Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Mirrors & Windows: Connecting with Literature - Grade 6 partially meets expectations of alignment. High quality anchor texts are paired with text-based writing and some speaking and listening work. Students have frequent opportunities to engage in research activities and integrated writing to build grade-level writing skills. The materials are not organized around topics and themes and therefore do not build knowledge and vocabulary consistently across a topic. Culminating tasks to do not require demonstration of knowledge built throughout a unit and do not require integration of skills.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
33
32-36
Meets Expectations
18-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-17
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
18
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. Materials partially meet the criteria for including sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task. Some opportunities for students to engage in a speaking and listening are provided; however, discussions often do not require students to interact with the text being studied. Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards along with opportunities to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

Materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for indicators 1a-1f: that texts are worthy of students’ time and attention. Materials meet the expectations for anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading. The majority of texts are at the appropriate level of text complexity. The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. The Text Complexity boxes provided in the Teacher’s Edition with the label, Preview the Model, provide qualitative and quantitative reading levels for the anchor text. The information also includes Lexile scores, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors for each selection for teachers to preview before reading. Materials meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading include a mix of informational texts and literature, and consider a range of student interests.

The Level I instructional materials include a mix of informational texts and literature, and consider a range of student interests. The anchor texts in the units and across the yearlong curriculum are of publishable quality, include noteworthy authors, and include a variety of text complexities to assist students in reaching grade level proficiency by the end of the year. In addition, the anchor texts are well-crafted and content-rich; these texts are appropriate for placement at the sixth grade level. Scaffolds throughout each unit ensure students can access complex texts using consistent reading strategies and weaving these throughout the course of the year.

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Circuit” by Francisco Jimenez. Jimenez’s short story has strong cultural information with which some students may be able to identify. The main character, Panchito, is a young Mexican-American boy who is so excited to be able to attend school. This highly interesting story is definitely worth reading and shows the reader that attending school is a privilege not a chore. This text has strong content and academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 2, students read “The Bracelet” by Yoshiko Uchida. Uchida’s story contains strong Japanese cultural information with which some students may be able to identify. This is a highly interesting story in which a family is affected by Executive Order 9066, in which they are placed in an internment camp. This is highly interesting and age-appropriate story that focuses on friendship and survival. Academic vocabulary is present with photographs from this time period.
  • In Unit 3, students read “Why?” by Anne Frank. Anne Frank’s personal essay will intrigue middle school students as she shares her thoughts about the question “why" while facing Hitler’s rise to power. She tells readers that the practice of asking "why" before taking action is a practice that should be taken through one’s lifetime as a way to ensure one makes responsible decisions.
  • In Unit 4, students read “A Breath of Fresh Air?” by Alexandra Hanson-Harding. Students will connect with the controversial topic of air pollution. The author shares past pollution tragedies, the current laws put in place to help clean up the air, the culprits of air pollution, and concludes with next steps in fighting air pollution. Students will discover ideas of how they can fight air pollution.
  • In Unit 5, students read “Ode to La Tortilla” by Gary Soto. This narrative poem takes place during ancient times and focuses on the tortilla, a food that the speaker enjoys. Students examine the use of the rich sensory language and its impact on the poem.
  • In Unit 6, students read “The Wreck of Hesperas” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This narrative poem and anchor text is about a shipwreck that occurred off the coast of Massachusetts. This poem includes complex structure and rich vocabulary.
  • In Unit 7, students read “The Fairies’ Lullaby” by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s works include relevant and thought-provoking themes that continue to connect to the world today; in addition, the use of rich vocabulary and repetition to emphasize important ideas makes this particular excerpt an appropriate choice for this level.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Arachne” by Olivia Coolidge. The Greek myth retold by the author includes rich vocabulary with vivid descriptions; the piece teaches a relevant lesson regarding pride while also teaching students about the origin of the spider. Notably, this piece is also paired with a lyric poem “The Orb Weaver” by Robert Francis, an award-winning American poet.

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 6 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Each of the eight units focuses on a specific genre. Across the year, student materials encompass multiple genres and text types of varying lengths and formats. Throughout the textbook informational texts are provided as connections to a variety of genres. There are additional texts listed, coordinating with the genre of the unit that are provided at the end in the section titled “For Your Reading List.”

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

  • Unit 1: Fiction: “Lob’s Girl” by Joan Aiken (short story), Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull (biography), “Same Song” by Pat Mora (narrative poem), and “La Bamba” by Gary Soto (short story).
  • Unit 2: Fiction: “The Bracelet” by Yoshiko Uchida (short story), “The Southpaw” by Judith Viorst (short story), “Pompeii” by Robert Silverberg (historical fiction), and “The King of Mazy May” by Jack London (short story).
  • Unit 5: Poetry: “Ode to La Tortilla” by Gary Soto (narrative poem), “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou (lyric poem), “The Sidewalk Racer, or On the Skateboard” by Lillian Morrison (concrete poem), and “A Remarkable Adventure” by Jack Prelutsky (narrative poem).
  • Unit 6: Poetry: “Cynthia in the Snow” by Gwendolyn Brooks (lyric poem), “Seal” by William Jay Smith (concrete poem), “A Minor Bird” by Robert Frost (lyric poem), and “Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring” by Edna St. Vincent Millay (sonnet).
  • Unit 7: Drama: “In the Fog” by Milton Geiger (screenplay), “The Fairies’ Lullaby” by William Shakespeare (play excerpt), Do You Think I’m Crabby by Clark Gesner (play), and “The Phantom Tollbooth, Act 1” by Norton Juster (drama).
  • Unit 8: Folk Literature: “Arachne” retold by Olivia Coolidge (Greek Myth), “Why Monkeys Live in Trees” retold by Julius Lester (West African Folk Tale), “The Magic Mortar” retold by Yoshiko Uchida Lloyd Alexander (Japanese Folk Tale), “The Creation” retold by Joseph (Iroquois Myth), and “Clever Anaeet” by Tanya Robyn Batt (Armenian Folk Tale).

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

  • Unit 1: Fiction: "Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez" by Kathleen Krull (biography) and "The Forecast: A Warmer World" by Time for Kids (news article).
  • Unit 2: Fiction: "Pompeii" (historical nonfiction) by Robert Silverberg and "Card-carrying Collectors" (news article) by Kathleen McKenna.
  • Unit 3: Nonfiction: “The Jacket” by Gary Soto (memoir), "Why?” by Anne Frank (personal essay), “The World Is Not a Pleasant Place to Be” by Nikki Giovanni (lyric poem), “from There Is No Salvation for India” by Mohandas Gandhi (speech), and “Little Rock, Arkansas” by Jim Haskins (historical fiction).
  • Unit 4: Nonfiction: “Earth from Space” from NASA (photographs), “Noise Levels” by Bob Ludlow (diagram), “Hearing Under Siege” by Bob Ludlow (magazine article), “A Sea Worry” by Maxine Hong Kingston (personal essay), and “from Diary of a Century” by Jacques-Henri Lartigue (autobiography).
  • Unit 5: Poetry: "The Bats" from Under the Royal Palms by Alma Flor Ada (memoir) and "The Other Alice" by Christina Bjork (biographical narrative).
  • Unit 6: Poetry: "Dangers of the Deep" by Alex Markels (article).

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 6 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The majority of texts are at the appropriate level of text complexity. Within the series, quantitative texts levels range from 600L-1370L, with some texts above and below the current grade level Lexile band. Texts that are quantitatively above grade band have scaffolds in place to ensure student accessibility. With a gradual release of responsibility framework during the guided and directed reading of texts, students receive the supports necessary to access the text and demonstrate their understanding during and after the reading. Texts that are below the grade level text complexity band are raised to a higher level through the student tasks and questions posed for consideration, such as choosing a text for independent reading that may be at lower levels and completing tasks, such as compare and contrast, to follow the reading. Examples of texts at the appropriate level include:

  • “Lob’s Girl," a short story by Joan Aiken, within the Current and the Stretch Band Level at 940L, is included in Unit 1. The plot and vocabulary are accessible to students while the theme is a difficulty consideration the teacher’s edition identifies. The text is appropriate for guided reading and as an introduction to using reading skills to improve reading comprehension within the grade level band before students are asked to do so independently with texts within the Grade 6 text complexity band.
  • “Woodsong," a memoir by Gary Paulsen, above the Current Band Level, but above the Stretch Level at 1050L, is included in Unit 3. The excerpt chosen from Paulsen’s memoir is appropriate and within the grade level band. The text is chosen for the first independent reading when students are finishing Unit 3 to demonstrate their ability to use reading strategies to improve comprehension without the heavy scaffolding that takes place during the guided reading portion at the beginning of the unit. These strategies are woven throughout all eight units with various genres and by this point students will have practiced these strategies with a variety of texts and should be able to tackle a text in their grade level band. Notably, though, “this selection is presented in the student edition as an independent reading, teaching support has been provided should you choose to cover it in class.” Therefore, if the class or a specific group of students needs more support, the text provides this as an option for teachers.
  • “The Five ‘Wanderers’ of the Ancient Skies," a scientific article by Dennis Brindell Fradin, above the Current and the Stretch Band Level at 1230L, is include in Unit 4. The anchor text is helpful in that the vivid imagery assists with accessibility and interpreting the text; in addition, the materials include appropriate scaffolding by the teacher during reading, such as prompts and posing questions to assist students to use reading skills while reading the text. For example, to analyze the informational text, students answer the following question: “Which cultures believed that stars or planets were actually gods?” The vocabulary is glossed and underlined.
  • “The Cow of No Color," a Ghanaian Folk Tale retold by Nina Jaffe and Steve Zeitlin, is below the Current and the Stretch Band Level at 630L. The text complexity of the folk tale quantitatively is below the grade level band, however, the student task of evaluating cause and effect during the reading of this anchor text and the knowledge demands with this particular piece increases the level of complexity qualitatively. For example, the setting of Ghana will be unfamiliar to most students and cultural context is a consideration for teachers to prepare students for a directed reading of this text, a natural progression to release responsibility to students as they practice with folk tales during Unit 8.
  • “Arachne," a Greek Myth retold by Olivia Coolidge in Unit 8, is above the Current and Stretch Band Level at 1250L. The myth is appropriate due to the selection’s inclusion as a guided reading piece. Language features are a consideration with this text in that unfamiliar vocabulary increases the complexity. The teacher will preview vocabulary with students and during reading will address Greek roots. In addition, this particular text is included at the end of the school year, offering a text worthy of close reading at this level.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year.

The materials contain tasks that support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. Series of texts are at a variety of complexity levels. Using a scaffolded approach, the materials provide students with more guidance and direction in the beginning of the unit with opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency of essential skills as independent readers by the end of the unit. A “gradual release model” is exhibited with texts as they are categorized into guided, directed, and independent readings to support students as needed.

The texts offer a wide range of complexities and genres, including informational text. The materials juxtapose specific texts for comparison and analysis, which allow students to practice close reading skills valuable across disciplines and prepare students to transfer these skills to persevere through more challenging texts as they progress in their secondary studies. Literacy skills are addressed throughout the unit, and multiple opportunities are provided to practice these skills to demonstrate proficiency. The materials focus on literacy skills that include drawing conclusions, analyzing cause and effect, sequencing of events, context clues, making predictions and analyzing text structure. As the year progresses, most questions and tasks build literacy skills and student independence. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, students read the guided reading text, “Lob’s Girl." This short story has a Lexile level of 940. Students are asked questions during the close reading of this text. They are encouraged to draw conclusions about the girl of the title and in other parts of the story. Questions include: “Who is the injured child? What makes you think so?” Additionally, in the “Differentiated Instruction” book, a lesson pertaining to drawing conclusions includes having students create a “Draw Conclusions Chart” as they read a short story. Students chart important details on the left side and their ideas about what these details mean on the right side of the chart.
  • In Unit 2, students read the short story, “Ta-Na-E-Ka." In the Reading Skills section before reading, students record the causes and effects as they read. In order to provide support for analyzing cause and effect, students are asked what causes Mary to feel at ease and discuss how feeling comforted by, or at ease with, nature might be one of the goals of the Ta-Na-E-Ka experience.
  • In Unit 5, students read “A Remarkable Adventure" and complete the following assignment: “Assign each student a stanza and have them retell the sequence of event using their own words. When students are finished retelling the sequence, ask the other students how the number of events and the swiftness with which they happen affect their experience of the poem."
  • In Unit 8, students read the Greek myth, “Arachne,” retold by Olivia Coolidge. The Lexile level of the text is 1250 and above the 6-8 grade band. This is a guided reading selection and questions are provided during reading to assist students. Before reading, students are instructed to determine what cause or causes occur in the myth and the effect or effects the causes produce.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The anchor texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. The Text Complexity boxes provided in the Teacher’s Edition with the label, Preview the Model, provide qualitative and quantitative reading levels for the anchor text. The information also includes Lexile scores, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors for each selection for teachers to preview before reading. The materials include paired texts with text-to-text connections to assist students throughout each unit, and Words in Use, Academic Vocabulary, and Key Terms are outlined with page references to assist teachers with instruction and help students in accessing the text. A Scope and Sequence Guide provides quantitative and qualitative measures as well as considerations related to reader and task, including the specific reading skills, literary elements, and themes that students will work on in each text. Each unit provides a Teach the Genre section to provide support for the text type that they will encounter in each unit.

In Unit 1, students read the short story, “Eleven,” by Sandara Cisneros. The reading skill taught is analyzing text structure.

The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

Quantitative Measure: 1060 Lexile

  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Ease Factors: Theme
  • Difficulty Considerations: Figurative language and point of view
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction to assist students in accessing the text. The Before Reading suggestions for analyzing text structure includes, “In ‘Eleven’, Cisneros structures her story to repeat a few ideas and phrases. As you are reading, take notes on these repeated ideas and details in a chart similar to the one below. Then analyze what Cisneros may intend by including them.” Vocabulary words to preview are provided in the Words in Use section. Pronunciation and definitions are included for students to refer to before and during reading.

In Unit 2, students will compare the short stories “Becky and the Wheels-and-Brake Boys” by James Berry and “The Southpaw” by Judith Viorst. The reading skill emphasized is comparing characterization in literature. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

“Becky and the Wheels-and-Brake Boys”

  • Quantitative Measure: 610 Lexile
  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Difficulty Consideration: British terminology
  • Ease Factors: Main character and point of view

In Unit 8, students read the Greek myth, “Arachne.” The reading skill taught is drawing conclusions from evidence in the text. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

  • Quantitative Measure: Moderate, NP
  • Qualitative Measures:
  • Ease Factors: Compelling Subject Matter
  • Difficulty Considerations: Historical References and Vocabulary
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction to assist students in accessing the text. The reading skill featured in this model is cause and effect. In the Before Reading section, students are encouraged to create a chart in which they will list the effects and the causes of those effects in the text. In the During Reading section, students review the side notes in which they will answer questions that deal with causes and effects in the text. In the After Reading section, students answer the Find Meaning questions which help them recall and interpret details and the Make Judgment questions ask them to analyze the myth and evaluate how specific details contribute to its overall meaning. Vocabulary to preview is provided in the Words in Use section. Pronunciation and definitions are included for students to refer to before and during reading

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 6 meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading.

Following a model of gradual release of responsibility, teachers begin each unit by guiding students in accessing texts and offering extensive supports before, during, and after the reading process. Then, students move into directed reading, which offers extensive supports before and after reading while reducing the support during reading. The model assists in preparing students to navigate texts independently once they progress further into the unit. Students self-monitor during the reading process, and the supports before and after the reading are minimal.

Students have opportunities to engage in the practice of reading connected texts. Each unit is organized around a specific genre and provides various text types including adventure stories, graphic novels, myths, and historical fiction. Complete texts are available through the EMC E-Library. Students are supported with reading through guided and directed reading instruction and are also given the opportunity to read independently.

Materials provide guidance to students relating to the close reading model and steps that occur as supports, such as Build Background, Set Purpose, Analyze Literature, and Use Reading Skills Before Reading. During reading, students use Reading Strategies, such as asking questions, making predictions, visualizing, making inferences, and clarifying. Teachers encourage students to analyze literature and make connections through reminders. After reading, students find meaning, make judgments, analyze literature, and extend understanding. Additional etexts are available to students through the EMC E-Library as a supplement for each unit, and teachers can utilize the library to individualize based on student need. These include literary classics, long and short selections; the texts can be printed or viewed online. An audio library is available as an additional support to “expand students’ listening skills and offer additional support for developing readers and English learners.” Examples include:

In Unit 4, students participate in guided reading, directed reading and independent reading lessons of a variety of nonfiction texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students will read “The Five 'Wanderers' of the Ancient Sky,” a scientific article by Dennis Brindell Fradin. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions provided to assist students with comprehending while reading and finally the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read a How-To article entitled “How to Surf.” Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. Guidance is provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students answer questions in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read an article by Alexandra Hanson Harding entitled “A Breath of Fresh Air?”. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the selection, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.

In Unit 5, students participate in guided reading, directed reading and independent reading lessons of a variety of poems. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students will read "Ode to La Tortilla,” a narrative poem by Gary Soto. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose, and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions provided to assist students with comprehending while reading, and finally the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read “Jabberwocky," a narrative poem by Lewis Carroll. Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. There is guidance provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students have questions to answer in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read “Jimmy Jet and His TV Set," a narrative poem by Shel Silverstein. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the poem, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.

At the end of the unit, following the independent reading selections and lessons, there is a “For Your Reading List” section to provide students with additional reading selections linked to the unit theme. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: “Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems” by Kristine O’Connell George, “The Block” by Langston Hughes, and “Opening Days: Sports Poems” by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

In Unit 8, students participate in guided, directed, and independent readings of a variety of folk literature. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Guided Reading: Students read the text, “Arachne,” by an unnamed author but retold by Olivia Coolidge. Instruction begins with the Before Reading section where students build background, set a purpose and are introduced to the reading skills that will be learned in the selection. The during reading segment includes text-dependent questions provided to assist students with comprehending while reading, and finally, the after reading section includes a number of tasks where students show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students read “The Twelve Labors of Hercules,” a Japanese folktale retold by Yoshiko Uchida. Instruction includes a Before Reading section where students build background knowledge and learn about the reading skills and objectives of the lesson. There is guidance provided for assisting students while they read, but the supports are minimal. At the end of the text, students respond to questions in the Find Meaning and Make Judgments sections.
  • Independent Reading: Students read, “Clever Anaeet," an Armenian folktale by Tanya Robyn Batt. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the drama, the Analyze and Extend section provides options for students to demonstrate their understanding.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
13/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. Materials partially meet the expectations of most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and requiring students to engage with the text directly. Materials partially meet the criteria for including sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build to a culminating task. Some opportunities for students to engage in a speaking and listening are provided; discussions often do not require students to interact deeply with the text being studied. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards along with opportunities to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations of most questions, tasks, and assignments being text-specific and requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

The materials include text-dependent questions to develop critical thinking skills. The majority of questions are text-dependent and provided over the course of the year. Before reading, a question is posed consistently allowing students to first draw on prior knowledge and/or experiences that connect to the selection. Before reading, a question is posed consistently allowing students to first draw on prior knowledge and/or experiences that connect to the selection. The text-dependent questions within a gradual release of responsibility framework during and after reading are designed to support students’ literacy growth, and essential questions prepare students to respond during the reading process. After reading questions require students recall and interpret detail, analyze and evaluate, and apply critical thinking skills. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation. The Close Reading Model includes text-dependent and specific questions in three sections: Before, During, and After Reading. The Before Reading section includes four subsections with questions embedded within the margins of the textbook: Build Background, Analyze Literature, Set Purpose and Use Reading Skills. The During Reading section includes three subsections: Use Reading Strategies, Analyze Literature, and Make Connections. The After Reading section includes three subsections: Find Meaning, Make Judgements and Extend Understanding.

Materials also include Differentiated Instruction, Common Core Assessment Practice, Meeting the Standards, and Exceeding the Standards guides that also provide text-dependent questions. The text-dependent questions within a gradual release of responsibility framework during and after reading are designed to support students’ literacy growth, and essential questions prepare students to respond during the reading process. After reading questions require students recall and interpret detail, analyze and evaluate, and apply critical thinking skills. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, after reading “Lob’s Girl,” students are asked, “To what extent does this story depend on surprises? Explain your answer using details from the story.”
  • In Unit 2, students reread, “Ta-Na-E-Ka” and are assigned the following tasks, “Record two or more conflicts in a chart and tell whether they are internal or external.”
  • In Unit 2, students work in groups to create self-generated questions relating to the selection, “Boys”. To assist with their construction of text-dependent questions covering setting, theme, character, or plot, students are directed to model their questions as follows: “Which character changes the most?”
  • In Unit 3, using the text, Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima, on page 275, the “During Reading” question reads, “Analyzing Literature: Biography- Does the writer side with Fula or the Mandingo? What details helped you decide this?” This question requires the student to return to the text for answers.
  • In Unit 4, using the texts, “Developing Your Chops” and “Muddy Waters”, on page 408, in the “After Reading” section, “Comparing Literature”, students must use two texts to do the following assignment: “DIction: Both authors express individual voice through word choice, or diction. Use your chart to analyze each writer’s choice and diction, and then answer the following questions. Give examples from the readings to support your responses.
  • In Unit 5, students read the poem, “Ode To La Tortilla,” and chart the events of the poem in chronological order.
  • In Unit 5, students read the poem, “Abuelito Who,” and write a literary response to the poem that includes how figurative language affected their overall impression of the poem. Students must include evidence of the most effective figurative language to support their thesis.
  • In Unit 6, students read the poem, “The Dream Catcher,” and respond to the following text specific questions: What do you think the speaker thinks of sharing dreams? and What clue in the poem supports your response?
  • In Unit 6, students examine the meaning of personification by revisiting line 71 of the poem, “The Wreck of the Hesperas”. Then, students locate other examples of personification in the poem.
  • In Unit 7, after reading “Why Monkeys Live in Trees,” students are reminded that each character represents a human quality. They are assigned the following tasks: “Use a chart to note each animal’s traits and the human qualities associated with them.”

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).
1/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

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

Culminating tasks in these instructional materials include but are not limited to: Writer’s Workshop, Speaking and Listening Workshop, and Viewing Workshop. Prior to these activities the unit’s lessons include questions and activities before, during, and after the reading that build toward the culminating tasks. However, skills are often not integrated. Students complete each workshop independently of each other. Some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students are often demonstrating mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge.

In Unit 1, students complete a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” in which they complete an informative writing piece in a comparison-and-contrast essay where they will be “examining the similarities and differences between the settings, points of view, and themes". To successfully complete this task students are assigned to read “All Summer in a Day” and “The Fun They Had”. By answering text-dependent questions during the readings, students learn to analyze literature and explain their responses using literary devices. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating tasks:

  • After reading “The Fun They Had," students “compare and contrast how Asimov establishes the setting of this selection with how Bradbury establishes the setting of ‘All Summer in a Day’”.
  • To assist deepen their understanding the teacher is directed: “Ask students to point out which information is directly states and which must be learned by drawing conclusions or making inferences.”

In Unit 3, students complete a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” in which they write an argumentative essay where they present and support their clearly stated opinion. In the following texts, students are provided with scaffolding and practice in writing argumentative essays.

  • After reading “Why?", a personal essay by Anne Frank, students complete an Argumentative Writing assignment in the “Extend Understanding” section in which they create a main idea map on the most important things parents must do in raising children. They provide at least four supporting examples. The students then use this information to write an argumentative paragraph convincing parents to do this thing.
  • During the reading of the text, “I Learned All I Needed to Know in Kindergarten,” the teacher is directed to ask, “What does the writer want to persuade his reader to feel, think, or do?”.

In Unit 7, students complete a culminating task under the “Speaking and Listening Workshop” in which they “present and listen to informative presentations. Students select a person who they believe has ‘strength of character’ and decide what information to use to demonstrate the person’s ‘strength of character’”. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task:

  • After reading “In the Fog,” students answer a series of text-dependent questions that allow them to judge the decisions that the characters make including the following questions: “How did the doctor initially respond to Eban and Zeke? Do you think he was wise? Explain”.
  • Students read, “Do You Think I’m Crabby?” and write a character analysis of the character, Lucy. Students support their analysis with evidence from the play.

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.)
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Students are given the chance to speak about texts and extensions of the texts in the after reading exercises entitled, “Collaborative Learning." The “Exceeding the Standards-Speaking and Listening” handbook provides step-by-step instructions for each unit workshop in the text. Speaking and Listening rubrics are available for self and peer assessment. An opportunity for students to engage in a speaking and listening workshop is present following each unit. Each unit concludes with a Speaking, Listening, and/or Viewing Workshop. Within these workshops, students write, deliver, and listen to different speech presentations. Protocols are included in the margins of the workshops entitled, “Performance Tasks."

Protocols for speaking and listening can be found in the Speaking and Listening Workshop at the end of each unit. The presentations students develop are coordinated with the theme of the unit. In the Language Arts Handbook at the back of the Teacher’s Edition (and student handbook) the following guidelines and protocols are provided: Verbal and Nonverbal Communication, Listening Skills, Listening Critically, Listening to Learn Vocabulary, Listening for Appreciation, Collaborative Learning and Communication, Conducting an Interview, Guidelines for conducting an Interview, Public Speaking Tips, Guidelines for Giving a Speech, Oral Interpretation Guidelines for a dramatic reading of a literary work or group of works, Interpreting Poetry Guidelines, Guidelines for Storytelling, Participating in a Debate, and Guidelines for a Multimedia Presentation.

Additional instruction is available for speaking and listening strategies and skills in the Language Arts Handbook in the back of the student textbook. Guidelines for Verbal and Nonverbal Communication are provided, as well as adapting listening skills. Collaborative Learning and Communication Skills, Asking and Answering Questions, Conducting an Interview, and other Speaking & Listening guidelines are available as a resource.

Examples of how materials meet the criteria for providing opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax include:

  • Unit 1, Performance Task: Revise Evaluating a Draft: Discuss with students the following tips for delivering and receiving helpful criticism.
  • In Unit 1, students have the opportunity to participate in a Speaking and Listening Workshop for Delivering and Listening to an Informative Presentation. The content of the presentation is not tied directly to texts included in Unit 1. The materials direct teachers “To expand upon this lesson, Delivering and Listening to an Informative Presentation, see Exceeding the Standards: Speaking & Listening resource.”
  • In Unit 2, for the text, “Tuesday of the Other June,” an opportunity for speaking and listening is present during Self-Generated Questioning: “Have students work in pairs to create one question about the selection and draw a picture, chart, or another graphic that answers the question. Model a question: ‘How does it feel to be the other June?’ Invite the pairs to share their questions and answers in small groups or as a class.”
  • Unit 3, p. 369, Evaluating Your Presentation In small groups, take turns delivering your speech. After each presentation, group members should offer help and polite feedback on whether the speech was effective in persuading listeners, and provide tips for how it might be improved. Follow the rubric on this page to evaluate the presentation.
  • In Unit 3, “The Jacket” an opportunity for speaking and listening is present during Self-Generated Questioning: “Divide the class into small groups. Have each group brainstorm and list some questions they would like to ask Gary Soto. Have each group pass its questions to another group, which will then pretend to be the author and answer in the way they think Soto would. Have groups share some of the questions and answers with the class. Model a question: ‘What other clothing item have you owned that deeply affected your life?'”
  • In Unit 4, “The Five ‘Wanderers’ of the Ancient Skies” an opportunity for speaking and listening is present as students Prepare a Debate: "Assign students to an even number of teams. Randomly assign the positions of Ptolemy and Aristarchus to each pair of teams. Have students prepare positions for a debate between the two scientist. Students can use the text to make a list of reasons to support the positions of either of the two scientists. Encourage students to do more research on their own to add to the strength of their arguments. After students have prepared their arguments and decided who will present each argument, have pairs of teams stage their debate for the class."
  • In Unit 5, students analyze fear in the media by identifying scary movies, television shows, and books. They discuss in groups the commonalities, accuracies, exaggerations, and what they tell us about our culture.
  • In Unit 6, students read the poem, “Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand,” and discuss in groups the author’s nontraditional use of punctuation and capitalization. They brainstorm questions about his style, then have a group discussion about his possible responses.
  • In Unit 7, after students read Part I of the novel, “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster, opportunities for collaboration are provided. Students are to take on the roles of characters in the play. Students are to identify unfamiliar words, look up the definition and paraphrase it. Each group is to perform the play defining each unfamiliar word as they speak.
  • In Unit 8, students create research presentations and are provided with instructions to organize their speech including: “Select visuals that will help your audience understand your organization. For example, if you are describing how things change through history, use a poster or transparency showing a timeline.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Speaking and listening instruction is applied following each unit through workshops. Other informal speaking and listening activities are embedded throughout the materials, though protocols and guidance are limited with those opportunities within the description of the activity, and the student and/or teacher would need to refer to a different section of the text to revisit guidelines for the majority of speaking and listening workshops following the reading and for the other opportunities that are suggested throughout the reading. Materials provide the teacher with ample questions for engaging the students in thinking about and responding to the text; however, no explanation is given on how the students will share this thinking - be it verbal or written, individual or in groups. There are few supports or follow-up questions to support students' listening and speaking to deepen their understanding about what they are reading or researching.

Some of the Speaking and Listening activities are not connected to texts students are reading or researching previously in the unit. It is left to the teacher’s discretion with some activities to decide if a story is used from the text or if students choose a different story. The post-reading extension activities found within The Exceeding the Standards resource book offers additional supports such as collaborative learning assignments, discussion opportunities, and evaluation tips.

Students may also take part in Collaborative Learning, which usually occurs in the After Reading section where students practice speaking and listening skills--this includes student planning for group activities, group skit presentations, short discussions, etc. There are other frequent questions and activities that are designed to have students speaking and listening, but they do not require the student to have interacted with the text being studied. Rather, they are based on personal thoughts and experiences and connections to themes. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, the Speaking and Listening Workshop, Delivering and Listening to a Literary Interpretation includes instruction to Plan a Literary Interpretation in the supplementary materials Exceeding the Standards: “You may wish to choose a story that classmates have not read so that you can build suspense about the climax or ending. If you do not have a favorite story in mind, look in your school or classroom library for a collection of short stories. You could also search for further stories by an author you like using an Internet search engine or library e-catalog.”
  • In Unit 3, the Speaking and Listening Workshop, Delivering and Listening to a Persuasive Speech includes instructions to Plan Your Persuasive Speech in the supplementary materials Exceeding the Standards: “Choose a Topic and Position: A position statement for a persuasive speech describes your side of the argument. Most issues have at least two sides. Your speech will argue for one side or the other."
  • In Unit 4, following “Developing Your Chops," students have the opportunity to participate in an informal speaking and listening activity in relation to the selection through Self-Generated Questioning: “Instruct students to each create two or more questions about the reading, along with the answers. Invite a student to ask the class one of his or her questions and to toss a ball to someone who signals that he or she knows the answer. The person who catches the ball should answer the question. If the answer is right, give the responder a point and have him or her ask a new question. If the answer is wrong, have the responder throw the ball to another students who signals that he or she knows the answer. Model a question: ‘Which artists endorsed the value of practice?”
  • In Unit 7, while reading the play, “The Phantom Tollbooth," students engage in the following task: “Divide the class into two groups, Stage Directions and Dialogue. Have each group generate three or four questions about the author’s writing techniques in its area. Model a question such as 'Is it realistic for the author to give such specific stage directions?' When groups finish, have them exchange lists and try to answer the other group’s questions."

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The instructional materials for Grade 6 include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects. A range of writing activities and tasks are provided. Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided to practice skills in an authentic manner. Students can utilize digital and outside resources when appropriate to the task. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade level standards being reviewed.

The Teacher’s Edition offers opportunities to write in the Extend Understanding section, Writing Skills section throughout the unit, and the Writing Workshops and Test Practice Workshops at the end of each unit. Extend Understanding contains on-demand writing activities. The Writer’s Workshops for each unit includes a process writing assignment. The “Exceeding the Standards” book includes supports for each Writing Workshop. These activities require students to analyze the current reading and ground evidence from the text. Additionally, short, focused projects utilizing media resources are provided and require students to work with partners in groups or independently.

Examples of on-demand writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 3, students research the history of leading up to and including the country of Myanmar’s current political situation. Students answer the question, ”Can the situation be compared to the political situation in any other country you have learned about?” Students write a brief report that summarizes their research.
  • At the end of Unit 4, a Test Practice Workshop is provided where students read a prompt and are then to plan and write several paragraphs for an informative essay where they state and support a thesis about events that shaped the life of Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima. Students use a cause and effect organization for the essay.
  • In Unit 5, using “Jabberwocky," in the Extend Understanding section, students write a critical analysis in which they state their opinions and support them with evidence from the poem. When writing this critical analysis, students are examining the “made-up” vocabulary in the poem. They must discuss the reason they think that Lewis Carroll used so many “invented” words in his poem.
  • In Unit 6, using “Child on Top of the Greenhouse” in the Extend Understanding exercise, students are given two options for writing after reading: Creative Writing or Narrative Writing. For the Creative option, students write a conclusion to the poem in the form of a short final stanza. For the Narrative option, the students writes a narrative paragraph about a time that they caused someone to worry by doing something they were not supposed to do. Students use chronological order, vivid descriptions and concrete nouns and verbs to describe their actions. Students share the final stanzas with the class.

Examples of process writing include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students write a personal response to a short story. They use the writing process to complete the assignment and are provided with instructional support through each phase of the writing process.
  • At the end of Unit 3, a Writing Workshop focusing on argument writing is provided. Students create a clear opinion in a thesis and to back it up with reasons and support. Additionally, students anticipate and address counterarguments. Students are taken through a prewrite, draft, revise, edit and proofread, and publish and present.
  • At the end of Unit 4, a Writing Workshop focusing on informative writing is provided. Students write a cause-and-effect essay where they must present a clear thesis in the introduction. The body of the essay should be an analysis, a breakdown of causes and effects. Students are taken through a prewrite, draft, revise, edit and proofread, and publish and present.
  • In Unit 5, in the Writer’s Workshop, students are instructed to write a personal narrative in which the they retell a personal experience from their own lives. Students experience a 5-step writing process including: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Teachers are provided with a literary model and instructional protocols in the margins of the Writer’s Workshop pages on the stages of the writing process.
  • In Unit 6, in the Writer’s Workshop, students are instructed to write a descriptive essay in which the students describe a person, place, or thing from their own lives. Students experience a 5-step writing process including: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Teachers are provided with a literary model, instructional protocols in the margins of the writer’s workshop pages on the stages of the writing process.
  • In Unit 7, students have the opportunity to practice narrative writing with a fantasy story to Extend Understanding: “Write a short fantasy story for younger children. Include some fanciful characters such as fairies, leprechauns, or leves. Use a story map to plan out the setting, conflict, plot events, and resolution of the conflict. Since the characters are from your imagination, use description, dialogue, and actions so your readers will have a clear understanding of their motivations and behavior."

Examples of short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where available include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, students complete the following visual literacy project: "Research global warming statistics. Which areas of the world are most affected by global warming? You may want to focus on a certain problem, such as rising temperatures, rising sea levels, or greenhouse gas emissions. Look on the Internet for global warming websites that provide tables, maps, and graphs that explain visually the most affected areas. To interpret visual information such as tables, first determine what the rows and columns represent and look to see where the information intersects. For maps and graphs check for a legend that identifies colors, lines, or other codes. Analyze these forms of media and create either a poster-board display of your pictures accompanied by explanatory paragraphs or a visual illustration and represent the process to your classmates."
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following task: "Imagine that your school is going to honor President Cleveland. Write a letter of tribute or respect for the twenty-second president. Do a quick internet search to learn two or three of his greatest accomplishments as president. Include them in your letter to readers of kids’ magazine about US history. Use a respectful tone."
  • In Unit 8, students have a Test Practice Workshop focusing on a Research Report that can include digital resources outside of the text. Students have the opportunity to write an informative research report in which they “examine the role of the trickster in the mythology of at least two different cultures. Gather your information from different sources. Be sure to document each source, paraphrasing and using quotes as you write your report."
  • In Unit 8, students can move beyond the text through differentiated instruction and utilize digital resources through an Enrichment activity: “Athene, who is usually called Athena, is not just any goddess. Invite students to use print or online sources to find out more about Athena, what she represented to the Greeks, and why offending her might be far worse than offending a lesser Greek goddess such as Daphne, for example.“

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). After most reading selections in each unit, students are given an opportunity to respond to the text in a form of writing in the “Extend Understanding” section. At the conclusion of each unit a “Writing Workshop” task is provided.

Each lesson offers a purpose for the writing, instruction and guidance in writing, a literary model for students to refer to, a five step writing process plan, a revision checklist and rubrics. Also, writing lessons are provided in the supplemental workbook, “Exceeding the Standards,” and supplementary writing lessons are also offered across the school year in different modes of writing such as: informative, narrative, descriptive, argumentative. Rubrics and a variety of writing tasks provide both students and teachers opportunities to monitor progress in writing skills.

In Unit 1, students read “Lob’s Girl” and engage in two text types of writing, narrative and informational, with the following activities:

  • Imagine that you are a logical news reporter in Cornwall. Write a news story about Lob’s journeys from Liverpool to Cornwall. Be sure to tell the who, what, where, when, and why. Remember that a news story opens with a lead, or attention-grabbing first line, and organized in order of most important to least important information.
  • In a brief literary response, analyze the effect of foreshadowing on the plot. State your main idea in a thesis, or opinion statement. Be sure to give specific examples of foreshadowing and tell how they create tension or suspense, or how they point ahead to things that happen later.

In Unit 2, students read “Tuesday of the Other June” and engage in two text types of writing, narrative and informational, with the following activities:

  • Imagine your job is to give advice for personal problems. June wrote to you for advice before she solves her problem with Other June. Write a brief response for an advice column telling June what she should do. Be sure to give specific advice based on what happens in the story.
  • Review the draw conclusions log you created as you read the story and your point of view chart. Then write a literary response. In your response, tell how point of view affects the characterization of June in the story. State your main idea in a thesis. To support your points, cite specific examples of what June says, does, thinks, or feels. Share your response with the Class.

In Unit 4, students write a one-page review of a Lartigue’s pictures after analyzing it in the school newspaper. “Decide first whether or not you want to recommend the pictures to students in the rest of the school. In your review, comment on the 'message' in the pictures, Lartigue’s purpose, and the effect of the pictures on you, the viewer. When you finish your review, exchange papers with a classmate to see how persuasive each of you has been."

In Unit 5, students use “Jabberwocky," in the “Extend Understanding” section, to write a critical analysis (a type of informative writing) in which they state their opinions and support them with evidence from the poem. When writing this critical analysis, students are examining the “made-up” vocabulary in the poem. They must discuss the reason they think that Lewis Carroll used so many “invented” words in his poem. A rubric is provided in the bottom margin of the Teacher’s Edition.

In Unit 6, for the “Writer’s Workshop," students are instructed to write a descriptive essay in which they describe a person, place, or thing from their own lives. Students experience a 5-step writing process including: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Teachers are provided with a literary model, instructional protocols in the margins of the writer’s workshop pages on the stages of the writing process. Students are provided with writing organizers and a revision checklist.

In Unit 8, students utilize a Writing Rubric for informative writing, the Research Report focusing on the following: “an introduction that includes a clear thesis; a logical order of ideas; quoted, summarized, and paraphrased information from multiple sources; correct documentation for sources, as well as a Works Cited list; my own insights and explanations; a conclusion that summarizes the main idea of the paper without exact repetition."

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

The materials provide opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply research-based and evidence-based writing to support analyses, arguments, and synthesis. At the end of every reading selection, in the After Reading/Extend the Text section, students are presented with two on-demand writing options that prompt students to complete short, research-based writing using the texts read within the section. There are additional opportunities to complete writing assignments after reading selections, but only some of these tasks require students to seek evidence from the text. The writing prompts that require students to interact with the text only sometimes state explicitly that the students need to cite evidence. Some writing prompts are creative and narrative, causing the student to focus on personal events, reactions to themes, and using their imagination to create a product that is loosely related to the text. Students also experience research-based and evidence-based writing within every Writing Workshop section that occurs at the close of each unit. Many writing opportunities are focused around each student’s analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Examples from each unit include:

  • In Unit 1, students complete the following task: "Write an editorial for a newspaper arguing for special school programs for children of migrant workers, based around farming seasons. In the first paragraph, include a brief statement of why such programs are needed, and include information about a migrant child’s work schedule. In the second paragraph, describe Panchito’s attitude toward education as an example of why migrant children would want special programs. Share your editorial with the class."
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following task: Imagine that you are a non-Japanese citizen living on the West Coast in 1942 and you’re seeing your friends and neighbors marched away to camps. Write an editorial for your local newspaper in which you take a stand against the internment of Japanese Americans. Be sure to support your opinion with reasons and explanations.
  • In Unit 3, students are to write a literary response that analyzes how the speech’s tone and the speaker’s voice would be different if, instead of given by Gandhi, it was given by a British person who supported the Indian cause. The prompt states: “How does the cultural background of the speaker affect the overall message? State your main idea in a thesis and cite reasons as support."
  • In Unit 4, students write a brief summary of the news article, “An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists." The summary should include the main ideas, supporting details, but omit all opinions and other unverifiable information.
  • In Unit 5, in the Meeting the Standards workbook, using “Jimmy Jet and his TV Set," students complete a chart in which they analyze the text by examining the author’s purpose and supporting the purpose with details or elements from the text.
  • In Unit 5, in the Extend Understanding section, students use “A Remarkable Adventure “ to write a brief essay to analyze Prelutsky’s use of hyperbole in the poem. Students tell which events, characters, actions, or setting details are exaggerated and why these exaggerations seem humorous.
  • In Unit 6, in the Extend Understanding section, students use “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” to write a character analysis of the speaker in the poem. They will write a topic sentence that states one of the character’s most important traits. Students will cite evidence from the text as support.
  • In Unit 7, students practice informative writing to Extend Understanding: “Imagine that Milton Geiger is still alive. Write an analysis of the screenplay addressed to him. Tell Geiger whether the end of the play surprised you. Trace for him the predictions you made and revised as you read the screenplay. Explain what clues led you to make predictions. Comment on whether you found the ending satisfying or not, and explain why."
  • In Unit 8, students practice argumentative writing to Extend Understanding: “Imagine that at the end of the story, the chief rules that Nunyala should be put to death for outsmarting him. Write an editorial for a newspaper that argues that Nunyala’s life should be spared. First, state why you believe that life should be spared. Then describe why you think the chief’s rulings are unjust, based on Nunyala’s thoughts in the story about how a wise ruler should act. Conclude by calling for the Ewe people to speak out against the chief’s ruling."

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

IThe instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The materials include instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. However, there is inconsistent support for students to practice in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Language standards are addressed in Grammar & Style activities and Vocabulary & Spelling activities. These are included consistently with each unit. The Exceeding the Standards resource books, Grammar & Style uses selections from each unit in the textbook as examples and exercises. The skills instruction does not include opportunities for application both in and out of context. Additionally, the materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. There are minimal opportunities to practice skills taught in the unit with the selected readings in the Teacher’s Edition, therefore limiting opportunities for increased sophistication of the addressed standards. While the resource workbook, Exceeding the Standards, includes “comprehensive skills development lessons," the same language standards are not necessarily addressed during the “Writer’s Workshop” task or other possible places within the unit of study. Therefore, students are not consistently given opportunities to apply the lessons on grammar and conventions in context.

The evidence below illustrates how the materials include both grammar and conventions instruction, but there is limited evidence to satisfy opportunities for application within their own writing:

In Unit 1, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sentence and its functions
  • Subjects and predicates
  • Simple and complete subjects and predicates
  • Compound subjects, predicates, and sentences
  • Identifying the parts of speech.

In the unit of instruction, students rewrite sentences, remove words or punctuation and add colons or sentences where necessary.

In Unit 2, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Common and proper nouns
  • Singular and plural nouns
  • Possessive nouns
  • Compound nouns and collective nouns
  • Nouns
  • Pronouns and antecedents
  • Subject and object pronoun
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Indefinite pronouns

In the unit of instruction, students read sentences and identify the pronoun that would correctly go in the blanks.

In Unit 3, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Action Verbs and State of Being Verbs
  • Linking Verbs and Helping Verbs
  • Transitive Verbs and Intransitive Verbs
  • Verb Tenses
  • Passive Voice and Active Voice
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Verbals
  • Subject and Verb Agreement
  • Indefinite Pronoun and Verb Agreement

In the unit of instruction, students have an opportunity to complete exercises for identifying and using reflexive and intensive pronouns.

In Unit 4, lessons found in Exceeding the Standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Direct Objects
  • Indirect Objects
  • Predicate Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives
  • Adjectives and Adverbs: Choosing the Correct Modifier
  • Appositives
  • Positives, Comparatives, and Superlatives
  • Contractions
  • Commonly Confused Words

In the unit of instruction, students complete exercises using context clues to define the italicized word.

In Unit 5, students engage two lessons featured with a selected reading:

  • Dashes and end punctuation
  • Simple and Compound Subjects

Materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 6, students engage two lessons featured with a selected reading:

  • Simple and Compound Sentences
  • Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Materials do not promote and build students’ ability to apply conventions and other aspects of language within their own writing. Additional lessons and practices on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 7, students engage two lessons featured with a selected reading:

  • Dependent clauses
  • Independent clauses

There are no additional practices to reinforce these skills within the unit. Additional lessons and practices on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 8, students engage two lessons featured with the readings:

  • Latin Roots
  • Word Origins

There are no additional practices to reinforce these skills within the unit. Additional lessons and practices on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. Materials do not meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic or theme/topic or themes or themes to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently. While there are targeted questions and series of questions for students that promote students’ ability to draw conclusions and cite textual evidence, determine theme, and analyze point of view, they do not promote students' building knowledge of the content and texts. Students are presented with text-dependent and text-specific questions; however, the questions do not require students to build knowledge across the text. Culminating tasks do not require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, nor do they integrate skills. Materials include vocabulary over the course of a school-year, but there is no cohesive plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. 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. Materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in research activities that support the understanding of texts and topics within texts. Each selection is followed by at least one opportunity for students to engage in a research task, which includes a variety of individual, partner, and small group projects. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class. A gradual release of responsibility reading model moving students from guided reading to directed reading to independent reading is within each unit.

Criterion 2a - 2h

18/32
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around themes and build student’s reading comprehension of complex texts. Materials do not meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic or theme/topic or themes or themes to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend and analyze complex texts proficiently. While there are targeted questions and series of questions for students that promote students’ ability to draw conclusions and cite textual evidence, determine theme, and analyze point of view, they do not promote students' building knowledge of the content and texts.Students are presented with text-dependent and text-specific questions; however, the questions do not require students to build knowledge across the text. Culminating tasks do not require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, nor do they integrate skills. Materials include vocabulary over the course of a school-year, but there is no cohesive plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. 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. Materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in research activities that support the understanding of texts and topics within texts. Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The instructional materials are placed in units based on genre. Each unit is also given a theme. Each selection in the unit closely or loosely relates to the theme provided. After each theme is presented on the title page of the unit, a description is offered to connect them theme/topic to the texts included in the unit. Each unit is composed of three levels of reading support: guided reading, directed reading, and independent reading. A quote at the beginning of each unit is intended to give insight into the collection of literature in the unit. Along with the quote are guiding questions and commentary that are meant to expand upon the quote. Many of the Mirrors & Windows questions focus on text-to-student understanding, rather than the text, and they are not building the student's knowledge of a topic or theme. Texts included in each unit are loosely connected by the unit's theme, but do not build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The units for Grade 6 include: Unit 1: Finding a Place in the World (Fiction), Unit 2: Meeting Challenges (Fiction), Unit 3: Defining Freedom (Nonfiction), Unit 4: Testing Limits (Nonfiction), Unit 5: Expressing Yourself (Poetry), Unit 6: Encountering Nature (Poetry), Unit 7: Discovering Other Worlds (Drama), and Unit 8: Imaging the Fantastic (Folk Literature). Examples include:

  • In Unit 3, Defining Freedom (Nonfiction), the unit begins with a quote from Mohandas Gandhi, “The only education we receive is English Education. Surely we must show something for it. But suppose that we had been receiving during the past fifty years education through our vernaculars, what should we have today? We should have today a free India…” Following the quote, the directions for students explain that Gandhi was a peace activist who struggled to lead India to independence from British rule. As students read the unit, the directions are as follows: “As you read this unit, imagine how you would feel if your basic freedoms were challenged." Students are also assigned to read “Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima” by Walter Dean Myers and focus on the theme of fighting for freedom which connects to the unit theme using the following questions: “What about Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima’s story affected you the most? Why? Do you think the United States should help people in other countries win freedom from cruel leaders and undemocratic governments?” While these are compelling texts and questions, the teacher will have to supplement with other texts and possibly questions to support building knowledge.
  • In Unit 4, Testing Limits (Nonfiction), the unit begins with a quote by Maxine Hong Kingston, “This summer my son body-surfs...I hope that by September he will have had enough of the ocean. Tall waves throw surfers against the shallow bottom. Undertows have snatched them away.” Following the quote, directions challenge students by using the the following statement and purpose: “Everyone has limits, and testing limits can be exciting and satisfying...As you read this unit, consider different people’s limits. Ask yourself if you would be able to overcome the same obstacles others have faced." Students are also assigned to read “Developing Your Chops” by Fran Lantz and focus on the idea of testing one’s limits in terms of talent and effort. Questions such as “Who do you know who likes to practice playing an instrument? Do you think practice can make a musician out of someone who is not naturally talented? Or does artistic success require an innate gift?” are again engaging, but do not require deep reading of the texts and will not support students in building knowledge without further supplementary reading and questions.
  • In Unit 5, Expressing Yourself (Poetry), students are assigned to read “Ode to La Tortilla” by Gary Soto. The speaker in this poem “expresses himself” by describing the sensory pleasures that homemade tortillas bring him. He describes making them with his mom and sharing one of the front lawn with a sparrow. Students also read “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou. The speaker in this poem “expresses herself” by describing various things that frighten children: shadows, things at night, a new school, etc. When she is awake, she becomes brave by saying “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” repetitively. To grow students' knowledge and engage students more deeply the teacher will have to identify other questions and tasks.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. While there are targeted questions and series of questions for students that promote students’ ability to draw conclusions and cite textual evidence, determine theme, and analyze point of view, they do not promote students' building knowledge of the content and texts. There are few questions that support students in analyzing author’s language and word choice. The questions that do focus on language and structure do not support students to analyze its effect on the text.

In some units, students dive into the texts and are provided opportunities to read closely and study the components and text as parts and as a whole. For example, in Unit 1, students read “The Goodness of Matt Kaizer” and complete the following tasks that allow them to make conclusions, analyze text, and draw comparisons:

  • Based on the author’s descriptions of Mary Beth’s appearance, ask students to draw conclusions about her emotional state. Model a response: “Mary Beth’s eyes were red and her face was wet, so she had probably been crying. She was very sad when Matt arrived.
  • Locating evidence to “suggest that Matt is a dynamic character. Students may point out Marley’s description of Matt’s changing appearance: he looks more and more haggard and silent, and he is becoming more neat and clean in appearance.”
  • Compare the descriptions of Matt at the beginning of the story with those at the end. How has Matt changed?

Another example is in Unit 7, when students read a lyric poem, “The Stolen Child,” and complete tasks and answer questions that analyze text, find meaning, and make judgment:

  • Have students identify descriptive lines that help the reader visualize the magical world of fairies.
  • Tell students to compare and contrast the purpose and content of the refrains in the two works.
  • What is the main idea of “The Stolen Child”? Besides the fact they steal a child, what other evidence can you find that these fairies may be harmful? What do you think will happen after the child enters the fairies’ world?
  • How do the fairies contrast their life to life in the real world? Do you think their description of the world is fair? Why or why not? How do the final lines of the last stanza differ from the final lines of the other stanzas? Why do you think Yeats chose to alter the last stanza?

In Unit 2, students read “The Serial Garden” and are asked to make inferences, create questions, and analyze text:

  • Ask students what they can infer from the facts of the ‘incalculable age’ of Mr. Johansen’s dog Lotta and her continued puppy-like friskiness.
  • Have each pair of students create a question about the selection. Model a possible question: ‘What would have happened if Rudi and the princess reunited?”
  • Students analyze their reading and provide examples from the text to answer, “What does Mark’s reaction to his discovery of the garden suggest about his personality?”

In this example, the materials provide an opportunity for students to read closely within the text and consider the key details, but they do not dive into the craft nor academic vocabulary.

In Unit 4, using the texts, “Noise Levels” and “Hearing Under Siege,” students write an informative paragraph explaining the possible source of hearing loss. The student must cite one example from the diagram or the article. This provides students an opportunity to read carefully, but not to build upon knowledge nor grow their academic vocabulary as they read closely.

In Unit 6, students read the poem, “English Sparrows,” and engage in the following collaborative learning task: "Think about the observations the poet makes about the man on the bench. Discuss the following question with a small group of classmates: Do you think the speaker wants to talk to the man she sees in the park sharing her appreciation for the day? Why or why not?" In this series of questions, the majority of the thinking has been completed through the questions, and the intellectual demand is not as rigorous for the student.

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent and text-specific questions and tasks that require students to analyze the the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The Mirrors & Windows questions are mostly text-to-student questions, where students do not refer to the text to respond. Questions and tasks do not require that students refer to the text, and it is unclear how the questions work to build knowledge across an individual text. In terms of the integration of ideas across multiple texts, each unit includes two texts that are paired with the intention of teaching literary elements across texts. The individual, paired texts have text-dependent questions at the end, but there is only one question that asks the students to compare the texts, and the question does not promote a deep analysis of the texts. There are other text-to-text connections established in the units, but the questions about these connections do not require an analysis of the integration of ideas.

The Exceeding the Standards and Meeting the Standards supplemental resources offer additional, yet limited, activities within the unit to compare a set of texts. Various texts within the units have student writing, speaking, and researching tasks for evidence of students’ need to perform analysis of texts to complete quality, cumulative assignments and tasks.

The During Reading questions require only a surface amount of knowledge to complete. During the reading of each text, questions are presented in the margin and answers are provided in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition. Guidance is offered in teaching the analysis questions in the margins. After each text, students are presented with Text Dependent Questions. There are some questions and tasks designed to increase in complexity from understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating; however, these questions comprise a small percentage of the questions and tasks that students are required to address.

  • In Unit 1, students read “The Circuit” by Francisco Jimenez and “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” by Kathleen Krull. Before reading “The Circuit," students are provided a tool to assist them in identifying causes and effects while reading. Additional Find Meaning and Make Judgments questions are provided at the end of the selection that will assist students in answering the Text to Text Connection. While reading “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez," teachers instruct students to take notes on a chart while reading where they can ask questions, make predictions, react to ideas, and identify key points. Students are provided a sample chart that can be used to record the information. After reading both texts, students respond to the following “Text to Text Connection” prompt: “Compare and contrast the descriptions and historical setting of migrant farm life in 'The Circuit' with those in ‘Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez.’ How is Panchito’s experience as a migrant worker similar to Cesar Chavez’s experience? How is it different? What did Chavez do to improve the types of conditions described in both selections? To help you compare and contrast the selections, first summarize and synthesize the texts in ways that maintain meaning and logical order."
  • In Unit 2, after reading the texts, “Becky and the Wheels-and-Brake Boys” by James Berry and “The Southpaw” by Judith Viorst, in the “Text Dependent Questions-Compare Literature” section, students review the details about Becky in “Becky and the Wheels-and-Brake Boys, and Janet in “The Southpaw” that they recorded in their character charts. Then, they must answer four text-dependent questions. One example is as follows: “How are Becky and Janet similar in the ways that other characters respond to them?”
  • In Unit 3, using “from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," an excerpt from the argumentative essay by Robert Fulghum, students create a two-column chart with the details on one side and what the details tell them about the author’s beliefs on the other. After reading the text, students are asked the following questions: “How long has it been since Fulghum played hide-and-seek? How does he say adults 'play' hide-and-seek? What are the things Fulghum considers doing to make the kid 'get found'?”
  • In Unit 4, using the scientific article, “The Five ‘Wanderers’ of the Ancient Skies" by Dennis Brindell Fradin, students are to keep track of details of the text by taking notes on a chart (example shown) that seem significant or interesting. Then after reading, students are to review their notes and write one or two main ideas for each section or page.
  • In Unit 5, students read the narrative poem, “One Time,” and respond to a series of questions and tasks that prompts them to make judgments. One question and task states: “What mood does this poem create? Name two details that contribute to the mood."
  • In Unit 6, students read the the poem, “Blazing in Gold and Quenching in Purple” and chart elements of personification in order to respond to text-specific questions.
  • In Unit 7, using “The Phantom Tollbooth, Act 2” written by Norton Juster and dramatized by Susan Nanus, students have the opportunity to move beyond a literal interpretation of the text when completing an informative writing task following the reading of the text: “‘Time flies, doesn’t it?’ Milo asks Tock, the watchdog. Think about how the author uses the literal meaning of the words in the idiom to create a humorous image. Find and list other idioms throughout the play, and in a brief literary essay, analyze the ways in which the author uses idioms to create humor."
  • In Unit 8, using “Arachne," a Greek myth retold by Olivia Coolidge, the materials provide teacher modeling to use reading strategies during the guided reading, such as inferencing. For example, “Ask students to tell what kind of person Arachne is. Model using the detail that ‘praise was all she lived for’ to infer that Arachne is extremely proud of weaving. Ask students to make an inference based on the remainder of the sentence."

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 do not meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

Culminating tasks do not require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, nor do they integrate skills. Students complete each workshop independently of each other. Some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students are often demonstrating mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Each unit includes three types of culminating activities: a Speaking and Listening Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Test Practice Workshop. The performance tasks that the students complete in these culminating activities correspond to the questions, discussions, and writing prompts.

In Unit 3, some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students demonstrate a mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Students are assigned a culminating task under the “Writer’s Workshop” in which they write an argumentative essay that allows them to present and support their clearly stated opinion. Prior to being assigned the culminating task, students complete scaffolded and independent activities to prepare them to write an argumentative essay. In the following texts, students are provided with scaffolding and practice in writing argumentative essays:

  • After reading “Why? by Anne Frank,” students complete an argumentative writing assignment in the “Extend Understanding” section in which they create a main idea map on the most important things parents must do in raising children. They provide at least four supporting examples. Students then use this information to write an argumentative paragraphs convincing parents to do this thing. Students must state the main idea in the thesis.
  • After reading The Need of Solidarity Among the Ethnic Groups, students choose a current issue that they feel strongly about. They write a brief position statement outlining their feelings on the issue. Students describe their position in their thesis and include several reasons that support it.

In Unit 5, some tasks are loosely connected to unit texts, while others are not connected to texts. Students demonstrate a mastery of the unit skills rather than demonstrating understanding or knowledge. Students explore poetry where they will understand different elements and types of poetry. Students are assigned a culminating task where they plan and write a personal narrative in which they express their feelings about a person, place, thing or experience using sensory details, figurative language, and imagery to create a mood. Students are asked to write a personal narrative:

  • In the Analyze Literature section before students begin reading the poem Ode to La Tortilla, they are instructed to notice the poet’s use of imagery as they read. During reading, students are provided the following questions to assist them in identifying imagery: “What do you see on the lawn? What might a reader see and hear at the end of the poem?” After reading, in the Analyze Literature section students are to return to the poem to list images that bring a specific scene to life and record it on a provided chart.
  • In the Analyze Literature section before reading the poem, “Good Hot Dogs,” students are to name some of the sensory details in the poem and describe how the details add to the experience of eating at the store. In the “Analyze and Extend” section after reading, students are to create a menu of items they would serve and include sensory details to appeal to diners.

In Unit 7, in the Speaking and Listening Workshop, students are assigned a culminating task where they write about a person who has “strength of character”. The presentation includes a speaking rubric that includes a delivery and presentation component. The component addresses speaking confidently and expressively with appropriate volume. Prior to being assigned the culminating task, students complete scaffolded and independent activities to prepare them to write and give a presentation. These tasks prepare them for the skill of presentation, but do not build knowledge of a topic.

  • One activity requires students to write and present a screenplay. They select a scene from their favorite story and rewrite it using the screenplay format. Students share their screenplays in small groups. They are provided with feedback on how each screen play can be improved.
  • Later in the unit, students are assigned a scene from the play, “In The Fog,” and film the presentations of their scenes. They show each scene to the class while classmates take notes about the strengths and weaknesses of each scene.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

Materials include vocabulary over the course of a school-year, but there is no cohesive plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts, as seen in the Vocabulary and Spelling lessons which are integrated with two of the literature selections in each unit. These lessons incorporate vocabulary words from the preceding selection to provide context and repetition for students to increase their understanding and vocabulary knowledge. However, academic vocabulary is not repeated sufficiently across units throughout the course of the year.

The Teacher’s Edition has key terms with definitions, but there is little to no representation of academic vocabulary. When the academic vocabulary is mentioned within a unit or along with a reading they are not repeated sufficiently through the unit or throughout the course of the year.

A Language Arts Handbook is provided as a student resource at the back of the text which includes Vocabulary and Spelling, and teachers can direct students to these resources.

The Meeting the Standards Unit Resources do include cumulative vocabulary lists and the Teacher’s Edition provides a Building Vocabulary which includes an overview of all unit vocabulary words, academic vocabulary, and key terms. The Master word lists cover vocabulary from Common Core Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three words. Academic words included and addressed in the Vocabulary Practice Lessons that follow do not appear in other Vocabulary Lessons within the grade level and do not appear within the assessment practice or Writing Workshop within the same unit. Additionally, the Exceeding the Standards resource includes a vocabulary and spelling section that contains lessons and practice on word parts and word origins; borrowed words and informal language; testing vocabulary and choosing words; and working with academic vocabulary.

In Unit 1, students complete a Vocabulary Practice with synonyms and antonyms, such as the following: “For each of the following words, list one synonym and one antonym. 1. Formal." Students can respond with answers such as “synonym: proper or official” and “antonym: casual.” The example to begin the Vocabulary & Spelling lesson is from one of the selections in Unit 1, “The All-American Slurp” by Lensey Namioka, and an explanation is provided, “In the sentence above, mortified is a synonym for humiliated or embarrassed. An antonym would be proud.” If the words included in the Vocabulary Practice are from the selections students read during the unit, there are no citations with page numbers for students to return to the source and read the word in context from the previous selection. The teacher’s edition includes a Program Resource with the following in the margin: “You will find additional lessons on Synonyms and Antonyms in the Exceeding the Standards: Vocabulary & Spelling resource.” Words in Use are addressed with the following Academic Vocabulary: mortified, anxiety, rigid, isolate. The academic vocabulary words included in the Vocabulary Practice lesson were not used again specifically in the Writing Workshop that follows.

In Unit 3, students are presented with information on Word Parts- Prefixes, Suffixes and Base Words in the “Vocabulary and Spelling” lesson. Academic vocabulary is presented in the bottom margin: derives, accurately, precede, proceed, exceed, supercede, condemnation, undulating. Students have “Word Knowledge” practice with these words in which they give the origin of the word and the definition, on the same page in the textbook within this lesson. These words are not revisited in any other resource book or in any other text in the unit.

In Unit 5, students are presented with information on “Spelling with Prefixes and Suffixes” in the “Vocabulary and Spelling” lesson. Students learn how affixes can change the spelling of the words and the definitions. Students also practice on this page. No academic vocabulary is provided in the bottom margins.

In Unit 7, students are introduced to the academic vocabulary, Theosophists and playwright. The vocabulary word Theosophists is used in the Build Background section before reading. “In Yeats’s time, a group called the Theosophists was interested in the spirit world and believed fairies were spirits lighter than gas, and therefore invisible.” Playwright is addressed in the Introduction to Drama section before the unit selections. “A playwright envisions how the story will unfold and includes in the work such specifics as actors’ locations onstage and details about props and sets.” Playwright is also used in the Mirrors and Windows question at the end of the excerpt: “What is your impression of the fairies? How is it different from your impression of the chorus? Why might playwrights include such 'songs' in a play?” No explicit instruction on the meanings of the terms or opportunities to build knowledge or use the terms are provided. Finally, playwright is used in the Extend Understanding where students are to address the question “Did the playwright have a purpose for the humor other than entertainment?” No instruction for learning or utilizing the academic vocabulary is provided. The vocabulary terms are not addressed further in the school year and no activities or tasks address the 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 6 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

The materials 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. After each reading selection, there is a section called Extend Understanding which provides students with a choice between two writing assignments. Throughout the course of the units, these Extend Understanding writing tasks are providing students opportunities to develop their writing skills. After each Lesson Test, students also practice their writing skills by answering one essay question forcing the student to cite the text to support their answers. Each unit concludes with a Writing Workshop task that addresses the four types of writing over the course of the year: Argumentative, Informative, Descriptive, and Narrative. The workshop offers flexibility to meet the needs of students as well as provide the opportunity to include writing not merely to help students develop communication skills, but to promote learning and thinking. In the Writing Workshops, students are guided through the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Students are issued a revision checklist and a student model in which they can refer.

Throughout the year, both teacher and peers provide feedback to ensure that students' writing skills are increasing. Multiple additional writing supports can be found in the support materials of the curriculum.

  • The Common Core Assessment Practice booklet that contains reading selections with occasional short answer questions that refer to the text and constructed response writing prompts covering argument, informational/explanatory, and narrative writing types.
  • The Meeting the Standards booklet has short answer questions that relate to texts and the use of literary elements, and it has worksheets that can be used to scaffold some of the Extend the Text writing prompts.
  • The Exceeding the Standards booklet gives detailed, structured support for the entire writing process for one type of writing per unit.
  • The Assessment Guide has a summative assessment for each of the reading selections in each unit that includes a writing prompt that requires students to reference the text.

When all of the program resources are used in coordination with each other, teachers can provide a year-long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts. Examples of a cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks to meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, at the conclusion of the unit in the “Writing Workshop, students respond to a short story.
  • In Unit 2, Writing Workshop, students are provided with a plot diagram in the drafting phase of the writing process to support them in creating the planning of the climax of their short stories.
  • In Unit 3, Writing Workshop, students write argumentative essays and create a pro and con chart during the prewriting phase of development. Students list arguments for and against their opinion and determine at least two pros and cons.
  • In Unit 4, with the Performance Task in the Writing Workshop, students write a Cause-and-Effect Essay where they analyze how or why one thing leads to another. Students are encouraged to find and choose a topic. Supports are provided during drafting and revising, such as with the Revising Checklist: “Does the introduction present the cause-and-effect relationship closely? Is the essay organized in a logical way? Is the relationship between causes and effects explained and supported?”
  • In Unit 5, Writing Workshop, students are taken through the writing process for a descriptive essay. Students review a student model and are asked to locate sensory details. They discuss which sense seems most prominent.
  • In Unit 6, students satisfy the following expectations for their writing: “Do your teacher’s guidelines require double-spacing? Have you done that? Always check to be sure you have met all the presentation guidelines before submitting your work. Making a clean, neat final copy is one of the many ways in which a writer considers his or her audience.”
  • By Unit 8, students are required to gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources and draw on evidence from informational texts to support research in their Performance Task during the Writing Workshop. Assigned to write a Research Report, they must use at least four different sources, both primary and secondary. The instructional materials remind students to do the following: “Avoid plagiarism by crediting all my sources, both in references in the text and in a Works Cited list, and by providing my own explanation as much as possible.”

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused, shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop and synthesize knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to engage in research activities that support the understanding of texts and topics within texts. Each selection is followed by at least one opportunity for students to engage in a research task, which includes a variety of individual, partner, and small group projects. Throughout each unit, students are presented with an After Reading section after each text or grouping of texts. Within most After Reading sections, students complete tasks in categories such as: Media Literacy, Lifelong Learning, Critical Literacy, Collaborative Learning, etc. Within these categories, students compose research that is influenced by the topic(s), themes, and genre of the specified reading selection. The textbook offers research opportunities through various writing options also located within the After Reading section. Materials meet the expectations of including 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. Research projects are varied throughout the instructional materials and offer tasks that are connected to most texts within a unit.

In addition to opportunities in the textbook, the Exceeding the Standards resource provides extension activities for several selections that ask the students to engage in a more complex research process with multiple steps.

In Unit 2, students read “The Bracelet” a short story by Yoshiko Uchida. The Extend Understanding section includes a Lifelong Learning task where students are assigned to research and report what caused the government to intern so many people during World War II. They task reads, “Research Executive Order 9066 and consider whether you think such as action would ever be taken today and explain why or why not” (page 159). Students are to report to the class.

In Unit 4, students are provided photographs from NASA “Earth from Space” to view. They are assigned to read the news article “An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists” by John Noble Wilford. The Extend Understanding section includes a Critical Literacy task where students are to split into small groups and assign each person a satellite function. It reads, “Use the internet to analyze maps, graphs, and tables based on your satellite’s function” (page 391). Instruction for looking at visual data is provided. Students will write a brief paragraph explaining the function.

In Unit 6, students read the narrative poem “The Wreck of the Hesperus” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Teacher’s Edition provides a Research Skills section that task students to use “a variety of print and online resources to look up information about famous shipwrecks” (page 555). Each student is to choose a different shipwreck and make a chart sharing when, where, what caused the wreck and the outcome. Students are then to use the notes to summarize the information on an index card. Cards are to be traded in order for students to read about other shipwrecks.

In Unit 8, students read “The Orb Weaver,” a lyric poem by Robert Francis. The Extend Understanding section includes a Collaborative Learning task where students are to research various characteristics in groups, including how they live, what they eat, and what kind of webs they spin. It reads, “Choose one species of spider to research in depth. Present your findings to the class” (page 714).

Indicator 2h

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

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

The materials provide a gradual release of responsibility reading model moving students from guided reading to directed reading to independent reading within each unit. Independent Readings are implemented to encourage a shift of responsibility from teacher to student. In the Independent Reading section, students read two or more selections based on a similar theme of the unit and have the opportunity to practice focused reading skills on their own. In the margins of the Teacher’s Edition under Independent Reading, teachers are provided with guidance to foster independence. At the conclusion of each Independent Reading selection, students are provided with text-dependent questions and tasks. At the conclusion of the second Independent Reading selection, students are given a section entitled, “For Your Reading List," offering text suggestions that connect to the genre of the unit. The additional information provides more options for students to select reading materials. This model assists students with navigating the independent selections which offer minimal support before and after reading while expecting students to apply skills independently. An E-Library and Audio Library are included with the program and offer a big selection of literary classics, poems, novels, plays, and nonfiction selections.

In Unit 1, students read “Aaron’s Gift” by Myron Levoy in the Independent Reading section and they have the opportunity to use the skill of drawing conclusions. For example, teachers ask students to draw conclusions about why Aaron’s mother wanted him to stay away from the boys. “Based on the actions of the boys, would students describe their group as a gang or a club?”

In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from “ All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. They are assigned to create a chart to organize the details of the essay. In the first column students should record the details that are important and in the second column students should write what the details tell about the author’s beliefs. A sample chart is provided.

In Unit 5, students read “ Ode to La Tortilla” by Gary Soto and are assigned to keep track of the sequence of events the poet describes. “Are the events told in the order they occurred? How do you know? Pay attention to the tense of the speaker’s words.” A sample chart is provided.

Also in Unit 5, students read “A Remarkable Adventure” by Jack Prelutsky as an Independent Reading selection. Then, they have an opportunity to demonstrate in a small group their ability to put the sequence of events in order from the poem.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

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0/8

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
0/2

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
0/2

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
0/2

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 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.
0/10

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
0/2

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
0/4

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

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

Indicator 3v

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

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Wed Oct 24 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2016

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Grade 6 Mirrors & Windows Student Edition 978-0-82197-251-9 EMC School 2016
Grade 6 Mirrors & Windows Teacher Edition 978-0-82197-255-7 EMC School 2016

About Publishers Responses

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

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

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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