Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

Mirrors & Windows: Connecting with Literature - Grade 8 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 8 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 8 meet the criteria that texts are worthy of students’ time and attention. Materials meet the expectations that 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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 III instructional materials include a mix of informational texts and literature, and these consider a range of student interests. The anchor texts in the units and across the year-long 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 eighth 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 “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara. The author creates a highly engaging story of a sister/brother relationship. Squeaky, the main character, is sassy and lively and many young readers could identify with her. This story is age-appropriate and teaches students that winning is not the most important outcome sometimes. She offers a cultural context with running/track events and how running helps her brother.
  • In Unit 2, students read “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe uses rich language to capture this story of an insane murder. He uses the first person point-of-view brilliantly with vivid language in telling how the main character committed “the dreadful act."
  • In Unit 3, students read “Ishi in Two Worlds” by Theodora Kroeber. This compelling biography takes students into the life of a man who was the last living Native American from the Yahi tribe. He wandered into a corral starving with hair burned close to his head and not able to speak English. A sheriff kept him protected from those who wanted to see this “wild man” until they had time to figure out who he was and where he came from. This biography is followed by a newspaper article stating that Ishi’s brain was returned to the closely related Yana tribe for a proper burial. Middle School students will find these texts fascinating.
  • In Unit 4, students read “A Tale of Two Rocks” by Valerie Jablow. This informational article demonstrates how evidence collected by scientists in various fields can combine to explain events in the past. The author is a magazine writer and editor at Science, Smithsonian, and Trial. Engaging photographs accompany this text.
  • In Unit 5, students read “The Naming of Cats” by award-winning poet, T.S. Eliot. This humorous poem explains the three names that cats have. The form, structure, and rhyme scheme all add to the interest and tone of the poem.
  • In Unit 6, students read “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This high-interest text is the unit’s anchor selection and is a narrative poem about the events of Paul Revere’s night that he warned the colonists that the British were coming. Sentence structure and vocabulary deem it worthy of careful readings.
  • In Unit 7, students read “The Dying Detective” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This short story that is dramatized by Michael and Mollie Hardwick also teaches a lesson about friendship. The vocabulary is rich and provides a challenge for students appropriate for a guided reading. Doyle is well-known for his detective fiction featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
  • In Unit 8, students read “Coyote Steals the Sun and Moon” by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz. This text is from North American Pueblo who live in New Mexico and Arizona. Richard Erdoes is both an award-winning photographer and author. Alfonso Ortiz was born in New Mexico to parents of Pueblo and Hispanic descent. The images included will assist students in connecting to the text both in terms of the setting and people.

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 8 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: “The Treasure of Lemon Brown” by Water Dean Myers (short story), “A Mother in Mannville” by Marjorie Kinman Rawlings (short story), and “Checkouts” by Cynthia Rylant (short story).
  • Unit 2: Fiction: “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (short story), “Sweet Potato Pie” by Eugenia Collier (short story), “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O, Henry (short story), and “Moon” by Chaim Potok (short story).
  • Unit 5: Poetry: “Night Clouds” by Amy Lowell (lyric poem), “The Naming of Cats” by T.S. Eliot (humorous poem), “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmom Silko (lyric poem), and “your little voice Over the wires came leaping” by E.E. Cummings (lyric poem).
  • Unit 6:Poetry: “Bats” by Randal Jarrell (narrative poem), “The Choice” by Dorothy Parker (humorous poem), “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (narrative poem), and “Exile” by Judith Ortiz Cofer (lyric poem).
  • Unit 7: Drama: “The Dying Detective” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, dramatized by Michael and Mollie Hardwick (drama), “The Diary of Anne Frank, Acts 1 & 2” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (drama), and “Sorry, Right Number” by Stephen King (screenplay).
  • Unit 8: Folk Literature: “Legend of the Feathered Serpent” by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal (Aztec legend), “Pecos Bill” by Adrien Stoutenberg (tall tale), “Blackbeard’s Last Fight” by Richard Walser (legend), and “Frog” by Vivian Vande Velde (fairy tale).

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

  • Unit 1: Fiction: "Echoes of Shiloh" by Shelby Foote (article)
  • Unit 2: Fiction: "Working on the Moon" by Edwin Aldrin Jr. (non-fiction) and " The Story of Iqubal Masih" by David L. Parker (non-fiction).
  • Unit 3: Nonfiction: “Mrs. Flowers from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou (autobiography), “from If You Could Be My Friend” Presented by Litsa Boudalika (letters), “Epiphany: The Third Gift” by Lucha Corps (memoir), and “from Our Struggle is Against All forms of Racism” by Nelson Mandela (speech).
  • Unit 4: Nonfiction: “On the Relativity of Time,” by Wolfgang F. Pauli (article), “Indian Cattle” by Eugene Rachlis (informational text), “How to Use a Compass” by Kjetil Kjernsmo (how-to article), and “Industrial Light & Magic, Part I: History by Dr. David West Reynolds (internet article).
  • Unit 5: Poetry: "Immigrant Kids" by Russell Freedman (historical nonfiction)
  • Unit 6: Poetry: "Paul Revere and the World He Lived in" by Esther Forbes (biography)
  • Unit 7: Drama: "The Ole Feller Recollects How Joe Fournier Became Paul Bunyan" by D. Laurence Rogers (essay).

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 8 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 450-1420, 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 analyzing the work through informative writing following the reading. Examples of texts of the appropriate level include:

  • In Unit 1, “Flowers for Algernon," a short story by Daniel Keyes, is below the Current and Stretch Band Level at 840L. The short story is chosen for independent reading following guided and directed reading in Unit 1. The language features increase the complexity of the text such as difficult vocabulary. Choosing a more accessible text for students to demonstrate their ability to use reading strategies to improve comprehension independently can also provide teachers with an opportunity to monitor student progress before they move on to more challenging pieces. These are important considerations when creating materials that follow a gradual release of responsibility model.
  • In Unit 3, “Luke Baldwin’s Vow," a short story by Morley Callaghan, is within the Current and the Stretch Band at 1020L. The text is appropriate and within the grade level band. The text is chosen for 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 materials provide this as an option for teachers.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year.

The instructional materials contain 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, and juxtapose specific texts for comparison and analysis. The texts 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, using 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 3, students engage with the skill of author’s purpose while reading the argumentative essay, “Proclamation of the Indians of Alcatraz." The Lexile level is above the 6-8 grade band (1300L), but, according to the materials, the length of the text makes the reading difficulty less complex. The selection is a directed reading text with supports. In the Use Reading Skills section before reading, students are instructed to use a chart to analyze the author’s purpose and how the ideas in the essay fulfills the purpose of informing, explaining, entertaining, reflecting, or persuading. A sample chart is provided. Teacher instructions to support students while reading include the question, “What do the writers hope to accomplish?” Teachers model a response by suggesting that, in the historical context of the proclamation, Indians had been treated unfairly. They were looking for a peaceful way to get the government to recognize their plight and do something about it.
  • In Unit 5, students read “The Other Pioneers," a lyric poem. The guided reading selection provides support before, during, and after reading. In the Reading Skills section before reading, students “use the chart below to identify the author’s purpose and how the ideas in the poem fulfill this purpose.” After reading, teacher directions include, “After students have read the poem, have them use its main ideas and details to suggest the author’s main purpose or purposes for writing. Model by pointing out the message in lines 1-3, using the phrases must write and long before to suggest that one of the poet’s main reasons for writing is to pay respect to his ancestors, who settled this land before the English and Irish arrived. Ask students to use details to suggest other purposes he may have had for writing.”
  • In Unit 6, students read the lyric poem, “Ode to My Socks." In the Use Reading Skills section, before reading, students look for clues to identify the poet’s purpose for writing: “Create a chart to jot down your ideas.” A sample chart is provided. While reading the teacher is instructed to remind students to stop reading and record ideas on the author’s purpose chart.
  • In Unit 7, by the end of the year, students have an increase in the number of independent reading selections to a total of five including Legend, Folktale, Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale, and Fable. The materials provide students with opportunities for identifying sequential order among other essential skills. For example, in Unit 7, when reading independently “Sorry, Right Number” by Stephen King, “students make a timeline that identifies chronological order of the events in this screenplay.”

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 2, students will read the short story,” Men on the Moon” by Simon Ortiz. The reading skill emphasized is monitoring comprehension. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

  • Quantitative Measure: 1170 Lexile
  • Qualitative Measures:
    • Difficulty Consideration: Unconventional style
    • Ease Factor: None
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction for students to access this complex text. Before reading, students are provided with a way to monitor their comprehension by taking notes on information that does not make sense to them. They are to create a note taking chart. “As you read, write down your reactions to the text, summarize the main ideas.” Vocabulary to preview, along with pronunciations and descriptions of the terms while students read, are provided.

“The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson”

  • Quantitative Measure: 790 Lexile
  • Qualitative Measures:
    • Difficulty Consideration: May not hold interest of all students
    • Ease Factors: Length, simple plot, language
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction for accessing the text. For example, in the Before Reading section students are instructed to “note details that relate to what you think is the central idea of each work.” An example is provided. Vocabulary pronunciations and descriptions as well as question suggestions are provided in the During Reading sections.

In Unit 8, students read the Aztec myth, “Legend of the Feathered Serpent” by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal. The reading skill taught is identifying sequence of events. The Preview the Model section presents the following text complexity measures:

  • Quantitative Measure: Moderate, 900L
  • Qualitative Measures:
    • Ease Factors: Vocabulary
    • Difficulty Considerations: Aztec names
  • The Before, During, and After Reading sections provide teachers with instruction to assist students in accessing the text. In the Before Reading section, students are encouraged to always set a purpose for reading and create a timeline in which the reader can record sequence of events. In the During Reading section, students review the side notes in which they will answer questions that monitor comprehension 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 drama 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 8 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 the 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. Examples of students engaging in reading a range of texts include but are not limited to:

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 e-texts are available to students through the E-Library as a supplement for each unit and include literary classics, long and short selections. Teachers can utilize the library to individualize based on student need, and 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 3, 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 an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, entitled “Mrs. Flowers." 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 to assist students with comprehending while reading and the After Reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read a memoir by Lucha Corpi entitled, Epiphany: the Third Gift. 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 an essay entitled, “Appearances are Destructive” by Mark Mathabane. 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 6, 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 “Southern Mansion," a lyric poem by Arna Bontemps. 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 the After Reading section includes a number of tasks where students can show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students will read “The Choice," a humorous poem by Dorothy Parker. 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 “The Cremation of Sam McGee," a narrative poem by Robert Service. 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: “William Butler Yeats” by Jonathan Allison, “Imaginary Animals” by Charles Sullivan, and “Step Lightly: Poems for the Journey” by Nancy Willard.

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 Aztec Legend, “Legend of the Feathered Serpent” by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal. 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 the After Reading section includes a number of tasks where students show what they learned.
  • Directed Reading: Students read “Coyote Steals the Sun and Moon,” a Zuni myth retold by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz. 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, “Rip Van Winkle," a legend by Washington Irving. Materials provide options for teachers to preview the text. At the end of the reading, 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 9 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 8 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. 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. 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.

  • In Unit 2, students read “Sweet Potato Pie” and respond to the following text-dependent questions:
    • Why doesn’t Charley want Buddy to take the pie?
    • How is it consistent with Collier’s characterization of Buddy that he gives in to Charley? How is Charley carrying in the pie an example of indirect characterization?
    • Why does the sight of Charley carrying sweet potato pie make Buddy cry?
  • In Unit 3, using the text, “Mrs. Flowers”, on page 286, in the “During Reading-Distinguish Between Fact and Opinion” section, the student is required to refer to text to answer the following question: “What is this paragraph is most likely fact? Can this fact be proven?”
  • In Unit 4, using the text, “Indian Cattle”, on page 418, in the “After Reading-Find Meaning” section, the student is required to refer to the text to answer question #2, “In what ways was buffalo hunting a communal activity?”.
  • In Unit 4, using the text, “How to Use a Compass”, on page 436, in the “After Reading-Make Judgments” section, the student is required to refer to the text to answer question #4, “How did Kjernsmo organize his article? How was this organization helpful?”
  • In Unit 5, students read the poem, “Night Clouds,” and answer the following text-specific questions:
    • What action does the speaker urge the mares to make?
    • What does the speaker say will happen if the mares don’t follow this advice?
    • What time of day is the speaker following in lines 5-9?
    • What evidence supports your answer?
  • In Unit 7, students read a dramatized short story, “The Dying Detective,” and use the text to answer the following questions:
    • What do you learn about Holmes from Watson’s reaction?
    • What information is revealed by this dialogue?
  • In Unit 8, students read folk literature, “Legend of the Feathered Serpent,” and answer the following questions:
    • According to the legend, why does the feathered serpent leave?
    • What real historical event does the legend speak of here?
    • How do the men change after they receive more and more gifts?
    • What do the men do to get the treasures off the god’s body?

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 8 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 3, students complete a culminating task under “Speaking and Listening Workshop,” where they are assigned to give and actively listen to an Informative Presentations. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task:

  • After reading the text, Ishi in Two Worlds, in the “Extend Understanding” section, under “Informative Writing”, students use information from the biography to create a hypothesis or theory to explain why Ishi was found near Oroville’s slaughter house. Students provide the reasoning behind their hypothesis and details, facts, examples from the text to support their answers.
  • After reading the text, “Soul of a Citizen,” in the “Extend Understanding” section, under “Informative Writing”, students use their summary chart to decide what the main idea is. Then, they create a list of supporting details and decide which are most essential and effective. Also, they list which details are fact and opinion and how that impacts their overall effectiveness. Then they discuss with the class.

In Unit 7, students complete a culminating task under “Writer’s Workshop” where they write an argumentative essay. The essay should include logical and emotional appeals as well as rhetorical devices in addition to an effective conclusion that sums up main points and restates the thesis. Below are two examples that illustrate how the teacher directs students with text-dependent/specific questions in preparation for the culminating task:

  • Students examine the revision process of writing and participate in a peer feedback activity. They are told to ask themselves the following questions: “Do I agree with my partner’s assessment? Will this change improve my paper?”
  • Students read, “Sorry, Right Number” and discuss and list specific techniques King uses and provide at least one example from the text. The talk about how these techniques, when used together, contribute to the overall effect of suspense.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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:

  • In Unit 1, at the conclusion of the unit, in the Speaking and Listening Workshop, students are presenting an oral summary and effectively listen to others’ oral summary presentations. Students are given instructional advice on evaluating and delivering an oral summary. Students are provided with general rubrics for Speaking and LIstening. In the Teacher’s Edition, in the margin of these pages, a performance task is included with guidelines on evaluating and delivering oral summaries.
  • Unit 2: Speaking & Listening Workshop, page 270Giving and Actively Listening to Literary PresentationsAny time you describe the plot to a story, play, television show, or film, you become a storyteller. This is how you should view yourself when delivering literary presentations. A storyteller is able to make the plot, setting, and characters of a fictional text come alive through a blend of speechmaking and acting. The guidelines below will help you develop your storytelling abilities. Choose a short piece of fiction from Unit 2 in your textbook, another short piece of fiction with your teacher’s approval, or the short story you wrote for the Writing Workshop on page 262 of your textbook. Use the instructions in this lesson and the Unit 2 Speaking & Listening Workshop in your textbook to prepare and deliver a literary presentation.
  • In Unit 2, after reading “The Tell-Tale Heart," in the “Collaborative Learning” exercise, students hold a mock trial. With classmates, students put the narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” on trial. Different students will take on various roles in court and present evidence for and against the narrator.
  • In Unit 3, at the conclusion of the unit, in the Speaking and Listening Workshop, students present an informative presentation and effectively listen to others’ informative presentations. Students are given instructional advice on planning, evaluating, and delivering informative presentations. Students are provided with general rubrics for Speaking and Listening. In the Teacher’s Edition, in the margin of these pages, a performance task is included with guidelines on evaluating and delivering informative presentations.
  • In Unit 4, after reading “Too Soon A Woman," in the Collaborative Learning section, students research the Oregon Trail on the Internet. As students research, they should keep the following questions in mind: “Where did the trail begin and end? What route did it take? How many people traveled West on the trail? How many used it to go back East? What was the most common form of transportation on the trail? After finding answers to the questions and report your findings to the class.”
  • In Unit 5, students read Pretty Words, a lyric poem by Elinor Wylie. In the Extend Your Learning section, students are to discuss with a small group the meaning of the poem. The discussion question is as follows: “What are the major themes and ideas it presents?”
  • In Unit 6, students read the poem, “Ode to My Socks,” and identify and explain to a small group the poem’s mood.
  • In Unit 7, students read the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and discuss the major and minor conflicts in the play and determine if and how each conflict was resolved.
  • In Unit 8, students complete the following task: “Reread the couplets that focus on Stonewall Jackson’s response to Barbara Frietchie’s courageous action. Then, in small groups, discuss these questions: What did Stonewall Jackson do in response to Barbara Frietchie? What was his motivation for the actions he took? Share your conclusions with the class.”

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 is 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 speak and listen, but they do not require the student to interact with the text being studied. Rather, they are based on personal thoughts and experiences and connections to themes. Examples include:

In Unit 1, while reading “The Treasure of Lemon Brown," students have the opportunity to participate in an informal speaking and listening activity in relation to the selection through a Sequence of Events activity: “The point of the plot where Lemon Brown reveals his treasure to Greg is the resolution, or dénouement–the outcome of the story’s major conflict. Ask students to go back and review the major plot events to this point and look at their plot diagrams. What questions do they have about the conflict, the rising action the climax,and the falling action? Model a question such as, ‘The thugs entering the building is a turning point, but is this event the story’s climax?' Encourage them to jot down their questions and reread to find answers. Then, as a class, go over their plot diagrams, outlining the main events and plot elements."

In Unit 3, during the Introduction to Nonfiction, students have an opportunity to practice speaking and listening skills through Group Discussion: “Students who read widely might like to discuss the following:

  • Whether nonfiction can be entirely objective.
  • Why certain nonfiction topics are very popular among teen readers.
  • What current events tell us about whether decision makers are studying the past.

Allow students time to support their opinions, absorb the different views of their classmates, and then modify their original positions, if they so choose."

In Unit 6, a lesson entitled “Giving and Actively Listening to Narrative Presentations” is provided. Students choose an event from their life to present to their peers. Materials are provided to assist students in choosing the story, sequencing the story, verbal and nonverbal cues and evaluating and delivering the presentation. A speaking and listening rubric is provided.

In Unit 7, under Speaking and Listening Skills, after reading “Sorry, Right Number,” guidance for presentation is provided. For example, “Have students present oral reports based on their research on contemporary horror writers.

Review with students these pointers for speakers:

  • Speak clearly and loudly enough for all to hear.
  • Maintain a good pace - not too fast or too slow- pausing at appropriate times.
  • Make eye contact with the audience.
  • Use appropriate gestures, and move around.
  • Use visual aids such as overhead transparencies , video, charts, drawings, photographs, models, props, or costumes.

Provide these tips for listeners:

  • Pay attention courteously.
  • Ask questions for clarification at the end."

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 8 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 1, students complete the following writing activity: “Foreshadowing is the act of hinting at events that will happen later. Now that you know how “Charles” ends, reread it to determine which details foreshadow the outcome. Then write a paragraph in which you present and explain your examples. Compare your examples with a partner."
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following writing task: Write a literary response to “Gary Keillor." In your essay, discuss the tone of the story. Did you find the story funny? Why? State your main idea in a thesis. Use examples from your cluster chart to illustrate what is meant to be humorous in the story. Did the tone of the story affect how you felt about Gary and his actions? How might you have felt if the tone had been more serious? Share your essay with the class.”
  • In Unit 3, Extend Understanding, students write a newspaper article in which they “explain to readers who Mandela is and why he is an important man, and then summarize the main ideas that he delivered in his speech."
  • In Unit 6, using “Southern Mansion” in the “Extend Understanding” exercises, students are given two options for writing after reading: Creative Writing or Informative Writing. For the Creative option, students write a poem for a friend in which they imitate the tone in “Southern Mansion." For the Informative option, students write a brief literary response about Bontemps’s use of symbolism. In the introduction, students will state the thesis, provided support for their position and then include reasons, examples from the text, and other details that support the thesis.

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

  • In Unit 1, students write a response to a piece of literature (Informative Writing). They use the writing process to complete the assignment and are provided with instructional support through each phase of the writing process.
  • In Unit 2, students write a short story (Narrative Writing). They use the writing process to complete the assignment and are provided with instructional support through each phase of the writing process.
  • In Unit 5, in the Exceeding the Standards workbook, students write an explanatory essay using details. They are taken through the 5-step writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Students are provided with a literary model, instruction through the writing process, a revision checklist, and a writing rubric.
  • In Unit 6, in the Exceeding the Standards workbook, students write a narrative poem. Students are taken through the 5-step writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Students are provided with a literary model, instruction through the writing process, a revision checklist, and a writing rubric.
  • In Unit 7, a Test Practice Workshop provides an opportunity to write an argumentative essay, and the task builds on skills practiced throughout the unit: “Read the following short excerpt and the writing assignment that follows. Before you begin writing, think carefully about what task the assignment is asking you to perform. Then create an outline to help guide your writing." The assignment tasks students with the following: “Was Isabelle (Sojourner Truth) correct when she said, ‘the law is for everybody’? Plan and write an argumentative essay in which you state and support a thesis about whether the laws of the nation apply equally to everyone. Include persuasive techniques and rhetorical devices, as well as counterarguments."
  • In Unit 8, students are given a Test Practice Workshop focusing on a Research Report that includes sourcing myths included throughout the unit. Students have the opportunity to write a research report in which they “examine myths that explain physical phenomena in different cultures. Focus on when these myths and legends began and why. Gather your information from different sources. Be sure to document each source, paraphrasing and using quotes as you write your report.”

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 project: “Use the Internet to locate famous Chinatowns throughout the United States. Create a map, or other visual media, and present it to the class. Include information on population, landmarks, and any interesting or important history about the individual Chinatowns.”
  • In Unit 2, students complete the following assignment: "With a partner, research the Apollo 11 mission and create a multimedia presentation of your findings. In your presentation, include background on the Space Race and the political reasons for sending humans to the moon. Also include examples of new technologies that came out of the mission. Your presentation might also include a discussion of Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “That one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
  • In Unit 8, students begin with “The Treasure of Lemon Brown" and then move beyond the text through Differentiated Instruction and utilize digital resources through an Enrichment activity: "Students compelled by the history and culture of Harlem might be interested in researching and reporting on the lives and accomplishments of some of its celebrities, many of whom gained fame performing at the historic Apollo Theater. Examples include Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson (then performing as a member of the Jackson 5). Additionally, students interested in sports might enjoy researching and reporting on the Harlem Globetrotters."

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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, and 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 “Charles” and engage in two text types of writing, narrative and informative, with the following activities:

  • Imagine what happens to the characters after the ending of the story. How do you think Laurie’s father reacts when he hears what the kindergarten teacher said? Write a brief dialogue between Laurie and his father that takes place after the father learns the truth about Charles. Share the dialogue with your classmates.
  • Foreshadowing is the act of hinting at events that will happen later. Now that you know how “Charles” ends, reread it to determine which details foreshadow the outcome. Then write a paragraph in which you present and explain your examples. Compare your examples with a partner.

In Unit 2, students read “Sweet Potato Pie” and engage in two text types of writing, narrative and informational, with the following activities:

  • Suppose that Buddy called Charley from his hotel - after his visit to Harlem and before leaving New York City. Write a dialogue in which Buddy thanks Charley for the visit, and then decide what else these two brothers might want to talk about. Decide whether they would talk openly about the nature of their relationship. Try to capture Collier’s characterizations of Buddy and Charley in your dialogue.
  • Discuss the use of first person point of view in “Sweet Potato Pie” in a literary response paragraph. State your main idea in your thesis and use quotes from the text to show how the point of view contributes to the story. Write the same examples in third-person point of view and explain to a sixth grade reader, in each case, how first-person point of view is more effective.

In Unit 3, students write a brief informative essay that analyzes Nelson Mandela’s choice of words, phrases, and literary devices in the passage from his “Our Struggle...” speech. “Explain how these choices help him appeal to his audience. Use examples from the text to support your ideas."

In Unit 5, in the “Writer’s Workshop," students are instructed to write a compare-and-contrast essay in which they examine the similarities and differences between the two or more things, places, people, ideas. Students experience a 5-step writing process including: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading, and publishing and presenting. Teachers are provided with instructional protocols in the margins of the Writer’s Workshop pages on the stages of the writing process.

In Unit 6, using “Southern Mansion” in the “Extend Understanding” exercises, students are given two options for writing after reading: Creative Writing or Informative Writing. For the Creative option, students write a poem for a friend in which they imitate the tone in “Southern Mansion." For the Informative option, students write a brief literary response about Bontemps’ use of symbolism. In the introduction, students will state the thesis, provided support for their position and then include reasons, examples from the text, and other details that support the thesis.

In Unit 7, after the reading of The Diary of Anne Frank, Act 1, students have the opportunity to practice informative writing to Extend Understanding: “In a paragraph, present a literary response in which you analyze how the stage directions in Act 1 helped you to better understand the characters. Use an outline or cluster diagram to gather details you need to write an effective response. State your position in a thesis and support it with evidence and examples from the text.” The writing task can assist in preparing for the writing workshop focusing on argumentative writing, and the writing task connects to the text students read during the unit.

In Unit 8, after reading “Coyote Steals the Sun and Moon," students have the opportunity to practice Informative writing, among other types, which is tied to the text: “The characters of Eagle and Coyote are the force behind the story; their desires put events in motion. Write a brief informative essay that compares and contrasts the two characters. In the introductory paragraph, identify the myth and the characters. In your thesis, state your main idea about how the characters are similar or different. In the body paragraphs, support your thesis with details that show how they are alike and different. Share your work with the class.” The writing tasks throughout the unit can help prepare students for the writing workshop, and the task connects to the text students read during the unit.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

In Unit 1, students complete the following task: ”Imagine you are a music reviewer for a newspaper at the time Lemon Brown was playing the blues. Write a review of one of his performances. Include photographs and biographical information. Share the review with the class.”

In Unit 2, students complete the following task: “Write a petition to the government of Pakistan, voicing your concern for child laborers and requesting changes to the system that forces them to work under substandard conditions. Use the information from Build Background and ”The Story of Iqbal Masih” to help you write the petition. Your petition should describe the situation and why it needs to be changed. Write it in the most persuasive, concise, and clear way possible. Try to make it longer than half a page.”

In Unit 3, students are to use information from the biography, “Ishi in Two Worlds” by Theodora Kroeber, to create a hypothesis or theory about why Ishi was found near Oroville’s slaughter house. “Include the reasoning behind your hypothesis as well as details, facts, and examples from the selection to support your hypothesis."

In Unit 4, students are to translate chart information found in the article, “Scale of Geologic Time” by Wolfgang F. Pauli, into a summary. Identify the key points being made in the chart and present the key points in the summary.

In Unit 5, students use “The Choice” in the Extend Understanding section to write a short critical analysis essay of the speaker’s choice. In the thesis, students state their opinion of that choice. In the body, students will give the reasons, examples, and other support. Students quote lines from the poem as evidence and explain how they support their argument. In the conclusion, students make speculations about the future of the speaker and restate their opinion. They students will share their work with the class.

In Unit 6, students use “Bats”in the Extend Understanding section to write a brief literary response in which they analyze tone of the text. Students follow these steps: “First, identify the tone, supporting your point of view with details from the poem. Examine how the tone shifts near the end of the poem. Then write responses to these questions: 'In what way or ways does the tone seem surprising? Do you think the tone is appropriate? Explain why or why not?'”

In Unit 7, students can practice informative writing after reading “Sorry, Right Number, Act 2”: “In a short essay, analyze how the character’s interactions foreshadow events in the plot. State your position in a clear thesis statement, and support your thesis with examples and direct evidence from the screenplay."

In Unit 8, students can practice informative writing to Extend Understanding following the reading of “Where the Girl Rescued Her Brother”: “Write a short essay describing the author’s purpose and perspective. In the first paragraph, speculate why the authors chose to share this legend. In the second paragraph, support your speculation about the author’s purpose with examples from the text that show the author’s perspective. In the last paragraph, imagine how the story would have been different if a descendant of Brigadier General Crook were the author. Share your essay with your class."

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

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 review reflective pronouns and decide whether pronouns are reflexive or intensive.

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 and collective nouns
  • Nouns
  • Pronouns and antecedents
  • Subject and object pronouns
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Indefinite pronouns

In the unit of instruction, students review sentences and identify dependent clauses and determine whether it is an adjective clause or adverb clause.

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 and Helping Verbs
  • Transitive 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 the opportunity to complete activities to understand verb tenses.

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 have the opportunities for a spelling practice where they group words from a reading selection.

In Unit 5, students engage with the following lessons featured with selected readings:

  • Figurative language - similes, metaphors, analogies and idioms
  • Nouns - proper, plural, possessive, and collective
  • 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 with the following lessons featured with selected readings:

  • Personal and possessive pronouns
  • Simple, complete, and compound predicates
  • Intensive and reflexive pronouns
  • Context clues

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 7, students engage with the following lesson featured in a selected reading:

  • Gerunds, participles, and infinitives

There are additional practices to reinforce this skill within the unit. Additional lessons and practice on other skills are located in the Exceeding the Standards workbook.

In Unit 8, students engage with the following lesson featured in a selected reading:

  • Misplaced modifiers

There are no additional practices to reinforce this skill within the unit. Additional lessons and practice 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 include: Unit 1: Finding Ourselves (Fiction), Unit 2: Differing Perspectives (Fiction), Unit 3: Looking Back (Nonfiction), Unit 4: Expanding Horizons (Nonfiction), Unit 5: Living with Words (Poetry) , Unit 6: Reaching Out (Poetry), Unit 7: Meeting Danger (Drama), and Unit 8: Recalling Heroes (Folk Literature).

In Unit 1, Finding Ourselves (Fiction), students begin the unit by creating a list of questions that connect to the topic such as, “How do our dreams and ambitions help shape our process of self- discovery?” They keep the list and revisit upon completion of the unit. Students identify the selections that provided further insight to help answer the questions. While this is an engaging activity, it does not require deep reading of the texts and will not support students in building knowledge without further supplementary reading and questions.

In Unit 3, Looking Back (Nonfiction), students read “Mrs. Flowers” by Maya Angelou and answer questions that focus on the theme of the power of literature which connects to the unit topic; in this case, specific works can affect and shape us as individuals, leaving a lasting impression: “Marguerite is very moved by the language of poetry and novels and by the lives of characters in books. What books or poems have had that effect on you? In general, how can the reading of novels and poems expand and affect the reader’s world?” Also, prior to reading the selection, the teacher can pose the following: “Before reading, ask students to think about the books and poems they have read. Have any struck a chord in them? Why might some books and poems have a more widespread effect on people than others?” There are multitudes of text-to-student connections provided within these questions, but the teacher will have to supplement with other texts and possibly questions to support building knowledge.

In Unit 4, Expanding Horizons (Nonfiction) students read “A Tale of Two Rocks” by Valerie Jablow and answer questions that focus on the theme of “science and beliefs” which connects to the overarching unit topic: “Have you ever discovered something that confirmed a belief that you had previously held? How did this feel? In what ways is the act of discovery important to science?” Also, prior to reading the selection, the teacher can pose the following: “Before reading, ask students if they have ever found evidence that supports a belief they hold, and if so, how did that discovery make them feel? How does discovery further scientific progress?" This activity creates text-to-student connections; however, the teacher will have to supplement with other texts and possibly questions to support building knowledge.

In Unit 8, Recalling Heroes (Folk Literature) student read the Cheyenne Legend “Where the Girl Rescued her Brother” by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross. They learn about summarizing and flashback, but it does not build knowledge about a topic with other texts.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 Unit 1, students read “The Treasure of Lemon Brown” and are asked to examine sensory details, make inferences, and analyze characterization:

  • Use sensory details as a method to analyze the selection and increase understanding of the author’s technique to build suspense.
  • What do these details and his manner of speaking indicate about the character of Lemon Brown?
  • Create a character chart for Sweet Lemon Brown. Skim the story and note any vivid descriptions of the character or dialogue that help you understand Lemon Brown.

In Unit 3, students read “Good Housekeeping“ and review the features of a personal essay in a chart. They are assigned to make a statement about why the author chose to write about the events in a personal essay rather than a short story or another written form. This reduces the knowledge demands on the student as the onus of creating the writing form has been placed on the text itself.

In Unit 4, students read “Indian Cattle” and use their knowledge to participate in groups who hold a panel discussion between the Plains Indians and the buffalo. They discuss the most important elements of the relationship and the ways the relationship differs from that between present-day consumers and livestock. As the groups of students state their claims, they must cite evidence from the selection for support.

In Unit 6, students read the poem,”Bats,” and respond to set of coherently sequenced text-specific questions including: "Based on details in the poem, how would you characterize the speaker’s attitude toward bats? How is the speaker’s attitude toward bats similar to, and different from, yours?"

In Unit 7, students read the screenplay, “Sorry, Right Number,” and answer the following questions to make meaning:

  • Why is the poster of Dracula a fitting decoration for Bill Weiderman’s office door?
  • Why does Bill not get scared when Jeff sneaks up on him?
  • Visualize Katie as she rummages through the items on her desk. What is her facial expression like?
  • What else is on her desk? What kinds of catalogues does she have?
  • Do you think King is trying to show what it’s like to be recognized by strangers, even when the stranger doesn’t see him?
  • Does this fame make it difficult to get everyday tasks done?

In Unit 8, students read “Pecos Bill” and answer the following questions:

  • How does the description of the wind contribute to the tall tale setting of Pecos Bill? How do you feel the story might have changed if the characters spoke standard English? Tall Tales often include humor. Do you think this image is funny?
  • Reread the paragraph and think about what was caused by Bill teaching these things to the cowboys.

While the questions are focused on the text, they do not support building knowledge of the content or a deep analysis of the effect of the language on the text.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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, after reading the texts, “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury and an excerpt from “Echoes of Shiloh” by Shelby Foote, students complete the following writing task in the “Extend Understanding-Informative Writing” section: “Write a brief character analysis in which you speculate on why Bradbury might have made his character older than the historical Johnny Clem and evaluate how Joby’s greater age affects the feeling created by the story. Share your work with the class."
  • In Unit 2, after reading the texts, “Men on the Moon” by Simon Ortiz and “Working on the Moon” by Edwin Aldrin Jr., in a “Text to Text Connection” task, students complete the following task: “Both Simon Ortiz’s short story and Edwin Aldrin’s account deal with lunar landings. Compare and contrast what each writer presents and their purposes. How does Aldrin’s account of his experience differ from Faustin’s reaction to the lunar mission? Is any of the information in the two texts the same or similar?”
  • In Unit 3, using Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, a biography by Ann Petry and an excerpt from “Our Struggle is Against All Forms of Racism” a speech by Nelson Mandela, students are asked to answer questions such as the following during reading: “Ask students to guess what the author’s purpose is based on the first paragraph and what else was involved in fleeing slavery? “What other sounds might she use to signal the would-be runaway? What do Harriet Tubman’s thoughts presented here, uncover about her character? How can you determine the narrator’s point of view? What caused the fugitives to have such poor sleep when they were outside?” Under “Critical Literacy," students are assigned to imagine they have a chance to interview Harriet Tubman or Nelson Mandela and write a list of questions to ask.
  • In Unit 4, using the scientific chart, “Scale of Geologic Time," and “On the Relativity of Time," an article by Wolfgang F. Paul, students are assigned to locate other examples of timelines depicting Earth’s history and compare it to the “Scale of Geologic Time” and evaluate the effectiveness of the data of each.
  • In Unit 5, students read the lyric poem, “Lyric 17,” and respond to a series of questions and tasks that encourage analysis of the poem. Questions and tasks include: “Evaluate each item the poem mentions. How does each item help build a single overall description of a poem?”
  • In Unit 6, students read the poems, “Birdfoot’s Grandpa” and “The Time We Climbed Snake Mountain,” and are told to think about what the images and actions might represent in each poem.
  • In Unit 7, using “Sorry, Right Number," a screenplay by Stephen King, students have the opportunity to move beyond a literal interpretation of the text when completing an informative writing task: “In a short essay, analyze how the characters’ interactions foreshadow events in the plot.”
  • In Unit 8, using “Pecos Bill," a tall tale by Adrien Stoutenberg, the materials provide teacher how to use reading strategies during the guided reading to analyze literature for personification. For example, “Direct students to the passage describing the cyclone. Model a question for students to encourage them to identify examples of personification such as: ‘What descriptive details of the cyclone does the author use to make it possible for Pecos Bill to tame it?’”

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 8 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 where they give and actively listen to informative presentations. Rubrics are provided in Speaking and Listening. These tasks do not build knowledge of a topic.

  • After reading Ishi in Two Worlds, students use information from the biography to create a hypothesis or theory to explain why Ishi was found near Oroville’s slaughter house. Students provide the reasoning behind their hypothesis and details, facts, examples from the text to support their answers.
  • After reading “Soul of a Citizen”, students use their summary chart to decide the main idea. Then they create a list of supporting details and decide which are most essential and effective. Students also list which details are fact and opinion and how that impacts their overall effectiveness. Then they discuss with the class.

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 write several paragraphs for an informative essay in which they compare and contrast the poems studied in the unit. These tasks do not build knowledge of a topic.

  • Before reading “Legacies” and “I Ask My Mother to Sing”, students are instructed to compare the tone and diction of two poems. Teachers are instructed to point out the direct quotations by both the grandmother and the girl in “Legacies” and how the diction creates an informal tone. After reading both poems, students write a brief compare and contrast essay examining how the tone of each poem is different from the other. Students are assigned to share their essay with a classmate and incorporate their feedback.
  • After reading “A Lyric Poem," students are to find another work by the same poet and compare it to this poem. Their writing should answer the following question: “How do the typographic elements in both influence each poem’s meaning? Present your findings to the class."

In Unit 7, in the Speaking and Listening Workshop, students are assigned a culminating task where they write persuasive presentations. Students choose a topic and position about practices at school or in their community that they think should be changed. A speaking rubric is provided and evaluates content, delivery, and presentation. The rubric states that the presentation should include strong and well supported arguments. Opposing arguments must also be addressed. The focus of these tasks are building presentation skills, not knowledge of a topic.

  • Students present oral reports based on their research of contemporary horror writers. Tips given to students for effective presentations include speaking clearly and loudly for all to hear, maintaining a good pace, using appropriate gestures, and visual aids.
  • After reading “The Diary of Anne Frank”, students are assigned to identify and discuss the major and minor conflicts in the play. They decide if and how each conflict was resolved and share their findings with the class.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 and Spelling Practice activity with Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes, such as the following: “Identify the origin and meaning of the roots, prefixes, and suffixes for each of the following academic terms. Then write the meaning of each term in your own words. 1. dermatology.” The example provided to begin the Vocabulary and Spelling lesson is from one of the selections in Unit 1, “A Mother in Mannville” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and an explanation is provided: “In the sentence above orphanage is an example of a word formed by the addition of a suffix. The suffix -age, meaning ‘residence of,’ added to the root, or base word orphan, creates orphanage, meaning ‘a residence for orphans.’” If the ten 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 does include as a Program Resource the following in the margin: “You will find additional lessons on Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes in the Exceeding the Standards: Vocabulary and Spelling resource.” There are no Words in Use with academic vocabulary words addressed in either of the Unit 1 Vocabulary and Spelling Activities.

In Unit 3, Words in Use are addressed in the Vocabulary & Spelling Activity relating to Synonyms and Antonyms with the following Academic Vocabulary: perpetual, unceasing, transient, and objectionable. The academic vocabulary words included in the Vocabulary Practice lesson were not used again specifically in the Writing Workshop to follow in Unit 3 when students write a Cause-and-Effect Essay. Though different Words in Use are included and addressed in the Unit 3 Writing Workshop with the following Academic Vocabulary: perceptions, appropriate, withered, relevant, annotations, and legible.

In Unit 5, Words in Use are addressed in the Vocabulary and Spelling Activity relating to Figurative Language: Similes, Metaphors, Analogies, and Idioms, which include the following Academic Words: abstract, docile, opalescent, and dappled. In Level III, there is a Glossary of Vocabulary Words available in the back of the text, and a definition is provided for only two of the four academic words in Unit 5 which includes docile and dappled: “doc·ile (dӓ ́ sǝl) adj., gentle; agreeable; obedient.” Teachers can direct students to the glossary during the reading of the text or during the Vocabulary and Spelling Activity, though only certain words are included and there are no page numbers to return to the specific point in the text or to the vocabulary activity included.

In Unit 6, students read “Paul Revere’s Ride,” a narrative poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and an excerpt from Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, a biography by Esther Forbes. Before the unit, literary elements in poetry (Tier 3 words) are defined. Instructions are provided for teachers to use the pages at any point in the unit as students explore the elements of poetry. The academic vocabulary targeted for these selections are the terms colonists, prominent, silversmith, foundry, acclaimed, prestigious, pacing and inflection. The word colonists appears in the Build Background section before students read the narrative poem. The vocabulary words prominent, silversmith and foundry are mentioned in the History Connection section that describes Paul Revere. Acclaimed and prestigious appear in the Informational Text Connection section used to provide information about the author Esther Forbes. In the Extend Understanding section after the selections are read, students are to present a poetry reading using pacing and inflection. The instructional materials do not offer any instruction or practice with the academic vocabulary words and do not build academic vocabulary in and across texts.

In Unit 7, students are reminded of two techniques that they can use when figuring out the meanings of unknown words: using letter/sound correspondence and breaking a word into syllables and determining the meaning of each syllable. They are told to practice using the following terms: imagination, half-heartedly, concentration, miserable, anticipates, argument, interrupted, and forbiddingly. Further instructions are not provided.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 for Grade 8 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 a 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, the Extend Understanding writing options ask students to write a paragraph which details foreshadow the ending of “Charles.” Students find examples to support their claim. Then students share their paragraphs and thoughts with a partner.
  • In Unit 2, students write an argumentative piece of writing in the “Extend Understanding” section as a response to “The Tell-Tale Heart.” They write a brief statement of opinion in which they agree or disagree with Whitman’s evaluation of Poe. Students give support for their opinion from the text.
  • In Unit 3, students write a brief informative essay in which they analyze Nelson Mandela’s choice of words, phrases, and literary devices in the passage from his “Our Struggle…” speech. They explain how these choices help him appeal to his audience. Students use examples from the text to support their ideas.
  • In Unit 4, using the text, “London Underground Map “ in the extension activity, students create a set of instructions for the creation of a map of their school. The students work in groups and vote on what landmarks should be represented, the basic graphic style, and any special features. Students explain their instructions orally to another group and listen as they explain theirs. Both groups create maps from the other’s instructions and then meet to discuss the results.
  • In Unit 5, Writing Workshop, students create descriptive essays. Students are guided through the writing process with the following activity: “Have students form groups of three or four. Have each group to generate a list of five questions they have about the process of revising, editing, and proofreading. Model a question such as ‘Should proofreading be done in one step?’ Encourage students to share their writing experiences at each of these steps and to identify questions that arise from their different experiences. When groups have completed their lists, have a representative of each come to the front of the class. Have representatives read one question apiece until there are no more new questions. Finally ask the class when and how they would go about finding answers to the questions.”
  • In Unit 6, using the text, “Bats,” in the “Extend Understanding” section, students write a brief literary response in which they analyze the tone in “Bats.” First students identify the tone, supporting their point of view with details from the poem. Next, students examine how the tone shifts near the end of the poem. Then students respond to these questions: “In what way or ways does the tone seem surprising? Do you think the tone is appropriate? Explain why or why not.”
  • In Unit 7, at the conclusion of the unit, in the Writer’s Workshop, students write an argumentative essay on an issue that is important to them. Students create a clear thesis statement, follow an appropriate pattern of organization, and support their thesis with different types of evidence. Guidance is provided in each section of the writing process with examples, rubrics and checklists.
  • By Unit 8, using the text, “Paul Bunyan of the North Woods,” in Extend Understanding, students write a short tall tale with Paul Bunyan as the main character. Students explain how Paul Bunyan influenced or interacted with a natural event. They include several examples of hyperbole as well. They include additional characters as Benny the Little Blue Ox or the other loggers. Students also illustrate the tall tale.

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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, after reading the texts, “Men on the Moon” and “Working on the Moon,” in the “Media Literacy” section, with a partner, students conduct an internet research on Apollo 11. Then, they create a multimedia presentation in which they include background information, political reasons for sending humans to the moon, and examples of new technologies that came out of the mission.

In Unit 4, for the “Viewing Workshop”, students will select visuals to enhance a presentation and critically evaluate the effectiveness of their speeches. In the planning process, students will create an outline and then research the topic in books, magazines, and internet. Rubrics are provided on speaking, listening, and viewing.

In Unit 6, after reading the texts, “Birdfoot’s Grampa” and “The Time We Climbed Snake Mountain,” in the “Critical Literacy” section, students hold a group debate about the importance of environmental protection in the community. Students do the research using the library and Internet, to gather facts about current environmental practices or issues.

In Unit 8, after reading the text, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” in the Media Literacy section, students research to find an audio recording of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” They listen to it carefully analyzing the vocal presentation. In the analysis, students must describe the mood of the song and what elements contribute to that mood. Students must state their main point in the thesis and support it with evidence. Students must also compare and contrast the mood of the song with that of the folktale.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 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. 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 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 independently read “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambera. At the conclusion of the text, in the “Informative Writing” task, students write a short essay in which they describe the tone of “Raymond’s Run." They also provide evidence in support of their claim by referring to specific details and passages in the text. Then students exchange papers and offer feedback on their classmate’s essay.

In Unit 3, students independently read “Appearances are Destructive” by Mark Mathabane. At the conclusion of the test, in the “Analyze and Extend” section, students answer text-dependent questions. One example is as follows: “According to the author, what are some negative messages that schools without dress codes send to female students? What messages does Mathabane think schools with dress codes send students?”

In Unit 5, in the “For Your Reading List” section, the publisher suggests texts related to the theme, “Living with Words” such as The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou and Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices by Walter Dean Myers. Teaching notes that assist with accountability for independent reading are offered in the margin in an “Independent Reading Activity” focusing on Literature Circles.

In Unit 8, students independently read “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving. At the conclusion of the text, in the Creative Writing task, students write a news article describing the incredible events of Rip Van Winkle’s life. Students must include details about the changes in his life from before he went missing and after. Students must create a compelling headline and first paragraph. Students should answer questions of who, what, when, where, and why.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
0/8

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

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

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 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 8 Mirrors & Windows Teacher Edition 978-0-82197-311-0 EMC School 2016
Grade 8 Mirrors & Windows Student Edition 978-0-82197-333-2 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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