  • In Unit 2, in the Research Section, students are provided with opportunities to demonstrate their comprehension. For example, in Unit 2, students respond to the following prompt: “What are the most pressing injustices in our society today? Interview a friend, family member, or neighbor about this topic. What injustices does this person find troubling in our society? Then do research to help you find more facts about the issues your person has cited. Does your research lead you to agree or disagree with the person you interviewed? Do you think the problems he or she identified are the most pressing ones for our nation, or does another issue seem more pressing? Present your claim in an argument. Use sound reasoning and strong supporting evidence.”
  • In Unit 3, students read, write, and discuss the importance the importance of defending human rights. The reading selections in the unit feature determined individuals who have taken a stand and have become a voice for others fighting for basic human rights. The Extended Writing Project requires students to write a literary analysis where they compare and contrast two of the texts in the unit and make a claim about which subject of the two texts - Gandhi or Mandela - is a greater defender of justice and human rights. The reading questions and activities that the students have been challenged with along the way help them to eventually arrive at this task, such as the following prompt in the Close Read of “Elegy on the Death of César Chávez”: “Think about how Rudolfo Anaya uses figurative language and connotation in ‘Elegy on the Death of César Chávez.’ How does his use of figurative language and connotation help him develop his message (or theme)? Begin your writing with a clear thesis statement. Then think about what you know of Chávez from having read ‘About César,’ an informational text. How do both texts support the evidence that Chávez was a protector of human rights?”
  • In Unit 4, students examine the forces that create challenges for human interaction. The texts in the unit illustrate the challenges that humans encounter when they try to form relationships with each other and with the world around them. The Extended Writing Task requires students to write an argumentative essay that explores the challenges that humans face when interacting with the environment. Specifically, students choose an invasive plant or animal to research. The students then write an explanation of whether humans should intervene in the situation or let nature take its course. The activities in the unit prior to this culminating task have students consider both sides of an issue such as in the First Read of “The Dangers of Social Media”: “What evidence is there that both the “Point” and “Counterpoint” writers believe that social media is a permanent part of American society? What different conclusion do the writers draw from this point of view?

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 7 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic and domain-specific vocabulary words in and across texts.

Language instruction in the StudySync core program provides systematic vocabulary instruction as well as repeated opportunities for practice and application in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will encounter vocabulary-building opportunities across all three lesson types: First Reads, Skill Lessons, and Close Reads.

Students are exposed to the challenging vocabulary in the text. They are given opportunities to use context clues and analyze word parts in order to understand the meaning of the words, and teachers are encouraged to model these types of strategies. The materials focus on language development by having students use context clues, word placement, and common Greek and Latin affixes and roots to figure out the meaning of words. The lesson plans for each text focus on academic and domain-specific vocabulary, and students are exposed to these vocabulary words through a variety of media. The vocabulary words are explained by other teens through a video, and there is a written explanation and examples for each term below the video.

Students are also provided with a Vocabulary Handbook within each unit. This includes lessons on topics such as synonyms, context clues, base words, and prefixes. Each unit also includes instructional presentations, practice activities and assessments for teachers to use to support students with vocabulary development. 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 “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” the materials bold certain vocabulary words as the students approach the read for the first time. After reading, students have to answer questions related to the bold words. For example, students are directed to, “Use context to determine the meaning of the word flickering as it is used in line 6 of ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus.’ Write your definition of flickering here and cite specific context clues to explain how you determined its meaning.” Later, in the Close Read of “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” students are provided with the vocabulary words and the definitions. Students then write about the word choice used in this selection.
  • In Unit 2, in each First Read, students build lexical dexterity through using various strategies including context clues, Greek and Latin roots and affixes, and the relationships between words to determine the possible meanings of two selected words. In the Close Read of “The Lottery,” the materials provide a graphic organizer for vocabulary review. Students think about the meaning of the word, and then use it correctly in a sentence.
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read of The People Could Fly, students review the vocabulary and then complete a fill-in-the-blank activity to check their understanding of the vocabulary. Students have a discussion comparing and contrasting two texts. 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 Unit 4, Lessons 19 and 20 focus on building Academic Vocabulary. Students are asked to match the word part with each academic vocabulary word and then explain how they will remember the meaning of the word. For example, for the word revise, students would match it with the part vid/vis (Latin) “see” and then type a response on how they would remember the meaning of revise.

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 7 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. The 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 focuses on the informative/explanatory form of writing. In addition to providing writing skills applicable to most of the writing modes, such as audience and purpose, introductions and conclusions, and body paragraphs and transitions, students will focus on skill lessons particular to informative writing, such as thesis statement, organization, supporting details, and citations. The next step in the Extended Writing Project process is for students to practice and develop the skills they learn.
  • In Unit 2, the Extended Writing Project focuses on the narrative form of writing. The Student Model is used to help students better understand how narrative elements work together to create an engaging story, analyze how the Model employs specific skills to capture and retain readers’ interest, examine the process the writer used to develop the narrative through graphic organizers and story road maps, and identify how the model might benefit from revision. Direct instruction is included on skills lessons such as organization, descriptive details, and narrative techniques and sequencing.
  • In Unit 3, in the Close Read Section of “About Caesar,” students complete an extended writing assignment according to the following prompt: “Why is “Sí, se puede!” (“Yes, it can be done!”) a fitting motto for Cesar Chavez’s life and for the influence he had on events, ideas, and the people around him? Why do you think Chavez thought it was important to defend human rights? In crafting your response, begin with a clear thesis statement and use your understanding of informational text elements by analyzing the interaction among people, ideas, and events in the selection. Organize and support your writing with textual evidence, and use precise language and vocabulary from the selection. Use transitions to show the relationships among your ideas, and provide a concluding statement that summarizes your key points.” Once students complete their writing assignment, they submit substantive feedback to two peers and use their peers' feedback to improve their writing.
  • In Unit 4, in the Full Text Study of The Outsiders, students write an analytical essay that synthesizes the study of the main text and the accompanying texts, as seen in the following example: “Tell a story of social dynamics that you have witnessed firsthand. You can tell the story in memoir form, like in Bronx Masquerade, or using another kind of media. For inspiration, check out this video featuring S.E. Hinton, in which she describes not only the locations that inspired The Outsiders, but the process of turning those locations into significant story points.”

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7 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 their first opportunity to draft a response to the driving question of the unit. The Blast includes multimedia research links that are related to the theme. As students interact with the research links in the Blasts throughout the unit, they formulate a broader understanding of the theme, the texts in the unit, and the issues that surround them. The First Read of each selection in the unit 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 that is related to the unit’s theme and is a culmination of the skills that the students have practiced over the course of the unit and the knowledge they have gained. After sharing and discussing the results of individual members’ research findings, each group plans and then delivers a formal presentation in either the narrative, argumentative, or informative mode using multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, photos, and recordings to reinforce its main ideas.

If students are working on a topic that is informative, they present evidence to develop the subject matter. If students are working on a topic that involves presenting an argument in support of a claim, they use evidence that both supports their opinion and answers opposing viewpoints, or counter arguments. The Speaking & Listening Handbook is of critical importance during this phase of the Research project both for speakers and for listeners, who are required to 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, students research what motivates people to take on a mission, what missions people pursue, and what strategies they might use to accomplish a mission. Students work together to plan and deliver an informative or argumentative group presentation about the topic of undertaking a mission. Students are given a list of suggested topics for research such as “How could you compare and contrast the mission undertaken by a character in a fictional story, such as Walt Masters in The King of Mazy May, with a real person’s attempt to achieve the same mission in a historical account, such as Stanley Pearce in Call of the Klondike? How might the two texts that describe similar events be alike in their portrayal of an individual who is undertaking a mission? How might they differ?”
  • In Unit 2, students research an aspect of the way power is used in society. Students work together to plan and deliver an informative or argumentative group presentation about the particular topic they have chosen. They research in search of strong supporting evidence relevant to their topics. One suggested topic for research is “How are the media biographies of a powerful person similar to and different from print accounts of the same leader’s actions? Think about a historical or contemporary leader who has been the subject of at least one film or television biography (apart from broadcast news). How did this portrayal differ, if at all, from the straightforward facts? For example, did the media portrayal emphasize the person’s heroism or villainy? How did the media presentation show the person’s effect on his or her society? Develop your presentation with evidence from both media and print sources.”
  • In Unit 3, students research examples of how great leaders have fought to combat injustices and defend human rights. People are particularly motivated to defend their rights and the rights of others during times of political struggle and in the face of injustice or religious persecution. Students work together to plan and deliver an informative or argumentative group presentation about the particular human-rights topic they have chosen. One suggested topic for research and presentation is as follows: “How would you compare and contrast a biographical text about an important defender of human rights, such as “About Cesar,” with a poem written to honor the same person, such as “Elegy on the Death of César Chávez”? César Chávez is an example of someone who fought for the rights of others--in his case, migrant farm workers--and brought about positive changes. How might the two texts be similar in their portrayal of such an individual? How might the texts differ? How might their message to readers be similar yet different?”
  • In Unit 4, students research different situations and how people respond to each other in those situations. Responses can be emotional, learned, or instinctive. Students collaborate to plan and deliver an informative or argumentative group presentation on the topic of choice. One suggested topic for research and presentations is as follows: “How do the video and written versions of The Outsiders compare to each other? How are they similar? How are they different? Does one present more information about the characters than the other? Explain. Does one version give you a better understanding of each character’s emotions and responses? Do the written and video versions show the characters interacting with each other differently, and if so, how? How does your perception of the characters’ reactions in the written version change after seeing them in the video?

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 it gives details on how to set up such a program in the classroom. Teachers are also given a five step plan to implement an independent reading program that 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 as addressed by the units.

Suggestions for accountability include reading logs, notebooks, online reflections, and informal conversations; having students do 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, in the First Read of The Hobbit students are given an opportunity for independent reading. The lesson plan instructs the teacher to “Individually or as a class, have students read the Introduction to The Hobbit.” The lesson then states, “Have students read and annotate the excerpt.” The students are expected to read independently in class for this lesson, although the teacher may have students listen to audio versions of the text.
  • In Unit 2, students are encouraged to read texts on the theme of The Powers That Be during independent reading. 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.” The pacing guide gives suggestions for further and independent reading including texts such as Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
  • In Unit 3, the StudySync Library includes several additional texts related to the theme Justice Served. Additional texts include The Internationale by Eugene Pottier, The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, and We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks. 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.”
  • In Unit 4, the pacing guide provides suggestions for further and independent reading. The pacing guide begins by stating, “Students will gain a deeper understanding of both the themes and the historical context of The Outsiders after exploring the completed works excerpted in the StudySync Full-text Unit for S.E. Hinton’s classic novel.” The pacing guide goes into detail about The Outsiders and then goes on to list texts that students might be interested in reading that are related to the themes presented in the unit.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7 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 7 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 the students. Each lesson plan has clear guidelines for a core path as well as an access path that may include categories for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and approaching. 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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 through selection of the ten to twelve available texts in each unit. Examples of pacing allowing for maximum student understanding and the ability to complete the content within a regular school year include but are not limited to:

  • In order to meet the needs of individual schools, the Pacing Guide provides a Shortcuts section, which highlights areas where teachers can trim the unit to ensure that they are covering 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 7 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 their 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 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 are 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.

The teacher’s lesson instructions are clear, and the lessons are detailed. For example, in Unit 1, students study the skill of Central or Main Idea while reading Barrio Boy. 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. As a last step, students have the opportunity to practice what they learned through the “Your Turn” section. In this section, 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 7 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. Every assignment that the students complete has information at the bottom of the page that connects the task to the Common Core Standard being addressed. Every lesson comes with a detailed lesson plan that outlines the objectives and lists the Common Core Standards that are covered in the lesson. Every step of the lesson plan is provided in detail and mentions the relevant connections to the CCSS. All of the sections and handouts in the Speaking and Listening Handbook contain references to the Common Core State Standards being addressed, as well. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, in the First Read of “The Lottery,” students answer Think questions that are aligned to Common Core State Standards. For example, students answer the following question: “What specific details in the first paragraph describe the day on which the lottery takes place? Why do you think the story gives such specific details about the setting–the time and place of the story?” This question aligns to CCSS.RI.7.1. In the Close Read of “The Lottery,” students answer the following writing prompt: “Sometimes what you expect to happen doesn’t happen. That is the case with “The Lottery.” Explain how story elements interact in the text to lead to the surprise ending. For example, how did the warm, bright setting interact with the plot to lead you to expect that something good would happen in the story? Use precise language to demonstrate your understanding of story elements. Then provide examples of how characters influenced the plot or the plot influenced characters to turn your expectations upside down and produce the story’s shocking ending.” This prompt aligns to RL.7.1, RL.7.3, W.7.10, W.7.2.A, W.7.2.B, W.7.2.C, W.7.2.D, W.7.2.E, W.7.2.F, W.7.4, W.7.5,and W.7.6

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 conducive to reading. There is blank space on each page, and the margins are of adequate size. The graphic organizers and handouts that are provided for students are easy to navigate.

The First Read of each text shows the title of the story with a small visual. Underneath, the information is presented using the design of a web page, with tabs for each of the phases of the assignment: Intro, Read, and Think. Some texts have an additional tab for StudySync TV. Each type of activity has an associated symbol that can be found throughout the materials. The font size, titles, and media are an adequate size for viewing. 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.
8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Detailed lesson plans are provided for each text within each unit. 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 topic. This is followed by responding to the driving question in a public forum, participating in a poll, and reviewing live research links to learn more about the Blast’s topic. Blast responses go live in real time, allowing students to give each other feedback, select favorite responses, and reflect on the driving question again in light of the words of their peers. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of “The King of Mazy May,” the teacher is provided with the following embedded technology task: “Have student groups use Glogster to create online posters about dog sledding in the Yukon. Encourage them to combine images, captions, and video.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Close Read of Gladiator, teachers are provided with the following guidance in modeling close reading: “Project the text onto the board and model a close reading...Use the annotation strategies mentioned below. While modeling them, make notes that tie the text to the focus skill of informational text structure and demonstrate what students should be looking for as they read. Here is some guidance for you as you annotate for your students: The author also uses a cause-and-effect text structure in the paragraphs. In the fifth paragraph of Chapter XI, he discusses ‘the powerful attraction of the games’ (the cause) and that ‘even a great leader like Constantine could not or would not stop them completely’ (the effect).”
  • In Unit 3, in the First Read of A Long Walk to Freedom, teachers are provided with the following embedded technology activity: “Have student groups use a Padlet Wall, Glogster, or Google Drawings to make a presentation about Nelson Mandela based on their Build Background research. As an alternative, student groups can make paper posters to share their research findings. Encourage groups to be creative in their presentations.”
  • In Unit 4, in the Skills Lesson: Compare and Contrast for “The Dangers of Social Media,” teachers are provided with the following instructions to help guide a discussion: “As students read the Model text, use these questions to help them understand how to compare and contrast how two authors shape presentations of key information when writing on the same topic. Remind students to acknowledge new information expressed by their peers, modifying their own views, as needed. According to the Model, why is comparing and contrasting author presentations a good idea when analyzing a point/counterpoint article?

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 7 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 with 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 provides teachers with information to access the complex text by providing the actual literary concepts and examples found in the featured text. The Overview section provides teacher with a summary of the text identifying the literary concepts included in the featured text. Answer Keys are provided with all activities in each lesson plan of each text along with Access to Complex Text features for each text to assist the teacher is scaffolding instruction for the students, so that they all can access the complex text. This text includes a Teacher’s Glossary in each unit which includes linguistic, grammatical, comprehension, and literary terms that may be helpful in understanding reading instruction. Examples of explanations and examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, in the First Read of The Hobbit, the teacher is provided with information in the lesson plan to help students access complex text. For example, the teacher is provided with information about how the excerpt is organized, the genre, and the sentence structure: “Much of the information is conveyed through dialogue. Readers may benefit from hearing the dialogue read aloud in different voices, while noting information about character, setting, and plot, which is gleaned from each speaker. Students who have limited experience with reading fantasy stories may need help with identifying characters, such as goblins and wizards, and their roles in the story. Sentences with multiple phrases or clauses may challenge students. Readers must remember to use the punctuation as a guide for isolating and interpreting units of meaning within each sentence.”
  • In Unit 2, in the Grade 7 ELA Overview, the teacher is provided with the information to help students understand the circumstances surrounding the tradition of The Lottery and provide scaffolded instruction for a close reading of the more complex features of this text. For example, the following background information is provided: “A short story is a short work of fiction that often has fewer characters than a novel and often focuses on a tightly knit setting, characters, and plot. “The Lottery” is very atmospheric and reads like the reporting of an event. The plot, which focuses on a sinister tradition, shocks readers as the surprise ending brings the story to a close.”
  • In Unit 3, in the Grade 7 ELA Overview, teachers are provided with the following information to help students access complex texts: “In this excerpt, the Cesar Chavez Foundation briefly describes Cesar Chavez’s early life, union victories, and legacy.” Teachers are encouraged to provide scaffolded instruction for a close reading of the more complex features of this text such as specific language by identifying specific words that may be challenging to students such as strike, boycott, collective bargaining, and trade unionist.

In Unit 4, in the Skill Lesson: Theme for “The Amigo Brothers,” the teacher is provided with the following information on theme to help lead a class discussion: “To help these students participate in the discussion, prompt them with questions that can be answered with a few words, such as: What is another term or phrase for theme? Is there any one place where you will find the theme of a story? Do you think stories are a good genre to explore a theme? Why?”

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 7 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. The 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 7 meet the criteria that materials contain a 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, and 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 4th to 12th grade students. Additionally, specific findings have been incorporated from other recent, reputable research related.

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 7 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, the 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, teachers should present to parents 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 of 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 7 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 7 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials contain both 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 7 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 the assessments’ 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 Close Read of The Hobbit, students respond to the following prompt: “Story elements--setting, character, and plot--interact. Therefore, characters in a story may influence the action of the plot, or the plot may influence the actions of the characters. How might the story element of character influence the events of the plot (or the conflict of the plot) in The Hobbit? For example, how might the two sides of Bilbo’s personality--one excitable, nervous, and cautious, the other strong and fierce--impact the plot? Answer the question with a clear thesis statement. Draw inferences from the text, and support your writing with specific textual evidence. Organize your ideas, and use transitions to clarify and connect them. Write a strong conclusion that summarizes your ideas and wraps up your essay.” This writing prompt serves as a summative assessment and support teachers to identify mastery of the Common Core State Standards RL.7.1, RL.7.3, W.7.10, W.7.2.A, W.7.2.B. W.7.2.C, W.7.2.F, W.7.4, W.7.5, and W.7.6.

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 7 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 future instruction, leveling and grouping, and the need for remediation and/or reteaching. These end-of-unit assessments also generate reports for students and parents on skill strengths, skill deficiencies, standard and skill proficiency levels, and across-unit growth. Students take end-of-year assessments that indicate their readiness for state testing.

At the end of the final assessment for Unit 2, the materials guide the teacher in how to modify instruction based on outcomes such as, “If students score less than 75% on the vocabulary items in unit assessment...then reteach the Word Meaning skill lesson using the Access 4 Handout and the Approaching instructional scaffolds in the Access Path...use the Access Handout 4 Vocabulary activity in the Close Read lessons for additional practice with word meaning...use the Vocabulary Workbook lessons 9, 19, 23, and 25 for additional practice with Context Clues.”

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 7 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. The assessments included within the program help teachers gather data to address students’ instructional needs, and they measure the critical components of reading. The assessment options are grounded in research. Each unit has a Research and an Extended Writing Project, which include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress in writing. Routines and guidance include but are not limited to:

  • Teachers are provided with placement and diagnostic assessments that support their decision-making regarding appropriate instructional levels for students. These 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.
0/0
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 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; ways 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 that are related to the Core ELA program texts by theme, author, setting, etc. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Guide suggests that “The StudySync Full-text Unit for The Hobbit opens many portals for further reading. The full texts of books excerpted in the unit will connect students to exciting fantasy adventures, a medieval Norse myth, and two real-life accounts of journeys undertaken by a modern traveler and a certain Virginian in 1753. Readers wanting more of J.R.R. Tolkien can proceed to the first volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and join another hobbit, Frodo Baggins, on a new journey. Readers wanting more of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time will relish A Wind in the Door, the second volume in Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘Time Quintet.’”
  • In Unit 4, the Guide suggests that “As a portrait of the turbulent times during which Hinton conceived The Outsiders—the year of 1965— James T. Patterson’s The Eve of Destruction offers a valuable in-depth look at some of the events that shaped the decade. From Hinton to Hamlet is another excerpted nonfiction text, this one exploring why The Outsiders was a groundbreaking work in young adult literature for its depiction of alienated youth.”

Criterion 3o - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

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

Each lesson includes a full complement 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 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 7 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 of interactions with texts are provided via multimedia introductions. Reading skills are supported by explicit grammar and vocabulary instruction. The instructional materials provide guidance on how to adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

For each Unit, teachers can choose the Core Unit or EL Unit. The EL Unit contains 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 the instruction in the Access Path. The program provides instructional materials that can 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 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. These supports include 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 7 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 in the Access Path in each of the four units that are offered for beyond grade-level students. These activities are designed to take above grade level students further into the core path content should they complete the activity before other students. 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. While Core Path questions may exercise reading comprehension strategies as well as inference techniques and the application of textual evidence, the beyond activity asks students to brainstorm how two characters might talk their way out of trouble.Technology can be leveraged to support these students.

For example, in Unit 2, in the First Read of The Giver, the Access Path offers advanced students an activity to access prior knowledge. In small groups, students discuss “how they would feel about having a job assigned to them at age twelve - a job that they would have to do for the rest of their working lives. After their discussion, ask students to complete a short writing response on the Access 3 handout.”

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 7 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, watch StudySyncTV group discussions which serve as models, and receive instruction in whole group, small group, and one-on-one settings.

Throughout every instructional unit, the lesson plans provide a column to offer suggestions for the teacher in order to adequately differentiate the lesson. Student grouping suggestions are provided in many lesson plans. Differentiated worksheets are provided. ELL students may be provided with more sentence frames while still receiving access to the same materials. For example:

  • 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.

Indicator 3s

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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, but not limited to, 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 24/7 from any desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

Indicator 3s3v

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 3t

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 for multimedia experiences to promote increased engagement for students. Teachers can customize the learning experience of students based on their needs by customizing texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site.

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

Within Blast activities, students complete social-media style activities, including the composition of a 140-character response to a guiding question and participating in a digital poll. Students can view and interact with the immediate 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. These digital annotations are saved in each student’s reading and writing binders. Students have access to audio recordings of text. These recordings support students with fluency and building phonological awareness.

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 7 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers can manipulate learning experiences for students, and materials can be differentiated based on individual students’ needs.

  • Teachers use technology to scaffold assignments based on students’ interests and reading abilities. Teachers can assign one of four digital Access Handouts depending on a student’s ability. Teachers can 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

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 the Access Path, for scaffolded instruction.

Assignments can be customized. Teachers can 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

0/
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 also have the option to print the 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 Skill: Figurative Language for “New Directions,” students work in pairs. One student in each pair poses a question to the other student containing a figure of speech. The second student restates the meaning of the figure of speech in his or her answer. Pairs switch, with the second student posing the question and the first answering. Students can record these “figurative interviews" using audio-visual equipment, iPads, or mobile devices. When pairs finish, they share their responses with the class. Students can post their interview questions and answers on a Padlet Wall.
  • In Unit 4, in the Blast for “Thank You, M’am,” students write their Blast response in 140 characters or less. Then, they review the Blasts of their peers and provide feedback. Students can use the feedback to develop and revise their writing.

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 7 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 7 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, but not limited to, 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 24/7 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 for multimedia experiences to promote increased engagement for students. Teachers can customize the learning experience of students based on their needs by customizing texts, lessons, and activities directly through the site.

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

Within Blast activities, students complete social-media style activities, including the composition of a 140-character response to a guiding question and participating in a digital poll. Students can view and interact with the immediate 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. These digital annotations are saved in each student’s reading and writing binders. Students have access to audio recordings of text. These recordings support students with fluency and 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 7 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 7 include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Teachers can manipulate learning experiences for students, and materials can be differentiated based on individual students’ needs.

  • Teachers use technology to scaffold assignments based on students’ interests and reading abilities. Teachers can assign one of four digital Access Handouts depending on a student’s ability. Teachers can 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 7 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 the Access Path, for scaffolded instruction.

Assignments can be customized. Teachers can 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 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 also have the option to print the 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 Skill: Figurative Language for “New Directions,” students work in pairs. One student in each pair poses a question to the other student containing a figure of speech. The second student restates the meaning of the figure of speech in his or her answer. Pairs switch, with the second student posing the question and the first answering. Students can record these “figurative interviews" using audio-visual equipment, iPads, or mobile devices. When pairs finish, they share their responses with the class. Students can post their interview questions and answers on a Padlet Wall.
  • In Unit 4, in the Blast for “Thank You, M’am,” students write their Blast response in 140 characters or less. Then, they review the Blasts of their peers and provide feedback. Students can use the feedback to develop and revise their writing.

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

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