Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3-5 meet expectations for alignment and usability in all grades. Lessons and tasks are centered around high-quality texts. Texts provided with the materials are at the appropriate grade level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills. Materials build knowledge and skills through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The instructional materials meet expectations for use and design, teacher planning, learning of the standards for students and professional learning support for teachers. Standards-aligned assessment, differentiated instruction, and support for learners are accounted for within the materials. Suggestions for technology use are present. Overall, the intermediate-level materials attend to alignment to the standards and to structural supports and usability.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
30
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

+
-
Gateway One Details

Texts are of quality, rigorous, and at the right text complexity for grade level, student, and task, and are therefore worthy of the student’s time and attention. A range of tasks and questions develop reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills that are applied in authentic tasks. Questions and tasks are text-dependent and engage students in rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing. Overall, students have the opportunity to engage in quality instruction in foundational skills, however, some skills are only directly instructed in small groups.

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
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for core texts (anchor) being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading that considers the range of students’ interests. Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards and include texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Texts are accompanied by a text-complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading. Texts address diverse cultures, differing historical periods as well as other content areas such as the sciences.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. The texts address a range of interests, and the reading selections would be interesting and engaging for Grade 3 students. Many of the central (anchor) texts have won awards or are written by award-winning authors. Central texts include a variety of genres and consider a range of students’ interests, including ocean predators, personal narratives, survival stories, cultural texts, natural disasters, traditional tales, and scientific non-fiction. Text sets are rich in academic language. Furthermore, texts present universal and multiple multicultural themes which integrate other content areas.

The following are texts that represent how these materials meet the expectations for this indicator:

  • Unit 1: Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark is written by an award winning author, Mary Pope Osborne. This text is a high-interest literary text.
  • Unit 2: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005, by Lauren Tarshis is a historical non-fiction text that recounts the author’s survival adventure through one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history. This is a selection from the I Survived series published by Scholastic.
  • Unit 3: It’s Not About the Pumpkin, by Veronika Martenova Charles includes engaging versions of the story Cinderella. The text is written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and illustrations to engage the reader.
  • Unit 4: Wobbly Walruses, by Charles Rotter is content-rich and engaging. This volume from the Nature Book series presents facts about walruses for young readers. Each two-page spread has one page of text next to a colorful, full-page photograph. The wide margins and double-spaced, large print give the book a simple, clean format, and the text is clear and informative. The easy-to-use layout and bright color photographs will appeal to students.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Each unit in Grade 3 provides students the opportunity to engage in core texts and read-alouds as well as leveled readers, independent reading, supplemental texts. The materials contain 8 baskets of leveled readers and a basket of Hook Books that are intended to engage even reluctant readers. Materials also provide thematic text sets centered around science and social studies themes as well as literary text sets aligned to material topics. These text sets, organized as baskets, are designed to accompany units in the form of research labs.

Anchor texts and supplemental texts include a mix of informational and literary texts reflecting the distribution of text types required by the standards. Texts include diverse topics and genres, such as realistic fiction, poetry, science and social studies informational text, traditional tales, personal narratives, classics, and historical fiction.

The following are examples of literary texts found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1- Knights and Castles, by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne
  • Unit 2- Weather, Poems for All Seasons, by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Unit 3- BigFoot Cinderrrrrella, by Tony Johnston and James Warhola
  • Unit 4- Under Water Andrew Lost 5, by J.C. Greenburg

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

  • Unit 1- Life in the Middle Ages, by Louise Park
  • Unit 2- Meteorology, The Study of Weather, by Christine Taylor- Butler
  • Unit 3-What is Culture? by Bobbie Kalman
  • Unit 4- Wobby Walruses, by Charles Rotter

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

ARC is designed with flexibility so that consumers can choose and interchange multiple text sets based on the topics and levels desired. Some accompanying task and resource materials are not text-specific so that they apply across multiple text sets and grade bands. The instructional year begins with a literacy lab that is intended to capture readers' attention with engaging text, though some of these texts fall qualitatively at the grade band as measured by Lexile, the materials include text complexity analyses and IRLA levels for these texts that show that in a more holistic assessment of qualitative and reader/task features, the texts meet the demand of the standards for text complexity. Students have access to numerous texts at multiple reading levels that are read in small and whole group settings as well as independently. The philosophy of the publishers is self-directed learning and reading through literacy and research labs.

Quantitative and qualitative information for anchor texts is provided in the Teacher’s Edition or online in SchoolPace, and the numerous text sets that accompany each unit are leveled according to the publishers framework--IRLA. The publishers state: “The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is a unified standards-based framework for student assessment, text leveling, and curriculum and instruction. The IRLA includes every Common Core Standard for Reading, both in literature and informational text, as well as those Language standards key to reading success, for students in grades PreK through 12.”

From the Teacher's Edition: "The core novel is a grade-level novel in the genre that is exemplary in terms of both content and craft. The teacher uses the provided class set of this text to engage students in rich and rigorous in evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The ARC team of educational experts selects the best option for the core text for each unit and each grade that meets the following requirements: At grade-level IRLA level, in print and in stock, exemplar for this genre at this level, broad appeal to a diverse group of students, mentor text-worthy writing passages, and reflects multiple perspectives/diversity."

Some examples of text complexity measures indicated by the materials include, but are not limited:

  • In Unit 1, Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark, by Mary Pope Osbourne falls below the grade level band according to its quantitative measures. This literary fiction book has a Lexile measure of 240. While the text includes a simple text structure and falls below the grade band, the vocabulary is complex, which places it appropriately in Grade 3.
  • In Unit 2, in addition to the core pack for Climate and Weather, students read anchor texts such as I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005, by Lauren Tarshis. With a Lexile of 560 this text falls within the expectations of the grade band. This is a historical non-fiction text that recounts the author’s survival adventure through one of the most destructive hurricanes in the U.S..
  • In Unit 3, It’s Not About the Pumpkin, by Veronika Martenova Charles is not accompanied by a quantitative measure. Though labeled an easy read, the qualitative measure provided by the publishers indicates that the book is moderately complex due to double narratives.
  • In Unit 4, the core text Wobbly Walruses, by Charles Rotter has a quantitative score of 590L. This text is an engaging read for students.The associated student tasks add complexity to the text.
  • Each unit is accompanied by Book Boxes that provide a range of text complexities. Students work with these texts each day.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that 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.)

ARC provides students with access to leveled texts which address a range of science, social studies, history, and literary topics across all grade bands. Rigor of text is appropriate in aggregate over the course of the school year, and students will engage with texts at varying levels from unit to unit.

The Publisher Notes explain that the leveled libraries provided with each unit will increase in complexity throughout the school year. The Field Guide (Teacher Manual) explains that students work independently in these libraries; however, teacher guidance supports them to continue to raise their reading levels. Students have access to multiple texts that measure below, at, or above grade level. Scaffolding is not text-specific, but focuses on the skills needed to access texts in that genre (informational text, fantasy novels, argument essays, etc.).

The Field Guide directs the teacher to “...read and discuss at least two related grade-level texts, one literature and one informational. (Texts may be drawn from a school/district’s existing texts and/or those supplied with this unit.)” While grade-level texts are recommended there is limited guidance to help schools or teachers choose grade-level texts, apart from the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework) system that accompanies the program.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectation that anchor (core texts) and series of connected texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The American Reading Company (ARC) utilizes their own IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) System, drawing on the three measures of text complexity, to level texts. To determine reading level, every book is double-blind, hand-leveled using the three legs of text complexity and located on our developmental taxonomy of reading acquisition.” Any book found in the text boxes or thematic text sets has an identifying sticker on the cover to provide its IRLA placement.

An example of a text complexity analysis and purpose and placement for the core texts is as follows:

Title: Ocean Food Webs in Action, by Paul Fleischer

Text Complexity Level: Black (4th Grade)

Quantitative: 510L (2nd-3rd)

Qualitative: Lexile underestimates the difficulty of the text because: Purpose/Structure: Moderately Complex. The text’s seemingly straightforward purpose (ocean food webs) in fact adds to its complexity. It attempts to use ocean food webs as an organizing structure to teach other concepts (i.e., marine ecology, marine plants, marine animals, human impact upon marine life), thereby compounding its complexity. Language: Moderately Complex. The text over all uses simple sentence structures. However, regular use of academic vocabulary requiring background knowledge from the reader adds to its complexity. Knowledge Demands: Moderately Complex. The text requires discipline-specific content knowledge related to oceans, animals, plants, and basic chemistry concepts, which present a challenge to readers.

Reader and Task: The text attempts to be less complex through the use of very short sentences. However, the multiple objectives of its purpose (teaching about marine life through ocean food webs) as well as the regular use of general academic vocabulary (i.e., burrow, creatures) and domain-specific terms (i.e., carbon dioxide, gas, starch, nutrients) all add significantly to the complexity of the text.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for supporting materials providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. The instructional materials include opportunities for students to read daily across a volume of texts during various instructional segments including: Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, Reader’s Workshop, and Read Aloud.

Reader’s Workshop includes a Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text segment. Students reread and discuss core text and respond to questions such as:

  • Basic Comprehension: What is happening so far in this story?
  • Inference: Why? What makes you think that?
  • Reader Response: What is surprising, funny, confusing, etc.? Why? Do you like this story yet? Why or why not? Set the standard that students will use examples or details from the text to support all assertions.

Reader’s Workshop includes a daily independent reading time for self-selected texts. In addition to Literacy Labs and Research Labs for core content, materials provide thematic text sets that can be chosen across content areas and grade levels. Text sets cover literary and informational topics in science, social studies, and culture. These text sets are organized by color-coded buckets and the IRLA levels indicated by the publishers. Students also have access to independent reading box sets in the 100 Book Challenge. The publisher describes the challenge as: “Students read 30 minutes in school and 30 minutes at home. Quantity practice targets are set, monitored, and rewarded, ensuring every student adopts the independent reading routines of academically successful students.”

Materials include mechanisms for teacher's to monitor progress, such as explicit guidance to determine student's IRLA and reading log sheets for independent reading. Students also have access to Research Lab Baskets that are organized by reading levels from which students select.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
14/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations 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). Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Materials meet the expectations of materials providing multiple opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills in concert with their practice in reading for understanding. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners to have evidence-based discussion across the year and support is provided for students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Most of the curriculum embeds a variety of writing types throughout the school year that includes a mix of both on-demand and process writing and provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in every unit. The materials for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet expectations 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). Materials for the literacy and research labs provide graphic organizers and instructional support tasks for students to engage with text as well as collect textual evidence that builds toward a research topic or literary theme. The general format reading questions (Research Questions), graphic organizers. and instructional tasks are designed to be used across multiple thematic units and across grade levels.

The evidence from Units 1-4 listed below demonstrates tasks and questions that require direct engagement with texts but do not call out or connect to specific texts. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text.

For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, students are asked to draw on textual evidence to respond to the following basic comprehension and inference questions. Basic Comprehension: “What is happening so far in this story?" Inference: “Why? What makes you think that?”
  • In Unit 1, Week 5, Day 1, students compare and contrast the story elements of the Magic Tree House books that they have read.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3, students identify the topic of a text and locate and identify details and images that tell more about the topic.
  • In Unit 2, Week 7, Day 1, students reread a connected text and identify the main idea and key details.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 4, students draw on textual evidence in order to participate in a literary debate. Students are given the following prompt to debate: “Which supporting character is most important to this novel? Why?” Teachers are provided with the structures that encourage the inclusion of textual evidence for the debate such as, "I Couldn’t Disagree More: A student/group stands and states his/her/their opinion. Another student stands and disagrees, using reasons to support why they disagree. A third student then stands and decides who is more convincing and why. The game then starts over with a new student."
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 2, students participate in a shared reading activity which includes flagging quotes to use to describe and analyze conflicts, resolutions, and their relationship to theme.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 4, students examine and identify evidence from the text to answer text- dependent questions around the author’s point of view.
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 2, students are guided to determine an author’s point of view and purpose and explain their thinking with evidence from the text.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Questions and tasks are organized for students to gather details or practice skills needed for the culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks require students to gather details or information using research questions and graphic organizers to write a story or report instead of utilizing specific texts.

Examples from the units include:

  • In Unit 1, students use previous responses to general text-dependent questions such as: “What do you know so far about the characters in the books in this series? What do you notice about the settings of books in this series? What do you notice about the events of books in this series?” and graphic organizers that examine characters, settings, plots, and other story elements found in texts from the Magic Tree House series in order to help with the creation of their own Magic Tree House narrative.
  • In Unit 2, students complete graphic organizers and answer general text-dependent questions that encourage them to examine the details and conclusions of previously-read informational texts in order to be able to write an informative essay on weather and climate.
  • In Unit 3, students read traditional stories then complete graphic organizers and general text-dependent questions about story elements in order to prepare them to write a traditional tale of their own.
  • In Unit 4, students select a marine animal, answer text-dependent questions, and complete graphic organizers to gain knowledge that includes information about its physical characteristics, behavior, classification, lifestyle, habitat, ecosystem, and food web. Students use this information to produce an opinion piece and participate in a formal debate.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax.

There are many opportunities and protocols throughout modules and within lessons that support academic vocabulary and syntax. Units include practices that encourage the building and application of academic vocabulary and syntax including accountable talk routines and think pair share. Teacher materials support implementation of these standards to grow students’ skills.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, students are asked to discuss the text they are reading with a partner through the discussion technique Think Pair Share.
  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 2-3, students reread a section of the core novel to identify new vocabulary and use context clues to create synonyms.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 5, students read author introductions, examine a rubric that identifies elements of great introductions, and discuss as a whole class which author did the “best job” with their introductions and provide rationales.
  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Day 4, students identify a word to add to the class glossary to conclude the lesson. The class glossary is a chart that includes words that they are responsible for being able to define and use correctly.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 4, students share with partners the plot of a story and identify the main problem or central conflict of the story.
  • In Unit 3, Week 6, Days 2-3, students review a Powerful Language chart to discuss word choice and syntax as well as discuss how tone is affected by different language decisions.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day, 3, students engage in accountable talk as they identify and extend new learning of the day’s research question.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, Day 5, students work with a partner to read and discuss their conclusions and to determine if they need to add or delete anything from the writing piece.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

Speaking and listening tasks require students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Opportunities to ask and answer questions of peers and teachers about research, strategies, and ideas are present throughout the year. The curriculum includes protocols and graphic organizers to promote and scaffold academic discussions.

The following are examples of materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what is read:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, on Days 2-3, students work in pairs to identify and discuss the setting of a series they are reading. Students add to a chart which identifies texts with similar settings.
  • In Unit 1, Week 5, on Day 4, students reread a passage of a core novel. Students discuss and analyze author’s word choice by locating strong, interesting, and/or beautiful words. Students identify synonyms and discuss similarities and differences between related words.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, on Day 1, students are asked to read and discuss the most interesting or surprising parts of a text with a partner as well as discuss what is confirmed or contradicted from prior knowledge during the second reading of the text by completing a chart which displays this information.
  • In Unit 2, Week 7, on Day 2, students engage in a close reading of an informational text and share with partners the main idea and key details.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, on Day 3, students analyze characters by collecting textual evidence and then determining who the most important characters are in the text. Students write opinion pieces based on the collected information. Students read written opinions aloud to partners, who use rubrics to provide feedback.
  • In Unit 3, Week 6, on Day 1, students participate in a discussion group to identify and discuss effective examples of analogies.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, on Day 2, students read a text on a particular topic and share what was learned. Students also share the author’s opinion with a partner.
  • In Unit 4, Weeks 8-9, students participate in formal debates to demonstrate their abilities to present their expertise through oral argument.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused tasks. Students write both on demand and over extended periods throughout every unit. The focus, the research, and literacy labs are to collect textual evidence or information to compose an essay or extended composition piece.

Examples of on-demand writing include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, students write a short persuasive piece that must include three details that support their opinion.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 1, students are guided, working in pairs to take notes using bullet points and key words, and then cite sources to collect information for the Final Project which includes writing and publishing an informational book.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, students are prompted to use the core novel and respond in writing to complete the following task: “What about the setting will be most important to this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1, students use key words, phrases, bullets, and cite sources to write a response to the research question. Students review notes for accuracy.

Examples of extended writing include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 6, Days 1-3, students use a mentor informational text as a model and begin drafting their own informational text.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 4, students are provided with a three-point practice rubric that defines a proficient answer to respond to the following questions: “Which research topic is most interesting to you? Why?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 8, Day 2, students revise their short story, focusing on the sequence of events.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, Day 1, students determine the opinion and write the first draft of an argument that they will utilize for their opinion pieces.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence.

The following are examples of the different text types of writing across the units:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 4, students use their heart maps to respond to the prompt, “Today you will write about something on which you are already an expert. This might be a sport, a video game, an author or series, how to take care of a pet, or how to make something. Make sure you include relevant facts that demonstrate your expertise.”
  • In Unit 1, students are applying different genres of writing; students culminate the unit with the publication of two pieces, fiction and informational.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 4, students write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide a sense of closure.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3, students complete a thinking map to identify and write about various elements of a text, including identifying the topic and main idea.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3, students complete a literary analysis relating to character genre.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 2, students participate in a character study and write to describe the protagonist of their independent reading book.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, students respond to a writing prompt to demonstrate their current expertise in the key concepts of the research question.
  • In Unit 4, students conclude this unit of study by producing an opinion piece pertaining to a topic of choice.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for the materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year.

Students are required to write daily for 15 to 20 minutes using suggested writing prompts. Most writing prompts relate to text but some do not require evidence-based writing. The suggestions are divided into categories such as opinion/argument, personal nonfiction/narrative, fiction narrative, and informational.

Prompts are available from each category including the following:

  • Students write an opinion/argument response to the prompt, “Something that would make this book much better is ___ because ___.”
  • Students write a personal/nonfiction narrative response to the prompt, “When have you been treated the way that ___ was treated by ___ ?” This response is relating an experience from the text to a student’s personal experience.
  • Students write a fiction narrative response to the prompt, “Imagine yourself as ___’s (main character's) best friend. How would the story be different with you in it?”

Other evidence-based writing opportunities include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, students create a three-point response using a practice rubric and evidence from the text. The teacher models how to use the rubric to write a three-point answer, including how to use the text evidence to prove the veracity of the facts.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, students complete a graphic organizer that includes the questions, “What did you learn?” and “What evidence supports what you learned?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 1, students read and use a short piece of informational text, collect evidence to identify the factual basis of elements found in the core text, and complete a graphic organizer page.
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Days 1-5, students compare and contrast two texts about traditional tales in order to write a comparative essay with a well-defended claim and clear information.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 1, students use a recently-read text to take a position on something, and write an explanation using textual evidence.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, Days 1-5, students draft an opinion piece from a research topic related to marine life that includes a careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet expectations for 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 the context. Students engage with grammar and conventions as they complete tasks throughout the units; however, few opportunities for explicit instruction in context are presented. No evidence of students engaging with grammar and conventions out of context is found.

The following evidence provides examples of how the program encourages the engagement with grammar and conventions in context but does not show any explicit instruction based on Grade 3 standards:

  • Unit 1, Week 5, Day 5: Students are given an Editing Rubric and are to edit their writing for publishing.
  • Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1: Students work in pairs to edit their papers for quotation marks indicating direct quotations, proper citations in quoting, and proper punctuation.
  • Unit 3, Week 7, Day 2: Students experiment with creating several different characters and writing scenes for these characters, using punctuation and sentence structure to convey how the character feels.
  • Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1: Students work in pairs to edit their papers for quotation marks, properly cited notes, and abbreviations with periods.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
3/6
+
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills that build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, and decoding in a research-based and transparent progression. All lessons contain general guidance, however, some lack specific teacher directions for explicit instruction of some skills.

Students have multiple opportunities to silently read on-level texts. Opportunities to orally read grade-level text are in partner reading. Instruction of accuracy, rate, and expression are not modeled and explicitly taught to Grade 3 students in on-level materials.

Indicator 1o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for Foundational Skills that build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, and decoding in a research-based and transparent progression.

The program includes IRLA: Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework, which is a standards- aligned assessment to help teachers provide targeted instruction. If students are placed in Yellow, Green, Blue, or Red groupings based on IRLA, students will receive Foundational Skills instruction.

  • If Grade 3 students are placed in 1 Red (1R) based on IRLA, students will be explicitly taught how to decode three-syllable words. Students learn that syllables are a number of "beats" in a word. Students are also taught word attack strategies such as:
    • Chunk: Look for parts you know
    • Try a different sound for the vowel
  • If Grade 3 students are placed in 2 Red (2R) based on IRLA, students will be explicitly taught how to decode multisyllabic and irregularly spelled words.

Grade 3 students assessed through IRLA and placed in White (Grade 3), Black (Grade 4), or higher, do not receive Foundational Skills instruction for decoding multisyllable words (RF 3.3.c) or for reading grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words (RF 3.3.d). Students in White (Grade 3) are required to be able to decode multisyllable words for entry into the White designation. In IRLA for White, students are assessed on basic decoding mastery. “At White level, the following are all review (no points assigned), but they are required and may need reinforcement.” Reinforcements are not suggested or provided for the teacher.

  • Rules of syllabication are assessed. “Every syllable must have a vowel. Closed syllables: End in consonant. Vowel is short. Open syllables: End in vowel. Vowel is long.”
  • Different sounds for letters/chunks in unfamiliar words is assessed.
  • Tricky words in White designation are assessed.

Materials include word study lessons during Literacy Lab Grade 3, Week 4, which allows students to use prefixes and suffixes to determine the meaning of words.

Fluency practice methods are suggested in the Red (Grade 2) Foundational Skills Toolkit lessons. Choral reading, echo reading, and Buddy, or Paired Reading, are described.

Indicator 1p

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks, guiding students to read with purpose and understanding and to make frequent connections between acquisition of Foundational Skills and making meaning from reading. The lessons for teaching students how to determine the meaning of unknown words is in the Literacy Lab Grade 3. The lessons contain general guidance, but not exact directions to the teacher as to how to teach students to explicitly apply word analysis skills in decoding multisyllabic words and to read grade-appropriate, irregularly spelled words to make meaning.

In the Literacy Lab, Week 4: Days 1-3, students practice analyzing meaningful prefixes. In the CCSS Mini-Lesson R.4/L.4, the teacher introduces and reviews prefixes. The teacher shows the “Word Analysis” Anchor Chart and then reviews common prefixes. With a partner, students analyze a few words using prefixes from a list in order to determine word meanings. During Read/Discuss Complex Text, students are to practice noticing new vocabulary and word parts for making meaning based on the Core Novel #2. Suggestions for how to help students recognize new vocabulary words and word parts they do not know are not in the teacher materials. Students also use word parts to learn new vocabulary during Readers’ Workshop. As students independently read, their Set Focus is to flag at least one new word with a prefix to learn and share. In Accountable Talk, students explain how prefixes help them figure out the meaning of a new word during reading.

In the Literacy Lab, Week 4: Days 4-5, students practice analyzing meaningful suffixes. In the CCSS Mini-Lesson R.4/L.4, the teacher introduces and reviews suffixes. The teacher adds suffixes to the Word Analysis Anchor Chart. With a partner, students analyze a few words using suffixes from a list in order to determine word meanings. During Read/Discuss Complex Text, students are to practice identifying new vocabulary and word parts for meaning, based on Core Novel #2. Students also use word parts to learn new vocabulary during Readers’ Workshop. As students independently read, their Set Focus is to flag at least one new word the students want to learn and share. In Accountable Talk, students explain how suffixes help them figure out the meaning of a new word during reading.

In the Literacy Lab, Week 2: Days 2-3, students practice different types of context clues (definition/explanation, restatement/synonym, contrast/antonym, comparison, cause and effect, and inference/general) to determine the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases. In Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, during the Repeated Reading, students identify new vocabulary and use context clues to figure out synonyms. The teacher asks: “Context Clues: What might this word/phrase mean? What in the text supports your answer? Synonym Check: What is a good synonym for this word? Reread the sentence, replacing the unknown word with your synonym. Does this change the meaning of the sentence? Why or why not? Analysis: Why do you think the author chose this word/phrase instead of _(synonym)_?” In Readers’ Workshop, students independently read with the Set Focus to flag at least one new word they want to learn and share. In Accountable Talk, students explain how they figured out the meaning of a new word from their reading.

Students in the White Independent Reading Level (Grade Level Equivalency 3.00-3.99) have to determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words since White-leveled books contain 1-2 academic words and/or phrases.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for providing students frequent opportunities to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, as well as to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression. Students have multiple opportunities to silently read on-level texts. Opportunities to orally read grade-level text are in partner reading. Instruction of accuracy, rate, and expression are not modeled and explicitly taught to Grade 3 students unless students receive instruction in the Foundational Skills Toolkit Lessons, which end in 2 Red (2nd Grade, Second Half).

All units include opportunities for independent reading. Students read silently from self-selected books. During Readers’ Workshop, students build stamina to read 15-30 minutes each day during Independent Reading time.

There are opportunities for students to read orally with a partner. For example, in the Literacy Lab Grade 3, Week 1: Day 2 Lesson Focus: Ask & Answer Questions, there is time to have students participate in a second read of the core text. “Students reread portions of the text as they discuss.” No explicit directions suggest students should read orally with the partner.

The teacher can use the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) to assess students’ accuracy, appropriate rate, and fluency. The teacher can also document students’ fluency and ability to read text comfortably, with confidence, purpose, and understanding in the White foundational skills assessment. The materials do not provide teachers with direction as to how to use the assessment to teach students how to purposely practice accuracy, rate, and expression.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening through comprehensive texts sets organized around grade-appropriate topics. Students engage in developmentally-appropriate research as they build and demonstrate knowledge and skills in tasks that integrate all areas of ELA.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32
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Criterion Rating Details

Units and corresponding text sets are organized around specific topics and guiding questions to build student knowledge. There is a wide variety and volume of motivating content and Lexile levels from which students can choose topics of interest related to the unit.

Students engage in analyzing parts of texts often for class discussion, supported by questions and tasks that require them to draw on textual evidence to support their answers. Culminating tasks give students the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics as well as mastery of several different standards across all areas of ELA.

Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials and call on students to think about the meaning of words.

Students are supported through the writing process, and various activities are placed throughout units to ensure students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year as well as to develop their stamina and a positive attitude about writing. Students examine and identify a range of text structures, and they are guided to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing. At the end of each unit, students produce, present, and publish writing pieces as part of a final project.

Units are designed for students to act as researchers to gather details or ideas from texts throughout the unit to build a body of evidence for the culminating task.

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for texts organized around topics to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Each unit and the texts within as well as boxed text sets are organized around specific topics and guiding questions to build student knowledge around topics such as marine life, story elements, traditional tales, weather, and more.

Teachers can also utilize read alouds and boxed sets (Hook Books, 100 Book Challenge, thematic sets) that are labeled according to the publisher’s self-determined readability levels (IRLA) and organized by topic. Teachers can also access thematic text sets organized around topics in life science, physical science, world history, geography, american history, and literary genres that provide differentiated reading practice.

Topics for each unit include:

  • Unit 1: ARC Literacy Lab: A Community of Readers and Writers: As a class, read and discuss at least two grade-level novels from the same Magic Tree House series. Students listen to above-level texts on the history and science behind this series and write a new story for the Magic Tree House series and an informational text to accompany it.
  • Unit 2: Research Lab: Weather and Climate: Each student will become an expert on one type of weather. Each student researches a topic of his/her choice and publishes a final project.
  • Unit 3: Research Lab: Literary Genre: Students will read, analyze, and write about one grade-level novel in this genre as part of a whole-class intellectual community. Students also read multiple books in the genre on his/her own (can be at any level, from the Genre Library or elsewhere) and write four very short essays (constructed responses) and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre. Finally, students write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre.
  • Unit 4: Research Lab: Marine Life: Each student will become an expert on one marine animal. Each student researches a topic of his/ her choice and publishes a final project.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations for materials containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

Throughout the units, students independently and in pairs complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts. Examples of sets of questions found in the instructional materials include the following:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, students are asked, “What phrase is an example of nonliteral language? What do you think this phrase might mean? Why? Why do you think the author chose this phrase?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students are asked, “Research Question 1: Tornado Alert. What weather conditions are required for a tornado to form? Which words in the text best support your answer? Could we have one here now?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, students are asked, “What could the author have done to improve this sentence? The paragraph?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, students are asked, “What is the topic? What is your point of view on this topic? What is the author’s point of view on this topic? How is it the same/different from yours? Where does the author use strong opinion words like best, incredible, andterrible when describing the topic? Why do you think s/he uses these words? What point is s/he trying to make?”

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 3 meet the expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 4, the teacher is directed to, “Reread a portion of the Core Novel with the class. As you read, ask students to locate at least one connection between the dinosaur facts they’ve just learned and the Core Novel. Discuss what about this section is fact, what is fiction, and what is still unclear, drawing on both texts as evidence to support assertions.”

In Unit 2, the beginning of the teacher materials that accompany the research lab provides a text-dependent question sheet for each text that has a “Going Deeper” and a “Compare and Synthesize Across Texts” sections. In Week 4, Day 3, during the lesson wrap up, teachers are given the questions stems of, “How does this compare to what you already knew/thought about ___? How does this relate to what other authors have written about ___?”

Unit 3 takes students through a novel study in which they focus on plot, character, setting, and theme. In Week 1, Day 4, students practice identifying and describing plot in a variety of texts in this genre. They also begin to generalize about plot in this genre.

Research Labs for Units 2- 4 take students through a series of Research Questions (RQ) that at times ask students to analyze information from several texts. In Week 5, Day 1 students are given the prompts, “Comparison Essays in Myths, Legends, Historical Fiction: To incorporate the cultural information related to these genres, you might vary this task by asking students something like: Compare two different versions of the same myth/legend from the same culture. Which retelling does a better job of reflecting the culture from which the story comes? Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal
of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period. How did the fiction author alter history in writing this fiction? Why?”

In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 4, when discussing how the author's point of view and purpose shapes a text, the Teacher’s Edition states, “It is easiest to see how an author’s point of view or purpose might have shaped his/her text when you compare two texts on the same topic. Have students work together to compare and contrast the information, presentation, and language of two texts by different authors on the same topics (these can be the same texts used on Day 2 of this week). Ask them to analyze how these choices change the way the reader receives the information/topic and to speculate on how each author’s point of view or purpose might have influenced the choices s/he made.”

Other examples of text-dependent questions and tasks that support this indicator include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 1, students are asked, “What new word did you notice? What Tier might it be? Why? What do you think it might mean?”
  • Unit 2. Look back to the Pre-Assessment text, Tornadoes. Which text does a better job defining and describing tornadoes? Why?
  • In Unit 2, students read The Water Cycle, by Michael Portman and The Water Cycle, by Elizabeth Miles and complete the graphic organizer that requires them to compare and analyze information from two texts to answer RQ#2: “Diagram a basic water cycle and explain the relationship between the water cycle and weather.”
  • In Unit 3, students discuss these questions about the novel It’s Not about the Pumpkin: Easy to Read Wonder Tales and genre of study. What do antagonists in this genre have in common? How are antagonists important to our genre as a whole? What makes you think that?
  • In Unit 3, students read a fairy tale and analyze the plot by completing the Plot-Scene graphic organizer.
  • In Unit 4, students work through a second section/new passage, using text evidence to identify and analyze how the author addresses and responds to a conflicting viewpoint.

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 3 meet the expectations that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

Within the materials, students have the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through completion of culminating tasks and/or final projects. Students are asked to produce work that shows mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) at the appropriate grade level throughout their thematic units of study.

  • In Unit 1, students examine how to complete a story planning chart and respond to prompts that require them to compare and contrast an A Magic Tree House story to one that they will create independently as part of a culminating task.
  • In Unit 1, students listen to and analyze a short piece informational text to use as a mentor to create their own informational text as part of a culminating task.
  • In Unit 2, students explore how to obtain a sufficient amount of sources on a topic in order to be able to determine if they can proceed with research. This task is to prepare for the final project of demonstrating expertise of a topic.
  • In Unit 2, students research and answer the following questions about a weather phenomenon in order to be able to publish final projects, “What is its role in the water cycle?” and “In which climates is it most likely to occur? Why?”
  • In Unit 3, students begin the unit with a study of the definition of literary genre in order to write a literary essay analyzing multiple texts in the genre as part a culminating task.
  • In Unit 3, students work with partners to read and use a rubric to evaluate their literary essays included in the final project. Students discuss with their partners things in their essay that need additional work.
  • In Unit 4, students answer research questions throughout the unit such as, “What kind of marine animal is it and how do you know?” and “How does it change throughout its life?” in order to complete the culminating task of publishing a final project about their marine animal.
  • In Unit 4, students are paired and engage in a collaborative writing segment and take one minute to discuss what is working in their writing which is part of the culminating task.

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 3 meet expectations for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials. For example, in Unit 2, the teacher’s edition provides suggested vocabulary and tasks for the student exemplar text packet.

Vocabulary instruction calls for students to think about the meaning of words. Definitions are provided in student-friendly language, and word meanings are taught with examples related to the text as well as examples from other, more familiar contexts.

  • In Unit 1, students examine new vocabulary and respond to, “What new word did you notice? What Tier might it be? Why? What do you think it might mean?”
  • In Unit 2, students are introduced to the term weather and respond to the question, “What is weather? Underline the two definitions. Which is better? Why? Box two examples of 'bad' weather. Circle two examples of 'good' weather.”
  • In Unit 3, students explore word choice and respond to the following questions: ”Who found an especially effective example of a powerful noun/verb/descriptor/technical vocabulary? What does this word mean? Why is it a better choice than __(everyday/more common synonym)__?”
  • In Unit 4, students examine new vocabulary words and highlight any high-leverage (Tier 2) vocabulary words.

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 3 meet the expectation for materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year. Students are supported through the writing process and various activities are placed throughout units to ensure students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year.

Students are encouraged to develop stamina and a positive attitude towards writing by writing daily and for various purposes. Students engage in activities that include reading and discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write, examine and identify a range of text structures, and they are guided to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing. At the end of each unit, students produce, present, and publish writing pieces as part of a final project.

  • In Unit 1, students examine word choice and add and/or revise words by adding technical vocabulary to their informational text.
  • In Unit 2, students plan for writing and complete tasks such as, “Decide on a point for writing the main idea they want your readers to learn and/or do. Decide how you might say that as a topic sentence. Write it down using your selected narrator, voice, perspective. Read it out loud. Is it interesting/important, defensible/accurate, and developed (general and specific)? Would you want to finish reading the book if they read that sentence”?
  • In Unit 3, students are shown how to create an outline of an essay. The teacher states, “Now that you each have written an opinion statement and know about what makes a good argument, you will create a rough outline/map for your essay. Here is how I might make a quick, rough outline of my essay…”
  • In Unit 4, students examine their evidence in writing and are instructed to complete the following task: “Today you will rearrange the body of your opinion piece, looking for the most logical way to group your evidence and reasons. Be alert for gaps in your evidence. You will have time after writing to continue your research.”

The daily literacy block includes a 20 to 60 minute writing segment. The teacher models how the day’s focus will be applied to writing, and students are provided time to practice while the teacher confers with students in one to one conferences or small groups to provide coaching and feedback. By the end of each unit, students will have practiced writing in a variety of genres, both in and out of context. Additionally, they will take a fiction piece and informational piece of writing to publication.

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 3 meet the expectations that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Units are designed for students to act as researchers and to gather details or ideas from texts throughout the unit to build a body of evidence for the culminating task. For these tasks, students select a topic and spend about nine weeks reading, writing, and speaking about their topic. By the end of each unit, students write and publish an informational book or other project demonstrating their increased knowledge about their selected topic. Students are provided with daily independent reading, research, and discussion times for about 20 to 40 minutes. Additionally, students engage in research writing daily for about 20 to 40 minutes and write about what they are reading.

  • In Unit 2, students read and research through an exemplar text pack to select a weather phenomenon to research and to answer a series of questions such as: “What is its role in the water cycle? In which climates is it most likely to occur? Why? What datasets do scientists collect on it? Why?” They then research topics of their choice and publish final projects.
  • In Unit 3, students read, analyze, and write about one novel in this genre with the class. They read many books in the genre on their own, write four constructed responses and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre, and write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre.
  • In Unit 4, students select a marine animal to research and answer various questions. They research, draft, revise, edit, illustrate, and publish a final project about their marine animal.

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

Lessons require daily independent readings of text and tasks that reflect student accountability.

The 100 Book Challenge is an “instructional system” that addresses independent reading done in and out of school. Students select from a library of leveled readers and select texts of their choice in school to read daily (“eye on the page” independent reading) for fifteen to thirty minutes (any book counts for 100 Book Challenge reading). The goal of the 100 Book Challenge is for every student to have 800 steps a year: 60 minutes a day/200 days a year (1 step is equal to 15 minutes of reading). A “Home Coach” is provided (parent, guardian, or older sibling) to monitor reading done at home. Additionally, skill cards are provided to the “Home Coach” to support students. Each unit also provides students with reading logs to record their class and independent reading as well as track their reading levels and growth.

In Unit 1, a guide/instructions for the teacher to hold students accountable for daily independent reading is included: “Introduce the Rules for Independent Reading Anchor Chart. There are 3 rules for our reading time. The first rule is READ. The second rule is READ. And the third rule is…(students will supply, READ). And there is only one answer to any of your questions: May I go to the bathroom? May I get another book? May I ask you a question? May I switch books with Mary? Would you help me with this word? NO.”

In Unit 2, students complete a daily reading log sheet at home and parents sign the reading log sheet to verify that students read at home: “ATTENTION HOME COACHES: Please sign only if you heard or saw the student reading. 1 Step=15 minutes of reading."

In Unit 3, daily reading activities include, “1. Pre-Reading. Establish Today’s Learning Goal. By the end of today, each of you will be able to... introduce key concepts when necessary and introduce any key vocabulary, concepts, or thought processes required that are not taught by the text. 2. Read Text. Use a combination of teacher read alouds, partner reading, and/or independent reading as appropriate to the text and your students’ current abilities. 3. Discuss Literary Analysis, Text-Dependent Questions, Academic Vocabulary Work, Repeated Close Reading. Students participate in intellectual discourse around the text, genre, and Focus Standards: Partner Share, Discussion Groups, Whole Group Debrief.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

Overall, the materials provide good structural support and consistent routines. Use of technology is encouraged, but supplemental support may be needed for students for whom English is a new language and students or teachers with limited technology skills or adaptive needs. Materials provide evidence of connections between the parts of the program, the assessments, and the college and career-ready standards.

Criterion 3a - 3e

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8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Grade 3 materials are well designed, taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The 4 units and 36 weeks of instruction provide flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed while still being able to complete the materials within a normal school year. Materials are well-aligned to the standards and provide documentation for that alignment. Student resources are clear, well-designed, correctly labeled and do not distract from the lessons. There is adequate support for all included resources.

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 3 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The year is divided into 4 Units of Study. The Literacy Lab is a 6 week unit of study, while the 3 Research Labs are 9 week Units. Each lesson is broken up into a suggested 90-120 minute reading blocks. Pacing Guides are provided for all units.

Each week of the Literacy Lab instruction has weekly goals for standards-based instruction, reading culture, and IRLA coaching. There is a teacher checklist for the week to help measure success. Focus Standards are listed for each week as well as an overview of the daily lesson plans. Each Lesson contains an overview of the key objectives, teacher work, and student work for each part of the literacy block. Daily lesson plans have a two column format. This provides detailed support for how to teach each part of the literacy block. During Week 1 there is a day by day detailed instruction, after that there is a framework in the following weeks. There is a lesson ticker at the top of the pages to show where you are in the lesson. Blackline masters that will be needed for each lesson are found at the end of each lesson. Literacy Lab lessons include a CCSS Mini-Lesson, Read-Discuss Complex Text-Readers’ Workshop, Writing, Read-Aloud, and Reflection. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

Each Week of Research Labs instruction includes goals for expertise, reading, writing, vocabulary, art, and final projects. A unit introduction and research questions help to establish the unit. All graphic organizers and blackline masters can be found within the unit’s opening pages of the unit. There are weekly overview calendars and every lesson includes three parts: Read Complex Text, Independent Reading, and Writing. Standards are listed at the beginning of each week, as well as in the daily learning goals. Each daily lesson plan has two columns with teaching notes, suggested answers, and guided tips. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

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 materials reviewed meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.There are 165 lessons provided, broken into four units. This will allow flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed.

The Teacher’s Guide states, “Our curriculum is a FRAMEWORK, not a script. What should students argue about while they study the Civil War? What lessons should they take away from a study of Science Fiction? It depends. It depends on the children in your classroom. It depends on you. There is no perfect script that will work for all personalities and all classrooms. Instead, we give you a highly structured framework that works in general from which you will need to create the version that works for you, in your district, in your school, in your classroom, with your students.”

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 3 meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

Materials provide review and practice resources such as, note catchers, reference charts, anchor charts, checklists, graphic organizers, rubrics, and blackline masters.

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

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 5 students are provided with a Research Labs Editing Checklist that includes clear criteria for students to discuss with their small groups.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, Day 2 students are provided with an Elements of Argument Chart that has students break apart the parts of an argument before writing.

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

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Each day standards are listed at the beginning of the lesson and often referenced in the daily Learning Goal.

For Example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5 the Big Idea: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words” activity lists the student outcome: Ask and answer questions about illustrations to support understanding and engagement. The following standards are also listed as applicable to the lesson:

Common Core Standard R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

3rd Grade: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

Common Core Standard R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

RL.3.7: Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

RI.3.7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Standards are also listed on student facing blackline masters and handouts, organizers, elements of genre cards, common core mini-lessons, rubrics, writing tasks and extended writings.

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 3 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The material design is simple and consistent. Units are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. Units include graphic organizers, charts, worksheets, tables and other blackline masters that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The Teacher edition contains many useful annotations and suggestions to support teachers who may not be as familiar with the material or content, however, there are places in the materials where additional support for the teacher, particularly for students who are not responding to specific aspects of instruction would be helpful.

Abundant educative materials are included in the program to support teachers’ professional learning, including outlines for Professional Learning Communities. Additionally, the materials clearly define the role of research in the development and improvement of the program, and consistently delineates research-based best practices and the source of those practices for teachers who wish to learn more on the topic.

The role of the standards in the materials is well-defined and aligned to college and career ready standards.

There is a clear plan for engaging all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers in the goals and work of the program.

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations 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. Front material of the Teacher’s Edition contains detailed instruction on multiple areas of instruction. For example, in Unit 1 in the section named Building Units of Study the Teacher’s Edition explains topics such as Questions Worth Asking, Questioning Frameworks, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Learning Domains, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, Words Worth Teaching, and creating lessons.

There are places throughout the materials where explicit teacher directions are present and accompanied by additional support for teachers who may need additional help in presenting the materials. For example, in Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, the lesson on Writing: Literary Analysis-- Setting, provides the following teacher directions:

1. Set Focus

Today, you will take a position on something you read and explain your reasons for taking that position. Your position is your opinion. Writing Prompt: What about the setting will be most important to this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

2. Model

Introduce a rubric students can use to structure and strengthen their writing. Consider using the W.1 Rubric, which, if you’ve already used the Argument Research Lab Framework, will be familiar to your students. If this rubric is new to your class, introduce only the first three points for now. Either way, the goal this week is for students’ writing to earn the first three points: topic, opinion, evidence. Model stating your opinion and supporting your opinion with text evidence (e.g., I am reading ___. The most important part of the setting in this book will be ___ because ___).

Mechanics: Usage & Structure

  • Direct Quotations: When you want to copy a phrase, a sentence, or an entire passage that someone else wrote, you must use quotation marks and you must cite your source, including page number.
  • Citing Sources: Review use of bibliographic citations when using someone else’s work.

3. Independent Writing Students write independently.

  • Students write independently.

4. Teacher Work

Monitor for Engagement

  • Ensure all students are on task.

Formative Assessment/Writing Coach

  • Check for Understanding
  • Observe students as they write. Make sure students are making adequate progress.

Share Good Examples

  • As you locate great examples in students’ work, point them out to the class.

Document

  • Collect student writing as evidence of students’ learning.

Use Status of the Class to record which students were able to answer the writing prompt proficiently.

Alongside the lesson, the Teacher Guide provides the information on Gradual Release of Responsibility to support students as they begin using the CCSS W.1 Rubric:

Gradual Release of Responsibility/ Apprenticeship*

  • I do/You watch: Model Clear Goal Teacher models the behavior or the use of key vocabulary, concepts, and thought processes as s/he wants students to do it. Students need an example of what good looks like.
  • I do/You help: Collaborative Productivity Teacher continues to model, inviting students to contribute as they are ready.
  • You do together/I help: Gradual Release of Responsibility Students practice together as teacher listens in and observes to assess proficiency. Teacher provides guidance, prompting, and coaching.
  • You do it alone/I assist, as needed: Independent Students apply during independent practice as teacher listens in and observes to assess proficiency.
  • Repeat until all students are proficient.

*Specific wording based on the work of Jeffery Wilhelm, 2007.

Annotations and suggestions are presented within the Literacy Lab and Research Lab Teacher Editions. These annotations and suggestions present the structure of the lesson; however, some teachers may need more support and guidance with presenting material. For example, in Unit 2, Week 4, on Day 1, during a Close Reading of Informational Text, the Teacher’s Edition states, “Select a rich passage from the Central Text that will build students’ knowledge of the key Science or Social Studies concepts at the heart of today’s Research Question. The class will read and re-read this selection over the course of the next two days, so select a passage (or set of passages) that is worth the time and attention. Read the text in appropriate chunks (1–2 pages at most). First Read: Experience Connected Text: Read the text without interruptions. Interject with a quick one or two-sentence aside only when necessary to avoid a major misunderstanding.” Teachers may need more guidance on what a rich passage from the Central Text would need to have in order for students to be able to discuss with a partner the main idea of the text. Also, there is no guidance about what types of information teachers should be interjecting in the asides to help students determine what the author is saying.

There is minimal guidance and support for the use of embedded technology. For example, in Unit 3, Week 9, the Teacher Edition gives publishing ideas that include technology, but does not give any other information to support the use and enhance student learning. The Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their short stories. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas: Create a book, Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, or PowerPoint.”

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

The Literacy and Research Lab Teacher Editions include notes that give adult-level explanations and examples. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, “A Note on Text Complexity & Reading Aloud: For the majority of the rest of the year, Read-Aloud should be from texts that are at or above grade level to ensure all students engage with grade-level complex text and its academic vocabulary regularly. This week, focus on celebrating and legitimizing books at a variety of levels, including the easiest. Select engaging books that you think will “sell” your students on reading. Using informational text is a great way to legitimize low levels. Even proficient adult readers learn new information from low-level nonfiction books.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3, “A Main Idea Can Be Stated or Implied: Sometimes authors of informational texts explicitly state their main ideas. They may state them multiple times in various forms, which makes it a challenge to determine which version best represents this main idea. In other texts, the author never explicitly states the main idea. In this case, the main idea is implied and the reader has to piece together a summary statement of the main idea by inferring from details in the text.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Day 5, “Creative Opening/Hook: the beginning sentences of the introduction that catch the reader’s interest. Ways of beginning creatively include the following [NOTE: the examples provided here are for teacher understanding - have students create/collect opening hooks that are appropriate to your topic/grade level.]” The Teacher Edition then gives examples of opening hooks.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 2, “A Note on Terminology The Common Core uses the word “opinion piece” and “point of view/opinion” in the elementary grades and then moves to “argument” and “claim” in secondary grades. This handbook reflects the language of the 3rd to 5th Grade Standards, using opinion/point of view and opinion piece. At the same time, we chose to use the word “argument” in its general meaning as a position and the supporting information/ reasons one gives is defense of that position. We chose to include the use of the word “argument” for two reasons: the word “argument” works for both written and oral work (as opposed to “opinion piece”), there are many cases in which “argument” is simply less awkward in terms of grammar and phrasing.”

Indicator 3h

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Standards are addressed throughout the front material of each Literacy and Research lab. The Teacher Editions explain the role of the specific ELA/Literacy standards and how they shaped the reviewed curriculum.

For example, in Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “The books in the Research Lab Libraries are leveled and organized by IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) levels. The IRLA is a color-coded Developmental Reading Taxonomy that integrates Common Core State Standards for reading acquisition with a deep knowledge of the demands of literature and informational text for students, grades PreK through 12. Each book’s IRLA level is a result of multiple reading experts independently assessing the specific combination of quantitative, qualitative, and reader/task challenges presented by that title.”

The Teacher Edition also includes Standards Mini Lessons which give explanations of what the teacher work looks like based on the standard being taught. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Teacher Work: Model asking and answering a question or two about the Core Novel. As you model, make sure you explicitly refer to the text, explaining what in the text sparked your question. Categories to consider: Basic Understanding, Cause/Effect, Empathizing with Characters, and Learning From the Text. Questioning the Author Student Work: Generate questions about the Core Novel based on what the class has read so far.”

In Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “The Research Lab Units of Study integrate the 3 Shifts and the CCSS into teacher's’ daily practice. Teachers provide grade-level rigor through the use of complex text, grade-level ELA CCSS and Science/Social Studies content, and academic vocabulary. Leveled libraries of informational text and a carefully structured project-based learning format provide the differentiated support needed to ensure that every student is successful. Phase I: Content Area Research includes,

1. Teachers use close reading of complex text to teach the core content of a Science or Social Studies Unit, national/state content area standards, and grade level Common Core State Standards.

2. Students develop expertise on a specific Research Topic within the Science or Social Studies Unit through daily research in informational texts.

3. Students practice reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence in order to produce a final written product demonstrating their expertise in both the Unit and their individual Research Topics.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.The front material of each Research Lab includes multiple citations and explanations of instructional approaches. Research based strategies are included throughout the program in lesson sidebars. There is also a Research Lab works Cited/Consulted pages that lists all research materials cited or consulted for the program.

Indicator 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations 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.

Each Research Lab Unit includes parent letter templates that are sent home to inform caregivers about what students are learning and how they can help support student progress. For example, in Unit 2, the parent letter includes, “...Each student will become an expert on one weather phenomenon, focusing on its characteristics, measurement, prediction, effects on humans, and more. By the end of the unit, your child will be able to say to you, “Ask me ANYthing about my weather phenomenon.” You will be impressed with your child’s newfound knowledge and excitement about weather. You will also see improvements in reading and writing skills as well as vocabulary development as your child becomes a tempest of learning. Rigorous independent reading and discovery during this unit will set your child on his/her way to becoming a lifelong, self-sufficient learner. Thank you for helping your child have a fantastic learning experience!”

It is also suggested that parents and caregivers be included in class presentations. For example, in Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “This can be as simple as sharing with their partner or as formal as organizing an event to which parents and/or community members are invited as the audience. The following ideas are only to get you thinking.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. Most assessments clearly denote their alignment to the standards. Further, the materials provide good guidance for teachers to determine student performance and implications for instruction. Independent reading is clearly a strong and present focus throughout the materials, with emphasis on helping students to select books of interest and to engage in experiences that build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Students are accountable for their independent reading, supported by strong communication with their families or caregivers for supporting students in their independent reading.

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 3 meet the expectations that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. The Teacher Edition states, “The IRLA is used to determine, monitor, and research the full continuum of each student’s reading spectrum, from independent to instructional to frustration levels. Teachers’ careful research of their students’ reading competencies, by means of the IRLA, allows them to determine just what skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using the full range of instructional formats (e.g., whole-group, small-group, one-on-one), documenting success and progress in the IRLA. The skills/strategies taught may be essential for enhancement of the student’s current reading level, or they may prepare him for the next. The goal of all reading instruction is to produce successful independent readers; therefore, all of this work is designed to advance the students’ independent levels.”

Teachers are provided with checklists, rubrics, notetakers, protocols for conferencing, and student exemplars. There are pre and post assessments, writing rubrics, and assessment guides. Students are constantly assessed with immediate feedback given through student and teacher conferencing.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. Daily formative assessments are connected to the daily lessons include the standards being emphasized for the day's lessons at the beginning of the lesson. Some rubrics, such as the CCSS W.1 Rubric for a Proficient Opinion Piece include the standard being addressed. However, during the Research Lab Pre and Post Assessments there are no standards denoted. There are also rubrics such as the Final Project Rubrics that do not denote the standards being emphasized.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Teachers are often directed to conference with students during small group time.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance.

Teachers are prompted to use the formative assessment protocol and questions throughout daily lessons, examples include, but are not limited to,

  • In Unit 2, Week 5, Day 3 the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, One-on-One Conferences, Once students are making adequate progress in their research, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with R.2. Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re)teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 4 the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, 1-on-1 Conferences, Once students are making adequate progress in their research, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with RI.6. What do you think is the author’s perspective in this book? What makes you think that? How does it compare to other authors you’ve read? Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re)teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 4 the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment/Writing Coach, Check for Understanding, Observe students as they write. 1-on-1 Conferences Coach students who need support to form an opinion, locate relevant evidence, add logical reasoning, and/or cite their sources. Share Good Examples, As you locate great examples in students’ work, point them out to the class”.

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 3 meet the expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Independent Reading is built into every daily lesson during Reading Workshop. Students build stamina in early units to read 15-30 minutes daily. Students are held accountable in many ways, including accountability talks with partner, groups, and whole class, as well as individual check-ins with the teacher. Rules for independent reading are presented on a class chart and posted in the classroom.

Students are given a focus to think about as they read independently, for example, in Unit 1, Week 2, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Independent Reading, Students practice applying today’s Focus to self-selected texts at a variety of levels. At least a portion of this time is spent with texts within the Thematic Unit.” Students share answers to Focus questions with a partner and share out to class after independent reading and writing. The teacher uses Accountable Talk to inform instructional decisions.

The 100 Book Challenge Library rotates weekly or biweekly. Students are encouraged to read whatever they want. Students complete a Reading Survey and are provided with a Reading Level Checklist that helps them to determine if a text is too hard, too easy, or in the Reading Zone. In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Student Work: Read from self-selected books, building stamina towards 15-30 minutes of Independent Reading. Accountable Talk: What was the best book you read today? Why? Share a question you asked yourself while you read this book. What in the text made you wonder that? Were you able to answer your question? Why or why not?”

Teachers are given specific instruction on how to monitor, encourage, and redirect students. Teachers document student status daily, as engaged, compliant, resistant, or challenged. The Teacher Edition gives suggestions and follow up to keep students engaged during independent reading time.

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
8/10
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Criterion Rating Details

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, including opportunities for extensions and advanced learning. There is some explicit support within the materials for English Language Learners, however the bulk of instructional strategies falling into the same strategies applied for all students with the use of the IRLA. Flexible grouping strategies are used throughout the materials to facilitate student processing and discussion.

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 3 meet the expectation 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.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards, while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectation that materials 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.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards, while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

Support for Language Learners can be found in lesson annotations, for example, in Unit 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Support for Language Learners, Find opportunities to support beginning English Language Learners with partners who speak the same native language. Encourage students to use their home language as a support for learning the new language. Speaking, reading, and writing in another language, even during ELA time, will only help, not hurt, students’ English language growth. If this is not possible, try to find these students partners who have previously had the experience of having to learn English or other students who are sensitive to the challenge of trying to learn new content in a new language.” Another example can be found in Unit 1, Week 3, Day 3 the Teacher Edition states, “Accommodating ELLs and Remedial Readers, Ideally all students do Independent Reading in the genre. However, it is paramount that students experience success-level reading: reading where their own skill base is self-extending (i.e., learning to be better readers by reading). When faced with the choice between having a student do his/her Independent Reading with success level books or with books in the genre that are too hard for her/him, choose success level first. “

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 3 meet requirements for regularly, including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension activities are provided throughout materials.

Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals at the student’s level. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided.. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students are encouraged to choose books from the Book Boxes to reach beyond their reading levels. Students who complete a task early are often instructed to work with a peer to better help the peer understand the process.

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 3 meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons. Students work in pairs, small groups, as a whole group, and one on one with the teacher during Reading Workshop.

For example, in Unit 1, Week 3, the Teacher Edition states, “Build New Knowledge, Partner Share, Tell your partner one new thing you learned from this text. Show him/her the evidence that proves this information is accurate. Group Share, Strategically call on a few people to share with the group. Add to class organizers: “WOW!” Chart, Questions Chart, Glossary. Identify possible research topics and add them to your chart.”

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Materials are compatible with multiple internet browsers. While there are regular suggestions that students use digital technologies for research or publication, there is little explicit guidance for teachers to scaffold these activities. Adaptive technology considerations were not found in the materials.Materials are easily customizable for local use and a broad variety of topics and texts are available.

Indicator 3s

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

The materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Accessibility was tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. All access was successful.

Indicator 3t

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

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The Teacher Edition notes that teachers should pull in help from librarians and other resources to help aid the use of technology.

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 meet the expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in the materials.

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 3 meet the expectations that materials can be easily customized for local use. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. Teachers are given autonomy for choosing the appropriate core text for their classrooms. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units can be used across multiple texts. The Book Boxes can be customized to address local students’ needs.

Indicator 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.). Teachers and/or students collaboration using technology comes into the form of Publishing. For example, in Unit 3, Week 6, Day 5 the Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their essays. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas, Formal essay (cover page, typed, bound, etc.), Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, PowerPoint, or Create a book.”

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
IRLA Toolkit - CCSS - White 978-1-63437-828-4 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCSS Version 8 978-1-63437-885-7 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCS Version 8 Conference Notebook 978-1-63437-982-3 American Reading Company 2017

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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